Please send whatever flavor of healthy baby and strong mama mojo you have to offer, for a friend whose newborn is struggling.
While we’re talking mojo, here’s a quick update on some mojo requests that I made a few weeks ago.
Our firefighter friend has had a rough time, as you can imagine, but he’s doing well, all things considered, and is probably going to be coming home this week.
Of course, he and his family still have quite a road ahead of them, with a lot of healing and then rehabilitation to be done.
Our MOMS Club is planning a couple of fundraisers for them – one this Tuesday at the local Red Robin, and a spaghetti dinner in May. If you’re local and would like to attend either one, please contact me directly for more information.
DoulaK’s husband seems to be recovering quite well from his heart surgery (which turned out to be a robotic repair of the valve – the least invasive of the options). When I talked to her last weekend, she said he’d been driving pretty much since he got home, he felt better than before surgery, and was probably going back to work last week.
BabyK’s surgery is scheduled for this coming Friday, so please continue to keep them in your thoughts, and send him some smooth-surgery and quick-healing mojo, as well as a nice dose of calm and confident for his Mommy, Daddy and the rest of the family.
So, here’s how this is going to work:
Shrike is at work right now. She took my car, with the carseat.
Peeper is napping, and I’m all-but packed for overnight.
(Cold things need to go into an ice chest at the last minute, and my pants are in the dryer. The ones I need to wear to not be naked.)
Around 7ish, Shrike’s parents are going to come pick up Peeper and me (they have a carseat) and we’ll go to a hotel near the fertility clinic. When Shrike gets off work (hopefully a little earlier than her usual 11:45ish) she will drive down and join us.
We’ve got reservations for adjoining rooms, and when Shrike’s parents go to bed tonight, they’ll leave their half of the connecting doors open.
In the morning, Shrike and I will get up around 5:15 and tiptoe around getting ready. I’ll give Peeper a “dream feed” (get her all goodied up in her sleep) and then we’ll open our door to Eena and Papa’s room, and set up the monitor, so they’ll be sure and hear Peeper when she wakes up.
We’ll leave around (theoretically) 5:45 to go over the clinic, which is only about a minute away from the hotel.
We’re supposed to be there at 6 am, to get Shrike all set up, and the egg retrieval is scheduled for 8 am.
Based on how things went last time around, by the time someone comes to let me know she’s all done and I can go back to see her, we should know how many eggs they were able to get.
(Based on the sizes on Thursday, I’m thinking that maybe about 10ish should be big enough by tomorrow that they ought to be mature? But what the hell do I know?)
Again, based on last time, we’re thinking we’ll be free to go by 10 or 11, then back to the hotel to get Peeper and then Shrike’s parents will head home in their car and we’ll head home in ours.
We’ll probably stop on the way for pancakes, because last time, that’s what Shrike wanted when she woke up, and we’re trying to do as much the same as possibly, because if it worked once . . . .
We’d appreciate all the egg-gathering mojo you’ve got!
The firefighter husband of one our our MOMS Club friends was seriously burned while battling a house fire this morning. He’s been flown to a hospital a couple of hours away and is expect to be there for at least a month.
His injuries are actually not quite as bad as it was originally feared, but he still has burns over a large portion of his body and will require surgeries for skin grafts on his hands, abdomen and possibly his legs.
His wife will be doing a lot of travelling back and forth, to be with him in the hospital and with their two kids at home.
Two other firefighters were also injured. One was treated and released, but the other was also flown out to a bigger hospital. (I assume the same one.) I haven’t heard anything about his condition.
DoulaK’s husband will be having heart surgery on Friday, to repair or possibly replace a bad valve. The surgery will be at an out-of-state hospital. She and BabyK will be going with him, and her sister will be coming to stay with the older kids.
Then, at the end of April (just before his first birthday), BabyK will be having surgery to remove one of his kidneys, which has been having problems since before he was born. This surgery will be done at the same Children’s Hospital (a few hours away) where Peeper had her metabolic testing.
Please send your thoughts, prayers, positive energy, and both quick-healing and safe-travelling mojo to everyone.
And here’s a good-news mojo report from the blogosphere. The Journey to Om twins are doing well and are now at home with their moms and big brother!
That’s the short answer of how things went this morning with Shrike’s prescreening, which is a huge relief.
Of course, the long answer is more complicated. Of course.
The first big “whew!” is that we found out that, since we signed our consents on Monday and held our spot, they have closed the study and are not taking anyone else, so if we’d not gone when we did, we wouldn’t have made it in!
When we got there, Shrike gave them a bunch of pee and blood, and got weighed and measured, and then had the “physical exam” which consisted of a doctor listening to her heart and breathing and then quite perfunctorally poking around downstairs, which I can’t imagine could have told him any more than we were about to find out with the ultrasound, but whatever.
Then he left and a sonographer came in to do that. She was much friendlier.
I said something about “We’ll feel a lot better after we see the follicle count,” and she asked “Why are you worried about the follicles. Oh, you mean you’re worried there will be too many?”
What?! We didn’t know there could be too many!
Turns out that while, generally, more follicles is better, there is an upper limit for the study, because everyone gets the same dosage of the ovarian stimulation medications, and they don’t want to risk hyperstimulation.
She wasn’t exactly sure what the cut-off point was, but she was looking at Shrike’s right ovary and counting “One, two. . . ten, eleven, damn . . . ” and then said that it looked like thirteen.
When she went to the other side, she said she’d have to call that thirteen, too, “And we’ll talk to AA and see what she can do.”
“Is that too many?!” I asked, and she just said, “We’ll have to talk to AA.”
Then, as she was measuring, she said, “Wait, I just measured that as if it was the left, and, wait, I think I might have looked at the same one twice.”
She looked around a bit and YES! – She had counted the right ovary twice, “So, if you have less on the left, you might be okay.”
Then, over to the left side, where we found FIVE.
For a total of eighteen.
Now, between the two of us, we’ve done this antral follicle count thing quite a few times, and the two sides were 6/9, 4/6, 3/3, 5/6, 14/10 (all me), and 18/13 (Shrike) – This was the biggest left/right discrepancy we’ve ever seen.
Oh, and when we talked to MG (who, along with AA, works with TN, the study coordinator), she said that the maximum allowed for the study is twenty.
So, huuuuuge whew on that one, too!
It occurred to me later that I guess that, even if everything else looked good on today’s labs (won’t know for a while) that if we go in next cycle and she has more than twenty follicles, we could get bumped at that point, and I’ve sent and email to confirm that, but I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t be the case. So, there’s that to worry about.
When we were talking with MG, I also asked her if it would really take a week to ten days to get all the labwork back, or wouldn’t they have some of it sooner than that. She said that most of the hormone levels would come back today, and she could email me when they got that.
Well, I was expecting to hear something like “Looked at Shrike’s hormones and everything looks okay so far,” but instead, she emailed me all the actual numbers, with no interpretation.
So, again, I turned to Dr. Google, and according to FertilityPlus.org, everything does appear to be within the normal range, except for LH, which was just the teeniest smidge elevated (normal is less than 7, hers is 8.14).
Her FSH is smack in the middle of the “good” range, (It was “a bit elevated” in May, and I think it’s lower now.) and Estradiol is toward the higher end of the normal range. (Lower values are better for stimulation, and “abnormally high” values indicate diminished ovarian reserve.)
Of course, the specific ranges vary from lab to lab, so that’s all sort of conjecture, too.
For those of you who’ve been down this road and are familiar with these things, here are the actual numbers:
I emailed them back and said that I understand if they aren’t allowed to really interpret the numbers, but asked if those numbers seem to be within the parameters of the study.
In the meantime, is there a reproductive endocrinologist in the house?
So, now we wait to get a call “within the next 7 – 10 business days regarding inclusion in the study.”
And then, if that goes well, we’ll still have to sweat her follicle count at the beginning of the next cycle.
So, to summarize, the correct mojo request is: Good numbers on today’s labs, and 16 – 20 antral follicles four weeks from now.
And how am I doing? While talking to MG, we were talking about how stressed out I am about it all, and I said, “Well, I feel like I can’t do anything except worry,” and she said, “Well, you’re doing a really good job of that!”
Long-time readers might remember the little “baby shrine” I set up on top of our dresser when we were doing our IVF cycle for Peeper.
Today, I dusted and cleared away some crap that was hanging out up there and started an updated version.
There are a few irrelevant things that I still want to move elsewhere, and I want to locate a couple of things that we had there before, and maybe add some more, and of course, even more so than the last time, that’s probably the safest place to store meds and needles
if when we get them, but here’s what I’ve got right now.
Relevant: Photo of me and Shrike when we first met, Kokopelli, fertility goddess candle and necklace, two king cake babies, “somethings old” from our wedding which were also part of Peeper’s “coming home” outfit, pink and blue favors from the twins’ baby shower.
Semi-Relevant: Pirate ship that Shrike painted for Peeper when I was pregnant, baby monitor transmitter.
Irrelevant: Miscellaneous candles that used to live in the bathroom and on Shrike’s dresser, until she got tired of them.
Things to Add: I’d like to figure out what we did with those Anne Geddes baby butterflies and also add a panda family of four, and maybe a photo of the three of us. Something from Peeper’s shower might be more appropriate, too – but those things from the twins’ shower were already up there (fourteen months later), so I just left them.
This is the necklace that I wore when I we were trying for Peeper, and through my pregnancy. I had originally planned to put it in her keepsake box and give it to her someday, but when we went home for her first Christmas, I decided to give it to MyLovelySister-In-Law.
I told her that I didn’t expect her to actually wear it (it’s really not “her”) but that I hoped she’d take it in the spirit it was intended and “pass it on to someone else who needs it when you’re done with it.”
A few months ago, I asked if we could have it back. Of course, she packed it up and sent it right off, along with a king cake baby (the pink one in the photo) that she got right before the twins were conceived. It was the first time she’d ever found one, and she took it to be good mojo and stored it in the same jewelry box with the necklace.
After this morning’s Mardi Gras activity, I texted her to let her know that Peeper had found the baby (the little gold one in the photo) and she agreed that must also be good mojo, so here they are all together.
Note to Shrike: Stop reading here.
Let’s just hope that finding a king cake baby does not always add one baby’s worth of mojo to the necklace!
I just found out that C and S over at Journey to Om had their twins today, at 25w4d, weighing 1 lb 7 oz and 1 lb 13 oz. They are “holding their own” and one is on room air, but they are very early and very tiny. Please send some good thoughts, positive energy, prayers, and / or healthy baby mojo to little Lyncoln and Quinn, as well as their mamas and big brother.
Today was Peeper’s big tooth-restoration adventure, and it started way too damn early in the morning. Shrike and I got up around 5 am, dressed quickly and quietly without showering, and had some breakfast, all in about fifteen minutes. Then I got Peeper up and nursed her pretty much right up until our 5:30 am cutoff, changed her diaper in my lap, and put her jammy pants right back on.
We got all checked in and they took us back to a holding tank, where Peeper (and we) got prepared for the procedure. First we got her out of her jammies, and thoroughly labelled for safe handling.
Then she got all dolled up in her hospital gear. Her gown had doggies on it, so that was a big plus! The socks were awful baggy, and they didn’t last long. We did find another use for them later, though.
She wasn’t bothered by much at that point, actually. I really wanted to carry her to the OR, but realized that she would probably enjoy getting a ride. Boy, did she. When it started moving, she said, “Eeeee!” and she was rolling and crawling and flopping all around in it. At one point, she said, “Uppa!” but I told her there was no way she was going to be standing any kind of up!
Shrike says it doesn’t look funny, and it doesn’t make her buck-toothed, but I don’t know.
Once we got on the road, of course, she Peeper (and Shrike) conked right out and slept all the way home.
She had a couple of naps before finally going down for the night, and she was quite the crankapotamus in between them, nursing, whining, playing for a bit, whining more then nursing again.
She may be a fun drunk, but she does not handle a hangover well at all.
There was a bit of this.
Our discharge instructions were pretty straight-forward: Tylenol and Motrin as often as allowed, soft foods for the day and nothing “greasy, spicy or heavy,” and follow up with the dentist in about ten days.
May 10, 2010
This is a post that may never be published.
The thing is, that we are not ready to blog about this yet, but it really helps me to write about things, and if this pans out, I’m going to want to have a record of it all, so our compromise is that I’m blogging it as we go, but saving as one big draft, and if/when we decide to go public about it, I’ll post it.
So, what the hell am I talking about?
We’re thinking we’re going to try to have a second baby.
I know, right?
A bit of background, to bring you up to speed on where things stand right now:
When we decided to have Peeper, Shrike said, “One. Just one. That’s it. No more.” and I said that was fine, because one is all we had the time or money to make, anyway.
But. I’ve always wanted two. That just feels like the “right” (for me) number.
But, we were damn lucky to get Peeper, and that’s that.
Or is it?
Around the time Peeper was eight, nine, ten months old, I started really feeling sad that we wouldn’t be able to have another. I wished that she could have a sibling, and I missed having a newborn, and by golly, I really wanted to be pregnant again.
We talked about it a bit, and Shrike expressed a bit of the same regret, but that was pretty much all there was to the discussion.
Then, when she was maybe a year or so old, we started talking about it again, and suddenly went from “Gee it’s a shame…” to “Well, how about…” and “What if…” and the next thing you know, I was on a phone call with Dr. E (our reproductive endocrinologist) asking her about pricing and odds and such.
The big catch, of course, being that we’re now two years older – or, more specifically, Shrike’s ovaries are two years older – so our odds have decreased, and we’re no longer eligible for the Shared Risk program.
We discussed and discussed, all the while talking about doing it the same way that we made Peeper, until one day in January, at Dr T’s office, Shrike said, ” . . . and you want to have another baby, and well, what if maybe I want to have it?!”
When they make the movie about our lives, this is where they’ll insert that sound effect of lifting the needle off the record, and go to a freeze-frame, that alternates between me and Dr T, mouths agape, looking at Shrike, then each other, then Shrike.
Mind you, this is the same woman who told me, in a session just a few months before (when Dr. T was very pregnant, I might add) that “Anybody who wants to be pregnant and give birth is crazy!“
So, then we did a whole lot of talking about that, and I made another call to Dr E, to discuss our chances if Shrike were carrying.
Of course, we’d still have the same 41-year-old egg situation, but we also had another concern, which was that when we were working on Peeper, she’d noticed that Shrike had some uterine fibroids.
Depending on size, location and type, those could be no problem at all with pregnancy, or could need to be removed surgically, which might require a vertical uterine incision, and rule out the possibility of a vaginal delivery.
I figured that if that were the case, Shrike would change her mind about carrying, but she said that she thought she’d probably still want to, even if it required two surgeries.
So, we made an appointment to get her checked out a week or so later, when she hit the right point in her cycle.
Of course, we still had huge financial concerns, which were basically threefold: the cost of the IVF itself, the cost of raising two children versus one, and the cost of me staying home two or three years longer if we have a second.
As we started looking into things, we realized that the money that’s allowing me to stay home right now was only going to last until about the end of the year, so suddenly, we went from “Let’s have another baby!” to “Oh shit! Am I going to have to go back to work in a few months?”
So, pretty pessimistic about our chances, we shelved the baby-number-two plan for a while, cancelled Shrike’s appointment with Dr E, and concentrated on how to keep me home with Peeper as long as possible – ideally, until she starts school.
We found some places to cut, and some things to change, and some other money saved up, and discovered of the Earned Income Credit, it was looking like, especially if I could bring in just a bit (babysitting BabyJ was part of that plan) that we could swing at least another couple of years, maybe even more.
We’d not given up, but also didn’t really see any way that we were going to make it happen, so we spent about three months trying to convince ourselves that it was better this way, that we could pour all our resources (financial, emotional, and otherwise) into Peeper, and that it was just as well that we wouldn’t have to do those tough newborn weeks and months again, and so on.
Which was fine, until I’d hear about friends with kids Peeper’s age, trying for – or pregnant with – their second babies, and I’d realize that, no, I really wasn’t all that okay with it at all.
But, what are ya gonna do? If the money’s not there, it’s not there.
Then, when Peeper and I went to Texas in April, for the first few days of the trip, Anonymama kept bringing it up in conversation.
“If you have another. . . ” and “Have you decided for sure who would carry it . . . ” and other such questions and comments.
I answered her, but mostly just really wished she’d shut the hell up about it, because I really didn’t think there was anyway it would happen, so it was kind of painful to speculate about such things.
Then, one evening over dinner, Anonydaddy asked “So, would $(large sum of money which I’d rather not specify here) help to make Peeper a little brother or sister?”
Um, yeah. That would help a whole lot!
They went on to say that we’re welcome to use that money either for making another baby, or to help subsidize me staying home longer.
So, now we find ourselves with a whole new dilemma.
Take the money and run (or rather, take the money and sit, at home, being a Mama without a paying job) or risk it all (or at least most) on trying to make a baby.
What if we spend it all and don’t get a second baby?
What if we spend it all and do get a second baby? Then I’ll want to be home an additional two or three years to get that kid to school age, so that’s all the more money we’ll need.
But, before we could really make a decision, we still needed to know what we were talking about, so we rescheduled our appointment with Dr E, and got Shrike checked out.
When I’d talked to her before, she’d said it was okay to take Peeper along with us, so we made a morning of it, visiting not only at the fertility clinic, but also at the perinatologist’s office and the Learning Center main office, which you might remember, are all right there together.
We got a bit of good news right off, in that Shrike only has one fibroid, and it’s not in the uterine cavity, nor is it very close to the cervix, so it should not be a problem at all!
The next day, we heard back on her blood work. Her FSH (10.1) and Estradiol (91) are a bit elevated, which shows some decrease in ovarian function, as is to be expected for a 41 year old woman, and our odds of pregnancy are about 15 – 20% per IVF cycle.
That’s the same odds that Dr E told me back in December, based on a generic 41-year-old, so it was pretty much the news we were expecting, but not as good as we’d hoped.
(Well, it was what I was expecting. I think Shrike expected them to say “Oh, it’s all good! Nothing’s changed in two years! Guaranteed baby!” but that wasn’t very realistic.)
To put things in perspective, when we made Peeper, we were told we had about a 35-40% chance per cycle.
But we had six cycles to work with, and a money-back guarantee.
But, we got pregnant on the first cycle.
So, make of that what you will.
Cue more stewing and debating and hand-wringing and such, trying to decide whether those odds were worth the financial risk.
Then, I remembered that before the offer from the Anonyparents, we’d been talking about using some money that we’ve got in an IRA (it’s not a lot in terms of living on in retirement, but is about 2/3 of an IVF cycle) because we can get that out penalty-free, if we use it for medical expenses.
When I asked Shrike how she’d feel about using that, then just a bit of the gifted money, for just one cycle, she was much more comfortable with that.
Had we gotten any embryos frozen when we made Peeper, the cost of transferring them would be about the same as what we’d be using beyond the IRA, and if that were the case, we’d probably just do that transfer and not do a new IVF cycle – so, it’s sort of the same thing.
For what that’s worth.
Yesterday, I called the financial counselor, to get some more solid numbers on what a cycle will cost, and to get information about their “shared help” program, which is a 10-50% discount for people who make less than, well, about half-again what we make.
The discount doesn’t apply to PGD and medications, but it would help quite a bit, so she’s sending us the application.
The bigger (potentially) news from that conversation is that there’s a medication study starting soon, and looking at the various criteria, it seems that Shrike might qualify.
I asked what it would mean, financially, to be in the study. “Would the medications be discounted, or would that part be free, or . . . ?”
“Oh, no,” she said, “The cycle would be free!”
Oh. My. God.
Sign us up!
She emailed the woman in charge of the study and gave her our names, and the woman replied almost immediately to say that she’d put us on her list of potential participants.
So, fingers VERY crossed for that!
May 12, 2010
Dr E just called with some very promising news!
It seems that when they did Shrike’s blood work, they also ran a couple of other new tests, that came back very good.
What they did is called an “Ovarian Assessment Test,” and it involves looking at Anti-Müllerian hormone and inhibin B, and together, those levels gave her an “Egg Retrieval Score” of 16/20 – which means we have an excellent chance of retrieving five or more eggs.
She also reiterated that she was “very happy, looking at Shrike’s uterus,” because there’s only the one fibroid, and it’s not near the uterine cavity or near the cervix, and it should not be a factor at all in conceiving or carrying a pregnancy.
I asked her about the study, and she doesn’t know much about this specific one yet, but does know that the woman in charge of recruitment is making the rounds of their various clinics, talking to the doctors and nurses about it.
She said that they generally like to recruit and get started pretty quickly, and that she would email her as soon as she got off the phone, to ask her to please look at us asap, because she thinks that we will qualify!
Or, I suppose, I should say that she thinks Shrike will qualify.
I’m kind of having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that if we do this, I will pretty much be a bystander this time around.
On the other hand, Shrike was mostly a bystander last time, until we moved on to IVF, and it always felt to me like a joint effort, so I guess this is the same.
May 26, 2010
No news yet on the med study, but a couple of other things have fallen into place over the past couple of weeks.
Today, we got a letter saying that we’ve been approved for a 40% discount on IVF fees (not counting medications, PGD or pre-testing) through our clinic’s “Shared Help” program for not-rich people. We were hoping for a 50% discount (the maximum) but that’s still pretty damn good.
Of course, we’ve still got our fingers crossed that we’ll be approved for the study, and get pregnant on that free cycle and that will all be irrelevant!
The other news is that it looks like we may be able to use the same donor that we used for Peeper!
I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about this (I was waiting to tell some family members first, and then I saw something shiny.) but we’ve located two of Peeper’s half-siblings, through the Donor Sibling Registry.
She has a half-sister in California, who is four days younger than her, and a half-brother in Illinois, who was born this past January.
She and the little girl actually look quite a bit alike, especially in the eyes and hair. (Which is funny, given how much Peeper looks like Shrike and the half-sister looks like her mommy.) The little boy seems to look mostly like his mom, but there are some early photos of Peeper (the ones that don’t look like her!) that favor him a bit, and in his most recent photos, he seems to have the same “sweet little” mouth that she has.
The mom in California has said that she has some of Popeye’s vials in storage, she’s probably not going to use them, and if she doesn’t we’re welcome to them.
So, things are falling into place, bit by bit, and I’m starting to think that maybe this is really supposed to happen.
I emailed NurseE a few days ago, to ask if she knew what was going on with the study. She said that she’d recommended several patients, and no one’s heard anything yet.
So, no news is, well, no news.
While we’ve been waiting, Shrike’s started to think that maybe this isn’t what she wants after all, but she’s not sure.
I think we’re in agreement that if we’re not accepted to the study, we won’t pursue it any further, and if we are accepted, we probably will go for it.
This evening, I left Shrike a voicemail about something completely unrelated to possible-baby-number-two, and followed up with a text saying “check your voicemail.”
She confessed later that when she saw the text, she thought it might be about the study, and got kind of excited.
So, hmmm, maybe she’s not completely changed her mind, after all.
I tried again to get some info about the IVF med study that we’ve applied for – and I finally did.
But of course, because we are us, it’s not a simple yes/no answer.
First, NurseE emailed back and said, “Unfortunately, you don’t qualify for the study because you’re actually a gestational carrier.”
I was disappointed, but not devastated (we’ve spent the last few weeks assuming we wouldn’t be accepted, so I’ve kind of gotten myself okay with that.)
Then, I read that again and actually comprehended what it said, and realized that they thought we were wanting to do this the same way we made Peeper, so I wrote her back and clarified that, no, we were talking about Shrike carrying with her own eggs.
She called me a few minute later, to say she’d talked to the study person, and started telling me what additional testing Shrike would need to do to be officially in.
The one catch, though, is that the study doesn’t allow PGD (preimplantation genetic testing). She called back to check on whether that meant it just didn’t cover the cost, but no, it’s not allowed at all.
So, we have a twofold decision to make, I suppose – first, do we want to give this a try at all and second, are we ok with the risk of a chromosomal abnormality with 41 year old eggs.
I need to email her back and ask what exactly that risk is, with IVF. I don’t know if it might be a bit lower than the risk w/other methods, since maybe at least some of the abnormal embryos would already be looking less healthy at 5 days, when they select which ones to transfer.
I talked to the nurse at almost 5 pm, and I didn’t want to email Shrike about it or call her until her dinner break, when she’d have time to talk, so I just emailed her and asked her to give me a call during dinner.
Then I texted DoulaK with the gist of it, and she called back just a few minutes later, giving me shit about texting such big news.
I processed it all with her for a while, then talked to Shrike.
I fully expected her to be at best very hesitant, to remind me that she’d told me in June that she probably didn’t want to do this, after all, and to totally shut it down when I got to the part about no PGD, but that wasn’t the case at all.
I could hear, as I was telling her about it, that she was sounding very positive about it.
After I talked a bit about my concerns w/not having PGD, I asked her, “So, where are you with all this?” and she said, “I’m insane. It’s stupid, but I’m excited.”
That’s what she keeps going back to, that “it’s insane” to want to do it, because “I’m perfectly happy with Peeper,” and I keep trying to tell her to stop trying to judge whether it’s smart or not and just think about whether she wants to or not.
The PGD thing is a big stumbling block for us, though, and it might end up being a dealbreaker, because Shrike maintains that she “could not deal” with having a child with a chromosomal abnormality, but as much as we do not want that to happen, I’m quite sure that we would, indeed, deal with it if it did.
And, as DoulaK pointed out, no matter how perfect a kid is genetically, there’s no guarantee that something totally unrelated to that couldn’t happen down the road and leave you in a similar situation.
(Thanks for that cheerful thought.)
Where I am with it all is kind of ambivalent, as well, actually.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been “living with” the idea that this would not be possible, and getting ok with that. Not happy-happy with it, but okay with it.
As Peeper’s getting more and more “human” and easier to cope with, there is a certain comfort in the thought of having the whole newborn/infant phase over and done with.
But then, I’d see her playing with BabyJ, and hugging her and making her laugh, and giving her toys and such, and well, you can imagine.
And, also, looking in the grander scheme – beyond the stress of those first few months (years) with two little ones – I really like the idea of Peeper having a little brother or sister.
(Okay, honestly, I like the idea of her having a little sister. That thought has crossed my mind a couple of times this evening, “Oh no. What if we have a boy?!” Of course I know, we’d be thrilled with either and whomever we got would be exactly who we were supposed to have, but we already have a girl, so we are Girl Parents. But I suppose that can change, can’t it?)
Right now, I’m really torn between the image of the one-on-one (and two-on-one) attention that Peeper gets as an only child, versus everything that she’d get out of having a sibling, as well as my whole thing about always having wanted two kids.
To be honest, if there were no luck/chance/whatever involved and I could, by saying “go for it,” make it absolutely certain that we’d have a second baby, I would be in a real dilemma, because I’m so unsure about what would be best.
I do think, though, given that the outcome is uncertain (we’d only have about at 15 – 20% chance of success) I think I’m okay with going along with the idea of “if it’s meant to be, it will be” (says the woman who doesn’t really even believe in whom/whatever it is that’s supposed to be “meaning” these things to be) – especially given that we’d have zero financial risk.
And there’s that.
Oh. My. God.
Who gets a chance at a free IVF cycle?!?
I mean, seriously. We are 40+ lesbians, with a history of infertility, and someone is offering us a 1/5 chance of a free baby.
Who passes that up!?!
If we could do PGD I would be totally ready to go for it, and I’m thinking that Shrike might be too, but there is that risk factor – that we could end up with a baby with some pretty severe problems – and we have to consider that.
I’m trying to decided, if we could magically just get knocked up without all this technology, or if PGD didn’t exist and had never been a possibility, would we be ok with the risk?
I don’t know.
I think the biggest thing scaring us on that is the fact that, with Peeper, we did have 2/7 embryos that had chromosomal abnormalities, so that risk feels very real to us, it’s not just a theoretical thing.
(And, while it wasn’t chromosomal and it was totally fixable, we’ve already had one kid with a pretty serious birth defect. That’s not just “something that happens to other people” any more.)
On the other hand, on average, 50% of eggs are abnormal, so that means that at age 38, Shrike had 1/2 the bad eggs we’d expect – so maybe our actual chances of a problem now are only 1/2 what the statistics show?
So, we’re talking and processing, and processing and talking.
I will email NurseE back and ask what the actual odds are of a chromosomal abnormalities with ivf over 40 and no pgd, and how long we have to decide. (I told her the pgd could be a deal-breaker.)
The woman in charge of the study is supposed to be emailing us, but I’ve not gotten anything from her yet. I’m sure that some of those answers will have to come from her, rather than the nurse.
I will, of course, keep you posted.
This morning, I told Shrike, “I emailed NurseE,” and she said (excitedly) “Did you tell her we’re ready to start?”
“Um, no. I asked her all those questions that we talked about last night.”
Later, she sent me an email from work:
Subject: God help me I must be an idiot
Text: I am excited about this thing.
As you might imagine, I emailed Dr T on Tuesday evening, and filled her in on the recent developments. We’d already realized that there was no time next week that our schedules matched up for an appointment, so I asked if she possibly had anything available for today. After a bit of miscommunication about today versus next Thursday, we agreed to a 45 minute session, which was probably during her lunch hour.
On the way to drop Peeper at Shrike’s parent’s house, I realized that I had a flat tire, and we didn’t want to try to move the carseat to her (small) car (Although, as it turns out, we will be doing that over the weekend, anyway, while the tire is actually being repaired.), so we called and asked them to come over and watch her at our house.
They were going to pick her up and go back to their house, but I guess they gave up on attempting to install the new carseat that they’ve bought, and ended up watching her here, while we had what turned out to be a 30 minute session.
We did get a lot of good processing done in that time, though, as well as over lunch, and holy shit, it looks like we’re really going to do this.
We go to the fertility clinic on Monday to get a current weight for Shrike (She was in the acceptable range for the study back in May, but it’s been a few months, so they want to update it.) and pick up lab slips for our infectious disease testing.
We think our trip to the fertility clinic went very well. Shrike has evidently lost almost ten pounds since our last visit, so she’s even more comfortably within the desired range, and there should be no problems on that front.
NurseE said that she would email TN, the study coordinator, and give us a call back this afternoon, but we’ve not heard anything yet.
She thought that TN was going to call us last week, after she talked to her, and was surprised to hear that we’d not heard from her, so of course, I’m all worried that means she changed her mind about us or something, but Shrike says I’m being stupid.
(A bit of a role-reversal there. She’s usually the one who reads the worst into everything.)
NurseE gave us our lab orders for the infectious disease testing, and we’ll get that drawn on Wednesday, when we take Peeper for her pre-anethesia checkup with the pediatrician, in preparation for her fillings next week, because the lab is in the same building.
So, her weight is still just fine, and the other things (blood and the mock transfer) are more formalities, really, so it sounds like we should be good to go – but I won’t believe that under we hear back from NurseE and/or TN.
Oh, and NurseE is pregnant. I suppose she was when we were there in May, too, but it wasn’t obvious then. It definitely was today!
I heard from the study coordinator (not TN, but her co-coordinator, MG) and, barring any unexpected changes in Shrike’s hormone levels, etc, we’re in!!!
Today, we had our blood drawn for the infectious disease testing, so we can check that off the list.
I guess they’re testing Shrike for a bunch of other stuff, too, because they took three vials of blood from me and, literally, about ten from her.
She’s due for “day one” around Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, and we’ll call then to schedule the mock transfer for sometime day 5 – 10. Except that we’ll be at the beach from, oh, about day 4 – 9, so I guess we’ll do that the day after we get back. If necessary, we’ll come back a day early.
Then, she’ll go through the rest of that cycle, to let the hormones from the pill clear her system (she’s been on it for premenstrual headaches), and with the next cycle (due to begin, theoretically, around September 21 or so), we’ll go in on day three for typical blood and ultrasound, plus a bunch of other screening stuff, plus a sit-down with the study people, the signing of consent forms and such as that.
If she’s more or less on schedule, we should be able to get that done before Peeper and I leave for a week in Texas. (We’re planning to be there for the twins’ first birthday party on October 2.)
Nothing’s happening the rest of that cycle, but when the next one starts (lets say October 19ish) we’ll be ready to rock and roll.
On day two or three, she’ll go in for blood and ultrasound, and will begin ovarian stimulation.
The study is testing a new “long acting FSH” – which is a follicle stimulating hormone that could be given as one injection that would then stimulate the follicles for seven days, rather than having to take seven days of shots.
That sounds like a wonderful development in IVF technology, and I really hope that it turns out to be the Next New Thing.
Of course, this is a double-blind study, so neither we nor the doctors running it will know whether Shrike is getting the new long-acting FSH, or the old one-a-day kind, so she still gets to have daily shots.
(You’re welcome, future IVF gals.)
Half of the subjects (the test group) will receive one shot of the long-acting FSH, followed by seven daily placebo injections. The other half (the control group) will receive one placebo shot, followed by seven short-acting FSH shots.
On the first stim day, she’ll get two shots while we’re at the clinic – either the FSH and first placebo, or the placebo and first FSH – then hang around for thirty minutes to watch for any kind of allergic reaction.
Then she’ll do one shot a day for the next six days – maybe FSH, maybe placebo.
She’ll monitor on stim day three, and then days five, six and seven (at which point, we’ll probably have to juggle the scheduling for Peeper’s birthday party).
At stim day seven, if the follicles aren’t yet ready to go, she’ll get short acting daily FSH shots until they are, then a trigger shot, and retrieval thirty-six hours later.
As I mentioned before, there will be no PGD, and I found out today that everyone will do three-day transfers. So, retrieval is “day zero” and three days later we’ll go back and transfer two embryos – “no more, no less” (unless there aren’t two good ones to be had).
She’ll be scheduled for a beta on day eighteen post-retrieval, and if that’s positive, the information I’ve received about the study says she’ll have ultrasounds at five and ten weeks gestation (three and eight weeks post-retrieval) but that doesn’t really make sense to me, since only about half of viable embryos show a heartbeat at six weeks.
So, why bother even looking at five? And then waiting until ten for the next look?
I’m going to ask about that. I certainly hope that we woulnd’t really have to wait until ten weeks for a chance to see a heartbeat.
Anyway, so that’s the plan.
If all goes well, we’ll be looking at retrieval and transfer at the end of October or early November (right around Peeper’s second birthday) and we should have an answer (well, either a definite “no” or a tentative “yes”) before Thanksgiving.
We are trying not to get too excited, because even if everything else works out perfectly right up until that point, we’ve only got about a 15 – 20% chance of success, given Shrike’s age.
I’m having a hard time keeping that in perspective though.
Firstly, because we had only a 35 – 40% chance last time around and we got Peeper on the first try, but secondly, because so many pretty unlikely things have already come together almost perfectly just to get us to this point, that if there is someone or something pulling the strings, it would seem like an awfully cruel joke to bring us this far only to smack us down.
Crueler things have happened, of course, so we’re not discounting that possibility.
In the meantime, though, we are, I suppose, “cautiously optimistic” alternating with elated, alternating with completely incredulous alternating with absolutely terrified. All within a few seconds.
We still both think that will be okay, whatever the outcome. We will, of course, be disappointed if this doesn’t pan out, and we know that there’s the chance of it not panning out in a pretty painful way, but (beyond the initial devastation that would be inevitable in the case of a pregnancy loss) we would, in the grand scheme, be absolutely thrilled with a second child, but also could be content to continue to put our all into Peeper, if it turns out that our family is already complete.
But, damn, we really hope this works.
So, once again, it goes without saying (and yet, I shall) that we’d greatly appreciate any happy thoughts, prayers, positive energy, good vibes, and / or baby-makin’ mojo that you can send our way.