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.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Visit to the Reproductive Endocrinologist

Yesterday I visited with a RE for the first time since I was pregnant with Baby B.  I had an appointment with her in August, but then she switched practices so this was the first I could see her, which is a bummer since I now will only have one (maybe two) cycles before we leave for our trip.   I knew when we planned our trip that I was giving up pursuing aggressive fertility treatments and I just need to be at peace with that.

Back to the appointment.  Dr. A agreed that aggressive IVF is really not going to work for me since IVF is a numbers game and I'm not likely to get many eggs and the ones I get are likely to be poor quality.  I'm not really interested in IVF from a mental or physical perspective anyway.  What she was willing to try and thought was worth a shot (and is not that expensive, which is a nice bonus), is doing one cycle on Clomid and then one cycle on Clomid + injectibles depending on how I feel and respond the firs time around.  We leave for Thanksgiving on Friday for a week, so Clomid is my only option this cycle since I'll be in Boston and can't be monitored.  So, today is cycle day 1 and on Thursday I'll start taking Clomid.

I've heard terrible things about how it can make you feel, but my RE said the side effects are akin to menopausal symptoms.   For those of you who have taken Clomid, how did it make you feel?  Hopefully I'll be able to keep me s*it together while we are back east with family and friends.  

If I manage to have a normal-ish cycle after this one, I'll have one more chance before we leave to do a Clomid + injectibles cycle that is monitored and maybe do an IUI.

The odds of success are seriously low (less than 5%). I have to laugh at that because, seriously, that is  basically zero.  Not quite, but basically,  But here we go.  I know I won't regret trying but I will regret not trying (and am already regretting not making this appointment happen sooner).  

By the way, I love Dr. A (she just joined so new practice name and website are forthcoming - male Dr. A who works there is fantastic, too).  She sat down and talked with me for 45 minutes.  She came out to the lobby to meet me herself, which has *never* happened before.  She answered all of my questions.  She was thoughtful, compassionate, clear in her explanations, and realistic.  I cannot recommend her enough if you are in Colorado and I, literally, have been to every fertility clinic in the greater Denver area.      

For those of you (if there are any) who are reading this and still hoping, praying, yearning, and trying for your first baby, may I just say that I so vividly recall those feelings of desperation and returning to the RE brought them all flooding back.  I even commented to Dr. A how differently it felt being there with a living, breathing child at home but that the overwhelming sadness and hopelessness is a feeling I can always dredge up again.  My heart aches for another child, but there is no doubt that having B at home makes this process more bearable.  I really hope I'm not writing anything offensive or hurtful -- what I want to convey is that my heart just goes out to those still yearning for #1 because it is different.  There were two couples in the waiting room yesterday who had children with them and while I was able to smile and joke with them a bit, I noticed another couple sitting nearby and I thought the woman was going to burst into tears at any second.  I vividly recall being in RE waiting rooms and thinking HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THEY ALLOW PEOPLE TO BRING CHILDREN HERE?   It just seemed so cruel.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Time Marches On

How is it November?  October was filled with all the fun activities that one gets to attend when you have a small child who is mesmerized by all things Halloween.  Pumpkins!  Bats!  Ghosts!  Lights!  Seriously, I had no idea how much better fall would be with a toddler.  Plus, in my humble opinion, B seriously crushed it in the costume category.

Our trip is slowly coming together.  I find myself daydreaming of the beach and know that we'll be there before we know it, plus there is Christmas between now and then.  After Kauai, we'll head to Sydney and then to New Zealand where we'll stay for 6-8 weeks.  And then onto Japan!

On the fertility front, I don't have anything to report.  I've been feeling okay.  I've had wonky cycles, but all signs point to ovulating and I'm having cycles, so that is something.  But seriously - since my miscarriage, my cycles have been 27 days, 35 days, 18 days and 38 days.  What gives?!  I had decided to just leave without seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist, but then I found out that the one I liked best is joining a new practice that I also liked, so I figured there was no harm in just seeing what she has to say.  I still want to know thoughts on trying HRT and then coming off of it (I've read this is how some have success) and if there is anything else I should be doing (although I doubt there is).  Some days I feel resigned to just having one child, giving away all of our baby stuff (we ARE decluttering), and moving on from this stage of my life.  It would be liberating to stop thinking about trying to get pregnant, which might be what happens naturally next year when we are traveling.  I'm so excited to quit my job and spend more time with B and R.

If you want to read a heavy but incredibly moving, poignant, heartbreaking piece about the death of a child, you must read "Children Don't Always Live." Maybe I should have led with this sad link and followed with the flamingo?  Oops.

Happy Fall to you all!

Friday, October 14, 2016

October: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

As many of you know, October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  Outside of this space, I've been relatively quiet on this topic, but I recently decided it was time to talk more openly about it, including on my other blog.  I just published this post and wanted to share it here, too.

I'm holding you all and your babies in my heart today (and always).

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


 Today I turn 36.  After Chelsey's death, I promised myself I would celebrate birthdays every year from here on out, so I'm doing it.  R brought my breakfast and coffee in bed, I read to B all morning and came to work late, and tonight we are celebrating with friends.  I'm trying not to let myself dwell on the fact that even if I didn't have POF/POI as a diagnosis, I am now firmly in the "advanced maternal age camp."

Things have slowly been improving in terms of emotions and hormones.  I appear to be having another normal cycle (are you sick of hearing about my cycles yet?) and I'm feeling good.  I found a nurse practitioner who specializes in menopause in Denver (Cece Huffnagle) who is fantastic and has been incredibly helpful.  We talked through making sure I'm comfortable (e.g., stopping hot flashes, helping with dryness, regulating the emotional swings) without preventing the possibility of pregnancy.  She prescribed a cream for me to use that is super low dose and has helped and also is having me take progesterone every day from ovulation until cycle.  If, miraculously, I fertilized an egg, I likely wouldn't be producing enough progesterone to support the pregnancy so this would help.  There isn't any harm in taking it, so I'm doing it.  And I'm still continuing with all of the herbs and supplements.

"Kiss. Pumpkins."
We are slowly planning our trip!  We leave for Kauai on January 2nd.  It's amazing how much more tolerable coming to work is each day now that I have an end date.  I'm also taking my time in the mornings, reading longer with B, hanging out for a bit with her and our nanny (who I love), and having coffee with R.  Anyway, that is the not-so-exciting update from here.  I'm so glad it is fall.  B will be a flamingo for Halloween (she is obsessed) and loves kissing pumpkins (on anyone's porch or in anyone's garden).  She has so many words and she constantly amazes me with the new phrases she says.  She's obsessed with reading (particularly Toot & Puddle, Olivia, and "Higher Higher").  I couldn't love this girl more!

Friday, September 16, 2016

September, Sadness, and A Year of Travel

It's been six weeks since my last post and there has been a lot going on.  Frankly, there has been so much going on in our lives that I haven't had much time to dwell on my wacky cycles and getting pregnant and it has been a welcome break from the subject.  To briefly mention it, I've had two more cycles, one that was 35 days and one that was 19.  I don't think I ovulated either cycle.  C'est la vie.  I feel fine and haven't been having any menopausal symptoms, so I'l take it.

Two things have dominated my life in the last few weeks:

First, my best friend died.  I don't know how to share this news without being blunt.  In a period of my life that seems to be marked by grief (as well as by extreme joy), this is yet another example of how life can be so incredibly cruel.  At the same time, her death is a reminder to live each day to the fullest.  Each night when I read to B and rock her to sleep, I smell her head, kiss her cheeks, and tell her how much I love her and relish those moments because Chelsey doesn't get to do that to her little ones anymore. It breaks my heart.  She was the first person with whom I shared my infertility news, the first person at my side after Quinn died, the only person other than Rob who attended ultrasounds during my pregnancy with Blythe, and the friend I visited for coffee immediately after my miscarriage this spring.  We've been through so much together and I don't quite know how I'll get through more without her.  But I know I will because she was the toughest lady that I know and I'll use that as my inspiration.

I'm not particularly religious.  At times like this, I really wish that I were.  Chelsey's father passed away a year to the day before Quinn.  She always talked to me about how Quinn was in heaven with her Dad and he was talking the best care of her for me.  When I got pregnant this spring again, she said "thanks, Dad and Quinn, for sending Darcy another baby."  And now the only comforting thought I have about Chelsey is that she is with her Dad (who she missed dearly) and with Quinn.  I know she believed that she would be, so I'm going to believe it, too.

This photo is of me and Chelsey after our marathon in June (I'm on the right).  She was the kind of friend who would agree to run a marathon in 6 weeks because you had a miscarriage and need something to work toward.  This won't be the last time I mention her on this blog, but that's all I can say for now.  I miss her dearly and keep waiting for her to text me about our next long run or dinner with the kiddos.

Second, we have made a momentous decision: we are taking 2017 as a year to travel.  We have booked tickets, departing January 2nd, for Kauai.  From there, we'll head to New Zealand and Japan and then to Europe.  It's a crazy decision, but it felt like the right time for both me and R in terms of work.  I'm desperate to spend more time with B and with R.  It's been a tough couple of years and it will do us some good to relax, travel, spend time together, and just enjoy life.  We aren't putting ourselves in any financial hardship by doing this trip and we are so excited.

Given that we are all acquaintances via the Internet, this probably sounds insane and like something I'm making up.  I'm really not.  I will be blogging about the trip on my regular blog, which you are all welcome to follow (although we aren't leaving until January):  I just ask that you please respect the fact that I talk about Q and infertility in a very different way in that space (which is not very much - I'm not ready) and REALLY do not want this space revealed on that site.

It's hard to be joyous about this adventure giving Chelsey's death.  It's actually astonishing to me how differently I'm experiencing grief about Chelsey as compared to Q, but I think that is a topic for another post.  I haven't wrapped my head around it yet.

Hug your husband, wife, partner, parents, family, littles, etc. extra tight.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August Update & Pregnancy on HRT

Summer is moving along here.  We've taken a few weekend trips in Colorado and have another one coming up next weekend.  It's been so fun to enjoy the beautiful weather, the mountains, swimming, gardening with B, and generally just watching her become a little person.  She has started using two word phrases and is VERY opinionated.  I hear "no" a lot these days, but she is also extra into her Mama, which I secretly love (whenever I find it overwhelming, I remind myself that soon she will be too big to hold and then likely a teenager who hates me).

Miraculously, I just had a normal, 28-day cycle during which I had EWCM and according to the OPKs ovulated.  I didn't get pregnant, but I did feel pretty normal the entire cycle.  I could tell my period was about to arrive because I became insanely irritable... like I knew what was coming out of my mouth was an over-reaction, but there was nothing I could do to stop it.

I'm seriously considering starting a very low dose of estrogen (0.1 mg/day) even though my menopausal symptoms have all but ceased.  I still feel emotionally a bit on edge and I think the estrogen will help.  The dose is so low that it wouldn't prevent me from getting pregnant.  I've read this post over and over and my doctor said the same thing - you can absolutely still get pregnant on HRT.  I've read this study and this one, too.  Does anyone have experience with HRT, whether just in general or getting pregnant while doing HRT?  Any thoughts, advice from a doctor, etc.?  I'm desperate for more information on this topic and it doesn't seem to exist. What I'm really wondering is whether your odds are better trying to get pregnant while on HRT if you still have some ovarian function or whether it is better to not be on the estrogen if you are still ovulating?  I suppose it is time to make an appointment with my OB again...

Happy end of summer to everyone!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

What the what?

First of all, Happy 4th of July!  We spent a long weekend (5 days) in Seattle visiting a bunch of friends and had a blast.  The weather was cooler, there is tons of water (obviously), and we enjoyed delicious oysters and great craft beer.  Oh, and Blythe rocked some seriously cute red, white, and blue!
So much attitude these days. I love it (I know I won't when she is 16).
Second, my body is doing some crazy things lately.  I have been feeling better (as I said in my last post). I saw my OB to talk HRT on 6/28.  We developed a plan, talked next steps, and I promptly came back to work and got my period.  She also re-ran my FSH since I was feeling better and it was 7.7.

7.7!  From 59.

This swing fits with what every doctor has said to me - DOR/POF is unpredictable.  I could have these swings regularly, it could have been the miscarriage, they just don't know.  So, we'll see. In the meantime, I feel better.  I'm less irritable, I feel positive again, I'm less snappy (poor R), and I just feel like me.  I can't ask for much more than that.  For now, we will hold off on HRT and see what happens.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Chin Up!

I'm not sure what has changed since my last two posts, but I'm happy to report that I'm feeling much better. The malaise that has been hanging over me since my miscarriage has, for the most part, lifted.  I've decided that despite the horrible test results I got, I'm not giving up on my body.  I refuse to believe that I can go from regular cycles to menopause with one miscarriage, even if that makes me a fool.

So, I'm back on all of my supplements, the herbs recommended by my acupuncturist, and I'm going to see my OB next week about hormone replacement therapy (HRT).  I'm also going to see a local NP who specializes in natural HRT.  If I'm going to start pumping my body full of hormones, I'm going to do some research first.

Whether it is the shift in my attitude or an actual change in my body or the herbs/supplements, I haven't had a hot flash in two weeks and my other symptoms have gone away.  Like writing in the early days of pregnancy, I feel like a fool for publishing this post in some ways.  I know what my numbers are.  I know what the odds are of ever getting pregnant.  And I know that I'm in perimenopause.  But I'm not giving up.

In the meantime, how could I stay sad too long with this sassy, adorable one in my life? 

I also ran another marathon last weekend.  While I have always enjoyed running and have never had an issue with mental toughness, in the two races I've done this year, I've had absolute mental collapses around mile 18.  I become really negative, I've shed tears (crying and running do not go well together), and I've questioned whether I can finish (even though there is no doubt than I can physically).  I've concluded that marathoning is something I am really not enjoying right now, so I'm taking a break.  I'm still going to run, but I'm going to do more pilates and swimming and mountain biking and things that I'm actually enjoying.

So, that's the update.  Call me crazy for not just throwing in the towel, but I'm just trying to keep things real and honest on this blog.  So there it is.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The "M" Word

I've known this day was coming since my dreaded diagnosis in early 2013 of premature ovarian failure / diminished ovarian reserve.  I'm 10 weeks out from my miscarriage and still no sign of my period.  I gave in and had a blood test run last week to check Estradiol levels and FSH.  Given the recent hot flashes I've been experiencing, the results are not surprising:

Estradiol: undetectable
FSH: 59

I'm officially in perimenopause.

How I can go from being pregnant to menopause in one cycle is completely baffling (especially since I'd had 3 normal cycles prior to the pregnancy).  But I have.  As explained by my OB, this doesn't mean I won't have cycles again as hormone levels tend to fluctuate, but I should assume that my baby-making days are over.  I'm going to start hormone replacement therapy.

Menopause.  This is something that my Mom talks about.  That women in their 50s deal with. How am I here?

Nevertheless, I am.  Please don't think for one second that I don't count myself lucky every time I look at Blythe, think about Blythe, kiss her cheeks, hug my husband, etc.  Over the past three years we have faced infertility, failed infertility treatments, a stillborn daughter, me almost dying from a blood clot in pregnancy, a miscarriage, a myriad of health concerns, and, most importantly, the birth of our living daughter.  She is a miracle and I count my lucky stars every day for her life.

But does that change the fact that I dream of having another living child?  Not at all.

I'm an only child and I loved my childhood. I think we can give B a wonderful upbringing on her own. But I really would have liked her status as our solo living little one to have been our choice.  I'm resenting the fact that this decision has been made for me, and frankly in such a cruel way.


I have the impression that most of my readers are here because we share the common experience of losing a baby, but if any of you out there have experience with POF/DOR. I'd love to hear your thoughts/experiences.  Have you had wild fluctuations in hormone levels?  Any advice/guidance?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


I've been quiet over here for the last six weeks.  April was a very hard month for me.  I foolishly thought I would just bounce back from the miscarriage and feel like myself again right away, which proved to be the exact opposite of what happened.  Despite doing everything I could think of for self care (running, pilates, sleep, acupuncture, a weekend away), for the first time I felt like I was truly depressed.  After we lost Q, I wasn't depressed - I was devastated and grieving and angry.  I'm sure under all of those emotions, I was depressed, but this felt different.  It was just like there was a dark cloud hanging over my head that I couldn't push away no matter what.

To make matters worse, I've been having hot flashes.

A likely outcome of having premature ovarian failure and diminished ovarian reserve is that I will go through menopause much earlier than most women.  Thus, the hot flashes have been absolutely freaking me out.  I have been scared to tell anyone because I sometimes feel (even though it is nonsensical and absurd) that if I say out loud "I am having hot flashes" it somehow will make it more true than the physical discomfort of heat creeping up my body.  Ha. 

I finally went to my OB last week.  I told her about the hot flashes and about how I've been feeling. She prescribed Zoloft (more on that later) and we discussed the hot flashes.  They could mean I am in perimenopause or they could be related to my hormones being out of whack post-miscarriage.  I still haven't had a period following the miscarriage (8 weeks), so I'm taking Provera to force my body to have one.  

Needless to say, I'm feeling totally unlike myself and like things are totally out of control as it relates to my body and fertility.  That said, just having the Zoloft at home has made me feel better - like knowing I could take it has made me feel better.  I've felt more like myself this week than I have in ages.

As part of trying to feel better, I dialed it back on blogging and reading blogs.  I have relied on this community so much in the past few years, but sometimes I go down the rabbit hole of re-reading people's stories of loss and infertility and it just sucks me in.  And when I'm already feeling so overwhelmingly sad and gloomy, I've been trying to avoid making it worse.  

Thanks to those of you who are still reading and many of you who I know understand.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


I had an ultrasound on Tuesday that confirmed the Cytotec worked and I don't need a D&C.  Now that  I've officially miscarried, I feel some closure and am trying to put this behind me and get back to feeling happy and positive.  Suffice it to say that this hasn't been as easy as I hoped it would be.  I've found myself a bit of an emotional disaster the past week.  I'm happy one minute and sad the next and my anxiety is through the roof.  My OB prescribed some Xanax (unsolicited - she just thought I might want it), which I've never taken before but am very tempted to try.

I keep reminding myself that my HCG is probably only just back to 0 and so I'm sure my hormones are all out of whack.  Plus, last week was Baby L's due date.  That date doesn't weigh on me as much as the anniversary of her birth, but I do find myself thinking "L would be 2 this week" and other related thoughts.    

Anyway... most of you know how the emotions go after a miscarriage (unfortunately), so I won't drone on, but I don't yet feel like myself.  I can be happy all day and the come crashing into a terrible mood and a total funk where I am upset with R and just want to cry and/or be grouchy for no obvious reason.  Please let this pass quickly.

I did sign up for a marathon in June (my version of therapy), I've started going to acupuncture again because I find it incredibly relaxing, and I've been having so much fun with B when I'm not at work, especially since we've been having amazing spring weather and she loves to roam the neighborhood with me looking at flowers and leaves.  Photo below of her scoping out our neighbor's bush that has beautiful yellow flowers (at least until this weekend when we are supposed to be hit with a massive snowstorm).  B has finally learned how to smell something rather than always trying to put everything in her mouth.  

This miscarriage has made me think a lot about how much we are willing to go through to have a second child.  Of course it is what we both WANT, but given my AMH level, FSH, follicle count, etc., everything suggests that my egg quality is low, which means a higher risk of miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities.  IF I even get pregnant again, the odds are higher than normal that this could happen again.  As of right now, I still want to continue trying to get pregnant, but I don't know how many miscarriages I can handle.  I know many of you out there have been through this many times, but after losing L and given what we know about my fertility situation, I think there may be a point when we decide that B is a healthy, happy, fun, joyful little girl, we are thrilled to have her, and having one living little one is enough. 

We also booked a trip to Cabo for the first weekend in May.  A little vacation with beach time should help.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

It's Official

At our ultrasound on Monday, we learned that the baby hadn't grown at all.  It was the news I was expecting, but it didn't make it any easier to swallow.  We talked through options (wait to miscarry naturally, take Cytotec at home, or have a D&C) and I kept everything together at my doctor's office.

B and I had her first swimming lesson of the new session that afternoon and had so much fun.  She loves the water and it was just what I needed for us to play together and laugh and for me to be reminded of everything I do have.  

I didn't lose it until I was putting B to bed.  We always read in the glider and then I rock her while she has milk and I sing.  And man, are there any lullabies that aren't sad to begin with and even worse when you are struggling and emotional?  I basically sobbed my way through her bedtime and for the following hour... and then I swallowed 4 Cytotec and the waiting began.

Unfortunately, the Cytotec hasn't worked at all, so I stayed home from work and wore a bulky pad (ha) all day for nothing. I'm starting round #2 tonight and I really hope it works this time.  My OB would really like for me to avoid having a D&C and I really would rather not as well.

Now that we have a path forward, I feel much better about the state of things.  I obviously wished the outcome was different, but I know that something was wrong and am relieved that any difficult decisions that could have arisen weeks from now are out of my hands.

So, that's my update.  Life goes on.  I'm scheduling fun activities and a date night for the weekend and hoping that I've made some progress by then.  Thank you all for your support, it means so much.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Love You Forever

Have you all read the book "Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch?  We have a copy and it is one of those books that I read when I need a good cry and otherwise don't because it is a reminder of our mortality and how quickly these little kiddos grow up.

What I didn't know until this communication from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep was that the author wrote the book about his two stillborn babies.  The verse that is repeated is actually a song:

I'll love you forever,

I'll like you for always,

as long as I'm living

my baby you'll be.

I'm feeling extra emotional today, but this song and this book tug at my heartstrings and I feel so sad for the author and his two babies.  A company called Little Orchard Co. in Canada has started the "Love You Forever Project," which includes a line of t-shirts and onesies using a line from this book: "love you forever."  Proceeds from the sale of the clothes go to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.  From Little Orchard's website, they say the following about the Project:
This tee was inspired by my sister who lost both her precious son and daughter within 10 months. Until that happened, I didn't know much about stillbirth and infant loss.  This tee is meant to bring awareness to the issue of stillbirth and infant loss. To the army of warrior parents, grandparents and family members, who have lost their precious children, I hope it will start conversation, acknowledge stories, and inspire.  This tee was created for every person who has loved a child. Whether it was just 2 lines on a pregnancy test, whether it was before 40 weeks, whether they took them home from the hospital or not, whether they hold them in their arms, or only in their heart.

Monday, March 28, 2016

So Much for Luck

We went for a 6-week ultrasound today.  We could see a gestational sac but no yolk sac or fetal pole or heartbeat.  Either my timing is off (unlikely) in terms of date count or I am going to have a miscarriage.  I'm sure it is the latter -- I'm pretty positive on ovulation date and I know that what we saw today is not good news.  I know the u/s tech very well and she was very sweet about it and reminded me that 33% of pregnancies end in miscarriage and that what this likely means is that something is/was wrong.

I am crushed.  This is not how I felt when we lost Q, of course. But I'd be lying if I hadn't already been thinking about this baby and what he/she would be like, how different our lives would be come November, etc.  Even though I told myself not to, I'd been making plans.

Don't I know better by know?

Everything does feel different with B at home. I snuggled her extra long this morning before the appointment and I'm going to head home early to see her tonight.  I know how lucky we are to have her and how much joy she brings to us.

Nevertheless, I'm quite sad.

We'll do a repeat ultrasound next Monday unless I start bleeding between now and then and decide next steps then.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Beta #2 & Luck?

Phew.  Another deep breath over here.  My second beta came back at 151.  I'll wait now until what should be the 6 week mark and have an ultrasound to see if there is a heartbeat and things are developing appropriately.

I have a dear friend who went through years of struggling to get pregnant and is about to have her second baby thanks to IVF.  We have been a constant source of support for one another over the last 3 years with our various struggles.  She said to me the other day that she thinks I might be one of the most fertile of her friends.  She and I are very close and I know she didn't mean anything negative about what she said, but the comment has been repeating in my head since she made it.  And it makes me feel guilty.

R and I tried for almost a year to get pregnant the first time, and in the middle of that year I found out that I have Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) (now they call it Primary Ovarian Insufficiency, but once someone tells you that you have a condition with the word "failure" in it, it tends to stick with you).  I was told verbatim that we were "never going to have a child using my eggs."  My own OB (who I consider a dear friend at this point) told me that I should use donor eggs. Everything was so incredibly grim, as many of you can relate.  And then it got worse after I had my surprise pregnancy with Q and we lost her.  I thought I had already hit rock bottom when we got the infertility news, but little did I know...

And then we got lucky again.

But here's the thing... I don't know how much this helps/matters, but the first two times I got pregnant, I had an ultrasound (coincidentally) the day I was about to ovulate. I happen to have gone in for ultrasounds for another reason (in both cases b/c I was having an extremely long cycle and we were seeing if I had a cyst or some other issue), only to see an ovary entirely covered by an egg.  Both times the sonographer and doctor said it could be an egg or it could be a cyst, but if an egg I was about to ovulate, so it was time to "get busy."  So, yes, I've been pregnant twice without intervention, but I did have really good intel as to timing intercourse, not to mention doing acupuncture, taking supplements, having changed my diet, etc.

I didn't have an ultrasound recently, but I have been tracking my cycles, taking DHEA and various other supplements, and generally being healthy with exercise, eating right, and not drinking.  And I have been getting my period since November so it has been almost six months.

I'm being incredibly inarticulate, but somehow I'm feeling guilty about her comment and generally about writing a blog about infertility and loss when I've now had 3 BFPs. Sure, I have only one living child right now (and now the hope for one more) and certainly we've been through the ringer, but I can think back to how I felt 3 years ago when I got the POF diagnosis and how hopeless I felt and I think I might have been totally irked if I read my own blog at that time.  Either that, or it might inspire hope, which I hope is the case.

Regardless, I just want to say that despite losing Q and struggling through the devastation that is having a stillborn child, I do feel lucky that we got pregnant again, against all odds.  Please don't think that for one second I forget how fortunate I am and how grateful I am for our little B.

My ultrasound is scheduled for March 28th.  Fingers (and legs) are crossed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Take a Deep Breath

I am a little bit pregnant.

After a few positive tests at home over the weekend, I had a blood test yesterday morning.  My HCG beta came back (approximately 13-14 DPO) at 48.  It isn't a great number.  It is definitely in the range of "normal," but I of course would have preferred something above 100 and it is has left me scouring the internet for what is normal, what affects beta results, stories about initial low betas that double appropriately and result in a successful pregnancy, etc.

I am scared.  And thrilled.  And anxious.

Can I actually publish this post? If I do, and I speak the words out loud, will the baby be taken away from me just for daring to think it could be true?

What I know is that R is traveling for work again and I feel like I can't tell many people who know me in person, and I need to put this out into the world.

So there it is.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Follow Up on Regrets

Dearest friends - I want to thank all of you so very much who commented on my post about Regrets.  This community that I've become a part of means more to me than perhaps you all know (although I suspect you all feel the same way).  Thank you, thank you.  R is out of town for work this week and I've been quite sad and you all just made me feel like I wasn't alone.

Reading your comments made me think of a few things about which I don't have regrets or which worked out better than I could have expected.  Part of it was people around us knowing better than we do about what we might need or want in the coming days, weeks, or months.  I'm eternally grateful for the doctors and nurses who guided us and told us what we probably would want when we were so unsure of how to proceed.

And before I detail what I'm glad we DID do, a disclaimer: everyone makes their own choices and each is right in that moment and right for that situation and family.  Please, please, please don't misinterpret any of my comments about what we did or didn't do as judgment. It isn't.  These are just the decisions that R and I made.

First, photos.  We asked to not have photos taken.  We don't have any photos of the three of us - as a family - which breaks my heart.  But we have quite a few that a photographer took of Q when she wasn't with us.  I didn't even know they took photos of her, but when we checked out of the hospital, they gave us a box of mementos with her footprint on top, and inside was a CD of photos, as well as a few that were printed.  I'll confess that I don't look at them often, but when I do I am SO glad I have them.

Second, we held Q.  You all know I wish I had done more (hold her longer, bathe her, etc.), but we did hold her.  When we initially found out that Q died, we told our doctor we didn't want to hold her, but she talked to us about it more and suggested we reconsider, which we did.  I'm thankful for her guidance and persistence.

Third, we also weren't sure what to do with Q when we left the hospital.  That probably sounds unloving, but we just didn't know.  Would we have a service?  What kind?  When?  We initially were not going to do anything, but the hospital gives you 30 days to change your mind.  Thank God.  We called back a week later and asked to have Q cremated.  We have yet to do anything with her ashes, but we will when we decide what is right.  I'm so glad I didn't leave her at the hospital.  We planned to do something just the two of us on the anniversary of Q's death, but Baby B was 2 days old and we were still in the hospital.  And now we think we'd prefer B to be a part of whatever we do.  Truthfully, we still don't know, but I'm glad that when we do figure it out, we'll have her ashes.

Fourth, we gave Quinn a name.  Initially, we were insistent that we would not name her.  We hadn't settled on a name yet and neither of us knew how we'd feel down the road.  But about 2 days after we left the hospital, I realized that I wanted to talk about Q all the time and I didn't want to call her "the baby."  For me, it didn't do her life justice to not name her.  We didn't make a widespread announcement about her name at the time, but we let close friends and family know.  When we sent out B's birth announcement, we included a note on the back where we talked about losing Quinn.  It felt so important to us to share her name and story with all of our friends and acquaintances.

These were just the things that popped into my mind as I read all of your comments.  They reminded me to not just focus on what I wish we did differently, but also to think about what we did that has served us (and Q's memory) well.

Thank you again.  And I'll leave you with some photos so end this post on a happy note!
Deciding what sort of trouble to get up to!

Chasing poor Forest.  Luckily, he is considerably faster and more stable on his feet, but it is not for a lack of effort from B.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


When I think of L (also known as Q - see this post for an explanation of names), my mind frequently wanders to the regrets I have related to her birth and the very brief time we had with her.  As many of you know, there is no way to prepare for the decisions you are asked to make in rapid succession when you know you are giving birth to a stillborn baby.  There are so many decisions and each is more torturous than the next.  

I delivered L vaginally while on more morphine than I can even imagine. I couldn't have an epidural because of my blood clot and I don't feel like the morphine helped the pain all that much, but it did make me feel completely separate from my body.  I remember feeling like I had floated up above my body and was watching what was happening from above -- I couldn't possibly be going through this myself.  For the record, I hated this feeling and wish I hadn't taken any drugs and just experienced the birth.  It is easy to say that now, but my mind doesn't handle narcotics well and I hate the way they make me feel.

R and I have never really spoken about L's delivery.  We certainly talk about her, but we mention that night mostly in generalities, so perhaps my recollection is wrong.  In my mind, L came into the world in silence (both hers and ours).  It was the middle of the night and the room felt eerie.  A doctor arrived and out she came.  The nurse asked if I wanted to hold her and I did, but not yet.  My OB arrived shortly thereafter, L was given a bath, and my OB asked us if we were ready.  R was in the bed with me and I took tiny L into my arms.  She weighed only a pound, but she looked like... well, she looked like a very small baby.  Her eyes were closed. I remember her hands seemed disproportionately large, but I loved her tiny fingers and held each one, marveling at how very much she looked like the sweet girl I had imagined growing in my belly.

We each held her and kissed her tiny forehead.  But I was still totally out of it from the meds, it was the middle of the night, and honestly the whole experience is a total blur for me.  Eventually my OB returned and took L away.  The next morning I awoke and headed to surgery.  I remember wanting desperately to have another chance to hold L once I felt aware of what was going on, but she was gone and there was never another offer to bring her back. That said, I never asked.  Admittedly, there was a lot going on with my surgery and being in the ICU, but I never asked to hold her again.  It both breaks my heart that the only time I had with her I was not myself, not cognizant of my surroundings and it makes me feel like I didn't do her justice.  I didn't spend the time with her that she deserved and that I so desperately wanted.  Why didn't we bathe her?  Why didn't I memorize every inch of her tiny body?  Why didn't I hug her and hold her for as long as I wanted to?  Was it fear and a shortcoming in my personality?  What kind of Mom does this make me?  

I have so many regrets about that brief time we had with L.  I think about it often and search in my mind for details from the night she was born to no avail.  I know there is no playbook for handling grief and loss, but I wish I had handled it differently...

(I'm feeling very sad today and this week generally, for no apparent reason.  Sigh.)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Happy Friday & Proverbs 13:12

Our dear friends have been longing for a baby for years.   Two weeks ago, they received the incredible news that the birth mom of a little girl had chosen them to adopt her baby and suddenly they are parents.  Their news made me so emotional and has filled my heart with such joy these past two weeks.  We were discussing how, although our situations are quite different, there is just something to becoming a parent after so much longing and sadness and despair and hope (and lack thereof) (and I say this with the disclaimer of not knowing what it is like to be a parent without those feelings and they probably feel just as strongly about their kiddos - anyway).  My friend's wife wrote me a note and included this proverb, which sums up how I feel so succinctly.  Happy Friday, friends.

Proverbs 13:12
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life."

Monday, February 15, 2016

On Wanting a Second Baby (with infertility and after loss)

I had trouble even coming up with a title for this post.  I want to say "after infertility and loss" in the parenthetical, but we all know that once you are infertile, you are always infertile... even if you have a child and even if said pregnancy came about without any medical intervention.

See... I'm rambling already!

I ran my first marathon in 3 years yesterday and it was fine.  I had a decent race (for me) considering that I did one long run and very little running-specific training.  After my clot, I was told I might never run again (residual clot can mean lifelong problems with numbness, tingling, swelling, etc.).  I feel fortunate that isn't the case for me, and yesterday reminded me that I am strong and I spent a lot of time thinking about how grateful I am to be healthy right now.  I also spent miles 16 through 26 feeling so very sad that I was running through the streets of Austin, Texas while my husband and daughter were at home. There were waves of overwhelming guilt and longing to be home and with them that I just could not keep at bay.  It made me question whether training for a race is something I want to prioritize right now -- I was basically hyperventilating and trying not to start sobbing.  I think a lot of the feelings were real -- I was traveling for work 2 weeks ago and then away this weekend and I miss B (and my husband) like crazy -- and some of it was hormonal and some was exhaustion.  But man... it caught me off-guard and has left me feeling very conflicted about what it is that I want going forward (from the perspective of my personal goals and athletic endeavors, which were previously very important to me).  Walking through our door last night to this face was the best feeling...

That is all along introduction into what I really wanted to write about, which is that I am constantly thinking about another baby these days.  Getting a marathon under my belt this year was a goal and now that that is done, I know getting pregnant will increasingly be on my mind.  R and I talked this week and decided that, for now, we aren't going to pursue IVF.  I would go back to my RE in a heartbeat, but R was seriously traumatized by everything that happened when we lost L. For me, all I could think about was that my baby died.  My little L was gone.  But for R, he almost lost me and for now he is so happy that I'm healthy and happy and that we have B and that things are calm for us medically right now.  The idea of all the drugs and hormones and increased clotting risk, etc. is more than he wants at this time.  I also hesitate with being busy at work to add RE appointments into my schedule, knowing they would detract from quality time with B that is already so limited for me.And I am okay with that... for now.  We agreed to revisit in a few months or if either of us changed our mind in the interim.  To be clear, we would both love to have a second child, but R isn't convinced we should go through multiple rounds of IVF to have a second child.

Going forward, I'll resume taking my supplements and vitamins, track ovulation and we'll make an effort to give ourselves a shot at getting pregnant on our own each month.  With what we know about my fertility struggles, the odds are SO low of that happening.  On one hand, I've been pregnant twice after being told by CCRM (and others) that I would *never* have a baby that was genetically mine.  But on the other hand, I've been pregnant twice... and the odds of it happening again are SO low.  And then this line of thinking queues feelings of guilt... because we have amazing, joyful baby B and how can I be so greedy as to want another baby?

Do any of you have any super-secret getting pregnant tricks for me?  :)  Anyone else in a similar position and have thoughts?  I don't want to have any regrets, which is why we'll revisit the RE conversation in a few months.

A dear friend who had her first baby just a week before B was born just told me she is 7 weeks pregnant again and the jealousy that I'm feeling caught me totally by surprise and, frankly, makes me disappointed in myself.  Obviously her pregnancy has nothing to do with me, but it is JUST SO EASY FOR HER AND THAT IS INFURIATING.  I'm so jealous.  I find myself staring at pregnant women and wishing for their bump... and these reactions have confirmed what I already know, which is that I do want another baby...

[This is an incredibly disjointed post.  Apologies.]

Thursday, January 28, 2016

13 Months! (and random thoughts)

Where did the month of January go?  I'm big on resolutions and goal-setting and last night I finally made time to write my resolutions for 2016.  Better late than never, right?  After reading Better Than Before (which I love and highly recommend), I am trying to set quantifiable and measurable goals and have a mix of personal, professional, fitness, and emotional health-type resolutions.  We'll see.  Even when I don't keep all of my resolutions, I find them to be helpful reminders of what is important to me throughout the year.  Plus, I love looking back at them (I have paper copies back to high school and have kept them electronically since 2006). 
Enjoying a warm winter day at the park (in pigtails!)

I've been all over the place with posts I have wanted to write, so I'm going to stick to a bullet-point list so I can get it all down:

  • I read this quote and it really resonated with me: “Here is a little secret about grief, catastrophe, loss, suffering: you are exactly the same after as before.  Only more so."  I'm not certain that I agree, but it made me think a lot about who I was before we lost Q and who I am now.  Perhaps the ways in which I have changed aren't really changes, but just that I feel and experience those feelings and behaviors in different ways?  Incidentally, this quote was from "After Birth," which I loathed.  I haven't read a book that made me so angry in such a long time.  The protagonist spent most of the book lamenting how terrible the birth of her son was (she had to have a c-section, it didn't go as planned, blah blah blah...) and it was so irritating.  
  • In trying to find the title of "After Birth," I looked at my GoodReads list of books read for 2016 and realized that I seem to be on a grief-death kick.  I also read "The Opposite of Loneliness" (the author died just days after her graduation from Yale) and "When Breath Becomes Air".  I'd recommend both of those.  The latter is intense (the author writes it while dying of lung cancer), but so, so good.  And "The Opposite of Loneliness" is similarly heartbreaking... the author writes of her hopes and dreams, about how she'll be in the future as a parent, etc.  And all of that was taken away.  Both were a reminder of even when things are bad, how much worse they could be.  I know that no one wants to hear "It could be worse," but sometimes it is helpful to have a little perspective.
  • Oh, did you come here for news about Baby B being a TODDLER and 13 months old?  Well, fine!  B is... amazing!  She is walking all over the place, babbling (mostly) unintelligibly, smiling, laughing, reading, loving her stuffed animals, and generally causing trouble in the best way possible.  I write this in every post, but she is such a joy.  When I get home from work, we often sit in the study (effectively her play room at this point) and she sits in my lap and looks at her books (she flips the pages super fast and doesn't let me read to her).  I snuggle her and smell her head and kiss her cheeks and generally just smother her with love.  Sometimes it just is too much and I get super emotional... I feel overwhelmed by how much I love her.
  • I am running a marathon on February 14th. I feel under-prepared but I know I just need to get back out there and get it done.  We'll see how that goes.
  • My thoughts are still often with getting pregnant again.  I think that is a subject for another post, but you all are probably sick of hearing about it.  
  • I stopped nursing.  I thought I would be very sad about this, but it was okay -- it was time for us.  B loves milk and I was tired of pumping at work.   The only thing I miss about it now is the snuggle time and the ease of nursing vs. having to prepare a bottle.
I'll leave you with a few more photos.  Thanks to those of you who are still reading.  One of my resolutions is to blog more frequently, so we'll see if I can stick to that.  The bar is set pretty low...
Good morning!

With my favorite girl before a day of skiing with my husband
(she was unfazed by the ski resort daycare, which was awesome).