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One

02/03/2014

Belle

One. According to Three Dog Night it is “the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.”

“Two can be as bad as one, it’s the loneliest number since the number one.”

This has been running through my head for months now. One. One baby. One remaining embryo. One last chance? One perfect life already?

For some, one is the loneliest number that there ever was. For me, though, it is happiest number. Because one is so, so, so much better than none. But how do you explain this to people who just don’t understand infertility and the joy that one brings? So many people think that just one child is sad, unfair and, dare I say it, lonely.

“It’s not much fun playing board games by yourself,” my husband once said waaaay back before we entered the world of infertility treatment. He is an only child. Just one.

I love my No. 1. I am thankful every. single. day. for my one child, my one pregnancy and my one birth (albeit different from planned it was still perfect). And up until three months ago I was satisfied with one. And then the bill came for our quarterly embryo storage. We have one embryo left.

“One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.”

Let’s back track. My IVF egg collection produced 27 eggs of which 24 fertilized. I was FILLED with joy and delusions of many babies. As the days ticked by, the embryos started to falter and by day six we were left with six beautiful blastocysts. My six-pack.

The first transfer we thawed and transferred one embryo, which resulted in a pregnancy that miscarried around 7 weeks due to Trisomy 15.

The next cycle two embryos were thawed. One survived and was transferred. Negative beta several days later.

The third transfer two embryos were thawed, both survived and were transferred and one eventually resulted in this adorable baby.

IMG_5167

That leaves one embryo. One chance at two. But with a final chance comes the potential for tremendous heartache. An embryo that does not survive thaw. A negative beta. Another miscarriage. Or it could bring me a second child.

A second child would create a host of new challenges. The Professor and I are a little older but are just embarking on our careers. We do not have robust retirement savings and we are not sure where we will be four years from now. With one child we can afford to help her with college. We can take vacations as a family and expose her to all kinds of amazing things. Two, though, would be hard on us financially and would really limit the experiences we could provide our children.

Another FET cycle is also extremely expensive for us. It requires finding a new RE in New York and then paying to transfer that one remaining embryo. Or it means traveling to Ohio for the transfer. It means more injections and more crazy town with progesterone. It means so many things. I would consider trying a natural cycle and just flying to Ohio when I am about to ovulate to transfer without any medication, but let’s be real here – I don’t cycle on my own. Like at all. I don’t even cycle when on birth control. The chance of me catching a rare ovulation is one in a million.

And finally, what is the probability that this one embryo will actually survive thaw and produce a viable pregnancy. Do I want to get my hopes all up just to fail? I would like to say I could walk into the transfer totally realistic and comfortable with whatever outcome but come on… you all know the rat race that is infertility treatment. It messes with your head and your ability to remain reasonable disappears. I am going to call the clinic in Ohio as soon as I am done with this post and discuss options and probabilities with them.

Have any of you found yourself in similar situations? Are you happy with your one, or will you continue through treatments in search of two. If you have two, how does your life compare now to how it was with one?

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16 Comments

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  1. February 3, 2014

    Oh boy, weighty topic.

    We have 5 left, but from a cycle that caused nothing but failure and heartbreak for us twice. 9 great embryos, two cycles transferring a total of 4 “perfect” embryos, and no babies. I’m not terribly hopeful for those 5, but I REALLY want one of them to work! I think that one of them HAS to work given 9 great embryos. Yet I’m still thinking it won’t.

    But I’ll still try. I’ll still give them a chance. Because I DO want one more.

    You have to ask yourself, do you want one more? If so, then do it. If so, realize you could easily slip back into treatments for more embryos once you get in your head that you want another. It’s a slippery slope, this baby business!

    I LOVE having two. We would have done anything for a second baby, without a doubt. I would have taken money from my dad for it, and I’ve never taken his money nor asked for it. But I would for a second baby, I felt that strongly about having two.

    one doesn’t have to be lonely. Sabine will be just fine with a lot of socialization and play dates. She doesn’t have to be self-centered, or spoiled, or selfish. My nephew who is an only child is a very loving, social kid. His mom gets him involved in all sorts of things. My niece who is an only child is a freaking nightmare. Her mother (my other SIL) has never socialized her much and focuses all of her own energy on her daughter. We love seeing SIL and nephew, and avoid the other SIL and niece because our niece is just that mean and selfish with our kids.

    I’ve gotten some criticism lately for saying things like, “it is what you make it,” but I think that’s true here. YOU get to decide how to prepare Sabine for the real world, a world that can be very lonely, or very rich with companionship!

  2. February 3, 2014

    I think the transition to two is very different for every family and depends on the age and temperament of the older child, if the older child has been interested in a baby and requesting one, and the temperament of the baby. For us, we have a high strung older child whose best friend had two younger siblings before she had one so she was antsy for a baby and also 5 when said baby arrived. For the adult end of things, we really wanted more than one and felt certain in that so we would have tried for a second whether bio or adopted (and we have no embryos in the game). Life with two has been mostly good since we have an easy baby and a mostly helpful 5 year old but it’s been a bumpy almost a year too. I’d say that if you are very happy with one, consider if you will remain very happy if there are two and they are at each other’s throats or the older one is super angry for a year or two. It’s very possible to have a happy and well-adjusted lone child if you work at it and don’t make her life entirely yours but let her be separate and grow without too much interfering. I’d also weigh the risk of you wondering forever “what if?” should you not transfer and try to see which is worse overall.

  3. February 3, 2014

    We have two on the way and two in the freezer. I am very glad they are in the freezer because I plan to pay that lab bill for about five years before deciding what to do! Fertility on hold!

  4. February 3, 2014

    I can’t speak about going through the whole IVF experience again for another, but I will say that there’s a lot to consider regarding siblings. On one end there’s more to manage: more laundry, more expense, divided attention, etc. That said, there’s a lot of benefit too: watching the sibling bond emerge, having someone to play with, getting to see different aspects of both Grey and me in the Beats, etc.

    I think what it comes down to is you and the Professor deciding not only if giving Sabine a sibling is important but if you’re willing to take the chance with this last embryo. For some, the sacrifice and hardship of treatment is too high of a cost, so “siblings” are found through other paths (BFFs are a good example). For others, they are willing to enter into the process again just to give the remaining ones a chance. My point is the only right answer is the one that is best for you, the Professor and Sabine. You’ll figure out the rest, but most importantly is determining what the best decision is for you and your family.

  5. karaleen #
    February 3, 2014

    By the time we finally got our one….we were nearing 41. It had taken 2 years, 3 medicated IUIs, 2ivfs, 2 miscarriages and about $45k to get there! We were so happy and felt so blessed to have gotten our one…..a beautiful, bald/blonde, blue eyed baby boy who smiled all the time, slept like a rockstar and absolutely was the icing on our cake of life! We had no babies left on ice. We barely got 8 eggs on our last retrieval and only 4 made it to 3 days and we transferred all four. Our baby was for sure a miracle! BUT…..just like you….right at 6 months….I started thinking maybe a sibling would be good for him…..not because I was anti-only child….just because we were so much older and since my DH and I were the youngest in our families….our siblings had their children years before and there really were not cousins our sons age either. It came down to wanting him to have his own nuclear family since we would most likely be gone before he reached middle age. So after another 6 months of thinking about it….we did make the choice to pursue a 2nd child. We knew that came at a cost….it pushed out our planned retirement by 5 years, it also meant I would keep working full time versus cutting back because it was necessary I work more to save than because we needed it for daily expenses. We know we will be able to help our kids with college…but will not be able to provide a full ride. And that is okay. I will also say that my sister chose to have an only child when she was 29 and her husband just 25. They just felt like their family was complete. She is 20 now and a lovely, well adjusted child who didn’t miss out on much growing up. Society has changed. We are more mobile and more connected than ever before. There are so many opportunities for only children to have wonderful relationships with peers. So…ultimiately…whatever you decide….as long as the decision feels right in your heart….it will be the right thing for your family and, ultimately, Sabine.
    kd

  6. APE #
    February 3, 2014

    This is all too familiar for me. My first child was conceived using a medicated cycle and IUI. He is now about to turn four in just a few short weeks. When he was about 6 months old I found out I was pregnant naturally but it turned out to be ectopic and I lost my right tube. We pursued IVF and ended up with 8 embryos. We transferred two and I got pregnant again. We got so excited and told our son he was going to be a big brother! But then we lost the heartbeat at 11 weeks and I miscarried due to Triploidy. We tried again with two more last year but they both failed to take. I have four embryos left and the only money we have is coming from our tax returns. It’s a tough decision. I don’t know if we should use that money to go on a real vacation or use it to try for another baby that could have so many outcomes…another loss, another baby, maybe twins? How long should I hold onto these four embryos? I am about to turn 35 in a month and I am tired of being infertile and worrying about it. I can tell my hubby is over it, even though he would have liked to have more kids, he is tired of all the meds and appointments, the what-ifs and the heartache. But I tell ya, it breaks my heart every time my almost 4 yr old asks me if he can have a baby at home. I think I am trying again after we get out tax returns.

  7. February 3, 2014

    Ditto all you said. Our lonely one is a day behind and the worst quality blast out of a failed fresh and then FET cycle (they hawed it, grew it to a blast and refroze it. Neither the fresh or FET cycles it came from worked.). We don’t have any hope for it, but it feels like we should give it a chance maybe? But then why fork out so much money and heartache for such a slim chance? Such a hot mess. I’m interested to see what others say.

  8. February 3, 2014

    For me I wouldn’t make any decisions just yet since you are still in that lovely squidgy baby phase and everything is currently perfect. I had no frozen and have just started a fresh cycle all over again. it took 18 months till I was ready to make that decision. If you can afford it put it on hold for 6-12 months and assess. Frozen is an easier transfer than starting again.

  9. Romy #
    February 3, 2014

    My one piece of advice would be to really figure out what you want for yourself, and if this is really your only chance, to try to make peace with a failed FET before it happens – if that is possible. Maybe you would at least have worked through the range of emotions already.
    We also have an IVF baby but unlike you we have no embryos left. We were labelled “unexplained infertility” but I never in a million years would have imagined we could get pregnant on our own. And yet that is what happened just weeks ago – second cycle (no AF for 6 months due to breastfeeding). After being completely shocked and then incredibly thankful and happy, I began bleeding. I ended up miscarrying and while I am still so very thankful and happy with my one baby, being pregnant for just a few weeks has changed everything. I am no longer at peace with having one child. I’m back to being anxious and wanting a sibling for my son. I bought a tonne of ovulation tests to try naturally for the next few months and my husband and I decided on a new IVF cycle by Summer if we’re not pregnant by then.
    All this to say that allowing your mind to think about the possibility of a second child could be very difficult to undo if the FET fails.
    I wish you wisdom and the best of luck with whatever you decide.

    • February 3, 2014

      This is excellent advice.

      I’m sorry to hear about your miscarriage. What a hard thing to endure.

  10. Esperanza #
    February 4, 2014

    I agree with Romy. I think that to do the cycle you’d probably have to get to a place where you really wanted a second child and if it didn’t work, it would be hard to walk away feeling completely content with just one. Even if you thought you could go into it without much emotional commitment, you might find your feelings changed if it doesn’t work out. I know quite a few women who lived situations like Romy’s and many of them still feel like there is a child missing from their families because they tried for another child (and failed) or suffered a miscarriage and then couldn’t get pregnant again.

    I can’t really speak much more to cycling and frozen embryos as that has not been my experience. I think PPs have given you really good advice on that anyway. As far as second children go… it really can change the dynamic of a family, both positively and negatively. I have been surprised by how hard the transition has been for our family. Our son is a dream–so, so chilled out. But our daughter is having a really hard time. Her attitude toward him is really ambivalent. It ranges from lukewarm (rarely) to apathetic (most of the time) to angry/frustrated (some of the time). I know there is still lots of time for them to get to know each other and develop a relationship but I don’t have a lot of hope that they will ever be close friends. I don’t even know if they will be playmates. We shall see, but I guess my point is, I wouldn’t have a child BECAUSE you want to give your daughter a sibling. Obviously that might be A reason, but I don’t think it should be THE reason. That is just my two cents.

    These are really hard questions to answer. I wish you luck in figuring out what is best for your family.

    • February 4, 2014

      This is great advice too! I like the idea that giving her a sibling shouldn’t be THE reason to have another. Well said, E!

  11. February 4, 2014

    I am in the same boat right now. Paxlet is almost 1,5 years and we have 1 frozen embryo from his fresh IVF cycle. I believe we have just under a year of storage before we have to decide one way or another about it. On the one hand, as you say, I am so incredibly thankful for Paxlet. On the other, I can’t help but think I want another. If we do try for another, it will need to be soon as we are both getting much closer to 40. It’s a difficult choice either way.

  12. Lisa #
    February 5, 2014

    So I’m 30 weeks pregnant from a FET cycle (after 2.5 years of trying) and I so hear you. One is truly a very, very happy number when there was a possibility of none. We have six frozen blasts but you’re absolutely right, doing an FET is a huge big deal, financially and emotionally. You really have to do what is best for your family, personally I think any choice you make will be completely valid.

  13. nonsequiturchica #
    February 8, 2014

    I have one embryo frozen as well and we will be using it after Izzy turns one. First off, we always wanted two kids. If we don’t at least try for the 2nd one, we will regret it. Yes money will be tighter but that always gets figured out. Good luck with your decision because it is a hard one!

  14. February 11, 2014

    We had iui after 3 years of ttc, it worked first time. Our boy is almost 9mo. I assume I still can’t conceive naturally, but I’ve been thinking about a second recently. I’m not sure if I could handle the treatment, or if I can whilst breastfeeding. I’ve been thinking more and more about it. But I’m an only child. It’s tough, isn’t it? They bring all this joy, but it was after so much pain. Risk it again?

    X

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