Jennie and I are starting our 6th round of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) this coming weekend.
We’re doing this despite having one viable embryo in the bank, ready to be transferred into her womb, ready to hopefully become a real baby. The odds of the embryo “taking” and becoming a healthy baby are approximately two out of three. On the flip, there’s about a one in three chance that her body rejects the embryo for one reason or another or miscarries it after initially accepting it. It may not attach to the uterine lining, it may suffer trauma later — all sorts of things can go wrong.
Jennie is 43 and I’m 45. Every month that goes by she’s older and the eggs she has remaining in her system are less and less “healthy” — their chances of producing good quality embryos that manage to divide enough to become a blastocyst (a healthy cluster of baby cells that looks capable of becoming a real fetus) goes down dramatically as time passes. So the idea is that we do one last cycle — hopefully get another good blastocyst — and then we can start the transfers after that. We might get zero from this cycle or we might get another healthy embryo — either way we feel like this is our best shot to get a “backup” plan in place. Even if it ends up in failure, we felt we had to take it. (There is the separate issue of insurance probably declining to approve another IVF cycle after a failed transfer. Which is another reason we’re doing the cycle now, before the transfer — insurance did approve it so it doesn’t cost much out of pocket.) If we get a backup, that’s awesome, it means we’ll have a chance to try again if the transfer of Science Baby #1 fails for some reason.
I’m apprehensive about the upcoming cycle though — they are tough on us emotionally — and additionally I have to perform more care for Jennie as she goes through them because her energy is lower and her moods can be all over the place because of the drugs that pump her full of all sorts of hormones that encourage her body to release eggs into follicles so they can grow and be harvested. She describes this as “10 periods at once” when trying to communicate the craziness that happens inside of her head during peak cycle time. Another day she said she felt like the Hulk. I said you mean like She-Hulk and she said no, like Hulk, because Hulk is stronger and angrier.
Anyway. What I’m really concerned about is her trying to do elder care for her parents while we’re going through this together.
The last cycle, the one where she finally got a viable embryo, was far and away the best cycle she had — she produced a lot of eggs, 13 harvested. I suspect the cycle went so well because I insisted that she stop going to her parents’ house. We somehow got her brother to perform all the required care that month. I think it was because I spoke to him directly and he found me to be more convincing than his little sister. This meant Jennie was able to come home and relax after work — and she wasn’t emotionally drained from being around her sick parents.
Last night, for example, Jennie got home around six and told me that
a) her mother has yet another UTI — and the UTI is making her dementia worse plus
b) her Dad is angry and shouting at everyone again and intentionally skipping his morning pills (which I’ve suspected for weeks now) plus
c) the home help care that was hired to assist with the day to day grind of caring for them started to find — I am not making this up — plastic bags full of poop in the basement. (They are the mom’s for sure.)
This is all really distressing news and she cried half the night and I supported her, cooked dinner, cleaned up, held her, listened. Eventually I put on old Simpsons episodes so we could comfort watch something funny. It helped.
But the point is: She can’t be having nights like this while doing a cycle. The stress will screw everything up. I don’t know why we’d bother at all.
I told her this morning that she has a choice to make. Either do this cycle or go all-in on the parent care. I don’t know why she’d try to do both. She’ll just end up having a lousy, failed cycle and we’ll be miserable the whole way through it.
She said she’s not sure she can make that choice.
When she says stuff like this it sometimes feels as though she is choosing against me, somehow.
PS I had therapy today and Jennie and her parents and IVF is basically all I talked about. No conclusions, just bitching.