Monday, April 17, 2006

Is it worth it?

I find myself sitting at the computer today, surrounded by piles of paper, somewhat sore from injections asking the question – Is it all worth it?

I arrived at Ginormous Fertility Clinic this morning, only to be greeted by a trainee (we’ll call her, Newbie) behind the wheel of the dildo cam. Ok, I’ll play along, I thought, everyone has to learn somehow (grant it, I’d prefer that they learn on someone else, perhaps an unsuspecting fertile in need of an exam). Her technique left much to be desired but Techie J was there and she permitted Newbie to get some driving time in without allowing her to steer me off the road.

Eventually, Techie J assumed control and started counting and measuring follicles. She told me that I had nine, 3 on the right and 6 on the left. I began feeling relieved, perhaps this was working (9 somehow seemed much better than 7). But when I examined the screen while Techie J was measuring follicles, I grew concerned. It was obvious that one or two follicles looked very large and many of the others were quite small. I mentioned this to Techie J, who confirmed my observations about the size differentials. She informed me that she could not give me exact measurements until the machine spit them out.

Well, shortly thereafter, out it spat. 1 – 15.5mm, 1- 11mm, 1- 9.4 and the remaining six were between 5 and 6. Not so fabulous for IVF. So I asked Techie J what we should do about the size differentials and she couldn’t answer. She simply told me that I’d be receiving instructions later in the afternoon and then she and Newbie left me on the table, staring at my measurement printout. As you might imagine, I am still staring at it now.

Around lunchtime I received a call from the Nurse instructing me to take my Menopur and Follistim and advising me of the dosages. I was also instructed to return to the office on Wednesday for the next round of monitoring. When I asked about my little lead follicle problem and questioned her on our next steps due to the fact that the majority of the follicles are so small, she mentioned the letters -- I.U.I.

It was at this point that my mind went blank. I didn’t ask about my e2 levels, I didn’t say much else. I kind of wanted to yell – I.U.I?!!?!?! WHAT DO YOU MEAN IUI? ARE YOU AWARE THAT I HAVE ONLY ONE TUBE AND IT IS QUITE LIKELY BLOCKED AND MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE A HYDRO???? I kind of felt like reaching into the phone and shaking her (kind of the way Jimmy Steward did in “It’s a W*nderful Life” when Uncle Billy lost all of the Building & Loan’s deposit money. *)

In the end, I just calmly listened to her instructions, repeated the dosages and hung up the phone. I have spent much of the day googling “lead follicles” and “small follicles” and IVF, to little avail. So I am now left with the question – Is it worth it? If this cycle is cancelled b/c I have fewer than the requisite four mature follicles to proceed with egg retrieval, would it have been worth it? If this cycle is a bust after day after day of injections (and nary an egg to show for it), what do we do next? Will I want to begin again knowing that the next try may merely yield the same result? How far am I willing to go with this? Maybe I am simply not meant to have my own biological child. I really don’t know what my answers are to these questions but I have the next couple of days to think them over.

*This happens to be my favorite movie and if you are unfamiliar with it, it’s great to rent around the holidays. In this particular scene, George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, realizes that his absentminded uncle has lost all of their businesses’ money. He fears that they will be ruined, that his life is over and he’s headed to jail, he grabs Uncle Billy and shakes him asking him “What do you mean you lost the money, you stupid old fool?”


At 7:07 PM, Blogger zhl said...

Hi Chee Chee, I'm so sorry that your cycle isn't going well.

I can't answer your question. My first IVF in October was cancelled because I did not have enough good-sized follicles. I still don't know if it was worth it.

Hoping the best for you.

At 9:31 PM, Blogger Sparkle said...

Sorry about this, have I missed something or have you increased your dosages? My last cycle started very slowly (E2 levels) and immediately my Puregon dose was increased.

Also, they do often say the first cycle can be diagnostic ... I know that doesn't help much.

At 12:16 PM, Blogger Mellie said...

Oh Chee - I completely understand why you're feeling this way. But, as one who went through IVF but ended up with nothing to transfer, I think you have to answer your question with a resounding yes. It is worth all of this. Even if it doesn't work. First, you'll know forever that you did everything in your power you could do - you won't have to regret NOT trying something else. Second, if you don't make it to retrieval, the doctors will have seen how you responded and can alter your protocol in the event you want to try again. After my first IVF failed, I wanted to get right back on the horse. I can't believe I've had to wait more than 2 months. To me, even without the prize, all I've done this far has definitely been worth it.

At 1:49 PM, Blogger MoMo said...

Oh Chee Chee, I am so sorry this cycle is not working out the way you were hoping for. As Mellie said, it is all worth it, in the end you want to know that you did everything you can do. If you decide to do another cycle, your doctor will be able to change the protocol based on how you responded the first time. I just got back from my nurse consult today and she mentioned that some women can have an IVF cycle one month with few eggs but the next time they tried the outcome was the complete opposite.

Hang in there...I am thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers!

At 3:15 PM, Blogger Avonlea said...

Chee chee,

My first and only IVF was canceled because I only produced 5 follicles despite being on maximum dosages of meds. I know your frustration and understand that you don't feel like you've been treated well, and I can't argue that you have been.

I wonder if you are a poor responder or, if you should not have been put on Lupron - I skipped that and BCP. I bet that approach could work even better for you. I suspect you may have better results that way but my medical degree is from Dr. Google . . .

Whether or not it's worth it to you to continue with ART is only a question you can answer. If I hadn't been a poor responder and over 40, I probably would have stuck with it for one or two more rounds, but it seemed to me that at my age the odds were totally against success.

Just remember, in the end it's more important to be a mother than give birth to a child - at least it was for me.

At 3:24 PM, Blogger Nico said...

I'm so sorry that this cycle isn't proceeding as we all hoped it would. It seems like it might be worth at least one more try, if after tomorrow's scan it's still looking like you'll be converted to an IUI. Hoping against hope that the bump in meds will be what's needed to push the slower responders over the edge!

At 3:26 PM, Blogger Lut C. said...

I'm very sorry this cycle isn't going as you hoped. After all the trouble you've been going through this can only come as an awful disappointment.

I can't tell you what to do. Whatever feels right to you.

But if your options do turn out to be to cancel completely or to do the IUI, it seems like you have nothing to lose.

If I understand correctly, the doctors have very little idea how high a dose to give the first time.
And quite a lot depends on the dose you get in the beginning. So this cycle is not necessarily a good indication of how next cycles might go (if required).

Good luck.

At 3:31 PM, Blogger Pamplemousse said...

I am sorry. This happened to me twice. The first time could be written off as bad luck but when the 2nd IVF went even worse with less response on a higher dosage, it was time to yell uncle. It is possible that you need just a tweaking of protocol to get a better result next time. It was not worth it to me to continue hammering my ovaries so I moved on. You may feel differently but I wish you peace and resolution in your quest. Feel free to e-mail me if you need a shoulder to scream into.

At 12:15 AM, Blogger ak1908 said...

Chee Chee,
I'm so sorry hon. It seems like you just can't catch a break. Please know that I am in your corner rooting you on, hoping and most importantly-praying. Don't lose hope just yet. Like the other ladies here said, this may be the test run that leads to a much greater cycle next time around (if that is even needed).

I know how you must be absolutely disappointed and devastated to not respond the way you'd originally expected, but I also wanted to share some kind (and probably familiar) words with you. "As I deepen and strengthen my relationship with God, I find myself comforted by the fact that God is in control and I am not. I find that I am less bitter and envious of the pregnancies of others. I believe that God's plan is beyond me but ultimately for my good." Pray on sister and know that all is according to God's will. Not that this means the pain and disappointment that you're feeling is not real. I'm just hoping that it helps you to put it in perspective. Again, I'm rooting and praying for you and it's not over until it's over:) I'm sending you extra ((((((((((((((cyber hugs)))))))))))))))))))!!!!

By the way- your words were so inspiring and encouraging to me! Thank you!

At 5:08 PM, Blogger Coloratura said...

Hi Chee Chee... found you from Pamplemousse... I've have been down a similar path that you describe here. I'm 41, did my first IVFs last year when I was 40. Stimmed horribly, about the same as you... first time, was 'redirected' to an IUI, second time went through with it, transferred *one* embryo back. Was it worth it? I would have said yes until a few weeks ago when I learned that I am homozygous for MTHFR which means I have clotting issues which means that nothing would have ever survived.

So my advise to you is this: if you've had any miscarriage issues, find someone who will test you for MTHFR and other immunological issues, quick. Before you waste another cent on IVFs that you might not need.

My other advise is that I think, personally, one has to take IVF day by day. At some point, you will know what your limit is. You will know the next direction too. But it's overwhelming and huge and not something that I think is easily dealt with in a day or two. But you will find your way and the answers that work for you.

I wish you the best of luck. Hugs from someone who has been there...

At 1:28 AM, Blogger sube said...

Wanted to add my bit of support. My first IVF was converted to an IUI due to lack of response, so I feel your pain. I hope it turns around for you.

At 5:16 AM, Blogger sue said...



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