This has not been a good week.
Last Fri my donor had her egg collection and my husband did his bit. I went out with my sister and proceeded to drink 5 cocktails – much more than I usually do! We had a great time at a cabaret (my birthday present) but didn’t get home until 2am. I was then woken at 8am by my phone. It was the fertilisation call and I wasn’t prepared at all. All my own fault. The news was okish. 13 eggs (we’d hoped for just a few more), 12 mature, 9 fertilised. Not a great fertilisation rate but not awful.
I spent most of the day quite worried, and hungover which didn’t help. As hangover punishment my husband made me visit 2 kitchen showrooms with him.
We weren’t due to get a call on Sun so the next call was on Mon. I wasn’t working luckily (I’ve a lot of leave /flexi to use up before I start my new job). Of the 9 1 had stopped dividing, 4 looked very good quality, 2 were a little behind and 1 quite behind. I started to panic. I really wanted 6 to biopsy. Also on Mon I fell off my bike twice. I’m crap at cycling and as part of my ‘achievements year’ I want to learn properly. I was trying to avoid a dog in the park and threw myself on the grass. Then I got scared going down hill (it was barely a hill) and hit the brakes hard and threw myself forward on the bike. The bike is too big for me and I whacked my lady bits so hard they bled a bit! I had a little cry but I think it was less about the bleeding and more about the stress of the donor cycle.
Our next call was Wed – day 5 and PGS decision day – do we biopsy the embryos? I was at work and ended up missing a meeting with my manager due to it. The news was pretty bad. We had 2 blastocysts. This was worse than any of my cycles with my own eggs (bar on2). The other 5 embryos were still going but behind. The clinic was reasonably hopefully that another 1 or 2 would reach blastocyst by the next day. I ended up crying at work in a meeting room on my own. In the end we decided to do the PGS. I had a particularly trying meeting that afternoon with another government department. One of the team annoys me anyway and I got very defensive when she had a bit of a go at my team about a paper we’d written and I was quite rude to her. Not my finest negotiating moment. Luckily one of my team played ‘goodish’ cop and we ended up with an ok compromise.
The next day the clinic told me that they’d biopsied 1 more embryo. We also had another blastocyst but it wasn’t good enough to biopsy. I really wish I’d forced them to do it – you play a flat fee for PGS. So 3 biopsied – that is it.
I am not very hopeful. We really wanted 2 normal blastocysts from this cycle. This seems very unlikely and I think we’ll be very lucky to get 1 – if I’m honest I don’t think we’ll get any to transfer (last donor cycle we tested 11 blastocysts and got 3 normal embryos). We have to wait 3-4 weeks to find out the results. I’m also totally gutted about wasting so much money – in our rush to do this round I knew I wasn’t 100% happy with the new clinic and that they didn’t take my request for a good number of eggs seriously.
The reasons for our poor response aren’t clear. It could be a combo of egg and sperm. The donor is youngish (29) and proven (she has 1 child) so the clinic seemed quite keen to blame the sperm. My husbands sperm sample was pretty poor – very low count and morphology though motility and progression were good. This is despite the fact he’s barely drunk any alcohol the last 3 months and been avoiding wheat and dairy, and taking supplements. He fell ill 3 weeks ago with a nasty bacterial sinus infection and has been on antibiotics for a week. We can’t help feel this may have contributed. He has finally agreed to try to get referred to a specialist but it feels like too little too late.
We had agreed this was our final cycle. But if we don’t get to transfer it doesn’t feel like the closure I needed. I need to transfer to feel that I gave it one last go. I don’t know where this leaves us now. Our new clinic is extortionately expensive. My husband hit the roof when I told him the bill. We’ve always said we wanted to use a donor in the UK as it was so important that our child was able to have the chance to know who their donor was. However, we just can’t justify that type of money any longer. If we try again it will have to be in Spain. But we will have to try to do something about the sperm first. Then that really would have to be our last go. Or maybe we just draw the line here.
If I’m honest I know my stress levels are sky high and I’m not coping deep down with what all this means. I can’t be bothered to go back to counselling, I feel I exhausted that route and that blogging helps give me the outlet I need. But I recognise the warning signs, I can’t sleep properly and I always sleep, it’s my special talent, but when I wake up in the early morning grinding my teeth I know I need to get some sort of resolution but how? How do you get that when the only way to get resolution is to be a mother?
And to cap it all off my lovely friend went ‘Facebook official’ with her pregnancy. She has been a rock to me these last few years whilst also struggling with her own fertility – we supported each other. We got pregnant at the same time, she was just 2 weeks behind me. Her pregnancy is a constant reminder of what might have been and I’m slightly ashamed to say I’ve basically cut her out of my life for now. It was the final straw after all my ‘infertile’ friends have managed to get pregnant (apart from one who is no longer trying to).
The Facebook message was posted by my friends husband and was so full of joy and heartfelt acknowledgement of their struggle and my friends bravery in the face of it you couldn’t help but be totally moved for them. The responses on Facebook were so lovely. And I howled inside because I want my husband to be able to post that message, I want people to be happy for us after all we’ve been though. I don’t begrudge my friends their wonderful happy news but it opened up my wounds so badly . It felt like I’d been punched in the gut and waves of grief and jealousy came over me (it didn’t help that I read it on the train after 2 glasses of wine after work – I really am drinking a bit too much lately). I’m grieving the probable end of a dream of being a mother which has come to a head with the fact our latest cycle may not even get to transfer. I don’t want this to be the end but I have to face facts. It’s like grieving the miscarriage all over again and if I think of the miscarriages I’ve been through then I know that it comes in waves and sometimes I’ll be fine, other times I’ll feel so sad and hopeless. I’m weary from this constant struggle of IVF and uncertainty and if we draw a line under it, this will result in getting on with life. It may not be the life I wanted but it will be a life rather than this awful limbo.