The End.

April 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Posted in Infertility, IVF #5: This is IT., milestones, Stuck with You (aka: Family), The End of Trying | 16 Comments

At one point, O would sing the same song over and over and over.

Usually it was when we were in the car on a Very Long Drive.

Which, you know, is fine. Because if you were just listening to him sing, you can sort of tune it out and wander away in your mind. No harm, no foul.

Except that he wouldn’t allow us to do that.

No, we had to JOIN him in singing “Take Me Out To the Ballgame” three zillion trillion times.

Which we did. For 15 minutes, we sang the same song over and over.

Painfully.

Finally, I said, pretty forcefully, “THEEND!” when we finshed our thirty billionth refrain.

I MEANT to say “THE END!”

But what came out was exactly like it’s spelled – all smooshed together into nearly one syllable, sort of panicked.

Because all I could think was, hurry up and say it before he makes us sing it again!

And we all giggled. And tried yelling it as quickly I had said it.

And instead of singing over and over, we spent the next hour adding “THEEND!” to everything that we said.

Now it’s part of our family vernacular.

Each night, at the end of each book, O will say it.

We’ll say it when it’s time to get him to stop playing and come to dinner.

Or when we have to get into the car.

Somehow, it’s become a mark of our transitions as a family.

____________________________

Over the past couple of months, I’ve had a lot of email conversations with other infertiles.

About numerous things, but mostly about the fact that it’s possible that my clinic’s approach to cycling is not optimal for the type of infertility we’re dealing with.

It’s true that my doctor was purposely heavy handed with the stims last cycle in order to get the highest number of eggs possible so that we could be a candidate for single blast transfer.

Which, you know, didn’t work. And gave me OHSS.

And didn’t work. For multiple cycles.

And our embryo quality suffered. Thaw rates, grading, etc were significantly worse than the protocol we had with O.

Did I mention that it didn’t work, either?

We are fortunate enough to live in an area where medical science is high quality. There are more doctors and hospitals to choose from in Boston than many other places in the US.

And so the question inevitably comes up.

Why not get another opinion?

Now, we DID get another opinion back in the day when we were still trying for O. And the doctor, an egomaniac asshat who told me it was impossible I would have a combination bicornuate AND septate uterus (uh, read the FILE, doc!) basically told us he wouldn’t change the protocol recommended by Dr. HIT.

So we went back and cycled with my clinic, and poof! Pregnant with O.

So, you know, if I were the superstitious sort, I would probably do that again.

Except.

I realized – today, actually – something that’s a pretty big deal.

If I had to go to another doctor, or switch clinics?

I’d never go.

____________________

I have always wondered about the infertiles who stepped away from ART.

Partly because I wondered if I could ever be that strong. Because for me? Every CYCLE brings the hope of becoming pregnant.

That’s what makes ART so addictive.

Okay, so this cycle didn’t work. But NEXT cycle – WITH a whole new protocol and the green tea and acupuncture and no coffee and vegan diet and mindful visualization exercises… it COULD WORK!

And so the ones who stopped, who called it Crazy and stepped away… well, I was fascinated.

How could they step away from the Siren Song of Hope?

______________________

The problem with cycling, I’m realizing, is that it’s like listening “Take Me Out To the Ballgame” over and over and over.

Whereas before, my injections were EVENTS?

Now I’m often left wondering at the end of the night if I actually did my Lupron shot. And I’ll go back and count the needles in my sharps container to make sure that, yes, there were 8 in there last night and now 9 tonight. Whew.

I never thought I could be one of those infertiles who could willingly walk away from treatments.

Thing is.

I’m no longer frustrated with ART. I’m NOT wondering why I’m not pregnant. I’m not looking ahead to the next cycle, because maybe that’s the one that will work.

And right now, I don’t FEEL MUCH about this cycle at all.

Well no, that’s not true.

I feel exhaustion. A vague sense of hassle when I think about the scheduling my life next week when my blood draws begin. Frustration that I’ll have to give up running yet again, when it’s FINALLY getting easier to do my regular runs and the weather’s getting better.

Before now, I’ve equated decisions when it came to ART in Levels of Suck.

Would it suck worse to do another cycle? Or stop now with O as an only child?

And before now, the Suck was about equal.

But something has shifted inside me this week.

And my path IS becoming clear to me.

If this cycle doesn’t work?

I will walk away from ART.

(Mostly) Peacefully.

The End.

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16 Comments »

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  1. wow, so profound. I am glad taht you are at peace with your decision. Still hoping for a great cycle! HUGS

  2. Good for you, and so much good luck.

  3. First off: D@mn girl, great parallel.

    I am at THE END, too. Keeping on this path hurts too much.

    This is just the first step of many in moving forward. I am sure you will have days where you feel sure about this decision and days when you don’t.

    Sigh.

  4. I’m glad you have found some peace with your situation.
    No matter the outcome.

  5. So does that mean not using frozens if you have them from this, or is this a “cycle” in the broader “use what we get from this stim, the end”?

    You know, my two main problems with this clinic are their unwillingness to do day 3 eSETs, and their devil-may-care overstim attitude if they want you to go to blast (the only way they consider acceptable for an eSET). So I think that if you’re stimming for a day 3, they’re as good as any other clinic around.

    Hope it works out!

  6. I just came to the very same conclusion in the past week myself based on our preliminary result of fresh IVF #6 (3rd one for baby #2). Even at egg retrieval, I was saying to myself, okay, if this cycle produces crappy embryos, I’ll do *just one more* fresh cycle and then be done. But luckily it produced some good ones, and with that result, even though I have no idea whether any of them will turn into a real live baby, I’m totally at peace with saying that was my last ever fresh cycle, period. If I get a BFN in a few days, we’ll just use up our frozens (which I’m slightly ashamed to admit I’ve been stockpiling over the years since my insurance company would actually count FETs against our available number of total IVF attempts) and either end up with a baby or stay a family of three, and that’s that. I am so tired of scheduling my life and travel around planned and potential cycles, and like you I can hardly remember half the time if I have taken all of the shots/pills for the day.

    On a related note — I actually went to a different clinic for this cycle, reluctantly, only because my new insurance carrier didn’t cover the old clinic that got us pregnant twice, including the pregnancy that resulted in my son. The new RE’s practice was very different, REs only see you for the retrieval and transfer, and they suggested a completely different protocol (antagonist) with a huge dose of stims (double what my old clinic had done and what I’d always done fine with). I was skeptical but figured it was worth a shot. My just-turned-40-year old ovaries ended up producing 45 eggs total, 42 of which were mature, and we ended up with 10 good quality blasts (and several more fair/poor) on day 5. I was initially pissed that the new RE was blasting me with so many stims and was sure I was heading towards OHSS, but their practice uses cabergoline post-retrieval for 8 days to ward off OHSS. Since I was on an antagonist protocol, I also did 4 shots of cetrotide post-retrieval to further shut down my ovaries and prevent OHSS, and used a combo lower-dose HCG plus lupron trigger. Much to my amazement, no OHSS despite the crazy number of eggs and E2 at about 3900 at retrieval.

    Anyhow — glad to see your thoughts are becoming more clear. I actually feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders now that I’ve at least come to a place of acceptance (and, frankly, happiness) with the idea of no more fresh cycles from here forward.

  7. I think there is a point for everyone at which they’ve finally had it. ART never felt all that right to me. That coupled with the fact that our insurance did not cover treatments allowed me to walk away from it sooner. I’m glad you’ve found some sort of peace, but I hope this cycle is successful so that you can walk away a little more easily!

  8. I am glad to read you’ve reach a decision you feel comfortable with, regardless of what it was. Wishing you continued peace with your choices, whatever they may be.

  9. I’m really glad you’ve been able to come to a decision, and not feel like you’ve been forced into it.

    But you know I’m hoping you get the best possible result from this final cycle.

    xoxoxo
    T.

  10. Hello, I had to comment before leaving – I found your blog via Edenland’s blogroll and I really enjoyed this post. I can identify with a LOT.

    We walked away from ART (PGD, to be exact) because it seemed more hopeless to me, more than anything, after a chem pg that basically cost us $6,000. We decided I can m/c for free πŸ˜‰ so decided to keep going it alone. Of course, now, we have all but shelved the idea of adding to our family (you can read my long IF history on my blog if you want). But at least I won’t head into menopause wondering “what if we’d done….” We did it. It wasn’t a good fit for us (or my mental health) in the end.

    Very best of luck to you and I really admire your tenacity. It’s not an easy or light decision to make. But you’ve every right to change your mind at whim or on a moment’s notice, I always say. πŸ™‚ All the best, Kirrily

  11. I don’t think I realized at the time just how aggressive they were being with you. My clinic seems to think Day 3 embryos are just as good as blasts. That’s what makes my head spin about ART — we undoubtedly both go to some of the best REs in the country, but yet they do things so differently.

    I am really happy you have gotten to this place of peace. I was a little worried for you, given you’ve been so conflicted recently. I’m happy that everything is falling into place for you, and still very hopeful for this cycle.

  12. No matter what why it turns out, I am glad you are comfortable with it. Such a beautiful post about such a complex issue. Wishing you all the best for this cycle!

  13. Do you know the song “This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend, some people started singing it not knowing what it was, and then they kept on singing it forever just because this is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends…” and on, and ON! Yeah. We sing that one in the car. For miles!

    Anyway, at one point a few weeks back I wanted to tell you that the clinic where we had Grace and the failed IVF and the horrible egg quality and the like one actual mediocre quality embryo to choose from…Well, when we got around to trying for #2, it was recommended that we try a different clinic. When we went to the new clinic, I told the doctor at our first appointment “I have horrible egg quality. We don’t produce many viable embryos”.

    The first cycle with them, I had a gagillion high quality blasts. Jeff and I decided we better transfer two of them tho, bc we were still so certain that we’d have a failed cycle anyway. And then we all know what happened.

    I didn’t want to tell you that before because I didn’t want to be an asshat (I have never heard that before and I thank you for enriching my life with that awesome term haha!!) And I still don’t want to be an asshat, and I’m probably more of an asshat now for saying it now, as your peace is descending on you in such a beautiful way, and you said you’d never switch clinics, but I honestly just wanted to put it out there.

    Anyway.
    Hugs to you.

  14. I think one knows when one is at the end. I have been there twice. Sometimes you really do need to walk away and find a new perspective. That perspective might lead you back to treatment or to a new clinic or something else. But it is OK to just say you’re done. I firmly believe it’s a sign of strength rather than weakness. You’re not admitting defeat; quite the contrary. You have been cycling for a very long time; no wonder you’re tired. “Cycling” is an apt word for infertility treatments, isn’t it?

  15. I’ve been wanting to reply to you when you’ve raised this subject in the recent past but I just couldn’t – I mean, how can I comment to you when I haven’t even posted in my own neglected blog about this subject, you know? I haven’t done a post because there are just SO many things I want to say that I don’t even know where to start.

    I walked away from ART. I did it. I was not easy and in fact, I sort of had to hit rock bottem before I took the first step but in the end, it had to be done. There were a million and one reasons why I knew it was time to walk away, even though I still felt like I could happen if only we were to try “one more time”. Infertility has the potential to destroy and disrupt everything in one’s life but ultimately, I walked away because it was destroying ME. It was changing my identity and I was forgetting who I was. My spirit was completely broken.

    After our IVF attempt last year (where everything went PERFECTLY) and neither of our two embyos stuck, we decided to do an IUI w/injectables. The day that I found out that it didn’t work (aka, I got my period), my sister announced that she was pregnant, unexpectedly, with TWINS. That was my rock bottom. I couldn’t wonder why the universe was so jacked up anymore. I raged and hated and cryed and basically, you name it.I was ANGRY. And it was destroying me.

    I had to let it go. It was not peaceful at first but with time, a calm has washed over me and I have learned to let it go. A little more every day. It is still a stuggle from time to time and situations will arise that cause me to take deep breathes but those times are fewer and fewer nd overall, I am doing really well. I am much more at peace now then I was then, when I had hope. I don’t know if any of this makes any sense but I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and that there is life after IF. It’s not always easy but it isn’t horrible either. At least I have ME back and I am finally “drug free” for the first time in about four years. πŸ™‚

    We are a family of three and that’s okay. 99% of the time, it is really great. We tried and it was just not in the cards for us. What else I can say? I have a lot of other things in my life to focus on and be thankful for. I’m counting my blessings and all that crap!

    Hang in there and just do what is right for YOU.

  16. I wish I could just sing the song for you and have it come true, I know that I love to play a song I love over and over but when John starts to play one I don’t have affection for over and over, I get to hate it..that parallel is not lost on me.

    I know you are really struggling with all of this lately, and I think it’s important that you get all of this out of you, write it out and let it go. I can’t tell you how this ends up,. but I can tell you that I am standing here holding hope for you.


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