against the odds

I’m now in the 2ww of a no-assist cycle that in all likelihood is futile. I don’t know why we bother to “try” on our own anymore when it seems clear after so long that we need some help. But wait a minute, that hasn’t worked either, hmm…

Despite our failed efforts, I like to think we still have a chance on our own. Maybe it’s a desperate attempt to prove my doctors (and even myself) wrong. An enchanting (delusional?) fantasy I have of beating the odds. Or maybe like many of you I just hate that I’m forced to rely on invasive and prohibitively expensive treatments rather than good old-fashioned loving sex to create our family. Or maybe I’m just holding on to the magical hope that we will still have a chance for a baby, even if our FET fails and our options disappear.

I know stranger things have happened. Yet somehow attaching myself to the belief that I’m in a real 2ww feels like I’m just grasping at the tempting yet unproven flotation device called hope to keep from drowning… I was going to get all melodramatic and say …in a sea of sorrow, or in this shitstorm that is infertility. (Just wait, one of these days someone’s going to google “shitstorm of infertility” and find me, you’ll see.) But you know what I mean.
 Is hope delusional? 

Even after so long, the fantasy of conceiving on our own is still inescapable. It’s been almost 4 years since we started trying, knowing we might have some issues but not realizing how many. I did finally conceive on my own once, even with a blocked tube, scar tissue, fibroids and poor morphology. Even with an ovary twisted and stuck to the back of my uterus (where my colon was stuck too, true story). I conceived after my RE told us it was unlikely to happen without surgery. Against the odds. 

But then I faced the worst and became a sad lonely statistic when I was told there was no chance my baby would develop or live after I suffered 
P-PROM halfway to term. Apparently the chance of this happening (especially with a single pregnancy) is very rare. I can’t say with certainty that my fibroids caused the rupture, but this is what I believe. My ob/gyn initially disagreed — her experience indicates that in the struggle between fibroid and baby, nine times out of ten the baby wins. Of course that’s because she mostly treats women with healthy pregnancies, and fibroids are common and often harmless. But other experts I saw agreed mine were the likely culprit — even though they were relatively small — since I had no other risk factors such as infection or inflammation. Even if fibroids weren’t the direct cause, the rupture could have been due to a related problem resulting from a previous fibroid surgery. Of course it could have been completely random, not that it matters now. Regardless why it happened, P-PROM occurs in just 1-2% of all pregnancies. How’s that for crap odds? And while we’re at it, if I am fortunate enough to get pregnant again, the chances of it happening again are 1 in 3. Yikes. 

Anyway, since then I’ve had three more surgeries which should have properly prepared my insides to conceive and hold a pregnancy. Exactly one year ago was my last procedure. Once I got the green light to try again, there was every reason to believe I’d get pregnant. My uterus was open and fibroid-free (if a little worse for the wear). My tubes were clear (though a bit weakened). I still had ovulatory cycles (if a bit irregular). And the Amazing M still had some good swimmers. So we tried a few cycles on our own. Then we tried 3 IUIs. Medicated. With back-up swimmers. All to increase our chances — to ripen those follicles, to spruce up the little guys for their big journey, and to enhance our timing. But nothing. Finally in November, we took the plunge and tried IVF. I knew the odds of success were low. My doctor had given me a 35% chance of bringing home a real live baby. 1 in 3. No guarantee, but better chances than I seemed to have on my own. I was tired of merely hoping for success. I needed a real chance. And if, as my RE believed, my crusty tubes had somehow closed again, I had little to no chance of conceiving on my own. So 1 in 3 was sounding pretty good. It was a chance we were more than willing to take.

Yet we all know that numbers aren’t everything. I know women who were given 50-50 odds for successful IVF, yet didn’t get pregnant, and women given 30% odds who did.
Statistics don’t mean shit until you’re on the wrong side of them. They may help us to make decisions, but they don’t affect individual outcomes.

So now we’ve got some frosty embryos on ice awaiting our next move. A couple of lovelies and their would-be siblings chilling until the big thaw in March. While we have 
reason to hope this FET will work, we don’t know what our real chances are. I hope, wish and pray this works. I believe it can work. This is truly our last best chance for a baby. While we may continue to indulge our fantasy that we can do it on our own, this FET is likely to be our final intervention.

I plan to be hopeful until there is no hope left. So I’ll say this now and get it out of the way. And I promise (for my own good) to remove the thought from my head to make room for more positive beliefs as we get closer to our FET. But here it goes… Right now I’m trying to deal with the hard truth that, in all likelihood, we may be facing a life without children…

I am so grateful to have this chance with FET. And I will do everything in my power to ensure the best possible outcome. But this is of course beyond my control. In reality, there is a greater chance of failure than success. But a chance all the same. And so long as there’s a chance, there’s still reason for hope. 

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~ by luna on February 3, 2008.

18 Responses to “against the odds”

  1. Against the odds, I have done it twice on my own, so there is that glimmer of hope still out there. Remember it isn’t over until it IS over- try to hang in there- the 2ww sucks- everything that could go wrong, every worse case scenario plays in your head- It isn’t fair, I wish that it didn’t take this long- that it wasn’t this much torture- but like you said- you do have reason to hope- as long as we still believe there is still reason for hope- I will be keeping you in my thoughts- and sending you lots of positive thoughts- take care!

  2. I am so impressed by your continuing hope. I’m hoping for you, too…

  3. you know, i found your blog through the ‘tag surfer’ option on wordpress. i have a massive fibroid, 6cm in every direction, the size of a large navel orange. and it may be impacting my fertility, i am relying on FAM via TCOYF to be sure in the next few cycles, and it’s so hard. i am barely under 30 and plan to try for the 14-15 cycles per year my body provides for a few years before going the adoption route. and reading about your travails is pretty intense. you have gone places i thought of and haven’t gone, but sometimes wonder about going. it’s certainly something to read your blog and sympathise with your own plights.

  4. There’s always reason for hope. And hope is a much nicer feeling than despair…so hope on, my friend.

  5. If only it wasn’t so difficult to ignore the statistics. I’ve had extensive statistics concversations with at least 2 of the REs at our clinic. Finally one of them said something like – don’t think about the 50-50 (he was referring the the chances that I would miscarry when they saw a slow growing embryo and slow heartbeat), for any one person the chances are either 100% or 0%. It was something to think about and in the end, I think, good advice (despite the fact that I fell on the wrong side of this and many other of their ‘statistics’).

    Best wishes during your 2ww.

  6. I think the balance between having hope and not having hope is one of the most confusing aspects of IF. It just doesn’t seem like there’s a right answer sometimes. So if you’re feeling hopefull…just go with it. If you feel like being pessimistic (or realistic in some of our cases) then go with that too. Whatever way you can deal with it is the right way…ya know!

    I hope for your sake that you will be pleasantly surprised this month! Wishing you a nice Big Fat positive!

  7. Oh yes, I forgot to add that I am really sorry about the loss of your baby. I can’t imagine going through something that awful. Your poem was just beautiful.

  8. I have always been an “against the odds” person myself and have hoped against hope in many cases. I understand that desire to have a baby without ART and to prove them all wrong. I have personally known many people who have defied the odds and it give me hope.

  9. You still have hope. If you didn’t you wouldn’t be blogging anymore. I love that you have hope for this. You need too. I often have moments where I feel a sense of loss, and it’s not loss for the cycles that have failed, it’s loss for the hope that dwindles each month. I’m glad you posted this. It certainly helps me and others to read your feelings and reew a bit of hope for ourselves.

  10. I just finished one of those cycles. There is no way in fucking hell my hubby and I are going to conceive naturally, but I, too, am plagued by the fact that we did it once. (Of course, I miscarried that one very early, so we didn’t REALLY do it even the once.)

    Anyway, without giving the gory details, a couple of weeks ago my body was just screaming “I’M FERTILE RIGHT NOW,” so I hauled my honey into the bedroom for sex (first sex since the surgery, so he wasn’t complaining). Then two days later my body pulled the same stunt, and I didn’t want J to think I was TTC (didn’t want to have the no-way-in-hell conversation), so I actually walked around topless until he got the idea and hauled me into the bedroom.

    Then the 2 ww. Silly, silly me. Started spotting REALLY early for my cycle, spent an evening thinking maybe it was implantation bleeding before the cramps kicked in and I knew AF was here.

    You know how fertile women say “I just knew it the moment I was pregnant!” I say bullshit. I spent a year-plus TTC naturally, and I “just knew” I was pregnant EVERY MONTH.

    Sorry–my comments always seem to be about me, me, me, which is kind of rude. Hang in there for the 2 ww. Hope, despair, they all suck. Time is your only friend.

  11. ,i>Statistics don’t mean shit until you’re on the wrong side of them.

    How very true. It feels like a lottery sometimes doesn’t it?

    I hope for you. And I hope your hope continues to encompass you as you take this journey. In the end, that’s all we really have as we face the next chapter in our respective struggles to build a family. But that is a lot – without hope there is nothing. I truly believe that.

    As long as you continue to belive, I know you will find a happy ending. Whatever form that takes.

    My thoughts are with you and I hope and pray to the universe that this natural cycle works or the FET works.

    – Angela

  12. We also defied the odds and managed to conceive once without medical intervention. At the moment, I need to hold onto the possibility – however remote – that we might do the same again. As you say, statistics don’t mean shit – there are no absolutes, no certainties when dealing with infertility, and that is what makes it so much harder to bear.

    But we all need hope – it’s what gives us the strength to keep going.

  13. The allure of a natural pregnancy is so strong… no needles, no drugs, no wandings, no rude nurses, no blood draws, etc. And which great novel has the heroine getting pregnant with anything other than a romantic roll in the hay?

  14. As a mathematician I love stats, and yet I hate them, and yes they stand for nothing when you repeatedly fall on the wrong side.

    I’m glad you have some hope. There is hope. It is hard to hang on to but what else is there.
    I find it easier to hope for others than myself. I am hoping and hopeful for you, naturally or the FET.

  15. For years, many of us have lived our lives in 2 week increments. 2ww – 2 weeks until ovulation – 2 weeks until testing Ugh.

    I heard something on the radio the other day and it has stuck with me. The host asked for people to explain the difference between being confident and being certain. Hmm. Turns out, I think it’s better to be confident – able to handle whatever comes your way; whatever situation you are handed. If you are certain, you have an answer, and that’s that. Right now, I hope you are feeling confident. You have an uphill battle, but you have support, and tools, and hope. With IF, there are no certainties.

    That may not make any sense… I am still trying to work it all out myself…

  16. […] by more holistic means. But this assumes I will remain under some type of care and continue to delude myself that I can conceive naturally if the FET fails. At this point, I think that’s just not going […]

  17. […] first obstacle, and four years after we have given everything in our quest to have a baby, that against all odds we’d be relying on science to manipulate my body and beg her to accept some newly thawed […]

  18. […] many women with fibroids have successful pregnancies, some don’t. And I seem to fall on the crap side of the odds with these things. So six years later, after four years of trying, four surgeries, […]

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