Shreemoyee Anand and her husband were classmates in 2002 (they didn’t really know each other that well at the time). They met again in 2006 and started dating. They dated for six years and finally in 2012 decided to tie the knot. But there was a bit of resistance from both sides of the family. Shreemoyee was a Bengali and her boyfriend was a Bihari. Nonetheless, the families finally agreed and they got married in 2012.
Shreemoyee was diagnosed with PCOS in 2013. This meant that she was not able to ovulate every month. This also meant that conceiving would now be a challenge. Her father-in-law was a doctor himself and guided her in every step of the way. Shreemoyee and her husband tried for a baby naturally but couldn’t conceive. A year later, they were advised to consult a fertility expert. She wanted to start a family as soon as possible.
Her husband was also being tested at the same time but the real challenge was the PCOS that was preventing the pregnancy. They first consulted an expert in Kolkata who ruled out the Intrauterine insemination procedure (IUI) because of her condition.Getting treatment in Kolkata was not practical as both of them were working in Gurgaon. They decided to come back and in 2016, they decided to go for IVF.
Shreemoyee was injected with hormones to induce ovulation. The extraction process started soon after when the eggs are extracted from the ovaries. In normal circumstances, a woman releases one egg every month. Now in Shreemoyee’s case, she had about 25 eggs per ovary. Her ovaries started getting filled with fluids. Her hormonal imbalance increased many folds. The first IVF did not work. She was heartbroken. Nonetheless, they decided to go for it again after two months. This time Shreemoyee conceived. She went through a blood test which confirmed that she was pregnant.
Shreemoyee and her husband were on top of the world. They were excited, happy and it felt like spring. Her husband kept asking her if she was craving any particular food. He kept instructing her to get down from the bed gently. They were on seventh heaven.
They were to repeat the blood test after 48 hours and it did not come out as good as expected. The Beta HCG did not double. It was a problem but still, they were hopeful. After 6 weeks Shreemoyee started to bleed. She was administered hormonal injections to sustain the pregnancy but it did not work out. She was devastated. They decided to take a break.
After a gap of five months, they decided to try again. This was the 3rd transfer. This time Shreemoyee conceived again and all the parameters were normal. The HCG hormone kept increasing which was a good sign. At 6 weeks, they went for their first ultrasound. There was a slight abnormality, the fetal pole was missing. They were advised to go for another ultrasound at 8 weeks. Shreemoyee was waiting to hear a heartbeat this time, but the doctor kept mum. She told her to pass urine and come back after ten minutes. Maybe the imaging was not clear because of that. She went back again after ten minutes. There was no heartbeat. They termed it a chemical pregnancy. She was asked to medically terminate the pregnancy. Shreemoyee took medicines for it and experienced heavy bleeding. But ‘fetal matter’ was still present inside of her. She underwent a DNC this time.
She not only lost a lot of weight but she also lost hope. She started having differences with her husband and they became disconnected. The tension kept creeping in and they barely spoke with each other. Though Shreemoyee was working all this while, she had barely shared her problems with anyone. She was losing confidence and kept believing that she could never be a mom.
They decided to go for it again after one year. The eggs were extracted again and the embryos were sent for testing. It was an expensive process. They were all grade A quality embryos.
But Shreemoyee was not able to conceive. The next four attempts also failed. The doctor advised her to go for treatment for Uterine TB – sometimes it goes undetected and it hinders pregnancy. The treatment was a year long. Usually the ‘quiet’ husband, after hearing this, just got up and screamed, “My wife is not a ginny pig!!”.
They decided to not go for it any further and not to have any children. The couple resolved their differences and moved on in their lives. It’s only when they spoke one night, Shreemoyee realized that her husband was unhappy because he could not see her suffer anymore.
In 2019, Shreemoyee met a friend (who too had a baby through IVF). She told her that they are not considering it anymore. The friend tricked her into meeting her IVF expert.
The 15-minute appointment turned into a 3-hour meeting, where the doctor made 50 pages of notes.
She told her doctor, “I am done.”
The doctor replied, “I think it’s possible.”
The doctor took a different protocol. She studied Shreemoyee’s reports for more than 2 months and came to the conclusion that it was the uterine lining that was causing the problem. It was too thin. It took another 6 months for her parameters to become conducive for pregnancy. There were times when Shreemoyee doubted everything. But her doctor did not give up. Finally, in December 2019, the embryos were transferred. There was a little bleeding after a few days, Shreemoyee was losing hope but the doctor was very calm. Ten days after the transfer, a blood test was done. The doctor sent her a message, “Congratulations mommy!” Shreemoyee had conceived. She went for an ultrasound at five weeks but was very scared as her story never went beyond the ultrasound. Would this IVF finally be successful?
They heard the heartbeat. Shreemoyee could not believe it. She was finally able to hear the most melodious sound that she was waiting for all these years. Just when she was about to get up, the doctor asked her to lie down again. They heard another heartbeat. The doctor announced they are having twins! The IVF was finally a success
It was a high-risk pregnancy. Shreemoyee was blessed with two sons in June 2020
After listening to her story, I asked Shreemoyee a few questions –
Me – If you were to go back in time, would you do all this again?
Shreemoyee – Yes, it was all worth it.
Me – What would you like to tell women who are sailing in the same boat?
Shreemoyee – Patience is the key. Everything happens at its own time. Acceptance of the present is most important. Worry kills everything. If you are not able to conceive naturally after trying for a year, do consult a fertility expert. Do not consider it taboo.