Unhappy Anniversary

It’s been one year since we lost the baby. September 13 was the day we found out about her condition, and September 23 was the day of my D&E. I don’t remember many details about those 10 days, just the hours of crying and begging my baby to die before I had to have the termination. I didn’t go to work, or leave the house other than to take my daughter to daycare. I honestly can’t remember how I spent my days. I know I didn’t cry ALL day long. I must have watched TV, or maybe cleaned or did laundry? Those days are lost to me now.

I think I’m doing okay, considering. I still think about the what-ifs, and sometimes imagine what life might be like today if our baby had been healthy. She’d be about 7 months old, maybe starting to crawl and experiment with solid foods. I’m sure she would be laughing and grabbing at her big sister, who would love being the one making her squeal with delight.

It’s too devastating to think that way, though, so I’ll stop.

To mark the occasion, I just made my very last payment to the RE for the frozen embryo transfer that gave us this baby. For those not doing the math, that means that immediately after losing our baby, we received an unexpected bill for thousands of dollars. It nearly sent me over the edge. But it’s done now, so hopefully I can let it go soon.

Until the storage fee for our two remaining embryos shows up, which it will sometime in the next few weeks. I’ll pay it, of course, because I’m just not ready to get rid of them yet.

So, as I was saying, I’m doing okay. Not great, but much better than I expected. I’m more focused and productive at work. I’m more patient and engaged with my toddler. I’m going to the gym a couple times a week and in general making an effort to be more active. I’m glad it’s fall again, even though the season is now marked by this sadness.

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Seeing Pink, Again!

12 weeks

I really thought we were having a boy this time! But I’ve never been so excited to be wrong.

It feels strange to know this early. I realize some people know even earlier, if they tested the embryos before transfer. We found out early with C, too, but that was around 16 weeks. I’m not even in the second trimester yet. Almost, but not quite. If I believed in jinxes….

More importantly, the Panorama test result was low risk for Down syndrome, Trisomy 18, and Trisomy 13.

I feel like I can breathe a little easier knowing this information. I would feel even better if I could pick up the heart beat on my Doppler at home, but I haven’t had much luck. I heard it once last week, and I’ve tried twice more since then with no luck. I know it’s still early, so I’m not freaking out.

I met with my doula today, just informally. She was excited that I’m planning for a VBAC and thinks I’m a great candidate. (She used to be a labor and delivery nurse, so she knows a few things.) She’s also excited that I want to use Hypnobabies to help manage the pain. She had another client use the same program recently, and said it worked wonderfully. That makes me feel good!

For now, I’m focusing on names, and staying calm and relaxed.

9 Weeks

I know I’ve said this before, but all this waiting during the first trimester is pure agony. The last two weeks have felt like an eternity (which is a tired cliche, I know, but I’m tired, and cliches are all I have right now). My last ultrasound was fine, great even. I’ve had no more bleeding, no cramping. The only thing that has given me any real reason to be concerned is morning sickness that comes and goes. When it goes, I worry; and when it comes back, I’m only moderately relieved.

Finally, the day of my 4th ultrasound arrived, at precisely 9 weeks. I was nervous going in, needless to say, and even more nervous when I saw that my technician was the inexperienced one who did my second ultrasound and possibly got the measurements wrong. Again, it took her about 20 minutes to complete the ultrasound, and she had to have her work checked by an experienced technician before she could remove the wand. It was incredibly uncomfortable.

Fortunately, she let me know right away that the heart rate was around 169, and at the end, she let me see the little flickering heart beat on the screen. Later, I learned baby grew by 2 weeks 1 day since the last ultrasound, exactly 2 weeks ago. So, looking good! My RE officially released me to my OB, who I will see next week. I took my last estrace and Crinone yesterday, and plan to stop the PIO after my OB visit. Thank the gods!

I don’t know if it’s my age (almost 39), or the fact that I have a toddler, or the large amount of hormones I’m taking, but this pregnancy is kicking my ass in the exhaustion department. A couple nights ago I was so tired at 7:00 pm that I was actually a little lightheaded. I’m ready for my second trimester burst of energy!

With the bleeding and confusing measurements early on in this pregnancy, I’ve been hesitant to tell a lot of people. At the same time, I’m too tired and lazy to hide my already-visible bump, so it’s been a bit weird around people who haven’t seen me in a while. I can tell they want to say something, but are too polite or scared of being wrong. I think now, though, we will start telling more people, and letting ourselves believe this will actually turn out okay.

Oh, and the people who do know about this pregnancy are already referring to the baby as “he.” I have a boy feeling, too, but I can’t be sure if it’s because I kind of hope to have a boy, or if it’s actual maternal instinct. Time will tell!

After 2 Ultrasounds, Still in Limbo

Yes, that’s right! Lucky me, I’ve had two ultrasounds in the same week and I’m just 6 weeks pregnant.

In the wee morning hours on Tuesday (read: 1:00 am), I experienced heavy bleeding. Scary heavy bleeding, with lots of clots. I was sure I had lost the baby. I cried big, heaving sobs most of the night, in between rushing to the bathroom for another gush of blood, until my RE’s clinic finally opened and I could speak to a nurse. By the time I made the call, the bleeding had slowed to spotting. The nurse worked fast and within about 30 minutes, I had an appointment for just a few hours later for an ultrasound and blood work.

The ultrasound showed a gestational sac measuring 5w6d. I was 5w4d, so that was good. My progesterone was over 30, which was great, and my hCG was 6340, which according to the good ol’ Internet, was a 77 hour doubling time. This, I am assured by the Internet, is normal for this stage in a pregnancy. My wonderful RE was very reassuring that many women bleed like this and go on to have healthy pregnancies. I also heard many stories of hope from friends on social media. My thoughtful RE let me keep my already scheduled ultrasound for Friday (today) instead of making me wait an entire week for follow up. So, I left the hospital in pretty good spirits.

Today: Lucky me, I got the newbie ultrasound technician. It took her forever to get the images she needed, and then she had to have someone check her work. What should have been a 10 minute scan turned into 30. (My scans are done locally, then sent to my RE, 200 miles away.) When I finally got to speak with the RE, she had mixed news:

  1. The gestational sac was actually SMALLER today that it was on Tuesday, BUT a yolk sac was present and the whole thing looked beautiful.
  2. My hCG from Tuesday, with the 77 hour doubling time, was NOT her idea of a good rise.
  3. She could see a less than 2mm SCH, which explains the bleeding from Tuesday.

The RE said the conflicting measurements could be a simple matter of different ultrasound technicians. I know that this early, things are so small and it’s easy for measurements to be off. Still, I worry that she wouldn’t tell me exactly how much smaller it was. Is that even possible, to have a shrinking sac, yet have a yolk sac appear when there wasn’t one before? And I’m not happy that she’s not happy with my betas. HOWEVER, I can’t help but think that if I had not had the bleeding episode on Tuesday, today’s ultrasound results would be awesomely positive, especially compared to this stage in my last pregnancy, when we couldn’t see even a yolk sac at 6 weeks.

So, I’m left not knowing how I should feel. Part of me is confused and worried. The other part is hopeful. The only thing to do now is wait another week for another ultrasound. My RE said another beta was not necessary, as it wouldn’t change our wait-and-see approach.

 

 

FET Results

My apologies, dear reader. I’ve been holding out on you. Despite my best advice to others, I tested early. Really early.

Three days after my transfer, I felt two very strong stabbing pains in my uterus, about 20 minutes apart. It was like nothing I’ve ever felt before. I couldn’t help but think, Implantation? I dismissed the idea as ludicrous almost right away, but it lingered in the back of my mind. Two days later, I decided to take a test (that’s 5dp6dt, for anyone keeping score). After all, I had 20 “internet cheapies” at my disposal. What’s the harm?

Faint positive. But definitely positive. 

Of course, I’ve tested every day since, and the line has only gotten stronger. That fact didn’t stop me worrying, though. Worrying that it might be a chemical, and come beta day, it would be negative.

Then beta day arrived. Today.

405

Huge sigh of relief.

There are more milestones to pass, as you know. Second beta, probably a third, first ultrasound (last time it was at 6 weeks), second ultrasound, as many ultrasounds as my RE wants/needs until releasing me into the wild, first OB visit, screenings, etc. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I tend to get WAY ahead of myself, and usually all the worry is for nothing. But I’m going to do it anyway. What? You thought I was going to learn from my past behavior? Ha!

 

Schrödinger’s Box (FET update)

It’s 24 hours before my FET. I’m sick to my stomach with fear. Fear that none of my embryos will survive the thaw. It’s an unwelcome turn of thought, as, just a few days ago, I was imagining myself crying happy tears at seeing 2 beautiful pink lines on a test, and crafting ideas for an announcement to friends and family. I’m trying desperately to recover those happy thoughts, but I can’t find them anywhere. I’m on the verge of tears. I can’t concentrate on work. I keep running through all the scenarios:

a) None survive the thaw. End of our family building journey.

b) One survives, is transferred, but doesn’t implant. End of our journey.

c) One survives, is transferred, implants, but results in early pregnancy loss. End of journey.

d) More than one survives, one is transferred, remaining are not able to be refrozen. Negative pregnancy test. End of the road.

e) More than one survives, one is transferred, remaining are re-frozen. Negative pregnancy test, but another transfer is possible next cycle.

f) More than one survives, one is transferred, remaining are re-frozen. Pregnancy achieved, but results in early loss. Another transfer possible.

g) One survives, is transferred, and pregnancy is achieved. Healthy baby born approximately 9 months later. End of family building journey.

h) More than one survives, one is transferred, remaining are re-frozen. Pregnancy is achieved. Healthy baby born approximately 9 months later. End of family building journey, except that we have to decide what to do with our remaining embryos.

I know it doesn’t do any good to obsess over the possibilities. Whatever is going to happen, will happen, and soon. Deep down, I know that whatever happens, I’m going to be okay. If it’s the end of the road, I’ll find a way to cope. If I get pregnant, a whole new set of fears will emerge, and I’ll cope with those, too. But, for now, I’m staring down at Schrödinger’s box, terrified of opening it, but terrified not to open it. (Does that mean I’m also in Schrödinger’s box? Kind of like those nesting Russian dolls. Nesting Schrödinger’s boxes?)

Stuck

For the past month, I’ve been stuck at the same weight. That’s actually the good news. The bad news is that it’s because I’m largely out of control (again) with my eating. Obviously, I’m not as out of control as in the past, otherwise I would have gained weight. But it’s still rather upsetting for me. Things were going so well, and then I started cheating a little here and there, adding in an extra snack (or two or three), or ignoring portion sizes. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.

Part of it is the anxiety of my upcoming FET. It’s still more than 2 months away at this point, but I’m already on edge. My husband and I gave it the old college try during (what we thought was) our last natural cycle before I started birth control – no temping, but I did use OPKs – and of course I didn’t get pregnant. In fact, good old Aunt Flow showed up just 7 days after I ovulated. Nice, huh? The nurse had instructed me to notify her when I got my period in March, which turned out to be March 1. I assumed I would be starting birth control at that point, but the RE said I couldn’t, that I would be on it for too long before my baseline, which could cause me to become too suppressed.

So, we technically have one more try to make a baby the good old fashioned way. But I don’t want another try. It’s too stressful. Besides, my LP is pretty much nonexistent at a whopping 7 days, so even if one of my lazy ovaries released an egg, and even if that egg were half decent, and even if that egg managed to navigate through my mangled Fallopian tube and meet up for a party with the hubs’s sperm, and even if the two combined in a chromosomally normal fashion, it wouldn’t stand much of a chance in my stupid, trigger happy uterus. But then I feel guilty for not wanting to try, because I know some couples would kill for the chance. And, hey, who wouldn’t love to save $6,000? Sigh.

I suppose I should just stay focused on my weight loss journey. That, at least, is a much more realistic goal. I just have to get myself unstuck.