My whole life I've felt like I was anything but average. I started Kindergarten at 4 instead of 5. I maintained a 4.1 GPA in high school. I got a high score on the ACT. Most of my life, I've been above average, I've done well and achieved a lot. I don't say this to toot my own horn, but more to give perspective on why I have such a hard time swallowing some aspects of our fertility journey. This is going to sound AWFUL, but when we were first diagnosed with male factor infertility, I was glad because that meant the problem wasn't with me. I could still pretend that my fertility was just fine and that I had (at the very least) average fertility. Our subsequent IVFs have revealed, however, that my fertility is anything but average.
The other night as I was struggling to fall asleep, I realized that I went through not one, but two IVF cycles at the age of 24. TWENTY FOUR. Now that's freakin' young. I cannot tell you how many times ultrasound techs/nurses asked if I was doing a donor cycle. HA!! The average time TTC for a 24 year old is three months. It took us 21. The chance of not conceiving over one year is 3%. Hmmm... I've been in the top 3% before, but not on the negative end of the statistic. So much for being above average, or even average, for that matter! Now? I'm anything but! I would guess that the average stim amount for someone my age (26) is usually between 200-300 units a night. Me? I need 450 units to get my ovaries to start going. Not normal. Not average.
Last week was rough. The meds have me on a roller coaster of emotions. One minute I'm thinking I'll be fine no matter how we build our family and the next I'm sobbing over the idea of not giving Piper a full biological sibling. Scared out of my noggin' that I'll never have a big ole preggo belly again. Scared that I'll have another chemical pregnancy.
For a while last week I was convinced that this cycle would either be a bust or that I'd end up with only 3 mature eggs. I had my first ultrasound on Thursday and the nurse measured 4 on the left and 7 on the right. Not bad, but not the greatest, either. My estradiol was only 499, which is behind where I was at this point with Piper. I tried to keep a brave face, but inside I was thinking about egg donors and embryo adoption. Convinced I was going to hit menopause next week. Then came Saturday. I had another ultrasound to see how things were going... I was nervous the whole time because I couldn't see the screen (they were using a new machine) and I was sure that the 11 they saw on Thursday had stopped growing or that I had ovulated. I finally asked how many follicles she saw and nearly fell over in elation when she said 22. TWENTY TWO!!! She saw 7 on my left ovary (over 8mm) alone. I told her that the nurse at the other clinic described my left ovary as lazy/sleepy and she said that's not the case at all!!! In fact, she said my ovaries look better than most patients she sees. Finally above average again :). Really, the only reason I'm beyond thrilled over this is the fact that if I have 22 measurable follicles (with more smaller than 8mm), then I do not have an antral count of 11 or 8. Which are two numbers I've been given over the past four months. Now, I will not get 22 mature eggs. It looks like right now I have between 8-13 good size follicles. They hope to get mature eggs from all of those follicles, but with my history, that is unlikely. Right now I am praying to have more than my highest count with IVF, which was 7. If I had 8 mature eggs, that would be the bees knees. If I had 10, I would feel better than if I had just won the Me.ga Mill.ions lotto. For real. Who cares about millions of dollars? I want EGGS!!!
I have another ultrasound tomorrow and I'm looking forward to seeing how things have progressed over the last 48 hours. Right now they are estimating that my egg retrieval will be Wednesday, but we'll know for sure (more or less) tomorrow. I just hope that it all goes well! We are so close now!!