Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Still seeking answers

Here I am, 22 weeks and 4 days into what appears to be a viable pregnancy and I still sometimes slip into how-the-hell-did-we-get-here mode.

I wish I had a good, logical answer to why IVF didn't work for us. I suppose if we had gotten pregnant on the first or second or maybe even third time, it would have made sense. MFI + a bit older = eventual IVF success. What I don't get is why we had many good quality embryos - always at least one top grade embryo - at a clinic with some of the best rates in the country and we still weren't successful. My RE thinks my eggs were mostly aneuploid, but where is the proof? We never did PGS (with good reason, I think) and the babies that miscarried and Ernest tested as having normal chromosomes. I always had a good lining, my FSH levels were normal and we even got aggressive with the number of embryos - at one time transferring 6 day 3 embryos (4 of which were top grade, 8 cell embryos)

The only proof that I have is 4 failed fresh cycles. Maybe that should be enough, but it just isn't. It could have been bad luck. But why would we have such bad luck? They told us Ernest was just bad luck too, but is his death tied in to this in someway we don't understand?

I wish someone could tell me why one lady I know had a healthy baby with a beta that started out at 19 and didn't quite double for weeks while my second miscarriage started out at 37, but then doubled nicely. Why did at least 4 top grade embryos (a couple day 6, beautiful, near hatching blasts) not make a baby, but another lady I know got twins with two day 3 embryos (the only eggs that fertilized) that weren't even 8-cell? Why did only 1 of the 3 top-grade donor embryos implant? What in the heck is going on?

If this was someone else's post I was reading, I would wonder if the clinic wasn't that great after all, but I think most people would agree that these (originally linked to the 2005 rates) are very good rates. Notice that for 38-40 year olds (that would be me) the live birth rate if you make it to transfer (which I always did) is around 40%. In the end, my RE thought my chances for a live birth with my eggs was more along the lines of 10-15%. Is it really my eggs? Could I have done something differently?

I'd better not even go down that path because it only leads me to feel guilty and responsible for not going to an RE when I first knew something was wrong - almost 3 years to the month before I finally did. What could we have accomplished when I just turned 35 instead of when I just turned 38?

I think I have indulged those thoughts long enough. I am sure I am not the only one out there who is seeking answers where none exist. Back when I had a different belief system, I used to think I would know all the answers after I died or that maybe these things happened for a reason. I no longer believe that. I do believe these are questions that will never have a satisfactory answer and the only true solution is to learn to live with it.

How do you live with your unanswered questions?


foreverhopeful said...

Hi Kami,

I'm so sorry you are still strugging and I have the same type of questions. I often read with DE, that it doesn't seem real until you hold the baby in your arms. And I know when you do, none of this will matter. It will still hurt but hopefully it won't be so haunting.

I struggle with the same thing. I was 30 when I had my first IVF and my 2nd one I still had plenty of great looking embryo's and plenty to freeze. Nothing was wrong with me, good lining, good hormones, I was young; the Dr. always kept telling me it was just bad luck until my last failed IVF. I wish I had the answers as well because I question it every day...why I had to be at the bad side of the statistics so many times (even with me DE cycle). Why didn't it work? If it was just luck, haven't I had enough bad luck??? My boss did his first IVF last year and his wife got only two embryo's (and she's close to 40) and none to freeze and one decided to stick and he has a daughter now. And even with all my efforts, not one chose to stick for me. Drives me crazy sometimes.. and I keep teling myself as well, maybe it will make sense one day. But maybe it won't.. maybe we will never get answers like you said and time will just slowly heal our wounds.

Leah said...

All excellent questions. I could have written much of this post myself. I always had 3 follicles with our 4 IUIs, great sperm, and a great lining (according to my clinic, at least). Nada. For all of our IVFs, we put back 3 embryos each time (that's 9 total), with EIGHT of them being the highest grade they give day 3 8-cell embryos. (Although the 2nd miscarriage was not a chromosomally healthy embryo after all -- trisomy 5.)

Granted, I should shut up right now because I did eventually have success on this very, very last cycle with my eggs. But it still doesn't answer the questions I've got regarding the other dozens and dozens of eggs that I've produced which, despite appearing to fertilize or at least be "in the right place at the right time" (as with an IUI) did exactly nothing.

We first visited the RE when I was 33, but a helluva lot of good it did me. So don't beat yourself up about waiting.

I too have accepted (more or less) that I will never, ever get a satisfactory answer to any of my questions. I'm in the throes of attempting to accept the gift that's been handed me right now, to find a way to heal, and to do my best to move on. If you manage to accomplish this, please tell me how so that I can follow in your footsteps.

B said...

It sucks that there is no answers to these questions...... but it seems a lot of "bad luck" to have without an answer.

I don't believe there is a purpose or an answer. Some things just are (and sadly, some things just aren't).

I can imagine that having a donor egg conceive when all your beautiful eggs didn't must be frustrating and painful. I hope the "what if's" put themselves to bed with time.

take care

Working Girl said...

I was struggling with some of the same questions yesterday with my therapist. I am trying to sort out knowing what my next step will be. I have one more fresh cycle with my own eggs and four on ice.

With only two procedures left, I am starting to realize I may not have my own genetic child. When I started this journey I took for granted that I would just get pregnant and all would be right with the world.

Such a strange place for all of us to be. I had thought adoption would be my next step but, I am beginning to realize the devastating loss of pregnancy and nuturing life. I have so much to figure out.

I appreciate your honesty and I have to say because of you and other bloggers I am considering donor egg. I think what you are going through is just part of the process as difficult as it may be.

I believe once you give birth to this baby you will know that you made the right choice and you will never look back with regret.

Maybe it would be helpful to start an egg donor women's group in your area.

Rest well!!!

Ann said...

I write this very carefully, because I'm not quite sure where you stand, faith-wise, and this could very easily offend. With that in mind...

The only way I could even hope to understand why we lost Zach was to have faith that God really was in charge. Why would God want us to experience such suffering? I don't know. Maybe I'll never know while I'm alive, but someday I'll be able to look back at the end of my life and say, "Oh, THAT'S why..."

You haven't yet met this DE child you're carrying. This child could change the world. Someday, we could all be saying, "Thank heavens for (your child's name here); if it weren't for him/her, we don't know where we would have been." You could only move to DE after you felt you had no other options. That was the only way this child could have been conceived.

So it may have nothing to do with science. It may be something even more powerful than that...

stacyb said...

acceptance -- that and asking myself what do i have to learn from this has really helped me to let go of the unanswerable.

sure i look at other people and think they have no idea how lucky they are that they can just have a baby...but then i don't know what else is going on their lives, or will happen with them...and maybe, just maybe it's me who is lucky. i have grown in ways i could not have imagined through dealing with my infertility and the embracing of DE as our way to have a family.

as you say there "are questions that will never have a satisfactory answer and the only true solution is to learn to live with it."

niobe said...

I guess I've stopped asking questions. Because, in the end, none of this makes sense.

Marthavmuffin said...

Ann makes a very powerful point. We just don't know. I was simply going to say 'Things work out the way they are supposed to' and Acceptance is the path to peace.

We adopted my baby girl from foster care after years of infertility and I know she was meant to be our daughter.

Kami said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Geohde said...


I think the hardest part is that often we never get answers.


Flo said...

I am not sure there is always an answer, a reason or a purpose for things even. Although admittedly I have asked myself the why-question many times.

Even now, pregnant with DE, I sometimes wonder what if. Should we have not given up so soon? Should we have tried one more time, two or even three more times with my own eggs?

We'll never know. And I am at ease with that outcome. I feel I owe it to my unborn baby to concentrate on him/her (we'll find out next week- so exciting!).

By the way, I am also not sure if knowing the answers to such questions make the bad luck more bearable. Do you?

I love you for asking such questions though, it makes me think. Sometimes I worry about being too pragmatic about it all!