Archive | February, 2011

Can Conceiving via IVF Prevent Miscarriages?

25 Feb

While we debate talking to all these specialists and forking out all this money to find out if it’s worth forking out even more for IVF.   What I am reading is “most of the time, the answer is no”.  According to my sources, using IVF (in vitro fertilization) will not reduce your risk of miscarriage. IVF tends to have a high failure rate, and in most cases, the odds are higher that your IVF cycle would fail than the odds that you will have another miscarriage in a natural pregnancy. Unless you are also having trouble conceiving, IVF usually doesn’t make sense as a part of your treatment plan.

There can be some few exceptions to this rule. If you or your partner has been diagnosed with a chromosome abnormality affecting your risk of miscarriage, your doctor may suggest using IVF with a technique called PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis). This technique involves performing IVF and then screening the embryos for chromosomal problems prior to implantation. But there isn’t any solid evidence that this practice improves the ultimate chance of a successful pregnancy over continuing to try without intervention, so IVF with PGD is not common as a miscarriage treatment for couples without trouble conceiving.

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What next?

21 Feb

I saw my RE this past week and the good news is, everything looks normal and healthy again.  This was the final hurdle back to normalcy as the final ban (vaginal sex, using hot tubs, etc.) was now lifted.  I had a nice weekend of enjoying the formerly forbiddens, including an excellent dinner to celebrate our 11 years together with a full tasting menu (of bizarre french food- some raw and unpasteurized, oh my!) with 9 wine pairings.  It was only supposed to be 8, but they gave me one twice by mistake so I ended up drinking 9 glasses!  What a night!  It feels very good to be back to normal.

She and I had a long talk about next steps.  I was hoping to get our test results back to get more info on what caused the last loss, but they weren’t as helpful as I had hoped.  They arrived back two weeks earlier than expected with the results stating ”normal 46 xx:  female karyotype… When a normal 46,XX karyotype is observed in a products of conception specimen, maternal cell contamination cannot be ruled out.”   Long story short, the 46 XX may be MY cells, and not from the pregnancy tissue itself.   If the test IS of the pregnancy then it looks like we lost a healthy girl.  However, my doctor seems to think it is the former, esp. considering how fast the test came back.  In short, the test is not giving us any real information we can trust.  All we have is the test from miscarriage #3 which showed chromosomal abnormalities and translocations and a boat load of weirdnesss in the baby genes.

She asked me what we wanted to do next.  Here are the options that seem to be out there

1. Keep trying with pills and sex (like before).  Our success rate in getting pregnant seems to be getting better here.  (pregnant after 2 months on femara twice in a row).

2. Get higher tech and try IUI or IVF + genetic testing.  Her suggestion here was that i might give us more info on egg quality and maybe they can implant the “good” embryo after testing.  From what I am reading, this MIGHT help, but it might also just be a lot of work up for the same results, in which case, I’d rather stick with the low tech/cheap option.

To help make our decision I am-

1. Looking for stories, anecdotes of people who have had multiple losses and then success.  It helps with the hope/optimism.  Positive statistics are helpful too.  Do you know any?

2. Considering doing a few consultations with RPL experts/IVF docs.  On my list are the IVF folks at CCRM in Colorado ($250 1 hour phone consulation), Dr. Alan Beers (Immunology specialist- still not sure I believe in this stuff) (approx. $600 consultation + $350 initial tests), Dr. Ruth Lathi, RPL specialist at Stanford ($380 initial hour) , and Mary Stephenson (Dr. Kick Ass to Misfit Mrs.).  Each of these consultations is at least a few hundred bucks, so I feel a bit concerned about how much we may be shelling out to hear what we kind of already know (no guarantees no matter what we do, so keep trying).  Do you know of any good repeat loss specialists that you think I should check out?

3. Re-taking some of my tests like FSH to see what’s changed, if anything, or if for some reason my RE missed something.

4. Sorting out how to finance IVF if we go that route…  I don’t have to say much here as we know how costly this can be.

Searching for a life with meaning

7 Feb

Since this last loss I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure to reevaluate my life and my desire for children.  Until very recently I pictured being a mom as playing a major part of my middle age years and beyond and deriving a lot of meaning and personal satisfaction from it.  With that becoming more of an unknown, I recognize that I was expecting having children to somehow “complete” my life.  Since I no longer count on having kids, I am all the more aware of how incomplete it is.  I feel an incredible dissatisfaction with my “safe” corporate job.  I recognize that part of  my desire to stick in this area was for the stability and flexibility I expected I would want/need if/when I became a mother.   Without kids to support I REALLY have a lot of flexibility and can take risks and try new things.   It’s scary to have to think of starting a new career at this late point in my life, esp. one that will pay considerably less.  For so long I felt like I was on a clear, well-worn path getting my master’s, getting a job, getting married, buying a house in a good school district, etc.   Now I find myself really questioning where it has led me.  We have a wonderful home with plenty of resources to support a family, but instead we have an empty nest and I find myself feeling incomplete and unsatisfied.    When parents (esp. mothers) are asked what they are most proud of, so many of them say their children.  When you don’t have those, it really pressures you to find your sense of purpose and accomplishment elsewhere.  I’ve met several folks who don’t have kids who live these really exciting lives (like a friend who travels the world photographing underwater archeology and another who leads an international relief effort).    I feel like I have a ways to go.

Lost the pregnancy but regained my sanity

4 Feb

It is amazing what a difference a day makes.  Today I woke up feeling so NORMAL.  I had a night out with some friends (who have no idea about our issues) .  We went to the ballet and I got to enjoy some wine (first glass in over a month) and just feel like a normal adult.  I felt connected instead of isolated.  Much of the isolation I recognize that I bring upon myself.  The harder things get, the deeper I go.  I realize that pregnancy takes me to a certain level of crazy. I’ve been a paranoid crankasaurus for the last 4+ weeks.  It’s like my body and mind were completely taken over by another power aka strong pregnancy hormones.

Now that it’s over, life feels good again.  I finally feel like myself again.  I can plan more than a few days/weeks in advance, enjoy a cup of coffee and jump into any exercise/activity with some actual enthusiasm.   Sure we will have to face the whole family building challenge, but oddly I just feel less tragic about it all.  I am even more open to adoption which I thought I could never do.  I am sleeping better, eating better and just feeling better in general.  I even feel (dare I say it) optimistic about life.  I forgot what that felt like for a while and now can really see how isolated and depressed I was during this 4th pregancy/loss.  I am taking mental notes of what “normal” feels like in the hopes that if I lose myself again I can find my way back.

Breathe…it’s over

2 Feb

I am back and feeling better and ready to start over.  It is amazing what some good drugs and a reboot will do to you.  I feel healthy for the first time in a while, no nausea, no fatigue.  It’s the first time I’ve gone the whole day without an hour nap in a while (if you don’t count the drug-induced one I had earlier in the hospital OR).  The next month is healing, forgiveness, acceptance, recovery and just pampering myself with spa trips, retail therapy (like some new houseplants and cookie icing kit), love time with my cat and my patient husband (who needs a clever nickname at this point, how about Mr. Starfish or just Starman? I am sure he’d prefer one of his “cool” online gaming names instead, then anyone that meets up with him online playing Battlefield or Call of Duty can say “hello”) and some pondering on some fun things for the future (just saw that Ricki Martin is going on tour- that guy knows how to put on a show and apparently just became a dad via surrogacy).  This weekend one of my friends is throwing one of his crazy parties again with cocktails galore, and now I have the freedom to just join in and have some fun cocktail in hand.  I ramble. I am weirdly feeling happy and positive, like the bad stuff is over and it’s safe to come out.  Nothing “bad” on the miscarriage front can happen in the next 4 weeks, so I can really relax and breathe.

A Cynic Emerges

2 Feb
A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future. Sidney J. Harris
The D & C is in a few hours and my mind is consumed with how to purge myself of all things baby.  These toys and things I’ve slowly accumulated, mostly for child guests, but in the back of my mind for my future children HAVE to go, less I become the freaky lady with kid’s toys and no kids.  This 4th bedroom that we felt like we NEEDED when we bought the house and were optimistic to start a family is just like a slap in the face.  In a period of optimism I even painted it a light yellow.  I woke up this morning obsessing with how to change it into a library, a yoga room, or a sewing room, ANYTHING that seems permanent.  Up until now we’ve used it for all sorts of temporary things with the thought that later it would be a baby room.  I’m past that now. I don’t need a room waiting for something that I am tired of waiting for.  And my Toyota Highlander.  Really?  Do I need such a big car that screams soccer mom?  The impulsive side of me wants to just trade it in for something smaller, maybe even a convertible.  As you can see I’ve gone from having an ounce of hope to complete cynicism.  While I can’t say I am going to stop trying for good, I can say that it will not have the element of hope behind it that it once had.  The expression “if we have kids” is no longer going to emerge from my lips.  (Back in  my naive days I remember actually mouthing the words “when we have kids someday”…)  I also think that the blog needs a new name.  I am tired of “Waiting for Baby” in more ways than one.
My apologies for being a giant pile of negativity right now.  It is intense and will probably pass.  I don’t want to be the person consumed with bitterness for the rest of my life.  Maybe someone out there knows where I am coming from?

2nd Ultrasound confirmed blighted ovum

1 Feb

With a disappointed heart I got the confirmed bad news today.  Expecting nothing else at least I wasn’t shocked.  I had time since last Thursday to process and accept that this is the road I am on.  I head in tomorrow for the D & C and I am actually looking forward to it.  I had the foresight to schedule it in advance so it’s with a doctor I know (my RE) at a scheduled surgery center (not an after hours waiting list situation) and I will be completely KNOCKED OUT (the best part).  I’ve had all the other combinations and with experience I’ve learned what I want and don’t want.    Without a doubt the worst situation is being awake, with a doctor I had just met and who was squeezing me in as a favor.  As nice as she was, it was all way too much unnecessary drama.  If you’ve done one of these in-office procedures, you know what I mean.

In addition to having it on my terms and in a good timeline (just 24 hours after the bad news- yeah- not dragging it out for days/weeks) I am just happy to not be pregnant anymore.  This pregnancy I have really just felt miserable.  I had a short perk of joy at the very beginning but then anxiety quickly set in along with all the familiar symptoms- constant nausea, complete lack of energy (and almost inability to stay awake), and ultimately paranoia on what I could eat, drink or do.

Overall I feel tapped out.  This has really drained me and maybe that’s why I’ve just kind of dropped off.  I don’t have the strength to face what our next steps are or think about trying again.  I hate to sound like a quitter, but 4 losses in a row seems like enough.  I am ready to throw in the towel at this point.  Is life without kids really that empty and pathetic?  Maybe I am so narrowly focused on motherhood that I am overlooking other opportunities to participate in the world and live a rich and meaningful life.  I grew up thinking that I’d have kids someday, never really too focused on when or what if I didn’t.  I feel like I am almost programmed to want to be a mother, like it really is a biological urge.  Now that it seems unlikely that it will really happen I am just picturing life without children.  It sounds a bit sad and empty after trying for so long, but maybe I should focus more on the very real possibility that this is it.  Other people can raise children and maybe I can do something else.