Friday, 14 March 2014

The Thin Envelope Theory

I'll admit I am a bit of a deviant; I've never seen the original Star Wars movies (episodes 4-6). I'm familiar with the characters and basic plot summary. Classic tale of Good triumphing over Evil as the main character, Luke Skywalker, discovers his family roots. Princess Leia, who is stunning in a gold bikini, turns out to be his twin sister, but that revelation pales in comparison to the shocker that his arch-nemesis lord Darth Vader is actually his father. I'm not sure how Han Solo factors into the storyline, except that the role catapulted Harrison Ford from a carpenter who installed cabinets for George Lucas to a silver screen superstar. There are really cool special effects, various robots, an actual dog who serves as a co-pilot, and a green little gremlin who keeps talking about this mysterious force.  Oh, additionally John Williams composed a killer musical score. The End.

During my elementary school years, I observed that Star Wars was a major obsession among my male classmates. I figured it would be something they would grow out of when they became older. Oh, I was wrong. Quite wrong. While we were dating, Husband and I queued for nearly two hours to watch Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace on the night of it's premiere. He also dragged me to Episode 2, but I don't remember it's title, and I think I feel asleep during the movie. We were engaged by the time Revenge of the Sith debuted in our local cinema. I had accepted that watching Star Wars films would be part of my marital obligation. However, I was actually enjoying the movie, and as we approached the dramatic fight sequence between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Husband leaned over toward me and whispered "I've been waiting twenty-five years for this!" Seriously? Was I really planning to marry this dork?

As you can probably gather, I did go ahead with our wedding, and I think I actually gave him a DVD set of the Star Wars series as a present. Although we have a copy of Revenge of the Sith for our upgraded Blu-ray player and Husband can watch it whenever he wants; whenever he finds it on regular TV, all activity must stop so that he can watch it again for the millionth time. I think I've  actually seen it enough times that I can quote particular lines. In particular, I'm feeling the same sense of betrayal and disappointment as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

"You were the chosen one!"
"You were to bring balance to the force, not leave it in darkness!"


My Embryo turned to the dark side...

In the words of Master Yoda: *Failed* I have.

I am manifesting my regret over only transferring one embryo by projecting the conversation between Misery and New Girl as they discovered my results.

"Aww, Jane's beta is negative"
"Silly girl, so concerned about the risk of twins. She should have transferred both."
"Doesn't she know she has shit for embryos?"
"No one ever wants to hear the truth. Shall we do rock/paper/scissors to decide who calls her?"
"She instructed us to leave a message on her voicemail. I wish they all would do that; it makes it so much easier when you don't have to speak to them in person..."

I was in a lecture on chronic pelvic pain when I checked my phone and saw a missed call and voicemail. I should have waited until the end of the lecture to do this, but I looked at the length of the message. Twelve seconds.  I still had her voicemail with the beta results from my last transfer. Not that I was saving it for nostalgia, I just never get around to deleting my old voice mail messages. I found the previous message -it was thirty seconds long. I started applying the Thin Envelope Theory. Remember when you were applying to University or Graduate programs? A thin envelope was an ominous sign of a single page rejection letter. A thicker envelope held the promise of acceptance.

Twelve seconds. That is how long it took for Misery to break my heart with the words, "I'm sorry Jane, your test was negative. Stop your meds and call us when your cycle starts. Hope you have a good weekend." Husband and I sat in our kitchen and slowly sipped beer straight from the bottle. It was really just a formality as we were already felt pretty numb from the news and we were figuratively banging our heads against the wall. I know this is so naive, but to a certain extent, once you accept that you need to proceed with IVF, you perceive that it will work. Yes, there are more treatments and transfers that don't work, but there are many that are successful. This was our stellar embryo! After our day 3 desperation transfer, I was yearning for an elusive higher quality day 5 embryo. How is it that an embryo with a lethal trisomy resulted in a pregnancy, but an excellent blastocyst couldn't make it off the ground? The further I fall down this rabbit hole, the less it all makes sense to me..

The emotional side of my brain is forbidden to engage in any optimistic thinking, but the rational side of my brain was forced to acknowledge that this could actually work. Pregnancy (not birth rates) are 65% when a high quality blastocyst is transferred into a woman my age. The statistics were in our favour! The emotional side of my brain is consoling the rational side by reminding her that this failure does not mean I will never become pregnant, it just wasn't meant to be at this time, even though it really seemed like it could have been.

At this point, my plan is to finish my beer, throw myself in the pool (literally, as I have a swim meet this weekend and I want to push myself to swim fast) and schedule a WTF appointment with my RE to discuss our best course of action in terms of the next steps. I'll close with the (modified) words of Obi-Wan;

You could have been my son or daughter. I loved you.

28 comments:

  1. Damn it. I am so sorry, Jane. Your last line made me cry. Thinking of you and hoping your good news is coming soon.

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  2. You gave it away! (We walked out of Episode 3 with a friend, who proclaimed honest surprise at the fact that Darth Vader is Luke's father... Also, H dragged me to see this movie approximately 5 times in theaters, and it goes without saying that we have it on DVD.)

    That last line is heartbreaking. I'm so sorry. And I'm very much convinced that you did not fail, Jane. This cycle didn't work out, and I'm not in a position to predict what future cycles may bring, but it wasn't anything you did. My clinic gives patients a post-transfer release sheet stating that, after transfer, there's pretty much nothing we can do to make this work or fail. Which is a little odd next to all the instructions the proceed to give (no sex until beta!) but I think, for all that science knows thus far, they are right. Don't blame yourself. Thinking of you, and hoping for better times soon.

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  3. I am so sorry Jane. Sometimes those beautiful blasts are nothing but beauty queen bimbos with no substance. I hope all of the swimming this weekend helps clear your head.

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  4. I laughed at the beginning and cried at the end. Sending you love.

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  5. No words. I am so sorry and will be thinking of you. Life is unfair in such brutal, shitty ways.

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  6. I've never seen any Star Wars, so I guess I'm even more out than you!

    I am so, so sorry about your test. Well, about all of this shitty reality. I'm thinking of you and sending love. :-(

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  7. Ugh, Jane, I'm sorry. This fucking sucks. It doesn't make any sense.

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  8. Fuck- I'm sorry. Take out your anger/frustration/sadness out on the pool this weekend.

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  9. I'm pretty sure that M wouldn't let me be your friend anymore if he knew you hadn't seen Star Wars. It'll have to be our little secret. As for the beta, I think you already know that short of myself, there's no one that I want this for more than you. I fucking hate infertility.

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  10. Double crap!! Soooo sorry Jane. I ready your blog regularly and will keep cheering for you guys. I know it is such a tough road to have to travel.

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  11. I was all excited for good news his morning. Your last line made me cry. How did you have the presence of mind to write yet another damn good post? I'll never know. My heart was pounding with anticipation as I read on. I am so sorry. I really wanted for this to be it for you. I am thinking of you. Swim your heart out, girl.

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  12. Oh, crap. I'm so sorry Jane. Even in the best of circumstances we are reminded that infertility is a brutal beast. I will continue cheering you on and hoping this next cycle is the one!!

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  13. Damnit. I hate those WTF apts. Man, I think whoever came up with that quote "If at first you don't succeed, try and try again" came before his time. That one is hand picked for fertility treatments. So true that something's gotta give at some point too though. I really believe that for you! GL at your apt. I hope they give you a good game plan moving forward!

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  14. There are no words. I am so sorry. I am sending many thoughts and prayers your way. Xo

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  15. I am so sorry. Sending lots of hugs to you...

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  16. I'm so sorry Jane. :-( It's hard getting that news.

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  17. I am so sorry friend. As torthuil said, it's so terribly hard to get that news. I am sending you a big hug from Canada. xo

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  18. Shit. I'm sorry. This sucks. I hate this for you, for me, for all of us.

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  19. This sucks. I'm sorry. I wanted this so badly for you.

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  20. This sucks so much. I'm sorry. I wish I had more comforting words, or something to say to make it better, but there's just nothing. Ugh.

    What is it with these men? Eric is HUGE into Star Wars. He gets together with a bunch of dudes and plays this Star Wars card game all the time (it reminds me of Dungeons and Dragons, but possibly nerdier). I really don't see the appeal. At all.

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  21. You have an amazing ability to tie things together and tell a story. I just wish this one had a better ending. But wait, this might still be the middle of the story. We don't know yet what the actual ending will be. I don't know what your plans are going forward (I need to catch up!), but you have been on my mind and I wish you the best, as always.

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