anxiety, fertility, IVF, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc


Good news: Tara Brach’s talk on hope is posted to her website as a video! I hope you watch her beautiful self and appreciate her guidance on how to live in possibility:

I’m at home on the 4th of July feeling very sleepy after taking a long run earlier today–I’ll be in bed soon. Meanwhile, my neighborhood sounds like a war zone with all the fireworks going off nearby and all over the city. Hope you had a nice 4th.

I met with Dr. T. yesterday. I pulled up and parked, having just wrapped up my work day before the long weekend. As I walked into the building for the first time since the transfer, my muscle memory took over and I felt heavy. I sat in the waiting room just intensely waiting, not reading or looking at my phone. I was looking forward to the discussion and looking ahead to FET#2, mixed with some amount of dread about rehashing what may or may not have gone wrong with #1.

He called me in to a tiny conference room. He first acknowledged that he was sorry this time didn’t work out despite everything looking promising at the beginning. He said he got the news while on vacation in Vietnam and felt really disappointed, took it personally (which made me want to launch into his arms and cry but I held it together). Then he asked me how I was feeling. I opened my mouth and nothing came out. He took this to be a hesitation but it was really me trying to articulate a rush of complicated feelings. I told him I was devastated, that the cumulative weight of all the tries was making this one the hardest.

What he said next is the best thing anyone can say to me right now: that it’s understandable that I would be so upset about it. That it is truly disappointing and an extremely difficult thing to go through. I am reminded that this is probably almost always true when someone is in crisis or having a rough time–they don’t necessarily need someone to problem-solve or find a positive spin. They need to feel validated and heard and understood.

He also said that while it is understandable and appropriate and reasonable for me to be struggling with the outcome, he remains optimistic about my case from an objective medical vantage point. Everything is still fine, I have four normal embryos remaining, and there’s no evidence that anything caused embie #1 not to implant. Sometimes they just don’t. Age can be a factor here although sometimes it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint an actual reason.

As with other cycles, Dr. T. discouraged me from going down the road of hunting for one anyway. In the absence of actual evidence, some people go into “hand-waving” mode (his term)–doing any and all tests trying to find something/anything that can be fixed. For example, I have a large fibroid. It’s on the outside of my uterus and I had a test done to confirm it’s not inside the uterine cavity. However, there’s a small chance that it is impeding blood flow to the very spot where the embryos are implanting. Super unlikely, but there’s a chance. What would it take to get it out? Surgery, followed by 6 months of bench time waiting to try again, and a very real chance that vaginal delivery would be impossible. And, in the end, the fibroid may have had nothing to do with anything. So I’m fine with skipping all that and having some faith in Dr. T’s opinion and the battery of tests I did at the outset.

He asked me what I was thinking about next steps. I told him that I am ready to try again (or I will be by the time I get there), and this time I want to put two. He readily agreed. I was prepared to argue with him on this, but he respects my decision–he says that, given everything I’ve been through, it’s “not unreasonable.” As long as I understand that if I get pregnant, there is a 20-30% chance it will be twins. He said that if insurance paid everything and there was no emotional cost, he would have me keep doing one at a time. But the reality is that time, money, and emotional stamina are running out. I’m ready to double my chances and pray for one. And if it’s two, it will be a blessing and we’ll figure it out (and by we I mean me and all of you).

The only change to my protocol is to add a endometrial biopsy (or “womb scratch”)–Dr. T. was surprised I hadn’t heard of it. It involves taking a biopsy of the uterine lining, thereby causing an injury that needs to be healed. The healing process releases chemicals that are thought to help promote implantation and the research is mixed but there’s some evidence that it works. I’ll go with my doc on this one.

Our plan is to put embies #2 and #3–my two best. Waiting on my calendar from Olga.

It’s both a relief and a terror to look ahead at trying again. Meanwhile, I take my bc pills, take good care of myself, and put my hand on my heart and say, “It’s going to be OK, sweetheart.”


4 thoughts on “consultation”

  1. Being a Tara Brach fan, I am sure you know this poem, but I felt compelled to share it with you now. I have such confidence in what already exists within you…may you not be moved by doubt, but instead reminded of all that you are and all that you are still destined to become:

    “The bud
    stands for all things,
    even for those things that don’t flower,
    for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
    though sometimes it is necessary
    to reteach a thing its loveliness,
    to put a hand on its brow
    of the flower
    and retell it in words and in touch
    it is lovely
    until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing.”

  2. I am sending you positive vibes for FET #2! Keep at it…I know it’s hard to be optimistic when the fertility world seems so gray!
    Traci and Zo

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