cancelled

My transfer was cancelled. Last Friday, the doctor monitoring my cycle (at the clinic where our embryos are) suggested I stop all drugs and start over. Given that there usually is a 12h flight between me and my embryos, and I’m not just going to fly over again in 1-2 months, this wasn’t a great option. I talked them into one last-ditch effort, increasing vaginal Estrace to 2x/day and hoping for the best. On Tuesday at yet another ultrasound, the lining was 7.2mm, so we thought we’re good to go. Unfortunately the doctor decided against a transfer, because there was no trilaminar pattern (despite having said on Friday that, at 7mm, she’d transfer even witout stripes).
As you can imagine, I’m frustrated and sad. Sure, I understand that the embryos are very precious, and that we only have a limited number of them. But I am not sure how much evidence there is that the lack of stripes is really critical. And it is very unlikely that we’ll come here for 6 single-embyro-transfers, or attempts to do so. Thus, while they would have looked as transferring now as “wasteful”, realistically, in a few years we may decide (for various reasons) that our clock for having more babies is done, and any embryos we have left will be discarded. So… I’m not convinced that the net outcome will be an different, and now we didn’t even get a shot at pregnancy. And on some level, I wonder how much their concern about their SART statistics plays into this…
I do realize that this is, at least in the world of IVF, a luxurious problem. In the past we have been rather lucky, and most elements of the process went smoothly. My transfer success rate has been stellar. Nevertheless I can’t help and be sad at this loss of opportunity.
There were many things that didn’t work out particularly well in this cycle. The communication between the two clinics was essentially non-existent – the local clinic only ever wanted to talk to me, not my embryo-storing clinic. And, although I have some biomedical knowledge, that led to more delays and annoyances than I care to repeat. So I’ll need to look for a new local clinic, and have a chat with them about how this communication will go, before starting another attempt.
There are some other complicated things going on, unrelated to fertility but still stressful, and to some extent related to our family’s future. I haven’t really blogged about them, but I might in the coming days. Though first of all, I very much look forward to holding SB again tomorrow evening, after an entire week without her. We talked on Skype yesterday, and she was so happy to see me, it was wonderful. Balm on my heart and soul.

complicated

Clearly I haven’t become a better blogger. Sigh.
So at that first ultrasound, the lining was thin as expected, but there was a cyst on one side. And for the first time it became apparent how annoying it is to coordinate between clinics in vastly different time zones – it wasn’t until 36h later that we actually had a plan (continue Lupron, start patches and hope for the best). Then, at the lining check 2 weeks later, I was only at 6mm, and no striped pattern in sight (the cyst was gone though!). After another back-and-forth across timezones, it was decided that I should add estrace vaginally. Of course by then it was in the middle of the night, so I had to wait until the next day to actually ask my local clinic for a prescription and pick it up. Today we’re at 6.7mm… so that’s an improvement, but still not quite where it should be. All this worked way better with SB’s transfer – but then, I wouldn’t trade places for anything. I find it so much easier to handle this less-than-stellar performance, knowing that I have a baby to cuddle when I come home.
The main point of contention is that I am still nursing SB. Essentially, only at night, but who knows whether that has any detrimental effects. (I haven’t even told the clinics. They’ll just tell me to stop, and I see their point, but also, lots of women get pregnant while nursing toddlers.) But now H has enough, he wants to do everything we can to make this transfer work. I struggle with taking something from my one living baby that she clearly loves, but… I also understand him. Perhaps it is time. And as I’m leaving for the west coast on Monday, it literally is only a question of 2-3 more or fewer days of nursing in any case.
Wish us luck.

bad blogger

Thanks for all your kind comments.
All follow-ups so far were, thankfully, uninteresting. There is stuff to think about for the future, difficult stuff – but for now, I’m trying to focus on other things.

Something odd happened, something I’ve been wanting to write about but didn’t quite know how, or find/take the time. And now it is late again and I should go to sleep, as I have an early appointment tomorrow morning.

Something snapped me awake from the blur I had been in – after the twins died, after having SB, after a great work and life situation turned sour in the aftermath of our loss. I still can’t quite pinpoint what it was, and for a while I wondered whether it even was that diagnosis, reminding me how much I want to live, and all the things I want to do. But time might have been a significant component, time passed after losing the twins, time passed (and some sleep gained) after the taxing time of taking care of a newborn turned baby turned toddler.

In any case, I have been active and busy, working more and harder and with great excitement. (This may seem strange to you, but I think this is how I roll – I pour myself into stuff I care about. Including but not limited to work.) Still with a good balance of SB time, but noticeably different.

Speaking of SB, she is amazing. Speaking in full sentences in two languages, now officially more proficient in her active vocabulary than I am in my passive (for a few words, anyway – it is very odd to have your toddler speak a language you can’t understand).

But the bad blogger award isn’t for any of these. You see, tomorrow I’m going for a baseline ultrasound, to see if we’re good to move forward with a FET next month. To see if I can stop the Lupron injections (I’m really no good at doing them…) and start patches.

Still nursing a little bit, though much less. Traveling to the other end of the world next month, hence the opportunity. And SB keeps asking for a brother, which breaks my heart a little every time.

languages, emotions, and other complicated things

A few weeks ago I went for genetic counseling. Both my mom and her mom died from cancer, far too young, and there is a good chance that it has hereditary components. My RE and MFM had pointed this out, but didn’t push the issue when I declined. Basically so far I had taken the very mature head-in-the-sand approach… but I’m getting too old for this (less than 10 years until the age at which my mom was diagnosed) and now that I actually have a living baby toddler I want to see grow up, I finally pulled myself together and went.
The appointment mainly went over family and medical history, and was all in Nordic. This kept my brain busy with the language, so that I didn’t really have any capacity left to get overly emotional or too scared to chicken out of the blood draw. I had previously noticed, in fact often thanks to this blog, how I can speak or write about difficult issues in English much more easily than in my native language, even though I’d say I speak them (almost) equally well. On the flip side, this makes me wonder whether there are layers of unprocessed emotions around, say, the birth of A&C, because I very rarely speak about it in my native language (basically I don’t, other than to H). And, following this train of thought, I wonder how refugees handle their experiences, the unspeakable (!) things they may have witnessed, when thrown into an environment far from their native language, and with many other urgent issues to take care of…
In the meantime, the results came in. I had really hoped to escape this, alas, that doesn’t seem to be so easy. I don’t know any details yet, but they did find mutations, known to increase the risk of cancer. Well, f*ck. I’m all over the place between terrified and willing not to let this control me, and confused. Including the question of how to handle this from a social perspective. I mean, is this something one tells people? Friends? At work? I don’t want to be pitied, and I don’t want endless (or perhaps any) discussions, but if I, say, have surgery to preventively remove my ovaries, then I’ll be away for a bit and may need, or want, to explain this.
Of course another aspect, with an extra sting for the infertile, is that of growing our family further. I would love for SB to have living siblings, and it hurts to see that we may be running short on time. Given that we have several frozen embryos, the ovaries are not even my main concern (although, as you will all know, there are no guarantees). But I’m still nursing her, and she is still very attached to Mama Milk. And I still love it, most of the time, at least – for once, my boobs are doing something useful, instead of scaring me as they have so many years before. But between IVF and my preterm birth history, nursing during pregnancy is not an option. So I’ll need to wean her before any such attempt can begin. And she doesn’t seem ready. But, time constraints, see above. And I would love to nurse her siblings, too.
In time, we’ll know more. I’d just rather go back to ostrich mode.

October 

Lately I struggle to write. Things seem so complicated, and I want to discuss all aspects, or at least the most important ones. Which makes for long and drawn-out posts that I don’t have (or take) the time to write. 

Instead I draw. Occasionally.