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.


  1. Oh Julia, that might be the most traumatic story! I'm so incredibly sorry. I know that there are no words to fix any of this, but I hope you know that there so many people thinking of you and mourning the loss of your precious baby with you and your husband. Abiding with you, my friend.

  2. As some one who has to deliver the shittiest news to patients, I know there is no easy way to do it, but I am so impressed with the efforts your clinic went through to take care of you! My husband as also considered not going to my viability scan with our RE (if I ever become pregnant) again, since it's always been bad news when we've gone. (we also won't go on Monday again). I just noted that my comment I left yesterday didn't get saved for some reason, but I can't express how angry I am. I've only been following you on the periphery, but I can't think of anyone else who was more deserving of a good outcome. Continue to take care of each other as you've been doing. We're all here for you.

  3. Oh Julia. I'm so sorry. I was so hopeful for you with this pregnancy. My heart goes out to you and your husband.

  4. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. Thinking of you, your husband, his grief, you keeping it together to get you's just too much. It's all too much to expect anyone to bear. Please take good care of yourselves.

  5. I'm so sorry. Seeing your husband suffer like this is so hard. I hope you both can heal a bit, and support each other through this terrible loss. You would so have deserved a happy outcome. I'm glad your satellite clinic was so supportive and caring, and annoyed by CCRM's plan. That does seem like torture. Many hugs to you both.

  6. I'm so so sorry for your loss. You have fought so hard already to get pregnant. There are no words... such a heartbreak. Hope you can get some answers to this. But now, rest and eat as much chocolate you like.

  7. I'm so sorry. I can imagine you in your closet, wanting to feel held, protected and maybe not have the vastness of grief press upon you so much. I'm so sad for you.
    some of what you describe brings me back to my own day of hell, after our first DE IVF. May 25, 2011. Having my u/s and seeing that huge, empty sac. It is horrible beyond words.
    I'm sorry. I'm sorry it was so, so terrible for your husband as well, And I am very glad you were at your clinic, where people know you (I was alone at a random u/s clinic).
    I hope there is more time on the swing this weekend. And yes, that is a hard decision to make: D&C versus misoprostol/cytotec. We're all ears if you want to discuss it here.
    I hope your community of friends can surround you with love and support at this time, and always.

    p.s. I was thrilled to read that Ontario would fund one IVF cycle, The policy isn't as good as the Quebec one, but still, it's an improvement.

  8. Oh, I'm so so sorry. This is just awful.

  9. It sounds like a truly awful day, especially for D who seems to have taken the news particularly hard at the doctor. I'm so sorry for you both.

  10. I'm so sorry for both you and your husband. I've never been there myself, so I can't even imagine your pain. I hope you are able to take some time for yourself and grieve however you need to. Thinking of you.

  11. Reading this just breaks my heart. I know that you're such a strong woman and will make it through this ( although you shouldn't have to). Please take some time for yourself.

  12. Julia, I read this post as I was getting on an air plane, so I'm sorry I wasn't able to comment sooner. This post brought me to tears. It absolutely pained me to know what you and your husband went through that day. I am so glad that your clinic and their staff was so very kind to you in those difficult moments. Keep holding onto each other. I'm just so so sorry that this is happening.


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