We had our RE consult today and it did not take me long to realize that in the fast-moving world of reproductive endocrinology, I’m definitely a blast from the past.
When I did my first FET cycle in early 2014, I used Lup.ron, oral estrogen, PIO, baby aspirin, a short burst of Medrol, and valium for the transfer. Today, the FET we’ll undertake in September/October will involve injected estrogen every four days, PIO twice a day (!), dexamethasone, baby aspirin, medrol, and predisone.
My response: “I JUST got feeling back in all the areas of my butt and now PIO is TWICE A DAY?!”
Apparently, this protocol results in much higher implantation rates. Dr. E explained that there’s too much variability with oral estrogen to be comfortable – apparently some women really struggle to get levels high enough even with high doses – but with the injections, it’s been much more consistent. The steroids lower the immune system a bit to allow the embryo to implant and the different types plus longer dose periods than before seem to really help this process more effectively. No more valium for transfer either. Two days of taking it easy, like before.
I asked how likely the blastocyst we have in storage was to thaw properly and Dr. E told us since it’s frozen with the newer cryopreservation methods, it’s around 98% certain that we’ll have a transfer.
I am…a little overwhelmed, to be honest. Not so much by the protocol itself (though it certainly is different than any other fertility protocol I’ve undertaken) but simply by the fact that this is it. As weird and f—ed up as this sounds, the RE’s office and fertility treatments and reproduction (or lack thereof) have been this huge part of my life for about seven years. Whether or not this FET or anything else results in a pregnancy, my reproductive years are coming to a close.
I won’t miss the worry, the miscarriages, the fertility treatments, the incredible sadness of failed cycles, the two-week wait, or any of that stuff. Infertility, high-risk pregnancy, loss, and NICU inflicted real wounds that are still healing and scars that still ache at times.
But there were silver linings that I couldn’t appreciate in the trenches. Dealing with infertility and the associated complications also moved me from being someone who looked over her shoulder for another person when someone asked for an adult to someone who says “here, me, I’m an adult”. I can battle with a ferocity I didn’t know was possible and also know when it’s time to walk away from a fight. I know how to talk to an insurance company, how to marshal my resources, and who to call.
It’s more that I’m letting go of something that consumed vast amounts of time, resources, emotions, and despite the fact that this is, inherently, not a bad thing, it’s a change and a door closing. It’s moving into an entirely different landscape – where I won’t chart my cycle, pee on OPKs, alternately (depending on where I am in an attempt to get pregnant) hope for or dread my period, or take pregnancy tests. I’ll get rid of the maternity clothes and the baby stuff. Labor and Delivery will go back to being a department with no more significance to me than Endoscopy or Medical-Surgical. I’ll change into whatever lies ahead and deal with it, hopefully gracefully.
It’s strange, though, being here. It’s like waiting in an airport, ticket in hand, and not knowing exactly where I’m going next or how many transfers or bits of lost luggage, but knowing that my flight will depart soon for somewhere.
This post has been a part of Microblog Mondays. If you want more, please visit Stirrup Queens‘ blog. Thanks to Mel for originating and hosting.