Sunday, 26 January 2014

Maya and the Little Voice

A week or so before Christmas, we had a little party at work.  It was just a mid-afternoon holiday get-together for the dozen or so of us that work in the same area, with a few snacks and drinks.  Or so I thought.  When I walked into the office where the festivities were being held, I was greeted by dozens of bottles of various kinds of booze lined up for the choosing.  When I voiced my surprise, my co-worker Maya announced that she had brought in the contents of her liquor cabinet, because as of Tuesday she was going to be pregnant.

I knew that Maya and her same-sex partner had been using IVF with a sperm donor to conceive.  I also knew that they'd previously had at least one miscarriage, and that it had been her partner who had been carrying the baby.  I however didn't know that they'd tried again, nor that they had decided to switch up who would carry.  I smiled politely and wished her good luck, all the while thinking that maybe getting rid of all of her booze was perhaps a little premature.  After all, there's nothing like a good stiff drink after a BFN.

Well, if I'd thought that clearing out her alcohol was a bit odd, Maya's next comments really threw me for a loop.  In a perfectly serious voice, she told me that if I didn't mind having a baby that looked like her, I was welcome to her leftover embryos.  I chuckled a little before realizing she meant it, thinking that this comment also gave me a new piece of info: they'd done another egg retrieval, with her eggs this time.  She's 38.  I said thanks, but then suggested that maybe we should wait and see how her transfer went first.

"Oh, well, the doctor says our embryos are really great.  We have five of them, and we're only putting two back, so you're welcome to the other ones.  Seriously."

Now I was curious.  Thinking that five 5-day blasts is nothing to scoff at, I asked what day her embryos had been frozen on.

"I don't remember the date.  Sometime a month or so ago."

I clarified that I was asking what day of embryonic development.  Did they freeze on Day 3 or Day 5?

"It must have been Day 5.  They're all really great embryos.  They all have four cells."

This is the point at which I realized that despite obviously having gone through a retrieval and transfer cycle with her partner and another retrieval recently herself, Maya didn't have a sweet fucking clue about IVF.  Internally I was rolling my eyes and shaking my head, wanting to tell her that there was no way her embryos were Day 5 at only four cells.  Either that, or she had some damn shitty Day 5 embryos.  Instead, I wished her good luck again, poured myself a generous drink from her stash, and changed the subject.

Two weeks later, she was pregnant.
.....

Thinking about Maya's attitude before her transfer, I can't help but marvel at the unbridled confidence she had that the transfer would work.  What must that be like?  To not even entertain the thought that it might fail, to the point that you're offering your leftover embryos?  Doesn't she have the Little Voice?

You know the Little Voice.  It's the one that whispers all those negative thoughts, despite your absolute best efforts to stay positive.  To envision yourself pregnant, or holding your baby.  The Little Voice whispers that you are stupid to hope.  It tells you that everything else has failed, and this will fail too.  That your embryos are abnormal, or that there's something wrong with your uterus that will prevent implantation.  Worst of all, the Little Voice tells you that the embryo you had placed in your uterus yesterday is already dead.  You just don't know it yet.  The Little Voice tells you that a happy ending is something that happens for other people, but not for you.

You tell the Little Voice to shut up.  You try to drown it out by closing your eyes and visualizing your embryo, the little squirming ball of cells that is part you and part the man you love, snuggling in tight in the fluffy lining of your uterus.  Holding on.  Implanting.  Growing.  Living.

.....

Last week, Maya came into my office to speak to a colleague.  I asked her how she was doing and she responded that she was starting to worry.  She wasn't having any symptoms.  I told her not to freak out too much, and that I knew plenty of women who'd gone a long time before having any pregnancy symptoms at all.  

Unfortunately, Maya had picked the right time to start worrying.  A few days later she stopped by my desk again, stating sadly that "the glue didn't stick".  She had started bleeding; the pregnancy was over.  I expressed my sympathies, and chatted a bit with her about their next steps.  She and her partner are planning to try again in the spring with her remaining embryos.  I can't help but wonder if next time, she'll hear the Little Voice like I do.  For her sake, I hope not.

26 comments:

  1. Whoa. I wonder if because Maya wasn't traditionally infertile, she hasn't researched as much as we all do, but that's concerning that she was beleiving that a 4 cell embryo on day 5 is "great". I must admit, even working in ob/gyn, I really didn't have close knowledge of IVF that didn't work. You hear stories of friends of friends who have failed cycles, but without knowing their particulars, it's easy to chalk it up as 'it wasn't meant to be this time' To a certain extent you just expect that IVF will work. Unless you know a lot of case studies when it doesn't. My little voice is thinking nothing by positive thoughts for you post transfer!

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  2. Yup that little voice. I have it. Right now. Loud and clear. AF just showed so my cycle will begin. And I keep thinking that what's going to be different this time. I have been wondering how you're doing after the transfer. Hope all is well and hope to hear good news in a little more than a week. :)

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  3. I hope that you are doing well post-transfer. I love the image of the squirming ball of cells burrowing in. :-) I'm inclined to agree with jAllen that Maya probably hadn't been exposed to the negative side of IVF or done much research. But I still rather envy her the sunny attitude, even though her pregnancy ended. Unfortunately I can barely remember how it felt to not know much about IF and believe serenely that everything would just work out. I do believe that it is possible to find serenity during IF, even after failed treatments. It's a different kind of serenity though, and harder won. Anyway, sending lots of good vibes to you in the next couple of weeks. I hope you rest a lot, worry little and you can tune the little voice out if it harps at you.

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  4. Wow, this unbridled confidence is refreshing but impossible for me. I think I"ll try it by offering my leftover embryos too, and maybe something will stock too. Not that anyone else I know is infertile.

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  5. That little voice is a bitch. I hope you prove it wrong.
    While I am jealous of Maya's confidence, I am confused as to why she would clean out her liqour cabinet. It isn't like it would go bad in 9 months.

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    1. Indeed! I would never do this for several reasons, not the least of which is the stockpile of exotic alcohols that I've brought back from various travels. I keep buying them, envisioning myself making fancy cocktails for all my friends. Then we mostly just drink wine. SOMEDAY!

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  6. Tell the little voice to take a good long vacation. Thinking many good thoughts for you over here!

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  7. Oh the Little Voice is the worst!!! I, too, wonder if Maya will hear it next time? In trying to remember all the way back to my first IVF I feel like I might not have had the Little Voice, or, if I did, then I really tried to ignore her. Every IVF after that though? She's all I listened to!

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  8. I remember the days of ignorant bliss and sometimes I would like to have it back :)

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  9. I feel so sorry for Maya! IF is hard, no matter how you come at it: diagnosis or situational.

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  10. hmm interesting. I too have wondered how the experience of treatments might be different for people whoa re doing it because they are single or in a same sex relationship, vs infertility diagnosis. Do they experience the same feelings of loss? Obviously this is just one story, not a study, but it is interesting none the less.

    I dont know if I would have wanted to go through IVF without the voice, ,to be honest. When we decided to do DE, the voice got quieter because I figured - healthy eggs, healthy sperm, what could go wrong? and obviously, a lot went wrong. The voice prepared me for the fact the ivf is not 100% effective!

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  11. I hate the Little Voice. Hate it.

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  12. That woman sounds tremendously tacky, in a generous sort of way. Giving away her booze and embabies. It mostly makes me want to vomit.

    I too had a friend offer me her leftover embryos. However several years later we are both still childless. It's weird to think about and I wonder if she remembers saying it.

    I wonder what it would be like not to have the little voice too. In a way it's one of the biggest things that keeps me from wanting to deck some insensitive people. I remember the way I thought before I had IF. I'd like to think I wouldn't be 'that' bad, but I also know I wouldn't have been as sensitive as I should have been either.

    Bellehavendrive - I totally hate the little voice too. She ruins a lot of things.

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    1. Yeah, we predictably didn't speak about her offer when she was telling me about her miscarriage. Not that I ever entertained the idea that it would actually happen. I wonder if she feels awkward about it too.

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  13. I've been thinking about you these past few days--I hope that all is well.

    As for Maya, I find it hard to believe that she would be so uneducated about a fairly involved and expensive process. I mean, they didn't even do an IUI (or maybe they did?), so it couldn't have been all roses and teddy bears. Oh well, maybe it's swagger and bravado to drown out the little voice. I, of course take the opposite approach and listen intently to that little voice. Which is why I'm already planning for my DE cycle.

    Thinking sticky thoughts.

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    1. I wondered the same thing, why they did IVF versus IUI. She never once mentioned trying IUI and I didn't want to pry. Perhaps because they're both older they were told to go straight to IVF (like I was)? Or maybe they tried it and she didn't talk about it. Either way, I would have thought they'd been through enough that she wouldn't be acting so blissfully unaware.

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  14. I hate that voice. I would have been jealous of Maya, but grateful for her, had her pregnancy succeeded. It saddens me to know that she will likely be plagued by that terrible, bitchy voice that drives us nuts during the two week wait. Ignorance is bliss. I hope Maya enjoyed it while she had it.

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  15. Ah, I haaate that mother loving little voice, but at the same time I hate the naivety of the people who don't have that little voice. I still feel bad for Maya. But also slightly annoyed. The only times I can be glad for that little voice is when she's right and it keep me grounded. But it's about time to prove her wrong!

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  16. I'm sorry that Maya lost her pregnancy. I can't imagine getting as far as IVF and not knowing the difference between a 4-cell embryo and a high-quality 5-day embryo. It boggles the mind. I think, for most of us, the little voice is much more common, reminding us of all the ways things can go wrong. But the good news is, even if the little voice is chattering away, it doesn't mean she's right. Thinking nothing but good thoughts for you and your little ball of cells!

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  17. That little voice is such a bitch… it creates way more stress than I can handle :/

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  18. Screw that "little voice" bitch! She pisses me off ALL. THE. TIME....Ruins everything...

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  19. Until recently, I was pretty ignorant about IVF. I assumed it was basically like putting a baby in your uterus...it was pretty much guaranteed. Although...I can't imagine actually going through the procedure and still being that ignorant--bless her heart. I too am fighting that Little Voice right now--I hope you win against yours.

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  20. I am sorry to hear about Maya's miscarriage. The Little Voice does have some good aspects to it....at least for those of us that would find it hard to tell everyone about the miscsrriage. I still don't understand giving away all of your liquor!!

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  21. Ugh. That is awful and I am sorry for her. I WISH I could be so upbeat about all of this. I haven't even taken my first Lupron shot and already I have a list of 20 things that could possibly go wrong in my journey to a take-home, healthy baby... and every day I think of more things to add to the list. There is something very satisfying about drawing a line through each potential hurdle as I pass it.

    The few family members who know about this trial often say things like "When this works..." and "How awesome to think that this time next year y'all will have a baby!" I envy their innocence. I wrestle with the overwhelming desire to burst their bubble and let them know how I really believe this is going to play out. To tell them about all the stories on all the blogs I have read. To give them statistics. To show them my list of 20 possible hurdles. Mostly I leave them with their positive attitudes and enjoy playing pretend with them for a few minutes before returning back to the roller-coaster of terror in my own mind.

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  22. Poor Maya. I have a hard time understanding why she would offer up her embryos so quickly anyways. What if they decided later that they would want a second child? Or did she go into it fully believing that both embryos would implant and they were going to have twins? Bless her for her niavity, and sympathy for her lesson in reality.

    As for you, I'm still holding out hope and thinking about you a ton.

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  23. Hi Aramis, these are really old posts but I came across your blog googling 7dp5dt and now need to read all you have written. Interesting about your co-worker Maya: well she didnt seem to be an "infertility knowledge freak", instead she was laid back and confident (4 cells dont make a blasto, but she was happy not knowing). Anyways, I feel she had more options than we heterosexual couples have, and maybe thats why she was so confident! yes, the couple in total has 2 wombs and 2 pairs of ovaries, good sperm can be found in any bank. Having said that, their chances were double as good as our chances, dont you think thats the reason why? And yes, the little voice is killing me too. Love your writing. Ana

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I'm needy and your comments validate me. Help a sister out!