Gut feelings.

I realized something today. I’m not ready to give up the idea of never having a biological child.

I was in the break room at lunch today just listening to mindless chatter of some coworkers. One of the lady’s daughter just had a baby a few months ago and she was discussing who the baby looked like and showing pictures.

I’m not ready to give up the idea of ever discussing with someone if a baby has my nose or my husband’s ears. I’m just…not. Despite all the evidence mounting that IVF with our eggs/sperm will probably never be successful for us. Call me delusional. I prefer masochist.

I haven’t told my husband this. We’ve talked about moving to embryo adoption after this next transfer fails (obviously we’ve embraced pessimism together at this point). We’ve never spoken of donor sperm and I don’t know how to bring it up.

I plan on talking to my doctor before the next transfer. I want to ask her about more testing and possibly an ERA to see if we’re even giving the embryos a proper chance to stick. I plan on asking her if there’s a point to trying a third cycle or if she suggests moving on to donors (whether that be sperm or embryo). It seems like we have no issue getting mature eggs out of me, but with a 12% and 8% retrieval to blastocyst rate for IVF #1 and #2 respectively, something is wrong. I don’t know if it’s sperm quality or egg quality. Google suggests sperm, but who knows. He’s had genetic and DNA testing done, so I’m at a loss. Are the embryologists just having the worst luck at picking sperm for ICSI? I’ve only ever been on an antagonist cycle – is it worth trying something different?

I don’t know how we’d pay for a third cycle. The 2nd cycle was 25% off and I believe a 3rd would be slightly more heavily discounted. But we’re still looking at at least $10K with meds.

I don’t know if this is just because we’re still very close to this clusterfuck of a cycle and I’m still processing. Maybe after the next transfer, I will be more at peace with the idea that we’ve done everything we can and it’s time to move on. But for now…I’m not ready to end this chapter.

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This man I love.

Five years ago, I married a man.

We had moved in together after only dating 4 months (in all fairness, my roommate was moving to GUAM with her fiance, so I kinda needed a place to live). He popped the question on a beach in Mexico (Lovers Beach!) after we’d been together 9 months. We were married December 10, 2011, about 18 months after meeting. Fast, sure. Looking back, I’m sure many bets were placed on how short the marriage would last. I was 26 and he was 31 and I had never been more sure of anything in my entire life.

In planning our wedding ceremony, we decided against the traditional “unity” ceremonies (sand, candle, etc). They just weren’t us. Our officiant told us about the wine box ceremony. The gist is that you write letters to each other on your wedding day and during the wedding, you seal them into a box with a bottle of wine. On your 5th anniversary, you open the box, read the letters, and drink the wine. Good times had by all.

So the morning of our wedding, we wrote each other letters and during the ceremony, we nailed the box shut. Last Saturday was our anniversary. I was still recovering from the egg retrieval, so no romantic evening out for us. But we opened that damn wine box and read the letters.

Y’all. I cried. No one would ever accuse this man of being a cheesy romantic. But his letter was so sweet that I couldn’t help it. We’ve written new letters to be opened on our 10th anniversary and he’s building a new box to put them in. But in the past few days, I find myself returning to the first box and re-reading his letter to me. His closing remarks are what get me every time.

“I love you. I always will. This was meant to be.”

Reading that, I find so much peace right now. If there is one good thing to come out of this shit show that is infertility and IVF, it’s that there is no one in the entire world that is better suited for me than this man. He is my person. So. I have that going for me.

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I love you, husband. I always will. This was meant to be.

I’m angry.

That is how I feel right now. We have one frozen embryo to show for this cycle. I need to start preparing myself for a childfree life and I’m not ready for that.

I’m angry that my husband’s lack of sperm has put us in this position.

I’m angry at the RE for giving me hope with the new protocol.

I’m angry at the lab for waiting until FIVE FUCKING O’CLOCK to call me with the news that they all arrested but 1.

I’m angry at myself for being unable to produce more eggs and more chances.

I’m just really fucking angry.

And…if you’re going to tell me that “It only takes one” – please don’t. I am 100% aware that yes, it only takes one. I want to wallow right now.

Zen has left the building.

Alright, who had day 3 as when I lose my shit? Anyone? Anyone?

Okay, slight exaggeration. But today is the first day I’ve cried and officially begun to lose optimism about IVF #2.

Got the day 3 update and we still have 5 excellent embryos, 1 average, and 3 below average. The other 2 never fertilized so they were discarded. This time last cycle we had 8 excellent and 3 average and we only ended up with 2 blastocysts, both of which were failures. So…basically we’re fucked. If we only have 1 or 2 embryos again on day 5, we’ll opt out of PGS because it isn’t worth the $2,500 to only test 1 or 2. They’ll call again on Tuesday to let me know if any are still worth keeping.

So…the extra $1,000 of meds and the 3 months of vitamins/supplements have done precisely DICK and I can’t fucking handle this right now.

In other news, our 5 year wedding anniversary was yesterday. So…yay!

Go Team Mutants!

So for IVF #1, my husband lovingly referred to our potential embryos as X-men. This time around he’s taken to calling them Mutants and says they might have superpowers since they’re growing in a lab. Yeah. We’re adults.

Egg retrieval went down at SIX AM yesterday morning. I will say again, this being the second time around was so much better than the first time around. I knew what to expect, even had a pleasant conversation with the anesthesiologist as I slowly passed out.

I had the same nurse as I did back in May. A perfectly lovely older lady whose hands shook as she jabbed the IV into my hand. My husband had to fake a coughing fit to cover his laughter. On the drive to the clinic, I had said “Man I hope I don’t have the nurse with the shaky hands again.” As soon as she walked in the room, he started laughing.

I remember nothing of the procedure thank god. I just remember coming to in the operating room as the RE was pulling the speculum out of me. She said I did great and they were counting the eggs. My husband had his date with the cup and after I successfully peed, we were released and home by 8AM. I got a call later than 13 eggs were retrieved, with 12 mature enough to be ICSI’d.

I just got the call a few minutes ago from the embryologist with an update. 9 fertilized normally overnight, and 1 abnormally (discarded). The other 2 are in an unknown status at the moment. They will look at the embryoscope again on day 3 to see if those ended up fertilizing. So at the moment we have between 9-11 embryos. During the first round, only 7 fertilized normally, so Team Mutants already have a leg up on Team X-men.

Pipe down, ovaries.

Seriously. The little shits decided to suddenly shift into overdrive last night.

Yesterday morning I had 8 measurable follicles on the right, 7 on the left. This morning? Freaking 12 on the right and 8 on the left. My E2 levels went from 1616 yesterday to 2105 today. Settle down overachievers (I really really REALLY wanted to use the stupid pun ovary-chievers there, but I’ll settle for a parenthetical note).

I just gave myself my last dose of Follistim and the trigger shot of 5,000 units of HCG and the retrieval is scheduled for SIX FUCKING AM on Thursday morning. Nothing like getting a little light egg harvesting out of the way before you start your day huh?

Still zen-ish. I really really really hope that this cycle goes better for us. I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll have more eggs to play with this time. Fingers crossed that husband’s sperm gets along with them this time.

Also, I’ve been google stalking infertility boards (as one does). And if I ever use any of the following terms unironically, please just slap me: embies, follies, frosties, baby dance, and baby dust. That is all.

Get these things out of me.

Ugh. This sums up every thought in my brain in a nutshell.

This morning was another blood draw and twat wanding after 8 days of stims. 8 follicles on the right, 7 on the left, ranging from 14-20mm, most averaging about 16-18. Left ovary is showing a trend of always having slightly smaller follicles, so we’re going to do 1 more night of stims tonight and trigger tomorrow night for a Thursday retrieval. My E2 levels were at 1616 this morning, higher than they got during IVF #1. Maybe we’ll get an extra egg out of this. I’m definitely feeling all those dang follicles. I don’t know how the PCOS ladies do this. I have 15 follicles and I feel like shit, yet I read about woman retrieving like 30 eggs…ugh. I’m bloated and uncomfortable. I’m walking really slowly because I swear I feel like my ovaries are porcupines.

Accurate portrayal of my ovaries right now:

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Saturday night was my husband’s company’s Christmas party. It wasn’t actually as bad as I thought. I nursed a single glass of wine all night so no one mentioned the decrease in drinking. I checked with the nurse beforehand and she said it was fine to do most of the injections before we went, as there was some wiggle room with timing on those. The Ganirelix (which keeps me from ovulating) needed to be on a more consistent time from night to night, however. So I brought that one to the restaurant and shot up in the bathroom. IVF Achievement Unlocked!

In optimism news, I’m handling this round MUCH MUCH better than the first. Mentally, physically, and emotionally. Even my husband has noticed. Three days from the egg retrieval and I’ve only cried once (OKAY…in my defense I’m very hormonal and I had ornaments printed with pictures of each of our dogs and they came in and were PERFECT). Keep your fingers cross that this oddly zen thing continues.

 

IVF #2 Stats:

Injections: 27

Blood Draws: 4

Twat Wand Dates: 3

I am very aware of my ovaries right now.

Yup. Exactly what the title says. I had my initial blood draw to check E2 levels on Wednesday, and it was 189. Same time last cycle was 191, so we seemed to be on the same track. She increased my Follistim dosage this time around, but I was also on birth control for an extra week leaving me slightly more suppressed, so I feel like those cancelled each other out.

Starting yesterday, I’ve been incredibly aware of my ovaries. I feel twinges and stretching. And the bloating has begun (hey remember when I was googling IVF sex like 4 days ago? HA!).

I went in for my first ultrasound since starting stims on Sunday and another blood draw. My RE is known for her weird comments while I’m in the stirrups and dammit, she did not let me down today. She had the wand inside me and as soon as the right ovary came into view, she said “Oh my! Things are happening in there aren’t they?!”

NO SHIT, SHERLOCK.

Of course I just chuckled politely and said Yup, and I can feel it.

I’ve got 7 follicles on the right and 6 on the left, all measuring between 12.5 and 14. I get to add Ganirelix to the party tonight to keep me from ovulating all these things. My E2 level came back at 543. Same day the last cycle was 449 so still on target to be about equal to IVF #1. If we get 12 eggs again I would be happy. And HOPEFULLY all these vitamins and supplements plus the Omnitrope will mean they are all fantastic quality.

Meanwhile, my husband’s company Christmas party is tomorrow night. I’m sure I will be a super pleasant person while feeling bloated and being cranky from not drinking. I can’t guarantee I won’t punch someone who asks me if I’m pregnant since I’m not drinking.

Here’s to hoping my next post doesn’t start out with “So I got arrested…”