XY with Several Chromosomal Abnormalities [Philosophical Monday]

I think the hardest part of IVF is how plain spoken it is. You know that aunt or uncle you have, who’s all straight talk and says stuff like “I tell it like it is” in a hideously self-righteous way, while whoever s/he just straight talked cries in the kitchen? Yeah, well, IVF is way more obnoxious than that.

With IVF, you don’t have guesstimated conception date, you know exactly when you got knocked up, because you, your partner, the doctor, a nurse, and a few other people were there. Suppose you forget the date, all you have to do is call up your RE, who wrote it down in several places or consult all the paperwork that was sent home with you.

Then, if you do manage to get knocked up, you know that for sure within a matter of 10 days.

If you get a negative pregnancy test with IVF (or a BFN [big fat no] as we call it online), it’s not like a negative home pregnancy test, where a small percentage of the time, the woman’s actually pregnant, but the test isn’t picking it up yet or whatever. No, IVF, is all like, “You’re not pregnant. Straight-up, you’re not pregnant. Don’t even hang a little shingle of hope for pregnancy, because you totally aren’t. Expect your period any day now.”

If your HCG levels don’t rise, then your doctor has to tell you that you are having a very early miscarriage before you actually have it.

During our first miscarriage, my husband said a few times that he wished we had never even known we were pregnant. He wondered if there was a way not to be told the next time we got pregnant, if we could just have the doctor keep us in the dark until the first ultrasound at 6 weeks. I answered that the doctor would have to tell me, at least, because if I’m not pregnant, then I don’t have to take progesterone, and if I am, then I do. And he probably couldn’t avoid knowing that I was still paying for progesterone, since he has the same access to our accounts that I do. I’ve read that very early miscarriages or chemical pregnancies happen all the time. If your period is a few days late, there’s a chance that you might have miscarried a baby. But in most cases, women don’t know, which is fortunate.

However, with IVF, there is no way not to know. Believe me we’ve tried to figure out how not to know quite a bit, and every proposed scenario always ends with us knowing.

Take for instance, our last miscarriage at eight weeks. In a spontaneous pregnancy, if you miscarry at eight weeks and your doctor decides to do a DNC, most often they don’t test the fetus. In fact, if you have a miscarriage with a spontaneous pregnancy and are worried about what caused it, you most often would have to put in a request to have the fetus sent on to pathology to find out exactly why the baby didn’t make it. With our miscarriage though, the baby automatically got sent to a lab. And before we could move on to the next stop of trying again with a fresh cycle of IVF, we needed to wait for two things: 1) my first period after the miscarriage and 2) the pathology report on the miscarried baby.

Well, I got my period last Tuesday, so things are maybe back to normal down there. And on Wednesday, our RE called with the pathology report. She told me that the baby was XY with several chromosomal abnormalities. Basically, that means it was a boy and that CH and I are now going to have to do karotype testing to make sure we’re not in the small percentage of people that might have chromosomal issues. Either, Betty was lucky, or the baby boy was unlucky. Blah, blah, blah … all I really registered was that it was a boy.

And that’s what I mean about IVF being too plain spoken. I didn’t need to know that it was a boy. I have a life to live, a daughter and husband to love, a second book to rewrite, a debut novel paperback release to flog, a fierce and nerdy blog to run, deadlines on top of deadlines. No time to be sad. It would have been easier if that detail had remained a mystery.

But IVF is the opposite of mysterious. And that’s what makes it so hard. Just in case you were wondering…

featured image credit: PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE