Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Here We Go.

Am solidly full of estrogen. Up to 3 mg twice a day. If you see me in real life, and you are a good and decent person just minding your own business, you may want to run the other way. Consider yourself warned.

The transfer has been set and it is just days away. Am suddenly full of superstition and caution. Do not speak of the thing. We will transfer a single euploid embryo into a uterus primed for it, with the perfect cocktail of hormones my body is likely unable to produce when left to its own. I can find ready reason for optimism, data showing odds in line with egg donors, 25-year-olds. I can also find the stories of those who've come before me, did the work then rolled the dice and came up short.

I keep trying to figure out what to think. I keep looking for a mantra I can cling to. A framework for how to be ready for the disappointment, or how to balance realism and joy should it work. I've allowed myself some dreamy moments, daring to imagine that we might get to the other side of this with a real baby. A name popped in my head tonight and a chill of recognition ran through me. Do I allow myself these moments, or do they make more pain in the end? I've been in this game for six years and I still don't know the answer to that question.

Then there are the practical considerations, all the managing of this process, all the making sure nothing is missed. Calling the nurse to make sure TSH is added to my labs. Finding a prenatal vitamin with DHA already built in. Figuring out PIO shots (I used Crinone for my past cycles). Looking into the benefits of bedrest after transfer (apparently in the years since our cycle for H the tide has turned and they now do not recommend it). Trying to prevent regrets.

I asked the doctor this week if they recommend or use Valium during the transfer. My previous clinic did not, though it was an option. I do remember being overwhelmed by the intensity of the transfer -- being in the sterile OR, having a tiny life squirted into you as you try not to cough or pee your full bladder out. And there seems to be a suggestion that a relaxed uterus is optimal. My clinic gave me the option, and I guess my inclination is, sure, anything to escape my brain for a minute or two sounds lovely right now. But I can't seem to find any data showing an impact on outcomes, either way. So, did you or didn't you? Advice welcome.

Also welcome: funny stories. Hollywood gossip. Fashion tips. Your favorite banana bread recipe. A great playlist. Anything, dear readers, anything to keep me from thinking of the thing.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wanna Be Startin' Something

Something was healthy. Five somethings, to be exact. On ice. Waiting.

So it took 18 eggs to make five healthy potential babies. If you buy into the whole concept here, we basically compacted a year and a half of reproductive effort into a single cycle and took the guaranteeed-fails out of the equation. Which means we may have saved ourselves a whole bunch of pain. Or maybe, with all the sudden possibility, maybe we're creating more pain in the end. Right now there's just no way to know. There's nothing to do but take the hormones and go in there and let them put them in, one at a time, until maybe one of them sticks and stays with us. Nothing to do but power through all the fear.

What am I afraid of?

I'm afraid it won't work. And I'm afraid it might.

I'm afraid I might not be good at letting all of it go, if I need to. And I'm afraid of being pregnant and of all the angst. Afraid I won't be able to stay above the fray, keep my head on straight through all the what ifs. You know.

But there's an available seat at our table and, as long as there's a legitimate shot in the offing, I need to try to fill it. So onward.

I'm on the Estrace. This is a new one for me -- did not take it for the fresh cycles for H. Not particularly enjoying the bloating or the crazy. Hold onto your hat if you're living under my roof right now.

All I have to say is, thank goodness for my girlfriends. Thank goodness for the lovely souls who ask where we're at and then listen to the long answers. Thank goodness for those with me in the trenches who know the shorthand. When I feel myself fast forwarding to worst-case scenarios and drifting to dark places I shouldn't go, I feel you huddling.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Something's Got to Be Good in There. Right?

Pinch me, for they biopsied nine of our embryos for chromosomal screening. Nine. Out of 12. This from doubts we could even make it to day five.

I know, I know. Deep breath. Reality check. We have miles -- miles -- before a real live baby. But tonight we shall celebrate this small victory on the way.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Day 5. Alive.

On Friday, the nurse called me and told me to be on stand-by on Sunday for a possible transfer. This was a little different from their prior assurances that we were almost sure to go forward with the chromosomal screening (PGS) with so many embryos growing. I asked to speak to the doctor, who called me at the end of the day. She said that nothing had changed -- we still had the 12 original embryos growing, and now we also had two additional, late fertilizers growing as well.

I was instantly intrigued. Who were these rogue embryos suddenly fighting to be part of the pack? Would they make it? Could they catch up? How cool would it be to know that your kid was a fighter from the moment of fertilization? Scrappy embryos.

Anyway, she said they wanted me to be ready for a call Sunday morning just in case, for all the reasons we'd discussed before. Which makes me wonder why I had to be the one to advocate for the progesterone, but no matter.

We woke yesterday not knowing if we'd be transferring or waiting. The time change made the wait seem even longer than it was. By the time the phone rang just after 9 a.m., I was pacing the house.

My husband and I had talked about it. We decided the thing we wanted the most was for their recommendation to be very clear. If they were on the fence at all or left it up to us we would probably opt to transfer the one or two best looking day-fivers and not risk the biopsy. But we hoped they'd make the choice easy for us.

And somehow, that's just how it went. The doctor was upbeat. Said we were in a great position with 5-6 embryos ready for immediate biopsy and more possible later yesterday or today. She said there was no question in her mind that we should go forward with the PGS. So that's what we did. We'll have results by later this week.

I'm trying not to get ahead of myself. Five or six embryos undergoing biopsy and now sitting in the freezer do not necessarily get you a baby in the end. But it's a start. It's the start we've been hoping for. I wasn't sure our embryos could ever get us to this position, and now we're here, and now no matter what happens we will know that we had a real shot. We have the numbers we need to be able to say that it was as good a try as we could have hoped for. And I hope that means we get a baby in the end. I hope it does.

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