Wednesday, 16 April 2014

It's complicated

Written yesterday...

I am so angry. So fucking frustrated.  I hate today too. 

After A LOT of coordinating, we were scheduled to have our ultrasound at 10:30am, and our phone consult with Dr. S in one of our clinic's conference rooms at 11:00am.  It was tight, but we were working around two doctor's limited availabilities, and trying to get answers as soon as possible. 

We had coordinated this appointment day, based on the doctor's availability.  They said the doctor would be in on Thursday, and that day could work for the D&C.   We got permission from Dr. Schoolcraft to move our ultrasound from Thursday to Tuesday for this reason.  

When we arrived, the waiting room was as packed as I have ever seen it.  I told the receptionst about our predicament, about needing our ultrasound results for our 11:00am call.  I told her that our nurse was aware of the situation, and she would just need to know that we had arrived right away. 

I was feeling confident that what the nurse confirmed with me (most recently at 8am that morning!) would acutally work out, we sat back and waited, not so patiently. 

5 minutes later our nurse appeared in the waiting room to call another patient. We made eye contact. 

15 minutes later, at 10:45am, we still had not been called.  

Rage was brewing in a major way.  Why the fuck would they tell me this was possible if it was not? 

We tried to accept that shit happens and maybe they couldn't help it.  Maybe someone else was having an emergency that was more important than confirming my baby was indeed dead.  D tried to calm me by reminding me that in all reality, no new information was going to come from this ultrasound anyways, and that not having it wouldn't likely change our post-consult with Dr. S. 

At 10:50am, we had missed our window for the ultrasound.  I asked the receptionist for the conference room.  5 minutes later, she came back and said they didn't fucking have one.  My anger which was a 9/10 before ballooned.   I'm sure my frustration and disgust were written all over my face.  I said, "I guess I will go out to the car". 

We had the consult.  In typical Dr. S style, we started the meeting off with a big awkward pause, where he probably wanted us to ask him questions.  We wanted him to talk first, but it didn't seem like he had much to say.  Finally, we said, "We know that donor egg isn't perfect and that miscarriages can still happen, but we weren't expecting this.  Do you have any thoughts on what happened?" 

We also asked questions about a lot of things; fetal chromosomal anaylsis (pros/cons/info gained), if our protcol would change as a result of this news, how many embryos he would recommend next time, the pros and cons of doing a D&C this week vs. next.  D wanted to ask if stress could have played a factor in this.  We also questioned what the chances of a miscarriage would be with DE (challenging the 5% number we heard before). We also wanted to know if he thought we should we now CCS test our remaining embryos?

His answers were:
- Yes, he recommends an anyalsis of the fetal chromosomes. If it is abnormal, or male we will have important new information.  If it is normal female, it is possible that the results were from my tissue.  They have a lab that says they have a way of avoiding this problem, we could use that one.  We learned later it is called Natera, and CCRM has just started using them.  It costs $399 plus shipping, which is significantly lower than the Quest lab quote I got for close to $1500. 
- No, it's not to early to have this done. 
- We should regroup afer getting that information back. 
- The risk of the D&C in one week is that the sample may not include all of the products of conception (I hate that term). 
- There isn't probably a change in protocol he'd recommend, because I was already on Lovenox for miscarriage prevention. 
- Next time he would want us to think about transferring two embryos. 
- Stress can affect hormone production in natural cycles.  However because they were controlling my hormones, he didn't think it was a factor.  There was no research to suggest a relationship.   
- There is a small possibilty that the sperm could have contributed to a genetic problem with the embryo, however D's chromosome testing and the donor's were normal. 
- CCS testing the embryos would probably be "overkill". 
-The chance of miscarriage with a 20 year old woman is 20%. (There was obviously a large communication error with Dr. G when we heard 5%. Maybe he thought we were asking something else? I don't know).

We felt satisfied with this conversation.  We ended the call and went back to the clinic to have our ultrasound.  

A different nurse came out and told me that they had come out to get us just after we left. She said they were going to try to squeeze us back in with the doctor.  She made it sound like it was our fault that we left.  

After waiting eons, we finally had an ultrasound. And, yep, the baby was still dead and small. Surprise, surprise. The doc said it had already started to degenerate. He said that by the way it looks he would guess it was a chromosomal abnormality  Off the cuff, he said if it wasn't abnormal, that he would recommend a gestational carrier.  

Then, he dropped a little bomb on us. He said there was no way for him to do the D&C because they don't have a fucking suction machine.  "You'll have to go to an OB" they said. 


I had a D&C in that office 2 years ago. 

He says he"ll look into it, maybe they can borrow one. He said he borrowed one so he could do his own wife's D&C. 

He came back, and said no. 

Then the nurse came back in and we discussed it further. She told us it was the surgical manager that said no. I asked if an exception could be made?  If we went somewhere else for care, we doubted that they would rush to get this done for us (unless we fly to CO).  Not to mention that we want a doctor we know and trust because of the risks of scarring. 

I asked if she could check again with the manager.  We were long time patients, we just needed this one thing.  We didn't have another alternative for care.  Could they please, please help us?

She said she would ask again.   She did, and she said the doctor said no this time.  

Thanks a lot, Doc. 

After I thought about it more, I got even more pissed off that they wouldn't help us.  I also however, didn't want a doctor doing the D&C who doesn't do them often.  

Why does this have to be hard too?

Our options for care as I saw them were:
1.  Going to an emergency room for care and getting a random doctor. 
2.  Going back to Dr. Highrisk.  However, he isn't exactly in my good books anymore after not diagnosing a 5 week fetus as a problem in a supposed to be 7 week pregnant woman.
3.  I have another OB, who I haven't visited in over 5 years.  I don't have faith in him because my friend (who is a maternity nurse at the hospital where he works) told me that she wouldn't choose him for her care.  She was trying to be professional and we didn't go into specific issues about him, but she hinted at issues. So, needless to say, I want to stay away from him too. 
4.  I called another RE that I had dealt with in another city a few years ago at a specialty hospital.  The nurse said he doesn't do D&Cs, and that there is a clinic in the hospital that would help me, but it wouldn't be until after the long weekend.

Time is of the essence.  In a week, who knows if there would be anything left to test? Maybe the baby will have degenerated a lot more, or maybe I will start to bleed. 

I feel so frustrated that I just want to give up on this.  I am exhausted, super bitchy and overwhelmed.  I told D I that I was done.  

D said he would take over and make some calls.   

He called a local fertility clinic without any luck.  He also called our family doctor to see if he could help.  He priced out flights to CO to see what that option looked like.  The flights were expensive on such short notice and so close to a holiday. 

If this option ended up costing too much money, we could put that towards testing the embryos.  We wanted to be mindful of that and not to spend too much money. 

D was able to speak with our family doctor.  He reassured us on why he selected Dr. Highrisk for us.  He said that out of all the doctors he could have chosen for his wife's pregnancy, he chose him. That he thought if there was even a 1% chance that he was bad that he wouldn't send us to him because of how precious this pregnancy was to us.  He told us about how everything Dr. Highrisk read from the ultrasound tech's report would have not raised red flags to him.  He said that this doctor was highly sought after by the hospital and that he is well respected across the country.   

While I'm not totally good with everything that happened in our last visit, I agreed to see him again.  

We are running out of options.  We fully trust our family doctor.  We are meeting with Dr. Highrisk first thing tomorrow morning to see if he can help us.   Hopefully he can.  

Monday, 14 April 2014

Death by a thousand cuts

I've been doing some thinking about how I want need this miscarriage to happen.  
I had a very traumatic experience with Misoprostal  a couple of years ago.   [Short version of that story:  It was the most painful 8 hours of my life, emotionally and physically.  I couldn't keep the pain meds down, and ended up needing a D&C anyways.]
Sometimes I get a slight case of amnesia and think that I should just take the drugs and tough it out.  Maybe they would actually work this time? I flirt with the idea, especially when I'm feeling cheap.  I want to shell out another two grand to have a D&C like I want a hole in my head.   And of course, I don't want the risk of scarring.  
I counter those thoughts with reminders of how delicate things are right now for us emotionally.  We need this to be over quickly, efficiently, and in the least traumatic way possible.     
Yesterday, I was digging around on another site trying to find where I had written about my first D&C.  I don't know why, but I needed to read it.  I gave up on trying to find it, but I came across another post that I wrote.  
It was called Death By A Thousand Cuts.  Reading it today, brought tears to my eyes, like it did the day I first wrote it.  
Over two years after writing this, we are still battling.  Our path has gotten even steeper.  I thought I was at my wits end with all of this then.  

Death By a Thousand Cuts
DH just called this journey like it is- death by a thousand cuts. I'm in complete agreement.

This IF burden hasn't gotten smaller along the way. It's been a journey where we have both accumulated many scars along the way. Some have been little, some much larger.

I'm feeling sorry for myself right now and feel like listing some of my "thousand cuts":

* My ovaries look 15 years older than I am - big cut
* DHs sperm count is low, but useable with ICSI - medium cut
* A pregnancy or birth announcement every other month (I'm 32 and it seems to go with the territory) - little cuts
* little unintentional insensitive comments from friends like "we are going to try for a third, but if it doesn't happen by the end of the year, that's it. I'll be too old. (she's 33). Little cuts
* my BF not calling me for a couple days after I had a BFP and then spotting. (Since, I've got blood work to confirm a M/C). Knowing she's genuinely busy with her own kids and work. Thinking it the tables were turned I couldn't have probably done any better, she's been a good friend - little cut
* being tired of sharing bad BFN or M/C news with friends and family - little cuts
* seeing my MIL get teary for us when we get the call it's another M/C - little cut
* not being able to plan events and trips too far in advance because of treatments - little cut
* canceling trips because of treatments and procedures - little cut
* coming home from child-filled weekends feeling empty and jealous - little cut
* feeling alienated from friends who are in different phases of life - big cut
* listening to friends talk about their pregnancies, parenting concerns and joys- little cuts
* feeling guilty about not being a better friend to their children - medium cut
* mourning the loss of our twins at 9 weeks - big cut
* remembing the moment when DH heartbreakingly asked the nurse for just one more u/s, in case the babies were still alive - big cut
* watching our other IF friends mourn the loss of their baby born too early - big cut
* realizing that carrying a child may never happen for me, and fighting for the chance may be delaying our chances of parenting - big cut
* feeling a slight bit of stigma around adoption by some of our friends - little cut
* being mad at God and not understanding the "why me" behind this - big cut
* feeling guilty about that - big cut
* feeling like my life is on hold - big cut
* wanting to see a movie to relieve the stress, but noticing they mostly all have children or pregnancy in them - little cut
* not having motivation to do the things I used to love - including photograph children - medium cuts
* reading all of your agonizing stories and feeling empathy for your IF heartaches - little cuts
* being scared of my emotional reaction to unexpected baby comments (for me it's usually late onset reactions) - little cuts
* feeling like DH's parents may never get to be grandparents ( he's an only child) - big cut
* the money that we spend - little cuts all the time
* learning to distrust the medical system - little cut
* seeing my BFs 4 year old and remembering how long we've been trying by her age ( we started trying at the same time) - little cut
* watching DH's almost unnoticeable, but cringing reaction to that pregnancy announcement - when the to-be-grandfather called her DH "a stud" because they got pregnant so quickly - little cut
* needing a hair cut, but not wanting to go because I have talked openly about the IF journey with the stylist. Knowing my recent wounds are too fresh for that situation. Looking at my grey hairs in the mirror, wondering when I should book that appointment, in a week, or two? - little cut
* wanting to get a massage to help rid myself of the progesterone lumps on my ass, but not wanting to explain it to the massage therapist - little cut
* hating all of the shit I have to put in my vagina, and the fact that it all comes back out - little cuts
* wanting to have sex with DH but avoiding it because of 2 week waits - little cuts
* kicking myself for not having a back up list of things to do this time after bad news- little cut
* looking at the room that would be the nursery - little cut
* having some friends name their children names we may have chosen - little cut
* feeling like the are so many worse things in the world to deal with, and not feeling thankful for the blessings that I have right in front of me - medium cut
* feeling anxious for two weeks (or more of every month with a procedure, wondering if every little thing could be pregnancy or AF related - little cuts
* That moment after I thought my first m/c was complete, and to my surprise in the shower I pulled something that resembled a skinned mouse from my vagina. Having a reoccuring nightmare about pulling another one out. (sorry) - big cut
* having to tell DH that I was bleeding after our BFP one week before - big cut
* telling him it was now red blood - big cut
* not having pure joy at a BFP because we know there are still many hurdles - little cut

More cuts...
* watching DH care for our pet and call himself Daddy. Seeing how loving, playful and affectionate he is with it.  And knowing he would be a great Daddy  - medium cut
* wanting to move but not knowing when the time is right. We don't want a bigger house if it's just going to be the two of us.  Feeling like we shouldn't put too much into living here because we might not stay.  But also feeling like we have the time now to move.  -  small cut
* for those few weeks where I have been pregnant and other women, including my BF talk more openly about parenting. Feeling like most friends are always "holding back" in front of us.   - little cuts
* not wanting to buy new clothes, in the hopes that soon I'll need maternity clothes. - little cut
*  guilt that if I don't drink wheat grass, or do any other number of things that I'm not "doing everything I could" to get pregnant.  - little cut
* songs on the radio, especially Stevie Wonder's 'Isn't she lovely'.  And so many others. - little cuts
* reading a book that told me God this was all part of God's plan - medium cut
* the fact that I can't seem to get  over so many of these little cuts, many resurfacing with a fresh new big cut, making all of this even harder to cope with. - big cut

Some of the wounds have healed into strengths. I'm hardly in the mood righ now to make a full list, but the ones that come to mind immediately are...
* having more compassion for people in challenging life circumstances
* knowing myself better
* strengthening my desire to parent, and knowing that if I am given the opportunity to parent I will be better at it because of this.
* a closer bond with DH
* the many wonderful people I have met because of this journey
* the opportunity to watch and learn from friends parenting techniques.

As I read this again, it occurs to me that the reason for most of my cuts are the same.  Sadly, many of them have gotten much larger. 
I hate this. 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Friends and family, and miscarriage symptoms.

Friends and Family

I talked here about how we were doing things a little differently this cycle by telling more people about our cycle.  This has meant that we've had to tell people about our miscarriage too.

I am glad that I did this.  I think it's given our chosen ones a bigger glimpse into what infertility has been like for us.

The texts and phone calls that we have received from them have been really helpful.  Yes, I did bawl when I told them, and I bawl when they send me their condolences.

I don't think there is anything anyone can say that will make us feel better, but it helps to know that people understand a little bit more of what we are going through.  Infertility and loss has been a very lonely place.

Feeling isolated from our friends and family has been a huge part of our infertility journey.   I struggle with feelings of anger towards some of our so-called closer friends and family members who have never really asked or tried to get what infertility has been like for us.  I haven't wanted to burden them in the past, so I never pressed for a conversation.  For some reason- probably because this has gone on so long, and become so painful, now I feel differently.

Today, I don't regret sharing with them.  And to those who have not responded as we would have hoped, it stings, but I just make a mental note about it.  I won't include them as much on our next go around, whatever that might be.   I've done that with a couple of people in past cycles already.  One sadly, was my aunt who had a daughter via egg and sperm donor.  It would have been nice to have her for her support, but it became obvious that she wasn't able to give any.  Another one of those relationships was with my sister, but I chose to fight for that one because I thought there was potential.  And because she's my sister.  After our talk, she's been a lot more supportive.

It felt like the weak thing to do by asking for what I needed from her, but now it feels like I did the strong thing. If that makes any sense.

When asked how I am doing, I describe what happened in some form of saying, "a lot of salt in an already large wound".  I think it describes how we are feeling quite well.

What has been a little awkward for me is in a strange way, is getting what I've asked for.

Written (texted) communication is easier for me.  I can plan what I want to say.  I suppose I can be more controlled, in an uncontrolled way.  I can bawl my face off writing the response, but still say what I want to say.   I don't think I could do that face to face, I usually just shut down, giving people this impression that I am "so strong", which is not what I want at all.

Some people have called and offered to drop by.  For now, I've politely refused those contacts.  I don't know if I'm trying to spare them? Or if I'm scared of what might happen if I do talk to them.  Probably more of the latter.  In the last couple of days, I am sure I could not have made coherent sentences, but would have just cried uncontrollably.  Today, maybe I could.  I don't know.  I'll have to think about it.

It's a little bit weird to have shared with them but I think I am glad that I did.

Physical Miscarriage Symptoms:
- This morning I awoke to some peach coloured discharge. I haven't had a drop of spotting this entire pregnancy.  
- I have a heavy feeling in my uterus, but that feeling isn't exactly new. 
- I'm exhaused all of the time. 
- I still feel sick when I'm getting hungry, but I mostly don't have an appetite.

I've been reading some poems and watching youtube videos (mostly music) on miscarriage.  They help get my tears out.  Here's one from Beyonce that is surprisingly touching to me. 

PS) I'm on my way to church this morning.  Only because I have an obligation that I can't shirk.  No one there knows about the miscarriage.  There has been something huge brewing for me in the religious/spirituality department over the past year.  I haven't written about it much, but I think it could be time soon. 

Friday, 11 April 2014

Yesterday and Today

Hang onto your hats, folks.  This is going to be a long one.

What happened yesterday:

Driving to our clinic we talked again about what whether we thought we were going to receive good news or bad news?  We talked about both sides of things, but our conversations definitely were swayed towards thinking that things might work out.

Walking up the steps of the clinic, I asked D when the last time he was there?  There's usually no need for him to come with me for my monitoring appointments.  He told me that it was probably the last time we got bad news there.  That he didn't have a good association with this place because they always give us bad news.   I don't totally share the same feeling, I guess it's because my visits have been much more watered down from those bad moments.

As the ultrasound proceeded, I knew almost right away that something was wrong.  I kept quiet, hoping I would prove myself wrong.  The sac was so big and so glaringly empty.  I wanted to give the nurse time to think and look more before saying anything.   She scanned back and forth, again and again.  I was hoping she would find it.    I was hoping that D wouldn't notice right away, but he sensed something was wrong also.

The nurse called for D to get the second, more experienced nurse.  She came in, and poked around with the ultrasound wand for a bit.  D peppered her with questions which drove me crazy.

"What do you see?  Is there anything there? Do you see a heartbeat?"  He asked all of the questions that everyone knew the answers too, but noone wanted to say.

There was talk amongst the nurses about the potential of two yolk sacs, which I didn't see.  They measured, and then remeasured and then I saw it on the screen.  A tiny font with powerful meaning, 6w3d.  There was no little flickering bulb.  There was nothing.

They rechecked their calculations of how big the fetus was supposed to be based on transfer date and blast stage.  D and I both knew there was no point, it should have been 8 weeks, 3 days.

The second nurse interrupted their silence and calculations with a statement that we all knew was coming, "There's a problem.  I'm sorry it's not good news.  At this stage we should see a little baby.  A little face, little arms, cardiac activity".

D went into shock.  He put his hands over his head, and said things like "Are you sure, can you check again? How could this happen? There was a heartbeat last week. We took all of the variables out.  This was supposed to work." I have never seen such fear or horror on his face, ever.  Aside from the emptiness on the screen, it will remain the thing that is burned into my memory the most from this terrible day, I am sure.

I wanted to answer all of his questions, tell him to be quiet, and freak out, all at the same time.  But instead, I laid on that table silent.  Part of me knew that he had to hear the answers to his questions from a nurse anyways, and I did not have the energy to answer him.

The nurses told us how sorry they were and how they wanted this to work out so badly for us.  They hugged me and I started to cry.  Abruptly, D  said he had to go to washroom to collect himself.  I've never seen him do that before, and I was very worried about him, but I was wearing a paper skirt and couldn't do much about it.

Everyone left me in the room to get dressed.  A minute later, D opened the door while I was naked from the waist down, standing in front of the door.  He entered quickly, and then proceeded to fall down to the floor, resting his head on the chair in the room.  It scared the hell out of me.

I was worried about making a scene.  How sensitive of me, I know.  I told him to calm down, and to sit on the chair while I got dressed.

The nurses ushered us to the office.  They had suggested that I call CCRM and see if they wanted any additional blood work done.  I knew I would not be able to get the words out.  I asked if they would call for me.

For anyone who deals with CCRM, you know that it is a complete annoyance trying to get anyone on the phone from the nursing desk.  However, if you call the business office, they will pick up on the first half-ring.  Call the nursing line, and you are pretty much just destined to get voicemail.  It's why I choose to correspond by email.  I can re-read their answers as many times as I need, and there is no phone tag.

I suggested that they call the main line and use the option for another doctor's office calling.  I gave them a bunch of CCRM numbers and just hoped they would figure it out, and they did.

While waiting for the call, the nurses were so kind, offering us water and tea and expressing their condolences.

Finally, the emergency line worked, and we got our instructions from CCRM.  They wanted me to have progesterone, estrodiol and HCG drawn.  (Which by the way came back as 989, 23.6 and 50,125 respectively).  

While getting them drawn, the sometimes hot, sometimes cool phebotomist looked at me and told me she was so sorry.  Her mascara was making thick black streaks down her face.  She gave me a big hug.  This made me cry again, this time a little more uncontrollably.  My arm shook as she tried to get the needle in.  I told her I was sorry that this was a part of her job.  She said some nice things to me.  I know she went through IVF, and she's drawn my blood for years, and she somewhat gets the pain of the situation.

The nurses were visibly and rightfully worried about us driving home.  They encouraged us to stay a while.  I think they were especially nervous looking at D, because he was a complete wreck.  I was scared looking at him too.  The suggested we get lunch somewhere or just stay in the office or the parking lot for a while.

I knew that I was going to have to be our driver, by the state of what he was in.  We took a moment in the parking lot, and called D's mom to break the news.  I told myself to just block everything out until I got home.  Just drive safely and get us home.  I knew I'd be ok, as long as we got going right away, and as long as D didn't break down on the way home.

Thankfully, he didn't, because I don't think my heart could have handled anymore.

When we got home, C, my CCRM nurse called.  She told me the second worst news that I'd heard all day, that Dr. Schoolcraft "takes these things very seriously and wanted me to repeat the ultrasound in a week to be sure."  She told me to stay on all of the same meds.  I questioned them twice that day about this.  Did they look at the ultrasound report? Did they see how far behind things were?  Did they see how empty the sac was?  Isn't this just unnecessary torture?   Can I go for the second ultrasound sooner?  They would not budge from that plan.

After sharing this news with D, I practically threatened him to not get hope because they were saying these things.  With our first miscarriage, he held out hope for much longer than was medically advised, and it caused him a lot of pain.

So begrudgingly, this week I will continue my meds.   This weekend I will also decide things that nobody should have to decide, like whether I will opt for a D&C vs. a cytotec miscarriage and if we will try to karyotype the fetus.  I'm not sure if that's possible, or if the information we would learn from it would help us regardless.    Hearing this was a genetically normal little boy or girl would smash my already shattered heart more.  I'm not sure I could stand it...

How I spent today:

I spent the morning crying in my bed, and in my closet of all places.  I got sick of looking at my depressing self and got dressed (I'm using that term very loosely).  D made lunch.  It was a warm sunny day outside and he convinced me to go outside with him.  I didn't want to, but did it anyways.  He and our neighbour moved our swing into the backyard, from its winter hibernation spot.  I hid inside while that went on, so he couldn't see my puffy-from-crying face.

Wrapped in a thick blanket, and armed with our phones, I laid on the swing while D played with my hair.  It's one of our favourite things to do.  Today D was a little more himself, calm and rational.  We both are still very, very sad, frustrated and angry.  We talked.  I had more tears.

I read your messages, and was so grateful once again.  It is such a relief to be able to confide in people who have been there, and know pain of infertility and loss.  You all give me such strength and a sense of peace in this storm.

Mid-afternoon I made the short trip to a nearby coffee shop and bought my favourite hot drink, which I hadn't had in ages due to my caffeine restriction (1/2 french vanilla cappuccino, 1/2 decaf - yum!).  We consumed a large amount of donuts.  I'm taking myself off caffeine restrictions whether CCRM likes it or not.  Chocolate and coffee are not optional in my life right now.

As far as grieving goes, I know there are bad days in my future, but I think today was a complete success.

On a different note.... In the news:

I've been doing a lot of surfing today.  These three things struck my interest, and I thought they might be interesting to you too, if you haven't already come across them.

1.  Way to go Ontario, Canada for a big step in the right direction:

2.  A concerning virus affecting a huge amount of internet passwords:

3.  Aspirin and pregnancy.

When your worst nightmare becomes your reality, again, and again

I spent yesterday reading your comments in between sob-fests, pity parties, watching 80 mind numbing cooking shows and shovelling take out food down my throat.

Thank you doesn't even begin to touch on the gratefulness I feel for your generosity of heart. I showed D your comments, and he said, "Wow. Those are some really great people".  He's so right.  Thank you for your gentle words and helping me keep my head above water.

Later today, I hope to write about what happened during our ultrasound and after, but I need just a little more time to process it all.

Right now, I fear that the depressed/anxious girl that has been living comfortably in my brain for weeks (years?) has now received the fuel she needed to become a full blown, raging control freak. She's yelling "I told you so! This is never going to work, muhahahah! Nana-nana-nana!" At the top of her bitchy high pitched voice. 

She was right this time. She won, again. She went up against 6 MOTHER fucking years of research and treatments, too many doctor's appintments to count, enough money to buy a long row of new cars or feed the homeless in my city for a year.  And, now,  impressively a 21 year old's donor egg and one of the best fertility clinics in the USA.  She won.  I don't want to even fucking believe it. 

Even though I feared this happening from day one, I am somehow still in shock. 

I'm not sure how to continue now.  I always fought for my body, thinking that it was an embryo quality issue that we had before.  However, now something new has been added to the equation.  Now I add a beautiful hatching 5AA DE blast to the list of babies that has died in my uterus.  No, I don't know that it was chromosomally normal.  And maybe even if it was, it would have died.  I don't know what to think.

Right now I just feel stupid for having chased this dream for this long.  Maybe I should have seen the writing on the wall a long time ago.  Maybe I should have listened to that little voice in my head.

If there's one thing I've learned about grief and coping with loss, it's that today no decisions need to be made. Today is about eating, sleeping and just getting through the day.  

Why couldn't this have just worked for once?

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The horror show continues...

No heartbeat and the baby only measured 6 weeks 3 days, should have measured 8 weeks 3 days.


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Once an infertile, always an infertile? Med problems and 8 week symptoms

The past few days,  I have had a bunch of random thoughts swirling about my head... so out they come.

Once an infertile always an infertile? 

I found coming up with a name for this blog tricky.   Finding A Way Out Of IF seemed like a fit because it was what I was trying to do, on a couple of different levels.  At the time, my main goal in life was to get out of infertility.   As in have a baby or two, then tell infertility to f-off, close the door on it and never look back.   I also wanted to stop living in the teeter-totter of infertile life of 'what if' start living in the more now.

What occurs to me now, is that even if I'm lucky enough to end up with a real, live baby after all of this, I'm still going to be majorly infertile.  There won't be a way out of IF for us.  With our types of infertility (DOR & severe male factor), our diagnoses are not going to get better.  I am always going to be infertile.

Emotionally, I feel like I'm always going to be infertile too.  During a heart to heart with the woman who donated her embryos to us, I told her that a few years ago.  At that time, I was mourning that I would probably never go to a baby shower and feel happy, or be able to casually talk about pregnancy in a way that other fertiles do.  She had been through hell to get her family; 5 years of treatments, 7+ surgeries, 5 miscarriages, and ultimately had her children through adoption and surrogacy.  She told me that the burden would become lighter.  That she never thought it would either, but it happens, there will be days and weeks that pass that you don't think about it.

I hold on to the hope that I may get to that place that she describes.  Right now, I feel like the heartache of the last 6 years isn't something that is going to leave me easily.  While I hope to always sensitive to other's people's feelings, and remember to count my blessings, I could really do without the daily reminders of our infertility.

I can see a small fraction of this burden lifting lately, and it's been giving me hope.  I can look at baby things and pregnant mothers, and hear stories about friend's children without wanting to burst into tears.  It's a start, and I'm grateful for this little bit of relief.

Controlling how I think of the 'what ifs' has not been my strong suit.   I'm a worrier, and so is hubby.  And right now, even as we are letting ourselves imagine the possibility that we're pregnant, that we could be on our way to a real live baby, we're caught deeply again in this trap.  I need to do a lot more work on this one.

I've been hung up on thinking about the what ifs of this pregnancy and the possibility of miscarriage.  How would we handle it...again?  I've been trying not to let myself slip into the what ifs of still birth and infant loss, but with the loss of our friend's child that sneaks into my mind too.   I'm ready for this part of the infertility burden to lighten too.

[By the way - Thank you very much by the way for the resource suggestions for my grieving friend.  I've passed some websites etc. on to them.  I'm hoping that they will be a little help to them during this difficult time.]

Ultrasound anxiety

Tomorrow, I'm having another ultrasound.   It will be at my satellite clinic.  My anxiety is definitely rising thinking about this appointment, but I'm hoping it will all go smoothly.   Another positive result will be a huge step for us.

Rolling around in the back of my mind however, is something I remembered that the ultrasound tech said last week.  She told me the embryo was measuring 5 weeks -something.  I didn't think much of it because a) There was a lot going on and I was trying to keep from fully losing my composure and b) I thought it was maybe because of the the 2 weeks that get added onto gestation from the beginning of the cycle.  (It's still weird to me to consider someone 8 weeks pregnant when it's only been six weeks since the embryo was made.   But, I digress).

When I visited with Dr. Highrisk, after the ultrasound, he reviewed the notes, the day of our transfer and we told him it was a 5 day old embryo.   He said everything looked good, and on schedule.  That the amount of amniotic fluid looked good.  What he said put my mind at ease, that day.  However recently, my nurse said she was confused by what she had been sent by the doctor's office.  Why she didn't tell me this right away, I don't know?!? But she said that the measurements seemed weird to her (my words, not hers), and she reminded me to tell them the day of the embryo transfer and that it was a day 5 embryo, (which I had done) that otherwise the dating would be way off.

Calming my mind a little bit on the subject, is the fact that the baby would have been slightly bigger than a grain of rice at that ultrasound.  And that the ultrasound machine being used was ancient.    This is also why tomorrow's ultrasound will bring clarity.  Hopefully it will calm this infertile brain just a little more.

Med problems

Something else also is annoying me.  While trying to be on top of things, I emailed my nurse and I told her I needed to order more meds.  I sent her a list of what I had left.  Because of the weaning process I am not sure of how much more I will need.  I don't know the plan yet, despite asking for more information twice.  She answers me, but not in the detail that I would like.  Her response to me was to wait until the next ultrasound and we would go from there.

My anxious brain says; "Why? Because there's something more seriously wrong with the measurements from my last ultrasound and you aren't telling me because you don't want me to worry?  Too late.  Is it because you don't want me to waste money on more meds?  Or are you going to wean me that quickly that I don't need hardly any more? I sure hope not.  Sh*t".  Then it says, "You'd be able to use those meds anyways for your next transfer if this doesn't work out, just order them" and "Sometimes I hate being in my own brain".

I examined my stock of meds, in more detail and I believe that the CCRM nurse messed up.   This is because I think she was not considering that I can not just go get more meds at the drop of a hat.  I use an online pharmacy and get the meds delivered to my clinic (it's a long story, but I can't easily get them delivered to my home).  Given that it takes the meds two days to ship and then the clinic would be closed for the weekend,  I would be out of one med by mid-Sunday if my doses stayed the same.  I know my meds aren't likely going to stay the same, but I have no idea of how much they are going to change either.  I don't like cutting things that close.   Anxiety girl does not need any more reasons to be anxious than what she already has.

To fix the problem, I emailed my satellite nurse and asked her if she had any samples that I could borrow or have from her supply that I could pick up tomorrow? I could replace them from my next order if needed.   She thankfully responded quickly that she'll give me a box.  Ah.  Relief.

Talking about pregnancy

Finally, I do feel some hesitation about writing here about any pregnancy related updates despite how supportive you have all been.  I know you are all adults who can control what you consume.  I want those of you who are struggling to get and stay pregnant to know that I think of you often, and especially as I write updates about being pregnant.

I want to remember this pregnancy and to continue to be real about what I'm feeling in my little corner of the internet.  So, I'm going to continue to write about what's on my mind.  I hope that you find the strength to look away if you're not in a good place to read about it.  I will try to give my posts titles that will help you to decide to read or not.

I guess that is my disclaimer for the future.  I suppose I'm trying to give myself permission to continue to write things here and not feel guilty about it.

Here's how I feel today, at 8 weeks, 2 days pregnant.

  • Anxious brain.  Check, check, and check. 
  • Fatigue, check. But less so. When it hits, it comes on strong.  I feel like I could take a nap on the curb at the grocery store if I had a pillow and the urge hit me. 
  • My breasts are slightly tender, but nothing major. 
  • I am noticing a correlation between when I would normally start to feel hungry and when I start to feel repulsed by food.   When this happens, if I eat something right away it usually makes the feeling pass.  Today I discovered that a sucking on a hard candy helps. I'm going to be getting a stash of candies.  I'm thankful I haven't barfed at all.     
  • Normally, I love fresh foods and spending time in the kitchen.  I usually prefer the taste of less processed foods, and I enjoy putting the effort to prepare them.  It is strange to me that my appetite is way down and fresh foods are sometimes tasting rotten to me.  It's weird, even the freshest fruit or veggies can have an off flavour to me.  I think this is why I'm craving more processed foods.  They always taste the same.  They don't ever taste rotten.  It's not exactly how I hoped to eat if I was pregnant.  At least my morning smoothie is still going down, that I make with with spinach, frozen fruit and greek yogurt. 
  • I think I generally look the same, and I weigh the same.  Wearing pants that are tighter around my waist bothers me more than it ever did, but I don't think it's because my stomach has grown.  It's more like a sensitivity.   Yoga pants, tights and long tops have been my friend all winter and will continue to be.