On Wednesday at 4:48, I got the following message on my voicemail.
“Hi, it’s Fancy Pants from Dr. Petrel’s office. We just got your blood work done for your day 3 labs, and a couple of them are a little out of sync. So Dr. Petrel would like to do another test, something called an Anti-Mullerian hormone test. It just gives us another way to look at things, to get a better, truer reading. Sometimes the lab results can get a little screwy depending on how our cycles work. So I’m going to put that order in, you can do it any time…”
And I promptly shat my pants. (Metaphorically, of course.) I honestly can’t tell if Fancy Pants is trying to be nonchalant because a) this is a nonchalant thing, or b) this is a huge colossal problem and she is trying to avoid my complete meltdown. Regardless of her best efforts, I went with option b.
This morning I got a notice that my results were now available online, so I logged in to see what’s up. All hormone levels are within normal, with the exception of my FSH levels. Which are high.
Which is not good.
I googled. Googling pretty much concludes that high FSH levels aren’t good. They are in fact bad, if one is interested in having babies. High FSH levels are often linked to lower ovarian reserve– my body is creating more of this hormone because it is trying even harder to produce viable eggs.
Because I’m an idiot, I googled this AT WORK. Sitting at my desk, I thought “Holy shit. I’m never going to have children, am I?” I felt all the blood drain from my face, and ran out the door. Luckily for me, there is a virus going around the office so it is perfectly normal to look like you might be about to puke. (In semi-related news, my mom went back into the ICU this morning with low CO2 levels. So I was already primed for a full-on shitshow.)
As I drove home weeping like the train wreck that I am, I tried to put this together. WTF?! I ovulate every month like a boss, or so my stupid OPKs have lead me to believe. I don’t have signs of PCOS– my periods are regular, and no cysts have ever come up on my test. I don’t *think* I’m pre-menopausal. And why the hell are they making me take this other test any way?
But mostly, I kept thinking “How am I going to tell Mr. O?” This is the worst possible thing I could ever say to him. I can’t believe I’m might be the person to break his heart. It is the last thing I have ever wanted to do.
I got home, began to google, then promptly shut down my laptop. Remember, kids: at times like this, Google is never your friend. EVER. Instead, I called Dr. Petrel’s office to talk to an actual medical professional. I was able to speak with a lovely nurse who talked me down off my ledge. Let’s call her Nurse Lovely Pants.
As she put it, FSH at my levels show that my body is working a bit harder to get pregnant. (She likened it to putting your foot on the gas. At this point in my cycle, I shouldn’t be accelerating quite this hard.) They look for levels below 15, and my levels are below that– just not as low as they normally see.
Since I’m young and fairly healthy, Lovely Pants is also less worried. (Funniest comment of the call: “I know you may not believe it, Ostrich, but you really are on the younger side.”) The Anti-Mullerian test is another way to look at my egg reserve. Having this information in addition to the FSH numbers will give us a better picture of what’s really going on in my ovaries.
Sweetheart that she is, Nurse Lovely Pants calmly told me that they see patients at their office all the time who do get pregnant with FSH levels like mine. (Best overall comment of the call: “That’s what we do in our office. We get women like you pregnant.”) It just means that they’ll likely advocate more strongly for IVF with my insurance company.
I’ve dialed back the mania a little bit. I’m down, but not out of this fight yet. Now that the tsunami of panic has passed, I’m just left with one outstanding question.
WHAT THE FUCK?!
To clarify, I’m asking “Why the hell is getting pregnant so damn hard for me?” That’s what is so frustrating about this stuff. There is no good reason for any of this. It’s just complete SHIT. FOR NO REASON. It’s illogical, but sadly in my case completely predictable. Honestly, if my doctor called me tomorrow and told me that she would have to amputate both my arms, I would think “Well, of course. When should we schedule the operation?”
But then, why even bother asking the question? There is no answer to it. There is no order. There is no waiting calmly in line until your number gets called. My parade just keeps getting rained on, and I’m running out of water resistance. BAH!
So Monday I go in for my sonohysterogram, and the Anti-Mullerian test. Wish me luck.
Because this is my life we’re talking about, expect more marginal test results and corresponding meltdowns.