Friday, 24 June 2011

My Infertile Life So Far - Part 2

Alright, so as I was saying... After my surgery I did IUI #4 (this one was on Valentine's Day) with Femara and Repronex - BFN.

So then I started IVF #1 - 2 weeks of downcycling with BCP.  I also started acupuncture 2x a week.  That was ok (I had never tried it before, but it's supposed to help with bloodflow).  I started taking Lupron, then stimming with Gonal F and Repronex.  I had 30+ mature follicles and they told me to take in lots of salt to avoid hyperstimulation/ electrolyte imbalance.  Retrieval day came and they got 13 mature eggs, 12 fertilized with ICSI.  On Day 3 they had 10 developing well so they said to wait until Day 5 to see what they did.  On Day 5 I had 1 early blast and the rest were cavitating morulas (almost blast) and 2 arrested.  So they transferred 2 (the blast and one morula) and kept the rest to observe 1 more day.  They froze 4 that looked good on Day 6 (2 excellent blasts, 1 early blast, 1 cavitating morula).  I started my 2 week wait, and that didn't go too well.  I was super bloated, like extreme!!  I could barely move and my stomach was puffed out and hard as a rock as if I were 3 or 4 months pregnant (annoying irony).  I was eating tons of salty stuff which was just making me sick.  The progesterone in oil shots I was taking were more painful than the other previous injections, since the oil was thick and hurt going in and created hard bubbles of oil embedded in the muscles that felt like knots under my skin.  The area was really tender and felt bruised.  I felt weird and also I was extremely constipated.  I had stabbing pains when I tried to go number 1 or number 2.  I didn't know if the pain was from my bladder or my uterus or vagina wall (from the needle used from the retrieval).  I thought maybe they stabbed my bladder when they were in there, or some other organ.  I felt like I had to pee all the time, but often when I went to the washroom nothing would come out.  Then one time going from the washroom back to the bedroom I started blacking out and had ringing in my ears.  I made it to my bed and layed still until I felt well enough to go downstairs, then I had some soya sauce and felt better.  (It was the lack of salt -- all the 30+ follicles that were releasing fluid after the retrieval were messing up my system)  I went in to the doctor's the next day, still having sharp pains in the lower pelvis area.  I was so stressed from all of this that I had a meltdown when I saw the doctor (it was a different doctor since my regular RE, Dr. PouffyHair, let's call her, was off that day.  Her alternate was Dr. Caring).  He was so nice and he told me to go ahead and take Extra Strength Tylenol so I could be more comfortable, and he had me do a urine sample.  As I was crying uncontrollably in his office, really for no reason since I had a treatment plan and he said I was going to be fine- he also kindly said that if he had been taking as many hormones as me he'd be crying too!  I was embarrassed as well because he had some sort of student doctor with his observing my meltdown.  So I went home, took the Tylenol, rested some more, and eventually went back to work.  Dr. Pouffy phoned a few days later and said that I had a bladder infection, according to my test results, and to go get some antibiotics right away and take them for 7 days.  So I did that.  My test day came and the results were... a low positive, Beta 9.  The nurse said hopefully it's a late implantation and to check again in 2 days, though it is not very likely.  She said not to get my hopes up because it's probably a non-viable pregnancy, but we will see.  So 2 days later I went for my test. 

As I waited for the results it happened to be the day we were to find out our job assignments for next year.  (This happens just once a year)  So I had a fun day wondering if I would get 2 "no's", a "No" and a "Yes", or 2 "Yes's".  I decided that the chances of getting 2 "Yes's" was very very unlikely.... but possible.  (i.e., Beta had gone up= pregnant!, Job assignment=my #1 choice!)  Getting 2 no's would really really suck! (i.e., Beta down= it's over... all that pain and $11,000 for nothing, Job assignment=crappy job that no one wants but I have experience in so they will give it to me & I'll be miserable for a year).  I decided one yes and one no would be tolerable.  If I were pregnant and got the crap job I wouldn't care because I would be gone on Mat leave for half of it anyway... and if I weren't pregnant and got the job I wanted, I could at least enjoy focusing on my job while the TTC stuff continues to suck.  I don't know why I got into all that, but as you can see I had one stressful day contemplating all this, and just powerless over the outcome.  So the results were:  Beta stayed the same (9) and I got the job assignment I wanted.  I had to go back 3 days later to do the Beta again.  The nurse said it was probably a non-viable pregnancy but since it hadn't gone down they didn't know what it meant yet.  So I went back and this time the Beta was 2.  They told me to stop my meds (progesterone in oil & estrace).  And it was over.

After that I had a very heavy AF.  My ovaries were still coming down from the IVF cycle, so Dr. Pouffy- maybe I'll just change her name to Dr. Indifferent - said I should not do anything for a cycle or two and just take some "time off".  I said I didn't really want to take time off since I was turning 39 in a few weeks, and according to the charts that are all over their waiting room in pamphlets and magazines that I have had ample time to read while waiting around, age makes a huge difference in the success of TTC of any kind, and the massive nosedive of my fertility was well underway -- each month my chances were going deeper down the tubes... Within a few short years (24-36 months) I will be at 0% no matter what ART intervention is used, and I really don't like those odds.  Especially since I have already been trying for over 6 years (about 80 months).  So she said I could do an unmedicated IUI while my ovaries came down.  (Normal ovaries are the size of almonds, and mine were the size of peaches after my IVF, and still had many unresolved cysts).

So I did IUI #5 natural cycle - BFN.

Mid-cycle IUI#5 I had a meltdown on Mother's Day.  I was kind of dreading going out with my MIL and SIL, but I thought I would be ok and do it for D, and not make a big deal of it.  MIL and SIL are nice, but I was feeling crappy about my failed 6 1/2 years of attempting motherhood.  I put on a brave face, did my hair nice, put on a nice dress & started with a cheery attitude.  That went ok until SIL's jerk 10 yr old son announced to me suddenly:  "You don't count, you know".  I said "What?"  He ran to his mother (my SIL)and said "You're not a mother, you don't count".  I was shocked at his nerve to say such a thing, and also the lack of response from SIL and MIL.  I was pretty hormonal anyway, so I felt upset, and this quickly turned into full blown crying.  FIL reminded me "come one, he's just a little kid".  But it was over, I could not go to the restaurant and act normal with that little rude brat and his enabling overprotective mother and grandmother backing him up.  I was pissed that SIL with such "laissez-faire" crappy parenting skills was able to be a mother of 2 and me with years of teaching experience had none.  I had to leave.  I went home with D who was so kind and supportive.  I know it was not fair of me to ruin his day with his mother, but he was mad at them and said I had every right to cry.  Later MIL called him and surprisingly she was offended that we thought Nephew should apologize for speaking rudely, she thought it was the other way around.  Nephew was simply doing a tally of the mothers present for Mother's Day (there were 2).  He was very "upset" by what happened.  I should apologize to him, she says.  She asked if I had had a miscarriage (like that would be the only possible excuse for freaking out like that).  He said no.  (I thought he should have said yes, since I had basically had an early miscarriage with that low positive from the IVF, and it was very upsetting)  She knows we are doing fertility treatments, and we've been trying for years, you would think she'd have a bit more compassion for fragile feelings on Mother's Day.  She's upset with D and me for not making a connection with SpoiledNephew and SpoiledNiece.  It's hard though, they throw out our gifts and are not polite, it's irksome.  My other niece and nephew (my brother's kids) were nothing like that, so every time I see these two I'm just shocked.  MIL apparently said some other stuff about me, including "Some people aren't meant to be mothers".  D was sorry that he told me this as I was very upset to know that's what she thinks of me.  Who knows what else she said that he more successfully screened from me.  Eventually I had to just apologize to her because I couldn't stand the stress of the freeze out that was lasting several weeks.  I want everyone to like me, so it was driving me nuts.  I tried to do it through D, but that totally didn't work, so I had to talk to her myself.  We both cried on the phone.  I said I was sorry for ruining her day and everyone's day.  Etc., etc., she said she knows it's hard for me and she just wants to put this behind us.  Then she went on to say: "You know, you really need to relax.  You and D should go on a vacation!"  I was grateful that she was trying to wish us well and give advice, but are you kidding me?  "Just relax?????"  Thank you!  I never thought of that before.  That's great original advice!  Still no word from SIL.  Not sure if she's indifferent or furious.  She's going through a divorce, so preoccupied. 

I went in to see what to do for the next cycle.  I got Dr. Caring again, since Dr. Indifferent was away.  I'm wondering how to switch to him as my main doctor, but I don't think it can be done.  I wonder if it's been done before...  I told Dr Caring about how I'm worried about my age and I wanted to try another IVF as soon as I can, since the age of the eggs is very important.  I have 4 frozen embryos, though.  I was wondering about scenarios in which I did the FET and it worked... then I would not be able to do another retrieval for over a year... by then I'll be over 40 and the egg quality will be much worse.  If it was a live birth pregnancy that would be ok, but what if I had some crazy molar pregnancy or a miscarriage that simply wasted my time- then when I went back to do my IVF... I'm over 40 with the old, bad eggs.  So I was saying that although I had 4 embryos, I wanted to go ahead with a fresh cycle a.s.a.p. to retrieve my current eggs for future use.  Dr. Caring said he saw my point and that it made sense, but to talk to Dr. Indifferent about it first.  So I went the next day when she came back and told her my plan and my reasons why.  She looked at me like I had 2 heads and said "that's not what we normally do here-- you have 4 frozen embryos.  Unless you want to have 70 kids or something like that we don't do a fresh cycle when you have embryos waiting.  And you might end up with twins, and you'll still have 2 embryos left for later."  I said I'm sorry but I'm just not too optomistic since we've been trying so many years, and I also don't think the embryos were that good, since it took them 6 days to develop into 5 day blasts.  She said "Well, let's try one FET and then we'll talk about a fresh transfer after that.  We'll put in the 2 best ones.  After that you will just have 2 ok ones left, so it would make more sense to do a fresh transfer at that point.  And the FET involves less hormones and is much easier on your body than a fresh cycle.  It will give your body one more month to recover from the last IVF."  So we went ahead with the FET #1 plan.  We saw Dr. Caring in the foyer and he asked what we ended up doing.  I told him the other doctor convinced us to do the FET.  He said: "Well it's 6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other.  Either way could work well.  Good luck!"

I started taking Estrace and Baby Aspirin for this cycle.  Also, Dr. Indifferent suddenly thought of doing testing of Autoimmune disorders, since I'd had a failed implantation on my IVF #1 cycle.  She said I would need to take different medication if the test came back positive.  They took 14 vials of blood for the test, and it ended up taking 3/4 of the cycle before the results came in, so I'm not sure how useful that is.  I still don't have part of the results, since it was sent to a different hospital.  It was $400 for those tests, not covered by insurance.  Right now my pregnancy test day for this cycle is tomorrow and I still don't have the results.  So I guess it will only be useful for future cycles, though the tests that were completed were negative, which I guess is good.  On June 8th I did the FET #1 with acupuncture, once again.  Afterwards I had those nasty PIO shots, but this time they didn't seem so bad, maybe since I hadn't been doing other injections for the last while, the area wasn't so tender.  I still have the bumps that are slightly painful.  I wonder if I should go to a massage therapist to try break them down a bit more. 

Meanwhile, we had our first meeting with the social worker for the adoption home study.  It was a long meeting with lots of discussion and questions.   The social worker is really nice.  I just don't know if we are good candidates for adopting.  We are not perfect, and after all this struggle with infertility we definitely want to be parents... but I fear rejection from birth moms and adoption agencies that will be all the harder after the massive fertility failures we have already experienced, it may be too much.  I think I need a bit of toughening up before I could really face the adoption obstacles without getting hurt.  For example, in the big pile of forms she left with us to complete before next time, there are lots of personal questions in a checklist format.  It just seems so overwhelming and I'm afraid of how I'll feel if we aren't successful after putting ourselves out there.
Now I'm almost done my 2ww from FET #1.  I go to test tomorrow.  I'm not hopeful and here's why:  I have had period type cramps almost every day since about 3 days after transfer.  Boo!  I have a ton of HPT that I bought cheaply on the internet (early-pregnancy-tests.com), but I am a rare TTCer that prefers not knowing rather than having my dreams crushed early.  Even though it seems hopeless with these relentless cramps, I just don't want to know until it's over.  Because then my mourning is shortened since the new cycle will be starting a few days later, instead of a torturous week.  That's my rationale, I know it is not shared by many who just have to know as soon as possible.  I find negative HPTs a real killjoy. 

So that brings me up to the present moment!!  If you have gotten through this, good for you!  I told you it was long!

Tomorrow I have to go to a barbecue and I have a real fear that I will have an uncontrolled meltdown like I did on Mother's Day.  Why?  Because everyone at the barbecue has babies, they are super proud of their babies, and they will be talking about nothing but their babies.  This equals awkward congratulations, admiration, and perhaps uncomfortable scutiny of our childless life- do we want children, are we trying, what's the deal- haven't we been married longer than everyone else there?  I will try to hold it together, but that would be easier if it wasn't on the test result day!!!!  Imagine this, I get the call - it's negative, and then I go to the barbecue and hour later with all the babies.  Or even worse, we get the call while we are at the barbecue.  Or we don't get the call at all and wonder, WTF?  So I will probably break my no testing habit and do an HPT in the morning, so I just know and have a few hours to get over it before going to the BBQ.

That's all for now!  I'm pretty sure my other posts will be shorter.  Thanks for reading!

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