Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Plan B and C and...

So today we are pregnant. At least a little bit pregnant. 4w4d, but who's counting? Only maybe pregnant, right? No beta has been drawn since Monday, so it could all be over by now. Maybe the IVIG killed the embryos. Hopefully not. Of course, I haven't felt anything cramps-wise in almost 12 hours, so you never know.  Ok, I do think I know sometimes. This never, ever works out for us. This is our seventh pregnancy in less than five years. Yowza. And last I checked, no live children. Still, it could work out, right? Maybe. But hard to tell. Hard to figure out anything, really.

That happiness I felt yesterday? Elusive, I tell you.


It is tough to believe in even the moment here sometimes. This all still doesn't feel very real most of the time. (I find myself weirdly experiencing the feeling of being over the moon and in simultaneous disbelief and denial.) And it feels very necessary to try to protect myself as much as possible. So that if everything falls apart (negative thought - when everything falls apart), we are ready to move forward toward having a child.

So we are moving ahead with our alternate plans - donor and gestational carrier - so we don't get left high and dry when this silly delusion I've been having that I'm pregnant reveals itself to be a fantasy.

So where are we at with our alternate plans?

There is a wonderful woman I've mentioned before who came to us and offered to be a carrier if we need it (unbelievable, really) - she has sent all of her medical records to the Denver clinic and they are reviewing them. She will be able to go for a one-day work up in May or June 2012...three months after she finishes breastfeeding her youngest daughter. We still have two euploid embryos and one no result embryo left, which we could potentially transfer to her. It's also possible I might do one final fresh IVF cycle to see if we could make anything more decent/higher quality for her to carry if I lose this pregnancy. So that's percolating.

We're also still in the process of screening potential agency egg donors...and this process continues to move at a glacial pace. We're pre-screening them ourselves rather than have another donor fail the stringent standards of the Denver clinic, because boy, that sucked.

Here's where things are at:

Donor #1 (E) - the twenty-three-year-old donor we loved with great AMH, 33 resting follicles, low E2 and FSH...but the inversion on chromosome 9 - we have asked a great clinic here in NYC if they would let us cycle with her and do CCS, eliminating of course all aneuploid embryos...They are thinking about it and talking to their geneticists and getting back to us.

Donor #2 (R) - a scary bright twenty-something physician - has a great AMH and is FINALLY expecting her period after going off the pill in December. So once that happens, we will get antral follicle count, FSH, E2 drawn. If that's all good...we'll go on to genetic testing. She's almost too good to be true on paper (dad's at NASA, sister's a Rhodes Scholar, etc...), so we're also seeking some confirmation of her narrative., just to make sure she really is who and what she says and not trumping some of this stuff up. To clarify on this, we'd be fine if half of the stuff wasn't true, but if she was being untruthful, THAT would be very concerning. We'd like to tell our child real things about their donor, not some made-up fantasy.

Donor #3 (K) - Has great AMH, good FSH and E2, good but not stellar AFC, is now undergoing genetic testing. This is a boatload of stuff because she is half-Jewish. Her personality and interests are also not so similar to mine (she's an aspiring actress. I'd rather hide in the closet than be the center of attention any day)...still trying to figure out if that matters.

Donor #4 - Seemed like a great match on paper for my personality and interests and she is super bright, and young, and is already a mom, so we know she is fertile. Her dad committed suicide, so that was a bit nervous-making, but there is no other psych history in the family, so we decided we could deal with it...Unfortunately, she has decided she is not interested in donating at this time, so she is out.

So those are the back-up plans, and the back-up plans to the back-up plans. Sigh. Probably seems really weird if you haven't had a ton of miscarriages, but, well, we are weird and we have had a ton of miscarriages. It's so strange and almost out-of-body all of this, both the being pregnant, and the being sure it can't last, and the trying to be ready to take big alternative steps if we need to to move forward.

I wish I could tell you this all brought me peace, but it doesn't. I am a bundle of nerves right now. I am so trying not to get sucked into believing in this pregnancy and getting my heart stomped on again. Trying to not think about it, or not feel too much about it really. I just don't want to get burned again. I feel like with each loss I've lost a little piece of myself. I hope it's not permanent. I hope I don't have to lose any more. I hope that having back-up plans helps make things a little less risky. I don't know that it does, but I'm hoping.


Photo: Management Briefs

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  1. Makes total sense to me. I am hoping with all my heart that you don't need that backup plan, but I am glad you have it.

  2. I haven't had miscarriages, but I think if I were in your position I would be doing the exact same thing. Still, I'm hoping and praying that the baby(ies) that you are carrying now are your take home babies. Because you guys deserve a break. Thinking of you!

  3. totally makes sense.. sending hugs and zen and anything helpful. been thinking about you a lot.. i have no helpful words but i just HOPE.

  4. Totally understandable after everything you've been through. I sure hope this pregnancy sticks.

  5. Mo, I completely get it. I was making backup plans at that stage of pregnancy, too. I even said to my nurse "why are we pretending this is going to work?" But so far...everything indicates this pregnancy is strong. Things could change, I know. But right now, it's good. I had trouble convincing myself of that, but I'm hoping you can relish those small moments of peace in between the angst.

    I think you've got an entire blogosphere cheering you on. Hoping for more good news today (you are getting another beta?)

  6. I hope that having those back up plans in place will allow you to move forward with a tiny bit less terror. I applaud you for being willing to open yourself to the hope, even if only slightly. It doesn't seem that you've mentioned spotting in a few days, which might be a good thing, but you are right-- the next 5 weeks will be tough. Come May, we'll throw you a tickertape parade for having made it past the scariest part. So hopeful and prayerful that there will be continuing good news and that those extra plans are just regret management. Wishing that I could just fast forward for you until you're 9 weeks (which is further than you've gotten thus far, right?) or heck, to Halloween. Sending some bloggy love and your favorite gluten free dessert.

  7. Obviously hoping this pregnancy works out...Duh! But your backup plans sound solid. I will throw in my measly two cents on your donor concerns (and maybe they aren't valid since you and I maybe have different opinions on genetics) but I wouldn't sweat stuff like worrying about test scores and actress type personalities...we know zero about our kids backgrounds and while that is sad and tragic for it's own reasons it has no bearing on our ability to love them fact it is freeing. Our kids aren't supposed to be our little mini-mes (cute as that can be though!) because they are their own little souls. So if your heart feels pulled towards a donor but she seems a bit different from you I wouldn't worry a bit. Anyway that is all said with good intentions and really just keeping everything crossed that your pregnancy keeps on progressing!

  8. Completely not weird; not one iota. I was making plans on what choices I would make when we were told about some possible complications with my pregnancy. My friends kept saying "but it might be nothing". After two losses and four IVF cycles I couldn't suspend doubt enough to hope it would all be ok. I NEEDED to have a plan just to stay sane. Of course my friends were right and we now have an incredibly healthy 14m old running around. I don't regret for one second having my back up plan in place and I feel that grounded me during a very uncertain time. I think you are taking very good care of yourself, physically and emotionally. Crossing every finger and toe you won't need your plans.

  9. After what you've been through, I think it would be weird NOT to feel the way you do. I am so hoping that Plan B etc. is totally unnecessary, but even if all it does is make you feel a little less crazy during this time it's worth it to pursue them! Taking your cue, I'm having a phone consult with one donor egg agency today...just in case. Hang in there Mo, we are all rooting for you!

  10. If making back up plans keeps you from going insane then do it. I scheduled and got other opinions during my 2ww twice so I am obviously in your camp.

  11. If making back up plans keeps you from going insane then do it. I scheduled and got other opinions during my 2ww twice so I am obviously in your camp.

  12. What everyone else said. Whatever you have to do to cope. I'm hoping with all my heart that little seven goes to term, but there's no getting around the fact that after all your losses, pregnancy is an emotional rollercoaster for you.

    Also, what MyTwoLines said. It's really fun seeing Sunshine's personality get stronger. Even with one's own gametes, you never know what you're going to get. It's part of the joy of seeing these little, helpless babies become little people.

    Big hug, hon. xoxo

  13. Back up plans make total sense. It's the way we cope with things we have no control over--you can't control THIS pregnancy, but you can get things in line if necessary for the NEXT one. And that's healthy, I think.

    And when the back up plans aren't needed anymore, it'll be easy to let them go. You are strong and careful and you are doing what you can to protect your heart. Good for you, even though I wish it were never necessary to be so careful, and even though I'm hoping with all my might that these are the last Plan Bs you ever need (and that you never have to use them!)

    See you Sunday for dinner?

  14. Makes good sense. Here's to your back-up plans remaining back-up plans :)

  15. Makes perfect sense to me.

    Hoping on your behalf from a distance. Hope is easier from a distance but I still hope (ha!) that some of the vibes I'm sending out (which are strong ones) are reaching you.

  16. Oy, this is making me teary-eyed because your thought process reminds me so much of where I was just a year ago. No reassurance is ever enough, right? It doesn't matter if yesterday's beta was good because that was yesterday and who knows what could have happened in the meantime? Yep, I've definitely been there. It sucks and it's wonderful all at the same time. That's pretty much how I felt my entire first trimester and most of the second. Of course, we didn't really have a plan B because it was pretty much our last-ditch, we're-out-of-money and this-better-work-or-we're-done cycle. I'm not sure there's anything I can say that will make you feel differently, but I can definitely empathize.

    If it eases your mind at all, I had 8 IVIG infusions throughout my pregnancy and DD came out healthy as a horse. The best advice I can offer is to keep re-testing your NK cells at regular intervals. Mine continued to spike every 3-4 weeks (even on steroids) which is why I had so many infusions.

    Pulling hard for you!

  17. Let me first convey my supreme jealousy that you & Sprogblogger are having dinner on Sunday, with me all the way across the country. So glad you have each other.

    One of the first casualties of IF, especially after repeated cycle failures or recurrent losses is the inability to muster hope but in short increments of time (roughly 24-36 hrs post last confirmation of continuing pregnancy). Self protection, is therefore, a good thing, be it as it may.

    You have legions of others who can carry hope for you and Will. Sometimes that just has to do.

    Will you have one more beta or wait it out til ultrasound?

    Wishing you peace of mind and confirmation from body that all is well.

  18. I am a sweaty mess of happiness after reading your last several posts asfastasicouldpossiblymanage to catch up!

    I bet it is scary but consider letting us hold the monster for you a while. Oh Mo, we are all hoping this is it right there with you.

  19. You're doing the right thing by having back-up plans, although I really hope and pray you don't need them! I went to CCRM as well and had my own back-up plans too... which I ended up not needing. You're completely normal to not be excited or happy. I think I realized I was finally excited to be pregnant when I was 24 weeks. It took that long to believe it was really happening, but I still waited for the other shoe to drop the entire pregnancy. Even now, with my baby, I worry constantly that something will happen to him. That's just what infertility does to us!

  20. Mo...I understand being guarded...that's me, too. Protecting yourself and not grabbing on to the hope and belief is so much easier for *when* it doesn't work out. It's's how you get through it/how you cope. Cut yourself some slack. Why would you allow yourself to intentionally get hurt...your past has shaped your current emotions- you're protecting yourself. Then, if it does work out (and it will) well then it's so easy to feel joy and celebrate. Let me share something with you about hope that I read on another blog. The blogger depicted hope (a lot of hope) as you going way up high while holding a handful of helium balloons. "You have to be careful with hope. If you let that little helium balloon that is hope fly too high you have the potential to fall much further." So that's so understandable how you're feeling. Do you have another beta coming up? Please know we're all thinking of you and things will work out!!!!

  21. Wow Mo!!! This is great news! Love that you are able to keep so much on the go! As for CCS on a pericentric have to do FISH screening but they could biopsy some cells for FISH and some for the screening that is involved with CCS. Totally do-able on a Day 5 embie. Just this donor will have to have a great AFC and AMH to make it worth your while. Just some thoughts...but there's just no way your plans to be a mommy can be side-railed. Just refuse to believe that with so much going on a teeny, tiny soul will greet you someway somehow very very soon. Hugs!

  22. It's great to have options and I'm glad you are keeping busy figuring out plan B, I think it's always good to have one for many reasons, #1 would be sanity but also it's keeping you busy and away from the roller coaster, as much as possible that is :)

  23. I think you are being incredibly wise, practical, and strong to continue to look at all possible options while hoping with all your heart that this pregnancy truly is it.

    It'll be such a relief to back out of Plan B, C, etc. and say, "We no longer need those options" once you hold your child... I love that you are doing everything one can possibly do to have zero regrets, and optimal chances to become the parents you were always meant to be.

    Your mental strength and tenacity in pursuing all of these options continues to amaze and inspire me. I'm hoping and believing, even while I recognize how hard it must be for you to do so after the devastating losses.

  24. Loving your latest beta! I think you're for sure doing the right thing to keep going on the IVIG. I'd read about intralipids a couple years ago as an alternative to IVIG. Would they be an alternative option for you?
    I'd absolutely have a backup plan moving forward were I in your shoes. I'd feel like I'd be tempting fate by putting all my eggs in one basket and assuming things will work out. (And I'd also feel like investing time and money into alternative options would be nudging this pregnancy in the right direction - kind of like "If I go pee now, the doctor will finally call me in")
    I'm liking the sounds of donors 1 and 2. Hopefully you could do PGD with donor 1 if she's your favourite, but I hope #2 checks out well so that you have another option.

  25. I think having a back up plan is not crazy and if it helps to ease your mind and keep calmer then it is a great idea. I'm also 4 weeks 3 days today - and up and down every hour about whether it is going to stick or not and I've only had 2 miscarriages so I can't imagine how nervous you feel.I am keeping my fingers, toes and anything else crossable crossed for you.

  26. I am so glad I found your blog, thank you for sharing your story.

  27. You're not "maybe" pregnant - as hard as it is to believe, you are pregnant. You'd know if something had happened and you weren't anymore.

    I know how hard it is to believe, even in the moment. We're on our 7th pregnancy too (in almost 8 years), and it has been really difficult to think that this might end differently than all the others. But so far it *has* gone differently. I'm hoping the same for you this time around, too.

  28. Well back-up plans are good, but I have a feeling you won't need it this time. Not to brag, but whenever I've prayed for anyone, my prayers have been answered. I pray everyday for you and your hubby. Here's to being cautiously optimistic....only 35 weeks to go. You CAN do this. :o)


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