Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

This is the Way the World Ends

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.


18 comments:

  1. Jess, It is hard when you realize you have come to the end of one path. It is more than hard. It is sad, and defeating, and about a hundred other feelings wrapped up in your heart and soul. But once you get past that initial set of feelings (and there is no time limit because it is a grieving process), there also comes a sense of relief. A weight that lifts, and a world of new possibilities that your previous experiences have prepared you for by making you stronger, smarter, more patient, more determined. I don't know why women like us have to travel the roads we do to get to motherhood, other then to make us even more prepared for motherhood. More prepared to love and to appreciate the children that will eventually come to us. And when you are ready to pursue adoption, I will be here to support you as a friend, as a fellow IF veteran, and as a woman who finally reached her dream of motherhood thru adoption. Hugs to you.

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    1. Thank you so much. Believe it or not, I already feel that relief because the grieving has been an ongoing process for years at this point. I love this, "a world of new possibilities that your previous experiences have prepared you by making you stronger, smarter, more patient, more determined." I truly appreciate your kind and wise words, your support, your hugs. Thank you.

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  2. I am very sorry to hear of your news. It is awful and unfair and sad. I just started reading your blog in the fall and have been thinking about you and hoping for the best. I am sorry you did not get a real chance to try this last round. While you and your husband are open to adoption and considered it an option before this last time, you are smart to take time to grieve this loss. Cry every tear you need, honor this part of your journey and let your hearts find some healing. Sending thoughts your way.

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    1. Thank you, Jamie. It does completely suck that things sputtered out the way they did, but as much as it hurts it's such a release to be done. To have taken control of ending our IVF path instead of waiting for someone to tell us that it was over. It's hard, and I'm certainly sad, but I am SO looking forward to what's next. Thank you for your thoughts and your support, I so appreciate it.

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  3. Oh Jess, this just breaks my heart. I'm so sorry--this isn't how it was supposed to end. I'm so, so, so sorry. I love that you can move forward on the path that feels right to you--even though I know you didn't want to start this new race with such a heavy heart. You went through too much, and it's just so unfair that it ends this way. That said, you will get your family, and it will be perfect. I can't wait until that happens. Hugs, my friend.

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    1. Thank you... unfair pretty much sums up how infertility treatments went. We are pretty darn excited about adoption, though, and it was SURPRISINGLY less difficult to let go of treatment than I thought it would be. Probably because it has been so painful and there is so much promise in adoption that we will actually be parents, it is an eventuality! Thank you for the heartbreak and the hugs, much appreciated.

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  4. I am incredibly sad that you have come to you breaking point, that you have reach your enough. I remember the day we reached ours. It was the day I knew we would never create a viable life together and the day I knew I'd never get to experience a healthy pregnancy. Yet, it was also the day I knew I'd never experience another miscarriage and I'd never watch another baby slowly die inside of me.
    On that day I wasn't as confident as you that we would turn to adoption to create our family - I was leaning towards not having children at all. Eventually we did realize tat we wanted children in our lives more then anything else, so we knew adoption was our path. And honestly, our lives are now filled with so much more happy anticipation! The process is slow, but I keep reminding myself that we will eventually get through it and we will have a family. And for me, the surety of adoption means the world to me and my sanity.
    Sending you love and positivity as you grieve what you will never be. And hoping your days become filled with more sunshine and laughter.

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    1. Yes, yes, yes to this. Thank you for your thoughts and your sadness over our "enough..." It was an enough in spades. I am tired of doing all this for nothing. I am tired of the pain and the continuous cycle of bad news calls and experiences. We are super excited, and are at the very-very beginning of all this but already feel that switch to happy anticipation. And yes, with you on the surety of adoption meaning so much for self and sanity. It's been interesting because we were able to move forward on that application AS SOON AS we'd realized it was the end, two days later, because that heavy weight of both had lifted. We were free. Here's to sunshine and laughter for you, too! I am looking forward to traveling this path with a friend.

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  5. There is nothing I can say except I'm always here to listen. I'm so sorry this is the end of one journey. My heart is broken right along side yours that this won't happen the way you and the rest of the freekin' fertile world wants it to. But my heart knows that you'll get that family, one way or another. Because someone who has gone through what you've been through in the last 5 years has more strength and drive than most of the rest of us will ever know. Even when it feels like teh world is crashing down around you. Lots of extra hugs....and I'm going to go find the most fertile person at work and kick her for you. Just because I can.

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    1. Thank you so much, I so appreciate your broken heart over our end, our craptastic end. Thank you for the kicks! :) It is a huge loss, but one that I am so surprised to find that I am okay with letting go of. I will be sad and angry of course, and I mourn that we ended empty-handed after all that, but it is so overshadowed at the moment by excitement over our new journey. True excitement, not a replacement plugged into a hole, but a new adventure that will hopefully bring us to the end we desire so badly. Thank you so much for your love and support!

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  6. *sigh* I'm so sorry that your last attempt went out with a whimper. I can imagine how it would be harder for closure this way. But I'm glad that you guys are open to adoption because although I don't know you in real life, I think that you guys are going to be great parents! I can't wait until you get your long awaited family!

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    1. Thank you so much! It was the wimpiest of whimpers, which definitely sucked in terms of not feeling like we went out DONE. However, in a weird way the fact that this cycle was so awful gives us a different kind of closure. I will not miss treatments at all. I will miss the experience I lost, but not all the striving to get to something that just wasn't in my body's skill set, I guess. On to a process that while difficult, should be a hell of a lot kinder to us than that bullshit. :) Because at the end, we'll be parents. So different! Thank you for your kind words, it makes us feel warm and fuzzy to have so many people vetting our awesome parents-to-be-ness, a confidence booster for sure. :)

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  7. I am so very sorry that this is how your journey to pregnancy ended. This is not the end of your path to mommyhood, as you have clearly indicated... It is but a fork in the road.

    Take all the time you need to grieve. Only then will it all feel/be ok to move forward... Just my two cents.

    You are so right - it is no longer if but when. Hugs hugs hugs. I totally understand.

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    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts and your wisdom... it so helps to have someone weigh in who's been there! Loving the when. Loving the promise of this new path. Loving our agency so far... Good things are ahead. Thank you for the hugs!

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  8. My heart aches for you that you have to let go of pregnancy. And I'd like to say that eventually the sting will melt away, but my guess is that even with peace, it will always sting a bit...sometimes more than others. I also predict that when you meet your baby/babies you will not be able to fathom life without them. So, cheers to that!

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    1. Thank you so much. At this point, I am feeling so much more hope than sting. Like in surprising proportions. :) It's a good thing and I am glad for this change. I don't regret the journey, I needed to do everything to feel the way I do today, but MAN is today so much nicer than yesterday. Yes, cheers to that! :)

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  9. I'm so sorry you've faced this. My only two IVF cycles were cancelled - I never got to retrieval or transfer, and I know the feeling of being on the end of that phone call. It is such a devastating way to finish the journey, but as you say, it is very final, and I think - in due course - its very finality can make it easier to accept. In the meantime, though, there is mourning to be done.

    And then ultimately, an exciting future to embrace. Wishing you the very best.

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    1. Thank you so much--I agree that the finality made things a lot easier to accept. Even though there's those embryos lurking in the freezer, I feel done, final. We are on the adoption path and it feels right, and beautiful. Thank you for your wishes! Much appreciated.

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