Friday, August 21, 2015

Racing Against the Clock

It has been a while since my last post, longer than it feels!  Partly, I've been busy (who hasn't been?!) but for part of the time, I just felt too crabby to write.  It all started on the eve of my week-long vacation, the day of my last post.

I could tell my period was going to start over the weekend so I called my clinic to ask if I could get one more prescription for Letrozole.  I was afraid that without it, I wouldn't ovulate until Day 17 or 18 of my cycle, and I had to be out of town for work on those days.  Not only would they not agree to more Letrozole, but they insisted I come in for a consult to discuss next steps before doing anything else.  I set up an appointment for the Monday of my vacation week, wedging the appointment into the end of my hanging-out-with-Grandma day.

My nurse practitioner is nice but very no-nonsense and veers toward the pessimistic end of realistic when talking about my changes of success.  I like her but she has a way of bringing me down!  The only words I could hear coming out of her mouth were old, poor quality, damaged, unlikely, age, limited, and IVF.  Basically, you are old, your eggs are old and likely full of damaged DNA due to their state of antiquity, and you should probably move to IVF plus genetic screening (in order to avoid transferring poor quality non-viable embryos).  This costs $26,000 out of pocket and no, we do not have a payment plan.  And ideally, you should use donor eggs or a donor embryo, given the aforementioned dismal quality of your own eggs.  And really, you have no time to spare so whatever you decide, you should ACT NOW, NOW, NOW!

I am the absolute worst under time pressure.  I hate games that involve those little hour glass timers or being told "you have ten minutes to brainstorm a brilliant idea" in a meeting or classroom.  Perhaps I was a bit too traumatized by a certain scene in one of my favorite childhood movies? A couple decades ago, I almost got fired from a cafe job for not preparing lunch plates quickly enough.  Never mind that my plates looked three times more appealing than those slapped together by my frazzled but speedy boss.  She kept me around for my other qualities and I left a few months later, vowing to avoid all jobs with time pressure from then on!  I just totally shut down as soon as there is any kind of time limit - i.e. If you don't get pregnant in the next two months, it will NEVER happen!!!!  I know the clinic is just trying to be realistic - she said, "I don't want another six months or a year to go by and you're even older and still not pregnant." - but the pressure is just not helpful.

That same day at the clinic, she suggested I get blood drawn so we could update my hormone levels plus she highly recommended I schedule a hysteringsalpingram (HSG) test to make sure my tubes were unblocked and my uterine cavity was in good shape.  I had heard of the HSG before and thought it sounded like not much fun.  She said, "It can be pretty crampy for some people so we recommend 800 mg of ibuprofen an hour before the procedure.  Some people just breeze right through it, though."  I have never in my life breezed through anything that involves a stranger sticking implements into my vagina.  I wasn't excited about the test and I was almost positive my tubes (or at least one of them) were open (since I've had implantation spotting once) but I figured it was best to be certain so I scheduled the test for the following Monday

Then I proceeded to freak out about it for the whole week, pretty much ruining any enjoyment of my vacation plans.  I was scared about the test, worried about the possible results of the HSG and the hormone tests, stressed about the pressure to opt for reproductive technologies that are far outside my budget, and just feeling doomed to a childless life.  I was worried about every possible scenario and felt my list of options getting smaller by the minute.  What if my eggs were too ancient and unusable?  Even if I did decide to go the donor embryo route, some donors won't allow their embryos to go to a single woman.  What if I'm not approved for the donor embryo program?  If I can't reconcile my concerns about the 'closed' nature of embryo adoption, then I start worrying about my chances for infant adoption.  Some adoption agencies won't allow the parent to be more than forty years older than the child.  And single parents are less likely to be chosen by birth parents than couples.  So my options there are narrowing as well.

Basically, I spent my entire vacation spiraling into depression and panic.  Not fun.  Fortunately, I had a grounding talk with a supportive friend and managed to slowly bring myself back to a point where I could at least google "increase egg quality" and start taking some action.  Which if nothing else, helps to lessen the feelings of depression and returns some semblance of control over my life.  I asked my nurse practitioner directly, "Is there anything Western medicine can recommend to increase egg quality?" and her exact word was, "No."  But a couple minutes later, she did say, "Some people find acupuncture to be helpful..."  Already on it.  But I realized then that it was going to be up to me to do my own research and to work with other practitioners who might have a broader view of the problem.  Modern American medicine is wonderful for what it can offer but it's not the only system worth listening to.

Since this post is getting awfully long, I think I'll take a break here and say, Stay tuned for next time when I go into my latest adventures in rejuvenating those supposedly crotchety eggs of mine...

Until then, wishing everyone the most youthful, gorgeous, fat and chromosomally beautiful eggs in the world,


No comments:

Post a Comment