Monday, February 27, 2012

FET consult..Take 2

Today I found myself, once again, at the intersection of Hope and Fear.  After dropping off Miller for more school adventures, I flew home to pick up Pierce for our RE appointment, all the while jamming out to Adele on the highway.  Pierce doesn't get it, or maybe he does but he doesn't show it.  I'm just not sure.  Anyway, just going to the RE puts me in a tizzy.  I don't remember feeling that way the first time around, which makes sense since I didn't know fear then.  Everything has changed.

When we went to see the RE a month ago, I knew exactly why I was going.  Plain and simple, we were there to discuss our FET.  An FET consult turned into a four-option discussion with a whole lot of not-saying-but-knowing that our RE didn't want to do the FET.  I analyzed that visit for three weeks, trying to figure out his angle.  Was he afraid of getting a reputation for making babies with Downs?  I was pissed.  Pierce and I set up a phone consult with an RE at a clinic two states away who was willing to test Hope for chromosome anomalies.  And by willing to I mean, he was willing to charge us nearly as much as our fresh IVF cycle, make us travel to Colorado twice and repeat lots of testing, all the while making no promises that Hope would be viable.  Even our RE said that that option was ridiculous.

After major soul searching I called to schedule the appointment I had thought we were going to have a month earlier.  Not willing to get side-tracked, I firmly said, "Let's do this!"  Dr. B talked us through the process which, by the way, is easy-peasy compared to IVF.  There are still lots of unknowns, but at least we have taken a step forward.  No regrets.  I have a mock transfer next week, and then we wait for AF.

One other project on my plate that nearly blindsided me is that Pierce and I have to go to the lab where Hope is cryopreserved with a liquid nitrogen tank and two notarized consent forms.  We will pick her up and transport her to the new lab at the RE's office where he does all of his transfers now.  This freaks me out.  I am afraid that something I do will jeopardize her.  What if we get in an accident?  Somehow I feel like she should be transported more sophisticatedly, like by armored car or ambulance, by people who are trained to handle precious cargo.  And then I remember that we are her parents, and therefore, we are precisely the ones who should take care of her.  No one else will acknowledge the importance of that package, the dreams that are tucked inside.  On my next day off, we will get the tank and drive to the lab.  We will pick up Embryo C and drive her to the RE's office, and she will be one step closer to coming home.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Blissfully Unaware

I never intended to abandon this project.  I think of it often, and I feel guilty.  Guilty that I am not documenting my son's life and that I have somehow lost my creative outlet.  This isn't the first time.  All of my life I have turned to journaling or writing short stories to get me through the tough stuff, and it works for me.  However, it seems that when the fog has lifted all of my ability to express myself through writing goes right out the window.  This is why my dream of being a writer was never a practical one.  I only write when the spirit moves me, and usually the spirit is provoked by misery.  One of my dear blogger friends was faced with the same sporadic to no-posting phenomenon when she came to the conclusion that infertility had been her muse.  Her statement was a full-on Oprah AH- HA! Moment for me.  Miller was living proof that I had slain the infertility dragon, and through time, patience and self-reflection I have learned that having a child with Down syndrome has brought me so much more joy than the sorrow I once feared.

So here I am.  I have a beautiful two year-old.  He has speech delays.  Quite frankly, he jabbers on all of the time but doesn't actually say much of anything.  He does say "Dada" to Pierce, but he also says it to me, the cat, and his vast collection of stuffed animals.  He will say "Mama" if I force him to, but he still doesn't indicate that he knows that means me.  What does amaze me is his ability to learn and understand sign language.  My kid can't talk to me yet, but he understands what I say to him.  I know this because he responds appropriately in sign.  He knows at least 25 signs, and there are probably more that I don't realize he is doing.  Needless to say, preschool has become an education for everyone in this house.

I am still trying to piece my life back together after losing my job.  I am still bitter and wonder if that will ever go away.  A dear friend of mine, who I met through my old job, has been wonderful in helping find other work.  I am extremely grateful to him, despite that fact that a year and half after losing my good income I am making exactly half.  In fact I am making what I made in 1999.  I know that this will turn around.  I know that things will not always look so bleak, but it is so hard when, once again, we are looking in to the evil eyes of the infertility dragon.

I have put this off.  That is what I do when I fear failure:  I refuse to proceed in order to not fail.  It's not productive behavior by any means, but I am acutely aware of my own demons.  We have not used any birth control since Miller was born, and....surprise, surprise, no baby.  We are right back where we were in 2008, knowing that the creation of any future child of ours will involve a lot more people than just the two of us, but there is a difference.  When we were going through this before, we were blissfully unaware.  After two failed IUIs, we turned to IVF.  I responded well to stims.  We retrieved 11, 9 were mature, 7 fertilized normally, 3 were awesome on day 5.  Two beautiful embies came home on May 6, 2009 and 1 became a snowbaby.  I was told 39 year-olds never have embies make it to freeze.  We had exceeded everyone's expectations.  Then, it worked!  Ultrasound revealed twins, and we celebrated.  Within weeks we lost Baby B and shortly thereafter we were given 1:5 chances that Miller would have Downs.   We were blissfully unaware that just because IVF had worked that didn't mean that we would be bringing home healthy babies.

I don't mean to sound stupid.  I knew there were risks, but like so many others out there, I didn't believe it could happen to us.  It can and did happen.  And once I got through the hell that it was, I am now able to understand that it wasn't a bad thing at all.  He is an amazing and magical gift.  The scary thing is that if our RE had ever mentioned that maybe we should consider doing PGD on our embryos, we probably would have done the testing.  If we had done the testing the results would have revealed Miller's Ds, and the transfer would have never happened.  Our son's life would have been snuffed out in a hospital lab.  I try to not think about that, but now were are faced with the future of our snowbaby.

We want a second child.  Our frozen embryo seems like the best option, I mean, if 39 year-olds don't ever have frosties then tell me why this embryo made it to day 6.  Why didn't he/she fizzle out in the lab like the other 4 embies?  This baby is calling out to me, so much so that I no longer see her as a blastocyst, but rather as an entity named for infertility's more dangerous and sought after emotion: Hope. I have intense emotions when I think of her, but sadly, the strongest one has been fear.  Fear was never something I felt when I was blissfully unaware.  Fear is the product of my previous experience.  Fear that the embryo will not survive the thaw.  Fear that I will not get pregnant.  Fear that I will get pregnant and miscarry.  Fear that I will get pregnant, will not miscarry, and will find out via CVS that Hope has abnormalities.  Fear what those decisions will do to me and my family.  Fear that I will have wasted a whole lot of time worrying about this, putting it off 'cause that's what I do, and my embryo will take, I will be pregnant and deliver a completely healthy baby.  A fucking crystal ball would be helpful now.  Nothing about this is easy or straightforward.  I know that this is where I am supposed to rely on faith.  There is some comfort in that, but I would much prefer answers.  We have our next consult in one week.  The RE can offer no answers: His crystal ball is missing as well.

My son is sleeping.  I can hear his muffled snore, the product of his sixth sinus infection this season.  He is blissfully unaware of what Mommy and Daddy are planning.  We have asked him if he wants a brother or sister, and he answers with a big smile.  Somehow that smile gives me the strength to get through this.  My son doesn't know what fear is.  I wish I could return to the place where I didn't either.