Saturday, September 16, 2017

First Ultrasound


I had my first ultrasound last week at what I thought would be 7 weeks from ovulation.  It wasn't until 1 PM so the day was dominated by me feeling intensely anxious.  By the time I was waiting in the doctor's office, my heart was beating out of my chest and my blood pressure was really high.  Thankfully, this ultrasound was with my RE's office and pretty much every woman having an ultrasound there is terrified so she didn't waste any time.

I first saw the heartbeat, which made me breath a sigh of relief.  Baby measured 7 weeks and 2 days with a heartbeat of 148 bpm.  My RE said everything looked "great" and we'll check again at 9 weeks, at which point I would be related to my high-risk OB.

Disbelief is definitely a leading emotion I'm feeling and of course I'm hesitated to feel excited.  I'm allowing some room for hope but remaining cautious.  My college roommate is visiting this weekend and we were supposed to run a trail 1/2 marathon in the mountains, which I bowed out of at my doctor's orders.  I have felt utterly exhausted and nauseated, which I take as good signs.  K and I stayed the night in Salida, Colorado before our race.  It was my first night away from R&B since we left on our trip and it was actually incredibly relaxing and just what I needed.  Plus, the leaves are starting to change in the mountains and I was reminded of why I love living in Colorado so much.



So... that's the news for now.  Next u/s is September 28th.  Fingers (and legs) crossed.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Beta Check

I finally called my RE and told the nurse about the positive pregnancy test.  I had two HCG blood tests last week - the first was 1339 (4 weeks, 2 days) and the second was 5346 (4 weeks, 5 days).  I originally wasn't scheduled to have a first ultrasound until 9 weeks, but I called and explained that after two early losses, my anxiety levels will be through the roof waiting that long.  So, I'll go in around 7 weeks for an ultrasound.  I took another test today for good measure, too:



I could call my normal OB and go in whenever I want to for an ultrasound, but I'm feeling superstitious and like I wouldn't mind doing things differently this time.  Rationally, I know it makes no difference whatsoever, but it feels better at this point to do things differently.  I've resumed Lovenox and definitely feel pregnant - tired, nauseated, bloated, and hormonal.  We are still operating as if nothing has changed around here, though - R and I haven't discussed it at all (literally, not at all - that probably sounds odd, but that's how we handle these things), I'm going to my workout classes, looking for a new job, etc.   

So, that is the Labor Day update from these parts.  It's so nice to be home and we feel more settled by the day.  This week we set up B's playroom and most of the unpacking is done.  She's in her big girl bed (although not sleeping through the night, which is taking its toll) and loves having her teepee set up in the playroom. Today we had an Olivia reading party, which included six Olivia books, plus her Olivia doll.  This morning she crawled into bed with us at 6 AM and just before 8 AM when she woke up, I was lying in bed just watching her sleep.  B looked peaceful and serene and just so beautiful.  Regardless of how this pregnancy turns out, I know I am incredibly lucky to have her in my life.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Groundhog Day

We've been home for a month, which is hard to believe.  We repainted the inside of the house, installed wood floors in rooms where we previously had carpet, and are only now back in our house (we had to live with my parents while the floors were being done).  Truthfully, this past month has been utterly exhausting, even though I'm thrilled with how the house looks.  B's sleeping is a total mess (more on that in a separate post) so we are all exhausted.

I have been back to acupuncture a few times and have had two sessions of Mayan abdominal massage, which also includes a regular massage, which I thoroughly enjoy.

And over the weekend, this happened:


You all know that I know better than to get excited.  I told R that I'd had a positive test and he just said, "okay."  We are both carrying on as if it didn't happen.  I had a HCG beta drawn today, as well as progesterone, so we'll see where those are tomorrow.

In any event, I feel silly even writing about this because I've had so many failed pregnancies.  I feel like a broken record or the girl who cried wolf.  But somewhere, deep down inside of me, I feel the tiniest glimmer of hope.  I don't want to let myself feel it, but I do.

So there it is. My August update.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

And.... we're back!


Just like that, we are back in the United States.  We were gone for seven months and traveled, literally, around the world heading west.  We're back in Colorado now and settling into our home, having some renovations done, and trying to get B to understand that this time "home" actually means our real home where we'll stay for quite awhile.  She seems confused, which isn't surprising.

Being home also means I'm thinking more about next steps for trying to get pregnant again.  I've been feeling well for the last two cycles and am enjoying such feeling like me for the first time in awhile.  Tomorrow I have an appointment with my RE followed by an introductory visit with an herbalist and massage therapist who specializes in fertility.  It sounds a bit odd, but I'm willing to try anything and refuse to leave a stone unturned -- it's that glimmer of hope that is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to infertility.  I'm also going to get back on my acupuncturist's calendar.   I know I'm nearing a time when this door will close for permanently but I'll be damned if I don't do everything possible before then.

In any event, we'll see what happens.  I'm happy to be home.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

P.M.A.

Enjoying the beach in Okinawa

My Dad was my high school soccer coach, which had some perks but also a great many downsides, mostly relating to accusations of favoritism and him being particularly hard on me (because he wanted me to be the best I could be, but still).  In any event, one of his favorite acronyms was P.M.A., for "positive mental attitude."  Having a positive outlook on life is not something I've had trouble with until the last few years.  And a few weeks ago, I made a decision to make a change.

As those of you who have been reading know, I've been feeling terrible about my body lady, I'm been having perimenopausal symptoms, and my mood has been all over the place.  I hate feeling this way, but I wasn't doing much to fix it and I realized I was being whiny and downtrodden and not appreciating what I have.

There was a triggering event for this wake up call that came out of nowhere.  I receive the GOOP newsletter, and while I normally delete it straight away, last week something caught my eye.  There was an article whose subtitle mentioned hormone imbalance and is on the GOOP site here.  Hormone imbalance!  That's me!  I immediately clicked through, read the article, downloaded the Dr. Sara Gottfried's book The Hormone Cure, and read it in one night.  It reminded me of when I read It Starts with the Egg a few years ago and immediately overhauled our house (no BPA, glass containers), my toiletries and cosmetics, and my supplement and vitamin protocol.  I just had this feeling like, "Hey! I want to feel better. I know I'm not doing everything in my power to feel better right now and how lame is that? Just do it."  When I wanted to improve egg quality, I did EVERYTHING I could.  And why am I not doing that now?

In any event, I ordered $350 of supplements and vitamins that will hopefully be waiting for me at the Westin in Tokyo next week before we fly to Amsterdam.  I've signed up for a marathon and started running regularly and using this app I love called SWORKIT (it has workouts that will make you sweat that require no equipment, including yoga and pilates), plus I created an Instagram account where I'm posting about my running, which helps me stay motivated (@rundarcyedenrun if you are interested).  We've been making a point of being in bed at 9:30 PM and lights out at 10:00 PM, which means I feel rested in the morning no matter what time B wakes up.  I'll resume regular acupuncture and massage once we are home (that's tough to do on the road).  I've started keeping a gratitude log in my Bullet Journal.  I've stopped drinking and am reducing carbs/gluten and treats/dessert. I find that on the road it is easy to see all of this travel as "vacation," which means have a drink at night! Have dessert!  Have a mid-afternoon ice cream! The trouble is, that vacation is many months long and not two weeks so it has taken its toll.

I'm two weeks in to making these changes and I feel so much better.  I had this realization that I have been singularly focused on trying to get pregnant, grieving Q, being pregnant and thus anxious, or dealing with a miscarriage for almost FIVE YEARS (it will be five years in October from when we first started trying to have babies).  FIVE YEARS.  I've lost myself in so many ways during this time and I'm ready to get myself back.  I feel like a better Mom, wife, and happier person and I'm so excited to keep this up.

Okay, so I think I sound a little crazy and possibly a little manic, but I really do just feel better.  P.M.A.!

I'll leave you with two things that happened in the last week.
Jizo Statues in Kyoto

First, I found my Jizo for Baby L / Q!  I read this NYT article "The Japanese Art of Grieving a Miscarriage" and knew that when we were in Japan, I wanted to find one of my own to have at home.  In Japan, these small figurines honor the souls of babies who were never born.  I'd been looking since we arrived, but hadn't seen any (I am positive I was just not looking in the right place).  Last week, we finished a lovely day of biking and rode by a shop with lots of figurines on display outside.  We pulled over on our bikes and there in front of the shop next to a fountain were all of these little Jizo statues.  I picked one out and have it carefully wrapped to bring home.

Second, I bought ovulation predictor tests.  This required a great deal of Googling, searching many drug stores, and ultimately showing photos of what I wanted to employees and asking for help.  I finally found them and actually purchasing them requires taking an empty box to the front of the store, someone going to a back room to get them, and then several layers of bags and packaging being wrapped around them (this is standard in Japan and not specific to the OPKs, but still amusing).  I haven't tried to use them yet, but hopefully I can interpret the lines on the tests (they don't have the smily faces like at home).  It was a funny thing to search for in a country where nothing is written in English.  I do very much miss the convenience and anonymity of Amazon Prime.
 


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Spring in Japan


We've now been in Japan for 3 weeks and just settled into a home in Kyoto for two weeks. I listened to a podcast while running this week of an interview of a woman who traveled with her family of 5 around the world for 9 months.  She talked about how they had "slow and low" periods where they stayed put for an extended period of time.  2 weeks isn't that long, but it sounds like an eternity right now and I'm thrilled that we can explore Kyoto at our own pace.  We rented a bike with a kid's seat (and have another that came with our airbnb), we have a kitchen and I cooked dinner tonight, and I'm looking forward to having some "normal" days.  Today we found an awesome playground just a 5 minute walk from our house, too.

I'm still feeling all mixed up about pregnancies, babies, siblings, etc.  I have 2 rounds of Clomid with me and I decided to take one round this month because -- why not?  If I don't take it, I'm just toting it around the world for no reason.  I feel fine but it doesn't seem to be working as well this time around (based only on the fact that last time I had a lot of EWCM and I'm not having that as much this time around).  I'm taking COQ10, but not DHEA.  I just don't like how it makes me feel and I worry that I've taken too much of it these past few years.  Honestly, I feel pretty hopeless on the pregnancy front right now and maybe that's okay?  Perhaps I'm coming to grips with reality and acceptance is around the corner?  We'll see.

An aspect of our trip that has been very difficult for me is the utter lack of alone time.  I'm outgoing and enjoy spending time with friends, socializing, etc., but there is part of me that is extremely introverted. I love and need to be alone for some period of time each day and I am just not getting that.  With B not napping and spending every day with R, it's been challenging and I know it i isn't helping how I feel about pregnancy, myself, my body, etc.  I'm getting far afield from wanting another child here, but I have realized that not getting some time to myself is making me a worse wife and mother, making me less patient, and shortening my fuse when it comes to B, well, acting like a toddler!  I've started running every day, which I do alone, so hopefully that helps, and I'm hoping for some solo exploration time in the coming days.  

All of that said, I struggle lately with knowing why I'm feeling a certain way or what is impacting the strength of those emotions.  Is it hormonal imbalance?  Is it lack of alone time?  Is it the inconsistency and lack of routine that comes from travel?  Is it just how I'm feeling?  I don't know.

To end this on a happy note, the days are filled more often with happiness and joy than anything else, so I don't want to sound ungrateful or unhappy - I'm not.  I'm just parsing through what I am feeling, which I don't get to do these days with a girlfriend over coffee or wine, or with a therapist, which is probably what I should be doing...

Also, I wrote before about Sheryl Sandberg's heartbreaking missive after her husband's death.  She just published a book about grief and loss and finding strength in such circumstances called Option B.  I've just downloaded it, but in case you missed the news...
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

It's an Epidemic

Eight people in the last week have either (a) given birth to a second or third baby when their previous child is younger than B or (b) told me they are expecting a second or third baby when their previous child is younger than B.  One friend is unexpectedly having twins.

Now I know I'm on this grand year-off adventure, which is supposed to make me calm and Zen, but SERIOUSLY WTF.  It's an epidemic.

Forgive me.  I know this is irrational.  I know other people's pregnancies in no way relate to mine.  I know I should be happy for each and every one of them (and I am... deep down....), but it's been crushing my spirit a bit this week as I feel like I am just being passed left and right by people who are so easily getting what I want.  And of course I mark each birth and month with where I would be if I hadn't had two miscarriages.  #3 would be four months old.  I'd be about 20 weeks pregnant with #4.  Everywhere we travel, I see families with two or three children and one of them is about B's age and there is always a younger one.

The thing is, I really do not want to feel this way.  I'd like to be present in the moment and on this trip all the time.  And when I'm not, I'd like it to be because I'm doing something constructive like reading, blogging, exercising, or listening to a podcast.  I don't want it to be because I'm stewing and being jealous of people I don't even know and whose ability to pop out babies left and right is wholly irrelevant in my life.

I went so far as to write down grievances I've been holding onto and to make a few wishes using Flying Wish Paper as recommended by Gretchen Rubin on the Happier podcast (which I adore and highly recommend).  It helped for a few hours, but this morning the feelings crept up on me, especially after seeing on Instagram that a friend had a baby and I didn't even know she was pregnant again!

Apologies, I'm just venting.  I *know* I have so much for which I should be (and am) grateful.  But I also think that part of letting go of these feelings is owning them and admitting they exist.  I don't always feel great.  I sometimes resent and am jealous of people in a ridiculous way.  And I feel extra guilty for feeling this way because I know my pre-B self, who was consumed by grief and fear of never having a child, would hate this post-B self for wallowing and being jealous considering I have a spunky, smart, fun, joyful toddler to chase after day in and day out.

That's all.

If anyone has any ideas for me, I'd love to hear them.


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.
 
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