My name is Teresa and I am infertile.
Should I start at the beginning?
How prosaic, but I suppose time lines are warranted, given the fact I've stopped paying attention to the Gregorian calendar in favor of my cycles days..oh approximately 48 cycles ago.
After getting married in 2006, my husband, N8, and I started trying officially in November of the same year. I was especially eager to get started, because you see, I had a "PLAN". Yes, one of those magical things that usually follow the words "never go according to".
I wanted to have all my children before I reached the ripe old age of 30. I wasn't as blissfully naive as most twenty-somethings. I had read plenty of studies on declining egg reserves, and most importantly on the
increased likelihood of developmental disabilities in children born to women over 30.
This worry was not without context. My mother had my brother at age 33, and he would go on to belong to a new and growing club when he was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3.
So when, after a year, I had yet to see that elusive 2nd pink line, I called my doctor and was referred to an RE. We got the basic workup, and it was concluded that I "may" have a partially blocked tube and my husbands morphology was on the low end. Otherwise, we were 28 and everything else looked GREAT! A few IUI treatments and we'd be on our way to parenthood no problem.
While saving for this endevour, we were invited to participate in an IVF study (studying the pregnancy rates of 1 vs. 2 blastocycsts),which is completely besides the point, since we barely got an embryo to transfer, let alone a blastocyst. This experience was rift with problems:
Problem #1: Birth Control and Lupron seems to have severely over-suppressed me, as on my day 5 stim check, the nurse vainly (and painfully) searches for any measurable follicles.
Problem #2: After upping the stims, we start to see some progress, but the estrogen level actually drops..DROPS!(I have yet to read a single instance of estrogen dropping during a cycle and having it end happily). Next day it has gone back up and RE convinces me to stick with the cycle.
Prolem #3: Retrieval. 8 eggs! ...oh but 0 mature. 2 were matured overnight and fertilized. They were pretty awful quality. No suprise BFN.
So, whats the problem. I found it easy to blame the protocal. I'm 28, normal FSH, normal periods, obviously their fault...right?
So, that Fall we moved on to IVF #2 and start accumulating more debt! I felt positive, and try 2 goes much better.... in a sense. We try the Antagonist protocol; I have many more follicles and my estrogen looks great throughout. However, come retrieval, they still only retrive 9 eggs (meh!), and only 4 are mature (my "shitty protocol" theory starts flying out the window, as my shitty eggs start showing their true colors).
We transfer 3. 1-8 cell, poor quality. 1-6cell, good quality. 1-4cell, because why not.
After the 2nd failed cycle, I got to hear the words "Donor Eggs". I was 29 years old. Though I've thought about this option many times, especially considering my higher risk for having a child inflicted with autism, I wasn't ready yet.
I'm still not ready. So, here I am today. Starting my 3rd IVF. I am now 30 years old, past the age when I thought I'd have my young children around me. Everyday I struggle to remain positive and believe that this time could work. Since my 2nd failed IVF, I was diagnosed with Compound Heterozygous MTHFR. I have started taking Folate and baby aspirin, and can only hope that this time something is different.
So, Cheers to you dear internets-- for your company, guidance and support during this demanding but exciting process. I hope from now on to regale you only with amusing and hopefully celebratory anecdotes of this journey from now on.