Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Don't know where to begin

I've thought about this space every single day since my last post.

So much has happened.  I'm going to try to condense it...  

We went to CCRM for IVF.  They were following 7-8 follicles for the egg retrieval.   I stimmed for 14 days.  I thought that I was going to stim for longer, but my estrogen basically flat lined for 2 days and Dr. Schoolcraft decided to do the trigger.  The largest follicle was 18mm.  The rest were in the mid teens.  

We were still hopeful to have a similar number of eggs as we had at our previous clinic (Recap: It was 14 months ago.  They were following 7-8 follicles then, and we ended up being surprised with 11, 6 x  day 5 embryos resulted.  We did not do CCS).    

This time we only ended up with 4 eggs at retrieval.  We had big heavy lumps in our throats that we tried to swallow.  

We crossed our fingers and toes and hoped that they would fertilize and our embabies would be ok. We reminded ourselves of what Dr. Schoolcraft said in the consult.  In our minds, we were only going for 1 normal embryo.  

2 eggs harvested were immature and they tried to mature them in the lab.  We were thankful for this as they would not have been able to do this at our previous clinic.  

After fertilization and maturation of the eggs, we ended up with 1 embryo (from a mature egg) and 1 embryo from an egg that they matured.   Sadly, the embryo from the immature egg arrested on day 5. 

We debated on what do do with the CCS testing.   The doctor had suggested previously that we consider embryo banking if we got less than 4 embryos to test. 

We felt that the result of the IVF was so poor that we didn't know if we wanted to even do it again.   We wanted to talk to Dr. S again but he was unavailable.   We didn't even know what to ask but felt really lost. 

We decided to test the embryo ($6800 - big ouchie).  We did so because we thought that if the embryo was normal it would change our thinking.   Dr. S ordered the arrested embryo to be tested as well.   However, there was not enough material to test. 

The embryo came back with results 2 weeks later.  It was abnormal.  The irregularity was on the 7th chromosome.  The nurse said that chromosomal errors are almost always (95%) due to the egg because of the way that an embryo forms.  (Coles notes: because the eggs are in the woman's body since birth, and the man's sperm is only been formed approximately 90 days prior to ejaculation they are different.  When an egg is fertilized one pair of the chromosomes are shed by the fertilized egg each from the sperm and egg.  The "glue" that holds the two pairs of chromosomes becomes stuck more easily in the egg and is prone to more irregularities.  This is because it has been in the woman's body since birth.  We didn't know this until the CCS class that week at CCRM.  Admittedly, I'm probably butchering their neat and tidy explanation.).  

We were/are very upset that we only got 1 because we feel that the sample size doesn't allow us to know if it indeed would be possible for us to make normal embryos.   

We were preparing for something bad to come as a result from this IVF.  We were imagining creating 6 or more embryos and getting them tested only to be told that they were all abnormal.    We were told by Dr. Schoolie that we'd have a baby or an answer.   Now we have neither.  Kind of. 

Cue a huge emotional response from me and D.  Exhausted.  Exasperated.  Frustrated.  Pissed off.   In shock.  Mad. 

We had a post consult with Dr. Schoolcraft.  We wanted to know what went wrong?  Was it a fluke?  Why was I triggered when I was?  Would a different protocol help?  Does he think we should even attempt IVF again?  Was it because I didn't take the DHEA or testosterone priming this time?  Should we have waited for a higher pre-antrical follicle count?

D reminds me of what we just did.  We just flew across the country,  spent a year doing the work up and waiting for my body to cooperate, and spent $40,000+.  What do we have to show for it?  A substantially poorer result than our local clinic.  And minimal new information. 

We were rational in the regroup, despite feeling otherwise.  Dr. Schoolcraft told us patiently that he doesn't know why this happened.  That it could have just been a bad month.   That my fertility could have declined that much since my last IVF 14 months ago, that my FSH was that bad.   That we could try another protocol but it was the difference between basically switching from "tylenol to aspirin".  He told me I was on the strongest protocol.   He said if we were to do one more IVF he would give us a 20% of taking home a live baby.  If we did donor egg it would be 80%. 

We have been on this portion of our journey since November 2012.  Now, almost a year later after all of the testing and setbacks of the past year, I just feel like I had a bad month.  That I should have taken the DHEA.   I feel ripped off.   

But somehow amidst this turmoil we have made the decision to move on.  To close this door.   It's not a door that's been wide open for us ever anyways.  Maybe there is enough information now to make a decision.    We're tired of chasing the small odds.  We want to be parents. 

We want to have more than one child (in our wildest dreams).  If we spend so long trying to get baby number 1, will that mean that we won't have the chance to have number 2? 

So, on to egg donor we go.   For me, excitedly, but also anxiously. 

It's a weird feeling.   We are now back into thinking about openness and clinics and whether this will work.  

For D it's different.  He doesn't think it will work.  He's tremendously negative about the chance of success.  He wants to move on to traditional adoption but is doing this for me.  I hate it when he says it  won't work.  It feels like a punch in my gut.  No, a punch in my uterus.   

This has to work, doesn't it?  I understand why he thinks this way.   We haven't been on the positive side of many (any?) fertility odds in the past five years.   But I'm not ready to give up seeing his face in my child, or having the experience of pregnancy.  

So, onwards we go.  


  1. Perhaps D is just doing that thing that we all do, where he is anticipating failure because it's happened so many times before. But the stats really are on your side with donor egg, so I think you guys are making the right decision moving forward that way. I really wish you guys all the luck in the world.

    1. Thank you Aramis. I'm really hoping this is it too. I don't want to even imagine what life will look like if this doesn't work. Gulp.

  2. Oh, I am so sorry how things worked out. I will keep you in my prayers as you move on to donor eggs. And you have every right and reason to be excited (and a bit nervous) as you continue on your journey! I'm excited for you. =)

  3. So sorry it didn't go as planned. Have you considered Embryo Adoption? I have 2 friends who are doing it... well one has twins from it and the other is going for her transfer in 2 weeks. They are going to a place in TN. NDEC I believe its called. Just a thought. Thinking of you.

    1. We did embryo adoption a couple of years ago. We were matched with two different couples, and 8 embryos total. 7 of the embryos thawed and were transferred over the course of a year or so. One resulted in a twin pregnancy that I unfortunately miscarried. A wonderful option, just not the right one for us at this time. Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. I'm so sorry that you didn't have a better experience and result at CCRM. That STINKS. UGH.

    That being said, I think DE cycles are very exciting. I know I'm biased as a former donor but I can't help it. Hoping and praying for you!!

    1. That's neat that you've been a donor! What a wonderful gift to give someone! Thanks for the hope and prayers.

  5. I am so sorry you had such crappy results at CCRM. Donor eggs sounds like a great next step. I hope it's the answer for you guys.

  6. I just found your blog and wanted to say how connected I felt to your story. I'm also DOR and mid-thirties. I'm currently doing a DE cycle at CCRM after the most epic fail of an IVF with my OE. This has been such a difficult road, and I'm sorry that you have also had to navigate through this awful infertility mess.

    You're not alone and I look forward to continuing to follow along in your journey to becoming a mother. xoxo

    1. Thank you. Our paths are similar, aren't they! I look forward to following your journey as well.

  7. Just stopping in to say hello. And to encourage you in your decision to go for donor eggs. DE works for many, many couples. We just had a daughter 6 months ago after years of infertility treatments, heartache and loss. Life could not be more different now. And I hope it will be for you soon. Wishing you well on your journey.

    1. Thanks for the note. I appreciate it, and your message helps.


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