Stopping the Clock on Fertility Calculus

Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock…

This has been my life for almost five years: running frantically in the general direction of baby with time, like a beast, snarling and nipping at my heels. CCRM cryopreserved the clock. Aha, take that, Time! (Cue powerful roundhouse kick to the face of said scary monster.) I have 3 confirmed chromosomally normal blastocysts in a freezer in suburban Colorado, suspended in time at age under-35.

And thank goodness because I am s o  t i r e d. This whole process is an anxiety-ridden tornado of figures to be compared and analyzed–fertility calculus that hurts my brain. My AMH is .95 and then .44; my antral follicle count is 6 or 8 or 2 or 13; my FSH still holds normal, thankfully, under 10, but now my E2 is elevated, and what does that mean? Then another failed pregnancy comes my way–miscarriage #6. Is it in the one remaining tube? Did the beta drop? Is the beta at zero yet? How many weeks until I can cycle? That begins the counting of cycle days for the OPK so I can prime, and comparing dosages for stimulation protocols after consulting with three doctors. How much insurance coverage do we have left? How many cycles can we afford to bank? How much will it cost out-of-pocket? How many follicles are growing? How big are they measuring? How thick is my lining? Did my E2 double appropriately? If I multiply my growing follicle count by 200, is my E2 at least that high? How many eggs did they get? How many are mature? How many fertilized? How many cells do they have on day 3? What’s the percentage of fragmentation? How many developed into blastocysts? What stage? What were the grades? How many chromosomes do they have? How many embryos do we have available for transfer? How many should we transfer? What if I transfer one and I have to sustain another devastating failure? What if I transfer two and I lose twins because of a high-risk pregnancy I created? What is my chance of pregnancy in each scenario? What is the chance of twins? What are the odds of miscarriage? On and on and on until…..

SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just shut the fuck up for two goddamn minutes. Jesus.

Of course this is an argument I am having with myself, which speaks volumes about the impact of infertility and its subsequent treatment on my sanity. I have to consider that as I weigh the question on everyone’s lips (including mine) at this stage: when’s transfer? Gosh, I’m not sure I’m up for that just yet. I am threadbare and so conflicted about what this means and what to do going forward. If I made normal embryos, then can’t we assume I have in the past too? Why, then, am I not the mother of several children after 4 IVFs? No, I am happy and hopeful but also cautious because the reality is that CCS is no guarantee. I knew this going in, but I honestly didn’t think we’d have anything to transfer, just an explanation that would give me the green light for donor eggs. I need time, and right now I’m really relishing the fact that I have the liberty to take it without consequence. I also need to step out of this infertility world in which I have been so thoroughly immersed for years…to forget some of what I know, replenish, restore, rejuvenate, relax into the rhythm of a normal life that doesn’t revolve around analysis of my ovaries and the emotional repercussions of their under-achievement. So this is my sayonara (for now), my wave from the airport terminal as I go out on sabbatical: muah, muah, byeeeeeee, see you in the spring! I’m off on Operation Put-Myself-Back-Together-Again, which is part of the Enjoy-Life Initiative.

16 thoughts on “Stopping the Clock on Fertility Calculus

  1. It seems like an excellent decision to step away from infertility a bit and regain some sanity. Breathe in, breathe out. Plenty of time before diving back into the pool. Good luck!


  2. Yay for those chromosomally normal blastocysts! I am so thrilled for you! But I can understand the need to take a break. I hope you will come back all energized and rejuvenated. Can’t wait to see how your story unfolds. 🙂


  3. That rant of questions is so perfect, and yes, shut the fuck up is the only sane response! I’m so happy to hear about your normal embryos, and also understanding of why the news also makes you wonder what the heck was going wrong in the past, then. But it’s such a great idea to step away and get yourself back in enjoying-life mode. I’ve had a great deal of time to reflect recently and I realize that as much as I’ve enjoyed life these past three years, I have also been under an extraordinary amount of stress—having this stress-free time, and time to explore my inner life, has been eye-opening. I’m like: “Oh, yeah, THIS is what I’ve needed all along.” Get your body, mind, and spirit in that happy place and that state + normal embryos will = mama-time, methinks.


    • Yes, right now my sights are set on a yoga retreat @ Kripalu and a 5k, both in April, both of which are ideal for cleansing mind and body. I told DH: I just want to, like, eat healthy meals, get enough sleep, get the blood pumping, organize my cabinets and closets so that my house is back in order, and clear my head for awhile, especially since everything recently with my family has opened up a lot of ancient wounds that now need mending. No matter how transfer turns out, I need to fortify myself first–either to sustain failure and make peace with the road ahead or to begin pregnancy in a happy place instead of fueling a continuation of this soul-crushing worry. I’m taking a page from your very wise book, Mama 🙂


  4. Your questions are so bang on, so perfect. The internal dialogue we have with ourselves is so exhausting. I’m very pleased for your perfect blasts but I’m also very pleased to hear about operation Enjoy-Life. This is very important, and I think you’ll find it enormously beneficial. Thinking of you xx


  5. I could’ve written this post myself! Every bit of internal agonizing you have expressed here is just so reflective of what this process puts us through. Wishing you a lovely, restful time up ahead!


  6. A from-the-waist-up post. Good for you. I’ve been thinking of you and hoping that you’re hanging in there by more than a thread but less than a noose. Glad to hear that you’re taking a step back from things. It’ll be here when you return. PS: You have loads of support (obvee), but if you ever want to connect more personally, shoot me an email. Now back to lurking…


    • Ha, yes, somewhere between a thread and a noose. At a certain point with these calls from embryology I (figuratively, obviously) had the noose prepped, and when they started talking I was like…Wait, but where’s the bad news? I’m average? Weeeeeeeeeeeee! And thanks for extending yourself (re: the invitation to email). If this all goes awry, I may need that.


  7. Yes, yes, A… all that effort and energy you have consecrated to ameliorating egg quality, mending and severing family ties, mastering embryo-related-anxieties, and so much more… redirect it all towards the kind and careful cultivation of your well-being. I am hopeful for you my dear, I really truly am.


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