I had a consult with my RE on Friday. I came prepared. Why did it fail? Was it egg quality? How would they change the protocol next time? Are there additional tests they would recommend? Dr. Google and I didn't get an opportunity to impress. Immediately, the RE recommended that we undergo immunological and chromosomal testing. He said that most clinics don't recommend either unless there have been recurrent pregnancy losses, but that he felt it would beneficial to rule out these issues for me. I love the way he said "rule out." Turns out if there are immunological issues, they can be dealt with; heparin for example. If there are chromosomal issues, well, cue the chubby opera singer. I snickered when he said we'll know the results of the immune tests early next week but it will take around 4 weeks to know about the chromosomal testing. Of course it will take 4 weeks. Hell, take 6 weeks.
As for the rest, it wouldn't be a trip to the RE's office if they didn't bring up my age. My eggs, you see, have been around 38 years, not to mention the 9 months I hung out in utero. (I knew all those vodka shots back in '69 would come back to haunt me. Bad Fetus.) The good news is that I responded "perfectly" to the stims and have good ovarian reserve. My lining could be fluffier, but it just could have been a bad batch of eggs. Assuming no chromosomal issues, the RE feels we should try again. No need to discuss donor eggs or sperm at this point. (I didn't share that we wouldn't go that route.)
All of us who go through this grapple with the issue of when is enough enough. For some people, I'm sure the answer is when they're successful, when the baby is born. For others, the uncertainty and invasiveness and emotional toll of IVF proves to be too much. Some choose adoption. Donor eggs/sperm or living without a child of your own for others. But at some point, you make a decision. A heartfelt, thoughtful, determined, resigned possibly, decision. I've never been so close to that point.
I know this because my first thought when the RE mentioned that nothing really could be done about chromosomal issues, well then we know we're done. The truth is that the physical process of in vitro has been no problem for me. The shots have been fine. I know, I know, I've complained bitterly, but really, they haven't been bad. Grab fleshy stomach flab, insert needle, depress plunger, go watch Gray's Anatomy. Sure, the butt shots got annoying but I've had worse mosquito bites. I've had two bruises total during this whole process. And the dildo cam, well, it's always been gentle.
The emotional toll of IVF is another story. The uncertainty, the soaring joy following by the bring you to your knees heartbreak, the careful optimism, the preparing for the worst yet hoping for the best, the exhaustive frustration, the please, please, please let me not lose who I am and who the hell am I anyway. No, there is a shelf life on this. When we started this process, I thought, I'll do this as long as it takes. I could not have known how much the process would take. And take.
So, I can definitely see an end to this. Not quite yet, not unless, of course, the chubby woman belts out her final notes in 4 weeks. And if that's the case, then we'll both go on a diet.