Seeing Red

So I had my first and ONLY monitoring appointment for this injectable IUI cycle. I have taken 5 days’ worth of drugs (300 units of a single, pure FSH gonadotropin – Puregon – once a day) and my ready-to-retire-any-second-now ovaries have produced a single 22 mm follicle on the right and a single 15 mm follicle on the left. That right one is way too big and so, of course, they injected me with the hCG trigger shot right-then-and-there and scheduled my IUI for 10:30 PDT tomorrow. That is round one of the not-good news (this was too fast and I have a serious lead, meaning it could be too mature or the other won’t catch up and release).

Worse news: my lining was only 7.7 mm thick. That is not good. But not surprising since this is only cycle day 8 for peep’s sake. Yeesh!

This is way too fast and I am so unhappy. Who would be happy with spending about $5K (drugs and flights and procedures included) to have about the same odds as if I’d just stayed home and gotten down to business, “natural” style? Sigh.

I took the opportunity to ask the RE (Dr. Intuition again) about the lower dose of Puregon this cycle compared to last. He said that there is always a chance that higher stims affect egg quality (even though it can boost quantity) so they always go with a lower dose when doing IUI in the hope that though there may be fewer eggs, their quality may be better. Gee, a complete 180 from what our RE told us in our consult with him after the failed January IVF about two weeks ago. I wanted to blurt out “I KNEW IT!” and “how do you guys expect anyone to trust you when you keep changing your stories?” I kept quiet but felt a wave of fury swell up inside. At some point you just feel cheated and lied to. I guess it’s all part of the charade. I wish I were better at playing that game.

Being more of a straight-road (you see what you get) person, I must have had my WTF face on even though I said nothing. Dr. Intuition looked down, thought a moment and then in a hopeful voice explained that if this cycle doesn’t work we could do a co-flare protocol with another IUI, using Lupron again, to slow down the follicles’ development (and hope that in the process maybe more than 2 pop up, given the fact that I had only 3 likely contenders at my last IVF monitoring but 5 mature eggs retrieved after one more dose of stims and the trigger).

That’s great, I thought, but there will not be any more next times. I have learned the lesson here. My ovaries are not going to produce enough eggs to justify me continuing with ART. This is not rocket science and I’m not as dumb as my decisions over the past year make me seem. Even I can recognize a lost cause eventually.

More than disappointed, I am having a big fat reality-check moment. It is clear to me that my ovaries are done. They haven’t got many functioning follicles left and those that remain love the drugs (what’s up with that, girls?). They eat up the gonadotropins like candy and want dessert before anybody is ready for them to show up for dinner. But if only about 1 in 5 eggs is any good, I may as well (a) give up if this cycle is a bust; or (b) keep trying “naturally” because ART is not adding enough extra chances to justify the expense and impact on my body and mental health (let alone the LP’s mental health and other effects of this process).

I walked, fighting tears, back to my hotel. I waited for the LP to call (he was in a meeting) to tell him he had to fly out tonight. I made child care arrangements for the Miracle Baby. And on my way up the elevator, finally back at the hotel, I closed my eyes. To my surprise, swirls of red and orange danced behind my eyelids. Red and orange? Really?

Despite my outrage at the RE bafflegab noted above, I was not angry in that moment. I was just sad and tired. Red and orange for me have always been associated with being grounded and having heightened fertility. From my limited understanding of the chakra system, I think that red is the root chakra (hence grounded) and orange, being the second, is associated with the pelvis. Anyone with more knowledge, feel free to jump in here! I hope that this is a good “sign”. Not that I’m trusting signs or intuition or anyone or anything anymore today.

I am going to try to stay hopeful and conscientious for this cycle. I will keep doing my daily meditations, carry on with acupuncture (tonight, next Monday and next Wednesday) and try to create some more art and peace in my life. But my journey down the path of using my own eggs in IVF or IUI is coming to an end. This is just not worth it, from a cost-benefit analysis point of view. And that’s okay. Better to figure that out now than $40,000 or even $20,000 from now. If this cycle fails, we either go the donor egg route or we give up. I can’t see us hitting the jackpot on our own before I just need to call this off and stop my heart from bleeding, so the “natural” route may have legs for a few months but I don’t hold out any more hope for that then I do for ART in our case.

Meanwhile, I hope to keep seeing reds and oranges and blues and yellows. The blues and yellows are prominent in my efforts to communicate with the spirit babies I have so longed to come home to us. And the reds and oranges? I hope they know something I don’t (or am having trouble believing in today).

I apologize for the dreary post. The winds have left my sails today. Tomorrow is another day…

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5 thoughts on “Seeing Red

  1. Sigh — ART is so ill-named. Sorry this turned out to be such a rough day. You two are so good at getting pregnant on your own, I’m still hoping one will stick. Big hug to you and sending you implantation vibes.

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