The LP and I are currently en route back home from a whirlwind trip to New York. Long Island and Manhattan to be specific. In that time we/I
- Endured the longest and most expensive taxi ride I’ve ever taken and hopefully will ever take;
- Ate at one of the greatest Diners of all time;
- Saw way too many pregnant ladies (see my last post);
- Met with Dr. Braverman and other members of the team at Braverman IVF and Reproductive Immunology;
- Had an ultrasound (yours truly only);
- Had 18 vials of blood drawn (3 for the LP, 15 pour moi);
- Rode the Long Island Rail Road;
- Rode the NYC Subway (the LP was impressed with my familiarity with it but a bit peevish about me laughing when he nearly fell because he didn’t set down his bag like a total rookie);
- Walked around Greenwich Village;
- Saw Here Lies Love, a musical at the Public Theater written by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim about the rise and fall of Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos;
- Met the incredibly lovely, deeply thoughtful, kind, generous and generally amazing blogger of Just Another Infertility Blog (JAIB here) for breakfast (me only, though the LP was equally curious about it and impressed that this meeting stemmed from the often-overwhelming but richly supportive blogosphere network of which I am grateful to be a member); and
- Thanks entirely to JAIB, I enjoyed a yummy paleo/anti-inflammation friendly (grain-free, dairy-free) breakfast at an amazing West Village eatery and got snacks for the flights home mad the weekend as well as a Paleo blueberry muffin for the LP (who devoured it gratefully).
Starting at the end of my list, it was awesome to connect with JAIB and to discover that we have stuff in common outside of recurrent pregnancy loss and fertility challenges. I cannot say enough good things about her. JAIB is a true gem. Case in point: the meeting was her brainchild, as was the incredible eatery – and she insisted on treating me to breakfast despite my feeble protest). Most importantly, she is genuine, unpretentious and innately kind. I am so grateful to have met her and hope you will join me in hoping and praying (for those of us who say prayers) that she and her husband bring home their long-awaited baby/ies soon.
Here Lies Love was amazing. Don’t take my word for it; the LP thought so, too.
Now back to the visit with Dr. Braverman. First of all, we did not have to wait much past our appointment time. It may have started on time, in fact (we were early and I didn’t check what time it was when we were taken back but it was either on time or soon afterward).
I am still not in love with him. However, the visit did reaffirm my decision to seek his assistance and it established for the LP that this doctor is capable and knowledgeable. The LP pointed out that Dr. B had degrees or some kind of certification from 3 universities, including Albert Einstein College of Medicine (the LP was quick to point out that this was particularly impressive since Einstein was not himself a medical doctor). The LP had a much better impression of Dr. B after our in-person meeting with him. I have warmed a teeny bit as well but I am keeping a professional emotional distance from any future caregivers at this point for the sake of self-preservation and financial responsibility.
That said, it is tough not to get hopeful. I thought this was a personal affliction or shortcoming on my part. However, as we scarfed down an appetizer and some drinks yesterday afternoon after our adventurous morning and afternoon,, the LP said “well, there is hope again” about our meeting with expert #3. I am so reticent to embrace that hope. But it is an infectious beast. And it’s allure is intoxicating in a way nothing else is for me. Hence the distance I need to keep from the strongly-opinioned professionals.
As for the visit itself, it was relatively uneventful. We chatted, we reviewed my recent test results, Dr. B noted that on their own IgE levels are not particularly useful. He really did not say much about the allergies except to repeat that too many histamines are bad but some are needed for implantation. He suggested we use Claritin every day of any cycle in the future in which we are undergoing treatment but made no other recommendations and seemed unconcerned about my allergy sufferings.
He said my ultrasound looked great on the whole, with good uterine blood flow and the only perceptible reduction in blood flow being with my left ovary, which he said is not uncommon. He noted a cyst on my right ovary which likely was from a recent ovulation and not concerning. He did not see anything so far to suggest endometriosis but would still review my blood work once it comes in for the pattern that can suggest the presence of endometriosis. He does not expect he would recommend urgery in my case, however, even if that pattern is detected given the good blood flow and appearance of my inner bits on the ultrasound.
Finally, I asked about his protocols for FETs. He said they use many different ones from natural to medicated, with birth control pills for down regulation and without, going straight to estrogen supplementation. We talked about my body not liking the birth control and he said we don’t need to do that then. He volunteered that the success rates show no statistically significant difference between the different protocols he use for FET and that the choice between them largely comes down to personal choice on the part of patients. Natural FETs are unpredictable as to timing to some degree while during medicated ones everyone knows when things are to happen because that is planned and controlled – the transfer date is chosen, in short.
Dr. B told us he would be able to discuss our test results and any protocol design he may suggest in about 6 weeks. His nurse who drew our blood said four to six weeks. Other patients of his have kindly told me that the lab sends him results in about ten business days or two weeks. It is wait and see time. Again. I am not in a rush though I would prefer a September to an October start date if we can do a FET because if we stick with Dr. B I’d rather not be travelling to and from NYC in December for monitoring and prescriptions if that can be avoided.
I do not know yet if we will do any further FET(s) with Dr. Braverman or a RE closer to home with whom we are waiting for a consult. The reasons for considering the RE over Dr. B is convenience and cost. I have said that if the protocol Dr. B recommends is not too complicated or aggressive and does not require monitoring that could be a problem closer to home I will consider the fourth expert. If that’s not the case and Dr. B gives us a good chance of success despite whatever findings he makes then I think we will go with him for our next FET. With only two blastocysts left I am reluctant to start gambling.
One last really strange but kind of incredible and scary thing happened during our taxi ride to the airport on Friday. I saw a sign for a psychic and thought about consulting one. Out of nowhere, like a bolt if lightning, this voice that was not my own but was familiar and heard only inside of me said, clearly and emphatically, “you will have another baby.” I told the LP about it immediately. He is usually a skeptic and said I don’t need to see a psychic but that message seemed important and maybe it means something.
A theme through this post and in my heart is my fear of becoming too hopeful, too invested in dreaming of a future that may have no feasible connection to the present. Not only do I not need another shattering of my heart and self, I do not know if I can take another loss. Yet, in writing that I am reminded of the animal spirit guide card I drew earlier this week, the day before we left on the whirlwind tour. It was the wolverine, my alter ego, whose spirit guidance is “You are tougher than you think.”
I do not know if that is true anymore. I do not know what to make of the voice saying what it did. Or I may know what it means but not whether I can or want to trust it. I do know one thing. I know how to keep putting one foot in front of the other while we wait and see, wait and see…