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Old 2nd April 2020, 05:56   #1
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Default IVF: A few precious eggs, a million reluctant sperms & a medical miracle!

Brief Note to the Readers


If the mention of ‘ovaries’, ‘menstrual cycle’, ‘egg’, ‘semen’ and ‘fertilisation’ make you cringe, read no further. Thanks for opening up this blog and checking us out. Have a good day sir/madam. If, on the other hand, you are curious and want to read on, dispassionately, please be our guest.

This is a tribute to the indomitable strength of women, of the tenacity of the human spirit, of the extreme expertise of our doctors and staff and the triumph of life. This is a personal account and it is as personal as it can get given the circumstances.

This blog does not claim to be hundred per cent factually correct on the medical aspects. This experience has undergone many years of wear and tear and some or many facts may have slipped out of the now ageing memory. Focus on the emotion, not on the facts. Happy reading!


Prologue


The night was spent in trepidation. The morrow was to bring big news; something that was make or break for both of us. Months of medication was wearing her down and our collective optimism was at its lowest ebb. The only silver lining being the expectation of good news The doctors and staff at the hospital had exuded confidence that we were on the verge of the momentous moment in our lives. Their optimism was contagious and had rubbed off on us. We promised to return with a truckload of sweets if what we wanted were to come true. Still, on the eve of the D Day, I was a bundle of nerves.

I got up early and paced the house to calm myself down. Now and then, checking the clock in the drawing-room. The lab was to open at 9 AM, not anytime earlier. I gulped down copious amounts of coffee while waiting for the time to speed up and finally left home to collect the reports. The wife was a complete contrast - surprisingly calm and composed to my nervous state. I reached the lab and went in after parking my car. The staff was in the process of setting up shop and weren’t expecting anyone to barge in so soon. Looking at my state, the lady at the counter offered to hold other things in abeyance and started looking for our report amidst the bundle of many.

She finally found it and handed over to me. I went out and sat in my car before opening the report. My palms were sweating profusely and I fumbled a bit before opening the envelope. My eyes darted towards the hCG level - 2 Miu/ml. My heart sank. The report was negative. I felt gutted and broken. After what seemed like an eternity, I put the car into motion and instead of heading home, I made way to the Unit. I didn’t want to go home with this news. I headed straight into my COs office, sank into a chair opposite him and broke down completely.

Two Years Ago

I was posted in a field location; high altitude to be precise. I was in such a place where even STD facilities were sparse, let alone mobile network. It was still early days of 2G in India and the internet was not yet a widespread phenomenon. I cherished the 5 minutes of call that I was entitled to – once in two weeks. It was a great lesson on how to cram all your emotions and news into those 5 minutes. And if the weather played spoilsport, the two weeks could easily get extended to more as the telephone line had a mind of its own. It was in this backdrop that during one of those phone calls, she tells me that she has to undergo minor surgery. It was a Laparoscopy to treat her PCOS. Ok, so what’s PCOS? Expanding it would give us - Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. In simple terms, PCOS in women is a major reason for primary infertility. Too much of medical jargon? Women with PCOS have a difficult time conceiving than the others. And by difficult, it could also mean Never. But sitting on that 18,000 feet post, I wasn’t aware of all these finer details. To me, it was just a minor surgery and my wife wanted my moral support from thousands of miles afar. I gave it to her – over the telephone. Later I came to know that everything went smoothly and the doctor wanted to meet me whenever I was in town. I said fine and soon forgot about it.

Six months after this incident, I went home on leave. Battered, bruised and fed up of the snow and weather, I wanted to make the best of my time with civilization. During my leave, we also happened to go to the hospital and meet the doctor. For conditions of anonymity, let's label him Doctor Sierra. He was a genial man with years of experience and expertise in his armoury. After the initial introductions, he told me about IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) and suggested that we go for it. I laughed the suggestion off. IVF? Us? We were both under 25 years of age (Yes, we married early. Can we just proceed?) and my knowledge of IVF or the more common term - Test Tube Baby, led me to believe that IVF was meant for older couples who were incapable of conceiving. Not for younger couples like us who had many years ahead of us. He explained to me patiently that age has nothing to do with IVF. It is either one could conceive naturally or couldn’t. My wife was in the latter category.

I promised him that we would heed his medical advice and took his leave. I had no intention of keeping my word because I still believed that it was all just an overreaction. I went back to the unit without any further thought to this topic at hand.

Second Opinions & Other Options


About six months after meeting with the doctor, I had an outing to Nasik for three months. Since we had time, we decided to consult a local Gynaecologist who had a repute of high degree. She agreed with the previous findings regarding the PCOS and endorsed the opinion concerning IVF. However, she did suggest that we try out IUI (In Uterus Insemination) which is a relatively simpler procedure with hardly any additional time lost. We also went through a series of tests, which, from now on, would be all too common in the years to come. I still remember the first time I was in the lab to give out my semen sample for the semen analysis test. After handing over the slip to the receptionist, I was sitting in the lounge, waiting for my turn and then I see these two ladies at the reception giggling away at my expense. After spending an awkward five minutes, I got up and walked away! But yes, better sense prevailed and I got myself tested at another lab. Since then, I've lost count of where and how many times I've got tested. It was just a medical procedure, no more awkwardness!


We underwent two procedures of IUI while at Nasik. Both were failures. What such setbacks do is invest one’s mind with doubts. And out of these doubts arises dejection and heartbreak. Try as hard as one might, but the disappointment of not being a parent is quite intense. After a period in marriage, having a child is an extremely important necessity. Without one, the family seems incomplete. We may put up a brave and indifferent face for everyone to see, but deep down, you know it rankles. A lot. I could see the same emotions written all over my wife’s face too. But we acted as if it was just another issue, not wanting to aggravate each other’s already fragile state. It was a different phase of life.


The Peace Location


A few months after the IUI, I was back to a peace location. We were back again in the familiar army environs and the social scenario and hardly bothered about our progeny or the chances of it. It was only after a couple of months that we realized that we needed to go for Plan ‘B’ as our efforts and the results were not too promising. So, one fine Monday morning, we headed to the best facility available to us to seek them out in our bid to become parents. The Floor was jam-packed. With hundreds of hopeful couples who had come from far and wide to place their destinies in this crack team of doctors and staff. The mad rush and the despondent faces was a reality check for us. This was going to be a long drawn and bloody affair. Things were going to get difficult.


Our first appointment with the Chief doctor was anything but ideal. After giving us a perfunctory hearing, he gave us a long list of prescription and our first IVF cycle was scheduled after a good 18 months! We were shocked, angered and sad. After prevaricating for so long, I now wanted things to speed up at my will. The callousness of mine was going to bite us hard. In the meantime, she was put on a heavy dose of medication to enable the body for the procedure. With no further details being divulged, we returned home; uncertain and circumspect about the future.


In days to come, the medication was having an impact on the wife. Apart from whatever it was doing inside her body, they made her nauseous and the hormone play was such that she remained edgy and restless. This was an indication that the path ahead wasn’t going to be an easy one. We needed to brace up for a long haul. The biggest impediment was the lack of knowledge on how and what was going to happen and the manner in which the process was to pan out. In today’s age and time, everything that we need to know is available at the swipe of a finger but it was not so at that point of time.


Sometime after three months, we were informed by the hospital that the timelines had been preponed and that we can expect our first IVF cycle to be scheduled in the early part of next year. This was great news! We were called in for a review to the hospital and the medication was altered to suit the new timelines. Between now and the beginning of the IVF process, there was a requirement of coming in for regular check-ups to the hospital. Because of the nature of the treatment, there were no fixed dates or days for the check-ups. They were entirely based on a woman’s menstrual cycle and hence one could never know when the visit to the hospital had to happen. This was true for the entire duration of our IVF treatment; we simply didn’t know when our next trip to the hospital would be. It was always on short notice. Since I was posted 200 km from the hospital, we would drive down on the day of the check-up, early in the morning. Reach the destination by about late morning, get through the check-up, grab a bite in the hospital cafeteria and then make our way back home and reach by late evening. All this required the support from my Unit, of which we simply had no dearth.


What is IVF?


Aside from knowing the full form of the word, most of us would hardly be aware of what happens in the procedure. I will break it down for simplicity of understanding. For couples who have difficulty in conceiving naturally, IVF is one of the procedures that can make them parents. In this, eggs from the woman are picked up through a procedure while concurrently collecting the semen from the man and then, under laboratory conditions, the eggs are fertilized by the sperm. The embryo(or embryos) are clinically inserted into the woman’s womb after 48 hours. A beta hCG test done after two weeks of the embryo transfer (ET) can either confirm or negate a pregnancy. In the run-up to the egg pick up, hormonal injections are given to the woman for producing good quality eggs. This, in addition to the already heavy medication that she is been under for the past many months. One can understand the huge pressure a lady has to undergo in terms of the changes happening to her body aside from the emotional upheavals. In India, more than one embryo being transferred into the womb is common and legal. In general, a minimum of four embryos are transferred to give a fair shot at a positive outcome. That is also the reason that IVF generally results in multiple births.

The First Attempt


In January of the fresh year, we went in for our first IVF attempt. On Day 2 of the menstrual cycle, we were in the hospital and after the preliminary check-ups, we were given some vials of the LH (Luteinizing hormone) to be injected daily for the next 10 days and then we were to land up at the hospital for the rest of the process. We went back with the vials safely preserved in the icebox, mindful that we had entered an important phase in the journey. Back home, we decided to be positive and nail this thing. Since we had collected 10 vials of the injection, we did not bother to administer more after the stock was finished. And that was a grave error which we did not even realize. It was only when we went again to the hospital after the 15 stipulated days did we realize that we had bungled up. Big time. We were admonished by doctors like school kids. They too invest their time, expertise and feelings into the patients and it was a letdown for them too. We had, by our own foolishness, delayed our procedure by a further 30 days. We returned home, to wait on for the next time.


The ‘Actual’ First Attempt


Two months after the fiasco, we went back again. This time, following all the instructions diligently and by erring on the positive side. Remember that all this time, the wife was continuously on medication and like I mentioned earlier too, the heavy dose of medicine was extracting a heavy toll on her body and her mind. The actual heavy lifting is done by the women in this kind of treatments. Not just this, even in a normal pregnancy, a woman's body undergoes massive transformation and most of it painful. Yet, she labours on unmindful of personal discomfort and agony. A very important part of this process is to stand by each other, providing the succour and emotional support lest one of the partners succumbs to the pressure.

It was that time again when we had to pack up and be at the hospital for a few days. Our Egg pick-up was scheduled to happen in a few days and as per protocol, every couple was to reach the location 48 hours before the scheduled time. To understand the timelines, let me just give a tabulated break down.

48 hours before egg pick-up - Reach location.

36 hours before pick up (generally happens at midnight) - hCG is injected to ensure rupture of the follicle which would then release the eggs in approx 36 hours from injecting it.

Egg Pick-up - happens early in the morning after administering anaesthesia during the procedure. The collection of semen happens concurrently.

Approx 54 hours after the Egg pick-up - Embryo transfer(ET). The embryos are transferred to the uterus.

21 Days after the ET - Beta hCG test to determine pregnancy.


So having gone through everything that was to be done, we entered the day of Egg pick-up. Early in the morning, with loads of positive energy flowing through our veins, we reached the place and waited for our turn. On a normal day, about 15-16 couples are scheduled for the egg pick-up. After what seemed like an eternity to me, I watched everyone other than my wife come out after the procedure. I was puzzled but refrained from worrying too much. And then, I was called inside. The doctor explained to me that there was a problem. My wife had suffered OHSS (Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome) In plain, layman terms, when a woman is given hormonal medication and injections to stimulate healthy growth of eggs during infertility treatment, OHSS is a side effect because the body cannot tolerate the dose and can result from mild to severe condition. Severe cases require hospitalization and treatment. Extreme cases may lead to fatality as well.

He told me that she was being shifted to the ward immediately to commence treatment. The eggs had been collected and the process of fertilization would commence. He told me to meet him after 54 hours when the Embryo transfer of other ladies of this batch would be in progress. With a worried brow and grieving heart, I made way back to my room since no visitors were allowed for the day. The next day I visited her and the sight of all those Intra veinous fluids dangling from her bedside made me wonder if all this pain was worth the effort. The amount of abuse her body was taking was irreparable. I tried to cheer her up but wasn’t much successful as I was dejected too.

On the day of the Embryo transfer, I made way to the IVF centre and waited for the ET of others to be completed. Finally, I went in to find out what was in store for us. The doctor told me that 4 embryos had been formed out of the process. But since my wife was in this condition, it was not advisable to carry out the transfer and the prudent option was to freeze the embryos and carry out the Embryo transfer after two months. I thanked him and left. We accepted the circumstances and vowed not to fret about it any more. The confidence that we had in our doctor was absolute. He was the best that we could have hoped for and it was only natural to just follow in his stead. After a week of hospitalization, my wife was discharged and we went back home, hoping to return in two months for the final step of the process.

Support


A long and painful process such as the IVF requires tremendous support - emotional, moral etc. The support from immediate family is the most important part of it. We did not divulge much to my in-laws as they would worry a lot and then it would impact their already fragile health. At that point in time, I did not share much of a rapport with my parents, so we left them out of the loop too. And like many of the Indian families, we didn’t have the good fortune of large extended families. So, in short, there was hardly any family support. But at a time like that, others stepped in. Friends and of course the members of my unit. What we lacked from our family was more than made up by my unit. Every officer and lady became our pillars of support. The way that we were treated in that duration cannot be expressed in words. It would be a disservice to even try and quantify that kind of efforts that were put in by every one of them. My requirement of short, frequent leaves to attend to the hospital and the treatment, the mad cravings of food that my wife had - at each step of our IVF journey, my unit stepped in spectacularly. Our joy and our agony were as much theirs if not more. I never could express our gratitude to them in person but I take this platform to convey my gratitude. This debt can never be repaid. Thank you, everyone.


The First Embryo Transfer


After an agonizing wait for two months, we went back to our favourite haunt, for the much-anticipated embryo transfer. On the day of the ET, she went in along with others and I took my position in the waiting lounge for the procedure to finish. Time ticked by as I saw all others come out after their respective procedures. My optimism started wavering with the passage of each minute. Was there another twist in the tale? I fervently hoped not. Before I could dive deep into my apprehensions, I was called in and to my surprise, I saw my wife seated inside the doctor's office too. Without wasting time, the doctor told us that 3 of the four embryos that were preserved have gone kaput. My heart sank. Only one of ours was still viable but the chances of positive pregnancy were negligible so that option was out.

The doctor said that there was a way out - an option of picking up three other healthy embryos and along with one of ours to be transferred. That was a difficult call to take and our consent was needed to go ahead. We requested time to discuss among ourselves. He left us to allow us space. We went over the issue. Initially my wife was open to the idea but on deliberating, we agreed that it was too momentous a decision to take. Even if it’s a positive pregnancy, we would never know for sure which embryo it had been. Of course, desperate times demand desperate measures. But since the direct implications of refusing this option would mean that my wife had to undergo the entire process again, I let her have the final call. She decided not to go ahead and repeat the process. We conveyed our decision and went home. Prepared to keep taking the medication and to come back again in a couple of months to undergo the entire process. Not that we were the first or last ones’ to undergo IVF but still it hurts a lot. Fate had again dealt us a cruel hand. You can cajole your mind for whatever its worth, the pain doesn’t cease to exist.

The Second Attempt

After two months of wait, we went back. This time, we were much more pragmatic. The medication dose had been reduced because of the side effects suffered last time. This time, during the egg pick-up, I had it in mind that complications of OHSS may resurface. I shouldn’t have worried though, because the doctor had altered and reduced the dosage to prevent such a situation from happening again. We heaved a collective sigh of relief when she emerged out of the room, after successful egg retrieval. We waited patiently for the 48 hours to pass before the embryo transfer.

On the day of the ET, we reached at the scheduled time and waited for our turn. My wife went in and again did not come out any time soon even as other ladies were leaving after their respective procedures were over. I had a familiar feeling in my gut. Something has gone wrong. I could sense it in my nerves. As if on cue, I was called inside. My wife was there too and in that grim surroundings, the news was conveyed to us. Since the dosage of hormonal medication had been reduced to avoid a relapse of OHSS, the eggs were not of great quality. So only one embryo had been formed. I closed my eyes and felt a sense of déjà vu. But wait, there was more news. Since on the day of egg pick-up, it was felt that egg quality was poor, so other healthy eggs were fertilized with my sperm and out of this combination, three healthy embryos had been formed - all category ‘A’.

It took a while to digest this bit of news. We were all silent since we could understand what it meant. There was a 66.66% chance that the baby (if positive) would only contain a part of me and not my wife. Was there any way of negotiating this kind of a situation?

A woman bears all the physical, emotional and mental stress of 9 long months of pregnancy and the postnatal phase after the birth of the child. How would it feel to know that the baby does not contain a part of you but of some stranger woman? Not surprisingly, I saw my wife break down. This was one of the most difficult situations of our lives and we had no clue what was to be done. Could we consult anyone? No. Although my mother in law was now part of the process having been told by us as to what was happening, there was no way we could let her in on this fragile a news. Make no mistake, the support that she had rendered to us was immense but we had to leave everyone out of this.

It seemed life was asking us to prove our desperation to bear a child. There was no other explanation for the kind of decisions that we were expected to make.

After some thinking, my wife refused the embryo transfer. She was prepared to undergo everything for the third time in succession. The final call could not have been made by me. I could only advise her, I couldn’t feel the pain that she was undergoing and would have been grossly unfair to take on the onerous task of taking decision all by myself. That’s when the doctor stepped in. He tried to reason out by saying that going ahead with the embryo transfer would be a most prudent decision. We had already seen the side effects of medication on her body and subjecting it again would cause much harm than good. He also made us aware that the previous case of OHSS had been severe and the hospital would not take a chance again. He implored us to take the call. Our consent was required to go ahead. My wife still wouldn’t budge. She was prepared to repeat the process. And that’s when he put his foot down. He made it clear that the life of a patient is important and even if we were to refuse this time, the next time will also be an embryo transfer with my sperm and other healthy eggs. There would be no egg retrieval from my wife - ever!

After that, there was no discussion. We gave our muted approval and the procedure went ahead. 33% me and wife and 66% me and some strangers. Fate had brought us to this stage. No wonder someone rightly said - ‘Fact is stranger than fiction’. Everyone expressed their optimism that this time we would come back with positive news. Their optimism was pure and unadulterated. We went back with hope.

The Result


The night was spent in trepidation. The morrow was to bring big news; something that was make or break for both of us. Months of medication was wearing her down and our collective optimism was at its lowest ebb. The only silver lining being the expectation of good news The doctors and staff at the hospital had exuded confidence that we were on the verge of the momentous moment in our lives. Their optimism was contagious and had rubbed off on us. We promised to return with a truckload of sweets if what we wanted were to come true. Still, on the eve of the D Day, I was a bundle of nerves.

I got up early and paced the house to calm myself down. Now and then, checking the clock in the drawing-room. The lab was to open at 9 AM, not anytime earlier. I gulped down copious amounts of coffee while waiting for the time to speed up and finally left home to collect the reports. The wife was a complete contrast - surprisingly calm and composed to my nervous state. I reached the lab and went in after parking my car. The staff was in the process of setting up shop and weren’t expecting anyone to barge in so soon. Looking at my state, the lady at the counter offered to hold other things in abeyance and started looking for our report amidst the bundle of many.

She finally found it and handed over to me. I went out and sat in my car before opening the report. My palms were sweating profusely and I fumbled a bit before opening the envelope. My eyes darted towards the hCG level - 2 Miu/ml. My heart sank. The report was negative. I felt gutted and broken. After what seemed like an eternity, I put the car into motion and instead of heading home, I made way to the Unit. I didn’t want to go home with this news. I headed straight into my COs office, sank into a chair opposite him and broke down completely. My CO, who had stood by our side with me throughout the ordeal, left everything else and took me home. I was an emotional wreck. I didn’t know how to convey the news at home.

The sight of both of us coming home confirmed the worst fears of my wife. But at times like these, I never cease to wonder what is the stuff that women are made of. She was extremely balanced. Even if she was broken by the news, she didn’t show it. In the evening, we discussed options of adoption. Alternatives had to be weighed up, we were losing time and her body could not have taken the abuse of the medicine for long. We spent a sombre evening together and proceeded to the hospital early the next morning.

The Pause

Everyone was shocked at the negative outcome. The thing with frequenting a specific place for so long is that everyone becomes a part of one’s happiness and sorrow. That day, I saw the pain in each of those eyes. The doctor asked us what was our plan. My wife was very clear that she wanted a break. A break from all that burden of expectation, hope, wait and most importantly from the medicines. She wanted a clean break from everything related to IVF and the doctor agreed wholeheartedly. He told us to meet again after 3 months. We went back, free from the shackles imposed by the treatment.

We decided to take a break from work too and went on a short holiday to home. There was a family function that coincided with the break and we had the opportunity of letting our hair down and enjoy the moment without having to think of any restrictions. It was a good break - wholesome and fun-filled. Once we were back, we concentrated on anything but the thoughts of treatment. It was as if we had pushed those memories into a distant corner of our minds and that was a welcome change. It meant that we were adapting to the situation and were flexible to any number of alternatives that may present themselves in due course of time.

After probably a month, during a casual conversation, my wife mentioned to me that her cycle was delayed. I was taken aback. I told her to take a home pregnancy test but she dismissed my advice saying that why test when we know it’s not possible. I didn’t argue much but while on my way back from the office, I got her a pregnancy test kit and asked her to test nevertheless. I soon forgot about it. After a couple of days, I asked her what the outcome of the pregnancy test was. To which she responded by saying that the kit was faulty. I was surprised and asked her how she had reached that outcome. She said the test was positive so since she couldn’t conceive naturally, the only other logical explanation was that the kit was faulty. I was aghast with her reasoning. I went out, got two more test kits and told her to go ahead and check them out.

Both the test proved positive!

Initial Stages of Pregnancy

We went for a check-up the next day to get the medical approval of this unlikely pregnancy. It was indeed positive. The foetus was about 5 weeks old and we still had to wait for a couple of weeks before the heartbeat could be detected and the confirmation would be 100 per cent. We rallied the news to our doctors who joined in our happiness but cautioned that precautions and safety were to be as important as ever for the next 8 months too. So how could a woman who was not supposed to conceive naturally defy the odds and prove the theory wrong? All that infertility treatment had had a huge impact on the body and somehow the body had hit the ‘reset’ button. A crude example would be the way a computer Is formatted. After that, it apes a new computer! It is not very uncommon to happen and we were more than glad it happened with us.

After the fetal heartbeat was detected at 7 weeks of pregnancy, we were sure that there were no false alarms. At around the same time, we got posted to a new location. Things were happening too swiftly. With a heavy heart, we bid farewell to our Unit. All this while, they were our pillars of strength, pampering us, holding us steady and ensuring that we stayed true on the treacherous path to success. Without this unstinted and selfless support system, we would have strayed a long time back. That, I believe, is the strength of our organization. It is rock solid in holding each other and supporting no matter how hard it is. And in my life, I saw it all too often. Three cheers to this unbreakable bond of bonhomie.

It is common knowledge that the initial months of pregnancy are a hard time for a lady. Morning sickness and the changes in the body are hard to adapt to and the need for personal attention is acute. We decided that she should shift to her parents to weather out the initial months as we were yet to be allotted accommodation in the new station and were dining in the Mess which could quite obviously not cater to everyone’s requirements. We decided that she should be back towards the end of the 7th month and had planned the delivery at the present location.

Plans Go Awry


Plans never go as we like. True? One fine day during the 27th week of pregnancy, she felt abdominal cramps. Because she is not the sort to take anything lightly, she immediately went ahead and consulted a nearby gynaecologist. After checking up, the doctor observed that the Uterus had dilated to 2 centimetres and decided to admit her there and then since she was already in labour. My wife refused to get admitted as Doctor Sierra was the one to take the decision and it was to that hospital that she was to go to. The local doctor suggested medication to delay the labour as a temporary measure but my wife refused the medication.

In this situation, when her mind was blanking out, she decided to call up Doctor Sierra. Every minute lost could be detrimental. Doctor Sierra asked my wife to reach hospital immediately and spoke on telephone with the local doctor too. So, while it was confirmed that she was in labour, my wife along with my mother in law, with the help of friendly neighbours, plowed along to reach the hospital sometime late in the night. allayed her fears and said it is nothing to worry about.

Enter Doctor Sierra (remember the Surgeon who carried out laparoscopy and was our first doctor?) Doctor Sierra was a man wh minced no words and he was extremely adept at his work. My wife was admitted immediately and placed in ICU. After giving a mouthful to my mother in law for failing to reach hospital earlier, he went on to the immediate requirement of looking after the patient who's uterus had by then dilated to 3 centimetres.

In the 27th Week of pregnancy, my wife had gone into premature labour!

On receiving the news, I requested a school type and a very close senior of mine to go to the hospital and take a look at what was happening. He did so promptly to give me some respite from uncertainty. Next day, I spoke to the doctor on the phone and he advised me to come over to have a chat. I hopped on the next available flight and reached Vizag. I straight away headed to the hospital and was allowed to see my wife. She looked frail yet undaunted. Life was not done testing her yet. The doctor explained to me that at this stage, the baby was yet to develop fully and if she delivered, he/she won't survive. What they were trying, by giving her immediate medical aid, was to delay the pregnancy. I asked him how long they could delay it? He said and I quote - “one day at a time till one week and then week by week till at least the 33rd week if not more”.

As a couple, we had complete faith in him and he laid out the scenario in as truthful terms as he could. For the entire duration from now till the delivery, my wife had to remain admitted in the hospital. I stayed on for a few days to give her company. Life in the hospital could be extremely boring but the doctor made all sorts of concessions for us. There were no set visiting hours for us and we could get her food from home. These small concessions mattered a lot in raising her morale. Each member of the hospital contributed to her well being while she was admitted.

I returned to work because I was slated to attend a course which could not be cancelled/postponed. It was an important course of anyone of my seniority but to me, it was only of secondary importance. After joining the course, the first thing I did was to inform my instructor of my predicament and request for leave as and when the baby arrives. It could be now, it could be tomorrow and if the good doctor prevailed, it could be a few weeks from now. Fortunately for me, my leave was pre-approved. Humanity is still prevalent!

The Final Moment


My wife delivered on a Friday in the 37th week of her pregnancy. The medical staff had pulled off yet another seemingly daunting task – of delaying the pregnancy for close to 10 weeks. I flew home between the course to have a look at my wife and my son. Holding this tiny and fragile boy in my hands felt surreal. It was indeed our son. And most aptly, he looked exactly like her. I didn’t want to shed tears in front of everyone but emotions are not planned, they have a mind of their own. I thanked our doctor. He was a God to us. After spending a couple of days at home, I flew back to finish the remainder of my course.

As the plane took off and hovered over the Bay of Bengal, my mind went back to recap the events of the past two years. From a hopeless situation, facing setback after setback and resigning ourselves to the possibility of never having a kid of our own, we had come a long long way. The way was complete with speed breakers, obstacles and odds. But along the way, we also had people who held us along. Who helped us remain true to the path. Who, by their selfless help lifted our spirits whenever they sagged, lent a shoulder to cry on, substituted for our families and shared our joy and sorrow in equal measures. We also had extremely dedicated and adept medical staff for whom we were more than just their patients. People repose their faith in God who is not seen or heard. For couples like us, these doctors are our Gods. They can be seen, they can be heard and they have emotions too.

Parting Thoughts


I do not know the numbers, but we have many couples who suffer from problems of infertility and yet do not know the way to go about addressing it. Undergoing IVF is not a stigma. Talking about the treatment and the finer aspects are not embarrassing. For a large part of two years, our daily vocabulary consisted of words such as Fallopian Tubes, Uterus, Ovaries, Sperm count, Eggs, Follicle, Endometrium and such like. We have enough facilities in our organization and a host of new techniques called ‘Assisted Reproductive Technology’ - ART in short. Couples should be encouraged to come out of their shells and seek answers to the problem.


To quote from the movie Jurassic Park - “ Life uh….finds a way!”

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Old 2nd April 2020, 06:58   #2
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Default re: IVF: A few precious eggs, a million reluctant sperms & a medical miracle!

Hi Hunter, Hearty congratulations to both of you. Kudos to both of you for staying with the trials and tribulations of the procedures.
We were in a similar situation facing a daunting decision of going into IVF. Somewhere we took a call and said to ourselves that we would give ourselves 6 months and then think. In those six months the first thing we did was to forget all about a baby and we traveled. We went to some of our favourite destinations, lots of road trips, slowed down our careers and bingo in month 5, just before we were to start for Goa it happened. Missus got pregnant and then life flipped for us
I was speaking to our Gyn and she said a lot of people feel the pressure of starting a family. How much ever medication they are given the pressure does not help in this. It’s when people give up and the pressure is let out that things begin to happen right.
Kudos to both, Dr Sierra and all the medical staff and family members who were with you through and through
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Old 2nd April 2020, 07:11   #3
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Default re: IVF: A few precious eggs, a million reluctant sperms & a medical miracle!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunter3077 View Post
Thanks for opening up this blog and checking us out.
This is one of a kind thread on the forum. Glad, this made it here.

Quote:
I cherished the 5 minutes of call that I was entitled to – once in two weeks. It was a great lesson on how to cram all your emotions and news into those 5 minutes.
I can relate to it. My brother used to call and it used to be over the wireless kind of stuff. After finishing your sentence, you had to say 'OVER' and to end was 'OVER & OUT'!

Quote:
It was a Laparoscopy to treat her PCOS. Ok, so what’s PCOS? Expanding it would give us - Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. In simple terms, PCOS in women is a major reason for primary infertility.
PCOS or PCOD is a very common condition and there would be many suffering from this and go undetected. You had a great team to look after you.

Quote:
Fortunately for me, my leave was pre-approved. Humanity is still prevalent!
Fauj has its own bonding. I guess you're in Arty.

Quote:
My wife delivered on a Friday in the 37th week of her pregnancy. The medical staff had pulled off yet another seemingly daunting task – of delaying the pregnancy for close to 10 weeks. I flew home between the course to have a look at my wife and my son.
Congratulations to you and family. Enjoy the joys of parenthood.
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Old 2nd April 2020, 08:26   #4
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Default re: IVF: A few precious eggs, a million reluctant sperms & a medical miracle!

Quote:
Originally Posted by subraiyr View Post
Hi Hunter, Hearty congratulations to both of you. Kudos to both of you for staying with the trials and tribulations of the procedures.
We were in a similar situation facing a daunting decision of going into IVF. Somewhere we took a call and said to ourselves that we would give ourselves 6 months and then think. In those six months the first thing we did was to forget all about a baby and we traveled. We went to some of our favourite destinations, lots of road trips, slowed down our careers and bingo in month 5, just before we were to start for Goa it happened. Missus got pregnant and then life flipped for us
I was speaking to our Gyn and she said a lot of people feel the pressure of starting a family. How much ever medication they are given the pressure does not help in this. It’s when people give up and the pressure is let out that things begin to happen right.
Kudos to both, Dr Sierra and all the medical staff and family members who were with you through and through
Thank You. Heartiest congratulations to you and the lady for your bundle of joy.

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Originally Posted by BoneCollector View Post
This is one of a kind thread on the forum. Glad, this made it here.

I can relate to it. My brother used to call and it used to be over the wireless kind of stuff. After finishing your sentence, you had to say 'OVER' and to end was 'OVER & OUT'!

PCOS or PCOD is a very common condition and there would be many suffering from this and go undetected. You had a great team to look after you.

Fauj has its own bonding. I guess you're in Arty.

Congratulations to you and family. Enjoy the joys of parenthood.
Thank you very much.
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Old 2nd April 2020, 10:12   #5
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Default re: IVF: A few precious eggs, a million reluctant sperms & a medical miracle!

Congratulations to you and your family, Sir! Terrific news. Good health to the mother and child.

About women. Having gone through pregnancy, child-birth and with a year-old at home, I can vouch for what rockstars women are. They are unimaginably stronger mentally, psychologically and physically and it's silly that men have been trying to convince the world otherwise. And their spirit. Stuff that is worthy of legends. I'll get exhausted, be okay with being lazy and take short-cuts, but my wife, never.

Having a child is considered so normal, an "expectation" and routine in our society, evidenced in our population. But in reality, it is anything but so. Being in the 30s, several of my friends/colleagues/acquaintances are in varying stages of the process: some having a textbook positive experience, some experience the perfect storm, some go towards adoption early on, some chose to not try. Just last week, a colleague had twins through IVF, after trying for more than a decade.

Most importantly, thank you for what you do for the nation. Protecting the State, while anything and everything that goes on in their life, is a debt the nation will never be able to adequately acknowledge, leave alone repay, the Armed Forces for.

Last edited by libranof1987 : 2nd April 2020 at 10:13.
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Old 2nd April 2020, 10:43   #6
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Default re: IVF: A few precious eggs, a million reluctant sperms & a medical miracle!

What a beautiful thread of steely resolve and conviction of minds, congratulations to you both for your bundle of joy. It’s not for nothing that the word ‘miracle’ exists, regards.
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Old 2nd April 2020, 11:13   #7
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Wishing the new born and the family loads of joy and fun. Such a beautiful one to read.

Shows to prove that the universe did conspire in good ways to help you get what you wanted. Lovely.
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Old 2nd April 2020, 11:31   #8
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Default re: IVF: A few precious eggs, a million reluctant sperms & a medical miracle!

After all the ordeal and the emotional drag, it is a happy ending. Congratulations to both of you and happy parenting.
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Old 2nd April 2020, 11:58   #9
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Default re: IVF: A few precious eggs, a million reluctant sperms & a medical miracle!

You have a knack with words and writing. Your post really made me go through an emotional journey - congratulations for the final outcome!
I am sure that the mother and the baby are, and continue, doing good!!!

You guys made a wise choice with "assistance" otherwise the (irrational) social stigma associated makes the couple live in denial, wasting precious years.

Last edited by alpha1 : 2nd April 2020 at 12:00.
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Old 2nd April 2020, 12:08   #10
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Default re: IVF: A few precious eggs, a million reluctant sperms & a medical miracle!

Thanks for sharing. That's one of an experience that both of you underwent. To a layman like me, it seemed to be a simple procedure till I read what both of you went through. Salute you both for the great strength that you have.
Wish the three of you good health and happiness. God bless.
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Old 2nd April 2020, 12:30   #11
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Default re: IVF: A few precious eggs, a million reluctant sperms & a medical miracle!

Thanks for sharing Hunter, its not at all easy to share + I can't even imagine what you might have gone through. That said, the human nature is fantastic and you can never say never. I'm super happy to know the outcome and wish the baby, the mother and you all the very best in life.

Glad you made us a part of your story and I was glued to it from the start to the end. You have a talent for writing and hope you would share more in the future.
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Old 2nd April 2020, 12:48   #12
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Default re: IVF: A few precious eggs, a million reluctant sperms & a medical miracle!

Quote:
Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
Congratulations to you and your family, Sir! Terrific news. Good health to the mother and child.

About women. Having gone through pregnancy, child-birth and with a year-old at home, I can vouch for what rockstars women are. They are unimaginably stronger mentally, psychologically and physically and it's silly that men have been trying to convince the world otherwise. And their spirit. Stuff that is worthy of legends. I'll get exhausted, be okay with being lazy and take short-cuts, but my wife, never.

Having a child is considered so normal, an "expectation" and routine in our society, evidenced in our population. But in reality, it is anything but so. Being in the 30s, several of my friends/colleagues/acquaintances are in varying stages of the process: some having a textbook positive experience, some experience the perfect storm, some go towards adoption early on, some chose to not try. Just last week, a colleague had twins through IVF, after trying for more than a decade.

Most importantly, thank you for what you do for the nation. Protecting the State, while anything and everything that goes on in their life, is a debt the nation will never be able to adequately acknowledge, leave alone repay, the Armed Forces for.
Thank you so much for your wishes. Yes, women are indeed indomitable. Motherhood is perhaps the toughest task in the world and they carry it off with aplomb.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ABHI_1512 View Post
What a beautiful thread of steely resolve and conviction of minds, congratulations to you both for your bundle of joy. It’s not for nothing that the word ‘miracle’ exists, regards.
Thank you very much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrishnakj View Post
Wishing the new born and the family loads of joy and fun. Such a beautiful one to read.

Shows to prove that the universe did conspire in good ways to help you get what you wanted. Lovely.
Thank you. Yes, indeed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nkrishnap View Post
After all the ordeal and the emotional drag, it is a happy ending. Congratulations to both of you and happy parenting.
Thank you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
You have a knack with words and writing. Your post really made me go through an emotional journey - congratulations for the final outcome!
I am sure that the mother and the baby are, and continue, doing good!!!

You guys made a wise choice with "assistance" otherwise the (irrational) social stigma associated makes the couple live in denial, wasting precious years.
Thank you. Yes, both of them are doing good. In fact, I have written this piece now, after a good 7 years of my Son's birth. He continues to wreck havoc and mayhem at home as is his wont!
Thanks for the appreciation, will continue to write.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skchettry View Post
Thanks for sharing. That's one of an experience that both of you underwent. To a layman like me, it seemed to be a simple procedure till I read what both of you went through. Salute you both for the great strength that you have.
Wish the three of you good health and happiness. God bless.
Thanks a ton for the wishes and wishing more power to couples in these kind of trying situations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
Thanks for sharing Hunter, its not at all easy to share + I can't even imagine what you might have gone through. That said, the human nature is fantastic and you can never say never. I'm super happy to know the outcome and wish the baby, the mother and you all the very best in life.

Glad you made us a part of your story and I was glued to it from the start to the end. You have a talent for writing and hope you would share more in the future.
Thank you very much. I do like writing and have published a couple of Threads on this forum too. Thanks for the appreciation, will continue to write.
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Old 2nd April 2020, 12:53   #13
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Default re: IVF: A few precious eggs, a million reluctant sperms & a medical miracle!

Thank you so much for sharing your story. A black wasp says, not easy to share it; respect to you. Salute the determination and perseverance of you two as a couple. A big congratulations to you and your wife. Wish you happy parenting and good health to the little one.

And how can I end without paying my respect to you for serving the nation in this capacity. A big salute to our forces who keep the borders secure, take part in daunting relief operations in disasters, and keep up the sovereignty of our country.
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Old 2nd April 2020, 12:59   #14
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Default re: IVF: A few precious eggs, a million reluctant sperms & a medical miracle!

Congratulations to your wife and yourself. Gorgeous little boy! Enjoy!

Unique, beautiful and encouraging story in these very testing times.
Thanks so much for sharing!

Jeroen
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Old 2nd April 2020, 13:07   #15
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Default re: IVF: A few precious eggs, a million reluctant sperms & a medical miracle!

What a beautiful story, and thank you for sharing. And along with all the automobile stories, snippets like these makes this community so unique and special.

And Congratulations!
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