Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Infertility, the IVF Final Chapter

I've been trying to figure out when to put this one out, and I know when I do I will forget a lot.  Because I don't want to read it over after I have written it.  I just want to get it out there.  Really, when to put the words in writing that will be very difficult for me.  The hardest chapter, one that had lasting consequences.  Tough, life altering consequences.  After this post I will update on the after effects of what happened, and how it all got fixed.

So, here goes.

It all starts in May, 2008.  I talk to my RE's office on May 19.  They tell me we're changing the meds protocol, again.  The fact that I responded to the antagonist protocol the way I did made them want to go back to a Lupron cycle.  So they tell me that we'll extend the amount of time on BCP's, then up the dose of Lupron (suppression) and keep a low dose of repronex (stims).  Then, they will start in with ultrasounds and blood work on day 3 instead of day 5, and keep a close eye on me.  Apparently my case had become quite the talk of the office.

So now, I just have to wait for AF to rear her ugly head.  We feel hopeful, but scared.  After what we'd been through we wanted to remain cautious, but optimistic.  So AF comes on June 5.

Let's get this party started.  I start taking the BCP's.

June 13 I start my Lupron.  As before, the side effects are horrendous.  But I'm getting better (slightly) at dealing with them. 

Baseline u/s looks good (did I mention that all of these u/s are trans vaginal?  I've never let so many people look at my vagina as I did during this time.  Hello to the world she seemed to be saying).

June 27 I start stimming.  I get more and more hopeful.  This is it, I think to myself.  It has to work this time!  The odds are in our favor!

June 30 I have blood work.  My estrogen levels look good!  Wow, I breath a little sigh of relief. 

July 2 I have more b/w and another u/s.  We are looking at somewhere around 30+ follies, and my estrogen levels still look great.  Oh man, oh man, we're looking better than ever before!!

July 5 my b/w and u/s look great.  They are talking about Egg Retrieval (ER) and Embryo Transfer (ET).  Oh my, we've never really talked about those before.  Could this really be it?!  They mention maybe triggering on the 8th.

K and I can't help but to be excited, happy, and nervous.  We have no idea what to expect at this point.  No clue, but we just KNOW it will work, as do friends on my online community.  After all we've been through, this is our cycle, we just know it.  Our hopes are so high, we forget to keep them in check so that they can't come crashing down.  Every infertile does it.  They let themselves get so caught up in believing that this cycle will be it.  HOPE.  We cannot help but to hope.  It's a necessity to have during this struggle, but it is also what breaks us down.  With it we're broken, but without it we are nothing.

July 7 we have our last u/s and b/w.  My estrogen is at 3100 which is a good number.  I have 10 great looking follies.  They tell me that they'll  call me later with date and time for trigger, but it'll probably be July 8.

Somewhere in all of this we did a mock transfer with the doc.  It went smooth.  He feels that my uterus is beautiful and perfect.  Never thought I'd be so glad to hear that!

Wait, did you just say Trigger?  We've not gotten to do this yet!  Panic mode!  We don't know how!  It's more meds, and it has to be in the hip area, right?!  Isn't that what we remember from our IVF training?  Oh man oh man oh man.  Deep breathing.  Slow down. 

The call comes.  Trigger tonight (July 7) at 11:30pm.  Come in for the ER at 10:00 am on 7/9.  But that morning, you have to POAS and make sure it comes back positive.  Ohhhhhh my, it's happening.  It's really really happening.

K and I are in tears we are so happy.  That night he has to wake me up and give me the shot.  Painful?  A little, but almost a relief.  We stop everything else.  Now we let my body do it's thing and hopefully they'll get out a lot of little eggies!

Making it through July 8 was just about impossible.  I couldn't concentrate at work.  All I could do was picture what my body was doing, and what my little eggies would do in their petri dish.

July 9 is a crazy day.  I get to the docs office and they take us back to a room.  They give me an IV, which the nurse manages to screw up and blood is shooting all over the wall and the floor.  I won't watch.  They give me two drugs, one is waking anesthesia and the other is a relaxer.  It works pretty quick and I'm feeling laid back.  About this time K has to leave the room.  They lay me back and get the ultrasound going.  They take a very long, ugly looking needle and go in through my vagina, and through my uterine wall.  I know it would hurt if I could feel anything.  I pass out for a little bit (from the meds) and wake up to watch them on the u/s.  I can see them going into each follie and pulling out my eggs.  My future babies.

Poor K has to give two samples because they get so little usable sperm from the first.  We try not to let this stress us out.  I relax the rest of the day and wait for the next days update call.

14 eggs were removed.  11 were fertilized.  1 fertilized abnormally.  That left 10.  'That's a great number' we keep thinking.  Every day we get a status report, and while some are slow growing, we have 2 that look like prime candidates for transfer, and another 2-3 that look good for freezing.  Our hopes grow.  This is really happening!  We're going to be pregnant!!

We go in for the transfer.  I have to have a full bladder.  It's so full that it's painful.  Kev gets to stay in the room with me this time.  They turn on the u/s machine and take a catheter tube with our two best embies and transfer them back into my body.  I lay back for about 20 minutes, until I think my bladder may explode.  They give us a couple of ultrasound pictures of those little embies doing their thing, and we pray, harder than we've ever prayed, that they will implant.  At least one.  For the next two weeks I have to use progesterone vaginal suppositories.  They are unpleasant, but I don't care.  If it means I get pregnant, I'll do anything.

We forget the u/s pictures at the office.  I cry.

I take 4 days off to remain on bed rest.  I barely move, except to go to the bathroom and get food when Kev isn't there.  I play on the computer, I watch TV and movies.  I relax.  I have some strange cramping, but the doc says that is normal.  On the second day the office calls and tells me that 3 embies will make it to freeze.  They say they will call back once they are frozen.  This is not the normal person that called with all of my lab updates, so when I don't here back 2 days later, I call them.  Oh no, they tell me, none of your embies made it to freeze, we're so sorry, the tech must have gotten two cases mixed up.

This is when everything begins to unravel for me.  I'm heartbroken.  They said those embies looked so good.  I let myself go down the path of ' if they didn't make it, did the two they transplanted make it?'  It was tough. 

I try not to think about it.  I try to live as normal a life as possible in the remainder of the TWW (two week wait).  I drive myself crazy with every little sign that could mean AF or pregnancy.  Why does mother nature treat us cruelly by making the symptoms all the same?

Then I spot.  I feel broken.  I call the office.  'Don't worry' they tell me, 'that happens sometimes, could be implantation bleeding'  But I worry.  How can I not?  After all we've been through, all the emotional and financial strain.  What if this doesn't work? 

July 25, 2008 comes.  This is my beta (blood test) to see if it worked.  I'm nervous.  I go get my blood taken in the morning.  I tell K when they call me with the results I'll conference him in.  The next hours drag by slower than anything I've ever been through.

The phone rings.  And I know.  I know the answer.

I answer the phone and quickly put the nurse on hold and call K.

'I'm sorry' she says to us.  'You are not pregnant.'

July 25, 2008, the day my world fell apart.  The day that the shell of a person I had become broke down into dust.  The day I didn't even know if I could continue to live my life, knowing that my embies, my perfect LIVING little babies, died.

Two years, to the day, before I became whole again with the birth of my beautiful daughter.

I sit in my office and sob.  I can't even talk to K I'm crying so hard.  'Come home' he tells me.  I can tell he is heartbroken too.  Once I calm down enough I walk into my bosses office and simply say 'I need to leave.'  She takes one look at me and says Go.  I know I look like death warmed over.

I beat K home.  I can't go in the house.  The empty, silent house.  That should have been filled with baby cries in 38 more weeks.  We go shopping instead.  We go out to dinner that night.  We are broken and I don't feel well, but I can't go home. 

That weekend we get a hotel room.  We try to relax some.  But AF comes.  Harder than she ever has before, as I basically miscarry my two little babies.  I practically sit on the toilet for hours because it is so heavy, and the clots are huge, and I hurt so bad.  Physically and emotionally.  I cry.  I cry for myself, I cry for Kev, I cry for my babies.  I cry for the future that looks so bleak, and the possibilities that are no more.  I cry because we have come so far, only to fail again. 

Looking back now, this is probably when I began the blame game.  The game I swore I would never let myself play.  Blaming K for us going through IF.  The 'it's his fault but I have to deal with all the meds, side effects and procedures.'  Blaming myself for my embies not sticking.  The 'my body rejected my beautiful little babies for no good reason.'  Blaming everyone around me because they had never dealt with anything like infertility, and they didn't know how to comfort me.  I refused to go back to counseling. 

I spiral out of control.  I start drinking too much.  I start fighting with K.  I tell him that when I look at him I see what he cannot give me, what we should be able to do naturally, and I can't stand it.  I am a cruel cruel image of my former self.  I hate the person I have become but I cannot stop it.  I say things that I can never take back, and to this day I am so sorry for that.  I wish I hadn't let that happen to me.  I wish that I could have held myself together.  I wish I could have realized what was happening and have gotten help for it.  I'm not proud of the person I was during this time frame.  In fact, this is the closest that I'll ever be able to honestly say I disliked myself.  I did.  But, it is another aspect of my life that made me the person I am today.  I am so lucky that even after all that I put K through, that he was able to continue loving me.  He is a strong strong man, and one that I will never, ever treat this way again.  I can only thank God for him.

This is where I let Infertility ruin me.  This is where I let Infertility win.


  1. what a powerful story. infertility didn't win. you did - you came out on the other side with your husband and your sweet daughter. in the end, you won!

  2. Wow, this was hard to read. I was so sure this would be the happy ending. Even knowing that you have such a beautiful reason to celebrate July 25 now, I wish you hadn't gone through this. I'm glad you made it through.

  3. Just reread this. Breaks my heart just as much the second time. :+(

  4. For the first time I just read what I wrote. I have no idea why I did, but I'm sitting here with tears rolling down my face, but with a strange peace as I nurse my beautiful daughter.