wait, what did i just agree to?

Before I say anything else, there is some thanking in order. Thank you, eighteenyears, for nominating me for that lovely award. Thank you, loribeth, for putting this post on Mel’s Friday Blog Roundup. Thank you to whoever put that same post on LFCA. And of course, and with all my heart, thank you to everyone who commented on that one.

We are almost through our “breather” month. (Expecting CD1 any day now — I ovulated a little later than usual so I’m not sure quite when.) We have talked and talked and talked about what to do next. We had a WTF-style appointment with our RE at which for the first time he invoked the Rule of Three.* We talked about doing an IUI cycle with injectibles, but he was of the opinion that the only benefit to that would be to see how I respond to the drugs. Not that it would actually get me pregnant. So what the hell is the point?

The plan he recommends is IVF, with or without ICSI. I asked why on earth we wouldn’t do ICSI, and he made the best argument against it that I’ve heard — apparently, they can’t always tell by looking which sperm have the genetic goods. Seemingly “perfect” sperm can fail to fertilize, and seemingly malformed sperm can result in … wait for it … babies. The whole process of ICSI is based on the clinic’s ability to pick the good ones and get them all up in there, but since they don’t really know which ones are the good ones, sometimes they get better results by just putting the eggs and sperm in a petri dish and letting them fight it out.** So, just like the number of IUIs, he is wanting us to think through the ICSI/no ICSI thing for ourselves. Damned self-determination! Presumably, just like with IUI, after we make a choice he will swoop back in and actually tell us what he thinks.

I had a long phone conversation with the clinic’s IVF coordinator, who didn’t bat an eye at the fact that I called her on her cell phone when she wasn’t even in the office (it was the number the RE gave me — I assumed it was her office phone).  Once I realized it I apologized four or five times, but she just stopped whatever she was doing and talked with me. I like her already — but I don’t want to take advantage. We are repeating some tests (yet another SA for him, CD3 bloodwork for me) and then we are going to come in for what they call The IVF Meeting. They want us to do this meeting even if we’re not sure we want IVF — apparently walking through the process can help people make a decision. Personally I love this because it means I can feel like I’m doing something without actually having to decide a thing. My usual practice of avoiding the hard things. Not so good in the long run, but it does keep us moving.

But apart from that, in the many many conversations with my husband, I think I may have agreed to do IVF. Once. I am so worried that if it fails he will blame me, resent me, start tallying up all the cups of coffee I’ve had over lo these many years, all the exercise I don’t get, all the fattening food I make,*** everything I’ve ever done wrong, and then I will not only not have a baby, I won’t have a marriage either. And we are back to the Life Plan of Living in My Mother’s Spare Room, which is always the endgame of my pessimistic thought patterns. I know he would never blame me — but still I keep asking him. “Will you still love me if it fails?” “Will you resent me if it fails?” “Will you blame me if it fails?”

So there is that.

But on the positive side, we have even come up with a plan to pay for it. The clinic wants us to pay them in full for the entire cycle up front (about $15,000). Needless to say, although we really are doing OK, we don’t just have that lying around in cash. So my husband told me that his parents had once offered to let us borrow from their HELOC if we needed help getting a down payment together for a house.**** We are thinking that if that offer still stands, we could probably borrow the money from there and make payments on it for a year or so. But that will mean telling his parents what is going on.

My husband has been very uncomfortable telling his family about our infertility. They know I had surgery, and they know the surgery was because we couldn’t get pregnant, and they can use a calendar so they do know that two more years have gone by with no sign of a grandbaby, but they never talk about it. He is going to have to tell them. I think for him, having this conversation with his parents is on the level of difficulty that agreeing to do IVF was for me. I need to let him do it in his own time — but I also need his own time to be kind of soon, since we want to try to do this during the summer (when he’s not in class and will have more time to hold my hand and shuttle me back and forth to the clinic and stick needles in my butt), which means we will need to come up with the money fairly soon, either from his parents’ HELOC or from some other (magic fairyland) source.

So saddle up, ladies*****, it looks like we are doing this. Holy shit.

*As in, if this IUI business hasn’t worked yet, it might be approaching cray-cray to keep beating that horse. Not that he called me a horse. Or crazy.

**The RE didn’t explain it in quite this way, of course, but I think I’m pretty close to his meaning.

***Holy shit, I made some bangin’ risotto last weekend. It’s amazing what lots and lots of olive oil can do.
****Buying a house? It is to laugh.
*****What’s with the horse images today?

4 responses to “wait, what did i just agree to?

  1. Wow. Exciting and scary. I hope you get all the info you need to feel comfortable moving forward this summer. That’s really soon!

  2. WELL! I think a meeting is a great idea, even if you come out of it decided against. Only YOU can really know if this is something you can deal with, should it not work, so if there’s any doubt in your mind…well, my uneducated guess is that your husband would rather have you say no than feel he’s pushed you into something you weren’t actually up for. Though I imagine there’s a great deal of complexity to the decision–there’s probably a fuzzy line between “willing to do it” and “willing to do it for YOU”…

    I feel like an ASS offering suggestions, since I didn’t have to face this abyss, but…well, I’m going to anyway. Please don’t hate me for anything that is stupid or insulting, I just care about you, and if you’re really going to do this, I can’t keep my moth shut.
    1. Get hip to your clinic’s SART figures, and compare them to any other clinics in the area. If there are any differences, ask your RE to explain (different patient populations, whatever), or if your clinic’s figures are low, ask about that. Number of cycles typically = number of patients, because few people can afford to cycle more than once a year. I felt a lot better asking my RE about the numbers, even though I was very comfortable with my clinic to begin with. Ask about the embryologists, just to hear him say how great they are. The ICSI thing makes sense–I’ve heard some clinics do a few and a few without and see how the embryos turn out.
    1. Does your clinic have a psychologist? You know I’m biased, but now might be a really good time to find someone to talk to. Going through this without help…I wouldn’t, and I haven’t had to face the challenges you have (e.g., depression). I’m just thinking your husband might be able to say a million times that he won’t blame you, or hate you, and those words might not mean a thing, but having a professional validate some of your fears and worries…could be really helpful. This process is widely recognized to be hellishly hard on the psyche. Have all the sources of support possible. And I also think there are some pragmatic reasons to do this–being in a better frame of mind is one way of giving this the best possible chance of working.
    3. Ask your RE to tell you exactly why and how IVF gives you a better shot than IUI. I’m sure you have several times, but having those statements drilled into your brain will give you something to cling to as you go through it.
    Umm…that’s all for now.

  3. But olive oil is good fat!!

    I hope the IVF meeting is productive and helpful. I’m sure there are million and ones to think about and to have doubts about. I have no magical words that can bring any clarity, but I do hope you find that clarity.

  4. You’re welcome. ; ) And good luck!

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