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 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, 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.