A beginning

I am afraid to begin this blog. What is the best way to describe the situation I am in? Where to begin? And where will all of this lead?

These questions and fears reveal exactly what my problem is: a reluctance to let go of control. And the past year and three months have taught me that I do not have control over anything. During the past year and three months, my striving and failing to have a baby, Buddhism and yoga, as well as my training as a social worker, have all taught me that control is an illusion. I think writing this blog is another attempt at control, but it is also a kind of therapy for me, and my attempt to reach out and help others. I hope it helps others. I know that reading the stories of other women and couples out there cyberspace has certainly helped me.

I have had four miscarriages since the spring of 2011. It is still very odd to type those words.

Spring of 2011: The first was blighted ovum–we saw only a gestational sac and I had a D & C at 9 weeks.

Fall of 2011: The second was also blighted ovum–we saw only a gestational sac and yolk sac, and I took Cytotec (a terrible mistake) to induce labor at 9 weeks.

Spring of 2012: The third made it to about 5 weeks before I had a natural miscarriage.

Spring of 2012: The fourth was another very early natural miscarriage.

My experiences during these past months will crop up in posts to come, but for now I want to write about what’s next for us: In a couple of weeks, we are going to my fiancé’s parents’ home in Florida to stay with them for a week and most likely ask for a large sum of money—we don’t even know exactly how large yet—for IVF at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM) .

At least that’s what think we are going to do.

I’ve gone to a high-risk OBGYN,  RS of NY in Brooklyn, Columbia’s Center for Women’s Reproductive Care (CWRC), and am about to consult with Cornell’s Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility (CRMI) in a few days. Everyone is saying, and I feel intuitively, that the issue is chromosomal problems with my eggs due to maternal age. I turned 38 in January of 2012. My AMH, back in November of 2011, was .44, which indicates a very low ovarian reserve. Everything else is in great condition–my hormones (normal), my parts (clear), my CM (copious), my luteal phase (14 days), and I ovulate like clockwork. Three of my pregnancies have been spontaneous, and took us only 1 month of trying. The last one happened after a medicated IUI.

I’ve tried three medicated IUIs with the idea of kicking out more eggs at once, with the hopes of producing a “good” one in the batch. IVF would do the same–help me ovulate more than one egg (hopefully many more) and thereby increase my chances of producing some “good” eggs in the batch. In addition to that, we would have the embryos screened for genetic abnormalities before transferring them back into me.

At Columbia and Cornell, they can offer the standard genetic screening on Day 3, but at Colorado, they do a unique screening technique (comprehensive chromosomal screening, or CCS) on Day 5, freeze the embryos, and transfer them back into me the next cycle. Screening two days later can result in more accurate screening (and also, I believe, save the embryos from some stress, as they are past the 6-cell stage by Day 5 and have more cells to spare). Freezing the embryos and transferring them a cycle later gives me time to come off the heavy-hitter IVF drugs and return to a more natural state for implantation.

Columbia’s % rate of success is in the teens, Cornell’s is in the twenties, and Colorado’s is in the sixties. We have no IVF insurance coverage and can do this only ONCE, with the aide of DH’s parents’ funds. At Columbia and Cornell, our labs and visits would be covered with GHI, but not at Colorado. And we don’t live in Colorado. All this said, we think that the extra cost of plane flights, labs and office visits are worth it for such a high rate of success at Colorado. If DH’s parents agree to Colorado, we think that is where we will go.

But the rate of success at Colorado for donor eggs is even higher, of course—in the high seventies. I wonder: Should we skip my eggs and go straight for donor eggs? The doctors I have seen say: “Don’t give up on your own eggs yet.” But if we have only ONE chance to do this, shouldn’t we invest in the surer thing? Yes, it will take me some time to adjust to that idea, and no, I’m not sure what that will look like, but it is something I think about every day.

We also consider not doing IVF at all and going straight to adoption or fostering. If we used those tens of thousands of dollars toward adoption efforts, what would that look like? We both have a vague feeling that adoption might be the more “noble” option, but neither of us is quite sure what that means. Is it indeed nobler? Who is to say?  Where does that idea come from? After going to a day-long adoption conference, we were left with quite a few fears about the unpredictability of adoption and fostering. It’s a whole area to research that I’ve only just begun to scrape the surface of.

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  1. I am so sorry to read about everything you have been through, especially your losses. I will be spending some time reading about your journey now. It sounds like you have some big decision ahead of you. DE is a tough subject. I have written a lot about my experience on my blog – from finding a donor, to the legalities, to the emotions – and I hope you will find it helpful if that is a path you choose to pursue. Wishing you the best of luck and looking forward to following you from here on out!

    • Thanks so much! I have been following your blog for a few months now and eagerly following your journey. Yes, the information you’ve provided has been enormously helpful! Thank you. I hope you’ll find mine helpful as well. If you felt like sharing would love to know where you are doing your DE cycle now—you’re doing fresh DE, correct, not frozen DE?—and if you have any tips about choosing clinics, or choosing frozen v fresh. That’s where I’m at right now, heavily leaning toward frozen DE (The Frozen Egg Advantage guarantee) at RBA. I’d be lost without the blogosphere, and your blog in particular. Good luck on your upcoming transfer…just a few days away…I’ll be thinking about you.


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  • About Me

    Me: 41
    DH: 38

    Fertility issue:
    Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
    6 pregnancy losses
    All early
    5 with my own eggs
    1 with donor egg

    Abnormal embryos

    Factor V Leiden heterozygous
    MTHFR heterozygous

    AFC: 2 - 12
    AMH: 0.2
    FSH: 6.8
    E2: 40
    LH: 2.8


    April 2011 -
    Natural conception, first try. Blighted ovum (gestational sac only). D&C to remove products of conception at 9 weeks.

    Oct 2011 -
    Natural conception, first try. Blighted ovum (gestational sac & yolk sac). Took Cytotec to induce miscarriage at 9 weeks. PTSD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, night terrors followed.

    Winter 2012 -
    Two rounds of Femara/Clomid + IUIs at Columbia and RS of NY. The idea: to produce more eggs and increase chances of catching a good one. BFNs.

    April 2012 -
    Natural conception, first try. Ultrasound showed activity in the uterus, but no complete sac. Diagnosed with "missed abortion." Natural miscarriage at 5 weeks.

    June 2012 -
    Conception after 7 mg Femara for 5 days + IUI. Diagnosed with chemical pregnancy. Natural miscarriage at 4.5 weeks.

    August 2012 -
    Natural conception, without trying. Chemical pregnancy and natural miscarriage at 5 weeks.

    October 2012 -
    ODWU at Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM).

    January 2013 -
    IVF with Dr. Schoolcraft.
    Straight Antagonist protocol

    What he predicted:
    I will produce 11 eggs
    Good chance 1 will be normal
    30% chance 2 will be normal
    Transfer 1, then a 45% chance of success
    Transfer 2, then a 65% chance of success

    What happened:
    7 follicles stimulated
    6 mature eggs retrieved
    2 died during ICSI
    4 fertilized
    3 out of 4 embryos CCS-tested
    All abnormal

    Aug/Sept 2013-
    Frozen Donor Egg IVF at Reproductive Biology Associates (RBA)
    What Dr. Shapiro predicted:
    6 or 7 will fertilize
    1 we will transfer
    1 - 3 we will freeze

    Protocol: Lupron, Vivelle patches, Crinone

    8 frozen eggs from donor thawed
    6 fertilized
    1 Day-5 Grade A XBbb blastocyst transferred
    1 Day-5 Grade A EBbb blastocyst frozen
    1 Day-6 Grade A XBbb blastocyst frozen

    September 13, 2013: Pregnant

    Prenatal vitamins & baby aspirin,
    Vivelle patches & Crinone

    Beta #1: 171
    Beta #2: 706
    Beta #3: 7,437

    6 w 3 d: measured 6 w 1 d
    FHR: 80 bpm
    Fetus did not grow
    7 w: FHR 121 bpm
    8 w: heart stopped
    9 w: D and C

    Test results: We lost a normal karyotype male for unexplained reasons

    Quit stressful job
    Anti-inflammation diet
    Gluten-free diet
    Vit D, DHA/EPA
    Therapy/energy work
    Creative Visualization
    Art Therapy

    March 14, 2014:
    Double FET at RBA
    1 Day-5 Grade A EBbb blastocyst
    1 Day-6 Grade A XBbb blastocyst

    March 24, 2014:

    Prenatals, baby aspirin, Folgard, Vivelle, Crinone, Lovenox

    Beta #1: 295
    Beta #2: 942
    Beta #3: 12,153

    1 fetus implanted

    Measured on track

    Fetal heart rate:
    7 wk: 127 bpm, 8wk:159 bpm, 9wk: 172 bpm

    Due date: Dec, 4 2014!

    NatureMade (USP Seal) Prenatals and 4000 Vit D3
    Baby aspirin
    40 mg Lovenox
    DHA and EPA
    Folgard 2.2

    Born: One perfect baby boy 12.4.14

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