The Day After
Not sure how any of you who’ve experienced IVF failure but as for me I go into numb mode for a while. Because I did my ugly cry before we even got the news, once it came in I actually just went quiet and numb. Scandal wasn’t on so after going out for some comfort (i.e., Chinese food), we watched Grey’s Anatomy, which to my great fortune got to be about a story around a woman dying while getting an emergency c-section, one of the doctors feeling her baby in her belly kick for the first time, and another preparing for a child custody battle. How’s that for perky?
So today I woke up around 6:30am, as what typically happens for me in spring and summer when it is lighter in the mornings. The dog and I, we’re up like clockwork. Husband has a late shift so he slept in while I padded around the house, tidying up, getting the coffee and stuff ready to make a breakfast for us of homemade oatmeal batter bread, one of my all-time favorites, scrambled eggs mixed with herbs, spinach and scallions from the garden, and home-canned peaches from last summer. Getting all domestic soothes me on days like this. We ate, walked around our garden as we do most mornings, admiring what’s growing (peas are about a foot high, potatoes are starting to get crackin’), what we’re impatiently still waiting for to bloom (the irises are juuuuust about to burst open), and what we want to do next (plant the scarlet runner beans along the back fence). Before we returned to reality, we managed to get more sunflower seeds in the ground (if allowed I think my husband would become a sunflower farmer, heheeee), sowed the parsley seeds (my first time doing these by seeds…we’ll see if it works!), and weeded around the olive tree that is budding like crazy.
Blood Tests Galore…
Then the alarm went off reminding us it was back to the fertility clinic. God did I dread walking back in there the day after. Ironically, it was the last day of the IVF cycle so there were several women in there doing the potty dance, two basically not wanting to make eye contact and then another two women who we ended up chatting with where one was being a surrogate for the other for the second time. What a beautiful thing – you see, this is not an office where there’s jealousy.
OK well except for the one time when I came out and there were a set of twins crawling around – for the life of me I don’t understand why children and pregnancy magazines are allowed in fertility clinics! Is it supposed to make me inspired? Because it actually makes me want to go crawl under a rock and wail.
Anyhow, so the nurse first wasn’t told by the other one I talked to yesterday that I was a) tested negative already, and b) what tests I was in there for, so she ALMOST was going to do a pregnancy test on me. I laughed and said the last thing I needed was another call from them echoing the bad news. She’s a cool nurse and we got to talking and she asked if we’d done any remodeling – first, what a memory, and second, really, how sad it was to realize that she’s referring to when we started IVF last summer there. We agreed damn I have been going there too fucking long. She took about 7 vials of blood from me to test NK cells, ANA, and just for good measure, my thyroid, and as that was happening I said something to the effect of hey, I just need to figure out what the hell is going on. She asked, so what other tests did he talk to you about? And I said, well, nothing – we asked HIM about these immunology related ones, he didn’t volunteer anything. She let me know that they’ve done all KINDS of tests there and that I should definitely ask him to do the endometrial scratch test.
So this scratch test is one of those I’ve read about on forums and blogs and such but again, never knew would be relevant to me because why the fuck would I since the doctor’s canned response has been ‘well sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t’. FUUUUUCK. Like the nurse said, it’s about damn time I got a kid out of this.
What I’ve learned about the procedure online (hell yeah Doctor Google):
“Endometrial scratching typically involves performing an endometrial biopsy around day 21 of the menstrual cycle. The biopsy is performed with a very small pipelle (tiny plastic tube) that is inserted through the cervix and into the uterus. A small sample of endometrial tissue is obtained…The mechanism behind endometrial scratching is not entirely understood, but we speculate that disrupting the lining of the uterus releases growth factors that help to improve embryo implantation. Patients who have failed two or more IVF cycles seem to benefit the most from this procedure. Some studies suggest that endometrial scratching may be as much as 70% more likely to result in a clinical pregnancy as opposed to no treatment (in patients with more than two prior failed cycles).” (source)
IVF Buddies out there – have any of you had one or know someone who has? I’m not looking for success rates right now, just…how bad did it hurt and did you take any drugs in prep for it? I have one Vicodin and one Valium left in the bottle from my past IVFs, so if the word “scratch” is any indicator…
With all that, the clouds blocked the sun through mid afternoon and as we were getting ready to ride together (I wanted to start biking again with my husband to work to get my endorphins going and fat melting again), it just crept in and surprised me. The tears. The leave me alone. The WHEN THE FUCK DO I GET TO BE A PARENT? voice in my head, with my body not responding, potentially even driving embryos away, while at the same time not a ton of optimism for our adoption happening for at least another year, if not longer.
So I sent him off to work solo, and sat on the sofa, did some work for a client, and that’s where I’ve been for 4 hours. You know the insult to injury is that until the estrogen & progesterone are out of your body, you still keep having side effects. Oy.
But like my husband said, at least we’re asking questions, at least we’re doing SOMETHING to find out, at least we’re not passively just accepting without challenging that perhaps there IS something that could be done. And yeah, should have been done earlier but it’s about looking forward. And no matter what we ultimately decide to do? We will get through it, we will be okay.
Much love to my IVF homies.
I know a lot of you are fighting some crazy shit battles as well and the loneliness of the situation is a clusterfuck. All I can say is, listen to your instincts, don’t put up with bad behavior from others (call out ignorant comments – that’s the only way to stop it and maybe they won’t do it to someone else next time), ask questions and be your own advocate, and keep your partner 100% involved in the process.
And know that whatever you decide is okay, no matter what family or friends or forum members might say. This is YOUR life and you know what’s best for you, not them.
Even in IVF, even when there are donors involved, when it comes to your partner who you are walking with down this road, don’t look back later and think, “I sure wish (s)he would have done/said/been ____”. I can’t tell you how important it’s been for me to have my amazingly strong and supportive husband at my side. From doing the injections and getting my heating pad ready, to making me tea each night, to making us dinner, to rolling with the (emotional) punches of my side effects that sometimes were taken out on him, to sitting in the acupuncture room with me quietly as I got my needles, to holding my hand during the transfer, to taking the call from the doctor this time around…he may not be on the receiving end of the meds, catheters, etc., but he is truly FULLY in it with me. And we couldn’t have done that without getting to that first support group together, finding our own counselor to be an objective yet caring third party, and opening up and discovering who in our world would step up to the plate (and who’d disappear).
And to the partners out there, GET *fully* involved if you’re not (and if you think you are, think again – there’s probably more you can do), GET talking to her about everything YOU are feeling as well as understanding her no matter how much you think you can’t, GET your ass trained on doing injections if you’re not (I don’t give a damn how you feel about needles), GET to every appointment (even if she says you don’t need to), GET to advocating as well (don’t just leave your wife to be swallowed up by forums, do your homework) and asking questions of the doctor, and for god’s sake do NOT sit out in the waiting room while your partner is getting the transfer. Parenting means 100% participation and commitment on both – it’s not the one trying to be pregnant who is the prospective parent – you both are. Be a 100% partner to her in this…it will only serve you and your relationship going forward.