I believe that everyone who finds herself on this infertility journey must ask: how did I end up here? However some of us find ourselves asking: how did I end up here?
I remember when Myrtle first announced her pregnancy, I wasn't so much jealous of the fact that she was pregnant, it was that she made such quick work of it. After all, at that point in time, we had been trying for six long months! By the time we had a diagnosis of moderate male factor infertility, I wasn't bothered by her speed, but by the fact that she conceived without intervention. I know my surprise spontaneous BFP fostered some hapulosy from Co-worker as she had a negative home test 10 days after her planned final IUI. Ah, the dangers of testing too early, as her beta was 155 just four days later. In turn, I would become jealous of her IUI success as I went through five failures and knew I would be facing the dreaded IVF process. After my first transfer ended in a miscarriage, and my second two failed, I started to envy my cousin, who was a first time IVF success with a subsequent spontaneous conception. It feels like Alice in Wonderland, the further you fall down the rabbit hole, the more your perception changes.
I feel as if my membership in The Infertility Club has been upgraded to Elite Level status. I won't reveal the inclusion criteria; you know who you are if you're at this stage. The perks of getting to this point? A personal call from my RE expressing his disappointment. As usual, he presented the data, which is where he earns his money, but is not the most compassionate approach. Transferring only one embryo does reduce the risk of twins, but it's also associated with a higher failure rate. He added "don't beat yourself up about it." So is he subtly implying that I'm to blame for the failure because I elected for a single transfer, but that I shouldn't be too hard on myself? Was this an 'I'm sorry you're an idiot' apology? Husband listened to the voicemail message and thought that he seemed sincere, but is just very socially awkward. "The guy could talk his way out of getting laid" he observed. It's always interesting to learn a man's perspective.
More than being disappointed, I feel frustrated. I'll ask again; how can my day 3 'your embryos seemingly suck, so your best chance is to just shove some up your uterus' desperation transfer result in a pregnancy with a lethal anomaly, and two grade 1 blasts (one proven eupliod) and one grade 2 blast with assisted hatching can't even generate a chemical pregnancy? I want answers, but I know that they may not exist. I feel as if there is something broken with my body. I'm not yet convinced that increasing the number of embryos on the next round is the answer. While we haven't had the gestational carrier conversation and I don't know if we're in a position to entertain the thought, I'm afraid to waste any more embryos in my uterus. More than anything else, I feel so discouraged right now.
I've been drawing inspiration from some fellow Infertility Elite members who have finally achieved their success, I still have some hope that I may join them, albeit fading. I do know how fortunate I am to have three more normal embryos (plus we have a bonus embryo with inconclusive testing). I also know that I sound like an asshole to lament that it's frustrating to know that donor gametes or embryos won't offer any advantage in my situation. This is it for us. It just feels like pursuing more transfers is representing Albert Einstein's definition of insanity: we're repeating the same actions and expecting a different result. While I'm still so terrified of transferring two or more embryos and achieving a twin pregnancy, it's starting to register that we may be too infertile to become pregnant with twins. I can imagine that my RE probably has the words unrealistically concerned about the potential for twins jotted in his notes. Again, I acknowledge that I sound like an asshole as some fellow infertiles would love to become pregnant with twins. As I never expected to have multiple miscarriages and repeated failures, I feel it is daft to merely hope that I wouldn't encounter the potential complications with a multiple gestation.
At times I think back to my initial meeting with my RE, when he projected our odds with IVF to be "good" at 40%. I made a crack questioning how something with a greater failure rate could be considered good, but I don't think I understood the implications at that time. I really didn't see myself doing IVF. I guess a part of me thought it wouldn't come to that. Maybe I would be one of those lucky women who magically conceived after merely consulting with an REI. Well, I sort of was, but only for about five minutes. After miscarrying my spontaneous conception, I felt encouraged about my chances with assisted reproduction. When IUIs didn't work, I could fall back on the IVF option. As my second cycle was so much more improved, it seemed reasonable to expect that it might actually work. Now I wonder if I'll be that case that Misery and New Girl will always recall: Remember Jane Allen? 14 eggs retrieved, all fertilised -you almost never see that! Yet she still didn't become pregnant...
I'm starting to come to terms with the fact that it's statistically more likely that I'll be on the side of the 60% with failed treatment. I'm moving beyond my former OMG! I am never going to have a baby! overly dramatic self, to the more practical actually Jane, you may not be able to have a baby...and it will be okay. That's the other reward of Elite Level membership to the Infertility Club. A fabulous life still awaits.