I started writing this post on June 22 but have not come back to complete it until now…
I FINALLY had my follow up appointment – for my March cycle. Yes, you read that correctly. As previously mentioned, my clinic does not reach out to you after a cycle; therefore, it has always been up to me to call them when I am ready. This time it took a little longer for me to reach out and give them a call. When I did, the receptionist asked me if I really needed an appointment or if I could just email her the questions that I had for the Doctor and she would review them with my RE and get back to me. So that’s what I did. I had quite an involved list of questions because, you see, we only have 3 embryos left. Three tries and that’s it as far as I can see. Even if we could as our friend (and egg donor) to go through the process again, we couldn’t afford it; and honestly, I’m not sure if she’d even be willing.
So I sent her the email with our list of questions. It took her a number of days to get back to me, just to have her leave me a voicemail telling me that I indeed need an appointment, she offered me a date (which obviously did NOT work within my schedule as I was out of town speaking at a conference), and proceeded to tell me that she hopes that date works for me as my RE is about to go on a month long vacation and fitting in an appointment right now is difficult. Excuse me?! It wouldn’t have been so difficult if you had booked me an appointment three weeks ago when I had originally asked for one!! I informed her that I would not be able to make the appointment she gave me but she was able to re-book it for the following week; which, happened to be yesterday.
My anxiety began creeping in a week leading up to the appointment. Not that I felt I had anything to worry about, just that it was bringing everything back to reality – you see, I had been sticking my head in the sand since March and had ignored the whole process. Now it was time to face it all over again. Yesterday morning, I woke up at 5:30am and was on the road by 6:15am to make the drive to my clinic for 9am. I really don’t like being late so I gave myself just shy of 3hrs to make the 1h40m drive. Yeah, I’m crazy like that, plus I knew I would be facing some big city rush hour traffic as well so it allowed me for some slowdowns. Well, let me tell you – I was fifteen minutes late for my 9am appointment because of all the traffic/accidents on the way. Cue the stress and anxiety. As my clinic is downtown, I also take the subway system part of the way so that I only have to face the highway craziness, not the downtown drivers as well. Being late meant that I had to RUN the 5 blocks from the subway station to my clinic; and, let me just say – I sweat on a cool day, sitting still…let alone on a high humidity sunny day, running 5 blocks. It was not a pretty sight.
My appointment didn’t get much better from there. Thankfully, I love my RE, he has always been amazing and comforting with everything that we have faced. I apologized to him for being late and his response was “I think we have a long enough relationship for you to be late once!” I appreciated the sentiment but immediately we jumped straight into the deep end of our conversation. He started by telling me that if money weren’t an issue, ideally he would move to discussing surrogacy as this would be the easiest solution for us bringing a healthy baby into this world.
Have you, dear reader of this blog, ever fallen on your back and had the wind knocked out of you? Well, that’s how it felt.
He immediately clarified that he was not giving up on me, nor would he ever do so; however, it made things very clear as to where his thoughts stand and the likelihood of us ever being successful. Three embryos. That’s it, that’s all we have to work with.
My RE had printed out my list of questions I had sent ahead and went through each point one by one, explaining why we should or shouldn’t try each item. We discussed a number of different medications and have settled on adding in a blood flow medication closer to transfer, in addition to a high dose of ibuprofen and an extra shot of PIO to reduce my uterus from cramping at the time of transfer. We will continue to do the Estrace tablets and patches, as well as the POI injections, and aspirin. He mentioned Viagra again but my last cycle was my most successful lining thickness and we didn’t use the Viagra so he let me off the hook for that one! It’s probably the worst for me, symptom-wise, so it’s best if I don’t have to take it. We will also complete Matris testing again prior to transfer to check the quality of my lining.
He brought up the possibility of doing ERA testing (Endometrial Receptivity) which I’m a bit hesitant to do at this time. He doesn’t think it’s necessary at this point, stating that if we only had one or two embryos he might be more apt to push it. We talked about how our last cycle may have just been a byproduct of statistics; something I had wondered about all along. My lining had been the thickest they had seen it, the embryo looked beautiful, transfer went off without a hitch; yet for some reason our pregnancy test was negative. In my heart I believe it’s because of statistics. Each of our previous cycles had resulted in at least a positive pregnancy test (even if we haven’t made it further than that…) so what were the chances of another positive test when only 60% of transfers work in the first place. I’m also hesitant to complete the ERA testing because of the cost. The test itself is $1075 to have done PLUS the cost of a cycle’s worth of medication – all to wind up not completing a transfer. Then, if my endometrium isn’t receptive, would I not have to repeat the process again, have another biopsy, spend all the money just to confirm that my endometrium IS receptive on whichever day they think it is?! We just don’t have the money for this right now, just going through with another FET cycle will be pushing our limits right now, so to me, at this stage, it would feel like throwing away money that we don’t have.
So as things stand, we are hoping to go ahead with a cycle starting in September. We’ve taken the summer to just enjoy ourselves, and each other, without the added stress. I think this is the best option for us right now as summer always helps me to refill my happy-meter. I’m nervous about starting another cycle, yet itching to get going. Being in this holding pattern is an odd feeling because part of me feels like we’re wasting time, even though I know it’s what is best for us.
Hope everyone has been enjoying their summer so far!