Saturday, May 24, 2014

With the good comes the 'Hey, wait a second!'

So last week BJ took his swimmers to the sperm equivalent of the olympic trials. It was terrible timing because in addition to barely taking a month's worth of vitamins over the last 3, it was after a vacation where he ate and drank whatever he wanted to for an entire week.  When you don't have the best history going in, all these little things can make a big difference.  So anyway, we were not really expecting a big improvement from nearly 3 years ago and our fertility clinic defaults to using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). So a sperm will be directly injected into our eggs.


Like a fine wine, BJ seems to have improved with age.  Me on the other hand...I must be milk that went bad by the age of 16... [insert a string of multiple curse words here].

Anyway, BJ's count was on the crappy side, which considering the poor timing on multiple fronts, I don't really care.  I can feed him a little more protein, nag him about his vitamins and BOOM, he's proven that can repair itself pretty fast.

His motility was better, despite him being dehydrated, but this also wasn't a big deal...again...stay hydrated.

And, finally, as we were told 3 years ago, his morphology which was 4% normal shaped (Kruger strict criteria) in 2011 bumped up to a whopping....


We were told that this was the one number that couldn't get better...and while it's still not ideal and some clinics that don't do ICSI for everybody would offer it to us and some wouldn't it's a hell of a lot closer to the normal of 15% than his 4% was 3 years ago.  

So while I cheer, it definitely hit home to me that it was definitely me, and my eggs, that are the problem.  So it's a celebratory slap in the face, I guess.  But it does make me sad to think that BJ could have married almost any other woman and probably had all the children he wanted the old-fashioned way.  I've taken that story from him.  

The last three years we were under the impression that we suffered from co-factor infertility.  We both had issues...but now we know more definitively that isn't the case. Since we have pursued the egg donation route this time, we can now more confidently go about this cycle knowing my eggs were at least the bigger issue if not the sole problem.  My little embabies fought so hard to stay alive they really pushed the envelope and didn't give us the clearest picture by failing before or after day 3 which is what tells you if it's female or male factor contributing to the embryo quality.  They always started failing on day 3.  

While Dr. Donesky, has always been pretty confident the fault lied in my eggs, there is always doubt that you are doing the wrong thing.  He felt more confident after he treated me for embryo quality and saw some improvement, but it wasn't near enough improvement to have healthy, viable babies.  But after BJ's updated results, I feel better going forward, too.

Peace, Love, Onwards and Upwards,


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Playing with Fire

As the bills begin to roll in and the appointment schedule gets narrowed down I realized our "break" from treatments is officially over.  I thought I'd be more ready to come out of the box swinging, but it feels more like walking into the lions' den.

Call me a defeatist, a pessimist, a negative Nancy, but until you've been on the other side of the phone where you get the answer to whether or not the last several months spent dieting, abstaining, praying, medicating, 15,000 dollars cash, and all your hopes and dreams not to mentions your families' hopes culminate with the answer in a single lab value that goes in the wrong direction...Until you've known the pain of simply drawing in that first breath after the words "I'm so sorry, but it looks like you are not pregnant, " or worse "Well, you are pregnant, but you are losing the baby."  You simply cannot judge.

I so desperately want to have children, yet not get my hopes up.   I want to enjoy my life the way it is, but there is definitely always an elephant in the room.  I want Emma Grace to chase a toddler.  I want my cats to have something else to loathe.  I want my parents and in-laws to be grandparents.  I want to move on with my life and on to other pursuits mainly being a mother...

We've never had much luck with fertility treatments.  We've had 47 negative outcomes and 1 positive that turned negative within days.  So it's easy to understand why I might be a little hesitant.  But as a patient of mine reminded me, that one measly positive puts us at a much better chance of carrying a pregnancy than if we'd never conceived at all.  Which is to say...I guess we better give it the old college try...

As one of the famous philosophers of our age, Alecia Moore, wrote:
Where there is desire there is gonna be a flame. Where there is a flame someone's bound to get burned. Just because it burns doesn't mean you're gonna die.  [You] gotta get up and try...
(FYI Alecia Moore is AKA Pink)

So try, BJ and I will.  We'll try something different because we aren't insane, but I can't say I have all the boundless hope and optimism I did going into our first IVF cycle.  It's more like 'Meh, we'll see.' The first step will be actually getting healthy embryos to the blastocyst stage and freezing them.  If that happens...I can relax again and enjoy the rest of my summer before the torture resumes at the end of it...but like I said, IF we get to that stage...IF...

Peace, Love, and Playing with Fire,

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Silence is Golden

So a few weeks past was National Infertility Awareness Week, and usually I blog, use the badge, and write about something they suggest we write about while crying, 'woe is me and nobody understands'. 

This year the theme was "Resolve to Know More About..." and then there were options; a.) infertility advocacy, b.) infertility as a disease, c.) family building options, etc.

So I thought about the advocacy topic actually for a from the beginning of April because I'm beginning to be an old hand at this stuff, but nothing really inspired me. I mean so far wanting to learn more about advocacy through Resolve has just resulted in getting emails asking if I can drop everything I'm doing next week and go to D.C. Well, I'm just not in a place in my life where that is plausible, practical, or possible. 

As for the other topics...believe me...I am VERY AWARE of infertility as a disease.  I live it, breathe it, feel it, manage medication for it, and am reminded by the empty bedroom next to ours every day of my life. I don't want to know anymore about it. I sure as Hell don't want to blog about it.  I want to drink Margaritas with my toes in the sand. I want to live!

Look! I'm living!
Then there was Mother's/Poor Salt on Infertile Women's Wounds Day, and I had my moments, but as I was with a group of 4 other women on a beach vacation who are mom's to some of the most adorable children you've ever seen and who could have been no more gracious to me, I got to celebrate my first Mother's Day.  Honestly, it felt a little fraudulent.  I kept apologizing to BJ for having to include me, but he kept telling me, I was and will be a mother even if it had only been for 4 days. It's seriously a hard day.  It didn't used to be, but that whole "it's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all" does not always ring true.

I used to believe everything would work out the way I wanted it to, which is to say that in vitro would work for us, because I hoped, prayed, was a good person, and therefore deserved that it would.  In that sense there was no need to be sad on Mother's Day because eventually I would be one with legit living children.  Not just pictures of cells that, while full of beautiful potential, only a mother can really appreciate. 

I'm sad on Mother's Day because I realize now that all the goodness, love, prayer, hope, fortitude, does not guarantee success.  I am sad because I could not keep the child/children that were inside me for those 4 short days alive.  I am sad because I am not sure I will ever have my own child to hold. 

I'm also very much in love with my life.  I'm in love with my husband, and I'm beginning to see the other side of this mountain.  As much as it hurts to think about life without children, it's a distinct possibility that I've started to think about everyday. 

As I blissfully gazed into the moon over the water with my husband holding me, I kept thinking 'We're going to be ok.'  We are so small and the world is so beautiful. No matter what happens, the two of us are going to be ok. 

Peace, Love, and Sand in your Toes,

PS I'd like to thank our personal paparazzo, Erin, for the candid photos.