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., 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. 


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


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. 


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.

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.