And she’s off! Researching DE like mad, self-care, good changes here and there

This past weekend began with the arrival of an exercise bike, which now rests beside our bookcase, reminding me that my brain is sharper and more creative with an influx of oxygen, and my heart—doomed on both my maternal and paternal sides to have, mm, challenges, as I grow older—needs me to start paying a lot more attention to it. I’ve tried it out twice, and I love it. (It’s a huge improvement over the $90 bike I bought in a fever at Wal-Mart one night, possessed by the idea that I had to start working out immediately—the resistance on that one is a back-pack strap that cinches around the front wheel. Really. Good DH helped me put it together until midnight on a work night, and we both fell into hysterics on the floor when it came time to put the back-pack strap on. That bike is now in the basement by the washer, its various appendages pretty great for hanging out wet clothes to dry. I’ll pay you twenty if you take it away.)

I also started my period, and I was thankful. Relieved.


What does that tell you, dear sweet woman who has been through so much? Are you listening to your relief and gratitude? What is it telling you?

It is telling me to not try naturally any longer. I am pretty sure that chapter is over. As the date of my period approached, even though I had no pregnancy symptoms, I envisioned, with a sinking sensation in my gut, taking a pregnancy test and seeing that double-pink line. Imagine! Feeling dread at even the thought of seeing a positive pregnancy test! What a thing. And yet, that’s my thing, that’s my life, my experience. I have to accept that the experience that gives most women a sense of joy and hope for the future gives me a sense of dread, makes me steel myself for heartbreak and prolonged traumatic disruption to my daily life. That week or two (or more) when you know it is not going to work out but you have not yet miscarried—during that period of time, it is extra-hard to be around pregnant women, to hear children’s laughter, to wake up to a quiet house. I’ve been there five times. I don’t want to go back again.

There have been some minute shiftings that I suppose are the stuff of acceptance. This reaction to my period is one. But there is something else happening on a subtler level. When I write “that’s my thing, that’s my life, my experience,” I am owning it  not with a sense of shame and heaviness. There is a matter-of-fact feeling that is emerging in me, like some lovely spring flower.

I still have the stupid blood-bath of imagery in my mind, at times—worn-out, tired, silly-seeming images of rage toward others and toward myself. And when I get triggered by something, all of that is extremely painful. But at times like right now—which is most of the time (remember this, dear self, when you get triggered, that you are okay most of the time)—all of that imagery seems nothing more than auto-pilot dross. What my brain is used to. It’s easy. It’s so easy to think negatively about myself and others.

This morning, lying in bed, I had a negative thought about myself. But in response, I did some positive self-talk: “Don’t terrorize yourself,” I said. “Don’t do to yourself what you would hate others for doing to you. Don’t mock the sanctity of your life. You are an incredibly interesting, talented, compassionate person, and I love you. Your life is sacred.”

I smiled. A bit over-the-top? No way.

Am I moving toward a drastic lessening of beating myself up? An end to hurting myself—even terrorizing myself—with thoughts?

After all, at a certain point, you just get f’ing tired of it. And at a certain point, you remember that you are really, truly, awesome—in both the old and the new sense of the word.

One thing I can certainly say: My life has never been dull, and neither have I. I am constantly evolving in directions that I never expected. Looking back, I see that I have always taken a lot of risks and gone on a lot of adventures, good and bad. There is an intensity and richness that I have gotten to experience that is perhaps somewhat unusual. There is a reason I’ve entitled this blog “The Unexpected Trip.” So much of my life has felt like just that–an unexpected trip, now here, now there. Maybe what I’m going through right now is part of the overall thematic make-up of my life. And it’s not all bad. It really isn’t.

I can’t believe I am writing all this after a weekend spent researching donor eggs! Which was fruitful, but I’m not sure how much closer I am to finding a solution I feel comfortable with. I must have spent a total of fourteen hours researching.

I’d like to tell you a little bit about what I found…

Frozen donor eggs

This was the #1 unexpected finding.

There is not very much information out there about frozen donor eggs, but what I did find sounds promising. There is a clinic in Atlanta, Georgia, that offers 5 donor egg cycles (including all FETs) using frozen donor eggs from My Egg Bank (a bank the Georgia clinic founded). Each lot you buy from the bank consists of 6 eggs. So that’s a [guarantee of 30 eggs, for $35,000 [addendum—this information I initially found is not accurate: the guarantee is 30K, and it does not guarantee a certain # of eggs; it guarantees a live birth]–basically, the same price of one fresh DE cycle. If you do not have a baby at the end of all that, you get 100% of the $35,000 back [ also inaccurate–you get a certain percentage of the 30K back, depending on how many cycles you have done]. And the success rate they cite is 60% success for single embryo transfer, 70% for two embryo transfer. It seems a little too good to be true. I suspect it is. But then again, maybe not. SART / CDC doesn’t track statistics about frozen donor eggs—but I’m beginning to wonder about SART, anyway, because they simply publish the statistics that each clinic reports. Am I missing something? Where is the quality-control in that? In any case, I have much more to tell you about frozen donor eggs, and about the many clinics and programs and financing options and grants I researched, but it’s time for me to go to the nursing home. More soon.

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  1. Chris

     /  March 6, 2013

    I admire your attitude. Wish I could be as positive as you are! Be proud. :) I struggle with accepting the “now” but am working on it daily. Glad you are researching new options for yourself.

    • thank you. well, it depends on the day, you know—-this morning, i woke up in tears again and am struggling. up, down, up, down. the ups are such a relief. am working on making them more steady and reliable. it helps having this community, hearing you say you are working daily, too. strength to you!

  2. Catherine

     /  March 10, 2013

    I just wanted to say thank you for putting this out there- for making soo many women feel as though we are not alone! I stumbled across your blog while researching ORM or CCRM after 3 years of infertility & 3 failed rounds of IVF… yet my doctor tells me that he does not feel as though I need to consider donor eggs. I am starting to feel as though I am more accepting of the idea than they are- as in the end, all we really want is to have a family. Now. Maybe part of that is that I know people that have adopted… and I know people that have used donor eggs &/or sperm (I know one of each personally)… and i KNOW that they don’t regret their decisions for 1 second. I am 1000% confident that even if they were told they could have conceived with their OE’s, they wouldn’t change a thing, as everything happens for a reason & the children they have now were meant to be theirs. (One of them actually conceived naturally & delivered a healthy little girl after using a donor to successfully have her son- a decision she had made after losing 3 children (unfortunately, she was so far along with each of them that she actually had to deliver them). I just wanted to tell you that I am anxious to revisit your blog in a few months, as I know you will have your happy update-ending too! It is your turn! (& hopefully after that it will be my turn! :) Have faith & be strong… and be thankful that you have such a supportive husband by your side. It makes all the difference in the world, and helps you see that there is a constant light in your life! GOOD LUCK!

    • Your comment brought tears to my eyes. It is so heartfelt, and I can feel your good will and warmth, reaching me through cyberspace. I can’t tell you how much I needed that today! This blog is one of the most important things in my life, because of that connection I feel with readers like you. I am so glad you stumbled across me out here in my little corner, typing away, trying hard to make sense of it all. You know, I actually felt ready for donor eggs before our IVF and wondered often if we should just skip trying mine and go for DE and be done with it! That desire to have a family, yes, what you say resonates—what it comes down to is wanting to have a family, no matter what the biological origins of the children, and not in a year, but right now. It’s so great that you know so many people who have gone these alternative routes to become parents. I won’t forget what you say about being sure they wouldn’t change a thing even if they could—I just know I will be there some day, feeling that way, I can already sense it in my bones. That story about your friend who had to deliver 3, used DE, then had a biological child—truly incredible; we just cannot predict what will happen! I tell myself that this is my path, my story, and wherever I am headed, it will contain happiness, no matter what. Relief, freedom, contentment. And, I hope, a child, at last, in my arms. The best of luck to you, too, my dear—here’s to happy endings (and new beginnings).


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  •© the unexpected trip,, 2012-2017.
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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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