Monday, September 15, 2008

The World Championship's of IVF -- The Final Round!

Like anything, the deeper down the path of infertility you go, the harder it is to turn back. But at some point, the cost of fertility treatments become too high. At some point, you realize, that THIS IS IT. This is your last hand. You've played the game. You've lost. You know what's a stake. But here you are, back at the table -- for the final round. How you made it here you'll never know. But here you are, sitting in the final round of the world championship of poker. Your fingers sweat, you're heart pounds, you hold your cards close to your chest and you look around at all the other women at the table. Some are older, some younger, some worse off, some better off. Another round of IVF seems unbearable in every way imaginable -- financially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. But you've come this far. You've made it to where you are. You look down at your cards. They don't look so hot, but still, they probably aren't the worst one's at the table. People have won it all with worse hands than you. Still, the odds are not in your favor. You feel pressure mounting from all sides. You know this is it. This one hand could determine the rest of your life. And now comes the big question... do you fold, check, raise, or go all in. You consider folding -- walk away from the table, decide to live a child-free life, but you know you will always wonder what would have happened if you didn't throw down your hand. You can check -- try naturally for a while, wait and see how your hand will turn out. You can raise, get some more testing done, do some less invasive fertility treatments, maybe even another cycle of IVF with your local RE. OR. You can go all in -- you can push all your chips into the middle of the table and risk it all. You can take out a loan, fly straight to the best IVF clinic in the country with the best doctors and labs, and do one final round of IVF with all the trimmings. You can only check and raise for so long. At some point -- you've got to walk away from the table or go all in. But which one? If you go all in, you could lose everything. If you walk away, you will never know if you could have won. You check your cards again. You look around. You calculate the risk. You weigh the odds. And then? You toss all the numbers and odds away. You consult your gut. Does your gut tell you that you are willing to risk it all on a sub-par hand? Do you have the guts? Do you have the stamina? Do you have the stomach? Do you feel lucky? You might win. You might lose. You see your life flash before your eyes. The overwhelming sense of fear pulses through your body. But time waits for no woman. And suddenly it's your turn. It's do or die. It all comes down to this.... So what's it going to be?
I don't know about you. But I'm going all in.

Denver here I come!


Louise said...

Lisa, ohhhh I know what to say and not what to say! I understand totally (but feel very blessed that we got really really lucky). But funnily enough as I get ready to try again for number two - (18 months and 6 FET on) I feel exactly the same way again....ahhh it is a terrible thing to want something so badly and for it to be inexplicably out of your grasp. And it is terrible second guessing the whys and why nots. And it is the worst torture possible created for a woman. But you know all this.
I want to say you have done the right thing, giving it your best and last shot so you don't wonder what if for the rest of your life. And there are always other options. And there is always tomorrow :).
We had counselling early on and decided when we would stop and I took time out to come to grips (as much as possible) with the concept of being childless - as nothing breaks your heart as much as hopes dashed (the real pain in IVF).
So good luck, as really, sadly that is what most of it comes down to. It is terrible that something so important is such a game of chance. I do really rate the power of positive thinking (in a normal non-self-help-book way :) so keep on keeping your chin up.
Not sure if it is this Friday the 19th or Monday been that you start(ed)? I start my bloods this Friday so will have everything crossed, for both of us.
Lou xx

Lisa said...

Thanks Wheeze! It's so nice to know that others have been through this and come out the other side -- with a baby no less! but you're right, sadly luck plays such a big part. I'm crossing my fingers and toes for your FET, and hoping your embies stick! Keep me posted!!

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your story, and I might have a suggestion. I have done 2 fresh IVF cycles and the 2nd one took. I am currently trying for a sibling for my daughter via IVF again. We never did ICSI because I thought it would be best to let the best sperm win naturally rather than having an embryologist guess which one to use. It turns out that my thinking is shared by some other researchers out there. I think that ICSI is way overused. It is necessary for some patients whose DH's sperm cannot fertilize an egg. However, if they can (even if the rate of fertilization is lower), the embryos have a better chance of making it to blastocyst. We only had about a 50% fertilization rate without ICSI, but 67% of our embryos made it to blastocyst. I read some research that embryos fertilized via ICSI have a lower chance of making it to blast stage. Probably due to the fact that an embryologist cannot tell the genetic makeup of a sperm just by looking at it. It seems like you have been through so much, so it might seem like a huge leap of faith to try IVF again without ICSI, but if I were in your shoes, I would. I will pray that this cycle works for you.