An American Horror Story

I can’t get warm. I live in Southern California,  and even though just about everywhere is colder than here, I can’t get warm.

I’ve spent the weekend waiting. Waiting to bleed, waiting to stop crying, waiting for something to feel normal or logical. I haven’t, started bleeding, I still cry easily though for shorter durations and thank god, usually in private. I’ve been waiting for the pregnancy symptoms to subside, they haven’t either. What has happened is that everything has begun to feel really surreal. Like it’s happening to someone else.

Saturday my husband spent the day with a client so I wandered around trying to do errands I wasn’t able to get to during the last few weeks when I’ve felt so ill, and tired. At some point I started to feel like I was so desperate and crazy that I couldn’t stand the idea of having a dead embryo inside me anymore. It was like some sort of surreal anxiety attack that just went on and on and felt bigger and bigger. I texted my acupuncturist on Saturday afternoon, to see if he could help me get the miscarriage started. He was shocked. He thought I was accusing him of hurting me. I wasn’t. I said “No, I want you to help me start bleeding”. He kept asking me over and over if it was true that there wasn’t any more hope, said there really wasn’t much he could do, got kind of annoyed with me that I haven’t seen him in 3 weeks (due to work, and just being overwhelmed with adjusting to being pregnant and the expectations my husband and family have of me) so I agreed to see him this afternoon. He says the best he can do is help calm me. I am not sure how well this appointment is going to go because I’m not sure anything except strong drugs will help calm me at this point.

I’ve dreamed about dead babies. The box the Dr gave me to collect a “sample” of the tissue has very graphic pictures of what is the right tissue to send and what is not the right tissue to send. Its like something about of a sick science experiment. It will need to be “collected” thoroughly washed, and placed into the sterile jar. A vial of the miscarriage blood must also be collected. once collected they are both to be wrapped in a “bio-hazard” bag, placed back into the box and sent to the lab. The box also says that while it can be used by a patient, it’s created specifically for the use of medial staff after conducting a d&c. No gloves come with it. So let me get this straight, I’m supposed to collect the sample from the toilet, wash it, identify it, and place it in a sterile jar? I’ve done a lot of things to become pregnant. I’ve gone through a lot but I don’t think I can do this. I don’t think I am brave enough to do this.

I woke up from a nightmare about doing this last night drenched in sweat, heart racing and shaking at 1:30am last night. I didn’t go back to sleep for a long time.

There is only a 50% chance that I will miscarry naturally. On Friday if I still haven’t started then I am to call the Dr who will give some vaginal suppositories that should bring it on. There is a possibility that also wont work so the Friday after that if I still haven’t miscarried, then he will tell me to get a d&c from my own Ob. I honestly don’t know if I can wait another 3 weeks for this to be over.

Overwhelmingly, sharing my story on Facebook has been amazing. Except for a few comments like ” You know if you really want something it will happen, so you must not have wanted it enough” and a God is punishing you, I never really thought you were cut out to be a mother”.

Why is it that I can get 50 amazing, caring, supportive comments, and the 2 that aren’t just bring me to my knees?

So where am I now? I’m about to get ready to go to work, dizzy, light-headed, shaky, anxious and with tremendous back pain that started on Saturday. I’m about to step back into my life, feeling more disconnected then I’ve maybe ever felt, and wondering if this was my last chance at my own biological child.

I know I need to thank everyone for their wonderful comments and support, but please be patient with me, I am still in the thick of this and just putting on foot in front of the other is proving to be as much as I can do.

Answers

Its been confirmed that the embryo stopped growing. The dr. would like me to have a natural miscarriage so I have that to look forward to.

I was told to stop all medications, and sent home with a box where I can send a sample of the tissue to confirm it was a chromosomal abnormality. If I don’t miscarry naturally in a week then I move on to some sort of pills that will make it happen. If that doesn’t work then I get a d&c.
Thank you for all the kind wishes, thoughts and prayers everyone has sent my way, I appreciate them. But as I said to Belle this morning. I am no ones miracle.

Uncertain

Its been a terrible week.

Time has crawled. I’ve gone over every single worst case scenario and I have no idea what comes next. If the pregnancy continues great, it means every week until week 16 will be terrifying. If it doesn’t, I am back literally at square one. I have nothing frozen, so I will starting from zero. If the embryo has died what happens then? D&C tomorrow? I have no idea.

I’ve continued my meds as requested. I’ve not bled at all. I sometimes feel more pregnant than others, and sometimes feel almost not pregnant except for sore boobs and the feeling like my uterus is full. Nausea has abated, I am still drinking a lot of water, I’m not really hungry, I’ve lost some more weight and according to Dr Google I may be experiencing something called a missed miscarriage. Or not.

Does anyone know if symptoms lesson if the embryo dies? One thing has changed this week, I can’t get through the day without a nap when I get home from work. Which means, I sleep for 2 hours and about 2 hours later go back to bed. That’s definitely new. I’m a bad sleeper on the best of days. In fact this morning I was awake at 4am. I don’t know if this means something, or if I just WANT it to mean something.

I did one brave thing this week. I came out on Facebook about my fertility struggles, and my IVF situation and mostly have had the most incredibly kind responses. In fact, on my blog this week I’ve had some unbelievably kind people leave comments that they have read for a long time, never commented before and are rooting for me. Its been amazing, and its made me cry more than once. Thank you to everyone that took the time to write to me and to say you’re hoping for me. Its appreciated since I’m not sure I have it in me now to hope for myself.

I only have a few family members on Facebook and of them, only one said anything about my news. My brothers daughter, my 21-year-old niece. I didn’t hear a word from my younger brother or his wife, so I guess it says a lot about who you can count on and who you can’t.

One thing I have noticed, is that some of my friends who are now pregnant via IVF (in person real life friends) have suddenly dropped off the face of the earth, like miscarriages are catching. That’s been…upsetting.

Overwhelmingly this week has been lonely. Hopefully tomorrow I will know, and this horrible limbo will be over.

 

 

A Call to Arms

Thank you to everyone for your comments and kind words, thank you for thinking of me, when you all have so many other things and more important worries of you own. Thank you.

After whats been a devastating weekend, one of me crying and not leaving the house and hardly getting dressed, yesterday I wrote an email to my RE asking why it is I have to carry this dead thing inside me until next week.

To clarify, at the appointment last Friday, he was not even a little encouraging, and his exact words were “Its very likely this pregnancy will end in a miscarriage” said “I’m sorry” and left the room.

It seems my email upset him. Last night he called by me and my husband and said “It’s not dead, you must finish all the medications until next week, and the chances are poor, but you still have a 30% chance of hearing a heartbeat next Friday and the pregnancy being viable. We did find a fetal pole but it was not clearly visible so we were unable to measure it, it may have been too small to show a heartbeat. Your gestational sac is about on target, and the yolk sack if perfectly placed and visible. It’s just too soon to call it.”
Which brings me to what I am about to ask from you now. Please send my little goldfish good vibes, to please grow, prayers if you believe in them, positive thoughts and I guess hope. I don’t know what the outcome will be and it may all be for nothing, however this embryo has been a fighter, and I hope it’s just a little slow and runty, that it hangs in there and continues to fight.
Thank you in advance, the support of the last few days has meant the world to me.
Jeanette

 

 

 

By Law

Its been about 6 hours since I found out that my embryo didn’t grow. I am at a crossroads. Some people are already telling me to try again, and the truth is I just don’t know if I have it in me.

I still can’t believe I have to continue meds and check again in a WEEK to verify that it’s not growing.I asked how often embryos recover from this, but no one answered my question. It means I will be carrying a dead embryo for a week. The idea makes me sick, but it seems that by law they can’t give up now, they have to wait for 8 weeks.

I did everything I could, and I know that my Dr and Molly did as well. Maybe its time to give up, and acknowledge that I just don’t deserve to be a parent. I promised myself that if I ever got pregnant, I wouldn’t complain about the PIO shots or the symptoms or anything really. I haven’t. I promised that I would only care about the health of the embryo and that I would enjoy and embrace the changes I have spent the last weeks adjusting to. I kept my promise. I haven’t complained about anything. Not morning sickness, not the shots, not doing it by myself, not anything. I haven’t felt like I have the right to. If it meant getting a chance at a healthy baby then I would endure whatever I had to.

After the appointment my husband went back to work. I’ve spent the last 6 hours alone in a dark room trying to understand. Tonight I took my meds, gave myself the shot, my husband never administered a single one, was never in the room with me and never helped me with them. Mostly I think he just didn’t want to think about them. Like every night, he wasn’t here when I did it, and when he got home, he took my stepdaughter out for dinner.
I don’t know whats going to happen to this blog. I don’t know where I am supposed to go from here. I intend to mourn my loss privately, I do not need to feed the misery so many of you feel, and are still going through. So for now, I’m signing off. Good luck to all of you. For those of you that have my email address please feel free to contact me, but for now, I can’t continue to publicly write down my feelings. Right now they are overwhelming and almost too much for me to handle.

 

Hounds of Love

Yesterday was my first ultrasound. It went well, according to them the embryo is measuring about 5 weeks and 5 days, so I didn’t see a heart beat or fetal pole yet, it’s just too early. Most people see it about 6 weeks 2 days. What I did see was a gestational sac and a yolk sac. According to my Dr everything is “excellent” so far. I will now get a scan every week, until I’m 10 weeks, and then I will have graduated from my clinic and will move onto an ObGyn.
I saw my regular Dr this week and I asked her for a referral to a high risk Ob because of my age. She then said “I have someone really good in mind for you, it will be a good match.” She then proceeded to tell me generally people don’t see a high risk Ob unless they have had a kidney transplant or something equally serious. But that since I was so concerned about the age thing, she would refer me and that it might take some time for my HMO to approve it. They approved it by the time I got to the car so that’s in place should I need it. He wont see me until after I’ve graduated from my clinic.

It’s weird how I expected that my symptoms would be more consistent. But they aren’t. Yesterday For the last few days I’ve been convinced that it died because my boobs were a little less sore, and I haven’t had the nausea that’s been fairly consistent “so far” I didn’t blog about my ultrasound immediately because I’ve been really anxious about it. Last night BLAM! My backs killing me, uterus feels like its stretching Stretch Armstong and saltines and water are all I can choke down. Unless you know, you’re old, chances are you don’t know what a Stretch Armstrong is, but I’m OK with that.

My most obvious pregnancy symptom is I must drink ALL. THE. WATER. I went to a work lunch yesterday and people kept looking at me funny because I didn’t eat much but I drank at least 6 glasses of water just at this one lunch alone. I drink plenty of water normally but now, I’m some sort of nauseated camel. I can smell fruit from 3 rooms away. I can smell BO from about 100 yards and blargle. It makes me gag. Husband says my nose is like a bloodhounds now.  Its been warm and windy the last few days so I opened the door to the backyard last night and I could smell the ammonia from the opossum that peed in my side yard last night.

It’s the closest I’ve ever come to having a superpower. While a lot of smells are super disgusting, it’s really weird to be able to identify random things like fruit, or opossum urine or someone who hasn’t uh bathed recently from a football field away.

Next week I hope to see the fetal pole and the heartbeat. Right now the embryo is about the size of a pea and it has a TAIL! Grow little pea, grow! But lets dial it back on the superpower. It’s really weird and sort of unnerving.

Beta #3

My first beta was 71.5. The second one was 96 hours after the first because the office is closed on Sundays and honestly, while still within normal range (31-72 hours) it was close at 69.8 hours of doubling time. So the Dr asked me to come in for a third beta. Which was this morning.

748.2

Dr was looking for about 720.0. Which now puts me at 46.41 hours to double. OMG It’s better than normal!

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about HCG is the hormone they are testing for, the “pregnancy” hormone.  At the clinic I go to, anything over 5.0 is considered pregnant. Most pregnancy tests show a positive at 15.0 or 25.0 depending on their sensitivity.

Its my humble opinion that Clear Blue Easy digitals are expensive and depressing. First Response Early Response or FRER are known to show positives very early, and I think are the pregnancy test of choice for IVFers. But you may have your own thoughts on this. Anyway, ideally you’d like your HCG to double in about 48 hours. But these numbers can vary wildly depending on who you speak with and as I said, the range is 31 to 72 hours.

Ive made it past the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th hurdle for this pregnancy, there are still a lot more ahead. I’m happy, still extremely cautious but very happy.

 

 

 

Scary

Dr Yelian called last night. He asked me to come in tomorrow to have a 3rd beta, 96 hours from the second one.

Tomorrow is also my husbands 50th birthday.

I haven’t been sleeping well, since well before my second beta so it already feels like forever since I slept more than a few hours at a time.

I’m exhausted scared. I don’t want my husbands birthday stained with bad news. But hey, no pressure or anything.
It needs to be tomorrow morning like.. now.

Beta #2

Generally the second beta is given 48 hours after the first one. But since the  first beta was last Friday, and the clinic I go to is closed on Sundays, I was asked to come back 4 days after my first beta. Which was this morning; 181.5. I was told not to worry about it, but coming in 98.5 points lower than the Dr wanted to see? Yeah that’s concerning to me.

Since my positive pregnancy test, Ive come to realize something. It doesn’t all end with a positive and then fade to whatever baby color that represents the gender and you go on happily ever after. There is a critical path, milestones to be met, a third beta, the first ultrasound, the heartbeat, because of my age a battery of tests that will come in November and December should I make it that long.

Somewhere around the 16th week I can start to feel safe. Maybe. Which for me, means it will be 2013, before I can stop worrying.

16 weeks seems a long way away.

Which led me to thinking about children. In IVF, you worry throughout the process, you are anxious about your levels, you bodies response, your results, your ability to make follicles/eggs, their quality, if there are male factor infertility issues, you worry about Everything. You change your diet, you take supplements that make you to produce the most expensive urine in the world. You worry about the cost, the toll it takes on your relationship, the toll it takes on you as a person.

Where does it lead? It leads to the elusive (you will worry about that too) positive test, and a whole new slew of worries and anxiety. Assuming the outcome is a live birth, you will then worry about that child for the rest of your life. I guess the upside of all the disappointments and anxieties that go with IVF and infertility, is that it prepares you better than most for parenthood.

What does it mean? I means I’m going to walk through my worries and anxieties 1 step at a time. I’m going to try to not to predict the future, because it isn’t written yet, and I’m going to do everything I can to get enough rest, keep stress at bay, eat well, and have faith.

From here on out, I am stepping into the unknown. I will be grateful for every day I have with this miracle.

 

The Shape of Us

I am pregnant.

The results of my beta are: 71.5

I’d be lying if I said I was thrilled and exited and scared to death, all at the same time.

I’ve actually known since Tuesday when I was having that absurd conversation with myself, the conversation went on for quite a bit longer than I documented. Including where I finally said “Fine go ahead and buy the tests, but you are definitely not testing today!”  So I went home took a nap and peed on a stick.

Now before anyone calls me out on my crazy, 1. I acknowledged it a long time ago. 2. I’ve mentioned on multiple occasions in multiple posts that I give FANTASTIC advice that I then proceed not to follow.

As the results became visible, I kept blinking and thinking do I see a second line? Seriously? Is it there or am I imagining it?

Since then, I admit it. I’ve peed on all the things. 3 FRER tests, 1 digital test, and 1 test from the $1.00 store.

Because I knew early I’ve had lots of time to worry about how my beta would come back. And next will be if the numbers double properly. There is a long road for me and my goldfish, of making it through all the markers and milestones. I am not sure I will be comfortable for a while. A positive test doesn’t indicate a viable pregnancy.

But it gives me a reason to hope. Today, for that I am grateful.