The worst part of having premature diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) for me was feeling like the infertile of the infertile.

We first started TTC in August 2017 when I was 33 and my husband was 37. During routine blood work, my OBGYN discovered my thyroid was sluggish and put me on synthroid. During my next cycle I got pregnant and we were overjoyed. Right before Christmas 2017, we went in for our first appointment and there was no heartbeat. The doctor advised us that it was a missed miscarriage. We were completely devastated.

In between Christmas and New Years, I had a D&C (dilation and curettage procedure) after my miscarriage. I’m not sure the holidays will ever be the same for me. After that the OB told us we got pregnant “easily” and there was nothing to worry about. We should keep trying.

By August 2018, after 3 rounds of clomid with no success, I was back in her office in tears. I’ll never forget being told “I’ll refer you to infertility if you want, but you can’t be this discouraged already”. I was shocked that I was being dismissed as I inched closer to 35 – the age that I’d always been told was when you basically go over a fertility cliff.

We opted to see a reproductive endocrinologist and initially everything looked fine. I thought for sure we were heading towards an unexplained infertility diagnosis until the results from my AMH and FSH tests came back. My AMH was .4 and my chances of having a baby were dwindling.

The worst part of having premature diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) for me was feeling like the infertile of the infertile. Without fail, every time I went in for a procedure (egg retrieval’s hysteroscopies etc) I was always in the prep area while the person whose procedure was ahead of mine was getting the news about their 20-30 eggs retrieved. It was like a punch in the stomach as I was only able to retrieve 3 eggs in each of my 2 cycles. I felt like my body had failed me. Not to mention, the financial toll only added to the stress as my fertility drug doses were so high at one point I told my doctor I was going to need a second job to support my $800 per day fertility drugs.

My RE told me she thought I had endometriosis that had affected the quality and quantity of my eggs. No doctor I had ever seen had suggested this to me before, despite my complaints of back cramps during my period. I was shocked when my doctor told me that only extreme cases of endometriosis result in vomiting or debilitating cramps. It has never crossed my mind that I could have had this disease.

So, we only did 2 rounds of egg retrieval’s because it was all we could afford but we were fortunate to be able to afford that. We were lucky though – one of my eggs did fertilize normally and passed genetic testing. It did successfully implant and I am now 10.5 weeks pregnant (and seeing a new OBGYN) but I still don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel as you get so accustomed to bad news.

We recently welcomed our daughter on her due date March 6, 2020 via emergency c section, a healthy beautiful baby girl! The biggest lesson I learned through all this is to be your own advocate. If you think something is wrong, it is better to do the diagnostic testing sooner rather than later. Also, every fertility journey is different but I hope by sharing my story, other people with early DOR won’t feel as alone as I did.