Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Latest

1.  I am not pregnant.  I don't want to talk about it.  I don't feel sad.  I don't really care.  But I also don't want to talk about it or be consoled.  Got it?  Cool.

2.  The three embryos we sent off for testing are all healthy.

3.  There is nothing else that I know or really want to share.

Thanks for caring.  (Not sarcasm.  I know, it's hard to tell with me sometimes.)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Numbers (A List of Lists)

The Plan:

  • Do an egg retrieval.
  • Take resulting embryos and the three frozen embryos we have leftover and grow them until they are 5 days old.
  • At five days, see if they have become blastocysts.
  • At five days if we have 3 or fewer blastocysts, just tranfer them then without genetic testing.
  • At five days if we have 4 or more blastocysts, send them for testing and freeze them, doing the transfer in a different cycle.

Reasons for plans to grow Embryos to Blastocyst instead of transfering at day 3 as we usually do:

  • I only wanted to do ONE MORE transfer.  Over this.  So over it.  
  • To maximize chance of pregnancy and minimize risk of miscarriage.  See following bullets.
  • Would like to test embryos before transfer to transfer only healthy ones, making another miscarriage far less likely.
  • Blastocysts have slightly higher chance of implantation than 3-day embryos.

Risks of this plan:

  • Many embryos will not grow to blastocyst outside the body, so you will always lose some.
  • The ones you lose are not necessarily "bad ones" that wouldn't have worked at day 3.
  • The one time we tried to do this before none of our 6 embryos made it to blastocyst.

How it Went

This Egg Retrieval:

  • 20 eggs
  • 16 mature
  • 15 fertilized

Eggs Retrieved from my ovaries so far:

  • 16
  • 20
  • 20

Eggs Retrieved from my ovaries so far that have become human babies:

  • 0

This cycle's embryos on Day 3:

  • 15 fresh +
  • 3 frozen and thawed =
  • 18 day 3 embryos

Embryo Quality on Day 3:

Fresh:

First number = scale of 1-4 looking at fragmentation.  
1=excellent, 2=above average, 3=average, 4=below average

Second number = number of cells, with at least 6 cells being a great number.
  • 2 8
  • 2 10
  • 2 9
  • 2 8
  • 3 6
  • 3 8
  • 2 8
  • 2 8 
  • 3 5
  • 2 6
  • 2 8
  • 4 7
  • 2 8
  • 2 8
  • 4 5

Thawed:

"excellent" with the following numbers of cells
  • 6
  • 6
  • 9

Stages for an embryo to go through before becoming a blastocyst:

  • plain old embryo
  • morula
  • early blastocyst 1
  • early blastocyst 2
  • blastocyst

What stage embryos need to be in to be genetically tested (by Day 6) OR to have a decent chance of resulting in a pregnancy if transfered on Day 5:

  • blastocyst

Embryos morning of day 5:

  • 8 - morula
  • 8 - early blastocyst 1
  • 2 - dead/plain old embryo/not mentioned so who knows

Difficult decision:

  • Transfer the three best that afternoon, although a very low likelihood of resulting pregnancy, and a risk of genetically unhealthy embryo becoming a pregnancy.  If we wait, there may be none to send for testing, and we would get not a single transfer/chance.  Dr. feels unlikely any will make it to blastocyst.  This retrieval was particularly painful (still in pain a week and a half later) and I would regret not even getting one try out of it or at least knowledge that they aren't healthy and thus aren't worth transfering.

Best 3 embryos at time of transfer on day 5:

  • blastocyst!
  • blastocyst!
  • early embryo 2

Difficult decision 2 of the day:

  • go through with the transfer anyhow because still not enough to make it worth genetic testing and still not looking promising that more will grow.  A gamble, with the downside being that we, again, still don't know about the genetic health of embryos, hence risk another miscarriage. 
  • Transfered 3 embryos - Friday July 18th - day 5

Embryos morning of day 6:

  • 3 = blastocysts - sample cells sent off for testing and then embryos frozen and waiting
  • 12 = not blastocysts -sent to wherever bad embryos go
  • 3 = in my uterus so who knows

Final Thoughts:

  • Of course, had I know that 3 more would be champs, I wouldn't have had the transfer on day 5.  Would way rather have sent 5 or 6 off for testing and tranferred only healthy ones in one transfer.
  • But we made the best decisions with what we knew.
  • If the ones inside me do not result in a child, and any of the 3 sent for testing are healthy (we will know in about a week) then I will likely do another fucking transfer.

Next Steps if None of that Works:

  • We have a lot of thinking to do and I don't feel like sharing publicly where we are with all of that yet, as we are really in a state of flux in terms of where we want to go next.  Far less sure than we felt before about further plans.
  • If you know a good Bay Area therapist who specializes in Infertility, let me know.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Shifting Focus

Ugh.  I am feeling totally over talking about this these days.  I just am.  There is plenty of more interesting stuff going on my life.

Anyhow, I'm about to start up this one last (I really hope I mean it this time) egg retrieval and transfer.  The transfer is up in the air as to if it is fresh or frozen, 3-day or 5-day etc because it depends on what we get and how they grow.  Nothing like a little more up-in-the-airness in the midst of the most horrific up-in-the-air ongoing process ever.

So, here's my schedule, including such excitement as:
  • First Lupron shot the night of my 20 year high school reunion when I'm not only out of town in Columbus, but out of town from Columbus in Bellville.  (Ohio, that is.)
  • First night of a all the stim shots when Ian and I are staying in a delightful treehouse in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
  • Blood draw at 11am during our weekend away in Santa Cruz, which = a two hourish drive in each direction so that a needle can be quickly stuck into arm.
Yay.


Friday, April 25, 2014

I'm Still Here

I'm still here.  This week is National Infertility Awareness Week, and it also happens to be the week that I am ready to deal with this stuff again.  Convenient.


Anyhow, it has been a nice couple of months where I decided not to decide anything and not to do anything.  Sort of blissful, although with a clock always ticking just out of sight.

Now, we've decided.  We started filling out our homestudy paperwork and have dedicated some time each week to working on it (as of this very week).   We also are moving forward with another IVF cycle this summer.  It will be my 3rd egg retrieval and 6th transfer.  Fuck.  Anyhow, our intent is to grow all embryos to day 5 (including the two leftover from last time) and to do genetic testing on them. Worst case, none make it and/or none are genetically normal.  Best case, some do and are and we transfer them.

If we don't end up with a successful pregnancy from that cycle we will move forward with adoption (beyond the homestudy) and also talk about donor eggs as an option and go from there.

I've started being able to talk more about the miscarriage.  I'm guessing that is healthy.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How Am I Doing?

How am I doing?  I don't really have an answer to that question.  Happy about my life.  Sad about my situation.  Done crying.  Still bleeding (literally and metaphorically, I guess).

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile, and thank you to everyone who has sent kindness my way in any form.  I have felt completely overwhelmed by all the love.  Even though I have not wanted to talk about it and may not have replied to you, each kindness has lightened my burden.  It makes it hard to be anything but happy about my life and the amazing people that fill it.  I don't know what I've done to deserve the support of so many incredible incredible people, and I'm not always sure that I do deserve it, but I am so so grateful.  

I wanted to at least post and let everyone know about the results of the tests that were done on the "product of conception" aka our baby that was never to be our baby.  We found that he or she had Trisomy 13.  Many of you are familiar with Trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome.  This is a different Trisomy with far more devastating affects.  

Obviously this is not good news in any traditional sense of the words "good news," but it is good news for us at this point for a variety of reasons.  It means that we lost this pregnancy not because of something wrong happening in my body/uterus, but because it was never truly viable.   We are glad, knowing this information, that what happened happened...it is a better outcome than the other possible even more devastating outcomes we could have had (finding out later etc.).  This kind of chromosomal issue is one of the reasons that so many pregnancies end during the first trimester.  It also is the first time in this entire process that we've had an answer at all as to What Went Wrong with anything that has not worked or gone wrong.  You have no idea what a relief this is to us.  We know now that I *can* get pregnant, and we know why we lost our pregnancy.

While the loss is sad and painful, the knowledge is a bit of hope for us.  

Where we go from here is still an unknown.  We have a few options in terms of further treatment and in terms of adoption, and we aren't quite ready to decide, although we are ready to take some next steps in each direction.  I am not going to undergo any further treatments for the next 6 months or so.  I just don't want to and I'm not ready.  

I loved being pregnant.

And Ian and I, we are in this together, forever, no matter what happens.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The End

Our appointment did not go well today...we lost the baby.  It has no heartbeat and will be removed hopefully tomorrow.

This is one of those times where I really wish everyone would just know and no one would really talk to me about it, so I'm hoping that if you see this you will share the news with anyone who might've known, so I can avoid people who don't know accidentally asking me how it is going.  I'll post this to my regular Facebook page too.

In the meantime, I am going to go cuddle with my husband.  He and I will be OK, but it sucks.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hematomas Aren't Fair

If there's one serious lesson I've learned from Infertility, it's that life isn't fair.  I know...I know...this was drilled into my skull (not literally, don't worry) by my parents through my whole childhood and it should not be a shock.  Infertility, though, made me face the truth of it in a way that has been different than anything before.  I don't know about everyone but I know that I have a tendency towards a sort of bargaining with the universe as well as a way of providing comfort to myself by thinking about things in terms of "fairness".

Like,

  • "If I do this, that will happen, because I'll deserve it."
  • "It's my turn for something good to happen."
  • "2012 sucked, so 2013 is bound to be better"
  • "I did everything right this time, so the outcome will be different this time."
Anyhow.   I just think we are naturally inclined to want to see some rhyme and reason in the world.  It makes us feel safe.  The problem is, though, that there isn't really rhyme and reason and life isn't always fair.

I want to tackle the fears I have in this pregnancy with all kinds of reassuring thoughts like, "I deserve an easy pregnancy" or "there's no way I would miscarry after it took almost 4 years to get pregnant" etc, but it's just not true.  

I had a pretty bad scare the other night.  We were sleeping over at the home of friends and after dinner I went to the bathroom and had a gush of bright red blood along with some cramping.  Ian called the 24-hour line of the clinic while I frantically googled on my cell phone, and for once The Internet was a slight comfort to me.  Luckily I knew I had a hematoma from my previous ultrasound and it seemed like, while far from normal in general, this is a relatively common occurrence for women who are diagnosed with hematomas and can have a totally fine outcome.  I was actually calmer about this than I had been about the tiny dots of brown spotting from the week before, I guess just because a body can only have so much fear and because I at least had a little knowledge this time.

Anyhow, the on-call doctor called me back and asked a lot of questions about quantity of blood and severity of cramps and concluded that I needn't go to the emergency room.  She told me to pay attention to increasing blood flow, strong cramps, fever or chills, but that we did know of a source of blood and likely everything was OK.  She also, comfortingly (not), pointed out that if this was something worse there was nothing that could be done about it.  She guessed that Dr. Tran would not want to see me before the ultrasound scheduled for next Wednesday, but that she would email him right away and let him know what was happening.

The bleeding pretty much stopped - it was the one gush and then some remnants from the one gush when I used the bathroom the next few times that night and first thing in the morning.  Nothing came out in the night while I slept and the cramps subsided.  I actually slept pretty well in my friends' closet! 

The next morning, once we were home, the same on-call doctor called me back to check-in and seemed quite pleased with what I told her.  She also let me know that Dr. Tran did want to see me and I had an apptment for Tuesday (yesterday) at 2pm.  

Dr. Tran seemed even more nervous than Ian and I, but all was well.  Our little embryo has grown from 5mm to over 9mm in less than a week and had a heart rate of 119 which Dr. Tran assured us was all well within the range of normal.  Ian was able to see the heart beating right away - I was at a funny angle and too nervous to really be able to see anything well.  I'm so glad he was able to be there with me.  We have another picture, but I won't post it unless someone really cares to see.  It just looks like a slightly bigger speck blob thing.  Still there, though, and still alive.   

Also, this size:


I may bleed again.   Dr. Tran said to call him if I do, that I get special treatment and he will want to see me.  He also says all is well and we are in the same boat we were in last week and in fact that we are better than last week because bonus ultrasound = knowledge that the embryo is growing appropriately and still looking good.  So, I'll take it!   I go back next Wednesday, as was originally scheduled, and assuming everything is still on track I'll graduate to my regular OB then.  

So, day by day by day we are trucking along inching towards a healthy positive outcome.  Sure, it would be awesome if I didn't have to have the kind of pregnancy that involved bleeding from the vagina, but hey, life isn't fair.