Have you ever been so nervous that you start to sweat profusely, your body tenses up, and you feel like you want to vomit? You know, like when you’re going on the first date with someone, or when your boss calls you in their office to “talk”. Well, this is exactly how I felt as I sat in front of my computer, waiting for my doctor to log on to our Zoom meeting.
Due to Covid-19, I had to potentially hear life-changing information from someone on a screen. Great! As I stated before, my husband and I decided as a couple that it would be a wise decision to seek out some medical advice concerning our quest to conceive a child. We had been actively trying to conceive (TTC) with no success. With all the factors, such as my age and the amount of time we were TTC, my OB/GYN suggested I go see a fertility doctor. That alone was a gut punch.
My initial visit was in the office so I could get all the various tests including blood samples and an ultrasound. During this initial visit, I remember waiting on the doctor to give me some glimmer of hope. But instead, she said, “I’ll be able to know more when I get your test results back.” Again, great. Days past and I’m at my computer again, waiting. After what seems an eternity, she logs on, and we do that whole back and forth of, “How’s your day? Omg isn’t the weather so nice today?” Blah, blah blah. I know she means well, but at this moment, I’m just here for answers. She begins to look at my file and shares some terms I’ve never heard in my life. I immediately knew they didn’t sound promising. I won’t bore you with every test I took or their results, but the one that affected me the most was the Anti-Mullerian Hormone test or AMH. The doctor explained that this test measures a woman’s ovarian reserve because you need an egg to have a baby, right? Right.
According to Extend Fertility, the average 36 year old woman should have an AMH blood level of about 2.03ng/mL. My levels…0.250 ng/mL. So in other words, my eggs were almost non-existent. If that wasn’t enough shocking news for one Zoom call, she proceeds to tell me I will be going through menopause earlier than most women.
After a little more discussion, she tells me that conceiving on our own will be extremely unlikely. Again WTF. I’m 36. Only 36! My mom had my little sister when she was 40! Why can’t I get pregnant? Two words…SECONDARY INFERTILITY.
If you’re anything like me, you have probably never heard of this particular term. Infertility yes, but what’s secondary? By definition, secondary infertility is the inability to become pregnant or carry a baby to term after you’ve already had a baby. Yep, that’s me.
After the call, I could do nothing but cry. I mean really cry. Sob. Scream. I couldn’t breathe. Lonely crept in. Not because I was alone in this, but because I needed to do this alone. I needed to process the fact that something my soul craved, like the air I needed to breathe, likely wouldn’t happen under the terms I had planned for. So now what?
I was at work, on a quick break, receiving news that broke me down. I pulled myself together just enough to finish my day but I felt so defeated. By the time I made it home to share the news with my husband, my emotions had totally shifted. That’s when the minimizing kicked in. I remember talking to him and saying things like “well at least we know now”, and “I guess it just wasn’t meant to be” and other BS that I really didn’t believe.
Women, I feel like we do this often. Like when you’re with a guy that keeps giving you ALL the red flags. First, we get upset. “How could he?” Then we make excuses, “He only cheated six times”. Now it felt like secondary infertility was a new toxic relationship, and just like those other relationships, it has taken me a while to even be able to talk about it.
Healing is an ongoing journey, and there were ways that I learned how to cope with my newfound reality, which I’ll share in upcoming posts. This was real, and this was my life—another part that I had to learn to live and love me through.