Failed FET

No news isn’t always good news. I’ve been avoiding blogging for a few weeks since we found out on June 13 that our first FET wasn’t successful. I’m an early tester, so I knew after a few days that it most likely failed. Waiting the full two weeks for beta HCG test was pretty rough. The PIO and estrogen shots are not fun, but become much less tolerable when you’re almost certain you aren’t pregnant.

I was feeling very confident about this cycle, maybe because I felt so removed from the struggles we faced years ago trying on our own and then having 5 failed IUI cycles. My last cycle was a success, so it seemed like IVF was the ticket for us and that surely this would work. It’s now funny (the saddest kind of funny) that I was so worried about having too many frozen embryos and stressing about what to do with them. Now I’m just hoping that one of the remaining three will result in another child.

The upside to the disappointment was that we confirmed our failed cycle on the same day as my daughter’s second birthday party. We were surrounded by family and so much love, which made the pain more bearable. Celebrating our happy and healthy little girl was the best medicine.

Since we have three more frozen embryos, we’re went right into the next cycle. On the day that I received the negative HCG test, I was instructed to stop my progesterone and estrogen shots. Five days later my period started and I was instructed to begin birth control. I had my baseline ultrasound and blood work two days ago and began the estrogen shots again. Full speed ahead!

The plan is to do another single transfer this time and if it works, we’ll have two more frozen embryos to try for a third child down the road. If this transfer doesn’t work, our RE said we may want to consider transferring both of the remaining embryos.

Anyone have any advice or experience with multiple single transfers not working but having success with two? I’m starting to wade through the research to see if transferring two embryos really improves the chance of pregnancy, or simply increases the chance of multiples. I’m terrified of the added risks that come with twin pregnancies and will only be convinced to transfer two if I feel it is our best shot at having another child/children.

By writing this a month after we got the news that our cycle failed, I’m riding a new wave of optimism for our next cycle, but it has been a difficult time mourning the loss of one of our embryos and all the promise that it held for our family.

The Dreaded Two Week Wait

Our FET went off without a hitch last Wednesday. My lining was 10mm and our day 6 blast was graded BB and looked good after thaw. The nurse mentioned that our transfer was the best one all day (whatever that means!).

I wish I was someone who could just wait it out for the beta, but I just can’t roll that way. I’m a tester and have been armed with my Wondfo cheapies since before we started this cycle. I started testing on 3dp5dt (I know, I know, I’m crazy because that is way too early) but on my successful fresh cycle, I got my first faint positive the evening of 4dp5dt. Today is 7dp5dt and stark white tests. So even if this little one is a later implanter, I’m not feeling very hopeful at this point.

I’m honestly trying to keep my head above water and not let this get the best of me. Seeing all those negatives tests just took me right back to the years of trying for our daughter and cycle after cycle of disappointment. It is very difficult to invest so much hope, time and money into a cycle and see your chances disappear before your eyes each day.

As much as I’m wallowing, I know I have a lot to be thankful for because we have three more frozen embryos if this cycle is a failure. And more importantly, we have a beautiful ALMOST two-year-old little girl who is our whole world. As much as I want to give her a sibling, she is more than enough if she is the only child we can have. For today, I’m allowing myself to grieve for little embryo #4 and what could have been. Then I’ll suck it up and head to my beta next Tuesday and keep a little tiny piece of hope buried in my heart.

A Letter to my Frozen Embryos

Dear embryos,

I can’t believe I’m writing a letter to you. After all, you’re just blastocysts in a freezer. One little AB and three BBs. But to me, you’re so much more than that. You’re our chance to complete our family. Our chance to give our daughter the amazing gift of a sibling. Our hope.

Maybe you think I’ve forgotten about you. After all, it’s been more than two years since you were frozen and safely tucked away. Maybe you think I got my miracle baby and I’ve moved on to leave you forever frozen in time. You think I didn’t choose you.

But the truth is that you’re a part of me and I think of you all the time. In the daily whirlwind of raising a toddler, you cross my mind often. She is so precious to me, so you must be precious too. But I don’t yet know you. Are you a little boy with dark curly hair like me? Or are you a miniature version of your sister who favors her daddy? Can you possibly bring us as much joy as your sister has?

And what if you aren’t healthy? Or you grow up to resent the way you were brought into the world? Or will you break my heart if you aren’t strong enough to survive? What secrets do you hold, waiting to share with the world?

My life is ordinary in many ways. But in addition to the ordinary, I have you, question marks suspended in time. Who would have thought that our hopes and dreams for our family would be sitting in a freezer in Rockville, MD? This is real life, even if it seems like a sci-fi novel. I spend my days changing diapers, listening to the Frozen soundtrack for the 100th time, and occasionally sending positive vibes to you, wondering if we’ll meet in this life or the next.

Frozen Embryo Transfer #1: The Details

Here’s where we’re at. We have four frozen embryos from our IVF in 2014. After six failed IUIs, we were successful with our first cycle of IVF and our daughter was born in June 2015. We’ve tried naturally since she was six months old because our infertility in unexplained. No success and now we’re ready to jump back in and try with our frozen embryos.

Frozen Embryo Transfer #1 Protocol

We met with the same reproductive endocrinologist that we worked with for our IVF cycle. We had a positive experience at our clinic and like the continuity of seeing the same physician and are even working with the same nurse. We started the process with an appointment in February where we discussed the process of a frozen embryo transfer and went over any questions with our RE. Some things of note:

  • We are all in agreement that we should do another single embryo transfer. I had my daughter a month early and preterm labor would be a much bigger concern when carrying twins. RE said if we do two tries without success, we may want to consider two on the third try.
  • RE thinks chances are really high that we’ll get pregnant with one of our four embryos
  • All my blood work was good, with the exception of my FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), which was borderline high at 11.5. I had a similar result back in 2014. My nurse explained that this could make another round of IVF harder/less successful, but hopefully we won’t need to go down that road again.

Next in the process was a mock embryo transfer to make sure the path was clear for the real deal. Very exciting to know that all my parts are intact after my first pregnancy and labor. I started birth control pills yesterday, April 23. I will take them for about three weeks, after which I will have a baseline ultrasound and then begin estrogen and progesterone injections to thicken my endometrial lining and prepare the best possible home for our embryo. Two weeks later I’ll have a lining check and then the frozen embryo transfer a few days later on May 31.

While this might sound daunting, it feels like a walk in the park compared to all the medicine, monitoring, and stress that went into our IVF cycle. One super cool part of FET (silver lining, people!) is that you can pick the actual date and then work backwards to prepare. So essentially you are picking your due date and can plan around vacations, holidays, work schedules, etc.

In the next few weeks I’ll be doing all the things I won’t be able to do if our FET is successful. Think booze, hot baths, and sushi! And of course mentally prepping to get stabbed in the butt with needles every day. I have to admit that I’m feeling pretty optimistic about our chances this time. I’m an optimist by nature, but the crazy long and difficult process of getting pregnant the first time really had me questioning my outlook. Hoping to not get knocked down this time around!

 

 

Family Planning for Infertiles

Maternity painting

Babies are generally made in one of two ways. 1. A couple decides they are ready to grow their family and they start trying to get pregnant the old-fashioned way. 2. OOPS!

When you’re infertile, neither of these methods really apply to you. The first time around, we didn’t know we were infertile, so we spent many years trying to avoid 2. and then a few years desperately trying to achieve 1. When trying naturally produced no results, we turned to fertility treatments and were put on a path that eventually lead to IVF, which gave us our most precious gift, our daughter. It also gave us another unexpected gift: the possibility to grow our family again through frozen embryos.

This leaves us in a weird fertility limbo. While I’m not sure we’re ready to get pregnant right now, we know we would like more children and it seems weird to sit around and get older/more infertile. We also are hyper aware that time is not on our side. Do we try on our own and see if things magically work this time around? After all, our diagnosis was unexplained infertility and it is possible, but not likely, that I could get pregnant naturally. But where does that leave those little frosties?

I remember clearly the mix of emotions I experienced when the clinic called to tell us they were able to freeze some embryos. Four to be exact. Wonderful! But wait…four!? Four means the (unlikely) possibility of five children. How did we get from wanting a child so desperately to the possibility of five children?

Our perfect daughter was created through the same process as our frozen embryos and I feel an obligation to give the others a chance at life. I don’t necessarily see them as our children, but as the real possibility of life — much more tangible when I see my growing, healthy little girl. We made the decision to create them, out of both love and desperation, and it is hard to consider the possibility of not using them if we are able to have more children the natural way. You see, there are no easy decisions when it comes to infertility.

We are enormously blessed to have had success with IVF, and even more lucky to have frozen embryos that will allow us to try again. And soon there will be big decisions to make…