Monday, February 22, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

This is therapeutic to me thus far. Just typing out the facts, the happenings, getting them out there in the big wide open - in a way it makes me feel better. And that's what I'm hoping today.

Last Tuesday night - the night before my first Beta test - I had this overwhelming urge to take a home pregnancy test. Usually I'm good about staying away from those things, sure that I will ruin whatever outcome is in store for me - dooming me to a negative and setting my mind to something negative. But, well, I did it. I came in, peed on a stick (really? still? isn't there a more dignified method yet?) then I walked the dog and came back in. On that short walk I convinced myself it was a huge mistake, and that it would for sure be negative. To my shock, it was not. It was a big fat positive on that digital screen. And again on the one I took later that night. G and I were so excited, yet still apprehensive.

The next morning I gave my blood for the hCG test (pregnancy hormone). They're usually looking for numbers between 100 and 200 - or so I read somewhere. Well, when they called that afternoon my hCG level was 800. HUGE! It was a great number, the nurse was so pumped, and so we were feeling great. Then, I repeated the blood test on Friday and the numbers (which should increase by 60%) more than doubled to 1640! Just great numbers, and we were thrilled.

In our excitement, we shared the news with people who have shared in our journey thus far, or at least most of them. I was looking up how far along I was - about 5 weeks - reading about development and what I should or shouldn't be doing, etc.

Then came Saturday. Just a normal day. I was feeling pretty nauseous at lunch, but felt better after I ate something. We were driving back from visiting family when I got the most uncomfortable cramping I have ever experienced. In my mind, during that ride, I justified the pain. I was thinking I was being a wimp, and that these might be the "growing pains" I was being told about. When we got home, the cramps were gone for the most part - but when I stood up and walked inside it was different. There was blood (a lot of it). When G got back in from taking the dog out, there I was - hysterical, crying... I just knew it was over.

We finally decided to call the emergency number for our RE clinic. You leave a message with a message service and a nurse will call you back. Imagine poor G trying to explain to a message service about what was happening. We just sat and waited. The nurse called back pretty quickly and, in a sweet calming voice tried to tell us that this happens to a lot of women during pregnancy, and bleeding is normal and cramping is okay.

This was not okay. We decided to go to the Emergency Room after we got off the phone with this woman. I appreciate her trying to keep me calm, but there was just no way that what I was experiencing was normal.

The ER was calm. I will tell you about this experience only because it was so strange at different points. When I walked in, and signed in, they make you write what your problem is on this small form. In a box with one inch of height, I wrote that I was pregnant and experiencing, well, see above.

The receptionist guy says "Wow- pregnant - CONGRATULATIONS!" Thanks, dufus.

We were taken back pretty quickly, hooked up to an IV, blood drawn, vitals taken, pain scale assessment asked, the whole thing. They said something about taking my temperature because I was so flushed and I simply said "I've been crying." "Oh, poor thing."

Then we were led to the ultrasound room - I was rolled and G got to follow. They made this huge deal about letting him go with me because it normally wasn't allowed. That was nice. This 100 pound nurse pushed me on this gigantic bed all the way there. This is where we met the ultrasound nurse who, honest to goodness, didn't stop talking. Oh, I forgot to mention - her only "rule" for G to be allowed to come in was that we knew we couldn't ask any questions. So, there she was, talking about miscarriage, but not talking about us, instead she was talking about other couples "like us," who are so nice yet go through this. Are you telling me I miscarried? Please, just give me an answer. I can not stand being on the fence.

At this point they asked me for a urine sample. This urine sample stayed beside me on my hospital bed the entire visit.

They wheeled me back to my ER room, where the doctor finally saw us. She did a pelvic exam to see if my cervix was open or closed, and then, and this is the part I've been looking forward to sharing - she goes on this tangent about pregnancy and that 19 year old kids that do crack (no lie, she said it) that have no business being pregnant and having babies are the ones that never have any problems, and yet, here we are - this nice couple, experiencing this awfulness. And when she left my room, she turns back and says "Go home and do crack. Then you'll have a baby."

Everyone danced around what I already felt, what I already knew. They could not confirm, or would not confirm. I was sent home with a discharge form that read "Threatened Miscarriage." They tested my hCG level while I was there, which was a great 2548. The only hope I got from this episode.

During my visit, the ER doctor called the RE clinic. The doctor on call said we could go in the next day to talk, be monitored, etc at the office that is open on weekends. We decided not to go, and just wait for my scheduled visit at my usual office.

I couldn't sleep. I woke up a lot, and finally got up super early with a huge pit in my stomach. That lonely feeling, where something just isn't right. Or isn't the same, or something. I showered and woke up G to ask to go to the weekend RE clinic. I'm glad I did. They were warm, and welcoming, and did everything they could to give me as much information they could. They also tested my hCG level, which I wouldn't find out until later in the afternoon. They did another ultrasound, but didn't see any gestational sac in my uterus. Bad news, even though they didn't say so. They said "Maybe we're just missing it - it is sort of early." The doctor, not the one they called the day before, entered the room - said he was sorry - even though they weren't telling us one way or the other if I lost the pregnancy. Mixed signals.
But it was still nice to be there. I felt better for some reason, getting checked out by the group I was familiar with.

They called that afternoon to tell me that my hCG level was only 900. A sure sign that I had in fact miscarried.

So I stop the injections. I let my hormone levels return to "normal." I go in a few days for the next few weeks to be checked out - until my hCG returns to 0 or negative numbers.

And we try again.

But, for now, it hurts. I feel pretty unstable, and cry just randomly. I'm blaming it on the mass exit of hormones, plus the disappointment. G is amazing, and I'm so lucky that he is mine.

But this is not our end in this journey. We are looking forward to trying again. We knew this was a possibility, and we will continue our plan knowing that it could happen again.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Human Contact

Today I stopped by my RE's office. Yep. Just stopped by. Hey, don't judge. I've been cooped up due to snow (Snowmegeddon, Snowpocolypse, Snowtorious B.I.G, you pick). So I grabbed my full sharps containers and started my car for the first time in a week. When I got there, I think that Deb the receptionist was as glad to see another human as I was. I'm sure they've still been busy - everything there is on a strict time-table, as you probably have figured out by now - but she was all alone in the front. So we shared in some chit-chat and some exchanging of sharps containers, and I was on my way.

This woman, Deb, is the woman I see when I check in. She is the woman I check out with, as well. She takes my payments, and she wishes me luck with every step in this process. She calls me Ms. Jennifer, and seems to go out of the way to give me those kind words. I know how many patients that she must see on a daily basis, but I just adore her. And I especially appreciate her meaningful messages to me as I trek down this path with G.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


So I'm home for the week due to weather. I take this as a message for me to just relax and putz around the house. I have also used this time to read up on some fertility blogs and messages from people going through exactly what I am.

But, my problem... they all write in code. I am trying to decode all of their acronyms and abbreviations and messages. Like my title. Apparently 7dp5dt means: Seven days past 5 day transfer. What it should really be is 7di2wwGC (Seven days into 2 week wait and GOING CRAZY). I blame it on being mostly housebound for the past week, and reading all of these women on the online forums. They're not all neurotic, but I think once you reach a certain breaking point you are just the type of person to sit all glassy-eyed with a pasted grin on your face speaking in a high-pitch squeaky voice about gardens and babies and optimistic things like a BFPs (Big Fat Positive. I do not lie. It's in their "glossary")

Well, some of these women are sitting glassy eyed in the corner of internet, waiting to send "baby dust" to every new woman that arrives on the forum. They call your animals "furbabies" and discuss their husbands sperm count and mobility on a regular basis.

"Oh, WantBabies4eva, your DH's (dear husband's) sperm count sounds so promising! Baby dust to you both! Not much longer in your 2ww!!!!!!"

And their user names. I can't even discuss them. It is clear that these moments in their life define them. And while I read their messages and try to make sense of it all, I feel sad for them. And for me. That we have to go through such a rigorous regimen when those around us seem to be popping babies out like, well, there's no good metaphor for popping babies. I can see how some might just go batty.

I do not feel like these moments define me or G. This is just something we are going through. Together. Something we are laughing about as he stabs me in the rear with a needle. Something I whine about when he leaves a bruise. Phone messages that we can't wait to share, even when it's bad news. Days off, reflective lunches, and discussions that revolve around a hope that one day this will be behind us because we will have reached the end goal.

I wish these women, the ones I go to in some way for support, will stop sending me fairy dust and get real already. Tell me about the procedures and the side effects, the phone calls and the doctor visits, the twings and pangs of your body when you had a BFP or a BFN (I'll let you figure that one out.) Tell me! Break down and let it out so that your messages can help someone. Or guide them. Or give them peace when all they're looking for is a sign. Any definite sign.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Before the Rush

I picked up this magazine in the grocery store today...
and then I flipped in a few pages and saw this:

THAT'S MY RE! Can you believe it?? Man, am I glad that we are ALREADY her patients... I can only imagine the demand for her time now! And like I've said to her in our meetings - it's always nice to see her when I can keep my pants on. Giggle.

Way to go, Dr. B!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Big Day

Today was the day. And it's worth the recap - every disgusting bit...

We'll start at the beginning, when I spent about 3 hours preparing plans for a substitute at work today. Then, we were granted a snow day. What a relief! I always think about work when I'm not there, so this was a load off of my mind. I could truly focus on our transfer. G had the day off, and his phone wasn't beeping at all. (Good sign).

We were due to be there at 11am, and b/c we were unsure of the road conditions after the snow, we left at 9:30 to be safe. Didn't want our thawing embryos to wait! As it turns out, we arrived in the city an hour early anyways. So, we killed some time in a nearby Best Buy. We purchased water. Ha! I was then on a mission to "moderately fill" my bladder before my transfer. (I had already downed about 16 oz. and 1/2 a gatorade).

We checked in at the receptionist counter just before 11am. Rachael Ray was on their tv and the waiting room was full. I drank. Then on came Dr. Phil. I drank some more. Dr. Phil show was almost over, and it was now almost 12 pm - the time our transfer was due to start. My bladder was so full that I could not even sit up straight.

What's a girl to do?

I did what any other girl would have to do. I snuck to the bathroom.

I then downed a whole new bottle of water in hopes that I could fill my bladder again before they called my name.

Big mistake. Flash forward to 12:40, when they finally called my name. By this time my body had processed that water, and it was all sitting in my now full-again bladder. No lie. I toughed it out. I didn't go. I put my booties over my socks, and did the pee-pee dance all the way into the room. I assumed the position and waited. I signed paperwork, checked ID, tried my best to carry on conversations. What's that? You want an intern to watch? Sure, whatever, just PLEASE hurry. I laid back and was feeling okay.

Let me explain the scenario. There is now a woman in charge of the transfer positioned at my toes armed with a speculum and catheter. Behind her is the intern. Or whatever they call future Dr.'s. Beside me is G, of course, and the ultrasound screen so we can watch. Then there's the woman on the right of me. She's in charge of using the ultrasound wand to press down on my abdomen. I hate this woman.

I was having flashes of terror where she was pushing down, and the other woman was trying to get in position, and I just peed all over them.

Then they went into action, pushing and putting things into place. They have to push down on my lower abdomen in order to see where the catheter is going. My bladder was SO full that it was creating a sharp curve up to my cervix, and they had to try like 10 times getting the catheter in place. They called in the embryos. Then they sent them away b/c they couldn't get in position. All I wanted to do was get them to hurry the heck up. I have to go, people!

I wanted so much to be so relaxed during this time. I was so tense. It was so uncomfortable. Then they say the magic words. "Do you want us to empty your bladder a bit?"

WHAT? You can do that in here? Because there was no way I was going to be able to stop it on my own in the restroom. So, I said, in desperation... "Um, okay?!"

It was over in a jiffy. They emptied a bit of my bladder - just enough to make me comfortable. In front of 4 people. In the middle they kept asking how I was feeling. At some point I said "Much better, but this is kind of gross." Seriously, you're making THAT face right now, aren't you? Me, too.

Then, suddenly, everything worked. The catheter went right in, the lady pressing on my abdomen was now my friend, and I let my death grip on G's neck relax a bit. They called the embryos back in, (which they oddly have to announce every time like an order at a deli - "Two in 23!" "Check, two coming in!").

Then, it was over. They removed all tools necessary to make magic happen. It was just me and G and a timer for 5 minutes before I could get up.

Here they are... the wonderful little things...
These are some good-looking spit bubbles - don't you think??