J is so wonderfully diligent. She called the spe.rm bank with our new choices then narrowed them down by previous pregnancies and swimmer counts. Then she ordered pics of the 3 top choices. She also talked to someone who actually works at the bank about the men's characteristics. She is the champ at organization and getting the best. So after all was said and done, potential baby daddy #3 turned out to be choice #1 after looking at the photos. In retrospect, I will say that photos are more important than I initially thought. Let me just give you an image of one potential.... think of someone you would not want to meet in a dark alley (include questionable grooming)... that was almost the donor we chose. After seeing all the photos, we have a very clean cut, handsome baby daddy.... he also has several children from his donations. Swim buddies swim!
It was a cold and stormy weekend so J and I spent most of our time hiding indoors. Our project? Choosing a new sp.erm donor. Yep, we had to choose a donor with a different set of characteristics since J is our carrying partner. It was an odd moment with lots of sad overtones for me. We first completed this process almost 2 years ago and we were giddy as we read about each man. We liked donor A because he was artistic but donor B must be smart to get an SAT score that high, etc. We laughed. We dreamed. We were so certain that we would have a baby in no time flat. We were very concerned about the possibility of needing more specimen for our second child/ wanting them to have the same father.
This weekend, we were much more clinical. We narrowed the list down by height, eye-color and hair color. Then we ranked those choices based upon features and essays and such. We were not giddy but then again we weren't bitter either. The whole process reminded me of washing my hair. It's a task I don't mind but I also can't get too excited about. I just need the outcome.
So at the moment, J and I are hanging with IUIs for her. We have to do some serious saving for another shot at IVF with her eggs and my uterus. Honestly, it would be nice not to have to walk that path again so we are hoping the IUIs work. She is taking Fem.ara which seems to be better for luteal phase issues. We will have Mr X's genetic material sent at the end of this week and should have an insemination on Saturday or Monday (since our OBGYN is not open on Sundays). Good times.
My poor strong J has fallen, cracked, melted down. It was a big one which I will spare the messiest of details about.
The short story is that I came home from work yesterday still in the happy zen place brought on by gardening and found J at her laptop creating spreadsheets (never a good sign). She had been making calls to various clinics to see determine if 1) they will transfer J's embryos to me and 2) the cost of said procedure. What she found is that people in our area are making this request and question much too hard. *Dr Gruff (my RE) said that he will not do this as it is like surrogacy which he does not do. *Dr Good Clinic (far away) will do the procedure, will transfer embryos to both of us at the same time or through an FET for a cost of about $14,000 + meds. *Dr New Clinic (J's RE) is giving her the run around about whether they will do what we want and tried to quote a price for 2 IVF cycles. This did not fly well as giving embryos to me is really just a transfer plus some FDA-required tests. Generally most clinics in our area seem to be treating us with a "poor silly lesbians" attitude which equates us with children rather than the highly educated women we are.
Oh, and J's known donor is totally backing out so we can add in monthly sperm costs on top of IUI costs.
J's comment: "I would just like to catch a single f*ing break! Just one!" My response: "Wanna go pull some weeds?"
She did and we did. I never cease to be amazed how one of us is strong when the other is weak.
It would be really nice if an IUI would work soon. .
Me: I am tired and sad. I think I'll stay in the house this weekend and gain some acceptance.
Gardens: Sure no problem. You stay in there and think esoterically. We'll be out here doing our jobs. We'll grow clover and crabgrass in places you intended to grow tomatoes and peppers. The callas are planning a coup d'etat into the territories of the day lilies and peonies. The birds are building nests in the bridal wreath bush and the roses are planning to grow into a tall tangle of brambles. We'll be fine without you.
Me: I hear you. I'll dig out my garden gloves and tools. I'll be out shortly.
I love growing things. I love digging in the flower beds and finding places where the peonies I though I completely transplanted are coming back up because I must have left a single bulb behind. I loves that the callas always want to take over the whole bed so that I am forever having to hack off a huge piece of their root system. The callas do not mind such rough treatment. The original patch continues to spread and any rootling I plant immediately takes hold and grows as well. I even love that I have to use the loud, heavy rototiller to turn up soil where I plant my vegetables. I throw out lime and fertilizer onto the rich, dark soil then have to repeat the process again within the next week.
To me the point of growing things is to enjoy nature's resiliency and tenacity (as well as pretty flowers and fresh veggies). Watching how my yard and gardens constantly seek to thrive even in the face of challenges (be they Japanese Beetles or blight) makes me realize how small we all are. And how little good it does me to lament my 3 failed IVF's.... I imagine that my garden says to me: "Failed 3 times, what's the big deal? You face scorching heat, bugs, disease and frost in a single season, THEN we'll talk."
Last night I was talking with Dr Helpful who mostly "gets" infertility but I do not think she has experienced it herself (so sometimes she loses the path). I was talking about my feelings about leaving IVF behind and letting go of most of my fantasies about having a child with my own eggs. She sat across from me with her earnest, innocent face filled with determination that I can succeed at IVF. I can tell that she really wants me to be able to have MY baby, to fulfill MY dreams. What she cannot fathom is how it feels to have multiple failed cycles, to struggle to squeeze IVF funds from the budget 3 times (and potentially another), and to experience the repeated ups and downs that go with failed cycles. Dr Helpful said that she still has hopes for me and she suggested that I needed a better clinic with a better success rate. I took the information she shared but I came to the solid resolve that I will never do IVF again. I felt sad about that.
I went home and looked up the clinic she suggested. It is far away but has excellent success rates. The clinic's site also shared a ton of information. The way they present their results is by breaking down success by age and grouping. The groupings correspond to the difficulty of a woman's reproductive issues. I fall into the most difficult group (3 failed IVF's, low antral follicle count and less that 8 eggs retrieved per cycle). The success rate for my group and age is 19%! Obviously that is a totally sucky probability for such an expensive procedure. I felt complete peace and relief wash over me. I now know that IVF is not for me and I really should not have tried #3. No regrets, no doubts, I have done what I can do.
Next steps: 1) J will be our primary reproductive hope. She will do IUI's from now until the summer. 2) If we have not succeeded by the end of summer, J will do IVF. 3) If we have frosties from J's IVF, I will try to carry those. :) 4) In the meantime I will lose the lingering 20 pounds and try 2 IUI cycles with Clo.mid, which has shown good results for women with PCOS. (I know this one is a long shot but for some reason I need to try.)
I feel better. My heart is lighter and more free. Hope is in the house. I had to relinquish a piece of myself that cost me dearly. But I think the payoff will make the letting go worthwhile.
Today, I am working on several grant-related reports, have edited a journal article for J, and have given great thought to the idea of the Scrodinger's cat debate.
I am working really hard not to think about my RE appointment on this day last year. Early morning, lying on the ultrasound table, J touching my foot (no room near my hands), the ultrasound tech pressing harder and harder on my abdomen.. searching for the heartbeat, the room deathly quiet, the monitor abruptly turned off with no pictures of the baby, the RE saying "fetal demise", scheduling a D & C, sobbing, asking the nurse to help us find a back way out because I could not be "that woman"-- the one we have all seen leaving the RE's office crying as her grim-looking partner struggled to face his/her own grief and provide support at the same time.
Nope. Not thinking those thoughts. Considering whether a cat can be both alive and dead at the same time and if observation makes the difference. .
Today's entry was almost titled "Another @sshole Comment" but that did not look very nice in the title line. :)
Background: J and I have a group of friends we have known 3 years or less, since we moved to this state but we also have a group of old friends we are very close with.
Up until now the response to IVF #3 from my old solid friend group has been..... nothing. No calls, no texts, no emails, not even facebook! Mostly, I have given them the benefit of the doubt. D is in medschool and K is having relationship issues, etc.
However K called yesterday. We talked about her car wreck (bad). We talked about her relationship (rocky). We talked about her job and volunteering. After an hour, she asked how I am doing. I was honest and said that I am pretty wrecked right now. She responded that she just knew that I would get pregnant and have a baby soon. She did not doubt it. I explained the craptastic quality of my eggs and that J and I have some grieving to do around this whole issue. She says that she is in the same boat and she understands. Get this: she has been THINKING about trying to get pregnant and has lined up a known donor. She not really made up her mind to try at this point but she acknowledges that she is getting older. So in her mind, we are in the same place emotionally. Also, she is a therapist. I really expected better. At this point I shut up and seethed.
Let's compare: ME been trying for almost 2 years intense testing 1 miscarriage 2 failed IVFs daily painful injections intense emotional letdown have verified poor quality eggs and PCOS spent the equivalent of a Lexus in the past year in trying to have a baby
K has been considering TTC has a known donor has spent no money has experienced no pain around the issue
So yeah, we are just the same. She just doesn't get it and I don't know that I have the energy to explain for her. .
For the past couple of years I have been picking up and putting down a book by Stephen Hawking: in this book he discusses the nature of time. He is certainly a brilliant mind and my own brain struggles to keep up with his thought process. So my strategy is that I read until my brain gets muddled (maybe a chapter) then I put the book away and return again when I have sorted out my thoughts. My poor interpretation of his writings is that time is not absolute (nor just an arbitrary construct) but joins with space to form an "object" called space-time. Usually I struggle with this concept but lately the ideas are popping into place for me: I think because I am experiencing time differently. Time feels like it has weight and I am helping shoulder some of the mass at this point.
I wake in the mornings before my alarm sounds. I take my time getting ready. I eat breakfast and I make lunches for J and I. Sometimes I do a load of laundry and put the clean dishes into the cabinet from the dishwasher. I leave the house when I am well-put together. I drive to work listening to NPR. Sometimes I stop for a Star.bucks or a S.onic iced tea. My mornings are not hectic. Sometimes I even add in yoga or a walk. I have time, plenty of it, tons of the stuff. I am drowning in time! As I live my organized life, what I long for is more hectic. I want to have petty spats over who will make breakfast and who will feed the baby. I want to struggle to get the baby up, fed, cleaned, dressed and to the sitters before I go to my own job. I want to get to work only to realize that I have some sort of baby spooge on my blouse and that I forgot to brush my hair. I want to wish for more hours in the day. But I don't.
Alternately, time is passing by too quickly. I realize my age is 36 years and I think "Holy Fck, I'm old!" I am not a woman who does not want to age. I am personally fine aging. I just wish my ovaries would stay young and vibrant. I feel time passing- much like you notice the ocean as you try to run thigh-deep down the beach. J and I are taking a sanity break after this disaster IVF but a part of me is sitting in the back of my head screaming "Nobody's getting any younger here chickie, better get busy making babies." But I am tired and I need this rest. I need to lose the 25 pounds fertility meds have packed onto me, and I need to lose the dust that too much sadness has left on my soul. I need time.
So you see like Hawking says, time really is relative based upon your current position and perspective. .
My friend shared her thoughts today that each failed attempt leaves an empty place in your heart. I have to agree. Each month, each attempt we invest a piece of our hearts and each failed attempt leaves a hole. Beyond that, I think every hopeful prenatal vitamin we take, each injection, each unpleasant procedure, each bit of modesty we relinquish, each pregnancy test we buy or avoid buying, every dollar we spend seemingly uselessly... each leaves its own void that can only be filled with a child. It feels as though someday, there will only remain an abyss in the spot my heart used to occupy.
I never dreamed that I would have 3 failed IVF cycles. I told someone that I would do 7 cycles in the hopes of having a child (if I had the money- which I do not), but I was wrong. At this moment, I am not sure that I could even attempt a free IVF cycle (not that anyone is offering). I am sad and I am empty and I truly hate beginning and ending the workweek crying in my office.
I did see a therapist. Dr Helpful is very nice. She honored my pain beautifully and never tried to help me have "more positive self talk." If she would have tried to give me any hokey mantras, told me to look at the bright side or had an office filled with baby photos, I think I would have attacked her with my pointy shoes! What she actually did was sit with me. She let me tell my story in my way and she listened. I did not cry in her office as much as I thought I might and since my session, I have felt less on the verge of tears (although that does happen). I am still sad, so very very sad but I think my sense of desperation has eased a bit. I have another session scheduled and I am journaling my thoughts in a lovely leather-bound book. Perhaps I will share a photo of my book someday: I have very warm and loving feelings toward that thing.
Will I ever have a child? I don't know. Do I still want a child? More than I can express Am I angry with God? YEP! Am I going to be okay?.... probably.
Some people get babies out of an IVF cycle: I get therapy and antidepressants. I wish I knew how this would all end.
I cannot say enough "thank yous" for all the wonderful supportive comments you all have made in the past few days. Each comment helped my heart more than I can express.
Clearly I was going out of my mind so I had my doctor do a beta. The results show that I have no HCG in my body... none... zero... not pregnant, again.
Of course I am sad. I have to ask myself at this point if I will ever be able to have a biological child. Frankly I don't think so and I don't know what not having a child will do to my identity, who I always imagined that I would end up being. So I have an appointment with a therapist specializing in infertility issues, and I will see her tomorrow night.
My partner is more than willing to try to get pregnant but her confidence is also shaken after 3 failed IUIs (hers) and 3 failed IVFs (mine). We are going to hang out and rethink our plans for a while.
Lastly, we also just got word that HJ's department is on the list of "potential eliminations" at her place of employment. We will not know the outcome until March 20th. Yikes! Perhaps now is the time I will lose the extra pounds I have put on through my IVF triathlon.
I am a Southern lesbian traveling the winding path to motherhood (please please). My wonderful partner (J) and I are both 36 years old. For the past 3 years, we have spent most of our time, money and emotional resources trying to get pregnant. The road has been long to this point...I have done 3 IVF cycles: 1 m/c and 2 BFNs. We also tried several unsuccessful IUI cycles with my partner, J. At this point we have moved on to unknown donor eggs. Our first donor egg cycle ended in a BFN. We are now trying a second DE cycle but this time my partner will carry. We must be crazy.