By: Heather Somaini
Eggs. We’re born with all we’re ever going to have. And then during our “prime” years, we dole them out one or maybe two at a time until they’re all gone. At 37, I was considered AMA or of Advanced Maternal Age which means that too many of those “prime” eggs were already gone – wasted on those lovely college and 20-something years. I remember those days when the world is your oyster and you feel like you have the dog by the tail, when the last thing on your mind is creating little mini-me’s.
Oh well, here I was at 37 injecting myself every night, wondering how many follicles they would see the next morning. Entering into a COH or Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation where they convince your old ovaries to mature an extraordinary number of eggs. Once they get at least one follicle, the lead follicle, between 22-24mm, they give you (well you actually give it to yourself) a trigger shot of HCG or human chorionic gonadotropin. hCG acts to stimulate ovulation, which is the completion of one stage in oocyte development, and the release of the oocyte from the surrounding cells (follicle).
I know, don’t I sound smart…like I actually know what I’m talking about? Not so much really. I found that on a website somewhere. It’s all so technical and medical but at the same time, it’s pretty simple. They stop your entire reproductive system and then start it up again with pharmaceuticals, convincing your body that you are a dog instead of a human so you’ll create a litter instead of just one. Once they get a ton of eggs to mature, they go in and “get them”. That’s it.
June 28th… I went in for my first real ultrasound and blood work. They found eight on the right and five on the left – all under 5mm in size. Very small – this was sort of my baseline before they really got started on the ovarian stimulation.
July 10th… Today they found six on the right and three on the left. All of them were 10mm or smaller.
I had been injecting drugs for weeks. I wanted results. I wanted to know that this was going to be successful. I’m an overachiever. I wanted to respond very well to the medication and produce an extraordinary number of eggs. If I could do that, we would have “extras” for multiple tries. After nine tries with Tere, I was starting to realize that this baby-making process could take awhile and there’s no guarantee that ANY try would work.
July 13th… Today they found nine on the right side – one at 15mm, one at 13mm, three at 11mm, one at 10mm and three smaller than that. On the left side they found two at 14mm, one at 13mm, one at 10mm and two smaller ones.
July 15th… Today they found one at 17mm, 16mm, 15mm, 14mm, 13mm, two at 12mm and one at 10mm on the right side and one at 18mm, 17mm, 16mm, 15mm, 14mm, 12mm, 10mm and two smaller on the left. Seventeen in all and we’re getting closer to having a “lead” follicle!
We went to my friend Lauren’s birthday party that night. I felt like a bloated, overstuffed turkey. My clothes fit but nothing felt right. I was cranky; I hated not feeling well. So here I am with Tere who is, for the first time, in the position of taking care of me and honestly, there’s nothing wrong with me. I’m just not happy. I want this process to be over. I want to feel normal again. I feel like a whale. What the fuck must it feel like to ACTUALLY BE PREGNANT!?! This is seriously terrible. I sat in the corner of the Stone Rose Lounge at the Hotel Sofitel for the entire evening. I looked cranky. I acted cranky. I’m sure I was the life of the party. Luckily, Lauren is a really good friend and couldn’t care less – it was her 24th birthday! She had a great time.
Me, I wanted to know how many follicles and of what size they were going to find the next morning.
Could we possibly be close to knowing if we had a lead follicle? Could we almost be there?