Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pills and Needles

Photo from

This pregnancy announcement from a set of parents struggling with infertility has been making the rounds on social media over the last few days, and it has totally struck a nerve.  The last time I wrote, I shared the news of my non pregnancy, my positive pregnancy test that would never progress beyond that.  The outpouring of love I received from that post was incredible.  Texts, cards in the mail, messages on Facebook, from people who I speak to everyday and who I haven't seen since high school or college.  I can't begin to voice my gratitude for that love, at a time when I desperately needed it.

Since then, people will periodically ask me for an update on how I am doing.  Perhaps between the lines they are asking if we are still trying or even if I am pregnant and just not telling anyone yet.  Oh how I wish that were the case.

It's been 4 long months since that positive pregnancy test.  4 long months of nothing to report.  3 cycles of clomid, with the recent addition of an injection of HCG to trigger ovulation, all with the end result of dozens of negative pregnancy tests.

Just last night, I was walking the dog after work, and a family down the street from us, with a little girl Sabrina's age, walked by.  It was the first time I'd really seen them up close since the cold weather passed, and I realized for the first time that the little girl's mother was very visibly pregnant.  And it felt like somebody punched me in the gut; that should have been me.  I recently went to Muffins with Moms at Sabrina's daycare, and at least half the other mothers in the room had their young babies with them.  We went to a birthday party for Sabrina's friend from school recently, and most of the families with toddlers also had their little babies in tow.  Everyday there is some reminder of my pregnancy that wasn't and isn't.  
I was completely unprepared to deal with this infertility struggle.  I got pregnant with Sabrina the third month I was off the pill, with absolutely no intervention necessary.  Even my non-pregnancy happened immediately, the first month of trying.  But since then it's like my body has shut down.  I now know terms such a follicle size and trigger shot and overstimulation, none of which I was remotely familiar with a few months ago.  I now know what it feels like when your ovaries are so full that they feel like they might burst.  I now know the emotional ups and downs of clomid.  

I am so thankful for my husband throughout this struggle.  He is my rock and my best friend, always there to help out if I am not feeling well or to make me smile when I can't find a reason. It is ironic that he is in his 40s, much later than many men have children, and yet I am the issue here, at the ripe old age of 32.  I am broken, or that's how I feel most days.  Our bodies are designed to do this, yet mine just doesn't seem capable right now.

I know the next steps ahead of me in this fertility struggle, and I am not willing to take them. IUI, IVF, daily injections, sometimes multiple in a day, I am just not willing to go there.  I have been blessed with a daughter, and a stepdaughter, and I am not willing to invest the time, money, and pain of those fertility treatments that will detract from the joyful life I already have.  I just can't do it.  This is where the road ends for me.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everyone who has supported me, and us, throughout this painful journey.  It is truly in God's hands at this point, and I trust that whatever happens will happen for a reason.  I'm sharing this in the hopes that there can be less of a stigma around infertility.  It's a very private matter, but then again it affects so many around us.  I am someone who heals by sharing, who takes comfort in talking about the good things as well as the bad.  I desperately want to give Sabrina a sibling her own age, so I will stay the course and keep trying, but not forever.  A person can only take so much.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Pregnancy That Never Was

It was there.  That faint second line.  I was pregnant.  I called my husband in, showed it to him.  We hugged, whispered our excitement.  Blood test confirmed that I was VERY newly pregnant with a repeat test ordered in a week to confirm.  We kept the news to ourselves and quietly and happily counted ahead to a September due date (Chris's birthday month!), Sabrina being a big sister, plans for a gender reveal party, and all the other things that came along with finding out you're expecting.  I of course worked myself up into my usual ball of anxiety over anything resembling change, especially a change this big.  But I was happy.

Then the repeat test came.  I had figured out what my numbers should have been (HCG is supposed to double every 2 days, as all mommies to be quickly learn in their pregnancy journey) and it should have been roughly 150.  It was 40.  Hardly doubled in a week, let alone every 2 days.  My progesterone was almost 0 (3), down from almost 12 the week before.  Something was wrong.  I got my results in a message on my patient portal with the attached note of "We need to see you for an appointment".  Not exactly the way I wanted to find out that there was obviously something very wrong with my pregnancy.

So my husband and I trudged into the office a few LONG hours later.  They asked for any symptoms I'd been having, spotting, one sided pain.  Talked about risks of ectopic pregnancy.  The doctor told me that with the numbers as low as they were, it likely was an egg that was fertilized but never implanted.  This pregnancy of mine never really was.

But to me, it was.  The pink line was there.  The subsequent tests all said pregnant.  I FELT pregnant.  My chest immediately grew twice its size (kinda like the Grinch's heart) and began to really hurt.  I remembered those early signs.  Peeing more.  Being more tired.  Just feeling off, like something was different.  I may not have been pregnant, but my body begged to differ.  

So now I'm in this state of limbo.  My body still thinks it's pregnant.  The tests I take all say pregnant.  But I guess I have to come to terms with the fact that I'm not.  I never really was to begin with, other than a slightly elevated blood result.  The ICD-10 code on my patient plan read "Missed Abortion".  Really?  Is that really the term we want to use when a mother to be has been told that her pregnancy isn't viable?  Upon further googling, I saw the words "early fetal death" and stopped reading there.  I just couldn't read any more.

I've read many heartbreaking stories of pregnancy loss.  But the question I can't really seem to answer is, have I had a pregnancy loss?  I've lost the idea behind being pregnant, that's unquestionable.  But I don't feel like I can really place myself in the same category as those women who've lost pregnancies much later. I only had the idea for really a week, and even then I knew it was early and I knew that ultimately something like this could happen.  

Many women choose to keep their miscarriages and nonviable pregnancies to themselves. After some soul searching, I decided that I needed to do just the opposite.  I needed to share my sadness, my disappointment, in an attempt to not feel alone or ashamed.  I know so many others have been through similar struggles and I take comfort in sharing my pain so that maybe someone else like me can know they aren't alone either.  

I don't know what to feel.  I am sad, but not shattered.  I am disappointed, but not defeated.  My heart is sad for what would have been, but is also hopeful for what hopefully will be in the future.  I hope that we are lucky enough to get pregnant again soon, and hopefully that this time it will stick.  But for now, I'll quietly mourn my baby that never was, hug my fiesty, sweetheart of a toddler that I am lucky enough to have by my side, and feel secure in the fact that I have my best friend, my rock, my husband by my side through all of it.

The Chinese Gender Predictor predicted that it would have been a boy.  So in my mind, I will always think of the son that never really was for me, and hope that he is somewhere out there smiling down on us.