November can’t come soon enough

I just got back from my post op with Dr. Petrel.

Things are looking good! My uterus is all clear. Polyps were tested and aren’t malignant (a low chance, but she wanted to test them to be sure.) And my genetic tests came back with no abnormalities.

Now that it is done (and they are fine) I will admit to being a little nervous about the Fragile X test. Thanks to my frenemy Dr. Google, I became convinced that my people must be carriers of some kind. Why? Because in milder forms, Fragile X can manifest itself in learning disabilities and ADD. My brother has both. I have mild ADD, as does my sister.

Just before a full-blown freak out, I stopped myself. Oh, dear sweet logic… Learning disabilities are caused by any number of things. Genetics can be one of them, but so can premature birth. (My brother was born 4 weeks early.)  Worse case, we could do genetic screening on the embryos before transferring.

I also realized that if this was the case, it was DONE. It wasn’t like I was going to be changing my genetic code by eating tons of kale or exercising more. So I decided to “que sera, sera” that shit.

And with good reason, as it turns out there wasn’t anything to worry about. Petrel ordered the Fragile X test because this can be linked to higher FSH levels (which I have.) I asked her if she knew why my levels would be high then, she said she didn’t know but that she wasn’t worried. My AMH levels are good, and that’s what matters. I suppose some things will just remain a mystery.

As with all my meetings with Dr. Petrel, this was really great. She is by far the best doctor I’ve dealt with throughout all this– because she takes us seriously. Crazy idea, I know!

After our consult, we were handed off to Nurse Wren* who went over all the fabulous injections that are in store for me. Not looking forward to this part. But after two years of infertility, I think I can handle two stinking weeks of injections.

With all that done, we’re on our way to IVF. Dr. Petrel’s office will put through the request with my insurance company. That should take two weeks to clear, which means we can’t get a round in this cycle. I’m a little bummed, but I also had set this expectation with myself. I was thinking an October/November timeframe. So November it is! Which means, I have yet another cycle to over-google everything. Yippie.

Mostly, I’m just impatient. I’ve even allowed myself to be optimistic. This could actually work! And when I start seeing that promise in the distance– no matter how far off– I just. can’t. take it.

*Not her real name. But I like her so I gave her a nice bird name…

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Back in the Saddle

First of all, thanks to all for understanding my hiatus. And for welcoming me back to the fold. It’s truly astounding how warm and loving a set of perfect strangers can be. Way to go, humanity!

And now that I’m back, I will regale you with tales of my RE appointment.

On Monday, I had my first visit with Dr. Petrel since our initial consultation. All of our tests are in, and the results are decidedly weird.

  1. My FSH levels are elevated, but my AMH levels are awesome.
  2. Mr. O’s genetic results are in the clear, but because the practice shifted to a different lab, not all requested tests were actually performed. Basically, they tested 94% of them.
  3. I may or may not have polyps. I had the sonohysterogram done at a different office, and they didn’t let me see the pictures they took of my uterus. Reviewing them with Dr. Petrel, she thinks it could be polyps– or mucus. Yummy.

Therefore, here is our plan of attack for this cycle.

  1. More tests. Dr. Petrel suggested that I get my FSH tested again, since my levels were more consistent with a Day 4 or 5 result. Maybe we got the timing off? She also suggested getting the genetic tests that were left out of Mr. O’s labs, and Fragile X. There may be a connection between my elevated FSH and Fragile X. So let’s just know for sure.
  2. Hysteroscopy. In the next two weeks, she wants to take a peek at my uterus with a telescope. After she gets in there and determines my polyp-y status, she’ll either give me the all clear or remove those suckers. It should take one day, and I should be back at work the next.

Through some miracle, I have not freaked out about any of this. Okay, not through some miracle… Through the calm, rational care provided by Dr. Petrel, I am not freaked out about any of this. The truth is that if this were going to be an easy process for me, I wouldn’t be going to an RE in the first place. Her office exists to help couples like me and Mr. O. If I do test positive for Fragile X, we would just have a different set of choices to make. She walked us through what some of those choices might be. By the time I left, I practically wanted to hug her. #bestdoctorever

And as I wait for those genetic tests to come back, a whole new two week wait begins…

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.

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.