Insert crushed heart emoji here.
Our beta is on Valentine’s day and though we aren’t huge on celebrating holidays we do plan to go to a friends house that night for a dinner party. So I didn’t want sadness from the beta to overshadow our evening. I went ahead and tested today as we are currently 7dp3dt (about 10dpo) and I figured the likelihood that the test would be positive if I am in fact pregnant is reasonably high today. Well, it was stark white just like every other pregnancy test I’ve ever taken. I mean, my uterus has one job: grow a damn baby. We have basically taken out every barrier and put the embryo on a proverbial silver platter and still, no dice. I feel so frustrated. A whole year of trying, and nothing. IVF and nothing. So defeated today. We have 2 frozen embryos left, so one more transfer of 2 poor quality embryos and then I don’t know.
I think the best way to discuss the happenings of the last few days would be to play peaks and valleys.
3 Days ago
- Peak: 8 eggs retrieved, minimal pain from the retrieval
- Valley: the shuttle from the hotel didn’t come to pick us up after the retrieval (hungry, sore, waking up from anesthesia– nice) for almost 2 hours so we ended up taking a Lyft.
2 days ago
- Peak: I feel pretty great after retrieval, no issues
- Valley: None of our eggs fertilized– total fertilization failure. Embryology will call us tomorrow with an update. Cue crushing despair and sadness.
- Peak: K says she is willing to do reciprocal and as luck would have it, she has just started her period. We make plans to schedule a monitoring appointment for tomorrow
- Valley: I buy new jeans and discover I’ve gone up 2 sizes. Willpower is gone: eat all the food.
- Peak: One egg finally fertilized, we have a 4 cell embryo! Transfer is scheduled for tomorrow
- Valley: It’s fragmented and looks “abnormal.” Embryology isn’t sure if it will continue to grow. “We’ll call you and let you know tomorrow.” Sadness intensifies with a small glimmer of hope.
- Peak: K gets her blood drawn without issues (she hates needles). Start to feel excited about potentially carrying a baby with her genes. Imagine how adorable our child will be.
- Valley: K has a fibroid. It’s blocking the view of her left ovary completely and obstructing the view of her right significantly. But wait, there’s more: No guarantees that a retrieval would be possible from her left ovary unless the fibroid is removed. Recovery time for fibroid removal: 2-3 months. Laugh at the sheer ludicrousness of it all. Fall deeper into despair and sadness.
- Valley: No call from embryology. Cue anxiety and sinking hope. Go to transfer appointment anyways. Expect to be turned away because the pokey embryo gave out overnight.
- Peak: Update on our lonely embryo while waiting in the lobby. “Oh, I’ll have the embryologist come talk to you, I think you have 4.” Eh, what?!?! Confirmation: WE HAVE 4 EMBRYOS!!!! Our pokey embryo made it AND 3 more grew overnight!!
- Peak: We transferred 2 embryos and froze 2. We had embryos to freeze, y’all!!!
- Valley: None. 😀
I seriously can’t believe it. I had no idea this could even happen! I thought for sure we were going home empty handed. We have been taken to such heights and dropped to such lows. I feel emotionally weary but hopeful.
Beta is on Valentines day– pretty much a year to the day that we did our very first insemination. I can’t let my hope run away but damn, how sweet would that be?
Retrieval was yesterday. I’ve spent the last 6 weeks stabbing myself with needles and getting PTSD flashbacks of the absolute horror and mindfuck of being completely blindsighted with an MS dx. Of dreading every night when I would pull that shot out of the fridge and work up the courage to go through the pain all over again. I pushed through that every night of priming and stims because surely the end result of all of this pain, money, and emotional investment would be worth it.
Yesterday I spent the entire day with a heat pack chasing the pain of the retrieval and looking forward to today when we would hear how my eggs fertilized. The nurse called a little after noon and even though she was talking to me and asking how I was doing I was hardly even listening to her words and instead searching her tone of voice for whether I could expect good news or bad. I thought I was being realistic in hoping only a few eggs would fertilize. But it turns out that even that was too much to hope for. Out of 8 eggs 6 were mature and not a single one of them fertilized. The nurse said they are going to wait till tomorrow and see if anything fertilizes but I’m not hopeful.
I’m trying really hard not to spend the entire day in tears but it’s hard. So much investment and hope with nothing to show for it. And now there is the additional worry that I will relapse from the huge drop in hormones. How nice. Fuck you ovaries, and fuck you immune system too.
K has been really sweet today. I know she’s heartbroken too. Throughout the stims and travels she pulled away from me and it was really hurtful to feel like I was going through this alone. I sometimes wondered if she really wanted a baby. We tried to get a follow up appointment at our clinic but none were available till next Wednesday. At this point I don’t think it’s even worthwhile for me to go through this again. My egg quality is obviously garbage and we don’t have the resources to go through multiple retrievals until we finally get a few embryos. K brought up reciprocal and maybe the tiny silver lining here is that she is on CD 1 today so maybe we can jump right back on the horse with her beginning stims for a retrieval. Maybe. For now though, we are broken hearted and I just want to be at home.
I just finished the last of the stim meds and did 2 of 3 trigger shots. I will do the final shot tomorrow just before noon. I get a short reprieve on injections for now. Judging by the massive supply of needles that are still in my medication bag, there are definitely more to come. Not looking forward to that. I am looking forward to retrieval and hopefully a bounty of eggs. In the meantime, my poor belly needs a couple of days to recover from all of the pokey things. Retrieval is set for Wednesday. Please help us manifest some embryo’s y’all. Wish us luck 🙂
In 2 hours we will get in a Lyft headed for the airport. I have an entire bag of medications. Our suitcases are stuffed with bulky warm clothes because Syracuse= cold. Egg retrieval is Wednesday and hopefully we can do a fresh transfer on Monday. Crossing our fingers it all goes well. Wish us luck!
Well, CD 1 came early (24 day cycle) last Thursday. I got my baseline labs and ultrasound Friday and I’m two days into the stimming meds. I have 3 subQ injections currently: Gonal-F, HCG, and Omnitrope. Finding locations on my belly was interesting. I was given a great tip by someone to get the small circular bandages to put over the injection site. This way, I won’t end up injecting in the same spot twice and can space the shots out on my belly by at least an inch–perfect! In a few days I will add Cetrotide to the mix so having a good system to rotate injection sites will be helpful.
The clinic I am going to has me on an autoimmune protocol to rid my body of any inflammation present due to my autoimmune disease (multiple sclerosis) so I have a few interesting additions to my med regimen: Z pack, prednisone, and prograf. These are to reduce inflammation and prevent any autoimmune reaction my body might have to an embryo. Also the LDN is supposed to help in this area too.
The nurse told us Friday that retrieval will likely be 1/29-1/31 so we are working on getting the time off arranged and what not. It’s coming up so fast! After feeling like I spent a whole year in limbo this year is like a blur of activity. It’s blowing my mind that in a few week’s time I could be pregnant. I really, really want a Halloween baby (silly I know) and the timing would be perfect for a due date within that time frame which makes me so excited. Of course that’s assuming that my labs are in a good range and my uterine lining is not too thick or thin at the time of the retrieval.
If there are any issues then they will freeze any embryos that make it to the 5 day point and I will come back for a transfer on my next cycle. I am hoping that we can make the fresh transfer work so that we don’t have to fly back and miss work again. The clinic is in New York so travel time and costs are not insignificant. But if you can believe it, even with the travel costs the IVF cycle with this clinic is still less expensive than IVF with my local clinic.
I mentioned on my last update that there was a development with our known donor. As a New Year’s resolution he had decided to donate to a cryobank so that people working with him in places that were far away could have his sperm shipped to them frozen. He brought up the idea of doing direct donation for our IVF cycle and we were very excited to consider it. We have strong feelings about the donor situation because of a dear friend who was donor conceived and had really hoped that we could make it work with a known donor to give our child the best and most direct access to the donor. But if you’ve been reading along then you know that the travel to see him was such a barrier for us that we decided to move on to a donor at a cryobank. It’s a balancing act– we get more access to the donor this way to make a baby but the baby gets less access to the donor in the future. Definitely a hard decision to make but it was a huge relief for us to move on to a cryobank donor.
We decided we should at least look into using him as a direct donor for this IVF cycle so we called our clinic to ask about the process. I wasn’t hoping for much since in the past we’ve gotten huge roadblocks put in our path over the direct donation process. However, our current clinic makes it a complete non-issue to do direct donation. Of course, he would have to travel from CT to Syracuse to make it happen. We gave him all of the information about the process and tried to impart some urgency on his behalf if it was something he was open to.
We were hopeful but also completely content with our cryobank donor. We wondered if it was worth rocking the boat, honestly. But if it did work out how great would that be?! It would have been exactly what we wanted. Well, we haven’t heard from him in a couple of weeks now and given that I will be going for retrieval in about 10 days, we are sticking with our current donor. Kind of a disappointment but at the same time we were feeling really good about going through with IVF using our cryobank donor so we don’t feel a huge sense of loss over it. If this one doesn’t pan out and we go through another retrieval cycle maybe we can just buy a couple of his sperm vials (or not).
In a way I’m relieved because even though it would give our child access to him in the future and that brings us a lot of comfort, being completely honest, dealing with him has been really frustrating and annoying. He’s a mansplainer and everything is somehow about him, his schedule and his sperm. It made me absolutely crazy when he would ask me repeatedly over the course of a cycle what my expected ovulation date was. Eventually I got so tired of discussing these things with him that K took over communicating with him so that I wouldn’t have to spiral out in stress and anxiety. And having to sit out on multiple cycles because of his schedule was really frustrating. I guess what I’m saying is that the access to him would be nice for the child’s sake but I wonder if we would just feel irritated with dealing with him for the rest of our lives.
So that’s the known donor update. Kind of a mixed bag but we are completely sure we want to move forward with our cryobank donor. Speaking of that, coming up we have an ultrasound and labs this Friday and potentially next Monday before we head up for our retrieval. Hopefully everything will look great. Crossing fingers!
Sending best wishes out to anyone in a TWW or gearing up for a cycle. If you are on the same timeline as us, leave a comment and we can cheer each other on 🙂