I thought I was most afraid that the RE would say that we are unexplained. I know I would have been highly frustrated if he had, but I had recently read several IUI success stories with unexplained and I think I would have felt a bit more hopeful than I feel right now. Instead, it turns out that I have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR). This means that I have less eggs than a woman my age (29) should. In fact, quite a few less. My antral follicle count, which gives an indication of my lifetime supply of eggs, was 5. Apparently a woman in her 20s should be in the double digits and even an 11 would be considered low. Combined with my FSH of 9 which is officially good, but apparently kind of high for a woman my age, the doctor diagnosed DOR (he said reduced ovarian reserve, but all my google searches brought up DOR and really diminished and reduced are synonyms so same diff.). So basically my eggs are quite a bit older than me.
I thought I was prepared for whatever the doctor had to say, but I was wrong. As I started asking questions, the reality of what he was saying mixed with my worst fears brought tears to my eyes and soon they started spilling down my cheeks. I was a bit embarrassed and when I went to apologize for my break in composure I burst into tears. J reached over and squeezed my knee. He was quiet during the whole appointment, as he typically is (he processes emotions much more internally than I do), but this was the sign of support I needed from him.
The RE ordered more CD2 bloodwork for me and another pelvic ultrasound with antral follicle count. He wants to check to see that this AFC wasn’t a fluke and to confirm the diagnosis. J’s count and motility were good. His morphology was 4%. Apparently 5+% is normal, but the RE said that morphology criteria are becoming so stringent that the difference between 4-5% is really arbitrary and morphology results are more or less becoming unhelpful. Apparently medical studies suggest that morphology might not matter that much.
We’re meeting again on January 15 to go over those results and hear which treatment he recommends. At this point, our options are injectables with IUI or IVF. From what he has already said, I think he’ll favor IVF. At my age, my risk of triplets or more is pretty high with injectables and IUI. Not only is it a bit scary to think of trying to care for 3 newborns at once, but the risks to both myself and the babies would significantly increase. Our projected success rates all depend on how well I respond to the medication. Ideally, IUI would give us 20-25% chance of conception each round (I erroneously told some friends 13%; that was a different stat that no longer applies) and IVF would give us 50-55% chance of conception each time with 20-25% chance of live birth.
J and I discussed it more this evening. He thinks we should really listen to/trust what the doctor recommends as his top choice for our treatment. Due to finances, I think 3 IVF cycles would be our limit (before pursuing adoption). If we got lucky on the first, we’d likely try for a second child but if it takes 2-3 IVF cycles we’ll probably have to change our plans and be content with one child. I definitely think I can be happy with one child. I was an only child and there were a lot of benefits (and some downsides) to it. It would be millions and millions of times better than not being a mother at all, but the thought of being forced by my body and financial constraints to stop does make me sad. Of course, we need to take each cycle at a time and see what life hands us.
I have gone through the gambit of emotions this afternoon (which was a total write off even though I stayed at work). I have been sad, scared, making jokes, and angry. Making jokes was necessary for me to try to bring some levity to the situation and I think the sadness and fear are self-explanatory. My anger rose up in mini waves when I thought about how unjust this is. When I think of the people out there who don’t appreciate their children or treat them badly and who got pregnant without trying or paying a dime, it infuriates me. Also, when thinking of the possibility of adoption I thought about how we’d essentially be pleading with someone to find us worthy to raise their child. I understand that completely from the perspective of a birth mother, but the thought that someone might find us unworthy makes me so sad, scared, and angry because most people don’t prove anything to anyone before becoming parents (even though some should probably have to). It’s definitely not fair and nothing about it ever will be. But it is our reality, and I’d better come to terms with it so that we can move forward.