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

 

 

 

Heartbeat

There was growth of the gestational sack this week, but no growth of the embryo. No fetal pole, no heartbeat. My RE wants me to continue meds, and  monitor again in a week, but the chances of miscarriage are extremely high.

 

Controversy

I hate the term “bump” and wish we, as an English-speaking people would strike it from our lexicon. While I’m at it I also hate the term “hubby”, “preggo” and “fur baby” and many others. I have dogs. I love them. They are not my babies. I also have a husband who I also love, and if I ever call him hubby please feel free to punch me in the face. I am not now nor will I ever be “preggo”. Because it’s a freaking canned spaghetti sauce for the love of all that is holy.

I’m probably a little raw to be writing this today but I’m in a fuck it mood.

There are things about the online IF community that really bother me.

1. That some of you call yourselves infertile because you started trying 6 months ago and weren’t pregnant in the first month you wanted to be. The definition of infertility does not include you. I’m sorry.

2. That people have such a fit over pregnancy announcements. Yes it hurts. Quit bitching about it. Everyone else’s lives should be put on hold because you are having trouble conceiving? Get over yourselves.

On a kinder note, how can you possibly expect to have a grace bestowed upon you when you resent or have envy at someone else? I do not understand this thinking. Yes, it stings. Sometimes I have flashes of jealousy but actually letting it ruin my day? No. Its past time we put on our big girl panties take it on the chin and actually open our hearts to the new life they are beginning, weather or not we perceive them or judge them as deserving. If it’s really that awful for you, terminate your Facebook account and don’t look back. Become a hermit, let it define you, lay down and get comfortable in your misery. Actually don’t do any of those things, take your power back. Don’t let some unknowing person take your strength or your compassion for others.

3. That people avoid the mall because they don’t want to see other pregnant women. See bullet two.

I know that this post does not show the compassion or empathy that some of you deserve. I know it does not change how long some of you have been trying. But here’s the real truth. Most of you are barely in your 30’s or are in your early 30’s. You have at least another 10 years to keep trying. Trust me when I tell you as a 44-year-old woman, my time is fucking short. This isn’t what I wanted for myself, it isn’t ever where I thought Id wind up. But it’s where I’m at. Every month I face some new ugly surprise that makes continuing down this path scarier and scarier. Every month that’s failed costs me roughly 3k plus, and that doesn’t include meds. I have 2 blasts, that it’s taken me 7 months to make. The truth is I need 5-6 so that I can PGD testing them to make sure there are no chromosomal abnormalities. Statistically, the chances are of the 5 or 6 that are tested, maybe 1 will be normal or maybe none. If there is 1 that is normal and transferred, there is no guarantee that will become a live birth. Stare that in the face for a while. Because those are the cold hard facts of my situation.

My other choice is to carry on. To keep trying, to try to make light where I can, because no matter how this ends, it will not define my life or who I am as a person.

I didn’t want to be an old mom, but if I am given the opportunity to be one, I will be. People say… “well just adopt then”.. only no one wants to give a child to a family where there is someone who is over 50. My husband will be 50 in October. So that’s out. Fostering? Same thing.

This is my only option, aside from Donor Eggs which will mean having to find someone, and it costing another 30k. It’s still on the table but its a last resort for me.

I do not have the ebb and flow of even normal IVF cycles. I do not have the comfort of the same thing happening month after month.

I read so much misery and despair in your blogs. I see so many women sad and getting used to that misery. I want you to want better for yourselves. I want you to open yourselves to the grace of being happy for others who are receiving the gift you want so much.

In my 20’s I miscarried at 5 months. I know about loss. In hindsight though I was married at the time to an abusive alcoholic so it was probably the best thing for all of us. But it took me 2 years to get past it. And every year on the date of my miscarriage I count its age and wonder what that child would have been like and how different my life would have been.

I can’t change any of this. I can’t wish for things to be different, for me to be younger, for my life to have turned out differently, because it won’t. This is my reality. Its hard. In fact its the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Some of you have called me brave. I’m not. I’m terrified, I am scared out of my wits. To be completely honest after yesterday appointment, I did some writing on a project I hope will turn into a new job, talked to a friend for a few minutes and went to bed. At 7pm. When my husband got home around 9:30, I was still awake, but I didn’t talk to him about it, I just lay there with the covers over my head and tried not to think. Tried to numb the overwhelming feelings of fear. I eventually went to sleep, but “brave?” no.

When I got up this morning, I hoped Id feel better. I don’t. I’m still scared, still afraid. Still don’t know what is going to happen this cycle or next or the one after that. What I do know is I will face it, keep trying to move forward, fight my tendencies to isolate and keep trying. With or without children I am determined to try to find a way to make my life meaningful.

If I have alienated you I am sorry. it’s not my intention. There are times though with the points of view in this community are very one-sided, and I think for the sake of an open honest discussion you have to hear both sides.

If you take issue with anything I’ve said here please feel free to comment. I welcome opposing opinions and challenging questions.

And thank you for taking the time to read my ranty post.

Apricots

Apricots have nothing to do with fertility but I’m in the lull between one cycle and the next so I’m going to make preserves. Who makes preserves anymore?

I do. Damn good ones I might add.

I have a secret. Mine contains about 70% less sugar than the ones you buy in the store. Why? Because if you add sugar, and wait, osmosis draws out the natural sugars from the fruit and you wind up with preserves that actually taste like fruit, preserves that hold their integrity, and don’t go bad any sooner than any other jams, jellies or preserves.

If you skim the extra syrup off the top when the preserves are boiling and put it in jars, you have syrup as well. For pancakes or crepes or french toast. The preserves can also be used in cookies, so throughout the year, when I’m baking I use preserves from my kitchen, and something about it makes me happy. Because I like to know what I’m feeding my family.

Apricots smell like summer to me. They look like tiny butts, and have that rosy blush on them. I love their colors, and I love how they look when they are all lovely and orange and golden in the jars when I’m finished. Like the summer sun.

There was a post recently that got a lot of responses, about birthdays. And the idea of being an “old” mother. That they were the child of older parents and because of that, grew up embarrassed of their parents. A lot of people commented, apparently its a fear a lot of women in their 30’s have.

I never wanted to be an “old” mom. If I am honest, the post and the comments really hurt my feelings. Because clearly lots of women in their 30’s blog about infertility, and so there are a whole group of you who support each other. Which is fantastic. But it made me feel isolated in my wish for a child because I am over 40. My own mother was 37 when she had me. She had my younger brother at 39. As a kid yes, there were times that my parents embarrassed me. But I’m sure it wasn’t because they were old, it was because I was a kid and parents are embarrassing when you’re trying to become more independent, especially in front of your friends.

My parents were born in 1935. They were depression era parents, meaning that they were born during the depression, remembered going without, so wasting food was not ok. I had 3 older brothers and sisters, so I never had a pair of shoes someone else hadn’t worn until I was 13. I had to share a room with at least one of my sisters until I was 14, because there were so many of us, and we varied in ages by a lot. My oldest sister is 13 years older than my youngest brother.

Every summer, my mother would take a few weeks and “put up fruit and vegetables” I learned how to “can” from her. I remember when she would do blackberries, and blueberries, the entire kitchen would be purple. She also did beans, tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, peaches and apricots. The mess used to drive me crazy, we didnt have a dishwasher. Plus its really hot work.

I don’t do all that. I do a little, and mostly I do it because it reminds me of good times with my mom. Because people like them, and I like to give them away.

I’ve had a bad week. In fact the last few months have been really, really hard. I try hard to keep busy, making things, doing something constructive. My embarrassing, old parents taught me that the best way to keep yourself out of trouble when things are bad is to keep your hands busy. To not allow your mind to be idle. To make an intention and toil toward the future.

Maybe its better to be young parent. Maybe. Or maybe the world would be a better place if we stopped judging ourselves and others by their age without knowing their circumstances. Did any of you love your parents less because of their age?

Somehow I’m betting the answer is no.