A new day, a new doctor

First of all, I want to start by saying thank you to all of you amazing ladies out there who have posted such thoughtful and helpful comments this last week. I feel very different this time around, and I think a big part of that is having so much support. I know how many people go through infertility and loss with little to no support, and I feel like I’m beyond lucky.

Emotionally I might be doing pretty well (at least for now), but physically I’m doing HORRIBLY. The nausea has hit full force and I’m barely keeping it together trying to function. It starts before I get out of bed in the morning, as I’m woken up by waves of nausea. It’s always worst when my stomach is empty, so first thing in the morning is a huge struggle. I force myself out of bed and brush my teeth half doubled over (because it’s worse when I’m standing up straight). Somehow I make it through a shower (the heat has a negative effect too) and to the kitchen to eat breakfast. I always feel a little better with a full stomach, but it only lasts for an hour or two. No matter how much I eat, the nausea will be back an hour or two later, and I have the choice to stuff myself with more food and face gaining enormous amounts of weight, or suffer. I’ve been falling on the side of stuffing myself with more food, consequences be damned.

If I could just be curled up on a couch all day (like I am today), I think I could manage okay. But having to get dressed and go to work, where I have to pretend everything is totally peachy, is really pushing me to my limit. I count every single minute until the day is over, then start dreading the next day. I’ve finished 4 of 10 work days before my next ultrasound, and I’m barely holding it together. I’m not sure what I’d do if I wasn’t working part time, maybe I’d have to consider unpaid leave.

I have to say though, the hardest part of feeling sick all the time is that I’m SO ANGRY that I feel this way. I’ve had to do this FIVE times!! Is it not unfair enough that I have to have miscarriage after miscarriage, do I also have to be punished with months and months of feeling like I have the flu too? I’ve done the equivalent of a full pregnancy’s worth of first trimesters, feeling more nauseous than most pregnant women ever feel. If I actually had the flu I could stay home, or if I was a normal pregnant woman I could get away with telling people. But instead I have to pretend everything is f*ing fine, and go about my life like nothing is wrong. It just feels like kicking me over and over when I’m already down.

In less angry news, I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few days thinking about my options, however few, going forward. As so many of you commented, there are options out there, and the question for me always goes back to just how much time and money am I willing to risk on a longshot? Adoption has always been our backup option, our plan B. And the thing about adoption is it’s close to a sure bet. It’s expensive and seems insanely hard, but we know that we could do it and in the end we would have a child. We’ve already done a lot of research, so we know what agency we would probably use, how much it would cost (we could set an upper limit), and most of what’s involved in the process. It would also feel like we were taking control finally, after 3 years of having absolutely no control over anything. Plan B doesn’t have to be the end of the world, maybe (maybe) I could even get excited about it eventually.

BUT. I can’t do any of that while I’m bogged down by unanswered questions. I’ve always said if I had some sort of explanation for my losses I could start to move on. When you don’t know whats wrong, it feels like an answer or a solution could be right around the corner. What if I just asked one more question? What if we did just one more test? What if we saw just one more doctor? Maybe the answer is just sitting there waiting to be found, and all the horror of the past 3 years will melt away as we suddenly have a miracle cure. There are always more articles, more blogs, to read and get ideas about possible explanations. I could truly fall down the rabbit hole and never come out chasing answers that ultimately might never exist. I’m already feeling the frustration of the having wasted this last full year on a single attempt. If we’d moved on after our loss last December, like we said we would, we could have a child by now. So, as badly as I want answers, I feel like I need to be careful not to be too drawn in to the possibility that one more (test/doctor/treatment/attempt) could be the magical solution. It’s a fine line, because I don’t want to give up too early when there are valid things left to try, but I don’t want to waste the rest of my life chasing a hopeless dream either.

With that in mind, we have decided to see just one more doctor. We made an appointment with a doctor who is a definite proponent of the embryoscopy procedure. We were super lucky to get in to see him so quickly, our appointment is next Thursday (the 12th), so it won’t be too late to still do embryoscopy if he convinces us there is information to be had from it. From his website, it’s clear that he has a different opinion about RPL than Dr. O., and as much as I respect Dr. O, I’m beyond fed up with the attitude that we have to ‘just keep trying’ because there are no more answers to be had. Ultimately he may be right, but I need to at least try asking one more person. I strongly suspect that this new doctor (Dr. A), will have something different to say, and then the question will become, who do we beleive? When all you have to go on is one person’s opinion versus another person’s opinion, how do you know who to trust? I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

So, today what I’m working on is the list of questions we want to ask Dr. A. The bottomline question is, what do you think our options are? But, to get to that point, my hope is that we can look at the ‘evidence’ so to speak, in the form of my history and the details of my losses, and see if they provide any clues to the type of problem we’re dealing with. From what I’ve heard/read of him so far, I think that he may be the type of doctor who is willing to think things through this way with us, rather than just saying ‘no way to know, just keep trying’.

All of you have been super helpful already by giving me suggestions for things to think/ask about. I’m going to list the ‘evidence’ and questions that I’ve got so far (with your help) below. If you can think of anything else that I should ask about, please let me know. I’m feeling a little more optimistic at the moment, hoping that either we can make some progress with this doctor, or if not, we will feel like we’ve asked all the questions and heard all the opinions there are to hear, and maybe this will help us move on.

Evidence:

  • Strong pattern with almost all losses: bleeding at 5 weeks, heartbeat at 6 weeks, no heartbeat at 8 weeks
  • Very heavy bleeding, starting early- what could be happening so early to start the bleeding?
  • Almost all were missed miscarriages, even by 9 weeks there has never been any sign of anything progressing naturally
  • Almost all embryos looked bad or ‘weird’ in some way on ultrasound (anything from no yolk sac to weird oblong shaped gestational sac)
  • No signs of fever/allergic reaction when pregnant (sometimes thought to be related to immune causes)
  • Very high AMH- most likely not an egg quality issue
  • ‘Wierd’ uterine stuff: asymmetrical lumpy lining with this pregnancy, former very small septum
  • Periovarian mass
  • Very slightly elevated TSH (2.92 pre-pregnancy) and hypothyroid symptoms during pregnancy

Things to ask about:

  • Embryoscopy- will it help us differentiate genetic versus uterine issues? In other words- will it tell us if it’s me or the embyros?
  • Could the bleeding itself be causing the losses (some sort of excessive bleeding issue? failure to clot?)?
  • Could this be a sperm quality issue (e.g. imprinting)? Is there any way to test?
  • Could this be related to my thyroid, even though I’m on thyroid meds now? *more on this another time, I’m feeling totally different this pregnancy, none of the extreme fatigue/low blood pressure/low pulse I’ve had in the past, so it certainly seems like the thyroid med is having an effect. But, the pregnancy is still failing, so it doesn’t seem like that was the cause.
  • In your opinion, without having done embryoscopy, is your impression that this is genetic or uterine (me or the embryos)?
  • Do you agree with us that the statistics about the odds of a successful pregnancy after this many losses don’t really apply to me? This is a tough one, but I feel strongly that my pattern is so strong that without figuring out whats wrong, I will never have a successful pregnancy. I think the statistics are more relevant for people who have had different kinds of losses, or something different has happened each time.
  • Should we do more thorough immune testing?
  • And finally, what do you think is our best chance of a successful pregnancy? If the answer to this is do nothing, just keep trying, then we have our answer. Adoption it is.

Anything else you guys can think of???

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Holding pattern

I’m 7 dpo, and the antsiness is setting in hardcore. I keep opening up my ovu-tracker app or looking at the kitchen calendar wondering if by some miracle another few days have passed while I wasn’t looking. I was doing so well being patient during the tww the past few months, and all that appears to be out the window this month.

The problem is I’ve put a lot of pressure on this month. The longest it’s taken me to get pregnant in the past is 5 months, and this is our 5th month of trying this go-around. I remember very clearly that by the 5th month last time, I was going totally crazy, positive that my reproductive organs had crapped-out completely. So, the only way I’ve been maintaining some form of sanity (a meager one) this time is by reminding myself it’s taken this long before and still happened. If it doesn’t happen this time though, we’ve moved into entirely new territory. The territory of ‘oh shit, there’s something else wrong here’.

5 months has become an important landmark to me because of this, but when I started doing some reading it turns out its not completely arbitrary. From everything I’ve read, if you’re putting all the things in the right places at the right times so to speak, it should happen within 4-6 months. I’ve done everything I could possibly do this month, bbt and CM charting, minimal caffeine, extra folic acid (on top of a normal prenatal), acupuncture, full-fat dairy, I even started eating fish once a week or so for the omega-3s, despite being vegetarian for 15 years (yup, apparently I’m even willing to bend my principles a little if it will get me a baby). The stars aligned and we tried 3 whole times during my fertile period, and my CM did its grossly fertile thing. If it doesn’t work with all of that, things are just not looking good.

Rather than being totally depressed or anxious about what it will mean if this month fails, I’ve actually been pretty darn optimistic for most of the month. I even went so far as to promise G I’d be pregnant by his birthday (in December). I know, what was I thinking putting that kind of pressure on myself? It happened when we were laying in bed after our last ‘attempt’, knowing we’d done all we could. The topic turned to his birthday, and what he might want as a gift, and I, apparently in a post-sex high said “I know, I’ll get you a baby for your birthday!”. Dumbass. Well, at the time we both thought it was funny, but he’s brought it up a few times since, as if he believes it’ll happen. I had to put a stop to it eventually, explaining that it just feels like a lot of pressure for something I can’t control at all.

In the middle of all this, a friend from a local support group sent me a link to an article about a way to investigate miscarriages. I’d never heard of it, and immediately gears started turning in my head. Basically, what they do is after you’ve had a missed miscarriage (I suppose you’re sort of out of luck if it happens suddenly), they go in with a camera and actually cut through the sac and look at the embryo itself. I’m sure there’s a lot of factors that go in to whether you can do this or not, and whether or not it will work, but this article made it sound like a very simple procedure that theoretically any doc could do.

And what they see is whether the embryo looks essentially normal or not. If it looks normal, you’d assume that the problem was something external, like an implantation problem, or an immune issue of some sort. If the embryo has clear malformations, then you’d assume that the problem is probably genetic or developmental. Now, I’m not sure you’d know exactly what to do with this information, because it doesn’t really tell you much about how to treat it, but I would DEFINITELY want to know at least this much information if I could. It would make an enormous difference in my mind to have some clue about even what type of problem we have. For example, it would suddenly open the possibility of donor embryos or surrogacy. Not that I’m saying I would necessarily jump to doing either of those, but they’ve always been off the table in my mind because we have no idea if my problem is me or the embryos, so how do you know which one to even consider?? This would open doors to start considering if they should even be on the table at all.

Another reason to do this type of procedure is that you can be sure to get cells from the actual embryo for karyotyping, without having to worry about maternal contamination (ie, when you accidentally get the mother’s cells instead and the test comes back normal female, but it isn’t representative of the embryo). In my case, both of my embryos that have been tested came back normal male, so whatever our problems were, they weren’t chromosomal. What they found in this article though is that only something like 40% of the time when they observed a malformation in the embryo that was likely caused by a genetic problem it was picked up by karyotyping! This shouldn’t be shocking because there are just so many things that could go wrong genetically, and aneuploidy (the wrong number of chromosomes) is just one. What was shocking to me is that no one ever talks about this! When my embryo’s karyotypes came back normal, my doctor was surprised, but then basically wrote off the possibility that we have a genetic problem. I’ve even asked before, couldn’t it be something genetic besides a chromosomal problem? His answer is always, well yes, that’s possible, but basically shrugging it off as unlikely. Well, if this data is correct, karyotyping only ever had a 40% chance of finding a genetic problem if there was one!

This has all been swirling around in my mind the past few days, and honestly there’s not much I can do with the information yet. I’ll either be pregnant this month or not. I’ll either have another miscarriage or I won’t. So, what we’ve decided is that if I am pregnant this month, then awesome, we’ll take that for what it is and try to be optimistic about it. We will hope that either the things that have changed since my last miscarriage (less stress, acupuncture, thyroid medication, higher dose of progesterone) will make a difference, or that for some unknown reason that has nothing to do with those things,  it will go differently this time. If not, and I have another miscarriage, we will start to ask questions (and possibly be really pushy) about considering this procedure. If it gives us any sort of half answer that will be amazing.

And, if I’m not pregnant, we’ll call the doctor and see about figuring out why. I’m not sure if they will take me seriously since the standard is 6 months (or maybe I’ll just bend the truth and say it’s been 6 months), and I’ve been pregnant naturally so many times already, but I simply do not have the patience for another month of the same. Either way, things will be moving forward in one direction or another next month. So yeah, now I just have to manage to make it through the next few days….

***Update: In case anyone would like to read the article about embryoscopy, here it is. Also, there are other articles out there I’ve found today searching for ’embryoscopy’ and ‘miscarriage’ on google scholar ***

 

Fears and doubts

Today A Calm Persistence wrote a post where she talks about self-doubt, wondering if she is going to be a good mom, and if this might be why she doesn’t have a baby yet. This thought is something that’s been hiding out in the back of my mind for a long time. It’s not the kind of worry that pushes to the front and forces you to think about it often, but instead hides out where you don’t notice it, waiting to pop out at you when you’re not expecting it. It usually pops out at me when I’m already feeling insecure to begin with.

Really, there are so many things I’m unprepared for. What if I somehow manage to make it through infertility, just to find out that I’m a terrible mother? I feel like I can handle the baby years. Having a newborn sounds like a ton of work and unbelievably exhausting, but predictable. I know I’ll feel overwhelmed, and only get a few hours of sleep a night, and I’ll be excessively worried about whether I’m doing it all right. But these are all predicable struggles. It’ll be tough but do-able. What terrifies me is what comes after. Raising a child.

What if I can’t manage to discipline my kids and they run wild? What if I yell too much, or say no too much, or pass on my most terrible qualities? What if I’m too terrified of something bad happening to them that I can’t let them out of my sight? What if I’m too self-centered and can’t put my own needs behind theirs? What if there are social situations that trigger my anxiety and I fail them instead of fighting the anxiety and handling things head-on?

Some days I’m so worried about these things, and so sure that I’m not capable of it all, that I can convince myself that I’m not supposed to be a mom. That infertility is the universe’s way of saying that it isn’t meant to be. Some things just tend to work out for the best, and maybe it is actually for the best that I can’t have a baby, even though I can’t see right now. Isn’t my desire to have a child just a selfish instinct in the end? Maybe I should be thinking more of the best interests of my potential child rather than my selfish need to have a baby.

The rational part of me knows that this can’t all be true; so many people have kids and have no clue what they’re doing. They parent entirely by instinct (which may or may not be good instinct), with no intentionality or thought-process. I may have no experience yet, but I’ve spent so much time thinking about how I would parent. I’ve thought about what I would do in different types of situations, or how I would handle circumstances that come up. I’ve thought about how I would discipline them, how we would spend time together, even what foods they’d be allowed to eat or not eat. I’ve had 3 years to think about this since we started trying, but really, I’ve been thinking about these kinds of things ever since I started babysitting in middle school. I may end up being wrong about all of it, but just having put that much thought into parenting must give me some sort of head-start, right?

I know that these types of fears are normal for first time parents (or wanna-be parents in my case). But, infertility adds a particular kind of edge to the worries. We’ve spent massive amounts of time, money, and effort to end up with a child. If we finally get there and then fail, it seems like an extra special kind of failure. Not only did we fail our child, we also spent tons of time, money, and effort to have the opportunity to fail. Pretty pathetic. Plus, we have all this time to worry about the choices we’re going to make. When you decide to have a baby and get pregnant quickly, you only have so much time to freak out before it’s too late. We get endless amounts of time to worry about our potential abilities as parents before it ever becomes an issue.

At the moment, there isn’t much I can do about any of this; I’m not giving into the worries and giving up, but the thoughts will still be there hiding out and waiting for my low moments to pop back out.

 

 

 

A little grey blankie

Yesterday G and I decided to try something new. We bought ourselves a gift for our (still imaginary) baby. Does that sound like a totally morbid form of self torture? Jury is still out.

Here’s how it went down. A cousin’s baby shower has been on the horizon for a few months, and we finally hit the point where we couldn’t avoid buying a gift any longer.  We aren’t going to the shower (we live pretty far away so thankfully they wouldn’t have expected us to). The dreaded shopping trip was on my mind as soon as I woke up yesterday, and besides all the other obvious reasons why baby shower gift shopping as awful, I just kept thinking how unfair it was that after we’ve purchased so many gifts for other people, we might never be able to buy things for our own child. I’ve been dying to buy baby clothes since I was in high school and worked at a baby/kids clothes store. It kills me a little every time I have to buy something adorable for someone else’s baby, and know that I may never get to do so for myself.

As I was thinking about it though, I started to realize something. This perfectly represents my attitude in general, which is that I can’t plan for, shop for, or even dream about, having a baby, because it might never happen. The thing is, it will happen. I don’t mean this in the optimistic way that I beleive I will get pregnant and keep a baby, because I don’t fully beleive that. In fact, I don’t think its even necessarily healthy to think that, because it’s entirely possible it won’t happen. What I mean is that if we decide to do it, we can and will adopt. Adoption is terrifying and I’ve spent the past four months pushing it out of my mind completely, but if and when we decide to just do it, we will have a child.

A few months ago, during my second chemical pregnancy, G and I got so fed up we finally decided to get serious about adopting. We still felt like we needed ‘one more try’, but we felt so sure it wouldn’t work that we wanted to have everything in place to start the adoption process as soon as another pregnancy failed. It kept me a little bit more sane to know that plan B was in place. We picked an agency, talked about a lot of the decisions we would have to make, and even talked to my family about it. Then, thyroid testing happened, and the possibility that I might have found a fixable problem entered my mind. It was all over for adoption at that point. Even though I’m trying to be realistic about the chance that just taking a thyroid pill is suddenly going to fix my problem (it probably won’t), just letting that little bit of hope in to my mind has been a game-changer. I’ve been actively avoiding thinking about adoption and instead thinking I just have to be able to do this myself.

It’s not that I hate the idea of adoption itself, really. It’s that I hate the idea of the process, and what comes along with it. I want to beleive that when my baby is in my arms, I will not regret a single thing, but the process is just so terrifying/awful/unfair/expensive. Getting to that end point feels practically impossible, and during the whole process I will know that I didn’t have to be doing it. How would we survive the process and spend all that money knowing that we could have just kept trying? I’m worried that during the wait I’ll feel like I made a huge mistake, or feel insanely guilty.

Then there’s the issue of feeling like I have to share my child. Maybe I’m just being super duper selfish, but I want to feel like I’m the only mother my kid has. The thing is, with adoption, it’s not about you, it’s about the child, and knowing about/having a relationship with their birth family is usually what’s best for the child. Granted, when you have a baby yourself it’s also about the child not you, but there’s still no other family out there you have to share with. It feels like a huge responsibility to handle the birth family stuff the right way, and I just plain don’t wanna. It feels so unfair that I’d have to. And then there’s the horrible worry that I might end up feeling like I don’t bond with or connect with an adopted child enough. Rationally I don’t think this is a real concern, it seems like adoptive parents always have fears about this and it doesn’t end up being a problem. But I’m still scared. I play this horrible game where I look at kids on the train or at the grocery store and think, if that were my child would I be able to bond with them? Sometimes the answer is yes, the kid is so completely adorable I want to just grab them and hug them. But more often the answer is not so positive. Even just writing that I feel like a horrible person who probably doesn’t deserve to adopt. These are all awfully complicated things to try to put into a few paragraphs, but the point is, I’m terrified.

What does all this have to do with the little grey blankie though?? Well, the point is, by focusing on how hard and scary adoption is (well actually, ignoring it by pushing it to the back of my mind and not thinking about it as possible at all), I’m putting an insane amount of pressure on myself to be able to do it naturally. The past few months I’ve felt like I’m just not up for all that adoption entails, so I have to be able to do this myself. Every month I’m not pregnant is a reminder that I’m failing, and if I have the attitude that I have to be able to do it myself, then my failure means no baby ever. That leaves me unbelievably depressed and hopeless about the future.

So instead, what if I forced myself to remember that as hard as it might be, adoption is possible? That I will have a baby one day, however it ends up happening? I brought all of this up with G while we were still laying in bed yesterday morning, and I suggested that we try to remind ourselves that we will one day have our baby by buying something for that baby. Something small and gender neutral, that will likely sit in a closet for a ridiculously long time, but will get used eventually. He was not totally convinced, but was willing to play along.

blankieSo, when we went to Target to buy the baby shower gift, we picked out this little grey blankie. Cute isn’t it? It’s super soft, and fits perfectly with what I imagine our boy or girl nursery would (will) look like. This is the first, hopefully of many, things we get to buy for our baby. It may be a long long time, but our baby will eventually be wrapped up in it.

Like I said at the beginning, the jury is still out on whether this little experiment is going to work, or blow up in my face. It could be that before long it starts to be a mocking reminder of my failures, like my couple of maternity shirts hiding in the back of my closet. But so far, I think it’s helping. Yesterday after shopping, G and I went for a nice long walk around a beautiful park. We were both in a pretty good mood, and we talked a little about how the shopping trip went and how we were feeling. We both felt like the shopping trip was much easier than the last time we bought someone a baby shower gift. It could just be something about this particular couple, or maybe it helped to know that we were going to be buying something for ourselves too. We also agreed that we were feeling pretty calm and (mostly) at peace with this month’s BFN. In past months it’s taken me much longer than two days to get to this point, so that seems like a good sign as well. As for the future, we will have to see. The little grey blankie is now sitting on the top shelf of my closet, where it will probably sit for a very long time.

Well that was unexpected.

Wow, so much to talk about. This weekend with the inlaws was quite eventful, and pretty much the opposite of what I expected.

The weekend started out rough, they arrived around dinner and were exhausted from the drive. I had a long day too; work then yoga then the grocery store, and then they were waiting for me when I got home. We were all a little crabby, and it took some maneuvering to figure out what we were going to do for dinner, and the result (just like usual) was me and my opinion were the odd man out. The next day went just about the same. They’re all happy to do their thing together, and I just don’t fit in 100%, so unless I push my way in, I’m usually a bit on the edge. Normally this doesn’t bother me that much, but I was finding myself so crabby and angry over our last visit, I just couldn’t seem to muster the energy. I just didn’t have it in me to make all the stupid small talk, and pretend everything was peachy. The result wasn’t pretty, and I was feeling alternately pissed off over some tiny thing MIL said, and then guilty for overreacting. I also managed to totally take it out on G, and scream his ear off a few times. In my defense, he does handle things pretty badly sometimes, but my expectations may have been a tad unrealistic :).

Then this morning rolls around, and suddenly the miraculous happens. MIL actually asked me how I’m doing, you know….’with the whole pregnancies thing’. Not exactly the epitome of sensitivity, but hey, I’m working on keeping my expectations realistic here. I was so not expecting it, and my reaction was just about as awkward as her question. “Well, we’re still trying, but, uh, it’s not going that well, and uh, we’re assuming it won’t work out even when it does, uh, happen’. What followed was totally uncomfortable, I did a lot of staring at my empty breakfast plate, but I tried to remind myself that this is what I asked for. I wanted her to show she cared even a tiny bit by asking how I am. So, I tried to just answer her questions and not get angry, defensive, or close off.

It was a weird conversation in a lot of ways, and part of me isn’t really sure what to make of it. I want to just be happy that she asked at all, and take it slowly, but there are things that grate on me as well. So here are a few of the highlights and low points:

  • She demonstrated that this has been on her mind. She brought me a book that she read on the drive down here, meaning she went so far as to look for a book about recurrent miscarriage. I never would have expected that.
  • But, when she gave me the book she told me she ‘skipped all the parts about the feelings and stuff’, because she was mostly concerned with figuring out how the woman in the book solved her problem. I think this perfectly represents how she’s thinking about our situation. To the point that she’s concerned, she’s concerned with fixing the problem, not with how this might be affecting us emotionally.
  • She said she knows it must be hard for us.
  • But, she followed that up by saying “Everybody has hard things to deal with”. This statement came up many many times, and eventually I couldn’t hold back from saying, ‘yeah, but honestly I think this is harder than most people’s hard things’. I don’t mean to diminish other people’s problems, and I did say that there are definitely worse things that could happen to us, but to compare infertility to not getting a job promotion or having financial problems is just not fair. It came across like she was telling us we shouldn’t complain because if it wasn’t this it’d be something else.
  • She made it very clear that she’d be happy if we adopted. This is something I’ve actually worried about. Given how she treats people in general, I could see her making a comment like ‘well, my real grandkids don’t misbehave like that’, or something along those lines. I suppose her saying that she’d be happy if we adopted doesn’t protect from that happening, but it’s a start.
  • She tried to tell us that, really, not that many people are having babies, its just that we’re paying too much attention.
  • Oh, and she tried to tell me I should get my cervix sewn shut and go on bedrest. So yeah.

Ultimately, I think it’s good that we’ve made it clear that the lines of communication are open now. I know a lot of people don’t want to talk about their infertility, and I TOTALLY get that. I think the only reason I wanted to in this case is that she already knew the details and had seen how much it was affecting me. There were no secrets left. To not talk about it at that point felt like she was judging me for how I was feeling, or like I should be ashamed of it. As uncomfortable and sometimes grating as the conversation was, I feel like it will be better going forward.

After we talked this morning, I found myself suddenly able to interact with everyone the way I normally do. I wasn’t feeling the extreme resentment I described in my last post, so I could make small talk and listen to MIL’s stories without hiding my face to roll my eyes. When they left this evening, I was able to stand outside and wave goodbye without thinking, ‘thank god they’re gone!.

And when I say that the lines of communication have been opened up, I’m not exaggerating. Not three hours after they left, I got an email from MIL entitled “Natural Ways to Prevent Miscarriage”. She must have been googling in the car, since they shouldn’t even be close to home yet. I opened the link, and immediately started to wonder if I’ve created a monster. It’s My Aunt Jane Knows More Than My RE all over again. This website is the type that drives me completely bonkers, with all kinds of crazy ‘natural’ remedies. It’s not that I don’t think that natural remedies can be good, I mean, I got on board with yoga and meditation. But, there is so much out there that is passed off as ‘medicine’ without a shred of evidence, and it’s exactly the opposite of what she needs to be reading. Case in point, it promotes bed rest as a way to prevent miscarriage. That’s sort of besides the point though, because by sending me something like that it sends the message that either I’m too dumb or lazy to have bothered with a google search myself sometime in the last three years, and/or that there’s something I should have been doing (laying in bed the moment I got a BFP???) that I haven’t been doing, which makes my miscarriages my own fault.

I’m trying not to overreact over the email. I screamed a little at first, then calmed down some. She’s trying to help. She doesn’t realize how it comes across. I’m not sure how to handle it though. Should I ignore it? Respond with some attempt at maturity, and tell her I appreciate the thought, but I’ve read lots of these articles already?

Now, there’s one more aspect of this that’s bothering me, and I’m not sure if I’m being paranoid. In some sort of fit of insanity, the lovable G decided to mention that I have this blog. It was mostly in passing, but I’m pretty sure she got the message. She later asked me how one would find a blog online, because, um, her friend has one. I tried to throw her off and say that you’d really need to have the name of the blog, and lots of people write anonymously, but I can’t be certain she won’t try to find me here. That would be completely and totally awful, given what I’ve written before. As much as I mean everything I’ve said, I only have the nerve to say any of it knowing that no one I know in real life will ever read it. If I haven’t said it before, I’m completely and totally terrified of conflict. So, the question is, am I being paranoid that she could find me? My blog doesn’t exactly pop up in the first set of results on google, but I’m sure if she looked hard enough she could find it eventually. Am I being paranoid here, or should I take down the posts I’ve written about her? Anyone have thoughts??

 

 

The inlaws are coming, the inlaws are coming…..

There’s nothing like a visit from the inlaws to punctuate the tww. I ovulated on Sunday, and my mother and father in law will be arriving Friday night, so just in time for my monthly symptom spotting extravaganza. My plan is to have a sip or two of wine as soon as they get here, just to make sure they don’t start wondering if I’m pregnant. I’m on top of that already, I don’t need any help from them.

My relationship with my mother in law is complicated to say the least (father in law is super sweet, no complaints there really). If you saw us together, you’d think everything was peachy. We interact just fine in person. But under the surface is a lot of resentment on my side, and god knows what on her side.

Our relationship started out rocky from the beginning, all because of religion. G and I are both atheists, but when we first met, his mother didn’t know this about either of us. She assumed G still believed in the Catholicism he was raised in, and since I was raised Jewish, she assumed I was practicing that. When she eventually found out, she assumed that I had ‘turned’ G atheist. As if he didn’t have a mind of his own. So yeah, that was fun. We know this still really bothers her, but instead of handling it directly, both she and G will talk around it, or through his dad. Or she’ll tell the whole extended family what she wants to say to us, figuring one day it’ll get back to us. Queen of passive-aggressiveness that one.

MIL has acknowledged that I’m not all bad though. She knows I have been an extremely good influence in G’s life. When I met him, he had just gone through a bad break up, and was, let’s just say, sowing his wild oats. This was our first year of college, and he was doing drugs and drinking like crazy every weekend, and he was close to failing out of school. He was not headed in a good direction. I can’t say I’m responsible for his turning things around, he deserves all the credit himself, but I think our relationship just gave him something to hold on to, and some motivation. The last time I saw MIL, she actually told me how happy she had been at the time that G met me.

Despite MIL’s issues with me, my issues with her were pretty minimal up until I fell into the infertility hole. Despite her extreme passive-aggressiveness, and a tendency to be the most judgmental person the planet, I didn’t harbor any real negative feelings towards her. But for the last few years things have been getting worse and worse.

To describe the support we’ve gotten from her as luke-warm would be generous. She has barely said two words to us about it, despite knowing the complete and full details right from the very beginning. She might have said she was sorry after the first miscarriage, but with about as much feeling as a robot. Since then, the best she’s done is to tell us it’ll happen when it’s time. How useful, thanks! Maybe you could forward me the memo about when that time might be so I can stop wasting my energy in the meantime. The last D and C I had, she forgot I was having surgery at all, and called G while I was in surgery to tell him stories about his nephew. She never even asked what happened with that pregnancy. Basically the message we’ve gotten from her is let me know when it’s finally good news, until then, don’t bother me with it.

My resentment for her total lack of concern has been building and building over the last 3 years, but it was brought to a head this past summer. We went to visit his family for the 4th of July, right in the midst of my 2nd chemical pregnancy in as many months. I had a BFP, but I’d been having spotting on and off, and the line wasn’t getting darker day to day. I never had a chance to go in for a blood test because we left for the holiday. During the trip, I was basically in limbo, assuming my period would start any time, but still in the back of my mind wondering if it could just maybe be a real pregnancy. Eventually my period did start, a few days after we’d gotten back home.

The day we got in the car for the road trip, I got a text from his sister saying “Saturday morning we’re going to go visit M and the baby in the hospital”, referring to their cousin, who had given birth two days earlier (oh joy). No asking if we wanted to go, no outs available. How is that even remotely fair to ask of us without so much as a thought? Wonder if I have some resentment towards SIL as well?? So the weekend was starting out awesome right from the start.

Saturday morning arrived and we all piled in to the car to head to the hospital. I was in a crappy mood, but I really thought I was in control. Just another shitty day, same old same old. If I’d known how bad it was going to be, I would have made a bigger effort to get out of it. Well, the proverbial shit hit the fan as soon as we got to the hospital. I started getting a little teary-eyed as we walked in, but no biggie, still in control. We made the elevator ride up, and I was getting more jittery by the minute. Then, we stepped out of the elevator into the maternity ward and were in line to get ‘IDs’ to be allowed in to the recovery rooms. The nurse made some offhand comment about not wanting any of the babies to walk off. I have no clue what it was about this statement, or maybe it had nothing to do with that statement and it had just reached a boiling point, but at this point I proceeded to lose. my. shit.

It came over me so fast I barely had time to notice what was happening, and I immediately turned my head and shoved my face into G’s chest to cover the first sounds of the oncoming barrage of tears. He managed to call out, ‘we’re going back down to get coffee’, before I threw myself back into the (luckily still open) elevator. I didn’t turn around, but I could tell we’d gotten their attention. And by ‘their’ I mean, G’s parents, sister and her husband, multiple cousins, and some random bystanders. Even though I made it into the elevator before totally melting down, the elevator door was not moving at my speed. It stayed open for a full and agonizing 3 seconds after I starting sobbing at full volume. And I don’t mean crying, I mean gasping for breath, barely holding myself in a standing positing, sobbing. I have never lost it like this before. Honest, I don’t think I cried this hard after any of the miscarriages, at least not all at once (it was more of a gradual sadness than being overcome like that). I have no idea why it had to be that moment, but it all came out.

We made it downstairs to the lobby, and G got some coffee in me and sat me in a big comfy chair. I drank the coffee and managed to get the crying under control. But I was so completely embarrassed. We couldn’t just go back to the car and wait (no keys, plus we figured they might wait for us up there since we implied we were coming back), but my face was as blotchy and red as a face can get. Would I lose it again if we went back upstairs? How could I walk in to that room to their staring faces, looking like a blubbering fool? I should mention here that not everyone there knew about our situation (including the new mom). What the hell would they possibly think was wrong with me?

Knowing there was no getting out of it, we did eventually go upstairs, and I didn’t lose it again. We walked in to the room with all his family members standing around, preparing for someone to ask if I was okay, or at least give me some sort of reassuring look. Honestly, what I wanted was for someone to say ‘I’m so sorry we made you come here, that was really insensitive of us’. Ha, as if. No one said a damn thing. They barely glanced up when we walked in. When I sat down in a chair as far from the baby as possible, MIL looked over at me with this shit-eating grin and said, “Isn’t she just the cutest!! Look at those little toes!”.

As the day wore on, we kept thinking that SURELY someone would say something eventually. Maybe they just didn’t want to say something in front of the whole family, maybe they wanted to wait for a more appropriate moment to give us some sort of support. Ha. Not a single person ever showed even the smallest sign of concern. We thought, is it possible they didn’t actually notice? No, there was no not noticing, and G remembers seeing them watch us get in to the elevator.

I have no words for how angry and hurt it makes me that no one could be bothered to give me so much as a pat on the shoulder after so public a display. It’s as if someone fell down the stairs in front of you and you didn’t even bother to go check to make sure they were okay. I mean, who ignores someone in that much pain right in their face?? They can’t pretend that I’m fine and none of this is bothering me that much, they’ve seen it. I am just so freaking angry and resentful that they carry on with their lives as if nothing has happened, and my pain doesn’t matter in the least. I’m not the only one bothered by this either, G is really hurt by it as well. But he was raised by the reigning queen of passive-aggressive land, so how do you think he’s handling it?

What gets me the most is MIL should know better. She had two miscarriages before she had SIL. I mean, she’s been through this for godssakes, how can she act like its nothing?? The only explanation I can come up with is that she feels like she got through it, so I should be able to too. Maybe she just thinks I’m being a giant baby and should get the hell over it like she did. I don’t know, but I don’t relish the thought of spending a weekend with someone who feels this way.

And another month bites the dust.

I tested yesterday and today, 11 and 12 dpo. BFN. I haven’t felt very pregnant this time around, despite the progesterone, so I sort of knew it was coming. It’s really strange to me that I seem to have such strong symptoms from the progesterone some months and not others.

When I saw the result yesterday I initially felt like throwing things, or breaking something. We tried to stay busy, and as the day went on I began to feel really fragile, like a piece of glass that could shatter at any minute. The worst part of the day was after lunch. G and I decided to go to the zoo (trying to stay busy, but arguably a terrible decision). He dropped me off at the entrance because my hip has been bothering me a lot lately, then went to find parking. It was packed of course, and he ended up driving around looking for a spot for 20 minutes. Then he had to walk another 15 minutes back to the entrance. All this time I was sitting alone, watching all the young families passing by. The zoo is definitely the worst possible place to be by yourself when your feeling lost and baby-less. I tried to keep busy on my phone, but of course I couldn’t help seeing pregnant woman after pregnant woman, baby after baby. I teared up a few times, but (mostly) held it together. Then by last night I was able to joke around with G a little, and felt like I was within sight of normal at least.

So, overall this month has not been as bad as last month. I’m not entirely sure why; maybe the fact that I haven’t felt pregnant has helped, or maybe trying to work through why I’ve been so impatient has helped. I’m glad for this, clearly, but it’s also kind of scary. Part of me feels like if I’m okay with how long this process is taking, it will definitely take longer. More superstition. It also occurred to me yesterday that if we hadn’t made the decision to try one more time after the miscarriage last December, and instead decided to move forward with adoption (I’m definitely going to get around to writing a post about adoption and our issues/thoughts on that front soon), we could very well have a baby by now. This was very hard to think about. I never expected this ‘one more try’ to take so long, and delay us so much. At this point I have no concept of how much longer this ‘one more try’ will take, and then I still have no idea if I’ll even be able to move on at that point either. Since the second miscarriage, every single time we’ve said ‘just one more time’, and we’ve never been able to stick to that decision. If we had, we’d be parents by now and not still suffering. Are we just wasting our whole lives away for no reason? I really have no idea if we’re making the right decisions, or just chasing an impossible dream.

What do I really beleive?

Yesterday at the end of my post, I said that I didn’t beleive I would ever be one of the ‘The Mommies’. Continuing the discussion, My MMC Story wrote a great post called ‘Is it healthy to be hopeful?’, where she talks about whether or not she believes she’ll ever carry a baby to term.  This has gotten me thinking about the statement I made, and what I truly beleive. Clearly I’m still trying to get pregnant, so it can’t be as simple as I do beleive or I don’t. There’s definitely more going on here. 

So what do I actually beleive? After one and then two miscarriages, I definitely believed it was a fluke, and surely I was meant to carry a baby eventually. I was frustrated with the lost time, but I didn’t doubt that I could or would be pregnant for real. After three and then four miscarriages though, a feeling of deja vu set in. Everything was happening exactly the same way, and I thought I must have been an idiot to think it would be different this time. Now when I start to picture myself 5 or 6 weeks pregnant, I have trouble imagining it without that same feeling of deja vu. I just can’t picture myself making it past this point. I’ve said elsewhere that I have the feeling that its possible that I could have a healthy pregnancy someday, but any given instance will fail. It’s the difference between a hypothetical reality and the actual reality I have to live in.

Yet, despite the fact that I can’t picture it, there is still a glimmer of hope in the back of my mind that it will happen for me eventually. This must be true on some level, or we wouldn’t still be trying. So why do say I don’t beleive? I think the real reason is self-protection. As My MMC Story says in her post, we seem to think that by being negative, it will protect us somehow from the pain if it fails again.

I do this with a lot of things. I expect the worst so I won’t be disappointed. When I was preparing for my dissertation defense, I absolutely did not allow myself to think it would go well. There’s a sort of superstitiousness about this. It’s as if I think that if I let on that I want something, the universe will be more likely to steal it away. So I act as if I’m expecting the worst, and maybe the universe won’t notice. In fact, part of me thinks that it won’t happen until I truly convince myself it’s impossible. This will somehow magically trick the universe into giving me what I want. I’m not just acting and speaking as if I don’t beleive, I’m really and truly trying to convince myself I don’t beleive.

As a method of self-protection (not to mention universe-tricking), I’m not at all sure this method is effective. If I think about the miscarriages where I expected it and those I didn’t, there might have been a marginal difference in how I felt, but barely noticeable. It certainly didn’t protect me from the pain, it hurts no matter what. I want to be practical about my chances, so it wouldn’t be better to pretend everything is peachy, but I could probably afford to be a little less negative. It probably wouldn’t hurt me as much as I think it will.

With this in mind, I tried something new today. I actually walked myself in to a baby clothing store and looked around. I’m convinced that this particular store  was put on the earth specifically to torture me. Their clothes are just so damn cute that it’s painful. Going in to a store like this is strictly against my self-imposed rules, because it lets on that I think I might get to shop there someday.

Shockingly, I didn’t implode upon entering said store. I held up some clothes, and thought about what I would buy if I could. In fact, that aspect wasn’t nearly as hard as I expected. What turned out to be the hardest part was the other shoppers and the saleslady. Immediately upon entering the store, I had this strong feeling that everyone could see straight through me, and could tell that I was an imposter. I felt completely transparent. I kept thinking, it must be blatantly obvious that I’m a *gasp* infertile. But, I fought these thoughts, finished looking around and left. End of story.

So, I learned that I won’t crack if I let myself admit (and show) my little glimmer of hope. It still feels completely and totally terrifying to consider being optimistic, I don’t think I can go that far. But maybe I can handle being just a tiny bit less pessimistic in the future.

“The Mommies”

On Wednesday nights, G and I go to yoga class. We try to make it three times a week, and Wednesday nights just work out well for some reason. Plus the instructor is pretty consistent, we know we’ll get a good work out plus a lot of stretching, not too hard and not too easy. We started going to yoga classes a little over a year ago, and I’m pretty impressed with myself that I’ve kept it up this long. Don’t get me wrong, I’m terrible at it. I’ve only improved very marginally over the last year, and I’m still the worst one in every class we go to (it doesn’t help that I’ve had a series of injuries that I have to work around). The only other kind of exercise I’ve done consistently for a year or more is walking, which is only because you can do it pretty much anywhere and it’s easy enough that I don’t try to come up with excuses to get out of it. Yoga has been like that too, it’s tough during the class, but then you end by laying flat on the ground practically passed out for 5 minutes, so you can’t help but leave with a positive feeling about the whole experience.

It just so happens that right before our beginner yoga class on Wednesday nights is a prenatal yoga class. We’ve known this for a while now, so we usually plan to leave at the last minute, and rush in after all bumps have cleared the room. Given all the other factors involved, it hasn’t been enough of a motivation to avoid this class. But, if we plan badly, or if there’s especially light traffic, we get there just in time for the slew of preggos to spill out of the studio.

Much worse than the pregnant chicks themselves though is the instructor. She doesn’t teach our class, I’ve only ever seen her teaching prenatal classes. She says things like, “great job mommies!”, and “you’re all such strong mommies”, and “don’t worry mommies, I’ll get everything picked up”. Now, infertility aside, I’m pretty sure I would not want to spend an hour listening to this woman. This instantly became a running joke between G and I. “oh goodie, we get to see all the special mommies today!” (to be read in the most high pitched snarky voice you can muster). “look at all the special mommies, in their special mommy outfits, doing their special mommy yoga!”. Thank god G comes with me to this class, if I couldn’t mock them beforehand I don’t think I’d manage to get inside.

Seriously though,  I wonder if I could actually ever take a class like this if I somehow end up miraculously pregnant some day. The annoying instructor aside, I always figured I’d be in the prenatal yoga class eventually. In fact, the first time I ever did yoga was during my first pregnancy. I was feeling so horrifically sick I couldn’t seem to do any regular exercise, so I borrowed a prenatal yoga video from the library to see if it might be a good alternative. I only managed to get through the video twice before I wasn’t pregnant anymore and didn’t have any need for prenatal yoga. I’ve hidden two pregnancies since we started going to our current studio. I couldn’t possibly come out and tell the class I’m pregnant like everyone else seems to do (at six weeks??) because I knew I probably wouldn’t be pregnant for much longer.

If I was magically 4 months pregnant tomorrow, I don’t know that I could go to prenatal yoga classes, and make baby registries, and do all the normal things you’re supposed to do. As much as I’ve been dying to be admitted to the club and finally get to do these things, I’ve built up so much hostility and put up so many walls against anything and everything pregnancy related. I march past the baby section in Target with my head staring straight down at my shoes, and I immediately scroll past ‘maternity photo session ideas’ and ‘what to pack in your hospital bag’ posts on pinterest, as if I might get burned if I peek. I’ve made these things completely off limits to myself, I can’t even start to think about them or I’ll crack. How could I suddenly  be expected to love these things if I got pregnant? I would feel like I was some sort of imposter, or a traitor.

I’m sure part of the answer is that it happens gradually, as you start to trust that the pregnancy is real. The anxiety might pass, but the feeling of being an imposter who doesn’t belong in the club, or a traitor to the version of myself that I am now probably won’t pass easily. I’m not sure I want them to. Ultimately, it probably doesn’t matter because I probably won’t ever be in a position to find out. I can play the games in my head, pretend that one day I’ll make it to the other side, but I don’t really beleive I’ll ever by one of ‘the mommies’.