Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sad, Scared, and Trapped

The past few days I’ve found myself very sad. Not in a desperate, clawing-at-the-walls kind of way. But I do feel like if I peel back the cover and examine my sadness, that frantic desperation will be lurking underneath.

J and I had a plan. One more cycle with his sperm, then likely one or two cycles with donor sperm, then we are DONE with this INSANITY. (Remember Susan Powter? “Stop the Insanity?” Turned out she was totally ass-backwards on the nutrition thing, but the title was brilliant.) Only three more cycles, max. That’s what I’ve been telling myself. And while the idea of losing J’s genetic input made me grieve, and the idea of going through the adoption process made me grieve and stress, I had been finding some measure of peace in the idea that the end was in sight, less than a year away.

Now I’m faced with the possibility (still just a remote possibility) that the end is not in sight. J went to see the sperm specialist (all the docs at my RE’s office are RE’s, but this guy’s the go-to doc for men) yesterday. The good news is, this doctor doesn’t seem to think that J was sick, because he didn’t seem to think that there had been any change in J’s sperm in the last year and a half. (“What?,” you ask. Didn’t this all come up because the RE thought J had a progressive deterioration? Yeah, I’m confused too.)

This doctor also has a few ideas about what might be wrong with J’s sperm count. One thought is that J’s got some issues with the way his tubes open when he ejaculates, so maybe most of the sperm are getting trapped inside. (“What?,” you ask. If his sperm have been this bad for the last year and a half, and there’s something wrong that they can do something about, why the fuck are we hearing about this NOW, gazillions of dollars and a few miscarriages later?) J’s getting tested for this on Friday. The doc didn’t tell J what could be done about it (J sucks at asking questions), but it seemed he had some ideas. And maybe he had some other ideas, if the problem was something else, on how to improve it. J didn’t ask what the ideas were, or whether they involved expensive and painful ball surgery (he clearly doesn’t read Io’s blog).

And you know what? When J told me all of this my peaceful, floating, restful mood evaporated. I put the phone down and took deep breaths, trying to figure out why this news, which is supposed to be good, just made me want to curl up in a ball and cry.

Part of it is anger. If there was more that could be done about our clearly male-factor infertility, why didn’t our RE send J to the sperm specialist sooner? Why did I have to go through two more miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy? Why did we have to use up all our insurance and take out a second mortgage on our house? And the worst thing is, this RE is one of the very BEST. And I like her and trust her. So I’m confused. Maybe the truth will be that nothing can be done to improve his sperm, and maybe that’s why she didn’t send us to get more tests earlier. Maybe she thought that, as we were getting good-looking (but short-lived) embryos, we were doing as well as could be expected. I just don’t know. And I’m so tired of all this. I can’t even think of trying to ask her.

But mostly I think I’m just exhausted. What happens if they come up with some new (and undoubtedly expensive) thing to help J ejaculate properly? What then? How many cycles do we have to give to this new process before we can go on to Plan B? What happens if the sperm doc wants to medicate J or give him hormone therapy? How long will I have to wait for his sperm to react to that so I can do this last cycle with J’s sperm before we can go on to donor sperm and I can finally get pregnant? I was hoping to do another cycle in a month and a half, get it over with before Christmas. So that we could start the new year with a new plan, one that might actually work. But if we have to wait for new sperm to percolate, we’re looking at January for the next cycle.

I remember when Luna said last spring that her RE had come up with yet another suggestion––I can’t remember if it was a new protocol or another approach to FET––and she said she just felt trapped. Like she’d finally resigned herself to being done with this and now she was getting sucked in again. That’s exactly how I feel—trapped. It’s like I’m a prisoner of my own infertility, a slave to its needs, incapable of climbing out of this pit of despair and failure and sadness.

A big part of me wishes that J had no sperm. Or that I had no eggs. Or that we hadn’t been able to fertilize or that our embryos couldn’t implant. If only things had been truly impossible, we would be DONE with all this. We would have used donor gametes or started the adoption process years ago, and probably would be parents by now. Instead, we wait and wait and wait as I get older and older in my sad, quiet, empty house, as my life ticks away.

I keep telling J I don’t know how much more of this I can take. But I can’t find a way to stop. And I can’t seem to find my balance. I’m so angry, and so scared, and so very very trapped.


beautycourage said...

Hello dear Babychaser,
I'm sitting in my sad, quiet empty house too and your words are really resonating with me. I completely understand how you feel. I just said to my mom the other day that this would be so much easier if I knew that I didn't have ovaries, for example, and definitely could not get pregnant. My RE just gave us some additional options on our consult this PM (surrogacy? are you kidding?) and I hung up the phone and cried. How can a glimmer of hope cause such misery?
I don't know what else to say other than I hear you , and I'm with you in spirit. Hang in there.

annacyclopedia said...

Oh, sweetheart. This all sounds so very hard. I'm sorry you're feeling trapped - I can completely understand how you feel that way. The uncertainty and hope make it so hard to let go. I feel the same way when I think about what happens if I don't get pregnant with dIUIs, because if I do decide I want to do IVF, we'll have to open up the whole question of whether we'll try to use Manny's sperm or not (assuming he has viable sperm - we never bothered to find out.) And I feel like that decision is made and if I have to revisit it, I'm not sure I'll survive. I know it's not the same as what you're going through, but I do understand feeling exhausted with the uncertainty.

Thinking of you and wishing you peace and some space to just be in the mist of all these intense emotions.

Lorraine said...

The not-knowing is so stressful, The only real option is to hope that the next thing you try is the one that works. If it weren't so expensive it wouldn't be such a problem, but sheesh! Sometimes I think we could spend a jillion dollars and still not know what would work.

I hope you get more answers soon. Best wishes to you!

luna said...

it's the not knowing whether anything would make a difference, or whether it would just be a big expensive exhausting drain on every level.

you're right, when we had all but given up my RE suggested ways to improve my protocol when I didn't really see why it would matter. she was always finding ways to be hopeful, to lure me back. if we had the money I might have been seduced by her hope. but reality stepped in and it was time to stop throwing our energy and precious resources away.

I wish you well in whatever you decide. it's all so hard.

K77 said...

"J and I had a plan"

That's it - your plans have been fucked with yet again, totally by surprise.

Ms Heathen said...

Oh, Babychaser. You're so right - it's the lack of definitive answers that makes this so very hard. After our second cycle of IVF went so badly wrong, I can remember wishing that someone would just tell us once and for all that, with sperm & eggs like these, we had no hope of creating viable embryos. I can remember thinking that we would then at least be able to begin to try and come to terms with that news, and to start rebuilding our lives. Instead, our RE raised the possibility of a different protocol, and I felt as if we were destined to be trapped in this endless limbo for ever and ever.

I wish you peace and clarity as you begin to think over the issues raised by J's latest appointment. Please know that I am thinking of you, and hoping that you find a way out of all this uncertainty.

Lisa said...

"I don’t know how much more of this I can take. But I can’t find a way to stop."

Truer words have never been spoken. I understand immensely....

Shinejil said...

It's so hard to think about walking away when there's still a chance. Hope can torture the mind, I think, when it's there but in really short supply.

I'm sending you love and wishes that a trap door will open soon, releasing you from this prison.

Sue said...

I think having options can be so confusing, especially with ART. I can completely understand how you feel and I'm sorry you have to go through this.

Jill said...

What a hard place to be in. I'll be thinking about you.

kate said...

I wish I had something better to say.

I have felt trapped at times by my infertility, but as of now, the biggest trapped feeling that I have relates to why my lame 30+ year old ass is still sitting in classes with a bunch of undergraduates. And how, for fuck's sake, are these little shits that I go to school with going to be qualified for jobs (shit, even for working a fucking cash register) when they are all so. ridiculously. immature. (and some of them, frankly- and scarily- are incredibly dumb, too- mostly the education majors... how does that make me feel about having a kid in public school in this town???).

Anyway, while your scenario is so clearly a much larger, life-changing scenario, in a small way, I think I understand. It's like you've committed to this thing, and if only there were some specific, irreversible thing to push you past all the "what-ifs" holding you where you are, then you would at least be able to rest your mind. And I'm sorry. That has to be a really fucking awful feeling.

I recommend exploring the anger by punching some crap. And then abusing some pharmaceuticals. That's what I'd do.

Io said...

Oh lady. It's times like this that really make me wish that I lived near everyone. I would come over and sit with you while you cried and I would make us pancakes and make jokes about ball surgery.
It would be wonderful if there were easy clear cut answers with this IF stuff. It is so cruel that we are given these glimmering possibilities.
Fuck. I am trying to think of something comforting and insightful and it's not working.
I hope it gets better. Somehow.

Barb said...

I absolutely completely understand and send you any strength I can.

Malloryn said...

My dear, my heart aches for you. I can see why you would be terrified, confused and angry all at the same time. I don't understand why doctors don't always consider issues on both sides (male & female) from the beginning -- this leaves you wondering if you had to go through what you did.

It's awful that your plan is suddenly in the air. You probably felt like you had a small measure of control, only to have the rug ripped out beneath you. Not knowing what might possibly make a difference is so hard.

I'll be thinking about you, and I hope you find some peace with your decisions.

Joonie said...

Oh, dear, What wouldn't we all give for some certainty? Even if it is in the negative direction.
I am so very sorry you have to go through all of this yet again.

Isn't it pretty to think so said...

How frustrating to have to start again and feel like you haven't been given the "best" treatment. Thinking of you and sending you strength.

Barb said...

I got both your comments. (they come to my email). Thanks so much sweetie. It means a lot (as you know) to have someone else understand. it seems so insignificant to someone who doesn't know the feeling.

Thank you!

Peeveme said...

Geeze. I understand how that news would make you feel that way. We just want things to be settled. I've said it many time: I can deal with anything except uncertainly".