Posts from the ‘IVF’ Category
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.
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?
I was really uncertain how I would handle my infertility past in New York. On one hand I pride myself on being a positive advocate for infertility treatment and on my ability to use my writing talents to help other women. I am not ashamed of the road I took to build my family and am thankful daily, hell hourly, of the science that made my baby possible.
On the other hand, some days I’m ready to move forward. For us there will be no more treatment unless we hit a financial jackpot – there just is not enough money to go through this again. So using more science to make another baby is out. The chances of my ovaries magically springing to action is pretty damn low, too, so I am coming to terms with this being it. Sabine is our one, our only, our perfect baby girl. I am thankful to the moon and back for this one chance.
With no more treatment on the horizon, do I want to let these new families in on our “secret?” Is this “secret” mentality really good for my crusade to put infertility and it’s treatment into a more positive light, though? It’s a tough choice. The first week or so I was just vague with folks. When asked if we were going to have more children I simply said that no, it took years for us to have Sabine and we are eternally grateful for our miracle. She will be our only.
There were no details into what all we went through to conceive. No public sermons about infertility treatment and how strongly I feel that it should be covered by insurance. No mention of Scrambled Eggs. Nothing. For all intents and purposes I am just some girl who sucks at monitoring her cycles and kept missing ovulation month after month.
Honestly, I felt like a fraud. I want to tell people about Sabine’s creation. I am proud of the road we took to bring her home. I am proud of how strong my marriage is to withstand it. I am proud of the men and women working in labs finding new ways to improve reproductive technologies. I am so fucking proud of all these virtual women I have connected with, who have cheered me on despite their struggles, who come back to this blog for inspiration as they press on, who laugh at my dumb mistakes and cry with my losses. This little virtual world has come to mean so much to me that it seems terrible to check it at the door.
I opened up to three mamas I feel closest to this week. We were discussing when we are returning to work and what we are planning to do. I shared my hopes to become a trainer and work with women struggling through infertility and then i shared our IVF story.
A little while later one mama shared that she has PCOS and thought conception might not happen. She was a lucky one and shortly after tossing the birth control got a positive pregnancy test. Another mama has severe endometriosis and worried she would also struggle. She was lucky, too. The third mama struggled for two tearful years. I don’t know how much treatment she went through, as I don’t pry, but she said she was at the end of her rope and in therapy right before they got their positive. They were ready to live child-free, keep their one bedroom and move on.
Three women, three stories. All echoing mine in one way or another. All of us lucky.
It’s hard to keep up this public face, but I feel it is important for both my healing and the healing of other women. I will share my past in New York. I will be open when we celebrate Sabine’s transfer day and fertilization day. Hell, I might invite all the mamas over for cake on Fertilization Day! Why not celebrate the miracle that is my special conception?
How do you feel about sharing after you have “made it to the other side.” Will you be open about the time it took and the science you used? How will you talk about this with your child/children one day? Will you celebrate Transfer Day or Fertilization Day, too?
I’ve been finding tiny reminders of our infertility journey as I clear out the house. The random IVF statement, an unused syringe, a half empty PIO vial, etc. I did not expect to find things while cleaning out my office, though. Evidently my infertility crept into all areas of my life though. In one drawer I found a “Understanding Infertility” pamphlet from one of my very first RE appointments. I also found a few bills and the huge marker I would use to touch up my ass circles during the 12 weeks of PIO injections to keep little Chicken going.
The harshest reminder, though, was when I opened my pen drawer and started rummaging in the back and found this.
What kind of a crazy lady keeps a used pee stick in her office drawer? I remember this day so clearly. I was pregnant with Pip and was so worried it was going to go south that I brought a box of pee sticks to work so I could test and remind myself that something was still in there. I was naive and didn’t really realize how long it took for your levels to drop after a baby died. This pee stick gave me about 30 minutes of happiness and then the worry crept back in. A few days later it was over and I learned just how long those pee sticks stay positive even after the “products of conception” have been removed.
Finding this pee stick makes me simultaneously sad and happy. Sad for the loss and the struggle and so freaking happy that my take home baby is nearly here, safe and sound in my arms and surrounded by people and cats who love him or her so very, very much.