I’ve been crafting this blog post for a couple weeks, going back and forth between “I just don’t want to write this post” to “Ok, I’ve got to write this post.” A part of me wanted to put off dredging up my emotions. But considering I haven’t cried yet, there’s also a part of me that wanted to get this post published so I could find some closure…and maybe finally cry. I’ve somehow developed the ability to hold back tears until I have enough time for a long bath and a bottle of wine. I have one of those things handy tonight (the wine), so with this post and my lowered inhibitions, maybe I’ll let it all out later. So here goes….
While my body was being forced into an induced state of menopause to give my endometrium a break, Brennen and I took a trip to see New York City at Christmas. Since we got married, this trip had been on our to-do list, but with infertility taking over 3 years of our marriage, we found it difficult to schedule. This December was the perfect time! No doctor’s appointments. No medicine to transport. Just Brennen, me, and my hot flashes. Plus, we needed the trip to help us find the Christmas spirit that was so much harder to come by this year.
And to top it off, just two days after we got home, Mississippi had a huge snow storm that our puppy Nelson absolutely adored!
Fast forward to 2018 and my baseline appointment on January 3rd that showed my ovaries and endometrium in a Lupron coma. Shots for Transfer #4 began January 5th! Before we knew it, 2 weeks had passed, and there I was in stirrups staring at my lining on a 44-inch TV screen. The first measurement came in at 7.8! WHAT?! Sure, it wasn’t quite the 8 we needed for transfer, but it was 2.8mm thicker than the last time we had a go at this. Even if we didn’t transfer, just knowing my lining was getting back to its old self was a win.
To our surprise, Nurse Memphis called that afternoon with a tentative transfer date. My lining had the three layers it needed and would continue to thicken until transfer, so the following Friday I took my 170th shot – Progesterone in the rear.
Transfer #4 went so smoothly. My lining had thickened to 8.2, and we transferred a 5BA embryo. After the thaw that morning, the embryo had continued to developed, started hatching, and improved from a grade 4 to a grade 5. This little embryo was on the move! When I told my friend the news she said, “So basically a Breanne embryo.” Ha! I then proceeded to tell her about the other embryo that had been frozen with it and how it was pretty sluggish after the thaw. It wasn’t dead, but didn’t really show signs of activity either. So basically a Brennen embryo.
Luckily, that embryo survived and was refrozen.
We were optimistic. Dr. Memphis was too. “Finally!” I thought, “This is our year.”
Despite my positivity, as I was lying with my knees in the air for 30 minutes post transfer, I turned to Brennen and said, “I dread next Thursday.” It was our test date.
I couldn’t wait until Thursday though. Five days after the transfer, I peed on a stick. I know, I know. It was too early. I did it in secret and hid the test on a shelf in my closet. There was a faint positive! How I went to sleep that night without telling Brennen, I’ll never know. The next morning, I tried to sneak to the bathroom for another test with that concentrated morning urine you hear about, but I was busted. Brennen rolled his eyes when he saw me emerge from the bathroom and said, “You’re testing aren’t you?” I ended up taking about 3 tests that morning, all faint positives. Brennen did a cute little fist pump. We were so excited to be seeing these results this early.
But just to be safe and to make sure we weren’t seeing things, Brennen came up with the bright idea to pee on a stick as a control. Our own little bathroom science experiment. I never thought I would see my husband holding his own pregnancy test that he had just whizzed on. Brennen’s test was negative (whew!), and when compared to the tests I had taken that morning, mine all had pink lines!
Sunday afternoon, faint positive.
Monday, faint positive.
Tuesday, faint positive.
Wednesday, faint positive.
It should have been getting darker, but if anything, it was lighter by Wednesday night. “Not again,” we both thought. Here we were at that space between – am I pregnant or am I not?
Thursday was my hCG test….5. Transfer #4 didn’t work.
Then came the call from the clinic. I stopped all medications that evening and waited on my WTF call with Dr. Memphis.
The next day, the clinic’s number popped up on my phone. I took a deep breath and answered. Dr. Memphis began by going over our statistics with me – 10 eggs retrieved in Jackson, 10 fertilized, unsuccessful day 5 fresh embryo transfer, 9 embryos arrested, 41 eggs retrieved in Memphis, 26 fertilized, 1 miscarriage, 1 unsuccessful transfer, 1 biochiemical pregnancy. To quote Dr. Memphis, “This is not good.” No kidding, right?
We still haven’t found the problem as to why I can’t get pregnant (or stay pregnant, rather), so it’s hard to find a solution when you don’t know what you’re setting out to solve. Can we make viable embryos? Can I carry a child? We still don’t know which one it is or if it’s both.
God, I hope it’s not both.
But while we still don’t know what the problem is, the next few steps that we’ve decided to take will bring us closer to answers. By “answers” I don’t mean finding out what’s wrong and then fixing it. I mean finding out if my body is even capable of this. Sure, I like having a plan and am ready to move forward, but at the same time I know that moving forward means I may be getting closer to hearing something I don’t want to hear, something that could change the trajectory of this infertility journey of ours. That’s a big pill to swallow. And maybe that’s why I haven’t cried yet…I’ve been too overwhelmed to.
The closest I came to crying was the Sunday after we found out the transfer was unsuccessful. As Brennen kissed me goodnight, I gave him permission to walk away from us if I couldn’t give him the family he wanted. As a woman, I feel like my body is broken. As a wife, I feel like I’ve failed my husband. He lovingly scolded me for even having those thoughts and assured me I was more than enough for him. And as I rolled over to go to sleep (not that I slept well that night), I told him he may need to tell me that every single day.
So here we are now, trying to get back on an upswing after the most upsetting news of our lives thus far. Without going into too much detail about what’s ahead, let’s just say we’re about to go even deeper into the world of assisted reproductive technology. So, with things getting as real as they are, we’ve decided to shut down the blog for the time being. We have enjoyed this blog so much over the past year and a half. It was our therapy as we coped with the trials of infertility. I loved being able to share our journey to raise awareness and to connect with so many wonderful women who share in this struggle. It was exactly what we needed when we needed it. But now, three failed transfers later, we’re in a much different place. A place where we’re tired of writing about our failures and road blocks over and over again. A place where we have more to process than we ever have before. A place where we still need people’s prayers but, if I could be so frank, not their opinions. A place where we’re realizing that we may soon have a lot of important, difficult decisions to make. For those reasons, we’re deciding to step out of the spotlight so to speak, and process what’s happening in a more private manner.
I’m still open to sharing parts of our story with anyone who needs to hear it, so if you’ve stumbled across this blog or have been following it for months and now find yourself in our shoes, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. And to our amazing, supportive friends and family, you can still ask us how we’re doing and check up on us. We don’t want to shut down the conversation; we just don’t want to publish it.
And since writing has been the best coping mechanism for me, I’m still going to journal the old-fashioned way with pen and paper. That way I can still document all that is yet to come. It’s cheaper than my current coping mechanism which has been retail therapy. And who knows – maybe one day my son or daughter will get to read about the journey that led us to him or her.
Thank you for reading our story. Thank you for the prayers. Thank you for the encouragement. And now, thank you for letting us have this moment of closure.
Until next time,