This is an excerpt from our forthcoming, book, The Expert Patient's Guide to IVF. This being authored by our expert patient, Manju and me.
Dear Blasties, (I wish I could call you children!)
How are you both? Hope you are feeling fine inside my uterus! Is it warm and comfortable enough? Does my activity disturb you in anyway? I know that the bedding I have provided you is not so great. Is it difficult to snuggle in because of that? Have you apposed to the endometrium, had a successful cross-talk and started to invade? Did the endometrium welcome you with appropriate adhesion molecules , cytokines, growth factors, proteinases and neoangiogenesis factors? If it doesn’t, please do not give up. Coax it to produce all that you need for successful attachment. You can do it! When I saw you both on Friday, after the thaw (after defreezing) you both looked perfect - as if you have woken up from a nice sleep (of course, it is a sleep but cold sleep!). You didn’t even show the slightest strain of the vitrification process. I even felt that you both smiled :) I thought how competent you both are! Even the embryologist commented how good you both look! So never ever give up the struggle!
I know it will be hard inside. The place you both were formed in ( the petri dish in the IVF lab) is so different from the environment within my body . For 6 long days you spent your life in an artificial set-up, and then you both were kept metabolically silenced for 7 long months! I do understand it will be scary inside the uterus. You meet so many different molecules and cells you haven’t met before. But, remember little ones, this is the place you belong to! This is where you can be happy. This is where your real developmental potential is tested. This is the place which gives you scope for further development. Of course, life in an IVF lab incubator is easy and cozy. There you are fed at appropriate time, supplied with proper nutrients and the embryologist must have pampered you a lot! But, only obstacles and struggle make you stronger , and not the pampering. Without struggle there is no progress in life (both in yours and in fully developed organisms)! That is the norm in this world. This is the first lesson you both have to learn. If you want to come out with flying colours, fight against the obstacles. When you overcome each and every obstacle inside the uterus , you are one step closer to becoming a full-fledged baby.
Are you aware that you became blastocysts from the supernumerary embryos which they wanted to wait and watch in vitro before they could freeze you ? You passed that difficult test and that is why you are inside my uterus today. The other embryos which were with you failed to develop and were discarded. The difference between you and all the other discarded ones are- they gave up the fight, they gave up the struggle to survive! So, whatever way I look at you both- YOU ARE SPECIAL! You definitely have the potential to develop into beautiful babies! Please do fight hard to come into this world. I will not promise you that life on earth is as easy as pie, but for sure it is very beautiful! You have very good people to protect you and take care of you.
There are lots of people longing to see you as babies. The most important person is your dad. I am gifted to share my life’s journey with him. He is a very calm and composed person. Normally, he doesn’t show any overt emotions in his face or speech (be it happiness or sadness!). When we both saw you through the IVF lab microscope , I could not understand what kind of emotions were playing in his mind. He never talks about it. He didn’t allow me to enter the kitchen until now. Yesterday, I tried to cajole him so that I could gain back my territory (I cook super duper good food!), but he refused my plea and went on to cook some beans with tomato. Sadly, the dish was horrible, but I ate it quietly without any reaction. When he tasted it, he also ate quietly and after few minutes he said- sorry Manju! :) I could not control my smile but to tell the truth, because of the love he mixed with the food it was very palatable ! Now-a-days, he gives me a foot massage. It is a soothing gentle touch, and I love his hands rubbing the sole of my foot. This is one of the most relaxing moments for me. He knows that very well but he never did it on his own - I would have to plead for a foot massage every time. But, now-a-days, even if I say no, he takes my feet , keeps it on his lap and rubs it gently. Do you understand why? It is for you both! He wants you both to snuggle in, attach and become his children. I carry you both in my uterus but he carries you both in his heart. Are you listening? Does it feel good to hear about him? Please young ones , please attach to me and grow into healthy babies! There are also so many other people who are praying for you and waiting for you too – if I have to tell you about everyone , I will need several more pages!
When I talked about prayer, I remember on the embryo transfer day, Dr.Malpani asked me, ‘Manju, which God are you praying to?’ To tell the truth I prayed to nobody and I do not want to pray to anybody. I told him the same. I asked him whether he believes in God. He said yes and I asked him why ? He said ‘I do not have a rational explanation and I also think it is ok for the heart and the head not to agree with each other :) When he transferred you both inside my uterus, he again said ‘pray’! But I didn’t! I was so adamant! I am not angry with God and neither am I blaming God for my situation. I simply do not believe that praying will help. I just enjoyed the moment you both went inside me and relaxed. But, little ones, when I think of it now , I wonder whether I should have said a short prayer to some God? What do you both think? Will it have helped you? Have I spoiled your chances of becoming a baby? But, still I believe, if I pray or not, nothing is going to change. Prayer can bring about a sense of relaxation but on that day I am surrounded by good people and I am actually very happy and relaxed. Even if you both become my babies I am not going to teach you about the concept of God. Being good and being a theist has no connection. I will teach you to be good human beings and you have to decide whether you need God or not when you grow-up! I think, in this way I can safe-guard you from the unnecessary guilty feelings most humans suffer in the name of God.
Today is the 5th day of your stay within me. I sit here wondering what is going on with you both. I wish you could send me some signals so that I could feel your presence all the time. Carrying you both in my uterus is not difficult (even those 9 months won’t be difficult!) but carrying you both in my mind is driving me crazy! I wish the test date never comes! It feels so good to be pregnant , at least in my heart . I have lots to say. But all that can wait. The main message is NEVER EVER GIVE UP! My love to you both! Fight as much as you can. Life is a beautiful struggle and struggle is what makes you HUMAN and keeps you human!