Thursday, 28 November 2013

Limbo

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.

12 comments:

  1. I'm banking on implanting & uneventful pregnancy. I get that it's tough for you to imagine, it would be for me too if I was in your shoes. But that's what all of us are here for. The see it for you & cheer you on. Let's go little embryo!

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  2. It is so unfair that we have to deal with all these questions. I mean, I'm sure these worries cross the mind of women who never went through infertility, but for us they are so much more real and present. We know too many statistics and have read too many scientific journals to NOT worry.

    I am so sorry for the sleepless nights filled with anxiety. I will be sending you all of the good vibes and good luck in the world as you continue down this road to your baby. You've been through so much already, you are destined for a break! xo

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  3. The weeks and months of waiting give us way too much time to read, think and over analyze all the possibilities--especially the negative ones. Sometimes I really think ignorance is bliss, but we can't unknow everything we've learned. I hope sleep comes a little easier over the next few weeks, and I'm keeping everything crossed that your embryo snuggles in for a good, long time.

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  4. Yup, infertile people have a lot of worries, and the curse of infertility just makes us more sensitive to the insane WHAT IF scenarios that we've dreamed up.

    On another note, my RE told me that egg quality for DOR patients corresponds to the age of the patient, not to their response-age. So if you're 38, your egg-quality is for anyone else age 38 even if your stimulation-response is for someone at age 43. (Whatever.... I don't know how they'd even quantify that in a study). That's why he still got pretty good success rates with DOR patients under age 30, when he's able to get an egg. Don't know if that really answers anything for you...but that's just one RE's opinion.

    --E

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  5. Thanks for your honesty with this post. Even before we started TTC I feared having a disabled child, and I realise it could happen if we conceived on our own, but I would feel especially guilty if we have a disabled child achieved with assisted reproduction. Like we should have accepted we weren't meant to procreate.

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  6. I'm so sorry for the waiting and the sleepless nights. But the worries, oh yes, I understand them. More about prematurity-related than age-related health issues, but there is some overlap. And the decisions are almost impossible. I'm hoping for an uneventful pregnancy and delivery - after all this IF crap, I'd think we would deserve this, though clearly the Universe doesn't always agree. But still, we can hope.

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  7. Hurry up and wait! That's what infertility is all about. *sigh*

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  8. The 3am worries are the worst. I wish I had something more comforting to say, but the truth is that I worry about the same things. I guess all you can do is take it one day at a time and make the best decision you can with the information available.

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  9. We worried about disabilities too. My Hubby's family has several cousins/2nd cousins with disabilities, but all are rare and seemingly different. We never did any testing and thankfully so far both babies appear to be normal, but of course we can't know for sure until they get here. I understand the worry. And of course, we ironically DID have an early miscarriage prior to this pregnancy. Ironically because it was a chromosomal issue, but it came from my sisters donated egg! She is 5 years younger than me and has 4 healthy children already, but he we got her one crappy egg. My point is, you just never know. I suppose that's not very encouraging maybe. I'm sorry. I hope AF shows up sooner rather than later so you are able to get the show in the road and hopefully put these worries behind you!

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  10. Nothing but a bunch of "hurry up so you can wait" in the infertility world :)

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  11. Sorry about the tossing and turning. It's no fun to have sleeping problems. I have the same thoughts as you with my one frozen. I am going to turn 40 in July. So it's not unusual to think about these things. It's a fear but I think most of us are still willing to gamble. I hope that AF comes soon for you! Waiting is no fun either.

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  12. Of all the horrible parts of infertility, the waiting just might be the worst. At least everything else seems like it has a purpose, and I can DO something about it. Plus, I always seem to worry the most during the waiting. I hope you aren't waiting long! Sending happy thoughts.

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I'm needy and your comments validate me. Help a sister out!