Saturday, March 11, 2017

An Update from the Southern Hemisphere

Wow, I've been terrible about blogging.  I have been writing on my other blog, but I've been preoccupied with traveling and having fun.

Mercifully, the day after my doctor's appointment, my body started to miscarry on its own (I started bleeding).  It was as if my body had known for weeks but my mind was clinging to the pregnancy. Once I let go of it in my head, my body followed.  I took Cytotec anyway and it was a pretty easy process albeit uncomfortable as many of you unfortunately know.

5 weeks later, I have just had my first cycle since the miscarriage.  I haven't had any menopausal symptoms this time around for which I am eternally grateful and I haven't fallen into a depression like I did last spring.   Part of it is certainly that I have learned to manage my expectations a bit but more so I think it is just that I refuse to let this ruin our trip.  We had an incredible time in Hawaii, fell in love with Sydney, and are having the best time exploring New Zealand.  My health is good all things considered and I love spending time with R & B.  Am I incredibly sad and disappointed?  Of course.  But I won't let it swallow me whole this time around.

So, that's the update from here.  My OB did write me another prescription for Clomid before I left Hawaii and I filled it, but I don't plan on taking it right away.  I'm going to see what happens the next few cycles and try not to focus too much on trying to get pregnant.   I feel more resigned than ever to not having another baby.

I did read a fascinating NY Times article today about stillbirth and three tests that can help determine the cause in many cases: placental examination, fetal autopsy, and genetic testing.  We had all three of these done on Q and the placental examination did tell us what happened to her although we still don't know why.  In any event, an interesting read for those of us who have experienced stillbirth (at least I find myself wanting to read and know everything about it).

You all are still very much in my thoughts, I'm just not at a computer very often (which is the whole point of this trip).

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Another Day, Another Miscarriage

I'm right back where I was last spring, just four weeks farther along than last time.  Yesterday we saw an OB in Kauai and the baby hadn't grown since six weeks and three days and there was no longer a heartbeat.  R & B were there with and just looking over at them and seeing B smile at me and give me a big hug made the whole situation survivable, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't devastated, disappointed, sad, and, frankly, really f-ing angry.  I would just rather not repeatedly get pregnant only to find out the pregnancy isn't viable, and this one feels worse because we saw a heartbeat and I'm now 10+ weeks with *no* signs of miscarriage.  In fact, my HCG yesterday was 25,000 so clearly my body has not yet caught on.

Given how high my HCG is, the OB here wants me to come back in for a scan with their radiology department (better equipment) to confirm it isn't a molar pregnancy.  My Colorado OB (with whom I've spoken several times) thinks this is highly unlikely, but of course I'm going to go in to confirm.

Most of all, I feel foolish.  Foolish for getting my hopes up, foolish for thinking this was our second rainbow baby, imagining flying home mid-summer instead of next winter so that I could have this baby at home, worrying about the logistics of getting meds, etc.  None of it matters and why haven't I learned my lesson about thinking things will work out?

I am, of course, already thinking about what is next.  I'll take misoprostol again to induce bleeding so that everything can be "take care of" before we leave the U.S. (on February 12th).  And then what?  I know in my heart I'm not done - I want to have another baby.  But I am beginning to wonder if that is wise.  I'm 36 years old.  I have POF.  I now have a history of recurrent miscarriages, presumably due to chromosomal abnormalities.  I have complicated pregnancies.  I keep thinking: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

One silver lining to all of this is that, so far, I feel much better emotionally than I did last spring.  Even with getting my hopes up, I knew better than to tell many people, make plans, or really give this pregnancy much credence.  I don't know if that is helping or the fact that I'm with my family in Hawaii but I don't feel the darkness overwhelming me like I did last spring.  Who knows?  It's too soon to tell how I'll feel in a few days, but I'm trying to keep perspective and stay as positive as possible.

So that's the (depressing, frustrating, infuriating, disappointing) update from here.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Grieving

A double rainbow with my rainbow baby beneath.  I'm choosing to see this as a good sign.

We have a lot going on over the past two weeks, much of it wonderful.  We celebrated Christmas (it's difficult to believe that was just two weeks ago), B's birthday, and the New Year, we packed up our house and moved out, moved our cat to my parent's, and left the mainland for Hawaii.  In the midst of all of the good, there is the anxiety that comes with early pregnancy and all of the thoughts that are always in the back of my mind but are front of mind this time of year on the anniversary of Q's death and the day I gave birth to her (Was she "born"? What is the the right word?).  I thought constantly about Q over the past few weeks and reflected a lot on everything that has happened since December 2013.  We didn't have the opportunity to do anything in particular to memorialize the day other than to light a candle and talk about her and what happened (and to think about how lucky we are to have B), but I feel the heaviness of the season even here in Hawaii.

"The Japanese Art of Grieving a Miscarriage" appeared in the NY Times this week and I love that the culture embraces and encourages publicly honoring babies who are never born.  I'm going to keep my eyes open for a Jizo when we are in Japan and try to bring one home to honor both Q and the little baby we lost this spring.  There is something so comforting about an object -- when Q died, the hospital gave us a box and inside was a tiny bear.  It isn't anything special, but I have slept with it every night since we left the hospital.

I've been particularly upset this week about some favorite bloggers (who I do not know personally) who just lost their son who was born prematurely.  Their grief and sadness and loss is so palpable in the photos and how courageous of them to share something so personal.  For whatever reason -- this time of year, being pregnant and emotional, or just the fact that their situation is heartbreaking -- I find what they are going through so upsetting and I wish I could reach out to them.  I have no idea what I'd say, but I just want them to know they aren't alone.

All of this just serves to remind me that, three years out from losing Q, I still acutely feel her absence and it is front of mind, more so in December and January than is typical.  And even in the midst of an exciting adventure and the possibility of another life, I'm grieving.  Still.

***************************

I did find an OB in Kauai and have an appointment at the end of the month.  They have no perinatologist or MFM on the island and they don't do "level 2" ultrasounds as they called it (e.g., the 12-week anatomy scan) so I'm going around 10 weeks for another ultrasound and the Progenity chromosomal test.  If I need additional monitoring or testing, we'll spend a night on Oahu before we head to Sydney.  At this stage with Baby B, I had weekly ultrasounds (for my peace of mind). I'm trying my best to be Zen about this -- what will be, will be.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Birthday and a Heartbeat

We went in Tuesday morning for an ultrasound.  I was terrified and on the way in to the office, R said, "Are you nervous? I thought we were just pretending this wasn't happening so that we wouldn't get upset if it didn't work out." I was incredulous -- MEN!  Sure, I said that, but did he really think I haven't been thinking about this baby every other minute since my positive pregnancy test?

Anyway, I couldn't look at the screen and finally Susie (the sonographer who I know well) said, "D, you should look" and I could see the tiny flicker of a heartbeat on the screen.

I felt a rush of relief and have now let myself consider the possibility that things could work out.

It's super late here and I'm exhausted.  We are frantically packing and organizing our house, running errands, switching cell phone providers, etc. in preparation for our departure next week.  I now am adding to that list to figure out health insurance and how to get Lovenox in New Zealand, Sydney and/or Japan, and probably in Europe.  Thrilled to have this problem, of course...

The positive ultrasound and a good workout yesterday gave me a little boost that I've needed this week, plus today is B's SECOND BIRTHDAY!   The 30th is the anniversary of L's death and it is definitely weighing on me, but B had so much fun decorating cupcakes with her friends, singing the happy birthday song over and over, opening a few presents, and toting her balloons all around the house that it lifted my spirits immensely.  I'm going to steal an idea from a fellow baby loss Mom and run 3 miles on the 30th for the 3rd anniversary of L's death.  
  

B enjoying her balloons immensely. Please ignore the total mess that is/was our office and is now the repository for items that still need to be packed.  Our house is a disaster!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Manchester by the Sea & HCG

First things first - I had my HCG checked again on Monday and it was 3,510, which is well within the range we'd like to see.  So far, so good. I have an ultrasound scheduled for the 27th.  I'm terrified, but at least there are a million incredible things to distract me between now and then.  Plus, B's birthday is the 28th and Q's anniversary is the 30th so, again, distractions.  But I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm so very excited by the possibility of this baby.

I officially finished work last Friday so this Monday was my first day without a job in... I can't remember.  Since the summer before I went to law school?  It feels odd, but in the best way possible. R and I celebrated by going to see the first movie we've seen in a theater since before B was born.  Rob chose Manchester by the Sea, which gets incredible reviews and I was so excited to see.  We lived in Boston for years and R grew up and went to college there so we are always into the Boston-based movies.

Anyway (I'm rambling, sorry).  Has anyone else seen this?  It was fantastic - one of the best movies I have seen in years.  That said, I cried through basically the entire movie. I won't give anything away, but suffice it to say that there are some serious triggers in this movie related to loss - no one loses a baby in utero but the story is heart wrenching and it left me feeling deflated and sad and incredibly introspective for almost 48 hours (and I'm still thinking about it, but I'm not on the verge of tears at any moment, which is an improvement from yesterday).

What hit home the most was a scene where the main character (who has dealt with unimaginable tragedy in his life) says, "I can't beat it.  I can't beat it."  He's referring to this overwhelming grief and sadness and guilt and the fact that he has given up on life.  It made me terribly sad on many levels, but the hardest being that I understood how he was feeling.  It seems akin to people referring to "the other side" after baby loss -- "You'll get to the other side of this."  And now, almost 3 years later, I know we did get to the "other side."  I'm not the same person, my marriage isn't the same (it's better), and my life is totally different, but I have so much happiness in my heart again.  But I remember moments where I didn't believe that feeling happy again was possible and so when this totally broken character (Casey Affleck's character) is saying he can't beat it, I get it.  And I know there are people who never "beat it."  And it broke my heart.

Apologies for the completely random post.  The movie was just incredibly intense, plus I am hormonal and this is both a wonderful and difficult time of year.  I think about Q often and replay the days and events leading to her death rethinking what I could have done differently at so many junctures.  It amazes me how vivid the memories of that time are still -- I expect they always will be.  Amidst all the joy I'm feeling and my love of Christmas, this will forever be a hard time of year.

Thanks for sticking it out and reading this post :)  I'd love to know if anyone else has seen the movie and felt similarly?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Here We Go Again

I can't believe I'm about to write these words again.... I am the tiniest bit pregnant.  I had a positive home pregnancy test on Monday.  I just had a feeling and the feeling was apparently accurate.  Tuesday and Thursday I had HCG betas and they came back at 285 and 625, respectively.

Today is my last day at work and we leave for Hawaii in just over two weeks.  If my beta looks good on Monday, I'll have an ultrasound the week after Christmas, just a few days before we leave.  I'm having déjà vu to March of this year when I had decent betas and then there was no heartbeat at the ultrasound and I'm desperately trying to not be too optimistic out of self-preservation.  We are in the midst of Christmas parties and celebrations and I'm going to have to do a better job of hiding the fact that I'm not having a drink.  I'm avoiding thinking about what we'll do if the ultrasound looks good because it will mean coordinating health care around the world, tracking down Lovenox, etc.  I know it will be fine and that people have healthy babies everywhere, it just seems daunting. I know what to do here -- I don't know what to do in, say, Japan.



Oddly, I didn't tell R the news for over 24 hours.  I feel the same way about telling my parents, who we'll have to tell because we are spending Christmas with them and they'll know when I don't have a drink (my Mom has an uncanny sixth sense for pregnancy and has guessed every time, long before I was planning to tell her).  I am convinced it won't work out again and that I'll disappoint everyone all over again (everyone and myself).  


I had to tell someone what was going on, so here I am sharing it in my "safe space."


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!





Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving & Clomid Cycle

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!  We are back from a week-long trip to Boston that was mostly really enjoyable.  We saw a ton of friends and family and even did some city exploration, including one day where I had the day to myself in Boston with nothing to do and it was glorious.  You all know I love B more than anything in the world but man was six hours alone in a city so incredibly rejuvenating and fun.  I went shopping, had a quiet lunch, sipped coffee, walked, and just thought about... who knows what?!  I'm feeling like a bullet-point list is the way to go today to share more about my Clomid cycle and about life in general:

Fertility Update

  • I'm halfway into my first cycle on Clomid.  The Clomid didn't affect me at all. I was particularly worried because my father-in-law knows how to push my buttons and I didn't want to be emotionally a wreck around him but I actually felt quite good.  I'm very thankful for that knowing what some friends have experienced while taking Clomid.
  • Since we were traveling, I couldn't be monitored at all so I have no idea if it did any good and we couldn't draw day 3 labs.  Next cycle we will if that happens before we leave for our trip.
  • Dr. A did draw my AMH the last time I was in and it was 0.23.  I know this is still a terrible number, but mine has always been undetectable (which I am told means below 0.1) so I'm taking that as a positive sign, even if the improvement is infinitesimal.  We'll check FSH and do a follicle count with the next cycle.
  • I have no expectation that I'll get pregnant this cycle, but I'm feeling good, I had EWCM, and according to the OPKs, I ovulated.  
General Update
  • If I hadn't miscarried this spring, I'd be due now.  I'm having a harder time with this than I expected.
  • Every one of our friends in Boston seems to have just had a 2nd or 3rd baby, is pregnant with a 2nd or 3rd, or already has 3 children. When did 3 become the new 2?  
  • We had dinner with friends who we don't keep in touch with regularly who have a daughter 4 months younger than B.  They had trouble getting pregnant with #1 but she surprised us and is 6 months pregnant with #2.  I always thought of them as our friends who might, like us, just have one, and who understood what a struggle having a family could be.  I know two babies don't erase that struggle, but seeing her pregnant belly made me have a minor meltdown.  
  • I may finally be accepting that pregnancy will never be an easy topic for me and will always trigger jealousy and other unpleasant emotions and I probably just need to figure out how to manage and accept those feelings.  I thought I might feel differently after having B, but it isn't entirely true.

To end on a happy note, I LOVE the holiday season and B is SO excited about Christmas, the tree, snow, candy canes, stars, etc.  Even though we are running around like crazy trying to get everything ready to leave for a year, it is going to be a great holiday season.
 
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