I Just Knew…

Two years ago I got pregnant with my first little one.  I was so happy and excited.  I downloaded the What to Expect App on my phone so I could track my progress.  I signed up for updates and emails from The Bump.  I even went as far as to purchase one of those maternity belly bands because my pants were getting tight.  We made announcements to our family and very close friends because you know that’s what people do when they get pregnant right?  They tell everyone!

It was also around this time 2 years ago almost to the exact day that I just knew something was wrong.  It was 2 weeks before we were leaving for vacation and I was getting ready for bed when all of a sudden I had this very strange feeling.  To this day I will never forget that feeling and it is hard to explain but I will try.  I felt like everything got really quiet, not just in my house but even my body got real quiet. It was like everything just stopped.  Then I just had this strange thought in my head saying “it’s gone, it’s over”.  And then just like that things weren’t quiet anymore.  It was such a strange, almost surreal feeling.

I quickly googled signs and symptoms of miscarriage and went down the list to see if I had any of them.  The most common: cramps…not one, bleeding…not a drop, back pain…nope.  I had none of the signs.  My boobs were still incredibly sore and I was feeling exhausted so my pregnancy symptoms were still there.  So I proceeded on and went on vacation the following but I still kept thinking about that feeling and couldn’t get the feeling that something wasn’t right out of my mind.

The week we came back from vacation, we had an ultrasound scheduled at 9 weeks…not because there was anything wrong but we had the opportunity to go early so we went.  We went to the hospital rather than my OB-GYN since it was technically a diagnostic ultrasound due to it being so early.  We were so eager and couldn’t wait to see our baby however the ultrasound technician made it very clear that she was NOT discussing anything with us and that she would just take the pictures and give it to the radiologist.  I would have to get the results from my doctor.  I thought maybe this was just a formality and she was surely going to show us our baby.  But no she did not…she took those pictures, told me to get dressed and that I would have the results from my doctor in 2 hours.  I remember I kept thinking “what results?”  It’s a picture of a human baby not an alien right??

At this time I noticed my husband was sitting very quiet.  I asked him if ge could see anything and he nodded yes but didn’t say anything.  So I said “well what did you see?!”  He told me that he saw a sac but no flicker on the screen which he remembered from his 2 daughters ultrasounds that he saw a flicker for the heartbeat but that maybe it was too early.  He saw I was getting upset and then apologized and told me he was probably wrong and not to pay any attention to what he said.  I tried to tell myself that yes my husband is dumb and has no clue what he saw or is talking about but I thought of that night before vacation and that awful feeling and I just knew.

A couple of hours later, the doctor called and told us that the ultrasound showed a fetal pole measuring about 6 weeks with no heartbeat and that I was supposed to be 9 weeks so this was not a viable pregnancy.  I just remember I kept saying that I had NO symptoms and maybe my dates were wrong and that’s when I learned a new term: missed miscarriage (A missed miscarriage is when the baby stops developing but you don’t experience any miscarriage symptoms and your body still thinks you are pregnant).  He advised me to come in the next day to the office to have an exam and go over my “options”.

We were in shock.  Everyone was calling and texting us asking how it went because you know we told everyone and now we had to untell everyone that there was no baby.  The next day we went to my Ob-gyn office and saw another doctor (I go to a large practice so I see a different person every time).  She examined me and went over our ultrasound results and then said that she thought it might be possible that maybe I am not as far a long as I thought and maybe I really am only 6 weeks which could be early to see a heartbeat.  She didn’t want to get our hopes up but wanted to make sure that it was not a viable pregnancy before we made any decisions.  I loved her…she was so bright and optimistic even though she looked twelve.  I didn’t care how old she was because on that day she was the best doctor in the world until she called 2 days later to tell me that my hcg level showed it was dropping.  And then the following week when we went for the follow up ultrasound and everything was exactly the same as the week before…no heartbeat…no baby.  We were devastated all over again and once again I kept thinking about that night before vacation which would have been around 6 weeks and how I just knew.

This was also the night before my first day of school which as a teacher I didn’t have time to have a miscarriage let alone miss the first day of school!  I can’t even tell you how I got through that first day with my second graders or really that week before of setting up my classroom and getting ready to start the year or the weeks that followed for that matter.  I had my appointment for my D&E the next day which was the 2nd day of school and luckily on a Friday.

When I think back on that time 2 years ago, I feel so many things.  Obviously sadness and pain but also a little jealous of my first pregnancy self.  I got to experience what it was like to get pregnant and be genuinely happy and excited rather than worry about how long this one is going to last or worry every day what the results are going to be at each appointment.  I am grateful that I got to experience all of that even though deep down, maybe even mother’s intuition…I just knew.

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My Four Legged Son: Otto

While I don’t have any human children of my own I do have a four legged dog son named Otto.  Otto is a pug and he is 12 years old and in my opinion just the cutest thing in the whole world.  For those of you who know me, you know that Otto is not my dog he is my baby.  I talk to him all of the time like he is a human and while he doesn’t say anything back I know he understands everything I say.  My husband thinks I am crazy and will often say things like “you know he is a dog right?” or “you know he doesn’t understand you right?”  And I just ignore him because he is foolish when it comes to dogs.  He never had any pets growing up so he doesn’t really get it.  But that’s ok because Otto loves him anyway despite his “I don’t get dogs” disability…see that’s the great thing about dogs they LOVE everyone and don’t discriminate!

I mean seriously how could you NOT love this face:

otto

I got Otto when he was a puppy and was just about 10 weeks old.  I will never forget when I first saw him and I just knew he was THE ONE.  I was deciding between him and another male pug.  The other pug puppy wanted nothing to do with me…he was busy playing with a dust bunny on the floor.  But Otto kept coming up to me and I remember looking into his big brown eyes and asked “are you Otto?” and he tilted his head as all pugs do when you talk to them as if to say “well of course I am who else would I be?”  And that was it, I paid $799 for him and he was mine.  From day one I treated him like a baby.  I even wrapped him up in a “puppy blanket”to bring him home because it was February and he was just so little and precious.  Even now at 12 years old he loves to be wrapped up in a blanket and held like a baby.  Every night I tuck him into his bed…again my husband just shakes his head.  But Otto LOVES it and is snug as a pug in a rug:

ottobed

 
AND that is his puppy blanket!
Sadly Otto was not my only four legged child.  I also had my little four legged girl Maggie who was also a pug.  We had to put her to sleep last summer due to her failing health but she lived to be almost 14 years old.  I adopted Maggie when she was about 4 years old and she was the sweetest little girl.  From day one she was always by my side and wanted nothing more than to be loved and treasured. And she was!

Here is my favorite picture of  Maggie (left) and Otto (right):

ottoandmaggie

For those of you who own dogs or other animals as pets, you know they are not just pets but members of the family.  Especially for those of us struggling with infertility, our pets are our “babies” and comfort us in ways that no humans can.  They know when we are sad and when we are happy.  They make us laugh and are by our side when we cry.  Otto and Maggie have been through so much with me and have always been by my side.  I was heartbroken when I had to say goodbye to Maggie and I will be heartbroken when I have to say goodbye to Otto (who btw is going to live forever).  I would like to honor our infertility fur babies and say THANK YOU for always being there through it all!

Here is one more of my favorite Otto pictures…he just loves playing opossum in the backyard laying in the sun:

ottopossum

Feeling Antsy…

I have been trying to think of the best word to describe how I am feeling right now and the only thing that I can think of is…antsy.  For an infertile, this is the feeling you most often get after you have tried something and it failed and you don’t really feel like doing anything because you are so tired of all of the poking and prodding and disappointment but yet you feel like you SHOULD be doing something.  Or maybe you kind of want to do something but not really but maybe you do and all that back and forth makes you antsy.

I finally got my period after 10+ weeks post D&E and feel how I always feel about my period…I am not really happy to see it but at the same time it’s arrival signifies a new cycle and new possibilities…maybe.  Dr. F recommended that we do a hysteroscopy just to make sure there was no scar tissue from the miscarriages or anything else going on since my last one last year.    So when I called to schedule it because as everything in the infertility world it has to be done on a CERTAIN day…days 9-11 to be exact.  They also wanted me to come in to do ANOTHER day 3 follicle count and bloodwork.  I am tired of bloodwork, my veins are tired of bloodwork and I am sure the nurse is tired of me coming in for bloodwork.  But off I went on Day 3.

Dr. F eagerly greeted me with a “So are we moving on to IVF??”  While I appreciate his enthusiasm, I still give my standard answer these days of “we’ll see” because it’s about as noncommittal as you can possibly be but yet still polite.  As I laid on the table waiting for my ultrasound, I got really sad looking at that f***ing machine.  I couldn’t help but think that I should be coming in for my whatever week ultrasound I should be on (honestly I have stopped counting the weeks that I would have been with this last miscarriage because it’s just too depressing) but instead I am looking at an empty uterus and my shitty ovaries.  Unfortunately things only continued to go down from here.  Dr. F informed me that my antral follicle count was 6 which I already know is on the really low side and almost half of what it was in January when it was on the lower average side.  On the positive side my FSH level was 8.4 so at least that hasn’t given up yet.  When I left the office I started to feel that awful infertility depression coming over me again…that pissed off, sad, angry, bitter, lost feeling.  I hadn’t felt it in awhile and I am attributing it to that damn ultrasound machine.  It can either be your best friend or your worst mother f***ing enemy.

Fast forward, to Day 9 and hysteroscopy day.  For those who are not familiar with this procedure…it is where they dilate your cervix and insert a small catheter into your uterus.  They then inject saline and a small camera so they can take a look inside your uterus.  It’s not too bad except for some mild cramping when they dilate your cervix but it only lasts a few minutes.  If you haven’t had one yet and you do end up having one I do recommend taking a look at the screen…I promise you will have a new found respect for your uterus. The worst part is when they have you spread eagle with nothing but a very thin paper sheet that barely covers you and you are waiting for the doctor to get started.  It’s so awkward…for everyone.

During the procedure Dr. F noticed an area of “junk”…yes those were the words he used!  Normally he is very straight and to the point and only uses proper medical terms.  So when I said he excuse me he proceeded to tell me it was probably leftover “matter” from the pregnancy and that most likely with my next cycle it would be gone BUT because there’s always a but…IF we proceed forward with IVF then they would need to do another hysteroscopy to make sure it was all clear.  WONDERFUL!  I also expressed my concern about my low follicle count from the previous week and asked at what point would they not recommend IVF?  He looked at me like I had 5 heads so I kept with my question as to how low was too low of a follicle count for IVF?  He told me “when it’s zero than it’s too low”

I left with mixed emotions. While I appreciate his let’s not give up until we have to attitude at the same time do I really want to put myself through all of that with such a low number?  He did say it varies from month to month and my body is still just get back to normal so it could be better next month. This is what also makes me feel antsy…all of the coulds, shoulds and maybes.  Nothing is ever just yes or no but I guess neither is life.  So for now, I am trying to be ok with antsy and all of the coulds, shoulds and maybes.

 

I thought this would be most appropriate for today’s post:

You think I'm a bitch? You should meet my uterus. #infertility humor

My Story and Welcome

If you are reading this you are either a fellow infertile, former infertile or a “sort of “infertile who isn’t ready to commit to that label just yet or you are a family member or friend of mine.  Regardless of who you are or why you came, I welcome you to my infertility blog with open arms.  I started this blog at the suggestion of my husband who thought it might help me to write about my feelings but more importantly to spread awareness and connect with others who are also on this crazy ride.  Being able to share stories, talk with others and just vent has been my lifeline on this journey.  Please feel free to comment, share stories or ask questions.  This blog is just as much yours as it is mine:)

Here is a timeline of our journey thus far:

January 2012- officially began “trying”

July 2012- got our first PREGNANT

August 2012- found out our 9 week ultrasound that our little one stopped developing around 6

weeks:(

September 7, 2012- had my 1st D&E

December 2012- got our second PREGNANT

January 2013- after weeks of bloodwork and ultrasounds it was confirmed I had a blighted ovum:(

January 3, 2013- had my 2nd D&E

February 2013- Began seeing our fertility doctor AKA Dr. F

March 2013- Clomid Challenge test…responded well so Dr. F recommended doing an IUI so we said sure!  IUI #1=fail

April 2013- all testing was normal BUT very low AMH level…official diagnosis: Poor Ovarian Reserve…my ovaries and I were not happy to hear that news!

June 2013- began injectable hormones Menopur for IUI #2 =fail

end of June 2013- had my first “meltdown” during my consultation with Dr. F to which he recommended I take a little break but offered to monitor me in a “natural cycle”

July 2013- got our third PREGNANT!

July 2013…two days later HCG levels confirm a chemical pregnancy:(

July 2013-October 2013- took a much needed break

October 2013- got our fourth PREGNANT!  Surprise!

October 2013…two days later another chemical pregnancy confirmed:(

November 2013- found an awesome support group through RESOLVE

December 31, 2013- Consultation with Dr. F who recommends IVF with chromosomal embryo screening but Aetna says oh no…you have to do 3 rounds of something else first before IVF and you have only done 2…BOOOOO!

****my insurance disclaimer: I teach in NJ therefore I have, according to Dr. F, “the Cadillac of fertility coverage!”  And yes I do feel VERY blessed to have this coverage and believe that ALL woman should have fertility coverage.  However this can also be a curse as it keeps you on this crazy ride for a lot longer than it sometimes should and makes it that much harder to know when enough is enough.  So I am not complaining by any means nor am I not appreciative but sometimes it just makes it harder to make the right treatment decisions.  Really Aetna I do love and appreciate you beyond words!***

January 2014- started another round of Menopur injectables for IUI #3=success!!  Our fifth PREGNANT!

February 2014- all looks good…HCG levels…fabulous!  4 week, 5 week and 6 week ultrasounds…fabulous!

March 2014- 7 week viability ultrasound…HEARTBEAT!  FABULOUS!!!

March 13, 2014- no heartbeat:(…not fabulous:(((

March 14, 2014- had my 3rd D&E

End of March 2014- started acupuncture and seeing my new Asian therapist

April 2014- genetic testing on our little one comes back showing an extra chromosome- trisomy 16

April 2014-present- I have no idea what we will do next…TBD

 

So this is where we are at now, that awful what the F do we do now? stage.  It sucks…

 

Some inspirational quotes that get me through and hopefully they will help you too:

You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it. #infertility #inspiration #hope

Dear God,      I've tried my best, but if today I lose my hope please tell me that your plans are better than my dreams.                                           #infertility. I am so close, though .... each day gets harder ...