Well, after a 7 month break, we started back up in the beginning of March with another IUI (the first since August)... and it didn't work, AGAIN. In case it had worked, we tried to keep it a secret and didn't tell many people at all that we were starting up. It was only a few people at work who needed to know for different reasons (like the possibility of me being late to work on a few mornings, apologizing for being super cranky on fertility drugs, possibly having to miss a meeting, etc.). In a sense it made it easier when it failed because there were less people to tell. But the hurt is still the same, so really what's the difference. Going right into another cycle, I decided I wanted & needed to call upon all of you for prayers.
Our last IUI was on March 8th, which ironically was the same date of our first IUI in 2014. Same date a year apart, starting for the first time and starting after a break. Kind of ironic. I in NO way planned that- it didn't hit me until it was scheduled, and I went woaaa that's a little weird. It also happens to be a friend's bday that day, so it was easy to remember. Of course we were super hopeful, no matter how hard I try not to be, it's damn near impossible. Especially for me, being little miss sunshine over here. We had 2 good egg follicles again, but my lining was thin before IUI, so who knows. I tried everything under the sun to help thicken my lining (Pomegranate juice & doing yoga poses like laying on the floor with my feet/legs up a wall) but who knows if helped... either way, it was still a BFN (big fat negative).
So here we are, almost mid-cycle of our 6th IUI. I have been doing the same protocol as August & March: 5 days of Femara pills (which I like to call "crazy pills" bc they usually make me super cranky & irritable, I hate them) followed by 3 days of FSH injections (FSH is follicle stimulating hormone). I had to swap from Gonal-F to Follistim this time for injections (it's the same drug really) because our insurance decided to change which one they covered. Weirdos. JUST when I had gotten super used to Gonal-F, let's change it up and add anxiety right back into the mix. It honestly wasn't too bad though. It freaked me out the first night because the pen clicks loudly as you inject it but in a sense I now like that bc I know it's going in. It also stings for a few mins after, which is not fun, but I have to toughen up and stop being a baby. I went back Monday morning for monitoring (blood draw & ultrasound to check on how many egg follicles and what size they are). Turns out I have 3, but they were still too small to do anything with, measuring at 11mm each. I think they like to see them somewhere around 17-20mm, or somewhere like that. So I was instructed to keep doing injections and return Thursday (tomorrow) for a repeat checkup/scan. I'm assuming by tomorrow they will be just about ready, and depending on how ready, I will then await instructions on when to inject Ovidrel (the trigger shot, with induces ovulation about 36 hours after you inject), and IUI will be scheduled from there. My guess is some time this weekend, Fri/Sat. But it all depends on my egg follicles and how they're developing/growing, and what my blood works shows in terms of whether or not I am ready to ovulate on my own soon.
Some pics from this cycle (injections have been Fri through last night, and I continue tonight):
Last month I was almost ready to trigger at the same point as the Monday check, so I was surprised that they were growing slower this time around. I was a little bummed at first but now am totally at ease with it. Scott isn't able to take off from work or be late this week, so slower growth allows him to go if it ends up being Saturday.
Now come the prayer requests. I'm not very religious in the Sunday/church sense, but I have kind of found my own spiritual connection of things I believe in and find hope in. Whatever your religion is, whoever you pray to, however you find spiritual comfort, Scott & I would appreciate your prayers & support. This has been a long road for us. It's been dark & upsetting at times...Many times. We are MORE than ready to bring new life into the world. Please pray for us, however you feel comfortable. My prayers are that IUI works and that we are blessed with a child. I won't push the twins thing, although that would be an added bonus, never having to return to this process again. At this point we would just be truly blessed and thankful to get pregnant, have a healthy pregnancy, and deliver a healthy child (or 2). I'm becoming a human yo-yo of emotions and don't want this to become my life for years to come.
Also, prayers would come in handy because we have finally put somewhat of a timeline on our current plan. In a sense, it's only been 5 tries. In a sense, 1 worked. I WAS pregnant. But since it didn't last, it's hard to say if it's 1/5 or 0/5 because we didn't walk away with a baby. In a sense 5 tries is not a lot, but in a sense it is. To you lucky "normal" couples who can jump into bed and end up naturally pregnant 2 weeks later, 5 tries is nothing. They say to try for a year before seeking medical assistance. So 5 is nowhere near that. To the fertility Drs, 5 is a lot. I'm not sure why, but they often say after 3 or 4 attempts, move to IVF. We wanted to give it like 8-9 tries before going there. 1 because insurance covers it (mostly, anyway), and 2 because more tries puts us at more of an "ok, we tried all we can" feeling. The thing is it's only about a 20% chance of success each month (same as regularly conceiving... crazy, huh?). Those numbers SUCK. Leave it to me to be in the 80% that doesn't work.
We have been trying to avoid IVF for a few obvious reasons... Financial expenses, WAYYY more drugs & needles (seriously, universe, WHAT are you trying to do to me- You've made your point, I get it!), more invasive (surgically removing my eggs), etc. Basically it just scares the heeby-jeebies out of me. I know SO many strong & amazing women who have done IVF and have made it all look totally doable, but I know I would just mush into a giant baby unless it was the only option to have the baby we want. However, the chances of success are much higher with IVF- around 60% on avg I think. Much better... but it better be after paying so damn much for it.
So, after talking to our Drs last week in length (My Dr was SO sweet to call me at home to discuss my weird hypothetical Qs and sobs of why this isn't working... after I cried in front of a diff Dr that morning at monitoring just asking "WHY isn't this working yet?"), and letting it all sink in, we decided that we will try IUI a few more times and give it to the end of this school year. Being April 1 today, that's not too much time. It's 3 months worth- so could be about 3, maybe 4 more cycles. If no pregnancy occurs from that, we are throwing in the towel and will explore IVF options for the summer. I will be off from school, it gives us a bit of time to try and save up a little more money, and it just seems like the right thing. I can't imagine starting IVF at the beginning of a school year, so summer seems to be a good downtime for me mentally.
This isn't exactly the decision I wanted to make. I want for IUI to work. I know it's possible. Lots of people do have babies from IUI. As far as we can tell, I have no issues and there are no red flags. Same with the donor sperm. So I'm not sure what the deal is, but it's getting frustrating. I wanted for it to work, and to stick, and to be done. But it hasn't yet. So since I can't do this forever, we decided to cap it soon. It still gives us a few more hopeful tries, but I can't deal with the highs & lows fertility treatments forever with only 20% odds. Eventually, we have to go all in.
So, again, prayers requested, please. However/whenever/to whomever you pray, please send a few out for us to be successful soon. We can't do it alone & the only way to get support is if people know you need it.
Thank you!! We are forever grateful.
Stace & Scott
P.S. The only thing I'm hesitant about posting this is getting lots of Qs about whether or not it worked. I have gotten pretty strong but constantly hearing "did it work? When is your next appt? When is your pregnancy test?" and things like that only stress me out. So please do not ask. Let us know you're praying & thinking of us, and that's the best kind of help. From there, we often let people in and tell them lots of details we are comfortable with anyway. But getting asked the other specifics don't help as much. Because when the day does come that we finally do get to have a successful pregnancy, we want to be able to share it on our terms and not have everyone figure it out ahead of time or share the news for us. I wasn't a bridezilla but I will def turn into a mom-to-be-zilla for stuff I've waited sooooooo long to be able to announce & have some element of surprise & fun in.