Eli's Corner

another kick in the gut


I haven’t written any updates in a while, as I’ve been taking my first self-imposed break from babymaking since November 2011.  I was going to write a post about how awesome it is to not take a thousand supplements and vitamins everyday.  To not have a single fertility-related appointment for an entire month.  To drink wine and not have guilt and to not have sex when you’re ovulating because frankly, you’re not in the mood.  And then to have fabulous sex a few days later just because of sex.  How you start to feel like a person again, rather than a mere vessel, and you find yourself making time for other pursuits, pursuits that make you feel a little more like you again.  This was going to be a whole post about that.  But then yesterday happened.

I was very much enjoying my time off, so much so that I was contemplating extending it.  I had in my mind that I would let my ovaries rest up for the holidays and would just enjoy personhood during that time.  If I felt like having sex while ovulating, I would.  If not, I wouldn’t.  There was a vague thought of doing IVF in January.  But I didn’t need to think about that now.  In the midst of this heady freedom, however, I remembered that my RE gets booked up months in advance, and I thought I had better call and set something up now for January.  Come to find out, she was already booked through January, but she had a cancelation yesterday.  So I broke my “no babymaking appointments” rule and headed over with my husband to talk about next steps.

My acupuncturist/doctor of chinese medicine advised me to get my AMH tested a while ago, based on the fact that my mom had her last period in her mid-30s.  I talked to my RE about this, and she said that it was unlikely to be an issue in my case, since I respond pretty well to fertility drugs.  I pushed the issue, and she obliged me and ordered the test.  I had the requisition sitting on my desk for months, expecting one of the IUI treatments to work and for the whole ovarian reserve thing to become a non-issue.  After my fourth IUI failed, however, I got the bloodwork  done.  This was over a month ago, so one of my first questions was if those results were in.  She hadn’t even checked.  I asked if she could please look and pull them up.  She reiterated that she didn’t think it was an issue, but when she did pull them up, she was visibly shocked.

My AMH level is 0.47 – which, if you’re not familiar with AMH levels, isn’t even inside the low range for a woman of my age.  She started to brush past it and talk about IVF, saying that since I respond to drugs well, this doesn’t really matter.  I stopped her and asked what this meant in terms of early menopause.  She just said flat-out, you will have an early menopause.  You probably have a year or two before you lose fertility.

I’ve had a handful of moments in my life where I’ve received news that kicked the world into slow motion.  This was one of them.  Clearly, this wasn’t a total shock to me, as I was worried enough about it to press the issue and get the test, but having that nagging base-level fear confirmed was like a punch in the gut.  Then we continued talking as if someone had not just taken a decade of childbearing years away from me with one sentence.

Suddenly turning 35 next month (which I was half-dreading, half-grieving) was a non-issue, since in reproductive years I’m already about 46. This of course also means I’m on my very last eggs right now, which from everything I’ve come to understand, is not a good thing in terms of the chances of bringing a healthy baby to term.

The plan now is to kick off the IVF process in January.  I’m realizing I don’t have time for this not to work, don’t have time for another miscarriage.  The window is closing, the stakes are getting higher, and the hits just keep coming.  The list of ways in which my body betrays me continues to grow.  The sense that I’m broken, defective is hard to shake.

The odds of my having a child (let alone children, as I had once hoped) are moving solidly into the “miracle” category…a place where I am uncomfortable leaving them, not because I don’t believe that God can do it…I just don’t know if he will do it.  I have no assurances to that effect.  I told my therapist recently that I know I will be able to move on with my life if this doesn’t happen, but at this point I just have no idea how.  I’m terrified at the thought of picking myself back up after losing all hope of this dream – having that door solidly shut, possibly very soon.  At the same time, it would probably take full-blown menopause to give me the closure I would need to ever be able to walk away from this, so in some sense, there is some comfort in knowing this process won’t last forever.  It’s a small comfort, though.

I’m trying to trust, but I’m finding it almost impossible.  I know that by entertaining worst-case scenarios, I’m only adding to my own torment, but I just don’t have that solid faith that I used to.  If I get my miracle, I’ll be like the guy who was dragged to Jesus on a mat by his friends.  I’m hoping it’s enough.


Author: eli

I'm trying to become a mom. I write about that and other things here. Welcome to my little corner of the web.

10 thoughts on “another kick in the gut

  1. Oh no, I’m so sorry hun. I had the AMH bomb dropped on me recently too, it still takes my breath away. Mine is about half yours and I’m 37. It has been on the rapid decline for the last 10 months apparently. Have you talked to your TCM about it yet? Chinese medicine seems to be a lot more positive when it comes to low AMH. The thinking is that as long as you’re producing follicles and have a decent number you’ll be fine. Have they checked that? Also, our RE told us AMH is how they figure you’ll respond to IVF drugs, how many eggs you’ll produce with meds, nothing more. Not quality of eggs. My RE wasn’t that bothered with it and told us to put it out of our mind. Easier said than done I know. But bcause of that we are still reluctant to move straight into IVF. Giving it until January before we start things up. Anyway, I think there’s a lot they still don’t know about AMH. Have a listen to this teleconference if the link works. My naturopath sent it to me because she knows I’m freaking out about AMH. I haven’t listened yet but she says they discuss how AMH isn’t a true reflection of fertility. Sending you hugs and lots of love xxx http://www.naturalfertilityexpert.com/fertility-question-time-replay/?inf_contact_key=06f75e5058c685c32a972cf0c95f548046a4b4186ee52bee967cb8cc88bfff50

    • I didn’t think there was anything anybody could say to make me feel better today, but this has been tremendously reassuring. I was thinking about you and your AMH situation, actually. I remember you saying that your TCM had handled the situation really well, but I didn’t know details. I emailed my TCM yesterday; we’ll see what he says. I seem to produce follicles at a normal rate for my age…and I’ve got lots of experience producing eggs with meds…hasn’t been a problem. Seriously, I feel like you’ve kind of helped talk me off a ledge here. Thank you. I shall stay off the evil google for a bit and try not assuming all the worst things are true.

      • I am so pleased it can be of some comfort. I needed to hear similar comments back then, and they saved me too. I think there is so much to be scared of when you’re in our situation. Everything is daunting, so unknown. It’s so hard to hear the voice of reason in our heads, to know what to do, what to believe. It’s so difficult. But you’re doing so well. I’m really pleased you’ll have a break and sometime to be together. Hope you enjoy it xxx

  2. Ditto Lisette. My amh was tested months ago and came back at .17. They stop measuring at .16 (basically equivalent to 0). I was not all that surprised, but at the same time it has changed nothing. I am on track with an estrogen sort of protocol (not ivf, our RE does not want us to rush into something he doesn’t feel we need to do right now, esp bc finances are tight). My cycle has leveled out and eggs are maturing and releasing (with help). Amh is still controversial as to what it actually indicates and/or predicts. I know it’s really hard not to let the timing thing get the best of you, but it sounds like your time off is the best thing for you (bloodwork or not!). Wine? Good. Unscheduled (real) sex? V, v good. Hope you can continue to enjoy your break.

    • Ah, thank you. Seriously so good to hear from people in the trenches. Thanks for helping talk me down. That’s awesome that the estrogen protocol is working for you…this is all so new to me. Every time you kind of think you know what’s going on, there’s a whole new category of thing. I hope you get knocked up sans IVF! The break will be good – we’re in San Francisco next week for a work conference, then likely Boston for a client, then we’ve got a wee romantic vacation scheduled before heading down to LA to see my family for Christmas. It’ll be a busy end of the year, but nice and distracting. And hopefully fraught with wine and unscheduled sex.

  3. Wow, I’m so sorry, I can imagine that must be devastating to hear. I’ve said something very similar before, if I absolutely have to get over this (having a biological child) I’m sure I’ll do it, but I have absolutely no clue how.

  4. :( That’s such an awful thing to hear. Although hard to hear, you need to still have hope. I believe you will have a child. Thinking of you.

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