"You're right, I don't have any idea."

I returned to work on Monday after our loss on Friday.  The loss that my RE described as a "dramatic miscarriage" because of all the blood I lost and the large clotting that went along with it.  I spent most of Friday, Saturday and Sunday just lounging around the house.  My husband and I watched the first two seasons of Weeds with Net.flix on demand.  I could have called in sick and stayed home, but I wanted to go to work so I could think about something else, to concentrate on something other than our third miscarriage.

I fielded a call from someone that morning who was calling to inquire about the status of a certain case.  I'm not particularly fond of this person in general, but I am always professional and cordial when I speak with him.  He started the conversation with the standard, "how are you?" I responded, "I'm okay, how about yourself?"  You know this type of conversation -- asking about a person's well-being as a formality even though you don't really give a crap, but you feel obligated to do so before proceeding onto the real reason for the call/conversation.  He could have just said "fine thanks" and moved on, but of course that is not what happened.  Instead, he said, "It's a little crazy over here.  My wife is out of town this week and I have a lot going on."  I replied, "I guess that could make things a little more hectic than usual."  And then he said, "With an eighteen month old, you have absolutely no idea."  I couldn't resist and my next statement was, "Unfortunately, you're right, I don't have any idea." That was greeted with a noticeable few seconds of complete silence on the other end of the line which was then followed with "so the reason I'm calling is . . . " 

I hope my response made him uncomfortable.  I'm proud of myself for actually saying what went through my head out loud for once.  I'm not sure where my courage to say it came from.  Maybe it had something to do with my general dislike of this person and his comment rubbing me the wrong way on my first day back to the office after my third miscarriage.  Maybe it is because I'm tired of keeping our fertility struggles and pregnancy losses private/secret any longer.  Or maybe I felt more confident being pretty direct about it because my husband and I finally "outted" ourselves to our extended family and close friends this weekend.  I'll write about the way we shared our struggles and losses and the incredibly supportive responses we've received this week in my next post.


Just a Quick Post . . .

. . . to thank all of you for your support and leaving me such thoughtful comments.  I have some other thoughts and updates to share, but honestly I am not too motivated to write it all down at the moment.  I just wanted to make sure you all knew that I've read and appreciated all of your messages. 


No More Baby

***Warning!  May not be for the faint of heart.***

My third beta was scheduled for today.  I woke up early this morning to take my mom and sister to the airport by 7:00 a.m. and then headed to the lab.  Right before I left my house, I inserted my morning MVP and noticed a slight amount of red blood on the applicator after I removed it.  Given my bleeding experience last week which still resulted in more than doubling HCG levels, I tried not to be too concerned especially since I was going to be at the clinic in less than an hour for bloodwork anyway.  I dropped mom and sis off at the airport and made my way to the clinic.  The clinic is located downtown in the midst of a large medical and university campus and it is a bit of a walk from the closest parking garage to the office itself.  While I was walking there, I felt a substantial warm gush and just knew I was bleeding.  I made it to the clinic receptionist to check-in for the bloodwork, but asked to see a nurse first since I had started bleeding again.  My favorite nurse greeted me with empathy, suggested I have the bloodwork done first and that they would call me as soon as it came in.  She gave me the standard instructions ("if you start bleeding heavily or feel sharp pains, yadda yadda, call us right away").  I had my blood drawn and was heading back home by 7:30 a.m.  (extremely thankful that today was my day off and I would be able to come home and just lay on the couch without having to call in sick).

I was home by 8:00 a.m.  I changed into my comfy sweats and went to the bathroom (warning, TMI ahead) and that is when I felt the first chunk of something pass.  I couldn't bear to flush the toilet full of blood.  I called my husband, who was already at work, in a panic and he immediately came home.  I never felt large clots passing with my other two miscarriages - they were both just like longer and heavier periods with lots of cramping and dark red blood.  So then I thought, maybe it was the MVP I had just inserted less than 2 hours before that came out.  But about an hour later, I went to the bathroom again and felt two large clots pass that time.  I was still bleeding bright red, but otherwise felt okay.  No cramping, no nausea, not dizzy.  My husband wanted me to call the clinic back, but I, probably foolishly, said no and that I would wait until the nurse called with my beta results and then let her know what had been going on since I was home.  Well, that wasn't a good plan.  Next thing I know it, I bled to the point where it soaked through my thick maxi-pad, through my underwear and favorite sweatpants and right onto our couch.   I ran up to the bathroom, sat on the toilet and passed 3-4 more large clots.  I thought for sure the baby was in the toilet.  Heeding my husband's earlier suggestion, I yelled to him to call the RE's office.  He did and they told us to come right away.  I put a new thick, maxi-pad and a pair of old jeans on and we were on our way. 

The walk from the garage to the office was not fun.  Half way there I could feel another large clot coming out.  They were expecting us when we got there.  I told them I needed to use the bathroom and then the nurse's had a quiet conversation on whether or not they would want/need to see whatever I deposited in the toilet.  The consensus was no, because it was early, 5w5d, and they suspected that whatever it was apparently wouldn't be worth viewing.  In the bathroom, I passed another large clot and discovered that I had bled through the maxi-pad I had put on less than 30 minutes earlier.  After I used the bathroom, I was taken to an exam/ultrasound room.  My vitals were taken and the doctor quickly came in.  He seemed to be shocked by the amount of my bleeding and the clots.  He said that he was glad that we came in and that if I had waited much longer, I would have probably needed an ambulance.  To my surprise, the vag cam revealed that the sac was still there, but it was not attached to the uterine wall any more and was making its way down and out.  Because the bleeding was significant, we were given two options: (1) transfer me for surgery under anesthesia, which could take 1-2 hours before it would begin, with the possibility of passing the sac on my own before we got there; or (2) do a suction curettage, an outpatient procedure, right there in the office which should stop the bleeding within 15-20 minutes assuming no other complications.  We opted for the second choice.  I wanted it to be over sooner and I knew the sac was still there and if they got it all out then they might be able to test the tissue.

Of course, the RE had to discuss the risks with us and I had to sign a consent form (although I know this is standard procedure, I wonder if the RE was also remembering that my husband and I are both attorneys).  Two nurses and a medical fellow came in to assist the RE.  They numbed my cervix, waited a few minutes and then inserted a small vacuum to remove the sac.  The fellow was controlling the abdominal ultrasound to help the RE guide the vacuum.  There was some cramping, but it wasn't as bad as the HSG I had done.  And just when I thought it was over, I heard the RE say something about still being concerned by the bleeding and that he needed to make "a second pass" to make sure most of the tissue was gone.  I think that part of the reason he did that was in the hopes of retrieving more tissue so that there would be enough for pathology to try to test.  Before the procedure started, he never mentioned the possibility of needing to make a second pass.  I cried and I laughed throughout the procedure.  I wasn't really in control of my emotional reactions.  It all seemed to happen so fast.  Somewhere in the midst of all this, I heard them reviewing my HCG levels.  They were at 10,956 today.

After the procedure was done, I stayed in the room to rest for a bit with my husband.  I was given wash cloths to clean myself up.  After awhile, I got dressed.  The RE came in to talk with us for a bit and gave me a prescription for an antibiotic and explained the risk of a potential infection.  Unless I experience anything out of the ordinary, I go back in two weeks for bloodwork again to make sure my HCG is dropping.  The pathology and genetic tests may or may not work and we won't get results for at least a month.  We are now back home, possibly in need of a new couch.  Just flipped the cushion over for now.

This is miscarriage #3 so I can officially be diagnosed with recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL).  It's completely boggling to me how RPL is not a diagnosis after two pregnancy losses with no live births ever, but who am I to say?

What I do know is, I have an absolutley AMAZING husband.  This is so hard for him, too, in so many ways.  He's grieving our losses and was very scared for my well-being today.  But through everything today, he remained strong and calm and loving and supportive . . . like he always is.  He's shared the news with our family members because I just couldn't do it.  He called our friend to cancel the plans we had with him tonight.  He bought me a big ass Diet Coke from Mickey D's (something I have been denying myself from the moment we found out I was pregnant).  I truly have no idea what I would do without him.  And I truly hope that one day I will be able to give him the family we both desperately want.


Trying to Relax and Remain Calm . . .

. . . but it isn't easy and doesn't come naturally after experiencing prior pregnancy losses.  Today is 5w1d.  Still SO early.  I'm tense every time I go to the bathroom, holding my breath until I inspect the toilet paper and make sure the bleeding hasn't started again.  I'm also wondering if the results of my second beta were just some fluke and because of the early bleeding I had I may no longer be pregnant.  I don't want to POAS for fear of seeing the line getting fainter and disappearing.  I should have insisted on getting another beta before Friday, just to make me feel better.

I also have a love/hate relationship with my progesterone - I have started calling it my MVP (for "magical vaginal pill").  I'm hoping that this pregnancy will progress without much difficulty because I'm using the MVP this time around.  My first pregnancy happened about 9 months after we started TTC and before we started seeking fertility treatments.  It was before we really knew we had any issues to be concerned about so I didn't even know progesterone supplements existed.  My second pregnancy occurred naturally, two years after our first miscarriage, while we were on a break from medical interventions.  Now two years wiser and more experienced with IF, I asked for the progesterone suppositories once I discovered I was pregnant this time.  However, the RE I was seeing at the time was out of town and unavailable and the RE who was covering for him didn't think it was necessary.  That pregnancy didn't make it beyond 8 weeks either.  My biggest complaint about my MVP is the mess it creates and (sorry TMI ahead) the warm gushy flow it creates that always makes me think I've started bleeding.

I wish I was experiencing more of the typical symptoms everyone seems to associate with pregnancy.  My boobs really aren't sore or hurt at all.  I have had to pee more often, but I think that is partially because I have been drinking more water than I normally do.  I have been somewhat queasy, but no major nausea or vomiting.  I was pretty exhausted on Saturday and fell asleep on the couch by 6:30 p.m.  I slept until about 1:30 a.m. and then was wide awake until about 11:00 am.  This is very unusual for me.  But other than that, I'm feeling pretty good which then makes me second guess whether everything is really okay.

I'm trying to take it easy as much as possible.  Although logically I know there really isn't anything that I can do to cause or prevent a miscarriage, I just can't help but wonder whether I'm doing things "right."  Most people think I have a stressful job.  I do work about 10 hours per day on average and often bring home work to do on the evenings and weekends.  But I'm trying to not be all consumed by work as much.  Truth is, I actually like and enjoy my job and it keeps me occupied.  If I'm busy, the time goes by faster and it helps me keep my mind off the IF roller coaster. 

I know every pregnant woman is likely apprehensive, gets nervous and worries throughout her pregnancy.  I just envy those fertiles out there who don't have to add "I wonder if I'll lose this pregnancy, too?" or "I wonder if I'll make it past the first trimester this time?" to their list of concerns.


Utter disbelief!!!

I went for my second beta this morning.  The nurse just called with the results about 30 minutes ago and by the tone of her voice I could tell that I was going to get news that I wasn't expecting and hadn't been preparing myself to hear.  72 hours after my first beta which was 109, my level today was 560!!!!! OMG!!  I still don't know how this could be??  I'm still bleeding somewhat although it has slowed down over the past 24 hours.  Still more than spotting in my unprofessional opinion.  But 560??  That is higher than I have ever been at CD34.  I told the nurse that I was truly shocked because I'm still bleeding and she said some people continue to have what seem to be light periods throughout their pregnancies.  Great, just what a woman who has been TTC for over 3 years and has had 2 miscarriages to show for it needs to hear!  My RE is, of course, out of town this week, but I asked the nurse if one of the other REs was available to talk to me about the bleeding because it is not reassuring despite the strong hcg results today.  Makes me wonder what it could be.  Nothing to worry about??  Vanishing twin syndrome?? Subchorionic hematoma??  I've researched them all with Dr. Google of course.  They want me to wait until next Friday to come in for a third beta and then will schedule a first u/s for the following Thursday or Friday.  The waiting may kill me.  Has anyone else out there experienced anything similar to this? 


So confused and waiting for Friday

My least-favorite nurse called me back shortly after my last post and congratulated me on my positive hpt results. I'm thinking that either she either didn't read the message very carefully or it wasn't completely relayed to her and reminded her that I had started bleeding bright red blood a few hours earlier.  She told me not to be too worried yet, sometimes bleeding doesn't mean an impending miscarriage.  That's a little difficult to swallow after experiencing two miscarriages already so, of course, I'm super skeptical.  I was instructed to continue the progesterone supplements and to come in for a beta on Tuesday morning. 

Tuesday was CD 31 (or was it CD2?) and only 13dpiui.  I was at the clinc bright and early to make sure I would get the results in the afternoon. I was shocked by the positive hpt results on CD29/11dpiui.  And I was even more shocked Tuesday afternoon when a different nurse, who also congratulated me on being pregnant before giving me the numbers, told me my hcg was at 109.  109???  It may not sound like a large number to some people, but for me it seemed HUGE.  Especially since I had pretty much convinced myself that I was losing this pregnancy, too, and had prepared myself to hear a relatively low number probably under 50.  With my other two pregnancies I didn't get positive hpt results until at least CD33 and more than 14dpo.  The highest hcg I had for my first pregnancy was 60.  The beta for my second pregnancy was only 37 at CD34 and, although it was doubling, it was only 152 by CD39.  I had no warning that anything was wrong with my second pregnancy until the morning I woke up to bright red blood and later that morning, in the ER because my former clinic's on-call line rang without answer, confirmed that it was a miscarriage and my hcg level was at 19. 

Back to my current situation, by Tuesday my bleeding had progressed beyond what I would consider spotting.  Definitely felt more like the beginnings of AF.  But the 109 just confuses me so much.  I don't know what to think.  I really won't have any more answers until I go in for a second beta on Friday and find out what the numbers are.  If the number doubles, I will be in utter disbelief.  But at the same time, I've read about others who bleed throughout their pregnancies without any "major" problems.  Sorry for TMI, but I have probably been overanalyzing my bleeding over the past 48 hours.  It has been pretty thin and more watery like in consistency than my typical AF and I can't say there have been many clots like I get with AF.  The color is also a brighter red than AF usually is for me.  But if I am not miscarrying, I have no idea what this could be.  Guess I just have to wait until Friday to see.  In the meantime, I have forbidden myself from POAS.


I Hate HPTs

Against my better judgment I succumbed to the urge to POAS.  After my last post, I made it a full day without any more unwelcomed colored discharge so I took my evening dose of progesterone and decided to use the last FRER test I had when I woke up on Sunday morning (11dpiui).  Two lines quickly appeared! Sooner, quicker and darker than either of my last two pregnancies showed up.  I hate trusting the positive results; they give me hope.  While running errands yesterday afternoon, I bought two Equate HPTs and a box of two FRER HPTs.  I used one of the Equates around 3:00 pm and it, too, was positive!  Not a first morning urine, CD 29 and still unquestionably positive!  Starting to hope even more.  No spotting or anything all day yesterday.  This morning I used the other Equate test and got a third positive result.  Called and scheduled a blood test for tomorrow and wouldn't you know it, not less than two hours later, I start bleeding, reddish pink and enough to fill the liner I had on because of the progesterone.  I had to leave work early because I just couldn't stay there.  Called my RE's office.  The nurses were in a meeting and so the receptionist took a message and said she would have a nurse call me back.  It's been over two hours and no return call yet, probably because they are thinking, "silly girl, you tested too early."  I should have just waited until 14dpiui to test like the RE recommended because I would be none the wiser.  I'll probably be told that this was a chemical pregnancy.  I wish I knew why I can't stay pregnant.


Maybe not even a 2WW

10dpiui.  CD28.  Or could it be CD1 or the precursor thereto?  Or maybe it is this mythical implantation bleeding I've heard of.  I don't know.  What I do know is that when I woke up this morning the liner I put on last night after my evening dose of progesterone and before I went to bed greeted me with a light brown/creamy white mixture of sorts which I considered to be more-than-spotting, but less-than-AF.  Of course, I didn't realize this in my sleepy haze until after I relieved myself of my first morning urine.  Had I realized it before I relieved myself, I might have POAS just for good measure.  But let's face it, 10dpiui is probably too soon to test anyway and I would have just wasted another pregnancy test for no reason.  Over the past 3 years I've become pretty good at restraining myself from POAS prematurely despite the urge to do so.  After going through so many sticks, it just seems like a waste of money that I could be using toward a future round of IVF instead.  Honestly, I just wasn't expecting this today.  Every other time I've used progesterone suppositories I've made it at least to the two week mark before getting a BFN or having AF rear her ugly head in all her bright red glory.  So I decided to skip my dose of progesterone this morning because it seemed pointless.  I might as well save it for next month, right?  But as the day has continued on, I've had little to no spotting and now I'm wondering if I should have used the progesterone until I went out and bought some of the cheaper pregnancy tests just to make sure.  I guess I will see how the rest of the day goes and decide later what to do.  Truth is, I've become numb to the repeated disappointment.  Just a bunch of the same ol' crap, different month.


2WW and then some

The first week of this 2WW is almost over.  I've developed some type of rash and have no idea if it is related to the progesterone or estrogen medications I am taking although both of the pamphlets I received from the pharmacy indicate that a rash could be the sign of an allergic reaction.  I didn't have this problem last month when I followed exactly the same protocol, but I can't figure out what else could be causing it.  I contacted my doctor's office earlier today and spoke to one of the nurses about it.  She said she would let the doctor know,he might want to see me and somoene would get back to me.  No one returned my called and due to certain work obligations I had today, I was stuck and unable to call the office back before it closed.  Due to my short luteal phase, I don't want to quit taking these medications so here's hoping the rash won't get worse before I call the office again tomorrow and hopefully get in to see our RE.

It then dawned on me that I what I really have is at least a 8-12WW if not a 36-40WW.  I don't trust the 2WW.  I guess that's what happens after being pregnant only twice in three years and miscarrying both times before 8 weeks.  Don't get me wrong, I will be ecstatic if I POAS this month and there are two lines (I've never been brave enough to do the digital tests for fear of actually seeing the words "NOT PREGNANT" loud and clear like they are blinking on a marquee sign taunting me).  But I will forever be extremely hesitant to truly believe two lines until I make it beyond the first trimester.  I will probably hold my breath every time I go to the bathroom until I examine my underwear and toilet paper and confirm there are no traces of any red or brown or a variety of colors on the spectrum between the two.  And even then, I doubt I will be confident in two lines until I actually bring a baby to term.


Grandma W.O.W.

She's my maternal grandmother and I love her dearly for many, many reasons.  She had an amazing love affair with my grandfather who passed away nearly 25 years ago.  She likes to tell us how, after marrying him, her initials changed from W.O.E. to W.O.W.  She joked that it was obviously an upgrade and looked much better on her bowling shirt.  My grandfather suffered a very unusual stroke at a young age which left him completely paralyzed.  He spent approximately one year in the hospital after the stroke.  Doctors were convinced that his chances for improvement and recovery were slim to none.  They told my grandma that she should go about her business and just be the bright spot in his day when she visited.  My grandma wouldn't accept that, insisting that my grandfather's mind was still in tact and that she would be bringing him home.  Long story short, she was right.  Although he remained a quadraplegic and confined to a wheelchair, he was eventually able to speak in a raspy whisper and regained enough movement in his arms to eat, write and do some simple water color painting on his own.  He came home and my grandma took care of him for over 15 years until he passed on.  Everyone should be blessed to experience a love as strong and genuine as theirs.

I honestly cannot remember a time when Grandma W.O.W. was hospitalized for her own personal medical issues.  Last night, she was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and will probably be there for a few days. Instead of our typical weekend breakfast dates at Mickey D's, I visited her at the hospital this morning and had a difficult time seeing her physically weaker than I've ever seen her before.  Her mind has also significanty deteriorated over this past year.  She hasn't been officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's, but she clearly has dementia issues and increasing problems with her short-term memory.   

I am the oldest of her four grandchildren. None of us have kids of our own yet.  Over the past 3 years, I've hoped every month that I would be able to tell Grandma W.O.W. that we are having a baby and that she will be a great-grandma.  But so far, our fertility struggles have robbed me of this opportunity.  And as each month passes and she continues to deteriorate, I fear that Grandma W.O.W. may never know or be able to fully appreciate the joy of being a great-grandma.  Just one of the many reasons I resent being delayed in DINKville.


Just Gonna Do It; Shoulda Done It Sooner

So I've decided to quit anonymously lurking other TTC/IF blogs.  I've been doing that for about two years now.  Last month marked three years since my husband and I decided that we would try to start a family.  Over the past three years, we've endured two miscarriages and much disappointment.  Right now I am a few days into my 2WW after IUI#5. If this one isn't successful, we will do one more IUI before moving onto IVF if necessary.

We've been relatively private about our fertility problems and only recently shared our struggles with our close family members.  But I still feel alone.  I can't begin to tell you how helpful it has been to read others' stories over these past few years.  I feel like I already know so many of you even though I've never communicated with any of you directly.  I spend so much time reading other people's blogs that I decided that it is time for me to join this wonderfully supportive community.

Travelling is one of my passions so I thought it would be fun to incorporate that into my blog's theme.  You can check out our TTC "itinerary" to the right.  I've never blogged before and I am not one who typically keeps diaries or journals (unless I'm travelling).  Hopefully this will come easy.  Thanks for sharing your journeys and accompanying me on mine.