On to the next phase

As I knew it would be, today’s beta was negative.  C is out of town with family issues (that aren’t mine to share but are terrible), so he got to learn the negative result via text message while at the hospital.  

On to IVF.  I’m hoping we won’t have to skip a cycle, especially since mine tend to be 70+ days long.  The nurse I spoke to (one of a zillion there–I literally never speak to the same person twice) initially said that we couldn’t start before a consult with Dr. E., and she didn’t have any availability until April.  A few tears and they miraculously found an opening March 12.  They’ll work on a calendar in the meantime and I’ll start birth control with my period.  (I hope it comes soon….it’s never predictable for me.  But I’m stopping the progesterone suppositories today, so I hope it should be in the next few days?  Does that seem reasonable?)

I am disappointed, but I’d taken enough (stark white) home tests over the past few days to have expected this result.  Here we go! 

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sigh.

Sorry for the lack of updates, friends. For the most part, this has been because for most of the past few months, there hasn’t been much to update about.

The last six weeks have mostly been spent in repeated, and unsatisfying, ultrasound and blood appointments. To make a long story short, they ultimately figured out that I ovulated on Provera (which has never been the case before), so we had to wait for a period to start the Femara/Ovidrel IUI. Why it took five ultrasounds (with resulting bills, all of which we pay out of pocket) to figure that out, I’m not sure, but here we are.

This was my first time on Femara and my first monitored cycle, so I had no idea what to expect. On CD 12, I had no follicles over 10 mm, and they were talking about cancelling the cycle. They suggested I come back a few days later to see whether any progress had been made. I was mentally preparing myself on CD 15 for cancellation of the cycle but was pleasantly surprised–I had follicles at 14 mm and 17 mm on the left side, and was told to trigger the next evening (CD 16) for a CD 18 IUI. Over the next couple of days, I noticed EWCM and ovary/ovulation pain–both of which I’d never, ever had before in my life. For the first time, I was actually feeling somewhat hopeful about the cycle!

In the meantime, we got C’s SA results back–count 41 million (good), but motility only 19% (not good). They recommended a follow-up antisperm antibody test, which was positive–nobody seems to be able to explain what it means, but evidently antisperm antibodies cause the sperm to clump and have poor motility. The solution (evidently), is to collect the sample in some sort of medium that helps prevent clumping. Okay, can do. The doctor did not seem that concerned.

So we get to IUI day. It falls on a Saturday, which is nice–neither of us have to take off work and we can have a relaxed morning together. C goes for his “deposit,” and 2 hours later, we both return for the IUI itself. (We are lucky to live only about 10 minutes from our clinic!) We get all checked in and I am feeling–uncharacteristically–hopeful and excited. Since I have only ovulated twice before in my life (that I’m aware of) and wasn’t able to predict the date, we’ve never really had a chance before. And now we have one! And it’s possible that I’ll release two eggs, which is even better. Sure, C’s motility could be better, but the doctor was hopeful that an IUI in the medium would give us a reasonable chance.

Womp womp. The nurse comes in and tells us that they were surprised to see a marked decrease in C’s count, and it is now “quite low.” 1 million low, and 23% motility–the medium only got us a 4% improvement in motility. Being worried about his count had never even occurred to me (at least not since we got his good results back from the SA) and it’s like being hit by a truck. How could this have happened? At the time, I don’t know much about counts (except that it should be over 20 million), so I’m not sure how bad 1 million really is. The nurse says it’s worth trying anyway–she’s seen women not get pregnant with a 160 million count and get pregnant with 800,000, so we should go ahead. We agree, of course–we’re already there and have already done all the monitoring and meds–but the wind is entirely out of my sails. She has no explanation for why the huge change. The procedure itself goes fine, and we’re on our way after the requisite 10 minute wait.

We get home and C heads to the gym, leaving me free to do a little research on IUI with a count of 1 million. It’s tough to find data, but I do come across a statistic saying that the chances of success in a Femara cycle with a count of 1 million or lower are 0.3%. Ouch.

C comes home and I make the mistake of telling him what I found. He is FURIOUS. He says he was feeling hopeful and now I’ve just shit all over it. Why can’t I be more positive? What’s the point in looking at statistics after the fact? We can’t change anything. He is about as mad as I’ve ever seen him. I apologized–clearly I shouldn’t have shared that information with him and I am sure he’s feeling guilty and ashamed about the poor count, not that he’d ever share that with me–but still don’t regret the research. I have to know our chances so that I can manage my expectations realistically. I’d rather be disappointed and have low expectations now than have unrealistic hopes to get dashed in two weeks. I’ll just keep my statistics a secret from now on. Another thing to drive us apart in this terrible journey.

So now I’m in the two week wait, avoiding coffee and wine and using the gross progesterone suppositories, and I KNOW it’s pointless. I just have to pretend otherwise so C doesn’t get mad again. When this cycle fails, we’re on to IVF.

Has anyone else had a sudden–and extreme–drop in count like that? Could one of the results have been an error? Any experience with antisperm antibodies? Any tips on how to get through the 2WW with totally dismal chances?