We found out on Wednesday that our cycle is officially a failure. I had assumed as much because my home tests were coming back negative, but I still had to go through the official blood test. The last few days have been really, really hard. I went into this process so confident that it would work. When our transfer went so perfectly, I was even more confident. But here we are, still not pregnant. And we have no idea why not.
To make things worse, we don’t know if we will be able to try again. We received some unexpected money, so we have the financial ability to try one more round, but my doctor is wanting us to do some testing first and I can’t decide if I want to go through it all. She is wanting me to have a blood test to check for Activated Killer Cells (easy but expensive) and an endometrial biopsy e-tegrity test (very painful and expensive) to check for proteins required for implantation. Both tests are considered a little controversial in that experts can’t agree on how useful or reliable they really are. They are also usually only used after multiple failures. I’m not sure why my doctor is being so aggressive (it is not financially beneficial to her as I would do those tests here), so I really need to talk to her more in order to make a decision. Prior to having Jude, we spent years going through different tests with different doctors looking for an answer. I am just not sure that I have the emotional strength to go through that all again.
One of the most frustrating things about using donor embryos is that it takes away all of your power as a patient. The embryos belong to the clinic, and it is their decision whether we get them or not and under what conditions. If I had my way about it all, I would have done a natural cycle like we did with Jude. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that choice. Now, in order to get to try again, I have to do the testing that I don’t want to do. It is really very frustrating.
So, we are down to a few choices. One, we quit. We accept that our family is done and move on. I’m really not sure I am ready for that. Two, we do the testing and try again (hopefully) with our current doctor. Three, we start searching for a different clinic with available embryos that will work with us. This is easier said than done because there are more people wanting embryos than there are people donating them.
So, there we are. I feel crushed, defeated, frustrated, and profoundly sad. I feel like the past two months have been an enormous waste. And I don’t know where to go from here.
I am now 8 days past our 5 day transfer, and I am losing hope. While my official blood test is still almost a week away, I have taken some home pregnancy tests and they keep coming back negative. When we got pregnant with Jude, home tests came back positive at 9 days past a 3 day transfer (the equivalent of 7 in this case) and most people who end up with successful cycles test positive between 5 and 7 days past transfer. So it is not a definite failure yet, but the odds are leaning that way.
This has hit me far harder than I expected it too. When we went through the process with Jude, I wasn’t expecting it to work. In fact, I was expecting it not to. Statistically, his cycle had a tiny chance of success and he is here. My little miracle. This time, the odds were with us. I actually expected it to work, but it is looking like it won’t. To get a positive at this point is going to take another miracle. I am desperately praying for that miracle, but my heart is hurting in the process. I’m hanging in there, crying a lot, and trying to hold on to that tiny bit of hope that remains. I am still going through the process of shots, blood work, meds, and such, but it all feels terribly pointless. I’m really not sure where we go from here. All I know to do is keep praying.
So, my goal in attempting a P365 is simply to capture our lives. These images are really about that. They aren’t technically strong. In fact, all but 1 was a quick iPhone snap. But they do grab the moments of our life right now.
#14 – My Goodnight next to shining armor!
#15 – Glad to be home and snuggling. My arm isn’t long enough to include the rest of the kids, but they were on the couch too!
#16 – Nothing. I spent the day reading a book and taking a nap when that proved too taxing! I don’t know if it was the meds, travel, or what, but I have been exhausted!
#17 – Jude loves to brush his teeth. He always tells us “My teeth are bumpy!”
#18 – Jude and John were playing in the leaves. And decided to come after me!
We got home late on Friday, and I was absolutely exhausted yesterday, so I am finally getting around to the rest of the trip. My doctor’s instructions were bed rest on Wednesday and up walking around on Thursday, so we decided to hit a few museums. It was too cold to walk far (brutally cold still!), so we decided to take the Subway. I’m sure the fun of it wears off if you live there, but we both thought it was a pretty entertaining way to get around.
We started our day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’m really struggling to find words to capture the experience and am failing miserably. The building itself is a masterpiece and the collection of art within is astounding. These are a very few of the pictures we took.
We spent all morning and part of the afternoon there. We could have stayed much longer, but we also wanted to see the Museum of Natural History. That was partly so we could take pictures for the kids (for those of you that don’t know, it is the setting of Night at the Museum, a movie our kids all love) and partly because we wanted to see it ourselves! It is a pretty quick walk straight across Central Park to get between the two, so we decided to walk it.
We found a few of the highlights from the movie. Unfortunately, I started to get pretty tired before we saw very much. I was afraid of overdoing it, so we decided to cut our tour short.
We took the Subway to Times Square to get tickets to a show that evening and then went back to the room to rest for a while. Since the cheesecake on Tuesday was so yummy, we decided to head to Junior’s for dinner. Oh my gosh! It was so good!
Just looking at it again is making me hungry!
After dinner, we saw the Broadway musical, Something Rotten! I don’t remember the last time I laughed that hard! It was hilarious. Here’s a link to part of it being performed on The Tonight Show. This clip doesn’t do it justice at all. John and I both loved it. It was the highlight of the trip!
Friday morning, we decided to take it easy and not try to squeeze in anything too exciting. We had to leave for the airport by 11, so we went to Times Square to the Disney Store to pick up some NYC exclusives for our kids. We also picked up these guys for the baby/babies we believe to be coming.
One of the most interesting parts of our trip was visiting with our Uber drivers. We opted for the Subway while we were in Manhattan, but public transportation to and from our doctor’s office in New Jersey would have been a nightmare, so we used Uber. We also used it to the airport. We have found that Uber drivers are generally friendlier than taxi drivers (and cheaper!) Being from a small Texas town, we don’t have very many opportunities to meet people from around the world. That is definitely not the case in NYC. We had one driver from Uzbekistan, one from India, one from the Dominican Republic, and a fellow passenger who lives in Chicago but grew up in Paris to French Caribbean parents. Talk about diversity! Everyone was incredible friendly and we had some great conversations. Can’t beat that!
Our flight home was pleasantly uneventful. Much, much better than our flight up there. While we had a great time, we were both glad to be home to our kids.
Two posts in 1 day! This one is quick and just to catch up on my P365 project.
Day 11 – More brother time – Jude and Caleb cuddling and watching TV.
Day 12 – Junior’s Cheesecake in Times Square, NYC
Day 13 – Resting after embryo transfer
The transfer is over and everything went well! When we met with the doctor before the transfer, she described the history of the embryos. They were frozen in 2004. The first transfer of 2 embryos resulted in twins. The second transfer of 3 embryos resulted in 1 baby. There were 3 embryos remaining. She recommended transferring all 3 so that we wouldn’t leave 1 by itself where it would likely stay frozen and unused. She assured us that the risk of triplets was very low, but anything is possible, so it was our decision.
For those of you that don’t know, back in 2010/2011, before we knew about donor embryos, John and I considered IVF. There were many reasons we opted against it, but one of the primary reasons was our view that embryos have value as life / potential life. We knew we would never be okay with destroying embryos or leaving them in perpetual storage and that is a possible outcome of IVF. This last embryo would essentially be in that situation if we took the 2 and left it behind. So, we followed our doctor’s advice, decided to leave it all in God’s hands, and transferred all 3. Yes, 3.
The embryos all survived the thaw and looked beautiful. One was a grade A and the other 2 were A-. Given that and the way my body has been responding to the meds, everything looks great for success. I am really hoping for 1 baby, will be excited about 2, and am really scared about 3, but that shouldn’t be an issue. I know that ultimately, everything is in God’s hand and He will take care of it all.
The procedure itself was relatively easy. It was mildly uncomfortable, but not painful at all. It only took about 10-15 minutes and then I had to lay there for about 45 minutes. This doctor does the mock transfer and transfer herself, so she doesn’t use ultrasound guidance. With Jude, the full bladder required for the ultrasound made the procedure a lot worse. Added to that, this doctor game me Valium to take ahead of time and that made it even easier! The only bummer is that they didn’t give me pics of the embryos. No big deal though.
After the transfer, we headed back to the hotel and have been spending the bay with me on bed rest. A nice nap to sleep off the valium, a Netflix marathon, and some yummy lunch!
Yesterday’s trip to NYC
So, our flight up here was a little rough. The approach was absolutely terrifying – we were bouncing around like crazy – but the landing was smooth. It was the first time I have ever experienced the cabin applaud a landing. If that was my first flight, it would probably have been my last! That makes 2 scary flights in a row. I really hope our return on Friday is better.
The weather up here has been a little brutal, so it has limited what we have done. It was 17 this morning with a windchill of 6. Yikes. Last night we went to Eataly for dinner. It is a crazy combination of grocery store, restaurants, take-away counters, and cooking school. The dinner was good, but the market part was truly impressive. I don’t think I have ever seen this in a store anywhere! So gross!!!!!!!!
After dinner, we headed to Times Square to hunt down Junior’s, supposedly one of the best cheesecakes in NYC. We got it to go and retreated to the warmth of our room for the night. It was delicious!
So, as far as NYC trips go, ours hasn’t been terribly exciting. I am so grateful that the transfer went well. Our pregnancy test is in 2 weeks (on January 27) so please keep praying!
I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support we have received during this process. Thank you all for taking time to pray for us and encourage us in this journey! Hopefully, it is a long way from over.
Our transfer day is getting closer, and the meds are at their peak. These are the meds from today. Yes, just today.
I was really worried about the progesterone in oil injections, but they haven’t been bad. The internet is full of horror stories of how painful the shots are, but the worst part was trying to figure out the right location. I had planned on having my local doctor mark the spots at my last ultrasound, but with the change in plans, I didn’t have a chance. A nurse friend of mine taught me how to give IM injections a few years ago when my kids needed them, but it was hard to try to teach that to John using my own rear end! I think we got it right though. I followed my fertility doctor’s advice and iced the area before the injection, and I could barely feel it. I do have some lingering soreness the next day, but it’s not unbearable.
While the shots aren’t that bad, the side effects aren’t fun. I have been tired, bloated, achy, and very “blah” feeling. Of course, if all goes well, I will continue to feel bad and be very happy about it! It is so much easier to tolerate the misery when you know you’re pregnant though.
We finished up our travel plans and will get to spend tomorrow evening packing. There’s nothing like putting things off until the last minute!
My greatest struggle right now is dealing with my anxiety. It always stresses me to leave our kids, and it is hitting me harder this time than it did in October (probably all the hormones). I’m also starting to worry about the process not working. Please keep us in your prayers. Pray for safe travels, a successful transfer and pregnancy, and peace of mind throughout the process!
Yesterday was a rough day. Daniel had another of his explosive episodes (the first in about 6 weeks) and that threw the afternoon out of whack. Autism really sucks. So, I had to settle for a quick iPhone pic.
Is there anything more attractive than a hubby cooking dinner? This man is the best!
I was able to do a bit better today. I am working on a photography project that I will be announcing in a few weeks, and JuJu was my model. She was a real trooper and braved the cold for me. And it was COLD!
Doesn’t she have amazing hair!
Jude’s new game in the mornings and at bedtime is to play with the stuffed hippos I have in our room. (I love hippos and they are part of my hippo collection. It’s silly. I know. I don’t care.) He has a “momma hippo,” “grandma hippo,” and “daddy hippo” and he drags them up on the bed to play with. Tonight, he brought his puppies up to play too. That smile just melts my heart!
When we started the FET cycle, our doctor gave us a calendar of how she expected the cycle to work. She told us from the beginning that it might not go as planned, but it was a probable scenario. Our transfer date was supposed to be Monday, January 18. We’ve been planning for it, checking airfare, and trying to figure out our travel plans. Then, I went for my ultrasound yesterday and my OB/GYN told me I was at 9mm – a number I knew was good. Good enough that when my fertility dr called today, she moved our transfer to next Wednesday!!!
I was surprised by how overwhelmed I felt by the change in plans. I am really excited but also really nervous. Our air tickets are booked and now we have to work on a hotel and decide what we will do about transportation when we get there. It means we will miss 4 days of work instead of just 1 or 2, but that will be okay. It also means that I only have one more of these:
Of course, the Lupron is just being replaced by progesterone-in-oil injections which promise to be MUCH worse. The estrogen is going okay, but I have been battling a headache since Monday. It’s hard to know if it is the estrogen or the back-to-school routine and inevitable fatigue that accompanies it. Friday brings another doubling in estrogen and the addition of 2 forms of progesterone, aspirin, an antibiotic, and a steroid. My poor body. It will all be worth it in the end if it works though!