When I first started reading infertility blogs, I remember looking at bloggers' TTC timelines and wondering what the hell was going on with all the down time. There seemed to be such huge gaps between various tests and treatment cycles, on top of the unfathomable intentional breaks that people seemed to be taking. WTF? I wondered. If you wanna get pregnant, just get on with it already!
Oh, how naive I was! I didn't realize just how much waiting is involved in this whole process. Doing the math, I've calculated that we've only been actively trying to get pregnant for three months out of this whole year. An IVF cycle in January, an FET in March, and another IVF in September. That's it. That's all we've been able to do. The rest of the time has been waiting for cycles to start (February), having an endometrial function test done (April), giving DHEA supplements time to work (May to August), and now doing Lupron treatment to fix my lining (October - present). That's a whole helluva lot of waiting.
You look like I feel, baby.
This week marked 5 weeks since my last Lupron shot. My RE said my period should return within 6 to 8 weeks. Soooo...AF could be here next week. Or it might be three more weeks. Or my body could be totally whacked and need a boost to re-start. I have no idea. All I can do is sit here and be impatient, because I really really just want to get this over with. I want to know if I'm going to have my own baby, or if I'm going to be trying to have someone else's.
Then there's the dread. I've come to learn that it's typical when you've had a few IVF failures. Lately it's taken the form of me being unable to sleep while I worry about having a disabled child. My thought process goes like this: I have crappy eggs. Older women have a higher percentage of chromosomally abnormal eggs. If you're over 40, close to 90% of your eggs could be abnormal. I'm closing in on 38, but my ovarian reserve was assessed to be that of a 43-year old. So where do I fall on the abnormal egg scale? We've only ever had one embryo, so we haven't ever bothered to do pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) since it's not like we have options of which one to transfer. I suppose if we were made of money we'd do the testing anyway and wouldn't transfer anything if our one embryo came back abnormal. Since we're not, we're going to put it in and take the chance. But I really don't want to bulk up my infertility resume by adding a miscarriage. And the prospect of a disabled child is daunting.
Both M and I have one cousin each with rare chromosomal disabilities. Neither one of them is hereditary (that we know of) so our RE wasn't worried about it being an issue for us. I bring it up only because both of us have watched our extended families dealing with the many challenges that come with having a child who will essentially never grow up, and who will need some form of care for the rest of their lives. While our cousins have enriched our families' lives in wonderful ways, I can't help but wonder whether they would ever have existed if they had been IVF embryos with abnormal PGS results. Or if the technologies had been available at the time, would our aunts have chosen to terminate their pregnancies knowing the many health problems their children would have to endure? It's a fraught question and I quite honestly don't know how I would answer it myself. What I do know is that I would have a very difficult time even thinking about terminating such a hard-won pregnancy, but depending on the severity of the disability it might be a very sad necessity. In the case of a milder disability, what would we do? How would we manage? We don't have family living close by, so we'd largely be dealing with things ourselves. And since this would likely be our only child, there'd be no sibling left to take over for us when we're gone. Is it fair to place this burden on my extended family? Or worse yet, have our child end up in the care of the state?
This is what goes through my head while I'm tossing and turning at 3am. And yeah, I know I'm getting way ahead of myself. Our embryo might not even survive the thaw. Which would be equally shitty in a different way. Or, if we wanna go waaaaaay out there, it could implant and be perfectly healthy and I could go on to have a totally uneventful pregnancy and delivery. I guess it's just that, after so much disappointment, it's really hard to imagine that we'd be lucky enough to finally have such a positive outcome.