It’s been a few years since I’ve posted here, but I’ve never stopped thinking about it. Never stopped thinking of all the people I connected with via this blog. I have been once again thrown into the chaos that is infertility. This time though, I feel like it is worse.
Since my last post my husband and I did end up separating and then divorcing. It was a very hard decision but we just weren’t the same anymore.
I started seeing a high school friend after the split. We hit it off immediately. I was open and honest about what I had been through. He said he wanted to be with me despite my unknown fertility status. However, knowing what I know about my eggs, we decided to start trying to have a baby sooner rather than later. He, being the old-fashioned type, wanted to be married if we were going to start a family. So we got married this September. The same month we started fertility testing.
I thought maybe this time was going to be different. I thought that maybe the poor eggs retrieved during my IVF were fluke. Or maybe the doctor was right and the drugs did hurt my eggs. Maybe I was going to be lucky. I was wrong.
A few months after I stopped the pill (one year ago now) I started suffering from pains in my side. This happened to me the first time I went off the pill, so I was pretty sure I knew what it was. I went to my doctor and sure enough I had another large cyst. She wasted no time and sent me back to the fertility clinic. However, this time I chose to go to a different clinic. I figured a fresh start would be good (thankfully though I was able to have my files sent to to the new clinic so that they would know my history).
My husband and I had been trying for 8 cycles when we had our first appointment with the fertility clinic. The diagnostic cycle proved to be consist with my diagnostic cycle all those years ago. Everything was great except my AMH which is now 11 (was 15 before). However, my FSH is at 9, which isn’t bad. This is a good sign. Typically the lower your AMH, the higher the FSH, is but not in my case. The doctor said that these numbers could be either falsely reassuring or falsely discouraging, there is no way to know. From what I have read it’s more likely to be falsely reassuring. But with my husbands normal sperm, it seemed like the prognosis was better than my last one.
I wanted to try longer on our own. I wasn’t sure I was ready for more treatments. The doctor thought that wouldn’t be a problem. That I would be no worse off 6 months from now. He also said that my numbers were low, but not impossible. That he’d seen others get pregnant naturally with these numbers. I was happy to leave right then and try naturally for a few more months. I actually felt fairly optimistic.
Then the “head” doctor came in. She had a very different perspective. She said that with my low AMH I didn’t have time to waste. She said that someone my age should have double the AMH that I had. She gave me a 2% chance of conceiving naturally. 2%. I felt like my heart just broke in half. That was by far the worst prognosis I had ever received. She said IUI with injections should be our first step. She recommended 2-3 cycles before moving onto IVF. She gave us a 12-15% chance of success with IUI and 60% with IVF.
She also asked about my egg quality with my previous IVF cycle. She said it was unlikely that the drugs caused my eggs to be poor quality. She said the eggs are what the eggs are. But she did say that based on my files, I responded way too quickly to the large dose of meds the first clinic gave me. She said they immediately reduced my dose. Of course I had no idea of this.
She was in and out in a whirlwind. But I went from being so optimistic, to being so defeated.
After she left the room I spoke again with the first doctor. We discussed the costs. $500 for the sperm wash and $500-$1000 in drug costs (my drug plan through work doesn’t cover fertility drugs). These costs are per cycle. Then I have to pay over $200 for admin costs. This is a yearly fee. The numbers just kept adding up in my head. And that 2% just kept coming back to slap me in the face.
I signed the consent papers for IUI and left with the plan to start IUI on the next cycle. When I got into my car I just burst into tears. I called my husband (he couldn’t come with me because his boss wouldn’t allow him the time off work). He too was confused by the conflicting information I received. But 2% was not good odds. He thought it was best to move forward with treatments.
I took all this so hard. I knew there was a chance this was going to be the outcome. I knew there was a chance that my infertility wouldn’t be a mistake or a misdiagnosis. Yet, I let the hope cloud my judgment. Hope is important, it’s what keeps us going. But it can be dangerous. It can turn out to be false hope and create expectations and dreams that may never become a reality. I found myself sadder and more negative than ever. Not exactly how you want to spend the first month of marriage.
I think it’s hard for my husband because I have done this all before. He’s not on my level, my level of grief, of negativity of denial. I have been let down so many times and seen such terrible outcomes when the prognosis was supposed to be good. I know how volatile infertility is. He just hasn’t experienced it yet. I’m ready to give up, and he’s just getting started. This adds a level of complexity to the whole thing. But we are navigating OK, trying to remember that we are coming at this from totally opposite sides of the spectrum.
We decided we would give IUI 3 cycles and then that would be it. We put our names on the waiting list for the government funded IVF (it’s a 3 year wait at my clinic). Unfortunately the government doesn’t cover the cost of the drugs, around $6,000, so we are unsure if we will end up trying IVF or not. With crappy eggs, there doesn’t seem like much point. We are both very open to adoption so if the IUIs don’t end up working out, we will grow our family through CAS or a private adoption agency.
No matter what, we will be parents.