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.