Saturday, June 30, 2012

Big Head Sperm and the Monsters

Just thought I'd post a longer update on what's going on with us in terms of next steps as well as mind-state.  I like to think that this blog serves a few functions:
1.  To help me get my thoughts out, my feelings out, and to chronicle a hard journey.
2.  To keep friends and family posted without having to repeat myself too often, especially the lows.  It allows people to follow as passively or actively as they want, so there is no such thing as TMI because you are choosing to be here.
3.  A place for me to receive comments, kind words, information and insight.
4.  To help anyone who may stumble on this blog who is going through anything similar - friends, strangers, etc, with the emotional aspects and/or with actual information.

So, here we go.

On Monday I go in for my Sonohysterography  and trial transfer.  The trial transfer is just to get the exact information needed about size/shape/location of everything so when they go to do a real embryo transfer they can complete it successfully by making their way into tiny spaces accurately.  The Sonohysterography is the saline ultrasound that will tell them more about the shape of my uterus and what might be inside of it.  This will tell us if there is anything there that could be causing problems and preventing implantation, so we can fix it, if possible, before attempting IVF.  I am partially hoping they do find something, because then there is something to fix which might make me more hopeful for future success.  BUT at the same time, finding something wrong will equal a surgery for me (scary) and a delay in moving forward with IVF.  So, I dunno.  It's all information, and information is good.

Ian needs to call and set up his Strict Morphology.  When trying to find out more information about what that means exactly, I came upon this image, that I'm a little obsessed with:

He might have two-headed sperm!  Or giant-headed sperm!  Or super weird pointy-headed sperm!  Who knew all the weird wrong un-penetrating shapes sperm can be??!? If he has any of these creepy spermy-types in too large of numbers, that means we'd likely need to do Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).  Basically, instead of letting the sperm find the eggs in a petrie dish, they will be injected directly into the eggs. Forced insemination.  INSEMINATING AGAINST THEIR WILL!  Anyhow, I don't know.  His sperm count and motility is really high, so I just assumed that meant the spermy mcsperms were fine, so it's strange, at this point in the game, to find out there is more that can be wrong.  

I like to imagine that a big-headed sperm creates a big-headed baby and a tiny-headed sperm creates a tiny-headed baby etc.  Truth is, I don't know if they would use those abnormal sperm or if they'd find the good sperm and only use those.  If it turns out this is a problem for us, obviously we'll get more information.    

We still have a lot to talk about and figure out in terms of how many IVF cycles we are willing to try.  There's a financial aspect to figure out.  There's how much I can handle physically.  There's how much we can each handle emotionally.  I am a planner and it's hard to not have a plan, but I am having to learn to take things as they come and to have no way to take control.  Ian and I are at different places in terms of imagining next steps.  What I require for coping is sort of the exact opposite of what he requires.  He needs to feel hopeful and trusting that whatever we are about to do is going to work for us.  I need to feel hopeful and trusting that when whatever we are about to do doesn't work, we know what is coming next and it is doable and OK.  Both of these ways of dealing with this process are fine, of course.  And so far we've always come together on any decisions and reached the same conclusions.  This is how our marriage works a lot of the time, in general, so it's no surprise that it's working this way now.

Ian has made sure that I understand that I have full decision making power over wanting to stop this process at any time due to physical concerns.  And I have made sure that he understands that changes he makes in his life for financial reasons are entirely up to him.  And we both know that we will come together and be on the same page about whatever decisions we make - and in some cases it may take time, it may take therapy, it may take tears, but we will be excited about whatever the future holds and whatever path we end up following to parenthood. 

So, maybe I'm ready to get excited about adoption just because I can't allow myself to get excited about IVF cause it's too near and too scary and too heartbreaking.   And maybe Ian isn't ready to give up on the "part me part you" aspect of a biological child because that's too scary and too heartbreaking.  And really, maybe this is actually the same thing - because we are both scared of being heartbroken and I still really really want to be pregnant and to have a baby that is genetically ours.  Otherwise, I wouldn't put my body through all of this.  I am also just ready to realize that I will be just as happy if that's not how it works out and that whatever child becomes ours will be ours no matter how it comes into our lives.  So, Ian and I - we'll end up in the same place when we need to.  And for now, we balance each other just right, I think.  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Happiest Place on Earth

I got my period while wandering around Disneyland by myself yesterday, about 24 hours after I had already heard from my doctor that my pregnancy test was negative, which was a few hours after I had taken a home pregnancy test and saw the negative result which was 3 days after I had taken an early home pregnancy test (so Ian could be with me) and gotten a negative result.

Is it any wonder that I just don't believe I'll ever see a positive one?

Anyhow.  I didn't take it well any of those times I got the same news in the last couple of days.  This was my last try at IUI.  Things get way more intense from here on out.

And to add insult to injury - I have to take another home pregnancy test before my saline ultrasound, just to be super duper sure.  Can't wait to see another minus sign or "not pregnant" pop up!  Fun fun!

Thanks to my friends who were nice to me while I was going through this while attending a conference and away from the husband.  And also, I cried in front of people.  Which is some sort of a major breakthrough, I'm sure.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Next Steps

Yesterday, Ian and I met with our doctor about next steps if this final IUI doesn't work.  I'll give you the short version.

* Another test, that sounds pretty painful (if anyone has had the saline ultrasound, lemme know.  similar to HSG?  That's what I'm assuming. I know you have, C.M.)
* Ian needs a fancier sperm test
* Potentially remove part of my uterus depending on what they see (I have a heart shape - perhaps it is too heart shaped and that is the problem and the peak of the heart will be removed.)
* Wait month for healing.  If no surgery, no waiting month.
* Move into an IVF Cycle, which we would likely try at least twice.  First time August or Sept depending on uterus heartness.
* At a cost of $10,000+ per cycle
* Maybe cheaper the second time if I have extra embryos to freeze the first time
* It involves daily blood tests during the time I am being "stimulated"
* It involves making 10-20 eggs ready to be "retrieved"
* A surgery (with general anesthesia) to retrieve them
* Fertilization in a petri dish
* Transfer of embryos (3-4 of them) to uterus.  Cross fingers that they implant
* There is about a 20% chance that any given cycle will be cancelled due to problems (over-stim, under-stim, eggs don't fertilize etc etc etc)
* There is about a 30-40% chance that any given cycle will result in a pregnancy
* There is a 25% chance of twins in any resulting pregnancy (with a 3 day transfer, which is what he recommends)

Am wondering if I shouldn't take a month off work during this.  Others who have gone through it, what are your thoughts?  How was the process?  What were the drugs like?  How did you feel?  How often were you in the dr office?

Dr. Tran says that the last two patients who had this consultation with him before their final IUI cycle was finished got pregnant in their final cycle.  I wish I had any hope left.

I am just so so tired. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Boring Updatey Stuff and Things

I haven't been online much this week, thus haven't really been around here posting business and stuff.  My parents were in town, so I spent much of the week up in Napa with them eating and drinking wine like champs.  And then Saturday night I walked 18 miles overnight in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk (wow, that's a mouthful).  I still hurt.  My poor right foot may never be the same.  But it was worth it and we raised a lot of money for a very important cause.  And later that day (post IUI) I did get to have an amazing hot stone massage and a great hot tub conversation with a friend right when I needed it, both physically and emotionally.

As for the topic of this blog - I don't have a lot to say right now.  We had our fourth IUI yesterday and it'll be our last try and marks the end of my time in the study.  Everything went fine, so we'll see in a couple of weeks if it worked.  We also have an appointment with Dr. Tran (our pre-study doctor from the clinic) on Wednesday just to talk about next steps and what we'll do if this doesn't work.  I am assuming IVF.  But there might be other tests they want to run...who knows?  Not I.  That's for sure.  I actually have scar tissue on my arm now from where they draw the blood every couple of days.  It isn't pretty - always bruised and full of holes and now scarred.  I have started thinking about how I might tattoo around/over/through that space when I reach the end of this all.  Closure in ink.

I'll be away when we find out if this try worked.  I think it'll be better for me than the time Ian was away and I was home by myself.  That month was also particularly awful with the chemical pregnancy and delay of my period.  This month at least I'll be busy with conference stuff and a little distracted.  But it also will be the end of our IUI attempts and the start of some other journey, so I'm not sure how that will affect me.

I'm definitely assuming the worst for this month.  I have become a bit gloomy about this all.  I think if I ever actually become pregnant I will have a very hard time believing/processing it since I've worked so hard at convincing myself it won't happen, so I am not so disappointed every time.  Will be interesting to see.

Today is my 5th wedding anniversary, so tonight Ian and I are going out for fancy dinner.  Back to work tomorrow - will be hard to get back into the swing of things after a week off, but it was a much needed break and I'm ready to return.  We have Ian's dad and stepmom in town this coming weekend and I leave for Anaheim for the ALA Annual Conference over the following weekend.  June is always a crazy busy month and this year is no exception.  I am hoping for a sleepy July.  With some time to regroup about the baby making stuff, along with everything else, one way or another.