Friday, April 30, 2010

NIAW: Coming Out Of The Infertility Closet

As many of you know April 24 - May 1 is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). If this is news to you or you would like to find out more about NIAW please visit for more information. As this week's movement to increase awareness draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment to share the big step I took this week for NIAW.

For a long time I have been a "closet infertile". When Chad and I first decide to chuck our birth control methods we didn't tell many people because we assumed that a pregnancy would come and we could just tell friends and family about that once it happened. As time went on and it didn't happen, I began sharing with a few very close friends and family that we were going to be getting serious about trying. No one else ever even knew we were trying, let alone having trouble.

The more involved the process got, the more I found myself needing an outlet to deal with all of the testing, procedures and emotions. I created a new twitter account just for TTC purposes. And then came this blog. Some of the close family members I mentioned are followers but most other people in my real life don't even know it exists. Since the official "infertility" diagnoses last year and the subsequent IVF treatments, my quest for motherhood has played a HUGE part in my life, and hardly anyone knew. I feel like I have been living a double life. When we see or talk to friends I constantly feel like I am lying when I tell them I'm fine or talk about my week while carefully editing out my shots and doctor's appointments. It has been exhausting, especially now that my miscarriage has significantly upped the emotional stakes. So Chad and I both talked and agreed to take the plunge and "come out" together. We chose Facebook as the forum to do so since it was the most direct and surefire way to reach the majority of the important people in our lives.

This is what we posted:
Never even considered the possibility that we could be affected by infertility. This week is National Infertility Awareness Week and I want to honor our 3 year struggle...and S.G. I miss you even though I never met you

Never forget how truly blessed you are, and never underestimate the pain that some people suffer, to have what you take for granted... For a better understanding of our journey through Infertility please watch this video.

If you haven't seen this video yet, be sure to watch with a tissue or two handy, I can never get through it without shedding a few (hundred) tears.

I was so incredibly scared to post, to expose myself and be so vulnerable. I had no idea what to expect and feared I would get negative or insensitive comments. I couldn't have been more wrong. I have received nothing but love and support, and lots of it. People thanked me for having the courage to post and spread awareness and wished us both nothing but good things on our journey to parenthood. I was moved to tears more than once by the comments people left and by some of the unexpected people that left them. We posted the day before my D&C, which I realized was a gamble, but one that paid off. I took all of the wonderful messages of hope and encouragement with me to bed and into surgery the next day and it gave me a little extra strength when I really needed it.

I got a few private messages as well, including one from an old acquaintance that has been struggling with her own loss lately and had not had anyone to talk to. It was amazing to be able to be there for her and have her support in return. If I helped just that one person, it is so worth it.

The greatest part though is that I feel like a more complete me again. I am not usually one to keep my mouth shut about anything I care about so compartmentalizing myself like this has been beyond draining. I feel so liberated to not be keeping this secret anymore. For so long I have felt consumed by all of this, but now that I have truly opened up about it, it feels like it rules my life a little less. I've realized that I was putting almost as much energy into my double life as I have into my fertility treatments. I feel like a weight has been lifted.

Coming out has also made me feel proud. I am proud that I had the courage to be honest. I'm proud of the amazing community of men and women that I have come to know through my blog and twitter.
I am proud of the many other others that have also come out this week, you all have been such an amazing inspiration. I'm proud that despite the obstacles in my way, I haven't given up, and that I never will. I am so glad that made this decision, it is definitely one of the most rewarding things I have done in a long time and I look forward to continuing the conversation and raising awareness.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Moving Forward

I realize that I have been a terrible blogger lately. It has been an emotional and eventful week and I just haven't had the energy or ability to commit to blogging but finally I have found a few moments of zen and I want to catch you up on all that has happened in the past week.

Last Friday, I had one more ultrasound just to triple check because of my rising beta numbers. As expected there was nothing more than scattered debris inside an otherwise still empty and still growing gestational sac. Once I saw that , I knew that it would probably continue to grow for weeks before my body would recognize something was wrong and a natural miscarriage would occur. I couldn't stand the thought of being pregnant for weeks and weeks without a baby growing inside me or the trauma I fear that would come with a natural loss. That, coupled with my desire to keep moving forward and begin the FET as soon as humanely possible is what ultimately helped me, Chad and my doctor all agree that a D&C was the best choice in this situation. We scheduled it for the following Tuesday, which if you are checking your calendars was yesterday, the 27th.

Now that it's over I can attest that this really was the right decision for me. Of course, I am in no way saying it's the right way to go for everyone in this situation but for me it was. Monday I had to go in for a Pre-Op appointment, one more check with wandy (everything still the same but with a slightly bigger sac) and a bit of blood work. I also got to complete the lovely task of paying the bill. This is one of the definite negative aspects of this choice. I must admit I have been a bit angry at what it cost to get "un-pregnant" after I had paid thousands to get pregnant in the first place. And aside from the financial aspect it is that thought, of getting un-pregnant, that makes the most emotional right now.

When I went into the surgery center I was already prepared for a head trip. I had the procedure in the exact same place I had my egg retrieval, only 4 floors down from where my remaining 13 embryos are frozen, and where my embryo transfer took place. So I got un-pregnant in the same building that I got pregnant, and where I hope to get pregnant again. It really was a emotional and mental tug of war stepping into that building, especially because as I walked in the cutest and roundest 7 month belly bump was walking out. I couldn't help but realize I would be entering this place pregnant and leaving not, only I wouldn't have a baby in my arms when I left as I always expected I would when I became "un-pregnant". This is what brought me to tears as I lay in the hospital bed waiting for the anesthesia to kick in. Thankfully, Chad was with me until they wheeled me into the OR and he provided plenty of hugs in that time.

The next thing I knew I was waking up in a little bit of pain with monitors stuck to my chest. They removed the sticky diodes then brought Chad back and he helped me get dressed and into the car. On the way home, he told me what the doctor said while I was in recovery. He said that everything went very smoothly and that the procedure was complete. I shouldn't need any additional treatment. He also said
that my bleeding is very light and will probably be the lightest he has seen in years. 12 hours after leaving the OR, I can attest that he was telling the truth. That coupled with pain and cramps mild enough that I have yet to take even a Tyle.nol, has made this a lot easier to handle. And as always the amazing support I have received from friends and family, both in the virtual realm and the "real" one, has given me more strength and comfort than I think I could ever fully express. Again, thank you for all of the love and support you have given me.

I am still struggling with sadness and anger at my loss and I know that I will always have emotional scars from all of this, but I am starting to feel a little more like me every day. It's a changed me, as I will never be completely the same, but I am becoming ok with that. Not that I wouldn't change it all and have my Sprout back alive and well if I could, but I each day I am able to be a little more glad that I had Sprout with me at all, even if it was for much too short a time. This is huge for me because for the first week, one of my dominating thoughts was how I angry I was that I had gotten pregnant only to have it fail. I felt like this pregnancy had robbed me of so much time that i could have spent trying again. But more and more I can appreciate that while I was only able to nurture this life a short while, it was there and I did everything for it during that brief time. And I know this sounds crazy but ever since I woke up after surgery yesterday, I have felt as if Sprout somehow left my body in a state even more ready to grow life. As if, like a truly protective and loving older sibling, Sprout left some special unseen energy to ensure that the next one would grow healthy and strong.

I still cry and probably will for a long time, (don't be surprised if I slip back and you see another depressed post in the weeks ahead) but I can see light at the end of the tunnel again. As a good friend who has also experienced this type of loss has said, I have nowhere to go but forward. Even if some days it's at a slug's pace I am will never "move on" but I will always keep moving forward. I have no plans of stopping or giving up. I have hope that I will succeed and the next time I get pregnant I will not get un-pregnant until the day I get to hold my happy, healthy baby in my arms.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ICLW: My Story So Far

Well ICLW is here again and so much has happened since the last one I can't believe it. If you are visiting me for the first time I will give you the short version of my story so far. If you are unfamiliar with ICLW, which stands for International Comment Leaving Week, you can find information here.

My husband Chad and I married in March of 2007 and threw out all forms of birth control shortly after, fully expecting that simply "not preventing" would bring us a baby in no time. By the beginning of 2009, we had accepted that was not the case and began seeking medical help and got more serious about "trying" using charts, OPKs, and other tricks of the trade. Finally in the fall of 2009, we had a full work-up completed and learned that I had at least one blocked fallopian tube. My OB put me on Clomid to increase chances of ovulating on my "good side". I responded well each month but never got pregnant. After three months we abandoned the OB in search of an RE who quickly realized that my blocked tubes were worse than originally thought and recommended IVF.

In February of 2010 I began medications for my first IVF cycle and on March 12th I had 21 mature eggs retrieved. 15 of them fertilized naturally and all grew for 5 days to the blastocyst stage. On March 17th I had two blasts transferred and the other 13 were frozen. Then after what felt like the longest and scariest 2ww of my life, I went in for my beta on March 27th. The nurse called within hours to inform me that I was in fact pregnant with an hCG level of 235. It was the one of the most wonderful moments in my life, but the joy was short lived.

My beta rose but did not double for two of the following tests. Finally after an agonizing week of worry, it rose to well above where it should be and my first ultrasound was scheduled. At the appointment I should have been about 6 weeks along, but when my RE looked he could only find small bits of debris in an otherwise empty gestational sac. Another beta, another rise, so another ultrasound just to check again with the hope that there was a late implantation. Another week of worry and waiting. The next ultrasound on April 16th revealed a bigger, but still mostly empty sac and it was officially declared to be an early pregnancy failure and an impending miscarriage. I was told to stop all medications and come back for another beta to see if the numbers began dropping.

I went for the beta yesterday, April 20th, and being back in that office was a hell I could not wait to escape. Everything about being there reminded me of the pain of learning that the pregnancy I had finally achieved after 3 years of struggle was gone. As soon as I got outside I burst into sobs. When the office called me in the afternoon it was to inform me that my beta is still rising. So although we all know it is over, I have to go back this Friday, the 23rd for one more ultrasound. I dread that appointment and the pain of seeing the empty black hole inside my uterus again. This loss is a pain worse than anything I have ever known. I still can't believe that I had finally realized my dream only to have it all taken away. If infertility is unfair and painful, miscarriage in the midst of infertility
can be pure torture.

I apologize for not having more messages of hope or optimism. It is just not a place that I have reached yet, the pain is still far too fresh.
I promise I am usually a much more upbeat and optimistic person, and as such I find myself feeling guilty for not being more hopeful right now. I think once I get through the physical pregnancy and begin moving toward trying again, that the naturally happy me will begin to return. I do plan to go forward with a frozen embryo transfer once my body is ready so if you stick around there will be signs of hope and life again soon. My story is not over yet and I am not ready to give up on becoming a mom.

Thank you for stopping by, please feel free to poke around at my past posts and leave comments letting me know more about yourself. I hope to get to know even more wonderful bloggers this week and hear more about your stories.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Tip Of The Emotional Iceberg

These past few days since finding out my pregnancy is not viable have hands down been the hardest of my entire life and my emotions and thoughts have run the gamete and back again a thousand times. I am not yet ready to proclaim that I am "moving on" or "finding the silver lining" or even that I "have high hopes and faith for the future" because none of that is true. I am depressed, angry, utterly devastated and that does not even begin to cover it.

There is so much about this whole thing that makes me want to scream, " It just isn't fair!" I have been waiting and trying for my miracle for so long. I have already shed so many tears, why do I deserve even more? When I learned that IVF was our only real option for a biological child, I dealt with many emotions but quickly became excited about the process. I was a model patient through the whole thing, taking meds & injections, attending weekly wandings, almost always with a smile on my face and hope in my heart. It felt good to think that after after nearly 3 years we had found a solution and would finally have our miracle.

The wait for my pregnancy test was agonizing and I have never experienced relief or joy like the moment I was told I was pregnant. It is a moment I will always remember but unfortunately, not one I will treasure. I just can't understand why this would happen, after so long and so much pain to finally have my dreams come true only to have it taken all away- it seems so cruel. And it makes me angry at the world. It is a pain far worse than if I had been told my pregnancy test was negative. There are many moments when I truly wish that is what had happened.

I hate that I am still physically pregnant and still have to pee all the time and still get tired in the afternoon. My body still does not know what I know and is still going through the motions of pregnancy so the empty blackness in my uterus continues to grow, and with it grows the emptiness in my heart.

I have still hardly talked to any of my friends or family. I just don't feel ready and I don't know when I will. I don't want to talk to them about what is happening but I don't want to talk about anything else either. I am afraid of what they might say and how it might make me feel. I don't want to be cheered up or told any part of the "bright side" of this situation. I feel so disconnected from the people I care about and I fear that my relationships will never be the same again. I just can't relate to their lives right now and I know that they can't relate to mine.

I hate the rest of the world for continuing to turn while my world is falling apart. I hate that this is happening to me. I hate that I now I have so many memories, so many dates and moments that will forever be a source of pain rather than joy.
I hate that I have still have yet to go through the physical loss and I fear that process. I hate that there is such a long wait until I can try again. I hate that I even have to try again. I hate that I will turn yet another year older before I hold my child in my arms. I hate how unfair this is.

The worst part of these past few days is that all of these thoughts and more are never far away and they hit me with rapid fire. I have stages of numbness when I forget everything: the 3 year struggle, the tests, the drugs, the procedures, the blood work, the pregnancy, the loss, the emotions- all of it. But then everything suddenly washes over me all at once, and I feel crushed by the weight of it and all I can do is cry. This when the fears most often begin to creep in, especially the fear that I will struggle forever and that I will never be a mother.

I am so very grateful for my blog and twitter friends these past few days, especially those that have never stopped reminding me that they care and those that have shared their stories with me and let me know that I am not alone in my feelings. I am so sad that anyone else has ever had to experience this loss but I am eternally appreciative for the comfort and guidance I have been given by the survivors that came before me. I am also very grateful to my family and friends for understanding and respecting my space. I know that they are thinking of me and keeping me lovingly in their thoughts and it helps to know that.

I wish I could say that this was everything, that this post has allowed to to get all of the thoughts and emotions I am experiencing out, but the reality is there is so much more pain under the surface that I can't even begin to put words to. I know that I will heal with time. I know that these wounds won't always be as fresh and raw as they are now, but I also know that they will leave scars and this will forever be a part of me and my life. Even if I go on to birth 20 children, this will always be the very 1st time I was pregnant and it will always be a loss. There will always be pain from that. My soul is marked.

Friday, April 16, 2010


It is officially over. The RE confirmed today on ultrasound that the gestational sac has grown too large without any significant development of a yolk sac for this pregnancy to be viable. My heart is broken.

I can't begin to describe the pain both Chad and I are feeling. We are however very grateful to have each other and to have so many people that care and have already sent virtual hugs our way. Thank you so much for that and for your kindness during this past week of uncertainty.

I have a lot of sadness at this loss as well as a lot of fear about what is to come next and I will be back to blog more about these feelings soon. For now though, I am just going to hold my husband so that we may cry and grieve together.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Make A Wish

Happy 28th Birthday to my wonderful husband! I love you more than words could ever say.
Be sure to blow out all the candles and make a wish when you do. I pray that your wish comes true.

Love You Lotskies
Your Lego,

Monday, April 12, 2010

Not Over Yet

Today has been a whirlwind of crazy proportions. If you missed the morning's events, please read my previous post. I got the call a little while ago and I have to admit it was not what I was expecting, but it is what I was hoping. My beta levels are still rising. I have an hCG level of 18,100 which is a 73% rise from my last test a week ago. A pretty good rise indeed. We go in for another ultrasound on Friday morning, and hopefully we will see what we should have seen today. And so, yet another week of life in limbo is upon me. Thank you all for the continued prayers, positive thoughts and support. I feel like a yo-yo lately with all of the up and down news and emotions and having your support really does mean so much. Chad and I have agreed that if we are blessed enough to meet this child(ren) we will no doubt share with them the miracle that is their early life story. I just pray we get that chance.

This Can't Be Happening

Today was our ultrasound and I wish I had good news but unfortunately I don't. I have what looks like either 2 gestational sacs or one "U shaped" sac but everything appears empty. I am just a couple of days past 6 weeks so by this point we should have seen something, at least a yolk sac and fetal pole, but the RE looked from every angle and couldn't find anything. He said there is a 5% chance that implantation occurred late and ordered another beta. If by some small chance it is still rising we will do another ultrasound Friday but otherwise I will stop taking meds and start the process of preparing for a FET (frozen embryo transfer)

I feel so numb right now. It just isn't fair. After 3 years we finally had our wishes come true only to have it all taken away. The awful thing is that as sad as I am right now, I am not terribly surprised. I am just so used to the pain at this point, I really couldn't fully believe something good was actually happening.

Yes, there is a tiny bit of hope and that is probably the real reason I am not falling apart yet. I will find out my beta results this afternoon and then we will know more. I admit I still have a ray of of hope that the numbers will come back nice and high but I know the chances are slim. Thank you so much to everyone that has already sent love, hugs and prayers my way. It really does mean a lot to me to know that I have people out there that care. I will post an update once I get the call.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Rite of Passage

I am following in the footsteps of many fellow IVFers and POASing despite my beta. I have seen so many stark white BFNs over the past 3 years, I want to see my BFP in person! That 2nd pink line is just too pretty!

I also want to thank you again from the bottom of my heart for all of the amazing and wonderful comments on my recent posts. I was moved to tears by your love support and just can't tell you enough how very grateful I am.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sprouting Life!

I am so beyond happy and relieved to report the week of beta agony is finally over! After a very long and anxious day of waiting for my morning test results with no phone call, I finally called my RE's office to get the results. The nurse first apologized for not calling sooner and then explained that she was waiting to get confirmation from the doctor on some things before calling me.

Of course, my brain very quickly started swirling with thoughts about what kind of things she'd need to confirm and whether it was good or bad. As I tried to articulate these thoughts she realized how anxious I was and said my results were good though. I asked how good and she said my beta levels were 2659! I felt so shocked so ecstatic and emotional, I couldn't breathe. I made her repeat the number to make sure I heard right and I did, 2659 up from the 822 level two days ago. I did the math, it tripled!
I thanked her profusely for delivering the good the news then immediately called Chad to tell him the good news.

I was still shaking and barely breathing when I called him so the poor guy had to go keep his own emotional outburst in check while he tried to decipher what I was saying. Finally he heard "tripled" and let it all out. Since then he has spent the the evening randomly coming up to me and whispering "You're Pregnant!" with a silly smile on his face. He even exclaimed to a stranger on the sidewalk "My wife's pregnant!" To say he is elated is understatement.

The past week has been so difficult and full of so much anxiety it feels so amazing to know there is life sprouting and growing inside me! I know there are many more miles to go before I can hold Sprout in my arms but I am so grateful to be out of beta limbo. I can't thank all of you enough for all the of the kind words and support you've given me this week and for all of your prayers and positive thoughts. I am so lucky to be a part of such a loving community. Thank you.

So since Sprout and I have graduated from beta tests, we have scheduled our first ultrasound for next Monday the 12th. When the nurse called to schedule she kept repeating "pre-natal ultrasound", as in, "I am calling to schedule your 1st pre-natal ultrasound" and "See you next week for your pre-natal ultrasound". I love the way that sounds! Like music to my ears. I will be right at 6 weeks so I am not expecting a heartbeat yet but I am so thrilled to be at this stage and to know that I can enjoy this next week without worrying so much. I can write down symptoms in my pregnancy journal and daydream about how we are going to re-do the office into a nursery. Most importantly I can let myself relax enough to actually believe that I am pregnant and nourishing my amazing little Sprout!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hope Is Greater Than Fear

I worked very hard this past week to conquer my fears about this pregnancy and my slightly lower than ideal beta numbers. I talked to friends and family, got a lot of really great first hand information from my wonderful friends online and by the end of the week I felt so much more confident that the 64% rise in hCG was completely normal and totally fine. I had hardly any doubt that my beta Friday would bring me good news and some relief. But I was wrong.

A different nurse called this time and she sounded far less gloomy than the last so I was prepared for much better news and much higher increases but I didn't get that. My hCG levels only rose 46% over 4 days. At my first beta last Saturday they were 235, then 2 days later 385 and now 4 more days go by and they are 822. The nurse said the fact that they are still rising is good and I am doing another test Monday morning. She said we will keep monitoring betas until the levels are high enough for an ultrasound. I am very grateful that my doctor and his staff are not giving up on me or my baby, but I am still scared.

I am trying to stay focused on the positive and trust that this will all turn out OK. I know there are so many miracle stories out there and people I know firsthand, that had low numbers or falling numbers that turned around and went on to be healthy pregnancies and beautiful babies. I want my hope to be stronger than my fear. I know that hope and love can conquer fear and I am doing all I can to hold on to that, but it isn't easy. The thing that scares me most right now is that my rate of increase actually dropped. Not only did it not double, but it slowed down even more. Now every little symptom or more accurately lack thereof, puts knots in my stomach.

I feel just like I have during so many two week waits, anxiously poking and pushing my breasts to see if they are as sore as they were yesterday; noting every instance that I have to use the bathroom; zeroing in on every abdominal cramp, twinge, or pull. If I don't feel fatigued or sleepy during the day I get nervous. And seeing pregnant women or babies first makes me smile right before I have run to my car to cry and beg my little Sprout to stay with me.

I have another long weekend ahead, but in spite of the fear I do still have hope that my numbers will keep rising and hopefully even be high enough for an ultrasound on Monday. Thank you again to all of you that have been there for us this past week and for all of your crossed fingers, prayers and
positive growing vibes. It gives me more comfort than you know. Please keep those positive thoughts and prayers coming and I will be doing all I can to conquer my fear and stay hopeful to help my Sprout grow.