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.


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.




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.”


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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



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.


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.



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