It’s NIAW and I’ve been pondering what I want to post about. I’m in the middle of a donor egg cycle so I’m right in the throes of my own infertility journey. There’s not much I can ignore since I’m currently cycling and since I’ve been on this road for so long. I’d like to offer some advice to anyone just starting out on their journey to parenthood.
Don’t ignore the facts. What do I mean by that? Let me explain:
When I first started TTC back in (gulp) 2000, I immediately jumped right in. I read article after article about how to best improve your fertility from what to eat to what to wear to elevating my hips after sex. I read Taking Charge of your Fertility. I felt so empowered and knowledgeable. I dared anyone to question my knowledge of how to get pregnant. I had great cycles, great EWCM, great looking charts...everything looked great on paper. After reading TCOYF, I soon came to realize that if we weren’t knocked up within a few months that something must be wrong. I feared I was the problem but quickly dismissed that because of how great I looked on paper. It must be the husband, right?
I followed the advice of everyone online and sought assistance after 12 months. Blood work was done, although it was not day 3 blood work. A semen analysis was done. I had an u/s. I had a sonogram to make sure my tubes were open. Everything came back fine. I tried Clomid for 3 months. My OB/GYN was stumped so he sent me to the clinic.
I’ve always said that I felt like the clinic was more interested in just doing procedures than in figuring out why I wasn’t getting pregnant. Since I had no money at that time and my insurance didn’t cover anything, we went back to just trying naturally. Then the ex-husband got his new woman pregnant almost immediately. That should have been a huge red flag. In a way I guess it was, but again, I just let it pass. When I went back to the clinic with my new husband, everything was checked again. This time, I was told that my FSH was slightly elevated but that it shouldn’t be causing any problems. We did 2 IUI’s and nothing. We tried an IVF and got cancelled due to poor response. We failed an IVF with poor response. We actually made it to a 5 day transfer on our next IVF and this is where the fog finally lifted and I was able to see the problem...I have bad eggs. I’m not just a poor responder, I have crap eggs that made crap embryos.
Here’s where the ignoring part becomes relevant. Do not ignore the facts. I ignored what was right in front of my face the whole time. I never even thought about having bad eggs, at least not a real thought. That was mainly because I was young and had age on my side. At least that is what everyone kept telling me. Instead of repeating the FSH test and doing an AMH test, we just kept doing what wasn’t working. Yes, I ovulated...but I ovulated bad eggs. No amount of stimulating drugs could make the eggs good. This is a fact.
Just because I don’t have any obvious signs of infertility, like PCOS or endo or anovulation, doesn’t mean that I should not have been tested for something else. Don’t ignore the facts that can be staring you right in the face. Speak up and ask for tests. Be your own advocate. If you know anything about your body and how it works it really shouldn’t take very long to get pregnant. If it’s taking longer than you think it should and you are young (or maybe not so young) don’t just sit back. Don’t ignore what could be a potential end game diagnosis. If I had pushed harder and demanded a few more tests I probably would have been a mother years ago with a donor egg child(ren). BJ and I would not have wasted all this time on trial and error...not to mention the money, goodness the money we spent on treatments. I know it can feel overwhelming and many women don’t even want to take the first step to see a specialist. I can understand that but at the same time, you haven’t a moment to lose. Every cycle you delay getting help and finding out what the problem is, is another cycle you will spend childless.
I wish I would have paid more attention to the facts and not gotten so caught up in my pride and obvious ignorance as to what was happening in my ovaries. I can only hope and pray that now that I know the true problem and I’m facing it head on that I will be rewarded for my struggles.