Geriatric ovaries

I have my scan tomorrow, or rather later today. It is 2:03 am after all. I am on day 35 of IVF injections and besides some emotional lability, bruises and several pin pricks in the belly, I think I am surviving so far.

Like everything else, our fertility clinic shut down during covid days and our treatment was put on hold. It didn’t bother me at the time, probably because I was too caught up in work to fully process the implications of having delayed treatment at my age.

And then, the fertility clinics started opening up again, but now at a slower pace due to the socially distanced rules introduced. To put things into perspective, instead of 4 embryo transfers a day, they were only carrying out 4 embryo transfers a week. In my mind, I thought that our chance for treatment this year was next to none. So I was suprised when I was invited to start treatment at the end of July. At the first appointment, the nurse handed me a bag which contained several needles, my very own sharps bin (to dispose the used needles in) and drugs. Lots of drugs.

All to be stored within me

I don’t mind the actual injecting part so much, the needle is so thin that you barely feel more than a pinch.

Helps if you have a bit of flab

No, my biggest fear was that I would be a slave to menopausal symptoms. If you remember, the first drug puts you into a mini menopausal state. Of course, me being me, I had researched menopausal symptoms on the internet, and of course, the internet being the internet, it only threw up horror stories. Stories of women who had headaches for 10 days straight and no amount of pain killers could relieve it. Stories of women having chemical depression and then found sobbing uncontrollably in the bathtub by their other half. One woman got sent home from work because, as she put it, ‘got told she looked like shit’.

In hindsight, I probably should have seeked a more balanced view. But I didn’t, so I spent that first week very fearful that I would turn into the hulk.

In reality, it really is not that bad.

I can only recall a few incidents at work where I had to work extra hard to supress my rage, and only once where I had to go sit in the bathroom until I calmed my farm. There were a couple of days where I had the most horrendous headaches, but they could be relieved with paracetomol. Oh and I did cry more easily over cute dogs/rabbit videos on face book.

Things seemed to be progressing smoothly. My follicles were growing and my womb lining was at a good thickness level. I was even getting used to the vag scans. Joy and I were excited. But on my next scan, I was told that the follicles were growing slower than expected. This meant that there were no eggs ready for the scheduled egg collection.

Whenever I am told bad news, I never feel anything at that moment in time. Instead, I joke to ease the tension, I take care to note what it is being said and then I leave as if stoic. I am not a stoic person by the way, rather my brain is simple and cannot process emotions, thoughts and incoming external information simultaneously. I am that annoying person who has no questions when asked, but will then come back the next day with a million questions. For now, they wanted me to increase my dose of menopur and have a repeat scan to see where we are at. Not a big deal.

It wasn’t until we were half way home that I started to process it all and then panic. I had a ‘holy shit what if I have no eggs and this whole thing fails because of me’ moment. I started obsessively searching the internet for reasons for egg collection failures, and one really stood out to me. Aging ovaries. I started to beat myself up about my chilled attitude towards this whole baby business. If I had been less chilled, more active then maybe we would have started everything earlier when I was younger or before covid had hit to give us a better chance. But I didn’t, and now here I am with geriatric ovaries, panicking that the Sarkar line will end because of me.

The good thing that I have found about growing older, is that I have become wiser and kinder to myself. I have become better at recognising when my mind starts to behave like an asshole. Like in this instance. It is no good beating yourself up about decisions made in the past, because they were made in the past with the information you had at the time. Fertility issues tend to not loudly reveal themselves, so we had started trying for babies when I was 34. Which is not such an unreasonable age to start trying for babies if there are no fertility issues to delay things. How could we have known? And how could we have known that covid would rudely interrupt our IVF plans, delaying things even further? So I tried to put those unhelpful toxic thoughts to rest as quickly as possible. Instead, I found comfort in the fact that medication adjustments and delays in the IVF treatment cycle is not all that uncommon.

Next, we wait for this scan today and hope for the best. Now all there is to do is to just quieten down this nervousness and get some beauty sleep for my ever ageing ovaries.