Pile O’ Blood (round 2)

blood draw | sundriedtomatoe.wordpress.com
I had a friend ask me “what the heck is going on?” so I figured I’d work it out on here, and thus have a better explanation (at least a more succinct one) next time I get that question.

In the back half of 2013, when we got our butts in gear (and realized we weren’t going to have any kiddos on our own) we had two major options: infertility treatment and adoption. When we first started exploring our options, I wasn’t super keen on infertility treatment and Hubs was hesitant about adoption.

On my end, I was loath to endure any more time with doctors, in hospitals, being poked and prodded, and told severely stupid things (which seems to be a chronic condition in emotionally sensitive medical situations). For Hubs, he was concerned about the basics of adopting – from where would a child originate? What about the family background? What would a personal connection be like?

What we decided, after a lot of thoughtful conversation, was to do one round of IVF. If it resulted in a kid, we’d consider doing it again. If it did not, we would not. When IVF failed, adoption was the next step. We had two reasons for this finite limit to infertility treatment. The first was that neither of us wanted to endure a limitless regime of shots, doctor visits, hormone fluctuations, and failed pregnancies. The second was that all our options have a substantial cost associated with them, and our resources are finite. In terms of having a family, adoption is a sure thing; infertility treatments are not.

In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a multi-step process. First, a barrage of tests (for both of us). Then I began two months of medications and hormone supplements, mostly delivered by daily shots (self-administered). All went well with the hormone regimen, so our doctor harvested a multitude of mature eggs from my ovaries in a singularly uncomfortable outpatient procedure.

Those eggs then spent three days in a lab, being transformed into embryos. On the third day, two good looking embryos were deposited in my uterus, in another uncomfortable outpatient procedure. We went home, and the remaining (lab) embryos spent another two days maturing in a petrie dish before being cryogenically frozen. Only one of our embryos made it to freezing.

In the meantime, we had a chemical pregnancy, which is a medical way of saying that at least one embryo hung on for a week or two before dying off. That was rough.

After that, we started looking into adoption. We started working through the foster-to-adopt program with the state, but that went poorly. We figured we’d wait until 1) we moved to a different area, where we could retry foster-to-adopt with a new group and/or 2) our financial situation changed.

Both conditions were met this year. We moved to a new city and I got a new job that pays much more than what I was previously making. After even more thoughtful conversation, we decided we don’t want to depend on the state system for our first kid, so we fixed on private domestic adoption as our next step.

However. We still have that one frozen embryo hanging out in cryo. (That sounds so sci-fi.) It’s a life. We made it. It seems wrong to leave it in limbo forever. Also seems wrong to discard it. So, before we pour ALL the coal on the adoption burners, we are going to get that one little guy defrosted and give it a go.

What we’ll be doing (called a Frozen Embryo Transfer, or FET for short) is basically the last step of the IVF cycle – a fertilized embryo will be placed in my uterus, and we’ll wait a week or two to see how it fares. Given our history, our expectations are nil. We will be overjoyed if it works out (I feel like that doesn’t even really need to be said at this point…) and we have zero expectation that it will work out.

Part of the workup for this process is another round of tests for both of us. Since we are in a new city, we are working with a different doctor for the day to day stuff and that doc wants all his OWN test results. So I recently spent a morning getting a ton of blood drawn.

I have to lie down when I’m getting a lot of blood drawn. Have I told that story? I feel like I have.

So that is not at all succinct, but it is thorough. For the friends who wonder, I can now direct them to this post.

Next test: a hysteroscopy! Hopefully the last one I ever endure IN MY LIFE. Onward and upward!