Friday, May 1, 2009

When Infertility Issues Hand You Lemons...


Write about it.

WARNING: This post contains mentions of the deed, va jay jay's, but so sorry, not for fun, but for knowledge,just an FYI.

Andy and I always hesitate to tell people when we become pregnant. This time was no exception. We learned the hard way the first time. We were married for just a few years when pregnancy #1 occurred We told everyone and their mother that I was pregnant.That pregnancy ended in a flat out miscarriage. We were scared out of our minds, not sure what was happening. My doctor at that time, who has no beside manner what so ever,came down to the ER, examined me, called it a miscarriage and said, 'well this happens a lot with first time pregnancies, just keep trying, you are healthy.' So then came the job of telling everyone, and telling them what happened, over and over again. Not fun. You relive the entire situation every time you speak about it, and no one means to cause you pain, but reliving it is definitely painful.

So the next time it happened, we told each other, not a word, with the exception of close family, until 12 weeks. It wasn't to shut people out, but to protect our hearts.

Except, it wasn't happening. I wasn't getting pregnant. I guess the protocol is a year; after you can't get pregnant for a year, you are stamped as infertile and herded onto an Infertility Specialist. It's an awesome title, let me tell you. My then OB/Gyn referred me to one individual who will remain nameless. After an examination, and some brief blood work, and being treated like a science experiment, and not a patient unable to conceive, he deemed me fine, and that there was no found reason I couldn't conceive. I think I could have paid someone $10 to tell me the same thing.

My aunt recommended her fertility specialists. I won't mention who they are, but if you ask, I will give you raving reviews, and refer you right away. This was a completely different experience. We were sat down one on one with a doctor on the first visit and reviewed everything, the tests, the options, the emotional ups and downs, recommended to 'take breaks', from the whole process once in awhile. Finally, I felt like a person, and not a lab rat. I went through a battery of tests, which I could give you a further explanation on, but would only make this post longer, and you don't want to sit for too long. My 'cycle,' was followed closely. And when I tell you I knew everything about what it took to make a baby, believe me, I knew every single detail, I was a walking Infertility Encyclopedia.

Turns out for Andy and I, thankfully there was nothing seriously wrong with us, his men swam wonderfully and plentifully, and there was no set diagnosis that would prevent me from getting pregnant and having it stick. Phew. But the hitch was this, everything has to be perfect for you to get pregnant. Your temperature, your hormone level, your fluids, the day, the egg, your uterus has to be a friendly environment at that time,(I know right, can it be unfriendly, turns out it can),and when it is laid out just like that, it is a complete miracle people get pregnant so often.

That was just it for me, things were not lining up perfectly, particularly down to the ovulation and my hormones. They rarely matched up to meet perfectly on the same day. They did sometimes, and it was on those sometime moments we would be able to conceive and have a viable pregnancy. i.e., bring home a healthy baby. On top of all of that, I am a carrier of the cystic fibrosis gene. Thankfully, Andy, again, was not and so the chances of us having a baby with this, was slim to none. Recently, I found I was also a possible carrier for Tay-Sachs, another typically fatal auto-immune disease. That. Is awesome. No really, it sucks, obviously. So as you can see, having a baby, as mentioned previously is a miracle, being able to study and know every single detail that goes into that scientifically, is a medical miracle. And for us to bring home a baby, was also going to be a miracle.

So what do you do? You get blood tests once a week every week. When that blood test showed that my levels were getting close to ovulation I went everyday for blood tests and ultrasounds on my ovaries, until the levels were just about perfect, and was told to go home and, well you know.

I think a couple of months into it, I got pregnant, sadly, the hormone levels were not rising like they should have been, and the pregnancy was found to be ectopic. Which is simply, the fertilized egg gets stuck in the fallopian tubes, and does not move to the uterus. This is never ever a viable pregnancy, and the pregnancy will either dissolve, or surgery will have to be done before the fetus starts to grow and burst the tube. Scary stuff. So I was monitored, and again, on a happy side, did not require surgery.

We then took a big break from all the fertility stuff.We were told treatments would have to become more aggressive for it to work. When all you think about is the perfect timing to make a baby for three years, and having people examining your va jay jay becomes second nature, and to have that end in another loss, a vacation from it all is needed.

I then returned about 6 months later ready for the aggressive stuff.I was placed on Clomid, and told I would have to get artificially inseminated. Simply, Andy supplied the goods, which is another story all in itself, and on the day I was going to ovulate, found again, through blood tests, I went into the office, and through a baster, literally, Andy's men were shot inside of me. We did this two times with no success. My Clomid was upped, the chances of twins went up again, we were set to go for an appointment on the 10th of May 2005, for another round, we were in the city, and running late, and so I knew I would never make the appointment, and so instead of wasting a month, we well, you know...and 2 weeks later we found out, Kendall had been made.

I was placed on Progesterone Suppositories for the first 12 weeks, which would only bump the hormones a bit more. I went in for ultrasounds every week until 12 weeks, and labeled 'high risk.' At one of the ultrasounds, when Kendall the Fetus had moved, another sac was revealed, but there was no baby in it. Turns out I had conceived twins, but one had not moved on past fertilization. This I could handle, as long as the other one stayed put, two at one time, was not an option. Kendall stuck around, and at week 12, I was discharged to my, new and bedside manner induced, OB/GYN.

Kendall Anne was born healthy as a horse on February 13, 2006.

So what do you do about thinking about another? We didn't. We had our little girl, and I thought, well if we are going to have another we will go through the same testing all over again. When Kendall was 4 months old, I found out things had lined up perfect again, and I was pregnant with Ethan. Same protocol though, suppositories, weekly ultrasounds, and then released to my OB/GYN, but this time at 10 weeks.

Ethan Thomas was born healthy has a hog, he was a big boy, on March 25, 2007.

Time for a break, right?

So we took one.

Being naive and thinking nothing could go wrong, 2 successful pregnancies in a row, perhaps the worst was behind us, we decided to start trying again. I didn't even think to refer to a Fertility Specialist. And also thinking it might take awhile, I was surprised when the body sent me the message, 'You are pregnant.' I took the test, it was positive. This time I was much more relaxed, called the fertility specialist, but thought, oh I don't even think I have to go to them. They thought it was best for me to come in and get things checked out. Turns out they know best.

I started blood tests, suppositories, and my levels were rising. The first ultrasound was scheduled and went good. The baby was measuring a week off, but my cycle was always off, so what's a week? I went back the next week and this doctor was concerned. There was a blood clot, the baby was not growing like it should have been, and she couldn't find a heartbeat. I was sent to another doctor in the practice for a second opinion. I went to see him the next day. It was true, there was a blood clot, the baby wasn't measuring what it should be if my cycle was on, but it never was. He then was doing some more exploratory stuff of the uterus, and then turned to the nurse, and asked, 'Liz what is this?' I immediately thought the worse, I looked at her and thought, 'not only am I losing a baby, they found a tumor and I am going to die.' After a few moments, she said,'well that looks like a heartbeat.' Sounds like a happy ending?

Well I was told to be on as much bed rest as I could possibly be, not to lift the babies, and to take it easy. This baby had a 50/50 chance, and to come back in week. Of course, it wasn't as brief as that, and they were kind, and told me the reality of the situation.

Yesterday was my appointment, and it was not good news for us. The heartbeat was slowing, the baby was still not growing, and the blood clot was bigger. I was ready for this. The blessing and the curse of going to a fertility clinic and knowing all the facts and figures, and being able to see the pregnancy early on, is just that you know what is happening. I knew that a blood clot was a bad thing, and that a baby not growing was even worse. You still pray for a miracle, but it isn't always delivered.

A lot of people say, well you have 2 healthy babies, a boy and a girl at that, for some reason, that doesn't make it any easier, my reaction and my grief is still the same. I get angry when I have miscarriages and I sit on that for awhile. I get angry at myself, at God, at my body, luckily all of those things can handle the anger I am throwing out. I cry and get quiet, but fortunately this time I have my blog. I get frustrated my clothes don't fit because despite losing a baby, the progesterone still makes you bloat, and gain weight, and I have nothing to show for it, and now have to watch what I eat instead of burrowing my sorrows in eight hot fudge sundaes.

The reason is simple and I know it, I knew it the first time. The reason God puts me through this is because he gave me a voice, and it is really loud. Since the first miscarriage, since the first hormonal issue, God has put people in my way that are going through the same thing and can either uplift me, or I can do that for them. This is His refresher course, a hard one, but again, His. Of course, today, my fingers are doing the talking, but a lot more people read this on a daily basis then I talk to.

On top of this, this time I get the added lesson of appreciating the babies I have more. If you don't already know, let me throw it out there again, I put everything into Kendall and Ethan, but it still gets frustrating, tiring, and some days you just want to go and hide. But to get hit with the reality, that I was given two miracles to shape and nurture, that there was no mistake in it, I saw the hormone levels when the doctor said, 'it's now or never.'

Despite that and knowing, I know it is normal to be sad, which I am. I know I will be jealous when I see or hear of a pregnant woman, but it will go away. I am allowed to be sad, I am allowed to be angry, but I am also called to hug my babies a little tighter, and to share it.

So this is my Lemonade.

2 comments:

Meggan said...

{{{melissa}}}

Sara said...

Beautiful post, Melissa. Today, I sort of needed to hear it as I am quite sick of fulltime motherhood. Most of the time I forget to be thankful for what I have.