Monday, April 26, 2010

Not a Sprint

Last Monday was Patriots' Day here in Massachusetts. A recognition of the first Revolutionary War battles, this holiday tends to be outshined by another annual occasion occurring on the same day, the Boston Marathon. "Marathon Monday" brings over half a million students, families and fans to the race course to cheer on more than 20k runners. It's quite a spectacle and the pride of Boston.

Shannon and I are in the midst of our own marathon. Unlike the foot race, our pursuit has no clear finish line. In fact, we're not even sure where it is or what we'll find when we get there. All we do know is that the distance to cover is far, requiring patience and perserverance and a small dose of fatalism to accept that what will be, will be.

It's been some time since we've written. Frankly, we're tired of writing about lousy news just as much as you're probably tired of reading it. In fact, we've been taking pleasure in other surrogacy blogs. By our count, Surrogacy India has welcomed seven births in the past few weeks! If there's better news to be had, we can't think of it. A gigantic, go-get-'em congrats to all!

A couple weeks ago Shannon and I met with our local fertility doctor, Dr. Ian Hardy, to get his opinion about some open questions. Should we work with R again? Regardless of the carrier, should Shannon go through a round of IVF here in the States or should we wait until we've made an attempt with our remaining two embryos? And is there anything we could do to improve our chances the next time around?

First, R. Touchingly, she expressed a desire to work with us again if we'd have her. The termination had been induced medically, resulting in an expected recovery time of around two months. This means the earliest we could perform the transfer would be sometime in June or July (two full months recovery, one month hormonal preparation). Should we work with her again? When all is said and done, Dr. Hardy thought this would be perfectly fine as she had a good history and had become pregnant with one of our own. Why add another variable by introducing an untested carrier? Disconcertingly, we had no idea how to answer a bunch of questions about R's cycle of progesterone as she prepared for the transfer. We didn't think to ask and Drs. Sudhir and Yash never told us. Technically, if the progesterone cycle was screwed up, R's uterus wouldn't have been ready for the transfer and the pregnancy would have failed. Cripes!! Nice to find this out AFTER the entire cycle.

I have to say this has been the most frustrating part of the entire process - the availability of information. We've pretty much had to ask for everything. Little info was forthcoming and what info did exist was late to arrive. (Yes, we were warned about this when speaking to references from each agency about the India option. "That's doing business in India." Might be - but it still sucks.) Now for a "normal", full term pregnancy this would probably come off as a minor annoyance. But when the pregnancy fails, this lack of information creates a vacuum that naturally forces you to question everything, including the quality of care. Was this miscarriage a mere act of God or a preventable mistake? Shannon and I intellectually know the IVF clinic, lab and hospitals used by Surrogacy India are top notch. (Not only did our local fertility doctor confirm this information but other reputable agencies also use the same facilities.) And we know there have been many successes. But hey, ours wasn't a success and, well, that's the one we care about most.

Anyway, we'll be much more vigilant about monitoring R's progress as she's prepared for the next attempt - beginning with a carefully worded correspondence with Drs. Sudhir and Yash. The next question was about when Shannon should put herself through another round of IVF. Dr. Hardy strenuously recommended we wait until the next attempt with R is seen through. Why go through the rigors of IVF when we've got two very good quality embryos waiting for a chance? Our doctor here has stressed more than once that he sees his job as helping patients to bring a single (one) baby into this world, and this recommendation fits that world view. Works for us. We were also going to ask if he'd provide a full cycle of IVF for free so Shannon wouldn't have to go through it all again in Mumbai.... Ok, kidding about the free part but the chance that Shannon can do this cycle again overseas is slim to none, nor do I want to see my wife go through that experience again.

A part of us was desperate to start a second round right away. We don't even know if both embryos will be thawed successfully, raising the exciting proposition that we have something to be nervous about before being nervous about the pregnancy itself. Positive thoughts and vigilance - that's all we can do to make sure this next attempt goes well. It's comforting to have our local doctor's professional endorsement for the current plan so we'll stick to it. I'm thinking of filling up on pasta to carbo load before the next go-round. That's what you do for marathons, right?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Party For One

I have the party dress. I definitely have the gorgeous heels. I have the sparkly bracelets I bought in India that match my party dress and I have the perfect clutch bag to coordinate. (Of course, this IS me writing.) Sadly, I also have a thick box of tissues. All of this for the pity party I'm having and although I don't have them very often, I am entitled. (Geoff can crash but only after I have a few dances alone.)

We've come to terms with our recent miscarriage and we are doing better. We understand that when anyone miscarriages it's because there is something wrong with the pregnancy and, as difficult and heartbreaking as it is, it's for the best. For us, it is a bump on an already difficult and very rough road. However, we will get through all of this and we are still very hopeful we will have a family some day.

In the meantime, the emotional roller coaster continues. I'm not sure how it's fair that some are graced with three, four, five children when others are desperately trying for just one. I don't begrudge anyone for it, I just don't see how it's fair, especially when fertility issues come into play. As if infertility is not bad enough, some have to go through the process over and over again. Heck, some can't even afford adoption, surrogacy, IVF... and live life without children. It makes me wonder, who the hell is calling the shots here!? Many incredible people we know haven't had the luxury of getting pregnant on their own and have had to repeatedly go through multiple fertility processes. It's depressing, frustrating and not right. I am consistently surprised at how more and more common infertility is and to good people! It's simply not fair.

With regard to next steps, our surrogate has graciously agreed to try again with us, which is fabulous news as she's already proven she can get pregnant. That's one less thing to worry about so we won't be blindly entering the process again. R will need approximately two months to recover and then a third month to prepare for our next transfer. During that time, we are considering going through a round of IVF here in the States with the intention of freezing more embryos; time is not on our side as I get older and my egg production decreases. We have an appointment with our local fertility doctor this coming Friday to discuss all that has happened thus far and this potential next cycle. The journey continues.....

Life does go on and we want to wish everyone a happy Passover and Easter!