When the Follicles are Hiding…

So… After two months of absence, I arrived at my RE’s clinic today.  The last time I was there, we discovered that the suspicious looking fibroid was in fact not in the uterine cavity.  We also discovered that there were approximately four follicles in each ovary.  Dr. E and I discussed about our next step.  I went home, prayed with Bob, and discussed the next step with him.  We finally decided not to pursue treatment the following month.  So being gone for two months, I was asked by one of my friends how I feel about going into treatment again this month.  Honestly, I feel ambivalent about it.  The first cycle yielded one frozen late comer.  No transfer.  The second cycle yielded nothing and a suspicious looking cyst.  No transfer.  I have yet to experience a transfer.  Why would the outcome of this cycle change?  I guess it’s because we are going back to the first protocol of four vials of Menopur that at least yielded a blastocyst.  So it gives me a little bit more confidence that one or two embryos may survive.  I have been told that each cycle is different.  I just have to hold onto the hope that anything could happen.  So being ambivalent also means that I was not as nervous about the number of antral follicles as the other times.  My blood pressure did not rise like it did the last cycle.  I was still hoping for something good resulting from this visit, but I was not as nervous about it.

Since we were late to the appointment due to some unforeseen traffic on a Saturday morning, we got down to business immediately since Dr. E had another procedure scheduled in a short time.  The fibroids are still there, about the same size as two months ago.  My lining was 10.4, which apparently was good for nine days past ovulation.  It looked like I ovulated on the left side, which makes sense because I had been feeling some tugging on my left.  As far as antral follicles go, Dr. E said she didn’t see too many.  I didn’t ask.  She didn’t specify a number.  But the consensus is that we don’t wait for another cycle.  And she said we’ll set the expectation that we probably won’t have more than five follicles/eggs.  I chuckled.  I got four eggs at each of my cycles so I don’t ever expect to get more.  And even with four, not all of them were mature.  Even if mature, it may not fertilize or divide and grow.  Anyhow, we’ll go ahead with it.  We talked about the protocol for a little, got my script for Vitamin D, and went our merry way.

Bob’s very good at reading my facial expression and body language.  He kept looking at me and asked, “What’s bothering you?”  I guess, even when I feel ambivalent about the cycle, I still want good news.  I still want things to go smoothly.  I still want Dr. E to smile and tell that she could see a few guys on each ovary.  It’s only a small setback or may not even be a setback since it’s still early to tell.  But I was still feeling a little deflated that I didn’t get some nice numbers, considering that two months ago she could see 8 follicles.  We were not ready for another cycle two months ago.  So it’s moot to second guess ourselves of what we did or did not do.  But I couldn’t help but tear up a little.  My husband is very good at cheering me up, which I really appreciate.  And he said, sometimes we get a little sad and deflated, then we pick ourselves up again.  This is the sentiment that I have been having throughout the day.  We always find ourselves getting better and do not allow ourselves to be at the low point for too long.  

In other news, one of my Fac.ebook secret group friends has become pregnant!  Although she is in her 20s, she has my kind of very low AMH.  She had been struggling with secondary infertility for two years.  Her six IUIs and first two IVFs didn’t work.  In fact, her second IVF was cancelled because of her estradiol level going down after many days of high stimulation.  It was depressing for her to say the least.  Throughout this time, we have become very good friends and I chat with her online almost daily.  She has become a major source of support and comfort to me.  In the beginning of this IVF cycle 2.5, we had a lengthy discussion about whether or not to proceed with it because of her low antral follicle count.  After a lot of talking, she decided to go ahead with it and reserved the right to convert it to IUI if the follicles didn’t grow as planned.  It was quite a roller coaster cycle because of the follicle growth and the estradiol number.  She almost cancelled it after stimming for a few days.  However, the cycle took a turn for the better and she eventually got 13 eggs!  We were all very pleasantly surprised by it.  I was amazed at the number of eggs and where they were all hiding before.  Nine eggs fertilized.  All nine looked good enough for biopsy.  Three little girl embies were normal: two blastocysts and one morula.  She transferred all three on day five.  And she got her very positive beta!  Currently at 22 DPO, her beta is over 6000.  I am hoping and praying that she’d hear a heartbeat in two weeks when she goes for her first scan.  Bob even joked about her three embryos splitting into twins each so she’d get sextuplets.  I really don’t wish high number multiples on anybody but it was quite funny that she came back with, “Then you two will be adopting Caucasian triplets! How exciting!”

This friend is so nice to me.  She told me that she got me lucky socks for this cycle that she was going to put in the mail this weekend.  It feels so good to know that you’re cared for by someone who understands your situation.  I can count on her to be hopeful when I don’t feel too hopeful myself at times.  She even wanted to come visit with me this coming month and looked into plane tickets.  Too bad her schedule in November doesn’t allow a stretch of time like it did in October.  Otherwise, we would be able to meet for the first time.

So that’s our antral follicle check.  Not much to report, but hopefully that my cycle would be like my friend’s cycle that things would still turn out well in the end even the hope really isn’t there in the beginning.

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12 thoughts on “When the Follicles are Hiding…

  1. I am hoping for the best right along with you! The challenge of DOR is all that anxiety over counts. As you know, I just went through this with my own cycle. But in the end count doesn’t correlate very well with pregnancy rate…as most of the AMH studies seem to reveal. Hoping for happy embryos from all this!

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  2. Sending you lots and lots of luck for your next cycle. Don’t despair – my AMH is 0.55 (over a year ago so it’s probably even lower now) and my antral follicle count was 0 on both ovaries when I had a scan – two days later I found out I was pregnant naturally. It’s really early days for us I know so I hope I don’t have to eat my words. Keep trying naturally too!! It only takes one egg and one sperm. I know that everyone always says that but in our case it was true. It’s really really rubbish
    to be going through so much uncertainty – stay strong!

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  3. I know how you feel. I always expect the worst, but somehow it still stings when they come back with blah-sounding news. I guess there is a little part of us that still always hopes.

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  4. Ah Isabelle. I’m sorry. It’s always hard to hear not so great news, even when you expect it. I’ve stopped paying attention to AFCs; in fact my clinic barely tells me the number these days. I sort of feel like, I know my diagnosis, I know it’s going to be low, I know I won’t get a lot of eggs. I just cross my fingers and keep moving forward–hoping that we get my average. And usually I do, and you probably will too. But it’s still just so hard. I’m thinking about you!

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