Thursday, March 18, 2010

The answers....part I

Wow--thanks for all your thoughtful questions and some funny ones, too. At first I thought I'd just make my next post all the answers but I think it would get too wordy and then you'd fall asleep reading and so I'll just take them one by one, in the order in which they were received, and see how far I get.

And um, yeah, I'm supposed to be studying right now. And seeing patients. So in between the two, I'm answering you.

Dawn: How I got to CCRM? I'm assuming you don't literally mean how--but just in case, we flew and stayed in a hotel for a long two weeks :) As far as what you really mean...there's a small backstory. When we first started down the road of IVF, we naturally and stupidly and blissfully amateurishly thought it would be the answer to our problems. After the first failure, I remember my mother telling me about a friend of a friend who saw our local RE and after five failures, he sent them to CCRM and it worked! At the time I nearly fell apart thinking "Who in hell does five IVFs and still puts themselves through more?" Ha ha. I also thought: how could one clinic do something that much better than another? So we had heard of the infamous CCRM early on.

After our third failure with the local guy I will never forget sitting in his office, for the big WTF appointment. My body was so tense, I knew he was going to say it was over for us. I was 33 years old. He basically gave us crappy break-up line in reverse: "it's not us it's YOU." We asked about a second opinion and he said we were welcome to it. He didn't specifically recommend CCRM but we mentioned it and he said they were certainly good. I cried the whole way home.

After much discussion and review of our finances we reverted to blissful fools again and thought CCRM would be the answer to our problems. It didn't hurt that they gave us good odds on our phone consult and seemed confident they could help us. I started following threads on a support site that was just for CCRM and lo and behold, it sure seemed like everyone who went there wound up successful.

It is almost impossible to answer the second part of your CCRM question: knowing what we know now would we go back? Obviously no, because we sunk 40K into two more futile attempts. However, it's not even that simple, because I watched women all around me with similar histories go there and succeed. So who the heck knows. I do know this: they're not miracle workers. They're good, but you have to stay on top of them--I advocated more for myself there than locally (but some of that was just sheer desperation and reaching the end of my rope and needing to feel like I was controlling something--anything). They're very busy and they have increased their number of cycles without increasing their number of REs so I think there can be things that fall through the cracks. But they do help lots of people, there's no disputing that.

Just not us.

And no, I've never read "Sweet Grapes." I'm so behind on all reading right now, but I'll add it to my list.

StrongWoman asks about CCRM (answered above) and also how I cope with other IVF bloggers' successes.

Hmmmmm, very delicately. I will not lie and say that it's easy. I usually cry. Sometimes many times. I think "why them and not me" every single time. They've been through a lot, I've been through a lot. If it was about deserving most of the women I've met in the blogworld would have succeeded long ago. I guess I just want to keep showing support through their happy times because they've shown support for me through my crappy times. I think the one of the things that annoys me the most in the blogworld is when successful folks just fade away and stop blogging or stop supporting. I get it that you might not know what to say to those of still stuck in the trenches but to be forgotten...that sucks worse than anything.

Me asks if we had an infinite amount of money would we keep going until it worked.

Oh boy.

This one is so complicated so I'm just going to speak from the heart.

Initially I always said I that if money were no object I would just do IVF until it worked, no ifs ands or buts. That I could handle the physical and the emotional stuff, just give me the monetary resources to go go go.

Some days I still think I could.

But then I think about all those phone calls. You know the ones. The ones where your world comes crashing around you when you hear about the crappy fertilization report, or the poorly developing embryos. No one really gets what IVF is unless they've done it, and multiple times. I tried to capture it in my video but even there, we chose to portray the mostly lighthearted and silly parts. But remember that BFN phone call we captured on video?

That was us--the mister and I-- getting our hearts shattered once again, in live action full color.

We turned the camera off before the true sobbing began, before I became comatose on the couch and felt like I was dying.

Throughout IVF there are so many opportunities to have your heart shatter.

So I don't know if I have the emotional reserve to keep doing that to myself. It hurts. It hurts so much sometimes, when I think back on the totality of the failures and the number of those phone calls I've been subjected to, I am surprised I kept going back for more.

Not to mention I am scared of the long-term effects of all the artificial hormones despite what the studies say. I work in medicine, I read studies, I know how one year one study says something positive and the next year the data is conflicting. I know women who did 5 IVFs and are getting prophylactic hysterectomies and oopherectomies so they don't have the cancer fear looming.

And the money. Even if I had unlimited funds, I have to say there has been a lot of guilt suffered in our household over the money spent on this extremely selfish pursuit. *I am calling myself selfish here, I am not judging anyone else*. Why did we need to see our own DNA passed on so desperately that we could spend so much money? I don't know and it makes me uncomfortable with myself to this very day. Maybe that's why I try to volunteer a lot, to give back, to try to balance the scales. If I had unlimited funds and wanted to keep trying until it worked maybe I'd have to donate twice as much as I spent to charities...three times as much? Four times as much?

Me also asks: What scares us the most about adopting?

I can say honestly that being a party to a process that ends in empty arms for one mother scares me. Regardless of the reason the birth parents cannot parent there is sadness. I am scared of being resented by my child one day. I ache for the pain that goes with adoption for all parties, and anyone who thinks its painless is fooling themselves. I think the only way I wouldn't be scared is if I truly had an orphan--a child literally with no parents or other family to speak of, but that doesn't happen often. In international adoption, poverty is often the driving force for birth parents not being able to parent their children. The 25K it costs to adopt internationally could lift 25 families out of that poverty so they could parent their own children. But that would still leave me with empty arms.

That's what scares me. There are many other things that delight and thrill me regarding the idea of adoption. But that's not what you asked so I'll stop typing now.

Anonymous 1 said thank you. Thank you back. It's good to hear.

I'm going to skip the donor eggs question for this post, but will get to it in the next one. This post is already getting very lengthy and that one might be a lengthy answer....

Kris: As I said above, there's always a poor-me moment and some sadness watching others succeed while I don't. But I like to hear updates on my blog friends, I like to see pictures, I like to see that others made it through the inferno. Sometimes I'm quieter than other times, but it usually doesn't mean anything.

Anonymous: I have to be honest here. I have not yet bought a lottery ticket. Don't hate me. I have plans to start soon, I promise. As far as what else to do for me, I don't think there is anything. I think we're fairly un-fixable.

I am not a doctor and I do not have a PhD. I do have two Master's degrees and one of those is an MSN (nursing) and I'm a clinical nurse specialist in endocrinology and see my own patients.

I did five total IVFs. I've been told to do donor eggs, donor sperm, try again, or stop...all from different REs.

I've been lucky that my DH and I have basically been on the same page for most of this journey. And yes, we're open to adoption despite the fears I expressed above.

I was married in 1994 in Texas. I had big hair and an even bigger train. Oh the humanity. I graduated high school in 1992, so yes, I was a child bride. College: BS: 1995, first MS: 1997, second MS: 2005. I like school. I don't like lipid board exams.

How can I run that long? I don't. That was a projected cumulative minutes over the weekend. I usually max out at 75 minutes of trail running at a time and that's pushing it. I really only enjoy running on trails--pretty much hate it on the street.

Our NY trip will involve a music conference for DH, two performances by him, and of course vacationing. Plus a meet up with one of my favorite authors and greatest encouragers of all time :) I'm also planning on spending some time with Gail, one of my first online IF friends. Her baby girl is almost one! And most definitely: there will be pictures.

And now before you die from boredom, I'll stop and resume this tomorrow or the next day.


  1. Thanks for all these answers! I didn't post a question, but I have also been lurking and wondering the same things that many people asked.

    I would think working in healthcare in a role such as yours would make all things IF even more frustrating since you already know so much about the science side of things. Perhaps it's actually helpful to have more knowledge, but I can see it being frustrating and being easy to questions a lot of the REs' decisions and recommendations.

  2. I just wanted to add my thanks. And tell you your braveness and honesty awe me.

    And also thanks for your comment, when I've grumbled about the hot flashes yesterday I thought of Texas in July/August and shut the hell up. ;)

  3. Ohhh!!! I like this Q & A session...despite not being able to think of a question for you yesterday. You got me thinking on a few things. I may have to steal this for my own blog.

    We graduated high school and college the same years! God, the 80s rocked. Okay, just thought of one. Where/how did you meet your DH? And did you grow up in a small town?

  4. I think your Q & A is a great idea. I am not in a good place to think of a question right now, but it was nice to read your honest answers. I just get so frustrated with the "normal" people in my life, like I can't relate anymore.

    And in case people are pressing you to try DE; it is NOT the answer to everything. I theoretically had everything going on except my eggs were old (already had one healthy baby), and we have failed 4 times with DE. Sucks to be us! But the odds are good and you may get lucky if you go this route - good luck whatever you decide.

  5. Thanks for answering my questions. Your point on adoption, wow, speaks worlds to me. I've never thought of adoption in that light before, only just helping a child in need who would fulfill my need to be a mom. I'm learning so much about you.

    The emotional burden that IF has put on our marriage is pretty tough to over come as we hit our 6yrs TTC anniv in August, but yours seems to make mine look small as we will not do IVF. What seems to be so depressing for me is, when I walk away, IF always seems to surprise me with a BFP then loss a week later or a surprise family/friend announcement. Maybe I should just stop testing, as I know AF will be by soon enough. ~sigh~

  6. Love this post!

    And hey, WHEN do we get to see pictures of that wedding???

  7. I love this post. I could keep reading all day! MORE MORE!

  8. Such a great idea! I liked your Q and A. I have a question, if you have time while in NYC, wanna meet up for tea... or a martini? I graduated in '90/ New Mexico babe'!! Woot - here's to the big-haired girls- I have no choice, I have naturally curly hair :)

  9. I want to mimic what others have said, thanks for your openess and honesty.

  10. I could never get bored of your writing. Still think there's a book deal in there for you somewhere...

  11. Love this! Thanks for putting it all out there. It's crazy how much my head seems to mirror yours.

    Looking forward to the next installment.

  12. im stealing this idea too

    one day...

    you're sucha good person. i hope you know that. i really like you. :o)

  13. Love Q & A! Can't wait to read the next one!
    Bea (dunno why I can't log in!)

  14. I read this earlier and had this overwhelming sadness for you guys! Not like in a "poor you" way or anything; just sad that you've had to take such a beating through this whole process. You have such a good heart, which is apparent in your thoughts and words, and I just wanted you to know that you were on mine today.

    On a lighter note, do you know how awesome it would be to see a picture of the '94 big hair and train?? Hint hint :)

  15. PS- I just saw your comment. Great to hear from you!!

  16. I love this Q&A! Can't wait to read more!

  17. thinking of you!

  18. I was all bummed at first that I missed the questions part, holy crow a lot of my questions have been answered.

    Great post!

  19. Love this post! I felt like I was at a conference and the facilitator said, Now, get to know your neighbor :)
    Thanks for sharing your life and all it's adventures with us!

  20. "Throughout IVF there are so many opportunities to have your heart shatter."

    Dang. That's so true. I don't know if I have the emotional reserve to go through it again myself.

    I'm so curious about the big hair...

  21. Mrs. LC, I love that you are answering everyone's questions. I can hear your voice reading them to me. I love your honesty. I can't wait until we see you in May. You have a HUGE hug waiting for you.

  22. Thank you for answering these questions! It is SO helpful to read through them and see myself! And consider my own feelings...

    I've been burying mine amidst the sheer 'terror' of spring. All those soft fluffy happy Eastery Mother's Day'y feelings. I can't believe it's another spring, and still...

  23. I really love that you're doing this, Mrs. LC. I relish every opportunity to learn more about you. =) (not in a crazy stalker way)

    I soooooo feel you on the adoption stuff. I've had many of the same thoughts and fears about the process.

    I'm happy that you and Mr. LC will soon be whisked away to NYC. Can't wait to read about your adventures!

    p.s. You MUST post one of your wedding pictures at some point! =D

  24. Wow, what amazingly thoughtful and honest answers. Thank you so much for being willing to share such a personal part of your life to this degree.

    I was interested to read that you know women who have gotten prophylactic hysterectomies and oopherectomies. The only family history of cancer I have comes from my dad's side with my grandfather's multiple myleoma and my dad's current situation, but given all of the cycles we've done, I have to admit ovarian cancer is one of my biggest fears, and I've thought about possibly doing the prophylactic surgeries at some point in the future.

    We both graduated from high school the same year, but you've got me beat by a year on the wedding and BS - you finished your degree quick! The sentence about "big hair and an even bigger train" made me laugh, because it was so true of that time period. And big poofy shoulders/sleeves too - a lot of the wedding gowns from that time (mine included) looked like there were balloons where your upper arms/shoulders should be. I echo the others' requests for pictures! :-)

  25. I just wanted to say that I do stop by your blog every chance I get. And I don't post much because I didn't want to remind you of my "success"...not that I didn't think you'd be unhappy for me or anything like that. I just remember how I felt when others achieved "success". But know this: I am always rooting for you and will always keep hoping that one day you will get your dream come true. I will try better to show you support instead of remaining silent. I'm sorry.