Another BFN – Is this the end?

The results are in and they aren’t good. Both an HPT and beta confirmed this round of IVF — my third — didn’t work. BFN. Again.

I was so optimistic throughout the cycle. All signs were pointing in the right direction — best test results (everything in normal range), most follicles (12!), most fertilized (5) and my first blasts ever (2). One blast was graded 4BA and deemed better than average. The other was an early blast but still growing and looking good. They were transferred on Friday, May 23. I did my best to stay calm, positive and busy during the 2ww. I was patient and didn’t POAS until 10dp5dt.

DH gave me a long, tight hug when I told him the results just after dawn on Monday. He is a man of few words, and in that moment, he didn’t utter a single syllable. Somehow, I knew what was racing through his mind: How will my love survive yet another loss? Will we always be a family of three? What do we do now?

We both put our heads down and went to work. It was a busier day than usual for me — no time for self-pity. That happened when I got home and after I put E to bed. I poured a glass of wine, polished off a big bowl of ice cream, and cried (sobbed) myself to sleep. DH still wasn’t talking. I couldn’t help thinking he blamed me and my defective body — I surely do — even if I know that’s not true.

Yesterday, I was ANGRY. Pissed, swearing, ready to smash something. “This isn’t fair!” was on repeat in my head. Why can some people pop out baby after baby? Why is this the hand I was dealt? I’m a damn good mom. E deserves a sibling. DH deserves a happy wife and complete family. This f-ing sucks. The ONLY people who get it are my tweeps. I could not get through this without you.

7 weeks — that’s how long this cycle was, from the first day of ICSI down regulation meds until POAS. Nearly two months of shots, suppositories, appointments, procedures, hormones, weight gain, fatigue, weird dreams, mood swings and zero sex life. We IFers go to hell and back to make babies.

I have to remember that I am one of the lucky ones in the infertility world. We have a beautiful, smart, loving, funny little boy. Yes, it took a big effort and lots of science to get him. But he is perfect and ours. So many in my twitter family are yearning for their first child. They fight on and on for something we already have. I can’t, and won’t, forget that.

But I’m not ready to say this is how it ends. I’m not ready to give up hope, or accept this picture of my family. DH wants a break from IVF. A year off, he said. To me, that would be torture as I imagine my crappy eggs shriveling up with each passing day. We go in Monday for a post-BFN consultation with our RE. Maybe our next steps will be clearer by this time next week.


Daring to hope – IVF3 update

After one failed IVF, one cancelled and countless IUIs, you learn not to hope too much. Yet … my results seem better at every step so far for #IVF3. Monday, my baseline ultrasound and blood work were all in the normal range. Normal! I’ve been diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve, so just being dubbed “normal” was exciting. My protocol is the same as before — 450 Follistim/150 Menopur — so I tried to keep my hope in check and not expect too much. I’m bloated and, for the first time, I have killer headaches. Yesterday, my head hurt so badly it I even vomited. But otherwise, things seem normal and I just wanted to know how things were progressing in my uncooperative uterus.

I’ve had a lot of ultrasound techs, but I love the veteran who did my scan today. She turned the screen in my direction and talked me through each and every beautiful follicle. I don’t know why more ultrasound techs/clinics don’t do this — it relieves so much stress to get the info immediately rather than waiting hours for a call. But I digress.

First the right ovary lit up with black circles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and a few more stragglers who has some growing to do. Then we turned to the left ovary and, ta-da!, two more lovely follicles with three smalls, too! I cried, I literally cried. In all of my cycles, the most I’ve had was 4 follicles, the least was just a loner. I’ve never had any “extra” to freeze. I was so distracted by this awesome news that I left the clinic without going to the lab for blood work. I was all the way to the office by the time I realized my blunder and turned around. It gave a few people at the clinic a good giggle.

So now I’m back to hoping, even smiling about what the next few weeks will bring. It’s going to be a long stretch of waiting and wondering. Could this be the month E gets a baby brother or sister?





My infertility coming out

Surprise! I’m infertile! OK, maybe it’s not a surprise to most of my loved ones. I’ve been pretty open about our struggle with infertility. But I haven’t shared with a wider audience because infertility is still shrouded in stigma, something to be whispered about, something to be hidden. And sharing can add to the pain of an already painful experience.

No more silence. In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week (#NIAW), I’m coming out. Maybe, just maybe, a few of my words will help someone going through this life-altering roller coaster ride of trying to create life.

Here’s our IF story in a nutshell: My husband and I started TTC at age 32, first sought professional intervention at 33, needed four IUIs and max Clomid dosages to conceive, lost a twin at 11 weeks (most devastating experience of my life), and delivered a healthy, beautiful baby boy in April 2012. After two miscarriages and a year later, we went back to RE to try for our son’s sibling. We knew what had worked before so why wouldn’t it work again? No luck! I was older, suddenly a poor responder, and diagnosed with DOR (diminished ovarian reserve). Three IUIs failed and the fourth was cancelled due to cysts. So we switched gears and started IVF: the shots, the raging hormones, the crack-of-dawn monitoring, the dreaded 2-week-wait, the obsessing over every stat. I knew better than to hope too much, but I was convinced I was pregnant after IVF#1. Wrong. IVF#2 was cancelled (on my birthday, no less) because I didn’t have enough follicles to justify the costly retrieval procedure. Now, as our son turns 2, we are starting IVF#3.

I’m not sure I have anything “new” to say about infertility. I want to avoid rehashing what’s been said by some of the amazing IF bloggers, advocates and experts. Like, infertility is a disease that affects 1-in-8 women, is more common in the over-35 group, and success rates even with IVF are only 20-35%.

Unless you’ve been through it, you cannot understand how fertility takes over your life.

But there is one point I want to emphasize: Infertility is REALLY hard. Here are just a few reasons.

  1. Emotionally: Disappointment, anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, even self-loathing —  on repeat, month after month. For someone Type A like me, it’s very difficult to have zero control over something so important. Not to mention the mixed emotions every time someone dear announces a pregnancy. You want to quit so many times, but somehow rebound and keep charging on. You  want to burrow in your bed and hide from the world, and (like now) you will want to scream from the mountaintops.  You will be unable to concentrate on anything other than IF, you will want to pretend IF isn’t happening. And on and on.
  2. Financially: I’m lucky my insurance covers much of my treatment, but even the portion that’s not covered is expensive. It means belt-tightening, forgoing vacations, turning down outings with friends, and even asking for help from time to time. Many states do not cover infertility treatments at all, but the Family Act aims to change that. Support it. Contact your legislators. (Check out this map.)
  3. Logistically: At one point, I was giving myself 4 shots a day, going for ultrasounds every other day (a logistical feat in itself), getting acupuncture regularly, arguing with insurance about coverage (see #2) — all while holding down a full-time job, raising a toddler, and coping with the loss of my father. Sometimes, I’m surprised
  4. Personally: Infertility puts a strain on all of your personal relationships — with your spouse, your family, your friends and even co-workers. My husband is amazing and supportive beyond words. On this particular crusade, he is the eternal optimist who always wants to fight another day. Likewise, I have an amazing group of girlfriends. Repeat: they are the best. Statistically, one of them should be in this boat with me. I’m both annoyed (being honest) and relieved that’s not the case. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. And while they are incredibly supportive — like when they rallied the night my first IVF failed and took me out for wine & sushi — they do sometimes inadvertently say hurtful things (“What about adoption?” “Go on a vacation and relax.”). Same goes for family. So I’ve turned to Twitter for support. (If only I’d done it sooner!) It’s a wonderful community of women going through the same trials, who care about how many follicles I have and cheer me up when I’m freaking out during the 2ww.

My infertility thoughts have been bottled up so long (you can only say so much in a tweet), so I predict this inaugural post will be followed by many more.