Tuesday, October 27, 2015

It is time to share.

I started this blog in April. It was just for me. I needed a place to write. To vent. To get it all out of my head. Someplace to go to remember when I needed to.

The story in this blog is deeply personal, but I knew I would share when I was ready. 

I am ready. 

I have discovered in this journey that so many people have similar stories, have gone through similar journeys. I have discovered talking about what I have been through, what I have experienced and what I have learned is helpful. Helpful, not only for others who are going through something similar, but helpful for me. I am not alone. I can help someone else. 

Help someone else. That is my goal in writing and sharing my story. The heartbreak I have experienced, that my husband has experienced, is immense. If we can take our heartbreak and what we have learned and help someone else through their journey, maybe it can provide a little bit of purpose to what we have gone through. Maybe. Just a little. 

I will continue to write, tell the rest of our story to date. And I am always here for anyone who needs to share, talk, vent, cry, laugh or just have someone to lean on. Always. 









Monday, July 13, 2015

Keep going.

So we were now a couple who had two consecutive miscarriages. That seemed unbelievable. But, we had a plan. And I was determined to stick to our plan and keep going. I was so ready to get past all of this, get pregnant, stay pregnant and complete our family.

October came and it was time to start trying again. We were only going to try for two months before taking another break as my husband was scheduled to have major foot surgery right before Thanksgiving and we did not want to be in the middle of fertility cycles and have him recovering from surgery and the holidays in full swing all at the same time (yikes! stress!). 

I will be honest and say I felt a little pressure. I knew if we didn't get pregnant during the next two cycles, chances were it would be at least 6 months before we started fertility cycles again. Not that we ever stop trying to get pregnant. But our chances are much slimmer without fertility meds. 

But, we knew what worked and the next two cycles were like this: 

October cycle: Ok. I honestly don't remember the specifics. I took Femara again and followed all of the same steps we had in previous cycles. I do remember having good left side follicles which was encouraging. However, negative test. Not this month. 

November cycle: More of the same.  Femara again. Good, really good, left side follicles. There were high fives and fist bumps in the Dr. D's office again. We were all hopeful. But pregnancy test was negative. I was crushed. And it was time for our break and hubby's foot surgery. 

My husband had a calcaneal osteotomy the day before Thanksgiving, 2013. (Basically, they broke his heel bone and moved it to correct an alignment issue). It was a big deal. He had a ton of pain. He was in splints and casts and on crutches for almost two months. And in a boot for so much longer than that. It was the holidays and we had a ton going on. Our son was four and VERY excited about Christmas! We turned our attention to getting my husband literally back on his feet and focusing on the holidays and our family. 

We pulled off an amazing Christmas for our 4 year old. Seeing it through his eyes was the best gift ever! 

Shortly after the new year, I was in the kitchen one afternoon and all of the sudden realized I did not feel very well. It passed quickly and I kind of brushed it off. It was weird, but very familiar all at the same time. 

A couple of days and a few more waves of nausea later, I stopped at Target and bought a pregnancy test. I truly did not think I was pregnant, but that is also a defense mechanism I have so I do not get my hopes up. It had also been 35 days since my last period. I generally have long cycles, but even for me this was starting to be too long. 

The next morning I took the test and it was INSTANTLY positive! I could hardly contain myself! I ran out of the bathroom and told my husband. Both of us were ecstatic!! And my very first thought was......we did this on our own with no fertility help......this one was meant to be! 

We practically ran to Dr. D's office. He wanted to see me immediately. Blood tests confirmed.....I was pregnant and things looked good! He started me on progesterone just to be safe and I was scheduled for an ultrasound just over a week later. 

Everyone was elated! I felt terrible, which was a good sign. The nausea and exhaustion set in very quickly. And after two losses, I was grateful for it. They always say, the sicker you are the better (although for me, I have been super nauseous with all of my pregnancies so......). 

Soon it was ultrasound time! I was SO excited! The baby looked great. Size was perfect. Heartbeat was perfect. Everything was perfect. I was just past 7 weeks and life was good. There were nerves for sure, but I had a good feeling. Everyone did. The one thing I kept holding on to was we did this without fertility treatments......maybe it was the one. 

At 10 weeks I had another appointment and ultrasound. All was perfect! We even got to as the baby move a little on the ultrasound. I cried. It was amazing! Doc said he was happy with where I was and how things were going. I was mostly out of the woods as my chances of miscarriage after 10 weeks were so very slim. He wanted to see me again in 4 weeks. I really wanted to come back sooner, but he said there was really no reason. Ok. 4 weeks it is. (Of course I know I can always call if anything is wrong). 

One week later, at 11 weeks, I got an appointment reminder for my annual exam with Dr. D that I had scheduled months prior and completely forgotten about. Ha! Well, guess I didn't have to wait 4 weeks! All was still well. He scanned me again simply because I was in the office and he could. Baby looked great, heartbeat was perfect! Three more weeks and we would be all the way out of the woods and well into my second trimester. 

Then, at 13 weeks and 4 days, my world stopped. 




Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Fresh Start

After my hysterosalpingogram, we decided to take a few months off. It was Christmas and we wanted to give ourselves a break, enjoy the holidays and use the new year as a fresh start on this journey. 

I saw Dr. D in late February, 2013 for my annual exam. We talked about getting started with fertility treatments again and he said we could come back whenever we were ready. I was healed and physically ready to start trying again. So with my next cycle we did.

March, 2013 - Clomid cycle. Not great results. The best follicles were all on my right ovary and since my right tube was blocked it was not likely I would get pregnant. But as Dr. D always reminds me, nothing is impossible. However, that cycle's pregnancy test was negative. 

April - Clomid cycle. Again, all of the biggest and best follicles were on the right.  There was nothing on the left. It was not hopeful, but there was always a chance. Negative test. 

May - Clomid cycle. For the third month in a row the best follicles were on the right, and there was almost nothing on the left. I was devastated. Doc said if we didn't get pregnant (which was highly unlikely again, yet still not impossible), we would regroup next month and try something different.

There are options. 

Hearing that helped a little, but I was still frustrated. My current cycle was unlikely to end with a positive test and that was hard. After my appointment, I surrounded myself with my family for the rest of the day. It was a good distraction. And as expected - two weeks later the pregnancy test was negative. 

June - My husband went with me to see Dr. D. He doesn't usually accompany me to fertility appointments because they are fast and he really doesn't need to be there (appointments are always the same.....ultrasound then meet with Dr. D and he would write whatever prescriptions I needed and give me instruction). This appointment was a little different. We needed to make some changes and I needed my husband there. So we sat in the very comfortable chairs in Dr. D's office, chairs I have become very familiar with, and he walked us through all of our options. There were several choices including a medication change and IVF. 

To be honest IVF was my first choice. And if it were not for the cost we may have made that choice. However, since we knew it is possible for me to get pregnant without IVF, we decided to start with just a change in medication and see what happened. 

Dr. D prescribed Femara for me. He said he had seen many patients have success with Femara when Clomid didn't work. I felt hopeful for the first time in a few months. Maybe this would do the trick. 

The Femara definitely helped "wake up" my left ovary. For my June cycle we saw big beautiful follicles on the left side. Everyone....me, husband and Doc.....were so very excited! There may have even been a couple of high fives in the office. Ha!! 

However, my cycle ended with a negative pregnancy test. 

But now we knew what worked and with my July cycle we stayed with the Femara.

July, 2013 - We had a family vacation planned and were going to be out of town during the fertile days of my cycle. I was very excited for our trip. We needed this trip and had a relaxing week planned, just me, my husband and our then almost 4 year old son. 

Just before we left town I went to see Dr. D for a day 10 ultrasound and all looked well. I had great follicles on the left side. He really wished I could have come back two days later as he wanted to do another ultrasound on day 12, right before my hcG trigger shot. However, we were going to be gone and even though I am willing to do just about anything to be successful in getting pregnant again, driving 3 1/2 hours home for an appointment and then 3 1/2 hours back again really wasn't what I wanted to do. He said we were ok without the additional ultrasound, but I should call him early in the morning on my day 12 if my ovulation predictor test was still negative. 

So off we went. Vacation bound!  The morning of my day 12 the ovulation predictor was still negative so I called Dr. D. It was a Sunday and he was on call for the weekend so I got him directly. He wanted to call in an hcG trigger shot for me so I needed to find a local pharmacy that had what he wanted and then text him the information. So I started making phone calls. No one had the medication I needed in stock. I called 8 pharmacies in the area and one at a major hospital 30 minutes away.  Every pharmacy I talked to said they could get it for me the next day, but that was too late. I needed it that day. I was bummed. I texted Dr. D and let him know. He called me back a little while later and said he had a good feeling and we would be ok. Not to worry about the trigger shot. Keep doing the ovulation predictor and trust it. So we did. 

The next two weeks really flew by. They usually always seem so long. I just want to get to the day I can test and know if I am pregnant. But we had so much going on over those two weeks.....the end of vacation, getting back to our regular life after vacation and then our son's birthday party. Before I knew it, the two weeks had passed and I could test. 

IT WAS POSITIVE!!!!!!! 

I was overjoyed!! I ran straight out of the bathroom and kissed my husband!  He was overjoyed!!!! It worked! We were finally pregnant again. 

I called Dr. D's nurse immediately and told her the good news! She was just as thrilled as we were! However, Dr. D was out of the office for the week. Our choices were to see the nurse practitioner immediately or wait for him to be back in the office in one week. I opted to wait. I needed to see Dr. D when I went. If anything was wrong I needed it to be him who told us. 

I felt really great that week. It was too soon for me to be feeling bad yet (at least based on my two prior pregnancies). I was just happy. All of the darkness from our first loss, the complications after and the prior five months of fertility treatments seemed to disappear. 

I was scheduled to see Dr. D on Monday August 19, 2013. 

On Saturday August 17 we had a great family day. My husband, son and I went to a local summer festival and enjoyed being outside and together as a family. The weather was perfect. We talked about what it would be like the following year when we came to the festival and had two kiddos. Even though my last pregnancy had ended in miscarriage, I had no worry this one would be the same. 

When we got home everyone was tired. I put our son down for his nap. My husband left to run an errand and I curled up on the couch to enjoy the quiet and take a Saturday afternoon nap.  

When I woke up I went to the bathroom and discovered I was spotting. I panicked. I was shaking. I grabbed my phone and called my husband who was still not home from his errand. He was almost home and said he would be right there. I just sat there, waited for him and stared until he came in the house. 

Once he was there we both were numb. I told him what I saw and how I felt. Truly I felt fine, but was spotting. I decided to call the exchange just to see what they said. 

I knew Dr. D was out of town so I would talk to one of the other doctors. Dr. B called me back. He said because I was so early (just shy of 6 weeks), there really wasn't much they could do. He said I should take it easy for the rest of the weekend, keep my appointment with Dr. D on Monday and he would find out what was going on. If I needed anything the next day to let him know. 

I was devastated. Even though my rational mind knew that spotting was ok and didn't necessarily mean I was miscarrying, I just felt like it was over. 

My husband and I just sat there and held on to each other. Again. Really? Why?????

The next day my bleeding was heavier, like a normal period. It was over. I was miscarrying again. 

On Monday we went to my appointment with Dr. D. I had called his nurse earlier in the day to let her know I was bleeding. When Dr. D walked in the room he was just as devastated as we were. 

I had an ultrasound that showed everything had passed already. It truly was over.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to curl up in a ball and just sob. 

Dr. D said we didn't have to wait to start trying again. At the start of my next period we could come back if we wanted to and he would get us started with Femara again. We knew it worked. 

So that was the plan. And I really liked having a plan. It gave me something to focus on and look forward to. 

We still lost another baby. We were still completely devastated. It was our second loss in a row. My heart had another hole in it. But we had a plan. 



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Days

It is just another day. Most likely a work day. A normal day. But to me, to us, there is a significance that makes it a hard day. A day I may cry. A day I may want to hide in my bed. And the further we get into this journey, the more days we have. 

Due dates.

These are the days I thought I was going to deliver a baby. Another little person was going to join our family. One of the best days of my life, tied only with the day I married my husband and the birth of our son. But instead it is a day that I get to be smacked in the face with a reminder of what happened. Due dates are the days I find the hardest. The day I worry about getting to and past the most. 

My due dates: 

March 13, 2013
April 25, 2014
September 18, 2014
August 28, 2015

Anniversary of loss

These are the days our life turned almost completely upside down. The days that I remember as stressful, painful, terrible. And days I sometimes would like to remove from my memory. They are the days that make the next pregnancy that much more stressful. The days that make each pain, twitch or cramp during the next pregnancy terrifying. They are days imprinted on my heart forever. 

My losses happened on:

12 weeks: August 29, 2012
6 weeks: August 17, 2013
14 weeks: March 17, 2014
12 weeks: February 15, 2015

Pregnant again. (For the record....I am NOT currently pregnant. I am still healing from my surgery a few months ago.)

Those days I found out I was pregnant again came with some of the most mixed emotions I have ever experienced. My first and biggest emotion is pure joy. Seeing a positive pregnancy test is amazing! Relief follows as I am finally pregnant again. Getting pregnant for us is not always easy and every negative pregnancy test feels like a punch in the gut. So a positive test is a huge relief. 

Then the nerves set in. I have had multiple miscarriages. And it seems all for different reasons. There is never a guarantee with pregnancy, but with me it feels like almost no guarantee. I try to stay calm and hopeful. Getting to the doctor and seeing through labs and ultrasounds that all is going ok is critical. It helps keep me focused and somewhat calm. I try to take things one day at a time. 

I also find myself not allowing thoughts about due dates and 20 week ultrasounds and finding out what we are having. I am usually afraid (read: superstitious) about getting to far ahead of ourselves. It is a long long fall when you lose a baby. I do everything I can to protect myself from making it any longer. That is the hard truth. I want to be excited. I want to think about the future and having another baby. I want to enjoy every minute of being pregnant. But I find myself afraid to. 

Everyday

Not a day goes by I don't think about the babies I lost. They are part of me. Part of us. Although I never got to meet them, I love them with all of my heart. I look at our son and am so grateful for him. I know how amazing it is that we have him. That I get to be his mom. I do not take that for granted. I hug him a little tighter. Snuggle with him a little longer. And enjoy every single minute. ❤️

Monday, June 22, 2015

To each her own

I had a conversation the other day with a co-worker who lost her Mom recently. She told me she was doing OK. Trying to get back into 'real life' just a few days after. I know that feeling, not from the loss of a parent, but after the loss of my babies. I just let her talk as sometimes for me, that was the most therapeutic. Just letting it all out. We were talking about loss and how to deal with it. And she seemed frustrated about something.

As we talked (really she talked and I was listening), she started telling me about the day her mom died and how she wanted to handle it in her own way and not allow anyone else to dictate what she was supposed to do. That statement really struck me.

How was she supposed to handle it? Is there a right way?

Absolutely not. There is not a right way or a wrong way. 

Her family, most likely not intentionally, was pushing her to handle things the same way they were. That was not what she wanted. She wanted to handle things the way she wanted to. Do what worked for her. And she made sure that what she wanted was what happened.

Everyone needs to do things in their own way. And everyone should be allowed to do things in their own way. Especially when the thing is dealing with death - whether it be the death of a parent, spouse, friend, child or even a child you have not met.

Here are some things I have learned:

There is no time limit to grieve and no defined set of rules on how to grieve. 
Some people grieve quickly. They are able to say their goodbyes and move on. They are not heartless or uncaring. It is just how they are. Just how they work. My husband is like this. With all of our losses he moves on quickly. Yes he is sad. Yes he hurts. Yes he wishes they had not happened. Yes they have had impact on him. But he gets back to 'real life' quickly. It is hard for me to understand, but I know that is how he is, how he deals and I respect that. I know what we have been through is something he will always feel and will always be part of him.

Others grieve for a long time. There should not be a time limit placed on grieving. A day. A week. A month. A year. A lifetime. Any amount of time necessary. I lost my babies. I will never get over that completely. 

But at the same time, it is important not to dwell on how terrible it is, how painful it is and how sad I am. While grieving is very important and everyone should be allowed to take their time, that person should also remember to get up everyday, pull himself/herself together and try to work toward moving forward. Sure, there were (are) lots of days I wanted to stay in my PJs and be sad. However, I tried to at least get up, take a shower and find something productive to do that day....big or small, only as much as I could handle.....because I knew that was important.

Be mindful and aware of others and allow them to handle in their own way. 
Everyone has their own way. Grieving is very personal. And a grieving person needs support from those around him/her. Always. For me the support has always been what helps clear the fog. However, when the support becomes pushing to "stop crying" or "it is time to move on", I do not respond well. There is a fine, almost invisible line, for those who are supporting a grieving person between support and pushing. It is an easy line to cross. If you do, try to be aware of it and don't be offended if the person you were trying to help reacts poorly. Emotions are raw, always. 

I also feel myself being very particular who I surrounded myself with. Or at least being aware of who I did and did not want to be around. Early on after each of my losses I remember saying this many times.....I was just not ready to see people. I only wanted to be with my husband, our son, my mom (sometimes), my sister (sometimes), a close friend (sometimes). The general population was really not something I wanted to deal with. Even other members of my family were not really people I wanted to be around. It wasn't personal, I love my family and my husband's family. It was just too much for me to deal with too many people. And I didn't worry about it. I knew they understood.

Listen
For me, telling my story is important. It helps me handle the emotion. And I have discovered it helps people who have been through this and felt alone. I don't walk around yelling my story or pushing it in the face of those who don't want to know or don't need to know. But, if you have asked me and I am telling you, please listen to me. What I am telling you is the most difficult thing I have gone through. And I am telling you because I need the support you offered. Don't talk too much - even though you are just trying to help. As I was talking to my co-worker, I discovered I had lots of advice, things I could tell her about what worked for me. But, I kept most of it to myself because I could tell, my just standing there and listening to her was just what she needed and when she needed or wanted advice, she asked.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Is this happening? Part 3

As I laid on the bed in the ER before my D&C, Dr. D came in to talk. He needed to go through the procedure with me, what to expect, risks, etc. Standard stuff. He told me the risks include....retained tissue and the need to repeat the procedure (possible, especially with a 12 week loss, but still fairly low risk)....infection (unlikely)....perforated uterus (very unlikely). Of these three risks, the first two stood out in my mind for some reason.

After my D&C I took a couple additional days off of work, more for my emotional health than my physical health. Really I was physically feeling well. No real soreness or pain. I think the very little bit of soreness I felt was more from the intense cramping prior to than from the procedure itself. 

However, by the end of the week that changed. I had my procedure on Sunday.  By Thursday afternoon I started feeling sore. I had not felt sore all week. I thought it was weird, but not bad enough to really make me worry about it. Thursday was my first day back at work and I was moving around a lot more so I rationalized that was the reason.

But, by Friday it was worse. And it was the end of the week. And I REALLY didn't want to have to call the exchange for a second weekend in a row if it got worse. So that morning I called the office and scheduled an appointment for the late afternoon. I spent the day at work trying to ignore the pain. Then I headed to see Dr. S and was really hoping nothing was wrong. My symptoms were hard to describe. I had sort of dull constant pain in my pelvic area. When I sat down, it got worse. I would have to hold on to the arms of a chair and slowly lower myself down to try to avoid the pain. And as the day wore on it got worse.

After talking to Dr. S about how I felt and a quick exam, she diagnosed me with an infection (remember those three risks Dr. D went over with me???). She put me on two different antibiotics and said to call her on Monday no matter what. She wanted to know if they were working and if I was feeling better. She also told me it would take about 24 hours for them to start working so my pain may increase during that time. Ibuprofen should help. All of these things I knew, but it was reassuring to have her say it. No more surprises. 

Home I went with my antibiotics to rest. It was the weekend and I was tired. It had been a long week and at this point I was really uncomfortable. My mom called to see how I was and I told her about my visit with Dr. S and the infection diagnosis.

Later that evening, she called me back. She had run into Dr. D in the hallway again and told him about my visit to Dr. S (by the way, my mom never talks about me to my doctors or other physicians without my permission). It seems he immediately told her while it was possible I did have an infection, he believed most likely I had retained tissue (again, remember those risks that had stood out to me???) and needed to have an ultrasound. He wanted me to make sure I had an ultrasound on Monday.

Now, I trust Dr. S completely. I also trust Dr. D completely so was kind of conflicted. But, the instructions really had not changed. Take the antibiotics over the weekend and see where we were on Monday. I would call Dr. S and go from there. Dr. S and Dr. D work closely together and I knew between the two of them, they would figure it out. If there was anything else to figure out. And honestly I really did not want there to be anything else to figure out. 

On Saturday my husband headed off to his brother's all-day bachelor party. I was headed to my soon-to-be sister-in-law's bridal shower and our son was headed to his Nana's (my mom's!). The pain was getting worse. I was very uncomfortable, but I was just trying to wait it out. I was hoping by the end of the day I would be past the 24 hours period since I took my first dose of antibiotics and would start feeling better. Ibuprofen helped, but only a little bit. By the time I left the bridal shower I could barely stand up. The pain was constant. It was not cramp-like pain, but felt like someone was stabbing me.

After the day's activities, my son and I were home and tired. I put him to bed and headed there myself. My husband would not be home until very late. Laying down was definitely the most comfortable position to be in and after a day full of pain I was exhausted. The ibuprofen finally started to help and I slept well that night.

Sunday was better. The pain was starting to subside. Maybe that meant it really was just an infection that was healing. Hopefully! We stayed closed to home that day and I just rested. I was too afraid to do too much and have the pain start to come back.

Monday morning I called Dr. S's office. I still had pain, although not as intense as over the weekend. I talked to the nurse who got instruction from Dr. S to have me come in for an ultrasound. Deal! Dr. S was at one of their other offices that day so I had to see Dr. D. Deal! 

The ultrasound definitely showed retained tissue. The infection was most likely real too, but the antibiotic was clearing it up. However, the retained tissue had to be removed. I had to have a second D&C. Soon. Dr. D wanted to do it on Thursday. So by later that afternoon I was scheduled for another D&C that would be done 11 days after my first. So we weren't quite done yet. But soon, I hoped. 

On Thursday my husband and I headed back to the hospital for my second D&C. Dr. D was there and we were all ready to get it over with. When I woke up in the recovery room afterwards the only thing I could see across the room was a giant clock on the wall. Now, I was just waking up from anesthesia so it took me a few seconds to figure it out, but it seemed late. I was waking up about an hour and a half after my procedure had started. A procedure that should have only lasted about 20-30 minutes.

My hands immediately started searching my stomach. No incisions - good! But then there were so many questions.....Why is it so late? Why did it take an hour for this D&C? Could someone go get my husband so he can tell me what was going on? 

The answer was that the tissue in my uterus was really stuck. Dr. D had to work hard to get it all. He believes he did. And all was good. Whew. 

After this procedure, I was very sore. Dr. D told me he wasn't surprised because of how difficult the tissue was to remove. But he told us we could start trying again with my next cycle if we wanted to. 

We wanted to. 

So about three weeks later when I started my next cycle, I headed back to see Dr. D for a day 3 follicle scan and the beginning of our next journey to get pregnant again. Even though I felt like we were starting completely over (really we were), I was hopeful and excited. 

I had an ultrasound and then was sitting in a room waiting for Dr. D. Someone knocked on the door and the sonographer came in. Weird. She told me Dr. D wanted to do another scan. There was something he wanted to look at again. Um......that's probably not good. 

So back I went across the hall and we waited for Dr. D to come in. He scanned me himself. There was still tissue. There was still what appeared to be quite a bit of tissue. And it had to come out before he could allow us to try to get pregnant. He wanted me to go see a specialist. 

I just deflated. I was so exited to finally be past the now almost two month nightmare of this miscarriage and it seemed we weren't yet. 

So we headed to see Dr. G. 

After an exam, regular ultrasound and a saline infusion ultrasound (ouch!), Dr. G agreed there was a significant amount of tissue left, most of which appeared to be tucked up into the uppermost right corner of my uterus. It definitely needed to be removed before we could try again to get pregnant. So I was scheduled for my third D&C in 8 weeks. I was frustrated and felt like this was the miscarriage that just would not end. It was a nightmare I could not wake up from. But, if this is what we had to do to move forward, then we would do it. We definitely were not ready to give up.

It took longer than expected. When I woke up, again I was surprised by the time and wanted to know what happened. My husband was there quickly and he told me things didn't go exactly as planned. Everything was fine.  But some of the tissue was most likely stuck forever. It had taken up residence in my right Fallopian tube and wasn't leaving. Dr. G's advice was to have another D&C in a month or so. But he also said he was going to leave all of the decision making up to me and Dr. D. Any additional D&C procedures would his call. 

I was crushed. I cried. I really wanted this to be done. And it seemed it wasn't. 

Two weeks later I talked to Dr. D on the phone. He was just as frustrated with the tissue issue as my husband and I were. He suggested having a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) after two cycles. It was much easier than a D&C (no anesthesia) and would tell us where we were and what we needed to do next. And no one - me, my husband or Dr. D wanted me to have another D&C.  I agreed and we waited. 

The wait was long, but it was good to turn our attention back to something other than this never ending loss. I was anxious about the HSG and what it would show. It ended up being scheduled for a couple of days before Christmas. Dr. D was out of the office for the holiday so Dr. S did the test. 

Results: My right Fallopian tube was completely blocked. Nothing was getting through. But the main cavity of my uterus looked good. 

It was OK news. Main cavity looked good, so that was great news! Right tube was blocked which was not ideal, but not a show stopper. You can still get pregnant with one tube. So that was the plan. No more procedures. Time to turn our attention back to trying again. 

This nightmare was over. 





Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Is this happening? Part 2

I woke up the Thursday morning after being told we told we lost our baby to my then 3 year old son crying in his bed at 5am. My husband and I ran into his room and he was on fire. Fever. He had been fighting off a cold for a few days and we knew this was coming. Every cold he ever had turned into a sinus infection so we were not surprised. I headed to the kitchen to grab the Tylenol and discovered we were out. Ok - Walgreens run at 5am it is.

As I climbed into my car a few minutes later one thought crossed my mind. While I definitely did not want my kiddo to be sick, maybe it was the universe's way of giving me something else to think about, worry about and focus on that day. And maybe it was a way of protecting me from being home by myself all day. 

After I returned with the Tylenol, the three of us settled in for an unexpected day at home. My husband stayed home to help with our son and take him to the doctor. I was so grateful he stayed home. While of course I would have been just fine with our sick kiddo by myself, it was nice to have my husband there to help. Emotionally I felt very unstable and was still determined to keep everything as normal as possible for our son. 

Later, I had to call Dr. S's doctor's office to schedule my D&C. I was nervous about it. I spent most of the evening before researching the procedure. It's easy, it's common, it's quick. I knew all of that. But I was still nervous. And it was most likely going to be 5 days until I was scheduled and that felt like forever. 

By the end of that day, I was scheduled for my D&C the following Tuesday morning. My son was feeling better as long as his fever stayed away. And we all really enjoyed a quiet family day at home. 

The next day was going to be more normal. My husband had to go to work. It was Friday. My son's preschool was closed due to the upcoming holiday so I was home with him again and we had some errands to run. His fever was gone and the antibiotics he got the day before were going to take hold son as start clearing up his sinus infection. So we all got up and set out on our day which went smoothly. We got all of our errands run despite the rain, had lunch with my Dad and Grandmother and just hung out. I was feeling well, no real physical signs of miscarriage. Just the emotional ones. I tried to stay busy and focus on anything and everything else. 

That evening we ended up at my parent's house for dinner. At some point in the evening I discovered I was starting to spot. I stopped to think about if we had not had a doctor's appointment earlier that week our evening would have been so much different. But, because we knew what was going on, there really was no need to worry or panic. This was expected. Although I was not so sure I was ready for it to start happening when my D&C was still four days away.

I told my husband and my mom and we just sort of went on about our evening. Looking back I am definitely glad we had already had a miscarriage diagnosis so there was no need to panic. 

Saturday morning my husband, son and I got up and it was still raining. We live in the Midwest, but the remnants of a tropical storm that had made landfall in Louisiana had slowly made their way north and we were in for a very wet rest of the day. We were headed to a birthday party for one of my son's classmates and then had errands to run. My doctor's office sometimes has Saturday hours so I decided I would call that morning just to make sure there was nothing else they wanted me to do or watch for since I was now bleeding. Not much, but still bleeding. However, it was a holiday weekend and they were not open. So I decided just to wait. Nothing was really wrong, I still had virtually no pain so no reason to worry or change the plan. If anything changed I could always call the exchange. 

Saturday night was a different story. As my husband and I sat on the couch watching a movie I realized my pain was increasing. I could not sit still or find a comfortable position. I was having very regular, very painful cramps. It kept up for a few hours and then stopped. As I got ready for bed that night I realized I felt better. I hoped I would at least be able to get some sleep. 

The next morning I woke up very early to the same regular cramping, but it was much more intense than the night before. I got up and moved to the couch to try to find some relief. This continued through the morning. I was bleeding more and the intense cramping was coming and going. It would last for an hour or so at a time and then I would get a break. 

I made several deliberate decisions that morning. I didn't eat. Something in the back of my mind told me I was headed to the hospital that day. I took a shower. I honestly didn't want to. I was tired and in pain and laying on the couch, curled up in a ball was comfortable. But I made myself because I knew it would make me feel a little better. 

By the late morning I had enough. The pain was more intense and I just didn't want to do it any more. It was still more than 48 hours until I was scheduled for my D&C and the thought of ensuring this pain and possibly passing our baby at home was too much for me. I was done. 

I called the exchange for Dr. S's office. 

There are four doctors in the practice. All four of them are fantastic physicians and I trust all of them to take amazing care of me. Two of the doctors I know well. I had been a patient of Dr. S for almost 10 years at this point. Dr. D happened to be on-call when our son was born and did my c-section. 

The guy who took my call to the exchange said Dr. D is on call today. I was so relieved. I knew him. He knew me. And come to find out he already knew what was going on because he ran into my mom at the hospital a couple of days prior and she told him. He told me later he kind of expected to hear from me sometime that weekend. 

The decision was made to head to the hospital and have a D&C that afternoon. It was going to be over soon. And I was looking forward to that. 

We called my brother-in-law and asked him to come over and watch our kiddo who was napping. As soon as he got to our house, my husband and I left for the hospital. I checked in at the ER and we waited. After a blood draw, a thousand questions and a very painful IV, I was taken back to a room. My parents came to be with us and support my husband while I was in the OR. 

Dr. D came to see me. I honestly had not seen him since my son's delivery a little more than three years prior. But, I was instantly at ease. I was still in pain, but knew I was in good hands and this would all be over soon.....at least the physical part. 

Soon after I was being wheeled to the OR. We got to the point where I had to say goodbye to my husband. When the doors opened to the hallway where we parted, Dr. D was standing just on the other side. As they started pushing me down the hall, he grabbed my hand and walked right next to me. Then, once we got to the OR he stayed right next to me, kept ahold of my hand and we just talked while the nurses got everything ready. I will never forget that. I just focused on his hand and our chit-chat. It helped me relax. Soon they were ready and the next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room. It was over.

After my procedure and when I was sufficiently awake, I was discharged and my husband and I headed home. I felt better, physically. But, it had been a long day. I was exhausted. It was late.  I could physically heal. The emotional healing was going to take a little while, but Dr. D said he believed we would be able to try again soon and that was reassuring to us. A plan for the future. 

Is this happening? Part 1

found out I was pregnant for the second time in July of 2012. We were thrilled! It was the end of what felt like a very long road (little did we know). My husband and I decided the previous fall it was time to try to have another baby. With our son, I got pregnant quickly. So this time I was hopeful for the same. But, after 6 months with no success and increasing frustration I headed to the doctor (I have always had slightly irregular cycles and was a few months away from turning 35 so after 6 months my OB/GYN, Dr. S, wanted to see us and talk). I had an ultrasound and blood work. All seemed well. We just needed a little help. So we started Clomid and hoped for the best. It took two cycles but the Clomid worked. I was pregnant!! Looking back on it now it really was just the blink of an eye, but when we were living those 8 months of trying to get pregnant it felt like an eternity. 

We expected a pregnancy just like my first. I felt the same as I had the first time - nauseous, tired, and grouchy. 

I saw Dr. S at 6 weeks to confirm and then at 8 weeks for an ultrasound and all was well. So far this pregnancy really was exactly like my first. About two weeks later was our son's third birthday and all of our family was coming. We decided to share our news at his party. Everyone was so excited for us!! 

After the party two more weeks passed uneventfully. I was actually starting to feel a little bit better. The nausea was fading (yay!) and I had more energy. I was feeling better much sooner than I did with our son and was exited about that. Both families knew and we started telling other close friends and co-workers. It wasn't "Facebook official", but word was spreading that I was pregnant. 

Then it was time for our 12 week appointment. The night before I woke up in the middle of the night after having a dream that my doctor couldn't find a heartbeat. It was one of those dreams you wake up from and cannot move and it takes a minute to figure out it was just a dream. I tried my best to push it away. It was just a dream....not real. 

The next day at my appointment, the dream I had became very real. I was lying on the examination table and Dr. S was desperately searching for a heartbeat.  But there was nothing. My heart started pounding. She looked at me, grabbed my hand, helped me sit up and said we needed to go across the hall for an ultrasound. I was only 12 weeks and sometimes it is hard to hear heartbeat with a Doppler. Let's just check. She was sure everything was OK. I really wanted to believe her. 

The next five minutes seemed to take forever. My husband and I walked in the room and I climbed up on the table. I was shaking. He stood right next to me as the sonographer was getting set up. She happened to have a student with her that day and asked me if I would mind if the student scanned me first. Sure, no problem.

Then the image was on the screen and I knew immediately. I reached for my husband's hand and squeezed as hard as I could manage. My eyes never moved from the screen. 

The sonographer quickly moved in, took over from the student and with just a look at her, the student left the room to go find Dr. S. In a flash they were back and Dr. S was asking questions. They were studying the image on the screen and I was just trying to breathe. This was not happening. 

A moment later the attention turned back to my husband and me. The look on Dr. S's face instantly told me how sorry she was and how much she hurt for us. She hugged me and then started talking. I was 12 weeks, a D&C was the best option. I could schedule it before I left. It was near the end of the week and just before a holiday weekend so it may be a few days before they could do it. I couldn't process anything and just asked her if I could call the next morning to schedule. 

I never let go of my husband's hand. He stood right next to me and just held on. 

We sat for a few minutes in the room after everyone walked out. We both needed to gather ourselves and figure out how to move forward. I needed a few minutes as we had to walk out of the office and through the hospital. Both of us were crying. Then all I could think was I needed my mom. She is a nurse at the hospital and works with women who have high risk pregnancies. She was working that day and I needed to find her. My husband called her and tried very hard to not let on what had happened. We headed toward the perinatal center where she was working. 

As soon as I saw her walking down the hall toward us I started to cry again. The emotion was too much. None of it seemed real. I felt numb. I could not make any sense out of what was happening. 

We sat with my mom for a few minutes and just talked. I told her exactly what happened at my appointment. She was concerned it was going to be almost a week before my D&C, but I really didn't have any control over that and wouldn't know for sure until the next day when I talked to the scheduler at Dr. S's office. I did not feel any better after talking to my mom, the emotions were so raw. But talking to her helped me calm down a little and I could actually start to focus and start to process what was happening. 

After we talked to my mom we had to turn our attention back to life. We had to pick up our son from preschool, we had to eat something (which really was not a high priority for me - my appetite was completely gone) and both of us just wanted to be home. So we left the hospital and tried to focus on anything else but the fact that we lost our baby. 

The next few days were just so odd. Life continued for our family, because it had to. It was a holiday weekend and we had days off of work, a birthday party to attend for one of my son's friends, errands to run. I also felt an immediate need to keep everything as normal as possible for our then 3 year old son. He had no idea what was happening and I intended to keep it that way. 

My first loss was diagnosed on a Wednesday afternoon. At the time I had no physical symptoms of miscarriage and really hoped it would stay that way....even though I really had no idea what to expect. Because of the holiday, I ended up not scheduled for my D&C until the following Tuesday morning. So, we set off into the long weekend just hoping the time passed quickly. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What's the plan?

I was looking back at the posts I have published so far and thinking about those I have started and not yet finished. They all have a common theme. They are all sad.

But that is the point of this. To tell my story. 

And my story is sad. My story is hard. And I do understand it is not a story that everyone wants to read. 

But I also do not want this to be all sad and weepy and cause everyone to cry everytime I post something. And I want you to keep reading because I do have a story to tell. And I do have a large amount of experience in what I am writing about. And I want to share that experience and try to help someone keep the hope that I am so desperately trying to hold onto. You are not alone, I promise. 

So for now I am going to finish telling my story to the point where we are today. It is a long story so please bear with me. There will be many posts. But in those posts I hope to also do the things I said. Especially the want to help someone else and give her hope. Because we all need hope. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Sometimes it is just too hard.

I see you. I see you everywhere. You're pregnant. I really am happy for you. But it still hurts. I don't know your story. Maybe yours has been as long and heartbreaking as mine. Maybe it hasn't, but I am truly happy for you.

But seeing you does remind me that had things been different I would be pregnant like you right now. That I try not to think about. It is just too hard.


Monday, May 11, 2015

A Perspective on Mother's Day

Mother's Day is an interesting day. It is supposed to be a celebration of mothers. It does seem a little odd that we take just one day out of the entire year to tell our mothers how much they mean to us, because isn't that something we should do everyday? But, at the same time it is nice to have one day that we can dedicate to celebrating mothers and all that they do for us.

Mother's Day in my family is a celebration of my mom, my sister, my grandmother, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law. All amazing women and wonderful mothers. They have taught me both what I want to be as a mother and in some ways what I don't want to be as a mother. We always have a good time and it is nice to just be together as a family. 

I have a 5 year old son. He is the most amazing, wonderful little person in the world. He is cute, funny, and LOVES to snuggle with his Momma! I could not imagine life without him. So, Mother's Day is a celebration for me too. I am a Mom to a fantastic 5 year old. But, I am also Mom to four babies I never got to meet. And while I try not to dwell on that it is still hard. Mother's Day is still a reminder of that. Every day is a reminder of that. 






Thursday, May 7, 2015

So what is our story?

In just over three years my husband and I have gone through many months of trying to get pregnant on our own, 12 rounds of fertility treatments and suffered four pregnancy losses. Our first loss was at 12 weeks, second at 6 weeks, third at 14 weeks and fourth was an ectopic rupture at 12 weeks. I have had more doctors appointments and ultrasounds than I can count. I have had both a saline infusion ultrasound and a hysterosalpingogram. I have had 5 D&C/hysteroscopy procedures. And I have had major abdominal surgery to repair my ruptured uterus and save my life. 

I have also cried more tears than I thought possible. I have been over-the-moon excited. I have screamed and yelled. I have jumped for joy. I have questioned so many things. I have been angry, sad, confused, frustrated, excited, elated, anxious, stressed, and terrified. 

This journey has been the textbook definition of an emotional roller coaster. 

I have also learned so much. About myself, about my husband, about infertility and loss. I have learned that I can handle so much more than I ever thought I could. I have made new friends and created an amazing support system. 

It is a journey we never wanted to take and one we would never wish on anyone. It has forever changed us. 

Am I sure?

Am I sure about this? Am I sure I want to write all of this down for the whole world to see? I don't know. Sure, lots of people already know our story. It's a hard one to hide from those we are closest to....family, close friends, and even co-workers. But the one thing that I feel very strongly is the need to help others. Those who have gone through what my husband and I have gone through. Those who struggle with infertility. Those who have suffered miscarriage, whether is was just one or if it was more. We have a lot of experience.

I had a conversation with my doctor yesterday that I have been thinking a lot about and is probably the conversation that was the catalyst for my decision to finally start writing all of this down. We were talking about the perspective that I have on miscarriage. How for me it is possibly much different than the perspective of a mother who has just had one loss. Let me be clear, every single miscarriage is devastating. That is something I will always believe. I would never tell someone their one loss is any less significant than my four. Every single miscarriage, no matter when it occurs, is terrible. However, I do agree that my perspective may be much different than that of someone who has only had one loss. Or even someone who has had two losses. It's just different. No more or less painful, just different.

And that my perspective is something I should share. My experience is something I should share. That maybe someone else who is going through the pain of infertility and miscarriage might find comfort in knowing she is not alone.

And so I decided I would write.