When in Doubt, Blame the Egg

Go ahead, just blame the egg

Sometimes I really dislike the man who is trying to impregnate me. And no, I don’t mean my husband.

First, I should say that I’ve been happy with my clinic and the team of doctors trying to knock me up. For every appointment and wandy date, I see one of the three doctors at my clinic, they’ve been generous with their time and genuinely empathetic. I know they are on my team and want me pregnant too. It’s just that lately I get the feeling that the main doctor is tiring of my endless questions and the obscure “research” challenges I dig up from Dr. Google.

The problem is, after two losses, I’m no longer satisfied with his favorite “we really don’t know” and “it’s most likely just bad luck” lines. Miscarriage is hard no matter how conception occurred, but to experience such devastating loss following two expensive and intensive IVF cycles, even the most patient patients will have trouble sitting  back to just “hope for the best.”

Add to that the fact that I’m worried sick about being dropped from my IVF “insurance” plan for high FSH, and  you get a very neurotic IVFer. I know I’d be annoyed with me too.

So last week we had another “WTF” call with Dr. IVF to discuss our latest recurring loss and day three test results. I walked across the main square from my office to Mr. T’s office for the call with Dr. IVF. Both Mr. T and Dr IVF know that Mr. T is just there for moral support. Mr. T doesn’t ask any questions, but just holds my hand as I fight through my list of questions.

Dr. IVF tells us that all our test results are normal, except for my FSH. Which he “is concerned about.” Um, yes- so am I. Thanks.

I go through my list of 20 questions, most of which Doc answers with “we really don’t know how XYZ affects FSH.” “We really don’t know if XYZ causes miscarriage.”

Even after I prod and dig deeper into theories, he’s still not willing to hazard a guess about anything.

With one exception- he’s perfectly willing to go out on a limb and blame my eggs. He doesn’t know if it could be a sperm issue, or any one of a number of other issues, but he’s happy to suggest that it could be an egg issue.

I’m getting frustrated. “I’m just confused; how could it be an egg issue if we had no problem producing 11 eggs, all of which were graded A- to A++ by the embryologist, hatching and looking full of life at the moment of transfer? How could my FSH be so high if we had good response starting with minimal stim drugs?”

Dr. IVF doesn’t have an answer except to use the old “old eggs” story again and deny my request for Lovenox or baby asprin. He finds that to be unproven and risky.

Mr. T is satisfied by this, but I am not.  I see I’m not going to get any more clarity on this topic, so I move down my list of questions.

Question #33: “My cycles have been really irregular since my miscarriage. Could that affect my FSH?”

Dr. IVF, clearly tired of all my questions by now: “Well, we don’t know how that affects FSH. But what we do know is that as women age, their cycles become irregular, and that is a sign of diminished ovarian reserve.”

Is it just me, or is this just a man who has never experienced a menstrual cycle himself? In my experience, there are many things can cause irregular cycles beyond diminished ovarian reserve. Travel, especially jet lag, different diets, changes in exercise, stress, and oh- let’s add in drugs from two IVF cycles and two miscarriages. Don’t those seem like OTHER potential reasons for irregular cycles?

But he wasn’t done with me yet. He goes on to explain that “Fertility is like a light bulb. Ovarian function doesn’t just fade out. One day it just goes out. You just never know what day it will happen.”

I look at Mr. T, my eyes wide and full of tears. “Did he really just say that?”

Is my light already out?

Mr. T later concedes this wasn’t Dr. IVF’s finest day. He tries to save the day and ask one last softball question of Dr. IVF:

“Dr. IVF, is there anything you can say to reassure us?”

Dr. IVF, entirely missing the softball answer: “In my experience, those patients who have experienced miscarriages have a more difficult time with subsequent cycles than those who don’t get pregnant.”

I summon my strength to sound as forceful as possible for my next question:

“You mean emotionally, not physically, right?”

Yes, he means emotionally.

He thinks I’m neurotic (OK, maybe I am) but he doesn’t realize it’s because I’m determined. Maybe it IS my eggs. Maybe my light is already out. But I’m going to keep going until no stone is left unturned, until the day when we can no longer try again.

Doesn’t that seem reasonable?

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8 thoughts on “When in Doubt, Blame the Egg

  1. missohkay March 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm Reply

    I’m so sorry. That sounds the opposite of helpful. And now I’m a little paranoid about my light being out too… that’s some bad bedside manner if it spreads to other people! Your determination is great – you will reach your baby goal!

    • Jess March 4, 2011 at 2:23 am Reply

      Don’t let that light bulb metaphor enter your head! I don’t want his poor comment to worry you! Thanks so much for your support. One way or another, we will get through this.

  2. myTTCstory March 2, 2011 at 5:14 pm Reply

    Oh dear, he doesn’t sound helpful at all. I have had similar experiences since I started asking questions; the last time I asked some ‘awkward’ ones the RE couldn’t get me out of the door quick enough! I then found out that the response he hastily gave us was actually incorrect.

    Surely part of their job is to answer our questions, no matter how long the list. We don’t want lies, we just want the truth.

    I sympathise, Jess.

    • Jess March 4, 2011 at 2:20 am Reply

      Thanks so much for sympathizing. As you said, it IS their job to answer questions and our job to ask as many as we need to be comfortable, right? I give my doctor credit, he has given me so much of his time, but I wish he’d take me more seriously and give me more thoughtful answers sometimes.

      Mr. T says I should just trust him, but I know my own body better than anyone else, and I know my cycles aren’t just irregular because I’m getting older.

  3. serendipitie March 3, 2011 at 12:09 am Reply

    Wow. He might be lacking a little in the bedside manner department. I don’t know why he would tell you no on the baby aspirin, baby aspirin was required by my RE!

    • Jess March 4, 2011 at 2:16 am Reply

      Thanks for being on my side. 🙂 Doc says he once prescribed baby aspirin to every IVF patient, but he says he’s seen enough info that he’s not sure it’s safe. I was ok with that reasoning after the first mc, but now I just need to try something new. I still have two frosties I’m saving because I just don’t have faith that they know what’s causing this yet. So really hope I can get another fresh cycle in before my eggs grow any older.

      Thanks again for being there for me!

  4. Kristel Klear March 3, 2011 at 1:14 am Reply

    Sorry to hear he’s being assy! That’s my favorite word nowadays, sorry. Anyway, we are hwre to keep your hope alive. Do your best to pretend he never said a thing about the light going out or diminished ovarian function. He should have at least run a few tests before throwing that around!

    • Jess March 4, 2011 at 2:13 am Reply

      Assy is a great word! 🙂 Thank you for being here to keep my hope alive. It’s so tough to ask the hard questions and not get much information other than “your eggs are probably old.” I can’t change that, so I just want to know what I can do, you know?

      We’ve done lots of tests- everything is pretty much normal other than my FSH.

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