Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Trek back to the Denver clinic: third time at the rodeo

Last Sunday and Monday, we were in Denver once again for the required one-day work up to be able to move forward with our third and final frozen embryo transfer. This is our third one-day work up. And...I'm trying to count them...but I'm thinking we've had 7 trips out to the Denver clinic over the years. Yowza.

We left Magpie with her nanny at our place in New York (we were told no children allowed at the clinic, which seems sensitive to those struggling to conceive, and we didn't want to leave Magpie in an unknown day-care or sitter situation in a strange city). Will and I splurged a bit and booked a nice hotel and had our first night alone together since before Magpie's birth. It was a little bit hard to be without her, and I worried she would miss us, but she's super attached to her nanny, so it seemed optimal that that was who she stayed with. And Will and I really enjoyed having some time together. Flying without a toddler? What a relaxing experience! Nice dinner out? Wow! Actual prolonged daytime conversation with my spouse? Amazing! Will and I both remarked how great it was to just get to hang out and be adults together for a bit. Funny how parenting changes the landscape so much. Wouldn't trade it for the world, as you know, but this short break was really nice.

Being back at the Denver clinic was weird...strangely boring this time around but also nostalgic. We flew through much of the day without blinking an eye. The consents, the credit card payments, the procedural instructions on injections, etc.? We've got all that down pat.

Ultrasound was slightly interesting - at Will's request, they did an antral follicle count. I have 4 follicles on one side and 1 on the other. Drastically down from what it used to be, but I am not a spring chicken, and we've been infertile for just about forever, so it wasn't difficult news, honestly, and maybe even better than I would have expected. I actually passed the uterine doppler blood flow test they do, for the first time, so no required electro-acupuncture for me, which will be nice to be able to skip.

There was one awkward moment when the financial person was chirpy and kept saying, "So you've come back to get a sibling for Magpie! Maybe two!" I'm a bit embarrassed to admit, I failed to just nod and go along with her inanity, instead saying weird replies like, "We'll see. It probably won't work, but you never know." I knew  that without her knowing our history, I sounded like a negative freak, but I couldn't stifle myself in the moment.  She also said at one point, "So you'll transfer two blasts?" And I said, no that we'd transfer three. (I received a very odd look in reply. What can I say, lady? I guess we are freaks). This will be embryos 7, 8, and 9, and it took us six CCS normal blasts to get to Magpie. When I'd seen my OB a few weeks ago, she had suggested I just transfer one blast at a time, and I told her no way. Don't have the stamina for it. Have to go on depot lupron for two months ahead of each transfer. Am 43. And did I mentioned that it took 6 chromosomally normal blasts to get to Magpie? I have zero fears about triplets -it ain't gonna happen - and few concerns about twins.

I had the required hysteroscopy, which was fine, and we met with Schoolie, who seemed decidedly more at ease than I've ever seen him. He said that we had shown amazing and rare persistence with all of our cycles over the years, despite really bad outcomes, and that he was certain that this was why we had Magpie. That few couples go to such lengths; that cost aside it's just too emotionally difficult. We agreed wholeheartedly and marveled a bit with him that we'd both survived intact.

He went over the plan: that I'll do depot lupron again for two cycles ahead of whenever we will transfer because of my history of stage 3 endometriosis. We discussed that if I achieve a pregnancy, this will be pregnancy number 9, and that I will want to do everything I can to hang on to it (including PIO, which isn't their standard). And he didn't name a percent likelihood of success but said my chances of pregnancy are lower than they would be, given that we have one no result embryo (the testing didn't work, so don't even know if it's chromosomally normal), and, if I recall, two day 7s (normal would be day 5, or 6). He says their clinic has had had success with embryos that don't go to blast until day 7, but that these slow poke blasts have a markedly lower implantation rate.

We also got to see our favorite genetic counselor and nurse, who came out into the waiting room to joyously greet us. This was super nice and the best part of our whole visit. The genetic counselor emailed herself a photo of Magpie from my phone and said she was going to send it to the head of the genetics dept there, ("She will be SO thrilled to see this!"). Apparently we and our story are remembered. It was so nice to see these two. Our former nurse, who has been promoted into a different position, said she would handle our cycle ("Of course!"), so that will make everything feel so much more comfortable and familiar.

So we're a go. Probably going to cycle in the next four or so months. So stay tuned.


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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Full circle: loss, longing and getting out the other side

I took Magpie to the Manhattan Children's Museum a couple of months ago and we ventured in to a special exhibit on Japan. As I rounded the corner in the exhibit, I stopped short and was transported back in time. Right there in the exhibit was a model of a Japanese offering tree, the kind you tie wishes to in the hopes they will be granted. We saw offering trees outside several temples when we visited Japan in 2008. And they hold a special resonance for me.

Children's museum offering tree in Japan exhibit

We'd tied our own wish to a tree when we were in Japan just after our second miscarriage.  Outside one of the temples we'd visited, we'd found a Nanairo-no-yadorigi tree. This is a particular kind of offering tree. Located near a shrine, the tree is believed that it brings prosperity and protection to those who are pregnant and hoping to conceive (the word yadori means “conceive").  Fresh with the grief of our loss, we tied our wish for a healthy living child to that tree. The custom is that when your wish is granted, you return to remove the paper.

Mo tying our wish for Magpie to an offering tree in 2008

At that time, we had no idea what a long road was in store for us, that four more years and five more losses would stand between us and Magpie in our arms.

So when I stood in the children's museum this winter, and I saw the offering tree while holding Magpie's hand, I nearly cried. And I was also filled with gratitude. Here we were full circle.

This time, I didn't need to tie an offering to the branch. This time, I could ask my girl to stand in front of this tree for a picture. I knew she couldn't understand why this picture was important to me, but I needed to take it nonetheless.

I am humbled again and again that we made it out the other side. That Magpie is here. That we struggled so mightily and succeeded. I am ever so grateful for this little one in our lives.


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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Family photo then and now

From this... this!

Our little family is growing up!

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