Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Last One (or is it?)

I wasn't lying when I said I was at peace with our decision. Honest, I wasn't. I am at peace, and I know that this decision to use our frozens, be done with treatments one way or another, and start the registration process for domestic infant adoption wouldn't be easy but it was absolutely the right call at this time.

It's just really hard to be in this In Between space, now that I'm jabbing myself with needles 3x a night and my body is hopefully responding to the drugs and setting me up for a transfer. I think I can pinpoint why I am having such a difficult time.

This could be The Last Cycle. Or, it could be the Next To Last Cycle. And I won't know until days before transfer, maybe even the day OF transfer. That's a little difficult to prepare myself for, and while I am trying not to worry too much about what could happen, it's just kind of my way to prepare myself for all possible outcomes. Even though it's probably not very constructive. Strike that, it's completely not constructive.

I think if I knew for sure that this was it, the last cycle, I could feel a little less unsettled. It is striking to me how much loss I am feeling, for as much as I am looking forward to NOT DOING THIS ANYMORE. Every needle prick, every purple-green-gold bruise that blooms on my stomach due to the Lovenox, every moment where I realize I HAVE TO GET HOME TO STICK MYSELF, every drive to Buffalo... I am reminded that I am so sick and tired of this process and the (so far) inevitable disappointment that it brings. I work so hard to make this work, and I am rewarded with loss and pain and emptiness. So, I do feel a sense of GOOD RIDDANCE.

However, I can't help but hope that maybe this time things will work out okay. It is a tiny tiny incandescent bubble of hope in an otherwise dark place when it comes to treatment, that is being gradually shoved over with flickering hope for the adoption process. How can I not wish that this time will be THE time, as unlikely as it seems? We have changes in the protocol in the form of a little blue pill that is NOT estrace, that poor Bryce had to pick up yesterday and felt (real or imagined) disdain radiating from the pharmacy clerk. I've been reading up on this protocol, and there is an article here that talks about it (who knew it's been around since the 1990s???) although a slightly different variation than the one I'm on. It could be promising, but it's not a miracle cure. So my hope rises a bit because SOMETHING NEW, but then drops again because what if I'm one of the women for whom it doesn't work? Or what if it would take 3 cycles to get it optimal, and I have just this one? Or maybe two? My mind starts circling down a dangerous drain.

In no way does this make me want to do another fresh cycle. It just makes me sad because there will always be something new, always be a protocol that could possibly maybe work for us, because that's why we've kept going to this point. It hasn't worked. Could it work? Maybe, but our personal trending line says no, not likely. The temptation is always to try the next best thing, but after round after round after round after round after round of next best things and nothing to show for it but the incredibly aggravating size of our "medical expenses" folder for 2014 taxes, it's just not worth it. But I can mourn the loss of possibility, even if it is so small that it would fit a flea.

This is not to say that I wouldn't love to be proved wrong and have a successful cycle. I'm just so burnt on riding a positive train through the whole cycle only to be crushed at the end. I will still be crushed if I get a negative call in February. Especially if it is the Last Ever Call. That finality will be tough. But, also weirdly freeing.

Right now, it's just tough. 100% tough. I am doing a cycle in which I have very little confidence. It could be the last cycle, or it could be the second-to-last cycle and I have to go through this rigmarole again. The uncertainty, the not-knowing, is not pleasant. If I knew it was my last, last cycle, I think maybe I could prepare myself better. But I can't quite treat it like the final cycle, because we could miraculously get good embryos out of these 2PNs. It's such a crapshoot and it makes me nervous, the not-knowing. Or, I could get a call on Day 2 of growing them out and they could say, "It looks like we could have 3-day embryos but it's hard to say if we'll have blasts." We originally said we'd hold out for blasts, but now I am wavering. I know of an awful lot of cute babies who were 3-day embryos, or even 2-day embryos. Plus, these embryos were frozen on day 1, without vitrification, and the cohort that's gone before them has been disappointing. So... even though they being thawed and grown in a fancypants, state-of-the-art lab, they may have had a rough start and that's enough to stunt their progress. So is it cheating to do a Day 3 transfer? Delaying the inevitable? Or is it giving them a better chance? I DON'T KNOW. I am thrilled that we are doing these first because we have what we know are gorgeous blasts waiting in the freezer, and if these don't make it then we aren't left stuttering in the middle of a sentence that never ends.  I am, however, increasingly nervous about the thawing and growing-out days and my ability to stay sane during that time.

Of course, there's also the fact that I didn't even get close to transfer last time, but supposedly the blue pills should help with that, as well as my Femara-less protocol. We can hope that was just a crap cycle and this one will go without a hitch, all the way to transfer.

This in-between state isn't just for this cycle... it's impacting our movement on the adoption application as well. Remember how before we decided this was the end, that I was hesitant about putting energy into two processes at once? I guess I know myself pretty well. I am having a hard time dedicating time and energy to both processes when I'm feeling so sad about our losses. Everything I've read says that you need time to mourn your loss of a biological child before moving full steam ahead with adoption, that it's fairest to you and to the baby you are creating a family for, together. We've done so much mourning already--we have no chance anymore of a biological child who is 50/50 both of our genes. That's gone. If the 2PNs don't work out well, then we officially lose Bryce's genetic contribution, and while we've been mourning that, now it will be totally beyond the realm of possibility. Then, our last effort for pregnancy will be my genes and our sperm donor's genes... and if that doesn't work out then we will be done, done, done. So we're mourning piecemeal, one string of DNA at a time.

It does reaffirm how excited we are for a totally new process, for a renewed sense of hope in creating a family, for being equal partners in every way to fill the emptiness in our home and our hearts. That the genetic loss has already been underway eases our mourning process. In theory. In reality, I am finding that my feelings are pretty raw and sad now that we are really in the final throes of our dream to experience pregnancy as a couple. Still able to see the promise and the joy that can be ours through a different pathway, but it's hard.

So the application has been languishing a bit. I would really, really like to have it done before the end of January, and be officially registered by February. I would like an official start on this new adventure as the old one is gasping for its last breath. I have had friends who've gone before me say how helpful it was to have an optimistic new start in the works when they received their final bad news. They were still incredibly sad, but it wasn't a hopeless pit of despair. Things were in the works.

And if we're successful, by some crazy miracle? I don't apologize for my lack of positive thinking vibes on this cycle. I really do believe we have such a small chance for success, and it is somewhat easier to think of this as a step we must take to get to our family. Maybe it will bring us to our family, but more likely adoption will. But, if we manage to be successful, I will be happy, once I believe that  it's for keeps. And I will strangely feel guilty for wasting someone's time, even though that's totally not what we meant (or what it is). I also don't ever want to be used as an example of someone who started adoption paperwork and then got pregnant, see how that works? NO NO NO. Someone just (innocently/ignorantly) said that doing adoption paperwork results in pregnancy to us. NO NO NO. If we're successful, it will be because of the new protocol, and magical lining up of tiny little stars that are incredibly difficult to align. It will not be because we registered with an agency. It will not be because it was our last cycle (or second-to-last, argh), or because I felt not excited and so wasn't as stressed (who are we kidding? I'm totally stressed because I'm feeling such dread), or because I did or didn't cut out a single cup of coffee on my weekend days. It won't be because of what I did or didn't eat, or the earrings I wore, or the color of my underwear. It will just be a straight-up miracle of timing and conditions. And one I have a hard time believing will be for us.

So, as you can see, this is a tough spot to be in. I have my first blood draw post-follistim tomorrow, so we'll see if my estrogen does a better climb than it did with the combo femara protocol. We'll see if the bottle of hilarious little additions make a difference later in the week, when I drive again to Buffalo for ultrasound monitoring. (Incidentally, I had to drive on Friday to pick up their Solution X medication and get bloodwork, and the forecast was totally clear until 5:30 in the morning, when we had a lake effect snow weather statement. IT TOOK TWO HOURS to get there, in white-knuckle conditions, and I was completely late both to bloodwork and back to school. Yup, definitely taking full days off for monitoring this time. The weather and the thruway hate me.) I'm not sure what to hope for -- a swift end to this process that has been nothing but cruel, or an unlikely miracle. Maybe both, in unequal amounts. I just hope for a smooth cycle and no more surprises, I guess. I hope that what we're doing brings us closer to a home filled with giggles and gurgles and burping cloths, instead of the deafening silence we currently enjoy. Just bring us closer to family. Okay, Universe?


  1. You are absolutely in a tough spot, and while we are on very different journeys, I do understand so many of your comments and feelings.
    While I do hope this cycle finally brings you success, I also really do have to agree with this comment you made about another potential loss and moving to adoption - "That finality will be tough. But, also weirdly freeing." That's where I am right now, and all at once is tough and it freeing and it is scary.
    Love to you no matter what happens!

    1. Thank you--it is so helpful to know that my thought that a final negative might be weirdly freeing is actually true. Scary of course, but I want to believe that there's joy hiding behind the loss. It would be great if this cycle brought success, but it's so hard to believe in it. But man, that would sure be something. It is so helpful to have friends like you at this tough time, people who understand what it's like to feel this way, even though it would be so very wonderful (but unrealistic) if none of us ever had to make these decisions and feel the kind of pain that any journey up to this point is full of. Love to you too!

  2. You are such a good writer. Though I have not even yet gone through one treatment, I can imagine the thought process behind, will this work? "the next best thing, the new and improved protocol." While you probably already know this, its ok and validated that you are feeling this way. Just keep plugging along, and your journey will happen one way or the other. One day at a time. That should be our motto.

    1. Thank you so much for the compliment! I really appreciate your thoughts and your validation for my thought process on this final-ish cycle. Because I remember where I was when I was starting out on this treatment rollercoaster, and I was all about thinking positively and trying to exert as much positivity in order to control the controllable... and it's hard to let that go. I love your advice "One day at a time." Yup, that's a great infertility motto! I'm stealing it! Thank you for your thoughts and your support, it's much appreciated. Good luck to you!