Friday, June 15, 2012

Wasn't Expecting That One

Yesterday I got news that I never would have expected to hear. When I heard from the nurse on Tuesday she explained my results, told me what my immediate next step would be (Provera for ten days to start a period), and then said that Doctor wanted to have a phone meeting with me. I scheduled the meeting for Thursday (yesterday) and I slowly got more and more apprehensive about what Doctor wanted to discuss. I figured that it had to be pretty serious if he wanted to talk to me, otherwise why wouldn’t he have just had the nurse instruct me of the next step he thought was appropriate.  Okay, so I was way right.

My doctor is thinking that my egg reserve is decreasing prematurely. This typically doesn’t start to happen until a woman is around 51 years of age.  See but I’m only 31. The reason he thinks this is what’s going on is based on the fact that my body didn’t respond at all to the Letrozole I was recently on. Another indication that something is seriously wrong is that it took about twice as long to produce one follicle measuring 19mm back in April of last year when we had our first round of treatment. He said that I should have had 10-15 follicles of 20-25mm by that point. The fact that it had taken so long to just get one follicle to get to the appropriate size was not a good sign. When I say that this was the last thing that I ever expected to hear that it is a total understatement because the possibility of THIS happening wasn’t even in my mind. I thought he was going to say that we needed to move on to the injections or at the very worst that we just needed to move on to IVF. I was not expecting to hear that I wouldn’t be contributing anything on my part to this process.

So here’s what we do: We need to confirm that this IS what is going on. On day three of my cycle I’ll go in for bloodwork and an u/s. He’s going to do check my FSH and estrogen levels and also my Anti –Mullerian Hormone (AMH) levels.  From the little research I have done and to state it very basically, AMH levels help to show the remaining size of the egg pool, or “ovarian reserve”.  As a woman gets older, the AMH levels decrease as does her egg pool. I’ll also have a u/s done to check my antral follicle count. What are “antral follicles”, you ask? They are the small follicles that can be seen, measured and counted during a vaginal u/s.  Basically the number of antral follicles they can see indicates what is left in the ovarian reserve/egg pool. As women age the antral follicles decrease along with the eggs in the reserve.

So what does this mean? If this in fact is what is going on with me then our options at this point are adoption or donor eggs. The donors are selected by Doctor’s office and are put through a thorough screening process to look at family medical history, lifestyle, their general health, etc. Only the most promising and healthy donors are approved for donation. They would look for donors who share similar physical characteristics as me/us. We wouldn’t meet the donor – this is all anonymous, which I would prefer. So she won’t know who is receiving the eggs and we won’t know who is donating them. How does it work? The donor would go on the FSH injections that I would have been scheduled to take. This will allow Doctor to control the growth and status of her follicles. When the time was right she would give herself the trigger shot to initiate ovulation. She would then go into their office and the egg retrieval would take place. At that point, or by then, Steven would have dropped of his sample. The two would be combined, and then after five days I would go in and an IUI would take place, except rather than injecting sperm into my uterus they would be injecting an embryo. At that point we would hope and pray that it attached.

How do I feel about this? I mean, assuming this IS what is going on, I guess I feel relief that there is still an option for us before adoption. I’m not against adoption in any shape or form, but I think that it is understandable that we would want to eliminate all possibility of conceiving our own biological child before moving onto that option. While this child won’t be mine biologically it would be Steven’s, and I would still be carrying it and delivering it. I can’t ever see a time when I would look at the baby and think, “You’re not mine.”, you know? So while I’m appreciative that there is still another step for us, I am saddened by the thought of not seeing myself in my child physically. You know, in the end though, that is not important and wouldn’t stop me from wanting to go through with this. If we are interested in adoption, should that be our only option in the end, then I’m certainly open to using donor eggs. In the end all that is important is that we have a healthy baby. Hopefully this will work for us. Let me tell you that it is really strange to discuss my hair and eye color with the coordinator who finds and matches donors with recipients. I never thought I’d be having conversations like the ones I had yesterday. But I guess this is the hand that we’ve been dealt. I’m grateful for my husband for his continuous positive outlook. We knew before we got married that we would need help having kids, but we never anticipated that it would come to this. At the very beginning of our journey we just thought that I would need help. Then it turned into him also needing help. Then it turned out that IVF would probably be our only option. Now I can’t even contribute a single follicle to create an egg and we are discussing donor eggs. Throughout this whole process he has only been positive and has remained upbeat. Up until recently, we were told that we’d only be able to do IVF, I was also positive and certain that this would work out. Since the IVF day I’ve had a hard time staying positive. I do continue to think that things could definitely be worse and that what is supposed to happen will happen, but I’ll just say that it is good that he has and will continue to remain optimistic when I’m not feeling it.

It’ll be a little while before I go back in for testing. I’m anxious to find out what the results show, obviously. In a way I’m alright confirming that this is what’s going on with me. That way we won’t be talking about follicle growth and hoping that I can grow follicles. Instead we’ll be talking about when we’re going in for the procedure, which is very positive to me. We’ll see….


Molly B. said...

Yaaaay! To me this is great news! You have an answer (we hope) and you have a solution. I promise you will find personality characteristics that are just as (if not more) charming than inherited physical characteristics. Trust me. And that is neat that they try to match you physically.

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