I pop in to Dr C’s this afternoon. He’d asked me to come and see him after my last aborted fertility treatment. I suspect the nurses told him about our hysterectomy conversation too.
He explains that once FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) levels reach double figures, chances of making eggs decrease. In the first round when we extracted 2 eggs my levels were at 10. Borderline. At Round 2 they had increased to 18, and despite being on the contraceptive pill meant to reduce these same FSH levels, I was up to 23 for Round 3.
I ask him if it’s my stress levels. He assures me they are not responsible although I am skeptical.
I ask him if I am going to run out of eggs. Dr C draws in marker pen on the reproductive diagram on his desk and explains how, out of the total egg reserve, several present each month, but usually only one ovulates. The fertility drugs encourage all the eggs that have presented to ovulate. An extreme example is a patient with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome who produced 53. My ovaries only present 3 or 4 eggs each month so more medication won’t produce more eggs for a cycle, or use them up quicker. The good news is this means I will need less drugs in future rounds.
I ask him if there is anything I can do to reduce my FSH levels and he says there is an option to take Testosterone which would possibly increase the quality of eggs but he is shaking his head whilst he says it and instead recommends that I go back on the pill and we continue to run the Day 2 tests until we hit the jackpot.
In theory I am ok with this approach. It’s not the number of rounds we have to do that stresses me out, it’s the number of periods that go hand in hand.
I ask him how many eggs he suggests we aim for if we’re averaging 2 eggs a pop. He says 8. I quickly calculate that the best case scenario means only 3 more periods. I can cope with three more periods.
Taking my Minuette prescription from Dr C, I pat my pelvis and say: “Come on little ovaries, you can do it.”
I don’t know how many rounds or attempted rounds of treatment I can keep going for, but I know that I will keep going until I can’t. There is, bizarrely, something quite liberating about having zero influence over the outcome of this exercise. My inner control freak has had to abdicate all control. When I started this process I was on a schedule. I had a plan. I’ve had to let that go. Now the only thing I can do is keep turning up. Otherwise it is necessary to bow to the Fates and allow nature to take it’s course (with a little help from Dr C.)
As I surrender to this process, making it my primary focus, letting anything that does not support it fall by the wayside, a long forgotten flow has begun to return to my life. I feel a shift happening…
And I like it.