Monday, December 3, 2012

Recovery: day 33

The interweb is a really big place. But Google has gotten really good and it is getting increasingly harder to stay anonymous. And though I have no issues with any of you knowing who I am, I don't want to be found. I can't imagine someone from work reading what I've written. Never mind my IRL friends or my husband. Not when I write about such personal stuff. This is *my* place and I only want to share it with people I feel safe with.

Part of it was my name. I was using my real one. And with a spelling like mine, it was just too specific. Too easy to search. So for the last few days, I've been scrubbing my blog. Names, pictures, and any identifiers have been deleted. What was especially hard was deleting any comment that referenced my name. Your words of compassion and support have kept me afloat in all of this. They are not deleted from my heart though, please know that. I didn't touch my story- that remains fully intact.

I didn't want to make this blog private because I don't want to loose my connection to this community. Not when I get so much strength from it. And not in the off chance my journey can possibly help someone in the future.

So from here on out, you can call me Tutti. There is no special reason for this name, it just makes me smile. It also sounds like a name ascribed to someone that smiles a lot. And maybe she bounces more than most. I need to return to that. I miss smiling and bouncing.

All this to say that I'm not going anywhere. I'm just going to be a bit more careful. I'm just going to bob and weave as those Google tendrils branch out. Bob and weave.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Recovery: day 29

I am here. I'm just traveling again. As my last post insinuated, I am home. "Home" being a squishy word.

I've been going through some really difficult things lately. Things that I have not been able to post about yet, but hopefully will soon. The other day I was with my mom; the tears were falling fast, my body was weak, and everything just felt so... big. My mom pulled me to her and I ended up falling asleep with my head in her lap while she stroked my hair. I felt like I was three years old again. So loved. So safe.

The door has opened. Now I just have to step through. It's just that that first step is a doozy. And I'm terrified.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Recovery: day 20

I'm having a hard time seeing the clearing through the storm. Sometimes, it just feels like I'm going to drown out here.

Cristy sent these socks to me when I was losing my last pregnancy. Not only did I feel the love when they arrived, but I couldn't shake the feeling that there was something more. Remember those signs that hit me upside the head sometimes? I feel like this was one of them.

There is no place like home.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Recovery: day 16

I had my post-op checkup yesterday. When I arrived at my clinic, the receptionist said "Hey Tutti." I don't even need to tell them my name anymore. And in truth, I haven't for a while. It's cool when you are a regular at a restaurant and the waiter sets your favorite drink down in front of you without even having to order. Not so cool when everyone at your fertility clinic knows you by first name. Although, who am I kidding, they are familiar with more than just my first name (hello-everyone-in-the-greater-metropolitan-area-has-seen-my-pink-parts).

The other significant thing that happened within the first 30 seconds of walking into my clinic yesterday was perhaps the true explanation behind everyone knowing my name. I watched as the receptionist stood up to grab something. I actually saw her arm dip from the weight of it. If I had to guess, it probably exceeded the 10 pound mark. I stopped, it registered, and then I asked, "Is that my chart." It was. I am now one of those  patients that you can give pitying looks to solely based on the girth of her medical records.

The irony of yesterday being my first due date and seeing my all too empty ute on the u/s monitor was not lost on me. But I held it together and didn't cry. For about 5 minutes. Then I let out big ugly sobs when Dr. D asked me how things were going. At least I wasn't already tear streaked before she walked into the room this time. Baby steps.

Apparently I'm recovering nicely from the D&C. I can't say that I didn't have niggling fears about having these two surgeries so close together. Scarring is always a potential issue, as are things like punctured organs, and left over 'material'. But my RE has mad skillz and things are back in order again. Or are they?  <--see what I did there? I know this post is long and that is a hook to get you to read to the end. #trickygirl.

While Dr. D scrutinized my barren womb, she talked me through what she saw. "Nice thick lining Tutti," she said "and it looks like you are..." we finished the sentence in unison, "ovulating". I already knew that I was. I'm a good infertile and analyze my TP all day, every day. And the night before there were tell-tale signs. If nothing else, I've gotten very in tune with my body over the last two years.

Want to hear the kicker? I've got two nice follicles growing: 16mm and 17mm. One on each side. Let me remind you in case you've forgotten, I'm not on any meds. Not that I didn't know it wasn't a potential given my family history, but I thought my sister was the only one lucky enough to have the natural twin gene (I have uber delicious twin nephews).

Clearly my body really wants to have a baby. It's throwing double follicles on its own now. But, the writing is already on the wall for those two beautiful orbs. I'm benched. Again. For at least two cycles. And truthfully, it'll probably be even longer (a story for another time).

However, I'm very confused about something, After my u/s I had bloodwork: Tsh, Hcg, estradiol, and progesterone. My nurse called with the results yesterday afternoon. After hearing them I hung up the phone, completely befuttled.
  1. My progesterone came back at 2.20. And since it was above 1, my RE feels that I have already ovulated and can expect my period within the next two weeks. But... umm... we just saw two follicles sitting pretty in my ovaries not 5 minutes prior. Huh? 
  2. And, my Hcg came back at 55.18. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that you can't cycle until your Hcg is back down to zero. Double-huh? 
You'd think that a girl with a chart the size of mine would understand this shit by now. But I don't and I'm *really* not in the mood to consult Dr. Google. He's a liar anyway. Maybe you self-proclaimed science geeks (yes Cristy, I'm looking at you) or others with more knowledge than I, can enlighten me. Any guesses to what is really going on?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Due date #1

I didn't have the heart to keep with my regular titling scheme today. Because this isn't a day about where I am in my cycle or what is going on with me, it's about our first little one. The one that should have arrived today.

My first pregnancy is difficult for me to explain. I was just shy of 6 weeks when it ended. And because pee-sticks are the devils spawn (and like to throw false negatives at me even at 14dpo) I didn't know that I was pregnant until a full two weeks later. Which meant that I was only aware that I was pregnant for four days before my beta started dropping. But it was four days that I knew, for the first time in my entire life, that was pregnant.

I'm not as bonded to this first one like I am with the other two. It's difficult for me to say that because my first  pregnancy is still very significant to me. There were no ultrasounds to monitor growth, no sounds of a heartbeat thumping away, and there were very little, if any, dreams of the future. The only thing I did allow myself to do was look up the due date. Which of course, is today. It stung when it ended but I didn't cry or grieve- I was just quietly sad.

But with that sadness there was also new hope. It gave me reason to believe that I wasn't totally broken and that maybe, just maybe, Mike and I could actually conceive. Up to that point, we hadn't known if I could even get pregnant. My unexplained infertility diagnosis stuck, but it allowed us to look to the future a bit more optimistically. In a twisted sense, it was movement forward.

I will forever be grateful to my first for giving me a renewed sense of hope. It was something that I needed very badly at that time.

One of the challenges with today is that I shoulder this memory all by myself. I find it hard to not play the what-if game. Because if that baby had survived, everyone would be gathered around me with support and love. Everyone would be rejoicing in this new life. But instead, no one remembers. No one except me. This is one of the many difficult aspects of miscarriage; it is forgotten. Though maybe this is part of our role as mothers- to never forget.

So today I remember my first, my little unknown soldier, and the gifts that it gave to me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Recovery: day 14

I'm lucky in that my fertility clinic is amazing in so many ways. It's clear that Dr. D cares very much. As does her staff. I get calls to make sure I'm healing and bad news (and good) never comes from a stranger. I'm also lucky that I usually don't have to wait for test results or call backs. I don't have to fight to be heard. I have access to my RE through direct email and her personal cell phone. My clinic is open on Saturdays and Sundays. I don't fit to their schedule, they fit to mine. I feel that these people are in this fight with me. They are just as invested. Not from a numbers perspective, but from their hearts.

A few days after my D&C my phone rang. I was expecting it; I'd been looking for that restricted call on my caller ID for days. The only bad thing about not having to wait, is that this kind of news rips open wounds that are still trying to heal. But I suppose, this happens even when you have to wait. There is no amount of good in hearing bad news.

I already knew that it this was going to be a chromosomal issue. The large yolk sac said so. What I didn't know was what caused it. But this time it was me. It was my egg. An extra chromosome 22 and totally incompatible with life. It was a very conclusive answer. I'm starting to understand what it feels like when the fault lies squarely on your own shoulders. Our infertility issues never had an answer. Unexplained infertility doesn't lay blame. Our last loss was due to a bad sperm but I never, for a second, was angry with Mike. It was just bad luck. And though consciously I know this is how I should look at it this time around, it feels very different. My baby was defective because of me. It didn't survive because of me.

The test results brought other news too. News that I knew would hurt regardless of the answer. Finding out the sex of a baby at only 8 weeks in utero is never good. It's information you should only receive during an ultrasound at 18 weeks, with smiles and chatters of prom nights or sports games. Anything earlier means something went very, very wrong. Dr. D didn't offer this information when she called, but I asked for it. There was a pause, I closed my eyes, it stung like hell. It was male. We've now had one boy, one girl, and one little unknown soldier. We've achieved, and lost, everything.

The necklace I purchased after my last loss brought me quite a bit of healing. It is something tangible that allows me to remember. Something that doesn't get filed away in a memory box or brushed under the rug because it's too hard to talk about it. I wear it constantly and often find myself holding it when I need strength. It's the perfect symbol of my little girl. I needed to do the same for this one. Something a bit different but that honors this last pregnancy just the same. Something to remember my little boy. It's ironic that such tiny symbols represent the single biggest events of my entire life.


I'm trying to heal. And I am. With each day- I am healing little by little. But damn am I tired.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Recovery: day 13

The day we found out we lost the heartbeat, I was standing at the bus stop on my way to meet Mike for a Broadway show that had been scheduled months prior. Being out in public was hard. People flitted by, laughing and all dressed up in their Halloween best. I looked down at my very un-festive outfit: jeans and a light gray sweater. I stuck out like a sore thumb. I thought about how this journey has ruined so many holidays that were formerly filled with so much joy. And how I now have new associations, each tainted by my infertility. It's unfortunate that bad days now seem to outweigh the good.

The bus was late. Traffic was bad. I leaned against the building under the weight of the D&C I had scheduled for the next morning. At some point I looked up (something I've struggled to do lately).

I'm not very religious. If there is a god, he hasn't been very kind. But sometimes I feel like there are signs. I don't know from who or from where, but they always seem too perfect to simply dismiss. This happened after my last loss too (which is a story for another time) and left me trying to catch my breath. But that day when I looked up to the sky and saw a fluffy white heart floating there, it was difficult to rationalize away. Maybe it was coincidence, maybe I was reading into it, or maybe it was there for a reason. Regardless, I will carry it with me.

It may have seemed that I've fallen silent lately but I promise you that I've read every word that you all have written. I've been traveling for work and commenting from my phone is infuriating and ultimately proves fruitless. I'm back home now and eager to resume my regular habits.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Recovery: day 6

A brief interruption from our regularly scheduled doom and gloom:

Today is a very important day guys. VERY important. There are big things on the line and a lot of potential risk. There have been enough posts (et hem: Stupid Stork said it brilliantly HERE) about the issues at hand that directly affect most of us in this community, so I won't repeat them again. But we have a rare opportunity to speak ladies. We deserve to be heard.  We deserve the right to safely expand our families.

Mit, get the fuck out of my ute.

The T-shirt is a bit outdated but we're going for the same exact thing as we did four years ago. Ms. Brown wore it proudly to the polls again today. She was disappointed to find out that she didn't make it on the ticket though. Her platform was 'More cheese for all'. A great pitch for sure, but I don't know if anyone outside the neighborhood canines really cared (which unfortunately don't make up a large voting pool). Well, I guess I cared too. I love cheese.


I'm proudly voting a straight liberal ticket today. I'm doing what I think is right. However I know that there are other choices available that you may believe are just as right. Love goes to anyone that votes today- no matter which dot you fill in. I just ask that you do it wisely.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Recovery: day 5

The D&C went as well as something like that could go. I'm still sore and bleeding but slowly mending. Physically at least.

I just want to thank you all again. Your comments, emails, texts, gifts- all have given me that push I need to make it on to the next day. I firmly believe that this community is like no other in the world. The amount of support and caring has been overwhelming. I've found myself suffering from insomnia these last few weeks and often find myself at my computer in the dark hours of the morning, knees tucked to my chin, reading and rereading all your compassionate words. As the glow of my computer screen illuminates my tears, I imagine the embraces that you've all sent. It helps with the pain until sleep finally finds me.

I missed a big day the other day. Last Friday was the year anniversary of this blog. I wanted to write, but my friends were here and I was doped up on vicodin for most of the weekend. So though I'm reflecting a few days late, the sentiment is still the same.

This time last year I was nearing the end of a tww after my first IUI and 3rd round of Clomid (which turned out to be a failed cycle). I was scared and trying to protect my tender underbelly with anger and distance. I was asking the 'why me?' questions. I was stomping my feet at the universe like an angry little girl. But for as scary as that time was, I had no idea how much more brutal it would become in the following months.

Not one of us that is still enduring infertility ever thought we would still be here after so much time. In the back of our minds we all thought that this road to hell would have ended by now, the pain rewarded with a dream come true. Instead, these last 365 days have brought pain bigger and more devastating than I ever knew existed. I never imagined that in a year I would lose three pregnancies and two babies. Then there are the other casualties: injured friendships and family relationships, lost travel and work opportunities, tens of thousands of dollars spent on doctors/ IF treatments/ medications/ therapy/ acupuncture with zero return, emotional crisis after emotional crisis, physical hardships, depression, and a broken marriage.

This year has left me permanently scarred. I am so very different from the person I was just a year ago. I feel like I've been beaten and abused. For a long time I fought back, bared my teeth and used my claws to defend myself. But eventually it became too much. After almost two years of cruelty, I'm left hunched in the corner wondering how many more blows my captor has in him. I am weak from all the pain and grief. And instead of wondering hopefully where I will be a year from now, I cower at the thought of the future.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Standing still, again

There was no heartbeat today. Appears that it probably stopped a few days ago.

As much as I was trying to prepare myself for this, the extreme 24-7 morning sickness gave me a little hope. I suppose it was just lingering hormones. Or maybe Halloween's ultimate trick.

The D&C is scheduled for tomorrow. I'm familiar with the process. I'll wear my yoga pants and favorite sweatshirt; the one where I can pull the sleeves down over my hands. I'll ask for extra blankets to bury myself in as I wait my turn. I'll cry as they put the IV in my arm and then even more as they fit the mask over my face. Although I'm prepared for it, I don't think this is something you ever get used to. If anything, the pain becomes even more intense.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

8 weeks, 0 days

I'm exactly where I was when I lost my last pregnancy. The significance of this day is not lost on me. If I find out on Wednesday that we still have a heartbeat, this will officially be my longest pregnancy to date. Ironic that it is the unhealthy pregnancy that lasts the longest.

I'm not looking forward to this week. Actually, I have a feeling it's going to be an all time shit-fest.
  • Wednesday: Followup u/s with Dr. D. As I see it, there are three possible outcomes: 1) No heartbeat and grieving escalates 2) Slowed heartbeat and prolonged waiting for the inevitable end or 3) Continued "normal" heartbeat and more agonizing over the 'what if's' and, of course, more waiting. Yeah, no good options in there. 
  • Thursday AM: Appointment with the fetal development specialist (if we get that far). For some reason the idea of seeing this doctor scares me to death. I also hate going to new doctors- the fear of the unknown is daunting. What if their super-powered u/s machine shows me something I don't want to see? Though unlikely, this thought plagues me. 
  • Thursday PM: Remember my friends that found out they were pregnant exactly as I lost my last pregnancy? (No? You can read about it HERE). They are flying across the country to stay with me for 4 days (the trip was planned 6 months ago). Since my last miscarriage our friendship has struggled quite a bit. There has been a distance that has never been there before and I don't know if it is my fault or theirs or a combination of the two. I'm just dreading the thought of seeing my friend's partner's swollen belly for days on end. In my home. I have weird fears about their visit too. Like, I'm worried that if she voices one little pregnancy complaint, I will be down her throat. Or, that she will unconsciously cradle her swollen belly with her hands. I don't even want to hug her at the airport because I don't want to touch it. It sounds crazy, but this is where I am at. If hotels in our area weren't $300/night, I might have asked them to stay elsewhere. But they are, and so I can't. I'm not going to be able to handle this gracefully. Truthfully, I don't want them here. It's the worst timing imaginable. But I'm stuck and have to get through it somehow.
I fired my therapist, Zsa Zsa. My appointment last Monday was the final straw: 
  1. I was talking to Zsa-Zsa about how hard it has been for me to relate to the rest of the world. I used an example of a friend of mine who texted me a few days prior. She was venting about her horrible day. It turns out her three-year old twins were going through a "phase" and she was beyond frustrated and angry. I found it impossible to text back any kind of support because, the reality of it is, I would cut off both my arms to have her problems. When I finished, Zsa-Zsa turned and angrily scolded me: "Tutti, you have NO idea how hard it is to raise children. You have NO idea." I sat there shocked. I couldn't even manage a reply. And though it's not right of me to play the Pain-Olympics, it also wasn't right for her to reprimand me for voicing my struggles in therapy. I shut down for the rest of the session. 
  2. I realized that though Zsa-Zsa has been a sympathetic ear for the last eight months, she hasn't helped me. I have asked her a number of times for ways to cope and strategies to deal with all this grief and pain. But there has been nothing except the advice that 'time will heal'. Gee, thanks. 
  3. At the end of the appointment Zsa-Zsa said, "I know you said nothing is really helping you right now, so would you like to cancel your appointment for next week?" Way to support a girl in crisis. Talk about feeling abandoned. So I cancelled my appointment next week. And all future appointments. 
Now I have to find a new therapist. 

I realize what a horrible place this blog has been. Looking back, there are few (if any) upbeat posts over the last several months. This place has been consumed with sadness, fear, pain, grief, anger, and sadness (deserves to be mentioned twice). And truth be told, it is not chronically this bad in real life, this is just where I feel safe voicing these feelings. So it becomes a dumping ground. However, I hope that at some point there will be light and happiness too. Maybe even some hope (don't want to get too far ahead of myself though). I just want to thank each of you for sticking with me. I know it's not easy to read and I know how difficult it is to find the right words to say sometimes. But with each comment that is left, I feel the support and love. And it helps so, so much. I gather so much strength from you all, strength that is so badly needed right now.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

7 weeks, 4 days

I find it difficult to post lately. Not because I don't want to, but because I don't know where to start. I guess I'll just start with the concrete stuff.

My u/s yesterday was everything I hoped it wouldn't be: it provided no answers and no end.
  • We still have a heartbeat. It is on the lower end, but still within normal range at 109bpm. When Dr. D flipped on the sound, I was wholly unprepared. The sound of that little heartbeat made me cry big, rolling tears. It sounded so... strong. So alive. It made me feel insanely guilty that I had gone into the appointment wishing only for silence. 
  • CRL almost doubled from Friday, although still measuring a few days behind. 
  • Yolk sac size reduced only very slightly from 9mm to 8.5mm, which is still in the highly concerning range.
Dr. D recommended that we go see a fetal development specialist. It's never good when your specialist refers you to an even more specialized specialist. She doesn't think that they will be able to give us any additional answers since I'm still so early, but they have more powerful u/s machines so she wants us to at least try. She also wants me to ask them about the Materni T21 test if I make it to 10 weeks. This is the blood test for downs syndrome, trisomy 18, and 13. I scheduled this appointment for next Thursday but I fully expect to have to cancel. My next u/s with Dr. D is Wednesday. I just can't be optimistic enough that we'll make it that far.    

I (politely) forced Dr. D into giving me odds. She said that her best bet is a 75% likelihood of this not working. Which in many respects is much better odds than even last week. She must have read my mind because she quickly followed with, "Do not get excited Tutti, things are still weighted heavily against you". I appreciate her honesty. Even if this baby somehow makes it, what are the chances that it will be a healthy baby? I don't know what to do with that. My head tells me to continue grieving because there is no way this is going to work. But the what-ifs play on my heartstrings when I'm asleep at night. I just can't handle the back and forth. So I tell myself that it is only a matter of time until this pregnancy ends and try to manage this mind-fuck that way. I don't know any other way to do it.

To add insult to injury, my pregnancy symptoms are increasing. As they should, because I'm technically still pregnant. Queasiness, fatigue, vivid dreams, sore boobs, frequent peeing: all symptoms I'm familiar with from previous pregnancies. However the one I'm struggling with most is my sense of smell. It's like someone gave me a bonus super power. The scent of burning frankincense from the church 3 blocks down and through closed windows wakes me up each morning. The smell of the shampoo as my husband takes a shower is entirely overpowering. I smell the dirt when I walk outside and I live in the middle of the fucking city. It's insane really. I feel honored to experience these things, but resentful that it won't result in what I want more than anything in the entire world.

This whole thing is just really, really hard.

Monday, October 22, 2012

7 weeks, 1 day

Scene: A bright spotlight shines on Universe as he walks out from behind the curtains. He holds his hands up in the air and the audience quickly hushes. "Intermission is over. Please take your seats folks. There is a lot more to this show yet!" 

I'm exhausted. I don't want to write this post. I don't want to do anything really. But at the same time, I feel the need to update. So fair warning, this will be a dumping of events and that is all. It is all I am capable of right now.

Friday I went into the clinic for my last u/s so that we could finally schedule my D&C. For the most part, I was ok. I wasn't weepy or angry. I was just anxious to move forward. It was appropriately silent during the u/s. So needless to say I was wholly unprepared when Dr. D, very tentatively, said that she found a heartbeat. It was tiny, but it was most certainly there at 105 bpm. I swear at that moment I felt something snap in my head. I felt like I was going crazy. How was this possible? I'd already started grieving the loss of this pregnancy. How much more back and forth could I possibly take?

I measured a few days behind, but more concerning was that my yolk sac was still quite large. I had previously refrained from researching this because I figured it didn't matter- it wouldn't change the outcome. Confused and overwhelmed, I asked Dr. D to be honest with me: what were my chances? She said that she was quite worried and that when she had seen situations similar to mine, more often than not, they hadn't ended well. However, in my head that still left room for a tiny, tiny bit of hope.

When I got home I assaulted Google. To not, would have been naive. I needed to know what was going on. And this is what I learned: 1) A yolk sac measuring over 5mm was considered "enlarged". Mine was 9mm. 2) This was indicative of a chromosomal abnormality 3) This was bound to end in miscarriage. It wasn't really a matter of if, but when. I found two or three anecdotal stories from random 2006 chat rooms where women had slightly enlarged sacs (6mm) which ended in live births. However there were 100's of bad stories to counter each good one. Even more conclusive were the scientific papers. That is when my tiny, tiny bit of hope was snuffed out. Again.

This is no longer an anembryonic pregnancy. No, now there is a tiny baby with a tiny heartbeat. My pregnancy symptoms are growing stronger. The spotting (ironically) has stopped. All this, yet I know how this is going to end. I head back on Wednesday for a followup. I know that there is a good chance that the heartbeat will have stopped by then. And if it hasn't, I'll have to wait even longer. Can you imagine? Just hanging out waiting for your baby to die? I can't. And I'm living it.


Note: I know there are some of you that are still hopeful. That some still believe in miracles. But I don't, not anymore. I'm not asking you to not be hopeful, just please don't voice it to me. I need to face the facts and grieve my third loss for the second time. I can't manage to get through this any other way.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Standing still, Day 4

I've been feeling very numb the last few days. It's not like I don't know what is going on. Diagnostically I know what happened. I know what the next steps are and that none of it is good. But it has all been processed from a distance. No tears. Just going through the motions. Because I knew once those floodgates opened, there was no going back. I just wanted to delay it for a bit. To not feel like such a disaster for once.

But standing in the shower yesterday morning, I felt it creep in. I curled up on the shower floor and wept. The water didn't wash away my tears, nor did it drowned out my sorrow.

I have my husband. I have my close friends. I have my mom, my family. Dr. D and my nurses. My therapist. The women in my Resolve group. I have you guys. I've shared my story with so many people. I've talked about my feeling ad nauseum. I've written about them at length. I think that I somehow rationalized that if I gave lots of different people tiny pieces of my pain, that it would lessen my own. I was trying to unburden myself. I attempted to spread it out. To thin it.

But I've finally realized that my grief and loss are mine alone. I can't deposit these feelings and then run from them. They shadow me wherever I go. And they are as thick as molasses.

Physically I can do this. I know what I have to do and what the process is. I will go through surgery. Listen to the test results. Sit in Dr. D's office and figure out our next move. I will continue to wait. I will force my body to go through the motions, and it will obey. But emotionally I don't know what the process is anymore. I keep following the same track and when I find myself in the place I started, I don't know what else to do except continue back around. I'm going in circles and it's not working. I can't keep doing this, it's eating me alive. How do you stop the loop? For the life of me I can't figure it out.

I couldn't bare the thought of waiting until Wednesday for my next u/s. And then even longer for the actual D&C. I broke down and called Dr. D yesterday. I was ready to beg and plead to be seen earlier but I didn't have to. She told me to come in this afternoon and that we could schedule the D&C for as early as possible next week. Which is good because I started spotting this morning. I need this horror show to end.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Standing still, Day 3

I'm writing about this in the hopes that: 1) I might find someone else who has suffered from this and 2) Perhaps I can help someone by writing about my experience. If not today, maybe someday in the future.

At around the age of 14 or 15, I started having these, episodes, for lack of a better word. My mom had them too, which made me feel less alone and more understood. For years neither of us had a name to put to it. All we knew was that about once every year or two, seemingly out of the blue, our bodies would fail us. One second you would be sitting there working at your desk, or cooking dinner, and the next you would be on the ground, experiencing the worst stomach cramps you could possibly imagine (my mom said the pain is worse and more intense than going through unmedicated child birth- which she did twice), and slipping out of consciousness. Which, is always welcomed relief from the pain. However, waking up drenched in sweat and unable to see/hear/speak is terrifying on a level I'm not able to put into words. Within a few minutes of regaining consciousness you feel like you were on the loosing end of a bar fight: your stomach left aching and your body devoid of all energy.

For years doctors shook their head at my mom and me. "General anxiety" was often thrown down on our charts as the culprit (it was *not* anxiety). Finally, after tapping my mom's medical books and much Googling, we found a possible diagnosis. To my surprise it didn't have the words "insurmountable amounts of pain" included its name. Rather it sounded quite innocuous: Vasovagal Response. Symptoms fit perfectly, except both our reactions were 1000x more severe. This thing is not supposed to be life threatening, but for both of us it seems to be. My mom has had episodes that have triggered grand-mal seizures and mine, at least once, landed me in the ER where they lost my pulse for a least a few moments. Thankfully it doesn't happen often, but I live in fear of this thing.

With all 3 pregnancies I noticed that, at times, I would get quite dizzy when I stood up. It never bothered me much because I've always had low blood pressure and though it seemed to be happening more frequently, I was no stranger to having to hold onto a wall to stop the room from spinning. Last week, I stood up from the couch and along with the intense dizziness, I lost my sight. I just, couldn't see. I quickly fell to all fours and waited it out. Though a bit more dramatic than most dizzy spells, I tried to chalk it up to not drinking enough water. However, I now think this is part of the Vesovagal response. Just a much, much more mild form.

Two nights ago, the same day I found out that #3 wasn't viable, it happened again. But on a level that far exceeded anything that I had experienced to date. It came on strong and fast. I just, I don't even know how to explain it, I collapsed on the bed with what sounded like blown speakers in my ears, drenched in sweat, finding it next to impossible to form a single thought, while feeling my heart bottom out on me. I felt intense pain but not from anywhere specific. It felt like, I was dying. Not figuratively, but literally. I felt like it was too close. Too real. For 15 minutes I laid there, too weak and disoriented to grab my phone that was just 2 feet away. And wishing I wasn't all alone.

This time was very different than the rest: no stomach cramps, no loss of consciousness, and lasting much, much longer with a reaction much more severe. Eventually I started coming out of it. I called my husband so that he could call 911 for me if I did pass out (not cognitively being with it enough to realize that if he called 911, it would be for a dispatch in the wrong state). After about 45 minutes, I felt stable enough to get off the phone. Despite being exhausted, I didn't dare close my eyes for the rest of the night.

All of these years I've never been able to pin point a trigger except for one time when I was about 30 years old and I had an endometrial biopsy (for what I now know is my luteal phase defect) which triggered my most severe reaction up to that time. But other than that, I don't know when it is coming or what provokes it. However, I do believe that the severe dizzy spells and this latest episode were caused by my pregnancies. Viable or not, I have the hormones in my system. And it's been too consistent with timing to blame it on coincidence. I also know that stress can be a trigger. I wasn't stressed when I was 14 years old or even when this thing landed me in the ER, but I am now- and I'm sure that doesn't help.

I will talk to Dr. D about it, but I'm not sure there is anything she can do. No doctors have ever offered any solutions, and quite honestly always seemed as if I was over reacting. I don't know what this is or what it means. For me. My future. And any future pregnancies, if there even are others. It just seems to be getting stronger. Or perhaps the triggers are stronger.

Reading this over it almost seems too fantastic to be true. But every word of it is real and honest. I'm terrified of this thing in me. My body is broken in so many different ways.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Standing still, again

I walked out of my RE's office with a box in my hands. A box I am all too familiar with, stamped with bold blue typeface: PRODUCTS OF CONCEPTION.

I don't even know what to write anymore. What new words can I find to describe what it feels like to go through yet another miscarriage? My third this year.

I don't think there are any.

The yolk sac had grown a little, which apparently isn't a good sign. But more importantly, there was no heartbeat. With tears in her eyes, Dr. D said she was 99% certain that this pregnancy would not go any further. I have an u/s next Wednesday to make 100% certain. Then, we'll schedule another D&C. Get more genetic testing. Mourn one more loss.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cycle 19, CD 44 (26 DPO)

After my last beta, they scheduled me for my first ultrasound. Based on my LMP,  I should have been 6 weeks yesterday.

I was working on getting to a calmer place mentally but facing that first ultrasound gave me quite a bit of angst. First, because I still have those last u/s images swimming around my head. As crazy as it sounds, I felt like it was going to be a scene out of a horror movie where I saw a dead 9 week old fetus instead of the tiny blip of a 6 week old embie. Crazy, I know. But those are the tricks my mind plays on me. Secondly, Mike is out of town on business. So, I was going to have to this all by myself. Que panic.

But I didn't have any choice so yesterday I put my big girl pants on and marched myself into the clinic.

Dr. D and my favorite nurse S innately understood my anxiety. They were both holding their breath along with me. I was mostly ok until that probe was finally in. Those first few moments of silence when your doctor intently studies the monitor and you frantically study your doctor's face in attempts to figure out if it is good or bad news, is almost too much. It's probably only a few seconds, but I could hear the blood in my ears, my heart thumping out of my chest. It's a dreadful moment.

We did see a gestational sac. And a yolk sac. And what looked like a teeny grain of rice floating in the abyss. But no heartbeat. Dr. D was quick to say that it might just be too early. She didn't realize I knew when I ovulated (I only happened to pull out the OPKs because I wanted to be sure my miscarriage didn't totally fuck up my body) so based on this new information, I'm actually only 5w4d. With that recalculation, it is very unlikely we would see a heartbeat this early.

Dr. D then went on to say that when she was pregnant and did an u/s on herself (I couldn't help but laugh at that image- to which she smiled and said, "it's one of the perks that come with the job") she only saw a tiny grain of rice too. But I know it's a numbers game at this point. At my u/s next Tuesday we could see a heartbeat or... we could not. And there isn't a damn thing I can do about it in the meantime, except hope.

The good news is I made it through this ordeal by myself. I didn't do it willingly but I did feel a sense of empowerment. Like, maybe I'm not as weak as I thought. Mike will still be out of town on Tuesday so at least I know now that I can indeed do this without him. I just wish he could be there, you know, just in case it is good news.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cycle 19, CD 40 (22 DPO)

Beta #3 came back with good doubling numbers. At 22dpo I'm sitting at 8712 which actually exceeds the high end of the hcg chart. 

Last week was really hard for me. The shock of finding out I was newly pregnant again brought up all the emotions from my last miscarriage. And they spilled out everywhere. It was something I was wholly unprepared for. But in these last few days I've heeded Cristy's advice and begun to feel things without fighting against them; allowing the pain of missing my last little one to mesh with the excitement of a possible brand new beginning. It has been rolling around together to where sometimes I can't tell where one starts and the other ends. But I think that's ok. 

More than anything I'm sitting here thankful. So thankful it makes my eyes well with tears and my heart scream with hope. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cycle 19, CD 36 (18 DPO)

Beta #2 came back with good doubling numbers.

I've been numb ever since I saw that second line. Numb, dotted with bit of fear. Then last night, out of nowhere, I broke down into uncontrollable sobs. In my desperation to start trying again, never once did it dawn on me that it would happen so fast. And in that line of thinking, if it did happen fast, that I could be faced with another miscarriage. The last one is still so fresh. I still think about her all the time.

It's like I just got pummeled by a wave, was barely able to stand up again, and am looking at another one headed right for me.

But there are things that keep me afloat too. On Sunday when I found myself in a state of total shock, I quickly dialed the emergency-Trisha-hotline. She talked me down and made me laugh. When she asked me what my RE said, it dawned on me that I hadn't even called my her yet. We laughed even harder at that. I'm more lost and scared and vulnerable than I have ever been in my life. I'm terrified that I'm going to drown in this wave. But knowing that you are all hoping for me, means the world. It's the support that I can't possibly give to myself right now. Not now, but hopefully eventually.

To my loves, thank you.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cycle 19, CD 34 (16 DPO)

A lot has happened in the week since I last posted.

Let me start off by saying, everything went according to plan at the airport. As I thought, TSA was on top of their game and screamed out, "Excuse me ma'am, are you a diabetic?" as I waited for my carryon with Follistim to come through the scanner. I was like a tiger sitting in wait for my meal to arrive. My muscles were tight. I saw my prey. I jumped. Unfortunately I think all that anticipation made my voice squeak as I yelled back, "No, [voice rising several octaves] but I am infertile!". It wasn't the delivery I was hoping for, but I rolled around joyously in that uneasy quiet that came immediately afterward. Mission accomplished! 

I also had a birthday. I'm one of those girls that always had a full 60 day countdown until the big day. Lots of anticipation and merriment would abound. But not this year. This year I turned 36 and I'm officially over that 35 year old infertility mark. Scares the shit out of me. I was able to keep it together enough to share a quiet day with my husband, enjoy a few treats, and not think of the looming year ahead. Birthdays and anniversaries are so very tricky these days. 

While I was traveling, I bumped into an old work friend. I've always liked her and in my new normal fashion, I spilled my infertility-beans on her within the first 10 minutes. She was very sympathetic and all was good until she told me a story about her friend that struggled for 4 years to get pregnant, finally had twins through IVF and then found herself with an unexpected new pregnancy (sans any intervention) a tender 6 months later. I didn't want to come off as a total bitch so I said, "I'm so glad things worked out for her" but then quickly followup up with, "but I'm not that girl. I'll never get pregnant by having sex." 

Except... I am that girl. 

I'm pregnant again. 

Pregnant while benched from my most recent miscarriage. Pregnant by having sex. Pregnant without a single needle stick, ultrasound probe, pair of lucky socks, or visit to the doctor. I'm pregnant without any acupuncture, vaginal suppositories, tww angst, or spending a dime (barring the $300 of fertility meds sitting unopened in my refrigerator). This shit just doesn't happen. Especially not to me. 

I am very, very thankful but I am not happy or excited. I am not hopeful that this pregnancy will progress like it is supposed to. I've been here before. Twice actually. I know those double pinks don't equate a baby. I feel like I know better than to think that now. Right now I just feel really numb.

My first beta was yesterday and it was 735 at 15DPO. That's really high. So high, in fact, that I started convincing myself that this was a blighted ovum, a molar pregnancy, or something else. But my husband gently took my hand and said, "You need to let go." And I have. I've remained calm since and now all I can do is wait until beta #2 on Thursday.  

And yes, I am just as shocked as you are. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cycle 19, CD 32 (14 DPO)

[Click here for more information about Emhart's September Photo Challenge]  

Prompt: Moon

I'm very sad that it's the last day of Emhart's photo challenge. Though I didn't come close to posting every day, I really enjoyed participating. It provided a lot of insight and perspective and  was interesting to see how others interpreted the same prompts. This was my first photo challenge and I can assure you it won't be my last! 

Last week I had a pretty monumental experience. Epic even. Just one block from my house,  Endeavour appeared in the sky for her very last flight. It was amazing to see the retired space shuttle so close. She's seen many things. Things that I can only dream of. Seeing her soar through the air, well, it filled me with wonder. It made me think of bigger things and how small, in fact, I am.

And though not a picture of the actual moon, this beauty has been closer than just about anything else. 


Thank you Emhart, thank you for connecting our small community in a joint vision.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cycle 19, CD 27 (10 DPO)

[Click here for more information about Emhart's September Photo Challenge]  

Prompt: Cozy

When my eyes first blink open in the morning and I see this, it almost makes the day ahead seem tolerable. It also makes it exceedingly hard to get out of bed. Ms. B and Hunter have a love affair that their respective species would not condone- but is oh so sweet at its very foundation.


Things have been rather busy around these parts. There have been quite a few good days even. And then the walls start crumbling again. Mike and I are fighting and my libido is the culprit. Mainly because I just don't have one. Add it to the list of things infertility has taken from me. It's not good for our marriage though and I'm at a point I don't know what to do about it anymore. 

In other news, I'm now at the point that I'm ready to be put back into the game. No more bench warming for me. I'm traveling the next few days so this morning I had an u/s with Dr. D to make sure I was cleared to play. And I am. Lining is nice and thick, no cysts, and my ute is gearing up for a touchdown. 

I'll be harassed by TSA for carrying meds with me through security. I'll have to pull out my little letter explaining why I need to carry a bag with pointy things, tiny vials of liquid gold, and ice packs onto the plane with me. They'll yell at me from the end of the scanner and ask if I'm diabetic. Everyone will hear and I'll yell back, "No sir, I'm just infertile!" Sometimes I just like to see the looks on peoples faces. 

Which leads me to my newest little anecdotal gem. See, I'm in this weird stage where I feel like I have to out myself to anyone I talk with longer than 5 minutes. I'm not sure why because the conversations *never* leave me feeling good. But anyway, I was at the hairdresser last Friday and sometime after the scalp massage and sometime before the layers were shorn, I spilled the beans to my stylist. She's 34 and though she's little Ms. Edward Sissorhands and works magic with my shiny locks, she's not the sharpest tool. And you know her advice after I went though my spiel? She said, "Well, maybe you just don't want it enough. You know, you really have to want it in order for it to work." I sat there gap-mouthed staring at myself  in the mirror as she naively clipped away. 

"Which way are you going to go with this Tutti?" I asked myself as my hand slipped into my purse and wrapped around the handle of the sharp fork I always carry with me for situations such as this. 

Instead, I decided to challenge her logic and said, "Well, how do you explain my 2 miscarriages then? Did I only want it kinda bad so it only kinda worked or did I stop wanting it bad enough, and that's when I lost them?

She thought for a second, tilted her head and said, "I think to finally become pregnant you have to visualize holding your baby every day or it won't work.

Stupid girl didn't even know I was fucking with her. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cycle 19, CD 19 (1 DPO)

[Click here for more information about Emhart's September Photo Challenge]  

Prompt: Garden

A close friend was scheduled to come for a visit in late July. We'd been counting down her arrival for months. I had already bought a little card and propped it on her pillow. It was a congratulations card: "congratulations you are going to be an aunt!" As it happened, I found out we lost the heartbeat two days before her arrival. 

I shredded the card and announced my devastating news to her over the phone instead. She needed to know the hornets nest she was walking into.  

A happy garden
It was hard to have anyone visit in those days leading up to the D&C. As anyone that has suffered a miscarriage knows, it is a crippling time. But as much as I didn't think it possible, having my friend with me was a wonderful distraction. Despite the despair that consumed me, she was somehow able to keep me from curling up inside myself. We went on long walks around the neighborhood. We got our toes painted. We drank in the ocean... and more than our fair share of wine. And amazingly enough, she made me smile. Especially when she yanked off her fun yellow sunglasses and made my neighbor's ordinary garden plant into something extraordinary. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cycle 19, CD 13

[Click here for more information about Emhart's September Photo Challenge] 

Prompt: Blue

Growing up, my mother had life-threatening allergic reactions to cats. So despite my tears and incessant pleading, we were never were allowed to bring one home. When Mike and I moved in together, I saw my window of opportunity. After 30 years and a trip to our local animal shelter, (the mighty) Hunter joined our family. 

Back then, we had plenty of land for him to explore. But I was always worried for his safety. Because with that freedom, came the threat of harm in the form of vicious raccoons,  stealthy coyotes, and nasty possums. Despite Mike's constant assurances that he would be fine, I voiced my concern to the vet- allowing him to be the arbiter of truth. What he said was profound, "An outdoor cat lives a happy life. An indoor cat lives a long life." I used to hold my breath every night until he was snuggled back safe in my arms.  


Hunter was a happy cat for a quite a few years. And then we moved into the city, where he could no longer roam free. Urban living was just too dangerous. He was automatically sentenced to life of imprisonment. Didn't even get his day in court. Relegated to live a long and monotonous life. 

I feel like I understand, in a sense, what it is like to be my cat. I know what freedom feels like. The unabashed happiness and naive belief that things will be wonderful forever. And I also know what it is like to have it all come to a screeching halt. I'm imprisoned too. I look longingly out the window and wish it was safe to go outside again. And I wonder if life will ever  go back to how it used to be. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cycle 19, CD 7

[Click here for more information about Emhart's September Photo Challenge] 

Prompt: Pure

I found a love for gardening quite a few years ago when we lived in the country with more land and light than I knew what to do with. I grew fruit and vegetables and herbs. It was amazing to watch these plants grow and bare witness to their wonderful little gifts. I would run and check on them first thing every morning and pick and prune to make sure they continued to grow healthy- forever glaring at the calendar in hopes the first frost would never come. 

When we moved into the city a few years ago, it was hard to look at our little concrete outdoor slab and feel the same sense of excitement and hope. I no longer had enough light to grow edibles or the land to dig my hands into. I had to switch gears. After several conversations with a local nursery, my path was clear. Flowers were my only option. I was crestfallen; flowers just weren't as fun. 

I was told that gardenias might fit within my growing constraints. My spirits rose a bit because gardenia is one of my favorite scents. One that reminds me of tropical places and makes me very nostalgic. However, I was warned, these were finicky plants and extremely hard to grow. Even given perfect conditions, those elusive fragrant flowers often give up too early. The buds so full of promise of good things to come, often drop without warning- never to give bloom. 

So you can imagine my surprise last week when, after two years of working with these guys, I got my very first bloom. Even if this is the only one I get this year, it was worth it. The smell is intoxicating and the flower, one of the purest things I've ever seen. 

A single, pure gardenia bloom
No, the irony of all this is not lost on me. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cycle 19, CD 6

[Click here for more information about Emhart's September Photo Challenge]

Prompt: School

I pinky swore myself that, starting today, I was going to get active again. My life has been pretty sedentary and lacking in vitamin D for several months now. Ironic now that summer is almost over. I also could stand to loose some weight because somehow, I've gained almost 15 pounds over the last 2 years. I completely blame infertility. For all of it. So today at 5:01PM, I slipped on my sneakers, grabbed Ms. Brown (the pooch), and ventured out. Just being outside is a big step for me, never mind the 5 miles we walked. And it felt really good.

Between listening to my favorite audible blogger chicks, feeling the sun permeate my skin, and watching Ms. B's head swivel back and forth with each new smell- I felt like I was healing. Like, instead of waiting for time to do its thing, I took matters into my own hands. I made myself heal a little bit today.

And maybe it was the universe's way of applauding my efforts or the fact that I actual looked up for once, but something pretty cool happened. As I walked along, I looked over to my left and there it was- my prompt. And not in the form I anticipated.

A school of dolphins

By the time I paused Mo (in the middle of a great bit about Snooki and her meatball baby being highly annoying), ripped the phone off my arm, and pulled up Instagram- they were gone. So you'll just have to trust me when I tell you that there was a school of dolphins swimming together out in those waters. They were beautiful and majestic. They kept switching off with each other, coming to the surface every so often to take a deep breath before diving down again. Kind of like me.


Shit on it. Mike just informed me that it's a pod of dolphins or a school or fish. He's totally right. And here I was just beaming for the last two hours at how perfectly it all came together. Well, we are just going to have to pretend that dolphins swim in schools for the evening because I'm not ready to let the English language rain on my parade right now. Deal?

Damn, I hate it when that happens.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cycle 19, CD 5

Yup, we're back to regularly scheduled programming- my period officially arrived (with all sorts of emotions). But it doesn't really matter because I'm benched. Nothing to look forward to, nothing to count other than the passing days, and no hope that we'll be any closer to a pregnancy by the end of the month. I know this is a time for continued healing and it is still early in that process- but I'm ready. I'm desperate to start looking forward again. Purgatory sucks.

I met up with my beloved Trisha last Sunday for a little lunch out in the sun. It was wonderful to see her again and deliver some in-person hugs. Surprisingly not a single tear was shed the entire time- by either of us. Rather, our time together was even more healing than I anticipated. It felt good to process the last few weeks with someone that intimately understands. We talked hopefully of the future and the strength we were trying to rebuild each day. On my drive home, I realized that I felt lighter. It's a strange confluence of events that brought us together, but I am more thankful for her, her friendship, and her strength than I can't possibly put into words.

September is going to be a long month for me. As I said earlier, it's going to entail a whole lot of waiting. So to pass the time, I thought it would be fun to participate in EmHart's September Photo Challenge. I probably won't play every day, but I'll do my best to not miss too many. If nothing else, it'll force me to look up a little more often.

Prompt: White


I change my wines with the season: whites during spring/summer, reds during fall/winter. It just tastes better that way. I know it's officially branching into fall now that Labor Day has arrived, however it will still feel like summer for at least a few more months. Which is great, because I can indulge in my favorite Chardonnay for a while longer. And this is exactly what has been getting me through the last few weeks. I figure it's ok to drown myself a while longer.

[Click here for more information about Emhart's September Photo Challenge]

Friday, August 24, 2012

Recovery: day 22

Last night I spoke to a friend of mine, the same one I talked about in this post. We don't communicate often, but she sent me an email the other day to see how things were going. Because she has endured 7 failed IVF cycles and 6 unsuccessful pregnancies, I told her about my miscarriage. She and her husband decided to stop trying a few years ago and live without children. However, as she said, that decision doesn't automatically eliminate the sting of each new pregnancy announcement or make not having a baby in her arms any less painful. It doesn't mean she's able to fill that void with something else. It was a conversation that was not without tears, but offered some healing.

From where she stands now, she has a lot of insight into her fertility journey. She's careful with what she says because she knows this process is my own and doesn't want to influence that. But what she did say, made so much sense. She listened compassionately, she validated my feelings, and more than anything, she understood.

One of the things we talked about was my struggle with the ultra sound images that keep me awake at night. How badly they hurt and how I feel like all the monitoring and watching my baby grow has made healing so much harder. She paused and confirmed that is how she had felt each time she miscarried too. But then went on to say that she feels differently about it now. That those images are the only things that she has to hang on to. They are the only tangible reminders of the babies she loved so much. And instead of trying to not remember, she embraces each pregnancy that she had. Because even though they were fleeting, those were her children.

I sat with this all night.

And my friend is right. I'm glad I have those images to return to. Whether they be the ones burned into my memory or the ones I have tucked into my desk drawer. It's true they cause me pain now, but they are the only things that I have. And after all of this, I am thankful for my baby. She taught me what it feels like to be pregnant. She showed me what it was to love someone I'd never even met. And that, yes, I want to continue fight to be a mother. She was worth the pain I'm feeling. Even if she can't be here with me now.

I also took the advice that many of you left me- that I find a way to honor this pregnancy. Something, in addition to the photos, to hold on to. I spent a lot of time thinking about this and finally settled on a necklace. It wasn't easy to find, but when I did- I immediately felt it. It's an egg shaped piece of sea glass wrapped in a tangle of wire. With her zodiac sign being Pisces, it reminds me of the ocean, the waters that I live by, and where the fish swim. It's unique, and beautiful, and will be a constant reminder of the little one I never got to hold in my arms, but that will forever be in my heart.


I am still raw. I still hurt every day. But I'm mending. And maybe gaining a little perspective along the way.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Recovery: day 20

In the week since I last posted, the moments where I feel ok are getting longer. I know that it takes time and it's normal to have so many ups and downs- but going through it, feeling every minute of it it, is harder than those words sound. Before infertility and loss I never met a roller coaster I didn't love. I want off this one.

Sass touched on something in her post today that I've been thinking about a lot lately. The link between memories and place. How just being somewhere or seeing something can turn you upside down. To have those old memories come smashing back seemingly out of nowhere.

Last week I had my post-op checkup. Sitting quietly in the waiting room of my RE's office I was overwhelmed with memories. I have experienced the highest moments of my life there. And the lowest. The disparity between the two is daunting. It's amazing that one place can hold so much. So much that it's hard to filter through those feelings logically.

Last weekend I found myself at the local pharmacy. I needed a new headband because my dog mistook my old one for something good to eat. The store was crowded so I walked along the parimeter trying to make my way over to where I needed to be. Without realizing it until I was there, the family planning section attacked me. A place I'd spent so much time and money in the past, but also where I bought my last HPT. I was in a good mood until then.

Yesterday my husband and I went swimming in the ocean. Summer is officially over and we had the beach to ourselves. It felt good to have the sun touch my skin again. To let the waves crash over me. To taste the salt on my lips. The water was cold but exhilarating. And then a shocking realization flooded over me; the last time we were there, I was pregnant.

Today I'm going out with an old friend after work. One that I'd lost track of for the last 13 years. Through chance and good luck, we found ourselves living in the same city again- thousands of miles from where we'd parted. When we reunited last month, I attempted to blame the hot weather and long car ride home for my inability to drink the wine she had so neatly set on the table. It didn't work and she quickly guessed the real reason. So later today as we are sitting out in the sun, chatting easily like we always do, the wine that I sip will be bitter.

We are rooted in our sense of place. It's where memories are stored. The events from last week to time that has not even happened yet, paralyze me. I know my wounds are still fresh, but will the emotions ever be less poignant?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Recovery: day 12

The bleeding has finally stopped, the fighting with my husband has (mostly) subsided, and I'm left in a strange place of needing to move forward yet unwilling to do so. The anger hasn't gone anywhere. Though now it's turned mostly inward. My self worth its latest victim.

I'm due for a perfunctory checkup on Thursday to see my battle scarred ute and stagnant ovaries. Oh joy.

I've been struggling with the miracles of technology lately. Without the images of our growing baby blasted from the ultrasound machine each week, I wouldn't see her so vividly every time I close my eyes. Without all that monitoring I don't think I'd be so bloody attached. Attached some, yes of course. But not as much as I am now. I saw her. I saw her alive and I saw her dead. And in a few days I'll see where she was supposed to be, all cuddled up and growing strong.

My mom suffered 3 miscarriages in her quest for my sister, me, and a sibling that never survived. All early before 8 weeks. However, she said that when she thinks back to those times she only remembers the physical pain of the babies passing. And then nothing else. Is that because time has healed her wounds or is it because she doesn't have any images to return to? I'm afraid to let go because that baby was more than a blip on the screen. She was my tiny 8-week old daughter.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Recovery: day 8

I had a talk with Zsa Zsa about my anger. I felt justified with it; she felt like it was very unhealthy. She had some valid points, but I'm so much more comfortable with it than any other emotion, that it is hard to control. But I'm trying. I'm trying not to be so mad. Trying not to be angry at others. Trying not to hate myself. Just... trying.

The last week has been filled with bouts of sadness. Times when I lay in bed full of rage. Flanked by times when I'm able to (ever so) briefly concentrate on work, lose myself in a movie, or cuddle with my husband at night. I'm attempting to return to some kind of normalcy. Whatever that means. I know it'll just take time, but I wish I could just fast forward three months. I want this part to be over with.

It took me a solid two weeks to talk to one of my closest friends about the miscarriage. Strange because she's a processor like me and typically very comforting with her words. When I originally texted her my bad news (I was in no shape for a phone call at that point) I got a return voicemail that just seemed a little off. She said all the right things and on the surface it all seemed valid, but something wasn't right. Was it the tone of sadness that was missing? I didn't know and decided that I needed to keep my distance. However, eventually I knew that phone call had to happen or the fallout of not doing so might permanently hurt our friendship. So I finally called.

She and her partner have been trying to get pregnant (starting a solid year+ after us) and since the IUI is one of the first options for a gay couple, she understands roughly what its like. She has also been privy to our struggle with infertility and our first miscarriage. So when I told her the details of what had happened, she was genuinely sympathetic. I talked as things entered my head and didn't use a filter, vomiting the events of the past two weeks. An hour into my diatribe, there was a lull. I knew I shouldn't have asked, but I also couldn't stop myself. Her partner had an IUI just two weeks prior and somehow, in my gut, I already knew the answer. I forced my friend into an impossible situation: if she told me the truth, it would send daggers into my heart and if she lied, our friendship would suffer a deep betrayal.

Hearing that one of my closest friends was newly pregnant after talking for over an hour about how mine was prematurely taken, was infuriating. I felt embarrassed that I'd let my guard down and spoke the gruesome truth. I felt angry that while she listened to my pain she held a secret so wonderful that involuntary smiles spread across her face throughout the day. I hate that the voicemail she left me may have been the same day she found out she was expecting- and was unable to hide the joy in her voice. The same day I lost mine.

I know my feelings are irrational. I know that she is just an innocent target for my anger. I know that my jealousy is only adding to this pool of muck. I know that she loves me and feels horrible about everything that has happened; that the timing is just cruel. I hate that she keeps trying to reach out and that all I can do is sting her with my silence. I feel so guilty for feeling like this. It's so hard to consciously know what you feel isn't real, yet at the same time it is so real that you can hold it in your hand. I'm ashamed of this, but I can't seem to let it go.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Recovery: day 4

I keep going back to when I was sitting in my Ob's office. While there, I remember thinking to myself about how much had changed in just a matter of months. The last time I was in that office was for an annual checkup. I had just tested (negative) and was not happy- and I didn't keep it to myself. When my Ob walked into the exam room and cheerfully asked how I was doing, I replied, "Shitty". It was clear I made her feel uncomfortable. I didn't care. I was sick of candy coating it. I was infertile and pissed off.

Fast forward six months, and there I was sitting in that same waiting room. This time next to a woman with a newborn. I was amazed at how at ease I felt. It was the first time I didn't feel like chewing on a new mother's nativity and spitting it out, hopefully leaving her to feel just some of my pain. No, this time I sat there not quite feeling like part of the club, but feeling that maybe they'd let me in soon. Feeling, more at peace than I had in a long time.

But how quickly it all came rushing back. Rooted in my belly and more ferocious than ever.

My default is anger. It is a powerful emotion and it puts me in control. I can direct it at specific people or things. I can cut deep with it and feel satisfied that I'm able to inflict pain at will. I don't like how it feels, but it feels better than sadness. Or helplessness. I need to break this habit. Relinquish some control. Put faith in the future. In my future. In my desire to be happy again. It's hard though.

I wasn't prepared for a the call I got today. It was Dr. D. It was her first day back at the clinic and she'd just heard what happened. She said all the right things- all of which I needed to hear from her. She also told me the results of my RPL panel came came back. It was supposed to take ten business days for the results, not two. How often does that happen?

Lots of biology mumbo-jumbo, but the long and short of it was there was an extra chromosome. Chromosome 11 to be exact. Just a twist of nature. Things didn't line up quite as they should. Not conducive to sustainable life. It came from the paternal side- a bad sperm they said. And it was a total fluke. The chances of this happening again are less than 1%.

And, it was a girl.

Friday, August 3, 2012


My wounds that had not even begun to heal have been made even bigger.

Trisha and I met through the infertility blog world. I was drawn in by both her wicked humor in the face of pain and her soft spots that were so vulnerable they made me feel more human. We experienced our first miscarriages within weeks of each other. We bonded through our anger and pain. Then we met in real life and a true friendship was forged.

And then we found ourselves both pregnant again. With the same due date. We whispered of hope and excitement despite our overwhelming fears. We supported each other when the other was weakened by bad dreams or angst for the future. There was an understanding. A link. A bond.

In a twist that only the darkest novels would dare to take, we find ourselves tangled in the worst of nightmares. Trisha just received news that her sweet MB's heart has stopped. There is no cap to the amount of cruel that this world has to offer.

Now I find the grief I had for myself has shifted to my sweet friend. Her pain is my pain. Please offer her the support and love that she needs so badly right now.

Recovery: day 1

The D&C was yesterday and it's done. But not before my body did half the work its own.

I am in quiet pain now. The violent sobs and lashing out has been replaced with a sadness and stillness that is deafening. I only hope that healing comes swiftly. That I can somehow manage to find hope again. That I can eventually find peace with today.

Comforting a friend in grief has never been something that I've been good at. I've often just hoped that through my silence and quiet prayers, the person just.. knew. That they innately understood that I was there. That they could just feel my love through it all. That's not how it works though. For the person grieving, sadness and pain come from less, not more. It is a lesson I'll not soon forget.

The support I've gotten here has been immense. Overwhelming. The words that you have written saved me. The understanding and compassion got me through to the next day. The acknowledgement that I deserve to feel this pain. This anger. This blackness. That the grief is real. It made me feel human when I felt like I was less than.

For each person that took the time to read and leave healing words. For each person that reached out to a perfect stranger in pain. For each person that had old wounds ripped open yet still offered strength. Thank you. It seems insufficient compared to what you have given me, but it is all I have. And it is important for me to acknowledge what it has meant.

My body is now mending. I just hope that my heart follows suit.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Standing still: day 5


The hate took hold by the time I pushed my way out of the Ob's office. The waiting room was filled with swollen bellies, new  moms, and crying babes. Fuck them. I wanted to hiss at them. I wanted to scream at those women that they will never understand how lucky they are. I wanted to claw at them and show them how their petty complains of swollen ankles or lack of sleep could never compare to my imploded heart. I'm scared at how full of hate I am. Fuck me.

In a situation where there is no right or safe answer, I think I'm going to go forward with the D&C. I'm terrified of this just as much as I'm terrified of the alternative. There is no comfort or relief with this choice, there is only second guessing and all consuming fear.

I started bleeding last night. The red blood, though I knew it was coming, made my knees buckle and a wail erupt from a very deep place. I'm petrified my body won't wait for the surgery and that I'm going to have to do this alone.

I'm angry at Mike for changing his mind on which direction we're going. I've been looking to him as the stable one, the logical one, the one that can make the right decision when I cannot. But his lack of being proactive has unnecessarily prolonged this process. Every second of every day, the fear of this dead thing consumes me. I'm terrified that I will forever blame my husband if it is too late.  

I slept next to a pile of towels and a bottle of Vicoden. This is not how things were supposed to happen. Since Thursday, I can't be alone without gruesome thoughts creeping into my head. For the few moments I have slept, I've been plagued by horrifying dreams of steep cliffs and dark places. I'm scared to close my eyes.

A year and a half of infertility caused thousands of hairline fractures in my marriage. Repeated loss has turned those into deep cravases. Mike doesn't understand my grief and thinks I'm over reacting. I don't understand his lack of compassion and question why he is so removed. Instead of finding strength in each other, we are further apart than we have ever been. I'm afraid of my marriage may not be strong enough.

My Ob didn't seem to think my Hashi's was to blame for this. So what then? 25-30% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. The number plummets to 5% for those that have two consecutive miscarriages. The stats are not in my favor. I'm frightened of what this repeated pregnancy loss means.

I feel sick when I think about returning to the clinic. I walked out those doors two weeks ago so proud, but today I'll be returning with my eyes adverted, shoulders rounded, and forever looking fearfully behind me. The appointments, the injections, the speculums, and pregnancy tests are almost too much to return to. The fear of continuing fertility treatments scares me just as much as choosing not to.

The girl I used to be, so generous with unsolicited smiles, compassion, and love for herself and others, is hardening into something that is almost unrecognizable. The irrational desire to lash out and hurt people that don't deserve it is bound to drive everyone away. I'm afraid that this hate and anger has forever changed who I am.

I'm just so fucking scared.