Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Infertility: Balancing hope with reality

From our Winter Beach Trip this month
I'm so thankful for my first post without 'miscarriage' in the title. It will never be totally over, but thank goodness it's as over as it's going to get. I got my first negative pregnancy test on Jan 21st, cycle day 20, and for some reason expected to ovulate in the next few days. That hasn't happened, and it kind of makes sense. I think most people ovulate late after a miscarriage, if at all. I'm now on CD25 and I feel like my reproductive system has completely shut down. I feel absolutely nothing. No cramps, hardly any discharge, and not a twinge or anything. I'm hoping for a positive opk, but after my 12 week missed miscarriage I had a 44 day cycle. I think that's looking pretty likely.

Instead of being depressed about it, I'm seeing some positives. First, I'm doing great at the gym getting back into my pre-pregnancy fitness routine and really enjoying running. I was even able to do some sprints today. Secondly, I know it's a slim chance of getting preggo this cycle, but if I O late then we are getting awfully close to being able to have Halloween themed birthday parties! Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday of the year. We do a million community events and trick or treats the entire week beforehand. It would be so fun to throw a kid birthday party that week! I'd let the kids wear their costumes to it or maybe we'd get costumes just for the party and have a different theme each year. Would that be AWESOME?!

I know, I know, this isn't going to happen. I shouldn't get my hopes up, but it's tough to balance hope with the reality of infertility. With infertility, you learn that the perfect dates never happen. You play around with numbers so often and see anniversaries, holidays, and ideal age gaps between children up ahead and the potential for the perfect storm of numbers to strike with the next pee stick. But they don't. And yet, how do you do this without hope? How do you try and try for month after month without hope? The high's of ovulation and even BFP are nothing compared to the devastating lows of another month wasted, or another child lost. I don't know what else to do besides cheerfully plan for my Halloween baby, which would be the perfect time because it's my favorite holiday.  If that doesn't work out then I'll plan for my thanksgiving baby, which will be the perfect time because both my maternal grandparents have birthdays near thanksgiving. If that doesn't work out I'll have a Christmas baby, which will be the perfect time because I definitely need a reason to like that holiday more. When you're trying to conceive, then the perfect time to have a baby is NOW.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The 1 Week Mark

Super Positive OPK indicating my HCG is probably still high
Tomorrow, Friday, makes one week since I started to miscarry.  Honestly I was hoping I'd be a little further along in this process, but, overall I'm happy with everything. The scan Monday showed that I'd passed the pregnancy, and the Dr estimated another two weeks of bleeding. I was OK with that news, but the ultrasound wand initiated some cramping and it really never stopped. From Monday until this morning I've been in varying amounts of pain and needed Advil and sampled the hydrocodone I thought for sure I'd never take.  Finally, this morning I passed a rather large piece of tissue that I suspect was causing all the problems. I felt great right afterwards and decided to take a chance by going to the gym. I had a great, easy, 3 mile run and haven't had any more issues. I guess I got too excited, but I took an OPK this afternoon since I was out of HPT's. It was ridiculously positive. I think I have a long way to go before my HCG is back to zero!

My plan is to continue healthy diet and exercise until we can start trying to conceive again. I've started running again and I'm happy that it doesn't seem like I lost any fitness during the pregnancy. I was only doing the stair stepper and elliptical during that time to keep things low impact and I thought my workouts didn't seem as tough. I'm glad I'm still pretty much where I was. I've looked into different trying to conceive herbs and supplements to speed up this miscarriage process, but I think the lesson learned from my last miscarriage is that I kind of need to just let this happen. Last time I spotted for months and kept taking black cohosh to stop the spotting. Looking back, I wonder if it was actually causing the all the spotting.  I've always been a big believer in red raspberry leaf tea as a uterine tonic so I will continue to drink that like I always have. I'm also taking extra vitamin C and folic acid, but otherwise I'm just leaving this alone.

Emotionally? I don't know what to say. I'm glad I'm running again to possibly define my feelings further, but I feel very emotionless right now. I only cried at the Dr's office when we initially found out. I haven't gotten upset since then and I'm not sure there are any more tears to cry. I guess I just truly feel like that baby was never supposed to be here. I still love him, but I feel relieved that he's finally where he's supposed to be. I'm looking forward to becoming pregnant with a baby I'll actually get to keep. I'm looking forward to keeping a pregnancy long enough to tell my 4yr old about it and see how excited he'll be. I'm looking forward to seeing my 2yr old be a big brother. I'm looking forward, and I think that's the real reason I'm not that upset.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Pregnancy That Wasn't. My 2nd Miscarriage.

If I don't share belly pics now I never will!
Well, this shouldn't take long, or maybe it will, but I wanted to cover all the details of this pregnancy from start to finish. Partially to catch up any readers I have since I didn't formally announce the pregnancy on the blog, but mostly for my own documentation. This is the story of another missed miscarriage discovered at 8 weeks 5 days and at that time the baby had no heartbeat and only measured 6 weeks 1 day.

CD1 was 10/29. I was on metformin, prenatals, vit D, red raspberry leaf tea and baby aspirin. I took soy isoflavones CD 4-7 and also some vit E early in my cycle.  I'd been off alcohol and caffeine for almost 3 months, and off sugar and gluten for about a month. It was the first month we were trying and I really felt good about our chances because my cycle was more regular than it'd every been. I was using the clear blue digital OPK's and got a positive on CD18 and 19. We got the job done both those days, and on CD19 I swear I felt ovulation. It was a small explosion of pain on my left side, and it got less painful but never completely went away. The pain slowly moved across my abdomen, and on 9DPO I felt a burning in my uterus. I think I felt the whole thing. Unfortunately, we were out of town on thanksgiving so I couldn't test. But, I got a bfp when we got back late on 11/27. Thanksgiving day! I thought I'd react by flipping out, but it was really a quiet disbelief. Like, a whispered, "wow. I'm really pregnant. We did it!" It killed me, but I waited til the next day so tell DH with a card. He was excited and said he always knew I'd get pregnant easy. LOL.

Egg sac, yolk sac, and teeny tiny baby is above the Yolk sac
I only got 1 beta, done at 18DPO and my HCG was 452. My numbers are always way above average, well within the normal range for twins, so, for me, this was unusually low. I explained that away by thinking maybe it was a girl, or every pregnancy is different. The usual things pregnant women tell themselves.  I had a scan at 6w3d and the baby measured about 1mm, although one of the measurements was 1.2mm. We saw a barely flickering heartbeat that was so tiny the technician had trouble measuring it, but she did eventually get 90bpm.  Again, this wasn't reassuring. I was completely sure of my dates so it should've measured further. When I got home and compared my scan to some of the others in my due date club, it just didn't measure up. Even the scans from some of the women in their 5th week looked better than mine. But, again, I made excuses. The Dr had said things might be fine and I was happy trying to believe that even though I knew things didn't look great.
I know just bloat at this stage, but it was big!

Before my 8 week scan I began to worry about my lack of symptoms. It seemed like the 5th week had been the hardest in terms of fatigue, but that 8th week I was able to stay up til midnight every night and functioned fine the next day. My nerves began to really get the best of me. I think women in my due date club were a little fatigued by it. My posts were daily descriptions of how anxious I was and how I handled my anxiety that day. Two days before the scan I decided to announce my pregnancy on twitter. I'm so glad I did! Without them, I wouldn't have gotten any condolences at all because we'd told so few people about it.

On the day of the 8 week scan I could tell right away there was a huge empty amniotic sac. The tech zoomed away from it as fast as she could to get the other pics she needed, but I knew right away it was bad news. She confirmed that there was still just a fetal pole and yolk sac. No heartbeat. Still measured 6w1d. No development since my last scan. I thought that I had completely steeled myself for this possibility, but I totally bawled. I'm glad my husband was there this time. I had to wait forever for the Dr and by then I just wanted to escape that place. I felt like I could stop crying if we could just get out of there. Luckily, the Dr was very focused on the technical instead of the emotional and kept the appointment moving. I managed to keep it together while he was in there. He was very fair about presenting my options and completely accepted my decision to induce miscarriage with mysoprostal (cytotec) instead of getting the more popular surgery.

I came home, took the doses, and started bleeding. There was much less pain, and much less tissue than last time although I guess there's a big difference between 8 weeks and 6 weeks. It was over in a few hours on Friday, January 2nd. Saturday was similar to a light period and today has just been spotting. I bet I could get away with just a liner tomorrow, but I've learned it's better to overestimate protection. Tomorrow I have a scan to determine if the miscarriage was successful, and if it was then I'll just have betas until my hcg is zero. It sounds like a simple plan, but I'm always vigilant for complications.

The Dr said we could try again ASAP, without waiting for a period! I'm really surprised, and eager, and afraid, and, honestly, not sure I want to try again so soon. This means we could theoretically be getting a positive opk and trying again this month!  Aside from the thought of reliving the emotions and the intense anxiety I've been feeling the last two months, the thought of physically enduring another first trimester is unappealing in the least. This morning was the first I felt like myself in a long time. I was full of energy and took the kids for a nice long walk. I can't wait to get back on my Paleo diet and to get back in the gym.  We probably will try again as soon as possible, but I'm definitely going to enjoy this time between pregnancies as well.

A final thought since this post is already running on. It was January 2nd, 2011 that I completed my first miscarriage. 3 years later I completed my second one on the same day. I really don't know what that means. There's only so many days in a year and I guess the same things have to happen on the same day at least some of the time, but it's still strange. I like it, though. It means I only have to relive the anniversary of two miscarriages once a year instead of twice, and even though both babies had passed long before they were born, I still consider that day their birthday. I like to think that they share a birthday in heaven, and it makes me happy to think of them together up there with that bond already made.

That's more than enough for one post. Today I wrote the final entry in my pregnancy journal for this pregnancy, and now I'm finished with the blog post. I hope tomorrow the Dr says I'm finished with the miscarriage. I'm so ready to close this chapter.