I’m starting to feel like a broken record. The Queen of Bad News. How many times do I have to call my sweet husband with more sadness to heap on an already heaping pile? How many times do I have to be Debbie Downer yet again in an email to my closest friends and family? How many times is another doctor’s face gonna scrunch up, bracing himself to deliver crap news?
Ever since the transfer I’ve been trying so hard to have faith. This wouldn’t be like all the other times. This was totally different, a new scenario. 65% success rate, at least. Young donors, healthy materials. They weren’t proven donors (that is, their materials hadn’t yet resulted in a healthy pregnancy, probably because they were new), and even with proven donors a significant percentage of embryos will be non-viable. (This clinic doesn’t genetically test them, and even when you do test them, some of the tested embryos turn out to be non-viable as well. On another blog, a woman just had a chemical pregnancy with an embryo that was chromosomally normal.) But by far the best chance we’ve ever had.
I tried to bond with our embryos, even though it was so painful when I bonded with the previous embryos and everything fell apart. I tried talking to them, imagining them as toddlers.
As another blogger put it, a part of me felt like I was just being pulled closer so a trapdoor could be pulled out from under me. Like Charlie Brown and the football. I keep getting Rickrolled by pregnancy.
Still, I tried.
My stomach was, of course, in knots every time I thought about this monumental ultrasound, how it would throw us down this path or that, possibly change the course of our lives forever. The doctor came in, and my heart dropped. He’s given me bad news before. I’m primed to expect it. I tried to shake the feeling.
He started the ultrasound, and I saw the beautiful gestational sac, so much larger than last time when I miscarried at 5w5d. There was clearly something in it, and to my inexperienced eye it looked like a little fetal pole curving around. It was beautiful. I was ecstatic. Something really was there. My faith had paid off!
But his face scrunched up in that way I’ve come to dread. I hoped it was just because he was annoyed about something else, or the machine was acting up. I asked him if things looked good.
He paused. That deadly pause. No, he said. It didn’t look good. There was a gestational sac and yolk sac, but no fetal pole. There should have been a fetal pole with a heartbeat by now, by 6 weeks + 4 days. I asked if there was any hope. He winced again. He really didn’t think so. If my dates were correct — and they were, there’s no ambiguity when it comes to embryo transfers — he said I should stop all medications immediately.
I’m waiting for the clinic to call and confirm. Every once in a blue moon, the fetus is in a weird position, or just growing a bit slowly, and a week or two later you’ll find a healthy fetus with a heartbeat. But most of the time that’s a pipe dream. Especially when it’s a high-quality ultrasound done by a highly qualified reproductive specialist. He really looked and looked.
This is my second blighted ovum, after being over the moon about a positive pregnancy test. I asked the doctor if something might be wrong with me, and he immediately said no. He said some embryos just don’t develop right, and that’s on the embryo, not on me. It wouldn’t have implanted at all if I had uterine issues. And if I had clotting issues, the embryo would have probably died slowly after a heartbeat was found.
Just bad luck, he said. Keep trying.
I must have looked pretty pathetic, because for the first time ever, he gave me a hug.
Poor guy. He must have to deliver a lot of bad news. Probably more bad than good.
I guess the good news for us is, we’ve had enough bad news that it made us extremely cautious, and we’ve already paid for the surest thing on the planet — six tries with six different sets of high-quality embryos. We “only” have to keep paying for travel, medication, blood tests, and ultrasounds. And I have a bunch of bonus airline miles to use for plane tickets. And April is a gorgeous time to visit the Bay Area.
So. One down, five to go.
It just sucks, man. I chose my insurance plan on the assumption I’d have a baby or two in 2017. It’ll truly suck if I have the babies at the beginning of 2018 and have to start all over again with a brand new deductible. If I have insurance at all. Republicans seem determined to take it away.
We already live in a tiny apartment because all of our savings, which we could have used for a down payment on a nice house, are gone. We’re slipping perilously close to zero. We were already on the knife’s edge, even if this had worked. And it didn’t.
And now I have to either wait for a miscarriage or get a D&C, and then wait for my beta levels to drop, and then start all over again. Best case scenario I’ll transfer in April and have the baby or babies in December. Really hoping for that, so I don’t have to worry quite as much about my insurance situation in 2018.
Ugh. A straight-up negative would have been so much better than this.
I guess at the end of the day it’s just time and money. We’ll figure it out.
At the end of the day, this pregnancy, by definition, just wasn’t fated to be our kid(s).
Really looking forward to being on the other side of this, when we can look back and say we got exactly the kid(s) we were supposed to get, and it was all worth it.
Because right now I’ve seen and felt nothing but loss, loss, loss.
No great insight. I’m just tired of it. We all are, who are still in the middle of it. God I hope we don’t get to our fourth anniversary in June — of both marriage and trying for kids — and still be spinning our wheels.
In the meantime, maybe I should quit giving my embryos cute nicknames and bonding with them and talking to them. I shouldn’t write notes to them in my journal to show them one day. It’s too painful. Maybe I should just say, “You’re on your own, kids. If you wanna come, I’ll be here for you. It’s up to you. I’ll give you cute nicknames and write notes to you after you’re breathing this good earth’s atmosphere.”
Overall I’m doing OK, though. Not bawling my eyes out or anything. Just weary. Girding my loins to try again. As always: What else can I do?
At least my emotions have finally checked out. They have left the building. I’ve got nothing left. I feel like I’ll be an automaton until there are actual babies in my actual arms. I’ve just got nothing left.