Thursday, June 20, 2013

Grasping at Miracles

Somehow, before I met with Dr. M, I was able to exist in a state of denial (or ignorance) about my low follicle count. I told myself and everyone else who was curious about my journey that “follicle counts vary every month.” Next month, instead of three follicles, I could have 30! Where did I hear or read that? Did I make it up in my head? Extreme wishful thinking? I don't know. Also, that study about 42-year-old women with low AMH and “excellent” egg production kept my hope alive and blinded my reality radar. Even my second low follicle count at the most recent ultrasound did not open my eyes to my obvious waning fertility. It took Dr. M's straight talk to do that for me. And now I was reeling.
When I got to my car after my visit with him, I was ready let loose the dam of tears wanting to burst out. My phone rang before I could fall apart. It was D, he wanted to know how it went. But I still couldn't speak. I knew if I tried to say something I'd only start to sob and my words would sound like the wails of a drowning cat, so all he heard was silence.
“Hello?” He thought the call had cut out.
“I just need to cry right now,” was all I could get out.
He was sweet and sympathetic. I could tell he felt for me and wanted to comfort me. He said he's be home soon and we could talk then. “OK,” I said before hanging up.
The tears were already streaming out of my eyes. But this cry wanted to be loud and volcano up from the deepest part of my gut. It wanted to be one of those roll into a ball and convulse cry. I was waking up into a nightmare. I never imagined I could actually be so close to infertile. How could my body betray me like this? There were no “if's” or “but's” about it anymore.
But then I remembered something Dr. M mentioned right before I left his office. “Some people think this helps with follicle growth...” He scribbled the words “DHEA 20mg/3x a day” on the back of his card.
I looked at the card. I wanted nothing more than to let the tears stream from my eyes like raging rivers and crumble into a hysterical mess against my steering wheel, but now I realized I had to go to the store first. God forbid I do that with mascara running down my face. I may be depressed but I am still vain. I overcame those insistent tears and drove onward. I wanted to get that shit flowing in my system as soon as humanly possible.
I took two pills before I left the vitamin store parking lot. Once at D's, I settled in for another Googling session. What is this DHEA stuff anyway? Is it another miracle tonic like the stuff peddled by so many other fertility gurus? The more I read about DHEA, however, the more encouraged I felt.
The benefits of DHEA began to gain notice recently after a 43-year-old fertility treatment patient did her own research on different supplements that might help her develop more follicles and viable embryos. She had gone through IVF and only had one egg. The next time, it was three eggs. Buried in old medical studies, she read about DHEA and realizing it was the only over-the-counter drug that showed any potential for fertility, she went to the store and bought some. Over the next several months, her egg counts grew so high that her doctors told her to stop taking it. They were worried the stimulation drugs she took for IVF would over-stimulated her now very productive ovaries. She had 17 eggs that month, 16 of which fertilized.
Since then, several studies have been done around the world confirming its power to improve egg development, and many stories are emerging of women who had abysmally low AMH and low follicle counts, turning things around after a few months on DHEA. It doesn't work for everyone, but enough women consider it a miracle that I am willing to put my faith in it too.
No one knows how it works, but one theory is that DHEA produces the right mix of hormones in our bodies that promotes healthy egg growth. This flies in the face of existing theories that eggs deteriorate as we age regardless of what is happening in our bodies. If in fact, we can improve both the health and number of eggs a woman produces by improving her hormone levels, that suggests that our eggs are not aging while in hibernation stage, but rather are simple not able to develop as they should once they leave hibernation and become influenced by the mix of hormones in our bodies.
Only time and more studies will tell. But I have my new life boat of hope. I will take a month or two off from IVF treatments and cross my fingers that the DHEA will go to work on giving me more opportunities for a baby. 

In the meantime... I'll be searching sperm donor profile pages for a potential babydaddy. 

No comments:

Post a Comment