The One Where It All Starts to Unravel

After last cycle’s BFN, I started to feel like something was off. Something didn’t feel right. I had great progesterone on 7dpo, and STILL was spotting by 10dpo. I thought, maybe, just maybe it was implantation. But in my heart I knew.

So I emailed my RE. He agreed my luteal phase seemed off. Told me it was time to do another consult to discuss things (my very own WTF appointment – how fun). Sent me off for another round of CD 3 testing.

Ha. CD 3 testing. I just did those last year. That’s not the problem. Why is he sending me for those? I made follicles. That’s just a waste of time. I hate my clinic, I hate my doctor.

FSH: 11.

Wait, what? 11????


For those of you playing the home game, you might remember 11 was the number of my second beta with last year’s chemical pregnancy. It’s certainly not one of my favorite numbers. And it’s losing even more ground now.


Now, I’ve been at this IF stuff long enough to know it could be worse. I’ve heard of much worse. I’ve seen FSH numbers that tell the patient “Do not pass GO, do not collect $200, but instead go directly to donor eggs.” I know 11 is sitting on the precipice of “Now’s a good time to stop thinking you’ll get pregnant via IUI, and IVF is not going to be a panacea either.” The way I understand FSH is that it is the hormone that “recruits” good follicles. The less good eggs you have, the more FSH you need to pull forward follicles. So while FSH isn’t technically an indicator of egg quality in an individual egg, it is indicative of declining levels of quality eggs to draw from, which also means that the follicles that do grow are less likely to be good ones.

For those of you wondering, no I haven’t had my consult with my RE yet. And we’re still waiting on one more number to come in (AMH for those of you who’ve been down this path). I called the nurse at my clinic to give me my antral follicle counts from my last couple of cycles (10 right/3 left in January and 5 right/7 left in March). Those numbers are borderline “intermediate” depending on who Dr. Google references.

(If overanalyzation of data is boring or too much for you, skip the next paragraph)

I’ve been around. I’ve been dealing with infertility off and on now for more than 7 years. The twins will be 6 this year. It took a year to get pregnant with them. A year ago, before starting IUIs, my FSH was 8.5. A few years prior, 5.5. The chart on this page indicates that, for a woman my age, my levels should be somewhere around 8 as a baseline for success. This supports that statement, by putting 11 in the reduced to fair category (it straddles both). My antral follicle counts are below normal according to this, falling into sort of intermediate counts. Although I’d venture a guess the number they have for my left ovary is wrong for March and not nearly as high as is in my records, because I’d remember my little raisin left ovary having 7 antral follicles – especially since we got ONE follicle from it on my IVF cycle 6 ½ years ago. A study in the Oxford journal of Human Reproduction studied Inhibin-B levels and FSH and pregnancy success. If we assume my Inhibin B levels are normal (>45 – we didn’t test for it), their chart shows that FSH over 10 in both the normal and abnormal Inhibin B levels predicts poor pregnancy results. (Yes, I’m way too analytical for my own good).

The reality is, all this information seems to put me in the “borderline” category. I have follicles, but not a ton, my FSH is high, but not insanely so. Assuming my AMH mirrors my FSH (probably low but not insanely so), then we’re left with a lot of “what if” questions. What if we try IVF with my eggs? What if we try IVF with H’s eggs? What if this is just all too much and this is our signal to stop? What if we dump $20k we don’t have into IVF and walk away with nothing? What if we do all this and all we feel like we’ve done is emotionally distance ourselves from the children we do have because we’re so caught up in making another one? What if?

And. Right now. We’re just waiting. Waiting for the last numbers. Waiting for our consult (April 10th, btw). In the meantime, we leave on vacation on Sunday. I spent all of yesterday crying. Today I’m simply too numb to cry. Please refrain from stories about your brother’s friend’s cousin’s hairdresser’s daughter’s next-door neighbor who got pregnant with an FSH of 100. I need to sit in this. I need to figure out what this means, and what the next steps are. And as much as I just want to jump onto the next train and figure out where I’m supposed to be going once I get on, I can’t.

I feel like when you find a snag in your favorite sweater, and you just pull it so you can try and get it to go back where it goes, only to find that by pulling it ever so slightly, it starts to unravel. So you push the snag back and try and force it to lay flat so you can’t notice the snag. But you know it’s there. And every time you wear it you wonder if someone can see that snag. It’s not ruined, but it’s never going to be exactly as it was.


3 thoughts on “The One Where It All Starts to Unravel

  1. The scariest part of it all is thinking you would risk your relationship w J and N. This would never, ever happen but it doesn’t mean it won’t stop stalking your nightmares. You know you would never let that slip. You are way too devoted a parent.

    I almost didn’t want to write this comment. The saying about thou doth protest too much or something? Something about not wanting to honor a question with an answer? But it is just so balls crazy I had to say, no way Jose. The reason I wrote it is because I know the fear is real. But that is all it is, a miserable fear.

    Much love and some more from the kitchen table.

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