Friday, August 31, 2007

Knock, Knock!

Knock, Knock.

Who's there?


Insane who?

YOU. You have gone insane.

There is a point in the 2WW that I feel the claws of insanity dig themselves into my brain. And I am here, folks. 5 DPO.

I have three signs that have been reliable for pregnancy in the past. They aren't very scientific.

1) Almost immediately post-conception, I have this feeling of having to pee very frequently - this started on Wednesday.

2) I have had implantation spotting with four of my five pregnancies (and I wasn't paying attention when I got pregnant the first time, so it could be all five) - I haven't had any spotting yet, but it usually doesn't happen until 7 DPO or later..

3) I get this feeling. . . it's hard to explain, but almost like a "zinging" in my uterus. Not really cramping, more of an energy - usually doesn't start until 9 or 10 DPO.

It's a little bit of which comes first, though. Symptoms or obsessively checking for symtoms. Do my breasts REALLY hurt, or is it the fact that I have been checking for tenderness so much that they have become bruised? Do I really have to pee more than usual, or is it the fact that I recently started a campaign to drink more water?

Also, being on a high dose of progesterone really messes with me. I can't really rely on my body signs any more. Does that stop me from searching for signs of pregnancy? Nope. No way. Each month, I promise myself that this will be the cycle that I blissfully wake up one morning and say, "Oh. I think my period is late, but I wasn't really keeping track. Perhaps I should take a test. " It hasn't happened yet.

The only good thing about my insanity, is that it only lasts for two weeks. Then, I get really depressed for a couple of days, then excited about the prospects of a new cycle. At least something is predictable.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Date Night

Okay, so there are other things in my life besides TTC. Well, not really. But every once in awhile it's nice to have a distraction.

Last night, my husband and I went to see Michael Buble in concert here in Seattle. He is my favorite artist and we had a wonderful time. I can still remember the first time I heard his song "Home" on the radio. I literally pulled over at the next exit, found a store, and bought his CD. For my birthday that year, my husband surprised me with front row tickets to his first Seattle concert, and it was then that I truly fell in love!

Not only is his voice knock-your-socks-off incredible, but he also is an amazing and engaging performer. He interacts with the audience, gives his band some of the limelight, and sounds even better on stage than he does on his recordings (if that is possible.)

We didn't have front row seats last night. We weren't even on the floor. We had first row balcony seats, which were decent, but it just wasn't the same as being literally able to reach out and touch him. Plus, he actually comes out into the audience, so last time, I got to give him a hug, whereas this time, I only got to watch longingly from above. It was still a great night, however.

My husband and I live 25 minutes north of the city, and for anyone who has ever been to Seattle, you know that traffic usually turns those 25 minutes into 90 or more. Because of that, we rarely go downtown. My fertility specialist is downtown, so I feel like we are there enough, fighting traffic and jostling for parking. However, we both got off work a little early, braved the traffic, and had a nice dinner out before the concert. It was almost like Before Miscarriage times.

Although, even then, baby thoughts did dance across my mind. When I booked the tickets, it was during my first 2WW back in June. I thought for sure that we would get pregnant that cycle, as everything seemed perfect and we had no problems conceiving before. I remember telling a friend that the concert would be right at the end of my first trimester. Talk about overconfident.

In fertility news: 4DPO, started my cocktail of post-ovulatory meds last night. No real symptoms today, but you better believe I am starting to look at every twinge, cramp, and poke.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I just reread my posts since I started my blog. Hmm.

I sound really bitter. I guess I knew that I was bitter, but it isn't until reading through my ramblings that I see it as the predominant emotion. I always thought that I was more sad, at times more angry, but really mostly just sad. I am learning from my blog already, which was the point. It was my therapist that recommended that I blog. I journal a LOT. I journaled during each pregnancy and I wrote down the aftermath from each loss in great detail.

But there is something about the quiet surrounding miscarriage that just irks me, perhaps the source of my bitterness. This blog is, albeit in a small way, my cry out to the public beyond. Not just for me, but for all of us out there that have gone through this. I don't want others to personally know my pain, but I would at least like their compassion while I go through it. And so many people have been so thoughtless, almost cruel in their ignorance.

And then.

So many people have been angels. During each of my miscarriages, there has always been an angel that has helped me through. Someone who, in my darkest hour, reached out to me and showed me the goodness still in the world. During our last miscarriage, my husband and I decided on a d&c so that we could get chromosomal analysis done on the fetal tissue. As usual, I had researched this online and found that the recommendation was to tell everyone that you come to during pre-op about your desires to have the tissue taken to pathology. I read horror stories about the OR nurse that didn't know and just tossed the remains away.

So, my husband and I made sure it was labeled on every piece of paper. I told each and every person that came by to talk to us in pre-op that we wanted chromosomal testing. I told them multiple times. Right before the surgery, when they had me walk into the operating room, I started to feel panicked. As I climbed onto the table, I clutched at my stomach and at the last few precious moments with my baby. I wanted to yell out, "STOP!" I did not want my little one snatched away from me. I was starting to cry and the anesthesiologist gave me something to relax me, but I still couldn't quite let go. I was so worried about where my baby would end up.

All of a sudden, a face hovered above me. One of the nurses that I had explained our wishes to was there. She put a hand on either side of my face and said, "Don't you worry, I am going to personally walk your baby down to pathology. This is too important and I won't forget."

And when I was in recovery, she went out of her way to come and see my husband and me. She let us know again that the baby had gotten to pathology and she even gave us a photocopy of the receipt. The medications have made her face fuzzy in my memory, but what I do remember is the feeling of caring and love. I treasure the recognition of our loss as a loss and not just a surgical procedure to evacuate the products of conception. Her name was Carolyn and she was our angel that day.

There are blessings in each of my losses and I am always grateful for the time, however brief, that I have had with each of my angels. I don't want to lose myself in this bitterness. I won't.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Make Love, Not War

When did making love to my husband stop being fun? It might have been when it went from being called making love to "timed intercourse." It might have been when I lost all cervical mucus from lack of estrogen. It might have been when my ovaries started to feel as if they might explode from all of those Super Eggs and sex turned into a punching bag sensation. It might have been when my husband said that I had become a Sex Nazi, telling him when, where, and how. It might be these and a hundred other things, but in any case, last night was not fun.

Actually, my husband and I have done a pretty decent job of keeping the love in making love as this adventure has progressed. But some nights, you're just not into it, and last night was one of those nights. My husband was recently promoted to a management position and he has been working these insane hours. He didn't even get home until 8:00 last night, after having left for work at 7:00 AM. To say that he is tired is an understatement. Then, there's me, hobbling around the house with my ovaries on fire.

We ate a late dinner and my husband wanted to watch a movie, but then remembered that we had "work to do" that night, so a movie was out of the question. Dutifully, we climbed the stairs, and got into bed. I'll spare you the details from there, but let me just say that when it was over, I cried, because it seemed to not have any sort of emotion in it whatsoever. And it wasn't even my husband's fault. He tried. But I just couldn't get into it, which made him lose interest, until finally we just decided to get it over with.

I just kept thinking about how if we are successful in our attempts this month, I will be so happy and so scared all at the same time. I still miss my sweet angel from our last pregnancy and all the others before him (or her, but I have always had a gut feeling that it was a boy). I can't imagine losing another baby and I know I will live in a state of fear for the first trimester and probably beyond. Gee, I guess we can add crying after sex to another reason why it's stopped being fun. That's gotta be great for a guy.

This morning, he gave me a big hug and asked if I wanted to go out to dinner tonight. He is a good guy and I know this is hard on him, too. I am glad that for the most part, I feel as if our relationship is actually stronger after going through all of this together. Sometimes, though, I still just feel so alone.

And Then There Were Two

Following my first miscarriage, the nurse at my first OB/GYN's office said that I hadn't really even been pregnant and that we could try again immediately for a baby. Even though we hadn't been trying before, now that my husband and I had experienced the amazing joy of pregnancy and the crushing devastation of miscarriage, we were ready to try now.

But first, I had to actually get through the miscarriage. I had horrible nightmares the night that I found out I had miscarried. I dreamed that the baby had been born, but then I lost it and was frantically looking everywhere. My husband was so angry at me and told me I was worthless. I ran from person to person, begging them to help me find my baby. They kept looking at me strangely and walking away. I woke up several times during that long night, sobbing, and my husband held me and stroked my hair.

The next morning, he called in sick to work, because he didn't think that I should be alone. We spent the morning cuddling in bed, crying a little, and talking about what to do next. Then, my husband asked me what I would like to do in honor of the baby. I was very moved. It was so hard when the nurse called our baby a chemical pregnancy. I had looked up the term online and from a logical standpoint, I understood the definition. Emotionally, however, it didn't sit well. Suggesting that we find a way to memorialize our little one made it seem to carry a bit more weight, turned the chemical back into something tangible.

We finally got dressed and went to one of my favorite waterfront restaurants for lunch. We got the best table in the house and I ordered my usual. I hadn't had any appetite since the bleeding began, and I didn't have one now, but it was still nice to enjoy the view. As we ate, we decided to buy an engraved garden stone with a word such as Believe or Faith on it and put it in our front garden. For some reason, this task seemed to give me direction, as if I could do something for my baby, and we spent the entire afternoon looking for the stone. It turned out to be a more difficult task than we had anticipated, but it had become a project, so I didn't mind.

The next day, both my husband and I went back to work. I ended up crying all over the first customer that asked how I was doing. I don't think that I was quite ready to face the world. I met a friend for lunch who is a doctor. Through my tears, I told her what had happened. She was surprised that my OB/GYN didn't want to see me. She also told me that I shouldn't use tampons or take a bath. These were things that I hadn't been told. She said that even though I was early in the pregnancy, it was still important to avoid infection and make sure that was expelled. She referred me to another OB that she had heard good things about. I called their office and explained my situation. They had me come in on the following Monday to make sure that my HCG levels had returned to 0 and scheduled an appointment for a month later for a physical exam and follow up. The nurse was very sympathetic on the phone and even offered to refer me to the group's grief counselor. I felt a little more validated after getting off the phone.

Somehow, each day got a little easier, and I cried a little less. There were good days and there were bad days, but as time passed, I got excited about trying again. We didn't really try in February, because I knew from my online research to wait one cycle. On February 25th, I had my follow up appointment with the new OB/GYN.

I arrived twenty minutes early for the appointment and signed in. This was my first encounter with a crowded OB's office. I know we've all been through this: sitting in the waiting room, surrounded by glowing pregnant women, proud expectant papas, and triumphant new mamas, returning for their postnatal exam but also to show off the results of their labor. The only magazines were either pregnancy, parenting, or fly fishing related. I actually think that I held up fairly well. . . at first. But as I waited. . . and waited. . . and waited. . . it got more and more difficult. I looked at the clock and realized that it was now a half hour past when my appointment had been scheduled for. I could tell that the office was busy, so I didn't want to pester the front staff about the wait. So, I waited some more. But finally, 45 minutes after I should have been seen, I couldn't take anymore. I approached the desk to ask if perhaps I could be put into a room. They had lost my paperwork and never told the nurse that I was there! Now, they had to find my paperwork again and see if I could be reworked into the schedule. I remained in the waiting room for another twenty minutes and now I was crying.

Finally, I was taken back by the nurse. She apologized for the wait and said that they usually take patients that have recently miscarried back into a room as soon as possible. My luck, I guess. I had to wait another half hour in the exam room, but at least I was away from the swarm of everything pregnant. Finally, the doctor came in. She wrote down my history, asked pertinent questions, and then peformed a brief exam. Through out all of this, she was very brisk, almost cold. She wasn't unkind, but she didn't mince words, calling the miscarriage a spontaneous abortion (but now I was prepared, my online research had already uncovered this horribly unkind term). She said that we should wait three months to try again, to make sure that I had fully recovered. I was surprised. No one had told me about this three month wait. She explained it was really more cautionary and that many women in my shoes completely ignored her advice and fell pregnant within weeks. She said it was really our choice and that when I got pregnant again, to call and have HCG blood levels taken immediately to assess the health of the pregnancy.

I left the office feeling drained. The long wait, her cold manner, and the disappointing three month wait combined to make me feel sad. The last few weeks, I had been cheered by the thought of trying again. It just didn't make sense to me that my pregnancy had been so insignificant that it was only deemed a chemical pregnancy, but yet significant enough that my body needed three months to recover.

With this "logic" in mind, my husband and I decided to throw caution to the wind and try again immediately. We were successful getting pregnant that first month of trying again and I started bleeding just three days after the positive test. My betas were higher this time, but still not high enough to see anything on ultrasound - so another chemical pregnancy.

I was devastated because this time, I couldn't be convinced that nothing was wrong. I felt guilty because we hadn't waited to try. I also felt desolate because three months seemed like forever to wait and try again. Nonetheless, I knew that we had no choice. We set our sights on July and scheduled a vacation. We would end up conceiving our third pregnancy there, but that's another post.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Beginning

First off, thank you SO much to those that left me my first comments. It made me feel good to know there are others out there. I am sorry that you have known the pain of miscarriage. It is an awful thing to go through and I wish that you hadn't had a reason to be reading my blog. But since we share this common misfortune, I am at least thankful for the company.

Secondly, my fertility update for today: Nothing. We did our thing last night and will tonight as well, but even for a crazy POAS-aholic like me, it is way too early to be imagining phantom pregnancy symptoms. All of that will come later, trust me.

I didn't used to be crazy, I promise. The loss of my first pregnancy kind of changed that. I sometimes wish that I could go back to the person that I was before all of this craziness started, but my first miscarriage was a defining point in my life. Kind of like BC/AC on the calendar, I kind of feel like my life is BM/AM.

BM my husband and I had definitely discussed having children. On our first date, I told him that I wanted to be a stay at home mom and realized that he was the man for me when he didn't run screaming from the room. When we got engaged, I threw my arms around him and said, "Yay! Now we can have babies together!" We were practical enough to know that in this day and age, a single income family is a challenge. So, I knew that I would have to work for a few years and we would have to save our money so that I could stay at home. We had set a target of our third wedding anniversary (May 2006) to start trying for a baby. I was philosophical and knew that it could take awhile. I had no idea. BM, I had no idea when I ovulated. I didn't know what EWCM was. I didn't obsessively POAS. I didn't know what any of those acronyms were, that they even existed.

On January 21, 2006, all of that changed. I had started feeling "funny" earlier in the week, I was exhausted and my breasts were sore, sore, sore. I started counting the days since my last period and realized that I was late. Since I was on birth control pills, I didn't really think too much of it, and decided to take a pregnancy test just to get it off of my mind. I was shocked and thrilled when the test came back positive. I went back to the store for three more tests, all of which also came back positive.

Despite the fact that it was earlier than planned, my husband and I were thrilled. We laid on our bed, hugging, laughing, even crying a bit, but they were happy tears. We went out that day and bought a pile of pregnancy books and magazines, which I proudly put on the coffee table. I walked around in a sort of happy daze. All of my life, I had wanted to be a mommy and now it was happening. My husband ran the numbers and decided that it would be tight, but we could make it on his salary. I just couldn't believe how lucky we were.

Monday morning, I called my doctor's office and got a referral for an OB/GYN. I called and was able to make an initial consult appointment for later that week as well as our first "real" appointment at the 10 week mark for an ultrasound. I penned those dates carefully in my datebook and also the due date, of course! October 2 became emblazoned in my mind. I started a journal for our baby, writing of my happiness and hopes for our future together.

My husband went with me to the first appointment and carefully put the doctor's card in his wallet. He held my hand while they took vials of blood. He asked all sorts of questions to the nurse and she patiently answered them all. We went to the pharmacy right afterward and filled my prenatal vitamin prescription. I can't even begin to describe how happy I was. It didn't seem to matter what I was doing, I felt as if this big balloon of happiness was expanding inside of me. My heart felt full of love, for my husband, my baby, the stranger on the street. I had never been so happy. My husband said that it was a wonder that everyone couldn't figure out that I was pregnant, because I was literally glowing. But we were cautious and didn't tell anyone other than our closest two friends. I knew miscarriage could happen, I had read about it in one of the many pregnancy books I was devouring, but I didn't really think that it could ever happen to me.

That Sunday, we had lunch plans with close friends. They were the only people that we had told about the baby. That morning, I went to the bathroom and found with mild concern a faint swipe of pink blood. I read one of my trusty pregnancy guides and found that pink spotting is common and not a cause for concern. The book told me to lay down on my left side and it should subside. I did and it did. At lunch, I asked my friend about the spotting and she said that it had happened to her during both of her pregnancies and not to be alarmed unless it was red. Her sweet nine month old son, who I was holding on my lap, and her rowdy two year old that my husband was playing with, were the shining examples that a little bit of spotting were nothing to be concerned with.

During lunch, I started to feel a little sick. I had been off and on nauseous the past week, but this was different, definitely stronger. I figured that it was morning sickness kicking in. I picked at my food and felt very tired. After we finished eating, our friends wanted to go to Baby's R Us, but I didn't feel well, and we decided to go home instead.

We made it about five minutes from the restaurant when I felt that I was going to be sick. I made my husband pull over at another restaurant and ran to the bathroom. I barely made it to the stall when I felt the biggest cramp I had ever experienced. Just one sharp cramp that made me literally stand up off the toilet. Out of instinct, I looked for blood, but there wasn't any. Just a tiny, gray clump floating in the toilet. I am not sure why I didn't figure it out then, but I had never been pregnant before, didn't know about miscarrying, didn't know that a tiny gray clump could be anything to worry over. It breaks my heart now that I just flushed it away and didn't even think twice. But I just didn't know.

After that, I felt better. We got home and I was exhausted and took a nap. When I woke up from my nap, I went to the bathroom and saw the dreaded red blood. I called my doctor, who happened to be on call. When I told him everything, he said that I was probably miscarrying and instructed me to come in to his office for bloodwork the next day. By the next morning, the bleeding had increased and even had some clots in it. I fell to my knees by the toilet and sobbed for the baby that I knew wasn't going to be. I felt so awful, as if I had betrayed my child. I ran to the living room and grabbed all of the pregnancy books and calendars and information from the doctor. I wrapped it all in a beach towel and shoved it in the back of my linen closet. It was as if I wanted to erase the happiness of the past week, so that it wouldn't hurt so much, but that was impossible.

In my heart, I knew I had miscarried, but I still went in for the bloodwork. It was such a sharp contrast to when they had drawn the blood before and my husband and I had shared secret smiles over the syringes. This time, I was crying so hard, the technician had to get her supervisor to draw my blood, because she kept missing the vein. The nurse called less than a half hour later to tell me that my HCG level was only 26. I asked her what that meant and she said, "It means that you weren't really pregnant."

I was so confused. How could I never have been pregnant? The tests came back positive and I had felt so different. I learned then the definition of a chemical pregnancy, which seemed to demean everything that my husband and I had felt for this baby we were already dreaming about. I was six weeks pregnant at that time according to my LMP, but my hormone levels were barely what you would expect for just a few days past ovulation. I asked the nurse for resources for women who have miscarried and she told me that those resources were meant for women who had miscarriages later on. She said that my husband and I should just try again the next month for a pregnancy and forget about this one. I would never go back to that doctor, even though he had never said anything that offended me, I couldn't stand the nurse and her comments. I had a lot to learn about the medical community and its attitude toward miscarriage.

The days that followed were bleak. My husband didn't really know what to do or say. I was so sad and had horrible dreams. We decided to try right away for another baby, allowing ourselves to be lulled into a sense of cautious optimism. We were told that upwards of 50% of first time pregnancies end in miscarriage because the body just doesn't quite know what to do. We thought if we could just get pregnant again, this time it would be different.

It wasn't.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Super Eggs

After our third miscarriage, I said, "Enough." Actually, I kind of yelled it at my OB/GYN who did not feel that we had a problem. Since I have good insurance and I don't need referrals, I was able to get into a reproductive endocrinologist in Seattle.

We had all of the tests done, both my husband and I, and nothing came up abnormal. Quite the opposite, actually. I was textbook normal and so was my husband. We didn't have problems getting pregnant, so I guess that wasn't too surprising, but it was disappointing to not have a reason for our losses. During the testing, we had a fourth loss, and then after all of our tests came back with no results, she gave us the green light to try again. We got pregnant right away and this pregnancy made it to 11 weeks, with great heartbeats and appropriate growth seen on our weekly ultrasounds. When that baby died, it was like someone ripped my heart out of my chest, stomped it on the ground, tore a huge piece out of it and then stuffed it back under my rib cage and said, "Okay, go on living."

I had a D&C so that we could get pathology done on the fetal tissue, but there were also no results from that loss. We then had chromosomal testing done on my husband and I, and once again, nothing comes up as being out of whack.

Our fertility specialist decided that the way to approach our situation is to create "The Perfect Cycle." This means that I take a lot of different medications that mess with my eggs and create. . . Super Eggs. I am not conceited about my egg quality, but that is truly the medical term for the eggs created by sucking all of the estrogen from my body during days 3 through 7 of my cycle by taking a cancer drug called Femara. On day 12, I go in for an ultrasound, if the Super Eggs are big enough (bigger than 17 mm), then I get a huge shot in the booty of HCG. Then, I take a cocktail of progesterone, increased folic acid, and baby aspirin from 3 DPO until I get my period.

My husband and I decided that we needed a break from all of the madness, so we waited six months to start with the fertility treatments. June was our first month trying and everything seemed perfect, but nada. In July and early August, we missed ovulation, so nada.

We started our fourth cycle on Friday, August 17. Instead of waiting for Day 12 for our follicle ultrasound, we did a day 10 check, which was today. My husband with me and we nervously waited to see if we had missed ovulation yet again. But great news! I have two follicles, waiting to drop, so an increased chance of pregnancy. I received my HCG trigger shot and now, we just do our thing at home and wait an unbelievably long 17 days to see if it worked.

So, I am now in the infamous Two Week Wait (plus 3). This is going to be interesting. I literally go crazy during this time of my cycle. I don't think it is insider trading to tell you to buy stock in whatever company manufacters the First Response Early Response tests. I think it is safe to estimate that I take about ten tests between 12 and 15 DPO.

I used to be normal. But I must confess, I passed that a long time ago. The journey begins.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Things People Say

When people hear that I have had five miscarriages, they just don't know what to say. Which is okay. I'd almost rather that they not say anything, instead of saying some of the really lousy crap that I have heard before. These are some of the winners that I have heard so far - oh, and by the way, the comments I have added afterward are not things that I actually said. I usually muttered something like, "Um, yes," or something equally brilliant.

"Don't worry, you can always get pregnant again." Yeah, but then I will probably miscarry that baby, too.
"Well, at least you can get pregnant." And then go through the joy of miscarrying, I just love that blessing.
"It was God's will." Well, then why is it God's will that crack whores get knocked up and don't miscarry? Why is it God's will that a 16 year old can get pregnant and then tosses her baby in a dumpster? I know that I shouldn't second guess the Big Guy, but sometimes, God's will really bites.
"There was probably something wrong with the baby." And are you perfect?
"At least you weren't in your second (or third) trimester." You're right, that would suck. But this sucks, too.
"Aren't you over this yet?" I don't even have a witty response to that on cyberspace.

Yes, I hear a lot of crap. I also hate it when people who have kids complain about them as a way to make me feel better. They tell me how tied down they are, how they never get to do anything fun anymore, how I should appreciate this time in my life. They might be right, but it's pretty hard to enjoy what's been going on these past months. It has been one heck of a rollercoaster.

Welcome To My Blog

I have never had a blog before, but I have sure read a lot of them. In the past 1 year and 8 months that my husband and I have been trying to have a baby, I have done a lot of google searches. Usually, my searches go something like this:

chances of successful pregnancy after five consecutive miscarriages

Then, I get a whole array of links. Some of them have taken me to wonderful sites where I can watch fellow bloggers go from the dismal world of infertility to bringing baby home. I will spend hours at the computer, looking for these happy endings, crying and laughing with the ups and downs of each pregnancy or adoption.

See, I don't have my happy ending yet. So I keep looking for it online. Meanwhile, I go through good days and bad, usually tied to what time of my cycle it is and what medications I am taking that day. The worse the day, the more you will find me, huddled in front of my computer, typing in searchings, reading about strangers lives, and jabbing endlessly at the keys until I can create a happy ending. At least in cyberspace, I have some control.

So, I decided to start my own blog. If you are reading this and feel like throwing out a welcome comment, I would love to hear from you.