Category Archives: FETs (Frozen Popsicles Without The Pop)

POKEY

Recently I have found myself thinking a lot about Pokey.

Pokey was embryo number four out of four that we got through our donor egg cycle which ended up on ice, all by his lonesome. He was also a little late dividing and I suspect he is not of Best of Show quality and more than likely a bit of a mouth-breather.

When it comes to left-over frozen embryos, there are three options that families face (I say “families” since it would be only logical to assume that only patients who have already had a successful transfer would have the three options):

  • Destroy
  • Transfer
  • Donate

Now for my conundrum.

At one time, back when I was an IVF newbie, I referred to my embryos as “embies” and I experienced quite a mental fuck when my first and only FET attempt was cancelled when all three of said “embies” arrested the morning of my transfer. To help myself get over that, and because I grew up just a bit, they simply are now called Embryos.

Even though I have tried to keep myself emotionally distant from any embryos we had created since then, Pokey is something special because he has a sister who I cannot, not even for a second, imagine my life without. Even Mr. DD walked a minefield by stating, “If we hadn’t gone through all the shit, we wouldn’t have ZGirl.” Refer to this post on how I feel about that kind of talk.

It’s with knowing the potential that I find myself very opposed to destroying Pokey.

Why not transfer then, you ask?

Such a simple solution except with one minor problem: Mr. DD does NOT want to go through any more treatment, even a rather uncomplicated FET. Not only that, but he does NOT want another baby; even though the likelihood we were to get pregnant with Pokey would be a one in a million shot. However, see THIS post about what happens when you put one egg in your basket and run though a forest on five-inch heels. In other words, stranger things have happened, even though they can (and did) end badly. Very badly.

As a couple who seriously considered donor embryos, I am more than willing to donate Pokey. But would any agency want to bother with a lonely embryo, and of suspect quality? I don’t have proof that Pokey is pokey. I only remember when they called with the fertilization report on Day 2 that Pokey had fertilized late and was slower in dividing, hence “Pokey”. I should have transferred all four since even with the three good-quality embryos transferred, my pregnancy never was more than a strong singleton (thank god).

I guess that’s why if I was a betting woman, I would say that Pokey doesn’t stand a chance, even in the best of wombs. Yet, knowing this, I still am not able to consider just destroying the little slacker.

I ask you, what would YOU do if you had a sub-par, single embryo on ice that no one other than you would want and your Significant Other doesn’t want to do another cycle, much less have another baby? If you say destroy it, how do you get over the sentiments attached to it when you know how beautiful and funny and endearing that baby would be because you are raising its sibling?

(Pardon the links down memory lane. That was a whole lot more painful then I expected it to be.)

A QUESTION THAT DOESN’T NEED ANSWERING

Last night, ZGirl and I were taking a bath. We both have been struck by colds and a vapor bath provided some relief. I called for Mr. DD who held up ZGirl’s fluffy, warm towel for me as I lifted her slippery body out of the water into his arms. As he coo’ed and talked to her in the quiet of the master bath, I told him that I noticed I had started spotting today. The first sign of a cycle trying to return since I got pregnant a year ago.

Mr. DD mulled over the information for a brief second or two and then asked, “We’re not having any more kids, right? What do you want to do about birth control?”

We’re not having any more kids, right?

The words hung in the humid air while a lump built in my throat. I’m 41. My eggs are shit. His sperm is shit. I tried to blow off the words with the snarky response, “Like we  have to worry about birth control – Ha!” to which he replied, “That’s not an answer,” and walked out of the bathroom door with ZGirl curled up in his arms.

We’re not having any more kids, right?

I stretched out in the tub, the water quickly cooling, the bubbles surrounding me quietly clicking as they popped. I thought I was well-prepared for this moment, accepting that after years of ART and miscarriages, having another baby would never be an option to put on the family table to discuss. But still…

We’re not having any more kids, right?

I opened the drain to the tub and heard the water gurgle away. I watched my knees form islands of skin and bone as the water level dropped. I felt my skin cool and tighten with goosebumps as air hit the newly exposed areas of my shoulders and back. All too soon, the tub was empty and I stood up to reach for my robe hanging on the wall. In that moment I caught the reflection of my body in the mirror, and I saw the ravages of pregnancies and time staring back at me.

We’re not having any more kids, right?

I thought again of the one remaining embryo on ice, Pokey. It would probably never survive a thaw and I had no idea why they even froze it, except maybe out of pity. Four eggs retrieved, four eggs fertilized, three transfered…may as well freeze the fourth. The clinic’s symbolic attempt at hope in case none of the first three took.

We’re not having any more kids, right?

No, it’s not “right”. It just is.

Earworm: Ten Little Indians

*
WARNING: The following may be contagious and should be read only under the condition that you can obtain immediate access to a radio to eliminate the chance this Earworm may infect your head for the next 24 hours as it did in the host.


“One little, two little, three little embryos.
Four little, five little, six little embryos.
Seven little, eight little, nine little embryos.
Ten little embies fertilized.

Ten little, nine little, eight little embryos.
Seven little, six little, five little embryos.
Four little, three little, two little embryos.
One little embie planted.”

I’m Sorry…

~ Three microscopic souls became someone else’s twinkles overnight.

Three more potential babies that were not meant to be mine.

I’m sorry everyone got their Hopes up in order to buoy my sagging heart.

I will be going to the funeral today, and only Mr. DD will know that my tears were for the lives that were cut too short, not for the one who lived out long and richly.

Heavy Heart

~ Because I don’t think my nerves are raw enough, I am sipping a nice, hot cup of cappuccino in an attempt to warm the nerves long exposed to both anticipation and dread.

This morning, Mr. DD and I woke up to the little click of the TV, which is automatically set to come on at a quarter ‘till. The morning’s potential for a transfer was obviously on both our minds, but neither of us said anything. We just lay in bed holding hands and watching a few minutes of news.

I’m now at work and have been for almost 2 hours and still no word about Uni, Buck and BQ. I called the clinic about 30 minutes ago and their lab hasn’t called them with the results, but Nurse Dufus said the transfer probably won’t be today. I’m now worried that the little embies will have to endure another 24 hours in a hostile Petri-dish instead of a nice, cushy uterus.

I feel sick.

So, if the ‘trips make it that long, the transfer will be tomorrow. A sad day for me on an unrelated note. My aunt (my dad’s sister) died this weekend from complications to a fall and subsequent broken hip. I will not be able to attend the funeral which will be tomorrow, and I feel guilty for putting myself and the less than 20% chance that this will all pan out ahead of my family’s loss.

I try to brace myself up by saying there’s nothing that can be done for my aunt at this time, and my father and the last sister will be surrounded by other family and probably won’t even notice our absence. I also try to justify it by adding that I’m only trying to carry on with the family tree…but it just isn’t doing it for me.

I’m sad. I’m crying because I don’t know if the embies made it through the night. I’m sad that I’m crying for me and not for my aunt.

*********************

Edited: The clinic called and Uni, Buck and QB are still plugging away at "Code 2". Transfer is still tentative for tomorrow as Day 6 embryos. They rarely wait until Day 7 to do a transfer and Nurse Wonderful has only seen that once or twice in all the years she has been there. It’s still a distinct possibility that all three could disentegrate into Code 3, which makes them no longer viable.

C’mon babes. Hang in there!

I’m With Stupid…No, Wait, I AM Stupid

~ I commonly ask people who have expertise outside of my googlebility to explain things to me as if I was a three year old. I love the acronym K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid). However, when I ask for simplicity and get talked-down to, I get a little peevish. I don’t mean that degradation should now become the tone of our conversation.

That’s what happened this morning when the clinic called to tell me how Unibrow, Bucktooth and Beauty Queen were doing. No one coded overnight, so all three have made it to their Day 4 development in a Code 2.

OK, this is where I ask for a K.I.S.S.

Day 4 (16-32 cell/compaction) is the development the thawed embryos are now in relation to an embryo that has never been thawed. It’s usually around Day 5 (32-64 cells) that they start to go into the blastocyst stage and as such Day 5-6 FETs have a higher chance of pregnancy then Day 2-3 FETs. This I knew.

But “Code 2”? I can find nothing about Codes when it comes to embryos, just Grades. I am guessing Nurse Dufus used the wrong terminology when she told me that Unibrow, Bucktooth and Pageant Queen were all Code 2. Methinks she meant Grade 2, which is average. Grade 1 is “perfect”. And that’s exactly how she explained the codes: “It’s very rare to get Code 1 embryos as that means they are perfect. Yours are at Code 2, which is average.”

Fine. Whatever.

She then tells me they will call me tomorrow morning again to let me know what I need to do. The transfer may be then or it may be Thursday, they still don’t know. I took the opportunity to ask her about the valium for the transfer as they had not given me a script like they had before with the fresh transfer.

“Oh, you’ll get that at the hospital the day of the transfer.”

They must be on to me and my love of the valium and decided not to give me a script to fill in case I decide to fill it early and on the off-chance, to only have one left by transfer day. “Ooops, I was supposed to save them for AFTER the transfer? Oh, golly, I’m sorry I’m soooo stupid! I bet I can’t even count to 1 on my fingers. Hey, how ‘bout that, I can! What? You don’t appreciate me starting the count with *that* finger?”

Hurumph!

So even though Nurse Dufus described my little Unibrow, Bucktooth and Beauty Queen as “average”, they are perfect to me. I’m hoping my luck will change just a little bit for the better. And if last night’s win with the lottery was any indication…Oh, yes, my dear sisters, we are holding onto one of the winning tickets! The powerball was 41, Mr. DD’s age, and that tipped us into a total winning of $4.00 since we matched one of the other five numbers. Yeah, Baby!

Bartender, another round of H$rsh$y’s Kisses, I’m buying!

Warming Up The Second String

Since I found out that the "IVF That Worked" didn’t, I have resigned myself to just sitting back, trying to stay calm and seeing what will happen with the FET. But this afternoon, it has hit home, and hit hard, and my nerves have suddenly unraveled.

I just got back from lunch to see I had some voicemail. It was Nurse W. from the clinic and I was to call her back. I really thought I wouldn’t hear anything today as the thaw was just supposed to start. I figured I would be getting the updates every 24 hours starting tomorrow and a call so soon could not be good.

Instead I found that when I called them back that one of the four embryos has been cut from the second string and shriveled up and died, thereby getting cut from the team. So already I am down to three. Is it really possible that all three could possibly make it until Wednesday or even Thursday?

Several months ago, before I realized how difficult this was going to be for me emotionally, I came across an internet article about a doctor who was working with IF patients and their struggle for not just good physical well-being, but mental health as well. He would keep the patients on the minimum dosage of, let’s say, we11butr,n during the 2WW post IUI/IVF. He figured that keeping the patient mentally sound during that time considerably outweighed the very minimum risk the patient/fetus would be exposed to during such early conception. His patients had a much better implantation success than those who did not take mental-health drugs.

Right now, I would really like to be part of that study…actually, I would settle for a comotose state of approximately 48 hours if that was at all possible.

…Back In The Saddle, Again…

Today is CD11…yes, already.

I have been on increased increments of estrogen since CD2 and currently am on 8mg/day and will be until Dr. Blinksalot says I can stop. I had my first wanding since the transfer exactly 3 weeks ago tomorrow. I am again producing a wonderfully fluffy lining for any surviving embryos to nestle into. I was told by the tech today it had to be at least 7-8 or else they will cancel the transfer. When she finished she just walked out without telling me the results. She’s a bitch. During our IVF cycle, on one of the last US before the aspiration, she would not tell me how many follicles there were because “the doctor may get more or less during the actual procedure, so we can never say for sure.” However, when Nurse W. who I have mentioned before as wonderful, came in to take my bp and whatnot, told me how many they could see. I don’t know what that other nurse/tech’s problem is but an attitude adjustment should be in her future, but for now she is Nurse BA.

Another nurse came in today after BA left and told me what the lining measured when I asked (11mm) and she did some pre-admit testing: blood pressure, history, etc. Since she seemed pleasant and giggled when I said the other nurse is too secretive, I told her something Mr. DD had said three weeks ago when we were naively optimistic about the fresh transfer working. On the trip down I had asked him if he would have any problems letting any remaining embryos go up for adoption. His response is burned into my memory forever:

“Who would want your buck-toothed, uni-browed babies?”

Ah, yes, ladies. My husband – in all his romantic glory – right there. Are you just so jealous or what?

Well it appears that I want our buck-toothed, uni-browed babies….And I want ‘em BAD!

So, I start PIO again tomorrow. Continue the estrogen, folic acid, and prenatals (yuck!). The 4 frozen embryos (1 six cell, 1 five cell, and 2 four cell) will go through their global warming starting Monday and following daily updates, we are looking at a possible transfer either Wednesday or Thursday if any make it. Yes, already…again.

BTW, I asked BA if there were any follicles on my ovaries that Mr. DD and I could use as a back-up plan under the guise of natural conception (sex with actual purpose), but alas they are all “folliculed” out. In fact Nurse BA said if there were any follicles, they would have to start bloodwork because they have to manage my cycle via more drugs to prevent ovulation. I’m not sure I get all that, but it doesn’t matter since no rebel eggs are going to mix things up this cycle.

So, I’m not sure if my ass is sore still from the prior cycle’s PIO or from falling off my horse named HOPE, but either way I’m limping my way back into that saddle for another wild ride.

Yee-Haw and yippeekiya, m*therf*cker!

Make Mine a Lite!

I’m still spotting, but I figured I would for some time since I was flushing out a cycle’s worth of repronex, progesterone, antegon and of course one teeny-tiny embryo who really did take after mommy and got too lazy to stick around.

The cramping was pretty bad the first couple of days. It was like one of my old periods where I would gorge myself on chocolate and mochas days before CD1 would show and not drink enough water. Do you know what I mean?

Friday is my ultrasound to see how my lining looks in prep for the FET. After tonite I will be on 8mg of oral estrodial and I am trying to take my folic acid and vitamins daily.

I have reviewed the 2003 CDC findings for my clinic and they have a 50% success rate for women my age (38), but – and it’s a BIG BUTT – they only did 4 FETs in 2003 in my age group of which 2 resulted in live births. And they only did a total of 13 that year, of which 4 resulted in live births. Again the odds are better than if we were trying on our own, but I can’t help but want something a little more…definitive, ya’ know?

It seems surreal that by the end of next week we will have done another transfer – godwilling that a couple of the embryos survive the global warming, petri-dish style. No injections so my buttocks have finally healed and my underwear no longer sport little red polka-dots and I haven’t had a good wanding since the transfer on Dec. 21. Suzanne coined the phrase in one of her emails that this cycle should be called IVF-Lite: All the hopes, but half the stress!

Thanks everyone for offering support when I’m feeling none from those I should. Also, I’m sorry that I am not a brunette…this year anyway. I had been growing out my hair since I lost Baby May as a way of mourning. Some women slice off their hair, I decided that I would grow it since I really do not like long hair on me, I’ve got a pinhead, hatsize 7. I’ve always been the type to keep it short, very short, so by it being so long, it’s an evil reminder every morning that I still am not pregnant. But that is about to change. Friday I have scheduled a hair appt: 1) to take care of those nasty roots as I am a brunette (of mousy hue) under all that blonde; and 2) to take a couple inches off. I have to start slow as Mr. DD associates long hair with babedom. So by that standard, I have only become a "babe" in the last year of our 13 year relationship. Whoda’ thunk?

Sometimes the Clinics Have GOOD Nurses, Too

I *heart* Nurse W. at my RE’s office! Just *heart* her!!!

I told Mr. DD that since his “services” won’t be required with the next cycle I thought we should get some additional diagnostic tests done to see if we can determine what has happened to make our IF a Male Factor dominated issue. It wasn’t until we headed into IUI #2 that we realized on hindsight that the amount of eejakulut (try Googling that, ya pervo troll) had been significantly reduced in volume. In what little research I can find, there isn’t much more in testing we could do except maybe an ultrasound to determine if there is some blockage or whatnot. I called the clinic and left a message for a nurse to call me back to see if we could look into this.

Nurse W. called me back and before getting all clinical and professional, she offered her condolences for our loss. Yes, our Loss. She made me feel like I was a person, with a face, and heart instead of just another uterus.

Being an efficient nurse that she is, she had already pulled my chart and talked to Dr. Blinksalot to see if there really was anything else they could do, and she apologetically told me that even if we got the quantity up, the quality will never be there. In short, my pregnancy with X and the pregnancy with Baby May were in fact, Miracles. In other words, we have been an Infertile couple all along; we just happened to get lucky and did things in reverse.

She really thinks we should look into IVF#2 if this FET does not work, even though she sincerely hopes it does. She sees more heartbreak at the office than I even care to imagine, but she sees the miracles as well. She thinks we can do it. Logistically, I think we can to.

What really good (or really bad) experiences have you had with nurses at your clinic?

Sanity Check: 24 Hours Later

Weird day yesterday. I felt good mentally for the beginning half of the day, but my mood took a one-eighty by 7:00 pm. In the morning, as you know from yesterday’s post, I had felt at peace with what had happened and what was being planned for the immediate future, which will be the FET.

I should elaborate a bit on the FET schedule: Dr. Blinksalot informed us that we could move directly into the procedure once the most expensive period I will probably have, begins. In other words, CD1 will also be Day 1 of the FET cycle. If we had opted for IVF#2, we would have had to do one cycle on BCP (Birth Control Pills), then the IVF cycle. I think knowing that I don’t have to "waste" a month off was one of the reasons I was feeling some optimism earlier.

And yes, I had also said in an earlier post that I didn’t know if we would move forward with ANYTHING. That’s my frustration and grief talking. If it was up to me, I would keep trying every available treatment there was until I had a sibling for X. But Mr. DD would never allow that. I fear a huge argument will ensue *if* the FET fails on what we will do next. I find his aversion to a donor to be nothing more than a shield to his male ego. But then again, am I so desperate for a baby that I wouldn’t care if it was his baby or a stranger’s? Some serious and sobering thoughts. Thoughts that took hold of me during the early afternoon yesterday and contributed to my good mood taking a stumbling trip out the door.

Also part of the problem yesterday was we went to The Metro. Mr. DD had purchased tickets to see this event as a surprise to X. Tickets to see some Monster Trucks. Now before you make any snap decisions as to my IQ or taste, I opted to go with the two boys so I could see the look on X’s face when he found out what we were doing. The event and all it’s sights and smells will have to be saved for a later post – including pictures! I’m sure you’ll be on the edge of your seats ’till then, right?

Anyway, we went to The Metro. I feel like Pavlov’s dog and have been conditioned to abhore the trip. It use to be associated with a relaxing day full of shopping, but now has become the 2 hour anxiety-filled trip to the RE (how are my E2 levels? will I have cysts? will there be any follicles? how big will they be? what will be my due date if I get pg this time? and on and on and on…). So I began to think about those emotions and didn’t want to mention them to Mr. DD on a day that was supposed to be filled with fun. Then when we arrived, we had planned to eat an early supper before the show started so we went to F^mous D^ve’s. It ended up being the last straw for my good humour.

We were seated in the exact same spot we had been over 4 1/2 years ago when we had found out we were pregnant and we had been invited to eat there with Mr. DD’s niece, her then fiance’ and his family to celebrate their engagement. I was nauseous and could barely eat. I think I was only 6 weeks and we didn’t want to trump the engagement party with an announcement of our pregnancy so I sat in what I now realize was the most wonderous misery. It brought back so many emotions and feelings including how I would give anything to go back to those days when infertility and miscarriage were awful things that happened to other couples, not us. Now that same niece is expecting her first baby in just a couple of months. And as we were sitting there, two couples sat next to us. One couple was considerably older and it was easy to figure they were the parents of the girl, who was very pregnant. I was subjected to their discussions of how she was already dialated and so much effaced. My appetite had vanished and I was left with nothing more than a bitter taste in my mouth.

Will I ever make it out of purgatory? How does one ever make peace with any of this?

Sanity Check

I have been in a complete frazzle this a.m. I have been racing from one end of the house to another, unable to concentrate or focus.

Is it because I’m stressing about the upcoming FET? The loss of so many hopes and dreams via a failed IVF? Could it be X is driving me to abstraction with his "Mommy?"
"Yes, X." "
I wanna…(pause), Mommy?"
"Yes, X."
"I wanna…(pause), Mommy?"
"What, X!"
"I wanna…can I have a…(pause), Mommy?"
"WHAT, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY! X!"
"Can I have a Ho-Ho?"

AAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

Oh, no. It’s not quite so mundane. Instead I cannot find a shirt. That’s right. I bought a new t-shirt that I want to wear today and I cannot find it. I already have washed it once, wore it, and now I cannot find it. I have hearded all the laundry into the laundry room and sorted everything. I have checked my closet not once, not twice, but three times. Not there. I have even checked Mr. DD’s and X’s closets. Not there, either.

What the hell is going on? Did the uni-socked gnomes finally get cold and decide what better to go with one sock then a white, scooped-necked t-shirt with lace on the bottom?

Dammit!

Last night, I told Mr. DD something I don’t think he ever expected to hear from me at this stage of the IF game, and that was I feel relieved.

Relieved that right now I don’t have to stress about the mind-fuck game of "Am I, or am I not?" Even for the 48 hours I knew that I was pregnant, I was trying to figure out how I would make it until the baby was born without having continuous DBT (Dead Baby Thoughts). I don’t have to dread the nightly injections of PIO, at least for a while. The lumps on my ass will subside and leave only the cottage cheese texture that has resided there since X was born. I will have a physical reprieve from major medications for a while, or a couple of weeks anyway. So I am relieved. I feel surprisingly light. It’s almost a shame to admit it.

So, now where is the stupid shirt??!!