I know I haven't been writing much lately. I feel that I have a lot of negativity and sadness lately and sharing my negative feelings over and over again serves no real purpose. Also, not much to update on in terms of action, since we aren't cycling right now.
I have received some good recommendations for clinics and doctors in Toronto, and I keep saying that I am going to set up some appointments, but something is keeping me from actually doing it. This is a real change for me because until now, I have always been extremely proactive and have often done cycle after cycle in quick succession. My governing philosophy has always been the quicker I can do whatever it takes to have a living child, the better, like ripping off a band-aid.
Lately, though, I have had strong mixed feelings about how and when I would like to proceed. I really don't have a big problem with the IVF - I feel like I can keep doing it over & over as I have. It can be emotionally and physically exhausting, but it is sort of my norm and it is not disruptive to my normal routine and daily life in the way it was in the beginning. (Actually I will revise that slightly - it makes me feel pretty crappy and less productive in all other aspects of my life but I am used to functioning that way.)
For better or worse, it turns out that you can pretty much get used to IVF as a 'lifestyle' in the same way people with all sorts of chronic diseases get used to whatever repeated invasive treatments they need to keep their condition in check.
What I am having more trouble managing lately is the uncertainty - that I will go to such epic lengths to get pregnant in the first place, but that we still don't know why I need IVF to become pregnant and then the larger issue of whether I can have a healthy pregnancy that I am able to carry past viability. It feels like a cruel science experiment - mostly cruel to the to-be conceived baby - to attempt to carry him/her when my ability to do so, at least in my mind, is so gravely in question.
I am really terrified by the prospect of being pregnant again. It's a shame, because the IVF cycle we did so shortly after losing the twins, I was in a much better mindset to be pregnant again, and then I was of course very briefly pregnant again, but now that's over and I feel like I am in a much worse place than I was then to attempt another pregnancy.
I guess this is all pretty normal - I have heard of others in the babyloss community who are very anxious to become pregnant again immediately after the loss, and then a few months later, once the shock wears off and the real grief work begins, the initial desire turns into fear and reluctance.
I think the main issue here is that I am becoming increasingly ambivalent about exactly what it is that I want. I also feel increasingly tortured about both our losses and our infertility being unexplained and I am not sure exactly what is that I want from that either.
We could do a second round of more extensive testing - many of the autoimmune tests, for instance, but then as I have probably written about before, it is so unclear what to do with that information. If everything comes back negative I guess you get some peace of mind but you still have no answers. If one or two tests yield a positive result, I think there is oftentimes a temptation to attach too much importance to it as "The Answer."
And let's say we proceed with immune testing, for instance, and get some positive results, are we willing to try the therapies for it even though there are no good large-scale clinical studies or really evidence-based medicine to support it, especially considering the potential side effects and the cost? If we aren't willing to attempt immune treatment, there is probably no point in doing the tests.
The other unopened can of worms is doing a laparoscopy to rule in or rule out endometriosis. I do have some of the symptoms but my doctors in Israel felt that once we were doing IVF anyway, it didn't matter whether I do or don't have endo unless it is a major quality of life issue. Their reasoning was that they would recommend IVF in that case anyway and the added value of excisional surgery when doing IVF already is really unclear.
There is actually a series of two articles in this month's Fertility & Sterility about endometriosis and pregnancy outcome - basically saying that women with endometriosis have greater risk of bleeding during pregnancy due to placentation and implantation issues, greater risk of inflammation to the membranes, and greater risk of pre-term labor and birth. Sound familiar? Of course I was struck with the fleeting (very hypothetical) thought that maybe endo could explain my seemingly unrelated fertility and pregnancy-related fiascos. With that said, the thought of very possibly unnecessary surgery makes me cringe in a major way.
I guess the options at this point are:
1) Set up a few consultation appointments here in TO and see what the docs recommend with an open mind
2) Same as #1 but go in with the intention of proceeding with a new IVF as opposed to doing further testing
3) Same as #1 but explicitly ask for certain additional testing (i.e. lap, immune testing, etc.)
4) Do nothing (though continue to try on our own, for what it is worth) and 'enjoy' my break until we return to Israel next summer and/or I return to Israel to do an embryo transfer.
5) See a counselor with Y and see whether we can get anywhere on the adoption issue (he is very much against it).
6) See a counselor so I can work on figuring out for myself what it is that I want...no other plans in the mean time.
7) Put starting a family on hold indefinitely and contemplate what being childfree would look like.