Ahh, infertility. Nothing like this scene from Idiocracy to remind you of what sucks in the world eh? From the 1930’s Hitler vibe to the Trump campaign promoting selfishness, hate and violence (not to mention referring to 9/11 as “7-Eleven” in his last speech…and – of course – not apologizing!), to watching the ease at which certain icky folks reproduce while we’re struggling like hell just to bring a child into our family, whether via my belly or our adoption agency (or hopefully, both), 2016’s been quite a year.
Waiting for Results
So I’m still waiting for my ANA, NK, and Thyroid test results, but did manage to have a conversation with my RE about getting a scratch test done and to talk about potential treatment if these blood tests show anything out of the ordinary, as well as a general overview of where we are at and where we’re headed…
- ANA (Anti Nuclear Antibodies) – A positive would then require more tests for autoimmune conditions. That’s all I know from his side of things. (Prednisone is, however, what I’ve read being the primary treatment, and can improve implantation by as much as 50% on cycles thereafter).
- Thyroid – “Easy”, we’d just up my Synthroid to get it back in line.
- NK Cells – This one was harder because he is very cynical, and says I’m probably the “only” one who’s ever asked him for this test (though, ironically, he mentioned it in the list of tests that we could do) and he doesn’t put much stock into it. But if the levels are high? Damn straight we’re going to do SOMETHING!
- Scratch Test – So he said that he didn’t bring up having one earlier because when we did my IUI last year and he had to manually dilate my cervix, that it was so painful I wasn’t sure about doing IVF, and he assumed I wouldn’t want it. WTF!!!! I was on zero meds during that 2nd IUI and so I reminded him, hey, you did 3 rounds of IVF with me and gave me valium and vicodin for those and I floated right through the transfers. Anyhow, he said that’s a test we can do for me and that would be done closer to transfer day assuming we move forward.
- Meds in General – I was super open book with him about the women I’d talked to online whose clinic protocols included things like Prenisone, Clexane/Lovenox, etc. He said that he primarily used prednisone for women using their own eggs during IVF, but that we could look at this if I wanted to. Um, hell yeah – it’s one of the few meds covered by my insurance !
- Full Bladder + Transfer – So I gently teased him about how another patient told me that they were allowed to use the toilet rather than get the horrifying catheter like I did when my bladder was too full pre-transfer. He mumbled a bit saying the catheter was “better” but I’m like, nope, not ever gonna happen, I want this to be a zen time. His first recommendation was to then say, “well next time we just won’t worry about you filling your bladder” and that “we’ll just place the embryo in there based on the measurements we’ve already taken” rather than trying to SEE it, since during the 2nd & 3rd transfers it was “hard to see”. OMFG y’all…if the he can’t see a damn thing and was flying blind these last two times, dude what the fuuuuuck. I said doc, during the first transfer we were able to see the embryo perfectly as it went in, even took a picture of the ultrasound screen, and he checked his paperwork and remembered I was right (damn straight) so I made it clear that I did not want any transfer done that wasn’t a good visual at the time.
- 4th and Final – I also let him know that this would be our last attempt so we really wanted to go at this with all guns blazing, throw everything we can at it, as it was really affecting us physically and emotionally. He said he recommended highly that if this is our last time that we transfer two, and it was odd, even though I said hey, I’m 42, I’m not at all game for a high-risk twin pregnancy (not to mention the CF that having twins would do to our finances when we’ve already got an adoption in progress, since I’m the primary breadwinner – and nope, can’t take an 80% paycut, y’all), he didn’t even acknowledge the high-risk nature of twins, especially for a woman in her 40s such as myself. All he said was well, then, if you don’t want twins, better just go with one.
- Another Alternative – The doc also asked if we might be interested in using a surrogate, and for us the answer was an unequivocal no. We’re using donor eggs with my husband’s sperm, so in all honesty, I just don’t have any interest in paying someone to carry an embryo to term that would remove the epigenetics connection to me. Why? Because a) bringing a child in the way we have been attempting is predominantly so I can still (hopefully) experience pregnancy and childbirth, and b) we are adopting already, and so we’re technically already relying on another woman to be pregnant without my eggs. If my eggs were good and I just had a bum uterus? Absolutely would have a gestational carrier. Surrogates rock.
These days, it’s all about learning, both about the process and about becoming a stronger advocate for ourselves. Questioning everything, researching, and trusting our instincts. I must say, in these 6 days since the Latest Rejection, my resting pulse has dropped back to 70 (gotta love the Samsung Health app on my phone), I’ve gotten back on my bike and ridden three times, and my butt cheeks are finally starting to lose that oh-so-attractive lumpy feel from the PIO injections. I think this is called “feeling human again”.
So if the tests come up and there’s something we can try to support implantation, we’ll do one last treatment and give ’em all we got. We’ll go for 4th time’s a charm and do a transfer on June 23 or 24th.
And if that doesn’t work? We return to the life of our family that right now is Dan, Aimee, and Ruby the Dog. Because, someday, our little girl in Ethiopia will be introduced to us…and that will be beautiful in itself.