13dpiui#2

June 22, 2013 § 26 Comments

Once I started, I couldn’t easily stop. I tested again on Wednesday, and the test line on the Wondfo was even lighter, which I did not think was possible. And while that mostly answered my question about whether or not my first “positive” was the result of the trigger shot, it still left a little room for hoping. Of course, I googled “pregnancy tests lighter before getting darker” and learned that it can, in fact, happen. But then on Thursday morning, it was gone completely. No line. So, going into my beta was a bit heartbreaking. I knew it would be negative. And it was.

I’m a little bit ashamed of myself for getting so worked up. I should have known better. Part of me feels embarrassed about showing you all my raw, unfounded excitement based on nothing more than a mixture of intense hope and stronger than ever progesterone supplement symptoms. I typically don’t type things out in real time, especially when these things are super emotionally charged. I craft my posts after the emotional intensity has worn off a bit, which feels safer. Less vulnerable. I feel like I let myself get pranked. In front of a large audience. For a person with a decent amount of social anxiety, that is less than ideal.

But that is that. I’m not pregnant. We’re moving on to IVF. Another IUI feels pointless. There were three eggs in there available for fertilization this last time, and The Artsy Engineer’s numbers were better than ever. The only reason we would do another IUI is if we decide to wait to see if a space opens up in the clinical trial. When I realized I was being put on a waiting list, I emailed one of the research assistants to ask if she would be able to give me some idea of when spots might open up and if I was high enough up on the list to be hopeful that I might get one. She responded briefly by saying, “Possibly till the end of July, but there are very limited spots.” That didn’t quite answer my question to the extent that I was hoping, so I emailed again asking for clarification. This time I got the following reply.

[Lentil],
We may not take candidates until end of July.
We have been running for almost 4 years and have reached capacity for the trial currently, we are not closed yet and will be taking a few more. We will be looking and re-reviewing the prescreening and screening questionnaires. When spots become available we will contact candidates.
I’m reading this to mean that it’s unlikely, right? If I were high enough up on the list to remain hopeful, wouldn’t she say so?
..
This is important because of timing. I know I should not be thinking of timing. Because it will work out regardless. But I’ve been focusing on my career for so long that it’s a hard habit to break. You guys may remember that I will likely be starting an internship next summer, sometime between June 29th and September 1st. And I will likely have to move to whichever state the hospital I’ve been placed is located. We can do IVF right now with my RE. Starting asap with birth control pills as soon as these progesterone supplement leaves my system and I get my period. Say it miraculously works on try #1. The potential baby would be due in late April or early May. This sounds ideal. It would give me more time at home with this potential baby, more time before the move. If we wait (and, again, if it miraculously works on try #1), this potential baby would be born while I’m on internship and I would very likely only be allowed to take 6 weeks off. Yikes. And I’ve also never known anyone who has had a baby during internship. Everyone does it during postdoc (which will be the two years following this internship year), but I have never even heard of somebody who knows somebody who has had a baby during internship.
.. 
I know all of this may be a moot point. There is so much that is out of my control. I might not match to an internship at all. 25% don’t. And IVF often does not work on the first try. But my doctor sounds so confident. Based on her stats with my age range and diagnosis in addition to her “clinical opinion” (based on my all of my numbers and my “strong” response to treatment), she believes we have a 60% chance. She even said she thought we had a 60-80% chance, but that saying that out loud makes her squirm, because she rarely puts people in that range and she hates to give people that much hope when there is, of course, always a chance that it simply won’t happen.
.. 
We also qualify for the shared risk program. If we pay an additional $10,000ish, this would allow us to have the “insurance” of two additional IVFs (and as many FETs as possible) during the course of a year if the first IVF fails.
..
So the options are this:
1) wait until the end of July to see if space opens up in the clinical trial
pros: much (!!) lower cost
cons: seems unlikely to happen, timing would be less ideal, i would have to travel to and from NY during a really busy time work-wise, increased stress levels from travel/working from elsewhere, the clinic has a lower success rate than my clinic at home
2) move forward with IVF with my RE using the simple pay-as-you-go method
pros: it might work the first time, less stress, better timing
cons: it might not work the first time, $20,ooo is very expensive, FET costs around $4,000
3) move forward with IVF using the shared risk plan
pros: three IVFs plus as many FETs as possible better freaking work, so i would venture to say this will likely get us pregnant
cons: $30,000 is holyfuckingshitoutofcontrol expensive and what if it works the first time and we feel like we just gambled away an additional 10 grand
So this is where we are. The plan is to choose one of these three in the next few days. Eeeep.
Anyone want to make this decision for me? I struggle with deciding what to order off of the menu when we go out for dinner. In fact, I usually convince the Artsy Engineer to order one of the two things I want and share it with me, so I get both and I never actually even have to come to a decision. How on earth are we going to figure this one out?

Insight fail, data, and the next steps

April 29, 2013 § 16 Comments

I like to think that I’m pretty insightful. When I start getting salty with the Artsy Engineer for no apparent reason or weepy at commercials, I’ve usually determined the etiology of the distress in no time. But I’ve been avoiding this space for the last few weeks, and, while I knew I was doing it, I couldn’t really put my finger on why.

And then Vanessa nailed it. And I was like, YES. Now I get it.

There was this barrage of good news among us, and I was riding on that wave. Whoohooo! Everything is good and golden and bubbly rainbows and we’ll all be pregnant in no time and isn’t life grand? And then BAM. Several of my favorite bloggy friends miscarried. And there were failed IVFs. And then I think what happened is that I promptly put my fingers in my ears and started singing “LALALALALALALALA” on the inside, as loudly as you can do something like that silently.

It was fairly easy to ignore all of you. (Not that I didn’t read. I still read. I just didn’t have it in me to participate.) I have a big deadline to meet (a first draft of the literature review portion of my dissertation MUST be in to my advisor in 7 days) and a trip to plan (sort of). But now that it’s been a few weeks, my strong desire to avoidavoidavoid and self-protectprotectprotect has lessened. And now I feel like a shitty friend who couldn’t stand the heat.

I hope it was (but maybe it wasn’t) a coincidence that it happened at the same time as Infertility Awareness Week, which is now over. Nothing like learning that you will not get pregnant via intercourse coupled with a string of bad results amongst you, my friends, to seal the nail in the infertility coffin. I belong here. And now I know. And I’m upset with myself for “missing” awareness week, because I debated for the last month about how I was going to participate. And then I just dropped the ball.

So, while I go ahead and sit with that (I was raised Catholic; guilt is a fairly comfortable feeling for me), I’ll give you a small/uneventful update about my ever empty ute.

It’ll be quick.

Status?

Still empty.

That’s all you really need to know, I suppose. But if you want more, here goes. Letrozole cycle number three resulted in a negative beta this past Wednesday. I knew it would. In fact, I stopped the progesterone a day early by myself. It just wasn’t going to happen.

We’re going to move on to IUI now. But, truth be told, I’m feeling pretty hopeless about it. See, I’m a stats woman. When I was a kid, I was terrified for years that someone was going to break into my house and murder everyone in my family except me. No amount of reassurance ever resulted in alleviation of this fear until it finally occurred to my mother than she was dealing with the child of two scientists, here, and that maybe she ought to throw some data at her. So at 8 years old, after being terrified for 4 years that my family would be murdered while I slept (I was never worried about myself, just everyone else), I finally chilled the fuck out after learning how few people are actually murdered, the likelihood that any member of my family would be one of them, and the percentage of those who are murdered that are either drug-related or killed by family members or people close to them. And then I was cool. Because no one in my family was going to kill anyone else. And no one did any drugs. And that was that. My odds of not becoming a child of murdered parents were good.

All of that is to say that when I am faced with scary or overwhelming things, I now go straight to the primary source. I read peer-reviewed research articles, and I make my own mind up about the conclusions. And as a result, I believe that IUI ain’t gonna do a damn thing for me. Is it possible? Sure. But it isn’t likely. That being said, I feel like I need to do a couple of them before I can justify moving on to something more invasive and more expensive.

I don’t want to bother with 3 cycles of regular old letrozole+trigger+IUIs. It just seems like a waste of time. But we’re not quite ready for IVF (although we’re probably close), and I don’t want to pay out the wazoo for injectables if I’m doing something that is about as likely to result in pregnancy as a blow job. While doing my lit review, I came across some recent research on an extended letrozole protocol. There are several recent studies that suggest that an extended protocol (CD1-10) is more effective than the standard CD3-7 protocol. For example, in one study, the extended regimen resulted in an average of three follicles greater than 18mm versus 1.8 in the short regimen. Pregnancy rates were significantly greater in the long regimen, as well (up to 18% for couples with unexplained infertility), and there was no significant difference between groups in thickness of the endometrial lining. Rate of multiples was about what it is with Clomid, so not too high.

I have no idea if this extended regimen has made the jump over from science to practice yet, but I called the RE’s office on Friday afternoon to ask if she was familiar with it. Trusty Dr. H was out for the weekend already, but the nurse sounded interested. She said that it definitely wasn’t anything Dr. H had ever done at the clinic, but she also didn’t shoot it down. She said she would put a note with several of the references I provided on Dr. H’s desk so she would see it first thing Monday morning. It is now Monday morning, and I have my baseline ultrasound at 10, so maybe I can argue my case there, too. It’s obviously too late to do it this cycle, as today is already CD4. But maybe I’ll have a shot at it for the next round.

Go data!

Not negative but not positive either

February 25, 2013 § 17 Comments

First of all, I am floored by all of your thoughtful comments on my last post. Truthfully, I didn’t realize how many people both read this and care. You all are amazing.

Yesterday was a bad day. And, ya know, this morning didn’t start out so great either. First, the car in front of me getting onto the ramp headed toward the highway plowed over a bunny who was just sitting tharn in the middle of the road. Right in front of my face. And, don’t say he didn’t see it. He saw the bunny. It was in the middle of the freaking road. And it wasn’t moving. And there were no other cars around. This jackass just chose to not slow down to allow it to get out of the way. Admittedly, this kind of thing probably bothers me more than it should. Forgive me. And then, I somehow just forgot to get off at my exit for the hospital this morning. So, not the best entry into Monday.

But, as the day wore on, my mood improved. The Artsy Engineer called me around 10 to tell me that, whatever the results of this morning’s beta, he is 100% on board with moving forward with treatment. He said that he was having a rough day yesterday, too. He was anxious about money and work. And the prospect of another failed cycle. If I’m allowed to feel shitty and hopeless at the very end of the 2ww, he certainly is, too.

Weird thing. So, a couple of days ago I had really swollen boobs. It lasted for two days. I allowed myself to get a little excited, but I figured it was mostly the progesterone talking. Then, yesterday, the swelling went down. They were still tender, just not as big. I think this is part of what sent me into a tizzy.

But maybe it makes sense.

I went in at 7:45 for the beta, and I got the call back around 11.

In the words of the nurse on the other end of the line (my favorite nurse, by the way), the beta results were not quite negative, but they weren’t positive either. Let me explain. At my clinic, a “negative beta” is below 1. (I’ve always read that the number is 5, but my RE explained to me that their tests are really, really sensitive and can detect trace amounts of hCG that are in the blood stream even before implantation.) My number was a 2. The nurse explained that we clearly achieved fertilization but that it didn’t get much farther than that – it probably never made it’s way out of the tube.

Major bummer.

Of course, we are disappointed.

But, I actually don’t feel nearly as crushed as I thought I would feel. I felt momentarily upset, but then it quickly went away. We achieved conception. Step two may have been a bust, but step one worked. I know the stats. 50% (or up to 70% depending on you who you talk to) of all fertilized eggs end up this way.

I guess this just wasn’t the right combination.

Thanks for all of your support, friends.

On to round 2.

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