Transfer is set for noon tomorrow, which means probably around 1.30 pm given that my clinic tends to run all sorts of late if you’re not having a retrieval. This means that I have learned the following lessons: 1. Take a book with you! Even if you only get there the scheduled 15 minutes before your transfer time! And 2. For the love of Pete, when you have drunk the one litre of water they recommend, STOP DRINKING. They recommend this amount for a reason. Last transfer I kept worrying about my bladder, so I kept drinking, and making Q. get me more water…and yeah. I nearly exploded. I even ran off to the loo without telling them (sneaky me!) because it was so dire. And sure enough my bladder was fine even after I eased the pressure. So this time round, I’m determined- no extra water.
I am a bit nervous about the embies, but the other ones survived the freeze, so I guess it would be a surprise if these ones didn’t, given they’re of a similar quality. Q. is being really really strict about what I’m allowed to do for the next two weeks. I’m very lucky to have a husband who is determined to a) not let me lift a finger and b) cook only my favourite healthy things. Mind you, I know that the house won’t get cleaned, so I went on a bit of a binge last weekend to make sure the dust bunnies won’t drive me buggy.
We started the pio shots up again two nights ago, and Q. hasn’t lost his touch. One side is still more painful than the other- I have no idea what we did to it last time, but I still have bruising from the shots in October, so it clearly wasn’t happy. We’ve got a bit of a routine going. I try not to think about the possibility that I could have these in my future for ten weeks. I’m supposed to want to get pregnant…and thinking about those needles (and the twice a day Fr.agmin fun) makes me shudder.
I have been doing a lot of thinking about why I feel so strongly that this could be our last cycle. I’ve been in bad spots before about ttcing- especially after the IVF cycle failed back in May. And then we had the summer off, and I rediscovered myself, and came back full of zen and ready to tackle anything. And yet here I am, one cycle later, ready to throw in the towel.
I think a lot of the reaction after the IVF was shock. We weren’t expecting to go to IVF- it was a last minute conversion decision. I was souped up on so many drugs. And then there was the discovery that my thyroid had been out of balance the entire time.
I feel different now. It’s not shock. It’s not a sense of being overwhelmed, or out of control, or a need to reclaim myself. The best way I can describe it is I feel a sense of finality, and even maybe a sense of peace. I feel like the decision to take time off after the IVF was an emotional one- me scrambling to impose some sense, some meaning back in my life. I don’t think my current thought process is coldly logical or anything, but I don’t feel like I’m making this decision on the spur of the moment, or out of panic, or anything like that. I feel like it’s been building for a long time, and it’s only just now that I’ve been able to open my eyes, see it, and accept what it means.
I think that switching to the pio shots, and the Fr.agmin, and the Pr.ednisone with the FET (and with now upping the Fr.agmin and the Pr.ednisone to twice a day for this one) has definitely been part of the reason why I’ve reached this mind set. These twws are HARD. They were always hard- the unknowing, the overanalyzing, the dreaded phone call. But now they’re hard physically as well. I was already concerned about what all of these drugs could be doing to my body. But the fact that I can still have bruising coming up two MONTHS after the shots ended, and the fact that the Pre.dnisone wakes me up at 4 most mornings- that bothers me. I don’t like the toll that this is taking.
It will sound ridiculous, given what we’ve already been through, but I feel like these new drugs have finally made me ask whether it’s really worth challenging nature as much as we have. I dealt with ICSI and the retrieval. I dealt with the lap. I dealt with all the other scary drugs. And I think I could cope with all of that because I always assumed my problem was GETTING pregnant. I knew going in to this mess two years ago that I had PCOS. And while I knew enough not to assume that pregnant=baby, I can definitely admit that I always felt that getting pregnant would be the hard part.
The last two years changed that. The failed IUIs changed that. And most of all, the chemical pregnancy changed that. My f/s raising my doses of the drugs that combat auto-immune problems was a big fat warning light. It’s clear to me now that my problem isn’t just getting pregnant (although that is also a big problem- hence the ICSI), it’s maintaining a pregnancy as well.
I think realizing that really blew a big hole in my optimism and my enthusiasm. Because it took us TWO years to even get to a pregnancy, one that ended as soon as it began. And it finally sunk in that after all the toil and trouble, it’s possible that getting pregnant will turn out to be the easy part.
This week I had a dentist appointment. I’ve had the same hygenist for ages now, and when she asked if I was on the same meds as last time, and I confirmed it, she said, “You know, I was looking at your meds, and you don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to, but I’ve been trying to conceive for two years now.” We had a great talk (well, as good a talk as you can have when you’re garbling around all the implements in your mouth). She’s dealing with recurrent miscarriages- four of them. She’s got auto-immune hypothyroidism too…and absolutely nothing else to explain why her babies keep dying. And while we chatted and compared clinics and laughed at the stupid things people say to you, a tiny thought echoed in the back of my head that this too could be me.
And yet, I worry about what people will think if we stop. I worry that I will be quitting at something (and I am not a quitter- I am if anything dangerously stubborn). I worry that we will look ridiculous for not doing another IVF cycle…or two…or three…or whatever it takes. Because that’s the siren song of treatments. They are addictive, and now there is really nothing concrete that will force us to stop. As long as we can muster up the money and the emotional fortitude, we can keep at this. I’m still young, as they all keep telling me. So to feel like I do, to want to stop like I do, it is so hard to silence the other voice in my head, the one that chastises me for quitting and claims I will regret my decision.
I often have the song “Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent in my head these days. I love the bit where they ask how to measure a year. Because you can measure our ttc journey in so many ways as well. 26 months, sure. But SEVEN chances at getting pregnant. That’s what we’ve had: four IUIs, the IVF and the two FETs. And given the fertilization rate from our IVF, the four IUIs never had a chance. And given my thyroid report, the IVF was doomed to fail as well. So 26 months for two shots at pregnancy.
When I put it that way, saying I want to quit sounds ridiculous. Who quits after two attempts?! But of course they aren’t just two attempts. Because it took us 24 months to get to those attempts- two years of medications and clinic visits and treatments and tests and surgeries and more medications. And if it really was THIS hard to get a chance at being pregnant, then the wanting-to-stop voice in my head calmly points out that maybe it’s time to stop beating our heads against the brick wall.
I really haven’t said anything about this to Q. I know that he won’t be willing to even discuss it until we know the results of this cycle. And I also know it will take some effort to convince him that I’m not just speaking from a medication-induced haze of despair. And, given that we are about to transfer embryos tomorrow, in some ways maybe it might seem silly that I’m spending so much time hashing this out.
I need to, though. I need to get these thoughts out, and organized, so I can evaluate them. So, if you’ve made it all the way through this beast of a post- thank you for listening. It means so much.