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.