We’re nearing the end of our rope

I didn’t want my last post to turn into a novel, so I decided to break up each of the three hard thoughts into their own posts.

1.  We’re nearing the end of our rope – IVF is expensive and we’ll likely only attempt it once (+ any frozen embryo transfers if available).

At our last consultation with our doctor, she asked if we had talked about IVF.  She mentioned that it would probably be the next step if this fourth IUI doesn’t work.

IVF is expensive.  A fresh IVF cycle at the Nashville Fertility Center costs roughly $9050.00 (+ plus a few thousand on medications).  In the grand scheme of IVF treatments, that’s pretty dang affordable.

Ian and I have talked a lot about IVF and other options.  And thank goodness I married a man who has stood firm in wanting to give IVF a go.  I go back and forth.

“What if we do it and it doesn’t work and we’ve just wasted twelve grand?”  I asked Ian once.  He replied, “We’ll take a vacation to somewhere fancy and pretend that it cost us what we spent on the IVF.”

Accepting that our next step is IVF has been hard for me.  With the first two IUIs, I knew there was another IUI waiting and it could possibly work.  However, there’s not a next step for us to have biological children if IVF doesn’t work (apart from somehow naturally conceiving – which would be preferable).

Obviously there’s a financial toll it takes.  Although Ian and I have done a pretty good job of living below our means, we’re not made of money.  Then, let us not forget the physical toll it will take.  Literally shots upon shots of hormones and other ish to control as much as possible about your cycle.  And finally, the emotional toll, which is the worst.

My biggest fear about IVF is it not working because of my eggs.  Maybe enough eggs don’t mature during the process.  Or maybe the quality of my eggs is low and makes insemination or implantation hard or impossible.  Or maybe this.  Or maybe that.  There’s something about NOT doing IVF that would allow me to have an ignorant hope that my eggs are fine.  Maybe I don’t have as many follicles as I should, but what follicles I do have produce good eggs.

But Ian wants to do it.  And I’m glad.  Because I don’t know that I could fully invest in other ways to build our family without first exhausting the options we have to see what kind of cute kid our genes could create.

Regrouping is hard

Ian and I are sitting in Portland Brew.  And it felt like a good time to fill you in…

I didn’t write about it because I was exhausted about talking about our infertility, but our third IUI failed.

I didn’t feel good about it from the get go.  I had one mature follicle, but it seemed too mature (based on my extensive internet research).  We proceeded, nonetheless.  I had no hope, and alas, no baby was conceived.  Maybe my hopelessness contributed to that (like I should be willing a baby into existence), but I’m convinced there are many biological components that just aren’t working like they should.

We took December off to allow for a stress-free holiday with my family (and because our doctor’s office made a scheduling error and had to cancel our second consultation with our doctor).  But we were going to start 2017 with a new plan.

About a week and a half ago, we met with our doctor for the second time.  She was perplexed by our situation.  My normal AMH result didn’t really match up with the number of follicles she saw on one of my ultrasounds.  I only had about 8-10 follicles total, which is apparently low (and can signify a low ovarian reserve – we’ll come back to that in a bit).  We decided to do our fourth IUI this cycle.  But we’re doing things a little different.  We’re doing the Clomid Challenge this cycle, and due to some concerns I had about my luteal phase, she also prescribed a progesterone supplement.  She also mentioned IVF as our next step.

This is where the panic started to set in.  I went home and immediately started searching “follicle count”, and came across a number of articles that talk about the relation between low antral follicle counts and IVF success rates (spoiler alert: it’s not good).  And this is where three hard thoughts enter my mind:

1.  We’re nearing the end of our rope – IVF is expensive and we’ll likely only attempt it once (+ any frozen embryo transfers if available).
2.  This is my fault.  It’s my biology that’s not working.  It’s not Ian’s sperm.  It’s not some weird fluke.  It’s my dumb ovaries.
3.  What if Ian and I will never get to see what our biological children will look like?