Well that was unexpected, Part II (aka, weird experiences with the in-laws)

Thank you all for your sincere messages and concern the past few days. I’m trying to hold things together and keep from thinking too much about the situation until we know more, but it’s pretty hard to not think about it with the constant reminder of the nausea and other symptoms. In the meantime though, we decided it was time to finally tell G’s family. I told my mom pretty much right away and have kept her updated along the way, but I left it to G to decide when he wanted to tell his family.

Telling them has been stranger than we could have imagined. In the past two days we’ve had  two of the most surprising and/or strangest interactions we’ve ever had with them. G called his parents on Thursday night, but he happened to catch his dad on his commute, so he ended up telling them separately. FIL was sweet, if a little in denial. He kept telling us how he’d pray for us (which doesn’t do a lot for me since we’re atheists, but I appreciate that it means something to him), and that God would fix this. Again, I appreciate the thought, but I don’t want him to end up more let down later because he didn’t beleive how serious this is.

Then G called his mom, and she had a similar reaction, if a little less in denial. She said she’d pray, but she understood how unlikely it is to work out. Then she went on to tell us about how we could still do this, it could still work for us eventually. We made it clear that we don’t really think it’s an option to keep trying if we can’t figure out what’s wrong, and she eventually said she could understand that.

She also suggested that maybe surrogacy was the best option, and maybe my parents could pay for it. This offends me a little because they seem to think my parents are rich, which is far from the case. They own a small business that may or may not go out of business in the next year after they put all of their funds into it (leaving aside some for retirement). That’s a sore spot for me I guess, but we made it clear that we wouldn’t be asking them for money. Then MIL started to get into how much she has saved, and maybe if we were okay with only having one child, they could help us. My initial reaction to this was, wow, coming from her that’s crazy generous. She’s insane about saving money, which is why she might have enough to pay for maybe 2/3 of the cost of surrogacy despite the two of them having very modest incomes.

I really really don’t think we would take their money to do surrogacy, and honestly I’m not even sure surrogacy is something I’m interested in anyway. But, I was impressed that she would be willing to give us her hard-pinched pennies at all. Then, it came out why. We said we think that adoption is probably a better option for us, both because it costs less, and for other reasons as well, and she says, “Well, I just don’t know if that’s a good idea. You have to be so careful. We know so many people who’ve had problems with adopted kids. And look at all the problems they have when they grow up”.

Now, first of all, this is only sort of true for them. They do know a few people who’ve had serious problems with adopted kids. But these were people who chose to adopt very high risk babies. One had a very serious physical disability, and the other was born addicted to drugs. These are amazing people to be willing to take on those challenges, but it isn’t remotely a fair way to judge adoption as a whole. In her own family, MIL has three adopted nieces. One is very well adjusted, albeit a little annoying, and the other two have dealt with addiction. They are both extremely lovely women who just ran into some challenges (arguably partly due to the way they were raised!!). And lets not ignore just how many problems there are in the family amongst the people who are NOT adopted. I just despise the fact that she’s judging, rather openly, members of her own family for being adopted. The bottom line is, she’d rather give us all her hard earned money, that she won’t even spend to go out to dinner once a month or buy a functional coffee maker, on a surrogate for us, rather than have us take in one of those dangerous problematic adopted babies. This is so not what I need to hear right now, when I need to know that if pregnancy is not an option, I still have a way to have a family. I don’t need any additional reasons to be worried about adopting (my child’s grandmother talking about him or her as a family problem).

So, Friday morning I wasn’t in the greatest place anticipating having to go visit them. When out of nowhere, G forwards me this email:

Hi G – I have been thinking about you and J(me). We would love to have you come for Christmas. I want you both to feel comfortable about coming, so if you think it wouldn’t be a good time to travel, we understand. You know when you stay at our house, you can relax whenever you want. If you come and would like me to change any plans, I can. We are having the Christmas Eve dinner at K’s (SIL) and Christmas Day at Aunt K’s. You could drive separately on that day and go back to our house early if needed. Thursday was the brunch plans and (cousins with new baby) and (pregnant cousin) can’t come. Talk this over with J. I could cancel these plans for Thursday if you would rather not have a bunch over.  We can talk over the weekend. I said my prayers for you and J. This would be great if things turn around. Love, Mom

Wow. Just wow. I’m so shocked that these words came out of her mouth (well, hands). I never would have thought she could anticipate how hard it would be for us, particularly to see the cousins with the new baby, who are specifically the ones I wrote about here. I’m overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of this email, and I feel so so much better about going to visit (doesn’t hurt that we no longer have to see the baby/pregnant cousin). It even inspired me to think that if she could surprise me about this, maybe she can surprise me and be supportive if/when we adopt.

Then comes this morning, and we get a call from SIL. G never got a chance to tell her himself, but we assumed his parents would tell her. They live down the street and talk every day. SIL calls today to ask us what we want to drink on Christmas eve (an odd question in retrospect since she did know I’m pregnant). It was probably just an excuse to talk though. I didn’t hear the whole conversation they had, but I could tell from the odd look on G’s face that it was going very strangely. After he hung up, he said, “my sister just offered to have a baby with your brother”.

Yep, you heard that right. Her solution to our problem is to use my brother’s sperm and do artificial insemination. I just. I don’t. I don’t even know what to say. I wanted to laugh, but my stomach was turning at the thought of it (not that it doesn’t do that constantly anyway). I just said “Honey, hug me, I’m scared”, and started laughing. I mean, ewwwww! There is nothing good about this idea. I would never ask that of my brother, knowing how weird it would be for him. Plus, there is no chance in hell I would let SIL carry for us. I couldn’t handle it. We’re not exactly close, first of all. Her pregnancies have never been easy, she seemed to barely survive the second one. I guess I should be honored that she’d offer given that, but I just honestly think I wouldn’t survive the experience knowing she was suffering that much for me when we aren’t even close. That doesn’t even get in to the level of awfulness I would feel having to watch someone else (someone who has everything I’ve ever wanted and I struggle with jealously of to begin with), do the one thing I can’t do, for me. I would feel so unbelievably powerless, and useless. The whole thing is just so awkward I don’t even know what to say.

I know the appropriate response to an offer like this from SIL is to be appreciative. I do appreciate that she wants to help. But, it’s very hard for me to beleive or accept that she could be doing it from a generous place. I feel like an awful person for saying it, but the bottom line is she has never once said she was sorry for our losses. She’s never implied that she cares about how hard this is for me. She’s generally done the opposite. For example, she came to visit when I was going through miscarriage number 4. She was about 7 months pregnant. I told her how I was pretty miserable and I had just had an awful experience of bleeding so heavily I almost passed out while teaching a class full of undergrads. Her reaction was “yeah, me too, I don’t know how I’m going to make it two more months”. Just wow. Last summer when she was visiting with her 3 month old and we were talking about our situation, she said “yeah, I can’t imagine if it ever happened to E (the baby, meaning if E was infertile, not if she’d had a miscarriage with E)”. What???? In what universe is even this about your baby?? I just don’t know how to ignore all of that, and take this as a generous and sincere offer. Either way we will have to have a talk with her at some point. G left it that he appreciates the thought, but we need to let this pregnancy play out before we make any big decisions.

So, that’s been my last few days.  It certainly has been an eventful two weeks of pregnancy purgatory so far, we’ll see how the rest goes…

I don’t know how to say this.

I don’t know how to begin to say what I have to say today. It’s already taken me almost a day to process before I could write anything at all, and I’m still in shock. Yesterday I had my appointment with the new doctor, Dr. A, and I also had an ultrasound. Here’s what I don’t know how to say: the ultrasound was good. Not just on the fence like my past ultrasounds have always been, but according to Dr. A, everything looks normal in there.

There is a strong heartbeat of 124 bpm, and the fetal pole measured 9mm, exactly 7 weeks. The sac looks normal, no poor margins or just plain weird stuff like in the past. I just. I don’t even know how this is possible. I don’t know how this can be the same pregnancy. The same pregnancy with no fetal pole at 5w6ds, that Dr. O described as ‘not optimistic’. The same pregnancy where last week Dr. O and the ultrasound nurse wouldn’t even look me in the eye. Dr. O is not a pessimistic doctor. He has always told me there was hope in the past, despite bad ultrasound results. He didn’t do that this time. I don’t know what to make of this, maybe he was letting my history affect his impressions (like it has mine, where to me blood = miscarriage)? Clearly I’m in shock here, I feel like I’ve jumped in to a different pregnancy than the one I was in two weeks ago.

Here’s how it all went down. We showed up for our appointment, and for the first time ever at an RE’s office, we were brought back to Dr. A’s office right on time, by Dr. A himself. Already I’m liking this guy. We had an awesome conversation, that I PROMISE to write about soon, because he said a lot of things that really clicked with me, and I think will be of interest to you guys. One of the things we talked about was that the vast majority pregnancies that end in first trimester miscarriages look unusual in some way on ultrasound by 5-6 weeks. That’s not to say that all pregnancies that look weird at 5-6 weeks will be a miscarriage, but the opposite is rarely true (pregnancies that look totally normal by 7 weeks miscarrying). Obviously it happens, but it’s much more rare, and potentially indicates a different kind of problem.

This fits my history very well. By 7 weeks, none of my pregnancies have looked normal. This makes a lot of sense because of how many thing are happening before this time, essentially all the parts of the embryo are getting in to place. We all know that embryos start from a single cell, then if you think of how many things have to move and arrange for an embryo to be sort of ‘baby shaped’ by 7 weeks, its just insane how much can go wrong. From 7 weeks or so on, things are in place, and the organ systems are forming. So, problems before 7 weeks tend to be problems with embryo formation. This all goes back to embryoscopy, because these problems with embryo formation result in embryos that look malformed when you do embryoscopy. There’s SO much more to say about this part of the conversation and I’m not explaining it as well as I should right now, but my point for now is that recurrent miscarriages that happen before 7 weeks (or missed miscarriages that begin before 7 weeks) mean something different from miscarriages that happen after 7 weeks.

At the very end of our conversation, Dr. A says “so, why don’t we just take a quick look at this pregnancy? I’d like see what your pregnancies look like”. We’d been talking about it as if it was miscarriage #7, and as per the conversation above, he was thinking that it would help him understand what kind of problem I have to see how things are going wrong at week 7. I wasn’t even nervous really, I was just thinking, hmm, I wonder if it’s over already?

Dr. A does all his own ultrasounds, there was no nurse or tech there, we just walked in to the ultrasound room and he flipped on the laptop that runs the equipment (very different from my current REs office!). He pops the wand in, and all I could think was, I hope he’s not looking at my super hairy legs (I wasn’t expecting to be getting naked in front of him!). And there it was. All I can say is it looked very different from any of my other ultrasounds. Right away he turned on the sound, and a heartbeat starts thudding. Very clear and strong, measuring 124 bpm. Guys, I’ve never seen a heart rate this fast before. I think the fastest we’ve ever had is 105 or something. That’s partially because of the timing, a slow heart rate is okay very early on, but our heart rates have never sped up enough. The measurement was right on track, no sign of the slow development at 5w6d. He looked for the ‘asymmetrical thickening’ of my endometrium noted on last weeks ultrasound, and it was there, but Dr. A said it didn’t bother him in the least. In fact, my bleed is even located as far as possible from the embryo, right at my cervix. This is about the best place to have a bleed if your going to have one because the blood basically just comes out, it’s not near or behind the embryo, causing pressure or shearing on the embryo.

All of this is to say that no matter what happens here (I still can’t wrap my brain around the idea that it could be okay), this is different from all my other losses. We’ve never made it this far, and according to Dr. A, the fact that we’ve made it this far means something. In fact, he thinks it means an awful lot. I still can’t manage to type out just how high he things the odds are for us with this pregnancy,  but it was high. I’m keeping my expectations lower than his, but even if I admit that there’s, say, a 50% chance of this working out, this is distinctly different from every other time. I think I might be as happy about that as I am about anything else at this point. We’ve broken the pattern!

My brain feels very very confused about what to think and feel right now. On the one hand, I just can’t wrap my brain around the idea that it could be okay. When Dr. A told us how good our odds were in his opinion, my reaction was, you can’t tell me these things. I might get hopeful, and then it still won’t be okay. On our drive home yesterday I was barely speaking, and G kept saying, “you don’t seem to realize what just happened!!”. He’s right, I don’t realize it, I’m confused. It isn’t even that I’m really trying to protect myself from getting hurt, because the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if this goes badly I should be upset. If I made it this far and I have a 124 bpm heart beat inside me now and it dies, I should be upset about that. It would be wrong to think that didn’t matter and I don’t need to be upset about it just because I expected it. If this goes badly, I have a right to be upset and I won’t take that right from myself.

It took me until this morning to figure it out, but the real reason I’m afraid to be or admit to being hopeful is good old superstition. I’m afraid that if I show that I’m optimistic and things could work out, the universe will catch on and rip it all away from me (because it has a history of doing that, you know??). It feels like I need to not admit any hope in order to protect myself from the evil universe that hates me and wants to steal everything I love. That sounds totally rational, right :)?

So, this morning I’ve started to re-engage in this pregnancy a little. It’s so odd, I feel like I jumped right in to this pregnancy at 7 weeks. I was not paying attention to much of anything from the day I started bleeding. I never calculated a due date, I never thought about what was happening in there on a given day. I hardly even thought of myself as pregnant. Suddenly, now there is a 7 week embryo inside me with a heart beating away. I don’t want to get carried away, there are still a million and one things that can go wrong. Part of me even thinks that we’ll go in to our ultrasound with Dr. O next week and none of this will have been real. There will be a sac with no fetal pole, and this will all have been some sort of bad joke (the universe messing with me again).

There are 6 days until my next ultrasound, at which point this will either start to feel a little more real, or it will be clear that this was just a little blip on the road to a miscarriage. Right now, all I can do is try to stay calm and appreciate the fact that for now I’m still pregnant.

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???

All out of options.

Without further ado, in the words of Dr. O, the outcome of our ultrasound today was “not optimistic”. Coming from him (the eternal optimist), this is basically the same as saying it’s hopeless. At 5w6d, there was a yolk sac, but no visible fetal pole. In a normal person, this could just be chalked up to it being too early. But for me, it’s ‘not optimistic’. There were some other lovely findings too, including a ‘periovarian mass’ and a weird asymmetrical thickening of my endometrium. His interpretation of these was they are ‘interesting’, and we shouldn’t ignore them. It doesn’t appear that they’re related to the pregnancy though (or what’s wrong with it), so it’s hard for me to care too much about them right now. He tried to reassure me that the mass ‘probably wasn’t cancer’ (probably?), but even that didn’t get a rise out of me. If it’s not related to figuring out what the hell is wrong with my ability to reproduce, it’s not much on my radar right now.

Honestly, I was super relieved to hear that the pregnancy was not totally normal. It sounds counter-intuitive, but I was really worried they were going to tell us that it looked totally normal and we shouldn’t give up hope yet. Then I would spend the next two weeks letting the hope sink in, and be extra special crushed when it (of course) wasn’t. Instead, now I get to spend the next two weeks before the next ultrasound feeling absolutely miserable with nausea (did I mention it’s awful now??) and dragging my feet to muster the energy to act like a normal human being at work all day. In fact, right after the appointment today I had to go back to work and stare at my computer screen, interact with other human beings, and basically pretend not to be a person-shaped ball of anger and frustration. That was fun.

Up until today, my emotions have been conspicuously absent. I went from being an emotional wreck in week 4 to being completely numb and emotionless the moment I started bleeding. I didn’t cry, I didn’t obsess over it, it just….was. But I knew that couldn’t last. And sure enough, my emotions chose the middle of our appointment with Dr. O to reappear. One minute I’m asking him logical rational questions, and the next my lips are shaking and I can’t eek out words. The thing is, I’d been keeping it together up to that point mostly by thinking about what comes next. As soon as I read the article about embryoscopy, the idea has been growing in my mind that we might be able to figure out whether my problem is uterine or genetic (assuming those are the main two options). It was a quick jump from there to, well if it’s genetic, we have options! We can try donor egg, sperm, or more likely, donor embryo. If it’s just our genetics screwing us over, we can fix that by throwing some other genes into the mix! The feeling of finally having options gave me such a feeling of lightness, it almost drowned out the pain of another loss.

I should have known better than to get my hopes up though (haven’t I learned by now???). We asked Dr. O about the possibility of doing embryoscopy, and he was not exactly supportive. He said he would be willing to do it if we really wanted to (and he’s done it before), but he doesn’t see any point. Basically, he thinks that it’s almost inevitable that our embryo would be developmentally abnormal, because, (duh) it didn’t develop. He doesn’t agree with the papers that I’ve read saying that abnormal development implies a genetic problem (karyotypic or otherwise). He feels that a uterine factor could cause the same abnormal development as a genetic factor. So, it wouldn’t give us any information if we did it. In fact, when really really pressed, he said he thinks my problem (and most people’s problems for that matter) are uterine, not genetic. This is just an opinion of course (he admits there’s no way to know for sure), but ultimately if we decided to do something like donor embryo it would have to be just because we beleive the problem is genetic not uterine. In other words, it would be an enormous roll of the dice.

So what’s wrong with rolling the dice? We’ve already done it 7 times, right? In my mind the difference is that with donor embryo (or donor egg, or donor sperm), it’s not just us involved anymore. The genetic parent’s of the embryos we’d receive worked insanely hard to create them, wanted them very badly, and donated them out of the generous hope that they would have a chance at life. Who am I to take their (probably perfectly viable) embryos and toss them in to my death trap of a uterus? It’s not a risk I’m comfortable taking unless someone can give me a decent reason to beleive it will work.

Given that, I’m now feeling like doors are very quickly being slammed shut in my face. Where last month there were at least a few doors left open (trying on our own, donor embryo), these are quickly becoming obsolete. I’m almost completely sure (lets say 99.5%) that we won’t be trying again on our own. I don’t care what the statistics say, I no longer beleive that I am capable of creating and/or carrying a viable pregnancy. Ever. I simply don’t beleive it anymore. The pattern is too strong. Every time I get pregnant it will happen the same way, unless we figure out what’s causing the problem and treat it.

Dr. O reiterated that there are simply no  more tests or treatments available though, and so trying on our own is pretty much out. If donor embryo is out too, we are at the end of our rope. The words I was trying to get out through the tears to Dr. O were “I just wish we had some sort of option left, we just want to have some chance”. So, I guess it’s the time we’ve been dreading. The time I spent years going through more wasted cycles and wasted pregnancies to avoid. The time when we have to accept that it is what it is and move on to the only option left: adoption. Now if I could just figure out how the hell to accept that, that’d be awesome.

 

The beginning of the end

Two days ago, at 5w2d, I started bleeding. Bright red blood along with some decently strong cramps. It only lasted for a minute or two, but it was enough to show that the process is starting. This is identical, practically to the minute, to my other miscarriages. Everything is peachy until 5w2d, and then it all turns to shit.

I have an ultrasound scheduled for Tuesday, which I expect will involve a heartbeat. The first one always does. But then the bleeding just continues to get heavier and heavier and we all know what the outcome is. It usually takes 4 weeks or so from the start of the bleeding before I have a dnc scheduled and the whole thing is over. 4 weeks of feeling horribly sick, depressed and hopeless. Here we go again.

I can’t say I was that surprised when I saw the blood. I had been checking religiously. Scrutinizing the tp every time I peed. But I had managed to convince myself that it was possible that it could be different this time. I wouldn’t say I was totally optimistic, but I was being negative either. I was even talking to the embryo, telling it to ‘please please please please be okay this time’. G was much more involved this time too. In the past he’s been so detached, not wanting to get his hopes up. But last week (after an emotional breakdown on my part) I convinced him we both needed to be present this time, even knowing it might go badly. I spent so long wishing to be pregnant again, I didn’t want to ignore the experience while I was having it. So G was asking me about every tiny symptom, and he even started calling the embryo peanut. It’s been a totally different experience, feeling like I’m not the least bit alone in this.

I don’t know why, but I haven’t cried or gotten emotional. And it’s not because I think it’s going to be okay. I’m 98% sure this is over. I think it just hasn’t hit me yet. When I saw the blood, I called G in to the bathroom to see (I know, gross, but he said he wanted to see), and we just sort of stared at it for a minute and said, ‘okay, well I guess that’s that’. We got into bed and had a long talk, but mostly we talked about what comes next. I have a feeling that at some point it’s going to hit me that this is happening now, and I will have to deal with it.

So what comes next? Ultrasound this week, more waiting and bleeding, then eventually another ultrasound with no heartbeat (I know I sound morbid, but it’s just the reality). Most importantly, this will hopefully give us the opportunity to do the embryoscopy procedure I wrote about before. The last thing I wanted was for this to happen again, but if it had to happen again I want to know as much as humanly possible about what’s going wrong. I know I’m getting my hopes up because there are a lot of factors that have to work out to do the procedure (doctor agreeing to do it, not having a natural miscarriage first, not having so much bleeding they can’t do it, etc), but I just so badly want to know what’s going on it’s driving me insane. I just keep thinking if I had some clue what was going on, I’d be able to come to terms with it. Not to mention having an idea of how to proceed from here. After my hopes get dashed over and over, it seems like too much to ask to even be able to get some answers.

On top of everything, now I’m getting sick. G has had a cold for the last week, and we tried so hard not to share germs, since I didn’t want to risk getting sick while pregnant. I managed to keep it at bay until today, but now I feel awful. Interestingly though, I don’t feel like I have a cold, I feel like I have the flu. My chest is super heavy, I’m dizzy and weak, and the nausea I’ve had for the last two weeks has increased dramatically. I don’t know if it’s just that the combo of morning sickness with a cold feels like the flu, or if there’s something else going on, but I feel like crap. I’m just SO not in the mood to be feeling so sick on top of everything else right now.

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 ***

 

Flirting with chinese medicine

I had my very first acupuncture appointment ever today. I never thought I would do acupuncture, I’ve always thought of it on the same sort of level as numerology or something. I’m a skeptic, and I’ve just always believed in what could be demonstrated by evidence and data. This is what infertility can do though. I’ve lost all sense of control over my body and how it functions, so I’m grasping at whatever I can to feel like I have some sort of power over the future.

So here’s how it went down, just in case you’re one of the few infertiles left who haven’t tried acupuncture (I mean, seriously, it seems like was the last hold out). I filled out a somewhat detailed medical history, and then proceeded to wait 30 minutes before a room was available for my session. Once it was finally available, we walked in to a very comfortable room with a padded bed and an ikea rocking chair. The acupuncturist, let’s call her Beth, is a former member of our infertility support group, and has done acupuncture for just about all the members of the group. They all had wonderful things to say about her, including that she’s your number one cheerleader throughout the process of getting/staying pregnant, so it feels like you really have someone on your side. She was certainly very nice, and seemed genuinely interested in helping.

We talked for about half an hour, and it was nice to be able to talk through some of the medical details of my history with someone again. It’s been a year since I saw Dr. O, and he was never really interested in hearing my ‘theories’ of what my problem is, simply because there’s absolutely nothing he can contribute. That is, if I ask, what do you think it means that I have so much bleeding when I’m pregnant, is that a symptom of the problem, or is it the problem itself? Or if I’d say, well, the fact that X has happened every single time probably means Y, right? All I’d ever get out of him was, there’s just no way to know for sure. Of course he’s right, there isn’t any real way to know what any of it means for sure. But I can’t help but think maybe there are clues there, and if only he’d play along maybe we could find some sort of pattern hiding in the mess. I just want someone to be as anal about the details as I am, even if it is just conjecture. Anyways, I’ve gone off on a tangent here.

So, she listened thoroughly, and offered some feedback about several things I’ve been wondering about lately, including taking extra folic acid and baby asprin. I’ve already been doing the former (because it can’t possibly hurt), and I’ve been considering the latter. She didn’t really try to give me medical advice, but agreed that they aren’t dangerous and that it’s reasonable for me to consider.

She then spent a little time explaining, in a very general way, how acupuncture supposedly works. I say supposedly, because at this point I started to hear the voice of charlie brown’s teacher (wah wah, wah wah wah…). I shook my head like I was paying attention, but I didn’t even bother listening. The thing is, if I beleive acupuncture has an effect on fertility, or pain, or whatever else, it will be because it has some inadvertent medical effect. I simply don’t beleive that there are humors or whatever they are (see, I really didn’t pay attention), that control our bodily functions. What I do beleive is that perceptive people might notice that taking some sort of action, or treatment, has an effect on health, and then, in the absence of modern medicine, build up an explanation around it. In other words, it might work even if they don’t really know why it works.

After talking for a while, I got up on the table and she felt my ‘pulses’, and looked at my tongue. Now, I can beleive that there are signs about health in these. I also think they are probably rather subjective, so you might be able to feel/see a difference if you are looking for it. She gave me a short explanation of what she felt and what it meant, then started inserting needles. As much as I’ve always hated needles, I wasn’t that nervous about these needles until she started talking about them. I’d been so nervous about the fact that I was going to an acupuncturist at all, that I hadn’t had a chance to worry about the needles themselves until they were right in front of me. A number of people had told me that it wasn’t painful, and they were mostly right. I didn’t feel the needles in my head or arms, and only felt small pricks of pain in my feet. After a few seconds they started to itch a little, and by the time a minute or two had passed I couldn’t feel anything anymore.

Then came the hardest part. Laying still for 40 minutes. According to everything I’d heard/read, this is supposed to be the best part. There’s relaxing music and you can just take a nice nap if you want. Well, I am not physiologically capable of napping (unless I’m pregnant, and then I could nap all day…), and I don’t find laying still fun. I immediately felt antsy, like I needed to move just because I wasn’t supposed to. I thought, how the hell am I going to lay here for 40 minutes?? Plus, due to some mild degenerative disk disease, I get a lot of back pain when I lay flat. I try not to ever lay flat in bed, and the last time I had to lay still on my back for that long was to get an MRI. By the end of the MRI I was in excruciating pain. I started to get really nervous, so when Beth came back to check on me a few minutes later I asked for a extra pillow for under my knees.

Back pain problem solved, I proceeded to lay still and try to relax for the remaining 30 minutes. I did eventually relax, although my mind was still spinning and I kept hoping it would be time to get up soon. Beth returned to remove my needles, I got dressed, and that was it. She warned me that I might feel sleepy for the rest of the day, and I suppose I’m a little sleepy, but overall I feel pretty normal.

I made another appointment for next week, and I’m definitely keeping an open mind about the whole thing. I don’t think it can possibly hurt to give it a shot, and I do beleive that it’s possible it might help, even if it’s just a placebo effect of some sort. I’m feeling more optimistic about my chances of a BFP this month than I have in a while, so any tiny thing that can nudge me in the direction of finally getting pregnant is great. Then, I’ll worry about the staying pregnant part when I get there.

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.

Remembrance Day

In case you haven’t already heard, today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I’m apparently out of the loop, I didn’t realize until I read all of your beautiful posts today. 

Remembering can be extremely hard. I hate the thought of reliving the pain of my losses, so my first impulse is to push the sadness down and push forward with my regular anger. In a lot of ways it’s easier to be angry than sad. But, reading all of your touching posts today, I see the importance of remembering. Losing a pregnancy before anyone (or most people) are aware you’re pregnant is so isolating. We go through these losses with our husbands, and if we’re lucky a few close friends or family. But really, none of these well-meaning people truly understand what we’ve been through. We’re supposed to soldier on and get over it. We’re supposed to forget.

So, the way I see it, today is a chance for all of us to remember together. To pool our pain and feel a little less alone. To feel like our losses mattered to someone other than ourselves.

So tonight I’m thinking of all of you, and how much you’ve each survived. Your losses aren’t forgotten.