5th June 2018
My whole life I’ve been a planner. Even as a teenager I had it all mapped out, juggle a career and get married ideally between 27-28 and I wanted two kids and the first baby by 30 to 31. Needless to say, life never turns out the way you wanted to. My husband Scott and I got engaged in 2013, I was 37 and he was 41. He joked that since we were and old bull and an old cow (biologically speaking) we needed to get cracking and so we started trying right away. Being the logical left brained individuals we were, we decided to see a obstetrician/fertility specialist soon and get my hormone levels checked right off the bat.
I went into the doctors office with a positive but realistic expectation when my blood test results arrived. Everything seemed pretty normal until he showed me my AMH or anti-mullerian hormone test results which is supposed to measure the egg reserve. Let’s just say I was in the bottom 5%, the normal curve was plotted and my level was one of those straggling dots so far below that it looks like someone accidentally put it there. I looked up at my doctor, a lovely but very methodical no nonsense English man and said what does this mean? Do we need to start IVF right away? To his credit he calmly looked at me and said it’s not great news but it’s not the end of the world. AMH measures egg quantity and not necessarily quality. You’re not forty yet so I still think it’s worth trying for six months naturally and if nothing happens then come back again and we will evaluate your options.
Six months came and went, six sets of ovulation kits, boxes of pregnancy tests and tracking my temp and fluid and god knows what else in apps and still no baby. It probably didn’t help that we were trying to get pregnant via long distance. (Scott was living in Sydney and I was based in Hong Kong) so we would plan our monthly visits around my cycle, I know what you’re thinking how romantic! Not! I went back to see the doctor and he said we should start thinking about IVF at this stage. So Scott and I decided if we were going to do that it made more sense to go with a doctor in Sydney because the plan was for me to move down there anyways.
We went to the IVF clinic in Sydney and sat down for our chat post another battery of blood tests and ultra sound scans. This time the feedback wasn’t as sensitive. He looked at me and basically said not only have we been wasting our time trying naturally but my levels are so bad that most likely I would need to find donor eggs. We both left that appointment shell shocked and spent the rest of the day walking and talking. I cried which for those of you who know me know that it doesn’t happen very often. Scott being the engineer minded individual he is said to me, I know you’re sad but it’s hardly a surprise given our age and let’s just figure out what to do next. I looked at him and said I know it’s not unexpected news but it’s different when it’s in black and white! I then admitted to him I had been seeing an accupuncture fertility specialist for a few months, a Chinese doctor and I even went to this Chinese bone setter lady who basically gives you a massage and realigns you go help improve blood flow and has helped women get pregnant (she has a cult following in Hong Kong). Don’t judge I was a desperate woman! He just smiled and said let’s figure out next steps. He promptly did an enormous amount of research and put me on a high good fats diet because some studies indicated that you’re more likely to get pregnant if your body is very well nourished.
We both agreed that I should do what the IVF specialist suggested which is get my tubes flushed and then come down next month and start my first round of IVF. I decided to get my tubes flushed in Hong Kong and then plan my relocation.
The morning before my procedure as instructed I sat down and peed on a stick fully expecting to get another negative result …when there were two lines, positive. My hand shaking I did three more tests still positive. At exactly 8am I begged the nurse to get me the first appointment of the day and rush my blood tests. I couldn’t believe it we were pregnant. The doctor warned me not to get my hopes up and to continue to pee on the digital tests and monitor to see that the weeks were ticking up and to come back in a couple of weeks for my first scan.
I was lucky, Scott and I managed to conceive naturally and 39 weeks later we had our beautiful baby girl. By a twist of fate 11 months later I fell pregnant again with our son (ironically while I was still breastfeeding my daughter). I know I’m incredibly fortunate to have our happy ending because it easily could have gone the other way. Statistically I’m an anomaly and I know that but I suppose at the end of the day my advice to anyone trying to get pregnant would be, be logical and practical and methodical about it but also be hopeful. Science is one part of it but I genuinely believe a bit of faith and sheer dragon like will doesn’t hurt either. Sometimes you just never know.
If anyone wants to chat or reach out
My email Pitch.firstname.lastname@example.org