Monday, April 16, 2007

Under pressure

First, many thanks to all of your for your words of support. That you really truly do understand what this feels like, and that you are there to hope for me when I am having trouble mustering any whatsoever means the world to me. Thank you!

Here’s the 10 second* update: I’m CD4. I went in for my ultrasound and blood work yesterday morning—honestly, why does it always fall on a weekend so that I have no hope of a sleep-in? I have one cyst, but it’s not producing hormones, so they aren’t worried about it. So, I began my gon*al-f ritual last night. I go back in tomorrow morning for my second u/s. It seems like they’re going to be monitoring me more closely this cycle, for whatever that’s worth.

The doc has also decided to put me on progesterone during this 2ww. Whatever. I guess that’s good. Why he hasn’t before isn’t clear to me. And, whether this is a calculated decision or just a “let’s throw everything including the kitchen sink” into this cycle is also unclear. I’m having a really hard time feeling any hope whatsoever this cycle. I guess it’s stupid, really. At the outset of our IUI journey, hubby and I told ourselves that it could easily take 4 months. And this is our 4th cycle. (And the first cl*omid cycle really doesn’t count for sh*t, since my lining responded so poorly. So, we’re really in our third cycle at best.) So, there probably is reason to hope. But I’ve got to be honest; I’m not feeling it. I feel like this is a waste of a month before we start IVF.

The problem, though, is that I really don’t want to face IVF. The doctors make it seem so easy, but it’s really a bigger deal than they let on, I think. I mean, suppressing hormones then jacking you up with synthetic hormones to put your ovaries into hyperdrive is a big deal. Putting you under and using a needle to retrieve your eggs is a big deal. Fertilizing as many embryos as possible, then choosing the ones that get transferred is a big deal. Deciding how many to transfer is a big deal. Freezing embryos for potential use later is a big deal. (Especially because the hope is that you won’t need them, because you’ll get pregnant the first time. So, then what do you do with the frozen embryos?) It’s a lot to think about.

What makes this more complicated is our 5+ weeks miscarriage. You see, that “baby” was really nothing more than one of the embryos we’ll be transferring, or freezing, or disposing of. So, how can I at once grieve for the embryo I lost naturally, but then not grieve for the many that might not make it through the IVF process? And, how can I choose which or how many to transfer? Will I always wonder what would have happened if I chose the others? If I only transfer one and it doesn’t work, will I think I made the wrong choice? And should we only attempt to fertilize the number of embryos we’d be willing to transfer so that we don’t have these hard choices to make? But, then, aren’t we really not maximizing the entire process? (Especially if those few we choose to fertilize end up not being suitable for transfer?) But, how will I feel if I have excess embryos that don’t get used? My doctor says I can donate them for research. But, I really, really don’t feel comfortable donating our children for research. And, that’s what they are: our children. As much as it was our child that we lost last April.**

But, our insurance will only cover this one last IUI. Then, it’s on to IVF, or pay for IUI out of pocket. And, when I hear stories like Bumble’s and Sarah’s, I wonder if we’d just be throwing our money away on IUI. I mean, if fertilization is the problem, the only way to diagnose is with IVF. And, potentially, the only way to have a child (if fertilization is our problem) is with IVF.

So, here we are. Near the point where we’ll be stuck between a rock and a hard place. Near the point where I’ll have to decide whether our desire for a biological child is stronger than my questions about IVF. And, truth be told, I already know the answer to that. I know they are stronger. I know that, if faced with no baby or IVF, I’ll choose ivf. But, I’m scared. I’m scared about how I’ll feel with every decision along the way. And I’m scared about how I’ll feel if it doesn’t work.

And, all of these thoughts just put so much pressure on this cycle. Too much pressure. The last time I felt this much pressure for a particular cycle was in December—our last cycle that gave us a chance for a BFP before last Christmas. I had said to myself for so long before that, “as long as we’re pregnant by Christmas, it’ll all be okay.” So, when that last cycle came around, I felt so much pressure for it to work. And I was just so very disappointed when it didn’t. And I feel like I’m right back there again. I feel that we’ve come to yet another crossroads, yet another milestone that I just did NOT want to cross. And I know that if we just got pregnant this cycle, all would be right with the world. (Well, assuming we’d stayed pregnant.) But, that means that I feel a sense of unhealthy desperation for this cycle. And I just know that that isn’t good. And I feel that, because of that desperation, this cycle is doomed to failure.

So, here we are. Stuck between a rock and a hard place so soon. And, what’s worse is that I feel like we’re ticking off our options one by one. That’s the other terrifying part about jumping into IVF. I mean, what if THAT didn't work?

So. Much. Pressure.

Oh, and the punchline? Assuming everything goes this cycle as it has for the past three, and we trigger on CD10, our IUI would be on our third anniversary, and our test day will be on May 6—our 32nd birthday. As if there weren’t enough riding on this cycle.

So, yeah. Feeling crappy. Happy Monday.

*I honestly did intend for this to be a 10 second update. What a laugh, huh? Apparently I had more to get off my chest than I thought.

**I realize that I'd actually be LUCKY if our big problem during IVF was that we had too many embryos that all looked fabulous. But still, bear with me as I vent my fears.


Dianne/Flutter said...

Personally - I think that it is OK to be fearful. IVF is a big deal, and so is an IUI. All of it. It is emotionally, physically, and financially draining. And you realizing it, well I think it is healthy.

Sending you a big HUG. Praying for guidance for you, along with much luck this cycle.

Mary Ellen and Steve said...

IVF is a big deal, and it is a long and emotionally and physically draining process. It can definitely be hard to wrap your brain around the idea. I hope that this cycle is it so that you don't even have to go there.

Erin said...

So so so much word to the entirety of this post. You totally summed up the fears and stresses of IVF (and in 10 seconds, no less!)

This is when people will tell you to "try to relax" or "try to take the pressure off yourself" but I know it's impossible and if someone said it to me, I'd likely punch them.

Just do what you can to get through, and I'll be hoping that this isn't a "waste month" for you.

Carrie said...

Of course IVF is a big deal. You're going through a lot. The questions are natural but ultimately you're right, even with so many questions unanswered, how can you go this far then walk away? It's all so difficult, isn't it?
It sounds like you're fed up of this journey. I know that feeling, I truly do. Let's just hope it's near to the end.

Sarah said...

i have so many thoughts about all of this but i'm going to try my best not to be a bloghog. first of all, don't be too worried about ending up with my diagnosis, apparently it is really rare. less than 10% of infertility cases according to the cdc.

secondly, in my experience IVF was a big deal and not such a big deal at the same time. it was a HUGE deal for me to come to terms with needing to do it. we actually took a year off because we just weren't ready to face all the overwhelming issues you just outlined so well. i agree with everyone else here; it's so great that you're thinking all these things through. they are all huge deals.

however, once i actually accepted IVF (and btw i so wish it hadn't taken me so long), the actual process was much easier than it seemed. maybe it was because i worried about all these things so much in advance, but once i actually started the protocol, taking each step at a time, it really wasn't that big of a deal. i actually had a harder time dealing with clomid than i did any of the IVF meds. and i guess reading everyone else's stories also helped me feel prepared.

still, i'm very hopeful for you this cycle. it's great that they will monitor you more closely, and definitely a good thing that you will be on progesterone during your 2ww. i really hope this works for you, but also, if it doesn't, i hope it is some consulation that for me anyway, IVF wasn't nearly as bad as I had imagined it to be.

Baby Blues said...

I'm damn scared to move up to IVF! I'm terrified and worried. But that's our next step. It's going to be tough but I just have to do what I have to do to get to our goal.

Don't let anyone pressure you into doing something you're not ready to do. Know that the decision lies with you.

As for me, I'm just so frustrated with the low success rate of IUI.

Follow your heart and just take it one day at a time.

Kristen said...

IVF really IS a big deal and I can see you've thought about it long and hard. It is natural to be fearful - God knows I would be (am) as well.

I don't think IUI is useless, as I know many women who have been successful from it. But I also know tons who have not or were not successful with it as well. IVF has a much higher birth rate, which is why it is so much more invasive, expensive and complicated.

I am hoping you are one of those people that signs up for IVF and then has a surprise. It has happened before, right? XOXO

Belly Laughs said...

Hi -- IVF is a big deal, but as someone said, as you go through it one step at a time, each of the fears turn into milestones and objectives to hit. Re: many leftover embryos -- you will cross that bridge when you have to get there. You may use them for a second or third child, and you can always donate embryos to a couple in need. I would try to take this one day at a time. And even then, you can be scared and worried, but at least it will be one day at a time versus trying to predict an entire cycle and post-cycle! Sending good thoughts for this IUI so hopefully you will never have to cross the IVF bridge.

Reproductive Jeans said...

Vent away! We are on a similar path--I am so scared to just jump on over to IVF-not a light decision-we know that it is our best shot. I hope you find the answers and the peace you need to move onto your next decisions....

Erin said...

Hey Sticky,

I just submitted this to be included in the Stirrup Queens' emoblopedia ( and realized I probably should have run it past you first. If you mind, let me know and I can un-submit you.

It was a great post, though!


The Town Criers said...

Like Erin just wrote, she did submit it and it is a great post--do you mind if I add it to the emoblopedia?

It is a huge question--how to you mourn those cycles if they don't work compared to how you felt with the m/c.

Sending you many good thoughts and a lot of luck for this cycle.