Just when I thought I had taken a swing at everything IVF could throw at me, it threw me another curve ball. This time it was our stimulated cycle that struck out. The stimulated cycles have not been an issue for us in the past - sure the drugs are not fun, but I am ok with needles and have been pretty lucky with the side effects. Often I don't get a lot of eggs, but our embryos have all been good quality.
With this cycle we decided to amp things up a bit. We'd had plenty of time to focus on being fit and healthy. We planned to build up a good stock pile of embryos and freeze everything, so we could go forward with transfers and the immune treatment for my natural killer cells and our DQ Alpha match separately.
I was my first "boost cycle":
- Ten days of testosterone patches prior to the cycle
- The nasal spray morning and night
- Three injections in the evening
The day nine follicle scan went well. The trigger was done perfectly. The retrieval procedure went smoothly. We achieved the highest number of eggs collected to date! ICSI was used for the first time.
It seemed like lock!!
The next day the phone call came in.
"We are sorry but none of your eggs fertilised....."
Um excuse me what???????
It just didn't seem possible. Apparently its just "one of those things". Like so much in fertility challenges the reason why this happened to us was 'unknown'.
First I felt shocked and angry. Its so much to go through physically, emotionally and financially to come out with nothing.
Then I just felt sad. One of the most exciting things about IVF for me - what carries me through the things that are taxing - is the possibility that I am stepping closer to my dream of having a baby. This set back replaced that wonderful feeling with such a hollow feeling.
I was feeling pretty miserable - then a few quotes came to mind:
"Fall down 7 times, Get up 8" - Chinese proverb
"Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm" - Abraham Lincoln.
Yes, I'd been knocked down - hard! I could now choose to :
Stay down, give up, be defeated....
I could summon the energy to stand up and try again.
We'd tried something new, it didn't work out as we had hoped. Now we know that we can change it for next time and hopefully get a better result!
Edison had 1000 attempts at the lightbulb before it worked - when asked how he felt about failing so many times he said:
"I didn't fail 1000 times, the lightbulb was an invention of 1000 steps"
I'm choosing to view this as another (tough) step on the road to my greatest invention!
My advice for recovering from a failed IVF cycle:
Get back on your feet!
Its ok to be angry, sad, frustrated, disappointed. Anyone in your position would feel the same - after hearing the news I spent the afternoon in bed, crying, with my cats watching trashy TV!!
Don't let it fester inside you, but also don't wallow in it for too long. Dust yourself off, and stand up.
Talk To Your Doctor
What do they think is the reason (if any)?
What did they learn?
What's next to go forward and prevent this from happening again?
Choose NOT To Blame Yourself!
Something like this makes it is so easy to go down the rabbit hole of why you are to blame. Unexplained is awful, we want to feel there is a reason for things - but if the professionals are telling you there is nothing obvious, don't self-diagnose blame!
Adding blame or guilt to the mix will only make it harder to move on.
Have you ever had a failed stimulated cycle? What are your steps for overcoming it?