No, no, this isn't the line I'm supposed to take. She's under enormous stress, she's not thinking rationally, I'm supposed to be compassionate. But I'm struggling a little because she's only done 3 IUIs with clomid, and now she's decided, on her first IVF, to push for a 3-embryo transfer because anything less would feel like 1/3rd less a chance at getting pregnant.* She wants more than one child, she can't take the stress of ART anymore, and -- after all, she's visited main board on the Triplet Connection, she knows what's involved -- she's comfortable with getting everything done all at once.
You know, back in my RE glory days, the clinic nurses used to do blood draws on Sundays because the hospital lab was closed. So I'd line up with a few other tired-looking souls outside the exam rooms, and of course, we'd be standing in front of those enormous bulletin boards filled with baby pictures and Christmas cards. The brag wall, right? Look what we can do for you! Or, erm, not--because you are, after all, still looking at these photos after all this time. I'd stand there, looking and not looking at those photos, caught in the cliche of hope and despair, and I'd see the occasional photo of triplets. A number of thoughts would run through my head:
- What a freak show. We can not do that.
- Do they really want to post those photos? Not exactly a rousing endorsement for the clinic's protocols, are they?
- Yeah, I feel just crappy today, but at least I'm not stupid like the parents of those kids. What were they thinking? Didn't they know better?
It's not pretty to confess this, but during what felt like the longest months of my life (I so did not earn my passport stamp on Infertility Island, which was ironic because after a decade without periods, I definitely arrived carrying supplies), one of the things that got me through was the self-righteousness that came with knowing Calder and I were following the smart protocol. No, I still wasn't pregnant, but that was because I was smart, I was careful, I was in control. I wasn't wanting to put back three embryos, or in our case, trigger with four follicles--not that I ever had to make the decision to walk away from a cycle or my money, I'm such a bitch really to be writing this. Simply stated, I kept myself warm knowing we were Doing The Right Thing.
Of course, that was also the bind. Were we never going to get pregnant because we couldn't agree to cross the Rubicon, pull out the big guns, take some risks or even reserve a seat for the IVF parade? We were already taking a risk or two after all: this wasn't one-embryo blastocyst transfer we were talking about, this was IUI, land of media-adored baby litters and their wacky loving parents. We weren't quite so in control as we liked to pretend. But Calder was really clear: "there are babies in China now, dear," he said. "There's only so much I'll do (or spend, quite frankly) and then I want a baby in this house, not just a big vat of pharmaceuticals in my fridge." Easy for him to say. He had great sperm. Jerk.
Where was I?
Reading this woman's story takes me back to the glory days of my self-righteousness. I sure as hell hope she has a responsible RE, because someone needs to bring her back to the world of reality.
* Counter-intuitive it may be, but I've done some reading on the subject, and there's no medical evidence whatsoever to support the idea that, all things being equal, transferring 3 embryos gets you better odds than a 2-embryo transfer. I'm going to try to pull the citations together one of these days. It's sort of key for this SR article I'm trying to write.