Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ectopic Pregnancy Confirmed

After waiting in the cushy lobby area of my RE's office for an hour and a half (thank God for home decorating mgazines and smart phones) yesterday, I was given the news that despite having 2 rounds of cytotec, and 1 D&C, the pregnancy still existed, and my hormone levels were still going up. My RE told me that, while the level was not going up as they would for a viable pregnancy, it was going up nonetheless, and firmly recommended that I accept an injectable medication called methotrexate. I agreed, and got the shots. How could I not? I have been strung along on this roller coaster of miscarrying a baby that never seemed to exist... at least inside my uterus... I wil never know where the real embryo ended up implanting. It was obviously not in my uterus. It could have been in my fallopian tube, as (95% chance of tubal pregnancy) would suggest, or, it could have been somewhere outside of my tubes, including my ovary, bowel or spleen. This is like an episode of the twilight zone! During my last ultrasound, on Thursday, the sonographer really looked hard. She was unable to see ANYTHING, ANYWHERE. I was certain my HcG levels would go down, and man, was I suprised when they had actually gone up. Incredible. Well, I am going to get stuck again on Thursday to check those HcG levels again. Cross your fingers that they go down if for no other reason than my sanity. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Miscarriage Continues

On Monday, I had my D&C. Mindi came to be with me and drive the car. Both of the kids were with her and so she brought "the secret weapon" aka our portable dvd player. It worked like a charm- my son has fallen in love with the Care Bears. Apparently, his favorite is "Share Bear" how cute!

I digress.

I changed into my gown and was introduced to the anesthesiologist. He was a very young and attractive guy- mid 30's with 4 kids of his own and very nice teeth. (What?! I am a teeth person!) Anyways... I was pretty relaxed during the prep for the procedure. I am the kind of person who likes to spread good cheer, and if I have a compliment to give, I rarely keep it bottled up. I kept thinking about how nice this guy's teeth were, but for some reason, I opted to keep the compliment to myself. We started talking about other things, and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery. It was a quick procedure- 20 minutes tops. After a few minutes and a bag of cheez-its, the anesthesiologist came in to see how I was. He didn't stay long, just a few seconds, and then he left. Then my RE popped in with a resident by his side. The resident was a little stud too! Young, attractive, and one of the nerd-chic kind of fellas that could totally make a bow tie look hot. He totally rocked his Clark Kent glasses. Strange I tell you- strange. After the RE told me that all went well, he left. I was just about to get dressed when I blurted out the the nurse- "wow, that anesthesiologist had really nice teeth". She looked up at me and chuckled- "I know, you already told him that"... Huh? Oh boy... the way she was chuckling, I kind of wondered what else I had come up with in my drug induced state!! No, really... I really wonder! :-O

All was well Monday and Tuesday. I wasn't really cramping at all, I didn't have a whole lot of bleeding either, and I was feeling really quite settled. Then, last night the story changed. I was doing a little painting to the ceiling in our office. Nothing strenuous, just cutting in the edges in preparation for rolling. All of a sudden, I got a sharp pain in my right lower back. The pain traveled around to my pelvis and down into my lady bits. Soon after that, it encompassed my entire lower abdomen. The pain was intense- shooting, piercing pain. I walked around the way I did when I was laboring with my children- panting, swaying, blowing air through my lips. I tried to go to the bathroom but the pain of sitting down was so much that I shot up immediately. Mindi was concerned. I was concerned. After I caught my breath, I called the doctor. He asked a list of questions to rule out certain things like UTIs and infection. He then told me to take 3 Advil to see if it helped the pain. He instructed me to call and come in the next day if the pain was still there. The Advil helped, and by the morning, the stabbing pain was replaced by extreme tenderness. I figured that the tenderness was due to the strain on the muscles the night before.

I get a call at about 9am from my IVF Coordinator, asking how I am. I tell her I am just tender. She quickly informs me that she wants me to come in for an ultrasound right away. Why? I asked her, surprised. "The lab was unable to find any gestational tissue from your D&C".

What. The. Fuck.

Ok... I quickly find care for my 2 kids with 2 different moms (Thanks Loren and Lica!!!) and rush downtown. They told me that they were now looking for an ectopic pregnancy. Now, that doesn't make much sense to me, but aparently ectopic pregnancies have been known to "throw off" alternate gestational sacs, similar to the one that they saw on my first ultrasound.

God Damn this is long. Maybe I should have stopped when I got to the part about the sexy nerd resident and the hot anesthesiologist with nice teeth...

The sonographer found blood in abdominal cavity (from what?!) but no tubal pregnancy, and no remaining tissue in my uterus. So trippy. Now I will be going back on Saturday for another blood draw. If my HcG levels go down, then we will play the wait-it-out game. If they don't, then they will have to assume an ectopic pregnancy that they will have to look harder for on ultrasound, or is potentially outside of my tubes and uterus. Man this sucks.

At least my anesthesiologist had nice teeth.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The News

This morning, after waking up, I snuggled with Harris on the couch. He is such a sweet boy with his mamas. He rolled over on top of me, lifted my shirt and kissed my tummy. "Good morning little brother or sister" he said in a sweet, yet completely serious voice. In that moment, I wanted to die.

We haven't told him yet that there is not a baby there. I might not actually tell him, but I feel guilty at the same time. He is so excited, but then I also think that because he is only 3.5, he probably wouldn't notice if the baby took an extra 2 months to bake...

Like many have said before me, I know that this miscarriage is not my fault. I know that there is nothing that I could have done or not done to change the outcome, but I can't help but feel like I have stolen something from my family. Like I took a gift away from Harris that I had just barely handed to him. It actually feels like the same kind of mourning I had right before Stella was born. The feeling that I was taking something away from Harris by adding another child to our lives. I mourned the loss of time and attention I knew he would no longer get, and as much as I knew how much joy a sibling could bring to his life, I felt like I was taking something away instead.

The second round of pills did even less than the first. I took them, and absolutely nothing happened. No cramps at all, no bleeding at all. To think- all of that good vicodin, going to waste. Tisk tisk tisk.

I have a D&C scheduled for Monday morning, bright and early. I just want it to be over. I just want to switch back from "damage control" to "optimistically trying to conceive".

Someone pass me the tissues, eh?

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Challenges Continue

I just couldn't shake what Kat said from my head. Misdiagnosed miscarriage? Me? Is it possible? I sat my ass in front of my computer and read for hours. I read over and over again that a blighted ovum is not really diagnosable until at least 8 weeks. I was only 6w 3d. I kept reading over and over that it is much more difficult to visualize early pregnancy via ultrasound in women that have a retroverted uterus (a uterus that tilts up and back towards the spine as opposed to forward over the bladder). I have been told over and over that I have a retroverted uterus. I read medical sites and message boards. I tried to make sure that I spread out my research over a broad spectrum of sites- not just those dedicated to misdiagnosed miscarriages. (Although if you are up for some interesting stories, I highly recommend the site http://www.misdiagnosedmiscarriage.com/). After doing all the research that I could, I came to the conclusion that, in my particular situation, there seemed to be a 50/50 chance that the doctor was wrong. But, I couldn't help but wonder if there was something else on that ultrasound that clued my RE into the immediate diagnosis of miscarriage due to blighted ovum. I knew, that as the patient, I only had the information that they handed me, so I called the office back that same night and asked the medical assistant to do some sleuthing for me. I wanted to know what other factors went into the diagnosis. She called me back late in the evening, telling me that she was still trying to gather some more information, and that she would call me in the morning, I really appreciated the fact that she called me, even to let me know that she wasn't done with the search yet. Now that is service, I say!

Yesterday morning, I got the phone call. She had taken the opportunity to sit down with 2 sonographers (the one that did the initial scan plus 1 more) and my RE to learn about their findings. On the phone, she reported back to me that the fact that there was no visible fetal pole or yolk sac, coupled with the fact that the gestational sac was measuring at only 5w1d (a full week and 3 days behind) were the telltale signs of a failed pregnancy. That was all I needed to hear. I know how important the measurements are so early in a pregnancy, and because we knew the exact timing of everything (due to it being an IVF cycle), I knew that it was what it was, and I knew what had to be done. I drove to the pharmacy, and picked up the pills that would help my body complete the miscarriage process.

I would be interested to hear from other women what their experience was using Cytotec(Misoprostol) for a miscarriage. So far, my experience has been much different than I had expected. After reading the literature that I was sent home with from my Doctor's office, I expected that I would stick some pills up my lady bits, wait a few hours, and then cramp and bleed profusely for about 4-8 hours, and then it would be done. After that I might bleed like a regular period for a few days, and then I would go in for an ultrasound to make sure it was all out. What I got yesterday, was totally different.

I took my first dose at 2pm, and my second at 4pm. I experienced very very mild menstrual like cramps for about 3 hours until 7pm. It was then that I started spotting and getting the chills, but for the most part, it was just piddly menstrual cramps. I thought for sure, by 7 pm I would have a rushing river down there. But alas- there was nothing more than pink when I wiped.

It wasn't until 9pm that I started getting contractions. The contractions continued every 15 minutes until about 11pm. Then they stopped. The end.

What? The end? What happened to the copious bleeding? Ummm someone forgot to send my uterus the memo I guess... Hey UTERUS! YOU HAVE A JOB TO DO! C'mon lady, we have got to clean it out so as to prepare to try again! Damn drugs. I changed my pad, laughing at the teaspoon of blood at most that was there. (Should I have offered a TMI warning? Yes? oh, well, sorry...) I put on a new pad thinking that maybe something miraculous would happen in the middle of the night. I popped a vicodin and went to sleep. I slept great heh heh.

This morning I called the Dr.s office again and told them of my experience. They called in another prescription and I picked it up right before lunch. It is almost time for my second dose, and I am still having no cramping and no bleeding whatsoever. I hope to God that this second try does the trick because I really do not want to go in for a D&C.

Has this ever happened to anyone else?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

No Fetal Pole

This morning I went for my first ultrasound of this pregnancy. I got undressed and up on the table. The sonographer came in and was quite pleasant while we chit chatted a bit as she prepared the ultrasound probe. I talked about my kids and how excited Harris was to have a new sibling on the way. She was taking some measurements and nodding to my stories. I didn't even look at the screen except for when she told me that I had a half full bladder that she wanted me to empty because it was impeding her view. I shuffled down the hallway, covered in my paper drape. Upon returning, she took some more measurements and I kept chatting away, waiting for her to tell me to look at something. After about 12 minutes, she pointed to something on the screen. You know, a blur, a blob, or a smudge. What I saw was a roundish circle. And that was it. She turned to me and said "I see the gestational sac but no fetal pole". "Oh, OK" was my response. She stood up quickly and told me to get dressed- that she would meet me outside. It wasn't until I got to the consult room that I realized what a fetal pole was. THE BABY! Basically, this woman had just told me that she did not see a baby in my uterus.

My RE came in and softly laid it out. There was essentially something wrong with the chromosomes of my embryo, and while it did implant after the transfer, the gestational sac and beginnings of a placenta continued to form, while the yolk sac and fetus did not. This is also (what I found out later after my own research) called a blighted ovum. After a deep sigh, I simply said "ok, what do we do now?" He explained my options. I could either
1. Wait it out and allow my body to go naturally into the miscarriage
2. Take a suppository that would make my uterus contract in such a way that I would expel the tissue within a few hours
3. Get a D&C performed

I am not into really invasive procedures unless necessary, so I new I didn't want a D&C. I also knew that, if this was really the end of the pregnancy, then I just wanted to wipe the slate clean, and be done with it, so I wasn't really into the whole 'waiting 2 to 7 weeks for my body to take care of business' bit. I opted for the suppositories. He saluted me for being a forward thinker, and thanking my lucky stars that we caught this situation early, as opposed to growing more and more attached to the pregnancy, and finding out later.

The medical assistant came in the the prescription and instructions. I thanked her and left, waving cheerfully at all the girls in the office that I have grown to know and like. Can you sense the denial here? I got to my car, and called first my midwife. I had to cancel the appointment we had scheduled for 4pm. The next call went to my parents. I had been speaking to my mom right before the ultrasound, and she wanted to know how things went. After that, I called Mindi's mom. I drove straight to the pharmacy. After dropping off the prescription, I called Kat. Supportive as always (as are all of my friends) she helped me talk it out simply to one last person before having to tell my wife, Mindi.

I got home. Mindi was smiling. I blurted out "there's no fetal pole". She didn't say anything, but the look on her face told me she thought I was joking when I quickly followed it up with "there is no baby". I sat on the couch, feeling drunk and exhausted, and explained it. We had a moment, and then went our separate ways in the house, as she had to go back to work, and I had to be a momma to Stella. I sat on the living room chair in a heap. Kat called me back. She started saying something..."...are they sure..... Dr. Google....maybe a mistake.....misdiagnosis....are you sure..." As much as I love Kat, had she been standing next to me in the room, I might have punched her in the shoulder. You know how it goes- your kid has a runny nose, you run to doctor google, and before you know it, you are convinced that your child has a rare form of hypothermia brought on by the breeze made by a rare bird's wing, last diagnosed in 1875 by some French Doctor whilst visiting Greece. Ok, a little exaggeration- but you get the point. I vowed to her that I trusted my Doctor, and that was the end of the conversation.

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Camping

Hot apple cider- the drink of choice for the newly pregnant...
We have gone camping a number of times, but this camping trip had to be the best by far. We invited a number of friends to come along with us, and it was simply delightful in every way. The different personalities all melded perfectly, and everyone had something interesting to bring to the late- night adult conversation. The kids all had a blast exploring and playing together, as well as peeing on everything that didn't move... The babies had fun rolling around with the big kids, the food was fantastic, and it seemed as though everyone had a part to play! If you have never gone group camping, I highly recommend it! We ended up having 5 kids and 8 adults. It was the perfect amount of people for the 3 beautiful campsites that we had. Any more, and it would have been too much I think.

My beautiful friend Kat



Harris applying sunscreen. What goes around comes around...

"Auntie Kat" with Stella


My favorite unscripted moment!


Our friend Ken, Anna (aka Kat & Anna!) Mindi and Stella

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Day at The Faire

Last summer, we packed up our family, and headed down to the Renaissance Fair! We had a jolly good time, and enjoyed all of the people in Renaissance garb. Mindi, being of... hmmmm... non- rambunctious spirit, doesn't especially enjoy dressing up. I mention this because while we were at said Faire, she mentioned on a few occasions that she actually felt out of place in street clothes! I was amazed. I was even more amazed when she actually asked me to make us all costumes for this years Renaissance Faire! Time sped by, as it always does, and the next thing you know, the Renaissance Faire is in a week and a half, and I have found myself needing to sew full costumes for 4 people- and on a budget!

It was the pure excitement that fueled my sewing all-nighters! Now, I must preface this by saying that I would consider myself a beginning/intermediate sewer- I now my way around my sewing machine, I love my serger, but I have only worked with a pattern once, and that was in junior high school. Lucky for me, (I guess) I didn't have a pattern, and instead relied on illustrations and general instructions that I found online. I have to pat myself on the back here, however, because I think that all 4 costumes turned out splendidly! First, I made my dress. It consisted of a "kirtle" or under dress, and an apron overdress. I trimmed it up with some trim and made a belt with some leftover fabric from the kirtle. It was BY NO MEANS an expert job, but I was proud to wear it! Next up, I made Stella's dress. It was a ridiculously simple A line dress with an elastic neckline. I then made her a little apron, bonnet cap, and a little brown pouch that attached to her apron belt for depositing bitty rocks into. Mindi's shirt came next. After 3 fittings, it fit her perfectly, and she kept mentioning how comfortable it was, which totally rocked my world. I made a similar shirt for Harris, but without a collar, and more little pouches for everyone! We geared up, suited up, drove an hour. braved the Burger King in our strange clothing, and then finally arrived at the Faire! We felt totally comfortable in our costumes, and a number of The whole time we were there we saw 1 teenage girl wandering around solo, playing a wooden recorder. For all we know, she could have just come as a patron. It was pretty disappointing. BUT I got some cute pictures of my kids! Wanna see?? Do you??? Well, I do lol.





He was imitating a pirate that he was watching in front of him!




Last year, this guy scared Harris to bits! AMazing how they change...


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Show the Girl Some LOVE folks!


Hello readers, my blog (and real life!!) friend Crystal asked me to post this because she needs help getting participants for her dissertation examining grief following the loss of a companion animal. If you or anyone you know fits the following criteria (either A or B) and would be willing to take a short online survey, please email her for further details. Thank you!


Group A)

You may qualify if you meet the following criteria;

  • You have experienced the death of a companion dog within the past 5 years.
  • You have attended therapy during and/or following that loss. (The therapy does not need to have been specific to that loss)
  • You are over the age of 18.
Please email Crystal at cagrief@gmail.com (for more information or to see a flyer click here)

Group B)

You may qualify if you meet the following criteria;

  • You are a therapist licensed either at the masters or doctoral level.
  • You have been practicing for at least a year.

Please email Crystal at cagrieftherapy@gmail.com


Thank you,
Crystal

Give it up ladies! This girl (Crystal) is one of the nicest people I know, and has been working far too hard for far too long to get stuck on her dissertation at the very end!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

About Being Pregnant

I realize that I very much glazed over the whole "getting pregnant" part of the announcement. As I mentioned before, I wasn't going to share at all until I was into my second trimester, but then I felt like I wanted my community (all you guys!) with me the whole time, then I regretted saying anything for some reason, maybe fear? (Of something? Who knows what?) Now I am back to being happy that I announced it. LOL Still with me here folks? Oh, the mind games I drag you through sometimes... I realized that it was important for me to share this part of our journey, if for no other reason than that this is, as I have mentioned before, my online diary for myself- with a public audience. Soooooo... Phew. That made me out of breath!

We did a frozen embryo transfer via IVF. I didn't really feel like it was a big deal- I wasn't jumping up and down with excitement each step of the way- not because I wasn't excited to have another child, but I would have to admit that, being 2 women, our method of getting pregnant is far more lack luster than other methods I can think of! Also, it is number 3. The first through 5th times we went into the doctor's office for our inseminations while trying to become pregnant with Harris were very exciting. We were all giddy with the possibilities, and every new appointment was full of wonder! I even remember being excited to be stuck with the big needles full of the HcG hormone. The novelty wore off pretty quickly after that, however, and getting pregnant had become just a series of doctor's appointments.

I was very stoked when the nice lady from the lab called t tell me that I was, indeed pregnant. After my sleepy haze wore off, I was drunk with excitement. The [hormone level] numbers, however, were on the low end. She followed that up by saying that it was not uncommon to have lower initial numbers (mine was 46) with a frozen embryo cycle. I kept myself pretty quiet about it since I wanted to wait until my next blood draw (2 days later) to see how much my numbers had gone up. She said that they wanted the number to at least double. 48 hours later, my numbers had about tripled to 161. I felt very relieved to say the least. My ivf coordinator requested that I go in for 1 more blood draw to check the numbers tomorrow morning, so Harris, Stella, and myself are going to trek on downtown again. I have my first ultrasound scheduled for 2 weeks from today! I feel relieved. In an effort to help it be more real I peed on some left over pregnancy tests that I had stashed away, and snapped a few token pictures of those beautiful, BEAUTIFUL positive pregnancy tests.

BEHOLD THE GLORY!


P.S. My hand and tummy are totally fine now. I had 100% plans to go to my doctor after a certain amount of time elapsed. Luckily for me, just before said time elapsed, my stings totally calmed down. Thanks for your well wishes and suggestions, and I will definitely be staying away from any wasps that I see! That is, of course, unless they stupidly decide to make their nest under the path of my lawn mower.... grumble grumble... 

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