I am always so impressed at the strength and courage so many of you show by going through one or more attempts at IVF. I began AF this morning (even though I have been taking Endometrin twice per day since an IUI 12 days ago). It's already so hard to go through this disappointment and I don't know if I can endure this again.
There are so many questions with all of this. Am I working with the right RE, high stims or low stims, BCP or not, etc.?
My current RE is out of state and he is such a sweet man (especially compared to my first RE). However, I question some things. For example, he did not test my FSH the cycle I attempted IVF. He also is suggesting that my next attempt at IVF utilizes high stims again but this time with BCP.
As you all know, there is so much that goes into this process and I'm not sure that I can put myself through this again. Maybe it is because I am assuming that my beta will be a BFN (went in for blood draw this morning) and I just need a little time to deal with this.
So, what gets all of you through this crazy roller coaster?
Thanks ladies. As always, I so greatly appreciate everyone's responses. BABY DUST TO ALL!!
I came up with a game plan when I started my IVF procedures. I'm older so my chances with IVF were low. I wanted to try two IVF cycles with my OE and then move on to a guaranteed cycle with DE. I had a budget set in my head.
I did move on to the DE cycle and have my beautiful little baby that I love so much. I don't regret trying with my own eggs and it was a heck of a lot of money to spend but if I would have known before hand how much I would love my little baby I would have moved right on to the donor eggs. Now I just look at it as the path to get my baby
The phone calls from the nurse for my BFN cycles were just awful. I just cried so hard. I really thought I had a chance it would work. It is such a long emotional process and so hard to have it just end in a quick phone call. I had four embryos transferred on my first cycle. I honestly felt like four little babies died inside me
I would encourage you to consider DE as a possible option. I hope you feel better. Just know that you are not alone.
My HERstory (little spin on history) OE child, DE ment
August 3 2012, 9:59 AM
First off hugs. That BFN is never easy - whether first, third or hundredth time. We gave ourselves designated time limits. I started when I was 29 - 2 years, 2 RE's later I was lucky I squeezed out a healthy egg on a clomid, gonal f, IUI combo. My 2nd RE was very supportive of trying whatever (sadly the others at her clinic were not and they gave me the boot when I was ttc#2). I only ever got 1 or 2 eggs so we did not attempt IVF. I tried every natural/holistic thing out there for ttc#1 and 2. Including mayan massage, naturopath, vitamins, acupuncture, reiki . . . When I was 34 we decided to make the trek to Cooper/Check. But we did declare an end date - Oct 2010-Oct 2011. I knew it would be hard to get off the train (just try one more time) so when a year went by and I didn't have success we scheduled an "exit" visit w/ Check and were on our way. I did learn a lot from Check and he really did help me get to where I wanted to be, emotionally and mentally. I went back to the first RE because he was close to my home and I wanted to try a round of clomid one more time. By then I had not gotten AF for a full year and the follicle that grew was empty. A few months prior to that I had started HRT and my life improved dramatically. We also attended DE info sessions. I think that was the turning point for me. Feeling so low that I just wasn't producing the eggs that I wanted to I walked down the hall of that hotel lobby to the info session and stepped into a room filled with people - ladies, men, people needing/wanting to know more about DE. I was stunned really. I didn't feel so alone. There is something to be said by the physical presence of other people. With much soul searching and support from my husband we are beginning the DE process. I've officially made peace with my body. It took almost 5 years and 4 months to the day of the first DE speech I ever received.
I hope you're wrong and the period isn't a period afterall, but I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. It is an incredible pain every single time. As for how to keep going despite that, for me it was simply that I couldn't accept the alternatives. I was always acutely aware that to stop doing IVF meant choosing another reality- childlessness, adoption, DE- and I was not ready for any of these options (even though I think they can be great ones, more on this later). My tubes are scarred so TTC naturally was never a real option for me, and I felt the pressure of time and increasing age and knew that my best chance for success was doing everything I could to get pg when I was as young as possible. I essentially kept going b/c there was no other palatable option for me at the time.
Now, if you're asking how to stay sane during the process, I'm not entirely sure I did (of course, I'm not really sure that I ever was sane, but that's another story... ). I think that trying to remember that going through this is impossible and more than anyone should have to bear when trying to have a child is important- giving yourself a break for not feeling sane was important for me. Talking to others who know what it's like (like on this BB!) and perhaps an IF therapist can help too. Also, doing small nice things for yourself- linger in a coffeeshop, get your nails done, read a trashy magazine in the sun, take a walk in nature- it's important to do these things to re-energize yourself and to be reminded that all of life does not suck. Finally, I always spent time on our sister DE boards and looked into adoption. Although I wasn't ready to do it myself (I was actually getting there during my last cycle) I found it helpful to look over there and see that there was another excellent option available if and when I became ready for it.
As I said, it's an impossibly painful situation to go through and it's often a prolonged process which doesn't help. Wishing you luck and sending you strength.
Hi-I am sorry to hear you are feeling so down. BFNs are really hard, I think most especially (at least for me) when you get them after a treatment cycle, since you have so much hope pinned on it. You ask a good question, how do you go on¡Kit¡¦s hard, but I think setting a timeline, schedule (e.g. we¡¦ll do it 3 times), and budget is really helpful like the others have said. I this advice a year ago on this board, and took it to heart and it really helps. So this is what we have done¡Kbased on these three factors, we have 2 more tries to go before I turn 40 in 4 months, and that¡¦s it (at least I think it is!). But, since setting our ¡§schedule¡¨, it keeps me focused on what we are trying to do and ready to move on to the next cycle after BFN. I really think it helps to have a plan, and also a plan for what you will do if it doesn¡¦t work. DE is not an option for us, and adoption really isn¡¦t either¡Kone thing I didn¡¦t know about until I joined this board was donor embryo, which is what I think our next step will be if IVF doesn¡¦t work. This is another beautiful option for some people, and it seemed to make the most sense for us. We are not there yet but on the donor embryo waiting list.
I too have done the natural route, I was not ready to do IVF or IUI until I really understood what was going on with my body, then I jumped on board immediately! I can¡¦t say the natural treatments worked that much for me (no BFP yet), but I guess they did have a postivie results of sorts¡KI did (and still do) acupuncture and herbs, it seemed to bring my FSH down to borderline / normal levels (on the high end of normal), and it totally regulates my cycle. I take wheat grass/greens, melatonin, ubiquinol, and mitochondrial enhancers¡K(I just started taking the mitochondrial enhancers so we¡¦ll see if it helps).
For me, the toughest thing is knowing if what I doing is the ¡§right¡¨ thing. It really sucks that we have to be guinea pigs with our bodies, time, and finances to try and get it right. It¡¦s not fair at all, and for me that is probably the hardest thing to get over (even more than the BFNs) because in the back of my mind I am always thinking ¡§What if it¡¦s the wrong protocol?¡¨ or ¡§what if my supplements are causing XYZ problem?¡¨ and for some of us we may never have an answer. I have now seen 4 different REs and 2 OBGYNs, and each one thinks differently; some think WAY differently, some are closer in others to thinking than the others¡Kfor example, I don¡¦t know why your RE doesn¡¦t take your FSH, but in my experience not all do. Based on my experience at Cooper, where they seem to take the most b/w of any clinic I have seen, it seems like you should get your FSH checked. But, most places don¡¦t tailor your meds to your FSH level, so that is probably why he doesn¡¦t take it. So, again that is a hard thing to deal with because not even the doctors are in agreement.
I know you are struggling with the high-stim/low-stim approach, it¡¦s a hard decision to make. Maybe if you put together ¡§your plan¡¨, it will become clearer to you which route to go (e.g. if you think you can only do it two more times, then you know you can try each option at least once). I know that is helping me in make my decision¡K
Take care of yourself today and this weekend! I hope you are feeling better soon!
It's that unknown and questioning everything that makes this process very difficult. I wish that most of the doctors agreed on at least the majority of things but it seems like there is such a lack of consensus. It would be so much easier if things were predictable. Yes, a guinea pig is exactly the animal I feel like lately!
Thank you for the nice words!!
I think I saw you ask about dr. Check but I can't find where? If you didn't Please disregard this...but if you want to see dr Ch you must go in person. However the other docs there do phone consults. They will most likely take a low stim approach with you. Dr check has written several articles about his low stim approach and he's very successful the stats I have are around 38%transferring two eggs(can't find the paper at the moment). I think for low stim to work you also have to work with someone who knows how to do it and monitor your fsh levels in the process but thats not to say that someone else wont know. However there are plenty of women as some of the posters here pointed out that they also had luck with high stim so I think it's a personal decision and how comfortable you feel.
And know there is a plan B, C, etc. This helped me from having an "all or nothing" gamble outlook. We were going to try IVF 3 times, then move on to donor embryo or DE, if my body still wouldn't cooperate, we'd do adoption. Just know that you will get to the end point eventually. It's hard not to be scared about making a wrong decision about protocol. I say make a decision, stick with it, and try try again. So many of us have been there
I really wish I had an answer for you. DH and I decided we would never do IVF and started saving aggressively for adoption after my Dx, so it was only a matter of getting enough money before moving on. During that time, we actually got excited about adopting and even though we got a lucky egg, we decided we're still going to adopt the next one.
Definitely take some time to grieve this cycle and then the suggestions about making plans sound like a good place to start. Take care!
Another problem I am having is trying to decide if I want to stay with my current RE. The satelliting thing is very difficult. My RE is such a sweet man but it feels like his clinic is "factory-like" (there are several clinics within the main company). I really wish that I lived closer to Dr. Ch.eck. Do people just do phone consults with him?
I really like the idea of having a plan and knowing that this is not the end. It is comforting knowing that there are other options down the road.
I think you've just asked the quintessential questions
August 4 2012, 12:16 PM
I've actually found this thread the most interesting I've read in all my excessive information gathering.
So what keeps me going?
1. DH and I deeply want at least one biological child. Without divulging the particulars, it's highly unlikely that a donor would be a good stand in for me. And DH has genetically dominant physical characteristics that are unusual albeit generally considered desirable so adoption is also less attractive as we're both private people and would prefer to keep our family building choices/ options private and most casual observers would be able to determine if a child was DH's genetically. So we continue on because we are both clear that this is profoundly important to us.
2. Financially, we have purposely lived below our means especially since we found out about the infertility. We also both have done everything we could to maximize our income. So we have enough saved and we produce a high enough income that financially it's not as much of an issue for us. Although, I doubt anyone envies my car. :P
3. I don't give up if I think something is important. I haven't ever backed down from a challenge or a goal if it's important and I'm not going to start now.
4. We're both quantitative people. We understand probability and what the statistics mean. We both interrupt this to mean that if we do have lower odds, it may take more cycles. This quantitative bent prevents either of us from being too disappointed about any bump in the road too.
5. DH and I have the same stopping point, but calculated it in different ways. His is how many cycles he is willing to pay for out of pocket at Cornell. Mine is when I reach 40. It ends up being almost exactly the same time. We also agree that if we don't get a BFP by then, we'll do DE.
So how do you know you have the right RE?
Okay, that is harder for me.
I have grown to really like my RE at Cornell. However, I wish I had chosen Dr. Davis at Cornell. He has an excellent bed side manner, good surgical and U/S technique and is arguably the foremost clinician for high FSH ladies. I'd have to get permission from my current RE to switch within the practice and I'm not sure it's worth it to potentially rock the boat and possibly, but probably not likely get into a refuse to treat situation eventually.
At this time, I'm not ready for Dr. Check. I did a consult with him. He and his office is very disorganized-- although very nice in my estimation. Also, I'll stick with Cornell and its high stim approach as virtually all the peer reviewed, published medical literature indicates high stim is the most successful approach. I am also biased towards Cornell as it's Ivy League, but that is a minor point.
4 REs/5 attempts at IVF, and at 39 one healthy baby! (all ment.)
August 4 2012, 6:25 PM
I am so sorry . . . I had to try four REs (including Dr. Check) in four different states before I finally found the right one, but once I did I had instant success, and that was at age 39. As for my IVFs, first one was a horrible protocol, second one started too late by Dr. Check so had a dominant follicle, third had a chemical pg, fourth I couldn't stim because I was whacked out on DHEA, and fifth with my fourth and final RE was success! Don't base your decision on how the IUI worked; IVF is far, far more effective.
I obviously wish that I had gone to my last RE right away . . . he had the right stuff--sensible approach, great support team, excellent lab. I DO recommend that you thoroughly research before you do it again to avoid ending up like me. I in no way had to go through all this . . . had I found my doc at 36 when I started trying I have no doubt that I would have succeeded right away then too. However, going through all this does make you very grateful when you finally get there.
Thanks so much for your sharing your experience. Do you recall your successful protocol (especially curious if it was high or low stims)? I have been taking DHEA daily (75 mg) and haven't noticed any side effects yet. I was tested low and my RE recommended it several times. How did it whack you out?
Also, what was the best way you found to research your RE, the lab, etc. I know about the SART data but is there another way that you used?
1) successful protocol was no prior suppression (no BCPs, lupron, anything). Starting on Day 3 I injected 225 Follistim and 150 Menopur nightly. After a few days I was rasied to 225 Menopur, 225 Follistim. I started stimming better after the raise. Then I started Ganirelix after about eight days of stims.
2) DHEA was fine until I passed 37.5, and it basically started to put me into menopause. I was getting hot flashes, my period became almost non-existent, and worst of all I couldn't respond to IVF stims. It was UGLY. I had to do intense chinese herbs to clear that out and get things back on track.
3) Regarding REs, I met a wonderful woman on the over 40 board who had checked out all the REs in Houston and gave a blow by blow on each. She highly recommended my RE, as did the fertility therapist I went to. I checked out his stats and they seemed good, and when I met him I knew he was the guy. He was willing to listen to me and we designed my protocol together based on my previous IVF experience. He was not phased by high FSH; his wife had it.
I know what a painful, difficult process this was . . . I went through 2.5 years of it until I finally got somewhere. Hang in there . . . there is obviously no guarantee, but there is certainly something to be said for tenacity and persistence in this process. The good thing is that even when you have failure you learn something about yourself. My first IVF taught me that I am easily oversuppressed and that I have to go in with no suppression. Fortunately when I told my RE this he dropped the idea of BCPs and we just stimmed. I had the best response and most mature eggs of all my cycles, so it must have been okay.
Yeah, DHEA has been great for a few women here and not so good for some of us. Raise your intake slowly and just monitor carefully; if anything bad starts happening decrease or eliminate.
So wishing you much luck on this path. Keep us posted!