Diminished ovarian reserve

The HSG procedure I had last month increases a woman's chances of conception. That would be so great, I kept thinking.

When I talked to the nurse about filled my Clomid prescription she kept saying, "If you're not pregnant you'll take it on cycle days...." "If you are pregnant this cycle call us and we'll do an ultrasound..."

Boy that was nice. Imagining this great moment, calling our fertility center, disposing the meds, being one of those happy couples in the "increased chances of conception" statistic.

I don't know if it was the hope of those increased chances or the fact of it being the twenty-fourth time since we starting trying, but when I found out that I wasn't pregnant once again, I broke.

Every negative cycle hurts but this one, the most. This time, I felt like I reached my breaking point. I don't feel hopeful anymore. I feel like it's never going to happen.

As bleak as it feels to reach this breaking point, it gave me the push I needed to accept the IUI. The optimism I was holding on to for the idea that a few medications were all we needed disappeared. John and I talked about it for a few days and decided that going for the IUI was the right move.

After we decided, we got a phone call from a nurse at our fertility center with the results of another blood test. Another hormone came back too low and confirmed a suspected diagnosis: diminished ovarian reserve.

Dr. Colbert is giving us three shots at clomid/ovidrel and an IUI. And then we're talking IVF.

That's by Christmas.

That's a lot to digest.

That's also really expensive.

I am comforted to know from reading other women's experiences that this dreary state I find myself in is normal. It's hard though.

I feel like there's a book representing my life and I already dogeared these pages for pregnancy. I want to remain hopeful, but I'm also trying to wrap my head around a life where those pages remain unwritten. A life where pregnancy never gets written into my story. It is almost impossible for me to imagine.

It's a roller coaster, this infertility stuff. I'm definitely on the down right now. Ready for the up.



  1. Dear Jillian, I read your blog often but haven't commented before. I just wanted to let you know I'm praying for you from Cape Town, South Africa. Praying for a deepened sense of peace in your heart, knowing that our heavenly Father loves you so so much. Take heart! x

  2. Praying for you! May God give you peace... and courage!

  3. I'm so sad to read this. :( What tough stuff. God DOES do miracles, so don't lose hope! Like you all, we opted for adoption for our first child over fertility treatments, but are pursuing fertility treatment for now, but not feeling entirely optimistic about it. :/ We really want to conceive a biological child, but (like you I'm sure) know how an adopted child feels 100% like OURS! So, we will be glad to adopt again if the fertility treatment route doesn't work. But, we also (in the back of our minds) have a time frame that if I DON'T get pregnant (like after adopting #2) that we will strongly consider donor/adopted embryos. It's definitely something we'd consider since we've realized that biology doesn't matter as much as we originally thought it would to us, and also that it would be really, really special to experience pregnancy. Just a bit from our story (although like you we have NO IDEA how it will actually turn out). Sorry for your bad day and bad news. I hope you'll take some time to grieve, but I KNOW God has a beautiful story for you guys, but that doesn't make the bad days any less bad. :/ Hugs and prayers!!

    1. Sorry this comment was all about me. :/ I will be praying you get your miracle, but I know it's hard to not be discouraged A friend of mine with DOR got pregnant naturally so I know it happens! My husband and I are just encouraged by the option of donor embryos in the future since we know it would be hard to miss out on pregnancy if none of our treatment works.
      We also may be pursuing IUIs within the next month or so if my husband's number's come back ok later this month. I'll be praying for miracles for both of us!
      (Also, I got excited when I saw where you live! Many of our good friends from college grew up in Holland and some of our friends just moved back there and love it!) :-)

  4. I have been reading and following your story for at least a year now. I'm praying for you from NYC. I'm petitioning on your behalf. And I'm hoping for you. I pray that God will answer this deep desire of your heart!

  5. Katie B.10/01/2013

    I'll be praying for you. There IS hope. My cousin's wife was told they would never be able to have children. They found out she was pregnant while they were in the process of adopting. Now they have two sweet girls. Our God is greater. Hugs!

  6. Oh Jillian, I'm so sorry you're feeling down. I, too, am ready for an up. I really hope that your journey isn't (too) much longer and that you might be staring at a positive pregnancy test by Christmas. I so wish that this road were easier for us.

    And not to make this post about me, but I wanted to let you know that I am sharing some of your exact feelings. I am at the point where I am beginning to wonder if pregnancy is part of my future too and I have yet to grasp that it may not be. We were one of the lucky ones who found ourselves pregnant, just as we were starting testing. I couldn't believe that it had actually happened and I held onto such hope. Well that hope got smashed last week, when we were told that our third pregnancy had come to an end at 9 weeks. I know it's different than your walk, and I'm not trying to compare or compete. I just can't believe that this is our road and that we may never get to enjoy a full 9 months of pregnancy and bring a baby home at the end.

    I hope that what I wrote came across the way I wanted it to. I'm having trouble formulating my thoughts lately. But if all that was just a big jumbled mess, take this from this comment. I am thinking of you and praying for you and wrapping you in so many hugs. This journey sucks on so many levels. xo

    1. Anonymous10/01/2013

      I echo Jenn0021's comments having had almost the exact same experience. I would love to send you Jillian a big virtual hug too because your disappointment, pain and sadness is real. I wish the best for you Jillian and my hope for you is that you will have a message of triumph and joy!

  7. Oh Gillian, I am so sorry to hear of this great heartache. I'm not sure there are words outside of His that could comfort you.

  8. I'm a new reader in the last couple of months. I know you already know this, but you are not alone. My heart breaks for you because I have been in your EXACT position. I know the vicious cycle of heartbreak every month, and the added heartbreak that comes with tests/surgery results. Just know that you are stronger than you think. You won't think you can, but you will find the strength to get up, dust yourself off, and keep going each time you are knocked down. Many prayers and hugs for you!

  9. November 2010 is when we started trying again after the death of our son, the second child we've lost. We are now on the 35th go round and so far nada. No luck with conceiveing baby #3 yet. But it will happen, those two pink lines. Our daughter happened one month after starting to try. After she died inutero we started trying two weeks after she was born. 11 months and many broken hearts later, we found out our son was on the way. So, round 35 here we are. Baby #3 might be on board, or we might be going for round #36.

  10. Stephanie10/01/2013

    Jill, Dig deep, girl. Be angry. Be sad. Be disappointed. Be disillusioned. Ask God hard questions. Ask yourself hard questions. And then focus. Focus in. Take one day at a time, one plan at a time, one med/test/procedure at a time. Love on Arie and remember the insane journey that took you to him. Remember that you would do every second of it over again to see his sweet face every morning when you wake up. Remember how badly you want this and take the baby steps necessary to get there. No, it doesn't guarantee anything. But would you ever consider doing this any other way? No. Because you know this is the way that is needed right now. So, dig deep into that unspeakable desire to have this baby and focus on that. God is shaping you in ways right now that you can't fully imagine or appreciate in the dark moments. But know that He has a plan and that it is for the best, whatever that may be. I know that the pain is suffocating and almost debilitating at times...dig deep, baby steps, God is here...no matter what the outcome, you can do this. I know how it feels for your life pages to look like what you never imagined they would, but God has grander plans than we can imagine, and trusting in that truth is crutial. You're not alone. Love you. Hugs to you. Stephanie

  11. Hi Jillian, try to see the positive in it. You have a diagnosis!!! All this time of trying naturally but it not working for no apparent reason is behind you, now a new time begins and it's less uncertain than what you've been through. DOR will not keep you from getting pregnant! You will get there, women have done it before and you are not fighting the unknown. From a freshly pregnant IVF-doer after 2 yr of trying meds and such, I just want to tell you that the stigma with IVF is similar to the one for HSGs. It's not as bad as people make it out to be. In fact I want to say the IVF was the best part of our infertility journey because we always knew exactly where we were at and I felt less lost than in any other cycle!!! And I saw God everywhere while undergoing the treatment, he comforted me, calmed me, protected my embryos in the lab and is now with me as I am so scared things might go wrong.

    At least now you know you're having a real problem on hand and not just lazy snookering ovaries. You have an answer to the "it will work if you stop stressing" and there is no "let's keep trying without meds".

    Best of luck and crossing my fingers you won't need the IVF! But even if you do, embrace it!!! Those IVF babies are miracles!!!!!!!

    1. Anonymous10/02/2013

      I so agree with Alicia here! I know this is tough stuff, but keep the faith. IUI wasn't an option for us (low success for our male factor issues) so we went straight to IVF. It is hard-core, but empowering. It took 6+ years for our IVF miracle to appear, but looking back, I would not trade a moment of our journey. It just makes the reward sweeter. I know that is cliche, but it is true. Hang in there!

  12. Jill,

    I'm so sorry about the DOR. I'm sorry that this cycle was a bust. It's so hard to *not* get your hopes up. I just keep reminding myself on a meds-only cycle that while there's a 20% chance of pregnancy, that there is still an 80% chance of "not pregnancy" that month.

    This is also month 24 of TTC for us, and while I pray that I don't get my 24th BFN, I know that statistically, I probably *will* get that BFN.

    I'm going to be the voice of logical reasoning here (even though I can't be it for myself). The chances of conception with 3 rounds of IUI are lower than the chance of success with 1 IVF. If you are 100% OOP, have you considered going straight to IVF? I couldn't help but notice that you mentioned the cost. I know it's mourning another type of loss moving straight on, but Dr. Colbert's office has an awesome success rate with IVF, and there are ways to limit the financial risk that route.

    Good luck moving forward! I hope that your next cycle brings you the blessing you so desire!

  13. Oh Jill, my hopes and prayers are with you. I have no practical, fertility advice other than hope is a fickle thing and sometimes it's not nearly as easy, it gets slippery and subtle but it's there. I love you.

  14. Anonymous10/02/2013

    I know the finality you feel in considering IVF might be your only option. That was me a year ago. All of our friends were announcing pregnancies and I laid down in my closet and cried tears I didn't even know I had. It was then that my husband said we needed to take the next step. The one that the doctor had presented us with just months before. I was so scared, angry, and bitter. No one told me I had to be a part of that statistic, and I was furious. But you know what? We wanted a baby, and the natural way (with some IUIs and meds, too) wasn't working. It was hard for me to wrap my mind around all that IVF entailed. I had to give it over to God though. He had written this story already. We welcomed our (first round IVF) baby girl in April. As strange as it sounds, I wouldn't change our journey. It was deep, dark, and hopeless for me for a long time. Now I have my baby. I still feel the sadness when I see others struggling to have their baby. Don't give up hope. That's what Satan wants. He drives wedges in places you least expect it. I pray the IUI works for you. But if it doesn't, just know that IVF is scary (both emotionally and financially) but it can work. It won't matter how you got there when you hold that baby in your arms for the first time. Trust me, I know. I am prayerfully hoping the meds stimulate your ovaries and you get many eggs! You are NOT alone in this journey!! Blessings.

  15. Anonymous10/07/2013

    Thinking of you as you embark on your IUI journey! I know this is unsolicited advice, but from a statistical and financial perspective, many women choose to only do 1 IUI. IUIs don't increase your chances too much, but they do give your RE an preview as to how you would respond to injectable medication. IVF is scary at first, but I just had my second egg retrieval yesterday and, honestly, it's not that bad. Also, at age 30 I was told my FSH is high and this last IVF round one of my ovaries barely responded. I am happy we moved to IVF quickly because who knows how fast my fertility is declining.
    As I laid on my couch yesterday recovering, I thought of how great God is to give us such talented Drs and embryologists. This may not have been my plan (our yours), but it is His and we are along for the ride!


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