Monday, May 25, 2009

A Whole New World

I’ve just spent a quiet weekend accepting the fact that I am infertile. You’d think by my third attempt at IVF I would have come to terms with that right?


Let me back up a minute.

Before this weekend if you had asked me to characterize my infertility I would have said this. “We have some male factor infertility problems that probably could be overcome naturally given enough time and persistence, but due to my husband’s age (40) we are going to do IVF. We realize IVF may not work the first time as anyone can have bad luck, but eventually it will work. Then we will have our only child or hopefully twins.”

Bottom Line: I’m not the problem. He’s the problem and in the grand scheme of things his problem is not that bad. We will overcome!

I believed this even though my last FSH test results were 14. I believed this even though my AFC was 8 at my baseline. I believed this until my monitoring appointment on Friday; two follicles on my right ovary and six follicles on my left. Mentally I started subtracting two for immaturity, two for non-fertilization, two for not dividing, and suddenly I realized that I might end up with nothing to transfer.

How did I get here? Why was my perception so different from reality? Well, for one thing I have always had very regular periods. I have never failed an ovulation test. Then there was the pregnancy (and subsequent miscarriage) after four months of trying which seemed like a long time at the time, but was quick in retrospect. My FSH in June was 7. My first IVF cycle was cancelled for overstimulation. (My current RE thinks this was a misdiagnosis.) I thought I was more than fertile. I thought we just had an egg meets sperm problem.

I can't wrap my head around the change in my ovarian landscape this cycle, but maybe it isn't really a change. Maybe the problems have always been there. I have always had low inhibin B results, but my first RE never raised it as a cause for concern so I dismissed it. Maybe my pride wouldn't let me admit that I might be part of the problem.

There have been some tears this weekend as I have adjusted my expectations for this IVF cycle and beyond. I started this whole IVF thing thinking I would have lots of eggs, leading to lots of embryos which I would donate to all the truly infertile couples of the world once I gave birth.

Now I’m hoping that I will have something to transfer, something that will implant so that I don’t have to face the really big questions. Is it worth doing IVF again if my ovaries are failing? Should I move on to donor eggs? Should I move on to adoption? Should I quit? I have never seriously entertained those questions before. This is the first time I have seriously considered that this whole thing might not end up with a baby.

I feel like infertility is a parasite in my life. It just keeps taking and taking and taking…

I am incredibly nervous for my monitoring appointment tomorrow. Just once it would be nice to leave an RE's office without tears in my eyes.


Nic said...

I am so sorry that you both have problems. I think I am the only one with IF problems but DH is yet to have his SA. I guess what I am trying to say is that we never quite know what problems we will come across. Do not give up, there are still options, even if it means moving to plan B, or C, or D! Really hope it all works out for you.

Anonymous said...

Oh Megan, I know exactly how you feel. I knew we had male factor problems, but somehow, it took me almost a year of miscarriages to fully wrap my head around the fact that my eggs were too damned old, as well.

I mean, my mom was almost 60 before she hit menopause! I'm healthy, always have been! I look and act young for my age! Doesn't that count for anything?!?

Apparently not. IF keeps coming back to "Damn, that's some crappy luck you've got going there."

But, at the same time, once I fully accepted that my eggs were the culprits in our post egg-meets-sperm issues, it got much easier to look at other options objectively. Self-knowledge is a good thing, even if it hurts like mad at first. Hang in there. It gets easier, and you do have options, even if this is the first time you're really taking a hard look at some of them.

You're in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

The infertility landscape is one of constant change...which really stinks.

I hope that all goes well for you. Hugs.

Valerie said...

Megan, my heart aches for you.

I too thought that DH sperm was the problem, but a couple of ectopics, a blighted ovum, and this last m/c at 11-weeks leads me to believe that perhaps the problem lies with me too!

Actually, accepting that I might be a contributing factor to our on-going battle with sub-fertility lessons some of the guilt that I have had about SECRETLY harboring anger towards my husband. See, most people think I'm a "saint" for not leaving the marriage early on when we were given the offical diagnosis of male-factor infertility. The truth is, I'm just too politically correct (and I do take my marriage vows seriously...obviously I got stuck with the "for worse part" with regard to child-bearing)to leave my husband. I mean...who does that? Actually, a lot of women.

So, as the other poster said so eloquently, self-reflection/daignosis does allow you to regroup and formulate a new game plan.

Wishing you an appt. w/o tears!

'Murgdan' said...

Oh honey...I so hope there will be no tears tomorrow. You are in my thoughts...I think I've cried enough for both of us in the last week.

Liz said...

Everyone has days when they hit a brick wall. Are convinced it won't happen and become afraid.

I'm not going to tell you it'll be alright because I have absolutely no idea. But I do know that you'll have good days and bad days. Days when you have no hope, and then it will creep back in.

You'll have better days, and I hope they come along soon. Take care.

the misfit said...

Sounds like your docs gave you every reason to be confused about what was going on. I'm sorry it hit you all at once. I think you might ultimately feel better looking at the whole (not always pretty) IF picture, rather than just what they're suggesting you do next - even if it's hard, I feel like trying to face whatever's out there lets me take back my life a little bit from the IF funhouse, you know?

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel. I had accepted our MF diagnosis and my RE said that was the "main" cause of our problems. But this last transfer the embryologist said it was probably my PCOS eggs that caused our low fertilization. Damn. I hope you get better news tomorrow.

Frau said...

Facing infertility at the beginning is always sort of: "Really? Really? What do we need to get past this? REALLY? We need IVF? We need IVF? Oh please don't let us need IVF."

There is a completely new layer when you realize that IVF isn't going to do squat. Suddenly that position where using IVF to get pregnant seems so nice and easy.

I always thought the infertility diagnosis was hard. I didn't realize what the new layers were going to do to me.

satto said...

I am so sorry you have to go through this. IF just gets worse and worse. It's an evil little biatch. But I hope you punch her in the face with a great monitoring appointment tomorrow.

IF Optimist, then... said...

How did you manage to write exactly how I feel too? I'm on stim day 3 and and terrified that nothing is working, we'll get canceled, we'll retrieve no good eggs, etc. But then...I can't give up hope. Not yet. I have to try. Good luck on getting that AFC up, grow grow grow.

Bluebird said...

Ah, I can see where that is a different perspective indeed. And it sucks and I'm so sorry for you.

Not the same thing, but I remember when I was dx'ed with all the clotting disorders that "they" say lead to my early-onset HELLP and losing our babies. I expected to be so, so thrilled to finally have some answers, expecially after years of "unexplained" IF. Nope. IT. SUCKED. Because now it was all on *me.* I much perfered being "unexplained" - that way I didn't have to "own" it.

((Hugs)) honey. And have you found anyone to work on those glasses? Love it :)

Hillary said...

Good luck with your appointment. Even though at my age (25), I'm not supposed to have problems, I too have been asking myself those same questions after years of just assuming our infertility was really just my husband's problem that IVF would cure. When your great (but very honest) RE tells you the reason he thinks your embryos are crap is poor/immature eggs, it's kind of a wake up call. It makes me wonder if IVF will ever work, if I even want to do it again if this cycle doesn't work, etc. Here's hoping your cycle turns out great!

Anonymous said...

Good luck at your monitoring appt tomorrow. Hoping it goes really well.

Once Upon A Time said...

Hoping for good news at your appointment tomorrow. Hang in there.

Sky's The Infinity said...

Lots of luck tomorrow...sending positive vibes your way.

Eb said...

A total ditto: I always thought I was fertile, would have no problem, then met DH and I was given the all clear and he wasn't so I thought, hey IVF here we come. Well, after number 2 ended in a mess I realized that all clear' meant all clear for a 40 yr old.
It sucks, I hate it and I hear ya. Whatever you decide to do it here's to hope.

Tiger said...

I am praying for you. Lots and lots of luck to you tomorrow.

babydust81 said...

Hi Megan,

Thanks for the nice comments and words of encouragement you have left for me. Truly appreciate it.

Sorry to read that you are currently having a difficult time. I understand how you feel. We are also diagnose with Male Factor Infertility but somehow, I just have this nagging feeling at the back of my mind that I could have contributed to out IF.

Please take care and continue to hold out positive vibes. Let's hope that the eggs will continue to grow and grow and grow.

I am crossing my fingers for you to have a better appointment tomorrow.

Paula Keller said...

It's amazing how much I can relate to your posts.

It was a hard realization to admit that I was just as much, maybe more, of the problem.

I still struggle with what to do next. It's all so draining.

That whole thing my RE says about getting pregnant being in inefficient process though... there is definitely some truth in it. I've read blogs where women have gone through just as much crap and have had a happy ending. And I've read some that changed their course too. If only we could read the future.

I'll be thinking of you and hoping your monitoring appointment goes well.

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