Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rainbow babies

A quote I read today. Hoping this baby will be our rainbow. Stay put for a little while longer little one, we'll be ready to meet you then. 

“It is understood that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of any storm. When a rainbow appears, it does not mean that the storm never happened or that we are not still dealing with its aftermath. It means that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover, but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.” 

This is why a baby after a loss is called a rainbow baby!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

28 Weeks - on to the Third Trimester!

Yesterday was an exciting day - 28 weeks, and we're officially on to the third trimester, no matter which way you track the trimesters. Our little baby is getting bigger all the time, and that means more discomfort for R, but we're both excited to be here!

I found myself thinking back the other day, all the way to last Christmas when we started our first round of injections. Then to May, when we started it all again. Now here we are, heading towards another Christmas, and a New Year with our baby. As much as I still worry, (and I definitely still worry - one morning without R reporting a swift kick is enough for that!) I'm really starting to get excited and look forward to the spring adventure. I am planning to attend a 'Daddy Boot Camp' in January, where I can meet some new dads and new babies, and learn a bit more about what goes into caring for the little ones. Since I never grew up with babies, this should be an interesting time!

Now it's time to start thinking about 'go' bags, and I'm going to put all of the major hospitals in Maine into quick-route links on my phone, because you just never know when our little baby will decide to make an appearance. And I can't wait!

Monday, November 24, 2014

'You're lucky it's not twins"

It's something i've heard over the last few months, more than once.

As i've got large enough to show, people ask questions, they're so excited about a pregnancy, everyone loves a baby, and they say well meaning things. B and I decided we were going to be open about having IVF, so if it fits the conversation, we tell people. There is still a stigma around IVF for some folks, and we felt we wanted to be part of the solution, maybe one day we could even be the voice to talk to (that we never had) for another couple going through what we've gone through. Admittedly I think we're only this way because we're coming closer and closer to success, but we had so much support from the internet through blogs we knew we wanted to write one, and we had so little verbal support from those who had gone through what we were going through, we want to be there for friends who may need to just talk over a procedure, result or bad day.

"You're lucky it's not twins" is something that has often come out when people hear we're just expecting one. Usually followed by a story about a friend who did IVF who had twins and 'what a nightmare'. I smile, I know it's well meaning and I know people just don't know, but sometimes I wish I could just say that actually, we'd love to, and would do anything to be holding our twins right now. It would be great to be in the position to not even consider having IVF again, going through the pain and ups and downs again, but at the moment we haven't ruled it out, because both of us would have loved two children. If we go for it again, given our success rate, we'd probably chose again to put two embryos back in, as in our case the chances are higher that we'd end up with one baby - but there is a chance we'd end up with two and have three children total. Would we be thrilled, yes, is it our ideal, not really, for many reasons we feel two is a good number. We really would have loved twins the first time round.

It's amazing how much you learn through this process, learn the ups and the downs, what can be sensitive that no-one would ever have guessed. It's certainly up'ed my empathy and made me think more about what I say to pregnant women.

Another one that has gotten me a few times is "I know exactly how you feel", because in reality, you don't, everyone feels very differently, and unless you've gone through exactly the same procedure, loss or pain or whatever it is, you can't even really say "I know what you're going through" either without it stinging the other person. In reality it's discarding their pain, invalidating it, like it doesn't matter, because you had your own pain you dealt with, doesn't mean it's anything like another persons, no matter what the circumstances. I know i'll never say those words to anyone again, though we know they were meant in comfort, they really hurt to the core at the time.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week 24

Well, it has been since August that I last updated, though B has been doing a great job of checking in now and then. We're at week 24, and as I sit here typing I can feel baby kicking away. It's certainly helped the worry to feel our baby moving around every day, even if a lot of babies kicks are way too low for comfort, and usually at 3am. 

All in all things are going well. We've met with most of the OB's at the practice we're hoping to give birth at (one to go, who we'll meet in a few weeks), and though we like them all, we had one we really connected with a few weeks ago. He reminded us of our IVF Dr. Rather than being (a little too) empathetic with us, he was straight talking and was super informative. I don't know if it's just what we've been through, or the fact we're both scientists, but the sticky sweet empathy hasn't really been doing it for us. 

At our last appointment (Week 22) we went loaded with questions. Getting closer and closer to viability has us thinking about the birth (and exciting turn for us to make), and our weekly scans had ended with the anatomy scan at week 20. We've been consistently told that because of the clot, we'll likely give birth early, and though there's still no good predictor of when that might be, the OB agreed and said the course of action from here on in is to do month growth scans, keep a close eye and just take it as it comes. Having been basically sedentary (or more than sedentary) for 5 months (or since January if you count pregnancy 1), I was also keen to move more and do some exercise - yoga, swimming - something to get my stamina back. He unfortunately shot that one down, and told me to hibernate until at least week 32, after that, they might be more willing to let me do what I want, as a birth after 32 weeks generally have better outcomes. So in his words, I am hibernating for the Maine winter. If we make it to week 32, we can give birth in Augusta too, which we would prefer, but before that and we'll be sent to Portland, where they have a higher level NICU. 

So that's the update. My mind has wandered a few times to the what if's this month. With a different outcome we should have been welcoming our twins in October and had a full house for Christmas. I'm not a dweller, so I try to think forward to seeing this little one, currently kicking my bladder, in a few not-so-short months, and just hoping they stay put for at least another 8 weeks. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The longest 40 weeks...

Well, it's been over a month since we last updated the blog; I guess the best news is that we really haven't had anything especially noteworthy to share with the world! We've had another visit with another one of the OB staff at Maine General, and we go for our anatomy scan down in Portland on Monday. Our baby's heartbeat has been great whenever we've listened to it, and so it seems that everything is just humming along towards next March. The SCH (clot) had unfortunately not disappeared as first thought, our next scan showed it still to be there, and still at ~3cm. The good news was that it was completely inactive, which was a first, and there's so far been no more bleeding, a huge success really.

Except that it's not that easy, of course. R still has a lot of Round Ligament Pain (RLP) that has been her constant companion. Between that and the various other mysterious pains and pressures (hip pain, pressure 'down low', etc.), we haven't really been able to relax. I know my intention for this second round of IVF was to enjoy each day of success, but it turns out that's harder than you might think. I still get a little knot in my stomach every time R heads to the bathroom, wondering if this will be the time that she comes out and says she's bleeding again. When she hurts, I brace myself to hear her say something is really wrong.

We're both trying to stay positive and plan for success - we've been buying some baby gear as we find it on sale or see something that we think is particularly cute. We've told more of our friends that we're expecting, and R let everyone at work know too. In some ways that's helped me, I think, in that you get a lot of positive energy from folks who hear the news and don't have the emotional baggage that we do from the previous cycle and the early part of this one. In other ways, it's hard to let more people know because we can't help but think that it's one more person that we'll need to talk to if this pregnancy goes bad.

One thing's for sure - this is going to be the longest 40 weeks of my life. We're counting days and weeks, and we're not even halfway there yet. I always remember what one of R's friends said when we told her about the twin pregnancy - "The next 40 weeks will fly by!" As it turns out, reality couldn't be further from that statement. Still, we're happy to know that our little baby is still in there, kicking away at R's bladder and making her uncomfortable. We'll just wait and hope.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Chillaxin' Baby

We've been continuing our weekly ultrasounds at Maine General while R has been bleeding, and though there was a mixup on the appointment that we were supposed to have on Tuesday, we got in on Wednesday morning. There, we received some great news - there is no sign of the hematoma. R hasn't bled for almost a week now, so we were somewhat hopeful, but even the week before the ultrasound tech had immediately spotted the hematoma.

It was a great feeling to stare at the ultrasound image on the monitor and not have anything other than our perfect little baby to look at. Turns out, the baby was just chillaxin' in the uterus, wondering what all our stress and fuss is about.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Great Day

It seems like we don't get to say this very often, what with the worrying about the bleeding, wondering whether new pains are indicators of something bad, or just the pregnancy progressing, and R generally feeling pretty icky, but yesterday was a really great day.

We had another ultrasound up at Maine General, with a tech who was super efficient and very nice. Our little baby was rolling around a little bit during the scan, and everything looked just fine. The SCH was even a little bit smaller, so that was very encouraging.

Later in the day, R got the call from the Genetic Counselor down in Portland - all of the tests came back negative, so we can finally exhale a little bit. And, to top it all off, the gender came back opposite of what we both had assumed! Neither one of us knew why, but we had solid feelings that we knew the gender, and when we revealed our intuition to each other, we even agreed. So we had decided it was a foregone conclusion; so much so that I hadn't even bothered looking at names for the opposite gender! I guess this is just another indicator that my ESP powers aren't all I think they're cracked up to be.

There's still plenty to worry about, of course, and I doubt we'll stop worrying until we are holding our baby in our arms, but I'm allowing myself to be more hopeful. Tomorrow we'll be at 13 weeks, and if the SCH keeps getting smaller, hopefully we can try to relax and enjoy some of the pregnancy. I keep reminding myself to take it a day at a time, and yesterday was a really great day!

Sunday, August 10, 2014


This week we graduated, from the IVF clinic to an OB's office in Augusta! It's been a whirlwind few weeks, and to reach this point feels like such an accomplishment. It's weird to say that, because of course we have so much longer left to go, but we've literally been taking it day by day, not wanting to think too far ahead, too scared to do so.

We had our final appointment with Dr Lannon at Boston IVF this wednesday. Baby still doing great, growing as it needs to, strong heartbeat. Unfortunately the bleed is also still there, still same size, but at least is 'organizing'. I'm still bleeding, pretty much just brown and black (after two large red bleeds), but it comes and goes - somedays it's spotting, somedays it's a lot more, somedays it has nasty clots in it that make me hold my breath just a little, until I realise they're just clots, and not parts of the baby. We'll miss our Dr. Lannon, he's been really awesome, reassuring, and most of all has helped us keep our sense of humor going. We really couldn't have asked for a better RE.

On friday we went to Maine General and met with a nurse in the OB office for our intake. Of course after a few days of just spotting, i'd had a heavy bleed the night before (still brown), but that turned out to not be a bad thing - they bumped up our first Dr's appointment to next tuesday rather then in two weeks! We loved the nurse (Jessie), so friendly, bubbly, and for the most part really understood what we'd gone through to get there. There were a few funny moments - asking us whether we wanted a circumcision if it was a boy; asking us about breastfeeding; training classes - all things you'd usually start to think of, but when you're barely able to think beyond tomorrow, we had trouble answering those things. We did confirm that we're candidates to get the Harmony (or MaterniT) blood test - still new in the US, so not everywhere does them, and not for everyone. Being over 35 and having Downs in the family, this is our next hurdle. It was actually quite a pleasant moment to realise I was beginning to worry about that - to worry about something way beyond an early miscarriage feels like a step in the right direction.

So next Tuesday we have our OB Dr's appointment - get to meet one of the team of Dr's we'll hopefully meet over the next 6 months. Get the tests scheduled, maybe done, and get on what will be our regular schedule. In many ways we're pretty nervous not having a weekly ultrasound anymore, but I have to keep reminding myself, that a heartbeat at 10weeks gives us the same miscarriage risk as getting past 12 weeks. The bleed complicates things, and I still have to take it easy, but I really hope that resolves soon, and I hope Maine General will be willing to scan us at least occasionally to keep an eye on that.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Accepting the Possibility

We've been remiss in updating the blog, apparently, and I can only assume it's because we both spend all of our time waiting and watching. R had a bleed again with this pregnancy, at almost exactly the same time in the gestation that we had the miscarriage with our first pregnancy. We went down to Boston IVF on that Monday, and they confirmed our fears - another SCH. I remember that when R said she was bleeding, I got that same numb feeling that I did during the miscarriage... that it was all coming crashing down around us. Our doctor was hopeful, as the baby was still developing properly and the bleeding had stopped after a day, but I think we were just waiting for the worst.

Gradually one day went by and then another. R had some bleeding, but always dark brown or black blood, which meant it was old and not from a new bleed. A repeat ultrasound on Thursday showed that the baby was still doing fine, and that the bleed hadn't gotten any bigger, which was a good sign.

We just had another ultrasound this week, and the baby is still doing great at 9 weeks. The hematoma is still there and hasn't changed size, so we just need to hope that it stays that way. The amazing thing was that our baby actually wiggled on the ultrasound this time... it was staggering.

We're still coming to grips with everything, though - trying to be hopeful, fearing the worst, but trying to accept the possibility that this pregnancy might work. In the end, there's very little we can do to affect the outcome, so the best we can do is be as positive as we can and support each other with love. Hopefully that will see us through to a successful delivery!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Waiting, watching, and hoping...

I guess it's been a while since I wrote a post... there's certainly been a lot going on, but I think part of my reluctance has been that I have spent most of my time waiting, watching, and hoping. Shortly after the positive blood test, I started to feel good about the pregnancy, that things might work out, and that it wouldn't be as traumatic as last time.

Then, of course, R had those sharp pains on the weekend and we thought everything was all over. Ever since then, I swear I must be driving R crazy because I ask  her all the time how she is feeling. I fret when she hurts, or when she doesn't feel sick, or when she does. It turns out there's nothing that really feels comfortable.

But, every day that passes without incident makes it a little easier to relax and feel better. I'm trying to accept the rollercoaster that we're on, rather than try to control it. There doesn't seem to be any predictability other than unpredictability, so best to embrace it and be thankful that we even have the opportunity.

We had our 6 week ultrasound last Thursday, and we saw a heartbeat! Just one this time, but positioned up high in the uterus where it should be, and most important, no sign of any bleeding.

So, back to waiting, watching, and hoping. With a slightly fuller heart.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Good news

It's been a while since I updated. I'm not sure why, maybe waiting to see what happens? Maybe just no time, it's been hectic.

The good news is that we had a positive blood test - 171 hcg - pregnant! Now the long wait begins, we have to wait until the 10th to get an ultrasound. Trying not to stress, trying not to be petrified that i'll start bleeding.

This weekend brought some scary moments. Saturday morning I had an excruciating pain over my right ovary, so bad I could barely walk. B and I waited, and waited, for me to start bleeding, we really thought that was it. The pain remained, came and went worse then better, but no bleeding. At 8pm we finally called Boston IVF and got a wonderful Doctor in Waltham call us. She assured us it didn't sound like a miscarriage and made us an appointment for Monday (yesterday). Sunday the pain got a little better, felt more like an ache, like i'd been kicked, than the sharp pain of saturday. By Monday I could walk better, sit easier, though still sore. An ultrasound and some blood work confirmed the pregnancy was okay, and i'd probably had an ovarian cyst rupture, they could see blood in my belly, and because i was feeling better it was resolving.

The bummer was we didn't see anything on the ultrasound - now at 4.5 weeks, we'd be pretty lucky to see anything, but still I guess i was hoping for a little sac, just something, to let us know it was all okay. My hcg numbers were over 1800, which is right where I should be, so there's no reason just yet to think it wouldn't be good, I guess just after a loooong weekend, some reasurrance would have been nice. But at least I only have to wait until next thursday to find out....!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Two to transfer

Well, we ended up pretty much where we were last time - two embryo's to transfer and none to freeze. Though disappointed at the result, both of us were relieved and happy to have something to transfer. They're two good looking embryo's, so we're really hoping at least one has stuck. We're 5 days away from testing right now, and I haven't really felt much in the way of symptoms. Today to I feel very "periody", so it's hard to be positive. By this time last round I was feeling sick, achy and couldn't stand the smell of cooking. Sigh. Please let this be our turn....

Saturday, June 14, 2014


This round has definitely been harder. The process itself was much easier - less injections, shorter protocol, no lupron side effects keeping me bedridden. But there seems so much more at stake this time, so many more things to go wrong.

We had egg retrieval, and although disappointed, we did get 9 eggs, so we came home with at least the sense that it would be a little like last time, and were fairly certain we'd make it to egg transfer. The next day though it all came crashing down for me - only 4 fertilized. Now we're in limbo - we'll get a call today with our time to come in one monday (a 5 day transfer, even though we had so few eggs). I'm totally stressed out, I feel defeated and down. Today we could get a call saying don't come in, or even on monday they may let us know that nothing came through and there would be no transfer.

I remember this 'space' being stressful last time, but I guess I always knew there would be at least one to transfer, and at that time we were hopeful we'd have some to freeze (which we didn't). This time I just feel like all is lost, like I should be preparing to hear that we've been cancelled and there will be no transfer. So much of me is hardwired to expect the worst and be surprised when good comes. So much of B is completely the opposite, so at the moment he's having a hard time, and i'm even more stressed that i'm stressing him out. Oy! Talk about a can't win situation. I wish I could just blow it off, but the scientist part of me wants to know what the hell went wrong - everything looked so good - more follicles, more eggs, protocol for poor responders......where did our good outcome go? I don't want to wish away a baby before it's gone, but it's just hard to look on the bright side right now...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Here we go again....

Injections started last friday and today we had our first monitoring appointment. All went well, we're exactly where they wanted us to be....:) It seems somewhat surreal to be back, after the hugs and tears of joy when we left some of the nurses and technicians last time, to today, where they're apologizing that we're there again, and wishing us good luck for this round. Here's to hoping...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Another long road over

This particular road has been long and bumpy, but i'm glad to say we're now over the hump, out of the woods and can see the future clearly again. The cytotec didn't work. The week after I took it we had a Saline Ultrasound appointment at Boston IVF, which our wonderful Dr. Lannon did. He found more tissue, well embedded, that would need removal via hysteroscopy. The news hit hard, but at least I could see forward, and at least it was now clear why nearly 8 weeks later I was still bleeding.

The next day the nurse called with our schedule for the hysteroscopy. I have to say that was the hardest day of this whole process - over 5 weeks they needed us to wait because of scheduling, meaning 5 more weeks of miscarrying. Suddenly I couldn't see the future, I couldn't see the way forward and I couldn't cope. The first time I think I have ever felt like that. Even through the initial miscarriage I could still look at baby things and think 'one day', suddenly the thought of another 5 weeks of miscarrying, another 5 weeks before they potentially found more wrong, another 5 weeks of bleeding and inability to 'get back to normal', another 5 weeks with a piece of what was once such joy to us still inside me, was too much to bare. I wanted to try cytotec again, I wanted drugs to induce a period, I wanted to do something, because sitting miscarrying for another 5 weeks just wasn't going to cut it for me. I really never want to feel like that again, and even starting thinking maybe this just wasn't for me, maybe we should move to adoption right now. No one could help either, though B tried, there was really nothing that could make me feel better, I just felt empty, defeated, alone.

Luckily within a week they called back with a cancellation, I could have the hysteroscopy on the 23rd April, nearly 10 weeks since the miscarriage. It went well, though my usual grogginess with anesthesia, Dr Lannon found the piece and managed to pull it free without cutting. Even more of a relief is he found nothing else in there, no morphological reason for the miscarriage and everything looked great. So great in fact we're on for June, and the evening of the surgery I started estrogen (as a substitute for the pill).

I should be elated, but it's hard. I can see the future again, which is good. I can look at baby things and think one day B and I will have our chance to go wild and spoil our children. But I also feel like we're right back at the beginning, right back where we started, only 6 months older, 6 months further along. I want to be hopeful, but it's still a slim chance it'll even work again, let alone get us to the point of being terrified we'll miscarry again. I found myself thinking again of what we could do differently next time to prevent a miscarriage (in reality nothing) and it suddenly struck me we might not even get pregnant, it's only a 30% chance we will.....

So here we go again.....we start injectables on the 30th May....

Friday, April 4, 2014


6 weeks came and went a week ago, 7 weeks will be tomorrow. This feels like the longest miscarriage ever, but I know from internet searching that isn't true. It's certainly a long one. This week I went back to the OB/GYN to talk about why I was still bleeding. After an exam they sent me for an ultrasound and found that I still have 'remains' inside my uterus, and that is why i'm still bleeding. On the good news my iron is back to normal so I can stop taking iron pills (3 less pills a day - woo hoo!) and my HCG is finally zero.

But because there is still stuff inside last night I took a dose of cytotec to get the rest out. This drug is used to induce labor and to aid in miscarriages. I so wish i'd never heard of it until labor needed inducing, but in many ways this is hopefully the end of that chapter and beginning of a new one. Next week i'm due for another saline ultrasound to check out what's going on inside there. The IVF center says that if that is all good and my baseline bloodwork comes back okay that we can go on the May cycle. Though that would be awesome and just what I/We need, i'm not going to believe it until that first injection. This is already two months later than we wanted to get back on the wagon, i'm just having a hard time believing this miscarriage will ever end at the moment.

The cytotec has been going okay so far, I took the day off work as they said it could take three days, which should get me to the end of the weekend, so hopefully i'll be okay by monday. Some nausea and cramps, dizziness and some 'stuff' is definitely coming out, but nothing like those initial days. No major bleeding either, just stuff. Maybe that'll change, either way, I really hope this is it.....

Monday, March 17, 2014

Still waiting

I'm not good at waiting. B will confirm this in a heartbeat. This whole process has been a lot of waiting for me - testing for IVF, waiting for results. Starting IVF, waiting for blood results. Finishing IVF, waiting to see if it worked. Had a positive HCG test, waiting for the ultrasound. Bleeding, waiting to see if it mattered. And now the worst of the waiting by far. Miscarried, waiting for my HCG levels to return to normal. We're now 4 weeks on from that awful day, and i'm still bleeding, still anemic, and my HCG level is still 148. We were hoping to get into the April IVF session, but that is now not going to happen, the earliest we'll start is May.

Moreover, it is a reminder of something I don't need reminding about. Along with the extra 10 pounds I ballooned after the miscarriage (hormones i'm told), the tiredness, the dizziness, they're all reminders that i'm not pregnant anymore, and that I won't be until all this settles. I understand the need to wait, but my brain says no, I want to start again now, I want to put this behind me, I want to move closer again to a family of our own.

I'll do HCG tests weekly. There's nothing I can do to make it go down quicker, so it's just hope every time I have blood drawn that this week will be the one. Until then, I take my vitamins, supplements baby aspirin and iron, hoping that day will be soon.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The winding road

We have spent a lot of time driving over the last few months. Our IVF doctor, and our pharmacy for the IVF drugs, are a little over an hour away, one way. We've had consultations, ultrasounds, needed to pick up extra medications, and seemingly a million other drives.

At some point I decided to start thinking about our path to a family as a road. We had started with just two roads to choose from - adoption or my vasectomy reversal. We chose the reversal, and eventually arrived at a sign that it wasn't going to work. It was a signpost, sort of.

It wasn't necessarily final, but it was enough to make us choose a different path, one that might have better success getting us to our final goal - a family of our own. So we chose a new path, starting our IVF journey with hope seasoned with a healthy dose of skepticism. We knew the statistics, we knew our age, and so we liked to think we had a chance, albeit a small one, to still have children naturally.

At some point I got it into my head that it was all going to work. I couldn't have told you why, as it made no rational sense, but I just knew it was going to work. I think it first hit me when we were doing injections, right after Christmas. I could see the future, and it had twins of our own. The days went by with 2 and then 3 injections a day. R stood tall through all the pain and discomfort, and we made it through. Then there was the waiting, the interminable waiting, for each step in the process. First the blood test. Of course it was positive, I knew it would be. Over 500 hcg - must be twins, I thought. Sure, nothing I found online would make the positive correlation, but I knew. I'm not religious in the slightest, but I had faith like I've never had before. Then the ultrasound. Twins. When I first saw the two sacs on the screen, I just smiled to myself - it was exactly what I knew it would be. For all the time that I had spent trying to convince R that it was all going to work out, I felt like I had vindication. Sure, there were problems, as R was bleeding, but the doctor didn't seem concerned, and said to expect more bleeding. So nothing to worry about - it was all going to be exactly as I envisioned it.

When R called out to me from the bathroom this weekend, there was something extra in her voice. She was worried, I could tell. She'd been worried through much of the past week, of course, but this sounded different. There was the call to the nurse, then more driving to get to the hospital. Even during that drive, I thought to myself that it was all going to work out, it was just clots coming out as the doctor had said. Nothing to worry about. I still had faith.

And then it all came to a crashing stop. I will never, as long as I live, forget the sight of one of our babies of only a little over 7 weeks in R's hands. Her pain, the agony she must have felt as only a mother can feel, I can't even imagine. She's the toughest person I've ever met, and she confirmed it twice that day as she held our two hopes in her hands. I've never felt so empty as that evening. Nothing in the house had changed, it was the same as it was when we left that morning, but everything had changed. My vision was gone, and all I could see was darkness.

We're fortunate, though, and I have to keep reminding myself of that. First, we have each other and our family and friends to get us through. We know it's possible for us to get pregnant together, which is no small thing. We have enough money to try one more time to head down a new road, to put ourselves through the process, to have the hope to create children of our own.

I thought to myself over the last few days that maybe as we head down this next road I won't have the same conviction, that I won't be able to stay positive, that I'll expect the worst. At the end of the day, though, it's just who I am. This time I'll know to take each day as it comes, because there are no guarantees. I'll be thankful for every good thing that happens to us, and even if it doesn't work out the way I foresaw, the way I dreamed and hoped it would, we'll still have each other and we'll still have other roads that we can travel to get to our family.

Monday, February 17, 2014

What a difference a day makes

To cut a long story short, we have lost both babies. It's been an emotional few days, and will probably continue to be so for a while. Having had bleeding episodes on Saturday and Wednesday, this Saturday morning I started bleeding again, only this time it was different.

On Wednesday we saw our OB and got to have another ultrasound. They found two healthy hearts beating and sizes were good, however the size of my "bleeding area" or "Subchoronic Hemorrage" had grown. We talked to our midwife and she assured us there was really nothing we could do but watch and wait, and that this happens sometimes but good outcomes happen a lot.

On saturday morning we got ready to go out and meet a friend of ours at Freeport. Before we left however I started bleeding again, but this time I passed a large (very large) clot. B called the midwife and she asked us to come into the ER. By the time we got there I was bleeding heavily, in a lot of pain and passing lots of large clots. Before the Dr or midwife even arrived i'd passed one of the babies, a sight I hope to never have to see, or experience again. In a fog the midwife came in and prepared me for a pelvic exam. She saw my cervix was partially open and confirmed I was in the middle of a miscarriage. By this time my pain had got better and we were given the option to go home and wait or to have an ultrasound and potential D&C. I went for the later, more for the ultrasound than D&C, as I wanted to know what was going on in there.

We were taken down to the ultrasound once the on call tech got there (within 15 minutes, we were impressed). To our shock one baby was left, and the heart was still beating, though slower than it should have been. It's sac was compressed as well, and my entire uterus was clotted and filled with blood. Though it was a high to see the heartbeat, what was inevitable was obvious. While there was still a heartbeat I couldn't do a D&C, so we went home. Within minutes of arriving home I was in excruciating pain. The second baby was passed shortly after, along with more large ugly clots. I kept passing clots all that day, though the pain did start to fade and the bleeding started to slow by sunday.

I'm still emotionally lost, after all this work, effort and not to mention cost, we're left with nothing. From such joy a week early, to such pain. We're both ready to move on though, we're just figuring it through but are hopeful we can swing another IVF round. I don't want to wait, I know some people need time, but that would be worse for me, i'm not getting younger and with our issues the longer we wait the harder it'll be to realize having a family of our own. The longer i'm made to wait, the more anxious and stressed i'll become. It's not that i'm not mourning the loss of two, healthy, babies to something neither of us expected (if anything I was ready for a chromosome issue to take one or both of them, but not this), I am, I was ready, we were ready, we were thinking home improvements and double cribs. But we need to move on rapidly, especially since I might be out of a job at the end of the year, making expensive IVF treatments an impossibility on any salary I might pick up outside of Academia.

We'll see our OB to get an ultrasound to show everything is gone, and see the IVF clinic sometime this week to discuss next steps. I'm scared as I felt so fortunate to have IVF work on the first round, can that really happen again? Unless money falls from above, we've only got one more round in us.

Saturday 15th February we said goodbye to our 8wk old twins. We'd only known them for two month, and seen them a week earlier, but loved them no less.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Paging Dr. Google

Well, with the ups and downs that we've gone through in the past week, it's hard to find your footing and set reasonable expectations for how we're doing, how our pregnancy is going, and what to expect next. 'Dr. Google', as we refer to the idea of searching for any and all information you can find, has been both a blessing and a curse.

It was a blessing because when R started bleeding this past weekend, I was able to find other folks online who essentially said 'yep, I bled a lot, but I have a beautiful baby now - hang in there!', which gave me hope that an ongoing and successful pregnancy was still at least possible, even if it might not be probable.

Of course, it can be a total curse because every time you search for symptoms, you find the tragic stories of folks who had very similar sounding symptoms who lost their baby.

Since the internet is what it is, it can be hard to figure out which outcome is more likely, and so I decided to make today a Dr. Google free day. R is bleeding again, heavily, and I know from past research that may be a bad sign, or it may mean nothing at all. Either way, there's not much we can do about it. We have an O/B appointment this morning, so we hope to get more information from a medical professional rather than random folks on the internet... but even that may not reassure us much.

This is going to be a long journey, it appears. All we can do is keep moving forward one step at a time and make the best decisions for us that we can.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The lowest lows and the highest highs

Today we'd been scheduled for our "viability scan". The wait for this day had been longer than the 2 week wait, so much longer. We knew we'd got pregnant from the beta, but was it real, how many were there, and were they growing properly. We'd had a tough few weeks trying to distract ourselves.

And then saturday came around. The excitement of monday had built, we were so close. We'd visited B's parents and were headed home, stopping at Lowes on the way back, talking about baby carriages and names. We'd let ourselves get excited. I got out of the car at Lowes and immediately felt something was not right. A 'gush' came out into the pad i'd been wearing because of the progesterone, so I headed to the bathroom. I was bleeding, a lot. We headed home, just 30 minutes away, B called the Boston IVF on call nurse and I headed to clean up, by this time i'd bled through my jeans and it was everywhere. It also wasn't stopping. The nurse said we should watch and wait, if the bleeding didn't stop to head to the ER. We did a bunch of google searches - some stories saying they got through it, many saying they didn't.

Around 6pm we headed to the ER in Augusta, figuring it was bigger than our small local hospital, so we'd be more likely to be able to get a scan. They took us through to a room and there we waited, watching the olympics on TV, trying not to cry more than I was already. The bleeding had slowed a little at this point, though was still a lot. After nearly 5 hours we headed home, having had an exam but no scan (there was no-one available, so they said to wait until Monday's appointment). My cervix was still closed which was a good sign, but there was so much bleeding, they couldn't rule out miscarriage.

So the wait for this morning was made even longer. Our friend A arrived on Sunday morning in her PJ's just to sit with me and keep us company as soon as she heard. We couldn't have asked for a better support person. This morning we arrived at Boston IVF in Portland at 9.30. Waited ten minutes and went in to get our scan.

Amazingly, the news was good. Two sacs appeared, followed by two hearts beating. Both the right size, both beating the right beats. A large "bruise" was seen in my uterus, the source of the bleeding, but apparently of no harm to the babies inside. We'll go for another scan next week to be sure, but all is looking well. We cried, we hugged. An emotional day. We have a long way to go, but are so happy.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Positive Beta!

So we had our results - 519.4 HCG level. The office looks for a level between 50-100, so we're well above where we needed to be! So we're pregnant, at least for this moment, so we're cherishing it! Now unfortunately we have to wait - Boston IVF only rechecks the HCG levels if you're under 100, since we're not, we now have to wait 2.5 weeks until we have an ultrasound scan to look for a sac and a heartbeat.

So far it's been 3 days since we had that news, and I have to say, this wait is the hardest. We're pregnant, but don't know if it's viable. So many don't make it past a few weeks old, it just makes me wonder everyday. Doesn't help that somedays i've been feeling quite nauseas, yet for the last two days i've been feeling better. I feel slightly crazy for being worried about not feeling nauseas. I also don't fit into my regular trousers anymore, and we even went out and bought me some new bra's too, as i've been unable to wear my regular ones. I know those things are down to the progesterone i'm still taking, but it would be nice to think they might be because we're still pregnant too....just so hard to know what is side effect and what is pregnancy.

B and I have been talking about when we might stop worrying. I don't know, i'd like to think i'll worry less once we're past this scan. The good news is we're off on vacation the week after the scan, to Hawaii, and I actually fly from there to China for two weeks after. So we'll leave at 8 weeks pregnant, and come back at 12 weeks, where in theory the major hurdles are over. I think it'll be good to concentrate on something else, to relax and enjoy ourselves after this crazy journey, and to just focus on being, rather than wondering about being pregnant all the time.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Assuming Positive Outcomes

While R was in the acupuncturist's office yesterday, I waited in the lobby for her. The other acupuncturist who works in the office, and who I have seen a couple of times while R was getting her treatments, stopped in to chat and see how things were going. We had a really interesting conversation after he asked if we had been doing any testing at home - I said that we had, and that it was positive, but we were trying not to get our hopes up too much.

His point was worth repeating, I thought, and that was that although there are a lot of things that can go wrong in this process (and, indeed, in any pregnancy), there are a lot of things that can go right. And that usually, things do go right in the grand scheme of things.

I realized last week at some point that I have been assuming that this process would be successful from day one. There's no rational reason that I can point to for that to be true, and in fact there are any number of factors that can be pulled up to show that it's demonstrably statistically unlikely. I think it's just sort of how I've tried to live my life - assume I'll be successful, then work really hard to make that happen. I once heard someone in Starbucks management utter the phrase 'Assume Positive Intent' - that is, assume that people meant to do something good, even if the outcome didn't turn out well. For me, this is just a slight twist on that - Assume Positive Outcomes. Sort of like 'Hope for the best', I suppose.

Not that I'm not nervous about tomorrow's results - I definitely am. R felt a little better this morning, and she mentioned that it might seem weird, but that made her nervous. Funny thing was, I had the exact same thought. So, we'll just keep moving forward, cautiously optimistic.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Or not , as the case might be. I did a pee test this morning, it came out positive. With an ivf treatment though, this doesn't mean all is great, the chances of it being a false positive is high. The hormone these tests pick up is the same one I had to take a big shot of just prior to the egg retrieval surgery, so there still could be some in my system that the test picked up. Before we started this I said I wasn't going to do a pee test, I'd wait for the blood test (which is in 3 days). 

So why take this today? Well, it's been 6 days since our transfer, so 13 days since I had that shot. Everything we've read suggests it should be out of the system in 11 days. Tomorrow. We talk to the Dr about plans for the future, and I kinda wanted this info before we do that. And lastly, it's Bs birthday today, and I wanted at least some confirmation of where we were to give him. 

Excited? A little. I'm much too much of a scientist to be jumping for joy just yet.....but I'll admit, it brought a big smile to my face this morning....in a long time trying, this is the closest we've come to being pregnant.....

Friday, January 17, 2014

The wait....

The wait is a killer for most people, but I have to say I think i'm doing okay, maybe even better than B. We'll see if that changes as we get closer to going for our first blood test (5 days away), but so far all is good. I guess I keep thinking back to those 7 long months where we had this same wait. Every month. The first few were devastating, the remainder upsetting, but there were even a few there where I didn't cry over it. I just got used to the tests being negative and kept busy. Even though this time has so much more at stake, i'm feeling just like I was in those other months.

We have a meeting with Dr. Lannon on Monday to go over how the cycle went. So many questions. I guess they do this before the results so we're realistic and know our next steps before the blood test on Wednesday. Realistically I don't know how we'd afford another cycle, and we don't have any frozen embryos to even try the much cheaper Frozen Embryo Transfer like we were hoping. Still, we said we'd cross that bridge when we came to it. We know we can't do three, but a second cycle isn't totally out of the realm, even if we have to seriously scrape and raid the 401K's to get it.

Monday, January 13, 2014

2 transferred

We're there, the 'two week wait' as they say in the infertility world. There have been so many moments over the past month where I doubted we'd be this far. Today we had two embryos left, good looking blastocysts our Dr said, so we implanted both, did an acupuncture session and now we wait. 24hrs of relaxing and watching funny movies, 48hrs of taking it easy, and ten days of wondering if either of our embryos stuck.

Our two embryos, good looking little fellas

Embryos implanted, taking a moment

So wishing this will be the end of needles for me...

Friday, January 10, 2014

Getting Used To It

One of the things that we heard before we started this process was that people 'get used to' the injections that are required. R has a bit of a thing about needles, and so everyone always joked that this would definitely get her over that problem.

Well, I have news for those of you with the same problem - it may not actually help. To the very last dose of Lupron and even the trigger shot, R had the same reaction. Not quite ready when the needle was ready, always unconsciously positioning herself away from the shot, closing her eyes, and needing to breathe deeply to get through it.

And really, who can blame her? She had a reaction to the Lupron, so basically every day she was signing herself up for more pain, more discomfort, and more stinging at a minimum as the Lupron went into her belly. We tried her arm a couple of times to see if that might feel better, but at the end of the day the belly was always the best. By the end of it she had a couple of bruises and spots all around and below her bellybutton from all of the different needle sticks.

It turns out that giving the injections is easy. What's not easy is feeling like you're torturing the woman you love - every shot hurts, and there's nothing I can do about that. There's no getting used to it.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

7 to 4

Where to start, I guess it's been a few days. This week has been a whirlwind. On monday we had our third blood work and ultrasound. We found out I had 6 maturing follicles and they were of a size that I had to trigger ovulation, ready for egg retrieval on Wednesday. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Throughout this whole process I had my head set on producing double digits, at least ten eggs. The reason you want more is it gives more chances for success - but in the end you only need one good quality to work. We talked with our nurses and they assured us it was a 'good' result, not a great one, but a good one.

So yesterday we moved forward, we arrived at boston ivf at 745 am and began getting me ready for the retrieval. B went off and made his 'contribution' to the process as I was taken off changed and had and iv put in my arm. This is a procedure they sedate you for, and though fast (~20 minutes) is a full day experience. I woke up from the sedation with hiccups and nausea, but to the news they had retrieved 7 eggs. B took me home to a day of bed rest and Vicodin, and posibly the first time I've really slept in over a week because of all the aches and pains. Friends sent us over puzzles, I watched tv, I was lazier than I've ever been I think. 

The next step was to hear from the lab today, and we just got the call - 6 had icsi and 4 fertilized. Our dr wants to try for a 5 day transfer, hopefully meaning he thinks they're good quality. So now we wait....5 long days and hope all the embryos survive so we can have 2 transferred and 2 frozen for later. 

Friday, January 3, 2014


Lupron sucks. I'm just going to put that out there. I'm happy, thrilled even, to finally be taking this journey, getting closer to the family B and I want together, but the shots are starting to get to me, particularly the Lupron.

A) It hurts. Out of Lupron and Gonal-F, Lupron is the one that makes me wince and stings like hell after it went in. It's a slightly wider needle too, and at this point (day 8 of stims, day 10 of cycle) my belly is just raw. So every time it goes in now, it hurts.

B) My body hurts. The day after I started lupron I woke up at 4am with immense pain in my left leg - all the way from the hip to the ankle. B woke up with me and massaged Tiger Balm into it, which helped. But it's now 9 days later and my left leg is still sore. It waxes and wains, but at night it's worse. I can't lie on my side, and I hate sleeping on my back. So far I haven't slept past 4am on a good day, and 3 on a bad one. So i'm also tired. Really tired.

We called the pharmacy on Boxing Day just to talk to them about the side effects, and they confirmed Lupron can cause muscle and bone aches, particularly in the pelvic region. A few days later I trapped a nerve in my neck, pretty much making me completely incapacitated, and pretty much a wreck. Today we also talked to our Dr's office, our wonderful nurse Tammy confirmed this is not unheard of with Lupron, but there is nothing other than tylenol I can take....and that really doesn't touch the pain at all. Sigh.

B mentioned the other day how funny it was that he'd been warned about what the hormones would do to me, but he (we) didn't expect it to by physical. Mentally the side effects have been pretty minimal, neither of us think it's made me more moody, though as tiredness creeps in I am just about ready to have meltdown #2 over more injections. Tomorrow we go back in for another scan and bloodwork. Our nurse has said we're likely to be on injectables for a bit longer, but that egg extraction would probably be next week. We're getting close, and not too much longer on with the pin pricks. As long as I can see an end date to the injectables, I'll be okay...