March 29, 2009

Micro-Array Results are In

It's good news. News with significant ramifications, though, which I'm still trying to process.

Out of the 21 embryos that were biopsied, 15 tested normal. So just under a 75% normal rate. We're in shock.

However, those 15 embryos combined with the 4 "no results" from last cycle, means that we have 19 embryos to deal with. And since it was never our goal to have 19 children - or 57, if you consider that each one of them theoretically has the potential to divide into identical triplets – that also comes with the aforementioned significant ramifications.

I'm just trying to let this news sink in, and let all the different emotions that are swirling around in my brain, settle down. They include, in no particular order:

Disbelief, as in are these results really true? What if the lab made a mistake? If they didn't, why did this cycle turn out so well, when last cycle we didn't have any confirmed normals? I think the only way to determine that for sure would be to thaw all of them, rebiopsy them, and then send the "no results" batch to the micro-array lab and the "normals" batch to the CGH lab, and see if they come back with similar or different results. But I'm not keen on thawing and refreezing them, so I doubt we'll do that.

Hope, which out of self-preservation my mind and heart have tried to squash (although never succeeding completely) over the course of this nightmare, especially the last couple of years. Now it's back, as much as my inner self will allow it to be. It's not a jumping-for-joy, shouting-from-the-rooftops kind of hope, more of just a small, quiet thing that is being allowed to sit tentatively in the corner of my heart for now, acknowledged but not a guarantee of anything.

Fear, because as much as everyone will think "wow, they've got it made now!" and as much as the staff at the clinic are shrieking in excitement, we've been on the wrong side of tiny, tiny odds too many times to count. It could happen again, folks. When you've lost six babies, the core of your soul eventually comes to accept that which most people are blissfully ignorant of their entire lives – nothing, NOTHING, in this world is ever guaranteed. Not even when there are 15 supposedly chromosomally normal embryos with your name on them.

Sad, because odds are that at least a couple of the babies we've lost were chromosomally normal. In May, it will be five years since we lost the first one. Half a decade. I wonder what they would have been like, think about the milestones they would have been reaching. I still ache for each one of them, every day.

Guilt, because odds are that at least a couple of the babies we've lost were chromosomally normal, which means it's my body's fault that we lost them. When I see another IFer post something like that, my instinctive reaction is "No, it's not your fault, there are just some things beyond anyone's control." And I believe that 100 percent. Yet the guilt is still there, underneath it all.

Fear, because what if we put one back and it works, and then a couple years later we put one back and it works, and then we have 13 remaining chromosomally normal embryos, and four other "no results"? I might, might be able to talk R into one more at that point (and who knows if I'd even want to?), but I definitely couldn't talk him into 17 more. Not that I would want 17 myself! And then would come the painful process of letting go of them and finding other families for them. And after you've worked so hard, endured so much, for so long, how do you live knowing that pieces of you, the two of you together, are out there walking around, without you to take care of them?

Overwhelmed, because if we transfer 4 or 5 or 8 of them to me and none of them work, we're going to have to attempt the gestational surrogacy process. And that's a whole new, huge, overwhelming task that I can't even begin to contemplate tackling. Not to mention, it will involve R or me (or both of us) having to get a new job that has surrogacy coverage, because we definitely don't have the financial resources available for that on our own.

Fear, because if we have to use all 15 embryos to reach our goal of two or three children, that means there's a whole lot of heartbreak, be it negative HPTs or miscarriages, that will have occurred along the way.

Fatigue, because this means there are now 15 chromosomally normal embryos between us and the end of the treatment road. I realize that's a great dilemma to have, and don't get me wrong - I'm incredibly grateful to have this dilemma rather than the alternative. But still, it's been a long 6 years, we don't know how many more we're facing, and right now I'm a heck of a lot older, fatter and more tired than I was when we began this process.

In a lot of ways, this 75% normal rate is the best outcome we could hope for, and I know that. But regardless of what the end of this road turns out to look like, this outcome is also a guarantee that there will continue to be tremendous pain along the journey to that end.

16 comments:

Sue said...

OMG! that is incredible! I knew you'd get some great results this time! That is crazy though- I guess if things don't go well one cycle, we shouldn't necessarily jump to conclusions (just proves my theory that you really can just have had a "bad" cycle). So, are you starting on your FET protocol soon?

DAVs said...

Whoa, my head is reeling from that news, and it has nothing to do with me. I agree with Sue--this does just confirm you can have a really bad cycle one month and a great one another month.
I'm really sorry for all these conflicting emotions you have. Since I've never gotten this far I don't have any true advice for you, except the pat thing to say: take things one day, one med, one transfer, one EVERYTHING at a time. It's all you can do. I can only hope for the path of least resistance (if that even exists anymore) for you towards your goal, but at least you have a good, solid start (if you count the starting line at right now). Take a deep breath.

Nic said...

That's great news, but I completely understand the trepidation that goes along with it. Hope is all we can do, I think. And I hope SO much for you...

Fashionably Infertile said...

THIS IS GREAT NEWS! I can understand your hesitation, with all that you have been through. Take a deep breath and start focusing on your upcoming FET. I am so excited for you!!!

kayjay said...

I totally understand your fear and trepidation about the results. Sometimes you wish so much for options and then when you get them, you don't know what to do since the possibilities are too many to consider. Congrats on the normals though and I truly hope that this means that you will be holding your baby in your arms soon. You've got a pretty good chance so hang onto that!

Silver said...

Fantastic news - but I totally sympathise with every emotion you express here!

MrsSpock said...

That is great news- but very understanding that this news also entails a road ahead where anything can happen, and the road behind has already been bumpy enough.

I hope this is the answer you've been seeking.

MamaSoon said...

Congratulations on the fantastic results. I can see why you've be cautiously optimistic. I hope you can carry your baby to term soon. :)

Rachel Inbar said...

With regard to the possibility of unused embryos in the future, I know this is an unpopular opinion (though it is actually what the vast majority of people choose to do, they just don't admit it) - embryos have the potential to implant, the potential to become fetuses and the potential to eventually become babies. Still, many of them never do. I don't even remember how many of mine didn't make it, since I had enough successes that it really makes no difference to me, but the ones I didn't need I left frozen until they were deemed no longer usable. And I don't feel a moment's guilt. I didn't want anyone else to have them. This was a much better choice for me.

I don't understand what the big difference between using an IUD to prevent implantation and preventing implantation of a frozen embryo is...

Rachel Inbar said...

Ah, so my conclusion is - just be happy that so many are normal and pray for the best!

Jill M. said...

Holy cow! Wow, that is crazy, exciting and scary all at the same time. Best wishes!

Polly Gamwich said...

I read this originally and neglected to comment. Seriously, it's AMAZING that you got that many normals ... I can't imagine what you're going through. Excited but scared I'm sure.

I just wanted to check in with you, see how you're doing, see how you've digested this, see if you have any plans ....Ok, that's it, just making sure you're doing ok.

onegoodswimmer said...

Those are GREAT results. Good for you. I just came across your blog today. I just started blogging myself (http://infertilitysux.blogspot.com/) and would love to add you to our blogroll. I'll be following you to see how you do. Best of luck.
K

Phoebe said...

I just started following your blog. I am considering CGH, but now I'm confused about the differences between CGH and microarray? I guess I will ask our RE tomorrow.

I hope this is good news for you. It must be hard to have some good news after getting a whole lotta bad news. (((Hugs!)))

Hopeful Mother said...

I am late to the comment party, but wanted to say that good news is still good, even with the ramifications that come along with it.

I will continue to root you on, on your journey towards your baby/babies!!!

Grad3 said...

Why does it always take me so long to get here???

While certainly overwhelming news- good news none the less. It does open up the options, huh?

Wishing you all the fabulous luck in the world and hoping that you find a road that works best for you and hubby! ~Hugs~