Dear Molly -
Here is my story.
We started trying right after we got married, I was only 28, my husband 36 with a 5 year old son from a previous relationship. My OB said to try for year, since he has a child, everything should be OK, and truth be told, I had an inkling we would have problems, and we thought it was something on my end. After a year, which my cousin had gotten pregnant on her first try, and many friends seemed to be constantly getting pregnant, or telling me to relax, drink some wine, don't worry about it so much, we were referred to CCRM for male factor issues. Which was such a shock because of my step son. IVF with ICSI was recommended at the beginning of 2010 and we took awhile to digest that. It's expensive, there was no mention of IUI or other drugs, as all my tests were as darn normal as they could be, perfect actually. You are young, this will work. We did some all natural stuff, and by the end of 2010 I was done. I was ready to commit to the shots, to the restrictions, to everything, because TTC after 2 years takes a toll.
So I know all the tests you refer to, have had them all, they are not fun, they are painful, and after all of this, I just don't seem to be bothered by who's up in my business, literally, because it's par for the course. Insurance didn't pay for any of this. We had to do this all out of pocket, my in-laws graciously loaned us money, for which we still owe them a lot. So Dr. Surrey and our nurse went through everything, I am a carrier for SMA, my husband is not, so he said because of my age he didn't think it was necessary to pay an extra $6000 for genetic testing of the embryos. I had 27 eggs retrieved, I responded really well to the stim meds, when it was all said and done, they deemed 11 worthy of transfer and storage. I was hyper stimulating and was put on bed rest 2 days before my transfer, and because of that reason we only did one. I got pregnant, I was so excited. I called all my family. They knew about this, it was too hard to keep our struggle a secret and they all prayed it would work. Not to mention, I had to tell my job, as I missed so much for appointments and what not, we are a small firm and my bosses were very supportive of me and I had absolutely no stress regarding my work and infertility. They were more than generous with time off. As you know, they make you do a 2nd hcg test, and that's where things went wrong. My hcg had barely risen and they were saying it was a biochemical pregnancy, which they never even warned me about, they told me to stop my inserts and pull off my patches, to call when I started bleeding and they would follow my hcg down to zero. Dr. Surrey had no idea why this happened, but he said it could have been a fluke, or a perfect looking embryo is not always perfect. So he said take a month off and we can do a FET on the cycle after that. So that's what we did. I found out I was pregnant again 7/3/11. On the second hcg test, the same thing happened. I was so devastated. I couldn't believe this happened again. I did everything right, and even when I wasn't on bed rest, I would put my feet up a lot, I wasn't working full 8 hour days, I stopped all dog training, I didn't even walk my sheltie around the block. We were shocked. Dr. Surrey said I may have a clotting disorder. Lucky me, after 2 miscarriages, insurance pays for those tests. I gave them 13 vials of blood one day, had more work ups, and everything was fine. He said we could do the genetic testing on the remaining 8 embryos (we transferred 2 the 2nd time), they now do that the night before the transfer. So we did that, more money borrowed. We had our 3rd transfer November 1, 2011, we had 2 embryos that were found to be abnormal. We transferred 2 more. And I wouldn't even take the calls for hcg tests 1 and 2, I made my husband do it.
We had passed hcg # 2, but were so cautious, we couldn't get excited. I continued to take it easy and tried to avoid Christmas shopping. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, just after 6 weeks, I started bleeding, a lot, I was so panicked, they put me on bed rest and said to come in for the ultrasound on Monday. There was a baby in there, a perfectly wonderful heartbeat, we cried, we couldn't believe it, it was a miracle to me. We made it through week 8 and Dr. Surrey sent me back to my OB. For the 10 week appt., 3 days before Christmas, there was no heartbeat. Devastation, shock, disbelief, you name it, you know, it's awful. With it being so close the holidays it only made it that much worse, I had spent the tome decorating for the holidays and thinking next year will be Baby's First Christmas. With it being close the holidays and my own wishes to not do anything invasive, I stopped all hormones and waited for my body to expel the baby. The day after Christmas it started, and it was the worst day of my life, and it lasted a long time. I should have done the D&C but I just couldn't face any more procedures, I was ready to let my body rest and do what it needed to do. We did a bit more testing, we had been told they had transferred a boy and a girl, and they found no boy DNA, so this baby was a little girl, that would have been due July 20th, 2012. Dr. Surrey said they don't know why it happened, but they said if I wanted to try one more time he would do the blood thinner shots and the PIO, I had only done the Endometrium before.
I took a long time off. We decided to do a transfer in the summer, I told my work, our parents, and my sister. I didn't tell anyone previously knew that I was doing it the beginning of July. Oh those PIO shots are awful, the blood thinner ones are too. They sting, and I bruised up like I was being beat up from the inside. But I knew it was worth it, it was the last try, as Dr. Surrey said he wouldn't recommend doing it again if we were to lose another baby. So I got pregnant, and passed the 2nd hcg test, the PIO made me feel really sick this time, and I was just miserable, but I knew it wasn't for very long and these drugs could do the trick that nothing else had.
At 6 weeks, I started bleeding again, but this time there was a little pain, and I went straight home to bed rest. This time I knew I had lost the baby(ies) I didn't need that ultrasound the next day to prove it. We cried in that ultrasound room a long time, then met with Dr. Surrey, and he's very nice, but what do you say to someone that should have been pregnant, that had no issues, that you couldn't keep pregnant? I decided that day I would use a carrier for my remaining 2. But my sister had already backed out at the beginning of the summer, as after my 3rd loss, I begged her to get healthy to do this for me if my last try didn't work (she's overweight and not in the best of shape) She said she was worried her work wouldn't be understanding of all the appts she would have to go to. I have 2 cousins here who I thought would step up, but no, one has submitted records, but not sure of her commitment level, and we can't afford an agency, they are $40-60,000 and we just can't go that route.
A week after the miscarriage we had to put Brody(our dog) down. August was not kind to us last year.
I decided to send a private FB message to most of the females on there, many of whom I am not friends with, or haven't seen in years and that no one knew I was going through this and put myself out there, asking if anyone knows anyone who has done this, have they done it, would they be willing to, and I got a name of a gal who had done it previously, she was done though, but she was a good source of information and contacts. A friend of a friend said she would do it, but not until spring, and I found out 2 weeks ago that her family isn't very supportive of her decision, so she's reconsidering, not sure if that's forever, or just for another year, but for now I need to let that one go. I have a cousin in Cali who just had a baby last July and stepped up right away. She just turned 40 in November, which is the age cut off. They won't do a work up until 3 months after nursing is complete, so that's October at the earliest, but they know this, and still OK'd her records and are doing phone interviews. I can't begin to express my gratitude to her for selflessly stepping up, no matter what, she stepped up, and has given me a glimmer of hope. My life is in limbo, still. I can't begin to tell you when I saw that you too were going to do the blood thinner shots that I prayed that they would work for you.
I struggle everyday not to be bitter, not to feel left behind or left out, but I am. My cousin had another baby last May, her baby girl was to be 2 months older than mine. Then I was due at the end of this March, so I suppose after I pass all my potential due dates I might hurt less, but I doubt it. Family functions are so hard, not because people are unkind, but I feel like they don't know what to say to me anymore, and think I have gotten past it, or just don't want to talk about it anymore. I do, I just don't want to talk about it with them anymore, I feel like I have talked to them enough about it. I go to a local Resolve support group, and even though we all have different infertility issues, and are in different stages of working through it, going the adoption route, or currently in treatments, it helps so much to be around others that get it.
Your blog is inspiring, most generally all too real and relatable, and I just don't want you to be in the same place I am. Trying to find someone to carry your baby or trying to decide if you are done. All I know is that the not knowing, the constant waiting, the what's next is exhausting.
It has changed me, it has taken a piece of me that I can't get back by distractions or hope for something else. People in my life might not get it, or think I should move on, but until you walk a day in my shoes and go without what you want most in this world, it's really easy to say that. There are many times that I look at my life and know I am blessed, my dogs provide endless love and entertainment, and a great hobby that I am really good at, and have met some great people doing it.
My husband and stepson are wonderful, we are a family, but can I let go of the vision I have had for years and what I always wanted and be content with what I have. I think after I transfer my last 2 embryos, no matter what happens, it will provide closure and solace that I did everything I could, I did it right, and it just wasn't enough. I will never understand, I will never understand why some who should not be parents are, and why those of us who would be great parents don't get that. I will never feel like I can get over life not being fair, but I understand the concept, I am just not in a place to accept it.
I wish you all the best, I truly hope this time is it for you, but I know what you are going through. The what ifs, and how all those early weeks you won't be able to relax and know everything will be OK, that this baby will survive, because unfortunately there are no take-backs, you can't forget your previous losses, and you have ashes, you have a necklace, you saw with your own eyes what was happening and you couldn't control it, you could just cry and grieve and hope for the best when you have healed enough to get to the next step.
I feel personally connected to you, and want so badly for someone who has been to hell and back with infertility and losses to have it work, it won't be me, but it could be you.