End of the line?

So at my last meeting with Dr. Fino @ NYU, I asked her to go forward with re-testing our embryos using the new NGS technology.  I called and spoke to a nurse during the week who told me that they hadn’t started the testing and that I needed to notify (and pay) the lab prior to starting the testing.  This sounded weird since at my last appointment, she seemed to indicate that she was going to go forward with the testing.  Anyway, I didn’t have a chance to call the lab, and today I got their machine, so I decided to reach out to Dr. Fino again and see what was going on.  It turns out, she had ordered the testing and just got back the results.  Apparently, the embryo we transferred last October 2014, was in fact normal, but our remaining embryo that we were going to use for an FET cycle has mosaicism. This means that we have no more embryos left for transfer.  So out of 17 eggs retrieved in May 2014, we had one normal?  I know it only takes one, but those are some sucky stats.  She told me that we could go ahead with a transfer and that mosaics will usually not lead to a pregnancy, but honestly, I would not want to transfer knowing there may be something wrong.  The only real option is to cycle.  AGAIN.  And honestly, given that my cycle a year and a half ago resulted in one normal embryo, I don’t know what we’d end up with now.  I am two weeks from turning forty.  I’d have to do everything possible to get good eggs, do another lap.  We’d probably go with Dr. Braverman since NYU pretty much has no idea why I’m failing, in which case most everything would be out of pocket, except probably the laparoscopy.

I don’t really know how I feel about this.  On the one hand, I did not have much hope for this transfer.  Correction- I had all the hope in the world for this transfer, but even with that, I think in my heart I knew it wouldn’t work.  On the other hand, it’s hard to know that the last chance you thought you had, no longer exists.  I was pretty numb when she told me.  I think I’m done crying over infertility.  I’ve gotten used to getting shitty news and this was more of the same.  I called hubby at work to tell him what was going on and he got pretty upset.  More upset than I thought he would. He said it’s one thing to know you have one last shot and another to be told, your last shot was a year ago.  This really sucks balls.  I am so tired of this.  I’m really sick of this process and sick of getting nowhere.  I really feel none of these Drs. know what’s going on.  Or maybe I just don’t want to hear it?  Maybe Dr. Sher was right and our only option is a gestational surrogate.  But we already said we would not go that route.  Or do we believe Dr. Braverman and spend 30k or whatever it is going down his rabbit hole.  I feel like it’s all such a scam.  In my business, all I get is notice after notice about compliance with the Affordable Care Act, but where is my fertility coverage?  Why do financial considerations have to enter my decision making process about trying for a child, but contraception and abortion and whatever else is covered?  Because you know what?  I think if it weren’t for the financial cost of a cycle with Braverman, I think we’d do it.  I would say let’s go for it.  But when do you say when?  When is enough enough? Maybe we should have another consult with Braverman and see what the actual cost would be and go from there.  Of course whatever they tell you, I’ve learned to double since they leave out a world of testing and labs and whatever else that gets added on top.  Maybe I’m just using the money as an excuse.  Maybe if I really wanted a child, this would not be a consideration.  Maybe this is just not meant to be.  Maybe I want to spend our time and resources doing something, anything, else.  Maybe I felt so strange in Dr. Fino’s office because I no longer belong there.  Perhaps our journey is over.  I am tired.  I am just tired of it all. I just want to get back to our life pre-infertility.  I am not even angry anymore.  I feel like, it is what it is, and we need to move on.

 

 

 

A little bit of Charleston

Ooh, forgot to mention the lovely wedding we went to in Charleston.  It was a very casual low key affair but the couple was so in love.  I love it when two great people who truly deserve each other find each other.  The groom is a friend of the hubby’s and the groom was actually diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year. So they are going to have his prostate removed and they are trying like mad to get pregnant beforehand.  They will also bank sperm so they can try later as well.  So we actually had dinner with the bride and groom, and another couple during the wedding weekend and the bride brought up their new fertility journey.  It is crazy how infertility has been thrust upon them out of nowhere.  Anyway, so immediately the other girl we were with (who is lovely btw), a mother of two small children, chimes in with loads of advice on how to get pregnant, even though she got pregnant almost immediately and their second was an accident!  Such gems as, “don’t do it everyday”… and “most women ovulate on day 10 so make sure you do it then.”  Sigh.  I didn’t want to contradict her as some type of resident infertility expert but what the hell?  Anyway, I just asked her if she was using an OPK so that she can at least make sure she’s ovulating.  I figured I’d have hubby tell the groom that even though our journey has been different, we’d be happy to help in any way we can.

We didn’t get to see very much of Charleston itself, so we’d love to go back, but what we did see was beautiful.  Lovely clean streets (sharp contrast to NY lol) adorable restaurants and bars and the food was amazing!  More bacon? More bourbon? Yes and yes!  We were exhausted when we got home Sunday night and the hubby had to fly out again on a work trip Monday morning.  I am so looking forward to Thanksgiving week as he is taking some well deserved time off.  Huzzah!

FET Update

So I ended up seeing my NYU doc last week.  Let me say, I was a little under the weather, so I wasn’t all there, but seriously walking into that room and looking at all those instruments felt so weird.  I definitely had thoughts of, “what the heck am i doing here again?” going through my head.  She did a saline ultrasound and found a polyp.  She said that if we were trying naturally that she wouldn’t give it a second thought, but since this was our last embryo, she’d want to cover all the bases.  OK, so we scheduled a hysteroscopy for the following week to remove the polyp.  She said that I would probably need to take estrogen after.  So already two things we didn’t want.  A procedure and drugs.  I ran up the block to do the pre testing bloodwork so I wouldn’t have to come back into the city before the hysteroscopy.  Then I headed over to banana republic to find a dress for a wedding we had coming up that weekend in Charleston.  Luckily I found something!  I hate shopping when my weight isn’t where I want it to be, but I was lucky enough to find a dress that fit.

Anyhoo, when talking to the hubby that night, we decided I would cancel the hysteroscopy.  It just wasn’t what we wanted.  We want to do a non-medicated, non-invasive transfer to the extent possible and this hysteroscopy did not seem necessary.  First off, the Dr. said that if we were trying naturally she wouldn’t tell us to remove it.  So then what are the odds that it will interfere with implantation? But second of all, I had a hysteroscopy last year, they removed all polyps, I even had the balloon in for a few days after to avoid scarring and you know what?  The transfer that followed was still a failure.  So as far as I’m concerned, these little issues are not the reason why we’re not getting pregnant.

There’s also another reason we cancelled the hysteroscopy. We don’t know if our remaining embryo is “normal.”  Although it was a “normal” PGD tested embryo, we want to have it retested using NGS, given that a friend had transferred PGD “normal” embryos at NYU and she ended up with chemical pregnancies after which, they retested using NGS and found them to not be normal.  So what is the point of me having a polyp removed unless we know that our embryo is ok to transfer?  So we are going to wait for those results before proceeding.

In other news, the bloodwork she did on me that day showed that my thyroid is well within normal range.  This is great news because the lupron, estrogen patches and the BCP destroyed my body’s own hormonal function and my thyroid was really sluggish to the point I was on thyroid medication.  I am glad after these many months that I’m back to normal on that front.  That’s another reason I want to avoid all drugs this time around.  I get it, I may have to do progesterone, and I would take whatever was necessary for us to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy, but if I’m taking estrogen and BCPs just to make their timing easier and require less monitoring, I will suck it up and just go to the city for monitoring every morning.  That is a no brainer trade off for me.

 

 

 

Under a bit of a black cloud

I woke up kind of sad this morning.  Sort of sad and agitated at the same time and I’m not really sure why.  Maybe because hubby left yesterday for a work trip and I miss him.  I’m not sure. I just sort of felt like crying.  And it’s the same kind of sad as when we were full into infertility treatments and I’d have the easy out of saying it’s the drugs.  But I’m not on anything. Well technically I’m still on the prednisone for my bronchitis but I don’t think that makes you sad.  It’s really odd because I felt totally fine yesterday.

Last night I mentioned to my mom that we were going to do another transfer and honestly before I even got the words out, I regretted saying anything.  My mom is great.  She is kind and loving and would do anything for us. But at the same time, she is much like everyone else when it comes to infertility.  Rather than ask a couple of questions and say good luck or let me know if you need anything, she becomes chock full of advice.  She started with “you should prepare yourself mentally and physically.”  I was immediately annoyed.  When I asked what she meant, she said, “well, you’ve gained a little weight recently…”  Really?  We have been living with my parents for months. She knows I’ve been trying to diet.  Who tells someone who is actively dieting, hey you should think about losing weight?  I am trying to lose weight but since you’re mentioning it, I guess it’s not working?  I guess I can’t get pregnant because I’m 160 lbs?  It’s just annoying.  And she knows the stress I’m under with work and with trying to finish our home construction, so how would you like me to prepare myself mentally?  And then she asked if we’ve thought about adoption.  I’m telling you about a transfer, why are you jumping to other options?  Maybe my sadness is stemming from that.  I feel like I can’t really share this stuff with my parents without receiving unsolicited advice.  Or maybe I’m sad because I can’t receive advice without taking it as criticism.

I don’t know, I think that nothing she said was actually bad.  It’s just that anything anyone says to me about infertility comes off as “wrong” to me.  It comes off as advice or as if you know more than infertility and my treatments than I do, even though I’ve been in the midst of it for 2 1/2 years.  And then if someone says nothing, I find it rude too. Like hey, you know what I’m going through, it would be nice if you asked how I’m doing.  A simple “how is all that going” would suffice.  Then I could say as much as I want.  Eh, I think I am just hyper sensitive about this and view any comment as criticism.  I can’t think it’s just everyone else, it must be me too in some way.  Maybe I should give people more of a pass.  I don’t know what the right thing is to say, so how can they possibly know?

Still holding on

So hubby and I had a fairly productive weekend on the home reno front.  Saturday we were out all morning at the stone yard in New Jersey looking at marble slabs for our fireplace. The plan is to do stone from top to bottom for a more modern look.  So we picked out some slabs which are hopefully in our price range- I’ll have to call the fabricator later to find out.  I’m sort of on the fence about this though. If we do stone top to bottom, we won’t have a mantel.  Where does one hang their Christmas stockings without a mantel?  I’m starting to think maybe we ditch the stone and instead just do a mantel with tv over the fireplace.  The issue with that is, it’s not all that much less expensive but it makes much less of a statement.  And we’ve really been looking towards resale as we go through this process.  Other than that, we agreed on some pretty lighting but don’t know where to put it yet lol.  Does anyone care about home renovations and design choices?  I feel like all my friends and family are sick of me talking about it and of course I’ve gotten sick of them asking me when my renovation is going to be done.  But huzzah! I can breathe again.  Thank you prednisone and zithromax.

This morning we had a fairly productive call with Dr. Fino.  It looks like barring any unforseen circumstances, we will have a cycle start right before Thanksgiving.    She is also ok with me having an unmedicated FET, ie, no BCPs or estrogen.  I am fine with doing progesterone, but even that she said I can do vaginally rather than the injections.  I’ll just need to make sure my thyroid is in order since I stopped my thyroid meds after we found out our cycle with Dr. Sher back in March would have to be cancelled, so we need to check levels to make sure they are optimal not only for pregnancy but for early fetal development.  When we did our last IVF in October of 2014 I was reading a lot about the effect of thyroid levels on a fetus and there is a theory that lower thyroid levels contribute to autism and developmental issues. We also discussed re-testing the embryo we already transferred and our one remaining.  We had PGD done on them back in May of 2014 but a friend of mine who was cycling at NYU and also had PGD on her embryos had chemical pregnancies and as a result, they retested their embryos and found abnormalities.  They are using a new technology called NGS now- which coincidentally is what Dr. Sher uses.  As a side note, I like how all the “mainstream” clinics poo poo Dr. Sher until his methods are proven superior and then everyone jumps on board.  Oooh, I will have to bring up the issue of my lining.  Because I have endometriosis, I get a beastly lining.  In the past Docs have said a very thick lining is not really an issue, but I want to confirm that.  So I have an appointment tomorrow for an ultrasound and blood tests.  I am feeling pensive excitement.  God willing, the water will be back on at my parents house because there is no way I’m going in for an ultrasound without having showered.  Why do we have no water you ask? Because the lovely city of NY rang our bell in August to inform us that our meter was broken and I’m guessing when they came to correct that they screwed something up because we practically had a flood in the garage on Sunday morning.  My dad said it had to have been a slow leak that eventually broke through.  The city’s 311 system is such a joke. You basically call and log a complaint but there is no way to follow up on anything.  All you ever speak to is an operator who logs your issue.  Someone from DEP actually showed up yesterday, which I have to say I was pretty impressed by given that it was a Sunday, but he had no materials to fix the issue.  So you show up in a city van with nothing in it, to basically tell us yeah I hear you but I can’t fix anything?!  What a waste of time and resources.  He said he would send someone to fix our issue this morning but it’s after 1pm and nothing.  You can imagine how lovely it is trying to wash dishes, use the toilet, and shower sans water.  And the best part is, you can’t get through to anyone to find out what’s happening.  I called 311 again and they said they would log it in again and DEP would call us within 8 hours.  Someone called me to tell me that he got the call but it was not his Dept.  So why are you calling me?  Please route it to the right one.  Did I mention I have no water?

Anyhoo, water issue tangent aside, I started thinking about what if this FET fails?  Hubby was with me this morning on the Fino call and afterwards I asked him if he thinks we’re setting ourselves up for failure.  Like I so don’t want to be on meds, does that mean we’re not giving this transfer the best chance? Should we be on IVIG and intralipids like Dr. Braverman said?  Are we just spinning our wheels?  What if this fails? Is it truly our last one? I will be 40 at the time of transfer, are we to do another stim cycle after that? Will I even have any good eggs left if we wanted to?  I just want this to be our last try.  I want to close this chapter.  I want to move on.  I want to give this transfer everything we have, I want to put all our hopes and dreams into this one little embryo.  All our wishes, all our prayers, all our good intentions.  But if it doesn’t work, I want to be able to say enough is enough. I want to be able to admit that I don’t want to/can’t try anymore.  I know we can’t always have everything within our own timing and based on our plan, and maybe God has something else in store for us, but I do have to be realistic.  It’s unfortunate but even if we decide to keep going, nature doesn’t give us this infinite timeline within which to keep trying.  It’s weird, but I can just see myself holding a baby.  Our baby.  In fact, I am on a rocking chair, in some pajama like frock because what else would you be wearing as a new mom lol, and I’m holding our baby and stroking his?/her? hair.  And I am at peace… I feel content… things are as they should be.  As hard as infertility treatments are, it’s hard to imagine that dream never coming true.

Taking a breath

So my attempts at making an appointment at NYU were not as easy as I thought.  I called twice in the middle of work on two different days, only to be put on hold for what seemed like ages.  Like the annoying type of hold where there’s no hold music and you wonder if you’ve been disconnected, and you’re like, “hello?…  hello?”  so i hung up.  Called back again the other day and woot! finally got through to an operator who took down my message for Dr. Fino.

Operator: Are you a patient of Dr. Fino?

Me: Yep! already been through it.  Let her know I’d like to do an FET.

Operator: An FET?

Me: Please take down this exact message.  Want to do an unmedicated FET.  One embryo left.  Last chance.

Operator: Ok, well my best wishes to you.

Got back a message from Dr. Fino’s assistant that they set up a phone appointment for November 9th which is awesome!  I so love that this office, and particularly Dr. Fino, does phone call appointments without issue.  In fact, everyone I’ve met at NYU Fertility has been pretty great (except for the fact that you are literally spread eagle during your transfer while people (all drs?) are coming and going, but then again modesty has pretty much gone out the window at this point).  Dr. Fino was the first fertility doc we went to, like a month after we got married in 2013, on the recommendation of a friend who got pg on her first IVF try.  Dr. Fino was the one who told me my right fallopian tube had to go (it was a hydrosalpinx- great news at your first fertility u/s lol).  We ended up not going with her for treatment (we thought she wasn’t attentive enough) but quite frankly, based on our subsequent experiences, she’s actually much more attentive than most.  She’s actually called to check in here and there and she’s very knowledgeable.  One thing we’ve learned through this is that no matter how much you pay or what you do, no one is going to hold your hand through this and you have to be your own advocate.  So we have pretty much come full circle and are going back to her for what may very well be our final transfer.  One of the reasons we decided to go back to NYU was that our cycle there will be covered by insurance less the deductible.  Throughout treatment we’ve had some things that were covered and some that weren’t.  I think we’ve been better off than most in that at least some of our meds were covered and some procedures were covered but we are still out tens of thousands of dollars.  People get annoyed if I talk about the financial cost of infertility. I guess the thought is you shouldn’t spare any expense for your child.  But the thing is, no matter how much we pay or what we do, we may never have a child.  And I totally resent that we have to spend all this money when other people just have intercourse and get pregnant.  Is that bad? I feel like a shit saying that when we pay all this money for random crap, vacations, have spent tons of money on a home renovation.  But it’s just the way I feel.  Of course, if any of this actually worked, I’d have gladly given double and triple, but the thing is, we haven’t even had a little spark of a pregnancy.  My uterus is apparently an inhospitable bitch to our lovely little embryos.  But I will have faith that this last embryo is waiting for us, and it’s going to hold on tight.

In other news, I have bronchitis and I’m finding it hard to breathe.  This hasn’t happened to me before and I know it’s this demented nyc weather where it’s 75 degrees in november.  We went from putting on the a/c to putting on the heat to back to a/c and now i don’t dare even open a window because i don’t want any draft to make me sicker.  Last night we were looking at some lighting options with the hubby on my laptop and I guess I was trying to take deep breaths- it feels like you can’t quite fill your lungs.  And he’s like, “oh honey” and gave me a face.  And I was like “what?!”  And he goes, “your breath.”  I’m like, “omg what’s wrong with my breath?”  He said, “no, i meant your breathing.”  haha!  My dr. prescribed antibiotics and steroids. I balked at the steroid prescription and told him I’m not taking those, but when he told me the bronchitis could turn to asthma, i decided to buck up and take the prednisone.  It’s at 10mg for 10 days so i’m hoping it won’t really have any side effects.  The last thing I need is more weight gain.  Speaking of which, I’ve lost two pounds!  Hubby and I started dieting this week- he is pretty slim but has put on a few pounds that he’d like to get rid of.  It’s so much better when the two of us are dieting together.  We are using the Lose It! app which is excellent for calorie counting, but I am also counting points with Weight Watchers and I actually find WW better.  Lose It! is great if you want slow weight loss or you drop pounds easily like the hubby, but I need something stricter. For example, after last night’s dinner, I was done with my WW points, but Lose It! said I was still like 500 calories under.  Uh no.  At that rate I will never hit my goal.  So I’m doing the Lose It! app with hubby because it’s sort of social and really convenient- ie, it let’s you “share” recipes with other users that you’ve “friended.”  I put last night’s turkey meatball dinner recipe in the app and i could “share” it with the hubs so he could put in his # of servings and it told him his exact calorie count.  Easy peasy.  Tomorrow my uncle is hosting a dinner for his bday so I’ll have to be careful to stay on track.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Disappearing Act

aaargh!!!!! i was working on a nice draft updating my status but i lost it:(  i guess i will start over but just bulletpoint:)

  • we haven’t done anything with Dr. Braverman. neither of us can pinpoint exactly why but we just didn’t have confidence in him.  that’s not to say that he hasn’t helped loads of women get pregnant, we just didn’t feel he was the right fit for us, at this time.
  • i consulted with a homeopath at the advice of my sister. the homeopath oddly enough had fertility issues of her own and she was now expecting.  anyhoo, we did some guided meditation during our session which was amazing.  i cried during the meditation and i actually felt a lot of stress leave my body.  i had so much going on with work, plus fertility issues, plus we were/are in the midst of a home reno and it just felt like something heavy was just camped on my chest.  after the consult, she suggested i do things that bring more joy into my life.  talking to her made me want to start seeing a counselor to talk about all this “stuff” which I’m now looking into.  she also suggested hubby and i take a vacation.  we kept saying we wanted to plan something but for various reasons i would always say there was no time, i wasn’t feeling great, gained too much weight, about to start fertility treatments, too much $$$- but i decided to stop with the excuses. Which leads me to…
  • Mr. SFLB was traveling to Copenhagen at the end of May for work so we decided to tag on a vacation to the end of that trip!  This way we’d save the cost of his airline ticket and use his points for mine.  We decided to go to Tuscany and Florence and all I can say it was the most amazing vacation I have ever been on (other than our honeymoon:))  We relaxed, took walks, had good talks, delicious food, wine, beautiful setting.  I didn’t want to leave and I can’t wait to get back there one day.  We only took one day trip in Tuscany away from our hotel for a winery visit to Montalcino, and cheese and olive oil in Pienza.  so so good.  We picked up a bottle of wine in Montalcino that was reviewed at 100 points and is supposed to reach it’s prime in 2016.  So we plan on opening it on our anniversary next year:)  The last two days of our trip were spent in Florence running around and sight seeing.  It’s a little wacko how the internet has made me feel like I must see everything in one trip.  So to make up for dragging Mr. SFLB all over the city on day 1 of Florence, we spent day 2 doing a “best of.”  We had the “best gelato” “best pasta” “best drink” etc.  The food we enjoyed most in Florence was in a total tourist spot where we had a Bisteca- a rare cooked porterhouse for two.  yum!  Another favorite was lunch at the winery where we had pici pasta served just with pecorino cheese and black pepper and olive oil.  our first weekend back, i tried to recreate gnocchi, gelato and tiramisu.  let’s just say i’ll leave the gnocchi making to the italians lol.  but i totally want to try to recreate the pici pasta one day soon.  it was an amazing week and i couldn’t stop telling hubby how this was the most perfect vacation for us right.now.
  • the rest of our summer was fairly uneventful.  we spent a lot of time trying to advance our home reno.  we are living with my folks until it is done and it has officially been 8 months since we’ve been here!  it honestly doesn’t feel that long and i never thought we’d be here this long.  i think because Mr. SFLB has been traveling sooo much for work, our weeks are broken up and we haven’t noticed how long it’s truly been.  that also makes it difficult to make decisions because i didn’t want to make definite decisions on anything without him.  so i’d gather up all the options and then we’d go through everything when he was back which made for lots of crazy running around to see things on weekends.  but we definitely want to get back into our own place and it looks like the end is near.  we’ve decided that once painting is done, we are going to stick our mattress on the floor and just move on in lol.
  • as far as the fertility treatments, we have done nothing other than keep trying on our own.  which with Mr. SFLB’s travel, who knows if we are even doing it on the right days.  in any event, we are still not pg.  we have talked about what we want to do on the baby front going forward, if anything.  Mr. SFLB doesn’t want me to do another endo surgery (though honestly I think doing another laparascopy is about a million times easier than dealing with the evil lupron, the pill or stim injections).  but we do have one embryo left and it doesn’t sit right with us to just “leave it there.”  all that said, i will be 40 in december.  good grief.  i know some people have no issue with hitting 40 but i do not feel 40!  i already told Mr. SFLB that I want no mention of this birthday.  So anyway, i think we have decided to do a non- medicated FET before the end of the year if possible.  i’m not sure if we can do non-medicated but i just cannot handle lupron or the pill again.  they make me feel awful, but worse still, i have not lost the weight i gained from being on lupron and the pill for months last year.  it just makes me feel not myself.  like i’m in someone else’s body.  anyhoo, i’m going to set up an appointment at nyu to see when/if such a transfer would be possible.

so that’s where we are.  not much further along on the fertility front, but closer to getting back into our own home which i’m excited about.  and i’m excited about a potential FET.  it’s weird, but i do feel connected to our embryos.  probably more so since we know the sex of this one (we had PGD testing done) so I am anxious to give it a chance.