I was going to PM you Embracing
(after the first MASSIVE pm I sent you went haywire - I am not sure why PM's are being sent without the text) but rather than re-type my whole life story again there, I may as well type it here as a little introduction of myself for others who will hopefully soon join us.
I'm Kee ... and will hopefully get my old profile back once I email admin again, but in the meantime ...
I was 27 when my cycle started doing strange things. I ended up down to a 24 day cycle and the doctor was worried. He dropped the words "early menopause" into the mix which had me
but he didn't carry out any testing, just advised we move our TTC plans forward. We decided to follow his advice and began TTC before we were married in Feb 2007.
Flash forward 2 years and we had moved from Adelaide to Qld and back for DH's work and had been messed around by doctors who seemed incapable of making a decision to test for anything let alone make an actual diagnosis. Upon returning to SA and going back to my trusted GP, I was referred to a FS at the local public hospital for tests. Ultrasounds and blood tests were performed and as a last minute thought, the FS said I should get DH to do a semen sample for analysis to cover all bases. The results came back that DH's sperm count was well below 1 million (a normal healthy range would be over 20 million). We were then referred to a private fertility/IVF clinic and so began more prodding and testing but this time for both of us. Part of that involved DH having a testicular ultrasound to see if there was any cause for his low count - like a blockage. I went in with him for that and it has to be the worst day of my life bar-none. Sitting in that chair while the nurse performed the ultrasound and seeing that black mass appear on the tv screen sent my stomach to the floor. I nearly threw up. I had dealt with the horrible demise of my Grandfather to cancer and I knew only too well what cancer looked like in an ultrasound. The nurse had begun our session saying we could get the results from our FS at our appointment in a month and ended it saying we should call tomorrow as they would courier the scans there and that we needed to talk to the FS right away. Her change in attitude only cemented my belief that we were dealing with something awful. The worst part was not saying anything to scare DH as I was only going on hints from the nurse and my own previous cancer dealings.
The FS confirmed my fears that it was, indeed, a tumor of some sort. After that, all focus was on DH. I do remember that the original FS at the public hospital had said my results were ok and then it was all about DH's low count. With the focus on DH more now than ever, I didn't think to ask our new private clinic FS to elaborate on my results. DH had to have surgery asap as testicular tumors cannot be aspirated to test if they are cancerous or not. The only step is to remove the testicle and test afterwards. He began a 3 week procession of visiting the sperm bank to make sure he had enough "samples" frozen for the future IVF we now knew was our only option.
4 weeks after the awful scan and DH was in hospital having his surgery. Though the tumor was cancerous, it hadn't spread to his lymph nodes and so he was one of the VERY lucky ones. He had one round of chemo to be safe (horrid stuff) and has since been all clear.
It was 12 months to the day since his diagnosis when he was given the ok to pursue IVF/ICSI so we went straight back to the fertility clinic to begin. Again I was given baseline hormone tests but not really told any results. I just believed that if something else was wrong, they wouldn't be letting us go ahead with a cycle.
My god, how much does IVF suck?! How anyone does it more than once is beyond me. I couldn't stand it and the drugs had a really bad reaction with me. I began to feel bi-polar because I could go from hysterical laughter to frenzied anger and then uncontrollable sobbing. I threw a washing basket across the room at DH because I didn't like the way he looked at me and in the time the washing flew across the room and hit him, I had gone from enraged at him to laughing at the way the clothes looked flying through the air. In short, I went nuts.
It looked like I had 10 or 12 developing follicles at each ultrasound but when I woke up from my embryo transfer, I only had 7 "ok-ish" eggs. Yep, that's what the nurse called them ... "ok-ish". I had read somewhere that 6 eggs and lower on the high-dosage medicated cycle I was on was a bad sign of possible ovarian failure. Getting 7 gutted me. There was a girl in the bed next to me at the hospital who was doubled over from OHSS and in agony but the doctor told her she got 45 eggs. I would have given anything right then for that same pain and discomfort so long as I also had so many eggs.
In the 5 days between EPU and the transfer, all but one egg died. Some didn't make it to fertilisation and some stopped dividing after fertilisation without becomming blastocysts. One little embryo was still going on the day of transfer - just. The embryologist said it wasn't as many cells as they would like in a blasty before transfer but "hopefully" it would continue to divide in me and then implant in my uterus to become a viable pregnancy. It didn't.
DH was annoyed (we both knew it was a possibility for IVF to not work but we began to look back on the cycle as a whole and become really annoyed at what we felt was a lack of information and communication) so he asked that we change clinics and we went back to a public fertility centre. The FS there requested our paperwork from the private FS and with one look at the results, he sent me for more bloodwork. He said my original hormone levels were that of a 50 year old woman and why hadn't we done more to harvest and store eggs in the 12 months that DH was getting well?? BECAUSE WE DIDN'T KNOW WE SHOULD!
It had all been about DH (rightly so) but no-one told me I wasn't as good as I should have been, fertility-wise.
The follow up bloods confirmed an AMH level below 1 and the new FS said we were welcome to use the small remaining amount of DH's frozen sperm to try ICSI again but with only 7 eggs last time and even lower hormones now, it had even less chance of success than before. I asked if we could go home and think about what to do from here and the FS gave us a MAXIMUM of one month to think about it before he wouldn't be comfortable progressing as he thought I only had another month or so before I'd be officially into early menopause. We spent that month not talking about it and then knew it was too late. It was over. Without having to say it out loud, we'd given up that dream and moved on.
That was in March this year and now, 8 months later my cycle is a lot longer and my AF is 1, maybe 2 days, extremely light, crampy and I don't remember the last time I had any o pains. I think my ovaries have definitely handed in their resignations now.
I was offered further tests to monitor the decline but I don't want them. I know my body is shutting off and I don't need pieces of paper to tell me that. I have night sweats every now and then and general moodiness (Chill Pill's have been GREAT!) but now the latest development this week is extrememly oily/greasy skin. My face is a grease pit. I have been using mud-masks, eggs (??), and even oil minimising lotion - which of all things is called "Youth Soloutions" and is aimed at teenage skin, making my "old womans" issues so much easier to deal with
. Today I seem to have gotten on top of it a little, just in time for a big party I have to attend tonight.
So that's me ... started off onto the path of IVF due to a lack of sperm and ended it due to a lack of eggs. At least for DH and I, we are both "faulty" so there's no feeling that one of us is holding the other back from having kids. Friends of mine broke up when the wife was diagnosed as having damaged ovaries/uterus so even IVF/donor eggs was out of the question and the husband couldn't cope with that and went off to be with a younger woman - who has since had his baby. There's no blame game possible here and, knowing that and the fact that we are lucky to have DH rather than unlucky to not have a baby, we are doing well. We love travelling and so we are focussed on seeing the world rather than dwelling on what was never meant to be.
Life is good at the moment - apart from telling people I am in menopause at 31 years of age and getting a look like I said I was a contagious leper and then dealing with the stupid questions and the annoying symptoms.
Sorry I babbled on, but that's the intro over with. I look forward to sharing more in future as we all come to grips with what our bodies are doing to us and sharing tips on ways to make the whole transition easier.