By Law

Its been about 6 hours since I found out that my embryo didn’t grow. I am at a crossroads. Some people are already telling me to try again, and the truth is I just don’t know if I have it in me.

I still can’t believe I have to continue meds and check again in a WEEK to verify that it’s not growing.I asked how often embryos recover from this, but no one answered my question. It means I will be carrying a dead embryo for a week. The idea makes me sick, but it seems that by law they can’t give up now, they have to wait for 8 weeks.

I did everything I could, and I know that my Dr and Molly did as well. Maybe its time to give up, and acknowledge that I just don’t deserve to be a parent. I promised myself that if I ever got pregnant, I wouldn’t complain about the PIO shots or the symptoms or anything really. I haven’t. I promised that I would only care about the health of the embryo and that I would enjoy and embrace the changes I have spent the last weeks adjusting to. I kept my promise. I haven’t complained about anything. Not morning sickness, not the shots, not doing it by myself, not anything. I haven’t felt like I have the right to. If it meant getting a chance at a healthy baby then I would endure whatever I had to.

After the appointment my husband went back to work. I’ve spent the last 6 hours alone in a dark room trying to understand. Tonight I took my meds, gave myself the shot, my husband never administered a single one, was never in the room with me and never helped me with them. Mostly I think he just didn’t want to think about them. Like every night, he wasn’t here when I did it, and when he got home, he took my stepdaughter out for dinner.
I don’t know whats going to happen to this blog. I don’t know where I am supposed to go from here. I intend to mourn my loss privately, I do not need to feed the misery so many of you feel, and are still going through. So for now, I’m signing off. Good luck to all of you. For those of you that have my email address please feel free to contact me, but for now, I can’t continue to publicly write down my feelings. Right now they are overwhelming and almost too much for me to handle.

 

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Heartbeat

There was growth of the gestational sack this week, but no growth of the embryo. No fetal pole, no heartbeat. My RE wants me to continue meds, and  monitor again in a week, but the chances of miscarriage are extremely high.

 

Tides

In less than 2 hours I have my last check to see if things are a go for tomorrows transfer.

I admit it, I’m nervous. Part of me want to move forward immediately and the other part of my want to yell slow down! Its my last frozen blast, I’m scared!

I ordered a rather expensive fertility bracelet 6 or 7 months ago, and I’ve worn it every single day, without fail no matter where I go for that entire time. I take it off only at night and at acupuncture. Last night after my class, I was taking it off and it broke. I froze for a second. Thinking is this a bad omen? Then I thought I don’t believe in omens, so I thought, maybe the universe is trying to tell me something? Then I thought, well that’s stupid. Always a fight between the rational and irrational me.

A bracelet isn’t going to make this transfer fail. An embryo with chromosomal abnormalities will. Chromosomal abnormalities that make it not compatible with life, that’s what will make this fail.

Maybe my hormone levels will cancel the transfer, or my Endometrium will not be ideal. I am ready for that to happen if that’s the case.

After my egg retrieval last Friday, my Dr prescribed Progesterone in Oil shots, progesterone pills and Estrace that started the same day as the retrieval. Last night because I had class from 7-10pm, I had to give myself a PIO shot with no mirror, in a public bathroom. Seriously?

Because the first night I hit a vein or something and caused a bruise that’s eggplant purple and about 4×6 my right side is out. The left side by last night had 4 little hard grape sized bruises so I just went for it, between them. It of course bled a bit but, I’m doing the best I can considering husband refuses to do it and I had to do it in a public bathroom like some kind of fertility medication junky.

There is absolutely no dignity in this process.

I don’t know if you guys remember my little “Luteal Phase Follicle” miracle, but this is it. This is the one that was retrieved post ovulation, fertilized normally, I was called on Day 4 that it died, and then it became a 6AA hatching blast. There is a series of posts written about it that I believe started with this one;l Circus School: Luteal Phase Follicle Edition.

There are a few more posts about it after, following me though the wait to see if it would fertilize and then live to day 5. This is the embryo that would be transferred back. Which I think is part of what makes me nervous, I’m a little afraid to let go of this embryo, a little afraid that it’s already had its magical moment and wont become a baby.

Thank you to everyone who gave me their opinions about this decision. Having been down this particular path before and failed, I’ve not been as much in a hurry as the rest of you, but I do have 3 additional retrievals and I guess that’s a good enough backup.

As you can see, I never made a decision I’m going to let the numbers and the professionals decide for me. It’s rarely been out of my mind since it was suggested to me 4 days ago. I’ve thought about it, meditated on it, and am giving it up to God or Buddha or the Creator, Science or whomever.

Consequently has anyone looked at the moon the last few days? September 30 was the Harvest Moon, and the Chinese Moon Festival, the time of the year when its closest to earth, its been beautiful and huge!

I will update once I find out which way the tide will be turning.

101

My last post was post number 100. I didn’t even notice.

I went to the RE today for CD7 monitoring, I have 1 follicle still on the left ovary that is 12.1. FSH is lower, *weird* E2 is about where it’s supposed to be.  It’s grown exactly 6mm in less than 5 days with a natural cycle. Which as of this morning is no longer natural. I’m on a new protocol this month, where instead of Clomid, I’ve been prescribed Tamoxifen. Which I am only familiar with as a cancer drug. Because my mother took it for 10 years, before being diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. That scared me a little, however it seems my RE has discovered that it acts (stimulates) similarly to Clomid but doesn’t thin your Endometrium or cause your LH to surge unnaturally. I monitor again on day 12 (Tuesday) to see whats happening. I imagine, since I’ve done this 10 or 11 times before, that I will trigger, and get a retrieval at some point next week if all goes well with the new meds. In 10, 11, oh who the hell knows, how many retrievals, I’ve never had a dominate follicle come from my left side. Ever. I’ve gotten a follicle or 2 from it before but they always wind up being the immature ones.

My left ovary is all wallflower-ish and under achieving. Like me in High School. Kinda. It’s the one that’s most easily visible and isn’t in a weird place like my right one, but it’s generally kind of lazy. Who else has 1 lazy ovary? How do you get it to be less lazy? Tell it, “You’re grounded until you produce a follicle?” Seriously, is there anything anyone can do to wake the lazy one up? Throw ice water on it? Poke it? What causes one to be lazy? Is there a difference in the egg quality?

Its been a busy week. Remember how I took Chinese III (Mandarin) a few months ago? We this semester I decided since I’m at home alone a lot at night, to take Honors Economics and Honors Political Science and Chinese IV, for fun. Note to self: Stop making decisions while hopped up on fertility meds or in the middle of a depression after a failed FET. Most people would avoid making decisions during times like that. Not me. Bring on some school, and some homework, and some new pencils, and SHUT THE FRONT DOOR this is expensive! Yes. I am an idiot.

My new “plan” is actually going pretty well so far. I’m avoiding the people and the “friends” and the situations that don’t add something positive to my life or my day-to-day. Instead, I’m trying to focus on friendships and classes and activities like Yoga, that make me feel better about myself. I’m also trying to avoid added stress and while the classes “might* have been counter intuitive, I have to admit it does feel good to have my brain engaged in something intellectual. Add a little more exercise and I should have a good recipe for how to better manage the outside stressors in my life.

Since I had to get a scrip filled from the Dr, I stopped at Costco this morning after my appointment. Where I got the scrip filled and decided to bring home some flowers for no other reason than because I felt like it. Usually there has to be an occasion. But not today. Today I just want to be surrounded by pretty, happy, peace and serenity, and there doesn’t have to be a reason. Right?

Confession

Confession time. I went silent or mostly silent after my friend told me that sometimes things are better kept to yourself and low-key until after the results are known. I decided she might be right. I didn’t mention it on my blog, or in any of the IVF message boards I belong to, or even the one I created. I didn’t tell my friends, I completely cut myself off. Or well, I almost did.

Friday August 10th I had a transfer of my lesser graded embryo, it was unfrozen Thursday evening, a small hole was made in the zona, and it hatched and expanded fully upgrading itself to a 6AA quality embryo. It was growing so quickly that they called me and asked me to come in early for transfer. According to my embryologist, ” it was ready to implant now!”

The transfer went smoothly, and I decided that this time:

1. I wouldn’t test before hand to find out the results. *this failed miserably*
2. I would actually take it easy during my 9 day wait, actually 10 because my 9th day was on Sunday the 19th and they are closed on Sundays.

As promised my husband refused to help me with the progesterone in oil shot. Which was mostly easy to do and I very much prefer over any of the vaginal suppositories. Until the night when I hit a vein. My bathroom looked like a crime scene, blood all over the floor, all over me all over everything. Yes my butt cheeks are bruised and sore. But I will take that over the suppositories any day. I’ve tried both kinds and for different reasons they are both equally disgusting.

I was so happy to have a rest from the Clomid, so happy to be doing something different, something that felt hopeful. I can’t begin to tell you how much relief I felt at not having to deal with an egg retrieval and just focusing on something entirely different.  I felt so relaxed for a few days. By day 2 I felt some cramping mostly on the right side, by day 3 I had implantation bleeding, which also left me happy and hopeful. Day 4 the cramps turned into pinching and continued for the next few days. By day 6 I was anxious, and by day 7 when most people begin to get positives albeit faint ones, I tested. It was negative. And devastating. I’d had so many symptoms, heartburn, gassy, sore boobs, constant “something is happening in there” feelings.

I kind of melted down at the BFN, but on Day 8 at 4:30am I got up again and tested again. Negative. Day 9 (today) negative.

I suppose that there is a snowball’s chance in hell that the beta will turn out positive, however if it is positive and the number is really low, as in too low for an HPT to detect at this point, chances are it will fail. If there is no sign of HCG in my blood tomorrow, then I was never pregnant and all these symptoms were in my head. If there is some trace of HCG in my blood tomorrow, but not enough to declare a pregnancy then what it means is the embryo probably implanted, and then died. Which indicates a chromosomal abnormality. The logical part of my brain knows that this is ok. Its better to end sooner than later. But the part of me that has had 9 egg retrievals with so little success, and been through so much over the last 10 months is sad.

My gut feeling is that it was a chemical pregnancy and I will soon be experiencing a very early miscarriage. Tomorrow I will know. If I am right, then I need it to be over and to move forward.

I guess if I had to pick a silver lining, then Id say, even though I’ve been on enough progesterone and estrogen to choke a horse and am bloated like a balloon, I’ve lost 7 pounds in the last 5 days.

I don’t have enough distance from it yet to be philosophical, hopefully it wont take me too long to get there.

Acrobats

The Chinese characters for goldfish are 金鱼. The pinyin is jīn yú and the word jīn yú rhymes with “abundant gold”.  By rhymes, I mean they are the same words with a different meaning, depending on where you put the emphasis. For years we had the traditional 50 gallon fish tank in our home, with the big white and red goldfish with raspberry heads, some big plain gold ones and usually a black one as well. Always 8 of them. Always a good number. The idea is that goldfish bring all the good things into your home. They bring in prosperity, life, abundance, happiness, good health etc. The black fish is there to symbolically collect the negative, and take it on so that it doesn’t affect or impact the family. But they are all still considered goldfish.

After many years as my husbands free time got taken with added work time, he stopped having the energy to properly care of it, so it sits in the garage waiting for the next time he wants to take on a project that will take a few hours each Sunday.

When I started IVF, I called my embryos goldfish. I’m not sure why, maybe it was because I know that goldfish are delicate creatures, who without proper care, are prone to sickness, that you can’t name them or pet them, you can only look at them swimming around and hope that the water/environment is the right balance for them. Somehow embryos seemed the same to me. Without proper care and love in the lab, they don’t survive, and sometimes even with proper care they don’t survive. With goldfish when they are happy the kind of skitter around the tank swimming through the water filter bubbles and nudging into each other. When embryos are happy, they grow, swell, divide and have lots of energy.

It’s a delicate balance that’s always shifting.

Today is a good day, because I can see myself chasing after a toddler calling “jīn yú”, or my little goldfish. It’s an old Chinese custom to call your baby after an animal so that the spirits from the netherworld don’t try to take the new soul away from you. My stepdaughter is still called “little piggy” by some of her relatives. It’s not a pejorative as it is in the US. It means she’s well taken care of, well-loved and well fed. To be clear, it’s a nickname it’s not anyone’s real name. No, I’d never name my kid goldfish. I’m probably doing it all wrong, Chinese probably only call their kids names of land animals and here I am equating a potential baby to a water animal. I’ve probably got this whole thing all wrong.

I’ve had some questions about why no egg retrieval this month. It’s because I had to have a bunch of X-Rays on my back last Friday, and today would have been egg retrieval day and it’s just not enough time between them to not be dangerous.

Cirque du Soleil is in town so I suppose I should come up with something appropriately circus-y. Its been quite a while so ok, here’s my comparison.

Lets talk about those acrobats that fly on a trapeze across great height, let go, and blindly hope, that their partner catches their wrists. That between the two of them they can hold on, finish their routine and neither of them dies. My RE *probably* says that working with me has been like that. That he hopes that, not only do we both successfully live through this venture, but that the outcome produces a child. In case you were wondering, he is the one that catches me and keeps me from falling to my death in this overly dramatic, although also kind of accurate and morbidly funny scenario. There have been times when I am positive he’s wanted to kill me. At times I’ve wanted to kill him too. But we have practiced a lot, and I’m hoping that when the time comes we can hold on. I’ve said lots before. Blind faith is something I’ve always struggled with, its not easy for me, and there is enough baggage in the reasons behind it, to fill a complete Louis Vuitton set of luggage. (Not that Id ever carry anything so pretentious)

Between Dr Yelian and Molly, I know I’m in good hands. I just need enough faith to get me through the blind spots and hope that they can catch me if I fall. If he doesn’t, well, I do have a net, with Jamie, Cindy, Dr. Paul, Suzy and a few others to catch me, but if I fall, it will be hard and it will of course be painful.
To quote my friend Bitter en Zoet from Mother Sugar, “Magical things happen at the Circus”

Not Quite

Today is day 5 of my embryo’s development. I feel like I might be jinxing myself by writing, so I considered waiting, but I promised full disclosure about my journey.

I was told this afternoon that it has passed the Morula stage and was now something called an “Early Blastocyst” which means I needs to develop some more and expand before its considered a blast worth freezing. In women under 40, more than 90% of early blasts make it to blastocyst but in women over 40 because there are more occurrences of chromosomal abnormalities, sometimes they arrest at early blast. I will know more by Thursday.

If it arrests, well ok. It was probably an alien, if it doesn’t then I’m 1 step closer!

5 more days of Provera and Estrace and then a few days before a new cycle begins.