There are two types of shows on television that I could watch all day and never tire of... cooking competition shows and medical mystery shows. No secret I'm a Grey's Anatomy fan... medical mystery and drama? Who wouldn't love that? Now on a different show... you get the same drama and medical intrigue (minus the relationship drama) in a real life setting. Mystery Diagnosis. It always features a "victim" who has some medical dilemma. In their process they are diagnosed and treated over and over again until randomly some doctor finally finds the root of the problem and FINALLY they get the treatment they needed from the very beginning... finally they get relief.
Mystery diagnosis... Infertility edition.
You've read the story so far... first it's this... then it's that... then it's all signs point to this so let's treat it!! But has the treatment worked? Well since we have yet to conceive... you can figure that.
So after several different tests... more lab work than I could ever dream and even more diagnostic imaging. We have a diagnosis.
Is it a progesterone deficiency? Nope. Is it anovulation? Not quite. Is it mental instability? At this point, yeah probably some of that going on. Lol.
Ladies and gentlemen... our diagnosis? Poor ovarian reserve.
Not super common for someone my age. Normally when you do an antral follicle count (an ultrasound where they literally count the number of follicles you have in each ovary on day 3 of your cycle) in someone my age, you would see 15-20 follicles... in each ovary. I had 5 on the left and 7 on the right. I have the ovaries of someone much older than myself. This "low reserve" was further confirmed with a lab test. I have low AMH (anti-mullerian hormone). This hormone is produced by the microscopic follicles in your ovaries, and therefore reflect the size of your remaining egg supply. Normally this decline doesn't occur until age 35 or so in a normal female.
So why haven't we ever heard anything even mentioned about this being a possibility until now? Well. Normal gynecologists (even if they are "treating" you for infertility do not do this testing). They tested my progesterone on day 21 of every cycle. Always low. I couldn't get pregnant... so for everything they were doing... all signs pointed to "progesterone deficiency and anovulation". But that was never the problem at all.
After watching my cycle very closely. I am ovulating. This is occurring early on in my cycle, which makes my luteal phase (the phase after ovulation) normal length. No luteal phase defect. So why, if I'm ovulating couldn't I get pregnant? Even though I am releasing an egg every month, the egg is releasing early. This egg doesn't have the normal time to mature... so it is not viable for pregnancy... can't be fertilized or something along those lines.
I wish there was some magic pill to pump up this number. Women are born with all of the eggs they will ever have in their lifetime. So... the longer we've tried getting pregnant... the longer we wait... the less eggs we will have. And in my case, sooner rather than later there won't be any good ones left. Our doctor is somewhat concerned about the quality of eggs we will be able to attain, but that cannot be determined until our eggs are harvested and he can actually look at them. One step at a time...
So what's next, you ask?
IVF!! We get to start immediately (finally some good news)! Well as soon as I start my next cycle, that is. The sooner we start... the better, as far as my eggs are concerned.
I know it has taken a while for me to post this. Honestly I just had to have time to deal with it all. This was not fun news to hear. I mean what 28 year old wants to be told this?! No woman ever wants to hear this, but especially no woman who should be in her "fertile" years.
First I was excited to have a plan. Then I was depressed when I processed all this new news. Then I was irritated of all of the "missed" diagnoses... then I came to terms with it. I have spent many hours in prayer... except this time it wasn't so much asking "why?" as usual... it was more asking for strength and wisdom to deal with this... as well as for direction.
I truly believe that if we were not supposed to do in vitro, everything would not have been provided to us as it has. I feel like I am in good hands. (Divinely and medically). We have lots of support. (Thank you all for that).
Now all we can do is keep the faith... and pray. Pray without ceasing.