Infertility | Mother’s Day Thoughts

Ah, Mother’s Day.

First, let me start by saying that this is not to send anyone towards a guilt trip. This is meant to be a hand extended towards those in the baby-trying season of life. An explanation of why this holiday is complicated for so many….

The Past

I remember celebrating this day and thinking how fun it would be to, one day, be celebrated. This year will be my first Mother’s Day, depending on who you ask. It’ll be my first Mother’s Day, celebrating with our baby and my 5th Mother’s Day, total. These last 5 years, I have found myself absolutely dreading Mother’s Day.

If I’m being honest, I’m on the fence about it this year, too.

The last 5 years, I’ve successfully avoided brunches, church, dinners, and so on. Not because I don’t want to celebrate the mom’s in my life, but because the nosy questions will always be asked.

Do you have children? Do you want children? When do you think you’ll have children of your own? Will you give your child a sibling? How many will you have? The list is huge…

In 2017, I had my second miscarriage, two days before Mother’s Day. That was, hands down, the HARDEST Mother’s Day.


The Present

I know that there are MANY women (and men) who would love to answer the above questions, but can’t yet. Or want to answer, but would do so in a way that would lead to pitiful looks and having to comfort strangers. Neither of which are enjoyable.

How do you tell someone…

Yes, I do have children. I have “x” amount, but they aren’t able to be here with me.

No, I don’t have children. I’ve been struggling with/to…for months, years, etc..

Any derivative of those 2 sentences tends to cause complete strangers to reel as if I have struck them. Sometimes, most times, it’s not worth it and is better to answer with a simple “not yet”. Those two simple words, “not yet”, aren’t so simple. They bring on a whole slew of thoughts and feelings that can’t always be expressed.


You are not alone.

I want to tell anyone who is dreading this holiday (or any holiday), feeling guilt, anger, sadness, you name it–you are NOT alone! At the very least, I know that it is hard.

Sunday will either drag or fly by, situation dependent. You may or may not leave the comfort of you bed, couch, house. Maybe you’ll turn your phone off, keep the lights off, and binge a TV show all day. You might cry, scream, or sleep. Whatever you choose to do, allow yourself to be.

Too many times, I have tried to grieve the “right way”. There isn’t a single way to get through these hard days.

For those that have no idea what I’m discussing, but know someone who might, shoot them a text. Talk to them. It might be exactly what they need. If they don’t respond for a while, that’s ok, too.


So, this Mother’s Day…happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there. Happy Mother’s Day to the obvious, and not so obvious, mom. Happy Mother’s Day to the mom struggling with the infertility process, whatever stage you may be at.

WE see you, hear you, and we are here for YOU.

sign off!

Another long break, another long update

The last real time update I gave was in the middle of December, as we finished our hysteroscopy. That finished up a month of testing (ultrasounds, blood work, hysteroscopy, and more blood work).

Just four days before Christmas, we got our test results. They weren’t bad, but I thought they’d be better and it took me some time to wrap my head around.

The Good

There were no endometriosis, polyps, or scarring of any kind. Yay!

The Not So Good

The ultrasound did show a lower egg reserve count. My egg reserve count was at 20, which to me sounded high…until I found out that a healthy 25-year-old has a count of 30-35. My hormone and blood levels were lower than normal/average, too. My ANA result came back positive again with a titer of 1:80, but we are retesting that while we wait for my thrombophilia panel.  This titer score may be triggered by the Raynaud’s, so this may just be my new baseline. My AMH level was also on the low side at 2.31. Again, for a healthy 25-year-old, the average is 3.6-something to a 4-point-something.

When we found this out, we (myself, Mike, and doctor) decided to go on meds to increase egg quality. Myo-inositol and PQQ. A few weeks into taking these 2 new medications and I ended up in the Emergency Room 3 times in 5 days. I was having a rare allergic reaction to both the Myo-inositol and the PQQ. Burning of the hands and feet, huge hives everywhere all at once, immediate swelling, blurry vision, coughing, tingling…about has allergic as one can get. So I’m off the Myo-inositol and PQQ and have been on Benadryl and Prednisone for 7 full days (and will be on it for the next 2 days).

Can I just say that I hate being on Prednisone?! As much as I want to be pregnant, I’m REALLY dreading having to be on injectable Prednisone with all the side effects that the oral medication has brought. More on that later!

So, that now brings us to present time. This coming week, really whenever I start to ovulate, we will be having another ultrasound to look at egg count…and then our next steps. Medicated cycles? IVF? Something totally different, we’ll have to wait and see…

Fingers crossed as we find out what our options are!

alaina

I want a baby, but…

I don’t want to go through another miscarriage.

We are going to appointments and starting to work a plan, but I can’t help but get frustrated when thinking about our miscarriages. I’ve followed every piece of doctor advice, I’ve done research, I’ve joined groups, I’ve prayed and it still ends in a miscarriage.

I’ve been told that God has a plan, to pray about it, and accept that answer. I agree with that…to an extent. Sometimes you just need medical help. God created those smart doctors, correct?

I consider myself a religious person and have prayed about it, but I still can’t help but to ask 1 question over and over. Why? Why not those babies? Why all the tears and heartache? Why all the feelings of hatred, anger, and jealousy?

alaina

Another Pregnancy, Another Miscarriage | A New Appointment

I’m sitting here this morning looking out at the mountains and typing away catch-up posts for the coming days and weeks. Really, I’ve just been trying to pass the last 70 minutes before I need to get ready for our first Infertility Specialist appointment and realized that the last journey update was 26 days ago. So here we go.

It has been…
23 days since we found out we were pregnant
17 days since our last miscarriage and
12 days since we moved west

Needless to say, we’ve had a busy few of weeks.

When we found out we were pregnant this time, I was immediately put on Heparin (twice a day injections) and Progesterone (1 pill/day), in addition to the Prenatals (2 pills/day), Baby Aspirin (1 pill/day), and Folbic (2 pills/day).

My numbers were great and higher than previous times. My progesterone was increasing at a good pace, as was my HCG. Everything looked great except that I was spotting. I brought it up at our Wednesday (10/4/17) appointment, but the doctor said not to worry about it spotting is okay until the cramping starts and the spotting gets heavier.

On Sunday (10/8/17), before a goodbye dinner with friends, I started lightly cramping, but no change in spotting. On the way home from dinner, I felt that telling “woosh”. We dropped off our neighbor and I ran to the bathroom yelling to let the dogs out and get ready to leave.

3 hours later…..after getting my Heparin shot, Rhogam shot, and ultrasounds in the ER, we were sent home with another “threatened miscarriage, HCG is down, go to your doctor”. It was happening again.

Monday (10/9/17) I went to get my blood work redone and Wednesday (10/11/17) it was confirmed I was in the throws of miscarrying.

So now here we are. Waiting for our first infertility appointment with doctors who’ve come highly recommended by family and apparently celebrities. Fingers crossed and hopes and fears trying not to burst at the seams

alaina

Oh Monday, Monday, I am glad you are gone

Last week, I talked through all of my Day 3 testing, how painful that was, and the next test. Today was that next test…my hysteroscopy.

To say I was nervous would be a HUGE understatement. From the reading and research I had done, this was going to be painful, but I’d be asleep. From nurses (at my clinic) and family, I found out that I would not be under anesthesia and it would definitely be painful. I spent the weekend before, fretting because those who I sought for answers weren’t able to give me peace of mind. Yes, I know that’s mainly my own fault. 

Here we are, less than 24 hours later and I’m here to say it was bad, but I survived! They dilated my cervix,  pumped some fluid in, inserted a catheter and camera, and snapped some photos. That whole ordeal didn’t take very long (and the doctor was great), but it was incredibly painful. After that, I had to get more blood work done for the autoimmune panel, blood clotting panel, and something else (the name is escaping me).

I spent the rest of the afternoon/evening with a heating pad and drinking a lot of water. I only got sick once; thank goodness! I experienced a LOT of cramping and nausea, throughout the rest of the day/night, but am very fortunate that that was all.

Because the information didn’t seem readily available, here’s what I did. I really think that Step 3 was the biggest help of all. FYI: my hysteroscopy was at 2:30PM and lasted about 35 minutes start to finish, including blood work. 

1. Keep busy. I was so nervous leading up to the procedure that I struggled to get sleep. Before falling asleep around 1AM, I made a list of things to do during the day so that I wouldn’t scare myself into nervousness. I also had no idea what to expect recovery wise, so I knew a few household chores needed to be completed prior.

I folded laundry (and refolded ALL of my clothes), paid bills, picked up our room, vacuumed, remade the bed, took out the trash, did a 35 minute Beachbody workout, showered, ate, and read.

2. Create a list of questions. In creating this list, I found that most of my concerns were post-hysteroscopy and could be discussed at our Wednesday consultation appointment. This allowed me to get a large chunk of my anxiousness out before walking into the doctor’s office.

3. Prepare your space. So keeping busy the day of allowed me to prep the space I’d most likely be in after the hysteroscopy, but, in this section, I mean it more as bedding, food, medication, and activities. For bedding, I got all the pillows and blankets (and my heating pad) that I could want or need. For food, I bought soups and snacks a few days in advance that would be nutritional and help to settle my stomach (if necessary). As for medications and activities, I placed all the meds I would need for the day/night next to the bed so that if I didn’t want to or couldn’t get out of bed I didn’t have to. Activites, my computer, charging cables, and books, were all placed next to the bed, too.

In preparing for the hysteroscopy, I took 600mg of ibuprofen an hour before my scheduled time and then 200 to 400mg every 5 hours for twice. This helped tremendously to keep the edge off. I also grabbed a small Dum-Dum lollipop to suck on after the blood work portion to help keep my mind off the cramping and nausea and give me a small sugar boost. 

alaina

Cycle Day 3

Today was quite a day!

After not being able to get ahold of any nurses over the weekend, I called back today to see what I needed to do. Apparently, I needed to do a lot and the only opening they had was in 15 minutes.

Side note, it takes 14-20 minutes to get to the clinic and neither of us were ready. The hustle was on!

Once we got there, we were given our check off list for the day.

  • Ovarian Reserve Testing
  • Blood work up the wazoo (9 vials for me 4 for Mike)
  • Give a urine sample (both)
  • Consultation

Plus, I have to go back in a day or 2 to finish the blood work because I didn’t realize I needed to be fasting.

I’ve been told that the ultrasound and blood work were to be pretty easy and not to worry, so I didn’t. They were wrong, for me at least.

Quick back story: TMI WARNING, skip to unitalicized if you don’t want to read. I have VERY heavy, intense cycles from Day 1-6. Heavy flow, intense cramping, nausea, sensitivity to pressure around the stomach/back/pelvic areas, sore legs and arms, excessive fatigue. I always have had to lie on the couch or in bed with a heating pad 1-2 days prior to Day 1 until Day 3-4. Relief finds me around Day 7-8.

Going into today’s testing regime, I was ill prepared. I left the ultrasound room feeling some extra cramping and pressure like expected, but otherwise okay until the blood work. During the blood work, I started to get a little dizzy. I drank some water, stayed seated, and was fine to go home.

My husband was driving luckily, but about a fourth of the way home, I started to get very uncomfortable. I had to unbutton/zip my pants, lean the seat back, and focus on breathing. We got home, I changed and started to make lunch when I was hit with an overwhelming burning sensation cramp that felt like it radiated through my entire body.

I rushed to the bathroom confident I was going to be sick. After 20 minutes, I came out and tried to eat soup on the floor in between bathroom runs. After the second run, I was incredibly lightheaded and needed to lie down. After getting help moving from the bathroom into bed, with all of my pillows, ibuprofen, heating pad, food, and water, I was overcome with huge, body shaking cramps and the need to vomit.

To say it was a horrible 90 minutes would be a gross understatement, but soon after I was starving. I was able to finish the soup and then fell into a deep 40 minute nap.

* * *

About 11 days ago, I redid some of my preconception labs to check my Vitamin D, thyroid, and prolactin levels. I was told not to expect a phone call from the lab at the clinic unless a result was too low or high. Today, after 11 days and no call (plus more blood work), I got a call. My Vitamin D levels are too low, but the thyroid and prolactin levels are within normal range.

About 9 months ago, I was on Vitamin D supplements (50,000 units) for 12 weeks. I was told to retest in December and go from there. So here we are, back on Vitamin D pills for 4 weeks before getting retested.

* * *

I’m curious to see how painful the hysteroscopy (next Monday) will be after experiencing this ultrasound. From what I’ve been told by nurses, the hysteroscopy is the painful one. Their recommendation is to take ibuprofen and be prepared to spend the rest of the day in bed. (Yay! Hint of sarcasm.)

P.S. today was a two post day, so be sure to check that one out, too! It’s the start of a new series called I want a baby, but…”