Thursday, July 31, 2014

Just kidding!!!

So all my rambling, stressing and decision making the past few weeks just went out the window.

Well, we did decide. We decided to test, which would ultimately mean transferring only 1.

Then the embryologist emailed me the following:

I understand that you have questions about performing CCS on your frozen embryos. There are 5 blastocysts remaining from your cycle 10/08/13. These blastocysts were fertilized with a conventional insemination and cannot undergo CCS testing. 

After a conventional insemination, even though only one sperm fertilizes the egg, there are thousands of other sperm which remain attached to the shell of the embryo throughout development. Because of the abundance of sperm still attached to your embryos, there is too great a risk of contamination during the CCS process; i.e. we may end up testing the DNA of the sperm rather than the DNA of the embryo.

Who knew?? I didn't. I guess I never had reason to ask before since we used donor eggs and thought we would be transferring them to me.

So thank you all for your support, advise and well wishes on this subject this past week. Now we're back to deciding between transferring 1 or 2 unknowns. Plenty of time for that decision. We still need to get through medical clearance for my gestational carrier.

Stay tuned...I'm sure I'll be stressing over something else soon enough.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A new twist on the same old question

I appreciate everyone's comments SO much. I gain so much insight from all of you that I do not necessarily get when talking to a doctor or even my husband. Because of that, I'm hoping that now with the additional information I have, we can consider and reconsider and see where we land.

So...the question remains:

CCS testing on my already frozen 5 embryos (3AA, 3AB, 3BA, 3BA, 2/3)

Why am I revisiting this?

Because now we're looking at at using a gestational carrier and I want to know that we're taking every precaution and make sure that after everything we've gone through...we're giving ourselves the best possible chance.

Key points:
  • We only have 5 and they have not been CCS tested
  • We don't know if our GC is comfortable with transferring two, that's still up in the air
What's different from last week's post?

I heard from CCRM. OF COURSE, they have their own spin to everything. So I want to share what I was told by Dr. G, and then ask yet again, for your thoughts. Because honestly, it's pretty tough.

Dr. Gustofon's own words:

"Because of cost, most couples using a GC opt to transfer two."

I really do understand this. Transferring only one, means we will most likely only have one child. Ever.

"However...IF we choose to CCS test our embryos (at the cost of $7000), risks are about 2% for loss of the embryos. They do this fairly frequently and it has been very safe and effective. But still...there is that chance. "

Am I risking my embryos by considering this?

Not only that..."the caveat with CCS testing of donor eggs is that we can only transfer ONE embryo per transfer into me OR a gestational carrier. There is never the option of transferring two because the risk of twins then increases to >60%. Without screening, we have the option of transferring 2."

So...NOW what?

My ultimate goal is a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. CCS testing and transferring one is obviously more in line with achieving that goal. The icing on the cake would be twins and our family would be complete.

But would we not be complete with just one? Maybe we would be.

I read about all the lovely women that have carried twins and had healthy pregnancies and babies. But there are others, many that we all know, that have had heart wrenching difficulties.

I also have had a lot of stress with the constant talk of "what happens if there are genetic abnormalities in the pregnancy and you and your GC have to agree with who makes those decisions?" Typically the IP's make those decisions but that has to be agreed upon and it's a hard thing to discuss or even think about.  If I screen my embryos I take a lot of that risk away, which takes away the worry for that, because trust me, that thought is very difficult for me. I don't want to be in that position and I don't want my GC in that position.

So what would you do? If this was it for you? One shot? Transfer two that have not been tested? Transfer one that has?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I met someone...

I just met someone that could be a life changer for me.

It's not a soulmate or life partner. I have him already. This is someone that could mean a great deal to both of us. It's someone that could be and we hope will be our gestational carrier.

I was so nervous. I mean, how do you prepare for this? I wanted to like her and I really wanted her to like me. A big reason why I wanted to meet her in person was because this could be the woman that carries our child for 9 months. The person that I'm trusting our child with. To love and take care of our baby in my place, because I can't. A woman that is willing to do this and then when 9 month is over, to lovely hand over our baby that we've hoped for and waited for all these years.

I wanted to be able to connect with her in person. Not just on the phone. Not just on email. But where we could both look each other in the eye and know that this is right. That together, we could do this.

And yes...I felt that when I met her and her sweet family.

This is a tiny, tiny step in this process. For this to become really, really real, there are still so much left to do.

1) All medical records of prior pregnancies must be approved.

2) After a few regular cycles, her and her husband must go to CCRM for the ODWU (one day work up) in which she goes through all the necessary medical testing and psychological screening.

3) Legal contracts must be negotiated, agreed upon and signed.

4) Only then will she be put in calendar for an FET cycle.

If that wasn't enough, there are many other decisions and factors to consider and agree on...

This is a financial stretch for us. I feel blessed that we've been able to save and be in a position that we can figure this out, but at the same time, it comes with great sacrifices. It is not easy for us and we are having to make some major lifestyle changes. It's (going to be) completely worth it, there are no doubts. But it's important to know that we will not have future children in this same manor. We can only go through one pregnancy using a gestational carrier.

So the question of how many embryos will we transfer has been asked. At the end of the day, with all we've been through, if I only have one child, my life will be blessed beyond belief. That doesn't mean that the thought of having two isn't very appealing knowing this is it. If I had to chose though, one healthy baby is my ultimate goal. I want her to be comfortable with whatever is decided.

Because of this, I'm starting to wonder if I should have CCS tested my embryos when they were retrieved. We were told that when using donor eggs, there would only be a 15-20% chance of our embryos being abnormal. That means 1 in 5 could be abnormal. That's if his statistics are correct. I am afraid of being faced with issues early in the pregnancy that could make us question what to do (or put our carrier in that position) should there be genetic abnormality knowing this is most likely the only child we will ever have. Would CCS testing take the worry out, even a little? I would love input from people on this. I'm also waiting for a response from the doctor on this subject. I'm sure I'll blog more about this as we try and make this decision.

T and I also squeezed in a little long weekend getaway and it was amazing. We felt completely rejuvenated and relaxed and it came at a perfect time.

I've so appreciated all the kind words in the comments, emails and texts I've received this past month or so. This was a hard decision to completely take myself and my body out of the least for the first 9 months. I want everyone that reads this blog, that cares about me whether it's because you know me in real life, or because we've become friends through our similar journey and have shared love and support over the years, that I am so very hopeful right now. More so than I've been in a very long time.  For the first time probably since the DOR diagnosis and most definitely since the Asherman's diagnosis, I feel like I could be holding our baby at the end of this.

And it's a beautiful feeling.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hope vs. Fear

I've really been struggling with my blog recently. I don't know what to write about. I'm in this strange space between walking away from one road and only just beginning to peer down another. I also keep thinking about my blog title...and web address. I guess I always assumed the baby bump we were after, would be mine.

Our IUI cycle did not work. I didn't really expect it to and I've been okay with that. No tears, no sadness, but still grateful for the information that I gathered from seeing my lining respond better. But there are still so many more issues for me than just my lining. The fluid was still in my uterus, I still have DOR, and I still have endometriosis. Lets be honest, it would have taken the perfect storm for a conception.

I'm excited though. Progress is being made and actions are being taken on our road to find a gestational carrier. It's an overwhelming process. So many things have to fall into place. So much testing and screening has to be done. Lets be honest, CCRM doesn't make anything easy.

Lately, the things going through my head are:

I don't know the motivation behind the incredible women that donate their eggs, and lend their uterus and bodies to another couple. It's hard to imagine. I'm sure there are many reasons. Sure, there is financial gain, but it takes more than that to embrace the burden, the risks and the psychological aspect of what comes with third party reproduction. Is it because they saw someone they love go through the heartbreak of infertility? Are there people in this world that truly just have that much love in their hearts that they want to be a part of another person's miracle?

It's a gift and selfishness that many women can't comprehend. I've had friends that have told me that they could never do it. Yet these women that can are out there. For whatever reason, willing to help someone they've never met to have their (my) dreams come true.

Trust. It has to be there from the beginning. On both sides. I have to trust that she will love and care for our baby for 9 months. She has to trust that we will be amazing parents. I hope that when we find our carrier, that we have a connection. Whatever that relationship is in the future, I will always have her in my heart.

The space in my head is filled with so much emotion. Here I am, ready and willing to accept the help of another woman to have my baby. To lay aside my pride that I will not be the one to carry my child and still embrace what I hope is the path that was meant for me. We've fought long and very hard these past 3 years and have had doors, road blocks and challenges thrown at us at every turn.

So for now, just think of me? Pray for me? Send me whatever good vibes into the universe that you can?

If nothing more, that in these next few months, the challenges and roadblocks that we face are minimal and few?

Today I have a lot of hope. And it scares me.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Birthday's have never bothered me. Until this one. I've had a lot of apprehension these past few months dreading today. A number shouldn't bother me. Especially one like 37.

However, 37 has always been that number that they tell you is when your fertility takes a giant nose dive. Why would this matter for me? My fertility is way beyond just a number, right? Maybe it's just a reminder that 37 shouldn't be so old to feel this broken.

That didn't stop having a little song in my head from Don McClean this morning when I woke up with catchy new lyrics…"the day, my fertility declined".

Enough about my ho-hum birthday. I've had a lot going on these past few weeks. But for the first time in several years, blogging has become difficult. I feel a little stuck…and to be honest, a little left behind. This is a different direction that I ever expected to go and I'm still navigating the grief that comes with that and also the excitement of going forward towards something that can be successful.

I also decided after our failed FET, that I needed a distraction. The processes for Gestational Surrogacy is not quick by any means. I needed something to take my mind off of it as tiny little steps were being taken.

So we decided to do an IUI cycle locally. I had no plans to blog about it. And while I can't say for certain at this point, because I won't test until later this week, but my heart knows it didn't work, I mean, we knew the likelihood was a long shot, but still, it was a distraction.

A distraction I'm thankful for. We learned a great deal from this cycle and BFP or BFN, I'm so glad I decided to do it.

1) I had left over meds that I was able to use and not spend any money on, aside from the trigger shot.

2) While my left ovary decided to remain in retirement. My right ovary decided to come to the party. I had two follicles on low doses of Menopur and Gonal-f. That's the same amount of eggs retrieved on extremely HIGH doses of meds during my IVF.

3) And this is the biggie…my uterus joined this little party too.

My lining reached 7.8mm

Pretty amazing since CCRM told me that I would probably never reach a lining thicker than 5.9mm and I did the month following that conversation.

Does this change things? No. It doesn't. I contacted CCRM just to let them know because, quite honestly, I was shocked. Dr. G even offered to use THIS cycle and do an FET within days. We considered it, for a second (okay, actually that blew my mind for about 24 hours), but unfortunately, I was already surging and my progesterone was starting to rise, so we missed the window.

Dr. G offered to consider a FET from one of my "personal attempts" again, if my lining is able to do this again. However, I struggle with this concept. So I'm supposed to allow another RE to do the dirty work and then last minute ditch him, fly to CCRM for them to get the success rate? I know it's not about the doctors, it's about my best chance, but if CCRM isn't willing to cycle me, then I'm really not either. Plus…our decision has already been made.

We are looking forward to Gestational Carrier. There is movement on that side of things, and I'm too excited about that to look back.

What 7.8mm means to me, is that my lining continues to improve. So maybe one day...