More Updates

Urine Test 

My results came back for the 24 hr. pee test.  I guess the fancy name for this test is the “Creatinine Clearance test.”  The nurse at my family Dr. called to set up an appointment for us to review the results next week.  Little does she know, I have already reviewed them because I have the “Quest app” where all of my results get sent straight to me.  I learned about this app after loss #2.  It’s a great way for me to know when my results come in for any test, rather than sit around wondering and waiting to hear from a Dr.  It’s also a fantastic way for me to keep track of my own records without having to request them from my Dr.’s.  If you go through Quest for any testing, I highly recommend you get it! Anyways, here is what the results say (not that I know how to interpret them, other than they are elevated): 

I will update on if there is any significance to this higher than normal level after my appointment with Dr. L next week.

Gastro Appointment

After reviewing my thick file a few weeks ago, the new RE recommended I see a Gastro Dr. since my Bilirubin and some other liver levels have been on the higher end over the past few years.  I really liked that the new RE recommended this Gastro visit, even though he thought, “there is most likely no correlation at all between these values and your pregnancy losses.”  He was correct, the Gastro Dr. I saw said the Bilirubin and MCH levels that are in the high range are benign and unrelated to RPL.

However, the Gastro Dr. also praised the new RE for referring me and making sure all of our bases are covered.  He reiterated that my Celiac panel came back normal, but if it hadn’t, that could have been a cause for my RPL. Then the Dr. opened up to me and told me that he and his wife had 3 miscarriages.  They eventually had 2 boys, but he said they almost lost both-one at 7 months gestation, and the other at birth.  This goes to show that miscarriage is indeed so much more common than we think.  He told me he would keep me in his prayers and for me to keep my faith, because he knows how hard it is.

I was so thankful to have visited a Dr. who was empathetic and not the other way around.  He ordered a few more tests (what do you know!!) just to be safe, and make sure there isn’t anything crazy going on with my liver.  He said it would be highly unlikely, and also highly unlikely anything with my liver could be playing into RPL, but not impossible.  At this point, I will do any test to be 100% sure there is no underlying condition being overlooked.  So, they took my blood and set me up for a scan of my liver.  The blood tested my Ferritin levels, and a few other things I cannot recall.  I will get notified via the app when the results come in anyways.  I plan to wait to set up the scan until I see what these results show.

I did show my 24 hr. urine results to the Gastro Dr. in case there could be any connection between it and my liver; he seemed to think that being high is not of too much concern, instead if they were low there would be more cause for concern. We will see if Dr. L confirms.

 Upcoming Appointments

Next week we see the new RE and our current RE.  These meetings are it as far as making a decision to which clinic we will use.  I have a list of different questions for each appointment.  I can’t deny it–I am sort of dreading making this decision. You would think I would be happy because then we can move forward! This might sound completely insane, but I am worried about offending whichever RE we do not go with.  Everyone tells me that should be of no concern to me, this is strictly business, etc.  I get that, but it still doesn’t change how I feel about hurting anyone’s feelings (probably sounds pretty lame of me). People have told me that whoever we choose probably won’t even care.  Maybe.  I guess I am naive and like to think everyone has a soft side to them.

My husband is so easy about who we go with, which might make it inadvertently harder on me.  He says, “wherever you feel the most comfortable” and “whatever is easiest on you” or things like that.  I know he says all of this because he means well and is so supportive, but it leaves me wondering even more what to do.  I am indecisive to say the least, so I am just praying God will make it really clear to us at those appointments one way or the other!

I am My Own Worst Enemy-Part 3

Today, I left session 3 of therapy with a lot to think about.  If you have been following along with my sessions, you may recall that I said I wanted to keep track of what I “took” from each one.  Let’s break this reflection up into 2 pieces–the “us” and the “me.”

The “Us”

Some questions Dr. G asked us to think about and share at my next visit:

  • Why do I want to be a mother? 
  • Why does my husband want to be a father? 
  • Are our reasons the same or different?
  • If I cannot carry our child to term, are there any other routes we are okay with taking to get to parenthood or to not get to parenthood for that matter? For example, a child-free life (talked a lot about this one), adoption, gestational surrogacy, sperm donor, etc.
  • Are our (acceptable) paths to parenthood the same? If not, is there a compromise we can come to? How? 

I quickly asked Dr. G if she thinks there is a right or wrong answer to these questions.  She reassured me that any answer is totally acceptable (which I was glad to hear), and that the purpose of the questions is to know where we are going with all of this.  Knowing what extremes we are both willing to or not willing to go through in our quest to parenthood will provide a sense of security and comfort as we move forward.  I completely agreed when she explained this to me, and as I type this, it makes even more sense to me now, and I couldn’t agree more.

In the past, when I was miscarrying, I never knew what we were going to do after it was over.  Of course, I was grieving the babies I lost, but looking back, I was also grieving our future and the uncertainty of it.  I can still remember the exact spots I sat and cried in as I wondered what we would do next.  

While I know that infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss take away a lot of control and planning, trust me I do, I also know that our future path to parenthood is something we can control.  You heard me right…we can control it!

We can choose to be child free now, after another loss, and/or after our embryos are gone.

We can choose to use a gestational surrogate now so I am not subjected to the possible physical and mental anguish of another loss, or when/if another miscarriage occurs. 

We can purse adoption if we both feel it would satisfy our desires of parenthood.

Like Dr. G reinforced, when it boils down to it, we have not really drawn our lines in the sand.  Revisiting why want to be parents, and how we can we satisfy this desire if the current path we are on does not work is important.  And sooner rather than later.  Dr. G pleaded with me not to wait until something traumatic happens for us to make those tough decisions.  Her reasoning was simple-during a crisis we will not be in the frame of mind we are now.  Again, I agree with this.  Pretty basic thing, but hearing from an outsider can put it into perspective.

The “Me” 

Dr. G started off the session with me telling her how my week went.  I told her it was pretty uneventful, with the exception of Saturday of course.  Saturday was the day I went to the lab and had my blood drawn and dropped off my urine sample. At the lab, I encountered the very pregnant woman, a newborn and 2 sets of grandparents that I blogged about.  What I didn’t blog about was what came later on that day.  We went to 2 birthday parties, one for a 3 year old and one for a 12 year old. At both parties, there were pregnant women and newborns, forget all the kids running a muck.  At one point, my husband and I were trapped in a room listening to a pregnant couple discuss their nursery theme.  Talk about a day from HELL!

Aside from that bizarre day, I told Dr. G I haven’t really been my usual IF self the past week.  What I mean by this is, I haven’t been as consumed by it all.  I haven’t been thinking or talking about it as much.  To be honest, I haven’t even felt like blogging about it all as much, which is really strange.  She told me that I *may* be learning to compartmentalize through our sessions together.  Dr. G said some patients do this, and some don’t, and that “compartmentalizing” looks very different for each person. I might be starting to put some things aside that I normally wouldn’t have, because I know I will be able to discuss them with her during our hour session each week. Sounds like it could very well be the case, at least I’d like to think so anyways!

In addition to how my week went, we discussed the memorial “box” that we had talked about a week ago. At the end of our last session, she asked me to consider a few things about the box, such as why I felt the urge to hurry up and finish it once I started it, and what it would be like if I didn’t.  I did think this over and I came to the conclusion of what not finishing the box could mean to me.  It could represent that my babies are still here with me, and I can visit the box and work on it whenever I have the desire to spend time with them. 

As you can see, lots to ponder.  As always, thanks for the support, friends!

One Step Closer

Yesterday we had our HSG and mock transfer at the new RE.  The morning didn’t start off the greatest.  I woke up, ate a light breakfast, and took my antibiotic, which may I add that I have taken sooo many times before. 

I started vacuuming and about 20 minutes later, I found myself sprinting to the bathroom to puke.  As I was puking, I thought “how ironic? I am puking my guts out, couldn’t it at least be because I am pregnant?” Well, we all know that’s not the case, as I just finished my menstrual cycle not even a week ago.

I laid back down after the vomit, feeling like crap.  I was dreading the fact that I needed to take 3 Valium’s in a few hours before the procedure.  Usually, when feeling good, I wouldn’t mind the well-earned, loopyness that IF treatments bring, but feeling sick and taking them isn’t ideal.  I hoped I wasn’t coming down with something, and thankfully, I wasn’t because within a few hours I felt better.

A few hours later, my mom picked me up and we headed to the appointment.  When I arrived, they took a urine sample right away to make sure I wasn’t pregnant (Ha!).  I popped my Valium’s, changed into scrubs, and waited.  The nurses were all quite friendly, which is great because I was nervous about this, being at a new RE’s office and all.  They took me back into the procedure room and the RE came in right away.  By now, I was feeling pretty “drunk”–anyone who has had an HSG done before knows they aren’t exactly what you consider fun, so I can’t complain that I was out of it.  This wasn’t my first rodeo either, more like my 3rd.

  
He did the mock transfer first, and it went down without any hiccups. The catheter went in easily, he made some comments to the nurse about the measurements, she put them in the computer, and we moved on to the HSG. The room was set up with big screens all around so I could clearly see what was happening during the procedure.  At my old RE’s office, there is only one screen facing her during procedures so it’s more difficult to view what’s occurring.  I liked that I could see being as anal as I am.  LOL.

The RE injected the dye and right away I could see it flowing out of both of my tubes on the screen.  He confirmed both of them are wide open, no blockage at all….phew!  He tilted me to the right, then to the left.  No fibroids, polyps, or masses seen…hooray! Next, he pointed out an area where it appears that I may have some scar tissue.  Of course, I freaked out (the most I could while under the influence).  He reassured me that it is minor, and that we will discuss it further at our sit down appointment next week.  Then he told me that I should leave feeling that this went really well with no major worries. Those words made me a happy girl! And I need to keep repeating them in my mind. 

I must say pain wise, on a scale of 1 to 10, the procedure was only a 1 (maybe).  By far, the easiest HSG I have ever had done.  I would have rated my first HSG an 8 and the second probably a 6.  This time, I had cramping for maybe a minute (not even) and the worst part was most likely the speculum going in.

In other news, I am feeling optimistic about moving forward with our next FET.  I ordered two products off Amazon this week, both for if I become pregnant again.

  
  
I am hoping these will help me feel a little bit more empowered, along with my therapist, prayer, and other self-care tactics.

Week 5 of the 95 Days of Summer Happiness 

Bringing you Week 5, days 30-36, of the 95 days of summer, all for your viewing pleasure.

We hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Day 30 of Summer Happiness

My go-to drink, vodka & tonic

Day 31 of Summer Happiness

Night time summer ritual, bubble baths

Day 32 of Summer Happiness

Tropical Florida bird

Day 33 of Summer Happiness

Some of my favorite plants, Bromeliads

Day 34 of Summer Happiness

Birthday dessert for my mom, a cannoli “crumble”

Day 35 of Summer Happiness

Just another lizard living on our porch

Day 36 of Summer Happiness

Summer naps are the best!

A Very Pregnant Lady, a Newborn, 2 Sets of Grandparents, & the Wrong Number

This morning I went to Quest to drop off my urine sample and get blood work taken.  By the way, the 24 hour urine test was rather gross.  I started to gag by the end of it, so I will spare you the details.

I signed in as usual when I arrived.  There were about 10 people in front of me in the waiting room.  As I waited, a family came in with a newborn.  It appeared to possibly be the grandparents with the baby, which was later confirmed through conversation. I started to squirm around in my seat when they came in, playing on my phone, doing anything to try to distract myself.  Then, a random older couple started striking up conversation with the newborn family.

Random older couple, a.k.a. 1st set of grandparents: Aw, look at him! I just love my grandkids! Aren’t they the best?

Family of the newborn a.k.a. 2nd set of grandparents: Yes! He is our first grandchild.  Just amazing!

I was trying so hard not to look at them. Everyone in the room “oohing” and “ahhing.”  On the outside, I am sure I looked like a miserable bitch who probably dislikes children; little does anyone in that room know what I have endured to get me to this point.  The simple, happy, normal conversation between strangers celebrating life now makes me extremely on edge.  If that wasn’t uncomfortable enough for me, what happened next surely was.

A very pregnant woman and what appeared to be her mom signed in.  She sits next to me, and across from the sets of grandparents and the newborn.  She is steadily rubbing her belly.  I am seriously wondering how much longer it will be before they call me, because I know it is only a matter of minutes before her and the newborn family start baby talking.  And of course, it began.

Grandparents 1: When are you due?

Pregnant woman: (says a date; I refused to listen)

Grandparents 2: Is this your first?

Pregnant woman: (laughing) No, my second, but it will be my last!

Pregnant woman’s mom: She has a girl already, but really wanted a boy.  It’s a girl again!

Grandparents 1: (laughing) They say boy sperms don’t swim as fast! (laughing)

Pregnant woman: (laughing more) I know..aren’t there supposed to be remedies for that?

They started making jokes on things you could do to help the sperm, or change the gender , or whatever.  I couldn’t bare to listen.  None of the jokes were true or made any sense by the way.  I was so tempted to look up and blurt something out, tell them how dumb they sounded.  I bit my lip hard.  I felt really angry.  Angry that no one in that place knew about all of the babies I lost.  Angry that pregnant woman had the nerve to be disappointed about the gender.  Angry that people make reproductive jokes, whether their intentions are good or not.  Most of all, I felt disappointed.  Disappointed that no one takes a moment to wonder what the other people in the waiting room could be going through. 

Maybe I am overreacting. Most likely I am.  But that’s OK though, I don’t care. I am allowed to have my days. 

I can say and have said that in some ways infertility and RPL have changed me for the better.  For example, not one situation goes by in my life now where I don’t project myself into the possible situation another person around me could be experiencing.  I am always thinking about what they could be going through.  When my husband comes home and complains about someone at work, the first words out of my mouth are, “be kind, you don’t know what he may be dealing with right now.”  I would have never said that 5 years ago.

Not too long ago, someone called me from a number I did not recognize.  I called it back and long story short, she kept calling me back, thinking I had called her when she really called me, and she thought I was quote, “messing with her man.”  I had no idea who this lady or man were.  She was cursing me out, screaming at me, threatening to beat me up, etc.  I never got impatient with the lady calling.  I kept telling her I would pray for her, and I was sorry she was going through what she was going through.  I was with one of my girl friends while all this was happening who said to me, “you are being way too nice to her…why???”

The truth is I felt so bad for her.  She obviously was dealing with something horrible in her life.  And I know how it feels to go through something really terrible.  I know how I want people to treat me.  However, I do wish for one moment she would have thought about what I might be going through, but she never did.  Nor did the people in the waiting room.  The world would be such a better place if people did wouldn’t it?

I am My Own Worst Enemy-Part 2

Session 2 of counseling went well.  We started off with a reflection of how I felt about session 1, with a summary of how my week went to follow.  I informed her of the dream I had, and the appointment with my family Dr.  She listened and reinforced a few things:

  1. In my dream, my friend acknowledged my babies, which I may have needed in order to have acceptance of her pregnancy.  Even though she had acknowledged it prior, I may not have been ready to accept it.  The dream also indicates my desire to be closer with her again.
  2. The new sense of support I feel, having a team of Dr.’s working together on my behalf now.

Next, we talked about the difference between losing a pregnancy, and losing a person who has physically lived here on Earth.  I focused on losing my maternal grandparents, their funerals, burials, and celebrations of their life afterwards.  I explained how I felt a sense of closure after these events, how I can look back and smile about things we shared during their life even though I still miss them and mourn their deaths.  With my miscarriages, it is different; I do not feel closure. I cannot look back at all the wonderful memories I shared with my unborn children.  I do not know why they passed away. There was no funeral or celebration of their lives. Points gathered here:

  1. When you lose a person who was physically here, you are left with tangible memories of your time together.  For example, the trips you took with them, the sports you played with them, the hugs, the kisses, etc.  With a miscarriage, you do not have tangible events to remember, you just have what your hopes and dreams were for your future with them.  What were my hopes and dreams for them and our family?
  2. Society has created “socially acceptable” norms to mourn the loss of people who have walked the Earth, but unfortunately not for those who were only in their mother’s belly.
  3. Since there are no official steps in place for grieving the loss of an unborn child, it is important we create what we feel to be right in our own eyes.

That being said, Dr. G asked me some questions on what I have done so far to memorialize my lost children.  I showed her my tattoo and my bracelet with their birthstones.  I explained to her that I also purchased a wooden box, paint, and some trinkets awhile back that I hoped to use in a ceremony for them, but haven’t yet.  She questioned why I haven’t yet, and I explained that perhaps I am afraid to do it, because once it is complete, what do I have left? My response sparked some conversation.  She asked me why I feel as though I have to “finish” it? I really did not know what to say to that, not finishing it wasn’t something I even considered until then. My personality has always been to start a project, then finish it. She encouraged me to ponder starting it, but not finishing it right away, and what that would look like in terms of healing. We will go more in-depth with this in our next session. 

We touched on my anxiety, and setting up a positive plan of action for a future FET.  She had me describe what a typical treatment cycle has been like.  I told her about my peeing on a stick addiction, the serial betas, ultrasounds, etc.  All of which she knows well since infertility is her specialty.  She inquired as to why I feel the need to test at home so much, and I could easily respond with the answer, “for control.”  Dr. G asked some really good questions at this point:

  1. Control of what?
  2. Did I end up having control of what happened with each pregnancy anyways?
  3. How much do I really need to know during a cycle? For instance, are the betas really necessary for me to know? Did it matter if the lines were getting darker on the tests or not? Will knowing any of this change the outcome of what eventually happens?
  4. Are these actions (testing at home, serial betas, serial ultrasounds) causing me more anxiety?
  5. Is there anything we can do moving forward instead of these actions?

Lastly, we discussed how my loss is my loss, and should not be compared to any one else’s loss.  This was brought up due to some recent comments made to me such as, “well, at least you weren’t further along, or at least it was in the first trimester.”  She stood firm that psychologically speaking, a loss at 6 weeks can be as debilitating as a loss at 16 weeks.  We cannot say how devastated a person feels because of how far along in their pregnancy they were.  The grief that comes with a miscarriage depends solely on the hopes and dreams of what the person envisioned for their child, not how far along they were in the pregnancy.  She asked me what if all my losses had been at 6 weeks? Would I not feel as bad as I do now? Of course, I would have felt just as horrible, regardless of whether or not I saw the heartbeat many times and made it to 10 weeks or not.  This is not a competition.  My hopes and dreams for my earlier losses were just as real as the ones for my pregnancy that was further along.

There was even more, but I feel this was what I soaked up the most of during our session. Really looking forward to session 3!

Dreams Turning Into Reality

I am a firm believer that our dreams hold meaning in our lives. In fact, I have had several dreams that I have watched come true in my own life.

A few nights ago, I had one of those vivid, oh-so-very-real dreams.  The kind you wake up from and have to pinch yourself to make sure it wasn’t real.  This dream involved one of my best friends and I.  I should preface this by saying that she is currently pregnant, with a due date within weeks of what Isaiah and his twin’s would have been.

Before I detail the dream, let me give some background on it all.

When my friend and I found out we were pregnant together back in December, we were ecstatic.  We had actually been pregnant together just months before, but unfortunately both of us lost those pregnancies.  So when we both got pregnant again, we were sure this time we would both make it all the way.

We conversated daily, praying that our worst fears wouldn’t come true again, but that our hopes and dreams for our future babies would instead.  Things were going really great for both of us, we were making all the milestones together-doubling beta’s, heartbeats on ultrasounds, morning sickness reassuring us we were in fact pregnant.

But right around the week she made it out of her first trimester, something awful happened with our pregnancy-we lost it.

It was one of those moments in life they like to call a defining moment.  At that moment, I knew everything was about to change.  Not just between my husband & I, our families, our future, but also between my best friend & I.  She made it, and I didn’t.  Again.  This may not make sense to someone who has not been in this particular situation.  Let me put it to you this way-you feel as though your guts have been ripped out from inside of you and stomped on, only to have to pick them up and put them back inside.

There was nothing I could ever do to change the fact that our children would no longer be just weeks apart.  Nothing.  There was no longer anything I could share with her everyday about my pregnancy.  There was no longer anyway I could be involved in her pregnancy.  A defining moment, where everything changed.

And so, I removed myself from it all.  Not because I wanted to, but because I had to.

That brings us back to the dream.  I dreamt that she was having her baby sprinkle, and I was there.  There were presents and people galore, but I couldn’t tell you who the people were or what the presents were.  The dream centered solely around the two of us.  

We were walking around together in awe of how beautiful everything looked.  Then she took me into a separate room, just the two of us.  The only thing in the room was a couch, which we quickly sat down on.  After we sat, a slide show started being projected on the wall.  This wasn’t just any slide show.  My friend told me, “I have some special things for you.”  The slide show began and it was a variety of images of navy blue whales, the ones I dreamed of decorating our baby boys room in. We sat and giggled and watched them swim around on the screen.  

Next, she pulled out a bundle of cards that were all tied together.  I started to read through the cards, bawling my eyes out.  She was too.  I can’t remember anything the cards said, only that each one was to honor baby, Isaiah and his twin. We hugged and cried, her big belly all I could feel.  I took my head and rested it on her stomach, waiting for her baby to kick.  She smiled, and so did I.  It was a defining moment.

I woke up feeling like a bond had just been reestablished.  I felt almost like a different person.  I texted her that morning and told her all about my dream.  I told her how happy I am for her that she is going to deliver her baby next week, and that I love her, and am here for her.  Of course, she understood fully.  After all, she is my dear friend, who I went to high school & college with, who stood beside me on my wedding day as my maid of honor, and I on hers, who has been there through it all.

I am positive this dream had deep meaning to it.  To me, it represented acceptance.  Acceptance of what was, and is no longer.  Acceptance of what still is and will be.