Monday, April 2, 2012

In life there are no guarantees

When you do IVF, no matter if it's your first cycle or your third, you are always reminded that in life there are no guarantees.  Even though this technology has been around since 1978, it has not progressed to the point where a doctor can say with 100% certainty that it will work.  There are still a lot of unknown factors, and differing opinions on what works the best -- which are the best drugs, what is the best drug combination, when is the best time to retrieve, when is the best time to transfer, and so on.

Even with something as simple as bed rest vs. no bed rest post transfer there is no clear answer.  My first clinic in Madison, WI was not a bed rest clinic.  My doctors felt that moving around got my circulation going and blood flowing to the right areas.  And it also meant that post embryo transfer I was allowed to carry on my normal activities (no exercise or other um, "adult activities" of course but anything else was fine).  Of course it's hard to do that when you know that you have these tiny little embryos floating around inside you but I did the best I could.  I was still working then so I went on with my work life as usual as well.  Two weeks later I got the news that it had worked!  A vote for the no bed rest team.

The second time around I was with my current clinic, and their thinking was that bed rest for two full days post transfer offered the best chance for success.  This time was a little more complicated because I had a toddler to care for but with support from my family, I spent two of the most boring days in bed post transfer.  Once again, two weeks later, we got the news that it had worked!  A vote for the bed rest team.  (It also means I will spend another two boring days in bed sometime this September.)

Clearly there is no solid answer as to which way works better.  The arguments both ways are very convincing.

I've heard from several people in different ways the assumption that I will get pregnant this time.  When I express my own doubts, I get the reply, "Oh but it worked the last two times. It'll work again this time."  But there are no guarantees that it will work this time, just like there were no guarantees it was going to work the last two times.  Is it a little negative to think that way?  Maybe.  I see it as being realistic.  There are just too many unknowns, and no way to know how those unknowns play into the success of a cycle.

But as I like to joke, if they told me to do 10,000 jumping jacks and stand on my head I'd probably do it.  Hunting for the missing piece of our puzzle is a bit like doing a scavenger hunt -- each step brings us a little bit closer to finding it.  But I'm also realistic enough to know that the final step is the hardest and completely out of my control.

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