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.

Treat yourself to the Two Week Wait Cocktail!

Ladies, you’ve been through a lot. You’ve had your veins punctured, your uterine lining examined, your fallopian tubes possibly shot up with blue dye, your ovaries probed with a giant “wand.” You’ve had your eggs harvested and then sucked out of your body via a giant needle stabbed through your womb. You’ve been injected with hormones, forced to publicly declare that you’re “full flow,” subjected to never ending calls with your insurance company, and repeatedly financially gouged. Not to mention all the time – my GOD the time! – spent waiting for phone calls, or for the start of cycles, or for test results, or spent sitting in a doctor’s/hospital’s office/lobby, sometimes in a paper-thin gown & robe sans bra amongst a room full of rando husbands.

Aren’t you due for a little r&r? A little me time? A little treat? Well have I got the thing for you! Introducing The Two-Week Wait, aka The Implanted Egg, aka The Womb Swizzler.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup bone broth (beef or chicken, your choice!)
  • 1 slice pineapple core
  • 1 ml progesterone oil
  • 1 pre-natal vitamin
  • 1 fish oil capsule
  • 1 rose hips capsule
  • 1 baby aspirin
  • 2 estrogen patches

DIRECTIONS

  1. Warm the bone broth
  2. Crush pre-natal vitamin, baby aspirin, fish oil capsule, and rose hips capsule
  3. Mix with progesterone oil
  4. Add mixture to bone broth, stir well
  5. Add pineapple core, making sure the pineapple is fully submerged and soaks up all that bone broth mixture goodness
  6. Garnish with estrogen patches

Now kick back and relax and enjoy your cocktail while listening to your post-transfer daily affirmations! Repeat after me, my uterus is strong and supple…

(Warning: cocktail may induce gagging, nausea, diarrhea, irritability, breast pain, stomach cramps, skin irritation, bloating, acne, dizziness, joint pain, mild headaches, hot flashes, and yes, wild mood swings.)

Transfer #5, here we come

30-Rock.gif

Today’s the big day – our 5th transfer, this time a frozen embryo transfer. As I write this I am waiting for the call from the doctor’s office confirming that we’re doing day 3 (today) versus day 5 (Friday – which is unlikely. We’ve always done day 3 because according to my doctor my embryos dislike the petri dish, which apparently is a whole thing and has nothing to do with quality. So what, they’re like classy? Looking around that petri dish all like, meh. Side note, I’ve noticed that I have a pavlovian response to my phone vibrating when I’m waiting for the doctor or nurse to call wherein dread floods my system, like my body is primed for more bad news).

I am trying not to be nervous, but of course I’m nervous as all get out. I HATE the two week wait. While all the other pre-retrieval and/or transfer shit is awful you at least feel proactive. During the two week wait you’re just…waiting.

But I’ve got my check list for today, which includes:

  • No work (thank you sick days)
  • Light exercise to get the blood flowing and relieve stress (done)
  • Pre-transfer acupuncture (done)
  • Hypnotherapy downloads on my phone to listen to while I lay there directly after the transfer
  • Post-transfer acupuncture appointment
  • Pineapple waiting to be cut up so I can eat that frickin core
  • Bone broth, to be purchased later by my lovely husband
  • Loads of funny Netflix shows (and yes I may or may not have been rewatching Gilmore Girls Season 1 Episode 15 “Christopher Returns” this morning)

Here’s to one those little fuckers getting their shit together and actually implanting in my “perfect” uterine lining. Sorry guys, I had to brag about my uterine lining because when do you ever hear “perfect” in this infertility game?