As you probably remember in my FET Prep Week 15 post I was stressing about how my body decided to start my cycle, rather than adjust to my medication protocol. Well as it turns out I had a cyst that was totally taking hostage my plans for my frozen embryo transfer. Instead of cursing this cyst that very much deserved cursing at, I had a “whatever” attitude, bordering on ambivalent about everything.
Catch-up on Previous FET Prep Posts
Countdown Until FET: 11 days (as of 6-21-2020)
Altered Plans Due to Cyst
So this is the third fertility treatment I’ve done (two egg retrievals before and now this FET), and I can without question say my body never does what is expected of it. It was incredibly frustrating for me, especially when I spent almost one month out of state waiting for my eggs to get to the correct size for my second egg retrieval which ended up a complete bust anyway. But instead of being totally thrown for a loop with this frozen embryo transfer I decided to take a different approach. I told myself ahead of time, “You know your body is a rebel, so plan for things not to go according to plan.” This actually helped, because when things inevitably didn’t work out as planned I was able to keep my s**t together and say to myself, “Well duh, you know your body, and you know it’s not going to be aligned with their schedule. So don’t stress. Just focus on your next immediate step.”
So what exactly happened? Well I had a fat cyst that was hanging on and was way too comfy, not wanting to go anywhere. Last week my fertility clinic said that if the cyst on my ultrasound was over 10mm I would need to do a blood test to check my estrogen levels. Well not only was my cyst almost double the size they would allow (has to be less than 10mm but I was measuring at 18mm) but my estrogen levels also turned out twice as high as what they wanted. My nurse said, “I’m sure you’ll get your period over the weekend. Let’s schedule a follow-up ultrasound on Monday. In the meantime keep taking your 10 units of Lupron and don’t start the Estrace yet.” Essentially I was not moving on to the next step of medication that I needed to to stay on track with my calendar.
Instead of dreading the ultrasound or being overly optimistic I decided to try to remove my emotions from the situation because it’s something I have zero control over. On Monday the ultrasound tech told me my cyst was still measuring too big, at 12mm when it needed to be under 10mm. Not surprising. I drove over to the hospital to get my blood drawn for my estrogen levels. Thankfully not too long later my clinic called with the good news that my estrogen levels had dropped to baseline, which is exactly what they wanted to see. They also said my lining looks nice and thin, also what they wanted to see at this stage. And as it just so happened, not fifteen minutes after that phone call with my nurse, my long awaited period finally started. I think if it had been delayed any later my whole FET cycle might have been cancelled. My body likes to keep me in suspense.
I find it amazing how everything can look so bleak and pointless and then suddenly things take a dramatic turn around just in time. It is quite head spinning. I think had I not made the decision to try to remove my emotions from this situation I would have been a total wreck. I was like, “Nope! Not going there emotions.”
Now that things are back on track, my nurse had me lower my Lupron dose from 10 units down to 5 units and I am taking an Estrace pill three times daily. Not to mention I’m taking lots of vitamins twice a day. They’ve tweaked my schedule slightly to where my original followup ultrasound was switched from June 24th and is now June 26th. So as long as my ultrasound on June 26th looks good I will still be able to travel to Seattle as originally planned. I should still be able to do my FET on July 2nd as long as nothing major happens.
On Different Pages with Spouse
Of course the stakes are incredibly high. I have only one embryo I’m about to implant. As in, I only have one embryo from two rounds of IVF when the average woman could have three to five embryos after two rounds. I want to do another round of IVF to give this baby a sibling (or if this one does not implant to try again) but I’m not sure my husband will be on board with doing another round of IVF. I know what I want, without question. But he and I seem to be on different pages, with him leaning more towards the idea of fostering.
I am the type of person who likes to have a plan, and right now he does not want to plan anything beyond this current frozen embryo transfer. The fact that he does not want to discuss the future, I think is a coping defense to kind of help him focus on one step at a time. It just so happens that’s the opposite of how I normally function.
Through all of my losses, with the exception of my first, I had a plan in place to help me keep it all together when things didn’t work out. I knew how long to wait after a miscarriage before trying again. I knew the medicine and vitamins I would be on. I would follow my doc’s advice for my next best step. I would hit the ground running, ready to move on instead of wallowing. I always had a plan. But my husband doesn’t want me to plan anything beyond this upcoming frozen embryo transfer.
I tried discussing next steps with him, with an affordable clinic I found (we’re talking one-third the cost). Now that I finally have a diagnosis of MTHFR gene mutation this will also improve my chances of getting the right treatment I need. But after years of TTC and miscarriages I think it’s affected him more than I realized. His way of coping is to not make any plans for the future.
Put yourself in my position dear reader. I’ve had six miscarriages, two egg retrievals, and now I’m about to have an embryo transfer with my only embryo. It is beginning to feel as if this is my one and only shot at having a biological child. And if it does not work out…well I have no idea, because he does not want to talk about the future. Sounds scary right? I literally have no clue what is going to come out of his mouth if this embryo transfer fails. He could say any of the following; 1) let’s foster, 2) lets adopt, 3) how about embryo adoption, 4) we could try another round of IVF, 5) we could live child-free, 6) or what every infertile girl does not want to hear “This isn’t working, I want a divorce.” He’s reassured me in the past he wouldn’t leave me over any of this, but some of us who are infertile may still have this concern in the back of our minds.
Fertility treatments are front and center in our lives right now. I plan my work schedule around it. I’m taking a big pay cut and opting for a more flexible on-call schedule in order to do treatments. For my second egg retrieval I was in Seattle for almost an entire month, which was completely unplanned. Most jobs would not allow for that much wiggle room with their schedule. Instead of planning vacations to tropical places, I’ve had to say “no” time and time again because I would either be doing fertility treatments or I might be pregnant and I refuse to fly while I’m pregnant due to being considered ‘high risk.’ We’ve postponed more than just vacations, but also buying a house. Our life has been put on pause for over four years. I think he’s sick of it.
But with my recent MTHFR gene mutation diagnosis, I found a major missing puzzle piece for my treatment plan. I don’t want to throw my hands up now when I feel like I’m finally making some headway. Not to mention I found a much more affordable clinic. I personally think it would be stupid for me to stop treatment at this point. To completely give up when I have more answers and more resources to help me, well that would be such a waste.
Based on our past conversations, I feel he is ready to move on to fostering. But I’m not ready for that, like at all. I don’t feel I can handle the immense trauma that children in the foster care system have been through. Even if I did decide I was done with fertility treatments, which I am not ready to give up, I feel I would need a long time to grieve that loss before I felt able to handle the immense responsibility of being a foster parent. I’m thinking years before I would even begin to consider it.
I’ve talked with some of my friends who’ve also talked about how they were on two completely different pages with their partners. One of my friends was wanting to adopt, but her husband still wanted to try fertility treatments. None of us really had a clear answer for her, because there is no “right” answer. You always hear the advice to married couples that one of the best things you can do in your marriage is to learn how to compromise. But how do you compromise when it comes to your biological clock? What if you do compromise this and you miss your chance forever. And are you “wrong” for not feeling ready to foster?
From what I’ve heard from others and from what I’ve read from some of the best infertility books, sometimes the “right” choice is the one that resonates most strongly with you. For me, when I’m making tough decisions I imagine myself in the future, lying on my deathbed thinking back on my life and I ask myself this question, “Did I do everything I could to make my dream a reality?” I ask myself this as well when it comes to having a baby. I feel very strongly that I am still in the “fertility treatment” season of my life. I am not quite at the adoption or fostering stage of my life. I know there are some women who do everything all at once; fertility treatments, fostering, and the adoption process. That may work fine for them, but I know myself and I know that would stress me out beyond belief. I know without a doubt that is a recipe for disaster for me.
If this embryo transfer does not work out, I will grant myself permission to drink some boxed wine, eat chocolate, and binge watch reality shows. But soon after that I will get back up again, dust myself off, and get to planning my next step. There’s a Japanese proverb you may have heard of that is simple, yet inspirational for those of us who struggle, “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” I feel this proverb epitomizes my life right now and I bet a lot of you can also relate. We face so many setbacks and disappointments. But we have to keep moving forward in the direction that feels the best for us.