Excitement v. Anxiety

We have some upcoming things in the next few weeks that I am super excited about! 

  • Hospital tour!!! 
  • Prenatal consultations with a few pediatricians 
  • 24 week OB appointment (viability!!)
  • Cloth diapering class 

After we accomplish the above items, we will start looking into childbirth/CPR classes to attend. 

While I am super excited, I am also anxious. But I am really *trying* to keep my anxiety at bay. I spoke with the midwife today about some of my current fears, like stillbirth. Knowing that my recurrent miscarriage history plays no role in this happening helps me some. Also, how uncommon it is. She did tell me it can of course happen, but to try and enjoy my pregnancy. So, I have started coloring again, and listening to my Circle + Bloom healthy pregnancy CD. I hadnt listened in about a month and it seems to help.

My anxiety has been up in other areas too, non-pregnancy related, like my safety. Just recently we got a gun, just in case God forbid someone breaks in or something.  Someone actually broke into our home that we still live in many years ago and we never found out who did it. I dont know what has caused my fears to resurface about this, maybe its my motherly instinct to protect my unborn child, who knows. Either way I feel better now knowing that I/we can protect ourselves if needed. 

Other news? 

I have gained about 20 lbs. total. My midwife seems to think I am right on track, but my MFM told me to “slow down.” LOL.  I mostly eat well, so there isnt too much more I can do. I gained majority of it during the first trimester. The cleaning ladies came today and commented about how much my bump had grown in the past 2 weeks. I hope so, I worry sometimes that he isnt growing as he should even though there is no reason for me to think this way. 

Here are a few bump pics since I havent shared on here in awhile!



Until next time friends! 

Annual OB Appointment & More

Today I had my annual OB appointment. The last time I saw my OB was right after our 1st FET loss last September and right before our 2nd FET last December. 

I have been seeing my OB since 2003, and I highly value her opinion. When she came in the room, she had that “I’m so sorry” look on her face when she asked me how I was doing. You see, I was just 2 weeks shy of my first OB appt with her before we lost our last baby at 10 weeks.  

We caught up on all that went down since, and debriefed on where we are at now in this process. As she called it “limbo.” She informed me that she will send over my results from today to my RE so she has the up to date info in her files.  They are strict about having these every year when it comes to transfers. 

On her way out she said, “It’s been such a long time, I dont really know what to say to make things any better.” I told her not to worry, we are keeping the faith, and our time is coming soon. She agreed and we wished each other happy holidays. 

I did get to ask her some really important questions since our most recent classification as recurrent miscarriers, which we did not have the title at our visit last November.  Here is a summary-

  • Since I had the LEEP procedure done with her back in 2003, and I have a history of RPL, my cervical length will be measured every 2 weeks between weeks 14-24 to ensure it is where it needs to be. So glad to hear I will be monitored super close through the second trimester. This eases a lot of my fears about my cervix shortening without any warning. 
  • I will also see a perinatologist (high-risk dr) throughout any future pregnancy I have. 
  • She does not feel I need to be on Lovenox during any future FET’s. Why? I miscarried BOTH with it and without it. It obviously isn’t the issue, plus I am only heterogeneous for Prothrombin, not homogeneous. 
  • She doesnt feel I should give up because of this Adenomyoma. If it shrinks, even a little, she said to do the transfer. She reminded me that plenty of women can go on to have successful pregnancies with fibroids/adenomyomas. She feels my RE just wants things as optimal as possible based on our history. 

I also hit up my family Dr. today. She has prescribed me a medication that will balance me out while on the Lupron Depot (a.k.a. Stop me from being completely crazy).  

This anti-anxiety medication is used frequently to treat women in menopausal states, which is ideal for my situation since that is exactly what the Lupron will be putting me in. Of course, it has absolutely 0 estrogen in it.  It will take about 3 weeks for it to fully kick in, and is not meant to be used longer than a few months at a time. I plan to use it throughout the duration of the Lupron (3 months), and go off it before another FET. My RE is good with this too, as there are no counteracting agents between the 2 medications. 

Overall today was a very good day! I saw 2 doctors, both of which are looking out for my overall well being, physically and mentally. I had some fears about my future, and they have been put to rest. Here’s to new beginnings! 

Survival List

How will I survive this upcoming FET cycle and all the “what ifs” that accompany it? That question has been heavy on my mind lately. I decided, being the Type A person that I am, that a survival list for when all the “what ifs” come up is in order.  

Creating this list and having it handy will hopefully help me remember what I CAN  do in times of stress & panic (at least thats the plan); that I actually have choices on how I react to “what ifs” and that I am not helpless.  As an IF & RPL victim, it can be hard to remember that at times.

  • Pray together 
  • Read our devotional together 
  • Read the bible together
  • Read “Expecting with Hope,” a claiming joy after pregnancy loss book 
  • Listen to uplifting music
  • See my therapist
  • Blog
  • Adult coloring session
  • Yoga
  • Circle + Bloom Audio CD session
  • Homeopathic anxiety drops
  • Red wine (pre-transfer)
  • Essential oil aromatherapy
  • Bubble baths
  • Acupuncture
  • Mind-fit technology program
  • Visit to mom’s house 
  • Walk the dogs
  • Watch a favorite Disney past time or comedy movie
  • Dinner with a friend 
  • Take a personal or sick day I have earned if I need it 

Well, at least I have some things to choose from if needed.  I am sure I will need this go-to-list regardless of whether we get a BFP or a BFN next month…each have their own set of fears that come along with them.  

Will post soon about my upcoming Hysteroscopy…only have a week of birth control pills left! 

The Plan

After collaboration between my OB, RE, and family Dr., the decision was made that I will not be on any anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds during a future pregnancy. I am OK with this decision. I trust the professionals and what they feel is best for me at this time. 

The bloodwork my Gastro Dr. ordered came back today. It was completely normal, with the exception of my elevated Bilirubin which is benign.  This being said, there will be no further evaluations needed in this area. 

  
The plan for our all natural FET will be as follows:

  • Make sure we get the “all clear” from our hysteroscopy scheduled in early Sept.
  • Day 3 ultrasound and bloodwork in late September 
  • Pee on OPK sticks starting cycle day 12
  • Go in for an ultrasound when we have the positive OPK, detecting LH surge, most likely on cycle day 14 
  • If ultrasound shows lining 8 or > and a follicle measuring at least 16mm, we will trigger that night
  • Start minimal progesterone supplementation 36 hours after trigger or 6 days prior to transfer (pretend retrieval day) 
  • Transfer 1 day 6 embryo 6 days after progesterone begins!! 
  • Bedrest for 48 hours
  • Pray for a BFP & a sticky baby due in late June 2016 ❤️

***As you can see, no estrogen, Lupron, or any of that jazz!!

I will also continue to see my therapist during this cycle. My goal for our upcoming session is to develop a plan for what we are comfortable doing beta and ultrasound wise should we get a BFP. It would probably be smart to devise a plan for a BFN as well. 

I am going to put a call in to my acupuncturist this week to start treatment again. Id like to get a package deal if possible, something they havent offered in the past. I was dropping $75 a visit and usually more than once a week for a few months. Ridiculous!  However, I love her and I know she knows what she is doing. It is also a natural remedy for my anxiety.  I have gone to my acupuncturist for all 3 of our transfers but only up until transfer day. I was always scared to continue after transfer, yet I read about you ladies doing it all time. I asked my RE about continuing after transfer and she said it was fine too. 

Please share with me your experiences with ongoing acupuncture after transfer! 

Decision Time

We have been praying for peace about which RE to go with, as we wanted to make our decision by the end of this week. Enough dragging it out already, we are ready to be done with this step and move on.  As you very well know (and may be getting sick of hearing about), we have been unsure of whether or not we wanted to stay at our current clinic.  While there are many things we love about them…Things We Love there are also things we don’t… Always Room for Improvement

Earlier this week, we met with the new RE ( New RE FET consult ), and he reviewed his plan for a future FET, the results of our HSG, and did a lining check where he saw the “something.”  I failed to mention the FET protocol he prescribed in my prior post.  I think I was too worked up about the “something”  to go into much detail at the time.  Anyways, he was not for a natural, a.k.a. un-medicated cycle.  His reasoning was that he feels that they can do better than I can do on my own. Hmmmm, I don’t know about that.

Anyone who has been following along knows we ideally want to be as drug-free as possible due to our negative experiences on the meds, especially the estrogen.  When I told him that taking it can feed the growth of masses he argued that my body is producing it anyways.  But if you ask me, the estrogen I am producing naturally is not the same as the synthetic stuff he wants me to go on that I have been on before.  So basically, the protocol would be the same at his place as it had been for our previous FET’s.  Although the protocol would be the same, the price is still $1,000 more than our current RE.

Today, we met with our current RE (where our 3 frosties are housed) for an ultrasound, and FET consult.  Going into the visit, we felt like it was almost a last ditch effort.  We wanted to see what she would want to do differently moving forward, if anything at all.  Many of you are aware of my anxiety, and a major fear of mine is how I would feel being at the same place in the same rooms where I have lost our 5 babies.  Needless to say, I have been carrying around my homeopathic anxiety drops, and I was pretty sure I would need them going here.  Heck, I needed them earlier in the week as I sat in the waiting room for the new RE so why would it be any different today?

We were greeted pleasantly upon arrival.  We know the staff very well, and it’s been awhile since I have seen them all.  Before being called back, the nurse handed me a rough draft of a letter that my RE wrote for us.  This letter was required for the financial grant we want to apply for.  Our paperwork (all 21 pages) is ready to go, with the exception of this letter. I asked for the letter a few weeks ago through email, and even though we weren’t sure which clinic we would end up at, I wanted to get the ball rolling just in case.  I know this may sound a little child-like or game-like, but I didn’t want to ask again about getting this letter after my first request.  I wanted to see that they would do it without being hassled for it.  I wanted to be handed it today, and I was. The nurse asked me to look it over, and if it was to my liking, they would sign it and type it up on letterhead for me.  I thought it was great…here it is…

  
About an hour into the visit, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized I had not felt any anxiety or any need for my drops. We started off with the ultrasound. I am currently in the Luteal phase after ovulation, when the progesterone my body naturally produces should have compacted my lining a little.  In other words, it wouldn’t normally look as thick as it had before or during my LH surge.  This made me nervous.  How much thinner would it be?  Well, the good news folks is that even compacted, it still measured an 8.5!  Talk about exciting.  Thank you, God!

The not so good news is that she did see the “something” in my uterus as well.  Although I don’t want this “thing” there by any means, it was additional reassurance that both her and the other RE are on the same page with what they see.  When two sets of eyes see the same “thing” at different times, you know it’s got to be “something.”  She also said she was not sure what it could be like he did.  Her recommendation was to do another Hysteroscopy to explore it.  I figured this much.  After loss 3, we agreed that before we ever did another transfer again we would do a Hysteroscopy before it anyways.

I got dressed and went into her office for the most important part–the plan for moving forward.  We started off the discussion with how I have been–my visits with my therapist and my family Dr.  She was very pleased to hear that I have been seeing Dr. G for therapy, as some of her other patients do too.   

Soon after, we jumped in to the protocol for a FET.  I thought I might be hearing things when she softly said, “I know in the past I have not been all for an un-medicated cycle, but I really feel like a natural cycle would be best for you now.”  Wow! What? I hadn’t even mentioned the thought of an all natural cycle to her in months upon months. My hubby and I both assumed she would hand us the same old calendar with the same old BC, Lupron, E2, and progesterone on it, but thankfully we were wrong; we didn’t even have to initiate the discussion of what we wanted.

Of course we asked her why she felt this way now.  She explained that based on how we have been tracking my lining it seems the best idea. My lining gets thinner on estrogen–the exact opposite of what it is supposed to do when on it during a cycle.  We have checked it for 3 consecutive months now, and it has been thick enough to be considered ideal.  When on estrogen, and we are talking aggressive amounts, it is thinner.  Plus, she agreed it can feed growth of masses and with our history it doesn’t seem like a good idea to chance it.  I cannot begin to tell you how elated we were to hear all of this. 

She went on to say that we are not the typical patients, and that what works for the majority isn’t working well for us.  In addition, she provided literature on new studies that are showing all natural FET’s are quite successful, especially for a patient who has already been pregnant off IVF each time they transferred (ME!).

We talked about transferring 1 embryo versus 2 and all agreed on 1 as the best bet at this point.  We conferred about who would do the monitoring ultrasounds should we choose to move forward, another important factor for us.  We would only be getting them done by the RE herself-no nurses. At the other RE’s clinic, the nurses would be doing them for us, not the RE. I should note that it’s not like we don’t trust the nurses at these clinics…we just feel that having the person who will be transferring that embryo looking at my uterus each time is better.  We did have a slight problem arise in the past that has influenced this way of thinking.  

Another topic of discussion was in what case a natural cycle could get cancelled. The great part about this awful thing (cancellation of a cycle) is that when it is natural, no meds have been wasted or much money spent at all.  Plus, the overall cost of an un-medicated cycle is much cheaper to begin with anyways (about half the cost of a medicated FET).

We sat down to look at calendars next.  We didn’t get the generic calendar handed to us that we have in the past.  Instead, we sat down with 3 blank calendars, August-October, in front of all of us. 

  
At the other RE’s we did not look at calendar’s, it was verbal, and I tried to input as much as I could into my cell phone as they told me dates.  Anyways, we compared doing a September transfer versus an October.  An October transfer was the only option at the other RE if we wanted him to do it, not any of his partners (the 6 partners rotate transfers and his week isn’t until October again).  We decided that September would be too soon for us, especially getting another H/S done beforehand.  This being said, regardless of clinic, October will be our month.  Yes, you heard me right, we will be transferring our future baby in October!

It could have only been God watching over us today.  As we sat and went through the dates and times for things, everything was falling into place.  I will barely miss any time off, and not by my doing; it just happened that way.  We do not have a “set date” for a transfer, something we hated having in the past and would still have at the new RE’s if we want him to do it. 

Since we are un-medicated, we cannot nail down an exact day until we get much much closer.  My body is in charge this time, not the meds.  We do have an idea of the 2 week time frame the transfer will be in, but that is all for now.

As we left today, we felt total peace and a sense of joy, just what we prayed for! Most importantly, we feel confident in our current RE’s hands as we move forward.  In no way do we regret getting a second opinion at all–in fact it has helped us to feel the confidence we feel today.  

As you can see, we have made our decision to stay where we are at.  We welcome all the positive vibes from our wonderful friends and family about our decision! We are so excited for what our future has in store– Jeremiah 29:11

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!