I had a few days of hope that maybe this cycle had worked, but on Tuesday, that started to shift.
To recap the reasons I had hope:
A compacting embryo on day three
Pink spotting on day 5 and 6
Tender breasts that couldn't tolerate an underwire
Zinging cramps that I remembered from my pregnancy with Sparky
On Tuesday I had the distinct feeling that things were shifting and not in a positive way. My breasts felt less tender, and seemed to be deflating. I told myself that it was probably my imagination. But on Wednesday, I had the distinct dropping progesterone feeling of feeling weepy about everything, and the breasts were clearly smaller and not sore. Last night I didn't even need to wear my sleep bra. I'm going commando right now, and not a tender spot in sight.
Of course there is nothing to do but wait until Sunday, take the pills, do the shots, but in my body, it feels like it is over. Please don't encourage me. I just don't want any encouragement. This is the pattern my 3 early pregnancies had the first year we were trying. If I wasn't on the progesterone, I'd probably be bleeding by now.
I am ambivalent about this. On the one hand I am extremely sad, and exhausted by this whole process, and on another, I'm sort of well, not exactly relieved, but something like relieved. When I did think I was pregnant I found myself feeling ambivalent about how I would feel about a positive result. In one way it would be wonderful, but in another, it would be excruciating. I have lost faith in my eggs, and their performance with the donor sperm was the final nail in that coffin. Using my eggs feels like putting broken embryos into my body to die--not to live. To be pregnant this cycle, with my day three embryo (since only one of 5 was of any quality) would be terrifying. If I were to make it all the way to the second trimester, I would feel that I had to get an amnio because until I got those results I wouldn't be able to feel confident that the baby was healthy.
For the last 3 years it mattered to me that my eggs could be proven to be strong, healthy, and good. They felt like an extension of my own strength, health and goodness. For most of my life I've been consumed by my own fears and feelings of defectiveness, but at this point I feel that I am strong, healthy and good, but my eggs aren't. I am ready to let go of my eggs, and ready to let go of this phase of my life.
And this is where the title comes in: If money were no object, I'd be doing DE/DS cycle by November at the latest. But financially, it makes more sense to do 3 IUI's with my eggs and donor sperm and to see if one of them works. Why? We've never tried that--all our data comes from translocated sperm and IVF, and maybe I'm one of those people who's eggs don't develop well with extra gondrapins. Also, a monitored IUI costs 1K, a donor egg cycle costs 25K. If we get lucky, and one of my eggs decides to be a superstar, we'll have saved 25K.
The worst part of this is that I don't want to do it. I just don't want to do it at all, but I will. I will be vigilant, and responsible. I'll go to acupuncture, and pee on sticks every morning, and I'll refrain from taking all my favorite meds for 2 weeks (flex.eril, amb.ian, suda.fed). In the long run I know it would be easier for our child if they had at least one genetic link, but really, I just don't want to do it. I don't want to use my old tired eggs. I don't want to go through this any more. AT ALL. I will do this, but don't ask me to be hopeful, or to like it, or to believe in it.
I feel grumpy and cornered. I am cornered by logic and reason, and good sense, but in terms of what I want, I don't want this. It has gotten to the point that I don't want a child who shares a genetic link with me--I want this to be over. Yet, money doesn't grow on trees, and there isn't more money coming from where the last chunk came from, so we can't just do what feels right, we have to do what is right all around. ARGH.
So, the embryos slowed up in terms of division last night, so they are recommending a 3 day transfer. This is, of course, not the outcome we were hoping for. We even discussed letting them go until day 5, just to see what would happen. In the end, we decided that we are going to do the 3 day transfer, and live with the outcome. And hey, some people even get pregnant with a three day transfer, so not all hope is lost.
In many ways, it makes more sense to let them stay in the lab, and see if they develop, but emotionally, I'd rather have them in my body. If they are going to die, I want them to die within me. One of my biggest regrets is not getting pictures of the Panda's from our last cycle. The little cell clusters are our children, and having even a little piece of them to hold, in my hands, in my body, is immeasurably important to me.
So please send any vibes, prayers or good thoughts our way. We can use them.
In other news, our kitten came home yesterday. She is adorable, and funny and insatiable! We may have trouble making humans, but we make good cats!
So, the monster follicle was probably two follicles with an invisible septum, the doctor made that determination because the monster was gone and I gained a follicle. So, that is positive.
Lefty is still a bit ahead of righty, but they think one more day of stims and the little ones will catch up enough to have a chance of having a mature follicle in it.
All in all, this is not a great cycle, but it isn't total crap. Husband is feeling pretty pessimistic, and I'm feeling sort of...optimistic-ish(?) I don't think it's a slam dunk, but I'm feeling like there is some little chance that one of my leathery old eggs might just work. Call me crazy, just don't call me late for breakfast!
We paid for ICSI, but we went back and forth about whether or not to just plan on using it. I'm feeling like we should, but as it stands, we are going to take their recommendation on the day of the retrieval.
I have another scan and blood work appointment tomorrow morning, and we'll find out tomorrow afternoon if we are going to trigger Friday for a Sunday retrieval, or Saturday for a Monday retrieval.
The good news is that I have a great plan for distracting myself during the two week wait: A new Kitten! For the moment she is nameless, but we're very close. If only naming our children will be as easy. Once she has a name I'll post a picture. She is a tuxy like Zoe, but she has a different personality, and will likely be long and lanky, instead of uber petit.
Keep all those fingers crossed for us, we need 'em.
I spent most of the afternoon, until I had to go to work, reading Comfort me With Apples by Ruth Reichl. Food writing, plus a biography, what could be better to distract me from my own situation?
At about 3:45 a random nurse called to give me my instructions: stay the course and come in for another ultrasound and your pre-op on Thursday. Huh? I thought the cycle was clearly in the krapper? She seemed surprised, but offered to have one of the doctors call me back the next day. I agreed, but immediately called my regular nurse who promised to get a hand written, and therefore hand delivered message to the doctor so she would call us at the end of her day. I wasn't available, so Husband took the call. She's not worried about the big honkin' follicle on my right ovary. It doesn't seem to be dominant, and she thinks that the others, at least 3, will continue to grow. Her concern is that by letting the others grow we may lose the one that is currently a 16 on the left. However, as long as I have 6, we are in the land of IVF.
I am not sure why I am comforted by this--perhaps I am 'comfort-able' in away that I haven't been in the past.
It is still not ideal, but it is not the disaster we had in our first cycle or in our Dec cycle, so I shall continue to trudge dutifully onward.
Things aren't looking so good. There are about 5 follicles over 10, but on the right ovary there is a follicle over 21. Dominant bastard follicle. We'll talk to Dr Calm later and get her take, but from where we sit, it's not looking so good. More later.
So, about a month ago husband and I went on a little vacation (5 days away, 7 days here, really nice). I ate a lot of things I don't usually eat (pastries, cookies, ice cream, vodka tonics etc), and then went on Endom.etrian for 14 days. The understandable result of this combo is a bit of bloat, and bit of weight gain.
Fast forward to today. I am feeling a bit fat. I know, I know, I'm in an IVF cycle, what do I expect?
I never really lost the endometr.ian bloat, and since my craving for sweets didn't drop off until I got of the Endme.trian, I didn't really lose any of the weight, and now my pants are tight. Let me correct that: my fat pants are tight in the waist, still pretty comfy in the butt, as were my skinny pants (to be clear, we are talking size 12 and 14, not 2 and 4), but the waist is really uncomfortable. Add to that a nice collection of belly bruises, and I'm looking at the next week and wondering what I am going to wear. Ugh. I know that summer is the time of dresses, and if it were warmer here, I do have 3 I can wear that will be very comfy, even on my estrogen swollen boo.bs.
But somehow I feel sort of disappointed that I am starting out this cycle in a bad place physically. I have a good diet, and I've been upping my veggie intake and lowering my wheat and other carb intake, but all that will do is aid my digestion, not make my pants feel better. Ms Estrogen and her magical bloating abilities will make sure I gain, not lose.
One thing I never realized when I was hearing other infertiles talk about the bloating that happens in IVF was that they weren't just talking about belly bloat, but allover body bloat.
I am one of those annoying people who has a hard time concentrating when my clothes feel wrong.
Maybe I'll head to Marshalls and see if I can get some comfy things to wear to work while I'm in this state.
I know it is silly to complain about these things. They are problems with solutions, but isn't it always the way that when one's body is involved there are often feelings of shame and of feelings of loss of control. Maybe it is a way to symbolize the out of controlness of an IVF cycle. Or maybe it is that my pants are too tight. Oy.
Because of an oversight on my doctors part, I had to have a new saline sono done for this cycle. Of course, I had to have it while I was on my period, so it was VERY uncomfortable. Right up the with the HSG if you ask me. However, all is good under the hood, so I'll start Gonal F and Menop.ur tomorrow!
We prepaid for ICSI, just in case the sperm isn't as swishy as it ought to be. Dr W said that she would order a very low threshold for ICSI. It is good to have her taking care of the fact that this is our last chance with my eggs, and any missteps are unrecoverable. Of course, rescue ICSI works, but who needs that stress?
I'm having little waves of dread, and excitement, and I've decided to go with "6th time's the charm?" It feels pithy and funny, and that feels just right.