If you remember, I was sent for an extensive list of labs, including a PCOS panel, a Preconception panel and my first round of genetic testing. A total of 21 items that equaled eight tubes of blood. I had been to the lab so many times by this point that I told J to stay home (he had a man cold), I would be fine on my own. There were two major problems, I made this appointment for the morning after Thanksgiving at 7:30 am and I was positive I consumed way too much sugar the night before, and I lied about being okay to go alone!
You may wonder why I was already having genetic testing done. These are required tests for infertility, sometimes used as diagnostic testing. The rule was that I would be tested for cystic fibrosis, hemoglobin electrophoresis, fragile-x and spinal muscular atrophy. If I had any positive results, J would be tested next. Two positives would mean a child would be a carrier of whatever was being tested.
Once Dr. F received my results, he called us for a reconsult which was great but I had already researched all of my results. Our appointment was on December 5 and Dr. F greeted with good news, bad news and news I expected. Side note: our results took two and a half weeks to come back, which I learned was due to the genetic testing which can take longer than normal.
Good news: my cystic fibrosis test was negative and most of my levels looked good.
Bad news: my insulin was high and I wasn’t immune to varicella.
Expected news: my testosterone was high.
What does all of this mean? I do in fact have PCOS, my high testosterone and insulin showed this, my insulin also showed that I am insulin resistant and I needed the chickenpox shot! WHAT! Who at 28 years old needs to get the chickenpox shot again? Here’s the kicker, I needed the shot and the booster!
“Okay, not terrible, could be worse,” I thought. We talked through my PCOS diagnosis along with what it meant to be insulin resistant and Dr. F explained he would start me on Metformin to decrease my insulin levels, but I will need to add in B12 as Metformin can cause a deficiency. I asked what side effects should be expected because this was not something I had Googled as you only go on MF if you are insulin resistant. Side note: this can be a wicked drug and it has been prescribed to women with PCOS who aren’t insulin resistant, I encourage you to push for every PCOS test before starting MF rather than taking a pill for something that is incurable. No, there is no cure for PCOS, but you can slow it down and suppress symptoms through MF and lifestyle changes. Anyway, back to the side effects; stomach upset, frequent bathroom trips, weight loss (BINGO), vitamin B deficiency. Oh and one more, “Now don’t be alarmed when you pass the capsule through a bowel movement,” Dr. F said. “I’m sorry. WHAT?” He replied, “It’s completely normal, you’ll know exactly what it is when you see it in the toilet but you don’t need to call me about it!” This was only our second appointment and he was catching on to me.
Now, as far as the chickenpox went, I needed more information. He explained how serious chickenpox can be for mom and baby while pregnant, so sorry, no luck on getting out of this one. There was a catch though, we had to actively stop TTC until I was fully vaccinated. (No, we didn’t stop trying on our own just because we were seeking help. Miracles happen, right?) I was to get the first shot, wait 30 days for it to take effect, get the booster shot and wait another 30 days for that one to take effect. So this meant we had to put everything on hold for two months. No biggie, this time could be used to lose weight and work on a healthier lifestyle.
We left with another round of labs for me, this time to test my Anti-Mullerian Hormone and spinal muscular atrophy (genetic testing). I made this appointment for the end of January to give myself time to work on my AMH. Shortly after our reconsult, I purchased the book It Starts with the Egg and was following the advice on how to improve my egg quality. I’ll give a full review of this book along with a few others, but one of the biggest steps we took was eliminating plastic in our house, starting with plastic containers and most of our cups and water bottles.
The holidays came and went, which were tough (hello, barren womb), but we survived. I also survived the chicken-pox vaccinations, although I did have two questionable days after the booster where I could hardly move my arm. Everything was moving along as planned, until I received a call from Dr. F on February 5, he wanted to discuss my lab results, and gave me the option of coming in or discussing over the phone. I immediately had a flashback the breakup call from Dr. B and told him to give it to me straight. *Again, side note: if your doctor wants to see you in person over test results, they may not be good. My spinal muscular atrophy result was negative, my AMH though, that was a different matter. A woman my age, 29, should have an AMH of 4.0 or higher, mine was 1.95, so about half of what it should be. What does this mean? AMH measures your ovarian reserve through the quality and quantity of your eggs. Women are born with all of their eggs, we don’t produce them daily like men do with sperm, so we need to care for the ones we have. Dr. F assured me that I wasn’t headed to diminished ovarian reserve just yet, but he didn’t want to wait too long to get things going, which brings me to my next topic.