Yesterday’s consult, today’s coping

I forgot to mention that at my consult with Dr. San Roman yesterday, he gave the pregnancy a 10% chance of survival, but after hearing my list of symptoms and all of the changes my body has gone through—breasts have shrunk back totally to normal and are not tender at all, zero nausea, no hunger/cravings, no aversions, no super-scent, no constipation (had been going once every two days), no headaches, no congestion, no funny tastes in mouth, and my abdomen is shrinking and I can wear my regular clothes again, etc, etc—he said more like 5%, if that. He also said that the pregnancy was acting genetically abnormal, just as Dr. Shapiro said. Like Dr. Shapiro, he did not seem all that phased by the occurrence (even while he understood how hard it was on me). He seemed optimistic about the frozen embryos from the same donor and said, “I think one or both of those will turn into a child. I’d say your odds are about 90% that you’re going to be parents soon.”

Just wanted to share that, as it matches up with what Dr. Shapiro said. And if I’m going to focus on numbers at all, I’d like to focus on that 90%.

The crazy-emotional “bug” has not returned, and I was able to watch a stupid movie with DH last night and sleep okay, even though I’m still having those shooting pains and weird backache and a kind of menstrual-period sick feeling. I just don’t feel like crying. I had the crazy thought this morning that we should go ahead and transform our second bedroom into a nursery anyway. We should go ahead and buy a couple of cute baby things at Christmas anyway. I don’t know. Maybe we will. This was supposed to be a time of healing and moving on—well maybe we should do just that, despite what is happening in my body. Why not?

I feel exhausted when I think of what lies ahead, but one thing is making me feel a little better: money. DH is getting a raise to 77K in November. As some of you who have been reading my blog for a while know, DH and I are on our second careers, and we were very recently very poor graduate students. This was DH’s first year at the VA, and his pay reflected first-year status. But next month he’s getting bumped up to 77. So it will make things slightly less scary and stressful. The cushion will be a little bit thicker. That helps me feel not-so-crazy when I think of the upcoming costs of medications, flights, hotels, car rentals, doctor’s appointments, and so on. I try to always keep in mind that I am one of the very, very lucky few who can even try such a costly intervention in the first place. I bought this gamble. I can focus on how incredibly unlucky I have been, or I can focus on how fortunate we were to have that 30K in our savings in the first place. Yes, the savings is gone. No, we can’t ever buy new clothes or new things for the apartment or even think about putting a down payment on a home. But all of that aside, looking at society as a whole, we are on the extremely fortunate end of things.

Must focus on what I have, not on what I don’t have. Crucial right now. Everything is going to be okay.

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7 Comments

  1. I’ve been lurking here for a while. I am so sorry for your losses. I am glad that you have found a means of coping.

    Yet, I would like to suggest that you investigate closely why you continue to have miscarriages, even with someone else’s ovum BEFORE you transfer your remaining embryos. The explanations given are insufficient — I can sense that you know this. Doctors are smart and yours sound very good. Nevertheless, they look at the world, necessarily of course, mechanistically. Humans are machines with predictable systems and parts that break and can be fixed, sometimes — this is the foundation of medical science. Humans are more than machines or much more complex machines that we still struggle to understand and treat.

    Even though you CAN get back on the fertility train, perhaps you should wait — can and should are two very different orientations. You likely won’t…no one ever does until they have to for some reason or another…the doctors count on that, you know…that you will use their judgement and not your own; that your ability to pay and tests indicating that there shouldn’t be a problem will urge you to move forward.

    Also, know that you cannot make decisions right now about anything — your hormones are seesawing rapidly, yet predictably. Do yourself and your hubby a favor and take time to heal AFTER this pregnancy has ended — I’m sorry. The very strong drugs you have been on (fertility drugs weaken and disrupt the body’s natural processes for healing) and the repeated, sequential losses have traumatized your body…it needs more than two months to heal. Consider it, but do what feels right.

    Ps. I have not had miscarriages, but I am a doctor. I know a bit of what I speak having been/being both a fertility patient and a practitioner.

    Pps. The 90% chance while nice to hear is curious and I know you know this — women with no history of miscarriage, who use DE have a 60-80% chance depending on age and other health factors. The percentage is misleading at best, cruel at worst. More cruel than the 5% and 20% given to your little star.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the comment but I think you are assuming quite a lot!

      As I’m sure you must realize, I have had every test done under the sun over the past three years, by multiple REs in Manhattan and out west, including the full workup at CCRM. I’m definitely going to have this new RE look at every test I have taken and be sure there is nothing missing, nothing more both DH and I can have tested before moving on—he insisted on that, and I had already been thinking it—there is no question about doing that before doing another treatment.

      I’m not jumping on any fertility train—I’m not foolish. I’m not so traumatized that I just blindly follow. In fact, I have quite the opposite problem—I try to control too much, and it is unhealthy. I have a great deal of self-awareness.

      Also, I had five losses—but that was more than a year ago. I took an entire year off from trying, from being pregnant, or having any miscarriages. So this will be the first miscarriage I’ve had in 14 months. I took a a lot of time to heal, to be with my husband, and take care of my body. I’ve waited a long time to try donor egg, after much research and contemplation, and TLC for myself and my relationships.

      I’m not saying that there couldn’t be more than bad luck going on here with the donor egg, perhaps there is. But perhaps there isn’t—I’m leaving room for that possibility. I’ve gotten multiple comments from women who had recurrent miscarriage and then were unlucky enough to take on a miscarriage or two of their donor, as well, before having success. It is not unheard of.

      I do not think Dr. Shapiro or anyone doctor I’ve seen would urge a woman with multiple losses to move forward just because she has the ability to pay. That would be barbaric.

      I am part of something called the Frozen Egg Advantage plan, which means the money has already been paid—all I pay now for each cycle is medication cost to a pharmacy (about $500) and travel costs. So RBA does not get any more money from me.

      I could pull out and get money back, but I seriously don’t think that would crush their business. I’m sure that they would understand if I decided I didn’t want to risk any more harm, that they would not try to persuade me to do anything I’m not comfortable with.

      I think it is okay to try to start the process of healing and moving on. Because you have not had any miscarriages, I don’t think you understand what the process is like. It is a cycle of sadness and acceptance, over and over, an incremental process of letting go. Anyone who has gone through this experience repeatedly, in body and mind, will understand what I mean. I use this blog to document the *reality* of that incremental process, without changing it to suit what people might prefer to hear. Also you are not inside my body. You don’t know how different I feel than when I felt the HCG rising. Only I know that. I’ve felt it before. The drastic change. The night and day. So I’ve been in the process of letting go ever since that change began. I’ve been here five times before, it’s not just emotions speaking. The best thing for me to do at this point—and that could mean just today, that could mean all week– is to focus on the positive and yes, try to think positively about the future, even while taking measured, educated actions in the present.

      Also, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but for a donor egg cycle, you are put on progesterone and estrogen supplementation, not strong fertility drugs—strong fertility drugs are used for regular IVF with one’s own eggs. I’m eager to not be on estrogen and progesterone, but they are nothing compared to IVF stim drugs.

      I do not think 90% is a cruel figure. It’s a little higher than the figure Dr. Shapiro gave me—he said I had an 80% cumulative pregnancy rate with the three embryos we produced. And 20%, 10% not cruel, either—it’s just realistic. I’m measuring 6 weeks at 8 weeks and have lost every indication of pregnancy.

      Acting “as if” and holding out hope for the future is not something I have done a lot of. Although I don’t know if I will really be able to do it, if I can, and it helps me lead a productive and stable life while we proceed, it can only be a good thing. I have spent many, many months of my life at this point in anguish, grief. I think my coping skills are stronger, now, than they’ve ever been, and that is why I am able to do normal things today, instead of sobbing, and think about the future with hope that we will be parents.

      I know you are trying to be helpful, but I found this to be a strange comment. There’s a great deal of assumption and judgment toward me in it. In any case, thanks for your interest and support—-but don’t assume that you are more of an expert on this situation, or on my own pain and processing of it, than I am.

      Reply
      • No judgement. You’re entitled to your feelings. I meant nothing but kindness. You mistook much of what I wrote. But you are in the middle of a monumental loss. Good luck to you on your journey. Very sincerely.

        Reply
      • BTW — I didn’t move on; I took a break and then became a mom naturally. I think you assumed that. I wasn’t suggesting that you move on. Again, best of luck to you and your hubby.

        Reply
  2. It’s all been so difficult for you, and I’m so sorry about that. But you should def focus on the positive- and I think 90% is a very good number for you to lean on! I’m still praying with all my might for the one inside of you already- but at least you have options. Keep us updated!

    Reply
  3. Amanda

     /  October 13, 2013

    This post really made me check myself. You (and only you) know what is currently happening in your body. I will shift my hope to hoping that you heal quickly on all levels and to hoping that you have success very soon with one of your frosty babies.

    Reply
  4. gracie

     /  October 14, 2013

    Keep your head up! Your day will come. I also have to say, that WAS a bizarre comment. Don’t be discouraged. Be thankful that you have found a wonderful & caring Dr. with a great bedside manner. Ahhh, Apparently they can’t all be that way! Trust your Dr, the fertility expert. Even my father, an ob/gyn, tells me to that my RE will have much more knowledge re: IVF & to put my faith in him when I second guess things, as he is a proven Dr. with excellent success rates to back everything up.
    Ps- You handled that MUCH better than I would have! :)

    Reply

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