The Not-So-Sexy Infertility Adventures of a Girl in the Big Apple

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wham Bam Thankee Ma'am

An update after this afternoon's visit with potential RE #2.  I saw him about a month ago to get a second opinion after my first failed IVF and liked him - liked him in fact better than my current RE.  But I ended up doing another cycle with RE #1 anyway, because I was already in their system and wanted to use up my insurance benefit while I had it.

So this time I brought H with me for a second consultation, because I wanted him to be able to develop his own view on the two clinics we're evaluating.  Instead, I get whisked into an exam room by a nurse and told to disrobe from the waist down.  "Wait," we protest in unison, "we're just here for a second consultation."  After some confusion, we get shown in to meet with RE #2.

He was very much as I remembered him - brisk, energetic, no-nonsense, and yet somehow cheerful at the same time.  His message to us was no less sobering than RE #1, but told with greater clarity, and I feel, accuracy.  He said that after 2 poor responses like mine at a top clinic, I probably fall somewhere in the bottom 10 - 20% of candidates for IVF.  He estimates that my chances of success per procedure are somewhere between 5 - 10% (ouch).  Not zero, but very low.  He also said that my egg quality is clearly lower than expected for someone my age, but he can't tell just HOW low.  In other words, if the usual 37 year old has 1 good egg out of every 6, it's clear that I have something materially less than that.  However, it is impossible for him to know if I have 1 good egg out of every 11, or 1 good egg out of every 111.  So at the end of the day the decision to continue is not really a medical one, but a personal one (dependent on finances and emotional/physical capability to handle repeated cycles).

Regarding use of supplements, he said "Go for it, be my guest."  While he has absolutely no faith that they'll do anything, he says they will do no harm.  His recommended protocol would be no BCPs and no Lupron to avoid any form of suppression whatsoever.

With that, he let me know that he did in fact need to perform an exam to get me in their system.  So I was again whisked into the exam room to have the World's Fastest Vaginal Exam.  By this point, he was clearly in a rush - they obviously had only scheduled him to do an exam and he wasn't expecting to have to have the earlier conversation with me and H.  So I get in, barely have time to undress and cover myself, and whoosh!, he's in the room and telling my to get my feet into stirrups.  How fast was it?  It was like this:

Speculum:  In, Out!
Rubber-gloved fingers:  In, Out!
Ultrasound wand:  In, Out!

Yes people, I was penetrated 3 different ways in under a minute!  And in the process I learned that:
1) my cervix is normal
2) my uterus is in an ideal place for egg retrievals/transfers
3) my lining is "gorgeous"
4) my antrical follicle count was "actually not that bad," and
5) that he was surprised that I wasn't further along in ovulating since my period started 9 days ago (I only had one small follicle on each side, but not what you'd expect to see at this stage.  Hoping this is just post-IVF weirdness)

But for all that, I like him, and I'm now in their system and can start pretty much anytime.  I feel better having a backup plan should C.CRM not work out.

I'm waaay over my internet quota today, going to scrounge up some dinner now.

A Pretty Good Day Until....

Yesterday was a pretty good day, all things considered.  I went to my follow up appointment with my current RE and got exactly the conversation I expected, which was that she didn't recommend any further IVFs but was there for me if I decided to do donor eggs (my only real option in her opinion).  However, I was fully prepared for this so it was only slightly depressing to hear as opposed to devastating.  And I got all my questions answered and walked away with my medical records and progesterone supplements, just as I planned.  Felt good to get closure.

I then had a lovely lunch and walked a good while in some of the most gorgeous weather we've had his summer in NY.  I spent the afternoon organizing and scanning my medical records so I could send them to C.CRM - tedious, but productive.  Then I went for a run along the water and watched a brilliant gold and purple sunset over the Hudson River.  Not half bad.

During this time I pondered the following scenarios:
1) Adopting...a dog.  I've always wanted a dog, but with H and I having such busy jobs and living in the city, it never seemed possible.  But now things are different.  I am thinking that if we're no closer to having a child by spring of next year, we will adopt a shelter dog.  H's face lit up when I made that suggestion - so it could be great for both of us.
2) Donor eggs.  I am kind of coming around to the idea of donor eggs should all else fail.  I know that H is emphatically not in favor of it, but it's possible he may also come around after more time/failed attempts.  Maybe it's not so important to have the genetic link - I suspect once the baby is there, it's just your baby, and all you will care about is loving and taking care of him or her.

Of course, I am still holding out hope that we can conceive on our own.  But I think the only way I can survive this continual state of uncertainty is to plan for failure and realize that your Plan B is actually pretty great/satisfying.

That worked pretty well until...I decided to log in to Facebook.  It's been about a year since I logged in, so I had a bunch of messages from friend/acquaintances in highschool, college, etc.  There were pictures of a high school reunion this weekend which I missed, and looking through them one thing smacked me right in the face - EVERYONE had children.  And I mean everyone.  All the messages were about people's families, and how beautiful they were.  Oh man, it hurt.  My thin protective barrier of positive thinking just came crashing down.

I guess that's just the way it is with infertility.  I've heard it described as a wound which keeps getting opened up and prevents it from healing.  You bandage it up as best you can and for a while it's fine, but then the bandaid is ripped off and you're back right where you started.

But enough of that, I'm off to the appointment with a potential new RE.  Am hoping to hear a slightly more hopeful message, if only because he hasn't failed with me yet!  Will update once I'm back.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene, a BFN

So unless you've been hiding under a rock, you've been bombarded by the news about how Hurricane Irene is going to kill us all in NYC, or at least render us homeless and starving.

But really, in NYC it was a BFN, to borrow an expression...hahaha.

For some proof, check out this picture taken from my window at 9am this morning, the supposed peak of the hurricane.  Does that look dangerous to you?  It's barely raining, humph.

Now of course, no doubt it was pretty bad in other places, so maybe the hysteria was warranted.  But for us, it felt like a lot of build up/excitement/fear, and then....nothing.  Sound familiar?

Okay, I'm sounding a bit bitter these days.  I will admit to indulging in the kind of regret (why didn't we start earlier?) that everyone tells you not to do.  I KNOW it's completely pointless and not productive, but at 3 in the morning, it's impossible not to let those thoughts drift in. 

The good news is that I have a very busy couple of weeks coming up, and will have lots to distract me:
1) Appt with current RE tomorrow to get some closure on last IVF.  Not expecting to get much out of that except copy of my medical record and hopefully a prescription for some progesterone.
2) Appt with new potential RE in NY - a second choice to C.CRM in my mind, but I'm keeping my options open.
3) Trip to the City Clerk's office to apply for a marriage certificate.  In all of the craziness of work and trying to have a baby, we somehow pushed off actually getting married!  I think I have the record for longest engagement, was starting to become a private joke around the office.  So we're finally going to tie the knot, a happy thing...
4) Preparations for our upcoming trip to Venice & Paris!  We've gotten invited to the Venice Film Festival (a long story, for another time) and decided to tack on a few days in Paris afterwards.  I can't wait, will be wonderful and so nice to get out of here and my own head for a while.

And when I'm back, it will only be one week until the appt with C.CRM.  That sounds much more bearable then a MONTH, which is what I'm looking at right now.

At least Hurricane Irene is giving me an excuse to do nothing but lie around watching TV and eating.  Going to join the man on the couch now to snuggle and watch Discovery Channel.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Infertility Blog Whore

Wow, I think I must've spent at least 20 hours in the last few days reading infertility blogs.  Thank goodness my husband is at work most of the day/night - though every time he comes home my ass is planted in the same spot, right in front of the computer.  He keeps saying - "Wow, there are you again.  What IS that you're reading, it must be really good!" - and I just giggle nervously.  He's been nothing but supportive but he doesn't need to be exposed to just how far off the deep end I've gone.

My latest obsession (in addition to infertility blogs) is C.CRM.  I've been so swayed by their statistics and stories from people who've gone there that I set up an appointment with the head of the clinic for mid September.  I don't know how the hell I'm going to be able to wait that long, I'm so impatient to get a fresh start with someone new.  My other option is N.YU, but I think that's a backup plan if C.CRM for some reason doesn't want to take me.

I've also read several posts that say C.CRM has given them a list of recommended supplements for low responders (like me) including DHEA, Coenzyme Q10, and Melatonin.  My current RE scoffed at using supplements, but I've been keen to try *something* new, so I went to Vitamin Shoppe yesterday and bought a bunch of stuff.  At this point I figure why not, nothing else has worked!

I've also decided that today is my last official day this week to hole up in my apartment and obsess.  I've been essentially doing that since I got my negative beta test on Friday (no, let's be honest, I've been doing that since embryo transfer 2 1/2 weeks ago).  Tomorrow I am going to wake up early, go to yoga, and be all kinds of productive and ACTION-ORIENTED.

Today I will sit on my still-bloated ass and read blogs until my eyes fall out.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Infertility, What Hast Thou Done To Me?

Once upon a time, in a downtown Manhattan apartment, a young-ish woman and her slightly older husband-to-be were discussing having children.  Conversation went something like this:

YW:  I know that neither of us really feels ready to have kids, but if we want to start we should probably try soon.  I mean, we're not getting any younger.

OH:  Yeah, I guess we just have to take the plunge.  There's never a good time.

YW:  If it happens, it happens - if not, then it just wasn't meant to be.   It won't be a big deal, because we were never sure we wanted kids anyway.

OH:  Right on.

Fast forward through six months of "natural" conception efforts (that's good old fashioned sex, folks!), and the conversation went something like this:

YW:  Hmmm, while I am enjoying all of the forced, somewhat awkward sex we've been having, I think it may be time to get ourselves to the nearest infertility clinic to "check things out."  You know, just in case.  What do you think?

OH:  Okay, yeah.  Right on.

Fast forward through six months of testing, Clomid, IUIs, and some gloomy pronouncements from my RE ("I'm worried, your AMH levels are really low for your age!")   Couple decides to go to IVF, upon strong recommendation from RE.  Conversation goes:

YW:  Wow, I can't believe we're doing this.  So crazy.  But we won't let this take over our lives or spend a fortune on it, like other people do.  I just want to try this so we can feel like we exhausted our options before we give up.

OH:  Yeah, let's keep our perspective.  Let's not get crazy.  But okay, let's give it a go.

YW realizes she can't do her demanding, stressful job while doing IVF and decides to go on leave from work.  Hopes that she will get pregnant after first try and return to work in the fall.  Undergoes one, and then two, disastrous IVF attempts.  First one produces only 3 eggs, none of which make it to transfer.  Second IVF produces only 2 eggs, 1 of which makes it to transfer.  Negative pregnancy test.  Conversation last week:

YW (okay, ME, in tears):  I can't believe it, what is wrong with me?  I just feel like it's never going to happen.  We can't give up.  I want to find somewhere else to go.  What if we go to Colorado, they have amazing success rates.  They are a lot more expensive and we'd have to pay a lot out-of-pocket, but it's worth it, to have our baby.

HIM:  We'll do whatever you want.  I'll support you all the way.

zzzzt!  What happened??  Infertility, what hast thou done to me?  

If I was a Sex & the City character, I used to be somewhere between a Carrie and Miranda.  Wanted to be in love but also ruthlessly practical and a bit cynical of romance, babies, and marriage.  Working girl, had a career. 

Suddenly, after a mere year and a half of trying to have a baby, I have turned into CHARLOTTE.  I am TOTALLY CHARLOTTE, I IDENTIFY with Charlotte.  It's freaking me out, but it's true.  All I want to do is have a baby.  It's all I think about.  It's all I care about.  I AM OBSESSED.  

So I figure, if I'm am going to be obssessed, let's go all the way and start a freaking BLOG.  What do I have to lose?