Monday, March 27, 2017

Broken Record

I feel a bit like a broken record....but we're here again, to try "just once more". Financial lines fell into place, thanks to a wonderful donation from family, so we've signed up and have just started our 5th round of IVF, this time a fully medicated, fully ouchy needles, cycle. Will this be our last one? I don't know, I think i'm giving up saying that, but reality is the family donation will only cover one cycle. But I do know this is our last year of trying. I turn 39 this summer, my body had a hard time keeping our little guy safe last time, and age is not going to make that any better. We've both made a pretty firm decision, that if the cards don't align this summer, we're a family of 3 for the long haul.

So...we're on week 3 of acupuncture (this time B is trying some out too - there have been some new studies out showing increased motility with acupuncture), and day 4 of injections. The cycle is identical so far to the one we ended up with our baby boy from. I'm starting to feel the effects already - bloating, painful mid section - it's amazing how quickly those effects begin.

Wish us luck....


Friday, September 2, 2016

The end of the story.

Just hoping for a different result doesn't really change it, as we've learned the hard way this last few weeks. Yes, we were pregnant. Yes, we saw a baby on the ultrasound at 6.5weeks, heartbeat and all. Baby measured 3 days behind where they should be, so we went back the next week. Baby then measured 7 days behind where they should be. Our last ultrasound yesterday, officially at 9 weeks, and baby had no heartbeat.

We knew from reading up that that was the most likely outcome. I have a tilted uterus though, so there was this glimmer of hope that that was getting in the way and showing less growth than was real. Yesterday that all came crashing down, in many ways it was good to have a final answer, a resolution, rather than the uncertainty that we've had in the last month. The low hcg readings, the slightly smaller baby, then even smaller than it should have been. In all likelihood there were genetic issues - we're just shy of 40, so that isn't so unrealistic.

And now another wait. My body has yet to miscarry our deceased baby. If you're infertile a D&C is not a good idea (and who knows, maybe that 1 in a billion natural pregnancy might happen to us, so we don't want to affect those already low odds), so we wait. It could be days, it could be weeks, or it could even be months. It's hard to know our baby is still in there, still whole but not alive.

To say we're crushed would be an understatement. We have an amazing baby boy who we love and adore, but we're both mourning the loss of yet another (our 4th) child who we never got to meet. It is easier, having what we have now, but it's still so hard, we so wanted to give our little guy a brother or sister to run around after. Minus a financial windfall, that is all gone now, somehow we need to pick ourselves up and be as happy as we can as a family of 3. Both of us grew up with siblings, so this all seems so bittersweet that our little guy will never get to experience that.

So that is the end of our story. To add a level of reality to those considering this route, we've spent around $60,000 on fertility treatments to be where we are today. Those loans will be with us for sometime to come....roll on insurance coverage for fertility treatments, it is so cruel that they are not.

We wish you all the luck in the world in your infertility journey.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Endlessly Waiting

I had forgotten how much of this process is waiting. Waiting to start, waiting to see how the test results look, waiting to see if the pregnancy continues. It's pretty much all waiting, wondering, hoping, and, occasionally, panicking.

We're in another one of the significant waiting periods right now - we had a confirmation positive blood test based on HCG, and now we wait until we can go in for our viability ultrasound. Until then, there's a lot of speculation that can go on. How does R feel today? Pregnant? Not pregnant? What does another pee test reveal? Has it moved up the scale to indicate that the HCG is still increasing in her blood stream?

At the end of the day, of course, there's nothing we can really do to influence the outcome, nor even to really prepare ourselves for any bad news or disappointments - we're not in control of this biological process, and we will feel devastated if it ends, no matter whether we've guessed it before clinically proven or not.

Perhaps the best thing I could master would be an acceptance of the uncontrollable and the unknowable. I'm still working on that one, day by day.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Two Week Wait...


It's 4 days until we have the blood test....and as usual (well, as "usual" as IVF could ever be), I couldn't wait. Though this gives us hope, it also fills us with dread. Every single IVF we've been through, we've had a positive pregnancy test - this is round 4, and we have 1 child. Will it stick? Will I bleed? Will I miscarry? All these things go through my, and B's, heads....

The mini-IVF is definitely a lot less invasive than a full IVF cycle, though after two of them, we know we'd never have another mini - if we ever did this again (next summer at the earliest if this round doesn't work), we'd want to save up for a full round. We ended up with two follicles, two eggs, one fertilized and a 2 day transfer. The good news is that one embryo looked in far better shape than the one put back last time. There is of course no certainty, but at least that is a good sign. At this time in the last round, I was still getting a negative pee test as well, so that is also a good sign. But, as usual, i'm having a lot of pains and cramps....and of course now I have a whirling dervish of a toddler to run around after....so i'm hardly taking it easy like I did with his pregnancy. I am off work, which is good, less excuses to make up when going for appointments, which is definitely far less stress.

Lets see what Thursday holds, when we get the blood test....

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Our last shot....

We started another mini 10 days ago, and today we had our first monitoring. Unless some financial windfall comes out way, this will be our last shot, and even with a financial windfall, I turn 39 next year, so next summer will certainly be the end of our journey.

So much at stake, and today we heard that we have just 2 follicles, and one is already looking (over?) mature. To say i'm bummed and feeling somewhat hopeless would be to put it mildly - this round we had a higher dose of clomid, and we'd talked to our Dr. about taking drugs to delay ovulation and increase our chances of more eggs becoming mature - yet it seems like our first monitoring came too late to do that. It's not something they usually do at this clinic, but we were hopeful we'd have the chance to do that this round...yet no. They're hoping the second follicle will catch up overnight, so lets hope it does so we can have 2 mature eggs retrieved this time around, and lets hope I don't start to ovulate on my own, definitely a risk with a follicle so large.....


Monday, May 30, 2016

And an update

To start with the result, we were pregnant, for a short, brief period, but are not anymore. I stopped Endometrin this morning, and now the long wait begins for my HCG to come back to 0.

Everything seemed to be going really well, we had 3-4 follicles, even 5 at one appointment, so we triggered, went into surgery and they only retrieved two eggs. Devastated doesn't really sum it up properly, we'd always got one more egg than follicles seen, so to get less than that was a shock. It all has to do with not being on an ovulation stopper, they have to guess when to trigger rather than wait for eggs to catch up in size, so you just don't get as many mature. The next morning it went from bad to worse when we learned we only had one fertilize, but it was doing okay so they were going to do a 2 day transfer - might as well use my body as the incubator. We went in for the transfer and learned that the embryo was dividing slowly, not a good sign. So many not good signs. But we went ahead and came out with a realistic view that it was pretty improbably. Did a pee test about a week later and it came up negative.

The three days before our HCG appointment I decided to do a pee test again...only this time it came up positive. And another. And another. B went out and got a test that shows how many weeks pregnant you are, and it said 1-2. Only issue is that I should have been 2-3. The HCG came back positive, but boarderline, so we went for another HCG test today, to learn that the HCG was decreasing, a sign we had miscarried or had a 'chemical' pregnancy. Quite the rollercoaster of emotions, luckily smoothed out some today by it being a holiday, so our little man was home with us and there to cuddle with and play with through our sorrow at this round not working.

Where to next? We're trying to decide. We have only one more round in us financially, and we don't really have a full IVF round unless we take out loans. Do we do another mini-IVF? Do we take out the loans and hedge our bets on getting more eggs? It's so hard. I so wish at least some of this was insurance covered, then we could make the best medical decision rather than a financial one...

In the back of my mind too is how long it took for my HCG to drop after the major miscarriage in the first round we did. Because of my new position, I only have this summer to do this in....if it takes months again, we're out of luck all together....please please don't take that long......

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

And we're off......

The results came back just fine (my AMH had actually increased....didn't know that could happen!), and so we've begun a Mini-IVF cycle with Boston IVF. So far i'm on day 4 of clomid, and feeling great so far. The weirdest thing (besides not having a bruised belly from injections) is the lack of monitoring. I had an ultrasound on day 1 and now they're not seeing me until Saturday (day 8). It makes me nervous....I really want to know how many eggs are coming through, as of course, we need 2 to progress to retrieval, and we just have no idea what is going on in there right now. 

In addition to the IVF I started having acupuncture again. I wish I could say it's better than last time, but boy, needles = no fun. It's not bad, and after they're in I do relax....but some of them really do hurt, particularly in my feet! I've had 2 sessions so far and now the plan is to see what our schedule looks like next week. In theory this time next week i'd be close to retrieval.....lets hope for that outcome! 

Yet again B has managed to come to all the appointments with me. We weren't sure if that was possible given our schedule with a little one, but it's worked out so far so we hope it'll continue to do so. Having B there not only makes me feel a whole lot better about being prodded and poked, but I also feel like he's part of the process too, rather than just me. So much of IVF is about the woman (even with male factor), thats it hard sometimes not to feel like you're being picked on....having your man there every step of the way helps, or at least it helped me. 

There is a huge difference in this cycle for us, and not just because it's a Mini rather than full IVF cycle. There is a weight lifted, it's more relaxed. Personally I put it down to having an amazing small person in our life now, it's not so desperate as before, not so dire if it goes wrong. We'll both be heartbroken if something goes wrong this time too, but I don't feel like it will be a blackhole like last time. We will still have a family, with a child, regardless of whether this works or not. There's a lot to be said for that.