It's interesting how most days start out the same way, and progress in the same manner, and then you go to sleep and start all over again. And then every once in a while something happens that stops this cycle short.
I received a phone call from my OB yesterday afternoon. It sent me into a tizzy.
Let's rewind a bit and have a look at some statistics. (Disclaimer: Some numbers may be a bit off- I am not a medical journal- so don't quote me on them.)
First things first: 1/6 of couples suffer from infertility. That's 16.7% of the population. Of those 40% are female related, 40% male related and 20% unexplained. My husband and I are lucky, we are both affected (though he much milder than I).
It's no secret: I suffer from PCOS. With pretty much all the symptoms. It is estimated that somewhere between 5%-30% of the female population exhibits symptoms of PCOS. From this group, about a third of women are annovulatory. Let's be generous and call that 10%. That's me.
The first course of treatment for an annovulatory woman who wishes to become pregnant is the prescription of Clomid. 80% of the women who take this route ovulate and conceive. I'm in the 20% that didn't.
If y'all are following along you will see that I fall into a 2% group of the population. Pretty slim chances of being affected the way that I am, but still, here I am living proof...
In July I finally fell on the right side of statistics when I became pregnant after my 5th cycle of Femara coupled with injectible gonadotropins, and coupled with an IUI (to help my husband's sperm along.) At my clinic the pregnancy rates after 5 cycles is just under 80%. For once I didn't fall into the unfortunate group.
I pretty much thought I had left all the bad stats behind.
Until yesterday's call.
My OB called to tell me that my Integrated Prenatal Screening came back positive for downs syndrome. She broke it down and put it all into perspective for me:
Chance of downs based on my age (32): 1/466
Cut off for a negative result in this range: 1/200 to 1/270
My result: 1/183
I stayed calm by grabbing my notepad and jotting down all the information. I tried to stay focused as words like genetic counselling and amniocentesis and termination were thrown at me.
I realized that there was silence on the phone. "Oh," I said, startled, "you want me to say something..."
I told my doctor that termination was not an option for my husband and I and our baby. So genetic counselling and the amnio were moot. My husband and I had discussed this previously as a "what if" scenario that we thought we would never have to entertain. Our baby is much loved now, and however he or she might be born.
The problem is that I am not the type to stop worrying about something just because it's out of my control. I am very concerned about the test results, and just can't stop thinking about the what ifs. I'm not sure that if I hadn't battled with IF that I would be concerned like this. After all, 1/183 is just slightly more than 0.5%. But one thing that lingers with me as I struggle (still!)to come to terms with my infertility is my ability to continuously fall on the wrong side of statistics.
(PS: Thanks Flygirl.)