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Category Archives: Momma

Ugh…

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This is supposed to be our cycle, the one I’m supposed to start any day now. I actually achieved (within 5 pounds) the weight goal which at one point I thought was impossible. As is often the case though, life had other plans.

Years ago (at least 5, probably more), I was diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear. I did PT and stopped playing softball and lived with it. It was mostly just a minor annoyance when I’d overdone it. That was until recently. I had a really bad pain flare in early June. The rheumatologist gave me a cortisone injection and told me I could not lift anything heavier than 20 lbs (including Little Man) for at least 48 hours. That helped get the pain under control. Then, two weekends ago, I was playing with Little Man in our little backyard pool. Playing involved tossing the little dare-devil above my head and letting him splash down into the water. I knew it wasn’t a good idea, but the big brown eyes, the incessant giggling, and the signing and saying “More Momma!” were more than I could handle saying no to. The next morning, I couldn’t even lift my arm to shoulder level and it didn’t get much better in the coming days. As expected, the GP referred me to ortho. Instead of starting BCP in preparation for IVF stims at the end of the week, I’ll be having an MRI. The specialist already warned me that the most likely course of action is surgery. If there is a good side, I suppose it’s that this happened before an embryo transfer so that I can go under anesthesia without the additional worry of harm to a potential pregnancy. More waiting sure does stink though…

In the meantime, my friend and I are working on pulling together the joint blog post I mentioned before.

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The Results Are In!

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My mom’s DNA sample has been fully processed. I love all things genetics and genealogy related in the first place. Add this level of personal involvement in, and my passion borders on obsession. I’ve been poring over her results whenever I have a free moment. One thing that really stands out to me is her ancestry composition and how it compares to mine.

Since her ancestry results were posted, I’ve been making a little joke regarding my donor. He must have been practically translucent considering how “white” I am and the fact that my mother’s ancestry actually has some interesting little pieces. When I refer to how “white” I am, I’m talking about the fact that my ancestry composition is more than 99% European with the majority of that 99% being Northern European. Although my mom is still predominantly of European ancestry, she has little sprinkles of Native American, East Asian, Sub-Saharan African, and Middle Eastern & North African. I find these fascinating, and wish that my grandmother (her mother) was still alive so that we could do yet another generation. Between my mom and myself, all of the East Asian, Native American, and Middle Eastern disappeared with only the tiniest fraction of a percent of Sub-Saharan African remaining. As a matter of fact, the percentage was so small that one geneticist speculated that it might just be “noise” in the analysis. My mom’s results lend some credibility to it however. I could ramble on for days about this, but I would hate to bore you.

Life has been crazy lately, good but crazy. My mom is visiting, and we celebrated Little Man’s 2nd birthday. So, I haven’t had much time to write. I hope to get back here soon to catch you all up on what’s happened in our journey TTC #2 since the miscarriage. In short, IVF is in our near future. We have most of the pre-IVF stuff out of the way and hope to have an embryo transfer in August. More to come…

Posts from BFP to Miscarriage

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These posts were written on a hidden page here during the time between our positive test and the miscarriage.

January 21, 2013

We took a long break from TTC. I had a really difficult time being off all my meds, and I had to work with my doctors and get stabilized before we continued trying. This last cycle was our third since the break. On Friday, I started spotting, got a BFN (big fat negative) on an FRER (First.Response.Early.Result pregnancy test), and assumed it was over. Then on Saturday, I had stopped spotting. So, I took another pregnancy test, and the faintest of second lines appeared. I spotted some more during that day, but on Sunday, a slightly darker line appeared, and I got a “Pregnant” reading on a digital test. I spotted a little more throughout the day. The spotting really worried me, as did the lightness of my test lines. Today I went in for my first beta. The RE’s nurse called with my results, and as soon as I answered, I could hear it in her voice. My HCG is only 26. They look for 100+ at this point. This is likely not a viable pregnancy. Even though I had my doubts due to the light lines and the spotting, this still hurts. I go back Wednesday for another blood draw to see what my HCG is doing. If it doubles, there is hope for this pregnancy, and I’ll have another draw to see if it continues to double. If it doesn’t double or is already falling, I’ll continue to have draws until it drops below 5, and we’ll have to try again. This sucks…

January 22, 2013

You know what’s worse than the TWW? The two day wait between a not-so-encouraging BETA result and the next one…

January 24, 2013

We got some excellent news yesterday. My beta HCG more than doubled during the 48 hour window between tests. We now have our first ultrasound appointment scheduled where we will hopefully see a heartbeat. I feel like I barely breathed for two whole days. We’re not out of the woods, but I am much relieved…

On January 29th, I went to the ER and was admitted to the hospital

February 3, 2013

Last Monday afternoon (5weeks), I started having bad cramps similar to my worst period cramps while wrapping things up at work. By bedtime, they were even worse. On Tuesday, they came and went until late morning when they were joined by sharp pain on my right side that eventually sent me to the ER. My HCG had barely doubled in 6 days (honestly, I think it was already falling). The ultrasound showed no signs of pregnancy. I was admitted and monitored for a possible tubal pregnancy due to the severe pain. This consisted of blood draws every 4 hours to make sure my hemoglobin levels were stable and I wasn’t bleeding internally. As I was being transferred from the ER to my room, I began to bleed. Even though I knew the miscarriage was inevitable, the bleeding was when I crumbled. I wasn’t allowed any food or water for almost 24 hours in case I required emergency surgery. Tuesday night, they gave me m0rphine, demer0l, and a sedative via IV, but I was still in pain. The addition of two perc0cet by mouth finally allowed me to sleep. Through Wednesday until noon, my hemoglobin levels had remained stable as my HCG continued to fall. I was discharged with black and blue arms and an aching heart. We had allowed ourselves to get excited, to imagine the joy of a family of four even though we knew it was early. We’re hurting but dealing and are grateful that it turned out not to be tubal. So that’s all for now.

February 5, 2013

People ask how we’re doing. My default answer has been that I’m physically doing better and the rawness has subsided a little. The whole truth is that I’m in pain. I’m hurting physically and emotionally. The worst part is that every single time I go to the bathroom, I’m reminded of our loss. The bleeding is terrible. I never imagined it would be this heavy for this long. I’m just sad…

Genetics Update

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During the time I wasn’t writing publicly here, we submitted my mom’s kit for DNA analysis. Because the testing company lowered their prices drastically, their processing times have increased. I’ve been obsessively checking for my mom’s results for several weeks now. They’ve made a lot of updates to the site and are now much better at keeping you informed of your testing status. Today, I saw this:

Almost ready

I am suddenly nervous and excited. In just a few days, I will know what I inherited from my mother, and what I inherited from my donor. I will also know which relatives are from which bloodline. That will help me make more informed decisions about what contact I want to pursue and when. I’m not opposed to exploring connections with people on the donor’s side, but I’m still not sure if I want to actively pursue it either…

The journey gets harder…

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We tried with medicated IUIs in November and December with no success. In January, near the end of my TWW, I started spotting and was expecting my period to start any day. The spotting stopped, and my period didn’t come. So I took a test, and there they were, those two little pink lines telling us that we were pregnant. I called the RE’s office the following Monday. They had me go to the lab for a betaHCG (beta) blood test.

The nurse called that afternoon, and I could hear in her voice immediately that it wasn’t great news. My beta came back at 26. By that point in pregnancy (around 15 days post ovulation), they like to see a value of 100 or higher. She told me that I could’ve just implanted late, and we’d have to see how quickly my numbers doubled to know more. So, two days later I went back for another blood test. This time, my result was 65. That still wasn’t the 100 they were hoping for, but my numbers more than doubled in the 48 hour window, and the nurse was much more upbeat when she called. The call ended with a “Congratulations!”.

Still, I felt like something was wrong. My wife kept reassuring me that it was just my normal worrying nature. We were scheduled for a first ultrasound at 7 weeks to see the heartbeat for the first time. Unfortunately, my gut feeling was right. We wouldn’t make it that far.

During my sixth week of pregnancy, I started having cramps. I kept hearing that cramping in the first trimester was normal, but I knew deep down that this was not normal. It couldn’t be. This was as bad if not worse than my period cramps. Every time I went to the bathroom, I expected blood. Then, one afternoon during the last week of January, the cramps were so bad that I had to go to the ER. We had Little Man in tow, because we didn’t have anyone to leave him with on such short notice. With it being flu season, he and Mommy waited in the car until I got a private room in the ER. Then, we were informed that during flu season, children aren’t allowed in the ER at all unless they are the patient. So, everything that follows we went through with nothing but text messages between us.

In the ER, they did another beta and an ultrasound. The tech doing the ultrasound and the radiologist who reviewed it could not visualize anything in the uterus. During the ultrasound, the tech had warned me that it might just be too early to see anything, but I knew that this was the end. Back in the ER, my beta results were back. In over a week, my beta had less than doubled or had doubled and had already started to drop. I was given IV pain meds and admitted for observation. Not only was this pregnancy not viable, but also they were worried it was ectopic.

My wife called a friend to keep Little Man so that she could be with me during transfer and until I got settled in my room.  As they transferred me from the ER to my hospital room, I began to bleed. Even though I knew it was coming, the sight of blood was what finally reduced me to a sobbing heap… After a couple of hours, Mommy left to pick up Little Man, and they went home for the night. Being separated was so hard, and being there in the hospital alone wasn’t easy, but I knew that I wanted Little Man to be at home in his own bed for the night.

The next 36 hours or so are a complete blur. I was allowed no food and even worse, no water in case emergency surgery was necessary. Every 4 hours, my blood was drawn to make sure my hemoglobin levels were stable and that I wasn’t bleeding internally. The OBs on call determined that my severe pain was from a complex (meaning blood or fluid filled) ovarian cyst. After 24+ hours of my hemoglobin levels being stable, I was released with instructions for follow-up betas and an office visit with the OBs that had been on call during my stay. I went home and I cried and slept and cried some more.

The next couple weeks were filled with the ever constant reminder that I was losing the pregnancy, the bleeding. I dreaded going to the bathroom, because it meant looking at all that blood. I was off work for the rest of the week until we got my pain under control. Then, I had to go back to work and pretend like my heart wasn’t breaking. None of these people even knew that we were TTC, let alone that I had been pregnant the last time they’d seen me. Even though I’d felt like something was wrong all along, and even though we’d never even gotten to the point of seeing our bean on an ultrasound, we still felt this loss and still needed to grieve. I had let myself imagine a 2013 Christmas with two little ones in the house. I had started to think about all the things that would be our last as a family of three. Now, that was no longer going to be our reality.

I bled for weeks. It stopped the day of my follow-up with the OB. I had another beta level drawn at that appointment. My levels had returned to pre-pregnancy numbers. This meant that my body was ready to TTC again once my period returned. Because my beta numbers had dropped all the way without intervention, and my pain had ended, the doctor finally said conclusively that the pregnancy was not ectopic.

That’s all I can write for now. I’ll continue in future posts.

Back to the present for a moment

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I sometimes (often) struggle with just how much to share here. This blog is public and searchable, but this struggle has been very personal and painful. I decided to share the entries in my previous post that I made during the time I was struggling, because I think it’s time that we are more open about depression, anxiety, and the medications used to treat them. I decided to share our latest TTC journey, partially because I need to “talk” about it, but also because I think it’s about time we talk more about infertility and pregnancy loss as well. So, I’m trying to be as open as possible even when it’s a bit uncomfortable.

I’m going to fast forward for a minute from my recent posts to the present.

Our IVF intake appointment was yesterday. It was much more detailed and thorough than I expected. I was thinking this would be a “here’s how we do it, call us back when you’re ready for all of your testing” kind of appointment. It was much more than that. We’re to the point where we just have to call on the cycle before we’re ready to start birth control (BCP) to give them a heads up so they will put us in the schedule and then call back on CD1 of the following cycle to start the BCP. In the meantime, I have to have some (a lot of) bloodwork done. We already did antral follicle counts and mock transfer yesterday. We’ve decided to wait for my July period which should be mid-month and get in on that clinic schedule. That gives me 14 weeks to drop some more weight which will help optimize our outcomes and get all the insurance pre-approvals. I spent an hour and fifteen minutes on the phone yesterday afternoon just trying to find out what medications are and are not covered by my medical plan and which ones are covered under my pharmacy plan. It was slow and frustrating, but I think I got all the answers I need for that part of the process. I’ll also have this wait time to get all of the required bloodwork out of the way. They’re still trying to decide which, if any, blood tests Mommy will also need. Mid-July seems like forever but not at the same time. If we’re lucky enough for our fresh transfer to stick, our kids will have close birthdays which is something we considered trying to avoid when we were doing IUIs around the same time last year, but at this point, we’re just ready to be pregnant!

So that’s where we are now. I’ll get back to telling you how we ended up here in my future posts.

Withdrawal

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I decided that it would probably be best to get through Little Man’s first birthday festivities before starting to taper my medications. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, and I wanted to be present and involved in that milestone and not be in so much pain or be so fatigued that I was just trying to survive it. So we waited, and in June, I started the taper.

I’d been on Cymba1ta for a couple years for my Fibromyalgia. Coming off it was hell, and that’s no exaggeration. I was constantly dizzy and nauseous among other things. As my dose was reduced more and more, anxiety started to overtake my life. I thought that if I could just make it through the taper that things would level out in the end. I felt like the anxiety was just one of the withdrawal symptoms. I was wrong. Not only had the Cymba1ta been helping with Fibro pain, it had been masking my Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

A few weeks after finishing my taper and being completely med free for the first time in more than a decade, we had our first IUI. I was barely functioning on an hour to hour basis at that time, and going through with that IUI was probably one of the dumbest decisions I’ve ever made. I just felt like if I gave it a couple more weeks, the anxiety would fade, and if I got pregnant, my Fibro would get better. It was really irrational thinking. During that two week wait (TWW), it hit me hard that I was in no shape to be pregnant. I couldn’t even take care of myself let alone nurture a fetus. Every time I took a pregnancy test during that last half of my TWW, I prayed that it would be negative, and I was so relieved when I started my period. That was so odd considering how long we’d planned and prepared to start trying again and how much money we’d spent. These are the exact opposite of the feelings I should’ve had.

We took a break from trying to conceive (TTC), and I started go back to weekly therapy sessions with the psychologist I’d seen after my dad’s death, and I scheduled an appointment with my psychiatrist to discuss the safest options for controlling my GAD while still TTC and during pregnancy. We had realized that the benefits of medication far outweighed the risks in my case. I could not function, let alone have a healthy pregnancy without some sort of help. I’d lost 30lbs in less than 3 months. I wasn’t eating. I either couldn’t sleep or wanted to sleep all day. I was missing a lot of work, and I felt like I was missing out on life with the family I already had. I had completely withdrawn from my life. Both of my mental healthcare providers agreed that medication was necessary. We chose the one that my psychiatrist recommended as the most well-studied and safest possible option to use while TTC and pregnant. I started on a low dose and increased slowly so that we’d know the lowest possible dose to get me somewhere resembling normal. Finding that place took a couple of months.

Once we were sure my GAD was well-controlled, we decided to start trying again. This time felt completely different from the first. I wanted to be pregnant, and I felt confident that I was ready. That was so unlike the first try. This brings us to near the end of 2012, almost exactly 6 months ago.