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Category Archives: Mommy

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…

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.

A Change in Plans

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After Little Man was born, we asked Mommy’s OB when it would be safe for her to get pregnant again. We had assumed she would carry all of our children, and we knew that age wasn’t on our side. The OB recommended starting trying again in 9 months. As we began to approach that 9 month mark (early 2012), something started gnawing at me, and so this twist in our plans began…

Deciding to carry a child was not easy for me. There were a lot of reasons I felt like I shouldn’t – that I should just be happy to be a mother and not complicate things. The problem with that was this feeling I couldn’t shake that I would regret that decision some day when it was too late if I didn’t at least try. I don’t have a need for biological relation to my child, but I do have the “need” to gestate, to grow and nurture a child inside my womb. So, when I finally admitted to myself and then to Mommy that this was something so important to me, we started to look into all those things I felt should/would/could keep me from becoming pregnant.

I had always worried that I inherited my mom’s fertility issues long before we were actually planning for children. This was before I knew that I’d been conceived using donor sperm. When my mom told me that her doctor during the time she was trying to get pregnant had attributed much of the struggle to my father’s issues stemming from Agent Orange exposure, that worry became less intense. I felt like maybe I wasn’t doomed to a decade of struggling and multiple miscarriages before I could carry a baby to term. That was my mom’s reality, but maybe, I wasn’t doomed to repeat it.

One thing always at the front of my mind is my Fibromyalgia. I was afraid to put any more “burden” on my body. I also knew that I was not comfortable taking any of the daily medications I had been prescribed just to help me function, while pregnant or even while trying to conceive (TTC). Lastly but certainly a big one for me, I didn’t want to pass this on to my child. My mom has it, I have it, and I didn’t want our child to have it. That is the worry that led us to speak to the RE about reciprocal IVF (in vitro fertilization).

For those of you less versed in reproductive assistance, reciprocal IVF is when one partner’s eggs are retrieved and fertilized with the intent to place the embryos into the other partner’s uterus. We wanted to use Mommy’s eggs to make embryos that I would carry. We had a long meeting with the RE about this. I honestly wasn’t even sure he would go for it since Mommy is already considered to be advanced maternal age (AMA). He did though. He said that he would do that if we wanted to, but these were his concerns. There’s no data on how likely it is that our child born using my eggs would have Fibromyalgia, but there is plenty of data that shows how much age affects egg quality and the possibility of fetal abnormalities. We would be taking eggs seven years older than my own to make embryos. He said that he would be more concerned about that than the chance that a child may inherit Fibro. That discussion along with some other information led us to start looking into regular IUI (intra-uterine insemination) using my eggs and donor sperm.

So, after many long discussions and lots of reading, we decided that we would move ahead along the path of considering IUI with me carrying. Now, it was time to address the rest of my concerns. My other concerns about Fibro and pregnancy were greatly reduced by a visit with my rheumatologist. She said that in her experience, women with Fibro who get pregnant do really well. Something about the pregnancy hormones helps alleviate the symptoms of Fibromyalgia in the majority of cases she’d seen. I also have anecdotal evidence of this from e-friends I’ve made over the past few years. (This makes me wonder why they aren’t researching some sort of hormone therapy to treat Fibro, but I digress) The rheumatologist and I made a plan to wean me off several medications, and I set up an appointment with my general practitioner to discuss the others. All of my care providers were very supportive of our decision which certainly helped me to feel more secure in it.

By the time I was finished with my GP, we had a plan and a timeline. We were moving forward and started to look at donors. This was the same month as Little Man’s first birthday.

…to be continued

More genetics

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The company I used for my genetic testing started running a special near the end of 2012 in hopes of expanding the ancestry database they have. I couldn’t pass up the great deal. So, I ordered kits for Mommy and Granny. Mommy will get some great ancestry information and may even be able to make contact with some distant (or maybe not-so-distant) biological relatives. That’s a pretty big deal considering she has basically no information about her birth or biological connections. With Granny’s results, I will get even more information on our ancestry AND I will be able to tell what traits and relatives are from her DNA and which are from my donor. I would love to get one or both of my dad’s siblings to submit samples as well, but I haven’t been able to broach the subject with them. Even though their DNA is not mine, I would like to be able to trace my dad’s ancestry and genealogy as well. I think that his sister would be willing, but I don’t really know how to ask her to spit in a tube so that I can mail it in for analysis. 😉

There are other things going on in our world right now that have me distracted. I can’t wait until I can talk about them here, but for now I have to leave you hanging. It’s been a bit hard to keep up with the blog lately with all those “things” and the holidays and all the traveling we did during them, but I’ll be back. Thanks for sticking around.

Busy but good

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Little Man turned one at the end of May. Planning his celebration with friends and family was fun. Seeing how much he enjoyed it all (except for the moment he was overwhelmed by the room full of people singing to him) was absolutely fantastic! Over the past few weeks, he has started walking and talking. Watching him gain the confidence to “let go” and just walk is such a joy. He’s so proud of himself (as are his mommies). His first word was “cat” which actually sounds more like “at”. He first said it one morning when we were all hanging out on our bed. One of the cats jumped up to join us, and totally without prompting, he said “AT!” His vocabulary also includes “light”, “hot”, “out”, and “up”. We’re still waiting to hear “Mommy” or “Momma”. 😉 Between his first birthday, summer travels, and some other things going on in our lives, I just haven’t had a lot of time to update. I’ll try to be better in the future.

Sneaky feelings

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The other day, a friend shared an incredibly beautiful photo of the moment her little one entered the world. I was overcome with emotion. Part of it was the beauty of that moment and the photo, and part of it was grief that I missed that moment with Little Man and Mommy. I didn’t even recognize before that moment that I had such a strong feeling of loss. Because of the emergent nature of Little Man’s delivery, there are no pictures of that moment in the delivery room, no pictures of the three of us celebrating his arrival. I didn’t get to be there at all. I knew that seeing photos that people post of those moments shortly after delivery caused a twinge of jealousy, but I did not realize how profound my sense of loss was until this moment.

Some people will read that and think that this is ridiculous. I agree that it’s important to focus on the fact that we have a happy healthy little guy as a result of that delivery. I do not deny for a moment that having him here and healthy should be the main focus, but I think that doing that doesn’t require dismissing my feelings at the loss of that experience. In fact, just giving myself the moment to recognize my feelings and have a good cry the other day, already helped. My hope in sharing this is that it helps someone else who may be in a similar situation know that they are not alone.