I have wanted children for a little while now, but was scared of being a bad parent. I wanted to be "ready" when I had kids and wanted to provide the best possible life for that child. I was also very scared of postpartum depression as I've dealt with some mental health issues when I was younger.
I finished my masters degree in May of 2011 and my husband was bugging me about having kids. I told him I wanted to just relax and enjoy myself a little bit before being pregnant. Yeah, some of that was true, but I was mostly scared. On July 1st, 2011 I woke up and told my husband, "I'm ready". We started officially TTC that day.
I should mention it never really occurred to me I'd have fertility issues. My sister has 3 kids, my mom has 3 kids, my cousins, aunts, uncles, etc all have kids. I did think maybe something on my husband's side as they only have one child, always a boy, and if there are more than one child the age difference is huge. I remember the day I got my masters I asked how I felt and I jokingly said "Ouch, I just felt my fertility decrease." Bad joke!
My first cycle I didn't worry about anything. Just "had fun". Unprotected sex = baby, right? No! On July 5-8, I went on vacay to Cancun with some good friends of ours. Came back with what I was hoping was my Mexico baby. Heck, I was already planning the "Made in Mexico" onesie I was having made for my baby. I "knew" I ovulated on my trip because an ovulation calendar told me so (are you laughing yet?). July 16, my period came and I was crying and sad. I'm a "take control" kind of girl and so having browsed around some websites, mostly babycenter. I got the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility and a thermometer and ergo the world of taking my temperature. I started tempting my 2nd cycle of TTC. I hadn't read my whole book, so I messed up some that cycle. I was tempting in the evening and using a regular thermometer, but about a week into my cycle I realized how it needed to be done and started tempting first thing in the morning. I started seeing a wacky pattern of I ovulate very early in my cycle and my cycles are only about 3 weeks long. Not only that, but I got dotted lines, not solid lines, indicating it's possible I wasn't really ovulating.
In September I took my four charts and made an appt with my OBGYN. I told him I really don't think I'm ovulating. Bloodwork on Cycle day 21 was only a 5.4, which they told me may or may not indicate ovulation. However, they will drug me. I was put on Clomid to ensure I ovulated. I was given 50 mg. Cycle days 5-9. So, my first cycle on it I was concerned because it looked my ovulation days were occurring very early cycle days 9-11. I was worried about my follicles having a chance to grow. I was not monitored except for a progesterone test, which they would only do on Day 21. Let me just say that my cycles at this time are ending around day 23. With my early ovulation dates, my progesterone needs to be taken at 7 DPO (days past ovulation). Not Cycle day 21. I was on this nightmare drug for 3 full cycles. Now, Clomid has helped many women conceive children, I'm glad it's available for those who need it. However, the side effects can be horrible. First Clomid cycle I was okay, just had a headache. It didn't work, though I did ovulate. Second cycle I was crying a lot and had a headache and was just sensitive in general, no baby. Third cycle I was nuts, I also told the OB I needed to take it earlier for it to affect me, I was ovulating very early. They told me do days 3-7, so I did that. I was an emotional wreck. I was crying, my head hurt, I freaked out over everything. I was starting to just become totally crazy. I knew then that it would be my last Clomid cycle. My LP was 15 days! At the end of the cycle I tried talking to my OB, I said something more is wrong here, I know it. He pretty much wrote me off, saying that it takes time, I'm still young, blah, blah, blah.
So, at the end of my 3rd Clomid cycle, I started seeing a RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist), also known as a fertility specialist. He said call him at the start of my new cycle, which I did. He had me come in Cycle Day 3 for an ultrasound and a bunch of bloodwork. I also went to a lab to get a bunch of bloodwork done. It was something like 21 different tests. Oh, when I was on Clomid, my husband had a SA (sperm analysis) done and he came out wonderful on that. Now, I am thinking that all that's wrong with me is I ovulate too early. I need a drug to hold off ovulation so my follicle can mature.
The Thursday before new years, December 29, 2011, I was asked to come in since they now had all the info they needed to tell me what was going on. I was annoyed this couldn't be done on the phone. I have to come in, so you can say, hey I ovulate early give me a pill to make it happen later? I asked my husband to come with me and I'm so glad I did. We arrived at the office and we were the last appointment, the day before a holiday. You could see the break room had all kinds of food indicating a new year's celebration. My husband and I sat down while he's going over my labs and trying to say something about AMH and it's too low and too many things I don't understand. I'm suddenly realizing that I have a big problem. Something really is wrong with me.
My diagnosis was Diminished Ovarian Reserve, DOR. There's a lot of debate over what that actually means. Anywhere ranging from I'm running out of eggs to it just means I have fewer follicles maturing. Either way, it's not a good diagnosis. At the time my Estrogen was too high, at 101, my FSH was normal, but only artificially normal since my Estrogen was high. My AFC was 6, normal is 8-18. My AMH was .67. The RE told me they get a little nervous at about 1, mine was below that. He told me that I had very little chance of natural conception. He did tell me that it is still possible for me to conceive naturally, just very unlikely. He recommended IVF. He said they could do IUI and trigger, but that it didn't have as high a success rate and they couldn't control multiples as easy as with IVF. He said due to only being 31 (I just turned 31 in December), that he would only put two eggs in me, so at the most twins, mostly likely a singleton. But before that, he had the real scary news..... Because I was only 31 and had DOR I was now a strong candidate for being a Fragile X carrier. I needed to be tested asap. Which I did. After a horrible month of waiting on that one, I was clear. I'm not a fragile x carrier. I have to also mention this RE was really awesome. As I said, last appt on the the day before a holiday. He was patient, he answered all our questions, explained everything, never rushed us.
I don't need to tell you how drunk I got New Year's Eve after all this info. After finding out I was not a fragile x carrier and doing research I found some women who conceived with acupuncture and herbs. I started just on herbs since I couldn't afford acupuncture and wanted to find the right person. I did multiple searches for acupuncturists and found one that I started going to and love on the 6 month anniversary of Chase's passing.
I did repeat my blood work in May. This time my estrogen and FSH came up normal, indicating my egg quality is okay, but my AFC and AMH came up worse. My AFC went down to 3 (normal is 8-18) and my AMH (normal is one and above) down to .24. This was horrible news to me, but my acupuncturist firmly believes that I am capable of natural conception and I'm staying on this path.
I have now been TTC for over a year, I'm on my 17th cycle, on Cycle Day 9 of it. Thanks to acupuncture and herbs I ovulate around Day 14, which an LP (luteal phase) of 11 to 12 days. Every cycle I notice improvements and I think my BFP (big fat positive) is on it's way.