Monday, September 14, 2009

In the midst of it

It's official. I'm in a funk.
I have transitioned over the weekend from trying to obsessively problem-solve this miscarriage issue to a crashing sensation early this morning that hope is running out. All weekend, I tried to figure out, make a decision about PGD or CGH, but then in the middle of the night last night, I awoke and just thought, What's the point?
So we do PGD or CGH and the embryos are all abnormal. So then what? Does that mean that ALL of my embryos are abnormal? Probably no one can tell me that. Do we just stop then? Adopt? Find a donor? Or do we still think we need to try again, because hey, it's just 6 or 10 or 12 embryos, right? I've got lots more in there, and there's always that seductive (and increasingly sinister) thought creeping in, Maybe if we just keep going there's one good one in there somewhere...
Or we do PGD or CGH and one or more of the embryos are normal. So then what? We have had 14 embryos transferred and only two took. Two aneuploid ones. Were they ALL abnormal? Maybe, maybe not. So in this optimistic scenario, we transfer the normal one/s (now that we've damaged them with these procedures) and hope for the best. Except, thing is, I think the likelihood of pregnancy is almost nil. You see, I'm plumb out of hope. Five IVFs at a top clinic have gotten me nowhere but sad and strained and remarkably poorer. So I can't even imagine that I'd get pregnant and stay pregnant.
In the middle of the night, it felt like, who cares if all of our embryos are aneuploid or not? Whether the embryos are or are not chromosomally normal, IVF has decidedly NOT worked very well for us (not that natural pregnancy has either, but hey, at least it's free).
In my mind in either scenario, we're out $30k(ish), still have no baby and are left with dwindling financial and emotional resources to try to get one via adoption or donor. Like we're no closer to moving on and out of this sad and difficult place. A place I am so, so ready to move from.
I've also been having strange dreams.
I dream that I adopted my sister, who in real life is almost a decade younger than me, but in the dream was a four-year-old toddler. I had all of these baby clothes I kept trying to put on her and they didn't fit, baby gear that I wanted her to play with that she wasn't interested in. I was thrilled to have her and know that she was mine and yet, she was too big and bulky and not the little baby I was supposed to have. I awake, feeling unsettled and filled with longing.
Another night I dream that I am having strange gynecological procedures done. The goal is for me to get pregnant, but everyone on the medical staff is standing around looking sympathetically at me on the table, somber and sad. I know that I will not get pregnant, and I think they do too, and yet we were going through the motions with these uncomfortable procedures. I awake, anxious, depleted.

Will says I am paralyzed by too many options. And maybe he is right. Funny thing is, even though I know it's not true, I feel like I don't have any. I guess, if I were being more honest, I just am not wild about any of them. I'm not a gambling person, but the odds don't look good to me.
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  1. I am so sorry you are struggling, but understand why you are. You've been through so much, endured more pain than is fair in any lifetime. I feel confident that once you're ready, the path will be come very clear. Until, take heart that there are so many of us thinking of you and praying for your dreams to come true.

  2. I feel as if I am standing in your shoes- exhausted and drained and ready to give up. After many failed IUI's and IVF's I decide to go the egg donor route, then I got pregnant on my own only to lose the baby at 8 weeks. Such a roller coaster. So this month I am on my last IUI with injectables, this is mostly for my husbands sake, to give it one last try. In my heart I know it won't work but I am looking for closure. Still not sure what I will do next.
    Wishing all the best for the both of you and please know you are not alone.

  3. If adoption or DE is something you can honestly feel good about, I would do that, especially adoption. Obviously your odds of a take-home baby are much higher with those options.

  4. I'm so sorry. Thinking of you and hoping you find your way to your child, whatever way that might be. {{{}}}

  5. I am so sorry for what you're going through. For me, I think, it's easier. I'm older. When I got to that point of viscerally understanding that my eggs were crap and that I wasn't willing to try again, because the pain of the (seemingly) inevitable failure would be too overwhelming, DE was an easy next step for me. I think because I know of so many women my age who have used donor eggs successfully.

    But then, I've got what, 5 years on you? Women my age are SUPPOSED to have a hard time conceiving &/or bearing live children. I've got my AMA to blame, not the vaguaries of possible repercussions from the procedures that saved your life. I can't hate my age, but I can imagine that the disconnect of having to resent the treatments that saved you but might have fucked up your eggs would be exhausting and horribly disconcerting.

    At the risk of offering up some unwanted assvice, I'll say it anyway: Give yourselves some time. You do have options, and yeah, it may feel like you have too many options, but you'll find the one that works for you.

    I'll second what MissMVK said. You've been through more than more than most - more than most women using ART even. You have every right to be confused and sorrowful and tired of fighting so damned hard.

    Be easy on yourself. Be gentle. You'll figure this one out, but you don't need to figure it out right now.

    And if you need to talk to someone, give me a call. I promise to listen more than I talk.

  6. I'm so sorry Mo. I've only caught a glimpse of the hopelessness that I can imagine you are feeling and just that glimpse has been soul shattering.

    I'm hoping that you just need a bit more time for the right option to present itself.

  7. I just wanted to send you some hugs. There is no way for me to understand what you are going through, unless I was also going through it, and I am not. It sounds so so hard, and I am wishing you all of the luck in the world, that you are able to come to a decision that will bring you peace and happiness, after such a long wait. You guys definitely deserve it.

  8. I am so sorry you are having such a tough time Mo! I have been following your blog for quite a while now and I can never get over how many of us just have no clear answers.

    We are at the point in our journey where if this IVF fails then even I don't see where there is anywhere else to go. We have not done as many IVF cycles, but the one we did do my embryos all died out. The one miscarriage we had tested was a "chromosomal fluke," and who knows about the others.

    I can relate to the do you or do you not do PGD or CGH. My RE brought it up but all I could think in my head was that I only had one fair embryo make it to day 5 last time so there wouldn't even be anything to test and it seems ridiculous to me to even consider these.

    I hope the geneticist can give you some solid answers that will help you guys decide what next step is best for you.

    Take care!

  9. I am so very sorry for all you have been through. I had quite a few losses as well before I was finally blessed with my son. I will keep you in my prayers and pray that whatever decision you make will be the right one for you.


  10. I wish I had something wise and insightful to say, but, I have nothing.
    I know for me, I just want to be a mother, for my husband, he wants a genetic link, if my eggs do not work this time we will move onto a donor, my heart just can not take doing ivf over and over again.

  11. These are very difficult decisions. I know for me, it's almost harder to have a choice. I hope you and Will can find a counselor to help you sort it all out. My DH and I are now going to go that route because we are both confused about what to do. Logically, DE seems the best thing to do. Emotionally, we are still both very attached to my genes. I know that if we do decide to go the route of DE, there will be a grieving process involved. I never knew it would be so hard. Hugs!!

  12. Oh, Mo. In the context of the path you've traveled, the way you describe yourself feeling (and what you are dreaming about) sounds perfectly rational to me. And honestly (and intending no offense), I don't think you do have a lot of choices. I mean, I get it ... you do. But really? ... whether to go with PGD or CGH? No one, but no one, wants to be there. I'm so sorry it's where you find yourself. I have no idea whether or not where you are right this very minute will lead to your deciding to pursue a different path to parenthood (as well as or instead of), but I hope you are able to find your way to a clear plan that you feel good about.

    For whatever it's worth, the single question I found the most useful in making decisions about pursuing infertility treatment was, "If I try this and it doesn't work, will I regret having tried it?"

    I hope you can be kind to, and patient with, yourself.

  13. God, I feel like I could have written this post myself. We're very in synch, time-wise, for our latest miscarriages, and I'm wrestling with the same decisions. IVF with PGD, try naturally (yeah, right) or donor egg. I had made my peace with DE before this surprise latest pregnancy and now don't have the energy to comes to term with the idea again. Maybe in time.

    I hope that with some time, things begin to look more clear in some direction for you. I truly believe that you will get that child that you and Will so dearly desire, one way or another.

  14. Once again, your words echo my thoughts. I'm sorry you are stuck in the angst of not knowing what to do and not feeling like there is any right path, but you will find it. It may take some time, but you guys will figure it out.

    For us, I just knew that if we moved on to DE now, I would always regret not knowing whether my eggs were really the problem. So, CGH/Microarray at CCRM was the answer for us. I think I would always regret not doing it if we didn't. As our doctor at CCRM says, at least we'll have an answer. He also told us that if all come back abnormal, that is a very good sign that would continue to be the case. So, if all of ours come back abnormal (which, I think, we are all pretty much assuming will happen), it won't be the answer I hoped for, but it will be an answer and I can then peacefully move on to DE knowing that I tried everything.

    Whatever choice you make will be the right one for you.

  15. Mo, I'm sorry that you're going through this. I wish I had words of hope and peace, but I'm dead out at the moment. I do have words of commisseration and commraderie, though. I have to second Sprogblogger's assvice of taking your time. It's no good making decision in the thick of the funk, better to wait for clarity. (Famous last words of the pot, right!)

  16. I am so sorry that you are in such a tough place. I have no words of advice to offer, but am sending lots of prayers your way that you find your way to your next steps peacefully (if not quickly).

  17. I wish you the best of luck with the right decisin for you. My only personal advice is to make sure you save enough in your nest egg to adot if you choose too - right now my husband and I are at the only option being adoption option and we have been shell shocked at the cost and the realization that we might now have to wait and save for the funding to persue that option. Not to mention the wait time for adopting in general.

  18. Mo,

    At the same time that my heart breaks for you, I can't help but be in awe of your strength. I simply didn't have it in me to risk the heartache of fertility treatments, so we went the adoption route. Family planning is such a personal thing, so we all have to do what's right for us, but know that I think you are very strong for putting your hearts on the line like you have. I hope, hope, hope, hope, hope that you get your happy ending... in whatever way it comes.


  19. Mo, I'll warn you that I'm a dream geek. I love interpreting them. I've been in Jungian therapy on and off since I was 18 and I have a love for symbolism. (in South America everybody with an education goes to therapy. It's a status symbol).
    From your dreams described in your post, it does look like your subconscious is telling you that doing a repeat of the treatments you've been doing would be fruitless right now. So maybe a break from procedures is a good thing, until you have some clarity. Your dream is very obvious saying that. There's no interpretation needed here. Especially with you waking up afterwards feeling depleted.
    The first one, with the adopted toddler sister... it seems to be showing you that there's something out of place. You get the child, it's yours and you're happy. But you do not see her for who/what she is. You have all the wrong gear and clothes and are trying to force them upon her. It seems to me to be pointing to the idea that a child is coming, but perhaps not the way you imagined and prepared at all. You will be happy, but forget about trying to force your previous ideas and dreams on this reality that seems to be a little different than you previously expected. It would look like the DE or adoption could be something to consider, according to your dream.
    I always hold you in my heart, wishing you and Will the absolute best. Please know that.

  20. I am so sorry that you're struggling with all these issues. Please DON'T give up!! You have not exhausted all your options yet, and I feel you DON'T have to consider donor eggs or adoption just yet. I have only just started following your blog, but from what I've read, it appears you have 3 issues -1) egg quality (possibly affected by your past cancer treatments) 2) an immunological reaction that is rejecting the embryo/foetus and 3) a weakened body due to the numerous miscarriages and drugs/chemicals your body has been gone through. Fortunately, these are all treatable through Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM has been around for 5,000 years, and has been treating infertility long before western medicine ever existed. It is able to restore the health of the eggs and establish good hormonal and follicular response. It has also been treating miscarriage as an immunological factor for thousands of years, correcting whatever problem that caused the immune system to go awry in the first place.

    Regardless of whether you do PGD or CGH, a successful pregnancy will only likely occur if you a) start with eggs that are in good condition, when b) your body is receptive to the embryo and when c) your body is functioning optimally to sustain the pregnancy to full term. You should take the time to heal your body also after having gone through so many miscarriages. I have only been through one miscarriage and it has already wreaked havoc on my body, according to my TCM doctor. It's been 6 months and my body is still struggling to normalise with all the treatments I am having. I can't even begin to imagine how battered your body must feel after all you've been through.

    I feel you should seriously look into TCM before DE and adoption. Many women have conceived naturally through its treatments, and those who don't have gone on to have successful IVFs. It also costs a lot less and is less invasive. There are many great books out there, but "The Infertility Cure" by Randine Lewis is a great starting point. It has chapters that cover "Advanced maternal age- over 35 yrs), "Recurrent Miscarriage", "Unexplained Infertility-Overcoming the most Frustrating Diagnoosis" and "Using Chinese Medicine to Complement Assisted Reproductive Technology" among many other great topics, that may be very relevant to you. Randine Lewis is medically trained doctor in both Western and Eastern Medicine and has treatment centers all over the US, specialising in infertility. I urge you to give TCM a try before complicating your life with more costly procedures and outside donors. I'm sorry for writing so much here, but you're hurting so bad right now and I sincerely hope to be able to spark a glimmer of hope for you. I just want to let you know that there is another door waiting for you. Please email me if you have any questions. I'd only be too glad to help.

  21. As someone who had success at CCRM with CGH (after 3 previous failures), I'm not able to be totally objective-- but I can tell you that I chose that route because I needed answers and felt I could only move on to DE/surrogacy/adoption knowing I had exhausted all options. If you don't feel a CGH cycle would give you that closure, your emotional and financial resources may be better spent moving toward parenthood in a different way. Take your time and be true to your instincts. There IS a way. Wishing you the best.

  22. ((HUGS))

    I remember the day we decided to use donor sperm. It was not easy. We had gone through 3.5 IVFs, our savings and two miscarriages.

    We then went to donor sperm - bam, miscarriage. Now, here I am. I wonder - was it really the sperm - I mean ICSI is supposed to cure all of that shit. Were these just the two eggs that were good out of the previous 18 (that is all we got from 3 IVFs) eggs?

    I will never know the answer but I do know that these babies - if we are lucky enough to have them be born and be with us - were meant to be our children. These children - made from these eggs and that sperm. They are ours and their origins just do not matter and everyday that goes by, the origins matter less.

    We all have our own "done" point, our own "saturation" point. No one should be telling you what your point is - that is for you and Will to determine - when it is time to do the next thing, whatever that is and it will lead you to the child/children that were meant to be yours the entire time.

  23. Thinking of you during this struggle - in some ways I can relate since I came to the realization that my body was not going to give me what I wanted (a baby) without help. I didn't have much problem with the leap to donor eggs, although I know for some people it is agonizing. And I'm on my 4th try now - hopefully the surgery I have just had will make the difference; but we all know there are no guarantees with DE, IVF, adoption or anything! But I have great hope that you and Will are going to be parents soon, one way or another. Best of luck.

  24. Of course I don't have the answer for you -- that will come, I am certain -- but I just wanted to say that I really believe in your quest for motherhood and know that you will be an amazing one, regardless of the path you and Will end up choosing. I'm wishing lots of strength for you in the meantime.

  25. I'm so sorry you are going through this, it's just not fair. I certainly can't say that I understand what you are going through, but please know that ya'll are in my thoughts and prayers.

  26. I can't say anything that hasn't been better said by the other ladies.
    Take some time to figure out the right path. Hopefully time will bring you and DH a little clarity. Tough choices all around.
    Thinking of you.

  27. Mo - I'm so sorry. I wish I could send you a package of hope. But, I know it is so hard to hope after what you've one through. I am not in your shoes (although it feels like i'm on my way), but I totally understand how hard these decisions are. I am wondering myself how much more of this I can take and what steps are "worth it", when I feel like there is so little hope. I wish I knew what the best path for you was. I do know that time will pass and you will learn and feel new things, and then it may be easier to make a decision. Until then, wishing you strength.

  28. Oh sweetie, it is not that you have too many options, it is that you cannot know for sure what option will work. And I think that is what causes the paralysis. It does for me--
    then I default to the path of least resistance, whatever I was doing anyway.
    and I totally get the maybe one more time and this time we''ll.. slippery slope. I am enough older that the crazy ass time bomb bio clock drives me even when I just want to be done for a while. So, yeah. this sucks, I guess I mean to say.

    I hope you find a path that feels right to you-
    and I am so sorry for your funk.
    and there is this thing we do, we stay busy we research we plan we assess tradeoffs and really so much of the busy-ness is to keep the darkness at arm's reach. I wish you peace, and stillness without crushing sadness, and some path out of the darkness.


  29. It's amazing how just thinking makes you tired. I recall our struggle with moving forward about this time last year--and for the next few months as we went through IVF #2 & #3 the hardest part was anticipating the decision we'd have to make if they didn't work (which they didn't). I wish I knew what to say to help you--I don't know exactly how we finally made our decision to adopt, but I do know that once it was made we were at such peace.

    I hope you find this peace...and sooner than later.

  30. Ahh, the crash. I know it well.
    I think I've got as many or more IVF's under my belt, and only one pregnancy and I too am fresh out of juice to hammer away at this problem any more. Ever feel like your life is just one big science experiment?
    What would it mean to move on to DE or adoption? Maybe sitting with that will hlep to get the swirling to stop.

  31. Oh, and also, it's really awful when all the choices suck.

  32. nights are the worst.
    I hope that peace somehow finds the way to your dreams and that eventually, when you look at your child (the child of your heart one-way-or-another) that all will be exactly right in your world.

  33. I think your strength is nothing short of amazing. How could you NOT allow yourself some funky moments to feel and process everything you've experienced? I wish I had answers, or profound advice, but all I can offer is support for whatever decision you arrive at--I hope you're able to determine somehow what makes the most sense to your heart and head (and in a perfect world, may the two decisions be the same!).

  34. So sorry you are going through this hell. I can't say anything that the wise ladies before me haven't already said. I hope and pray that this is just a horrible blip in your long healthy life and that five years from now the memory of this nightmarish time will have faded and your life and full with the children you yearn for, no matter how they come to you. Thinking of you.

  35. Oh Mo, I don't blame you for feeling overwhelmed. One thing that helps me, sometimes, is the knowledge that however this all plays out, it will really feel okay in the end... it took me 2.5 years to really believe it but now I do. You and Will sound like an amazing pair. You will have an awesome life, however it all turns out.

  36. Mo, I'm so glad you got some answers that you much deserve! I really hope the panel of experts can tell you something new, and possibly find a reason for your miscarriages.


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