Thursday, June 11, 2015

My Fellow Travelers...

I came out.  All out.

Back in October 2013, I posted about all of our losses on Facebook since it was "Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month".  People were sweet.  People felt sorry for me.  Plenty of people didn't understand that I said I lost THREE babies.  Plenty of people didn't understand how unusual it is to lose three in a row.

Recently, in April 2015, I PUT IT ALL OUT THERE in honor of "Infertility Awareness Week."  Everything.  It was the longest Facebook post I have ever posted.  So long that I had to figure out what the character limit was.  The responses touched me deeply.  I still tear up thinking about them and actually cry when I re-read them.  Good tears.

One of my favorite responses was from another former infertile.  In my post I mentioned that I finally found a group of women with similar challenges which is incredibly rare given my diagnosis.  She said:

"I've always been in awe of you and your strength. I'm glad to hear that the world has shown you a group of fellow travelers in this minority of minority spheres in which you find yourself. May you get to your goal of being a Mama! Sending love and wishes."

I'm in the minority of the minority of the minority.  Her response made me realize how lucky I am to have found this particular group of ladies, my fellow travelers.

Dear Fellow Travelers,
I am sorry we had to meet under these circumstances.  We have so much in common, medically speaking.  We have the similar challenges and similar diagnoses.  We have the same hopes and dreams.  We have the same doubts and worry.  

While it stinks to be in THIS together, at least we have one another.  

It's taken me four years to find you but I am forever grateful we have this lovely virtual relationship.  Together we can pick someone up when they are having a bad day and know that in the future you will do the same.

I appreciate you.  I appreciate your time.  I appreciate your willingness to lend an ear and offer your experiences, diagnosis & treatment plan.

Most importantly, I appreciate your companionship on this arduous trip in which we find ourselves.  

My hope for all of you is that the destination is worth the long road we have taken to get there.  Hopefully we do not lose ourselves along the way.

With love, gratitude & hope,

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Reflecting on ANOTHER failed IVF Cycle

I've written about this before, here.

Unfortunately, I'm writing about it again because I am not pregnant.  I'm sad.  Sadder than last time.

This time we had fewer eggs than expected (empty follicles? what?!), of poorer quality at the 3 day transfer mark (6 cells vs. 8 cells), and nothing left over to freeze (booooo).  It feels like this IVF cycle was a complete bust even though I had high hopes going into it because it was our first cycle using our new immune protocol.  The immune protocol included:
  • IVIG infusion. Three weeks before the Egg Retrieval
  • Lovenox.  Beginning on the 1st day of stims and through the two week wait.  That's a LOT of shots.
  • Baby Aspirin.  Beginning on CD1
My husband has taken this failure harder than me.  Until now he has been quite stoic about all of this and has remained very outwardly strong for my sake.  He's now at the point where he can no longer be stoic and that breaks my heart.  In my mind, he has started to consider that this may never work and that kills me.

The two of us have always approached all of our challenges very differently.  I'm more of a long term planner and worst case scenario person whereas he is the optimist that can only think ahead one step at a time.  While there is nothing wrong with our different survival techniques, it does make it difficult to talk about constructively.

He isn't ready to think about and discuss the "what if this doesn't work scenarios" whereas I would like to have the conversation so I can look ahead when my, always TTC preoccupied, mind is in a downward spiral.  Do you know what I mean?  Can you relate to that mentality?

As far as I am concerned we have four options:  1. Another IVF cycle (we have 4 more tries through insurance).  2. Surrogacy/gestational carrier (husband is "not a fan").  3. Adoption (I've changed my mind on this and husband isn't ready to discuss it aside from "this is a daunting process").  4.  Move on with life (live life without kid(s).  Not sure I'm up for that).

Because we have only given this immune protocol ONE try, under less than ideal circumstances, we feel like we need to give it another try.  I would like to do another fresh IVF cycle and try to add a few more controls in order to optimize our chances of success with the immune protocol.

Here is the new plan:
  1. Fresh IVF cycle with whatever protocol my RE feels we should try next
  2. FREEZE ALL embryos that make it to Day 5 (roll the dice and take our chances on them making it to freeze.  I do NOT want anymore Day 3 transfers.  I didn't want the last one and in a way this freeze all approach will ensure that my next transfer will not be a Day 3 either
  3. Let my body recover after the Fresh IVF cycle (right now my TSH is spiked from the fertility meds - not ideal
  4. IVIG infusion appropriately timed for an FET cycle
  5. NATURAL FET cycle.  No estrogen, no trigger shot.  Just transfer the blast(s) 5 days after I have naturally ovulated
  6. Transfer 5-Day Blast(s).  One or two depending on the recommendation of my Reproductive Immunologist.  I am asking their opinion this time too.
Unfortunately, my WTF/Follow Up appointment with my RE is not until July 16!!!!!  By then I will have been at least one week into my next cycle.  This means that it there will be a 2 month break between IVF cycles.  An IVF cycles are typically two months long so that's 4 whole months between IVF cycles.  That sucks for many reasons:  I'm not getting any younger (I'm 35, 36 in December), I'd like to move forward and be pregnant or not/adopt or not before another 4 long years go by.  Like seriously.  It took us a whole year from IVF #1 to IVF #2 and I just cannot keep doing this to myself indefinitely.  Like seriously. 

So this is what I'm going to propose to my RE office: 
Fine, I'll wait for my appt on July 16 but I want to start my next IVF cycle protocol, whatever that may be, BEFORE the freaking appointment.  Hopefully I am successful.  Fingers crossed.

On a side note/sad note, I had a terrible dream that I had my IVF follow up appointment and my RE cut me loose and was giving up on me.  She literally turned me away and said she wasn't going to help me anymore.  How awful would that be? (cry face)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

9dp3dt / 12 dpo

The tears have started.  Another negative test.  I've given up all hope but am still taking my meds, for now.  I think I'll stop the meds Friday evening even though Beta is Monday.  I swear, my clinic has the longest beta dates I have ever heard of.  Beta on 17 DPO?  Are you kidding me?!  

What's next?  A conversation with my husband about what we should do.  Oh the my favorite - the WTF appointment with my RE.  Fun times :(

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

8dp3dt / 11 dpo

Well, I woke up to a temperature drop this morning.  I couldn't help but think that I would get my period today even though I am on Crinone.  I think that's happened before but it's not too common for me.  I guess I'll have to stalk my previous charts.

I also foolishly thought "oh, this could be an implantation dip."  In the back of my mind I know that isn't true but this is me trying to be optimistic.

So I took a pregnancy test.  It's negative, of course.

I'm not surprised, really.  I haven't had many symptoms after transfer.  

This is our third transfer.  To date we have put back 6 embryos and have never gotten pregnant.

What is going on?  In 2011 I was getting pregnant with the drop of a hat and now NOTHING?!

To say that this is frustrating isn't quite right.  It's sadness.  My body has just become so resistant to a pregnancy,even with the addition of blood thinners and an IVIG infusion.

The million dollar question is "where do we go from here?"

Where indeed.

Monday, June 1, 2015

7dp3dt / 10 dpo

I'm 7 days past our 3 day transfer and I'm feeling a tad more hopeful than I have even in the last couple of days.

Why?  Because I've been having slight cervix cramps on and off over the last few days.  At first I thought I was overthinking it and imagining phantom cervical cramps but today I've had more of them, and more frequently, than before.  

This symptom is remarkable for me because I never have cramping and I mean NEVER.

Maybe this is implantation?  Maybe this is working?  Maybe this is just a result of my egg retrieval procedure over a week ago?  Who knows... I guess I will have to look back at my last IVF cycle to compare.  

Symptom spotting is in full swing over here.  

I've decided to begin testing tomorrow.  I will be 8dp3dt or 11dpo.  I'll be testing at home on 11dpo until beta which is on 17 dpo (Monday, June 8).  

My fingers are crossed now.  I am hopeful that our 6-cell embryos are still going strong.  Grow.  GROW.  GROW!