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!

What I wish I had known…

We’re about halfway through our break from IVF. I’ve been through two periods since our second failed transfer and will be calling the clinic at the start of my next, hopefully in early October, to start IVF #2. We’re both taking daily doses of antioxidants, vitamins, and supplements to hopefully give our embryos the boost they need to be awesome. I’m down 10 pounds from diet and exercise and am 10 pounds away from the weight I was when we started this whole mess. So overall…in a good place. I’ve done a lot of reflecting lately, and I’ve been thinking of things that I wish I had know before we started this process. Maybe a little reminder as we head into the next unknown.

  1. It’s ok to be scared. Of everything. The injections, the endless appointments, the emotions, the failure. IVF in general takes a very strong and brave person to do, but you don’t have to feel 100% in control and fine every step of the way. This shit is terrifying and it’s ok to let yourself feel it.
  2. Don’t keep everything inside. I am terrible at this. My husband had no idea what was running through my head for most of this and he was desperate to be let in. My default coping mechanism is to shut down and I am determined to not do that this time.
  3. Involve your partner. For me, I wanted to do all the injections myself, basically to prove to myself that I could. Again, my husband wanted to be a part of this, so his job every night during the stimulation phase was to mix the menopur for me. I’d prep the Follistim pen and run into the bathroom the inject that and he would get the next one ready to go for me. Later, during the PIO phase of the process, he was in charge of prepping and administering the butt shots.
  4. There are days you are going to feel like complete shit. The last 2 days of stims before the retrieval were the worst. Amazing how things measured in millimeters can bloat you up like a balloon and make you feel like death. The morning of the retrieval, the last thing I remember saying before being knocked out was “Get these fucking things out of me please.” I am a classy lady.
  5. Stay the fuck off google. Seriously. I always tell myself this (and utterly fail at it)…reading the experience of some chick on a forum from 2009 is probably not going to help your situation. Trust me.
  6. Your sex life will suffer. There are times you aren’t allowed to have sex and times you’re just so damn uncomfortable. Our intimacy took a nosedive and that was really hard (no pun intended) for me. No one had prepared me for that.
  7. It’s ok to grieve. This is our new normal. We are never going to get to just have sex and make a baby. Our new lives involve endless doctors appointments, insane amounts of money, and a very clinical and sterile approach to procreation. It’s ok to be overwhelmed. I still am.
  8. Get comfortable with your body and having it only display. I cannot remember the last time I went to a doctor’s office and DIDN’T take my pants off. More people have been all up in my business in the last 5 months than I care to admit and it doesn’t even bother me any more. I’m now perfectly capable of chatting mindlessly with the doctor about dinner plans while she’s got an ultrasound wand up my twat. Skills, ladies and gentlemen.
  9. Ask questions. Write them down. If you’re like me and paying out of pocket, you are spending over $15,000 to pay someone to try to make you a baby. Honestly for that amount, the front of the RE’s office should be lined with a goddamned red carpet, but we’ll save that for another rant. You are paying for their services and you deserve and have every right to be satisfied.

And the most important thing I wish I’d known?

    10. It might not work.

Sure, I’d done all the research and I knew the odds. I knew this was never a guarantee. I was 30 when we started this process, still “young” in IVF years. I was pretty much good to go, reproduction wise. Our issues were entirely MFI. So with ICSI plus my age, our clinic gave us a 60% shot at success. We were so damn sure this would work on the first shot. But it didn’t. Out of 12 mature eggs, we only got 2 embryos. Two transfers. Both failed. We were destroyed both times. Like…what the fuck just happened? And now we are on to round #2. Which might also fail. And that’s not ok. At all. But it’s a reality. One I wish I had better prepared myself for.

I’m still optimistic. Multiple doctors have told us it’s a numbers game. And that there is no reason to believe this won’t work for us. So we’re staying positive. If this cycle doesn’t work, we’re both pretty satisfied that we’ve tried our hardest and it will be time to move on to embryo adoption, because we won’t be able to afford a round #3. So as I reflect before round #2 I’m back to zen. This is a new cycle. A new start. A new chance. The only one we’ve got so dammit I’m going to make the best of it!

Time to breathe.

Had the WTF appointment. It went as well as could be expected.

She literally went day by day over our entire cycle, starting from the first monitoring appointment after I started stims. Went over all my hormone levels and follicle sizes and the progress throughout the whole cycle.

After going through everything and addressing our questions, she gave it to us straight. The fact that we only had 2 suitable embryos after everything? It’s almost certainly purely a sperm issue. She said I responded pretty fantastic given my age and all my levels. The next cycle, she wants to add in Omnitrope to possibly improve egg quality, even though she said it was just fine as it. But might as well give it our all right?

So why did they retrieve 12 mature eggs and we only end up with 2? Well, the sperm ain’t so hot. The tricky part of testicular failure is that there is literally nothing that can be done to improve counts. Nada. It’s not a question of if the sperm will dwindle to 0, it’s when. On retrieval day, his count was actually at 400,000 – the highest they’d ever been (I actually high-fived my husband in the middle of the appointment when she mentioned this, because we are mature adults ready to be parents). So really, all we can do is try to improve the quality. So for 90 days, husband is taking a cocktail of vitamins and antioxidants from some specialty pharmacy. She put me on CoQ10 and a fish oil/DHA supplement as well. She said there’s no reason to believe that his count will drop from 400,000ish to 0 by November – she assured me she’s never seen it drop that fast in all her years doing this. So…finally some good news.

The clinic lab shuts down for a huge chunk of December, so the plan is to do the cycle in November and freeze all, then transfer in January. I told her I never should have done a fresh and I didn’t want to do one again and she put up no fight at that, which I was thankful for.

I hate that we’re in this position again. I hate all of it. But we have a plan. I fucking love plans. I am that woman that makes packing lists in excel before taking trips. So to have a plan is already making me feel like a human again. I have 3 months to take control of my body and my life again.

So…today is a good day.

So many questions.

After the nurse called on Friday to confirm the shitty news of our second failure, she said the RE had requested a consultation. I’ve heard this referred to on the forums as the “WTF Appointment.” As in, what the fuck went wrong?

I have questions. But I’m scared to know the answers. Is it me? I’ve put on like 10-15 pounds this year with all the stress and medications. That’s not good. I have a very stressful job at multiple times during the year (tax deadlines are a bitch)…is that destroying my chances of success? I have minor hypothyroidism – can I even successfully manage that during a pregnancy?

Then there’s the big question. Is there even any sperm left? The super fun part of testicular failure is that you don’t know when the sperm will just go away. Hell, for all we know, he stopped producing sperm last month and all this worrying about another cycle is all for nothing. Before we do another cycle, I want another SA done to make sure. He had sperm (obviously) for our cycle in May, so that leaves some hope. Husband is still wonderfully (and fucking annoyingly) optimistic that this will work. We will have a child. Whereas I use the word “if” when talking about children, he is still firmly in the “when” camp.

Guys, seeing him with tears in his eyes on Friday morning gutted me. We’ve been together 6 years and the only time I’ve seen him cry is when he had to put down the dog he’d had since childhood. And then Friday. When I crawled back into bed after my morning shower and had to tell him that it didn’t work. I had failed us again. We weren’t going to be parents. He said he loved me and that it wasn’t my fault and that we would do this again.

I don’t know how I feel right now. I’m kind of a mess. The idea of another full cycle makes me sick to my stomach. All the injections and the constant blood draws and twat wandings. The retrieval. The embryo hunger games. I swear, I’ve lost 10 years off my life in the last 8 months from the stress and anxiety alone.

Back to the original topic at hand. The WTF appointment. It’s Wednesday. I’m not sure what to ask. I still have some issues with how the first cycle went, mostly stemming from staff communication and expectations, that I want to address. But other than that…what should we be asking?  Every step of this process, I feel SO out of my element. I’m like a deer in the headlights. Have any of you been through this meeting and care to share any fantastic insights?

Aaaand hope is dead.

7 days past transfer. Negative first response test. Fuck. That’s two failed transfers now.

I don’t know if I have the strength to go through another entire cycle. I’m angry at the world. I’m angry that my husband can’t make sperm. I’m angry that we may be facing a vast expanse of infinite life with no children. I’m just fucking angry.

Big fat failure.

That’s me! A big fat fucking failure.

Negative beta, obviously. IVF #1 is officially a failure. My RE herself called. I like her a lot, but breaking this news was not her strong point. She mentioned multiple times that it had been a textbook perfect blastocyst. Thanks. So it’s clearly my piece of shit body that messed this whole thing up. If I can’t even manage to implant a perfect embryo, then I’m fucked for the FET with my “less than perfect” one.

I know it was stupid to get my hopes up. But I did. I hoped so badly that this would work. Odds were on our side. She gave it a 60% chance. Right now it just feels like we flushed $17,000 down the drain. Because we did. Literally.

She’s leaving it up to me to decide if we want to go straight into the FET cycle or to take a cycle off and then come back. I’m leaning towards taking a cycle off. Because I need to get my shit together emotionally and physically. I have felt so out of control of my body over the last month. I want myself back.

Calling my husband was the worst. The absolute worst. He was sad, kept saying that we would do this as many times as I wanted. I just kept apologizing to him. It’s my fault. All I had to do was let the little fucker implant. And I failed. He swore up and down that he didn’t blame me at all. But…I don’t know.

I ended up leaving work early because I just can’t concentrate right now. I just want my husband to be home with me because I have never needed a hug like I do right now. Luckily I have my dogs here and they are fantastic cuddlebugs.

So to recap. I feel like a failure that will never have kids (holy dramatic overreaction, Batman, right?). But I have this face to love on. So I’ve got that going for me, right? 🙂

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My dad is the best.

He made me cry today when we had lunch. Happy tears, I promise! It was a good day.

He’s been the only family member that’s been super supportive and that I’ve confided in throughout the IVF process. My mother knows about it, but she still thinks the whole thing is “bullshit” and that we just need to take a beach vacation and we’ll come home with twins. My dad, however, has offered us an interest free, pay back whenever we can loan to do another round of IVF (if we need it…optimism and whatnot). Which…wow. I just…I love this man so much and I’m so lucky he’s my dad.

Anyway. Onto the happy tears. So we’re talking about everything. He never pries, just asks how I’m doing and how my husband is doing and what our next steps are.

He says “I read in the paper the other day, this article about embryo adoption and how couples that can’t have kids try that instead of traditional adoption.”

“Yeah, we’ve talked about that,” I say. “That way I could still experience pregnancy. But the kid wouldn’t be ours genetically.”

“Well that would be alright,” he said.

This is where I lost it (hormones, people). “What if we never have a kid, Dad?”

“Then you’ll do something else great with your life. Didn’t you always talk about wanting to foster dogs? That could be rewarding. Or you adopt a child and we’ll all love it just as much as we’d love a grandkid that looked just like you.”

I mean really. How did I get so lucky? He’s doing research on embryo adoption for god’s sake. He just wants to be supportive of his daughter. I have some really awesome people in my life.

Side note. I peed on a stick again this morning (shut up). Still negative 7 days after transfer. So…I’m thinking this isn’t happening this go round. Who knows, maybe our little X-man is still in there somewhere and will make its presence known on Wednesday. I’m gonna ignore tomorrow and be in hopeful denial for one more day and then do a final test Wednesday when I wake up before my 8 AM blood draw.

But until then…today was a good day.