AMH aka Almost Motherf&!king Hopeless

Almost. Almost.

Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) is a hormone secreted by the cells of the developing antral and pre-antral folliclesantral and pre-antral follicles (or egg sacks) in the ovaries. AMH is a strong indicator of a woman’s ovarian reserve (OR). As women age, the number of follicles gradually decline, and AMH levels decline with age as well. In essence, reproductive endocrinologists can assess how well a woman’s ovaries are functioning, by evaluating her AMH levels.

Low AMH. .06 to be exact. FINALLY ANSWERS!

In laymen’s terms having a low AMH means my eggs are shit. Well some of them. A normal women my age should have around 17 eggs just laying around in her ovarian reserve. This does not mean that you only have 17 eggs left, this is just your reserve and gives an idea of how your ovaries are working to produce eggs. The most I have ever had is 10 (until recently when I had 13, but I will go into that later). It also means that my egg quality is not as good/normal as it should be. So, although I might have eggs that look normal from the outside, inside, the quality is abnormal and won’t lead to a viable embryo once fertilized. Basically my 30 year old body is more like a body of a 45 year old. As women we are born with all the eggs we will ever have in our lifetime. As we get older our egg quality may decrease and we start running out of eggs, which leads to menopause. The only good news is that I will go into menopause early. Hallelujah because I hate periods.

So where does this leave me now? I guess we have two options:

Donor eggs. Our last clinic was really pushing for the use of donor eggs after our failed IVF cycle. At first I agreed and was on board. We really just want to start our family already. At least our baby would have half of us- aka hubs. I even went as far as to look at the donor website. Some of the girls were really pretty and smart. They all had nice things to say about why the were donating their eggs, “I really want to help someone start a family. The gift of life is the greatest gift I could give someone.” Please, you just need money and that’s ok haha! (If one of the girls would have written that, I would have chosen her). I was imagining what our baby would look like. It would be half hubs and half some random girl. Sounds like a Jerry Springer show. I realized I would never see my self in our child. She wouldn’t have my sky blue eyes. She wouldn’t have my bitchy personality. She wouldn’t be my husband and my creation, something I just couldn’t grasp. So we decided to get a second opinion. Boy am I glad we did…

Keep trying with my own eggs. Dr. Acacio is one of the best fertility doctors in Southern California. That was the one great thing that came out of our last clinic. A secret referral from a couple of women who worked for our last clinic to one of the best doctors in Southern California. (Now that tells you something). I never looked him up because his clinic is 1 1/2 hours from our home and I never thought of traveling. Worth it. The first thing he asked us when we sat down anxiously in his office was “Why would you be thinking about using donor eggs?” We explained our history and what our last clinic had told us, but Dr. A repeated, “You absolutely do not need to be looking at donor eggs yet.” Really? Who was this guy. I loved him already. We did our homework this time and we asked all the right questions. After a very eye opening appointment we sat convinced that us together, could still create a baby that was all our own. A little background: Dr. A came up with the protocol I was on at my old clinic 10 years ago. He sold it to them 10 years ago and has not used it since because it doesn’t work. Especially on someone with low AMH. 10 YEARS. Just that information alone told me that the clinic we had just come from was a blast from the past. Dr.A works with a lot of “challenging” cases and has high success rates of IVF in women with low AMH. He was the only doctor that ever wanted to know why. Why does a young woman like me have low AMH. This was important to me because it shows he cares and wants answers. I asked if it could be from using fertility drugs for so many years, but he seemed to think not. He has done several studies and has come to find that autoimmune disorders in women can lead to low AMH and unsuccessful IVF cycles. (An autoimmune disease is when your own body starts attacking itself. Affecting different organs or functions in the body). Mind blown. Diagnosis and treatment: there is a blood test that I will be taking to see if I have an autoimmune disease and whether or not I do have a disorder, I will be receiving intralipid treatments right before our transfer and when pregnant to ensure piece of mind.

I bet you can guess, but we decided to keep trying with my own eggs. God knows, you may have to fight a battle more than once to win. And other ladies who have low AMH, keep fighting, keep researching, keep believing. It is not a death sentence. IVF can still work, it may just be a longer more windy road.

 

 

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Happy New Year

As 2014 closes and 2015 looms not too far away, what are you hoping for? {I think I know what most of us are hoping for this coming year in this community ha}… We are heading down to San Felipe for our annual New Years trip and I am excited to get out of town leaving technology, tv, social media, babies, and pregnant friends behind. So as I won’t be able to post during the new year I will leave you with this great passage that really called to my heart and will be reflecting on in my own life for this coming year. Here’s to an amazing 2015. Cheers!

God has made everything beautiful for its own time. Ecc 3:11 (NLT)

So much of our energy is spent on looking forward or remembering backwards. We pine for what’s been lost and can’t wait for what we don’t yet have… and all the while, beauty is right before us…

God has made EVERYTHING – yep, ALL things – beautiful. Whatever you are experiencing now is laced with beauty. You don’t have to reach backwards or forwards to a grasp a sense of beauty or purpose because beauty permeates the world – it’s carried by the love and grace of God in and through all things…

You could be reading this thinking “there is nothing beautiful about the pain I’m in right now…”

I know exactly how you feel… most of us do… And while deep tragedy ravages our heart, it does reveal a beauty that’s concealed in easy times: the deep well of friendship, community, the comfort of God, discovering your strength, the capacity of the human spirit, the hope of eternity. Hope is not born on mountain tops, but in valleys when you’re looking to the heights and peaks that you’re yet to climb…

While you’re dreaming or remembering… or perhaps you’re waiting for the door to open on a particular season in your life; let the season come at its appointed time. Don’t take the beauty of what God is doing in your life today for granted.

Wanting summer to come in the middle of winter only causes frustration! After all, winter has its own purpose in the cycle of seasons. Without it, the trees wouldn’t be so green or so strong. And you miss the beauty that cold can bring – snowflakes, tree trunks, frozen water… winter has a beauty that is not seen in summer…

Wherever you’re at today, ask God to show you the beauty in the season. Let the rhythms of grace be unforced and free flowing. As you continue to hope for tomorrow and glean from the wisdom you learnt yesterday, LIVE today, take every moment given to you and look for the beauty that God has placed all around you in every season. Time will pass, it can’t be stopped… what you hope for will come, but you’ll never relive this moment, so take it, breathe it in and live it all out.

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where have i been?

It has been a little over a month since I have written a blog post or have even checked in on fellow bloggers. The truth is I haven’t really been in the mood to write about what feels like the never ending battle of infertility. I feel like this blog is a blessing, but also a place where I find myself putting too much negative, yet sometimes humorous attention on infertility, instead of sending out positive vibes into the universe like, ” I am fertile!”. So where have I been and what have I been up to?

As I wrote a while ago I started taking Zoloft to help with my lows. No shame here. I freakin love it. I should have started it a year ago. I think I may have been a little too hopeful that it would be a magic pill making everything perfectly perfect. Although it has improved my mood, my motivation, and my emotions, I still have bad days, but they are few and far between and not so low. All in all I would recommend it to anyone who needs a little lift.

My brother in law and sister in law had their new baby in November. A beautiful baby girl named Elle. I don’t know why it was so hard this time around. Maybe because we had been trying to get pregnant before they were even married and now they have two kids under 2 years old. It could also be the fact that I really wanted to have the first girl in the Tieman family. I mean come on they got the first baby! Don’t be selfish! I didn’t go meet her until a week later. I know I am being a little dramatic here, but I was having a hard time processing everything. It took be by surprise how emotional I was about it all since I had been doing so good, but the minute she went into labor I broke down. Anyways it’s all good now and I just think she is the cutest.

We have been going on a lot of mini vacations. We went to Palm Springs to celebrate one of my oldest and dearest friends 30th birthday and surprise engagement! She asked me to be in her wedding next year and I couldn’t be more excited for them.

Earlier this year my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy and went through radiation, which she completed in July and is now breast cancer free. Yippee. Earlier this month though, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Unrelated to her breast cancer. It is early stage, but she will have to get a hysterectomy next month and depending on what they find she may have to go through radiation again or chemotherapy. We are praying that they won’t find anything else. I just cannot believe it. Diagnosed with two different kinds of cancer in one year.

I am really trying to get into the Christmas spirit this year since we were out of the country last year for the holidays. Hubs and I got a tree right after Thanksgiving and I decorated the house to the nines. Did I mention that he let me get a pink flawked Christmas Tree? Yes you heard right. A. Pink. Tree. It’s a beaut.

I gave up Facebook… Sort of.

I started meditating daily. I listen to fertility affirmations before I go to sleep at night and sometimes I listen to relaxing meditations during the day to give me more energy or take a break from the chaos. I have found that it has helped put me in a positive mindset. It has helped me to see that I am deserving of happiness.

I am still climbing and we recently went on an outdoor climbing/camping adventure in Joshua Tree. It was sooo muchhhh funnnn! First, I love camping. Second, I love climbing. And Third, my sister and hubs younger brother came along and it was a great time. Joshua Tree has amazing top roping and I have to say I am better outside than in the gym.

All in all I have been a busy girl, but I have also just needed a break from this infertility world. I will be back soon, but until then have the happiest of holidays xoxo

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Twisted Thoughts

Ever wonder if other infertile women think the way you do? I’m talking about those really crazy, twisted thoughts we sometimes feel. The ones we don’t speak out loud and cringe to even be thinking them.

You know the ones. I know you do.

The thoughts that would prompt a knowing nod or laughter from other infertiles…and condemnation from the rest of society.

Here are some thoughts I have maybe had on my lowest days… {queue disgusted face}

-Peeling the stick figure families off those minivans. Would you spare the pets or just leave the couple standing alone? I flipping LOATH stick figure families on the back of cars. I mean really….

-Buying a sort of ugly baby outfit you know, the ones with tons of bows on it…or a Diaper genie… for a baby or shower gift because the thought of 100+ dirty diapers crammed into the nursery corner would bring me a shred of comfort during an unbearably painful event.

-Running into the back of a minivan with a “Baby on Board” plaque. I really don’t think you need a sign that screams that considering you are driving a freakin’ minivan.

-When I see a kid’s “binky” go missing in a public place, maybe I let the inattentive Mom scramble a bit to find it so she can learn her lesson.

-Have you ever been in such a bad mood that, instead of mustering a smile, you actually kind of “stared down” a baby when its mom wasn’t looking…and it cried? And you didn’t feel guilty?

-Unfriend someone on Facebook for posting too many pregnancy updates, maternity photos, or baby pictures.

-This one is awful… Secretly wished the pregnancy wasn’t successful. Shame on.

-While shopping in a store and a toddler is running around pulling everything off the shelves while Mom is chasing behind franticly picking up after it.  Maybe I smile to myself. It’s nice to enjoy my Trader Joes visit calm, cool, and collected.

If you related to any of the above scenarios…or have your own list…it doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you human. Occasional jealous or angry thoughts are common when you are infertile. No judgments here.

{thanks for a couple of your twisted thoughts Tracey Minella}

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a little crutch

I have decided to be honest with myself. I need a little help right now.

I have worked hard on trying everything natural first to deal with my anxiety and depression over infertility and everything surrounding it. Using essential oils, meditating, exercise, but it’s just not cutting it. I have been feeling worse and worse this past year and more intensely the past few months. My highs are high and my lows are lower. The lows seem to occupy most of my days, more than the good ones. I do a good job faking it, but inside I am hurting. I am breaking.

I decided to see a therapist and my primary care doctor last week because I seriously thought I was having a nervous breakdown at one point. I was hesitant, but accepting of both their advice to take Zoloft for a while. I hate that my infertility has led to me this. It makes me sad and angry all over again! But, I am for the first time, in a long time, hopeful that getting a little help from my friend Z might help me in big ways. I have had a few friends take Zoloft while they were going through infertility and they both said it worked wonders for them. Zoloft is non habit forming and is easy to wean off of when I feel that I am ready to do so. This anti-depressant is also recommended when trying to conceive because you can continue taking it if you do become pregnant. {in the case that I do become pregnant I am pretty sure I will stop, since my depression is situational}. Zoloft also helps with motivation, anxiety, and not letting things effect you as much. I mean I still want to feel, but I am hoping I won’t feel so intensely. I know Z isn’t a magic pill that is going to make everything rainbows and butterflies. I am just hoping it will make things blue birds and waterfalls 🙂 This is scary to write and admit that I need a little crutch at the moment. If I am going to get better and stay sane in my life, my head, my heart, and my journey, I need to own it. It is ok to have a little help.

Other rituals I have started to help with my mood in conjunction with Zoloft:

-Taking fish oil with DHA, which I have read and heard from a good friend, helps with mood and depression.

-I have started listening to nightly meditations before going to bed to help me relax and fall asleep easier. {thanks Justine for the great advice in your book}

-Opening all my blinds in the morning to let the sunshine in. My doctor told me that starting your day off with a little bit of sunlight helps with happiness all day long.

-Cutting back on the caffeine. Now, I am not a big caffeine drinker, I only have a half a cup in the morning and I may get a Starbucks in the after noon and drink half, but doctor told me I should not be drinking caffeine after 2pm. So I will be giving that up.

-No boozing. Ok maybe I will have a glass of wine here or there. You aren’t really supposed to drink when taking Z, so I am going to try and follow that as good as I can!

-Step up my exercise routine. I am climbing 2 days a week, but I need to be going at least 3 along with cardio. I am hoping Z will help step up my motivation.

Z isn’t an instant fix. It will take a couple weeks to feel its full effects. I am just hoping it will be as my friend put it…”It’s like waking up one morning to the most beautiful sunshiny day, when all you have been seeing for weeks is the biggest thunder storm.”

 

 

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The Loneliness of Grief

Lately I have been noticing that a lot of the lady loves I follow are feeling the same way I am about infertility kicking our asses emotionally. Today Resolve posted a great blog post by The Broken Brown Egg, and I think it pretty much sums up my feelings exactly about loneliness, anger, and grief in regards to infertility. I just adore it. I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

“October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. During last month’s #MoonshineMeetup, a conference call for the Broken Brown Egg’s Shellshocked Support Group, one participant said something so profound that it really made me stop.  She said, “If someone’s child passes away, they are expected to mourn, and they are allowed to think about it.  Because my child was never “born”, does that mean I should act as though it never happened?  Why don’t I get to think about them?”. 

It was a heartbreaking thought, because it made me really stop and think about how lonely grief really is.  I started to really think about how many women and men we encounter every day who we never suspect to be in mourning.  They are right in the middle of their pain, and we look right through it.

Infertility in and of itself, is an ongoing bereavement.  With every month gone by, you are constantly grieving over your vision for your life, your hope, or your plan for your future. Every single day is a readjustment period.  Every reset and restart is like signing yourself up for the same pain all over again.

And the hardest thing about grieving, the absolute worst thing, is that it feels as though everyone wants you to forget. They will say that it’s because they want you to feel better, but you feel as though what they really want, is for you to not bring them down.  They don’t want to look at your sadness anymore because it is an uncomfortable inconvenience.

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” ― Vicki Harrison

To our credit, most of us do a pretty good job of keeping our sadness to ourselves.  But it crushes you.  Your heart feels like it’s beating out of your chest, and your body does what feels like a double-step.  You think to call or message someone, or just scream “Help Me!!”, but then that overwhelming feeling of loneliness sets in.

You’re not actually alone, but it feels that way.

Because everyone else is over it.  And you just know that when you start laying out your issues, their facial expressions will say, “are you still talking about this?”, or “umm,…isn’t there someone else more qualified to listen to you about this?”.  Everyone else seems to have moved on.  Everyone else can act as though nothing ever happened.

But something did happen.

And it is happening.

And it hurts.

It feels as if everyone wants you to “just” let it go.

And you’re left thinking, “But why do I have to forget?

And, “Why don’t THEY remember?”

You get furious at their impatience.  At their painful indifference.  At the way they treat you as though you want to stay there.  That you want to feel this way.  That you want to be unhappy.

We spend a million hours every week with all types of people.  Laughing, talking, hanging out, working our jobs.  Mundane things.  And most of the time, nobody realizes who is actually broken inside.  I mean, if you can do your job adequately, and you provide enough of a “you” for it not to be so obvious that you aren’t firing on all cylinders, not one person is going to touch your shoulder like in the movies and say, “Really, are you okay?”.

“Grief never ends… But it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith… It is the price of love.”
— Unknown

Wherever you are in your process, it was on my heart to share this simple truth: Grief is lonely, and it often outlasts sympathy, but it is necessary.  Allow yourself to grieve. No matter how you come out of this, or when you reach the ever-elusive “other side” of it, know that it is your right, to remember and reflect and regroup.

Whether it is a child who never took a breath, or one who took far too few.  If it were a dream that never came to light, or a loved one who is no longer with you,…you have the absolute right to remember that it/they mattered.  The condition of your heart, is important.  What it feels like to YOU, is valid.  And what you’re going through, is real.

Take all the time, and love, that you need.  You have my empathy.”

source: thebrokenbrownegg

Take care my friends and know that I too, have so much empathy for you. I am always here to just listen, for a shoulder to cry on, or to have a glass of vino ready to chat. xoxo Rikki

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