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Writing about secondary infertility & trying to conceive after multiple losses in Gaman (a Japanese term of Zen Buddhist origin which means "enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity"). Also cooking, Phish, and parenting my beautiful little boy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I just realized that if everything goes absolutely perfectly - my cycle returns after only four - six weeks, I have regular ovulatory cycles again, we're cleared to start trying again basically right away, and I get pregnant the first cycle - I would be due in May.  The month I turn 40.  *huge sigh*  It's so hard not to get completely depressed about this fact.  I know many, many women have perfectly healthy babies in their early forties - but I'm just absolutely terrified now.  Well, it's not like this is new information, I was terrified before.... but now I will definitely be 40 or over if we are so lucky enough to conceive another child.  There are just so many risks that are so dramatically increased.  It scares me tremendously.  Anyway - this was a depressing realization today.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I feel like it's been forever since I've written in here.  I just have so many things I've been thinking and processing about all that's happened.  I've wanted to get it out of my head and written down for so long and I am finally sitting down to do it.

With my favorite beer, btw.  My first drink since getting my positive test.

Physically, recovery is going really well I think.  I only had bleeding for about a week - it's stopped now, I think.  I have had another couple blood draws.  I think I mentioned before that before the m/c (miscarriage) the level was 22,000.  A day after it went down to 3,000, and yesterday's draw was 276.  Once it reaches 0 my system should "reset" (I feel like a computer) - and that should bring on my first new cycle.  So I think I'm having good drops in my hormone levels - I'm happy about that.

As for the emotional recovery... it's going.  It's difficult.  But overall going okay I think.  I'm not denying any of my emotions about anything.  I'm just crying when I feel like crying when it happens.  I'm talking to my friends.  I'm keeping this blog.  I'm posting on forums.  I'm listening to podcasts.  Found a couple really informative ones, btw, here are the links from a very informative website on adoption and infertility, creatingafamily.org

Unexplained Miscarriage - 2009
Recurring Pregnancy Loss - 2010

I actually found them first on iTunes just by doing a search on "miscarriage" and the podcast came up.  But if you don't want to search through, you can listen directly at the links above. Although I am not at this time experiencing recurring losses, I thought it was really an interesting listen from a medically informative perspective.  And really would like to get a copy of the book they mention by Jon Cohen - Coming to Term: Uncovering the Truth About Miscarriage.

Anyway, definitely have noticed that now that the physical part is less of a concern my mind is wandering now to all the emotional parts.

Here are the broad level thoughts I've been thinking....

I haven't really cried that much about this loss yet.  I don't know if I will or not.  I feel a little confused about whether or not I'm just not facing emotions or if I just don't have a deep grief about it.  But I read and listen to others that have gone through a similar type of loss and I'm just not feeling the same level of grief that it seems like others have.  So I'm feeling a little like there must be something wrong with me or am I that "cold" of a person?  I don't think so because I am definitely not a cold person as far as I've ever been told!  So I've been thinking about this and really, really feel convinced that if I had actually seen a heartbeat - or seen anything distinguishable at all that I think I would be in a totally different place.  I actually don't feel like it was ever even a baby.  To me, the most that was seen was once out of the three ultrasounds that measured at 6w 1d.  Developmentally, I don't think that's even considered a fetus yet.  So I don't know the whys behind it and maybe it doesn't matter, but I don't feel like I'm grieving an actual baby.  Because it was never a baby to me.  It never got there.

But that's not to say I'm not feeling loss and grief on some level.  I most certainly am and as I said am just trying to let myself go through those emotions as they come up and not hold anything in.  And sometimes I wonder if there's something wrong with me because I don't seem to feel the level of grief that others seem to.  But then I think, no, I don't think I'm cold or insensitive - I just think I never connected with the pregnancy like it was my baby.  If I had seen a heartbeat it would be a whole different experience I think.  Or if this was more than this loss I think it would be different.  So here is where I am and I'm going to just accept where I am and go from there.

I'm definitely concerned about this cyst that they found.  I am hoping it's nothing at all since I know they are so common, but it's definitely something I'm concerned will hold up the TTC (trying to conceive) process.  There was something else I meant to write about this aspect and for the life of me I can't remember now...

But what I mostly want to write about is trying to listen to and be aware of what is happening around me and how things happened to try to get whatever "message" God might want to send me about whether or not we should try again.

And a few things have come to mind as I've thought about this and turned it over and tried to discern my intuition and instinct vs. just what I want (which is to try again).

One message that's come to mind a few times is, "Well just because you don't know what God's plan is, does that mean you're not going to try again?"  I mean if I am praying that I am hoping God's plan is to bless us with another healthy child, then if we don't try again then I'm not even giving Him the opportunity to fulfill that prayer.  But did I already give Him the opportunity?  Hmmm just thinking that last part now... but I don't know... there could be a million reasons I don't know that this is what happened.  So that's one thought I've been having.

Another thing is that I feel like the way my body has responded physically has been a really good sign.  I feel like my body did miscarry naturally and that feels like a big "sign" to me that my body is doing what it's supposed to do.  And that the way the timing worked out with everything - that it ended up happening on it's own the day before I was going to have surgery instead - I don't know, I just wonder if maybe that was God giving my body a "practice run" like I mentioned previously.  And the fact that my hormone levels are dropping as they are supposed to.  Those are all good physical signs so maybe that means something positive for the next time around.

So overall, I feel like right now we should try again.  We should give it another chance.  I don't know how many more chances, but one thing at a time.... at least one more chance.  So I really hope I am in the clear to try again ASAP.

Well, there has been much more that I wanted to get down but it's not coming to me now and I have to end this.

Oh that's right, that's one thing I was going to say about how it ended up happening naturally vs. the surgery. Turns out D & C causes a slightly elevated risk of uterine rupture in a VBAC situation.  So that's one reason I didn't want it also.  So that was another thing that I felt like well maybe that's a good sign that I should try again.... maybe the fact that I ended up not having to have the D & C means it's more likely I'll be able to have a VBAC next time.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Things happened so quickly and I haven't really had time or energy to update on what all happened.

I had the follow up ultrasound on Thursday and Friday found out that there was definitely no heartbeat.  In fact, she said that the report stated that they no longer saw what they had seen in the previous report.  So, this time there was no detection of even a fetal pole any longer.  The midwife explained it as the pregnancy could already be starting to break down.

It was terribly difficult news to hear, but I had known that it was the most likely scenario.  And I had been having cramps and starting to spot the tiniest amount, so the words she said were just confirming what I felt pretty certain to be true.  But I was still feeling the full weight of the news then since up until then there had still been this very, very small chance of hope.

She told me there might be a chance that I could have the D & C done that day.  I told her I wanted to call my husband to find out if it would even be possible for me to have it done that day.  When I called him and had to speak when he answered the phone... that's when I broke down more than I had at any other time.  I could barely speak the words, but I had to - I didn't want to speak the words.  I could feel myself forcing the words from my lips... I don't know how to describe it but it was really like trying to force my mouth to form the sounds to tell him.

After I muddled through the call to him we found out I couldn't have it that day anyway and it would be scheduled for Monday (today) afternoon.

The rest of Friday and Saturday I spent just generally depressed and talking to friends and family a lot.  Either that or lying in bed feeling badly and just waiting to see if anything would happen.

By Saturday evening I was officially starting to bleed and at some point earlier I had started to take 800 mg ibuprofen every six hours.  Even with that I was still in a good amount of pain.

Sunday morning I was having such terrible pain I knew there was no way I could even move and John was basically just getting me stuff all morning.  Water, iced tea, something to eat, heating up my "bed buddy" (a heating rice sock type thing).  Sunday morning progressed to heavier bleeding and just really, really intense cramping, then passing clots.  So, I knew that it was happening.  I don't think it was an emotionally difficult experience for me, probably for a number of reasons.

Big in my mind was that I knew I wasn't going to be able to distinguish an actual fetus.  As I mentioned before, I think it would have been a much more difficult experience emotionally if there had been more development than there was.

But also because I knew what was going to be happening.  I read everything I could about what to expect.  And spoke with others.  And asked the midwife a million questions.  I just knew it was all coming so I think that helped prepare me emotionally and mentally.

Physically it was extremely painful.  I couldn't believe how much pain I was in even with all that ibuprofen in my system.

Honestly, it may sound strange but I just kept thinking of it as a small, small inkling of what labor pains are like.  And I do remember the pain I felt in labor before I had the epidural with Simon at 7 cm.  And it was very, very close to being unbearable.  I was very close to calling the on call doctor and asking for some other prescription pain med to be called in.

But I kept thinking about it being like labor.  And I kept thinking of it like practice for when it (hopefully) happens again.  And I actually was really, really glad my body was doing this on its own.  Because I didn't want to go through surgery.  And I started to think that maybe this would be a good thing, a good sign that when/if I get pregnant again and go through labor that my body WILL respond on it's own and go into labor on its own.  Every time I felt the surge of intense pain I kept thinking, okay, well if you want to have a natural childbirth experience, this is a sliver of the pain that you will have to manage.  And when/if you go through this again, there will be a baby on the other side of it.  So all these thoughts were what was going through my head during the actual experience.

I think my processing the whole thing that way vs. some other way truly helped me emerge from this whole thing much stronger and in a much better place.

I need to end this for the moment as Simon is about to get up, but I have much more to write about what I feel like I learned from all of this.  And lots of questions that linger in my mind.

And it's going to take some time to heal that deep place in my heart that is still grieving behind all the other thoughts and physical portions of the experience.  I had to go to the grocery store today and there was a woman with her daughter who couldn't have been more than 9 months old.  She was absolutely precious and I had the worst time balancing my emotions of how much I just love seeing babies be so cute and happy and how incredibly, horribly sad I was that I felt like I lost my would-be daughter yesterday.  I smiled at her and made happy faces at her.  But all the time was trying to keep the tears from streaming down my face.  She was so cute, she smiled back at me and was obviously engaging with me while her mom put all the groceries on the belt.  I mentally sent her lots of love with all the smiles I could muster, but it was so, so hard not to just start bawling.  So I know it will be difficult to manage these emotions for a while.... but I am determined to allow the happiness take over the sorrow as much as possible... without denying my grief either.

Quick update

Process started naturally yesterday. Hoping I won't need the D&C today after all. Hopefully not at all. Need to call the dr. this morning and will find out. But I have had a lot of thoughts about all of this that I want to write about here. Just haven't been able to yet but will soon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

First the info about my blood work...

The hormone they were measuring was at 27 when they took my blood on Thursday.  The midwife had told me that she expected them to be above 10 for this stage of my pregnancy.  When they took my blood yesterday it went down to 22.  So, this was a decline which was what they were expecting.  That if my pregnancy was moving towards being a miscarriage we should see the levels declining.  However, I guess it didn't decline what they considered to be a lot.  I have no idea what's "normal."  But they said that sometimes at this point in the pregnancy the hormone level will level off and that the decrease that they saw wasn't truly definitive.

Next was some additional info about the ultrasound...

She said that when she looked at the ultrasound she did in her office and when she spoke with the technician on the phone who did the second ultrasound at the hospital, all indications were that there was no fetus.  However, upon further reviewing the actual images and file and report etc., they did see a fetus/embryo that measured 6w 1d.  They said it measured .5 cm from crown to rump.  This was pretty amazing to hear (is amazing the right word?  surprising, confusing....) since before I was under the impression there was nothing there at all.  There was no heartbeat however.  So at this point we would no longer call this a blighted ovum but a missed miscarriage.  However, since they did not know this before, they now want to do another ultrasound Thursday to check one more time for a heartbeat.  I will then have a follow up appointment Friday.  All indications are still that this is going to be a miscarriage.  But obviously we all want to be 100% sure not just 99%.

Oh, the other thing is that when they looked at either the gestational sac or the yolk sac, one or the other (or both??) was misshapen.  This concerned me greatly - she said that it could actually be a cause for why the fetus was not developing.  And my greatest worry was why did that happen!?!?  Was it just a fluke or was it something that might happen to me again?   Was there something about ME that made that happen??  She said no, that just because that happened this time didn't mean that it would happen again and that it didn't have anything to do with my not being able to have another healthy pregnancy.

As for how I'm feeling, I'm hardly feeling any nausea any more at all.  I had definite cramping last night and off and on today.  But I also know that I am definitely constipated and have had a lot of gas this whole pregnancy.  So it's really hard to know for sure, but I am fairly confident these are cramps indicating I will soon have a miscarriage. I have a ton of Tylenol (to take for cramping if I don't have bleeding) and a big jar of ibuprofen too.  If I start bleeding at any point I will feel confident in switching to the ibuprofen.  I guess I am prepared as I can be for a miscarriage to happen if it happens naturally.  If the results of the ultrasound on Thursday show no heartbeat I am sort of leaning towards having the D & C.  Not completely, entirely sure, but more sure now that I know there is actually something there vs. nothing at all.  I am still trying to weigh the risks vs. benefits about that.  But if I do decide to go that path, which I'm sort of leaning towards now, it would likely be Tuesday morning. 

As for fertility treatments/options etc.  We had an appointment originally scheduled for the end of this month, so we will have that appointment.  However, the midwife and the doctor she consulted with both agreed that an HSG would be unnecessary.  That is where they inject the uterus and fallopian tubes with dye and do an ultrasound to make sure there are no pathways blocked.  They said that since I got pregnant that this would be unnecessary.  That certainly was good news.  I don't want anything invasive I don't have to have.  Regarding sperm analysis, she said that we could go ahead with it if we wanted.  It certainly wouldn't hurt anything to do that but again that since we got pregnant that things were probably fine as far as that goes.

I think I would be scared to death if there were a heartbeat on Thursday.  Because what would that mean??  That would mean that development would be about two and a half weeks behind?  I'm sure of when I ovulated because of taking the OPK tests and all the tracking I did etc.  I just don't know what that would then mean if there WAS a heartbeat.  I would be terrified that I would have a baby not developing normally. 

Lastly, as far as the cyst they found - they will look at that again on the ultrasound they do on Thursday.  But they would probably be doing yet another one once the pregnancy was resolved and my hormones came back down to 0.  She said the hormones involved with the pregnancy could have an impact and wanted to wait until that was resolved before they made any decisions about how to move forward with that. 

So that's the news.  I just keep praying that I will be healthy again.  I don't know what else to pray for.  I pray that I make the right decisions about surgery vs. no surgery.  I pray that if they do see a heartbeat that I will somehow have a healthy pregnancy.  I pray that if I have a natural miscarriage that I will still be healthy.  All my prayers are just revolving around health because I don't know exactly what else to pray for because I don't know what God has planned. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fires, memories, blood and zerberts.

This month is becoming increasingly negative for me.

The 7th - 14th in particular so far.

I just found out last night that there is a large wildfire burning out of control extremely close to where I called home for five years.  And where my uncle who passed away a couple years ago lived since the 70s.  I am absolutely heartbroken and was looking on the web all day at updates about the fire trying to get information.

The High Park wildfire is close to Fort Collins, CO where I worked on a Master's Degree in Music Therapy for five years.  I never finished it, but that's an entirely different part of my life for another day perhaps. The fire is very, very close however to my uncle's former property.  It was within a few hundred feet from Mishawaka Amphitheatre, and I have a lot of special memories of both the Mish and my uncle's home.  It was a log cabin and he was the most mountainy mountain man you could imagine.

Here are some pictures of the Mish from their website...

This is how close the fire is the last I knew...

I've now just spent about half an hour looking for a picture of my uncle to share and am coming up empty.  Can't find the e-mail my brother sent me with all the snapfish or photobucket album address of all these great family photos.

So hopefully I'll find something soon and can post it later.  But imagine your stereotypical mountain man with friendly eyes and a big long beard and a big frame and a big heart.  He had shorter hair and was more clean shaven towards the end of his life, but I like to remember him a little wild looking.  He passed away too soon and suddenly, unexpectedly.  I don't think he was 60 yet.

The other anniversary which is the hardest of all is the death of my mother.  She passed away June 14, 2008 from pancreatic cancer.

Here is a picture of her and I when I was 25... 14 years ago!!!

So this is a pretty tough week.

Went to get my blood drawn again this morning.

Going to work in the morning then my appointment at about 2:30.  I imagine what she's going to say - that I will have a choice of how I want to handle things.  With or without some kind of surgical or medicinal intervention.  I don't know what I will want to decide.  I think it just depends on other information I don't have yet.

More updates tomorrow.

This might not be the most compelling blog or prettiest blog.... sorry if that's the case.  Hopefully it will get better lol :)

I also need to figure out a lot of things regarding how I want it set up etc.  Formatting and other things - but right now this is all I've had time for.

Oh, and must share a really cute highlight of the day.  Simon has learned to give zerberts.  And he's REALLY good at them.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

First post

I'm starting this blog to document whatever journey lies ahead for me.

My husband and I have been trying to conceive our second child since December, 2011.  I have had two positive pregnancy tests since then.

The first was positive on February 5, 2012 but five days later I started bleeding.  This was most likely a chemical pregnancy.  I only took one test so I guess there's a chance it could have been a bad test.  A few people in my life think that but I am not one of them.  Just the way pregnancy tests work - they detect the presence of a certain hormone that's there only if conception has occurred.  So, I believe what happened was that it just didn't go very far at all, not even to the embryo stage.

The second positive test I received May 4, 2012.  On June 7th we had our appointment to see baby's heartbeat.  But it was discovered I had a blighted ovum.  The gestational sac measured at 5 1/2 weeks.  This means that the pregnancy started but nothing was in the gestational sac.  No embryo developed fully enough to even be able to pick up anything on two ultrasounds.

So as of today I am waiting for blood work to confirm that this is not a viable pregnancy vs. the very, very extremely remote chance I just am truly only 5 1/2 weeks along which is truly impossible considering when I got the positive test result.  I will have blood drawn Monday morning, 6/11 and an appointment with my midwife 6/12 to discuss the way forward.  I expect I am going to need to decide whether or not I want to have a D & C procedure where they surgically clean out my uterus.  Or whether or not I want to wait to see if I miscarry naturally.  I have no idea at this point which I'm going to do.  I guess I feel like I still need to hold out on deciding anything until the final blood work comes back.  Which is just an awful feeling.

But strangely, I think the fact that there was nothing there, no development at all, kind of puts me in a better place mentally.  I don't feel like there's a dead baby inside of me like I would if I was actually further along.  I just feel like the cells never even developed into a baby.  So that sort of makes it easier mentally for me I think. But I am so incredibly heartbroken I can't even put it into words.

I don't even have time to put it into words really.

I'm just busy taking care of Simon and trying to carry on with life as normal.

But all weekend and all the way until I decide for sure what I want to happen I am feeling like I am in this waiting mode.  Every cramp that before turned out to be gas I now think, "Okay, is it going to happen soon?  Does this mean I'm going to experience the miscarriage now?"  I just don't know what my body is going to do. And I'm starting to wonder that if I haven't even had a bit of spotting at any time until now - when it's been so long that nothing has been growing - then  maybe my body won't miscarry naturally on it's own and maybe there's really no choice in the matter.

They also found a cyst on my ovary.  We are getting the pregnancy issues resolved first and then going to look into what, if anything, needs to be done regarding this cyst.  I guess I'm not overly worried because they are SO common.  But I'd be a lot less worried if there weren't such a strong history of cancer in my family.

One thing at a time.

Oh, the reason I called this the Milly Grace Gazette is because milliegrace used to be my anonymous screen name for lots of things for a long time.  It just had a better ring to it than anything with anitaflora.

Look forward to trying to keep up with this.

Look forward to hopefully one day writing about the pregnancy and journey of Simon's future brother or sister.  I really, really hope and pray God will bless us with another precious little one in our lives.  We are SO incredibly lucky to have such an amazing son, and if that's the only child God has in the plans for us, I still consider myself just about the luckiest mom in the world.  I know every mom feels that way though.  But I still will pray and hope that He might let us have one more to complete our family.