So I promised that I would catch everybody up on “all the other crap” we’ve been going through the past couple of years. Where to start?
We’ve been trying to get pregnant since 2009. When the old-fashioned way didn’t work, we quickly moved to an RE. To make a long story sort of short, we’ve done 9 IUI’s, 4 fresh IVF retrievals and 2 FET’s (Frozen embryo Transfers). Cumulatively, we had a total of 12 “Grade A” embryos — none of which took. Best I ever got was 2 chemical pregnancies.
Pretty sure that I gave myself over 1,000 shots to the belly, and had countless blood draws and ultrasounds (all at the butt crack of dawn b/c our IVF doc is in Mountain View which is hella far from where we live). Paul came to each and every appointment with me (he is truly an AMAZING man). But it took all of that for me to feel like I really gave my eggs (read: my genetics) a real shot. After a lot of thinking and talking, we decided it was time to move on to donor eggs. So we embarked on our donor egg cycle in September, 2012.
Rewind back to January, 2012 when I had first spotted our donor (through a registry with a well established donor agency). I just knew in my heart that she was the right one. But I wasn’t ready to give up on my eggs just yet. Paul said we could do whatever I wanted (BTW IVF is not covered by our insurance, so we’ve been shoveling — not forking — over wads of dough for each of these rounds). I wanted to do one more fresh IVF cycle. When that one failed, I still wanted to do one more (our RE wanted to try one, last, and different approach. You have to understand that at this point, our RE was basically a part of our family — we’d been working with him for so long (shout out to Dr. Schmidt of Nova IVF in Mountain View — and double shout out to Angela — my saint and saviour RN). After the 3rd fresh round failed, I asked Dr. Schmidt point blank “If I was your daughter, what would you tell me to do?” He said he would tell her/me to do this one last round. So I did (no, he is not in it for the money BTW)). Unfortunately, that last round was the worst one yet. We only got one egg and my hormones were all out of whack. So we had to put that one embryo on ice and wait until my hormones looked better. It was becoming apparent that my diagnosis of Diminished Ovarian Reserve and Poor Egg Quality was not budging.
At that point we decided it was time to engage the donor as our Plan B. We were down to one last embryo that was genetically ours. I knew in my heart that the embryo wouldn’t take. But the FET was included in the price of the round — so we were going to transfer it.
I prepped my body for the FET round and our donor began all of her testing. Her results come back with flying colors. Unfortunately, my transfer did not come back with such good news — it was a bust. I was not pregnant.
Dear reader, please note that it was during this last FET cycle that I noticed a lump in my breast. I assumed it was from all the estrogen I was pumping into my body. I made note that I should have it check out (this was late August, 2012). When the cycle failed, I came off the estrogen, and the lump went away. I didn’t think about it again.
At that point, we were emotionally ready to move to donor. I grieved the loss of my genetics in my own way (read: I drank A LOT of wine!).
In September, 2012, I started on my meds to sync my cycle with the donor’s cycle. After two weeks of twice daily Lupron shots (to suppress my body from ovulating on it’s own), I layered in estrogen. Again, the lump came back. This time Paul insisted that I have it checked out.
I set up my appointments for my boob lump one week prior to the donor’s stimulation date. I wanted to be a good patient and cross all my T’s and dot all my I’s. I didn’t want a thing to cloud our donor cycle because I FINALLY had faith that we would get our baby.
Then this — the cancer diagnosis. The worst part about this whole cancer ordeal is that I had to cancel my donor cycle (Well not entirely, we are still going to have the donor stim, and then we’ll put the embryos on ice. They will wait for me to excise this damn cancer — and then we’ll figure out what to do).
Paul thinks I’m nuts and if the worst thing I have to worry about is canceling my portion of the cycle — then I should count myself lucky. In other words, he is imploring me to see the fact that this cancer is treatable and I will get through this. But I can’t. I am selfish. I’m sorry, it’s true. All I can think about is how stupid cancer is going to postpone my getting pregnant even more. How I’m going to be an old-ass friggin’ mom. I’ll probably need a cane when my kid graduates high school. These are the thoughts that go through my head. What is wrong with me? (oh! but on the positive side, my sorta fucked up mind is wondering if cancer will make me skinny! I’m carrying an extra 12 lbs or so from three years of fertility treatments — would be great if I could drop those pounds! I mean, seriously, there has to be an upside to cancer, right?)
I have been so singularly focused on getting pregnant for three years — this is a true kick in the pants. Ugh.
So there you have it. We’ve been on a shitty roller coaster ride for three years and the fucking wheels just came off the tracks. Told you you’d think this diagnosis was redick the second you knew about all the other crap we’ve been up against. laughable, right? Can I get an AMEN? No? Ok then, I’ll settle for a: Fuck. You. Cancer.