It's been a long time internet! MUCH longer than I expected. Since our BFN in December I pretty much lost the plot.... I literally had a total meltdown and just couldn't do this any more. I needed a complete break. I needed to forget about all things baby related and just focus on myself, my marriage, my family and friends and frankly get my life back in order... Initially I started looking into DE options, but I was still struggling with that decision. I just wasn't sure that I wanted to put myself through any more disappointment, but mostly I had yet to fully mourn my dream of having a child who is a genetic match for myself.
Over the months I have to admit, I even started seeing the "silver lining" of life without kids. "Can I meet you for a drink in an hour? Sure! I don't have to arrange child care or anything." "You want to take a spur of the moment road trip to Louisiana? Let me grab my purse!" I focused on those thoughts for a couple of months, but the sadness continued to hit me when I least expected it . If you're reading this blog I am guessing that you know exactly the kind of sadness I am talking about... the sadness that rises up from deep inside and burns it's way up your body until it breaks out in a deep, loud sob complete with hot sweats and shaking. The kind that causes your palms to tingle and your eyes to burn when someone asks an innocent question like, "How many kids do you have?" (Though I did once manage to try on a new reply to this question, "None." Not expecting the third degree that would follow: "None?? Why not?" "I just don't want any." "But kids are awesome! I can't imagine my life with out my kids." <-- yeah, so that went well. It still ended with me hysterically crying and almost walking out with an incomplete set of acrylic nails.... Ohhhh the joys of infertility!)
So yeah... despite now being able to see the benefits of a child-free life, I am clearly not ready to accept that as my "fate". I am recovered from the fog. I've lost 20 of the 40 pounds I gained last year and I am ready to dust off, and move forward with the new plan... Donor IVF.
I've asked around and done some of my own research on our options and for us the best option is European donor cycle. We've chosen a clinic in Prague which has a great guarantee program, awesome pricing, and seem very willing to work with me on my biggest issue which is finding a donor with curly hair.
My only real issue with this clinic is that the Dr (we will call him Dr. Prague for the purposes of this blog) will not do an initial Skype consultation with us until we've done some of the preliminary screening tests he has requested. Given that it's been over 2 years since we last did some of these tests we need to repeat them and this is taking some time. He also wants my records from Dr. S's office which I thought was going to be a simple thing to get to him -- uh, no... 4 IVF cycles, 4 TESE procedures and a laparoscopy seem to have created well over 100 pages of records which now need to be scanned (by me) and sent on to Prague.
Additionally, though I made certain that my local RE office would be willing to do monitoring appointments for an overseas cycle after reading about other's experience with this issue - they are now saying that they will do ONLY monitoring appointments after the cycle begins, and they will ONLY do these with an order from Dr. Prague. They are unwilling to do any of the pre-screening tests for us. I emailed them back and what I wanted to say was, "I am shocked that after spending about $80,000 with your practice you are unwilling to help us move into this new option - even though we are more than willing to pay for these services!" I reworded the message several times before sending... in the end it sounded more like "Boy, well that's upsetting. Since we started this journey with <RE-NAME> we really had hoped to follow through with you to the (hopefully) happy end. I was under the impression that we were partners in this, and it saddens me to think that we are on our own now." Thankfully they responded to let me know that after some discussion they have decided to make an exception for us and then listed several criteria that we need to meet, but basically, yes, they will do pre-screening and monitoring for us.
Phew! So that's where we are now... running about getting tests done, checking on the success of the vasectomy reversal surgery - hopefully Mr R won't need another (5th) TESE in Prague as there they do it under general anesthetic and it will confuse matters - plus, you know... it would suck for him. And finally I'll probably be stationed at our manual, one-page-at-a-time scanner all weekend digitizing our medical reports to send to Dr. Prague on Monday.
Mentally, I guess I am excited about DE now. I am still sad at the loss of genetic children, but I've decided for certain that I don't want to be childless. The success rates at the Prague clinic are encouraging -- maybe too encouraging -- 63% success with single embryo transfer which rises to 70% with two. I have caught myself browsing baby gear online while picking out a gift for a friend's toddler. I had to stop myself from saying out loud what I was thinking when moving furniture around between our two spare bedrooms. I couldn't bring myself to stop discussing baby names with Mr. R, though... I am human after all.