Requiem for A Cycle

It was a beautiful spring day today. The sun shone brightly, the trees showed off their new green bling, the geraniums were in full bloom. I started off the day on a professional high after having given a kick-ass presentation yesterday out of town.

By 12:30, I felt the defeat that only infertility can sock you with.

At 11:30, I had my IVF post-mortem with Dr. Salsa.  I had no problem with the clinical details – my E2 levels, number of follicles on any given visit, lining check – all of which were projected onto the wall in a weird sort of Excel spreadsheet.  I could handle the discussion of a new protocol.  I could even handle the discussion of what could have possibly gone wrong such that my two beautiful embryos decided not to hang around. 

What I couldn’t handle was when Dr. Salsa decided to share with me just how unbelievable it was to him that this cycle didn’t work by sharing stats from the clinic:

Of the 13 women, including myself, who cycled in that particular period, 11 – yes, 11 – got pregnant.  I was one of 2 who didn’t.  And, just to drive home his point, he said, “I would have put money that you would not have been one of the two.”


So, let’s recap. Even though I had a pretty perfect cycle with an embyro that made it to the freezer and no apparent risk factors, I managed to be one of 2 out of 13 women who still couldn’t get pregnant.  I already felt awful about the negative. I already felt – rightly or not, that is not the question – like a giant failure with a capital F. I already felt like shit just being there, seeing the financial coordinator who did get knocked up with Dr. Salsa’s brand of IVF.  THIS WAS NOT INFORMATION THAT I NEEDED TO KNOW, AND CERTAINLY NOT NOW. 

Later, when I was home and had spent some time decompressing with the dog, I sent Dr. Salsa an email. I explained that I did not want to know about how everyone else did. I explained that I am an inherently competitive person and in this particular arena, hearing about others did in the exact same IVF cycle when mine did not work was just not helpful. I asked him not to share that kind of information with me again because it just sends me into competition mode, and usually, I end up with the short end of a very long stick, which just makes me feel worse.  Sending the email helped and his response was very nice. He apparently knew by my expression the minute he finished the sentence that this was not information that was helpful to me.  It doesn’t un-ring the bell, though. It doesn’t make me forget that I was in the 15% who didn’t make it this time. 

And, so what if I was able to have a lovely glass of w(h)ine with dinner? I’m still no closert to being in that magic 11.  I can feel the bitterness choking me.

18 thoughts on “Requiem for A Cycle

  1. Oh, that would just kill me to hear that as well….the whole time (in addition to being BFN crushed) I would just be thinking to myself…”Loser, you are the loser”. I am a competitive perfectionist…and I can’t imagine dealing with that.

    Good for you for sending an email.

  2. ummmm. yeah.

    I’ve had this kind of review a bazillion times. Always on the wrong site of statistics. RE’s staring at my data in disbelief.

    I am sorry you were subjected to that torture. Nothing like Dr. Salsa rubbing it in your face.

    My mind just went to a bad place on that last sentence. lol. Well, you know what I mean.

    You should have given him stats back to his face… well, how did you get 11 women pregnant and you failed ME???

    Not fair.

  3. Oh, gosh, yes, that was terrible information to hear. I’m in a similar boat right now and it’s incredibly painful to not only fall on the short side of the statistics, but, to know that’s where you are and, despite what you do, you can’t seem to claw yourself to the other side. Hugs to you.

  4. Behind all the stats, I think Dr. Salsa felt disappointed in himself as well, I’m sure his ego was crushed at not getting 100%. I think you should get a free cycle. Amazed at the level of detail in the follow-up, though you’re right, it’s pointless. None of it matters to you at all. Sigh.

  5. Good for you for sending that email! I can’t imagine that there is ANY patient who would want to hear such a statistic, so hopefully he won’t put anyone else in a position of having to hear it.

  6. OUCH!!! Not sure why he thought that tidbit would make you feel better but I guess I’d probably chalk it up to the “men are emotionally retarded” category. Sorry luv.

  7. He was probably trying to bring reassurances that because all the numbers are so high the next time around will be your turn (but, so not defending him – this should only be info he told you if you asked). I on the other hand NEVER want to know the stats/chances of working/not working whatever. I totally get the feeling of a failure, how can we not after all these tries and there are crackheads having accidental pregnancies everywhere I look.
    hang in there.

  8. I think the “don’t compare people” lecture should be a mandatory part of RE training. I can’t see how it would help anyone struggling with a negative. It’s nice to know he’s confident in your ability to achieve your goal, but again, it’s not a huge help to you, when you need answers.


    Here’s hoping the wine is fine (and maybe it’s time to give the margarita machine another spin?).

  9. I would have reacted the same way. Very glad you took the time to let him know that his data dump was not at all helpful. So often people lose sight of the fact that we’re more than a statistical or biological data point. We’re not robots we’re thinking, feeling, complex and competitive beings. I’m glad he realized on the spot that his comments were hurtful.

  10. Oh, that’s awful. I’m glad you let him know how hurtful that information was to you. I’m glad he had an idea, even if it was too late.

    I hope things get better soon!

  11. statistics like that just hurt. i remember WAY back in the beginning of this horribly journey that my OB/Gyn told me that in the second year 95% of couples conceived on their own. i really love being in that 5%!

    i’m so proud of you that you send your doctor an e-mail telling him how you feel. i am very competitive as well and i know that knowing that i was one of the “failures’ would’ve almost killed me.

    i hope that you enjoyed the wine! i wouldn’t mind a glass myself come to think of it….

  12. Yeeeowuch. Yeah, that’s not helpful. I’d especially appreciate the fact that I could measure my failure every single f-ing visit by just looking at the financial coordinator. That ranks right up there with sitting next to a pregnant, complaining co-worker. Good for you for sending the email, and at least he realized that didn’t help you – shows he’s at least paying some kind of attention. You enjoy the wine and the whine – you’ve earned both. And I totally hear you about infertility defeat – some days I think I could find the cure for cancer and still feel unfit for human consumption….

    Thinking of ya, darlin’.

  13. OUCH is right. I’m glad he realized he put his foot in it even before you sent the e-mail (& bravo to you for doing so!). Enjoy the wine & the whine — you deserve both.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s