I could think of lots of fancy ways to record our decision, but the title above pretty much sums it all up. We’re going back to the clinic. We’re going to do another IVF cycle. And while I’m still not entirely certain how I feel about the whole thing, I’m ok with that decision.
We went in for a follow up chat on the weekend. I was really, really impressed with our doctor. The clinic is a busy place, and he has a tendency to a) rush through things and b) be optimistic to the point where you start to wonder if he really means it or if he’s just putting on a brave face.
Not this time.
We got a measured, serious discussion of our options, of what could have gone wrong and how we might try to fix it, and of where we could go from here. At no point did he pressure us in any direction. And his reasoning made sense.
We didn’t really do a normal IVF cycle- we converted from an IUI when I overstimmed. And while he believed that made the most sense at the time (and given our abysmal fertilization rate without ICSI he was right), he made it clear to us on the weekend that a converted cycle doesn’t bring with it the same rates of pregnancy. It isn’t ideal.
So he’d like to do a textbook IVF cycle with a long protocol (and unfortunately I’m still not quite sure what he means by that, but given it takes six weeks I’m assuming it’s like what I’ve read about on other blogs where you get some meds to basically shut your system down before you start stimming to make sure everything’s being controlled).
And that made sense to both of us. As Q. said, “Well, if we were only going to give IVF one shot, surely we should have done a proper cycle, not a converted one. Or we shouldn’t have done IVF at all. If we’re doing it, let’s give it a proper chance.”
Dr. L wants us to ICSI all of the eggs- no argument here. If we get enough, he’d like us to think about a Day 5 transfer- I’m also ok with that. He wants to run some more tests- all the thrombophilia ones for me (which I was going to suggest- I think I went up a notch in his estimation when he said “I’d like to run a few more tests on you” and I said “Are they the blood clotting ones, because I really think we need to do those.”). Q’s swimmers are getting checked out in even greater detail- we’re doing a couple of tests to look at the possibility of DNA fragmentation, etc. None of it will be covered by provincial or personal insurance, of course, but if we find out something that causes us to stop right then and there it’ll be a hell of a lot cheaper than another cycle. And this way we know that we have tested EVERYTHING we can. There is nothing left that he can recommend.
Of course, if I do have a clotting problem, I’m already taking all the meds to counter it. But at least we’ll be better prepared.
I’m three months out from my comprehensive exams, so this isn’t happening until May at the earliest. So that gives me some time to find some distance from the previous cycles. I need to be able to get past the feelings I was having at the end of the last cycle. I need to do a better job of accepting the emotional and physical distress that comes with each transfer. I’m trying not to think about the fact that we’re facing another retrieval and stims- needles before and after just seems unfair.
It is hard. It took me at least two weeks to feel ‘normal’ again after I stopped all the meds before Christmas. During Christmas I had no emotional fortitude- I cried a lot at miniscule things; I felt disconnected from my family; I didn’t want Q. to touch me; I felt like I was jumping out of my skin.
But slowly, slowly, I’ve come back to being me again. And the first inkling I had that maybe I wasn’t quite so done with the whole thing as I had thought came, of all places, while we were watching an episode of Northern Exposure. Q. was a big fan of the show as a child (I guess since he never, ever saw snow where he lived), and I’d never seen it, so we’ve been watching the episodes on his laptop. We just finished season 4 where, if you know the series, one of the characters ends up pregnant.
In the final episode of the season she and her husband end up singing (long story) to each other and their unborn bub while standing in the nursery (which they’ve constructed even though she is BARELY pregnant- I felt like yelling at the screen). Anyway, it was all I could do not to weep.
I was heart sick at the realization of what Q. and I were missing. Heart sick that I was the cause of his childlessness.
We went to the clinic the next day. So I was already willing to consider the idea of trying again. And then Q. and I had this conversation:
Me: “I need you to tell me how badly you want to be a parent.” (I’d warned him before Christmas this was coming, so it wasn’t out of left field or anything.)
Q.: “Well, if I didn’t want to be a dad, I think I would have said something before now!”
Me: “Ok, obviously. But you know how some women feel that they were born to be mothers, and that their lives will never be complete if they don’t get to parent? I don’t feel like that- I didn’t want kids for a long time.”
Q.: “I don’t think any male thinks like that, to be honest.” (This is vintage Q. He is so funny.)
Q.: “But I always assumed that I would be a father.”
Q.: “And I think the reason why I’m always saying we should get a really big dog is as a child substitute.”
And that broke my heart. Because the entire time Q. and I have been trying, he has NEVER actually come out and said just how strongly he wants children. Obviously he wanted to be a dad, or we wouldn’t be going to these lengths. But to have him admit that it’s not just that he wants children as some vague idea about the future, but that he is missing his children and wants to be a dad RIGHT NOW, that he sees our friends and yearns for what they have…
Well, how can you say no to that?
So, we’re not done.