Is it time to move on?

It’s a question I don’t really want to ask, but it may be time: Is it time to move on from my clinic? 

The stats:

  • “Unexplained” infertility, diagnosed in January 2015
  • Six total assisted cycles over two years
    • Four IUIs, resulting in two miscarriages (#2 and #4) and two failed attempted (#1 and #3)
    • Two failed IVF cycles
      • One fresh stim cycle
        • Resulting in five embryos for freezing
      • One double embryo FET
    • Two different “lead” doctors on my case

Not great, I hear ya. But here’s the thing: The support staff at my clinic warms my soul. I feel bonded, especially, to my IVF nurse, who I’ve written about before. She’s rooting for my success as much as I am, and that means a lot to me. She answers my questions and eases my concerns day, night, weekend, whatever. She’s in this.

Having said that, it’s counterproductive to throw money (not to mention time) at a place that, to date, hasn’t been successful getting me to my goal. Ultimately, that’s what matters most.

We will meet with the doctor later this month for a post-mortem on this failed cycle, after which, I feel like I will need to make the decision about moving on from this clinic. Dislike.

In hopes of a false negative

Anna and Elsa didn’t stick. Probably.

Does anyone have experience with a false negative pregnancy test following an FET? My husband, ever the online researcher, immediately hit the message boards yesterday following the call from my doc saying that our IVF was, again, unsuccessful. He found many women had experienced a false negative in their first HCG test. The “many” was enough for him to suggest that I retake it later this week. So I am.

I really was not prepared for another negative this time; I was feeling incredibly positive about a good result. The news of another failed IVF hasn’t completely sunk in yet. I don’t know what’s next, other than retaking the test. I’ll do that to give him some peace of mind. He deserves it, too.

Why Leonard Cohen’s passing reminds me of infertility

I’m a longtime fan of Leonard Cohen’s music, particularly his deeply emotional songwriting. I was first exposed to his haunting lyrics in college, and his impact has remained. Many of his songs hold a very special place in my heart because I find that they resonate with me no matter the stage in my life.

Following his passing late last week, especially on the tail of an otherwise emotionally fragile few days including the US presidential election and my own FET, I returned to two of my favorites.

“Hallelujah” is probably Cohen’s most popular song, and for good reason. I played this at my wedding. It is absolutely brilliant. In it, he speaks of both loss and understanding. Two themes those suffering from infertility often have to balance simultaneously. Like many of his songs, I often prefer “Hallelujah” sung by other artists (Jeff Buckley, perhaps most notably sang this beautifully, as did Rufus Wainwright). This week Kate McKinnon did a wonderfully simple tribute to both the brilliant songwriter, as well as Hillary Clinton.

“Anthem” is the other that hits me hard. Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen do my favorite rendition of this song; they exude the struggle, determination and hope that this song speaks to.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Thank you, Leonard Cohen, for giving us your beautiful music. You won’t be forgotten.

Anna and Elsa

This week embryos Anna and Elsa take the stage. All eyes (and ultrasound wands) on them.

In the time since my first IVF’s failure, I’ve carefully considered when to do my next IVF and how many embryos would come along for the ride. These thoughts have never been far from my mind in the months that have passed. There wasn’t one reason that I decided to move forward with transferring two embryos, but I suppose that if I have to single something out it would be this: I’m tired of not being a mom. I’ve been through too much and have worked too hard. I’m tired. So, at this point, I can’t say in good consciousness, well, two is just too many at one time. It isn’t.

My FET cycle has been a bit bumpier than I anticipated. The estrogen has hit me hard. While physically I’m okay, emotionally I am basically a dumpster fire. I’m probably not what one might call the most emotionally sounds person off-meds, but the Estrace causes me to openly weep at the slightest hint of emotion. Sadness, sure. Also happiness, excitement, anger, pride… it’s been a fun few weeks.

The PIO is another fun, jabby adventure. This is my first time on PIO and I was more than a little surprised by the thickness of the needle. Since I do my own injections (my husband is petrified of one thing, and that thing happens to be needles), shoving that mammoth needle into my butt can prove to be a bit of a challenge. Thank goodness for large bathroom mirrors and reasonably steady hands.

Naturally, I’m rooting for Anna and Elsa. I’d like to think these two embryos have the same sass and spunk as the characters, helping them stick around.

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One or two

If you had asked me 10 years ago about my future family, I more than likely would have said that I would be the mother to twins. Twins run in my family in every generation. My father is a twin (identical). My aunt (his older sister) has twins (fraternal). Twins go back several generations on my father’s side. I always assumed I’d be the next one to have them. I accepted it as my fate and moved on.

During the post-mortem on my first (failed) IVF cycle with our RE a few weeks ago — in which he said that my cycle was absolutely textbook perfect minus the lack of pregnancy (not as comforting as it might sound) — he asked whether we would like to move forward with a one or two embryo transfer for our second cycle. As soon as I opened my mouth to answer, my RE jumped in with the laundry list of complications that are more likely in a twin pregnancy. Increased risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, low birth weight… yep, check.

For these reasons, as well as the perceived quality of the embryos we currently have frozen (Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff and Anakin, you may recall), he recommends another single transfer. And while this is his recommendation, he is open to transferring two because of the practical and logistical factors involved with IVF.

I left the office that day with my husband — me headed back to work and him home — and said in the parking lot, I don’t know what to do. This surprised him, mostly for the resigned to twins reason above. And honestly, it surprised me a little, too.

One of the very (very, very) few positives of medically assisted reproduction is that I have some small amount of control over having twins. In the future my 20+ year old self envisioned I did not. Our odds of having twins with a two embryo transfer is about 25 percent, per the RE. That seems somehow more significant – heftier – now when I have the option, technically, of choosing a singleton pregnancy and child.

I’m struggling with a few things as I try to make this decision (presently my husband has allowed me to make the choice). Perhaps most seriously with the practicality of caring for and raising two children at the exact same time. I’m not naive – that shizz is hard. That shizz is expensive. I ask myself if I could be a good mother (or perhaps more accurately, the kind of good mother I aim to be) to two as to one. The questions I ask myself are honestly exhausting.

Residing on the other side of the fence, of course, is the part where I’ve tried for three and a half years to have a baby and create my family… I can’t possible say, oh, I only want one at a time. Nope. Give me all the babies!

I don’t really see myself coming to a resolution on this any time soon. Overthink, much?

In dreams

This morning when my husband woke me up for work (he always wakes up at least an hour before me naturally… such a weirdo), I was having a very vivid dream. In it, I was in a car with my mother (who was driving), and we were frantically following a red car driven by my infant son, Noah. I was crying and freaking out because not only had I let my son drive — what a horrible mother! — but he was doing so poorly and he was sure to get into an accident. I talked to him via speakerphone in the car and told him to stop at the gas station nearby. He did, but then my mother couldn’t pull in behind him so he left and drove in the opposite direction. I told him never to tell his father about this, and then I said to my mother that being a mom was just too stressful.

Let’s brush past the very strange visual of a baby driving a car, shall we?

Aside from that, it feels awfully telling of my infertility experience that my subconscious has my infant son literally driving away from me. I am chasing him, but he’s always out of my reach. Then, when we are in the same place (the gas station), I am in the wrong lane, so he drives away in the opposite direction.

Dreams, amirite?

baby-boy-driving-a-car

When you Google “baby driving a car” there’s a surprising number of images available…

Also, where’d the name Noah come from?