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I don’t have time to write much right now, but I just wanted to say – WE HAVE A FROSTY! One of our embryos made it to freeze. That’s never happened to me before! It’s huge, because it takes the pressure off this cycle a teeny, tiny little bit – just having one guy in reserve. I’m also hoping it bodes well for the two embies we transferred. Hopefully, (fingers crossed, knock on wood, salt over the shoulder, etc.) these guys like to hang around. Getting that letter from the clinic today really made my day. I feel like I caught a wave that I can hopefully ride a little closer to beta day.
Also, J had a dream that we had two tiny, grey, newborn puppies in our bed with us. He said they were so tiny that their eyes were still closed and they were just sleeping all the time. Then time passed and the puppies were older and cavorting around the bed. One of them went missing, and J had to search for it with his flashlight (he’s such a guy). It’s just so sweet that he had that dream. It makes my heart hurt. He’s going to be such an amazing, loving father.
Hoping, hoping, hoping SO hard.
PS: Thanks so much for all the advice about getting me through this 2ww with my head intact!
Ok, I began writing this post as a detailed run-down on what happened today at transfer, but I’m not really interested in that right now. To sum up, we did a 3 day transfer of two stunning embryos – one 8 cell and one 7 cell. The embryologist said they both look beautiful (I’m deciding that the 7 cell slacker has caught up to 8 cells by now, because he’s so relaxed and comfy in my ‘robust’ uterine lining). I see tiny bubbles around one of them, but what do I know; I’m not an embryologist. The embryology lab is watching our other ones to see if any of them can make it to freeze. I’m not holding my breath. They did say they have about a 66% success rate with donor cycles at my clinic, so I’m desperately holding onto that.
What I’d much rather focus on is how to get through the next two weeks with my (and by extension my husband’s) sanity. The problem is that after having had SO many failed cycles, there’s a huge part of me that believes I’m just doomed to be unlucky with this whole getting pregnant thing. I need some serious strategies in place, and I need all your help. To make this challenge even tougher, I work from home and have no actual plan to see anyone (other than my therapist, once) or do anything in particular for those two weeks. I have some work to do, but I’m the only one driving that – no one will be breathing down my neck or checking in – and none of it is urgent. I could have entire days of pajama clad despondency if the mood takes me. Sounds deadly, right? At least I’ve sworn off googling IVF and pregnancy related topics (yes, I’m sticking to that one, Tweeps). But that sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn’t it?
In many ways, this 2ww is going to be tougher than my previous ones. The first one was a serious long-shot, because we had such crap embryos. It was hard, but the real pain was mostly just quick and brutal at the day of transfer. The BFN wasn’t really a huge surprise. I’m not going to go through all my many 2ww’s and BFNs, because that’s too boring and kind of a bummer…but this wait is especially tough because:
1. We spent so much money on this donor cycle that it’s pretty huge if it doesn’t work AND we have no frozen embryos for another transfer.
2. If I can’t get pregnant even with donor eggs I’m afraid that it’s going to be REALLY hard for me not to believe that it’s just impossible to impregnate me.
3. My beta is 2 days before my 39th birthday. I just don’t know that I have it in me to not have a TOTAL meltdown on that day if we get a BFN, and that would be really tough on DH. I don’t want him to have to deal with that, because he’s a really good guy and it would kind of break his heart.
The stakes are just SO high. I need a plan. I want to focus on what’s going to distract me, make me laugh, and pass the time.
Currently, it’s actually helpful referring to the embies as buddies of mine who are hanging out with me, doing whatever I’m doing. The Embies and I want something funny to watch on TV. The Embies and I think we deserve some more milk and cookies. The Embies and I got bored with “No Strings Attached” two-thirds of the way through. Hey, I know it’s lame, but it’s kinda actually helping.
Any other mind tricks, games, distractions, super funny shows, etc. that have helped you guys. Send ’em my way. I could reorganize my sock drawer again, but that doesn’t eat up that much time. I need help. Seriously.
So, I initially told the nurses at my clinic that, to avoid unnecessary anxiety, I wanted only general updates about the donor’s progress. No follicle counts necessary. Of course, the first nurse who called (not surprisingly, Nurse Dumb Ass from my previous post) ignored that note in my file and gave me follicle numbers. There were 14. When a different nurse called after the next ultrasound, she didn’t give me a total, but it seemed about the same. She said it was looking very good.
I wouldn’t have thought to ask for no egg retrieval numbers, however. And that’s what caused the biggest, stomach -in-your-mouth dip. They ended up retrieving 32 eggs, which seemed crazy large – especially since that’s more than double the initial follicle counts. So, there I was thinking that we had a ton of eggs, a nice, safe cushion. For that half of a day I felt blissfully secure for once. I should know by now, as an IVF veteran, that the IVF gods don’t like you to feel secure. They see you relax and that’s when they zap ya.
Today I got the fertilization report. Of the 32, 29 were mature, but of those 29 only 10 fertilized. Since I had repeated fertilization problems with my own eggs (retrieving 7-9 usually, and 1-4 fertilizing) a surprisingly low fertilization report was really not what my fragile peace of mind needed. Dh’s sperm had been tested, so what the fuck? I was in a bad way just after getting that call – trying to make sense of it, imagining that there was another underlying problem that was going to doom the 10 embryos we have, etc. Dh said he wasn’t going to let me off the phone until I popped a valium. So I did.
The thing is, if they had just said things were going well during the cycle – no other information – and then told me that we had 10 embryos – or even waited until transfer day to tell me how many of whatever grade we actually had – I’d be skipping all this angst. What good does all that information do? Why do I need to know the number of eggs retrieved, since that doesn’t have anything to do with the amount of healthy embryos we end up with? If there’s nothing you can do about it, the more you can be in blissful, hopeful ignorance the better, in my opinion (especially after having weathered 4 IVFs and part of a DEIVF). I guess clinics give us all that information because we’re paying customers, and we need to know they’re doing their job, but I seriously think it does more harm than good. I only know that 10 out of 29 eggs fertilized. I don’t know any of the details about those eggs. I don’t know if they were just harvesting those new eggs as a long-shot, but that the initial 14 were more likely to do well. I only know enough to make myself miserable.
Hopefully all those extra eggs were just no-good latecomers who popped up to crash my good eggs’ party. If I focus back on the initial 14 follicle count, 10 embryos aren’t too bad. I’m just praying that we have some good, healthy ones in there. I’m hoping hard that we have two blasts to transfer and a few healthy embryos to freeze. But I’ll take any combination that gives me a baby. Please, please, please. I want off this fucking roller coaster.
Ok, so there are two distinct voices in my head these days. One is hopeful and excited about this cycle, and the other is wounded, jaded, and guarded because of the repeated failures of the past several years. For awhile the negative one (let’s call her Nelly) was laying low. The positive one, Penny, was blithely daydreaming and happily counting the days until transfer. Now, not surprisingly, as we get closer to crucial days in the cycle, Nelly is acting up (the little bitch).
This is what they’re saying:
Penny: There really is no reason why this DEIVF won’t work. The problem was with was my eggs, and we’re not using them anymore.
Nelly: Yeah, well, you can think that. There wasn’t any reason to think an IUI wouldn’t work at the time, was there? Or the first couple of IVFs? Then, SURPRISE! Suddenly you find out your eggs are crap. Who woulda thought, right? You weren’t even that old when you started ttc. Who knows, there might be some other awful thing YOU JUST DON’T KNOW! It might even be completely outside the ability of reproductive science to test for.
Penny: But everything else has checked out fine, and they’ve been pretty damn thorough. I’ve had multiple hysteroscopies and sonohysterosalpingograms (or whatever they’re called) PLUS TWO endometrial biopsies, for God’s sake! My uterus has always looked great and developed a beautiful lining.
Nelly: Yeah, that’s true…But hey, what about DH’s sperm? They THINK it looks fine, and he had that SCSA thingie done, but they don’t REALLY know how to test sperm completely, do they? Maybe there’s something wrong there that they don’t even have the capacity to understand yet? You just never know. I’m just trying to protect you from disappointment. It’s important to keep these things in mind.
Penny: But we had hope before and our odds of success were WAY lower than they are now. Maybe even only 10%. Now, with a PROVEN donor who also has her own baby, we have way more reason to hope. It’s almost SILLY not to be hopeful. Maybe the odds are OVER 60% with a donor like we have.
Nelly: You know it doesn’t work that way. There’s a 50/50 chance they’ll not stick NO MATTER WHAT. It’s simply misguided thinking to hang your hat on irrelevant information. It could JUST NOT WORK, and you might never know why. It may be that 10 to 20 years down the line they’ll have the scientific knowledge for real answers, but it’ll be too late for you.
Penny: But, I’ve paid my dues and put in my time. It’s my turn. It’s gotta work now. I deserve for it to work this time.
Nelly: You poor, irrational thing! You know by now, don’t you, that there isn’t any kind of cosmic justice? You’ve seen how other women have suffered repeatedly – good women who’ve done their best and struggled hard – women who you’d think would have suffered fuckin’ enough already and who DESERVED to finally have their baby. There is no “DESERVE” when it comes to ttc. It’s all randomness. And sometimes randomness can be cruel.
Penny: Well, fuck you! I’m going to choose to be hopeful, anyway! I’ll deal with the pain and disappointment at the time if it doesn’t work. We’ll likely have some embryos frozen, anyway, so even if this transfer doesn’t work, we can easily and cheaply do another transfer. It’s SUPER unlikely that I won’t be pregnant after two transfers. And that can happen without too much delay.
Nelly: Hmmm, I dunno. It seems like odd, surprising things have popped up in your ttc history. I wouldn’t count on having anything to freeze. You’ve just had very bad luck, so it’s risky to hope for anything like that. And you know, your donor might get in a car accident and not even be able to come do the retrieval at all.
Penny: You’re just SEARCHING for things to worry about, now! Why shouldn’t I focus on the positive, be happy, excited, and optimistic until there’s real, concrete reason NOT to? I don’t have to be miserable ahead of time! What good does it do me? Why draw out the pain and suffering?
Nelly: Well…ok, go ahead. It seems pretty risky to me, though. I just don’t want you to be devastated.