breather

This BFN hit my husband really hard.  I had already told him I was pretty sure the cycle hadn’t worked, but having a small amount of familiarity with my thought patterns he wrote that off as pessimism.  I got (embarrassingly, violently) sick right in the middle of our Passover seder, and he convinced himself that it was a pregnancy symptom instead of, you know, a microorganism.  I was really a little surprised this weekend when he told me how upset he was.  I wish there was something I could do to make it easier for him.  I wish I could tell him that this is going to have a happy ending.

We are going to take a month off from treatments to recover and to think about what to do next.  Certainly there comes a point at which IUI has to be abandoned — but how do we know when we’ve gotten there?  Is three enough?  Have we tried hard enough?  I feel like I’m nine years old, asking my mom if my room is clean enough yet.  And three IUIs is not the whole story, not by a long shot.  There is the three and a half years before the IUIs, not to be held up as equal but not to be forgotten either.  There is the niece, and the other niece, and the nephew, and the friends’ kids conceived, born, and sent off to preschool since we decided to have a baby.

That’s what we said to each other: Let’s have a baby.  As though you can just … have one.  As though that’s something you can decide.

Have we tried hard enough?  Do we deserve it yet?

My husband is ready to move on to IVF.  Like I said, this BFN really tore him up, and he looks at the odds for IUI and finds he is wholly uninterested in any more of this.  He’s ready to put all the eggs in one petri dish.

Some boring, but necessary, arithmetic: if I keep working at my current job and put all my wages into making payments, it will take me about a year to pay off a $15,000 IVF attempt.  This does not sound unreasonable to me.  Unlike the last time we were looking at IVF, it is a realistic possibility now.  A realistic possibility that I have to deal with as more than a distant thought experiment.  I have to consider this, and come to a rational decision, and then act on it.  Making this decision feels like too much to ask.  (Haven’t we tried hard enough?)

That’s why we’re taking a breather.  We (OK, I) have to think about what’s next, and I need to do it with a clear head and that means not being in the middle of a cycle.  Also I really, really need at least a few weeks in which nobody shoves anything past my cervix.

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20 responses to “breather

  1. Wow, what a question. When have you tried enough already? I wish this wasn’t a question you had to ask yourselves. That none of us had to ask this question. And, unfortunately, I can’t help you with the answer. Taking some time to come to a good decision sounds like the best plan. Sending you hugs.

    • In life as in trigonometry, it seems there is no “A” for effort. Not even a gentleman’s “C.” And yet it still feels like all this trying should amount to *something*, doesn’t it?

  2. My RE told us that in his experience, if IUI is going to work, it will work within 3 tries. He moved us to IVF after just one IUI. What does your RE say?

    • It seems like a lot of clinics use this three strikes idea for IUI. I’m curious — why did your RE move you on after only 1 attempt?

      • We have male factor infertility. After the first IUI, it was apparent that there wasn’t enough good “stuff” to get the job done. We did another IUI during my day 3 clomid challenge test just to not waste the drugs (this was my husband’s idea – denial) and they cancelled that one because we almost had NOTHING to work with. Needless to say (and this may be TMI), we banked tons of sperm because the RE said that my husband could be sterile as soon as 2 years. We banked it for future IVF attempts for Matthew’s siblings.

        My husband STILL thinks we can maybe get pregnant naturally 😉

  3. First off, so much love your way. I am so sorry about the BFN.
    My RE recommends stopping after three cycles of anything pretty much. Three rounds of Clomid, three of Femara, three attempts at IUI, etc.
    As for moving to IVF, do you think you’d qualify for a shared risk program? That is the only way I can possibly stomach going through IVF. The thought of paying $15,000 for one attempt makes me ill, particularly as I’ve already had one miscarriage. At least with shared risk I know that I have multiple attempts. If I get and stay pregnant after round one, great! If not, we would have several more attempts and the guarantee of money back if none of the rounds worked.
    It is tough to weigh all these options. It sucks that we have to be weighing these options!!

    • Shared risk is something I’ve thought about but I’m not sure if they have it at our clinic or not. (I’ve almost obstinately refused to find out how IVF is done at our clinic … because if I learn about it that would be like admitting I might need it. Yes, I am a basket case.) If it’s available it’s definitely the way to go.

      • I’m with you on that kind of magical thinking. I was too scared to inquire about anything IVF related, but they gave me a huge packet of financial information when we were pricing IUI.
        When you’re ready to find out the details I hope you are pleasantly surprised with the plans available. ❤

  4. What a tough decision to make, made even tougher now by the fact that it’s an actual decision and not just a hypothetical. Going into IUI #3 one of the doctors at our clinic mentioned we’d need to think about moving on to IVF should that cycle end up being a bust, so clearly they, too, put some stock in the 3 strikes, you’re out theory. However, with the husband’s improving numbers it seems like another IUI MIGHT not be a bad idea, no? Any idea (yours or the doctor’s) about what has caused such an improvement and if it’s something that could be capitalized on in another IUI? Is it possibly still a slowly improving reaction to stopping the meds he was on? Is there a chance it will improve more?

    Ok, I have to apologize. The last thing you need now is a barrage of MORE questions… I hope you find clarity this month.

    • These are questions I need to answer, so thanks for posing them. The sperm numbers are such a big question mark for me. I do think the improvement is due to having gone off the meds, but who’s to say if it will continue? It’s been 5 or 6 months now since he stopped, and I would think that would be enough time for everything to get out of his system. Our RE kind of throws up his hands and says he doesn’t know when we ask him about this — I really don’t think it’s been studied much, and he’s not one to speculate. As for the 3 strikes, everyone at the clinic has almost ostentatiously refused to give us a number when we ask how many IUIs we should do. What we get every time are the odds per attempt (15-20%). They are putting the decision squarely on us, and IVF has only been mentioned in the background as something to do when we’re ready. I can’t decide if this approach is compassionate (in that they give us the power to make the decision) or maddening (in that we have to make the decision).

  5. I think taking a break to think things over is needed, no matter what the next decision might be. I suggest throwing yourself a month of party days — make every day have something wonderful in it, a good book, a good movie, a cupcake, lots of wonderful forbidden coffee perhaps? Then, you’ll feel all set to make a plan next time.

    I’m sorry this hit your husband so hard. It’s hard for them and I don’t know that they get as much support as we do. I try to remember that and give mine extra loving to make up for it.

    • I love this idea SO MUCH. A whole month of party days? (And believe me, I’ve already started on the truly inadvisable quantities of coffee.) I think my husband needs this at least as much as I do. I will have to think about something special for both of us each day.

  6. Uggh. LIke the others, I was told 3 IUIs was pretty much it, unless something changed in between. I hope you feel your RE is trustworthy and wise. If not, don’t be afraid to shop around. I was also going to ask about shared risk…

    But as you say, the main thing is thinking about whether this is even an option for you. I wonder if part of the reason your husband was hit so hard was knowing how reluctant and, like, viscerally opposed you are to that step. Or were, anyway. Sometimes getting on the ART train makes taking the next step easier. Not that trains have steps, but you know…

    I love the idea of treating yourself extra well this month…You’ve been through a hell of a lot. The way IUI goes back to back means you don’t necessariy get time to grieve. I hope its a restful, thoughtful period.

    • Trains totally have steps! That’s how you get on! Except subways. Then you just have to mind the gap. I think you’re right — my husband is ready-freddy to move on, and he knows it’s such a hard leap for me to take. The change in our finances is so dramatic, though, that I really have to look at it from a totally fresh perspective. Before, it wasn’t really an option so I was kind of free to hate it with all my guts, but now it’s something we could actually make happen, so I don’t have that “out” anymore and I have to really address this as a possibility.

  7. I come from a rule of three clinic as well. We bought into that plan from the start, so we kind of knew going into IUI #3 that it was the end of the line if it didn’t work.

    You deserve your breather, my dear. And itt really sucks watching your man hurt.

    • It’s so interesting that so many clinics have this rule of three. I wonder if it makes it easier to move on to more serious ART if you know that going in. I would think, at least for me, that it would — I would know what’s coming.

  8. Here from LFCA. So sorry about your BFN. I’ve done 4 IUIs, all epic failures, and am currently on a break to figure out what to do next. The likely answer is not much because I can’t afford IVF. But I can attest that taking a break is good for the mind and body. I was so sick of having people and things all up in my lady parts all the time. I felt like a crappy experiment. Anyway, good luck with whatever you decide is next.

  9. Longtime reader/lurker here. I have kept coming back to this post all week, because it resonated so strongly with me and my own experience. Our RE, too, advised us if that if we didn’t get a BFP within three IUIs, we should probably move on to something else. We really struggled with the questions of “are we done?” and “have we tried hard enough?” In the end, after considering all the factors, we realized our odds of success probably weren’t that much greater with IVF, and decided we were done. It’s a hard decision, and I agree that a nice long break is a great idea (we took one too, before making the final call). Sending you (((hugs))).

  10. No real advice to give since we are dealing with male factor and got sent straight into IVF with ICSI. Here from Mel’s blog roundup. Hope the break clear your thoughts on this.

  11. Pingback: wait, what did i just agree to? | ginger and lime

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