Thursday, December 29, 2016

On Triggers and Perpective and the OBGYN Waiting Room

I was recently sitting in the waiting room of Dr.D's office waiting to get my final Lupron injection. I walked in actually kind of excited. It was my last injection and there was starting to be light at the end of my side-effect tunnel.

It was late in the day, but the waiting room was fairly full. There was a couple sitting right across from me having a conversation. I was mostly engrossed in reading work emails on my phone. Work has been CRAZY and I have officially turned into my father - reading and answering work emails on my phone at all times of the day. Anyway.....     I was really trying not to listen to their conversation, but it caught my attention and I found myself listening. And then I was angry. The husband was telling his wife about someone he works with who was getting ready to go through additional rounds of infertility treatments after multiple failures. The wife, who is visibly pregnant, looked at him and said she just did not understand why people put themselves through infertility treatment. That if something wasn't meant to be it just wasn't meant to be and they shouldn't force it. She thought it was crazy they would put themselves through "that".

My reaction was immediate anger. My heart started beating fast and I was mad. I really wanted to talk to her. To explain to her my situation, what my husband and I have been through and why the desire to go through what her husband's co-worker was getting ready to go through is so strong. I wanted to give her my perspective. But my rational mind took over and I decided confronting her in the OBGYN's office waiting room was not a good move.

Then my emails were no longer interesting to me. All I could think about was what she said. My mind wandered to our journey and our story and then I started to battle my emotions.

Out of no where I was fighting tears. Just like that. No warning. Tears.

And it took everything I had to keep from crying. All of my energy. I had to pull it together. I was in the doctor's office waiting room by myself. The tears would have to wait.

I did keep it together and a few minutes later was called back for my injection. Less than 5 minutes later I was out of the door. Away from that waiting room and headed to where I could cry. I was also grateful I didn't run into Dr. D or his nurse as that definitely would have brought the tears I was fighting.

Something I saw recently said, "Do not confuse my bad days as a sign of weakness, those are actually the days I am fighting my hardest."

Triggers are a real thing. I generally try to avoid the things I know bother me. But it is impossible to avoid all triggers all of the time. Sometimes they literally come out of nowhere and completely change my mood. When I walked into the waiting room I was excited and happy. When I left, probably less than 20 minutes after I walked in, I was fighting major tears and could not get out of there fast enough. And despite my best efforts to pull it together, when I got home my husband knew something was wrong.

Perspective is also important. I strongly believe everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. However, I also strongly believe it is critical to understand that others have different opinions and perspectives. And maybe, it might be a better idea to just be a little more supportive and a little less critical.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

That wasn't what I expected

Now you know the story to date. The story of our four pregnancy losses. The story of all we have been through in the last four years.

So where are we now? 

In April of this year I was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst. An endometrioma to be exact. No big deal. I would feel a ton better after it was removed and we would move on. 

Surgery was scheduled for mid-June. In the time between the discovery of my cyst and my surgery date I, of course, ran through every scenario I could think of. The main scenario I feared was my ovary would have to be removed with the cyst. My left ovary. The only one that had a Fallopian tube. Any other scenario I played out in my head was not as scary or journey- changing as the one where my ovary had to come out too. So I tried not to think about it too much and waited for mid-June.

Then it was time and I was more nervous that I probably let on. Let's be honest, I was scared. I was terrified of waking up and my husband having to tell me my ovary was gone. 

When I woke up from surgery, what he told me was almost worse. And not what I expected at all. 

I have severe endometriosis. SEVERE. 

It is everywhere. It is a mess. And they can't really clean it up. 

My uterus is attached to my intestinal tract.

Dr. W did my surgery. He operated on me with Dr. D when my uterus ruptured a year before. He is an exceptionally skilled GYN surgeon. He cleaned up what he could. But he couldn't clean all of it up. And he couldn't detach my uterus from my intestines. That would take the assistance of a different surgeon and they didn't want to do that to me that day. 

When I woke up I was told I will have to have a hysterectomy sooner than later. I was told there was no way we would be able to get pregnant on our own. I was told IVF is our only option. I was told the cyst was removed very easily and my ovary was still there. Well, at least that part was good news! 

It took a while for me to digest all of this. Several days later I was still processing it all. 

No one expected to find the severity of endometriosis that Dr. W found. And it changed a lot. 

Two weeks later I started a six month course of Lupron. Lupron is a drug that basically has put me into a temporary monopausal state. It lowers the estrogen in my system so the endometriosis has nothing to feed off of and everything has a chance to rest and heal. 

Lupron is no fun. When I started writing this post I was three injection in. I get an injection every four weeks. And I have the fantastic side effects that come along with it. 

I have hot flashes (which are not that terrible, but definitely come out of no where and always at the most unexpected times). 

I have night sweats (I am am amazing sleeper, I can sleep through anything - except feeling like a furnace and dripping in sweat at 2am. No fun.) Luckily this doesn't happen very often! 

I have mood swings. Or more accurately I have no filter. Especially when I am mad or frustrated at someone or something. My husband takes the brunt of most of my lack of filter. I apologize to him daily for getting frustrated with him over things that he probably didn't even do. Poor guy. 

And I am exhausted. I wake up 6 out of 7 mornings a week feeling like I haven't even slept. My body hurts I am so tired. Most days I get to work and feel overwhelmed my the day ahead of me and sometimes wonder how I am going to make it through the day. I always do. But I am always ready for bed at the end of it. I told my husband the other day I feel more tired that I ever did during the first trimester of any of my pregnancies. And let me tell you, my first trimesters were bad. I would fall asleep on the couch at 7:30 in the evening. Lupron makes me more tired than that. 

I am toughing it out. It's only temporary. But I am looking forward to the week of Thanksgiving when I will get my last injection. 

The comes the hard decision. IVF is our only option if we want to have another baby. The chances of us getting pregnant on our own is virtually zero. We have to decide if that is what we want to do. It's a hard decision. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

I know you don't mean that.

"At least you already have one child." 

"You should be grateful for the child you do have." 

"Everything will work out the way it is supposed to." 

Let me give a little advice. Don't say these things to someone dealing with pregnancy loss and/or infertility after having a successful pregnancy. EVER. 

It's offensive. And rude. 

Ok. Let me back down just a little bit and explain. 

I am a rational, understanding person. I know you do not really know what to say. I know you have only the best intentions. But, those things are not the right things to say. 

I am grateful every single day of my life for my son. He is amazing and perfect and sweet and I could not be more honored to be his Mom. And after going through what we have been through in the last four years I know exactly how lucky we are to have him. I will never take for granted the fact that I get to be his Mom. After all we have experienced, I will always hug him a little tighter. 

However, for my ENTIRE life I have dreamed of a little family that was made up of me, my husband and our two kids. And as I get older, my dream of having two kids gets stronger while at the same time seems like it is being torn away.  

Struggling to achieve that dream or worse, having to face the fact that I may never be able to achieve that dream, is heartbreaking. 

It doesn't make me selfish. It doesn't make me greedy. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have more than one child. It doesn't make me love my son any less. 

So yes, I want to have two children. Yes, I already have one amazing one. Yes, I am absolutely grateful for him. Yes, I know how lucky I am to have him. No, I don't need you to tell me how grateful I should be. No, I don't need you to judge me for wanting to have another baby when I already have one. And no, I really don't care what you think. 

And while I will not show you, your words are painful. They are a reminder of what I deal with every day. They can change my mood in an instant. And sometimes they can ruin my day. They may make me cry, later, for what my husband will see as tears for no apparent reason. But he knows why they come. 

But I forgive you because I know you were not trying to hurt me. But only searching for a way to help. 

So what should you say? 

Ask me how I am. 

Ask me about our experience. I will tell you my story if you ask. And for me, sharing my story helps. 

Just be there. Some days are really hard and I just need someone to be there and distract me from all of this. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Fourth Time.....Part 2

I just remember flashes of things for the first 12 hours after surgery. A moment in the recovery room. Being aware my husband was there with me. My sister was there with me. Dr. D was there. I remember thinking it was weird that he was there, I don't usually see him after surgery. Nurses were checking on me. Then I was in a hospital room. My in-laws were there. The TV was on. I had a catheter. I had an abdominal binder on. I did not want to move. Everything from my rib cage to my hips hurt. I just wanted to sleep. 

I remember the night. Someone came in every hour to take my vitals. My husband was there. He had the nurse bring me ice packs for my incision. Any time I moved he was right there to make sure I was ok. I had a button in my hand and when it was green I could push it and I would just drift back to sleep. 

Early the next morning I remember more. My husband had to leave early to go home and check on our dogs, pick up some things for both of us as I was going to be in the hospital for a few days and he was staying with me, and go to his post-op appointment (he had wrist surgery about 10 days before this). It snowed overnight. I was awake for longer periods of time. I was anxious for my doctors to come in. The nurse took my catheter out and I was not happy about it. That meant I would have to get up soon. I texted with my sister and a couple of close friends who knew what had happened. 

I do not remember the exact moment when I found out what happened to me. As hard as I try, I just cannot remember. I do remember always knowing what happened. When I was more aware on Monday morning there was never a moment of panic when I didn't know what happened. 

So what did happen? 

During surgery two amazing doctors, Dr. D and Dr. W (the GYN surgeon Dr. D called in) put me back together. I was bleeding internally, but it was a challenge to determine from where. Everything really looked fine. They then discovered a small hole in my uterus. On the right side, underneath. Our baby was in a very wrong place and caused my uterus to tear. They delivered our baby, repaired my torn uterus and made sure everything else was stable. It took three hours. 

I lost a lot of blood. 

And our baby. 

I had a blood transfusion. I spent four nights in the hospital. I swelled up so much I weighed 15 pounds more when I left the hospital than I did when I went in (and let me tell you, it is not fun to lose 15lbs of water weight in approximately 36 hours after I got home! I made 15 trips to the bathroom the first night I was home.) I had 45 staples that closed a 9 inch vertical incision that started at my navel. 

I scared everyone. Myself, my husband, my parents and siblings, my friends and co-workers, my doctors. 

I was grateful to be alive. I was grateful I didn't try to wait out the pain at home any longer than I did. I was grateful for Dr. D who somehow knew what was going on before he even saw me and set all the wheels into motion so quickly and saved me. 

My recovery was long and short all at the same time. It took me 8 weeks to feel physically normal again. But I did fully recover. I took five weeks off of work. I battled with sore everything. Weakness and fatigue like I had never experienced before. Let me tell you, blood loss is no joke. 

Emotionally, I am not sure I have recovered fully, or that I ever will. I'm writing this 16 months after my surgery. 

The emotion of losing our baby and being in a life-threatening situation took about a week to hit me and I know exactly when it did. 

I was released from the hospital on a Thursday. On the following Monday my husband took me to Dr. D's office to have my staples removed. My appointment was good. Dr. D took all of my staples out. We talked about my surgery and how I was doing. We talked about totally random other things. He gave me a copy of the op report of my surgery. When we left my mom met us in the lobby and we talked for a few minutes. My husband went to get the car so he could take me home and then go back to work. As I stood there with my mom, waiting for my husband to pick me up, the tears came. Right there in the lobby of the medical building in the hospital. And I couldn't stop them. I cried and cried. I cried more on the way home. I got home and read my op report and cried some more. I cried until I don't think I could have cried any more. 

This wasn't fair. How had this happened?? How had we lost a fourth baby, and in this terrible and scary way??? What did we do to deserve this??? 

These questions follow me. As I move further and further away from the trauma of my surgery and our four pregnancy losses these questions still linger, but I do not let them control my life or my emotions. I have spent hours and hours with a wonderful women's health counselor who has provided me with the tools to not let this take over or consume me.

This has not been easy and has definitely been the hardest fight of my and my husband's lives. But we are still standing, we are still working toward trying to have another baby. And we have learned so much about love, life, and ourselves. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Fourth Time

After our third loss, my husband and I did some soul searching. We lost three babies. Were we meant to have another? Was it time to give up on this dream of having two children? Every fiber of my being said it wasn't. We needed some time to heal, but giving up wasn't an option. 

We took several months to heal and focus on ourselves and our son. We definitely needed the time. I was an emotional disaster. But after a few months I was ready to refocus. I needed to get past all of this and to me the only way to do that was quite simply to have a baby (which clearly is not that simple!). 

After about six months we headed back to Dr. D's office and started fertility treatments again. It took a few months, but right before Christmas of 2014 I discovered I was pregnant again. We were very happy and cautiously optimistic. 

A couple of days later, on my birthday, I sat in Dr. D's office. I was 5 weeks pregnant and trying very hard to not be terrified. All seemed well. I walked out with a prescription for progesterone injections (ouch!!) and Lovenox. We were going to do everything we could to stay pregnant. My husband and I were determined. 

Just over a week later I had an ultrasound and all was well. The baby seemed positioned a little high on the right side of my uterus, but no one was worried. At a repeat ultrasound two weeks later the baby was well positioned in my cozy uterus and all was going exceptionally well. I couldn't sit down from the soreness on my bum from the progesterone injections and my abdomen felt like a pin cushion from the Lovenox, but none of that mattered. I was pregnant and all was going well. 

At my 10 week appointment Dr. D said he wanted to see me four weeks later. I remember feeling panicked. That would be at 14 weeks. I was headed into what was the scariest part of my pregnancy, where I had lost two of the last three. I really did not want to wait 4 weeks. But he was right, all was well. There was no reason to come in sooner. And he was just a phone call away if I needed anything. So I made an appointment for March 2,  2015 when I would be 14 weeks. 

I didn't make it. 

The morning of February 15, 2015 was as ordinary of a Sunday morning as it could have been. Our son was at my Mom's house. My husband and I enjoyed date night the night before and were spending a quiet Sunday morning just laying in bed. My husband was headed to work later that morning to try to catch up on some things and I was going to spend some time catching up at home. 

I felt great. I woke up with some energy. The nausea was starting to fade. I was 12 weeks and two days. 

Then about 8:30 I started to feel this pain in my right shoulder. It was odd, but familiar pain. I had felt something similar before after my appendix was removed, gas pain from laparoscopic surgery. But I clearly had not had surgery. Then it started to spread. It moved across the back of my shoulders and down into my upper abdominal area, just below my rib cage. And it hurt. Bad. 

My husband was right next to me and helped me shift to try to get comfortable. Propped up on pillows I started to take inventory of my body. What hurt? It felt like everything from my navel, up. What didn't hurt, my pelvis. Good. Hopefully that meant the baby was ok. That was comforting. But I was still freaking out. What the hell was this pain???? 

I tried to give it a little time to settle. The pain I had like this before was gas pain. I tried to get it to settle, shift. No good. That kind of made it worse. 

I decided just to rest for a little bit and see what happened. I called my mom and she agreed. Give it a little bit of time to see if I changes, gets worse, anything. The only symptom I had was pain. No nausea. No shortness of breath. Nothing. Just pain. 

Just before 10am I had enough. It was not getting any better, if anything it was getting a little worse and I knew I couldn't just lay there forever. I called Dr. D's exchange. He was on call for the weekend (seriously.....he is always on call when I need him!) and would call me back within 30 minutes. 


It was right at 30 minutes later when he called me. I told him what was going on and we decided a trip to the ER was the best. He didn't really have an idea what could be going on, but we needed to find out and to make sure the baby was ok. 

So, I worked to get ready to go. My husband has to help me with everything because the pain was horrible. I could not bend over, I could barely walk. Everything hurt. 

Five minutes later, Dr. D called back again. What???? My husband answered my phone as I was getting dressed. Dr. D had gone up to his office to look at my ultrasound images again. Remember when we said the baby was really high and right at my first ultrasound but then was better at my second? He was concerned something was very wrong and we needed to get there ASAP. He would meet us at the ER. Luckily I was so focused on trying to get ready to go I really couldn't panic. 

Then we were out of the door. My husband literally loaded me into the car. It was freezing cold outside and he covered me in blankets and my coat and fastened my seatbelt over all of it. I needed to stay warm because shivering made my pain worse. 

It was a quiet drive to the hospital. We were in the car for 20 minutes. I was grateful it was Sunday morning and there were virtually no cars on the road. When we got off of the highway I called Dr. D's cell phone. He wanted to know we were there. As soon as he answered he started talking. He believed I had ruptured, I was bleeding internally, he called in a second surgeon who was on his way, they were booking the OR, he would be right there. I heard all of it and none of it sunk in. Just as we were turning into the circle drive in front of the ER I hung up the phone, turned to my husband and told him what I had just heard. Ok. I got out of the car and walked into the ER. (Yes, under my own power, I walked into the ER). 

At the desk I told them my name and that Dr. D told me to come in. As soon as I said Dr. D, the nurse at the desk ordered the guy next to her to grab a wheelchair that was behind me. Two seconds later I was being run down the hall and my husband was sprinting to catch up. 

We turned into a room and there were six people inside waiting for me. Two techs, two nurses, the ER doc, and someone to document. Four seconds later they had me changed into a hospital gown, laying down on the bed, EKG started and IV's going into both of my arms. My blood pressure was shockingly not that high considering how freaked out I was. 

The ER Doctor started asking questions and my husband and I answered them. A few minutes in, the door to the room opened and I could hear Dr. D's voice. I immediately felt calmer. He was there and was going to figure out what was going on. 

Dr. D sat on the bed next to me. He talked to the ER Doctor. He scanned me -  the baby looked good - 12 week size, moving around. He poked at my painful belly. He looked at me and said we had to go to the OR. He didn't know what exactly was happening, but I was bleeding internally and it had to be stopped. 

So off we went. Within an hour I was headed into what would be a three hour surgery. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Knocked down.....Again.

I don't want to feel like my body is working against me anymore. It sucks. Every time I turn around and think we are finally going to get somewhere and maybe, just maybe, start moving toward having another baby again - BOOM - knocked right down. 

It's like my body says "Nope. Not this time. Sorry." And then maniacally laughs at me. 

Now, maybe that is a little dramatic. Maybe it isn't. But it is the honest truth about how I feel almost all of the time. 

I was recently diagnosed with an ovarian cyst. Fine. No big deal. Happens all of the time in lots and lots of women. Doc said it would probably go away. It isn't small, but we decided to just watch it and see what happens. No one, including me, really wants Dr. D to have to operate on me again. But, it didn't go away. It didn't get bigger, but it didn't get smaller either. And upon closer review it is likely an endometrioma. And it's got to go. 

Unfortunately due to Dr. D's schedule, the hospital's schedule and my schedule, surgery cannot happen for 6 weeks. I get it. Schedules are busy/full. My surgery is not life threatening. I can wait. It's really no big deal. No, I don't feel great. Yes, I really want to feel better and get back to normal. But it's ok. I can wait. 

But there is a part of me that really feels like it is a big deal. I want this thing out of me and I want it out sooner than later. For me the sooner it is out, the sooner we will know if or how we can proceed with the main objective here. 

And I am scared. 

I am scared of what Dr. D will find when he goes in to remove the cyst. Will he have to remove my ovary? Oh yeah, it is my left ovary which - I know I haven't gotten to this yet - but is on the only "fully operational" side I have. 

I'm scared of what he will tell me are our options for trying to get pregnant after. 

I'm scared I won't be able to get pregnant after. 

But I have been knocked down before and I always get back up. For me, there is no other option but to get back up. I have the most amazing doctor and I know he is looking out for me. We will figure it out. 

It's just going to be 6 weeks until we can. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Now I have a label

Now I was a woman who had three consecutive miscarriages. That puts an official label on me.


I struggled with that word.

I could not believe I now fell into this category. I could not believe we were where we were. I could not believe we had been through what we had been through. This was going to take some time.

Infertile. I really did not want to be Infertile.

Our third loss hit me very hard. I was lost. It had been two weeks since my D&C and I went for my post-op appointment. My husband was there with me. It was a stormy April afternoon. My mood was terrible. The weather was terrible and all I really wanted to do was go home.

After this loss, we elected to have genetic testing done on our baby to see if a cause for the loss could be identified. Dr. D had the results. Trisomy 9. It was rare. There was really no chance this child would have survived any longer than it did. Part of me was relieved there was a diagnosis. No, I did not want there to be anything wrong with our child, but at least there was a reason. After two previous losses with no clear reason, at least this time there was a reason.

Dr. D wanted me to have a full 'work-up'. Lots of lab work to make sure I was OK. Was there anything that we could address with me that would help our chances if we decided to try again? And that was something we needed to decide as well. Would we try again? We truly did not know.

I had the lab work done. There were issues. But something we can manage. Not that big of a deal. I would need to take a low-dose Aspirin daily. If I got pregnant I would need to do daily blood thinner injections. Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but at least it was manageable. And something I could do to help better my chances of staying pregnant if we got pregnant again.

After my post-op appointment we were just headed back to work. It was still raining. My mood was still terrible. My husband and I went separate directions after the appointment. He headed straight back to work and I went to find my mom. She wanted to know what was going on. Then I was headed back to work too.

I talked to my mom for a little bit. Told her about the Trisomy 9 diagnosis for the baby. What the plan was for me and the lab work. Then I needed to get back to the office. But I really did not want to go. I was 36 years old and remember telling my mom goodbye, turning to walk down the hall and out of the building and desperately wanting to run back to my mom. I should have. But I didn't. Instead I got to my car as fast as I could and cried until I couldn't cry any more. I could not stop the tears and did not want to. They needed to come. Any they did.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Keep going......part 3

And we were there again. In that darkened room, me laying on the table, both of us wanting and not wanting to look at the screen in the corner that showed us our baby. 

It was quiet. Very few words were spoken. I had spent a lot of time with the sonographer at Dr. D's office. We knew each other well. But that morning there was nothing to say. She moved as quickly as she could, taking measurements, asking me only a few questions. She was amazing and I thank her always for being there. 

I only really remember two feelings from that morning. The tears that I was fighting so hard to keep from falling, but were silently streaming down my cheeks and running behind my ears as I laid on the table. The other is the warm of my husband's hand. He never let go. Not once. Every now and then he would squeeze harder, like a reminder that he was there and not going anywhere. And I always squeezed back, as a reminder to him that I was there too. For him. 

I found myself staring at the screen in the corner. As much as I didn't want to look because I didn't want to cry, I knew I had to. I would regret it if I didn't. It was the last look I would have of our baby. 

Soon, the sonographer was done. She told me she was going to go get Dr. D so we didn't have to go back out to the waiting room. Thank you, because I really don't want to go out there with all of the pregnant women, here for their appointments. She was back quickly and said we should walk down the hall to his office. 

Then we were back in those chairs. The ones we have become very familiar with. The ones we sat in and discussed what to do next when the fertility treatments we were using were not working. The ones we sat in and celebrated positive pregnancy tests and planned for the upcoming months. And the ones we now sat in, now for the third time, and talked about losing our baby. Those chairs. 

There was a complication. I was 14 weeks. Second trimester. A D&C was not the normally prescribed course of treatment for my loss. There were a couple of other options and Dr. D went through them all and answered our questions about each. But I wasn't really pleased with any of them. I was not really in a place where I could make a decision. What I wanted was for Dr. D to tell me what the best option was. 

My options were: 
1) Let it happen naturally, at home. It would be painful, and may take a long time, and I could come to the hospital at any time. Probably my last choice. 

2) Come back that evening and be admitted to Labor & Delivery. They would basically induce me and I would deliver the baby in the hospital. Not my favorite option, but something I was considering. 

3) Have a D&E. Similar to a D&C, but done during second trimester. It would be done by a different doctor. A doctor I knew, but who wasn't Dr. D.  This was the option I was leaning toward. The part I didn't like was the other doctor, because he wasn't Dr. D. 

I didn't know. I really didn't want to decide. I wanted someone to tell me what to do. And Dr. D didn't really seem to want to decide either. Like he was unsure for some reason. So we decided together that he would call the other doctor and talk to him. Then he would call me and we would decide. I felt good about that. 

We left the office. Made a short stop to see my Mom in her office and then it was time to go back home. My husband had to go back to work. I really didn't want to go home. So I went to my office. Not to work, but because I needed to not be at home alone. I wasn't there long, but long enough to talk to my closest friends and pass some time. 

While I was driving home Dr. D called me. The decision was for him to do a D&C. It was definitely the best option. I was 14 weeks by the calendar, but the baby measured 11 weeks. He was having it scheduled for Thursday. His office would call me back with the time. If I needed ANYTHING before then, just call. 

I went home and cried. 

I don't really remember the rest of the day. I am sure it was fairly normal. My husband and son came home and we had a normal family night. Then we all went to bed. I was exhausted and was hoping to sleep. Then, at 3am I woke up. 

I was cramping. I could not stay in bed. I was very uncomfortable. My restlessness woke up my husband. I really was ok, just uncomfortable and awake. The cramps (let's be really honest, they are contractions....way worse than the cramps of a normal period...but not as strong as full term labor) were familiar, I felt them before with my first loss. I knew they would get worse. I was just hoping they would stop. I moved to the living room and curled up in our recliner hoping to doze a little. I was awake for three hours. Finally around 6am just as my house was starting to wake up my pain subsided and I fell asleep. I was very glad the pain stopped. In the wee hours of the morning in my tired and emotional state, I  convinced myself I was going to have to call Dr. D on Wedneday morning. At least for now that wasn't the case. 

My day was quiet. I was tired. I rested a lot. I really had no desire to do anything else. I had been here before and could not believe we were here again. And I really really really did not want the pain to start again. I worried all day that it would. 

My mother-in-law picked our son up from school and he stayed with them for the night. My husband came home and we both realized we had forgotten about a prescription that needed to be picked up for me. So we went out. We stopped by the pharmacy and then went to dinner. It was nice, just the two of us. We talked about everything except the reality we were living. It was a nice escape for a little while. 

However, as dinner was ending I was getting restless. The cramping was coming back and I was getting uncomfortable again. My amazing husband noticed before I could say anything. He finished paying, took my hand and got me to the car and home as fast as he could. I collapsed into the recliner again and braced for and unknown number of hours of pain. 

Three hours in, it was almost 10pm and I was exhausted. It didn't seem to be subsiding and my anxiety was through the roof. Then the tears came and I couldn't stop them. All I wanted was to sleep and make it to my scheduled D&C the next morning. I had to be at the hospital about 12 hours later. 

But I wasn't sure I was going to make it. I called Dr. D's exchange at 10pm, before it got too late. Dr. D was on call (somehow he is always on call when I need him most!) and he called me back about 30 seconds later. He sounded worried. We talked, I told him what was going on and how I felt. I could come to the hospital if I wanted and they would monitor me through the night. I could wait it out at home if I wanted and would see him in the morning. If I needed him in the night to call him back. And most importantly, the prescription I had to pick up earlier was for Cervidil, which would make me contract more. Since I was cramping already, he said not to take it as it would make everything worse. 

I just wanted it to stop and I wanted to sleep. 

Finally it did, just before midnight. Thank goodness. And I got to sleep, for three hours. 

At 3am I woke up again. Wide awake. I immediately focused my attention to my uterus. Ok, no cramps. Good. Then why am I awake? Oh, miscarriage insomnia. This is not an actual medical condition, but it is my best description of what happens to me. My body forgets how to sleep through the night. 

I got up and moved to the couch. My husband woke up, worried I was cramping again. I assured him I was ok and he should go back to sleep. I settled in on the couch for a few hours of bad movies and infomercials. 

Soon it was morning and time to get ready and head to the hospital. I had to be there at 11am for a 1pm procedure. I was ready. 

The routine at the hospital is familiar to us. We have done it three times before for me. I got checked in, ready and waited. And waited. And waited. Dr. D was running late. But I wasn't going anywhere. 

Dr. D finally arrived and it was time. To the OR, time for anesthesia. I was ready. Dr. D sat with me in the OR and we idly chatted while the nurses finished getting me ready and getting set up. Him sitting with me and the conversation about anything random is one of my favorite things. It helps ease my anxiety and almost makes me forget about why I am laying on a cold table in and OR, covered in warm blankets, with an IV in my arm. And about what happens next. 

Then I woke up. I was crying. The nurse was handing me a tissue and asking me if I needed anything. I just wanted my husband. In a minute he was there. It was over. 

After I woke up it was time to go home. It was time to heal and then decide what came next. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

It has been a year.

This weekend marks one year since my last pregnancy loss and a surgery that took me months to fully recover from. A year since an event that scared me, my husband, my family, my friends, and my doctor. 

It has been quite a year. 

I know I haven't gotten to the story of my last pregnancy loss yet and I won't go into a lot of the details in this post. That is to come soon. But it was definitely the hardest. It took me the longest to recover from, physically, and probably emotionally. But all of my losses were hard to recover from emotionally. 

It is the loss I may have learned the most from. It is the one that changed my perspective on life. It's the one that could have taken my life. 

It truly seems like it just happened yesterday. I almost cannot believe it has been a year. 

As I think about all I have been through, and everything I have done to fully recover I cannot also help but think about all of those who helped me - my husband, my son, my family, my friends, and Dr. D and his staff. I have an amazing support system and every person plays a different yet equally important role for me. I could not have gotten through this without every single one of them. 

So here it is, my advice. Create a support system. One, two, ten people. However many you need. They are the people who will help you get through it. Those who will guide you, be there when you need to cry, be there when you need a push to get up and move forward. Those who will help you laugh, remember, and love. While it will never be quite the same, life does continue on and you have to continue on with it. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Keep Going.....Part 2

March 17, 2014. St. Patrick's Day. It was a Monday and was really just a regular Monday for us. Work, school, dinner, dishes, stuff. It could not have been a more normal day.

For about a week prior to this day I had started feeling what I believed were little flutters. I was SO excited!! After two losses I could feel the little baby that was moving around in my belly. I remember texting my husband and telling him how much I loved that feeling. 

So after dinner and dishes and some laundry and a couple of phone calls to start planning a big family vacation we were going to take in the summer (and try to plan around my late summer due date), the evening was winding down. My husband was getting our son in the bathtub and starting the bedtime process   (and yes, many nights it is a process!). I finished what I was doing and went to finally change out of my work clothes. I realized I was spotting. 

Absolute panic set in. 

My heart started racing, I had to calm myself down and try to hold it together so I could figure out if it was real and try to focus on what I needed to do. 

For anyone who is pregnant, spotting is terrifying. For someone who has had two prior miscarriages, spotting is your worst nightmare multiplied by 10,000. It was all I could do to keep myself pulled together and upright. 

I got my husband's attention and he joined me in our room. I told him what was happening and that I really didn't know what to do. I did know what to do, but nothing seemed real at that moment and I was incapable of making a decision. He told me to take a deep breath and call my Mom. She would at least help refocus me and help calm me down. 

After talking to my Mom for a couple of minutes I then called the exchange to Dr. D's office. Then I had to wait for him to call me back. I do not remember how long it took, and I don't think it took very long, but it felt like an eternity. 

Dr. D finally called (seriously, it really only took a few minutes....maybe 10 for him to call me back) and we decided, because of my history, the best thing to do was to go to the hospital to be checked out. Make sure the baby was OK and see what was going on. Several times he said to me......Sarah, you are 13 weeks and 4 days, I know we don't feel 100% comfortable with this pregnancy yet, but hang in there. We will figure this out. 

So then it was off to the hospital. After I got off of the phone with Dr. D, I called my Mom back. My Dad was coming to our house to sit with our son, who we went ahead and put to bed like nothing was was wrong. My Mom was going to meet us at the hospital. 

As soon as my Dad arrived, my husband and I left. It was a very quiet drive. Neither one of us knew exactly what to say. It was cold, it was dark and we were both scared. There really was nothing to say.
We arrived at the hospital and walked into the Maternity Welcome Center as directed. My Mom was there waiting for us. It was quiet and I was quickly taken back to be admitted and taken to a room. Once I was settled they told me someone would be in shortly to check on the baby. My heart was racing. My blood pressure was out of control. Trying to keep calm was useless. But I was trying. 

Soon someone walked in my room to take my medical history and check on the baby. She started asking medical history questions and I was quickly annoyed. I know she was just doing her job and why all of those questions are important, but I wanted to know what was going on. Can't we do the medical history part later????? When she was done she then came over and tried to locate a heartbeat with a Doppler. She tried and tried and tried. I panicked and panicked and panicked. I looked over at my husband who was sitting next to the bed and my eyes pleaded with him to make this not real. We had been here before. 

She tried and tried and tried. It got to the point where I just wanted her to stop trying. I needed an ultrasound and I needed it now. She finally stopped and said she would send in the nurse to scan me. 

It wasn't more than a couple of minutes and a nurse walked in to scan me. I knew her. She was a friend of my Mom's and we had met before. That helped a little. But my anxiety level was still increasing. I just wanted to know. She started to scan me and I knew almost immediately. I could see the screen and very easily make out the baby, and there was no heartbeat. I was completely numb. I just looked at my husband and again wanted this to not be real. 

The nurse left for a second and then came back with my Mom, who had been patiently waiting outside. She knew what was going on. They both looked at the ultrasound images again. There was nothing. It was over. My mom stayed with us for a few minutes while my nurse went to call Dr. D. 

It was late, almost 11:00. All of the sudden I was exhausted. I didn't want to move, I didn't want to do anything. My husband moved over and sat on the bed with me. I laid my head on his shoulder and we were both very quiet for a long time. Neither of us could believe we were here again. It almost seemed impossible. 

Our quiet was interrupted by my nurse who came back in to say Dr. D wanted to see us in the office first thing the next morning. He said to call his nurse early and she would get me in before his other appointments for the day. 

I was numb. I wanted to cry, but I couldn't. I couldn't move. I just sat on the bed, held on to my husband and stared. It was over. The pregnancy we thought was finally the one. I was almost 14 weeks. What the hell????? 

After a little time passed, we started pulling ourselves together so we could just go home. It was late. We were both exhausted. And I was sure I wasn't going to sleep, but I wanted to be home in my own bed. 

I don't really remember the drive home. It was quiet. There still wasn't much to say. Disbelief and shock had taken ahold of us both. I spent the second half of our 20 minute drive home steeling myself to see my Dad. He was at our house with our sleeping kiddo. I knew seeing him would bring the tears I was trying to stop. And he hates it when I cry. Funny how in the midst of this unbelievable thing, my only concern at that moment was not upsetting my Dad. 

We got home. I held it together. It was after midnight so my Dad didn't stay long. We headed to bed. 

I was sure I wouldn't sleep. My mind was racing. I curled up next to my husband and closed my eyes. To my surprise, after what seemed like only a few minutes I opened them again and it was morning. It was Tuesday. Our son had school and my husband was going to work for a little while. I got up so I could shower and get ready. I knew Dr. D's nurse would be in at 7:30 and I was going to call her as soon as I could. 

Soon, everyone was gone and the house was quiet. I had to make two phone calls. One to the nurse and the other to my boss. At 7:45 I called Dr. D's office. His nurse answered quickly and already knew what was going on. She said we should come in at 9:00. I had time only to finish getting ready and call my boss.

Not having time to sit around and think is always the option I prefer. Keeping busy, especially at first, is what I do. I know it is really not the best choice, but it is what keeps me going and maybe allows me to heal a little bit before the full reality of another loss hits me.

So I moved quickly that morning. Phone calls made, showered, dressed and ready to leave so I could be at Dr. D's office at 9am. My husband was meeting me there.