Posts Tagged ‘REs’

The Way to a Baby

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The way to a baby for me (according to my RE) is. . .

(drumroll please)

Through donor eggs!

Yep, we had our WTF appointment today and the doctor said nothing that I hadn’t figured out on my own already.

It turns out the follicles during the IVF cycle were truly empty and that her initial prediction was that I would get four eggs retrieved. Of course, I got two. She also said that my two retrieved eggs didn’t make it to the cleavage stage which indicates an egg quality issue.  Had the eggs made it past this stage and made it to transfer, she would likely recommend a second try at this with my own eggs.

She made it clear that she would indeed do a second IVF, if this is what I wanted, but predicted a similar outcome.  Taking into account my years of trying, my two losses, and this failed IVF, the egg quality just isn’t there.

I’m a little confused about my husband’s sperm issues with all of this.  Initially, the doctor felt that my 4 IUI failures were due to a lack of fertilization, but now she thinks egg quality issues were coming to play even back then.  So chances are, I’ve had poor egg quality for years now.  The higher FSH that I have now is only compounding the problem, I think.  I remember having my FSH tested over a year and a half ago and it was only 6.5 which was great, but I still had problems conceiving even then.  It just goes to show you that a good FSH does not mean good egg quality, no matter what your age.

I have to face reality. I may only be 37 (which is still a good age for a “normal” woman to have a baby), but my body thinks it is older.  Premature aging.  It’s supposed to be harder for a woman my age to get pregnant, but not this hard.

Ask any woman who wants a child. Her dream is to bear a biological child. I am no different. Not being able to bear a biological child means grieving.

But I have to be honest with myself. I’ve been grieving this loss for a very long time now. I didn’t start grieving when I failed this IVF cycle, I didn’t start when I miscarried, and I didn’t start when the IUIs didn’t work. It’s been a continuous process for years now, I guess.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t cry when she recommended donor eggs. If she had recommended this a month ago, I would have fallen apart. Maybe I’m finally at the last stage of grief–acceptance.

Like I said before, I think I’m done blaming myself. As far as I know, my egg quality could have been gone in my 20’s. I didn’t choose it. I didn’t ask for it to happen and it’s not my fault. I don’t know why it happened to me, but I know I can’t change it.  I used to be a happy person; maybe I can find my way back to it. I’ve got a lot going for me in my life and a lot to be thankful for.

I’m going to beat infertility, one way or another. My desire to be a mother hasn’t wavered. I choose to believe that God put that desire in me and that he will fulfill it somehow. It may not be in the way I choose, but I believe that it will happen.

I don’t intend to do another IVF cycle with my own eggs, but I will continue to try to conceive naturally. I did ask the RE about DHEA and she said that in some cases it has helped women and it some cases it has not. It certainly won’t hurt to try. Her recommendation is 50 mg in the morning. I will also go back to acupuncture and try changing my diet.

As for donor eggs, it is an option that we are strongly considering in the coming months. I’m not saying that it is a definite, but I’m no longer completely against it and my husband has warmed up to the idea as well. There’s still a major hurdle–money. In case you are wondering, we don’t have any. Even if we still had insurance coverage, my policy does not cover donor eggs.

So there you have it. My day. Now it’s time to clean up my house for the holidays!

 

 

 

 

 

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Sorry–I Can’t Like Your Status and I Don’t Want a Number

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Maybe it’s all over your Facebook newsfeed (or has been at one time):

“Like my status and I’ll give you a number!”

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, in this scenario one of your Facebook friends lists a predetermined number of random facts about his or her self on his wall such as:

“I met my fiancé on a blind date and we knew it was love at first sight even though I was already engaged.”

“I don’t like for my socks to match and I try to hide it from the world.”

“I like barbecue sauce on my French fries; please don’t judge me.”

“I like to eat toothpaste.”

You get the idea. Then you “like” his/her status and he/she assigns you a number, say 9, and you post 9 random facts about yourself. From there, others like your status and you assign them a number and the process repeats itself. All over Facebook.

I am actually very fortunate because no one in my newsfeed  has posted excessive facts about their babies, children, or reproductive abilities. For this I am grateful.

I have yet to participate in this game. I can’t help but wonder which random facts I would post about myself if I did join in the fun.

Maybe, the run-of-the-mill: “I absolutely hate waking up early” or “My favorite restaurant is Cheesecake Factory–I really like the Chicken Marsela”?

No.

Here are mine:

“It took my husband and I two and a half years to conceive our first child. The pregnancy lasted seven and a half weeks.”

“God works in mysterious ways. After our first miscarriage, we conceived just five months later with our rainbow baby. That pregnancy lasted about two weeks though the feeling that I lost who I am remains to this day.”

“No, my allergies don’t make my eyes water all the time like I say they do. At any given time of the day, I fight back tears when I think of how my dreams may never come true.”

“I am completely emotionally spent. Just having a simple conversation with any one of you takes a considerable amount of energy on my part. Bear with me.”

“I don’t go to church anymore. The weekly baby dedications make me cry. Every. Single. Time.”

“Through the years of infertility and loss, I have cut a lot of people out of my life. Chances are, you’re one of them. I’m sorry. I miss you and who we were together.”

Something tells me that these random facts about me might put a damper on someone’s game. I think the point is to be random and light. I don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable, so you can see why I’m not playing.

In other news, our WTF appointment with our RE isn’t until next Tuesday. Next, not this coming Tuesday. I am both curious and frightened to hear what she will have to say about what went wrong during our IVF.

What was so damning wasn’t that our two retrieved embryos didn’t make it. It was the fact that we only retrieved two eggs out of the eight that were supposed to be there. I have no idea if they were truly empty or if the eggs were too difficult to get out or what. Hell, for all I know they didn’t even try. All I know is that I was in and out of there in a hurry and didn’t feel very different physically after I left.

I’m not blaming our RE. I like her a lot (though she does seem to be rushed) and her staff is compassionate and very well-organized . Chances are, it is just me and my eggs. I am trying my hardest to prepare myself for the donor egg talk that could be coming.

I really don’t know if there is much that can be done about egg quality. Yes, I’ve heard about DHEA but never asked the doctor about it and she didn’t recommend it. There is something to be said about acupuncture helping egg quality as well. I like acupuncture.

Still, part of me keeps going back to where I had my procedure done. The office is a quality facility and when I originally selected it, it was because the success rates for my age bracket were decent, about 43%. However, after I had all my prescreening testing done, the latest success rates for my age bracket came out and they were down considerably to about 29% (actually they were down for all age groups, even those under 35). I remember crying on the phone that day to my husband telling him that we made a mistake and should back out right then and there and go someplace else. Now, I wish we would have.

From what I understand, RE fees are based on their success rates. We paid a huge sum of money (this clinic charges considerably higher than others) for services that  yielded a marked decrease in success for its patients. Why didn’t I do something about this red flag that was waving in front of me? I ignored that little nagging voice and it may have cost me a child.

If there is any point in doing any IVFs in the future and if I am financially able to do so and choose to, I may go elsewhere. There is a new clinic that has branched off from another one that boosts a success rate of about 67% for ages 36-40. I don’t know if these statistics are too good to be true or misleading, but it sure beats a 29% success rate. Yes, I’d have to travel to another city and meet another team of doctors and go through all of this again, but at least that option is out there. Not really an option, just an idea at this point.

That’s it for now. Now, go out and like some FB statuses!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Getting Hot in Here

In the summertime, some places get warm, some hot, some humid.  Here it gets steamy.  Yes, I do think you could fry an egg on the pavement if you tried.

Actually, the last couple of days have reached high temperatures 105 degrees and higher, a few degrees more than what meteorologists were predicting.  Keep in mind that for most of the year, I am cooped up in a chilly room at work, so when summertime comes around, my mood changes for the better.  Typically, summertime temperatures are around 95 degrees and while it is uncomfortable at times, I can deal with it.  However, the last three days I’ve spent inside mostly napping and being irritable. It’s unbearable to walk outside and its hard to get anything accomplished inside without breaking a major sweat.  The house is something of a wreck–any time I get up to clean something I just want to sleep.

But the tide is turning.  I feel slightly better today and I also feel somewhat better in that one of area of my life that I cannot shut up about.

The visit to the RE the other day was better than I thought.  No tears.  No running out the door crying.  It’s funny–the first part of the conversation was almost exactly word-for-word what I thought it would be.  The bottom line is that Mr. RE says that I “definitely qualify” for IVF at this point and he briefly talked about costs and insurance.  He also said that we could do another IUI if we choose, changing up the protocol quite a bit.

I feel good because I actually got to talk to the doctor for an extended period of time and ask every question I could think of.   Despite having mature follicles, is it possible that the eggs are just not dropping?  It’s possible.  Is the timing of the IUI perfect?  It’s not an exact science.  What were the chances of it working anyway? About 20%.

Despite months of frustration, I respect this man.  He’s been doing this a long time, so he has seen quite a bit.  I think there is something to be said for experience.  He doesn’t express a lot of  feeling, but he did acknowledge that any type of procedure, particularly IUI and IVF, are emotional experiences for those involved.  Though he thinks IVF is necessary for some, he thinks that it is pushed too much by doctors in the US.

Do I need IVF?  It’s possible, but not a given.  The one thing I took from my visit was that despite reproductive medicine/technology being a science, none of it is 100% certain.  Sometimes things almost guaranteed to work fail and at other times those that offer little hope prevail.  I finally accept the fact that we don’t have all the answers. We just do the best with what we have in front of us and pray.

I have ordered and received my medicines for my 4th and final IUI.  We decided on one last IUI because 1) The doctor said that it could still work with some changes in protocol 2) We feel like anything is still possible 3) I won’t have the added stress of working right now 4) It is what we can scrape up the money for at the present moment.

If this IUI does not work, we will begin the journey to IVF, possibly being performed in late spring or early summer of 2013, if we have the funds to do so.

So for now, I just need to find some sort of peace.  Not think about statistics, not worry about what-ifs, not worry about any day, except the present one.  I need to learn to let this go, let it be a small part of my life instead of the driving force that it has been.  For so long, I’ve let harmful thought patterns invade my existence.  I’ve lived, breathed and slept infertility.  I’ve let hours go by where I’ve stayed glued to the internet and, yes, even blogging, blindly accepting the detrimental aftermath being brought into my life.

Somewhere along the way, I stopped believing that I could get pregnant.  Maybe I did so because I tend to think the worst or maybe I did so because nothing seemed to work for me.  I thought that I would automatically be excluded, despite what I did.  Now, I need to start believing that I can have a child whether that is through IVF, IUI, or even naturally.  I need to see that child out in the universe and believe that God will bring her to me.

If you pray, please pray for me that I can find my place of serenity.  You all are always on my mind and in my heart.

What My RE Doesn’t Know

Tomorrow my husband and I go back to the RE for what I call our WTF appointment.  A WTF appointment is basically a consultation with my doctor regarding why my body won’t allow me to get pregnant, despite three IUI’s, rounds of oral and injected medications, and planned intercourse.  But I am kidding myself.  The RE can’t tell me why.  No one can.  I am in the unexplained infertility category, which means I have one giant hole in my life.

I honestly don’t know why we are even going.  I guess a week or so ago, like always, I felt the need for action–any type of action.  But, honestly, how will our conversation roll?  My guess is something like this:

Mr. RE: (walking through the door, flipping my chart):  Well, uh, I see here we’ve done a couple of IUI’s.  (Pause).  You’re, uh, what 34, 35?”

Me: I’m 36

Mr. REWell, hmmn. 

(Silence)

Husband: (insertion of some well-meaning quip to break the tension):

Me: (Silent, heart pounding, trying to be strong, but seconds away from tears)

Mr. Re: Well, uh we’ve tried a number of things here.  I mean, you know we start with the least expensive route before going to the most expensive.

Me: Oh, I know that.

Mr. Re: Well, I mean, uh, what do you want to do now?.

Don’t get me wrong.  I know my doctor is no fool.  I guess I should be thankful that he isn’t dashing my hopes and dreams, but I feel like he feels like there is no use getting to the root of whatever the problem is.  Yes, I realize that most testing does not affect what treatments are offered, but if I have endo or something, wouldn’t it be a whole lot easier to remove it than to go ahead with more treatments?  Wouldn’t it be wise to find out why I don’t always ovulate on my own?  I know the ovulation problem is corrected with drugs but couldn’t the underlying cause of anovulation contribute to the infertility?  Has Mr. Re even considered this?

I think he thinks it is an egg quality problem; I say this because I read between the lines every time he uses the word “age.”  Of course, the only true test of egg quality is IVF.  The big guns.  The pricy guns.  The guns that offer the highest chance, but still no guarantee.

Then the still-hopeful part of me thinks that there is no way it could be egg quality.  Sometimes, I wonder if these IUI’s are so well-timed after all?  Case in point:  (Past history) I go to the RE on a Saturday morning and am told that my follicles are mature and “ready.”  I go home and take an OPK at 5PM.  If it is positive, I should trigger at that moment and have the IUI the next morning, Sunday.  If negative, trigger at 10PM, and have the IUI Monday morning.  Of course, I’ve always gotten the negative and gone in on the Monday.  To me, it seems like a bad idea to wait 36 hours to have an IUI versus waiting only 24.  Hello?  Don’t you ovulate 24-36 hours after a trigger shot or am I just on crack?  If I trigger at 10PM on a Saturday night and ovulate 24-36 hours later, am I not cutting it very close by having an IUI at 9:30AM on Monday morning?  What does Mr. RE think about this?

These are the things that go through my head.  I hope I’m not so nervous tomorrow that I forget to voice all of this.  I hope Nurse Stilletto doesn’t tap her pointy foot because it’s closing time soon (tried to get the morning appointment, but couldn’t).

At least, I will have my husband there and let me tell you, that makes a huge difference.  Bless his heart; I know he has the natural optimism to believe IUI number 4 will be our ticket, just as he believed for number 3.  I’m weak, but he is strong.  I know IVF is likely our next step and will be recommended to us (if I don’t run out crying first) , but my sweet husband still has the innocence to believe in miracles and that makes all the difference.