Sunday, December 12, 2010

So, that was...interesting

I am not much for talking about important issues. I can discuss logistics, but if you hit a hot spot, I'm likely to break down in tears or start yelling. The more stress I have, the faster this happens. My poor husband knows this about me, and yet every time it happens, he seems surprised. He had the great misfortune to hit my trigger last Friday. Since I know he reads my blog, maybe I can address all the issues here.

(Yes, I know I'm trying to avoid speaking with him about the issue. It's what I do.)

We spent part of October, all of November, and enough of December engaged in our first IVF cycle. It started off easily enough - I don't have issues with birth control pills. Lupron gave me some headaches, but so did the caffeine withdrawl (and that was actually worse). Steroids made me hungry, but no more hungry than usual. Although, I did notice that the combination of the steroid and the 30 Day Shred gave me some unfortunate trapezius development. Follistim was fine - whatever. Menopur apparently gave me mental blocks because the first time I was supposed to take that, I completely forgot for over an hour and then followed up the rest of the week with more forgetfulness.

My first scan went OK. The second scan...the important one where they figure out how the stims are working?...that was disappointing. Based on my stellar ovaries being above average during my initial Day 3 inspection, my doctor decreased the Follistim a little bit. Clearly, he did not realize that I am contrary. So, on the day of the second scan, I had maybe 2 potential eggs. I was given the option to forge on or to quit and go again another time.

Given that I am unable to predict the future, and I never quite know where my husband will be (he travels for work), I decided that it was now or never. So, we maxed out the Follistim for the rest of the week. Enter cramps and bloating...but at least I was fairly certain that something was happening. The next scan indicated 4 or 5 eggs, so I was on for retrieval. If there hadn't been any improvement, I was planning on going all low-tech old school and converting to plain old sex for fertilization. (OK, well, we probably would have gone for very enjoyable and loving sex.)

Now, already, the schedule was off. Retrieval was supposed to be on Dec 3 or 4, so my husband was scheduled to return to work on Dec 5. Because of the lagging development, we got pushed back to the 5th. And so I was trying to figure out how I was going to get a ride to the doctor's office and home, drop my husband at the airport, get someone to watch my daughter, all without talking about this. Fortunately, my husband was able to get his flight rescheduled...but not before telling a couple of his family members. Sigh.

December 5 was probably a lovely day - I don't really know, as I have no memory between 9 am and 2 pm. I got a nice nap in, though. I had no idea how many (if any) eggs were retrieved. Monday, I finally got the call. They had retrieved 9 eggs. Go ovaries! 7 were mature. Hurray! 1 fertilized. Um, excuse me? How did that happen? We never have a problem with fertilization? Everything after that causes problems. WTF? Either those were some seriously crappy eggs, or the embryologist was not very good at picking the good sperm. Who knows? But at least we had one! One is all it takes! Riiiight.

Wednesday was the Day 3 report. The embryo was a bit behind, but it could catch up. It was a grade 3, 4 cell embryo. At this point, I knew where things were headed, but I tried to maintain some hope. However, I was fairly certain that we had a Zombryo. A zombryo is, of course, an embryo that is neither alive nor dead but spends its time eating away at your brain. (Thanks, May, for the proper terminology - I'm not sure if that's the correct definition, but I think it should be.) So, on Friday, at the day 5 report, there was no change. And on Saturday, the last possible day that they would consider housing these poor little 4 cells (how much room do they occupy anyway? Surely you could just let them sit and see what happens, couldn't you?), there was still no change. So, that was that.

Last spring, after my last chemical pregnancy (see? Fertilized! WTF?), I had determined that I was done. We had a garage sale and sold many of my daughter's clothes. We sold lots of the equipment. Game over. And then, my daughter said, "Can I get a baby with the garage sale money?" And I said "Sure. I'm sure we could buy you a baby doll." And she said, "No, a REAL baby." And I told my husband this story, which tugged at his heart. So he and I decided to throw some money at the problem. I have insurance coverage, so the cost breakdown was not bad:

Anesthesia (should be reimbursed): $580
Sperm Analysis (might be reimbursed): $150
Drugs: ~$400
Copays: $80
Speeding ticket (because I was paying no attention to how fast I was going since my mind was occupied with the state of the zombryo): $120

(I'm fairly certain that last part was the universe giving me a giant "Fuck You.")

The less tangible costs - additional crankiness (and let me tell you, my normal irritability is hard to top!), overcoming the fear of giving myself the PIO shot (especially since a. no one told me how to do it - thanks Stirrup Queens sidebar and YouTube! and b. I already suspected it would not be necessary), and that rash that sprung up when I stopped taking the steroid. I think I'm allergic to subcutaneous injections. (This has been a problem in the past. What? You're not completely familiar with my archives? Refresher: Last time, it took about 6 weeks for the rash to form and it was only at my heparin injection sites. So I switched to Lovenox, and the rash continued. This time I went with the upper thighs instead of the stomach, on the theory that the skin might be less sensitive. Nope. Plus, pants are more irritating than shirts, in case you ever needed to know that.)

So here we are at the end of the line again...or maybe not. Maybe we'll skip the big production and go low-tech old school next month, since my husband will be home. Maybe we'll do another cycle in April, when he might be home again. I don't know where I'm going from here, because I'm conflicted. On one hand, when I talk to God, I feel like He is denying my requests for another child. But on the other hand, there was the dream...

Around the time when my husband and I were getting married, I had a dream - a brief flash of me in my sunny yellow kitchen, with my infant in his high chair and my daughter was helping me feed him. My husband breezed through and all was right with the world. It felt like that was what I was supposed to have. Now, my kitchen is definitely not yellow, and it definitely was not my actual husband in the dream (wrong hair and clothing). Yet, I still hold on to the idea that there should be one more of us in our family.

I'm not completely ready to give up, but I don't want to put my life on hold any more. Oh well, rock and hard place - I'm very familiar with your landscape. Eventually, I will wear a comfortable niche in both of you.


  1. It's hard - crushing - when your husband isn't of the same mind as you. I honestly don't know if my husband would be willing to do another cycle - and if this time doesn't succeed and he doesn't want to continue I might go it alone. I hope it doesn't get to that point for you!

  2. First of all, how did I miss this? Did you not talk about it? You couldn't have talked about it because how would I miss this.
    Secondly...sigh...I think I'm behind the rock to the left of you.
    The decision would be easier if we could just go fool around at the drive in and miss our next period.
    Sorry about the cycle.

  3. Yep - Zombryo is definitely and exactly an embryo that is neither alive nor dead, but eats a large hole in your brain. I'm sorry that's how it ended. Gah. 'Sorry' is such an inadequate word.

    (Thanks for the hint about lovenox. I'd always wondered why the big insistence on injecting it in the stomach when I have such lavish fleshy deposits elsewhere as well...)

  4. You are really good at secrets! Wow.

    Well, we are actually TTC now too, but I haven't mentioned it online. Nothing too high-tech at the moment. I just got my period though so next month we will be hitting the OPK.

    Good luck, is all I can say. Looks like the insurance is helping you out which makes things easier anyway if you decide to give it another go.

  5. What a lot you've been through, a, without even so much as a virtual rant. So sorry it went so wrong. I hate to think of the Zombryo-related torment you suffered.

    I wish you could have all you dream of.

  6. I'm really sorry and really glad. I'm sorry that the cycle was a bust, but that it was such a bad cycle too. I'm glad at the same time, because underneath the frustration and the anger and the bit of sadness, there's a tiny bit of hope.

    thinking of you - abiding.

  7. Oh I am so sorry to hear that. Maybe you can escape the rockj and hard place by swapping it for a frying pan and fire!

    Take care.

  8. Was this IVF with ICSI or just a releasing of the hounds to the egg? I have to admit that I always wondered how the lab tech knew EXACTLY which sperm to use out of the tens of thousands....something you wil have to ask about, I guess.

    Zombryo. That's a new one to me. I just called ours Pokey (a.k.a. "mouth breather").

    The male partner rarely seems to be on the same page when it comes to ART. I can't explain it well, but not too long ago, 2 years after we were officially done, my husband said he hated to watch me go through so much mental pain. It killed him inside every cycle. I would guess the more protective he is of you, the more it hurts to watch you go through this.

    I'm sorry that this one did not go the way you had hoped.

  9. Seriously come over here and let me hug you.

    Here I thought you were "just" an extremely funny, witty, interesting woman and now you have to go and show me how strong you are and all.

    I'm so sorry to hear that it didn't work out. Limbo is never a fun place to be. I am wishing and hoping and praying that things work out in 2011.

  10. I am so so sorry.

    I know how it feels to have the petri dish not turned out anything near as hoped.


  11. Well that sucked. I'm sorry it was such a crap experience, with nothing to show for it at the end except bills and a rash. Bodies. Is there no end to the wonder and mystery?

    I know that rock/hard place place of which you speak all too well, and am carving out my own niche daily. I am hoping at some point it becomes cosy enough to curl up and read a book in...

  12. I'm sorry things seem so tough with everything you're going through.
    I'll say a prayer that you can find your dream, & all you deserve :-)

  13. I totally understand where you're coming from. I had a brief flash a couple of years ago when we were buying our dining room table of kids doing homework at it and it has stuck with me every since.

    I know the IVF process is brutal, but you may regret it if you don't give it another go. Whatever you do will be the right decision though, I'm sure of it. Just my two cents.

  14. Gah. What a horrible rotten no-good cycle, right through the speeding ticket.

    Sigh. Abiding with you.

  15. Big ((HUGS)) AYKM, wish I could make this all better.
    Thinking of you with <3.

  16. Oh A:

    I am so sorry this has happened to you and your cycle.

    You describe the ttc landscape so well! Rocky for so many. There's also the atmosphere: forget zero gravity, its zero logic....why so many eggs and poor fertilization this time? We are left pondering so many unanswerable questions while at the same time trying to find the strength to make that decision on whether to go on or go home....yes, downtown Hard Place.

    Best wishes in recovering from this cycle.

    LS x

  17. Wow - "interesting" doesn't even begin to describe it. So sorry for the craptastic cycle.

  18. I don't miss those days. I hope you find peace with your decision.