Hope For The Diminished

Last year around this time, a fertility doctor told me that I would never conceive on my own. In the same conversation he also told me that IVF would never work for me after he chose a really crappy protocol for my first IVF cycle.

When my son is born in March, shitty fertility doctor will be one of the first people I mail a birth announcement.

Diminished Ovarian Reserve sounds like a death sentence in online chat rooms and blogs. Little hope and big fears of a childless life. I never bought in to the idea that my story was already written. My AMH level was a .60, my antral follicle count always hovered around 12 and I have never had anything but a normal menstrual cycle.

I spent the last year believing that I to could solve this thing with a steady cocktail of CoQ10, Maca, wheatgrass, acupuncture, blah blah blah.

Maybe I just got lucky. Maybe all my holistic approach to health and healing worked. Maybe when I was matched with my daughter through adoption, some magical adoption dust helped me conceive. I personally like to think it was my steady stream of dirty martini’s, an In-N-Out burger and an indifferent attitude about pregnancy at the time. I also think God has a great sense of humor and was giggling about his master plan for me to have two babes under 7 months.

Either way, here I am, almost 6 months pregnant with a baby boy. I am the furthest I have ever been. This past week I actually graduated (I did not know that could happen) from my high risk specialist. The doctor said both myself and baby boy (we call him Ax) are now officially low risk now and she predicts smooth sailing from here on in.

I don’t want to wax poetic about my pregnancy, but I do want to offer hope to those that may find themselves in the same fertility boat that I’ve been in. There IS hope for the diminished. The truth is, part of the reason we Google incessantly is that we all really want to find a story similar to ours where the person did conceive, have a baby or make it out of the fertility trenches in one piece.

So while my sweet son will not be in my arms for a few more months, I have made it this far and so can you!

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Menopur Meltdown: IVF Day # 6

… And yesterday I had a monumental meltdown.

Hell hath no fury like a woman hopped up on 5 different types of hormones.

The IVF process has a habit of putting marriages under a microscope. Currently, under my marital microscope, my husband is grounded from participating in my injections after he gave me not one but two incorrect dosages.

The first alleged fail was the evening of Day 5 when he was supposed to give me 150 iu of Menopur and only gave me 75iu. I had not been refereeing his dosing so I was blissfully unaware until he mentioned it to the nurse at my day 6 blood work and ultrasound. The nurse immediately gave me the additional 75iu of meds and said it should not negatively impact my cycle.

The subsequent error was last night which was responsible for my emotional tailspin. In an effort to help the growth of my 9 maturing follicles my Dr. added 50 iu of human growth hormone. It was the first injection of the evening which came with explicit written directions from my Dr. After strike 1 on the dosing I made sure to actively participate in my medication prep by read the instructions out loud and having him repeat them back to me. The ONLY thing I did not do was check how much medication he put in the syringe. Moments after giving me the injections he started panicking a bit and announced he had given me double the dose!

And this is when I lost it! Not because the dosing was messed up, but because everything that moment represented. All the what if’s stripped me of any rational thinking and left me standing there emotionally exposed.

I cried. I bawled. I kept yelling how could you? How could you be so careless? How could you mess up again? How could you be so reckless with my body and the potential of our future? I cried some more. And then I had to stop and take the remaining three injections. After that I continued crying and wallowing in my fear that this cycle had been ruined, while my panic-stricken husband dialed the on-call  nurse.

I am not a crier nor am I overly emotional so this type of emotional reaction is reserved for once every three to four years and I was clearly overdue. In that moment, infertility won. What I have experienced these past three years finally got the best of me. It was if all the emotional pain, frustration and anger was funneled to this one particular situation.

All I could think about was how hard I’ve worked for those 9 little follicles to be developing. I have essentially stopped living to create a life. No gluten, no caffeine, no alcohol diet. My free time consumed with yoga, acupuncture, searching for wheat grass and up to 40 pills a day. I haven’t been in a hot tub or sauna in over a year. Gone are the days of running half marathons and doing triathlons out of fear of overexertion. And list keeps going.

So the idea that a few messed up injections could take me out of the running for motherhood this month was too much.

I’ll find out tomorrow morning what negative effects (if any) the dosing had on me when I go in for another round of labs and an ultrasound.

Until then, my husband and I will enjoy the imperfectly perfect spouses we are to one another. 🙂

In It To Twin It – IVF Round # 2

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Day F’ing: 1.

This round I am much more fearful of everything. Fearful that my body won’t respond. Fearful that if it does and they are able to retrieve the embyros they won’t be mature enough or high quality enough. And fearful if we are able to make it to the grande finale of the whole shebang that they will not implant. I know this time what can go wrong and what I am actually up against. My last round of IVF was pure blissful ignorance.

Since I am on a roll about divulging my current mental state I will also admit that I am in it to twin it. With the thousands and thousands of dollars that are slowly seeping out of our bank account I secretly and selfishly hope for twins.  Having twins would be an added bonus. It’s the BOGO (buy one get one free) of the reproductive medicine industry. In all seriousness though like all in this situation, I would happily and joyfully welcome one healthy, living happy baby girl or boy in to my arms after this process is over. The idea of twins is a nice, happy thought that I like putting out in the universe. 🙂

STATS of this IVF thus far:

Me: 32, diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve. I’ve been told that while DOR is not an amazing diagnosis I am young enough and not in too bad of shape that I still have a really good shot of getting pregnant with my own embyros.

CD: 2

Antral Follicle Count: 11

E2 – 37

FSH – 11 (Yikes. At 32 that hurts to hear but it was not high enough to rule me out thankfully. It was also not surprising).

Protocol – 225iu Follistim an 75iu Menopur until day 3 only once a day in the evenings. How freaking lucky am I? On the failed cycle my doctor started me on 250iu Follistim twice daily with 50iu Lupron twice daily.

Will provide update on day 3…WHEEEEE!

What Does A Girl Need To Do to Get a Wheatgrass Shot Around Here?

IVF #2 is about to commence. My precisely packed cooler of needles and medication arrived today and it will be any day now that the poking a prodding begin again.

For those who are new to my blog IVF #1 I canceled in September of last year after the epic failure it was. I had an antral follicle count of 12 and after two weeks of stimming my body had only matured three eggs. My protocol was  follistim micro-flare Lupron after a month of birth control pills.  Long story short, my Florida Dr was a dick  (Dear RE You’re Fired)  so I fired him and am back with my RE in Los Angeles for this cycle. My LA RE seems to think my body did not respond because I was too suppressed with the BCP and high dosage of Follistim (600 iu a day).

Since my canceled cycle I took several months off to enjoy the holidays and shower my body with love and kindness. In last several months I have kicked it in to high-gear to prepare my body for this cycle.

This is what I have done thus far:

– Weekly Acupuncture since September

– Chinese herbs that taste just awful twice daily since September. My acupuncturist said my kidney line was shut down or something like that and to drink the herbs. I have no idea what I’ve been drinking but she has a wall full of birth announcements from past patients that she has helped so I believe her.

– 600 mg CoQ10 Ubiquinol daily ( 200 mg morning, noon and night). This was a recommendation made by my Los Angeles RE. I’ve taken them since September.

– 3mg to 6mg Melatonin nightly since September

– 5000 mg of Vitamin D since September ( It was found that I was deficient)

– a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night since September

– Gluten free since September

– Daily 2oz shots of wheatgrass (last two weeks). Let me tell you, getting wheatgrass shots in Orlando is difficult. Some days I drive an hour round trip to drink this stuff. The only reason I added this to my regime is because Dr. Google tells me so.

– No caffeine, dairy or alcohol since January 1st. Actually, no. That is a complete lie. That is what I should have done. I have snuck in four glasses of wine in the past 15 days and I ate Cheese Puffs which surprisingly actually contain dairy. Yes, I know they have cheese in the name but I assumed they were so processed it was just a dusting of faux cheese flavoring. If there is such thing as infertile guilt I have it. But with everything I am trying to do to have the best odds at IVF #2 working I feel like I am going to lose my mind.

– Yoga 3 times a week since January 1st. My knees are killing me from kneeling so much on the hardwood floors of my gym’s yoga studio.

We will see if any of my crazy will make a difference. I will post my protocol as soon as I receive the official one from my Dr.

Ignoring Infertility

I am too busy to be infertile. You see, I don’t have time to be infertile so therefore my fertility issues will just disappear, right? I have hoped that my pregnancy pause problems could be lost on one of my many cross-country flights from Florida to Los Angeles. Infertility only happens to “other” people so between hosting my friends and family for Christmas, running a multi-million dollar company with my husband, working on applying to grad school and a slew of other busying tasks my hope was that I’d fall pregnant and I could close the book on the last three horrifying years.

NOPE! Unfortunately, ignoring my non-pregnancy status did not help me achieve pregnancy, therefore I can not recommend it as a successful procreation method. 

When I lost my son two and a half years ago I read the book On Grief and Grieving by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. The book covers the  five stages of grief a person will experience when a loss or major trauma occurs.

They are:

Denial – When you deny the reality of the situation. Example: In keeping myself so busy in life, maybe my Diminished Ovarian Reserve diagnosis will go away and I will magically get pregnant, carry full term, and all will be right in the world.

Anger – As the masking effects of denial and isolation begin to wear, reality and its pain re-emerge. We are not ready. The intense emotion is deflected from our vulnerable core, redirected and expressed instead as anger. Example: It’s my parents fault that I have been unable to achieve a healthy full-term pregnancy because they fed me processed foods growing up.

Bargaining – The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control. Example: If only I had sought medical attention sooner… Are you there God???? It’s me, Jenna. If you just answer this ONE prayer request by allowing me to birth one living child (not trying to be selfish it only has to be one) I promise I will go to church every Sunday the rest of my life.

Depression – Sadness and regret.  Example: Crying all the time

Acceptance – I am soooo far from this stage and have no clue what to tell you outside of the definition of the word itself.

I am currently cycling between the first four, with denial being the stage du jour.

The reality is: my infertility is impossible to ignore. Until I cease having periods, ovulation symptoms and PMS my fertility is on display in my body throughout the month. My mother swears if I just “relax” and go about my life it will happen. I have explained to her, that for me, it is physically impossible to do. I have regular periods every 30 days. Around day 15 in my cycle my boobs get sensitive, I have dull aching, etc. etc. Ignorance would be bliss, if there were not constant reminders that Darwinism may be trying to weed me out. It’s something that I think about everyday. Multiple times a day. I am doubtful that will change until I get what I want.

So beginning next month, I will fully embrace the war that is being waged in my body and begin cycle # 2 of IVF. I have pulled out the arsenal of eastern medicine tactics in the last two months to ensure this rounds results are a success.