Down, But Not Out. Not Yet.

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.


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.



  1. Awaiting Autumn · August 22, 2014

    I had an AMH done last month and it came back within low fertility range (I’m only 29). We were unexplained before this and now have been diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). My nurse was very reassuring like yours. She said chances are my age dictates that there are good eggs left in there, just less overall. So far, the only thing that came out of it was that they increased my meds dosages. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I’m not letting myself get down with the diagnosis. IVF was created to help people like us… and it will. 🙂 I hope.

    • thecommonostrich · August 24, 2014

      Yes! That’s exactly what Nurse Lovely Pants said– this is why infertility treatments where invented. I too have been “unexplained” up until this point. I think I was just a little bit shocked to actually have some direction. It a weird way, this is helpful because once you know the problem, you can work on addressing it.

      Thanks for the support, dear! I really needed to hear all that.

  2. conceptionallychallenged · August 22, 2014

    Sorry for the meltdown and the bad news from your mom. It is a very stressful thing, this infertility stuff. AMH is standard in some places, so try not to worry about it too much for now. Hang in there.

    • thecommonostrich · August 24, 2014

      Thanks so much. I try so hard not to let this stuff get me down, but sometimes it just gets to me.

  3. julieann081 · August 22, 2014

    I’m so sorry, hun. I hope you get some answers quickly. Please know that I’m thinking of you and sending positive energy your way and also to your mom! ❤

    • thecommonostrich · August 24, 2014

      Thank you so much! I needed all the help I could get on Friday when I posted this. I mellowed out a little bit since, but this crap is all just so hard. #preachingtothechoir

  4. My Perfect Breakdown · August 22, 2014

    First, let me say that I’m sorry to hear about your mom. I hope that she gets the care she needs and her situation improves. Regardless of everything else going on, having a sick mom is always a scary and stressful thing.
    Next, I love that you are down, but not yet out – at least not yet! I am also glad you left Dr. google alone and got to talk to a decent nurse! Such a health approach 🙂
    Oh, and please don’t amputate your arms, I’m not a doctor, but I don’t think it will improve your chances i the baby making department. 🙂
    Good luck on Monday. And until then I hope you can continue to hold on and keep yourself up.

    • thecommonostrich · August 24, 2014

      Thanks so much. I swear that my IF problems and my mom’s health are linked some how. When one thing goes wrong, so does the other. (Probably not, but you know how the brain works. MUST. FIND. PATTERNS.)

      And I DO plan on keeping both my arms. Though not essential for baby making, I think they would come in pretty handy once I have a kid of my own. 😉

  5. Elizabeth H · August 23, 2014

    Personally, I think these #s are all crap. I’m 38 with an AMH of 4.4 and an FSH of 7.4 (sometimes lower, sometimes higher)…so I should have a litter of kids, right? I don’t even have to tell you the answer to that since I am cruising TTC blogs. What my body likes to do is churn our copious amounts of iffy eggs that my body immediately turns into iffy embryos. My best advice is to not worry about the numbers. Your age is a massive factor and your eggs are likely to be perfect once they’re coaxed out. Good luck with the cycle!

    • thecommonostrich · August 24, 2014

      Yeah, I really should take them with a grain of salt. It was the first time that any of my tests have come back off, I think I just dove directly into the deep end of Crazy.

      This sometimes seems like such a lottery, doesn’t it?

  6. Pingback: “Well, Of Course.” | the common ostrich

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