Looking back, looking ahead
After taking two months off from reproductive medicine, I was back again. My husband and I had discussed it extensively, and not only were we ready to get back in the game, but he was ready to try IVF...with the stipulation that we freeze no embryos. Dr. SF was a little perplexed by this ("Usually Catholic patients want to freeze everything") but was game. Normally with a patient like me, he said, he would start with 200 IU Follistim, aiming to get about 25 eggs, maybe 10 of which would fertilize and 5 of which would make it to blastocyst--we'd transfer the best one and freeze the rest. But if we wanted to minimize the number of extra embryos produced, we could try a minimal stim cycle as we'd discussed previously, where we'd start with letrozole, then juice it with Follistim (150 IU, I wrote down in my notes). Ganirelix and Menopur would be involved somehow but I'm not quite clear on how.
Dr. SF warned that doing it this way would greatly reduce the odds of success, particularly since we're only doing single-embryo transfer--ironically, in the waiting room the day of my appointment they had on display stacks of copies of an article co-authored by the clinic director about how minimal stimulation cycles have success rates that are "disappointingly low" (8%!). But since I have insurance coverage for three fresh cycles, he's willing to give it a try with one cycle, and then we could reassess if it doesn't work. (Or if, for example, we discover that despite my generally good response to stim, my eggs are actually crap and don't fertilize or my embryos don't grow fast enough.) It's just a matter of getting the right egg, he thinks, since we have no reason to believe that anything else is malfunctioning.
But first, I wanted to try one more IUI...a Hail Mary cycle, I called it. Just one more, one last shot at the "easy" way, and one more to ease back in before leaping into IVF. This was all going on the last week of August. I didn't blog about any of it at the time because...I don't know, I was embarrassed about keeping on doing the same thing and expecting a different result? (I mean, come on, EIGHT IUIs? Who does that?) And, truthfully, I had a tiny bit of hope that I could just surprise you guys one day and say, hey, guess what news I have?
It was not to be. I got my period last Wednesday. The next day I got on a plane to fly cross-country to be in the wedding of my best friend from high school. Who is 12 weeks pregnant. By accident--she was actually on the pill when she conceived. The phone call when she told me the news was hard, I won't lie, even though I can hardly resent someone who has the good fortune of getting pregnant accidentally at 38. I just wish she hadn't said quite so many times how not-ready she was and how terrible the timing was.
I also wish I had remembered to call my clinic and let them know I had gotten my period before I left, so I wouldn't have gotten multiple phone messages over the weekend wondering if I'd gotten my period or if I'd like to come in for a pregnancy test.
Anyway, I'm going to call this week to set up our final consultation before we begin in earnest. I'm thinking we'll aim for a mid-November transfer, which will align well with my work schedule. I wish it could be easier, but since it seems like that's not meant to be, we'll tough out the hard way.