I’m Going to Do It!

I had my consultation today. A few weeks ago I had some ‘pre-natal’ blood work done. I checked my results online prior to the appointment and apparently my AMH is low for my age (which I was trying to not freak out about until I met with the doctor and she could explain further). I asked if it was low partially due to the fact that I have one ovary and she said yes, and she also said that endometriosis can negatively affect egg reserve. She explained the procedure and the fees and basically how the whole process will go.

Egg facts I learned during the appointment:

When looking at if you want to freeze your eggs you look at the quality and the quantity.

Quality is largely based on age:

AGE % OF ABNORMAL EGGS
21-35 15-20%
40 40-50%
45 80-90%

*My doctor wrote out these numbers for me during the appointment

Quantity aka egg reserve is assessed by the following three ways:

  • FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) I did not have this done because it has to be done on Day 3 of your menstrual cycle and I don’t have one (I’ve been on a drug called Visanne for around five years to stop my periods since the endometriosis made my periods so terrible)
  • AMH (anti mullerian hormone) Mine is low at 10.4 pmol/L
  • AFC (Antral Follicle Count) This is done using a vaginal ultrasound and you can see and count the number of follicles! I believe I had 7 or 8 which is apparently average. And by apparently average I mean I googled it and saw that result on one website and didn’t bother to cross-reference because I’m lazy.

>>>>Sidenote: the doc said that my ‘uterus looks great’ for any future pregnancies. I obviously asked what determines a ‘great looking uterus’ and she said the size and the shape. Can you imagine if someone on the street just came up to you and said you have a great uterus, I mean, guys, WHAT a compliment. Seriously though, it is. Especially after learning I may have low or borderline low fertility.

>>>>SIDE SIDE NOTE: SHE SAID I HAVE A CYST ON MY OVARY. To which my brain response was ‘What?!’ and my verbal response was more like ‘WHAT?!’ She said she could tell it’s fluid filled and not endometriosis related. She didn’t seem worried about it at all which I guess put me slightly at ease… and I asked if it would go away on it’s own and she was like fo sheezy (but in medical terms).

My fertility as I understand it:

  • The quality of my eggs is good because of my age (26)
  • My quantity might be low (based on my AMH) but my AFC looked good

I think I was expecting to feel a certain way after the appointment. More excited. Or more turned off of the idea. Confused doesn’t feel like the right word. Neither does indifferent. The next step is completing the 11 page consent package (which in essentially says if they make any mistake of any kind, mechanical, employee related, if there is a natural disaster, a flood, a war (yes it literally says war) that it’s not their fault. So naturally I signed (with my sister as my legal witness).

As I continue to read blog posts on the topic I really feel that doing this is a great choice. The younger you are when you freeze your eggs the greater quality the eggs will be and it also increases the chance of having a successful pregnancy in the future with those eggs. So the next step is to give them my signed consent forms and within a week they will call me to book the teaching session for administering injections and provide other information.

Consultation is Booked!

After what felt like forever (even though in reality it has been two and a half weeks since visiting my GP to get the referral) I finally got a call from the fertility clinic today to book my consultation!  I have an appointment for May 4th (3.5 weeks from now). Prior to the appointment I need to have a blood test, and one thing they will be testing is AMH (Anti-Müllerian hormone). With a little bit of googling I discovered AMH is a marker for egg reserve. Apparently this particular test is not covered by the approximately $10,000 I will potentially be paying AND it’s not covered by MSP; and it’s $70 so that sucks but I suppose it’s a small price to pay for the possibility of having my own biological children in the future. I wonder if there will be any other ‘small’ hidden fees along the way…

A History on Harry

A History on Harry

Setting the scene… Winter break, 2008. First year of university and home for Christmas. Sledding at Diefenbaker Park with my highschool friends. It’s night time so it’s dark. I didn’t want to go down the hill because there were all of these jumps you couldn’t see. My best friend peer pressures me into “going down just one time” with her. I concede. Just the two of us on the sled, she’s in front. We start going down the hill. Katie turns her head slightly so I can hear her; she says in a low somber voice: “Meg. I think there’s a jump in front of us.” There’s no time do anything. It’s dark. I can’t see shit. I hold on tight and hope for the best.

Guess what happened. NOT the best. We hit the jump, which was probably made by some 12 year olds. As we are literally (or at least approximately) five feet in the air I am hating those 12 year olds with everything inside me and fearing for my life.

We land on the hard snow. And by land I mean my tailbone is the first to hit the packed snow and I am momentarily paralyzed. Like can not move laying flat on my back, paralyzed. I lay on the cold snow and cannot move and Katie is probably laughing not knowing I am injured, and I’m thinking ‘holy shit I broke something.’ I manage to regain mobility and walk back up the hill and later in the evening walk 15 minutes back to Katie’s house with our group, where her sister makes us hot chocolate. I knew going down that hill was a terrible idea. I felt it in my bones. Get it? In my BONES.

My tailbone hurts for months. Not exaggerating. Sitting through a three hour lecture is physically painful but I don’t want to bring a butt pillow to class and look like a loser.  I have to sit leaning forwards so all of the pressure isn’t on my tailbone. I go to a walk in clinic (because my doctor is booked and I don’t feel like waiting) and he says there is no point in doing an x-ray because even if my tailbone IS broken they can’t do anything to fix it. He says if I really want he can order an x-ray; I say I do want to, just to see if it is broken (because I’ve never broken a bone and breaking a bone has always been a morbid dream of mine).

Fast forward a few months. I am laying on the x-ray table. They take the first image. The x-ray tech comes into the room and asks if I have any metal on my underwear. I think to myself ‘uhhhh no bish I ain’t no ho!’ I say “no” and she retreats behind the lead wall and takes a few more images.

My doctor calls me when he has the results. During the appointment he tells me they saw teeth on the x-ray of my pelvis. Yes you read that right, TEETH. In my abdomen. Inside of me. Teeth in my belly. He told me it was common of a dermoid cyst and that it had formed in my right ovary. A dermoid cyst is basically a growth that consists of a bunch of different tissues. He sends me for an ultrasound. During the ultrasound the tech measures the cyst and tells me it is measuring 12cm in diameter. “12mm you mean,” I say. She says “no, 12cm.” To put this into perspective think of the ruler you used in elementary school, it was 30cm (or 12 inches for you American folk). So basically it’s big af. Then my doc sends me to a gynecologist. She examines me (by putting one finger inside my va-jay and the other hand on top of my lower abdomen and applying pressure) and right away says she can feel it. I’m like ‘you can?!’ And she kind of puts pressure on the inner side of both of my hip bones and I can see the outer border of the cyst. It’s so big it basically spans my ¾ of my abdomen. P.S. – I weigh 105 lbs at this point in my life. And no I did not have an eating disorder I was just always naturally very thin and basically ate whatever I wanted and didn’t exercise and never gained weight. #blessed

So in June of 2009, one week after my 19th birthday I had open abdominal surgery. The cyst was 15 cm in diameter when it was removed and weighed 7 lbs.  Harry was super rude and ruined my ovary and fallopian tube beyond repair so they were removed as well. No, even though I named my cyst Harry, it was not my twin. Apparently two egg cells get together and start dividing and create a bunch of different tissues like hair, teeth, bone, and fat. This sucker had long brown hair just like me, freaky, but amazingly cool. Check out the pictures and see why I nicknamed my cyst Harry! (The last pic is part of a jaw bone). I hope you think Harry is as cool as I do!!

HEADS UP: These pictures are graphic. They show pictures during the surgical procedure and pictures of the cyst (and it’s contents). If that freaks you out…you have been warned.

 

Half the Ovaries, Twice the Worry…

More and more lately I’ve been considering having my eggs frozen. In 2009 when I was 19 I had a 7lb ovarian dermoid cyst removed (along with my right ovary and fallopian tube), leaving me with one ovary. During the surgery they discovered I had endometriosis (I always had pretty intense periods but I just assumed that what I was experiencing was normal because I had nothing else to compare it to). Endometriosis is a pretty major cause of infertility in women, and during my surgery the surgeon said she saw what looked like a possible patch of endometriosis on my remaining ovary. I asked if I should freeze my eggs and she basically said it wasn’t necessary and that my left ovary would take over and function as if it was both of my ovaries.

Now I am 26 and am not going to be having children anytime in my near future. I have thought about freezing my eggs over the last 7 years but I knew it was expensive and didn’t look into it too much. Having the option to have my own biological children is important to me and having one ovary has made me worry that maybe I won’t be able to.  Over the last few weeks I emailed a few local fertility clinics to see how much it would potentially cost. On average, for the procedure and medications (hormones) it will be around $10,000 CAD. I brought up the topic to my Mom and she said that since I had my ovary removed she thought that I should have had my eggs frozen. She also generously said that she would give me the money out of my inheritance (her inheritance?), whatever, you get it. So grateful!

I went to my GP on March 23 and asked for a referral to the fertility clinic that I wanted to go to so that I can have a consultation. Now I just have to wait for them to call and book an appointment. I’m SO excited. I am definitely not a person who is afraid of needles but I am quite nervous at the thought of having to give myself an injection every day! I know I’m getting ahead of myself but I tend to do that….

During my research into what it will be like to have one’s eggs frozen I did not find many personal accounts so I hope that sharing my experiences will help anyone reading this! I will update my story and experiences as they happen.