Category Archives: 2.0 FET #2

Other thoughts

Thank you for all of your comments on my post from last night.  It is deeply helpful to know that I am not alone. For the same reason, I don’t think I can quit my birth club, even though I agree that perhaps it would be helpful to do so in the short-term. They are my friends. They sent us food and gave us a ridiculously large gift-card to Costco and found an Italian coin with Ceres on it and sent it with a card with a quotation from the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. They are good, kind women. It is not their fault some of them are pregnant. It is not their fault I am not.

***

The last time I was in at the clinic, when I wanted them to make sure there hadn’t been anything left behind,  I looked through my chart.

Of the two embryos they transferred, one was a 2BC (1AA being my clinic’s highest grade) and the other was still a morula but obviously so close to being a blast they knew it would make it (I can’t read the embryologist’s writing well enough to decipher the exact term he used).

The frozen one is a 1BB.

It’s a better quality embryo than either of the two we transferred.

I suppose that’s something.

***

I realized a little while ago that I’m not sure I made them monitor my thyroid during the FETs last fall.

Post-birth control, absolutely. During the IVF, for sure.

But I don’t know that I did anything during the FETs. FETs when I was taking six Estrace a day. Estrace that would throw out the thyroid.

Fuck.

I might have sabotaged those FETs.

Some days I really wish I could 100% trust that my f/s and my endocrinologist would stay on top of things.

That’s just not the way it is.

***

Something really weird happened at my endocrinologist appointment. I’ve been going there for six years now. He gets one of his medical student assistants to take my pulse, check my blood pressure, weigh me, and write down my medications at every visit. I have always weighed about four pounds more on his scale than I have at home.

I weighed myself at home the morning of the appointment. The result wasn’t pretty

At the appointment, his scale showed me as weighing six pounds LESS than I did on my scale at home.

According to his scale, I’ve lost two pounds since the last time I was in, when I was five weeks pregnant.

According to my scale, I’ve gained seven pounds in that time.

Given his scale is one of those giant ones with the weights and the sliding bar, I’m inclined to think that my scale is the problem. Which would be nice, obviously, but I just don’t feel that light, especially when I’m trying to do up my work pants after I’ve washed them.

***

We have more grandparents visiting us this weekend, and Q. came back from his conference in Europe very ill, and I am just feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything right now and would love a weekend where I could sit in my pjs and read and hide and just decompress.

Oh wait. I have a toddler. I don’t have those weekends anymore.

Anyway, I am not good with Male Illness because I do not have enough sympathy. I do not disagree that Q. is really unwell. I just don’t cope well with the moping. So I was getting grumpy because I was stressed about my class today and I’d cleaned the whole house yesterday and now I was going to have to do the grocery shopping too and do all the cooking this weekend when we had guests over, and then I took a moment and remembered that for some women, probably a lot of women, this is their NORMAL life. Their husbands don’t cook, or clean, or do grocery shopping.  So I tried to stop being a grumple, but I couldn’t stop feeling like my head was going to explode with anxiety. I felt jittery, buggy, like I was souped up on caffeine or had eaten too much sugar.

And then I realized that my thyroid has probably gone into hyper-territory since I’m still on the same dose I was on six weeks ago, when I was pregnant and it was starting to drift into hypo-territory again. It’s two pills higher than my normal dose. Stands to reason my body would start to want a more normal dose right around now. I have a prescription for the new dose and will get it filled this weekend. That will hopefully help me calm down.

***

The spotting appears to have stopped.

I haven’t started the birth control pills yet, because I had to get through my endocrinologist’s appointment first, as it would have wrecked the blood tests if I’d started the pill a week before. But it appears that maybe, just maybe, my body has finally decided to be done with it all. It stopped on Tuesday, so this is the longest it’s gone thus far without starting again.

I’ll start the pill this weekend too. We’ve adjusted my thyroid so it should stay in line even on the pill.

My f/s gave me a prescription that will let me stay on the pill until we get back from Oz in mid-July, at which point we might do that last FET depending on the status of my dissertation.

I think I might just stay on the pill.

We’re not going to get pregnant on our own. Not ever.

And maybe a few months on the pill will help sort out my face.

***

Things are getting sorted with E.’s new room. We have the duvet cover (which is a much brighter true red than it appears on the website- it looks almost wine-coloured to me on the computer), and I’ve picked the fabric for curtains (my Mum is going to make them for me, and I’ve decided I don’t care how much it costs, I’m getting the fabric shipped over from the U.K. which may well be the only place I can find it). We have most of the furniture. I’m still undecided on paint. I need some time to go and get some samples and paint a few test patches on the walls to really see what looks best. I’m getting the mattress from one of two places and just need to figure out which one will be the best deal (as one will require a car rental to go and get it).

The downside to all of this organizing is I can’t spend hours trolling Etsy and Pinterest anymore, and I think that’s one reason I’m clenching my jaw so tightly it’s sore pretty much all the time. I need another distraction. Organizing the house is only getting me so far- I’ve already done my clothes, the linen closet, the cupboards and drawers in the basement, and my books. There’s still a lot more I could do, but I can only stand to do it in short bursts of frenzied activity.

I’m a little afraid of how empty I’m going to feel inside when we get E.’s room set up in April.

 

4 Comments

Filed under 2.0 FET #2, 2.0 FET#1, 2.0 Pregnancy, Anxiety Overload, E.- the third year, Grief, Loss, Mirror, Mirror (Body Image), Second Thoughts, Thyroid

All in

I saw my fertility specialist this morning. I took the office manager’s advice and went in around 11:15. It was so quiet today that I didn’t even have time to go to the washroom before I could hear him calling my name to go into the office.

He was focused and thoughtful and not in a rush. He did have a new medical student with him, which made it even more annoying when I (predictably) started to cry, despite all of my best efforts not to, but I’m sure he’s seen it all before.

Anyway. We looked things over. He agreed that my ratio of embryos to blastocysts from that IVF cycle in August 2010 (17 embryos on Day 1, 17 embryos still growing on Day 3, 2 blasts transferred with 6 potential ones to freeze on Day 5, only two more blasts frozen on Day 6) was “lower than we would expect given the other factors”. His best guess, which is mine too, is that the PCOS means I make crappy eggs. There’s not a whole lot we can do about that, although he says that in general they have better luck with embryos these days than in 2010 because the technology keeps improving. He says he’d probably tweak a few things with the IVF protocol this time around, partly because of the embryos, partly because I’m older (and so, of course, is Q.).

He feels that he has already run every single possible test to determine other problems with me or with Q. He was happy enough to run most of the auto-immune ones again, and I was happy to pay for the ones not covered by OHIP, but that’s really just an information gathering exercise. If any of my results have changed, it won’t alter the protocol- he’s already put me on all the medications they recommend for those sorts of situations. Q. and I both need to update our bloodwork since it’s been six months since our last round, and he’s requested that Q. provide another sperm sample so they can make sure everything is still ok on his end.

We looked at the calendar.

“We’re still in semester until early December. Can we do a retrieval and transfer as close to Christmas as possible?” I asked.

His face lit up. “Yep. Absolutely. Great idea! Just come back in on your day 2 and we’ll get you set up.”

So.

Looks like we’re doing this again.

It’s impossible to say anything with 100% certainty in this game, but I really feel like this is it. Doing this IVF is going to stretch us financially. Another cycle will make things really difficult.

Plus I could rationalize to myself that with just two failed FETs it’s possible we ended up on the wrong side of statistics. We were unlucky, nothing more. I don’t know that this same argument would hold much weight if we go through another entire round of IVF (plus any associated FETs) and still come up empty. I think then it will be easier to call it quits.

I hate the idea of doing another full IVF.

I hate the idea of spending this much money on something so tenuous, money that we could spend on the life we already DO have with E.

I hate the idea of the drugs and the stimming and the retrieval.

But I hate the idea of walking away more.

I reminded myself yesterday that in December 2009, after the last of our FETs from that first IUI/IVF conversion cycle failed, I wanted to quit. I was done. Q. wasn’t, and he convinced me to try again, argued that we had to give a full, long protocol IVF cycle a chance.

That last cycle was the one that brought us E. (I looked at my chart while I was waiting for my doctor and discovered for the first time that E. was either embryo #7 or embryo #13, as they were the two that grew the fastest and were chosen on transfer day.)

He wouldn’t be here now if we hadn’t pressed on past that first point where I really wanted to stop.

2.0 deserves the same chance.

So I made another decision today.

I’m going to tell my supervisor he’s not getting a full draft of my dissertation before Christmas.

I’ve lost probably five of the only full day each week that I have to be in library this semester to trips to the clinic, because it also happens to be the only day where I can go without having to drag E. with me, as Mondays I’m at his nursery school in the mornings, and Fridays I’m teaching.

I’ve been refusing to work after dinner, refusing to work when I wake up at 5:30 in the morning and can’t get back to sleep. I haven’t always been as efficient as I could (or should be) when working during E.’s naps. All of this has been a very conscious deliberate strategy to control my anxiety and my stress levels. But it has also meant that progress on the dissertation, although it continues, has been slower than it needed to be to meet that deadline.

I probably could get a full draft to my supervisor by mid-December, as we agreed in early September, if I absolutely went for it over the next six weeks.

But it wouldn’t be easy.

And I just can’t rationalize commiting to another round of IVF when I am also openly planning to arrive at the start of that cycle stressed and exhausted and burnt out from what is basically a self-imposed deadline.

I’m still moving along at a good pace with the dissertation. I’m still on track to finish on time (and by that I mean at the same time I would have been expected to finish if I hadn’t had a baby and taken six months of maternity leave, so I guess that’s technically finishing early). I’m the one who decided I wanted to have a draft finished by Christmas. I wanted to have that off my plate before the holidays. It was a good plan, but I underestimated how much time and mental energy the FETs were going to eat up.

The alternative is to shelve the whole process of trying for a 2.0 until next July, when we’re out of school and back from visiting Q.’s family, and just work like mad on the dissertation in an effort to try to defend at the end of the academic year. There are good reasons for this alternative timeline, but they’re not the ones that really matter to me when I sit down and think about it. What really matters to me is I’m getting older. What really matters to me is the age gap between E. and any potential sibling is growing with every month. What really matters to me is I’m already emotionally invested in this process, and the idea of giving up on it for another eight months, leaving us in limbo, is untenable.

I would rather have the dissertation take a couple of months longer to finish. In the grand scheme of an academic career, those months mean nothing.

Coming into our IVF cycle in a healthy state of mind could mean everything.

I keep remembering what my Dad said, about how it’s a better use of our money than going to the casino.

We’re gambling all right.

I just hope we get the big prize at the end.

3 Comments

Filed under 2.0 FET #2, 2.0 IVF, A matter of faith, Anxiety Overload, Emotions, IVF, PhD, Second Thoughts

No one is ever average

Because I work on the place of fertility in a historical culture, I spend a lot of time thinking about demography and statistics and averages.  When you are dealing with an infant mortality rate of 50% of any birth cohort before they reach age 5, the hard truth is that women in their lifetimes have to give birth five or six times in order to maintain a stable (with five births) or very slowly growing (with six) population. It takes that many children, on average, to ensure that each woman will replace herself with a daughter who reaches child-bearing age. It’s manageable provided you have a earlyish (late teens to early twenties) age at first marriage for women, and no reliable methods of family limitation.

My field doesn’t have the sort of evidence that other historians of other periods do. We don’t have access to birth records from villages. We can’t track the rise and fall of individual families. Only very rarely can we piece together a coherent picture of any family at all.

As a result, we spend perhaps more time than we should with the statistics, the demographics, the averages.

And we forget that the averages can only tell us what the population does as a whole; they leave no room for the individual hiccups of fate and (mis)fortune that change the makeup of families.

A scholar in my field who does recognize this failing wrote recently that, “Diversity is perhaps the most striking feature of ‘natural fertility’…birth and death rates vary dramatically, from family to family (the childless lie next to families of eight or ten or more), from year to year…from region to region.”

Enormous variation lies underneath that computer-generated calculation of five or six births per woman, variation that can’t be quantified or reduced to statistical averages.

It’s the same, I feel, for infertility.

I haven’t gone and done the research, but I would imagine that the majority of women with primary infertility who succeed in having a baby eventually are able to go on and have a second baby. But whatever the percentage is, the bald number masks the individual stories. It will lump together the ones who managed to have their second baby naturally, without medical intervention, with the ones who still needed help but were successful on the first try, with the ones who lost baby after baby before they got to bring another one home, with the ones who ended up pregnant with twins on a last-ditch, final chance cycle, with the ones who saw two pink lines from a FET, with the ones whose fresh IVF led to a heartbeat on an ultrasound monitor.

Equally, the statistics make no distinction between those who are not so lucky, the ones who make up the smaller number.  There is no room to distinguish the ones who exhausted current medical knowledge and technology to no avail from the ones who had to stop treatments because they couldn’t afford to continue, from the ones for whom time and biology ran out, from the ones who had the resources to continue but had to make the decision to stop for their own sanity, so they could build a life with the family they had, rather than continually engage in a (what-had-proven-to-be) futile chase for another baby.

Statistics don’t tell the whole story. They never tell anyone’s individual story.

The success rate for FETs among women who are under 35, using good quality blastocysts, is very close to 50%.

If everyone were average, one of the two FETs we did this fall should have worked.

One of those embryos should have become a baby.

I don’t know yet if we were just unlucky, or if there is another underlying problem.

I don’t know yet in which group I’m eventually going to belong.

I don’t know yet what the road will look like that will bring me there.

But I think we’ll do another IVF cycle.

We might have just ended up on the wrong side of the statistics this time around.

And ten years from now I don’t want to regret not having tried to change that.

1 Comment

Filed under 2.0 FET #2, Anxiety Overload, Emotions, Family, Medical issues, PhD, Second Thoughts

Expected

Beta was negative.

That’s it then.

We do another full round of IVF, or we call it quits.

I really didn’t think we’d end up here.

5 Comments

Filed under 2.0 FET #2, Anxiety Overload, Emotions, Second Thoughts, TWW

11dp5dt

After I last tested, my sister decided to go and do some research. After trolling numerous online forums and controlling for five day embryos and successful pregnancies (and I have no idea how you would control for those variables when you’re just dealing with online forums, but that’s why she’s the scientist in the family), she e-mailed me to say that I had tested too early, and that lots of women didn’t see even a faint line until 9, 10 or even 11 days post-transfer.

All right. 8dp5dt is too early.

But a BFN at 11dp5dt, like the one I got this morning?

That, I’m betting, is definitive.

I’ll get the official word from the clinic tomorrow. And then Q. and I can start to think about just how far we want to go along this road.

In the meantime, I shall continue to plant the two hundred or so bulbs that E. and I bought this morning.  If I can’t seem to manage to support life in my uterus, at least I can look forward to something beautiful in the spring.

4 Comments

Filed under 2.0 FET #2, Family, Second Thoughts, ttc, TWW

8dp5dt

So.

I tested this morning.

It was a clear BFN.

I’d been debating testing and refusing to test for a couple of days, mainly because I didn’t really believe deep down that the cycle had worked, but knew that if I kept refusing to test I could at least keep on trying to believe it had worked.

Q. has pointed out that it is still early and that I don’t exactly have the greatest track record with HPTs. To which I have made the reply that at other clinics beta day would be tomorrow, and the HPTs that gave me the negative result with E’s cycle were from the dollar store. This one was a FRER.

I bought a two-pack, so I’ll test again on either Sunday or Monday for confirmation before the actual beta. But at least now I’ve got a couple of days to start to get my head around it all.

I didn’t ever really think, not deep down, not in my heart of hearts, that we would transfer both of our remaining blasts and still end up not pregnant. Deep down I was convinced that one of them would work.

But here we are.

Looks like we’re going to have some tough decisions to make.

5 Comments

Filed under 2.0 FET #2, Anxiety Overload, Emotions, Money Matters, Second Thoughts, ttc, TWW

Harder, but not worse (2.0 FET #2, 3dp5dt)

I can’t find the link to the post right now, but quite some time ago Bionic wrote about a particular evening with her (then infant) son, and how becoming a mother sometimes made her life harder, but not worse.

That phrase- harder, but not worse- has stuck with me ever since.

And I’ve realized this week that it is also true of ttcing for 2.0.

It is harder to manage the trips to the clinic, harder to balance the visits with our family’s schedule, harder to figure out who can look after E., harder still on the rare days when I have to bring him with me, and I try not to make eye contact with the miserable women who don’t want to have to look at him, while at the same time I wish I could just make a big announcement to all of them that “E. came from this clinic and it took us thirty-five months to get pregnant and he is an IVF/ICSI baby and sometimes, sometimes, it really does work”.

It is harder when it is time for the PIO shots again, when doing them in the morning means my muscles are less sore, but E. freaks out at being left downstairs, or freaks out at being left in his crib, and shrieks non-stop while Q. is trying to concentrate on causing me the least amount of pain, harder when we decide to just do them at night, and the last thing we do before going to bed is the PIO shot, which is hardly the sort of intimacy a couple wants.

It is harder during the two week wait, when I am forced to realize just how often I pick up my toddler in the course of a day because I am no longer supposed to pick him up at all, harder when we are at the park and E. wants nothing more than to go on the swings, and I have to distract him because last cycle I forgot and did put him in the swing and then wrenched everything when I got him out again and now always wonder if maybe, just maybe, I screwed things up right at that moment, harder when (as has been the case this week) he is ill, and wakes in the night, and cries, and doesn’t want his father, and doesn’t understand why I can’t get him out of the crib, or why we have to call in Daddy when it is time to go to bed at night.

It is harder, so much harder, after a failed cycle because I know now, I KNOW what these embryos, these tiny balls of cells become, I know what we are missing every time a cycle fails, and I know that these embryos were once in the same petri dish as the embryo that became our son, and that hundreds upon thousands of tiny details somehow aligned in the universe so that his embryo was transferred, and his embryo stuck, and his embryo stayed with us and grew and developed, and it takes my breath away that perhaps if even one of those factors had shifted, he might not be here, no child might be here, that we might never have become parents.

It is harder sometimes.

But it is not worse.

It could never be worse.

Because at the end of the day, no matter what the result, he is still here.

IMGP7530

3 Comments

Filed under 2.0 FET #2, E.- the third year, Emotions, Second Thoughts

2.0 FET #2, Day 16: Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise

Again.

Today was a weird day. I didn’t sleep well- I got hit with some news late last night I wasn’t expecting, which led to a huge emotional meltdown (think me sitting on the couch wailing: “I’m a GOOD mum! I just want to be a mum again! Everyone else is getting pregnant!” while Q. gave me a cuddle and quietly thought about how much he prefers his wife when she’s not on a billion medications), which led to me waking up at 5 a.m. this morning and not being able to go back to sleep.

I decided to not even try to get any serious work done this morning, so after I dropped E. off at nursery school (the drop offs are just getting better and better), I made my way very slowly down to the clinic running a bunch of errands and walking the entire time. It was a crisp, clear fall day, and I was in good spirits, and walking just felt like the right thing to do.

On the way down I chanted, over and over, under my breath: “This embryo is OUR baby.” I repeated it right up until it was transfer time. I decided this morning to go whole hog with believing this transfer will work. It’s going to be a mindfuck of crushing disappointment if it doesn’t, irrespective of whether or not I’ve tried to protect my own feelings. And if my doctor is worried that something in my body is interfering with the embryo’s best chances for implantation, I feel I owe it to this embryo to be as all embracingly positive as I possibly can be. All morning I chanted my mantra and did belly breathing if I started to tense up.

For the first time, when I got to the clinic there wasn’t a free cubicle. They were having a really busy day, so I had to sit out in the little waiting area for about twenty minutes or so before they found me a space. Once I was all set up, I sat in the chair and did some teaching prep. It was weird to be there by myself. My favourite nurse was on duty, as well as the old head nurse (who is supposed to be retired but seems to be in there every time I am), and they both know me well. I signed my instructions, confirmed I had all my medications (“You’re on practically everything!” said the nurse), and then waited.

Surprisingly, despite the really hectic day, they called my name at 1 p.m., only an hour after the scheduled time. I walked into the room, and that’s where all of my composure started to fade and my positive thoughts started to falter. It was harder than I had anticipated to be in there by myself, and I started to get a bit emotional knowing this was our last embryo. So much riding on one little ball of cells.

The head nurse and the u/s tech (both of whom also know me very well) weren’t happy about this at all, and convinced me to take an Ativan. “Honey,” said the u/s tech, “I hate having patients cry when I do the ultrasound, because crying contracts the uterus. It’s not what we want to see.” So I obligingly took the Ativan, and sure enough was a bit spacier (but much more relaxed) shortly thereafter, and then we all sat around for a bit longer to wait for my doctor to turn up.

He was having a chaotic day too. He had a med student shadowing him who didn’t inspire confidence- he kept getting in the way and shining the light in the wrong direction. My doctor had to send a text message before starting the procedure, and then his phone rang partway through and he had to get the ultrasound tech to answer it for him and take a message. Then he forgot to get me to sign the consents until after the transfer was complete.

But the important bit, the bit that mattered, was the blastocyst survived the thaw and it looked ‘good’ according to both him and my u/s tech, and the transfer to my uterus went smoothly.

I headed home soon after that, and told the embryo all about its first subway ride and its first ride on the streetcar, and then we counted the pumpkins we could see on our street. I mean, if I’m going to go crazy about this whole process, it might as well be crazy for a purpose, no?

Beta is November 4th- only 12 days to wait this time. I’ll test the morning of to make sure I don’t get blindsided like last time. And until then I’m going to do nothing but talk to the embryo, because, as I proved much to my chagrin last cycle, how I’m feeling on any given day really has nothing to do with whether or not the cycle has worked.

But still. For today, I am pregnant until proven otherwise. And if I can will that embryo into sticking, I am damn well going to try.

3 Comments

Filed under 2.0 FET #2, A matter of faith, Anxiety Overload, Emotions, Medications, My addled brain, Second Thoughts, TWW

In dreams (2.0 FET #2, Day 15)

E. woke up last night. He went back to sleep at first, for about forty minutes, but then he woke up again and it was clear he was going to need some help to get fully settled. I went into his room, checked that his diaper hadn’t leaked, picked him up, and sat with him in the rocking chair for two minutes or so, just until he started rubbing his face with his bunny and flopping against my chest. Then I kissed him, put him back in the crib, and crawled back to bed. Given it was already 5 a.m. by that stage, I didn’t like my chances of falling asleep again, but, in the end, I did.

I had the most convoluted dream.

In the dream we were planning to go to Australia with my mother and my two sisters, and I kept freaking out because it was going to interfere with trying to have another baby, and I had to have another baby, because we didn’t want E. to be by himself, and what if something ever happened to E., how would we go on living? And then, in the dream, I felt this enormous rush of relief because I realized (as one does in dreams, where a complete shift in the dream reality seems perfectly normal) that we already had two children, that there were two little boys running around our house, not one, that we were taking both of them with us to Australia, so it didn’t matter at all- we didn’t have to try again, we didn’t have to worry, we had our family. In the dream I can remember shaking my head, bemused at my own silliness, wondering why on earth I was so concerned about this when our boys were right there.

And then I woke up. And the worst part of it, the very worst part, is it took me a moment to disentangle myself from the web the dream had woven. For a very brief moment, that second little boy seemed like a lived reality and not just a dream.

May it be so.

Transfer day tomorrow.

2 Comments

Filed under 2.0 FET #2, Down Under, Emotions, My addled brain, Second Thoughts, Sleep

Intralipids infusion (2.0 FET #2- Day 10)

This morning I had my intralipids infusion.

It was pretty straightforward. I went in early, did the usual cycle monitoring bloodwork and ultrasound, and then moved over to the IVF suite where they hooked me up to the IV, and then brought in a bag that really did just look like a bag of fat- thick, white liquid. The nurse hooked that bag and a second bag (of what I assume was a saline solution) to the IV line, and then started them both dripping. It took a little over ninety minutes to empty the bag. I managed to get some work done while also listening to the various conversations. The nurses were trying to schedule a particularly busy day on the weekend and had to boss around the doctors quite a lot. The nurse who runs the IVF suite is one tough cookie, and now I can really see why. It takes some gumption to stand up to the doctors, but I could tell that she wasn’t going to give ground- this was HER turf.

Another woman came in looking for one of the nurses in particular. She was pregnant (seven weeks) and wanted to tell this nurse (who wasn’t working that day). After she had left the nurses had a bit of a conversation because most of them didn’t remember her, which is fair, given how many patients they see every day. But they were all in agreement that it made them uncomfortable to have her in there telling them about the pregnancy at seven weeks. “Ten weeks, ten weeks would be different,” said the boss nurse. “Then it is ok. But seven weeks is too early.” The others agreed.

It was pregnancy day at the clinic, it seemed. The woman in the cubicle next to me was also doing an intralipids infusion, and she was eleven weeks pregnant. The nurses were excited about this. “Almost time to graduate!” said one. When I was back over in the main part of the clinic I started chatting with another woman, who turned out to be ten weeks pregnant. It was her first baby, and it had been a long road. So I told her that I had a nearly two and a half year old at home, who came from that clinic, and that now I was trying again. And I told her that I had a good pregnancy and a good birth and that these helped in a lot of ways to heal how I had felt after being at that clinic for so long, because I could tell from her face that she was EXACTLY where I had been three years ago. Then the nurse called my name, and we both answered, and then laughed as we realized we had the same first name. I shook her hand and wished her well. She’d told me that they were done after this- that it was too hard, that they couldn’t go through it again. I wonder if she’ll still be thinking the same thing three years from now.

After the intralipids infusion was over, I went back to the  main part of the clinic to see my doctor. I was all geared up to have a fight with him because I wanted him to check my TSH again. They checked it on Day 2, and it was at 2.5, which isn’t bad, but my endocrinologist likes to keep it under 2.0, and I know the estrace will have been causing some stress. I’ve been doing my usual “take one extra half a pill every second day” while I’ve been on the estrace, which is what I did during the fresh IVF cycle that led to E., but I wanted some confirmation that this was the right dose.

He surprised me by agreeing to the extra test immediately, even before he looked to see what my previous result had been. And then he agreed that 2.5 was very borderline. So he really has finally got the message at some point in the last three years that TSH matters a lot when it comes to getting and staying pregnant. The nurses should call me this afternoon to give me the update. (They actually called while I was writing this: it’s still at 2.5, so I’m holding steady. They want me to stay on the same dose, but I might up it a tiny amount to get it below 2.0 as I know my endocrinologist wouldn’t be happy with 2.5.)

My lining looked great, so he wanted to schedule the FET. I asked if Q. had to be there for the procedure.

“Well,” said my f/s, “he has to be willing to be the baby’s father when it comes out, but he doesn’t have to actually be there for the transfer.”

Q. is going a little insane right now with work stress, and he’s going to lose all of next Friday because he’s going on a field trip with E. and the nursery school. So I scheduled the FET for next Wednesday (the 23rd) when E. will be in nursery school and Q. will be teaching.

It does feel a little odd- this will be the first transfer that Q. has missed, the first time he won’t be there to hold my hand when the f/s starts poking and prodding and things get uncomfortable, the first time he won’t see the embryo up on the monitor or be able to watch the transfer on the ultrasound. But I’m being practical- if we do the transfer Wednesday rather than Thursday we don’t have to worry about finding someone to look after E. (or stress him out by disrupting his routine- Q. had a hard morning with him today because E. knew it was supposed to be a day where he was with me and he didn’t at all like the fact that I had to go see the doctor without him), and Q. doesn’t have a big hole blasted in the middle of his only teaching-free day that week.

Then I saw a nurse and worked through my treatment protocol and picked up more medications and a new sharps container. I got out of there in time to get home for lunch, like I’d told E. I was going to try to do.

PIO shots start up again tomorrow. Luckily the Fragmin shots don’t start until the day of the transfer as I had a really bad reaction to them this time around- one side of my stomach basically turned into one giant deep purple bruise, and it is taking a long time to clear up. It should hopefully be back to normal just in time to start getting jabbed again. Sigh.

I wanted to write this down in case anyone is ever googling (as I was) ‘how long does it take after you stop taking progesterone to get your period’, because it took FOREVER to get my period after the last cycle. We hadn’t done the PIO shot on the day of the beta as we were out of needles and progesterone- I picked up more of both at the clinic, but then we had the phone call and they were superfluous. So my last PIO shot had been the Wednesday morning.

It was TUESDAY night before my period finally started.

Six full days. It never takes that long after taking bcps or provera. It took long enough that a sick, tiny part of my mind started to wonder if maybe, just maybe, my clinic had screwed up the beta results. Which was insane, because, really, a fertility clinic that can’t provide accurate beta results to its clients is a fertility clinic that would soon be out of business. But anyway, that’s what my mind insisted on thinking. It was a relief to finally have it arrive.

I also had apparently forgotten how bad my periods are after FETs. I guess I should have expected this- after all, we’ve just devoted all that time and energy to building a wonderful cushy lining for the embryo. But it really took me off guard, and I ended up coming straight home after going in to the clinic on Day 2 because I just couldn’t function without some serious pain relief and a hot oatbag. I suppose my last FET was in December 2009, so it was only fair I didn’t remember, but I also didn’t seem to blog about it. So I’m making a note of it for myself and for future readers: periods after FETs really suck.

The other note for posterity is when I was talking to the nurse about my medications on Day 2, I told her that the prednisone gave me terrible insomnia.

She looked at me for a minute. “Do you take it in the morning?”

“No,” I said. “I take it at night.”

“There! Take it in the morning!”

I have no idea why this had never occurred to me before. I generally try as much as possible to avoid taking medications in the morning because I don’t want them to interfere with the thyroid meds.

I am definitely having less trouble with waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. and then being unable to get back to sleep. But I was doing this over the summer as well, when I wasn’t on prednisone. So the jury’s still out as to whether or not changing when I’m taking it has reduced the ridiculous sleeping patterns. But I’ll keep monitoring the situation.

My Dad is staying with us for the week as he’s doing some work in the city. We got to chatting last night and he asked about my medical situation, since it’s pretty obvious that something is going on what with my taking a billion pills with every meal and the long conversation I had to have with my increasingly upset toddler about why Mummy had to go in to see the doctor for a few hours the next day and why he couldn’t come with me.

So I told him that we were trying to add to our family, that our first shot at it had failed, that we had one left before we were back to staring down the barrel of a full IVF cycle, that we would probably do one more full cycle but then that would be it.

I got really emotional, which surprised me, but it all just bubbled up to the surface.

It’s hard to be emotional around my father. He is a really tough man- ex-military, really strong personality, etc.- and I don’t really feel comfortable crying in front of him. But I couldn’t stop it last night, and it felt good to let him know where we were at. I never really got into the specifics with him the first time around. He knew that we were trying, and he knew that we were having trouble, and he knew (I’m pretty sure) at the end that it was IVF that worked, but I didn’t get into the details.

He wanted to know if he could help, and then when I said no, wanted to know how expensive it was, because what he clearly meant by ‘help’ was ‘help financially’. So I told him that E. cost $30,000, of which $16,000 came directly out of our pockets (and thank all the gods for Q.’s insurance which covers the medications, or we would never have got to E.- we could never have afforded even one round of IVF if we’d been footing the entire bill), and I told him that we had saved all last year to build a $10,000 2.0 fund, which would get us through both FETs and fund some of an IVF cycle if it came to that, but that if we wanted to continue we’d have to look at cashing in some of our investments. I made it clear that the reason why we haven’t yet redone our floors upstairs, or finished the landscaping in our side garden, both projects he often asks us about, is because that money keeps getting funnelled into trying to expand our family.

“Well,” said Dad. “There are always ways to spend money. It’s better than going to a casino.”

At which point Q. turned up to ask me something and the conversation shifted and I didn’t get the chance to say what I wanted to say to him, which was: “Is it really? Is it really any different to taking that money and gambling it at a casino if we gamble all of it on a child and come up empty handed at the end?”

Anyway. Who knows what Dad will make of that conversation. We couldn’t take money from him even if he wanted to give it to us- because of my stepmother any money that comes from him would inevitably have hidden strings attached, and Q. and I have had a couple of conversations where we’ve agreed that we will stop treatments before we would allow a situation to exist that could lead to comments along the lines of “we paid for our grandchild”.

One of the mums I really like on my birth club just announced that she is pregnant (seven weeks along- the birth club generally is horrified that she didn’t tell us as soon as she had POAS, but she said that she was worried about an ectopic, which is fair), and another mum just had her FET transfer on Wednesday. I would love to be pregnant with them.

Fingers crossed. The countdown is on.

3 Comments

Filed under 2.0 FET #2, 2.0 FET#1, Emotions, Family, FET, Medical issues, Medications, Second Thoughts, Thyroid, ttc