Today we had the follow-up ultrasound. On Sunday, the ultrasound had shown no response to the Flare IVF protocol. The doctor who looked up my lady parts recommended cancellation two days ago, but we chose to finish the medication and go back for another scan today. I was looking forward to this ultrasound the same way I look forward to a funeral.
The past two days have been tough. We told a few people - my inlaws, my immediate colleagues - mainly because we had arrangements to see and talk to them and it would have been quite impossible to hide the feelings or talk inconsequentially about foolish things.
I went to work on Monday and did OK - but felt tired all the time and had frequent headache/stomachache. And always the feeling of thick sadness and disappointment right at my center. It was like I was wearing a big sticky burr that picked up all kinds of random debris from my daily life till it it formed a giant sadness collage.
For example....When I went to my dance class on Monday, I had to walk past a bunch of children in the hallway. They were all over the benches and floor, getting ready for ballet, highland, or Irish dance class. Girls (sisters?) braiding each other's hair, chattering, the sound of feet coming from the studios. Now, for whatever reason when I imagine my own baby, I almost always picture a boy. But yesterday, seeing all the little girls made me think I would never have a daughter to take to dance class like my mother took me. No getting dressed in tights and leotards, no making costumes for recitals, no tiny pink or black slippers....it was devastating. Of course I realize that even if I had a daughter, she may not want to take dance classes, and then none of that might happen anyway, and I'm completely fine with that....but.......yeah.
And then this morning we drove past a Christian gift store on the way to the clinic. In the window was a poster advertising "More selection! - for baptism, first communion, confirmation"... Neither myself nor Mr. Turtle is Catholic, and we have no plans to participate in any of those rituals. But the list made me think about birth, and growing up, and all the milestones of family and childhood that we have, regardless of religion or lack thereof. And again it was reminder of what we might not have, and certainly won't have as a result of this failed cycle.
The scan at The Fertility Clinic shows no change from Sunday. No response to the protocol. And when I say no response, I mean NO RESPONSE. In fact things looked worse in this scan than in the scan that confirmed the Diminished Ovarian Reserve diagnosis in May last year. On that scan I had four follicles and a 9mm lining. After doing Flare Protocol, I have two tiny follicles on one ovary, and uterine lining of 2.5mm. Only a giant middle finger on the ultrasound screen could have given a clearer message.
On the good side, everyone at the clinic took good care of us today. This was a great improvement from Sunday, when I felt confused and neglected. First I had to wait in the ultrasound room for 45 minutes because the attending doctor was called to do some other procedure. Then she came in, probed about with the dildo cam for a few minutes - it was very painful for some reason that day - then summarily announced from between my naked legs that there was no response and that usually in these cases the cycle is cancelled. I think I made some intelligent response like "Oh I see." We then went home and got a call an hour later from the nurse that the bloodwork confirmed no response. She asked if I had "discussed" cancellation with Dr. ------? Um, sure. Exactly when were we supposed to have discussed anything? Behind the sadness and disappointment about the cycle, I felt a bit irritated that after paying nearly $9000 to the clinic (not including drugs) we weren't given 20 minutes to sit down with a doctor - fully clothed - and discuss the protocol and the results. I imagine that the doctors see this all the time and it's obvious to them, but it's different when it's your body and your hopes for a family. After a bit of phone tag with the clinic, I was able to get my questions answered, but I wasn't very impressed.
Things were better today. Mr. Turtle came into the ultrasound room with me, so that he knew everything as soon as I did and I didn't have to leave him in suspense or talk about it in the waiting room. The clinic booked us in for an appointment with the counsellor today, which we hadn't even asked for, but it was a good idea. AND I was able to book a follow-up appointment with Dr. Cotter (who prescribed the Flare Protocol) for this Thursday. I was shocked as we've never been able to get an appointment with her less than four weeks in advance. I've very glad we do not have to wait an eternity to meet with her, ask questions, and discuss options for the future. All of that makes me feel better, despite the cancelled cycle. And yes, we will get most of the money back, not that I am attached to it for its own sake. I would happily have given all that money, twice that much, if this cycle could have succeeded. But it doesn't work that way, and whatever the future holds, we'll find a use for it.
The counsellor was helpful. I cried a little. I'm not a crier, but it had to come out. I think I cried the hardest when she asked what kind of supports we had in our lives. We talked about our family, a few close friends that we've shared with. And then I told her I blog, and that the other women - Dear bloggers, I meant to say that the other women - all of you - were such a big help and support, but I couldn't finish the sentence. I just rained tears and snot. And then croaked out that sometimes talking about kind people made me more sad. Which is true, but you make things better too. And now there are tears and snot on my keyboard.
I do feel better now that things are finished and we've had a chance to talk and process a little. I'm still very tired but I feel able to engage with the world a little bit.
Thank you to everyone for your compassion and suggestions in the comments of other blogs to read as well as questions to ask the clinic. It is all very much appreciated and I will look into those things as we move forward.