The New Math of Loss

March 30, 2014

You may recall that last Fall submissions were being taken for a book about miscarriage. I mentioned it here. After the movie Return To Zero came out they decided to do a book – an anthology of stories of love and loss to raise awareness.

Well that book, Three Minus One, is now out. My submission was not chosen to be in it. But someone I know on Twitter is in it. Both her Twitter and her blog are private so I won’t link here but I do want to give a big shout out to Lauren! So proud of you! Congrats!

Three Minus One book cover

I had hoped to be a part of this since I still struggle so much with my first pregnancy. But I don’t think the world at large is ready for the darkness that was the Zombabies. Nobody wants to hear about how hard it was to kill your much wanted babies over and over again. I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately as we get closer and closer to SurroFET. I worry that these last two embryos, the rejects of the crop, will not take. And then all my babes will be gone. And then I think about the first two. I think about how beautiful the RE said they were. I think about how hard they fought me to stay alive. And I hope their siblings are just as strong… but with a better sense of direction.

[Also, why are embryo GPSs still not a thing?!]

It’s never been Three Minus One for us. It’s been 2 + 6 -2 -1 -1 = 2. Soon we will find out the end of that equation. Will we be three? Or four? Or will the Six Return to Zero leaving us as two?

Making It To FET

April 10, 2013

While I appreciate everyone’s support and cheering me on as I attempt one last FET, I really want to set the record straight.

It’s not just my pessimism that makes
me say things like IF I make it to FET.

Whenever I say that, I’m met with, “Of course you will!”

Well, thanks for staying positive, folks. But the reality is, I may not. And while I want need to stay focused on a positive outcome (i.e. baby) I also need to remain grounded and realistic.

This is a Hail Mary Pass. The odds of this working are slim. My RE wouldn’t have agreed to it at all if I hadn’t expressly stated my understanding of that fact.

The first obstacle was to get on Lupron. I thought that was going to be an easy hurdle to jump. Not so. A cyst and a kidney stone delayed that by almost 3 months.

But now I’m on it and the first post-Lupron ultrasound indicates that it is helping. Although I’m still in pain (more on that another time).

So. First hurdle jumped. Jumped late, but jumped.

Now that we have an external view of things (the ultrasound) the RE wants to verify that the inside of my uterus is also looking better. This was done before my last FET as well. But I wasn’t as worried then. My uterus was not quite as fucked up at that point (or at least we don’t think it was). I’m not really confident that my uterus can make it back to anything resembling normal at this point.

It’s difficult to explain how adenomyosis works. Google it and the definition will probably make your head spin. At least, it took me quite a while to truly wrap my head around it. I like to compare an adenomyosis uterus to an inside-out asteroid. There are just a lot of craters and nooks and crannies in the inner wall of my uterus – it’s almost being eaten away. It is truly a scary place. I’ve seen the imaging.

But maybe it can recover enough which is why we’re trying.

Assuming my uterus can play the part of looking normal it then has to grow extra fluffy lining. The RE wants my lining thicker than usual to cover up all those nooks.

Then comes the really hard part (in my mind). The embryos have to survive the thaw and grow to blast. In the lab.

I’ve already lost one embryo this way. So this part worries me. A LOT.

I could potentially do the impossible and tame my body and still not make it to transfer because I’d have no embryos to transfer. (Alternatively, they could surprise the hell out of me and we’d have to re-freeze one of them.)

I know this probably all sounds trerribly pessimistic but I’m really just trying to be REALISTIC.

I can’t do this without at least a dash of hope. But I also can’t let that hope grow too large and cloud the reality of the situation.

The reality is that those embryos would be better off transferred to a healthy uterus. But mine is the only one available at the moment.

When I got the update last night that the embabies had landed in Memphis – which is a major FedEx hub (or perhaps their U.S. headquarters) – my mind immediately thought of Tom Hanks and Wilson stranded on a desserted island.

What if they got put on the wrong plane and it crashed in the middle of the Pacific?

So of course Right Guy took that one step further…
What if they crashed in the Pacific and somehow melded with lizard DNA and a giant Godzilla with a face that resemebled a mix of our faces attacked Japan?

I almost blew wine out my nose!

In the face of anxiety (and mine wasn’t even that bad, really) the best way to deal seems to be to take your worries to the utmost extreme.

Worked like a charm. 😉

So what are some of your crazy/silly scenarios that get you through infertility?

P.S.

Also discussed: If (this last) FET doesn’t work we will get a new kitten. Or possibly a puppy.

On The Move

April 8, 2013

My embabies are taking a cross-country trip today. They seem too young to travel so far on their own. I hope the Fed.Ex person takes good care of them.

It feels strange to think of them coming “home” to me. They are not coming to my house. They are simply being moved from one laboratory freezer to another. But they will be closer to where I am. I hadn’t thought of it in that way before but there’s something comforting about that. Assuming they make it here without incident.

My two embabies are coming to me.

Will any of us make it to FET?

The Plan

January 7, 2013

So this morning’s RE appointment went more or less as expected.

I will get a baseline ultrasound and a 1 month Lupron shot at next CD1.

Three weeks later another ultrasound and probably another shot – depending upon what NewRE2 sees at that ultrasound.

NewRE2 is thinking that 1-2 months on Lupron should at least give us an idea of whether it’s helping and depending upon how things go we’d stop at 2 months or possibly go for 3 or 4. The idea is to do 2 and then start me back up for potential transfer mid-late March. But he wants to be able to tweak things as we go based on my response since my "body doesn’t follow the rules" and my uterus is "special" in some way, "possibly due to genetics."

Yeah, my uterus rides the short bus to school.

[No offense meant to anyone who rides a short bus, I just like the visual.  Can't you just picture a uterus waving a fallopian tube from the window of a school bus?  And my ute definitely could use some Special Ed.]

We’re going to try the Lupron with no add-back/HRT and see if I can tolerate the symptoms. Yowza. Bring on the CRAZY.

In addition to the ultrasounds he wants to do a mock transfer and a hysterosonogram. I think that’s what it’s called – I’ve had one before. It’s really uncomfortable but it’s not nearly as bad as an HSG. The mock transfer is to find the right spot for the blast. All REs involved have suggested going a little lower than normal since the 1st ectopic was on the top of the uterus. They want to avoid that spot.

As for shipping the embryos… there’s a catch on this one. After agonizing over that decision it seems it may be out of my hands somewhat. Apparently the container that is used for transport is quite expensive and my clinic doesn’t own one. I have a suspicion that my old clinic does but apparently, in general, clinics don’t like to loan these things out. NewRE2 is going to look into trying to get one somehow (not sure how) but if he can’t get one then I have to contact private companies to try and contract them to do it. But even that may not work or may prove to be more expensive (and more hassle) than just having me fly back East and have OldRE do the transfer.

The plan is still to thaw the 3d frosties and (attempt to) grow them to 5d blasts. NewRE2 is thinking that it might be better, even if we have to wait a few more days, to let my lining grow pretty thick in an effort to cover all those nooks and crannies in my ute. So those last few days before (potential) transfer could get… interesting. He asked if I would trust him to make the call, based on 20 years experience, of when to do the transfer and WHETHER to do the transfer. I think we’re going off-road here. Since my body is not textbook, he’s thinking outside the box a little. Overall, I like that.

Also… on the subject of what to do if the unthinkable occurs and BOTH embryos look good on day 5 he said he would re-freeze one. He definitively does NOT want to transfer two. So that decision is made for me. I had been leaning towards transferring both just so that this would all be over but it still made me nervous. It’s kind of a relief to have that decision taken away.

All in all I mostly feel good about this plan. The downside is that all the stars and planets have to align to even make it to transfer.

And, if that happens, there’s a whole mountain of other things that have to go right for me to take home a baby.

One step at a time. One step at a time.

Moving Snowflakes

December 17, 2012

I finally got the call back from the clinic that holds my two remaining frosties. I had wanted to find out how exactly they would be transported across the country IF I decide to transport them.

They would be Fed.Ex’d, overnight, in ~30lb box of full of styrofoam and whatever other cusioning they can think of surrounding a liquid nitrogen filled coffee/soup like cannister. These cannisters hold enough liquid nitrogen to stay frozen for seven days.

Assuming they are not faulty and don’t break or leak. Apparently, if it gets damaged somehow, they will warm up rather quickly. And be lost.

I would have to assume responsibility for them myself. No suing the clinic if the cannister breaks/leaks. It doesn’t happen often. But it can happen. I cold get hit by a bus tomorrow also. Both are unlikely. I think.

If I wanted to move them to OldREs new clinic down the road from their current home I could just come pick them up and transport them myself. Except that I don’t live there, but that’s not the point. If I do the FET with OldRE, then I will be in town.

Now that I think about it, I could probably hand carry them on a plane also. I didn’t ask about that. But there are a lot of reasons I’m not overly comfortable doing that (flight delays, clinic/lab hours on two coasts). Which is more terrifying? Trusting the Fed Ex guy to deliver them safely or trusting MYSELF to do it?

So… three clinics.

Although I spoke with the lab doc today about potentially going back to my old clinic, I think I can strike that option off the list. I don’t know most of the doctors there. I think the guy who did my retrieval is still there. And since the exodus of OldRE and colleague they’ve pulled someone out of retirement to help out.* And the fellow who visited me everyday in the hospital is now the Senior Fellow. And I’m sure their lab is fine. But we did lose on frosty in that particular lab trying to grow it to 5d. So… I think all signs point to no. I will move the frosties. Somewhere.

*Interestingly, NewRE2 was offered that job as well but turned them down.

So…to ship? Or not to ship? That is the question.

All in all, this is more or less what I expected to hear. But the image of your average Fed Ex guy being responsible for delicate snowflakes is now etched in my brain.

Perhaps Santa could just bring them to me.

WeatherVane

December 2, 2012

Which way is the wind blowing today?

Thank you all SO much for last week’s opinions. I think it really helped me.

I still have some calls to make and information to gather but I *think* next steps are going to go something like this…

1. Get through December/Xmas. I don’t think I want to be celebrating with the In-Laws while on Lupron. And I need to make some calls to verify some assumptions. And I think I just need to sit with this decision a little longer and try to make friends with it – try to peel the scary mask off it.

2. Probably start Lupron in Jan. Not sure how long I’ll be on it. At least a month I think. That’s one of those things I need to clarify with NewRE2 and double check with OldRE. A FET is not NewRE2’s first choice for me but the lupron pre-treatment is his idea. As much as I hate lupron, it’s probably a good idea.

3. Feb/March do a FET, here (gulp), assuming one or both frosties make it to blast (double gulp), with ME (triple gulp). I still need to verify exactly how the frosties would travel across the country. And I have some other questions, like what happens if I have another tubal ectopic? Do I lose my uterus for that scenario as well? Or only if it’s another myometrial ectopic?

I got my head shrunk yesterday. I told her that I was trying to take emotion out of the equation for this decision and she questioned whether that was wise. I think, in this case, it is. I often go with my gut. In general, in the head vs. heart argument, my head wins. But, up to this point, on this subject, my HEART has ruled. So I’m gonna use my head now. Because, trust me, the emotions are going to come whether I want them to or not if I actually transfer embryos into my uterus. So I’m of the opinion that we should ignore them until then.

Doing a FET with my body is the cheapest and quickest option.

Logically it makes sense.

Medically… who knows if it makes sense? The doctors can’t give me odds on what might happen. They don’t fucking know. And while they don’t totally disagree, they certainly aren’t in agreement either.

Statistically… I’m off the charts. This is no longer a numbers game. It’s a gamble. But isn’t it always?

I’m gambling with my uterus. But as far as I’m concerned my uterus is just about useless already. And I may be headed for a hysterectomy regardless. At least I know I won’t have to carry zombabies for 6 months again. I think that was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

[SPOILER ALERT for The Walking Dead]
And can I just say that I’m ecstatic that Lori’s baby was NOT a zombaby? The Walking Dead already gives me nightmares but that would have sent me over the edge. 😉