However, it is time to move on, and I'm not sure how to do this. In the time we've been with our clinic, they have grown to feel like our friends--everyone has been super invested in helping us to create our family. We have received personal calls from nurses offering condolences when things didn't work out. We have exchanged bottles of wine in appreciation. We send crazy Christmas cards with cats on them and beg to have a baby on the next card (oh well). When we walk into the clinic, we are met with "Heyyyyy! It's Jess and Bryce!" and it feels so warm and caring. However. I cannot continue to make medical decisions based on how nice people are. I cannot continue to go a path where there are more "No we don't do that"s and when the answer is "yes we will try your crazy idea" then I am the one who brings it all to the table and I am the one who catches protocol errors and I am the one who feels like I am managing my care and I am decidedly NOT an RE. I need a little innovation. Scratch that. I need A LOT of innovation. The way it always works for everyone else is definitely NOT the way it works for us.
We almost went for a second opinion before the donor egg cycle. It was scheduled and on the books, but then I had to fill out all new paperwork and that was very overwhelming and then we made the decision to pursue donor egg definitively and I liked my clinic's program a lot more than the other clinic's program. I really wish we had consulted with somewhere like CCRM at that point, because we could have afforded it at that space in time. Now, having finally taken the leap and done a few consults elsewhere and having been a little more than a little stunned at some of the revelations thrown out there, that hindsight is kicking me in the butt. WHY didn't we move on earlier? Now, although I have heard such wonderful things about CCRM and I do believe that they are miracle workers, we just can't afford it and have adoption still on the table. And adoption needs to be on our table, because while maybe it will just take someone else with a different approach to solve our medical pieces, it feels like we are just made to be on the other side of the statistics. I would agree with the "You have to think positive!" people and say that isn't constructive to think that way, but it's just true. It doesn't mean it has to continue to be true, but for self-preservation, I have to go with the assumption that while the miracle COULD happen, it just as easily COULD NOT. If we thought it truly was not possible we would not be going into this final round of medical treatment. But we would be fools not to realize that it's a very good thing we have been opening our hearts to domestic infant adoption, as scary as that has seemed to us. And, since according to our last calculations domestic infant adoption will cost in the ballpark of $33,000 for us, and even if we take into account the supposedly $13,000 Adoption Tax Credit (that, while it was made permanent as part of the Fiscal Cliff legislation, was not made permanent in the way it was originally conceived when we go to pursue this option of creating our family -- please go to RESOLVE to learn more and continue supporting this bill!!!), it will mean a bill of at least $20,000. Which in itself is a lot to swallow but especially when you've spent so much on medical treatment that seemed promising but left you empty-handed. So, unfortunately, we cannot justify spending that much money and more on going to CCRM and traveling to Colorado multiple times in the hopes that we do not have to spend the money on adoption because our family will come to us from medical treatment. Even CCRM isn't 100%.
We do have other options locally and have been working with a doctor that we knew previously who is with another clinic that has an amazing embryology lab. And who is open to a lot of newer things without needing convincing. And who has brought a lot of ideas and research to the table already and we haven't officially even started on as patients. Pretty impressive. We have another second opinion, our last, at a clinic nearby in about a week and a half. And while our clinic offered that if we worked with CCRM or another clinic we'd have to travel to that they would be happy to implement whatever they recommended, or do our monitoring locally, I just don't think I can do it.
I just don't think that I want to continue on at a place that I've been to so frequently for so long with nothing to show for it but a drawer full of pictures of embryos long gone, surgical pictures of a tube swollen with a freak ectopic pregnancy from an IVF cycle, and my one and only ultrasound picture of a sac in my uterus. I can't do it. I feel almost like I have PTSD going to that clinic. I hyperventilate. And, as I wrote earlier in November, I had a massive meltdown in their office the last time I was there for something remotely treatment-related. I want this "last hurrah" to be free from all of the past losses and frustrations that are enclosed in those walls. I want this last try to be truly new in as many ways as possible. And I feel horribly guilty about it.
But that guilt and sense of loyalty has, in a sense, held us back. Maybe. I mean, we would have had NO ISSUE seeking a second opinion earlier if we didn't just so badly want our current clinic to seal the deal. And we knew they wanted to. There have been many tears and touching moments in the transfer room. But all that aside, it's just not the best idea to stay with the same clinic for 8 cycles. Other places have fresh eyes on things. Other places have different lab procedures and different drug procedures and different tests they are more willing to do and do with more frequency. And it's time to move on.
So, how to do that? I don't want to just slink off into the ether. I don't want to disappear after 4 years and 3 months. If I was loyal enough to stay despite limited success, it would be pretty crappy to just POOF disappear. But, at the same time, do I want to do a consult in person to say goodbye? That might prove to be pretty freaking awkward. And I don't want to feel like I have to defend my stance. I don't want to feel pressured to give it ONE MORE SHOT. Especially since in all of our second opinions so far the consensus has NOT been that we need to continue with donor eggs and that we have "age related egg quality issues." How can that be when my FSH and AMH are stellar? No, everyone else has said, "it looks like the sperm could be your issue." I felt a little like my clinic was doing a lot of lady-finger-pointing without looking at HALF the genetic material. So I do feel some frustration, but at the same time I want to be able to say goodbye and have some closure and, in some way, let them know that when (if) we are successful medically, that they will have definitely played a role in that. We wouldn't have the data to say that we are dealing with a sperm issue if we hadn't done the egg donor cycle to see that our blast development was pretty darn poor, and that occurred before the embryos even had anything to do with me. It's not a blame thing, my body/his body, but it is interesting how many times it's just assumed to be a female issue and that ICSI can overcome anything. Grrr.
So what would you do? Write a letter? Steel yourself and set up a last consult? Send an email? Make a phone call? Or fade away into the ether?
It's awkward no matter what, but I just can't let it go completely when there's such a history. I so wish we were leaving because we were being released to our OB/GYN. That's how I dreamed it. That's what I'd hoped for. But it didn't happen, and I truly feel that it won't happen unless we let this chapter end and start up elsewhere. It seems like everything in this process is a letting go.
Thanks for your help--I appreciate it!