Quick 411 on me: I married my high school sweetheart, I am 31 years old and have a happy healthy son who is about to turn two. My husband and I did genetic testing after we got married and had a genetic match that only really effects female children. There was a one in four chance that our baby would inherit the gene, so I figured the odds were in our favor and decided to try naturally.
Lucky for me, I got pregnant on my first try! Since we were pregnant with a boy, our concern over the genetic match was a non-issue and we delivered a beautiful baby in February 2018.
Unlucky for me, it ended up not being so easy moving forward with plans for baby number two.
My husband and I started talking about having more kids, and realized that although we got lucky with our son, we didn’t want to chance one of our children inheriting the match if we could avoid it. We decided to do IVF after ping ponging the idea for a while. Figured what could be SO bad? Two miserable weeks of shots later and then I’m finished, how hard could it be? After all, my issue wasn’t that I was infertile, so why shouldn’t I get a ton of healthy eggs and hit the ground running? Wrong.
We met with a fertility specialist who explained our match is actually way more common than you’d think and that plenty of people that do not do IVF who have this match deliver happy, healthy babies. Although he said it wasn’t entirely necessary, he also conceded that if it was something we were totally set on, he understood why we’d want to do it. The doctor took a bunch of blood and realized I had a low AMH level (don’t worry I had no idea what this was either – AMH is correlated with your ovarian reserve. Low AMH= Low ovarian reserve) I basically had the AMH of someone in their forties.
He explained that the process wouldn’t be as “easy” as I was hoping. He said it may take a few cycles, but we’ll get healthy embryos eventually. This part stopped me in my tracks. How could this be possible? I got pregnant with my son our first month trying and was only doing IVF to eliminate embryos with a genetic match. I was finally understanding how little control we truly have and how thankful I was for my baby boy.
So what was my schedule this past April- October? 6 a.m. wake up calls, blood draws and monitoring. More shots than you can imagine. I ended up needing to do three cycles and around 170 shots total, some of which I did hiding in a bathroom stall at my friends’ weddings. Downfall of a cute tight dress? Having to completely remove it to administer my shot. There were shots I did at the hospital after my sister had surgery (I forgot one of the needles so had to run home. Fun fact: hospitals won’t give out needles if you’re not a patient). And then there was the trigger shot I gave myself right before I gave a eulogy at my grandpa’s funeral. You would be amazed how you can smuggle a little boys lunchbox places and people just think there’s an apple and peanut butter inside. No one had any clue that in my son’s blue lunchbox covered in cars and trucks, there were really needles and chemicals for his mommy.
All things considered, I’m lucky. No journey is alike but I’m just so grateful I found out about my low ovarian reserve when I was 30. It sounds weird saying this but it’s a blessing in disguise that we have a genetic match. Without it, I wouldn’t have known about my low AMH and could have been trying for years without understanding what was going wrong. Instead of years of trying, I’m happy to say that after six months of shots (ouch), patches (annoying), and suppositories (gross), I’m pregnant again!
My heart goes out to everyone on this crazy ride. There are so many bumps in the road, but the final destination is unlike any paradise you’ve ever been or could ever imagine. I’m lucky to have a taste of that paradise with my son. For those who don’t have that taste yet, keep on fighting. I promise you it’s worth every shot (no pun intended).