… the reproductive adventures, with a guaranteed HEA, of a thirty-something, married, Southern teen librarian with a 14-year-old's sense of humor, an awkward spirit, and a stubborn, mouthy, redheaded country boy to accompany her through life.
A week from today, it’ll all be over. I’m not sure why my clinic seems to differ from the norm, but they test two weeks from retrieval, not transfer. I’m dreading the test. It’ll be the moment when we find out that, once again, this was all for nothing. The money, the shots, the plate I hurled into the sink when Jake touched my donut. The breakdowns, the days I spent in bed, the nausea, headaches, swollen everything, will all be for naught. My stomach still sports a large green bruise and I haven’t even had a subcutaneous shot in over a week. I’m tired and sick to my stomach all of the time and my uterus keeps twinging and I’m doing my best not to convince myself that it means something it doesn’t.
I suppose I’m just that much more hopeful, this time around, since this entire cycle has gone so smoothly, compared to the first. The doctor tried to discourage me from transferring two embryos, because he seemed confident one would work. I bought a test today, so I can take it at home and emotionally prepare myself for the official news from the blood test. I’ve even planned for when I’ll take it, knowing that I’ll have to call into work over a negative result. If I wait until Tuesday, when I’ve been given the go ahead to test, I can drink little to no water and test at lunch, since I’ll telework for the rest of the day and my Netflix Party program won’t require me to be on screen. If it’s negative, I just start my program and resume the catatonic state on the couch that sums up 2020, after informing my boss that I won’t be in Wednesday, after the blood test. I’ll have until 1:00 Thursday to recover before virtual DnD with my teens and if I’m still not up for it, I can cancel.
I suppose my new rhetoric is to try my hardest not to hope for the best, while preparing for the worst. I am just so tired.
This second cycle was entirely different from the first. Despite having more than twice as many fertilized eggs, out of the same number of mature eggs, I was dreading my transfer. I cried to Jake, that this was the beginning of the end. Once I entered that doctor’s office, (#alonecuzcovid), I’d learn the number of blastocysts and all hope would be lost. I’d transfer one or two if I could, but would surely not be pregnant and would have few, if any, frozen. If the changes we made didn’t yield different results, there was little to no hope that any others would and we’d be looking at likely pointless, undoubtedly financially, physically, and emotionally exhausting reattempts. Ultimately the limited, seemingly impossible remaining options to have a family would be all that was left to us and it would all begin with that fresh transfer. What can I say? 2020 has left me a little defeated.
When I went in yesterday morning, however, the doctor informed me that he felt like he knew what had gone wrong in the first cycle, as we had much better results this time around, with five blastocysts on day five. My progesterone also measured three times higher, since we’d been doing 1.5 units, because it was fairly low on day five, last time. Jake and I had planned to transfer two embryos, in the hopes of increasing our chances, and while I was torn when the doctor told me he didn’t think it was necessary, I couldn’t actually consult with my husband, so I stuck to our mutual decision. We transferred two embryos and froze the other three. Today, the clinic called to tell me that an additional three had made it to the blastocyst stage on day six and that they all rated BB. A full half of our mature eggs and over half of our fertilized eggs, had made it to freezing quality. So, no matter what happens in the next ten days, we have six frozen embryos to use in the future.
I’m not sure what we’ll do, if I’m not pregnant. We’ve discussed perhaps waiting until July, when we’ve paid off a significant portion of the zero interest credit cards we’ve used for this cycle and our health savings accounts are again available from work, to start another cycle. Frozen transfers cost around $3,500 and if we don’t get pregnant until one of our last embryos, or at all, we’d be looking at doing another cycle as early as 35 with no pregnancy or as late as 37 with a successful attempt on one of our last embryos. While we once discussed having three or four children, at this point, we’d be thrilled with two and even happy with one, though we’d prefer our children have siblings. If we wait to do any additional transfers, and instead do another full cycle, we could get that many more healthy embryos, while I’m 33 and potentially be able to have the preferred minimum of two children that we want. While an additional IVF cycle doesn’t sound like much fun, going through it in a different pandemic climate, knowing that we’ve isolated the problem, would make it much easier.
Naturally, I hope this transfer worked and that Jake and I can rejoice over a summer baby, but after the last cycle’s devastating conclusion, I’m trying to prepare myself and formulate a plan for a similar outcome. I feel better this time, both physically and mentally. I attribute that largely to the medication I was prescribed to prevent OHSS, the fact that we’ve seen that we can have better results, so if we do have to try again, we’re looking at better odds, and my overall avoidance of Reddit. The doctor seemed more confident, though of course he won’t give me any kind of concrete percentages. I’m paranoid that I’ll personally do something to prevent implantation and the words “can I poop after embryo transfer” are officially in my search history. Maybe it will work or maybe I’ll find myself in bed for two solid days next week… but if it’s the latter, I’ll have a plan.