While waiting for our sushi lunch to come, I pulled out my trusty purple notebook and said, "Okay, let's get our questions/discussion tone set for the consult on Wednesday." Ha, see what I did? I waited until we had no choice! It was like a mini-car-hostage situation.
We have both been saying, "We have to get our questions and our statements down on paper for this appointment," but we have both been dreading actually doing it. Not quite sure why, other than that to put it to paper and prepare for a discussion that probably isn't what our doctor is expecting makes it all real and it's not really a fun conversation.
But, we did it. And in discussing, Bryce came up with a BRILLIANT idea. Just brilliant.
We have a statement we want to get out, to start. Basically, we want to make it 100% clear that there is absolutely no more fresh cycling happening. These frozen embryos are it. (We'd intimated this after my last surgery, the one with the scarring, but were at 90%, so didn't put it out there definitively. Now's the time to be definitive. NO MAS.) We also want to make it clear that the mode we're in is not, "OMG, this is the time for our MIRACLE! Do whatever it takes! If it takes another year, we're in, just GET ME PREGNANT!" It's more like, "GET THIS SHIT OVER WITH, because we are exhausted in every possible way and actually really excited about getting the adoption ball rolling, but we want this behind us." To clarify: This doesn't mean we wouldn't be thrilled to have a miracle occur. We are in no way saying that we want to destroy these embryos or not give them the best chance, but the time to go nuts and do experimental things that drag our resolution out, whatever that might be? NOT NOW. If you look at statistics for IVF success, there's this funny trend. Your chances go up for a certain number of cycles, and then after that? If you haven't been successful, your chances of being successful go down dramatically. Now, this isn't to say there aren't success stories after a zillion cycles. I know some of these people who have received their miracle (a phrase I actually hate, because what? I'm not deserving to also get a miracle from whoever/whatever's handing them out? What got ME blacklisted?), but I also know a lot of people who ended their treatment journey after many cycles without a sustainable pregnancy. I am no longer willing to keep trying for that golden moment. Even though technically we get a restart each time we do something drastically different, we've made enough changes without any significant gains that I just don't think it's possible. I can hope it's possible, but that's hard. I want to end this feeling of going in circles. We feel like we're actually further from parenthood, not closer, on this route. But, it could happen, and we'd be thrilled, but honestly also confounded. But happy. (And scared to death of a shoe dropping.)
After that uncomfortable bomb is dropped, which hopefully at this point is less of a bomb and more of a slightly awkward firecracker, we have questions. Mainly, what the hell do we gain by one more month on the Pill? I had my midcycle ultrasound and that pesky fluid is gone. What will change in the next month? What do we truly gain? Because if it's not significant, we want go time to be now.
Other questions -- what are all of the potential risks that I face and our baby would face if I got pregnant with the scarring? Are we nervous for no good reason? Lay it out there, bare bones, so we understand that either a) my situation is in an area where risks are minimal or b) my situation is technically risk minimal, but the risks we incur at low percentages are scary enough to give us pause. How is our protocol changing? Why, oh WHY, didn't that magical stimming FET protocol not work for me? And by not work for me I mean BOMBED HORRIFICALLY, rotten tomatoes thrown, no good at all? Boooooooos from the crowd bad. Why? Was it the Femara? Was it my estrogen level? WTF? We never really got answers on this previously. I actually really want to know what the estrogen levels were for the other women where this worked well, because I felt mine were WICKED low at the start. But what do I know?
And then, lastly, Bryce came up with his amazingly genius plan. We have been agonizing over these 2PNs. These six, one-day-old, frozen in our old lab, donor egg embryos. Six does not equal six to transfer. They have to be grown out, and it is a huge mystery as to how many, IF any, we will have to transfer when it's all done. We were saving these for last, as a last-ditch effort, because they are such a question mark. However, the thought of ending treatment on a cycle where I prepare my uterus only to have NOTHING to transfer? Horrible. Anticlimactic. A terrible way to end what at that point will be 5.5 years of ART. Our 11th transfer. (Oh god, it sounds so awful when I lay it out there.)
Bryce's solution? Do those first. I looked at him crosseyed, and then he explained:
"If we do these first, they can grow them out and we'll KNOW how many. If it's close to all of them, then we end up using as many as we ethically can and refreezing the rest, knowing that's a gamble. If it's two or three, we transfer those and have the DS blasts left for another try. If it's one, we could mix with the DS and transfer three [Not crazy about this one, since then genetics are questionable and unknown, and we'd like to know for the sake of our child]. If it's none, then they thaw the DS blasts that morning and we still get a transfer, and we end with the good embryos. It's over. No preparing for nothing, no disappointing dud cycle, we get to end on a high note (sort of), but no uncertainty. And maybe we're done quicker and we feel relieved about that."
Brilliant. I can't use that word enough. Assuming they could thaw these DS embryos on transfer day after realizing the 2PNs have crapped out, it's perfect. We do not have a preference, DE or DS, the only reason why these embryos give us pause is because they're such wild cards since they're frozen on Day 1. But now... we can take that uncertainty out of the equation. No disappointing end to our cycling possible, other than a negative test possibility, which is a possible outcome for any cycle. Why didn't we think of this earlier?
I am actually really looking forward to having this conversation and then moving on it. I would love nothing more than to start meds in January and get going toward whatever outcome our last two (or however many) cycles will garner. Because I am SO READY to move on. I am SO READY to embrace another path to parenthood. I am SO READY for some hope and to eliminate my poor body from this equation. Wednesday cannot get here fast enough.
Oh, and my husband is BRILLIANT.