It dawned on me when I was in the shower this morning, that, unlike after my successful cycle with my older son wherein I wrote a heartfelt note and bought a bottle of Cristal for my RE, I hadn’t properly or formally expressed my thanks this time. And, this time, gosh, this time is so much more, if that is possible. Yes, the successful cycle that produced my older son made me a mother and I was (and am) overwhelmingly grateful and relieved. It was my second fresh IVF after the first cycle and resulting FET were negative. It was 24 months from the surgery to remove my fibroids to the delivery of my son.
I was so naive. That it only took two cycles to have our older son and that we began trying for #2 when he was 5 months old, I thought for sure it would work. I mean, c’mon, how much could have changed? But, everything seemed to have, and it was cycle after cycle (5 more OE in all) of diminishing returns. No, it would take almost 6 years from the delivery of my older son to the delivery of Baby G. And, during that time, there were many dark ebbs, where I was unsure that it would ever happen and if it did, how. I had, after all, closed the door on ever being pregnant, so that left fewer options.
We all know how the story ends, with the fortuitous gift that is donated embryos, my body ended up being the vessel after all. It seems fitting that I express my gratitude to the RE who helped, in so many ways, bring Baby G to us.
Dear Dr. K.,
I can’t believe that it’s been well over a year since my last FET with the remaining frozen embryos that were donated to us. How do I properly convey to you, within the confines of the English language, what your partnership in my care has meant to me?
It was no accident that we came to meet way back in August, 2003, an almost mind-blowing decade ago. And, how serendipitous that the clinic would later be involved in a clinical trial that would initiate my first IVF. Since then, I went through six more own egg IVFs (one with PGD that would bring me H (now 6)), one donor egg cycle, and 4 FETs (2 of which were with donated embryos, the last of which would bring me Baby G (now 6 months). In addition, I had a number of sonohysterograms, HSGs, hysteroscopies, and endometrial biopsies.
We worked together, every step of the way. I know I wasn’t the easiest patient and I challenged the protocol of each cycle and even what to do in between cycles. I came to you with research and anecdotal evidence from friends who were cycling elsewhere with things we should tweak or try. You met each challenge, either refuting it with specifics of my case or supporting it.
When we said our good-byes in 2009, after the failure of my egg donor cycle, I never thought I’d be back. My time had come; we’d reached our stopping point. Even then, you were supportive of our pursuit of domestic adoption, agreeing with me that we’d given ART our all. We kept in touch in the intervening 2 1/2 years but I still never thought, never let enter my consciousness, that I would return to ART.
You were quite amenable to seeing me in November, 2011. Even though I didn’t want to have an agenda, I knew and hoped that cycling with donated embryos would be a possibility. You were so willing, excited even, at the prospect that this avenue, the only one we hadn’t pursued, might finally bring us our long loved and sought after second child. Even though the inventory of embryos was small, you managed to find 4 possible scenarios, one of which ended up feeling the most right.
Even after the FET with the best of the embryos failed, you were quite positive that we could still have success with those remaining three. We all knew it would be our last attempt. There were no other donated embryos for us if we were unsuccessful. The morning of my transfer, you shared my disbelief that the embryos had not developed at all in the 18 hours since they had been thawed. They were alive, yes, but not dividing. As there was no way to discern which one was the best for an e-SET, you recommended transferring all three and we agreed. As scared as we were of the possibility of having twins, we were desperately frightened of having none take. I was dismayed that they hadn’t developed and you said to me, “it’s not all doom and gloom. Let’s see what happens.”
Well, we know what happened. And now, here I am, finally, a mother of two beautiful boys, and I owe my very motherhood to you. Not only were you the exact right doctor for me, but you really worked with us, discounting cycles, donating meds, putting up with my endless queries, and offering the precious and in high demand donated embryos to us.
I know you do dozens of cycles a month now and I am sure that you garner a lot of satisfaction from the work that you do. But, do you really know the impact? You offer solutions when there seemingly are none. You offer hope when it has been dashed so many times. You replace failure with the thought of success. You keep dreams alive when they would otherwise be extinguished. You make mothers out of women and fathers out of men and siblings out of children. You bring peace of mind and heart to those who have been struggling, sometimes for years, with infertility. You create and complete families. Think about that for a moment. Create and complete. Wow! Awesome, right? You did both for me, for us. I am deeply grateful and abundantly thankful to you for helping us achieve the dream of the family that we longed for. Quite simply, we could not have done it without you. I hope you feel the greatness in that.
Thank you, thank you; a million times, thank you.