Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Uncharted Territory...

I preface this post with the following disclaimer to anyone undergoing fertility treatments, or anyone who has, or anyone who will...because I've been there, I've done that, I know that, I've lived that. All in the past 11 years.

And I never dreamed, especially in light of the fact that we nearly cancelled this cycle a week ago, that I'd be here—wondering what in the world to do with ALL these AMAZING embryos.

So, if you read, and I sound ungrateful, I am not.  Anyone who knows me, or knows of us even in the last few years knows that I, of all people, do NOT take life for granted.  At all.  I realize that some people would give all they had to be faced with the issues we are.  I know.

Dr.  K called this morning and said all 9 were doing amazing.  Four were 8-celled (what we typically transfer on Day 3), one was 10-celled, two were compacting, one was early compacting and one was 6-celled, but with uneven division.

What in the world?????  This is so, so different from my previous cycles.

Dr. K said that he felt I had the best natural therapy in the world for my endometriosis, having both Matthew and Luke, and with two cycles under our belt, it was easier to adjust medicine for better egg maturity and quality.  Though he said no one could know for sure why this was so, so different...those were some of his theories.

We talked about how many to transfer.  John wants to do two.  He feels there's a better chance of a fresh cycle with two vs. a frozen cycle with one (or two) should this not work.  Dr. K said there was certainly science to back that.  John also adores being a dad, and secretly, he thinks twins would be AWESOME.  He has been able to bounce back from Matthew's death looking at life as if we've had our horrible, horrible tragedy and now, odds are, roses from here on out.  Twins would just be even more of a bounce-back.

Not so much me.

I am worried.  I am little.  I was 92 pounds at retrieval.  I am a quarter-inch shy of 4'11".  I am small and scrappy, but I have my limits.  I've had two major surgeries to my uterus in two years and to contemplate carrying another has put me on edge, but two?  Not to mention, John is going to be gone.  A LOT.  MONTHS.  I'm far from home.  I have a very busy little boy that I adore doing fun things with and I've already worried about what another pregnancy would steal from him, much less what a multiple pregnancy would do.

Oh, and did I mention, John will be gone A LOT?

So I'm leaning toward one, but felt that Dr. K would not lead me into anything he was not confident was the best thing for me and our family.  He has NEVER steered us wrong.  He has ALWAYS been conservative.  He told us in the very beginning that his goal was for us to build our family...however that happened.  He is NOT in it for the money.

And he said after thinking long and hard, taking our situation into account, looking at our previous history and using the SART guidelines as recommendation, he'd transfer two.

Shady Grove's pregnancy rate with one blast transfer is 61.2%.  Awesome!  With a 1.7% chance of multiples!  Their pregnancy rate with two blasts transferred is 61.1%.  (Notice how VERY near identical that is) but with a 42.7% chance of multiples.

That said, my assumption is that many of those women who did two are like me—advanced age.  Ugh. Advanced age is really getting my goat.

If I wasn't advanced age, this would not even be an issue, really.

I'd not worry about what I'd do with other embryos that made it to freezing.

I'd not worry about how my body is going to handle all of this at nearly 40.

I'd not wonder if I'll see my kid(s) graduate from high school.  Or grandchildren.


You know, people have often used my faith as a talking point for why I should NOT be doing IVF.  This very situation is probably just what they are talking about.

My logic has ALWAYS been that regardless of circumstance, God is the keeper of all life.  He gives it.  He takes it home with Him.  If a baby is not meant to be, it simply will NOT be, even if sperm is injected into egg by human hand.  I am not trying to play God by doing IVF.  I am simply using the technology He gave to help bring the lives HE ordained into our family.

So, the opposite must then be true.  If a baby (or two) is meant to be, he or she or they is/are meant to be.  Nothing I do or don't do will stop that, because again, God is in charge of it all.

And I guess I just have to stop being afraid.

Like I said, though...this is uncharted territory.  The waves are pretty big.

I'm not a very strong swimmer.


  1. You are ... and you CAN do this, whatever it is. Just the fact that you recognize that it's not you and that you've been carried through so much in the last few years ... you know that these things cannot be controled or decided for you. No matter what, you and John will come to a decision based on your hearts and the Lord will be there in that. All of the rest of us will be here to lift you up and do whatever we can to get you through the other stuff. I have a feeling you'll never be short on help, encouragment or anything else you need. Go with your gut ...

  2. I have to admit something crazy Lori... Tessa, who commented right before me, is a very near and dear friend that suggested that I start following your post considering all my fertility issues. And I have to say, you are an inspiration and your kind words on my blog have made my soul soar!!!

    Now, you CAN handle whatever is thrown your way. I know you kick and scream sometimes, but you CAN do it!!! I don't remember you being so concerned with multiples with your tranfers with both Matthew or Luke. I know they have great %s at Shaddy Grove, but keep in mind there's a 60% chance that transfering 2 won't result in multiples. But listen to your gut, your heart, and John's heart to accept that this is just one more thing out of your control.

    Hang in there and just remember that a lot of this freaking out is just the hormones and those waves aren't as big as they seem!!!

  3. Love your honesty! I can imagine I would have similar squirminess, it it were me! We'd be happy to visit and help occupy Luke while John is away! God knows...praying he sends you peace on this decision.

  4. I know I am calling you later but here are a few of my thoughts.

    My biggest hardship with having two kids close in age (even in light of knowing how lucky I am after loss and infertility) is that I felt like I couldn't give enough of myself to each of them. Deployments stretch you THIN. They are something that no RE or even servicemember can understand. John (my John) still doesn't really know what I went through last year. Being the sole parent while your John is deployed will test you in amazing ways - emotionally and physically. Doing it solo for 7 months last year tested me. And all those sweet offers to "occupy" Luke while John is away? Nice... but will be about 0.0005% of the time. The rest of the time it is you and your kids.

    Children are an AMAZING blessing, and I wouldn't give up Kate or Connor for anything. And I don't think I would even change their spacing. But if I was faced with your choice - knowing what I know about being a military wife and mother - I would transfer 1. You have shared risk, you can try again. But for the sake of you ENJOYING yourself as a mom, not feeling completely rushed all the time, and not being totally overwhelmed... I just can't think of a good reason to go with a 42% twin chance.

    Yes, you are older. But you have gotten pregnant twice with IVF. You don't have implantation issues. I think that putting back one superstar blast will get you pregnant, but also cause less anxiety.

    I know that everyone around you is going ot root for 2. Everyone loves rooting for twins. I remember how scared I was when I first got pregnant with Kate and her twin and how everyone else around me was telling me how lucky and amazing. The only people that brought be into reality were other MoMs. Because they had been there. And while htey LOVED their kids, they had experienced the craziness of trying to nurse, sleep, and survive with two infants. And this doesn't even include a toddler.

    Similarly, nobody can tell you what it is like to be a mother of two (or possibly in your case, three) very small children while your spouse is on the other side of the world, with little to no contact, for months on end. And when your family isn't around the corner other than military spouses who have done it.

    Just be careful. You have shared risk for a reason. You have room to be picky and careful. While I totally feel that Dr. K wants you to get pregnant and wants you healthy and happy, I truly dont' think he quite grasps the real possibility of you being alone for a good portion of the first year of this baby(ies) life.

    Read my blog if you need to remember how much I struggled sometimes :).

  5. praying that God will make it obvious to you what His will is and that you both (and dr too of course!) will have TOTAL peace in your decision.

  6. Since you are so tiny, I vote for transferring one. Especially since your husband is gone a lot. This time you would be transferring the BEST 5-day embryo not the ONLY 3-day embryos like your other cycles. This is a very, very different scenario. If it doesn't work, you can do a FET and transfer two then!

  7. Just keep swimming... Just keep swimming... Just keep swimming!

    You can do this. I am inspired with every post and I think you have an amazing doctor. If he has never given you any reason to doubt - go with him on it. My doc prefers to transfer two because the implantation stats go up for singles. Something to think about.

    Celebrate those embryos! Amazing.

  8. I think the last part of what you typed here is very good Lori... and it seems like you are closer to a comfortable decision. I hope you will find peace with whatever you decide.

  9. Praying for you & that above all God is watching over you no matter what. Praying for a peaceful decision.

  10. Praying for discernment and wisdom for you as you make this decision. Obviously only you and your husband can make it; I know it is a difficult one. I agree it can be difficult to balance our Christian values with the world of IVF. I looked at a lot like you seem to, using what technology was available, but being committed to giving life to the embryos we created. Don't know if it will help, but I can give you our quick summary. Did one fresh cycle. 8 eggs retrieved, 7 fert. Ended up with 5 day 5 blasts, which I was shocked about. Had done all of my research, and at age 37, expected no more than 2! Transferred 2, froze 3. Both took, then one decided to split....triplets with identical twins. Something I never even considered. Fast forward 2 years, we were terrified, but still committed to giving our embies life. Considered strongly donating them for an adopting couple, but in the end, we just didn't feel that's where we were being called. Transfered 1 thawed embryo which did not result in a pregnancy. 2 months later, transferred the remaining 2 thawed embryos, and one only one of the two took, resulting in a our final baby who we delivered in Oct. Although it has been a wild ride for sure, I have felt God's hand on us throughout the entire journey. I do believe He helps us through each step of our journey. I don't know if this will really help at all, but just know others have had to make these decisions, and it all work out in the end. Congrats on your wonderful embryos and I will have you in prayer!

  11. You may not be a very strong swimmer, but the Lord is and He will carry you. And you're right, it is in HIS hands and however many babies He wants here will be here. Trust Him! So excited to see how He grows your sweet family :)

  12. I miss you too Lori! ((hugs))

    You brought me to tears just reading the comment that you left me. It just brings life to your heart, knowing that people really do care about what you are going through. Thank you....

    I didn't know that you had so much going on in your beautiful life! :) So exciting!! I'm am praying for your family to keep growing and growing!

    Luke is ADORABLE Lori! ( I looked through some of your previous posts.)

  13. He will carry you...brave, beautiful mama. You are not swimming alone. The keeper of all life will keep you, as well. Much love and continued prayers...