An Intense Infertility Consultation
Last night I had the strangest dream. I dreamed that I was pregnant and in labor at the hospital. It was glorious. My husband and I were still trying to narrow down the list of names for our new baby girl. We were so excited. I woke up inside another dream in which we had guests over at our house and I was telling one of my friends about the dream I had. She said, “That’s funny, because I have really been thinking that you must be pregnant. Sometimes I can just tell.” And I decided to take a pregnancy test.
Then I woke up to real life.
In my real life this morning I was preparing to go to my very first appointment with a fertility specialist. Because I’m not pregnant. Because I can’t stay pregnant. It was hard to wake up from a dream full of possibility and then face this reality. But I have really had peace lately about what God is doing in my life. I have made it through four pregnancy losses and yet still I have this great relationship with God - maybe better than it’s ever been before! I have a husband who loves me and a little girl who brings so much joy to our family. I have been through some very hard times, but I have a great life.
I didn’t have many expectations of this appointment. It was merely a consultation. I imagined that I would simply share my history, answer some questions, and then schedule some tests. It didn’t quite go like that. First of all, I was super emotional from the beginning of the appointment. I did not expect to be like that! It was kind of embarrassing, even though the doctor was very kind and reassuring and told me that it would seem weird if I didn’t cry while telling the story of my four losses. Then he mentioned IVF which is a super emotional trigger for me. My husband and I have had a brief conversation about IVF and agreed that we just weren’t sure we would be able to do it if it came down to that. So the moment the doctor said “IVF” I just lost it and couldn’t really stop crying after that. Ugh.
Dr. N. was very concerned about my fallopian tube situation. I have only one tube now and that tube has had an ectopic pregnancy and been through two different surgeries. Even though my test last spring showed that it was functioning he called it “damaged” and said that it will never be a “normally functioning tube.” My risk for ectopic pregnancy is very high - 50%. Basically, even if I do get pregnant, I only have a 50/50 chance of that pregnancy making it to my uterus. And if I do have one more ectopic pregnancy, I will then be left with only one option - IVF. Just hearing those odds knocked the wind out of me.
Finally, after talking for a bit, Dr. N. did a couple of different ultrasounds to just see what we might be up against physically, besides the fallopian tube problem. He searched for my left ovary for a few minutes, which bothered him. Finally he told me that my ovaries are very small and indicate a high probability of poor ovarian reserve - which could mean few eggs, poor quality eggs, or even early ovarian failure and early menopause. That was a super hard thing to hear. “As far as reproduction goes, your body, most likely, is behaving as though it were significantly older than thirty-one,” Dr. N. told me. “You could be racing the clock.” I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.
Lastly, he did a second kind of ultrasound to look at my uterus and the uterine lining. He noted that it seemed rather thick, but that could be due to the birth control I’ve been on for a few weeks now. He saw indications of some uterine polyps that might be making things worse as well, but couldn’t be certain.
So to wrap things up Dr. N. told me this - that of the three physical aspects of a woman’s fertility, all three of mine are compromised in some way or another - ovaries, tubes, and uterus. I have some tests scheduled to check for hormonal and other issues and also to gather more concrete information about what is going on with my ovaries and what my egg production might be like. These tests must be done at specific times in my cycle, so I’m not sure exactly how soon I will have more information.
I wasn’t prepared to hear any information today, but what I heard really sent me spinning. It was overwhelming, difficult, emotional, and terrible to hear that my body is most likely the only reason I haven’t been able to keep these babies. My body is responsible for those four losses. I know I’m not guilty of doing something bad or making a wrong choice, but it is still my fault in a way. And that’s super hard to think about. It’s equally hard to see what I’m up against and keep trying anyway. I know that my God is omnipotent and that He can do anything. I am not ready to give up, but I feel a little bit like I’m facing my own Goliath - this big scary giant of infertility and pregnancy loss. How will God choose to use these circumstances? Will He be glorified in the miracle or in the loss? I only hope that I can glorify him at all, in any way, whether the outcome be good or bad.
For now, I plan to take a deep breath, follow the doctor’s orders for the few proactive things that I can do, and pray that God’s will is done. Will you pray that with me?