Monday, February 18, 2008

a lot

We did a deep, deep clean of our house. It's kind of disconcerting, but it's definitely wonderful.

I start my new job tomorrow. Eeep!

I wrote this long, long explanation of my journey for Mel, and because I spent so much time on it I feel compelled to put it up here. So here it is. I didn't proofread this, so forgive my errors.

And remember, it's long.


We have been down multiple paths in our quest to be parents. I
believe that each step we have taken has been a logical progression,
but each step was agonizing.

We started out charting and having timed intercourse. I got pregnant.
I lost the pregnancies. After losing two pregnancies we were tested
to look for a reason and my husband was diagnosed with a balanced
translocation. The OB that called me with these results told me not
to worry about it too much. There was this really great procedure
called PGD that they could perform along with IVF and she was sure I
would be back seeing her in the summer (the diagnosis was in April)
with my happy and healthy pregnancy. That was two years ago. While I
am sure that news of my husband's translocation was a difficult one to
give, I am extremely resentful of this woman to give me such a happy
prognosis and to give me hope that things would go smoothly for us.
It did not prepare me in any way for the agony that was ahead of us.

I didn't want to do IVF. I hated the idea. Looking back now, that
seems extraordinarily silly, but that's where I was at the time. I
just wanted to make our baby the old fashioned way. We are lucky
enough to live in a mandated state, so while we were applying for
insurance coverage we tried the old fashioned way one more time and
needless to say we got pregnant and had a third miscarriage. I knew
that I would have to move on after our third loss. I was angry and I
was resistant, but I was also impatient and I wanted to do what would
give us the best chance. My husband was loathe to see me go through
another miscarriage. He hated the emotional trauma it caused me. It
hurt him to see me hurt. So IVF with PGD it was.

We did IVF with PGD three times. Even though I was able to get
pregnant pretty easily, I was an extremely poor responder to
medication. Our first IVF only produced 2 eggs. Without a
chromosomal disorder, you can hope for a miracle with 2 eggs that one
or both might fertilize and one or both might be strong and become a
baby. But when a balanced translocation is involved, only
approximately one in 8 fertilized eggs will be healthy after PGD, so
we knew it was hopeless. We went ahead with the PGD anyway and had no
embryo transfer. There was no explanation as to why I responded so
poorly. My FSH wasn't extraordinarily high. No one knew.

I clearly needed a new protocol to get more eggs. I was immediately
put on a poor responder protocol. This went smoothly without
questioning. There are poor responder protocols that work better for
some women. Everybody responds to the medications differently. We
did an antagonist protocol. This time we got 4 eggs. All fertilized,
3 made it to biopsy and none were healthy. We again had no embryo
transfer.

While 4 eggs was better, it clearly wasn't enough. I was ready to not
do IVF anymore. I knew it was futile -- I do not produce enough eggs.
The procedures are incredibly invasive and I didn't think there was a
snowball's chance in hell that this would work for us. My husband was
not ready to give up, though. He felt like it was his only chance at
having a biological child. How could I not give this chance to him?
I was very skeptical, but I had to do this last cycle for my husband.

We decided to go with a different poor responder protocol. This also
went smoothly without questioning. We simply needed more eggs if this
was to work for us. We would try anything at this point. Microdose
Lupron it was. We got 5 eggs. 3 fertilized and made it to biopsy.
One of the biopsied cells had no nucleus so its result was
inconclusive. We got a call in the car as we were driving to the
transfer. We fully expected for this transfer to be cancelled, but
there it was. An undiagnosed embryo. Should we transfer it? My
husband and I talked it over during the 10 minutes left of our drive
to the clinic. This was agony. What do we do? Risk another
miscarriage? But how could we not transfer it? What if that was our
embryo? We discussed things with the doctor once we got there. He
said it was up to us, but he saw no reason not to take the risk. What
if? So after agonizing over the decision and marveling over our bad
luck, we transferred. I didn't get pregnant.

We were out of insurance. We felt IVF was futile. I seemed to get
pregnant easily enough, but my husband's sperm was the X factor. So,
we decided to try donor sperm. We agonized over finding a donor.
Nobody was good enough because nobody was my husband. We knew we had
to choose whether personality or looks were more important. We
decided on personality. My husband wanted a computer geek donor
because my husband is a computer geek. We found a few. We read. We
discussed. We disagreed. We slept on it. We only found a couple of
appropriate donors. We whittled it down to a few. We chose. We
slept on it again. I woke up crying -- this was not the right donor
for us. I had a bad feeling about him. I didn't want to use him. My
husband said it was okay, that we didn't need to choose that donor.
We didn't know how we could find a new one because it had been nearly
impossible to find the one I decided I didn't like.

We started our search again. We expanded our criteria a little. We
found someone else. He fit. He was on the skinny side, but otherwise
he fit. We decided. I didn't cry. We slept on it. We ordered 4
vials.

We did 4 IUIs. The first one was natural. The second through fourth
we used Clomid and a trigger shot. We didn't want to risk the timing.
Donor sperm is expensive. Luckily insurance paid for the IUIs. I
didn't get pregnant.

I wasn't getting pregnant now. We thought it might be the donor. We
decided to switch donors on both our decision and our RE's advice. We
thought it would be smart. This wasn't a hard decision. Finding a
new donor was much easier this time around. I guess we were used to
the idea that the donor wasn't my husband and we were more open to
certain differences. We still needed to find a geeky guy who was good
at math. It would be nice to find someone who was a big guy like my
husband is. But we were okay with other differences. So we chose and
it was easier. We bought 4 vials again.

Our 5th IUI with Clomid and a trigger shot worked. I had taken an hpt
and it was negative on day 13, so I was sure it would be a negative.
My beta was 13. I was shocked. Second beta was 88. It more than
doubled. Third beta was 168. Not looking good. Fourth beta was 144.
It was time for my fourth miscarriage.

Now that the translocation factor had been removed, we were afraid
that there might be a female factor reason for this miscarriage. We
knew it just could be because miscarriages happen and it could be bad
luck. I'm 35. Miscarriages happen in women 35 and over pretty
frequently. But I demanded more testing and my RE agreed. We need to
make sure there's nothing going on on my end. I had the testing done
and I will get the results this week.

We are tired. We feel like we have tried everything without success.
We want to be parents. We want this whole thing to be over. I am
tired of cycling. I am just tired. We needed to start thinking about
adoption. Since my husband let go of his genetic connection a year
ago, this was not difficult for him. It was slightly more difficult
for me. I feel a little bit like it's less the genetic connection and
more about never being pregnant long enough to have a child. And I'm
afraid of not being able to choose the biology. At least with donor
gametes you get to choose the biology on some level. But I don't want
to cycle. I want a sure thing, and that's what adoption is.

We went to seminars. We are adjusting to the idea. We think we will
utilize adoption to grow our family. It is a difficult decision, but
it is one we feel is inevitable. We are still adjusting to this idea.
We are still working through this decision. But we know we will move
forward with it.

We own three more vials of donor sperm. They cost us about $1500. If
my testing comes back normal, we will use them. We may use
injectables again for a couple of cycles if our RE thinks it's
appropriate. Since I got pregnant with the Clomid last time around,
I'm not sure right now. We will consider doing IVF one more time with
donor sperm. We are unsure whether we want to do this or not. We are
still deciding. Yes, we are tired, but we need to make sure we have
done everything we can. We do not want to leave any 'what if's'
behind. We need to do everything we can.

We are still in an unstable place with these final decisions, but we
know we have no choice. Even though the choices are limitless, it
feels like the next step is prescribed. But we are close to getting
off this train and to enter an entirely new one.

The worst part of leaving ART behind and entering the adoption
rollercoaster is that you don't really get new relief. It can still
be years before you get a baby. You just leave one form of torture to
endure another.

But what can we do? We want to be parents.

6 comments:

Samantha said...

Thanks for sharing your whole story here. It can be painful to look back at all of the decisions and cycles, I'm not sure I'm going to answer Mel's question yet. But you answered it beautifully.

LIW (Lady In Waiting) said...

It was helpful to see the whole story in one piece. But I am sorry that the process has left YOU in so many pieces....

I honestly don't know what to say except that I hope that one day you can look back and realize how much you have healed from this. That you will have a baby or two that you are raising and know that it worked out ok - not right, but ok.

XOXOXO

My Reality said...

You told your story well and I think your decisions have been logical. I hope that the next decisions you are making actually bring you home a baby.

Stirrup Queen said...

I thought the way you said it was so beautiful too and placed me right in the moment--the deciding, the going to sleep, the crying. It is all still so raw.

Stirrup Queen said...

Hey--that's me (Mel) on the last one. Signed into my work gmail account. Ha--shows what I'm supposed to be doing right now...

Anonymous said...

I just went online to see if I could find any information on denial from the insurance company regarding donor sperm. I found your blogs. We have a lot of similarities and I was looking for someone to talk to. I hope you get positive test results back.