Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Great Uterine Wall

Never has my uterus needed more of a break than now. In the three years of trying to conceive, this is probably the only moment in which timing has been on our side. What better way to escape from this infertility quagmire than to go far far away to China. My husband has a project in Beijing and I'm coming along for the ride! We depart this thursday and it's the perfect way for me to leave all my losses behind and fly fly away. The last time I was in Asia was in 1997 when I was working in Tokyo for the summer during grad school and I travelled through China and Thailand. So I feel a nostalgia for my more adventurous travel days when going to "unknown territory" meant jetting off to thrilling escapades instead of unsatisfying follow-up meetings with your RE.

According to my RE, my tubes are clearly not causing the ectopics. On the flip side, he thinks perhaps it's my uterus that is not cooperating. My Great Uterine Wall may be keeping the embryos out thinking they are hostile enemy. He proposes doing a uterine biopsy to see if it is abnormal. If it is, then he would proceed with a estrogen priming protocol and using an estring to thicken my lining, As I sat there listening to him, taking it all in, I said to myself, "Wait a minute, that all sounds nice and dandy but this would mean I have to do IVF#4?" As I said before, I have all but given up on my uterus so why would this give me any hope that she will cooperate? There is nothing to say that some more estrogen it just going to magically transform my Great Uterine Wall and whallah - baby. I just don't trust it anymore.

As much as this gives a miniscule glimmer of a chance that my uterus might still work, the prospects of a nice young and hospitable uterus is still incredibly appealing to me. In a nutshell, the surrogacy agency was extremely helpful and informative. The process is long but not too ridiculous in terms of steps. Basically after you actually find a surrogate there are some legals issues and medical testing and then the rest is just like if I was doing IVF on myself, just transfer happens with someone else. 

So it will help me to list the pros and cons here so I can get my head straight and then run off to China and pretend none of this exists in my life. 

Pros of Surrogacy
  • A safe non-hostile environment for my embryos.
  • No more testing and procedures for me to keeping chartering unknown territories that leave me lost and frustrated.
  • No more ectopics
  • A physical separation from potential loss. Maybe it will hurt a tiny bit less if I am not the one physically miscarrying?
Cons of Surrogacy
  • Expensive!
  • It would take 18 - 24 months if it worked the first time. If you have to cycle again it's even longer. I will be close to 40 if and when this ever works.
  • I have to get use to the idea of letting a total stranger carry my child. 
Pros of doing IVF#4 on myself
  • Not much, besides if it worked I would be pregnant way earlier than doing surrogacy. That's been the case for 3 IVFs already. But why would I believe something that's cried wolf too many times?
Cons of doing IVF#4 on myself
  • Risk of new protocol not making any difference, which then creates all the following risks:
  • Risk of Ectopic and all evil havoc that it causes
  • Risk of Miscarriage because of my horrible luck, plus my blood clotting factor
  • Risk of BFN
  • Risk of total and complete annihilation of my heart.
So all in all, surrogacy is still winning the race. But for this very moment in my life, I'm going to leave behind this country, with all these questions in it, and go to a new country where life means new tastes, new sites, new sounds, new people, and not a needle in sight.

UPDATE: I've heard that apparently you can't access in Beijing. So probably won't be able to post while I am away. But will certainly report back when I set foot on U.S. soil. 


luna said...

have a wonderful trip! hope you can leave some of this far behind for a little while... ~luna

Duck said...

HAve an amazing trip in China. I hear you on the great uterine wall, i want to make a f*&$ed up uterus club, u in?

peesticksandstones said...

What a fantastic trip that is going to be -- dang, I'm jealous :0

Beyond forgetting IF, I hope you are also able to reconnect with more parts of yourself you haven't been able to nurture over these past years.

Taking my first extended break from all the drugs in about a year has been quite an awakening -- reminding me of my old self, too. The me that was up for adventures, expressing my creativity, etc.

Happy travels!

Andie said...

Have a wonderful trip, so glad you are taking a break. I hear you on 'forgetting that this exists in my life'.

I have a couple of comments about your RE. You have one of the antiphospholipids (forgetting MTHFR for a moment). Has he not ever recommended lovenox for you? I was kind of surprised following this last pg that you didn't mention it? I would have thought that was standard from transfer in your case. If you did I apologise if I've missed it.

I agree that it could be your uterus - you might have natural killer cell activity (I do).I had the uterine biopsy and that was how they found it. Just make sure that's what they are looking for - not LPD. I haven't heard of that estrogen priming treatment before - the usual way would be to suppress immune response.

I am just writing this in the hope that it helps. All the best.

TABI said...

Thanks Andie! I did do lovenox this round but since it was ectopic it didn't matter. My RE did say he would try starting lovenox earlier, after transfer, instead of at first positive beta. Thanks for the info on NK activity. I've heard of that but I guess a biopsy will look for those things. I think I am definitely going to get the uterine biopsy but just not sure if what they find will really change my mind on how to proceed. How do they suppress immune response- with drugs? Thanks again for the help!

Ahuva Batya said...

You have a lot to think about, but you're very clear in your head, from this post. I hope the time in China helps. and that you have a very safe trip!

JJ said...

Definitely a lot to think about in all the pros and cons...I hope that getting away to the land of China brings some clarity. Have a great time!

Ms Heathen said...

Have a wonderful trip, Tabi! I hope this time away gives you a new perspective, and helps you decide where you might go from here.

shinejil said...

Have a great time! I'm so eager to see your posts from China. What a prime moment to get away to a whole new, hopefully fascinating place. I hope a serious change of scene will help bring clarity about your next steps.

Anonymous said...

Tabi ... I hope you have a wonderful and exciting trip ... perhaps this time is what you need in order to help you decide your next step.

Pamela Jeanne said...

Trips are a great way to catch some perspective and clear the head. Wishing you safe and happy travels!

Working Girl said...

Congrats on the awesome trip! I hope your are able to really enjoy yourself and clear your mind. Vacations are great to help reconnect with yourself and your husband. I hope you find some peace there!

alicia said...

Ohh wow exciting. I think this is such a fantastic idea! It will be so good to escape for a while. I am glad to hear your appointment with the surrogacy place went well.

Have a fun break! I look forward to reading your posts from China!

the Babychaser: said...

I saw the picture of the fabulous vacationing uterus, and read about your plans, and for a moment was swept away by the fantasy of going far, far away. Ah, escape.

As for your choice, how is someone supposed to make these kinds of decisions? It's so not fair (echoing a comment I made on Luna's blog tonight as well).

After my ectopic, I fantasized about asking the doctors to sew my tubes closed, right at the entrance to the uterus. I mean, I'm never going to use those tubes again, am I? Why not just shut the door, make sure the embryos have nowhere else to go?

Have fun on your vacation! Try to let go of everything, if even for a few days.