Meeting Team Braverman and Blogger of Just Another Infertility Blog

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…

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17 thoughts on “Meeting Team Braverman and Blogger of Just Another Infertility Blog

  1. Wow what a whirlwind trip! It sounds like you are in good hands hon. I know it’s hard to trust anyone after all you have been through, but i like that Dr. B is going to take his time to come up with the right treatment plan for you. Hopefully it won’t take too long though and you’ll be able to do everything with him at his clinic. As for the voice speaking to you on the way to the airport, I just got chills. I really think this is a good sign that this trip and moving forward with Dr. B was the right choice. Remember your acupuncturist told you to listen to your intuition. I think that voice was your intuition, speaking to you loud and clear 🙂

    • I think so too and I hope my intuition is correct and means “in this lifetime”. ;-). Seriously, though, I’ve thought this before but it’s getting difficult to believe it anymore. Wait and see may be the best I can do for now.

  2. I’m a little jealous that JAIB got to meet you! I don’t know her but she sounds cool. I know all this testing and consultations are tedious, but I DO think you will benefit in the long run! Truly! Glad you got to enjoy NYC a little. Glad you heard *the voice*! XOXO

  3. I’m glad you had a mostly good trip. 18 vials sounds like a TON of blood to get taken!!! I’m glad you had a nice meeting with JAIB. I hope you will have some time to relax. 🙂 Also, I’m mostly a skeptic, but if an inner voice tells you something, I think you should probably believe it. ❤

    • Thanks. My inner voice seems to tell me this a fair bit and I’ve believed it, to the detriment of my own broken heart, before but it’s never shouted at me like this before so maybe it’s just testing my mettle? Either way, I can’t will myself to believe but I am taking it seriously enough to record it and accept that it means *something*…

  4. I don’t know how I missed this post, well actually I have a sneaking suspicion its because I didn’t log into my blog once over the weekend. Anyways, not the point, other then to say I am so happy I found this post, even if I’m a few days late.
    First, just reading it I can feel that you are in a calmer place. A place where hope is allowed in, and yet reality of the risks is still there. And, I think hope is so important, and so I’m so happy to get a sense of hope in your writing. If that makes any sense.
    I love that your meeting with Dr. B went good. Your telling of the visit didn’t make him sound crazy, or anything. Instead, you made it sound reassuring! Which is just awesome. Like we’ve talked about before, just knowing you are making the right decisions and knowing you tried everything you could is critical in the long run, and it sure sounds like meeting with him was the right decision. 🙂
    Oh, and it also sounds like you and LP had a good weekend away. I think that’s always important, but even more so as we traverse the crap that is RPL.

    • Thank you – this comment was actually very well-timed because I’ve been feeling quite hopeless the last couple of days (kind of a general awareness that the likelihood of anyone being able to overcome whatever in my body and its workings has caused me to keep losing pregnancies seems remarkably low, which began after the DE pregnancy loss). I left the meeting and testing with Dr. B feeling less hopeful than the LP but less hopeless than before. The next day I told my acupuncturist that I cannot shake my skepticism and my reticence to open my heart again to the belief or hope of us ever having another living child. The last few days I have been trying to wrap my head around us only having the one we were so blessed to have, like steeling myself against the most likely reality given my history. Grieving, in a sense, I suppose. Or emotional and spiritual self-preservation, perhaps. Maybe both?

      In that context your comment nudges me to consider – in the same way that the LP’s comment about having hope again the evening after our appointment with Dr. B caused me to pause and consider – that maybe all of my grieving and self-preservation, though a necessary part of my journey and perhaps an en essential exercise in the practice (and I would call art) of detachment, does not mean that, in fact, there is no hope or that we will never hold another living baby in our arms. Maybe I am wrong about the fears and the resignation. And that would be grand. My heart will not let me trust that right now but I can hold that fear/resignation and the possibility of success despite the odds and not need to land on either side of that great divide. Just sit with it. And muddle through, one day at a time. Thank you for helping me see that. That is invaluable.

      • I think the fears and resignation are part of all of this RPL shit. I think if you didn’t have them, you’d be either a truly amazing person or an incredibly naive and possible stupid person. The one thing I know for-sure about RPL is that our fears are not irrational, they are legitimate fears based in past experience. The odds are against us and so for me as a person trained in scientific thought, I understand what that means. I for one am well aware of our chances of a positive outcome are at best 50% – there is no kidding myself here, that is not good! If I were told that statistic in almost any other circumstance, I’d accept my reality and move on. But of course, the emotional and human side of this drives me back to trying again and at times I have to actually force myself to see and feel the hope. The hope that maybe we will beat the odds and get our little miracle.
        But, I guess I say all of that, to say, I understand. I get the balancing act that is fear/resignation and hope for success. Day by day my emotions vary with some days being better then others. And, just sitting with it, one day at a time, seems like the best possible thing to do.

        • I have always had to balance fear with hope. This recent shift is qualitatively different. Once I figure out how to articulate it I hope to write a blog post about it because I suspect I am not alone in feeling what I am, even if others’ circumstances may differ. It was very different for me losing the donor-egg pregnancy than all of my previous losses (because I’d bought the line about it all being about me, my crummy eggs). The fear to hope has transformed into a fearless hopelessness. I’m not afraid of failing, I feel there is nothing to fear but success because failure is almost guaranteed. And in having hit that low, I feel almost entirely without hope. Not in some fatalistic or nihilistic way, but in a letting-go kind of way. I have so little hope left, I must face the most likely reality, which is that I will not have a second successful pregnancy, only more losses, even with donor eggs. That’s where the odds fall, being pragmatic about it. But if I can accept that, maybe I am one teeny step closer to embracing the life I have now, the life I worked so hard to get, instead of trying to grasp at a future I may never know. This is the see-saw on which I’ve been balancing, trying to figure out which half to slide down for a solid seat on the ground, where I can walk away and back to a life I may need to rebuild, but which at least I can call my own…

  5. Pingback: Gratitude, an Update and Animal Spirit Guides | spiritbabycomehome

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