Can Every Day be Like This One?

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We have a baby that is measuring 6 weeks! The best part? We saw and heard the heartbeat! The most beautiful sound I have ever heard!

It’s been a busy day and I’m exhausted but I had to share my good news. I can’t tell you what it feels like to have a great ultrasound appointment. We got nothing less than the absolute best news.

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. You’ll never know how much it means to me.

This is going to be short and sweet. My husband and I are going out of town tomorrow and we will be gone for a week on a cruise. I’ve pretty much spent the better part of the day running errands. Of course when we planned the cruise, we had no idea that we would be pregnant.

That’s it for now. Time to get some well-earned sleep. Thanks again for all the well-wishes!

 

What Tomorrow Brings

 

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No one can be certain of the future.  We can plan to our heart’s content but life has a way of taking over and showing us who is boss. Our best laid-plans often go astray leaving us to plan all over again only to find we must plan yet one more time for something that may or may not happen.  We can only hope that tomorrow brings the thing we so desperately desire.

This month was to be the month that my husband and I officially starting trying again.  Let’s just say that hasn’t happened.

Last Tuesday was a rough one for me.  I spent the better part of the day in bed waiting for my period to arrive while reliving every moment of my reproductive past. When I finally got out of bed, I spent more time reliving but even more time lamenting to God, demanding to know why my life had turned out the way it had.  I was so angry I decided to take a pregnancy test which I thought would somehow speed up the arrival of my period.

Except it didn’t.

The test was positive.

Today I am 5 weeks 5 days pregnant.

Tomorrow brings my first ultrasound

I don’t have to tell you the story of my reproductive past.  Anyone who has read this blog knows that it’s not pretty. I also don’t have to tell you about the fear that I carry in my heart.  Tomorrow means a lot of things.

I would like to tell you that I have spent the week in carefree bliss. Actually, I have spent it nursing one of the worst colds I have ever had, pregnancy-related I’m sure. At least I’ve had the agony of this cold to keep me distracted. My focus has been on breathing–quite literally–and daydreaming about the time I could return home to my bed to collapse in an exhausted heap.

I am trying my best to remain detached and calm, but I can tell you that every day that passes, I want this more. I’ve prayed to God, asked him to heal my body. Actually I prayed this several weeks back. I know my infertility is a sickness and I know he doesn’t want me to have it. I’m trying very hard to cling to my faith that he was healed me. I can’t accept anything less.

So, I try to take day by day and not think about tomorrow, though tomorrow is a big day for me. But for today I am pregnant and that is enough.

 

 

An Anniversary I’d Rather Forget

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I’m obsessed with time. Particularly the past. On any given day I might reflect where I was a day ago, a month ago, or even a year ago. A week ago or so, February 19th, I had an anniversary, actually a double anniversary.

February 19th, 2010 (yes, that’s four years ago), my husband I officially tried to conceive our first child.

One year ago, February 19th, 2013  I lost my second pregnancy.

Yes, one year ago while I was lamenting three years of TTC, I was also losing another baby and losing my mind in the parking lot of the ob-gyn’s office.

There isn’t much to say that hasn’t been said already about the four years of trying to conceive. I guess that term may not even be accurate anymore considering we did conceive at the 2 1/2 year mark.  Maybe I should call it when we first started trying to conceive a healthy baby.

I’ve been thinking about miscarriage number two a lot lately  because this time of year reminds me of it. Like I said in a previous post, I never actually processed that loss for two reasons. One reason was because I found out I was not carrying an embryo, just products of conception. Somehow this prevented me from emotionally attaching myself to the pregnancy, though I have attached myself since then.  The other reason was because I actually feared for my life.

At that time one year ago, I blew things out of proportion. I know that now. But one year ago, I expected the worst and assumed the worst. On that first ob-gyn visit (where I was already bleeding anyway), the doctor suspected a molar pregnancy.  A molar pregnancy means that the egg either had no genetic material or the egg was fertilized by two sperm.

What does it mean for the pregnancy?

It means that it’s a no-go, but it means much more than that.  Follow along.

If you have this type of pregnancy, there is no question that you must have a D & C.  There is the hope that removing the pregnancy will remove all cells which may or may not be cancerous. From there, you get weekly blood tests and then monthly blood tests to make sure the pregnancy “doesn’t come back.” But, that isn’t the worst of it. A molar pregnancy has a chance of turning into choriocarcinoma which is a rare cancer of the uterus. When the doctor told me this, all I thought was that I was going to die.  It didn’t matter that the doctor said that she wasn’t certain that it was a molar pregnancy. It didn’t matter that the huge blood clot beside the pregnancy could be affecting the way the pregnancy looked.  Nothing mattered at all.

A few days later, the pregnancy no longer looked like a molar pregnancy, but the emotional damage had already taken shape.  I went from 125 pounds to 111 in a little over two weeks.  I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t function. After we were certain the pregnancy wasn’t viable (it took about two weeks) I had the D & C and the results came back normal.

Physically, I was fine afterwards but my periods were scant so I convinced myself that I was sick.  I continued to lose weight so this also convinced me that somehow the test results were inaccurate.

It was during this time that I was absolutely convinced that God hated me. What kind of God let someone lose a pregnancy right after losing the first one? What kind of God let someone feel so alone and utterly terrified? What kind of God let them feel like they could die at a moment’s notice? The months that followed were some of the darkest I’ve ever experienced.  I confided in my family, but no one truly understood what I was going through. I needed some type of help but did not have the emotional capacity to even know how or where to ask for it, something that I regret to this day.

Interestingly, choriocarcinoma has been in the news. Jen Arnold, from the Little Couple, had been trying for quite some time to get pregnant. She had adopted a son and was on her way to adopting a daughter when she got pregnant.  For the first time ever!  Sadly, she miscarried and her pregnancy turned into cancer.

My heart goes out to her. How long she must have waited to get pregnant! How she probably even gave up the idea only to discover a miracle after she had “just adopted.” I keep thinking how devastated she must have felt when the ultrasound revealed an unviable pregnancy.  But, she was strong. So, she picked herself up, had a D & C, and moved on.

Except her nightmare was only beginning! After years of personal challenges relating to her physical size, infertility, a miscarriage, and a D & C, she discovered she had a cancer relating to her miscarriage.  Essentially, she got cancer from getting pregnant.  From trying to achieve her dream.

It makes me sick that something like this can even exist in this universe.

However, Jen’s story does have a happy ending.  She is now cancer-free and has the family that she dreamed of. How this woman has so much strength, I’ll never know.

March 5th will mark 1 year since my last D & C. So, essentially, I have been miscarriage free for a year. In that year, my husband and I have been “not preventing” but not actually trying to get pregnant either. However, the time is coming soon where we will begin “trying” once more.

This terrifies me. I have to put myself back out there with all my heart. It takes a lot of faith, faith I’m not even sure I have, to try. I’ve been broken and have spent this last year just feeling safe and ok again. I’ve made some changes in my diet, started taking DHEA and other supplements, and continued acupuncture. I hope that it is enough.

It’s not easy to change my diet. Actually, it’s quite difficult and I’m a far cry from perfect. When I get emotional, I want sugar. When I get angry, I want caffeine and sugar. It pisses me off to see people around me not have to worry about their food affecting egg quality and it really, really pisses me off to see a pregnant women stuffing her face with doughnuts. Particularly, when said pregnant person sits right beside me and already has one child.

Yes, the bitterness and sadness come over me every day, but sometimes I’m really good at pushing these emotions aside. It means that I don’t connect much with a lot of people on a personal level, but that’s the price of being. Some days I want to tell the world what I’ve been through, share my story. I want to scream it to the top of my lungs to anyone who will listen, but other days it’s safer just to rest in my thoughts.

So, that’s where I am right now. Just trying to find courage and just waiting for normal. Just being.

 

 

 

 

Charmed

I love Pandora jewelry, particularly the charms. Though I’ve never bought a charm for myself, my husband usually gets me one for Christmas or some other occasion. I don’t have a ton of charms for my bracelet, but I have ascribed meaning to each one that I have received.

The first charm I got was this orange-striped candy bead a couple of Christmases ago from my MIL:

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Of course I associate it with sweetness and the holidays!

I also have this one, The Red Hot Love bead:

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You guessed it–this symbolizes the love my husband and I have each other (duh)!

I’ve received a few more since then and my MIL offered to buy me another one last Christmas for my birthday in January. Here’s what I bought:

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This one is the fuchsia butterfly. I got it to remember the baby I lost last September. Not that I would ever need a piece of jewelry or anything else for that matter to remember. Holidays were particularly hard last year and when I walked into the store I knew that I wanted to get something to remember her with, but I didn’t want anyone to know why I’d chosen it. That’s me, keeping my pain tucked away so the world can’t see. My MIL and husband  just assumed I thought the charm was pretty. This was somewhat true, but I have associated butterflies with her memory since they seemed to be everywhere after I lost her.

This year, my husband took me in the store again and I was immediately flooded with last year’s memory. As I recollected, I realized that this passing year was also filled with the second loss I had in February. I’ve never actually processed the loss to a great extent. Maybe I didn’t because there was no fetal pole or maybe because I was only 5 weeks along. Actually, the main reason was because I was just too terrified, but more about that in my next post.  Anyway, this is what I chose for my latest charm:

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This one is the guardian angel.  The angel wings symbolize my second angel baby. The one that was gone in the blink of an eye. The one whose spirit that I have since decided was a him.

I don’t know what next year will bring but I hope that I won’t be buying a charm to acknowledge another loss. Given the choice between having a loss and having nothing, I will gladly take nothing.

I kept thinking yesterday how much I wanted to be able to pick out a charm for my take-home baby–the one that will truly be mine, the one that won’t die, if one exists. What would be even better would be for my husband to select it for me. I can’t tell you how much I want that to happen. I’ve waited so long now that I’m not sure whether I am truly waiting or just merely breathing.

This would be my first baby’s first Christmas. This realization has not eluded me. It would also be my second baby’s first Christmas. I got a beautiful new tree to distract myself. I won’t let myself visualize what my baby would look like, whether she would be talking, or what she would think of the tree. I made it pretty and I made it for her and I made it for him, and I hope I have honored their memories.

I am glad to have my bracelet. It’s funny how something so pretty can make you so sad, but I guess that’s life. I don’t know why loss like this happens and I suppose I will never know. So I carry my losses in my heart and I wear them on my wrist, hoping someday my babies find their way back to me.

The Way to a Baby

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The way to a baby for me (according to my RE) is. . .

(drumroll please)

Through donor eggs!

Yep, we had our WTF appointment today and the doctor said nothing that I hadn’t figured out on my own already.

It turns out the follicles during the IVF cycle were truly empty and that her initial prediction was that I would get four eggs retrieved. Of course, I got two. She also said that my two retrieved eggs didn’t make it to the cleavage stage which indicates an egg quality issue.  Had the eggs made it past this stage and made it to transfer, she would likely recommend a second try at this with my own eggs.

She made it clear that she would indeed do a second IVF, if this is what I wanted, but predicted a similar outcome.  Taking into account my years of trying, my two losses, and this failed IVF, the egg quality just isn’t there.

I’m a little confused about my husband’s sperm issues with all of this.  Initially, the doctor felt that my 4 IUI failures were due to a lack of fertilization, but now she thinks egg quality issues were coming to play even back then.  So chances are, I’ve had poor egg quality for years now.  The higher FSH that I have now is only compounding the problem, I think.  I remember having my FSH tested over a year and a half ago and it was only 6.5 which was great, but I still had problems conceiving even then.  It just goes to show you that a good FSH does not mean good egg quality, no matter what your age.

I have to face reality. I may only be 37 (which is still a good age for a “normal” woman to have a baby), but my body thinks it is older.  Premature aging.  It’s supposed to be harder for a woman my age to get pregnant, but not this hard.

Ask any woman who wants a child. Her dream is to bear a biological child. I am no different. Not being able to bear a biological child means grieving.

But I have to be honest with myself. I’ve been grieving this loss for a very long time now. I didn’t start grieving when I failed this IVF cycle, I didn’t start when I miscarried, and I didn’t start when the IUIs didn’t work. It’s been a continuous process for years now, I guess.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t cry when she recommended donor eggs. If she had recommended this a month ago, I would have fallen apart. Maybe I’m finally at the last stage of grief–acceptance.

Like I said before, I think I’m done blaming myself. As far as I know, my egg quality could have been gone in my 20′s. I didn’t choose it. I didn’t ask for it to happen and it’s not my fault. I don’t know why it happened to me, but I know I can’t change it.  I used to be a happy person; maybe I can find my way back to it. I’ve got a lot going for me in my life and a lot to be thankful for.

I’m going to beat infertility, one way or another. My desire to be a mother hasn’t wavered. I choose to believe that God put that desire in me and that he will fulfill it somehow. It may not be in the way I choose, but I believe that it will happen.

I don’t intend to do another IVF cycle with my own eggs, but I will continue to try to conceive naturally. I did ask the RE about DHEA and she said that in some cases it has helped women and it some cases it has not. It certainly won’t hurt to try. Her recommendation is 50 mg in the morning. I will also go back to acupuncture and try changing my diet.

As for donor eggs, it is an option that we are strongly considering in the coming months. I’m not saying that it is a definite, but I’m no longer completely against it and my husband has warmed up to the idea as well. There’s still a major hurdle–money. In case you are wondering, we don’t have any. Even if we still had insurance coverage, my policy does not cover donor eggs.

So there you have it. My day. Now it’s time to clean up my house for the holidays!

 

 

 

 

 

The Road Not Taken

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If only my fertility were as easy as choosing between two divergent roads I’d have a 50% of having my own baby and those odds sound like heaven! After three and three-quarters years, however, I’ve always ended up on the wrong road.

I was thinking today that our WTF appointment is only two days away and realized that attending it doesn’t change anything. The IVF failed–period. We can’t go back and unfail it. Though I know how it failed, I don’t really know why. The most dire question I have is why more eggs weren’t retrieved. Technically, there were more there. Lots more there! I’m assuming the estradiol levels matched what was on the ultrasound or they would have told me. I guess that is a question for Tuesday. I just hope that I’m not rushed out of the appointment before I have the chance to ask my questions. I’m making a list of questions and they better answer every one of them!

I guess the thing I fear the most is the doctor saying that I have poor eggs and don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of having my own child!

But I’m so tired of being afraid all of the time. So tired of blaming myself. So tired of the endless grief that clings to me each day. So tired of others feeling sorry for me yet at the same time desperately needing their words like a parched man needs water.

I am trying to come to terms with the idea that I may never have a biological child. I am trying to imagine myself going the donor egg or the adoption route. It’s not what I want and not what I planned, but nothing on this “journey” has been of my choosing. I close my eyes and let myself visualize these other options to the point where they don’t scare me anymore. This is progress for me.

As for donor eggs, like I said, not what I imagined for my life! But. . . I would do it for my husband so he could have his own biological child. He deserves a child. He really does. He’s the most wonderful man on Earth and doesn’t deserve the train wreck that came along with trying to have a baby with me. It’s the least I could do for him and I would do it with all my heart. I would fall in love with my husband’s child, plain and simple.

Except for the fact that he doesn’t want me to do donor eggs.

He said he wants a child that is the best of him and the best of me. . .not the best of him and some other woman. I love him for this, but at the same time I don’t think he really knows what he would be giving up. He feels that if a child can’t be conceived from both of us, he’d rather have a child that isn’t conceived from either of us, hence adoption.

I’ve only done a small amount of research on adoption, but it seems to be more expensive and just as challenging as IVF. I worry that we’d be turned down–I’m almost 38, he’s 45. Oh, and I take anti-depressants. For some reason, I think that would be held against me. Of course, I wouldn’t be on them in the first place if my life hadn’t taken a serious wrong turn in the last three years.

I feel like I sound horrible in this post. I’ve read so many posts from women who have adopted and I know that once they lay their eyes on their children, it was love at first sight and the fact that they were not biologically related became of little consequence. It’s just that I’m not there yet. I can’t visualize that joy, because my heart is so full of grief. Full of grief from the babies that I lost and the grief from this last cycle.

If it were up to me and I knew that I could only choose between those two options, I think I would go the donor egg route. But then I realize that this is just as risky as anything else.  The majority of research out there pushes donor eggs as the perfect solution for older women or those with poor egg quality but what they fail to mention is that it is not a done deal. The success rate for donor eggs is not 100%.

I need 100%.  That’s just the cold, hard truth. Odds have never been in my favor. Technically, I only had a 4% chance of having a second miscarriage, but guess what, it happened! That’s four chances in one hundred. Pretty phenomenal.

I guess I’m rambling because I’m more nervous about this appointment than I am admitting. I fear the doctor’s words, I fear that I will be blamed, I fear everything. I know what she says isn’t the final verdict on anything, but it’s just going to be hard going back there when before we had so much hope. I’m afraid of bursting into tears when I’ve tried so hard to be composed there. I always feel like I have to appear to be in control. I have no idea why.

I am not brave. I am not composed. I am not professional. I am broken, worn, and tired. I wish I could just taken whatever energy I have left and be myself.

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry–I Can’t Like Your Status and I Don’t Want a Number

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Maybe it’s all over your Facebook newsfeed (or has been at one time):

“Like my status and I’ll give you a number!”

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, in this scenario one of your Facebook friends lists a predetermined number of random facts about his or her self on his wall such as:

“I met my fiancé on a blind date and we knew it was love at first sight even though I was already engaged.”

“I don’t like for my socks to match and I try to hide it from the world.”

“I like barbecue sauce on my French fries; please don’t judge me.”

“I like to eat toothpaste.”

You get the idea. Then you “like” his/her status and he/she assigns you a number, say 9, and you post 9 random facts about yourself. From there, others like your status and you assign them a number and the process repeats itself. All over Facebook.

I am actually very fortunate because no one in my newsfeed  has posted excessive facts about their babies, children, or reproductive abilities. For this I am grateful.

I have yet to participate in this game. I can’t help but wonder which random facts I would post about myself if I did join in the fun.

Maybe, the run-of-the-mill: “I absolutely hate waking up early” or “My favorite restaurant is Cheesecake Factory–I really like the Chicken Marsela”?

No.

Here are mine:

“It took my husband and I two and a half years to conceive our first child. The pregnancy lasted seven and a half weeks.”

“God works in mysterious ways. After our first miscarriage, we conceived just five months later with our rainbow baby. That pregnancy lasted about two weeks though the feeling that I lost who I am remains to this day.”

“No, my allergies don’t make my eyes water all the time like I say they do. At any given time of the day, I fight back tears when I think of how my dreams may never come true.”

“I am completely emotionally spent. Just having a simple conversation with any one of you takes a considerable amount of energy on my part. Bear with me.”

“I don’t go to church anymore. The weekly baby dedications make me cry. Every. Single. Time.”

“Through the years of infertility and loss, I have cut a lot of people out of my life. Chances are, you’re one of them. I’m sorry. I miss you and who we were together.”

Something tells me that these random facts about me might put a damper on someone’s game. I think the point is to be random and light. I don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable, so you can see why I’m not playing.

In other news, our WTF appointment with our RE isn’t until next Tuesday. Next, not this coming Tuesday. I am both curious and frightened to hear what she will have to say about what went wrong during our IVF.

What was so damning wasn’t that our two retrieved embryos didn’t make it. It was the fact that we only retrieved two eggs out of the eight that were supposed to be there. I have no idea if they were truly empty or if the eggs were too difficult to get out or what. Hell, for all I know they didn’t even try. All I know is that I was in and out of there in a hurry and didn’t feel very different physically after I left.

I’m not blaming our RE. I like her a lot (though she does seem to be rushed) and her staff is compassionate and very well-organized . Chances are, it is just me and my eggs. I am trying my hardest to prepare myself for the donor egg talk that could be coming.

I really don’t know if there is much that can be done about egg quality. Yes, I’ve heard about DHEA but never asked the doctor about it and she didn’t recommend it. There is something to be said about acupuncture helping egg quality as well. I like acupuncture.

Still, part of me keeps going back to where I had my procedure done. The office is a quality facility and when I originally selected it, it was because the success rates for my age bracket were decent, about 43%. However, after I had all my prescreening testing done, the latest success rates for my age bracket came out and they were down considerably to about 29% (actually they were down for all age groups, even those under 35). I remember crying on the phone that day to my husband telling him that we made a mistake and should back out right then and there and go someplace else. Now, I wish we would have.

From what I understand, RE fees are based on their success rates. We paid a huge sum of money (this clinic charges considerably higher than others) for services that  yielded a marked decrease in success for its patients. Why didn’t I do something about this red flag that was waving in front of me? I ignored that little nagging voice and it may have cost me a child.

If there is any point in doing any IVFs in the future and if I am financially able to do so and choose to, I may go elsewhere. There is a new clinic that has branched off from another one that boosts a success rate of about 67% for ages 36-40. I don’t know if these statistics are too good to be true or misleading, but it sure beats a 29% success rate. Yes, I’d have to travel to another city and meet another team of doctors and go through all of this again, but at least that option is out there. Not really an option, just an idea at this point.

That’s it for now. Now, go out and like some FB statuses!

 

 

 

 

 

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