So here is where I share my infertility story and how it started. Full disclosure – my journey up to now has not encompassed years and years of trying to conceive naturally. In fact, when I found out my diagnosis I was not trying to conceive AT ALL. Which is one of the reasons this whole experience has been so surreal. I just want to say I understand if people are turned away from my story because I have not been suffering with this for years. I get that. I also have done this to people who are in different predicaments than I. Rationally I know everyone has their own story and I shouldn’t judge or dismiss them, but what can I say, I’m human. Hopefully blogging about these thoughts will help me (I judge a lot of people. That will be another blog). This whole experience has made me both more empathetic and also less understanding all at the same time. Bottom line is I understand if you do not understand!
Anyway, on October 18, 2013 I was diagnosed with extremely low AMH, which means I have a very low egg reserve for a woman of my age. What this means is that I don’t have a lot of eggs left, if any, and if I want to conceive a child of my own I need to start now and will most likely need the help of fertility drugs. Now let me put this into context – I decided mostly on a lark to have this test run at my gynecologist. I heard about this test on the show “Keeping up with the Kardashians” of all places and decided to just have it run and see how those little eggs were doing. I honestly was expecting a normal result and didn’t worry about it one bit. So to say the least it was a shock to find out not only did I have less eggs than is normal for a woman my age, my eggs were virtually UNDETECTABLE and more akin to those of a 45 year old. I was stunned (still am truthfully). I am a relatively healthy woman, never had any serious medical conditions, get my period every single month and have very regular cycles. I exercise, try and eat right and try to lead a healthy lifestyle. How could this happen?? Well, I still don’t have an answer to that and I probably never will, but here I am nonetheless.
At the time of diagnosis M and I had been together for approximately 15 months. He came with me to the RE. The doctor was a fast talker and gave us much information that left our heads spinning. She told us we should start the IVF process as soon as possible if we wanted the best possible chance to conceive a child. We took this news in and that night decided to stop using protection, something we had never once done since we started dating. Not wanting to completely jump the gun, we gave ourselves 6 months to try. 4 months passed, nothing happened. In February 2014 I decided to see an acupuncturist, who ironically was pregnant herself. I started seeing her once a week in addition to taking some Chinese herbs twice a day that she says will promote fertility. I was feeling pretty good about this but the month came and went and still no pregnancy. She did tell me results would take 3 to 6 months. I am not the best when it comes to patience.
In April 2014 I found myself back in RE’s office. Once again M accompanied me (more on him later). She again told me the same thing, the chances of conceiving on my own are virtually none, and IVF is the best option, although obviously nothing is a guarantee. She even suggested using donor eggs since mine are apparently so flimsy. I was again overwhelmed and yes a few tears were shed. I felt defeated, and any positivity I was feeling from the acupuncture treatments drained right out of me. I was shuffled in a haze from her office to my nurse’s office, who set up an appointment to get a semen analysis for M and further testing for me, which included but was not limited to an HSG test that hurt like a mf-er.
My HSG came back clear so my tubes aren’t blocked. However one week after that procedure my RE wanted to perform a saline sonogram because the radiologist said it seemed as though I had a bicornuate uterus (heart-shaped). Two good things – the saline sonogram was not nearly as painful as the HSG and it seemed I may only have a slight bicornuate or possibly none at all. Of course, nothing is simple and she did see something in the uterus, a polyp, cyst – she wasn’t sure. So now I needed to be booked for a hysteroscopy which happened about a month later, June 8. The good thing about this procedure it I was completely under anesthesia and didn’t feel a thing, during or after. The crazy thing was that my doctor found that little blip on the sonogram was not a polyp, but a septum that ran the entire length of my uterus! I am thankful this procedure was done, as if I had somehow gotten pregnant naturally there was a chance I would have miscarried since my uterus was essentially half the size it should be because of the septum.
Meanwhile, M’s SA came back and showed that he had both low morphology and motility. Again in the interest of full disclosure, I have to say I was kind of happy about this news. Happy may not be the right word, but at least I could say that the problem wasn’t just me. Either way, it seemed we were both striking out at every turn.
With my shabby & scrambled eggs and M’s misshapen & lazy sperm, we made the decision that we would go forward with IVF. Now as anyone who has ever made this decision knows, surprise!–it is not easy. The financial burden was a consideration (more on insurance, big corporations, and how both are f’ed up in a subsequent blog). Also the emotional toll. In addition to that, M and I are not married. We are not even engaged. Neither of these things bother us, as we know both will happen in the future. We know we would like to have children someday. We just thought it would be in two, three years, not now. And not this way. So we researched and we asked questions and we had frank conversations. I prayed and meditated about it. We figured this may be our best chance. If by some miracle we get pregnant naturally in a few years than great! We’ll take it! But we don’t want to pin all our hopes on that chance. IVF is not a guarantee, which we have had the privilege of discovering first hand, but at least it’s SOMETHING.
Fast forward to one cancelled IVF cycle later, here I am. I know it’s cliche but this has all been very unexpected, confusing, sad, anxiety promoting, and many other superlatives. I mean M and I weren’t even planning on THINKING about having children right now. I know I am not in my twenties anymore, but I still thought I would have time. So I went from being momentarily child free and happy to starting IVF procedures within a 10 month span. I feel like my life just changed and I am just trying to keep up. So that’s my scrambled story.