I’ve wanted to write about our upcoming plans for a while, but for quite a few days now I’ve been struggling through truly debilitating chronic pain. It hasn’t been easy to pull my thoughts together enough to write something while my mind is so unclear, and being bedridden by pain only makes the time slow down even further while we wait. It feels as though the stress and anxiety of our current situation is attacking and destroying me piece by piece, but I don’t know how to change it.
In the meantime, we’ve decided to move forward with a frozen embryo transfer (FET) as soon as possible since we are quickly running out of time prior to our move. (For those of you who haven’t heard yet, we will be relocating to Princeton, NJ for Kyle to attend grad school in the Fall. It’s fantastic timing, we know.) It’s also important to us that we are respectful of Elle’s time as her life has been on hold for us these last several months. All of this means pushing through to this transfer now, no matter how tired we are or how much we are still grieving. At the very least, it gives us some focus.
During the last few days of March we contacted our fertility nurse and started making plans for the earliest available date. Scheduling our FET was much easier than using a “fresh” embryo (meaning that it was transferred to our gestational carrier five days after my retrieval, having never been frozen). This time we were free to begin planning for the transfer based solely on Elle’s body and not mine. She came off her current injections (meant to help sustain a pregnancy) right away following the negative blood test and will start new injections (to prepare her uterus) later this week following a baseline ultrasound. We expect to have plane tickets and hotel accommodations ready for Elle and her husband within about a week.
After our medicated IVF cycle in February, we had hoped to end up with a small reserve of possible embryos to use because their success (and survival) is not guaranteed. Having back-up options would mean that I wouldn’t have to put my body through another egg retrieval right away if we were unsuccessful. But, you may recall that something went wrong just before the transfer and only two survived. Our fertility doctor is still baffled as to why this happened and even called to say he had been researching possible issues and alternative options, but I believe that this is yet another consequence of my endometriosis.
Our remaining embryo, on which all our hopes are resting, had to be frozen for future use. Unfortunately, since they don’t always survive the thaw, we won’t know whether we can use it for a transfer until that morning. We will still have to prepare for it, continue building our hopes up for it, and travel to the clinic for it– even though we could end up with nothing. Elle will still have to be on weeks of injections and will fly here with her husband for a few days– even though we could end up with nothing.
Showing up for a transfer without knowing whether there is an embryo to use would be a difficult situation for anyone going through IVF, but since we need the help of a third-party, the risk is even greater. Desperate for any other option, I asked our fertility nurse how we should handle the fact that we could be flying in our gestational carrier for a transfer that will not happen, but the only advice she could give me was, “Don’t think about it.”
Easier said than done.