Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Treacherous tear ducts

Yesterday was my follow-up appointment with Mr No Nonsense after failed IVF #2. I went on my own, because DH finds it hard to get time off work.

I called the clinic up in the morning to make sure the appointment was still going ahead, as the minor roads around here have not been gritted and we had another inch or so of snow overnight. Nurse First Time answered the phone, and she recognised my voice and confirmed my appointment time before I even said who I was. She then remembered which direction I was coming from and recommended the best route to take in order to avoid the roads which are really bad. That's the sort of personal touch I'll miss if we move to a big London clinic.

I had a bit of trouble getting the car out of our road and almost gave up and cancelled the appointment. Then I got stuck in a traffic jam on the way there and arrived just in time, having allowed bags of time.

Mr No Nonsense was the friendliest and chattiest that I've ever seen him - surprising, since the meeting was essentially our parting of ways. He said his recommendation was that we should not try again, as our chances of success were vanishingly small.

I said we were thinking of having one last try in another clinic which seems to have had good results with older women. I named the one I had decided on (we'll carry on calling it XXXX) and the Lister, which TBD recommended. He said he doubted if XXXX would treat me. As he put it, "They'll both be happy to take your money for an initial consult, but there's a reason why XXXX has such good statistics - if someone doesn't look too hopeful, he just won't take them on for treatment." I'd heard that suggested somewhere else, so it wasn't a huge shock to me - and to be honest, if he thinks he can't help me, I'd rather he didn't take my money and give me false hope.

He said we could try the Lister and they probably would take us on, but that he still didn't hold out much hope.

We briefly discussed donor eggs - he wasn't sure how much of a donor programme the Lister has, but at the current clinic they don't have one at all because of the shortage of donors. They do have link-ups with clinics in Spain and the US for people who want to go the donor route.

I asked whether he would recommend using donor eggs with DH's sperm (something that we almost certainly wouldn't do anyway), and at first he said he would, since there are some normal sperm in DH's sample. Then he flicked through to have another look at DH's SA results and muttered, "Hmmmm, I'd forgotten how bad these results were." So I guess that makes it a no, which makes things simpler in a way.

He mentioned embryo adoption as a possibility, but again couldn't help with sourcing the embryos, as his clinic is too small to have a regular supply of embryos from people who have finished their treatment and are willing to donate, and there's no national register.

I held it all together pretty well and managed to give a reasonable impression of a mature and responsible adult until the end, but then my dappy old tear ducts let me down and started leaking salt water all over his consulting room, revealing me as the overemotional female that I apparently still am. He wasn't enormously comfortable with that and immediately offered to go and get me a tissue, coming back with a box of tissues and Nurse First Time.

After we finished, Nurse First Time invited me to go into another room with her, but I said I just wanted to get home. It was only as I was going out to the car park that it occurred to me there might have been something more to discuss rather than her just giving me the chance to compose myself before I left, but I think it's over anyway - I've said goodbye to that clinic and all there is left to do is to get a copy of our file from them to take along to whatever appointment we have next. Or maybe just to file away at home somewhere to prove that we did all we could.

As I was waiting to leave my parking space, someone else was driving in and got stuck on the snow and ice. I leapt out of my car clutching a plastic seaside spade and dug her wheels free. As a distraction technique, it worked to clear my leaky eyes until I got safely home.

And then I got on the internet and found that there's another whole post on that blog I was responding to at the weekend. And it's basically attacking a lot of what I said, which the author has a right to do if she wants to, because it is after all her blog. But to find that people who have IVF are being universally condemned as people who are willing to "kill their children in order to give birth" - that was hard. As well as being totally untrue.

But never mind that it made me feel even worse on one of the saddest days of my life. It was probably meant to, in order to make me recognise my sin and repent.


  1. Firstly - you are not an over emotional female. In fact it would be abnormal if you hadn't shed a few tears. Its overwhelming and devastating to be in that situation. I hope you do find the strength within you to go to another clinic, even if they do give you the response that Dr No Nonsense predicts, at least you'll know you did all you could. But the reality is that it may not come to that - Dr No Nonsense doesn't really know what they'll say or suggest. Cling to the hope and just forget that mad woman who wrote that judgemental blog post. Although, I must admit i've had a really hard time putting it out of my mind too, it is so infuriating (see my latest post for more of the rant).
    Sending you a big hug and wishing there was more I could do. The deep sadness is so all consuming isn't it? Anyway, at least rest easy knowing that the last sentance of your post is completely untrue. :) Hugs

  2. I'm not religious but I read that other blog (and was appalled), and read your response and thought it was very valid and very nice under the circumstances!! Obviously the argument wouldn't affect me if I was having IVF anyway but I don't think the OP's smug, moralisitic, holier than thou attitude was representative of any God I have heard of. Is being like that how you get into Heaven, really? Anyway...stopping myself before I really begin to rant...please don't let anything that person says get to you. She has got you on a really bad day and isn't a fair fight :) Any child, any way they come to you, will be lucky to have you as a mother - don't forget it!

  3. I concur with others. Try not to let that woman get to you. Not being religious, I have no right to make arguments about what kind of Christian she is. All I can say is, people like her turn people away from faith, not towards it. She has a right to her opinion, but no right to judge. Don't let her small-mindedness make you question your decisions.

    More than any of that, I am so sorry about your appointment. Even if you didn't hear anything surprising, it's one thing to expect something and another entirely to have it happen. Perfectly normal and healthy for you to breakdown at the appointment, and today, and weeks and years from now. It's a hard road you've faced and continue to face. You're entitled to feel however you feel.

    In the end, you'll make whatever choice is right for you, and I don't believe you will have regrets. Always thinking of you and hoping for you. xoxo

  4. I just re-read my original comment and now realise it sounds like I was forcing what I would do onto you. Sorry if it came accross that way, Myndi is right, you'll make the right decision for you without regrets - I didnt mean to sound like I was telling you that you MUST go seek a second opinion because of course you should do whatever feels right for you. If it makes you feel any better though, I do have a friend who was told by her first RE that there was no hope for her (she had high fsh too, and was in her late 30s). She went to another clinic who took an interest in 'difficult' cases and he put her on a really low stim cycle (have you heard of them?) she was panicked that she wouldnt produce any follicles but she produced the same amount as what she did on a high stim cycle and ended up pregnant from that cycle. The theory is that low stim cycles may work better for high fsh's as it can help produce better quality eggs. It's a risk, but it paid off for her and thats what gives me hope that there might be another secret combination out there that works miracles for you and me. Thinking of you and hoping that today is a better day.

  5. HUGS honey - what an awful day it must have been :( And my commenting function was playing up again I see - no comment saved from me. Basically was just sending you all our love as always and hoping you get a rest and a chance to think about what to do next, whatever that may be. As for that awful woman, words fail me. People who can be so stubborn in their judgemental ways - ugh! One can imagine her turning up at the Pearly Gates, all full of hubris and self righteousness, and then looking in horror as St Peter hands her a letter from God, which tells her how wrong she's been all along and wishes her good luck with the other lot...sorry not to grant her the courtesy of a face to face talk but He took his lead from her conduct while on Earth... Silly cow that she is!!


  6. Thanks so much for all your comments and support, once again. Egghunt, your first comment didn't come across as trying to force anything on me at all - it was lovely and supportive, as always.

    That woman did deeply upset me, especially when she responded to one of my comments by referring once again to IVF involving "killing another person", and it was obviously directed at me, even though I had told her the number of embryos we got in our treatment and what happened to them. My conscience is entirely clear on that point - there has been no "killing" involved in my treatment - but the words still hurt.

    I'm not responding on her blog any more, though, and I'd rather not sling mud at her on here either - I appreciate all of you supporting my point of view, but if we attack her way of going about things then we're just doing exactly the same thing we're complaining about her doing. I do agree with Myndi, though - one of the things that make me sad when I see this being presented as the outward face of the Catholic Church is that it certainly doesn't win the Church any friends.

  7. I am sorry you had such a rough day. I am just now catching up on your posts ... I have been too dead tired from working that when I get home I basically pass out! Deciding what clinic to choose is a difficult one, but don't take your current RE's word about whether another clinic will accept you at face value. No matter how good he is, he just cannot speak for the other clinics.

  8. Hey hon, sorry also to hear what a horrible day you had. Not at all surprising you felt a bit rubbish (to say the least) by the end of it. Just a quick one to say, and I'm sure you already know this, but the Lister do seem to treat anyone, or at least give them a go at stimming (and maybe abandon / convert to IUI) if they don't think it has a chance of working. It's worth taking into account as it means the success rates they quote are real and not elevated by who they selected. If you do go for a consultation there they will show you all the stats, including how many cycles were abandoned etc. Maybe worth considering having an initial consult at both clinics? They definitely do have a donor programme but I have no idea about waiting times although it seems that most women I speak to going down this route are looking abroad. Don't give up hope honey.........no-one else has the right to take that away from you.....no-once can ever say never.

    This woman you mention sounds very narrow-minded but I'm not going to even look at the blog / comment as it will only upset me.

    Big hugs xx