Entry #59: Two Plus One

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.

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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”.

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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.

  One thought on “Entry #59: Two Plus One

  1. April 20, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Great outlook. So pleased that you have a plan. I’m still wobbling about what to do after as these new tests may mean that donor is out for us (and adopting is impossible right now as we wouldn’t get approved in Italy as non residents)…but I know I need to focus on one step at a time. What date do you tests come back? Mine took ages but things can be slow here in Italy.

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    • April 20, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      No idea when the tests will come back but hopefully this week. Oy…

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  2. Ash
    April 20, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Good work, stay strong and keep insisting on what you know is right. Im hoping you guys will have some answers from the tests. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. April 20, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    My doctor was sceptical of NK stuff. He agreed to put me on ‘preventative’ prednisolone and Clexane (aka blood thinners) to deal with any immune issues should they be there and to help with clots/implantation. Perhaps this could be an option for you if the doc is firmly against testing? I was happy with the drugs – I guess I didn’t really need to know whether or not I had raised NK cells in the end. Does seem a bit bonkers to prescribe the drugs without getting a diagnosis but it happens quite often here in Europe. Prednisolone is relatively harmless anyway. Certainly worth a try? Also…have you had a hysteroscopy? They aren’t the nicest things in the world but they are the best way to get definitive info on your womb lining/fibroid issues. I had to have a fibroid removed before getting started on cycle 1, and I still have a couple lurking in the wall and on the outside of my uterus. Maybe something else to consider?

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    • April 20, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      He’s not against testing, I did the NK testing, but he did it begrudgingly. I mentioned Clexane (Lovenox here) and he was kind of “pshaw” about it. My lining has always been good and I have a small fibroid (2 cm) but nowhere close to the implantation area he said). I think the scratch test will be a good thing and to take the Pred. no matter what. Really right now I just have to take a breath until the tests come in 🙂 thanks!

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      • April 21, 2016 at 2:22 pm

        I’ve heard good things about the scratch and I think Pred is a good idea. My doc was a firm believer in NO fibroids on the inside of the womb, however big or small. You might want to double check on that with your doc – removing it is pretty straightforward. Anyway, see what the tests turn up. I’ve been in your situation many times and doing something investigative always made me feel better and more informed. IF is a shit show.

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        • April 21, 2016 at 4:04 pm

          Yeah going a bit nuts as the lab at the major hospital here in town who my doc sent them to first FROZE my NK samples so I went there directly to give more blood and the lab said today they accidentally forgot to send them out so I have to do them tomorrow. I’m feeling quite pissy.

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        • April 22, 2016 at 3:38 pm

          Yuck – poor show.

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  4. myrainbowdream
    April 21, 2016 at 7:05 am

    I am so glad you have a plan and have thrown all the questions at your Doctor, it just shows it pays to do your own research too. I meant to ask you before does your clinic use embryo glue as part of their protocol? My clinic uses it as part of protocol to help implantation. I think a lot of UK clinics are using it, though I know I never had it at my last clinic. If they do not already use it, it is certainly worth researching and asking about. I hope you do not wait too long for your tests to come back.

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    • April 21, 2016 at 9:28 am

      Nope. From what I’ve heard that’s incredibly expensive, and $22K into this (along with $18K for the adoption) we are pretty tapped out 😦

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      • myrainbowdream
        April 21, 2016 at 12:30 pm

        Are you sure? It is not an ‘extra’ at our clinic, we paid £400 for embryoscope for example but glue is not something you are asked if you want it is just part of clinic protocol. It costs £9000 (or round about) for everything, we were doing egg share and the donor pays nothing. I think we have paid 2ok (GPB) plus in treatments so far so I appreciate funds only stretch so far. That figure is approximate as I do not want to sit down and add it up exactly as it is too depressing, I dare not think past the next treatment financially. The scratch alone I think will up your chance, if you have to invest financially that is what I would go for (this was an ‘extra’ cost for us).

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        • April 21, 2016 at 12:59 pm

          Yes I’m sure, and yes if we decide to go for a 4th round we’ll be doing the scratch.

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        • myrainbowdream
          April 21, 2016 at 1:51 pm

          Right I am surprised but knew you are pretty clued up on whats available. I am surprised how different things are in other countries and even from clinic to clinic in the UK. I hate that our chances are dictated by money.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. April 21, 2016 at 7:13 am

    I hope you are comfortable with your doctor, because from what you’ve just written he doesn’t seem to be helping a lot. I mean, how can he forget what was done? I was also wondering when I read about the catheter in one of your earlier posts, because I was allowed to use the loo. But since my first doctor was a jerk I thought probably she’d done it the wrong way.

    My second doctor proved to be an angel though. Check her out here http://www.ivfclinicindia.com/ABOUT%20DR%20FIRUZA%20PARIKH/M__8 and http://www.dnaindia.com/lifestyle/interview-today-90-infertility-cases-can-be-treated-dr-firuza-parikh-2062730 . She even takes care that you don’t wear perfume a few days before egg retrieval, even monitors the soap her staff uses so it’s completely phthalate free, and wouldn’t let me handle anything dusty a day before retrieval and most importantly isn’t driven by money. I’m not saying you go to her, but I’m sure if you want to pick up the phone and call to get a second opinion, she’ll be happy to help.

    Wishing you luck for your test results :*

    P.S. – I don’t mean to preach or to assume to know more than you do. I’m still at the first phase and in fact trying to learn from your experience. This is just a little of what I know, and I wanted to share it in case it helps in any way! Know that i’ll be rooting for you.

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    • April 21, 2016 at 9:34 am

      I’m not worried about his abilities, he just didn’t have my chart in front of him when we talked. We have 3 fertility clinics in Portland and I tried to go with another one first and they were horrendously awful to me and have a really bad rep for how they treat people. The other one is the mega-hospital in town which treats you like a number and has a bad rep for billing/accounting (I went to a RESOLVE support group meeting and afterwards all of us dished on service and stuff). My situation’s a bit different because of the donor egg thing so I don’t have retrieval or anything like that. I just get on the pill, then a few weeks before start the estrogen shots, do an ultrasound to make sure my lining’s good, start progesterone, and have the transfer. Not nearly as hard as it is for folks doing standard IVF. They do btw not allow any perfumes/colognes/lotions etc in the office during the weeks they are doing transfers (they do transfers every other month).

      I do appreciate your thoughts! The thing is, all my embryos are already frozen so they’re all basically in their freezer, so I just need to manage the situation rather than be passive like I was the first few times (lesson learned!). But yeah, I do have a clinic a few hours away from here bookmarked in case I want to do a phone consult just to compare protocols…I just can’t change doctors. It’s a tough situation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • April 21, 2016 at 9:42 am

        Agree.. Better not to change too since this one does know your history better. Well, all the luck to you!! Keep us posted 😘

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