Thank you for the supportive comments regarding my niece. I really appreciate it and I am doing much better now. Life just throws curve balls at you and you have to hop along, however slowly, to catch them. I really love my niece and am going to try and help her as much as I can with her disability.
Today I am wondering where my husband and I go from here. We just had our first failed IVF. Let me tell you a little about that cycle. It was "picture perfect" according to my RE. In fact, my RE actually told me that I responded "like a 22 year-old egg donor." At retrieval, I had 25 eggs retrieved, 19 of which fertilized, and had two 5-day blasts transferred. They were early blasts, however, so there was not yet an inner cell mass. That was fine by the embryologist and RE.
After retrieval though, I became worried after learning that I had nothing to freeze despite being a reputed hyper stimulator and the number of good embryos still dividing three days after transfer. The embryologist assured me that each embryo/blast is its own unique genetic entity - and that you can't say "oh I had a bad batch of eggs" or "this is indicative of bad egg quality." He said most people at our clinic (60 percent) have nothing to freeze. Not that it made me feel any better. Because there was and is (especially since the IVF did not work) this little voice inside my head telling me that my eggs are incapable of going past the early blast stage.
Everything was perfect during our IVF cycle. Both my RE and therapist (who specializes in infertility counseling) said they were "shocked" it did not work. Great. But it did not. So where does that leave us?
I do not have any reason to think that I have "bad" eggs, whatever that means. My FSH is low, I had beautiful embryos three days after retrieval and, again, 19 fertilized. But I am 36, so my eggs are older than the 22 year-old egg donor I was being ridiculously compared to. But still, WTF? 25 eggs and nothing? This is a reminder that the doctors and embryologists, however fancy their facilities and whatever their success rates, do not have it completely under control. The unknown factor will always be the unknown factor. And, as an uber-controlling person who loves the formula "Do X and Y To Get Z," this is what most distresses me about IVF and ART in general. No, that formula is Do X and Y To Possibly Get Z or ZZ, or zero.
My RE went out on a limb and said that it will happen with IVF. He says that we just have to catch the right embryo. Sounds like going fishing to me. And fishing is pretty hard based on my own limited experiences. I remember sitting there for hours with my dad doing nothing and not figuring out how to even throw the damn line.
My RE also advised that he won't change anything for the next cycle because I did "so well," which simply astounds me. And just so you know, I'm going to one of the top clinics in the country. The doctors there have fabulous success rates. It is just so hard to wrap my head around; we have 19 eggs fertilize and it does not work, while my friend has a crappy IVF cycle (she is a poor responder) and has four eggs retrieved, one of which fertilizes and is now a beautiful baby boy. (I'm very, very, very happy for her of course, I'm just saying - nothing adds up to make any sense at all).
The painful lesson is this: it is definitely quality over quantity. And even with quality, it might not work.
Our next IVF is tentatively scheduled for April 2008.