What If… There are so many What Ifs that come to mind but I’m supposed to pick just one to write about.

What if I never get pregnant?   What if I do get pregnant but miscarry?  What if I can’t adopt for some reason?  What if the hole in my heart never goes away?  What if I had gotten pregnant back when I still had eggs?  What if I develop early osteoperosis from early menopause? What if I lose friends because I’m not comfortable around them or vice versa?  What if the stress & anxiety are too much for my relationship with Right Guy?  What if we go broke paying for treatments? What if my RE won’t let me do IVF?

I could easily continue adding to that list.  But the one that haunts me the most is probably the least interesting to others.  And the one that makes the least sense.  You can’t change the past after all.  But for most of us 30 something POF/DOR women we can’t help but wonder if we squandered the fertile years of our 20s. Or if we did something to cause this.  I can’t even begin to imagine how it affects the women who are diagnosed in their 20s.

WHAT IF I HAD GOTTEN PREGNANT BACK WHEN I STILL HAD EGGS?

When I was married we tried.  I went off birth control and actually had regular cycles.  Something I long for today.  I never thought I would long to get a period but I do.  Even though those regular cycles were interrupted by pain from endometriosis I still had eggs and a chance EVERY MONTH to fertilize one.  The chance was there back then.  Never mind the fact that my ex-husband had an abysmal sperm count and was cheating on me (maybe that’s why he had an abysmal sperm count).  Never mind the physical pain I was in.  I HAD EGGS.  I had the basic raw materials to produce life.  I don’t have that now – or at least not in the quantity I should.  There may not be enough eggs left in my basket at this point.  And for all I know the ones that are left might be rotten.

If  I had gotten pregnant when I was married then at least I would have a child of my own.  Even if I was still divorced and still had to see and deal with the ex because of the kid – I WOULD STILL HAVE  A CHILD.  Ideal conditions?  Certainly not.  Better than now… perhaps.  For me anyway.  Maybe not so much for the kid.  But maybe the divorce wouldn’t have happened if there had been a child.  My ex even said that to me – “If there were a child things would be different.”  It hurt so much to hear him say that.  For so many reasons.  I wouldn’t have wanted him to stay just for the sake of a child.  But if having a child changed things between us and made it better…  this particular What If has a way of snowballing.  What if he had figured things out BEFORE the wedding and we never got married?  Would I have met some other great guy and had children with him before my eggs disappeared?  As much as I love Right Guy and am ecstatic to have found him I don’t believe that there’s only ONE right person out there for each of us.  Could I be living an alternate life?  Happy with a different guy?  And with kids?!?

After the initial split with my Ex all I kept hearing from friends and family was this:  “At least you don’t have kids.”  I think I still have a scar from all those (well-meant) comments.  Due to the endometriosis and his deployment to Afghanistan our TTC efforts were interrupted and therefore we weren’t able to actively try to conceive for that long  – but it felt like it.  It felt like 15 months of trying that ended in “I never loved you (because I always loved her) and oh, by the way, I don’t want kids.”  And then I had to endure the “be glad you don’t have kids” comments on top of it all.  So those wounds have all re-opened recently.  So I’ve got to rehash the past, deal with the present all while worrying about the future.  “Some days it just isn’t worth chewing through the restraints” as they say.

If I had had a child back then maybe I wouldn’t have met Right Guy.  It’s horrible to admit but I think I’d take the kid if I had to choose.  Maybe not.  But it would be a close call.  Fortunately I don’t have have to make that choice.  I’m here now in this situation with him and all I can I do is make the choices about how to handle it now.  This is really a pretty futile What If.  But it haunts me nonetheless.

What if I never get past this what if? I’d love to track down my ex and yell at him.  But would that help?  Nope.  These are ultimately my issues, not his.  He behaved badly and if he had taken the time to get to know himself better before we married maybe some or all of this could have been avoided.  But he didn’t do that.  He wasn’t truthful with me or himself about his ongoing relationship with his high school sweetheart.  And no amount of yelling at him is going to change that.  Although it would be fun…  I daydream (or sometimes it’s real dreams)  sometimes that it would be cathartic to yell at him or punch him and that it would give me the closure I never really got (he divorced me from Iraq so I never even saw him during that process).  But, in the end, I don’t think it would accomplish anything more than to drive home the fact that I’m not who he wants to be with.  I’d be that crazy insane ex-wife people talk about – and then people would sympathize with him for having to deal with such a crazy ex-wife (never mind his actions).  And his wife, a.k.a. the ‘Other Woman’, likes to give interviews about her book and talk about his vasectomy online so I’m sure she’d blast me publicly if contacted him.  So I’m still really unsure how exactly to get past this once and for all.  Except by having a child so I don’t have to wonder ‘What If’ anymore.  What if I don’t have enough eggs to even try IVF?  What if I adopt and I still can’t get past this What If?

Lest you think I’m a truly selfish person who would rather have a child with an a$$hole for a father than a great guy in her life, let me iterate through some of the reasons I want a child.  Many of them are selfish but not all.

There are the usual reasons for wanting a biological child:

  • best of my qualities + best of his (if we’re lucky)
  • wanting to experience pregnancy
  • wanting to experience the awesome feeling of having created life

And then the reasons for wanting a child even if not biologically my own:

  • I feel a void in my life without a child
  • the desire to do it better than my parents (haha)

But MOST important is the fact that I have A LOT of love to give  – and currently all I do is annoy my cats with it 😉

So, to conclude on a positive note… what if I am pregnant RIGHT now? It’s possible.  I took the meds, the timing was right.  I’m trying to walk the line between positive thoughts and realistic expectations. What if , on our current or next cycle, WE ALL get BFPs!

Links that prompted this post:
www.resolve.org/infertility101

www.resolve.org/takecharge

http://www.stirrup-queens.com/2010/04/bloggers-unite-project-if/

My Left Ovary

April 20, 2010

I know it was you, Left Ovary.

How many women can say they know which ovary ovulated? All of us IFers I guess.

It’s been 6 days since the trigger shot. And I’m still sore/crampy. Although it is finally starting to feel better – walking no longer hurts. My poor little ovary is just worn out from the meds making it work so hard. It’s not used to this. She’s still convalescing on the sofa. I mean I could probably count on my fingers the number of times I’ve ovulated in my whole life. Well, maybe my fingers AND toes. But you get the picture. The poor little thing just isn’t used to doing it’s job and then all of a sudden she has to kick in to hyperdrive. I feel bad for her. Although, if I get a BFN I’ll probably start cursing her and cheering for the other one.

The Diagnosis

April 19, 2010

At first I tried to hide it from the Right Guy.  I was embarrassed that I was always hot and a little bit sweaty when we went out.  I’m usually cold-natured.   I thought maybe the bar was too crowded – we both like to go out to live music shows and sometimes it’s pretty crowded.  And it wasn’t like it happened all the time.  I really wasn’t sure that it was hot flashes.
But then I started to notice a pattern – I would get them mostly during the week of my period.  Once I realized that, I knew what they were.  But I still wasn’t overly concerned about it.  I’d complained of hot flashes before and been told not to worry about them (this was after the Lupron treatment I had had).  They weren’t that consistent anyway.  No big deal.  Then I started to get them the week BEFORE my period as well as the week of.
I still hadn’t mentioned this to the Right Guy yet.  He is a doc but this isn’t his area of expertise.
And then, one night when I was staying over at his place, I soaked the bed.  The night sweats had arrived.  And I had to tell him.  And I was scared.  By this time the flashes had also started to occur the week after my period making it 3 weeks of every month that I was getting them.  He reacted wonderfully and told me he didn’t think it was menopause but maybe I should see my GYN to see what could be done about it.
Off to the GYN I went.  By this time I had been having flashes off and on (and now more on) for about 8-9 months.  GYN said the same think – I don’t think it’s menopause.  But let’s do some tests to see what might be going on.  So she ordered day 3 FSH and an AMH.  I anxiously awaited the results.  Finally I got a call.  My FSH was 16.  This was too high.  But she still couldn’t be certain about what was going on since, for some reason, the lab hadn’t run the AMH test.  And that test is more definitive. I would have to go back in for another blood draw.  And wait some more.
Initially I wasn’t that worried.  I’m a cool-headed person and not prone to freaking out before I have all the facts.  But the more I googled, the more I learned.  And the more I learned the more scared I got.  I called the doctor’s office several times.  I took 3 weeks to get the results.  My AMH was abysmal – 0.1.  Meaning I have VERY FEW eggs left.  She told me I’d have to use donor eggs to have a child.  She had consulted with a specialist before calling me just to make sure.  She encouraged me to go see a specialist on my own if I wanted.  She gave me options for controlling the hot flashes with continuous birth control.
I was devastated.  But let’s not get in to that.  I called a fertility specialist now known to me as my RE – reproductive endocrinologist – a profession I hadn’t really known existed.  She applauded the efforts of my GYN but said she had some more tests to do.  But I’d have to go off the birth control to do them.  And that meant my symptoms would get worse before they got better.
It took almost a full year for all this to unfold (for various reasons).  After going off my birth control the RE did an ultrasound and it showed I had two antral follicles – one on each ovary.  A normal woman my age should have 10-20 (usually on the higher end of that range).  I was told that I might ovulate ocassionally but certainly not regularly.  And that my best chance for pregnancy would be to have sex every 2-3 days and hope for the best.