I’m diagnosed-less. Diagnoseless? All the initial tests are finally over with, and with the exception of my sole polyp, no one has officially pointed a finger or shrugged their shoulders in defeat. After thirteen months of my husband and I giving each other the side eye after each negative test (is it you???), I’m still left without a complete understanding as to why.
We (a shout out of solidarity to all the women whose husbands say “we’re” pregnant) did the little men test in Month 6. It had been our plan to test at the ‘halfway point’ since it was fairly inexpensive, could clear one of us easily, and wouldn’t involve me banging my head against the wall as a doctor starts blabbering about “up to twelve months”, because fertility centers don’t care about those crappy facts – they care about DOLLARS. Here’s the kicker: the center that he went to also offered a discount for a combination of introductory fertility tests (nothing like a fertility center with a BOGO mentality!), and I didn’t do it. FSH, AMH, ultrasound for antral follicle counts. Foreign words to a woman who has been trying for a mere six months. I wrote them off as not that important: if they’re so important then they wouldn’t be part of the deal! Like getting the five buck box at Taco Bell, only to discover that it includes cruddy cinnamon twists and a hardshell taco. I was still in the “it takes time” mindset, even though I’ve never fully accepted or adopted that little ‘fact’. We should all remember this as the moment that, once time travel is invented, I will go back and kick myself in the ovaries for not going through with the damn tests.
My husband stepped up, at least. He didn’t throw a fit about showing a cup some love, and when I asked if he minded going through with the analysis he said, “Not at all, this is what I’m made to do!” What about what I’m made to do? I’d say I’m not pulling my weight around here in that case. I waited impatiently for the expected results: “Your husband has the happiest sperm we’ve ever seen! They’re perfect.” Or maybe they’d be so calm and laid back that they were too slow because they just didn’t see the point in rushing. Despite the lovely nurse at the lab who wrote “may benefit from insemination” on his SA results (and, despite her being 100% correct about IUI being in our future), a urologist gave him the stamp of approval. Beautiful balls (real statement). A gold star. We haven’t been slapped with the “unexplained” diagnosis yet, which means there’s only one other player in this game: Me.
My tubes are wide open.
Egg reserve is normal for my age (a phrase that is most unfortunately becoming more and more common).
But the quality…well, as they say – you’re only as good as your worst FSH result.
After my first round of Year One bloodwork, Doctor Kate gave me a call and said that something should be noted. My FSH levels came back at a 12, which she said she would expect to see in a PREMENOPAUSAL WOMAN rather than a 28-year-old. I had this bizarre initial reaction where I first thought she was accusing me of lying about my age, and then I slowly began to digest what she was trying to tell me. My eggs are shriveling up – raisins attempting to be a sorry excuse for a healthy egg, which probably crumble at the tap of a single sperm. No wonder this hasn’t been working.
Doctor Kate doesn’t seem too worried about my abnormally high FSH levels, but I’m beginning to think that she’s not phased by much. What does a girl have to do to get a little concern over here – be completely missing my ovaries?! Doctor Kate: Oh, that’s okay! Lots of women are ovary-less and go on to have perfectly healthy pregnancies, at least you have your uterus! Come on woman! She’s not worried that my body is beginning to self destruct, whereas I’m looking into the cost of egg freezing and wondering if my sister would be up for donating her eggs. Doctor Kate has only said that we might have a bit of a quality issue, YA THINK?! Just give it to me straight Doc – are my eggs associating with my inner eighty year old woman? It’s like someone left me out in the world for too long and now I’m beginning to spoil.
Anger has linked arms with me, whispering sweet blamings in my ear. Why wouldn’t they offer to check FSH and AMH for women who are trying to conceive? It’s a blood test for ovaries sake! Every time I go into the office I get pressured to take a genetic screening test, but this they put off? Doctors won’t even perform IVF on women who have FSH levels of 15 or higher. I don’t know much about how quickly you can climb scales on the hormone ladder, but I do know that 12 is 3 away from 15, and that your number only gets higher with time (and with Clomid, apparently). I’ve done the least research on high FSH levels when compared to all my past made-up infertility problems. I learned that one fact about IVF and ran with it, not wanting to dig in further to hear about unpromising stats and premature ovarian failure (a potential diagnosis that literally spells out my body is a failure, I’m a failure). Another rare, unexpected mark against my fertility. There’s no procedure, no pills that can lower my FSH. Strike ninety-two against me. Is it too late to trade in for a blocked tube??