Seeking one good egg

It’s always nice to get your post-IUI period on the same day that your neighbor asks you to watch their baby, so that you and your husband and your soon-to-be-four-year old (who incidentally has invented 3 imaginary babies for himself, as well as an imaginary brother and sister, and who sweetly and innocently asks you from time to time “when are we going to have a baby, Mommy?”) briefly experience what your life could be if your eggs weren’t such shit.

When we got the baby up, my son was so doting – hugging and kissing him, wanting me to hold both of them, and then wrapping his arms around all of us with such unbridled joy. He wanted to feed the baby, carefully and diligently holding the little veggie fruit pouch and pushing the food into the baby’s mouth. He wanted to hug him, and do things for him, and show him toys. And then we all sat around the table together, the four of us, eating dinner, watching the baby eat, laughing as he made a mess in his high chair. My husband turned to me, sad eyed, and said “This is one for your blog.”

It’s heartbreaking to not have control over leading the life you most desperately want to lead. I constantly remind myself of how lucky we are. I don’t take having the one child that we do have for granted because I know how hard we struggled for him. And yet…my heart wants what it wants. Sometimes I feel greedy to want more when I know people who are struggling for their first child. Sometimes I think my life would be so much easier if I would give up on my goals (having another child, publishing a book). I could just go to work, and come home, and live life, and chill.

Except that’s just not who I am. I could chill for, like, a day. And then I’d need a project and something to strive for.

Needless to say, we are on our second post-IVF IUI cycle (did that make any sense?). In fact I am sitting in the doctor’s office (as an aside, no AC up in this place? Not even a window unit? In NYC?? What the…?) waiting for blood work as I type this. Likely it will happen this weekend. Am I just throwing cash down the toilet at this point? I don’t know. Maybe. We’re just listening to our doctor’s advice. It’s all we can do.

I just need one good egg, that’s what my doctor says, that’s what I keep telling myself. Is it in there? My doctor thinks so. Will I find it? I pray that I do, I don’t know if I will.

In the mean time I’m doing the Whole 30 elimination diet this month (currently day 9!) to clean out my system and have control over something. No sugar, alcohol, dairy, peanut butter, or grains while in the midst of fertility treatments? Am I insane?? Actually, I’m hoping it helps, though that’s not even the point to be honest. I have finally reached a place where I want to do good things for me and not just my fertility. That feels like growth.

That said, I still want that one goddamn good egg.

Google Searches of the Infertile and Desperate

How many rounds of IUI till it worked

How many rounds of IVF till it worked

How many rounds of IVF till it worked 38 years

How many rounds of IVF till it worked egg quality issues 38 years

Post IVF transfer tips

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IUI success after failed IVF

 

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day with Bill Murray is a) incredibly re-watchable, b) entirely underrated, and c) definitely one of my favorite movies. I mean, fine, it’s no 8 1/2 by Fellini, but that doesn’t mean its not a damn good flick.

But I digress. My point here is that I’ve been thinking about that movie lately when it comes to infertility because my life has very much come to feel like Groundhog Day. Another day, another doctor’s visit, another round of meds, another astronomical bill paid on my credit card. And repeat. Again, and again, and again. I’ve felt stuck in this loop for so long that it’s hard to imagine that there’s actually an end in sight, or a way out that doesn’t involve just giving up.

There’s the general sense of defeat.

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There’s the stuffing your face with junk food, because who cares.

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There’s the fuck everything I’m just gonna drink alcohol/consume caffeine/abandon full-fat dairy/exercise all out (such a rebel in this infertility world!) because fuck them they can’t control me.

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And then there’s giving people the real answer when they ask how you’re doing.

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Yep. Pretty much my life at the moment.

Doctor, doctor, what should I do?

I feel like I have a codependent relationship with my reproductive endocrinologist. Every time we get the bad news that another cycle has failed, I immediately want to speak to her. Which I think is normal. But its like I feel like she’s my oracle, or my own personal crystal ball. Like she holds our future and the answers in her hand. When in fact she’s just a scientist trying her hardest.

I go to Cornell, considered one of the best places in the country, or so I’m told. And I really do like my doctor – and the other doctors there as well. And I feel like I need to trust their opinions, they’re the experts after all. If she told me I have no chance of getting pregnant with my own eggs, I’d grieve but accept the reality. And in some weird way I almost wish she would say this, because it would be a clear answer.

But that’s not what she’s telling me, even after this last 5th failed IVF cycle/transfer.

What she’s telling me is that she still believes we can have another child that is genetically both of ours. What she’s telling me is that she wants to go back to IUI, even though we did that 3 times before moving onto IVF, because maybe “I’m one of those women who only gets pregnant through IUI” (we got pregnant twice this way; the first time resulted in a miscarriage, the second in my son). What she’s telling me is that she also wants to go back to to the entire board in the mean time and present my case again and get their input, though she expects them to have similar opinions. What she’s telling me is that if 2 rounds of IUI don’t work maybe we should consider another cycle of IVF with co-culture and genetic testing.

I asked about donor eggs, which she has never brought up. She says this is a quick answer to a complicated scenario, and she wouldn’t stop us if we wanted to go that route, but it’s clearly not her recommendation, and she keeps saying she thinks we can still have a child using my eggs.

Which is obviously my preference. But if it’s between having a child and not, I’d choose having one and go to the next option on the list; donor eggs.

I don’t know what to do with all of this. I don’t think she’s someone who just tells you what you want to hear. She’s pragmatic, straight forward. And if I’m saying I want to trust my doctors, and let them guide the next course of action, what she’s saying is she thinks we should stay the course.

But of course its not her body, or her money, or her grief-stricken heart. She’s not the one who has to dig herself out of a hole of grief every time THE call comes. Who has to constantly reevaluate her own life and all the things she thought she wanted. And sometimes, which I’m feeling cynical, I wonder if I’m just a puzzle to solve, the hard case that she is goddamn well going to crack.

Has anyone else out there been in a similar situation?

I don’t mean that rhetorically – obviously people have – I mean that literally; has anyone out there reading this right now dealt with something similar? I’m at such a loss as to how to proceed, what to think, what to do. I keep praying “let go and let god” (and I’m not really religious) because I can’t think what else to do.

If you can relate, I’d love to hear from you.

 

5th strike and you’re out

The call came. It was negative.

I am in numbed shock. Part of me really did think this would be the time. It was our 5th and 6th egg retrievals combined, and our 5th transfer. We transferred 4 embryos. I didn’t have any spotting. And still nothing.

I’ve been praying to god over the past hour – and I’m not even really religious – because I just need help and guidance. I’m lost and don’t know what to do anymore. Where is the line between persistence and stupidity? Is this just not meant to be? Do I have the life I am already meant to have? Should I stop expecting/asking for more and be grateful for what I have? Or do I keep going? Do I do more treatments? Do I move on to donor eggs? My doctor has never mentioned it, telling us she really believes we can get pregnant, but it’s not happening. And not happening. And not happening. And not happening.

I stocked up on junk food this morning for the impending shit storm, and I don’t even want to eat it. And I don’t feel like getting drunk. Maybe I will later, but right now I just want an answer from god. Some kind of divine intervention to tell me what to do, whatever that is. If it’s give up, I’ll give up. If it’s keep going, I’ll keep going. I’m so tired of trying to control things on my own, I just want someone else to step in and tell me what to do. So god, if you’re out there, can you just give me a sign?

Waiting for THE call and more negative news

Today’s the day. I am literally typing this in the lobby of my doctor’s office as I wait to go in to do the blood work to see what the results of our transfer are. Do you see how I very carefully avoided the P word in that sentence? That was totally unconscious but very telling of my mental state.

I’m nervous. My stomach feels jittery. And I hate that I got optimistic this time around. I hate that a part of me is really hopeful that it will be good news. That feels naive and stupid, and I feel like it will be embarrassing when the nurse calls with bad news to have once again set myself up like that. But there it is.

I’ve tried my best to prepare myself for more bad news (which frankly is totally impossible). Here’s my list:

  • Filled the two week wait with fun activities
  • Avoided peeing on a stick (which was really a lot of growth on the whole letting go of control front!) so that I could just enjoy a few more days of my current life before despair sinks in
  • Pre-ordered a book by one of my favorite YA authors, which in a perfect stroke of luck arrives tomorrow
  • Did yoga both days this past weekend to try and stay zen
  • Told my manager I needed to work from home today (I have learned the hard way to never actually go into the office on the day of THE call)
  • Made plans to volunteer in my son’s preschool classroom this morning, so that I can remind myself of how fucking lucky I already am
  • Made plans to see a screening of David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive this Friday with a friend so that I’d have something to look forward to
  • Downloaded the latest episode of Matt and Doree’s Eggcelent Adventure to listen to on the train ride home from the doctor (do you listen to this IVF/infertility podcast? It is wonderful!)
  • Made sure there is wine on hand
  • Made sure there is chocolate on hand
  • Mentally picked out what I’m going to buy for myself online in my post-bad-news fugue state
  • Mentally picked out the international travel I’m going to start planning (hello, Amsterdam and Iceland)

So there you have it. I know it won’t help, but its all I can do. This whole process is a real mind fuck – or, as I told my husband last night, a whole lot of bullshit fuckery. Deep breaths, and I’ll see you all on the other side.