Posts tagged ‘IVF’
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 got a bill yesterday for a $100 storage fee for our last embryo.
When we started the IVF roller-coaster we were so hopeful for enough embryos to make freeze that we could have two children. When 27 eggs were retrieved we were CERTAIN of this fate. And then only 6 made it to blastocyst.
My first FET (frozen embryo transfer) was with one embryo and resulted in a pregnancy. JOY! There is hope for two children!
Three weeks after the first positive pee stick I was wheeled back to have the “products of conception” stripped from my uterus.
And then there were five.
In September we thawed two more embryos. Only one was thriving so we did another single transfer. Negative.
In October we thawed two more. Desperate for a child, we transferred both on Oct. 10, my 32 birthday.
One of these guys took and today I’m so thankful to say I’m 28 weeks pregnant. I never thought I’d get this far.
But what to do with the remaining embryo? Of the five that were thawed, only one resulted in what we can tell is a viable pregnancy. That is not boding well for the remaining embryo. Also, it seems tremendously foolish to undergo an FET with only one maybe-baby in the bank. What if it does not survive thaw? Then you are just out the money and go home with an empty uterus.
I’ve considered saving this embryo just in case. Maybe in a few years I’ll feel emotionally ready to take a gamble with one? Maybe, but didn’t we agree over the holidays that we were done? Am I not ready to reclaim my body and my mind? Fertility drugs were HARD on me. “I’ve paid my dues and will be happy with one child,” I say with resolve.
That one remaining clump of cells might have the chance to give Chicken the same bond I have with my brother, Hermano.
There is also the financial aspect of storing one embryo. Currently, storage costs $100 every three months, which is $400 a year. I won’t be ready to even consider another pregnancy for at least a year, probably two. That’s $400 to $800, which is pocket change to many, but when you are moving to one of the most expensive cities in the country, living off of one income and adding a third family member, well, $400 to $800 becomes a whole hell of a lot. Add in the cost of transferring the embryo to another clinic, and then undergoing a final FET and the expense is just too much for us.
I’m not a religious person. I don’t believe that “life begins at conception.” I don’t believe that the six day old clump of cells suspended in liquid nitrogen is a real person. I do believe that that cell clump was fiercely wanted and fought for. I do believe that I love that embryo, as I love the baby kicking inside me, and as I love the first baby who had just started to put down roots back in May 2012.
So how do you make the call? How do you pull the plug?
On February 11, 2012 I had 27 eggs sucked out of my swollen ovaries. On that day those eggs met the Professor’s sperm and BAM – a slew of maybe babies were born. Somewhere in the midst of those tiny fertilized egg was my Chicken. One year and one day later I perched on an exam table as we inspected my now 20-week old baby who was made a year and one day ago in a lab in Kentucky. If things had played out differently and A.) I was not a hyper stimulating machine and B.) that one special Chicken embryo had been transferred fresh five days later, things could have been so different.
Instead, though, the Chicken was frozen with five potential other siblings. Two months later one maybe baby was thawed, transferred and took up residence in my womb for a few blissful weeks. Later the five remaining maybe babies were shipped from their home state of Kentucky to Ohio via overnight mail in a very high tech cooler. The next two maybe babies were bust. The buddy that was transferred with Chicken didn’t make it but the Chicken? Well, he or she is still trucking along and is making me a big, sappy pile of Belle right about now.
I’m just dumbstruck by this little baby’s journey so far, and he or she has not even been born. My baby, my Chicken, is a tremendously special little babe. I want him to know how fiercely he was wanted and how he came to be – in a petri dish in Lexington, Kentucky on February 11, 2012. I think we will celebrate his or her fertilization day every year in addition to his or her birthday. Nothing really big, but some kind of acknowledgement of the date in history that will be forever burned into my memory. The day that my baby came into being through an amazing act of science.