Yesterday was CD10 and stims day 5. I went in for my follicle check. I’d been having fertile mucus so I had high hopes. My actual doctor ended up doing the scan, which was great! Usually a medical fellow does the scan (though my baseline was done by the head of the clinic) so I was surprised and happy to see Dr. M was doing mine. I felt more comfortable asking her questions than I have been with one of the fellows.
The good news: we went from two follicles to three. The bad: they have not grown, or are at least under 10 mm which means they don’t get measured. Dr. M said, “We’ll know more when we see the results of your estrogen. If it hasn’t gone up, we’ll keep going and you come back in a few days and we look again. If there’s still no growth, I want to try a cycle with minimal stimulation and maybe that will be better for you.”
I spent the day at work on edge, checking my email constantly for an update from the nurse. Finally, I got a response, “Please continue the Gonal-f 225 IU and microdose leuprolide 20 units twice daily (no changes). Return on Saturday for monitoring between 7:15 – 8:15 AM.”
What about my estrogen?? That is so important to know if I should prepare for the worst or get my hopes up. I was in a meeting and I wrote back. I got another response, “Your estrogen was 24 today. We are hoping it will increase by your next visit on Saturday.” I felt like an anvil was slowly lowered inside of me crushing out all the light. I texted my husband the news and he wrote back, “Fuck. Better this than a failed IVF. Don’t worry.”
Immediately I responded, “No this isn’t better. Failed IVF means we can get eggs, we can try.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about failed vs cancelled IVF. Mine isn’t cancelled as of now, but it looks likely, and I’ve never had a failed IVF as this is my first cycle. I can’t say that one is worse. I can only say that a failed IVF cycle would ALSO be horrible. I won’t say, “At least you can get eggs and try to get pregnant, I can’t.” It reminds me of when in a former online “support” group, some of the women who’d never have a positive pregnancy test would say to women with pregnancy loss, “At least you can get pregnant.” Huh? No. I wish I’d never had these losses and they were horrific. But not getting pregnant in years and years of actively trying and with intervention, etc. Yeah that’s ALSO horrible.
So, I am not going to claim this is worse than a failed IVF. All I can say is that I wish we could get to an egg retrieval because that would give me more hope.
I had to leave work and get a mocha latte. Yup, caffeine, chocolate, and milk. Oh well. I cried in the bathroom at work. I cried on the drive home. I cried while I gave myself my shots after work. My husband came home as early as he could to take me for ice cream. While standing in line for ice cream, my injection sites on my stomach started hurting. Wtf? I cried on the way home from ice cream and then I cried a whole bunch at home, too.
I brought up the question to my husband again, “What if our baby is not from my egg?” And he said, “I will be angry for a long time. Let’s keep doing IVF as much as we can to get your eggs. Let’s not talk about donor egg yet.” Frustrated, I explained to him that I need him to be able to talk about it with me. I need to have honest discussions. I need to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I want to use my own eggs, too, of course, but in dark moments I need to be able to say to myself, “Even if this doesn’t work, I will still have a baby.” Because I need to have a baby. I yearn to be pregnant as much as I yearn for a baby. I want pregnancy so badly. I told him, “I want to use my eggs, too, but more than that, I want to be a mother, and I want to be pregnant.”
He admitted to me that he said what he said to “motivate” me to not give up on my eggs. I told him how horrible an idea that was and it was just making me feel trapped. He also told me that he’s been talking to a woman on the train home every day who had 9 or 10 failed cycles and now has twins conceived via donor eggs, and they are a blessing to her and she’s happy, and that her husband had a difficult time with it at first but the moment his children were born he was never happier in his life. Okay, then. I am glad he’s been talking to her and I wish I knew that but I also wish he would be more open about discussing all our options up front, not as they become “last resorts.” I need my backup plans. If we conceive via donor egg, I don’t want it to be a sad choice we are forced to make, I want it to be a good decision we are excited to make.
After my scan on Saturday, if these follicles haven’t grown, I’m quitting acupuncture at least for now. It’s obviously doing nothing and at $100 a week for six months, we could have finished decorating the house and not be told that after losing 40 pounds I look like I “lost a little bit.”