Thursday, April 21, 2005


Before we started this last cycle, Jeff and I tentatively agreed that we would give it two more tries and then call it a day. We had (or thought we had) the coverage, so why not give it a go? After three, we would start to look seriously at adoption. But that was miles away, miles and miles.

After the first week of stims, in that hyped-up, ripening state, I thought the plan feasible. Three seemed like a good cutoff.

After that first follicle count showed just six, and I had gotten over my first meltdown, I thought, it's hard, really hard, but I can do this at least one more time. Maybe not twice, but once, for sure.

After they retrieved just four eggs, I wondered, can I really handle this disappointment again? Maybe. Probably. I think so.

After the call came yesterday, I thought, very simply, I am not pregnant. I didn't say to myself, I will never be pregnant. I thought, devastated as I am, I might be able to do it again.

After the meeting with Dr. Katz this morning, when the words "poor responder" were officially added to my file, and after he said I could try a microdose protocol next time, and not to give up on my own eggs yet, something snapped. Pregnancy, no matter how many cycles I do, is now just a chance, not a probability.

I don't know if I can do it again. The physical part is certainly uncomfortable, but so easily forgotten. I could handle that over and over and over, as often as needed. Seeing my body's failings unfold, and living with the arc of those pendulous, swollen disappointments, though--these I cannot take in stride. I am battered, I am torn up, I am filled with pain. The best I can do may be a grudging, eventual acceptance that does not contain any hope. Will that will be enough to propel me through another cycle?

I don't know. I just don't know. Perhaps it's too soon to know.

For now, I cry, and try to care about something in the world that isn't the one thing I can't have. I'm not succeeding, but I'm trying.

We are deeply indebted to you for your beautiful comments and unfailing support. I read some of them to Jeff, who promised forever ago never to look at my blog and has kept his word. We were both moved to tears by your thoughtfulness and compassion.

Tomorrow morning, we will drive to Yosemite to recuperate for a couple of days. We realized today that it's our anniversary; we spent our brief honeymoon there, five years ago, and I am afraid of tainting the memory with our current misery. But perhaps it will help us remember life's grandeur and scale, and not its small, condensed sadnesses.


Anonymous Menita said...

I am so sorry. You're right about the physical part being far from the worst of it - there's a reason they call infertility soul-destroying.
I would wish you a happy anniversary, except I don't know how appropriate that would be under the circumstances. So on this anniversary, I just wish you and Jeff more of that closeness and wonderful love you have for each other.
And I hope the next anniversary finds you joyful...

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love you, my dear sweet Bugs.

I'm with you all the way - through every twist and turn.

Yosemite is a very powerful place. And though I understand you not wanting to taint your experience, Yosemite has many roads less traveled and is big enough for new experiences. May you find sustenance and healing there.


8:16 PM  
Blogger Anotherjen said...

I'm so sorry.

I wish there were more words to comfort. Your aniversary plans sound like a beautiful oportunity to reconnect with yourselves. Take your time to heal. we'll all be here when you're ready.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Cricket said...

That was so beautifully written. You are a tower of strength. You two pamper each other each other this weekend with everything you have left, which you realize so eloquently is more than you know.

9:16 PM  
Blogger wessel said...

I'm sorry, Bug. I read your previous entry but thought I'd comment here instead. I know what you mean about your husband, always managing the "mess" and reaching out, while you retreat into yourself. My situation is exactly the same and that really touched a chord in me. Thank G-d for our husbands. That's something, no? I want to be able to reward him and his incredible kindness with something that he really wants, like a healthy baby. Somehow, a "thank you, dear, you're so sweet to me and I really appreciate it" just seems to pale in comparison to a bouncing, babbling baby. So most of the time, I just keep mum in my own distress.

How long to keep trying is one of the most difficult choices we have to make as infertiles. I say, as long as there is hope and as long as you have the internal fortitude to do it again, then go for it. I am supposed to be doing a cycle this month, was supposed to do it last month actually, but hesitate. I don't make the calls to the clinic, I don't go in for my bloodwork. I'm pretty sure I have reached that point of no return--I'm done. I just cannot make my body and soul go through it again. You will KNOW when you are at that point. Until then, give it your all. Wishing you everything your heart desires.

10:54 PM  
Blogger ankaisa said...

I'm sorry. The physical part is easy to take, the rest is not. Do what is best for you.

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry.

Birch and Maple

1:08 AM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

Dahlingest Bugs, I wish I could offer some comfort, I desperately wish I could help, but all I can do is tell you how brill I think you are, how beautiful it is to be able to read abt a love such as yours, and that I hope Yosemite will allow you some sanctuary space in which to start licking your wounds. Happy anniversary, Bugs, may it get less painful soon.

1:46 AM  
Anonymous Boulder said...

Bugs, I'm so sorry about all of this. I've been where you are and your words are so poignant. Battered is an excellent choice of word for the experience. If it helps any at all, there are good days to come. I'm glad you are going to Yosemite & hope that you find the perspective you need.

2:16 AM  
Blogger K|nneret said...

Bugs, I'm sorry this is so hard for you and Jeff. I hope you find your time in Yosemite to be renewing and rejuvenating and that you continue to find great joy and peace in one another.

3:40 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

My Dear Friend I am so so very sorry. I know that pain all too well.

When I got the news that my FsH had shot up to 32 and there was no hope of conceiving using my own eggs I completely lost it.

We found great comfort in a reproductive psychologist that my RE recommended. This is all the therapist does... talk to people with fertility issues. I highly recommend it. It was through her counseling that Marc and I decided that adoption was the right choice for us.

My Dear Sweat Friend... I wish you peace.

5:49 AM  
Anonymous Soper said...

Everything I can think to say is so inadeaquate, so I'll just say, again, how much we all love you.

5:54 AM  
Blogger ms pickled eggs said...

I couldn't log on yesterday,(damn you blogger) but I just wanted to say how sorry I am that it didn't work.

Whereever you decide to go from here I wish you all the luck in the world. Take care.

6:43 AM  
Blogger getupgrrl said...

I'm so sorry, my friend.

6:53 AM  
Blogger JJ said...


I wish I had something profound and healing to offer you.

I'm so very sorry.

7:10 AM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

Nothing to say, but *hugs*

7:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry Bugs, so very sorry.

What a beautifully written post.

I'm here for you, no matter what.


7:46 AM  
Blogger Anna H. said...

Love to you, Bugs.


7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your well stated reasons, along with a host of others, are why I will not pursue IVF. I do not think that I can stomach that ride. You have been very brave. I hope your anniversary and time away brings you peace and healing.


8:00 AM  
Blogger Suz said...

It is too early, sweetheart. I remember when mine failed after only three were retrieved and the haze we were in. Take care of yourself; take care of each other.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Suz said...

It is too early, sweetheart. I remember when mine failed after only three were retrieved and the haze we were in. Take care of yourself; take care of each other.

8:15 AM  
Blogger amyesq said...

Oh, sweetie. Nothing brilliant or deep to say, just that I wish you guys peace this weekend. We love you.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Internal Spring said...

What can I say that hasn't already been said so eloquently?

My heart goes out to you and Jeff. I hope you can find some peace in each other's arms and the strength to move on.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Millie said...

It surely is the emotional devastation that is the hardest. The financial part is hard but the emotional toll is crippling.

Here's hoping you guys have a healing time in Yosemite. My husband and I took a trip a few weeks after our ectopic and it was so incredibly nice to just be away. And to be together.

If you're looking for a therapist who specializes in infertility, I've got a beaut of one in Oakland. Seriously saved my sanity last year. I'm even happy to share her.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Zarqa said...

After the call came yesterday, I thought, very simply, I am not pregnant. I didn't say to myself, I will never be pregnant.

I am so sorry Bugs. With this one thought you're already ahead of the curve for finding peace with this. Have a peaceful and comforting time away.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous AB said...

Ugh, I'm so sorry, sweetheart. Suck.

8:30 PM  
Blogger penelope said...

I'm so sorry - you have shown us all so much courage and good humor through this - I guess all I would say at this point is that it is okay to mourn and to be sad and I for one am sad with you.

I hope Yosemite is absolutely beautiful - and healing for you. Do a headstand somewhere spectacular for us!

5:16 AM  
Blogger Pamplemousse said...

Bugs, I could not get on Blogger yesterday to offer my support to you. I am also struggling with my own "poor responder" gig.

You and Jeff need to take comfort in each other and come to terms with this cycle. Suz is right in that it is too early yet to be taking any steps in any direction.

Heal well, my friend.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Oh God. I'm just so incredibly heartbroken for you, and so moved by the obvious love story you and Jeff are living. It makes me believe that we are given the precise person we are meant to journey with, as in your Jeff, my HB, and all the other incredible partners I read about on these blogs. If there is a diamond in the mud puddle of infertility, there it is. It just sucks that we have to wallow in the mud to find the diamond.

6:27 AM  
Anonymous Day said...

Lots of hugs and love to you and Jeff.

12:12 PM  
Blogger HomeFireBlue said...

Oh, Bugs, I'm just so sorry. :(


5:21 AM  
Anonymous j said...

I haven't really read your blog before, but stumbled on it today, and just wanted to offer you some encouragement. I remember being exactly where you are. After my first cycle, I really contemplated the possibility that I may never get pregnant. Maybe my story can offer you some hope, sorry if it is too long. I was 35 when I started ttc. Almost 36. I actually got pregnant the old-fashioned way on only the fourth month of trying. Only to miscarry a week later. After a few months of obsessive charting, temping, etc, I went to see my OB/GYN. She sent me to an RE. My day 3 bloodwork looked okay, although my E2 was bit high. We tried Clomid with no luck a few times. We did an injectable cycle. Not a great response, and I had a spontaneous surge after only 6 days. An ominous sign, my RE thought, so we moved to IVF right away. We started with a poor responder protocol, microdose lupron. On the max dose of Gonal-F, I got only 5 eggs, after many days of stims. I was heartbroken. The worst moment in my entire journey of infertility was the next day, when I got the call that none of my eggs had fertilized. They told me that one egg had something going on, but was not where it should be, and they expected that we'd have nothing to transfer. To my shock, I got a call the next day that that one egg was moving along, and I had an embryo to transfer. It was only 4 cells on day 3, but it looked very nice. I ended up with a very unlikely chemical pregnancy. I thought that meant doom, but my RE thought it was encouraging that I got pregnant, and thought it was worth trying again, although he did mention donor eggs. Next cycle, we also did MDL. But this time, we added in a little Pergonal with the Gonal-F. It was like night and day. This time, after far fewer days of stims, I got 13 eggs. 11 were mature. We did icsi, only 4 fertilized. Stupidly, at the time, my clinic pushed everyone to day 5 for transfer if they had more than 3 embryos, so we went to day 5. On day 5, I had 2 early blasts and a morula. Didn't seem so great to me, but my RE really thought I had a great chance. Negative. But because I'd responded so much better, he decided to try long lupron. This time, I got 12 eggs, 11 were mature, and 6 fertilized. This time, we did a three-day transfer. We transferred 1 7 cell, 2 6 cells, and 1 4 cell. Not the most beautiful embryos, but they looked gorgeous to me. On beta day, I got a beta of 38. Not too impressive. Worse, my P4 and E2 were really low. But, miracle of miracles, it worked out, and I had my son. I turned 38 just before I delivered him. We thought we'd adopt the next, and I was happy about that. Really, truly excited, but I was so sad that I'd been so nervous with my son's pregnancy and hadn't enjoyed it, that we thought maybe we'd give it one more try, and then adopt a third child in the unlikely event that I got pregnant again. This time, we went to a different clinic. Now, I was nearing 40. First cycle at new clinic, I got only 7 eggs on a long lupron protocol, but got much better embryos. 6 of 7 fertilized with icsi, and we transferred 4 gorgeous embryos. I was worried about twins. BFN. I thought I was done, and started working on adoption. I was actually feeling very ambivalent about cycling again, because I was so excited about adopting. But my RE thought we should try once more, and do PGD, to answer the question once and for all if my eggs were just done. I thought it would be a good idea, because if I knew, then I wouldn't have to keep ttc every month, and could just put it behind me. We did an antagon cycle, which I'd heard negative things about, but agreed to follow my RE's advice. We were very aggressive, max stims, no suppression, no step back in stims. We got 18 eggs. This 40-year old poor responder got 18 eggs! 12 fertilized with icsi. 5 were normal with PGD. We transferred 4 on day 4, and I ended up pregnant with twin girls. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I'd end up with 3 biological kids. I was 40 when the twins were born. Recently, I was telling one of my friends that I'd almost decided against doing that cycle, in favor of adoption. She said "thank God you decided to go ahead, imagine if you hadn't?" I don't see it that way at all. I do imagine if I hadn't done it. The thing is, I adore my girls, and wouldn't change a thing, but if I had decided to adopt instead of cycle, I'm sure that I would adore the child I adopted, and be so glad that I never did that cycle. I imagine a happy outcome either way. Three children is our max, so we won't adopt as we planned. And that makes me a bit sad. I had the great good luck to travel with a friend to Russia to bring her daughter home, so I got to live that experience through her, and it was amazing.

Anyway, I know this was long, but I remember being where you are, and having this unknown future looming before me. And the first cycle was so disappointing, and such a shot of reality. But every cycle is different. Even poor responders can have great cycles. And small changes in protocol can have big changes in outcome. Whatever your future cycles bring, you will have a happy ending, and you will be a mother some day. And now that I've lived through it all, and am on the other side of that dark hole, I'm not sorry it all happened.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


2:19 AM  

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