Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What is going on?

I can't stand this.  I am now 4 or 5 days late on my period.  I am generally incredibly regular and I don't know what is going on.  Of course, I POAS, on day 1 and it was negative. 

But the sticks were expired, so maybe they don't really work, and just because the control line was perfect and dark doesn't mean anything, right? 

So I went to the store again last night and bought another pack.  I figured I would wait until today, in case I began to spot, but nothing again this morning, so I peed on another stick. 

This one, just like the last, was a BFN.  Nothing, and these aren't expired, nor was there even the pink window that might confuse the subject for a minute.  Less than nothing.

So now I am certain that I am not pregnant but I am still not bleeding.  We are not going to be able to do this cycle anyway because we are at a new place and we need to go through their 'routine', but when will we be able to move forward?  This is so frustrating, but also I just don't know what is going on with my body.  Is this a sign of something wrong? 

Since my last cycle was such a crazy disaster, and the clomid challenge was a bit of a failure, maybe there is some developing problem. 

I don't even know how to ask dr google for the answer to this question.  It is possible that this is stress-related, since the lay-off, but I don't really think so.  I don't really feel stressed out or anything.  It just feels like this isn't even the right week.  It feels like a normal mid-month day.  This is all so confusing.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Stupid Hope

So, now I am finally working my life out a little and somehow hope is creeping back in.  I feel like I finally got my hope under control and, well, today should be day 1.  It isn't and so of course, I start to believe it might be possible. 

I know we didn't do a cycle this month but we did the Clom1d Challenge and maybe that gave me an extra egg or two.  Also H's numbers are much better this month than they have been over the last year.  I feel like I have tamped down all hope so as not to be so disappointed when failure occurs. 

With everything else going on over these last few weeks, I thought, maybe something good might happen.  I always start spotting a few days before my D1.  Today should be  D1 but there has been nothing, no spotting, no PMS based depression (which doesn't mean anything now that the meds are kicking in), nothing except a weird lethargy.

Doesn't all of this mean I could be pregnant?  I have decided to go about my life as if I were a 'normal' and have a beer if I want to or even a Coke.  Just to act for 1 month as if pregnancy could 'just happen'. 

Of course, because of the rest of what has been going on and the universe's unfailing sense of humor I POAS.  For a second the whole second spot was pink, not a line, the whole field.  I wanted to believe.  I left it to develop and looked back several minutes later and found...


No line, no color, no faint pink that I could analyze over the next 24 hours as 'just maybe'. 


I hate this.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Starting fresh

Well, I am trying to restart my life.  I am finally getting over the shock of the layoff and the rest of my week.  I have been trying to get some regular exercise now that I have a little extra time on my hands.  I went for a long walk today but I was exhausted.  My body is just collapsing, I was completely useless for the rest of the afternoon.  I don't feel sick but my body is not at 100%.  I am hoping that this is just a backlash from all the shock of the last week.  I was truly stunned by my layoff and it was so incredibly quick that I am still processing how I feel about the situation. 

I had a family event this weekend and while I won't post specifics of the occasion, I will say that there was an enormous blow-out with my MIL.  It was completely ugly and horrid.  Let's just say that the day was pretty much ruined for everyone involved and that sucked a lot.  H was pretty great though and defended me and was calm about the whole situation.  This is not his standard response regarding his mother so I was really proud of him and grateful for the way he dealt with everything. 

I am wondering what to do with my remaining cycles of IVF.  I think we only have 2 left on insurance.  I believe that Massachusetts only requires that they pay for 6.  I was doing some more research today and think that Cornell is pretty much the best clinic in the country with the most experience.  The clinic we are at is the best in MA but now that I am not working I am wondering if we should try to go to the best place and just go for broke?  I have no idea how long it would take to get in and be seen.  If I had known that I would be laid off and when, I could have planned to go to NY to be seen by them. 

Now I have to wait again, it all seems to take so long.  It almost isn't fair to count how long you have been trying by time, because every change adds so many months onto the schedule. 

Thank god for medication.  I think that I would have had a complete and uter mental breakdown if I hadn't gotten to speak to someone just the week before.  I finally got some help just the week before the worst week on record.  I don't know where I would be now if I hadn't gotten this help.  I have had PMDD before but was told that I couldn't take the medication while trying to get pregnant.  Well thank god for this new clinic, they do not believe this and they believe that being over-stressed and over-sensitive are huge factors in failure to carry a pregnancy.  Also they feel that there is a correlation between this problem and post-partum depression. 

They gave me articles on the worst side-effects, which I really appreciated.  I appreciate the fact that they didn't try to show me the best case scenario, since I am obviously not the best case scenario.  The articles about the worst case were not bad, and I don't feel like the research was done very well anyway, so I don't put a lot of faith in at least one of the articles. Its kinda like saying that you can have the chicken pox vaccine but you might get a fever from it.  Really the possibility of that is pretty much worth the chance.

This seems like a lot of different ideas all mixed up in one posting.  Maybe it has been a full week?

Friday, May 19, 2006


So after the rest of this week's info, today I got laid off.

Come on world, what else do you want to throw at me?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

New Clinic

Finally got most of our results from the new clinic.  We did a whole bunch of tests which had not been done before.  Yet another crappy day.

I did the clomid challenge test, and did the blood tests on day 3 and day 10.  Most of my numbers are normal except FSH, day 3 I was 2.7 (normal is above 3.9) and day 10 is 10.6 (normal is under 10).

Normally a low initial number means there is another 'obvious' problem.  Usually there is anorexia, exercise-bulimia, lack of menstruation, etc.  Just to clear the concerns, none of those things apply to me.  Not by a very very long shot.

Also a high day 10 number means that there is a decreased ovarian reserve. 

These are all bad things, though the dr can't really tell us what both of them together means. 

Good news...H's numbers have improved.  His motility is still a little low but his morphology has just entered the normal range. 

Our dr recommended that we do another cycle using my eggs, but that we should plan on using donor eggs in the very near future.  She said that we stand a fairly slim chance of getting pregnant using our own genetic material. 

Another piece of info that I need to process.  When is it time to give up?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What I was avoiding

I have never told any of my siblings about treatment or anything.  I have been avoiding the pity, the sympathy that I would get.  I don't want to get special treatment for this situation.  I did finally tell my mother when I lost the 3rd IVF and needed a DNC.  I felt so alone and I guess I wanted my mother.  That feels so sad to me. 

Today, on this black day, H and I invited both the SILs and my mother for brunch.  It was a very nice day, but my mother brought both my sister and I a plant.  I had her give mine to my SIL, who has a child.  I know she wanted to be kind, but it hurt. 

It hurt that she wanted to make a point of giving me something on mother's day.  I am obviously not a mother ad I don't deservea gift at this point. 

Maybe I will never get a gift on this day.  Perhaps I will never achieve this goal.  If this is true then I will never receive a gift and I dont' want to start faking it now.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Trying to deal

It has been forever and I really needed some time to work through things in my brain.  I have been busy with work but my life has been a disaster with regards to treatment. 

I stopped writing a while ago because I was so furious that I couldn't seem to write without a burst of rage in my head.  My face gets hot and I feel a little lightheaded whenever I get this angry.  It all started because of the CDC report.  We had decided on a clinic originally, primarily based on convenience and ease of getting an appointment.  The closest clinic could get us in in ~6 weeks while the 'better' hospitals couldn't let us in for 4 months.  Since that seemed like forever while we were still naive about treatment timelines we chose the easier site.

We still tried to ask the right questions, obviously the one about success rates came up.  We were told that they were 'about 40%' which is pretty average to good.  So we figured that if their success rate was pretty much where you would like it to be, then this clinic was fine.

Well, then the CDC report comes out.

Now, first of all, I am 33.  I was 32 when this all began.  I was told that since I am 'so young' to be doing ART that the eggs are no problem.  The embryologist told me that my eggs were very nice and young looking. 

The CDC report says that their success rate of live baby is 24.6%.  This number disgusts me.  For so many reasons.

This is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than what we were told verbally.  It is the worst number in the state in fact.  I was so revolted and angry.  I couldn't believe the betrayal.  These people will tell you anything to get you into the clinic because once you are in it is difficult to leave.  You need to find another doctor, get into another facility, and in our case, figure out how you are going to get in and out of the city 30 miles away while still holding down a full time job.

When I confronted the doctor about this I was told that at that time there was a different embryologist who was terrible and that they fired her and changed all the lab personnel.  Supposedly their numbers are now around 40%, but how am I to believe that?  I called the embryologist and the doctor told me to request their latest numbers and she never called me back.  I tried repeatedly to find out their real statistics and hit a roadblock on every front. 

Even our local paper did an article on the economics of fertility and mentioned that our clinic had the worst stats in the state.

Of course at this point, we have already done 3 IVF cycles, 1 IUI, we had gotten pregnant once for about 15 minutes and had to wait 4 months after the DNC to be able to start a new cycle.

During this time, I couldn't even think about a new clinic, and new doctor, another cycle.  My head was filled with grey clouds and nothing broke through. 

I finally called the "best" clinic in the area, at least the one with the highest success rate.  If I knew what questions to ask, we would have been here earlier, so now the 4 month wait at the beginning might have been nothing.  We might already have a child, or at least been pregnant instead of meeting all new doctors and figuring out an entirely new system.

While waiting for our appointment, I still had enough time to do another cycle, so we did.

What a disaster, there were signs everywhere telling us to stop, but we are stubborn.  Very very stubborn.  We don't allow a lot of roadblocks to slow us down any.  In fact, H believes that we can just plow through this 'fertility problem', but that is story for another day.

We began the cycle and were told that at this point we should think about using donor sperm to determine what the problem is.  H's morphology numbers are low, but we are doing ICSI so theoretically we should be able to pick the best and brightest of the lot for implant.  Normally in our cycles we find a high percentage of the eggs fertilize, so another reason to think that maybe the sperm numbers aren't as bad as they look. 

My eggs on the other hand, (just as an aside, I have always known that I would have trouble getting pregnant, I have known this since I was a child, now back to our story), I seem to produce a fair number, somewhere in the vicinity of 20 eggs/retrieval.  But unfortunately only ~50% of them are mature.  I have had a problem with this but was told that as long as we were at 50% it was considered a success.  We then get about 90% fertilize, so that is great.

But then they start dying.  By the 3rd day, most of the embryos have achieved a significant amount of fragmentation, and we have never frozen any embryos.  So we are day 2 transfer people, but even then the embryos start to fail.

We discuss this with the embryologist and she ran a DNA fragmentation test on H to see where his sample falls.  He definately has higher fragmentation than is considered normal, but not so far that it is impossible to get normal samples.  She swore to us that this was a sperm problem.  She told us that she had a 'feeling about this stuff'.  She knew that what we had to overcome was a sperm problem.

On to the cycle.  I did everything exactly as before, but this time only got 10 eggs, and only 6 were mature.  We got a donor sample to use as a comparison to H to see where the problem lies.  A few days before transfer we spoke to a different doctor and he flat out told us that if I were older they wouldn't even be looking at H as the problem.  He felt that these were all an egg issue, but all along our doctor and the embryogist told us that it was the sperm. 

We split the sample and did 3:3.  Of each only 2 fertilized and I had to call on the second day (they hoped to hold off until day 3) to find out their status.  I was told that they would look and call me back.  I was called ~45 minutes later and asked how quickly I could arrive.  All the embryos were failing rapidly.  Of each group, one had already stopped dividing and the other was fragmenting.  We almost didn't go in at all, but it seemed so wasteful to not even try.  When I was on the table for the implantation, our doctor said "Well I guess this means it is an egg issue"  Thanks for the newsflash!!  When I looked up egg quality there are 5 signs, I have 3 of them and the last one is that you are over 40.  So really I only miss 1 of the possibles.  How is it that I can find that is 2 minutes, but it takes the doctors 15 months to figure that out??

By this point we have met with the new clinic and they have given us new hope.  Though really, we need to define hope here.  H is now all gung-ho that the first cycle at the new facility will be the one and I am so deeply into depression that I can't even see the light.  There are a million things they want to retest, and discuss and they want to do a completely new cycle.  God knows if this will change anything, but at least I have seen 10 different doctors and nurses to feel like there are more minds at work on this problem.

Of course you know what happened next.  I went for my HCG test already spotting.  I knew what I should feel like, and I knew that I did not feel that way.  I knew the answer before the nurse called.  Speaking of nurses, the nurse who called me is very kind, but as I pointed out to her when I went in that morning, she was the only one left who worked there when we first started at the clinic.  I have lapped all the other nurses there.  I think if a patient is at the clinic longer than the nurses, maybe that is a sign of a real problem. 

Now I am in the new clinic.  They are running test, test, test on me and I hope they can tell me what the problems are, but I dont' know if I hold out a lot of hope. 

I will try to keep you updated.