Tuesday, November 30, 2010


So, our second opinion appointment did not go terribly well.  I should have realized that the flash flooding in the streets and the fact that the office didn't have our appointment on the books were bad signs.  Basically, more than a second opinion, we got a completely opposite opinion.  After a quick run down of my history, this RE said that the first pregnancy was likely not ectopic and that the subsequent two losses were due to the methotrexate shot we had in August.  She said that pregnancies have virtually no chance of survival within the first 5 to 6 months of methotrexate.  Her recommendation was to wait until January then just try naturally and use progesterone supplements beginning three days after ovulation.  This is very different advice than the recommendation we received from my current RE.  He thinks it's time to move on to IVF, that I very likely have tubal issues.

Now we have no clue what to do.  We didn't really like the second opinion doctor, and her staff reminded me of my old fertility office staff (which I HATED).  We like our current RE so much and I really want to continue treating with him...but we also want to make the best decision we can.  To add to my confusion, I have been doing some mad googling and can find almost nothing that supports today's diagnosis.  I found one article that said that your risk of miscarriage may be slightly increased after a methotrexate dose, but many more that basically said that methotrexate is irrelevant to subsequent pregnancy success.  This is confusing because the doctor acted like it was common knowledge and we would have no problem finding literature to support her recommendation.

We are so unsure of how to handle this.  Right now, I am thinking of calling to try to get a consult with my regular RE and talking to him about this different perspective.  I am sure, though, that he will disagree with her and stand by his original plan.  I am so ready for all of this to be over...if doing IVF would get us pregnant, it would be so so worth it.  Ahhhhh...so confused right now.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


A family friend won his battle against colon cancer this past summer.  Last night, we found out that the cancer has metastisized on both of his lungs.  His doctors say it's not treatable.  He is 27 years old (the same age as A and I)...a newlywed...a son...an uncle.  I don't know him that well, but I know that his wife and family love him dearly and cannot imagine a life without him.  I know that he must be scared, exhausted, and angry with the hand he has been dealt. 

Hearing about his new diagnosis doesn't make the pain of our recurrent losses hurt any less.  It didn't take the sting out of receiving a pregnancy announcement this morning.  It does, however, give some perspective to our struggle.  I want so deeply to have a child, and I am anxiously awaiting our second opinion appointment this afternoon.  I am grateful, though, that the news we receive at this appointment will not change the fact that A and I are healthy and suffering from no apparent terminal illnesses.  We will not receive a death sentence this afternoon.  We may not get the news we want, but we will have each other to hold, comfort, live beside and breathe with as we move forward on this journey.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

kind of like a cold

We are not medicating this cycle and are giving my body a bit of a break in our (potential) run up to IVF.  We are not, however, using any "barrier method" of birth control.  As we were driving home from church this morning, A said, "Wouldn't it be great if we got pregnant this month?"  My response:  "I don't really want to get pregnant this month.  I'm pretty exhausted, and getting pregnant is pretty much the same as getting a cold.  I don't have the energy for it this month."

I immediately realized this was not a normal response, but for me at least it was an honest one.  Rather than being the route to having a baby, being pregnant has become a temporary health condition.  Oh, two lines?  No worries...I will feel a little off for a few days, then within a week things will be right back to "normal."  Just like a cold.

I know I need to change my perspective before we go to IVF.  I want to proceed with IVF with as many positive thoughts as I can fit in my head.  But the only experiences I have had with pregnancies have been short, scary, and over too soon.  We all have our ways of coping, and I would love any advice on how to view pregnancy as a positive thing again. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

where we are

I haven't posted anything medical in a bit, so wanted to give you all an update on where we are.  In my first post regarding IVF, I forgot to mention that we have a thrombophilia panel scheduled for next week.  Based on the timing of our losses, my doctor doesn't think this will reveal any problems, but wants to check (I'm all for checking everything).  We called another local RE, and they were super helpful...they fit us in on Tuesday for a second opinion consult, so I am looking forward to that.  This will be the first female RE I've seen, so that's sort of exciting.  Finally, we have found a minimal IVF program less than two hours from our home, and we are going to call them Monday and hopefully schedule a consult.  We aren't sure if that would be a good option for us, but it sounds intriguing so we at least want to look into it. 

Our insurance does not cover any part of IVF, but we had previously been told that about $3,000 worth of services could be billed in such a way that they would pay.  Our plan is changing on January 1st, though, and the insurance coordinator at our clinic thinks we have lost that coverage.  I know that when you are spending this much money $3,000 shouldn't be such a big deal, but it was a devastating blow to me.  If only we lived in a state where coverage was mandated!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


In honor of Thanksgiving week, I'm doing one last "thankful" post.  I must admit, writing only positive things has been quite a challenge for me.  So here's my final list of things for which I am grateful.
  • Running.  I love running, but it's one of the things I had to give up while trying to get pregnant.  In our little break from TTCing during the run up to IVF, I am so enjoying getting on the road.  It's great to feel like I have some control over my body again!
  • Seasons.  I am blessed to live in a part of the country that actually experiences four seasons.  We are currently at the point where fall meets winter, and it's exciting to feel the air getting crisp.  It reminds me that Christmas is right around the corner.
  • Paper mail.  I have a few friends who, like me, still believe in writing and mailing actual cards.  Receiving a handwritten note is a unique blessing, and I am thankful for the friends who have written me over the last few months.
  • My precious dogs.  I've posted about them before, but I just couldn't leave them off this list.  They are my little angels, and they manage to make me smile every single day, no matter what else is going on in my life.  When I am grumpy, they just love on me more, which is fabulous.
  • Our house.  We live in an adorable little 1940-built cottage, and it's the perfect first home.  It's located in the most expensive neighborhood in our town, so I'm not sure how much longer we will be here, but I am so thankful for the time we have spent here and the warmth it has provided.
  • This blogging community.  I am so thankful that I discovered this group of women who understand the place I am in right now.  I am now seriously addicted to following blogs and am thankful for this outlet.
  • My in-laws.  I hear so many in-law horror stories and am repeatedly reminded of how lucky I am.  My in-laws are very supportive, yet give us our distance, and I could not have joined a better family.
  • Finally, this year I am thankful for the three little ones we have lost.  Don't get me wrong, I am NOT THANKFUL that we lost them...in fact, I am still very angry and confused as to why we will never get to hold them and love on them.  Their short presence in my life, however, changed me forever and connected A and I in a deeply new way.  I feel confident that we will be able to look back on this time at some point in the future and realize that we grew tremendously, both as individuals and as a couple.  While I would prefer a baby in my arms (or in my belly) to any growth experience, I am glad I got to be their mother, if only for a few days, and I am thankful that they touched my life.

Monday, November 22, 2010

An open letter to my hair.

Dear Hair,

I am trying to focus on the positive things in my life this week, but you are making it particularly difficult.  Over the years, I have grown to appreciate your naturally curly nature since it seriously reduces the amount of time required to get ready for work.  This new curly on the top and stick straight on the bottom thing, however, is just not working.  It's not cute.  I know that I am putting you through hell with all the "I'm pregnant," "I'm not pregnant," "I'm taking ridiculous amounts of hormones," and I am sorry for that.  I am running short on patience, though, and I just don't have time for you on my "to do" list.  Please help me out and return to your formerly manageable ways.

Still A Guest Room

thankful for A

Today, and every day for that matter, I am thankful for my husband A.  A is not perfect, but I am often convinced that he is as close to perfection as one can get.  He is a perfect balance to my sometimes neurotic personality...he reminds me that common sense is more valuable than "book smarts" at times, and that over-analyzing decisions does not always lead to the best result.  My family can be less than supportive, but A walks directly beside me in all things.  He treats me like a princess, but what I am most thankful for is the way he treats others.  His kindness and willingness to serve are his greatest traits, and he inspires me to be a better person.  When I get frutrated with family, friends, or even strangers, A reminds me that we have no ideal what is going on in their lives.  What looks shiny on the surface may be gray and mucky underneath.  As if all of this weren't enough, he's incredibly handsome!

Our marriage is far from perfect...I find irrational reasons to be angry and/or sulk quite often.  I say things in the heat of a disagreement that I instantly regret, and I don't treat A with the same kindness he grants to me.  I hope he knows, however, how lucky I feel to be his wife and how truly grateful I am for him.

Friday, November 19, 2010

thankful part 2...plus a little reality

Today, I am thankful for the entertainment industry.  This may sound trivial, but aren't there moments when we all just want to get lost in fiction?  For our early Christmas present/let's forget about the miscarriage for a bit outing, A got us tickets to an Elton John concert tonight!  Elton has always been on my list of concerts I want to see before I or the performer dies, and we have floor seats on the 18th row...way to go A!  In additional exciting entertainment news, the newest Harry Potter is on the agenda this weekend.  The Boy Who Lived always cheers me up (despite the probable darkness of this film), and I am thankful that JK Rowling was brilliant enough to create such a wonder-filled world.

Outside the world of fiction, we got the news we expected at our appointment yesterday.  Because the first pregnancy was ectopic, our doc is fairly convinced that the subsequent failed pregnancies have also been ectopics that resolved themselves.  Since we seem to have good eggs and good sperm based on the number of times we've conceived, he thinks the problem is my tubes.  The only way to take the tubes out of the equation is, of course, IVF, which is his recommendation. 

We are currently on the calendar for the January IVF cycle, but I am still trying to process this all.  Ignorantly, I never thought we would end up here.  The practical side of this is overwhelming right now...should we get a second opinion (while I'm sure it's a good ideal, I also hate the thought of finding and talking to yet another doc)?  Where are we going to get the money?  What if it doesn't work? 

Our biggest reservation has always been the thought of leftover frozen embryos, so we discussed with our doc the ideal of only exposing 8 eggs to fertilization and I am feeling much better about that.  There is still so much to consider, though.  I don't want to rush into this, but I am so ready to make a decision and go with it.  I am THANKFUL, however, that I don't have to make any of these decisions alone. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


As hard as it is to believe, Thanksgiving is upon us.  In just one week, we will be eating Turkey and checking out the Christmas sales.  The holiday season has always been my favorite time of year, but recently every special occasion has been bittersweet...each one is a reminder that I thought I would be pregnant by now.  In an effort to get into the holiday spirit and remind myself of how blessed I truly am, I am going to post a few blogs over the next week about things things for which I am thankful (with some not so cheery posts potentially thrown into the mix).  It is difficult to focus on the "happy" in life when we feel so bogged down by the "sad," but trying to change my focus reminds me of how much more difficult my life could be.

Today I am very, very thankful...A found out this afternoon that he passed his comps and will be graduating with his masters degree in three weeks!  Our family needed a victory, and the giddy feeling of knowing that A is finished with his program was a welcome break from bad news.  I am so proud of him--his diligence and persistence are now paying off!

I am also thankful for flowers.  I find a fresh bouquet to be so soothing and heartwarming, and this week I have been inundated with blooms!  A brought me a beautiful bouquet on Monday, and my sister (yes, the usually evil one) sent a lovely arrangement on Tuesday.  Then today at work, I was called to reception to find a gorgeous bouquet...amazingly, they were from two out-of-town friends who had heard about our third loss from a mutual friend...so thoughtful!  I am thankful for the flowers I have received this week for two reasons.  First, they are gorgeous and make my house/office smell fabulous.  But second, and more importantly, they are a tangible recognition of the losses we have suffered.  I can see/touch/smell that someone is thinking of us and knows that we are grieving. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

picking up the pieces

Today I went to work, was fairly productive, and am getting ready to head to a civic organization meeting.  My life looks the same as it did last Tuesday; my heart, however, feels different.  I think that's one of the hardest things about this journey...your losses, your pain, are for the most part invisible.  I am usually thankful that I do not have to rehash our story over and over again, but I sometimes wish that there were some way that others could tell I was hurting.  Maybe if they could see my loss they would be less callous and more understanding of the time required to heal.

I haven't really processed this latest loss yet...I am still in my "dazed" faze.  I can tell, though, that the physical proof that the pregnancy is over is on its way.  My back hurts, cramps are beginning--the official end is near.  Thanks for sticking with me through this ordeal.

Monday, November 15, 2010

worst fears confirmed

We got our hCG results back, and my fears were confirmed...this pregnancy is, once again, not viable.  We are broken, confused, angry, devastated.  For some reason I thought that each loss might get easier, but it doesn't.  Each baby we lose is uniquely loved and will be uniquely missed.  My heart is punctured with three holes now, and none hurt less than the others.  I truly don't understand why God allows us to continue to conceive when every conception results in heartbreak.

I am so afraid to think about where we go from here.  We are meeting with our doctor Thursday to discuss genetic testing and anything else we can do to look for a reason. 

Thank you all for sitting with me and encouraging me this weekend.  I treasure your comments and am thankful for all of your support.

knowing the ending

I took a pregnancy test this morning and the line was really, really light.  I am going for my blood draw at 2:30, but I already know the end of this story.  I will get a phone call around 4:30 confirming what I already know. 

I am an avid reader, and I have always been adamantly opposed to flipping to the back of the book to read the ending before finishing the rest.  Right now, I feel like I know where our story ends, but I so desperately want to change those last few pages. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

a sinking feeling

Despite my better judgment, I have taken a home pregnancy test every morning for the past 5 mornings.  I keep waiting for the line to be dark.  Although it has gotten slightly darker each day, it doesn't appear to be making enough progress...it still isn't as dark as the control line, and today is 17 dpo.  Today's line actually looked the exact same, maybe even a little lighter, than yesterday.  I realize that these tests aren't completely accurate, but I have the worst feeling about our results tomorrow.  I know there is nothing I can do to make this little baby grow, but I am going crazy nonetheless.  2:30 tomorrow cannot come quickly enough.

Thanks so much for all of your comments and encouragement.  I so want to be on the other side of this process, but am fearful that this won't be the one for us.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ambiguous Results

I woke up this morning at 4 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep...I just feel like this baby isn't going to make it.  I hope this feeling is due to lingering anxiety and is completely unfounded. 

I just got my results from my second blood draw, and my hCG is now 64.69....this is a 62% increase.  I am so sad that it didn't double.  I was really hoping for clear results, and this feels like we are still stuck in no man's land.  I am going back Monday afternoon and am hoping for something more definitive.  Please grow, little one!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Freak Out Mode

I just got a call from my nurse and she told me that after a discussion about my case, the doctor has decided that 1) I should go ahead and take progesterone supplements and 2) he wants to do an ultrasound next Thursday to look for anything that might be out of place.  I am thankful that he is being so proactive, but now I am totally freaking out.  When I hung up the phone, I started to cry (in my office which is not good).  I wonder what it would feel like to be one of those women who sees two lines on a stick and then blissfully waits for her first appointment in a few weeks, just knowing she will be holding her baby in 8ish months?

Results for Draw One

When I went to get my blood draw yesterday (13 dpo), I asked the nurse what number we were looking for.  She said that at this stage they would like to see at least 40.  And where was I?  40.56.  It feels a little low to me, but I am so thankful for this number and am anxiously awaiting tomorrow's results.  Almost more importantly to me, my progesterone was at 15.3, so they aren't even putting me on supplements.  With the ectopic, it was only 1.7 on our first draw, so this feels like a good sign.  I still don't feel pregnant at all, and my fear is making the hours drag by, but I am thankful for each moment with little D (we nicknamed the first one B, so the second was C and we are now to D).  I just pray that D is tucked safely away where he can grow and thrive and that one day I will get to meet him.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

That girl.

I didn't want to be that girl...the girl who starts a blog and then announces to the world that she's pregnant one month later.  Of course I want to be pregnant more than anything, but conceiving again feels somewhat disrepectful to all the couples who have been trying for years.  Yet here I am.  After testing on Sunday and seeing nothing (10 dpo, 11 days post trigger shot), I saw a very faint line yesterday.  It was so faint that I was pretty sure I was making it up.  This morning, however, the line was clear.  It was still faint, but it was definitely there.

I called my RE's office and am going in for my first beta hCG tomorrow (one day earlier than scheduled, thank goodness).  While I know I should be excited that we conceived on our first IUI, I am honestly scared out of my mind.  We have now conceived three cycles in a row, with the first being ectopic and the second going down to 8 on my second beta hCG.  I have no reason to believe this one will be any different, and unlike the last two times, I am running empty on hope.  My fears are multiplied by the great importance that has been placed on the success of this pregnancy.  During one of our last meetings with our RE, he told us that if another pregnancy tuckers out quickly then his diagnosis would be that my tubes don't work and that we should proceed directly to IVF.  

I am so afraid that we will have the same result as last time, and I just don't have the stamina to go through that again, especially so soon.  I keep looking for signs that this one is different, but have failed to find any so far.  Until tomorrow, I am counting down the hours and trying to stay as positive as possible.  This blog has been so wonderful for me, and your comments mean so much...please don't abandon me because of this faint second line, as we still have a long way to go!

Monday, November 8, 2010

In need of a 12 step program.

I am at the point in my cycle where I can't stop peeing on sticks.  No matter how hard I try to resist, these sticks have a gravitational pull over my body.  Sure, the nurse told me not to take tests at home and to wait for my blood test on Thursday, but I'm certain that she knew I wouldn't listen.  The worst part is that I see second lines everywhere.  I dream about them, and I can usually convince myself that there is a faint line staring back at me from any little stick (even if it's not a pregnancy test).  I cringe at the amount of money we have spent on plastic sticks, but taking these is the one thing I feel I can "do" at this point.  So I give myself permission to continue my neurotic testing for the next few days, dreaming about what it would look like to see a dark, certain second line.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Good Progesterone=Ovulation (Hopefully)

We finally got my results from my progesterone test on Thursday, and I was at 23.69 seven days post ovulation.  Despite the nurse's assurance that this was a good result, I immediately began comparing this to previous levels and googling (as if I hadn't googled info about progesterone levels a thousand times before).  It's wild for me to think that most people who get pregnant have no ideal what their mid-luteal progesterone level was...they most likely have no ideal that such a test exists.  From the first month we were able to get off birth control, my progesterone levels have been monitored.  It's really quite funny how much I have learned about my body in this process.  If we had not experienced difficulties, I would have never truly appreciated the intricacies of conceiving a child, how everything really has to be perfectly aligned.  While I would gladly trade the two lost pregnancies and months of disappointment for ignorance, I am thankful for the knowledge we have gained.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

living on a prayer

"Though my flesh and my heart fail, God is the rock of my heart, my portion forever."  Psalm 73:26

I have always loved the Psalms.  David's honesty in his conversations with God is awe-inspiring.  He is not afraid to show anger and frustration, yet he constantly acknowledges God's sovereignty and goodness.

Our journey with infertility and pregnancy loss tests my faith daily.  Never before have I felt so shaken, so alone.  While I once firmly believed that the trials we experienced would serve some purpose, that there was some plan for our lives, I now find myself saying aloud that sometimes things just happen and nothing good is meant to come from them.  I still believe in God, but I find it difficult to sing of His goodness and love after the loss of our two precious pregnancies.  I believe that some of my disillusionment stems from the reverence with which I was taught to address God.  While growing up, I was never told that it's okay to yell and scream and be angry with Him.  Instead, I was taught to pray by saying how wonderful He was and how thankful I was for everything in my life.

So, I am now giving myself permission to tell God exactly how I feel...to tell Him how much this sucks, and how it is not fair that A and I cannot have a baby because we are good people who would love a child so deeply.  I plan to tell Him just how angry I am that I never got the chance to meet the two little ones that A and I conceived, and that I cannot believe He would allow so many couples to go through this terrible battle.  Any good relationship requires honesty, so I think it's worth a try.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Testing 1, 2

This week is test week in our household.  Tomorrow, A has his comprehensive exam for his masters degree.  I am so proud of all the work he has done and cannot wait for this to be over for him!  A is not a fan of standardized tests, so he is not terribly excited, but he has worked extremely hard for this degree.  I know that the most recent miscarriage and the first IUI were huge distractions for him, and I feel terrible...unfortunately, that is our life right now, and I am thankful that A is better at compartmentalizing than me.

On Thursday, we have our mid-luteal phase blood draw.  I realize this is not a test I should worry about, but I cannot help but be anxious.  I blame this anxiety on two causes: 1) I am terribly hard to draw blood from.  The record number of pricks it took to get my blood is 8, and that included one on the side of my calf and one behind my knee.  2) We have only gotten good results at this phase one time, so I don't have a good track record with this test.

For today and tomorrow, however, I am pushing needles from my mind and sending all the good vibes I can to my precious husband....Good luck, A!

Monday, November 1, 2010

To be like the movies...

I am embarrassingly addicted to romantic comedies.  Predictable though they may be, I enjoy escaping into these happy endings.  Recently, I watched two movies with nods to infertility and/or treatments.  In the first, Have you Heard About the Morgans, a couple goes into the witness protection program at a time when their marriage is in crisis.  This couple is dealing with infertility, and (SPOILER ALERT) ends up adopting a baby.  In the last scene, you see the wife holding the newly adopted child and when she turns you see that she is also miraculously pregnant.  Cue the happy music.  The second movie, The Back-Up Plan, is about a single woman who wants a baby.  She undergoes IUI with frozen sperm and, shazaam, gets pregnant with twins after the first insemination.  Other characters in the movie point out that this outcome is rare, but it is nonetheless the outcome presented to the audience.

I must admit, I enjoyed both of these movies, despite their cheesiness.  But today I began wondering if movies like these are part of the reason I feel so alone in my struggles to have a baby.  Most of my friends have attempted to be supportive, but many of their efforts have fallen short.  When they repeat phrases from the list of "worst things to tell a woman who just lost a pregnancy," I realize that they simply do not get it.  To them, infertility is a temporary condition, something that will soon be in my past.  They do not see that infertility is a disease, and they cannot imagine the depths of the scars it has left on my heart.  But is it their fault they fail to understand?  Have they ever been presented with an accurate picture of infertility, one where not everyone ends up pregnant and not all stories have the happy endings they deserve? 

Maybe one day Hollywood will make a movie where the couple ends up with mounting medical bills, difficult decisions, a still empty nursery, and the bitter memories of babies lost.  Until then, I believe that the best way to change the perception of infertility is to be open and honest in our struggles, letting others see the hope, fear, and anxiousness that we live through month after month.