I’m just terrible with this blog. I started it to get my feelings out while I travel down the lonely road of infertility. I have been waiting and watching as friends have babies, as they give birth, have sibling for their children and I remain stuck. Stuck. Stuck. Time is ticking. My periods have long since gone. Menopause? I’m not sure. I think my body just can’t ovulate. I’ve been under so much pressure and I don’t take good care of myself. I forget to eat. Sometimes I don’t know what day it is. I started a preschool. I might have mentioned that but….it was the hardest thing I ever did but also I have never been happier. I have kids who give me hugs, who love me and the love flows right back. I’ve been so happy lately even though I work very hard and have little time for me. I was sitting in the Inverness Hotel in 2009, reading a book about the importance of education in the first five years of life. I glanced from my 3000 dollars of meds, to the syringe I just used to make my follicles grow, back to the book and then came the idea. A preschool. If I have one child…well, at least I’ll know what he is learning AND I will have dozens of children to love. So I am very happy but also the big fat void remains. The siblings on ice. The would be siblings except, my womb is over it. I can’t get it to grow. I have not tried again but I know. I’ve been friends (randomly) with a woman who has been a surrogate in the past. We started talking and one day I thought….well, why don’t I ask her. To my utter delight she agreed to be my surrogate. I cannot tell you what a dream come true this is for me. She is without a doubt a thoughtful, caring and loving person but get this, she wants to be a part of my child’s life. An Auntie for lack of a better word. That is just the icing on the cake. I would so love to share my child with a sister but sadly I have only a brother. He loves my son but there is nothing like an aunt that just loves you to pieces. I am one of those types of Aunties and, well, I just hope she will love my son as much. Hold on, no baby yet but we are hoping that this is what my embryos need. A womb that is proven to give life unlike mine. I say this without a hint of sadness. The only thing I worry about is that she will somehow be harmed by the process. If both were to take I would worry about her carrying twins, the burden on her and her family. So I may try to see if my uterus will grow enough to have a double transfer of the embryos. The higher quality for her and the lesser quality for me. Schoolcraft suggested that I transfer both to her and told me “why waste one”….as if he knows that I can’t carry another child. I don’t know what to do. I’m torn. We are in the middle of waiting for his approval. So that is the news. I feel happy, worried, stressed…but somewhat relieved that there is a plan and we have the right person on the team. I don’t think there could be a better person to carry my child (ren) than this woman…she really cares and I know would do the right thing. She is ethical, honest, caring, devoted and I think I could learn a thing or two about organization from her. And I love her already. She gave me hope again. For that I owe her so much already…
To be continued!
I’m all set for tomorrow – physically anyway. I’ve filled my script for percoset, antibiotics and pherengan (which is spelled wrong and I can’t be assed to look it up). The last drug is an anti-nausea anal suppository which I will not be using. Wanna know why? Because the last time I used it (when I was in the hospital for preterm labor) I vomited! I have the Always maxi pads (with WINGS!!) and 10 xanax. I have not used maxi pads since I was 15. Cannot wait!
We go in at 10:15 to give blood – pre op and karotype on both me and my husband. The procedure is scheduled for 12pm. I’ll probably get hooked up to an IV with fluids and that is when I’ll beg for the valium. They will give it to me – nobody wants to deny psychological pain relief to a woman who has just had a pregnancy loss.
So, I’ve been loading up on oral progesterone – to the point where I am walking around feeling high as a kite – kinda like I took 10 valium. So far I’ve had only a few cramping episodes but I’m all too aware that my body is trying to rid itself of its inhabitant. I’ve been waking up every morning and having to remind myself that something has changed – that I’m not pregnant anymore. It reminds me of the times when I have lost my grandparents – waking up is just proving to be a rude reminder that all is not well…and that things aren’t the way they used to be.
I had a friend say to me “well at least it was early”….and I know he meant well but it pissed me off. This pregnancy loss represents 1 year of trying, around 50K dollars, probably over 50 blood draws, 25 ultrasounds, 3 egg retrievals, countless hopes, dreams and now tears. It isn’t just a mass of cells that I will expel – it had eyes, the beginning of arms and legs, a heart that was beating! This was going to be my child. So please, if you are reading this and you are my friend IRL – don’t try to make me feel better by minimizing this. It will only piss me off and I’ll say something rather nasty.
I’ve mentioned that I am a member of an IVF board – where all sorts of women meet to offer support and knowledge about their journeys with infertility… So many women on this board have had such horrible struggles – the kind of thing that is just imaginable. Some can’t even bear to read posts where the word pregnancy or baby are mentioned. Some are bitter and even claim to hate fertiles for taunting them with their pregnant bellies. I never could understand that, really. I swore I’d never feel bitterness toward a pregnant woman or saddened by the sight of a newborn…until this happened. As soon as I walked out of the RE’s office on Friday I saw pregnant women everywhere – and little babies in strollers, being held by their fathers. I swear it – I must have seen about 6 of them in between the office and my car…and then I finally understood. I felt angry and bitter and pissed off…at people I don’t even know.
Ah well – tonight I am taking my wee son to meet Santa Claus…and then I will stay awake until midnight drinking glass after glass of water….because there is nothing worse than a mid day operation. I’ll be thirsty and starving all morning, dammit all.
One thing – I pray to God that this embryo is abnormal…because if it is normal then it is going to open up a whole new world of hurt and worry for me.
I keep meaning to post IVF # 4 – 6 and their stats, etc. You know, just in case someone really wants to hear about my ovarian response to gonadotropins. Actually I learned a lot from reading about other people’s cycles. I probably wouldn’t have my son had I not come across a blog back in 2006 where a woman had zero fertilization of 17 good looking eggs – thanks to her I made sure we did ICSI on each cycle and had good fertilization.
Unfortunately this blog is turning into one long moan and I am sorry to say that there isn’t much I can do about it. I’m not the kind of person who can wait and see. I need to know what I am facing.
So here I am facing a deep dark hole – I am 8 weeks today. Yesterday, at 7 weeks 6 days, the embryo measured 7 weeks exactly – 7.2 days if you use another measurement. I have earned my google MD….and over the past 24 hours I’ve become an expert on reading fetal ultrasounds prior to 9 weeks gestation. So the facts are that I measuring behind – to be precise, the embryo is measuring (the CROWN RUMP LENGTH or CRL) exactly 1cm. This corresponds to a gestational age of 7 weeks exactly (there is a plus or minus of 5 days but….I received this reading from two different techs so I’m going to trust it). Last week I measured 3 days behind and now the gap is widening. This could mean a number of things.
1. Abnormality. Triploidy/other chromosomal abnormality in the embryo seems like a reasonable diagnosis for slow fetal growth.
2. Sac size not growing fast enough to accommodate growing fetus. My sac is measuring 5 weeks 3 days (which translates to 2/3 days ahead of the embryo). I won’t bore you with the minutiae but basically this is a death sentence.
3. Blood flow problems. I have a blood clotting issue. I am on lovenox injections once per day to keep my blood clot free and flowing. Hopefully this is working because these shots are a mother. My legs are bruised and battered and quite frankly, I spend a good deal of my day dreading them. When my husband does the injection it definitely doesn’t hurt as much. I’m such a wimp that I SLOWLY stick the needle into my thigh and then even more slowly inject the fluid. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to giving myself injections.
The good (there are some glimmers of hope here):
1. The embryo is a girl. Read this: The longitudinally collected observations showed that CRL in female fetuses was significantly smaller compared with that in male fetuses
2. Late implanter. Could be – I did have lowish betas and who knows when I actually conceived on an IUI cycle (though I suspect it was within a 24 hour period of November 4th).
3. Tech error. Again, highly unlikely that two techs are going to come up with the same measurements.
So I guess I just have to wait until Monday’s ultrasound. I have to remain hopeful that growth will be consistent and that the heartbeat (154 bpm) will remain strong. The prognosis isn’t good though – from every story I have read of women in the same position…probably 80 percent resulted in miscarriage.
I seriously cannot say enough about this man. I really liked him for so many reason – he came across as not only knowledgeable but genuinely concerned.
Prior to the appointment I had to fill out about 20 pages worth of forms and compile my infertility novella (which is up to about 40 pages – my true file, if I had absolutely everything would probably be twice as large). I wrote him a concise chronological note so that he would not have to sift through all of it which I think he appreciated. He talked at length about his program and answered all of my questions. He told me that the new form of PGD that they are testing is getting unbelievable results. His pregnancy rates for women of all ages is around 70 percent. Even women who are coming to him with repeat miscarriages, horrible egg quality, previous chromosomal abnormal births – these women are having healthy babies! He attributes it to this procedure – they grow your embryos to blast, test them and then freeze them. The process takes a week and that is why the embryo has to be frozen. They test ALL 23 chromosomes – unlike the old PGD (which I had the pleasure of wasting a great deal of money on) which only tested 9 of the most common abnormalities. Once the embryos have been assessed the mother is given estrogen and progesterone to create a healthy environment for the embryo. He believes that this environment is more conducive to pregnancy than a fresh IVF cycle and that is another reason the success rate is so high. Apparently not one embryo has been lost after the freeze. So, I think any woman who wants a kid should just go to Colorado and cycle with CCRM. Their stats are just beyond compare and he gave me such hope. I was quite touched that he repeatedly wished me well on my current pregnancy and said, “we are here if you need us but I really hope we never speak again”. The next day his nurse followed up with a call giving me well wishes and reminded me that they were there for me if I needed them. It felt really wonderful to have this option in the back of my mind – nothing worse than grasping at straws after a failed cycle. I actually owe this current pregnancy to Schoolcraft – his writings (and he reiterated this during our conversation) convinced me to ditch the lupron and go for a low stim for better egg quality. So, thank you Dr. Schoolcraft for being indirectly responsible for what is going on in my uterus at the moment. I also have him to thank for reminding me that I should be on blood thinners (I have a blood clotting factor). I originally thought that baby aspirin would do the trick but, as he says, better safe than sorry. I’m taking lovenox and believe me when I say that this is one nasty drug. It hurts going in and each and ever shot makes a huge purple bruise.
So far so good – I’m feeling sick most of the day, breasts still massive with big blue horrible veins, belly big and bloated..and I’m tired.
Trying to find the energy to post about IVF#4 and IVF#5 – this weekend I must do that.
Let me preface this post by saying that I have extremely supportive friends – both IRL and online. I don’t mean this as a big fat whinge but I need to get it off my chest for once and for all.
Because I kept my struggle to have a child pretty quiet (well, not if you were my co-worker back at Credit Suisse in 2006!). People don’t really understand – and it has taken this blog for some of you to realize the depths and lengths we have gone to have a child. Compared to many others, we didn’t have to struggle too long. Thanks in part to my RE who believed that I should have back to back cycles (many REs make you wait a month between each failed cycle to give your body a rest – but my RE thinks focusing on the negative cycle during your downtime is psychologically detrimental – I tend to agree).
After our third IVF we had success….and for that I am eternally grateful….and I am also grateful (believe it or not) for our infertility. I really feel that I am better mother for having had to contemplate never having a child of my own. I feel so appreciative and blessed. Had I conceived with ease….I might not have realized how desperately I wanted to be a mother and I wouldn’t be able to appreciate the miracle who calls me Mama. Who knows though.
The other day a friend of mine asked how I was doing and how fertility treatments were going. When I told him that I was doing an IUI he seemed very ready to tell me “you have one beautiful child already, why don’t you just adopt” – which really took me by surprise. It isn’t the first time I’ve had friends and family tell me that I should grateful for the child that I have and stop chasing after another one. I’ve even been told (by several people!) that I can always get a dog.
The level of insensitivity that it takes to make such comments baffles me. The assumption behind these comments must be that I am being greedy for wanting my son to have a sibling – perhaps they think that I am “never happy” or selfish for not adopting when there are “so many children that need a home”. Blah blah. Not one of these people who have made these comments has ever walked in my shoes. Every single one of them has been able to easily make their reproductive choices. Every.SINGLE.one.OF.THEM.
I know I put myself out there by talking so frankly about what we are going through (especially me) but if you don’t have something supportive to say to me – just shut up. This process is hard enough and I don’t need jackass comments from clueless morons.
Incidentally we are not adopting because my husband is not “keen” on the idea. He is afraid that he might not love another child the way he loves his biological one. Who am I to argue with this? I would never convince him otherwise – because what if it is the truth? I know I could love an adopted child as much as my own – but we are a partnership.
I’m going to compile a little list, my friends – and I’d like you to read it and digest it and educate yourself on the feelings of the infertile.
Until you have walked in those shoes and down that path – you couldn’t possibly know an innocent question like “so when are you going to have kids” might send someone to the bathroom for a good old cry.
*and to my friend who made the insensitive comments – I forgive you and still value our friendship.