AMA, FSH, AFC, Social Anxiety – it’s all in here

14 Sep

I’m not taking a cycle off. Like it or not, this train isn’t stopping and I’m on it, for better or worse.  I think I could do it if I just skipped that first monitoring appointment, but I like going to that appointment,  mostly because I want to know what my ovaries, uterus and hormones are up to. (Don’t think I haven’t looked longingly at the Acuson 5150 while waiting on the padded ultrasound table and thought, “Damm, I wish I had one of these at home.”) But once I’ve been poked, wanded, measured, counted and drawn, I’m whisked off to the nurse’s office for another round of pre-IUI instructions, a prescription for Clomid and I’m on my way.

With my slight cycle shift and a new monitoring day, I  hoped that I would see my RE (who I have not seen since July) but he’s at a conference in Munich. His nurse encouraged me to email him with questions, saying he would respond when he was back later this week. I spent some time drafting an email and feel better just for having done it. I feel kind of bashful emailing him and I’m starting to wish I’d chosen one of the more available, less god-like REs in the practice, even though I love the guy, (as little time as I’ve spent with him).

Today was hard. I spent a lot of time regretting. Regretting that even though I met my husband when I was 32, we didn’t get engaged until I was 35, and  married until I was 36. (We thought about eloping, but decided we wanted a wedding). That even though I was the anxious type who always worried about my ovaries shriveling up and dying after 35, I still felt it would be OK to enjoy the first months of married life without the pressure of trying to have a baby right away, so we waited a little bit (there was also the matter of me finishing grad school). Friends and coworkers  were getting pregnant at 37, 38, 39, 40, even 41. My sister-in-law and cousin both announced surprise pregnancies at 40 and 43. I hate that I took my fertility for granted.

My age has not been declared a fertility death sentence. My FSH is fine (it goes between 6 and 7, obviously I’m happier when it’s closer to 6), antral follicle count is probably not as good as it could be, but apparently within normal range, averaging about 11- 13 each month.  (Although each ovary seems to vary quite a bit. One month Lefty only had 2, and I had a stern chat with him. The next month he had 6 or 7.)

So yes, it’s good to know that despite my “Advanced Maternal Age” (I hate that term), I’m not being written off or told “IVF or bust”. But in some ways it just points to the sinister, impossible-to-really-say- for-sure factor of egg quality. No, my ovaries aren’t getting their asses kicked by my brain, but what they are producing is likely crappy. Most of the time. And there isn’t a damn thing I can do about that except hold on to hope that there’s a good one in there. I mean I like hope and everything she represents, but I hate having to rely on her. Damn it, I want a crystal ball! And answers!  And I’m so sick of my constant temptation to frantically search the internet  for “TTC and over 35 success stories.” And then when I hear real-life ones like I did yesterday, I get irritated because it just seems too easy. Like a woman I work with who decided at 43 she wanted her first, went to see a doctor about it, he told her to take an expectorant to “loosen things up,” she flew to Washington to rendezvous with her hubby who was working there at the time and it happened. Just like that. Now she has a teenager. I guess I’m wanting to find the stories about the people who are over 35, struggled a bit and did a couple of IUIs until they worked. But not too many. Like 4, or 5. Gah. Anyone?

And now, to wrap up this epic post, here’s my burning social anxiety issue. This Saturday we’re going to a Yom Kippur Break the Fast.  Not only is this treacherous because it’s a very fertile crowd, but it’s at this same event last year that I met the lovely acupuncturist that I saw shortly before I actually got pregnant, called  in excitement to tell her so the same day I was miscarrying, I just didn’t know it yet (Stupid me, why did I do that?)  and then never went back because I was then recovering from the miscarriage, trying to figure out next steps and couldn’t justify the cost without any insurance coverage. I really liked her, and I do feel strongly that I should help the next cycle along with some needles (that’s for you Lady Pumpkin!) but now I feel that calling her right before I see her at this party will seem weird. Or maybe I should just talk to her there and be completely frank about what happened, that I’ve started treatments and would like to try acupuncture again. Would that be inappropriate at a party with a bunch of people recovering from a day of starvation? Maybe.

I’m embarrassed to see her. I’m obviously not pregnant, don’t have the newborn I thought I would and just feel all exposed and angst-ridden about it. (She may know about the miscarriage through our mutual friend, but it’s unlikely).

Am I being a freak? Probably. Sometimes it’s hard to believe I help others for a living. (Oh wait, not for a living, for free, but those are just details!)

If you’ve made it this far, luckily for you I was supposed to start marinading something an hour ago. So, um whoops! Better get on that and end this.

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6 Responses to “AMA, FSH, AFC, Social Anxiety – it’s all in here”

  1. Secret Sloper September 14, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    I feel the same way about my dentist. I saw them the day after I found out I was pregnant and my OB said I should let them know. I then held off on seeing them for my biannual cleaning for about 9 months. And when I showed up I was DREADING that moment when they looked at the chart, looked at me, and realized something was terribly wrong.

    Thankfully, my hygenist was really sweet and told me about her own 2 miscarriages and fertility treatments. But still. I’m really bummed about going back for yet another cleaning and still not being pregnant and knowing what it says on that f-cking chart.

  2. Misfits September 14, 2010 at 8:11 pm #

    I have moments of that regret for waiting as well. But, I come back to a place where I don’t think my relationship would have survived an early pregnancy. I have no regrets for the amount of fun I had in those in between years.

    I’m sure that the acupuncturist will not judge you. If she sees other ladies she ought to be accustomed to the heartache and sensitive to it. If she’s not, well…good riddance then. Hide in the corner with a fat glass of wine.

  3. cgd September 15, 2010 at 4:33 am #

    Wishing you the very best of luck with this new cycle. Only you know when it is ok to take a break so I am glad you are listening to yourself and know what you can and cannot handle. I hate walking into “fertile” places and have been the only non-mother too many times. I think this is something that is not nearly as salient for our boys, being the only non-father is just easier, especially b/c the a lot of mom’s I know seem to only take about their kids. I hope your holidy goes smoothly and wanted to wish you an easy fast and happy new year. may this new year bring sweetness for all of us.

  4. The Infertility Doula September 15, 2010 at 6:23 am #

    I say definitely bring it up to the acupuncturist. I’m sure she’ll be more than happy to help you out. And if egg quality is something you’re worried about, some women have seen improvement after a couple of months of acu.

    And don’t beat yourself up over having waited to TTC. Actually it was probably a good thing you did, b/c had you tried immediately, your relationship might not have been able to handle the stress of IF. I don’t need to tell you how much pressure and stress IF puts on a marriage. Now it’s a strong marriage that can weather the storm.

  5. lady pumpkin September 16, 2010 at 8:44 pm #

    Gogo, needles! Thanks for the shoutout. 😉 I’m sure aculady has been through this many times before; please don’t worry about being upfront with her. And hey, we’re all working on recovering from our own sort of starvation, if that makes any sense. We’ve been deprived of something essential, and are now doing what’s necessary to get–think of it as your very own reproductive break-fast. I’m glad you’re doing what feels right this cycle.

  6. BabyMakingDiary September 18, 2010 at 5:18 am #

    I shouldn’t really be leaving this comment – I should be atoning for all my many sins (6 hours to go in the UK by the way and I’m pretty hungry!). It’s so easy to blame ourselves for all the things we should or shouldn’t have done – and infertility really knows how to mess with our heads. But I keep trying to be philosophical about this, believe that I haven’t got pregnant yet for a reason, and that it’s just a matter of time. I really hope that’s what it is for you, and that soon you’ll be able to forget the horror of what you went through and just be able to think about the future.

    Hope all goes well at breaking the fast tonight, and that it’s not awkward with the acupuncturist. I imagine that in her line of work she often deals with situations like this and would hope she’ll be able to put you at ease.

    By the way, I’ve booked my first appointment with an acupuncturist for next week. We can share experiences if you go to see one again…

    Hope you’ve fasted well and that it’s a very happy, healthy year for you.

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