I’m sitting on the edge of a very big, very expensive decision. Many of you can probably guess what that decision is- and you’re right. It’s IVF. Something I never thought I’d be considering- for several reasons. But here I am.
I’ve never really been a blogger, but I recently stumbled upon another infertility blog, the infertile chemist, and I had SO many similarities to the writer, I’m also a 34 year old scientist (Biology PhD), and I’m 99.99% sure we are seeing the same doctors, even saw the same acupuncturist, and being diagnosed with DOR. I guess I felt like exploring my experiences in this form might help me sort my feelings and options, and if by chance someone else actually reads this, maybe some life support while I drift in this vast sea of infertility, trying to keep my head above water.
So why the sea metaphor? Well, I’m not just a biologist, I’m a marine biologist- so I guess I everything tends to come back to the ocean for me. I also live in Southern California, and while I wouldn’t consider myself an avid surfer, I’ve put in some time on a board. Throughout this experience, every month has felt to me like I’m paddling so hard, doing everything my body will let me do to catch that wave (the pregnancy wave), but somehow it just keeps passing me by. Leaving me out there on my own and rolling into shore without me. And yes, it gets harder when I see other people catching that wave so easily, they barely do a stroke or a kick and they pop right up and are on their way. Of course, lately it feels like everyone else is catching those waves and I’m getting more and more lonely waiting.
I’m not exactly new to this game of infertility. My husband and I got married in 2011 when I was 31, we (perhaps foolishly) thought we could wait a little and enjoy just being married and together for a while (we had been long distance for most of our engagement). We started “not trying not to get pregnant” around my 32nd birthday (October 2011). Then a direct conflict arose with my career. SCUBA diving. You can’t dive while pregnant, and I decided to do a program in Honduras, which required diving- a LOT of diving. So we stopped trying that summer, as soon as I decided to go (around June) to when I finished (August). We started trying harder when I got back, purchased an ovulation monitor, looked into things like aspirin & mucinex, started reading tips and suggestions online. In February of 2013, we got a positive!! I am not one of the test as much as you can types, so I had waited a full week past when I expected my period to actually do a pregnancy test. It was a Sunday, we took a picture, started getting excited, read about what was happening with the development etc. The next day I had a 2 hour commute to teach (yes, it’s crazy), and when I got to campus, something was wrong, I had basically started my period. Panicked, I looked for any confirmation that I could possibly still be pregnant, but I knew. It was over. I saw my OBGYN the next day and she confirmed that I wasn’t pregnant, she called it a “chemical pregnancy,” which basically equates to a very early loss. But she said it was good news that we had gotten a positive- indicating at least one clear tube and egg and sperm that were capable of meeting and fertilizing, and sent me home in a daze with a prescription to try chlomid. She also ordered some tests- my first in a long string of fertility blood tests.
After a tearful phone call to my husband, we decided to go forward with the chlomid and went to great lengths to “be together” at the right time (happened to be while I was at a bachelorette party in Malibu), but to save you the suspense, it didn’t work. In fact nothing has, we have not seen another positive since. We have been to 3 different REs, tried one chlomid IUI, and just finished our second injectable IUI, and despite responding well to the meds, nada. Most of our test results have been in the grey area, not ideal, but not devastating. The first RE put me on levothyroxine because my TSH was higher than ideal for pregnancy (at 3.06), my FSH has hovered just above the normal range (10.4, 11.2), my AMH went from 0.85 to 1.1 (yay!) to a shocking 0.23 last month (yikes!). My husband has fantastic numbers for quantity and swimming ability, but has been at the low end for morphology (2.5, to 3, to 5% Kruger analysis). I’ve also done a few stints of acupuncture, and between us we’ve been supporting our local pharmacy with buying so many supplements they now fill a kitchen cabinet shelf. So this is how we arrived at this point (August, 2014), considering the inconceivable, spending more money than I’ve ever spent on one single thing, on something that really doesn’t have that great of a chance of giving us anything in return (besides a lot of needle holes and potential negative side effects). We go to our appointment this afternoon to hopefully get a clearer picture of what we can expect, and what our chances really are. If you made it this far, thanks for reading, and I’ll keep you posted!