Yesterday morning was rough. I woke up starting at 3 with terrible heartburn and the need to run to the bathroom. It continued through 6:30, when I brushed my teeth and found myself puking for 20 minutes. I am not a puker. Great, I thought. How am I supposed to drive to Buffalo feeling like this? Bryce was frantically looking up "vomiting" and the various meds I'm on, and was concerned I was hyperstimulating. Not outside the realm of possibilities since my estrogen was 1643 on Wednesday, and if it doubled it would be towards OHSS range.
But I did it, I drove across the western portion of the state with plastic bags in the car and my giant water bottle and toast with honey that I could only eat a little of.
The ultrasound was good--the fluid was miraculously gone. I mentioned to the doctor, one I hadn't yet seen this cycle, that we had a new plan--that we were going to forgo transfer if things looked crappy on the lining side, but that we wanted to do a retrieval and salvage something from this cycle as it was our last, for a good several years if at all. It had just all been too hard, and lately especially seemed to be challenging for new reasons. We want to get a baby in our house, and we're just not so sure this is going to be our ticket. He got it. He looked at my follicles and they were a little bigger than yesterday, but I needed another couple of days to be ready for trigger. This was Day 15 of stimming.
I somehow made it home even though I felt terrible the whole way, and crawled into bed at 11:00, where I stayed, totally comatose, until 1:40. I felt like I had a fever so I took my temperature, and it was near 101. Great, I thought. Nothing to help eggs along like a fever. Crap.
I fell back asleep and woke up at 2;15... still no call. Unusual, as calls usually come no later than 2:12 in my experience with this clinic. By 2:30 I called them, because often the IVF nurse department is gone by 2:45, 3:00, and I didn't want to fall asleep and miss them, not get my instructions in person. And what I got was this:
"Your doctor is rerunning your bloodwork, I haven't called because we're waiting on the results." (Oh god oh god, the last time my bloodwork was rerun I was pregnant and my values had dropped from 2000 something to 200, and they thought it was a mistake but it was really the end...) "Initially they came back at 200, a significant drop. We'll call you when they're in, but it will probably be a doctor who calls." Hmmm, I thought. So much for OHSS, I must have a stomach bug.
I just laughed. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME, I thought. I refuse to believe this until it's true. I refuse to believe that my last cycle is going to go out like this.
Well, I could refuse all I wanted but it was true. My values plummeted from 1643 to 208 in a matter of two days. The doctor who called said that there was likely no fluid anymore because the estrogen had dropped so much. Stop all meds, yada yada yada. And then he said, "I just wanted to call you with good news." To which I replied, "Everyone does, but no one ever gets to. You are in very good company."
And then I hung up the phone.
That's when everything cracked into tiny tiny little pieces as I howled and wailed and sobbed uncontrollably. I called Bryce and was completely incoherent. "HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?" I screamed and cried. "How do we get NOTHING?!?" We had already adjusted our thinking to take out the possibility of a final transfer. And now we couldn't even retrieve any of those eggs to stockpile for later. All I could hear running over and over in my head was Gene Wilder, in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, yelling, "You get NOTHING! You LOSE! Good DAY, Sir!"
And so it is over. No more shots, no more shoving pills where the sun don't shine, no more hoping for a change and being met with nothing but disappointment. We are completely devastated. Not because we did not know this was coming...something has changed this year that I cannot seem to make a lining and I cannot get to transfer. This is two cancellations in a row due to poor lining, and the second time in a year that my estrogen dropped inexplicably. My body is tired. I am tired. We are tired. It would be a relief if not for the COMPLETE AND UTTER lack of closure.
I am so excited for all of the next steps. For a process where you don't have to wonder IF you'll bring home your baby, IF you'll ever be a parent, but WHEN. It may take a fair amount of waiting, but we will be a family. This other nonsense has brought us nothing but pain. It's been cruel. It's only ever given us fleeting glimpses at what it might look like to be successful. (Another wailing cry on the phone with Bryce... "Is this all we get? Is one ectopic pregnancy and a fleeting 6 weeks of pregnancy all we'll ever have of that experience?") It's a hard pill to swallow.
We did IVF, and we did it HARD, and it FAILED us. Medical technology can be amazing, and my facebook feed is full of proof that it works for a SLEW of people, but it did not work for me. That is hard. We did all we could and were left empty handed. Do I regret how long we did this? Not exactly. If I had a time machine I would go back and try to convince myself that this will lead to nothing good, but when no doctors could tell us why and all of our second opinions thought it was possible, why would we have stopped? We still have no answers. But now, now...faced with how poorly the last few cycles have gone, it's over. Five+ years of this, 13 IVF cycles, 10 transfers, 27 embryos, 7 IUIs... DONE.
Once we mourn this horrific end to a horrific journey, we can throw ourselves 100% into the adoption process. The registration is on my computer, just waiting to be filled out. We can be parents. We can be a family for a baby, and have a baby for our family. I just wish we had been able to go out differently.
Is this so much worse than a negative test? Yes. It is. A negative test would have meant there was hope for a good outcome but then it came to its final conclusion of no hope. Even the retrieval, that would have given us hope for the future. Maybe it's a not so subtle message that this is never going to work for us, that I will never again be pregnant, that the maternity clothes rack in Target that tortures me every time we go is just not for me. (The good news is there's way more aisles for babies, and that is still for us, so I can look at those and not be sad anymore. It's coming for us.) Actual closure would have been nice.
While Willy Wonka ran through my head, Bryce had T.S. Elliot running through his. From "The Hollow Men," which is appropriate given how we're feeling:
This is how the world ends
This is how the world ends
This is how the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
And so this part of our world has ended, and we are burnt down to ashes in a quiet flame that sputtered and whimpered as it consumed one part of our dream. We so look forward to rising like a phoenix from that sad little ash pile, ready to start a new adventure in our dream of parenthood.