Since our early miscarriage I've been living a life without pills, timelines, injections, and doctor appointments. I have to admit I spent the first week or two constantly feeling like I was forgetting something! But, I am finally enjoying being medication free. So that brings the question of.... where are we on our journey to a baby? We are where every girl in IF land finds herself - The Waiting Room. We are simply waiting for my period to come. If it arrives by next Monday then we can start on BC and will be eligible for a May FET of our 1 little embryo. If it doesn't arrive then we continue to wait and will have to be bumped to June cycle. I am at peace with whatever happens. Of course I want to continue to move forward, but waiting another month won't send me over the edge. It seems I've finally accepted that I truly have no control over any of this. And I've learned that the waiting (for your period, your beta, your baby) is the hardest part.
My stay in The Waiting Room over the last four weeks has been rough. I've been mourning the loss of the baby that I carried for 7 short weeks. I've been dealing with grief, anger, and unbelievable sadness. But throughout all of these emotions one thing has remained constant and that is our desire to have a child. My good friend Amanda recently wrote an amazing post (as most of hers are!) about Hard Choices and next steps. Her post pushed me to start looking ahead instead of dwelling on the past. The options she laid out for herself and her husband are exactly where we are at. And after much discussion I think my husband and I are on the same page with how we want to move forward.
Even though we have our reservations about just transferring one embryo we have decided to move forward with the FET as our first step. Financially it just makes sense. We are very lucky in the fact that D's insurance does cover part of our infertility treatment. But even with that help a fresh IVF cycle is significantly more expensive than a FET. So it's hard to justify spending the money for another fresh cycle when it *could* not even be necessary since we do have 1 embryo left. Yes, we transferred three last time and still have no baby but it only takes one. So we'll start there either in May or June depending on when AF wants to make her appearance.
Looking beyond the FET (because I'm a lady that always has a plan) got more complicated. Our options are to try a 3rd fresh cycle at our clinic at the very highest protocol, transfer to another clinic (options include another clinic in our state or some place like CCRM), donor eggs, domestic adoption, and international adoption. As of right now it doesn't appear that carrying a baby would be the problem, but it's more my egg quantity/quality. So I don't think surrogacy would be a fit for us since someone else's uterus won't help my rotten (forgive the pun) eggs. So after much discussion D and I have agreed that we aren't ready to give up on having a biological child yet. D's insurance provides coverage for up to 4 fresh IVF cycles over the course of your life. We've used up 2 of these but still have 2 left. While we all know CCRM has amazing statistics, we would also have zero insurance coverage. So we'd be looking at approximately $30,000 without travel (correct me if I'm wrong CCRM patients!). Since we can do IVF in our state for about a third of that cost it seems logical to exhaust our options in state with coverage before we move on to that option.
So then the decision becomes do we stay with our clinic or get a 2nd opinion? I adore the staff at our clinic and I do like our doctor a lot. It sounds like he's more involved than some other doctors at different clinics. He does all of our monitoring u/s's and we meet face-to-face for WTF appointments. I have his email address and he gets back to me within 24 hours if I email him questions. He started me out on a protocol that was slightly more aggressive than their standard protocol due to my elevated FSH level. After our 1st cycle had, let's just say, less than stellar results, he bumped me up to a higher protocol. Basically they rate their protocols 1-10. I started at a 6 and then our 2nd cycle was at a 8. It did yield better results as we had more eggs, a higher level of fertilization, and 6 embryos that were contenders at Day 3. We transferred 3 of them and let the other three grow to Day 5. Two of those 3 arrested and one made it to blast and was froze. (This is the embryo we will transfer for our FET). So better results than the 1 embryo we had from cycle 1. If we do another fresh cycle at our clinic my expectation would be he would increase my protocol to a level 10, the very highest. Which would hopefully yield more eggs, more embryos, and more chances for us.
However one of the options that D is interested in is transferring clinics. There's another clinic a couple hours from our home that has a pretty good reputation. We both know people who have worked with them and gotten pregnant. I chose our clinic based on my own research, the research and referral of a close friend, and the fact that they are located right here in our hometown. D thinks that it can't hurt to get a 2nd opinion and I can't really argue with him. If we go to a consultation at this new clinic and the doctor tells me his protocol would be similar to what we are doing for me it's a no brainer - I stay where I"m comfortable. Now if he suggests something vastly different from what we have tried that's when things get interesting. While I"m intrigued by trying something new that could potentially get better results I'm also hesitant. What if this new and different protocol fails miserably and we wasted one of our precious 2 insurance covered cycles on it? We have seen improved results with Dr. H and there's no reason to believe that by doing another cycle with them at the highest protocol we wouldn't get the same or better results.
In order to try and keep this post a reasonable length (ok, I may have already surpassed that) I have agreed to at least attend a consultation at the new clinic. (Even though I feel like I'm cheating on MY clinic) It seems like it's a proactive step and something we need to do. Once we hear what their recommendations are then we'll try to make the best decision for our potential family.
Until then you can find me lounging in The Waiting Room. I'll be enjoying coffee in the morning, regular workouts, "snuggle" time with my guy whenever we feel like it, and a glass of wine or two at night. Hey - the least I can do is make my Waiting Room as comfortable as I can right?