Category Archives: NOT Pregnant…AGAIN!

WHAT MATTERS

I will honestly admit that I forgot that today was THAT day, THE day set aside by someone who like me – and tragically – like too many others, felt more awareness was needed. Today, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

And while I forgot that today was that day, I wake up every morning knowing that something is missing from my life. Would I have smiled more, cried more, loved more? Would I have found peace sooner, stopped blogging sooner?

I am reminded of a little trick I use to deal with things that hurt or irritate or anger me in which I ask myself, will it matter in 5 minutes? Will it matter in 5 days? Will it matter in 5 months?

How about in 5 years? I can tell you that for me, it has been 5 years come this November. It still matters. It always will.

  1. Pregnancy #2: Vivienne Elise – Death November 2004 at 15wks GA, EDD May 2005
  2. Pregnancy #3: Death December 2005, chemical, EDD September 2006
  3. Pregnancy #4: Wolf – Death October 2006 at 8wks GA, EDD June 2007
  4. Pregnancy #5: Death May 2007, EDD February 2008

I don’t light a candle. The small flames flicker in my heart and they will never, ever be extinguished.

PREGNANCY PALS

I had a Pregnancy Pal when I was pregnant with XBoy. We didn’t start off as friends who had planned pregnancies at the same time. Instead we had met during our late 2nd trimesters at the YMCA where we both were taking the swim class. We even worked for the same company, but had never met since we worked on different campuses.

Pregnancy Pal and I were due within a week of each other in December 2001. We both were going through our first pregnancies. She was in her late-20s. I was in my early-30s. Looking at us as we climbed out of the pool you might have thought she was at least 8 weeks behind me as her bump was just that – a bump – whereas I bulged.

We became good friends.

Her son was born at the end of November. I remember coming to visit her and her baby and holding him and marveling at how small he was. Less than a week later, I delivered XBoy.

During the first couple of years, all four of us spent a lot of time together. We compared milestones in both our babies’ lives and our own. We dressed them similarly for holidays and took pictures. Soon we were talking about having our second children. Early summer 2004, she announced she was pregnant. By the end of August, I told her I was, too. We were again Pregnancy Pals.

I specifically remember how we packed up the now three-year-old boys in my SUV and made a trip to The Metro for a day at the zoo, something we had done the year before together. The boys were in the second row trying to outdo each other in noise levels, silliness, and snack consumption. My friend looked at me and announced, “Next year when we go, our baby girls will be in the second row and the boys will be in the far back!” jokingly said since neither of us knew the sex of our babies, but it was a lovely image to have.

As most of you know, in November 2004, the path my Pregnancy Pal and I had started on violently diverged. I miscarried at 15 weeks. She went on to deliver a healthy baby girl in the spring. Obviously I did not.

A rift was created that November between us. We still got together for play dates with our sons. We got together to discuss flooring options and pour over paint chips as we both were building new homes. But those times weren’t as often as before. Part of it was the constant time demand of dealing with construction decisions, but what went unsaid was the fact that we were no longer Pregnancy Pals.

Compared to her first baby, who I held when he was less than 24 hours, I did not see her daughter until she was almost two weeks old. She was on maternity leave and I was still working full-time so getting together to go for a swim, or lunch or shopping, were moments few and getting further between.

A couple years later, her husband was transferred to another region and they moved away. For the first year, she would call up when they had returned to town to visit family so that our sons could get together (XBoy took his friend’s move pretty hard, and he still talks about him), but even those times came to a stop. I don’t know when exactly the last time I saw her or her children, but I know it was before our donor egg cycle.

The other day I typed in her name on Facebook’s search and I saw her face for the first time in two years. It wasn’t just her I saw, either. Her profile picture was of her and flanking her, in a group hug, was her son and her daughter. They were both wearing back-packs. I assumed the picture was of their first day of school.

As I stared at the postage size picture on my screen, I saw what might have been.

Angrily, I also thought, what SHOULD have been.

I closed her profile screen without sending a friend request. I shut off the light above my computer, kissed my husband goodnight who was watching TV, and went to bed with my heart heavier than it has been in a long, long time.

I lost a baby and a good friend that fall. I really miss them.

no. 543 – Today

…October 15, 2007…

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

I didn’t need the U.S. House of Rep to set aside one day of the year to remember the pregnancies I have lost, but they did, and today is that day. So while I think about what could have been almost every waking moment, I will also take advantage of this day and remind you.

November 11, 2004 – Vivienne Elise, miscarriage 15 weeks

January 10, 2006 – Miscarriage 5 weeks 4 days

November 14, 2006 – "Wolf", miscarriage 8 weeks 2 days

June 5, 2007 – Miscarriage 5 weeks 3 days

Waveoflight_2

no. 472 – The Silver Lining

Most of you have read the statistics: as many as one in five known pregnancies will end in a miscarriage and usually within the first trimester. With that said, the likelihood of a woman who has had one unexplained miscarriage going on to a subsequent healthy and term pregnancy is 60 – 70%, if not better.

After we lost Vivienne in 2004, that information was my silver lining in my dark cloud for over a year even with the troubles we were having getting pregnant. Eventually that silver lining received a spit-shine when we saw the RE for the first time and the genetic testing on both my husband and I confirmed that Vivienne’s trisomy was a fluke – not a gene passed on from either of us.

The embarrassing enthusiasm I wrote with when our beta numbers came in after the first IVF is painful even now, 18 months later, to think about. But that enthusiasm was fueled with the naiveté that comes with believing that statistically that particular IVF should have been my swan song.

When the beta didn’t double within 48 hours, that silver lining lost its sheen, scratched by disillusion and tarnished by bitter tears (if I was to wax poetic).

The bad news to which there is no good is that since my subsequent pregnancy to my first miscarriage ended in yet another miscarriage, statistics start tilting against me. Less than 5% of women have more than two miscarriages, and once a woman has two, her chances of having that healthy pregnancy start falling from that nice cushy 60 – 70% range.

Who could blame me then when I struggled to find some bit of happiness with my brief and odds-defying pregnancy with Wolf? When we found out that even that one was doomed, I blamed myself more than usual for not having optimism or faith and instead a premonition of what turned out to be the worst possible outcome: miscarriage number three.

Wolf threw me into the less than 1% of women who are jumbled into the three-or-more-concurrent-miscarriages basket. They (Researchers) don’t have information that outline specifically odds on the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, tenth, or eleventh iscarriage. Three becomes the “magic” number. After that, it doesn’t really matter to ASRM if I’ve had three or thirteen.

The fear of getting pregnant again has finally outweighed the fear of not getting pregnant again. I’m trying hard to remember that using donor gamete/egg gets me a statistical reprieve because the number one cause of Early Pregnancy Loss (poor egg quality due to age and chromosomal defects) has been eliminated. Unfortunately, the little testing we’ve had (genetic analysis and clotting disorders) have not indicated what our…excuse me…what my problem is. The tests have only ruled out what it is not.

So here I sit with a rather misshapen cloud, rimmed with tarnished and dented silver, and imagining it in its former glory. I try not to get too close for fear of seeing myself reflected back in the few remaining spots not marred by anger, depression and reality.

Since we don’t have any known medical reason for my miscarriages, I cannot safely bring myself to hope again that donor egg will be the answer to our presently unanswered prayers. I will try to polish up that silver lining again but it won’t be with the enthusiasm I had before. This seems like a good place to end with a riddle: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” What happens when I let a pregnancy fool me for the fifth time?

no. 469 – Dear Squatters

Dear Hundreds of Baby Spiders Using My SUV As A Nursery,

Unless you plan on spinning me a beautiful silken hammock to which I can laze away these humid and warm days of summer, I request that you find a more appropriate setting to make your eye-blinking jumps. Also, please note, my morning coffee is not your personal jacuzzi.

Dear Deer Camping in the Tree Line Across the Road,

Stop. Look. Listen. Even my son knows this. Stop perpetuating the rumor that beauty and brains do not mix.

Dear Uterine Lining,

As impressive as your ability to pad my "baby buggy" apparently happens to be, 7 full days of either bleeding, spotting, staining or a combination of any of these attributes is just plain mean. I’m trying to get all laundry done before Thursday and you are not doing any more than just pissing me off and reminding me that sustaining an embryo, even if a mouth-breather, is not within your scope of functions. Shed and be done already.

Sincerely,

The Car-, Land-, and Body-Lord

no. 466 – The Maternal Heart’s Essence

For the past couple of nights I’ve been working on a new pet project. I still am undecided about starting and maintaining a real, live support group, so I thought I would try dipping my toes into something similar without as much pressure.

I’ll present the idea and you let me know what you think, or even if it’s already been done and that  I’m quite possibly a complete jackass for not knowing that already. It’s something similar to Babyblogorama, which I had the incredibly painful honor of requesting that my name be removed from the "Expecting in September" list after my first IVF. Someone had sent them my name and blog after I had posted my positive beta.

Even though the site has gone defunct, I appreciate what the author was trying to do, and that is to find a way for women/men or couples to connect with other people with similar situations in either trying or expecting.

My site is not nearly as "optimistic" as Babyblogorama, but I’m hoping it can create another sense of community, especially in the miscarriage and stillbirth segments. I’ve called it The Maternal Heart’s Essence: Remembering the Life We Never Met But Loved With All Our Heart.

To get an idea of what I’m doing with it, you can click on either the About This Site page or look at "11 November" or "06 June" to see what I’ve done in relationship to my own miscarriages.

If you think the site is in bad taste (my husband said "People want to forget those dates. Why would you do this to remind them?"), or that it’s been done and I’ve inadvertently copied someone else’s hard work, or even if you think the title/subtitle are cheesy beyond cheese, would you please feel free to let me know? Keep in mind I’m a delicate flower and will surely crumble to dust if you think it’s kind of dumb. No, really. I’ll be OK with it. The big girl panties are on and providing full coverage.

On the other hand, if you think this is something you would like to use to commemorate a loss date, please email me or leave a comment and I will add the informaton as I have time. Personally, I just used my loss dates because they were more real than the supposed due dates.

Alright then. Time to let me know what you think. You’ll have through the weekend since I’m going to treat myself tomorrow to a poisonous injection in a dermatologist’s office, then off to the antique show a few hours from me in Iowa. For Saturday and Sunday I’ve just been forcing myself not to blog. I’ve got my priorities, you know.

no. 465 – That Was One Hell of a Hump

Yesterday was a B-A-D day. It sucked, quite frankly. I had to open up my own site and look at my son’s picture multiple times to keep me from running from the building into the rain and never looking back. I blame the hormonal let-down combined with the ‘roids.

Of course it didn’t help that at one of my meetings I noticed the woman across the table from me sitting peculiarly, with her arms akimbo. Jesusonaritz! She’s pregnant! Nothing extraordinary about that, except she just had a baby born in August. Clearly she was 5-6 months along already.

I had a friend with a very colorful personality when I was living in Kansas who had a quaint saying for women like that: She didn’t sleep with her feet in no bucket.

Couple that with the attendance of my sweet, caring ER doctor, Dr. Marathon, who pulled me aside at the end of the meeting to ask how my ultrasound had went…

Yes, today I would have been scheduled for my 6 week ultrasound. Good thing I had that 3rd beta because the requisite freakingthefuckout would have already begun with all the bleeding I’d been doing for the past 36 hours. Because he was sincerely moved by my bad news whispered discreetly back to him, I had to quickly excuse myself to go sob in the bathroom.

When I got back to my office I then had to shut the door because I was a mess, complete with the blubbering, sniffling and snot draining.

As I was getting ready for bed, it started all over again. Mr. DD, bless his heart, even went ahead and mounted the under-cabinet radio I got for him for Father’s Day (he found it "hidden" in the garage). Major truce move since this morning he announced he didn’t like it because it had to be bolted to the cabinets. Well, duh.

He then came in to the bedroom and sat down next to me. The room was already dark, so I watched his silhouette as he said to me:

You cannot let it get to you, this business of being angry at every pregnant woman you see. If you do, it will eat you alive. If all you do is think about them, then you are not thinking of X, and when we get all done with this, he will have grown up without you.

Not only was that the sweetest blow I’ve had to the stomach lately, but it also echoed something someone else just recently wrote me in an email.

The control I so desperately want on my life is swirling the drain. While I wait for a donor, I think I’ll find a tampon or a drain plug and try to stem that flow. This bullshit has got to stop!

By the way, if you notice the time of this post? After two full days without hives, I woke up at 3:00ish to pee and was attacked by another round, this time on my elbows, buttocks and the back of my thighs. It looks like I’ll be getting some refills before heading to the beach NEXT SATURDAY!!!!!!

no. 461 – Bee is to Sting, as Hives is to Burn

I’m still dealing with hives. Not daily, but every other day and in painful doses. Saturday a large welt appeared on my ankle bone and inhibited the free movement of my foot. Sunday morning I had to limp out the soreness.

This morning after tossing and turning with a sore arm and wrist, I finally got up and took an aleve at 3:00 a.m. I thought it was sore from the yard work. This morning a large welt running from the inside of my elbow down and around to the top of the arm a few inches from my wrist had appeared. It was causing the pain, which I would describe no less than "vice-like".

I’d had enough and made an appointment with my family practitioner. Diagnosis? Hives. With the luck I’ve been having, I was prepared for him to tell me it was a rare bone cancer or lupus or some other incurable auto-immune deficiency. We’re going to try a round of steroids and see if that can tame this problem before my vacation. I was a little frustrated that he spent more time discussing my last miscarriage (finally had some spotting this weekend. CD1 later today or tomorrow.) and how God has this plan for me and is using my miscarriages to create the person he wants me to be.

I’m not sure how creating a bitter, depressed, and disillusioned individual is part of the "greater good".

The current fashion trend is driving me to drink (more). I hated the skinny, short tops, but these billowy tent-tops and empire-waisted blouses are like having a herd of pregnant women with ages ranging from 15 to 51 around every where I go. I look at them and ask, "are they or aren’t they?" until they either move out of sight or until they notice my laser-like stare and discreetly clear their throats to bring me back into reality.

Would you believe I even went and tried some on? I tried the kimono style, the tie-back, the elasticized bands, etc. All they did was emphasize what is not there. I thought that even if I found one that looked semi-flattering, it would either be perceived by others as if I was pregnant, which would mean fielding some rather uncomfortable and painful questions or attempting to look pregnant externally when in fact I was just the owner of an overused and underutilized uterus – a living sarcophagus (A Greek word for "flesh eater".  Funny, that.).

no. 460 – Moving On in a Manic-Kind-of-Way

I’m feeling better, relatively speaking. My ass is a little sore from kicking myself for doing something no infertile woman who has a history of miscarriages should do, and that was calculating the due date. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. February 8, 2008, in case you were wondering.

Speaking of miscarriages, to clarify, this was my fourth. Sorry for the confusion. I have the category for fifth pregnancy as I am giving credit to that time when I was fertile, had a normal pregnancy and gave birth to my son, X. Can you believe that when I started blogging he was three? He’s now five. How time flies when you’re having spontaneous abortions. A rather gruesome thought, no?

When I talked to Dr. Blinksalot on Tuesday, she said that she and all of the staff were quite upset by this sad turn of events. I’ve become the office underdog. I wish I could say that it would boost my rank from the bottom to closer to the top of the donor egg list.

I have to admit that I really thought karma was on our side this time, as I know you did, too. Mr. DD’s count was back up. I had several good follicles. What you probably didn’t know is that we had used up all of our injectables, even the PIO. Surely that should have been a sign that we would need no more? I guess that was karma’s way of not only administering a judo chop to the side of my head but giving me an atomic wedgie. I won’t need much for a donor egg cycle, either.

Speaking of such, I wondered how easy it would be to find information on becoming an egg donor so of course I googled “become an egg donor” and some of the stuff I found gave me the huzz, quite frankly. This site in particular because of their “glamour shots” of donors in combination with the ages. 20, 21, 22? As nice as I’m sure their eggs are, I kind of like the policy my clinic follows and that is they want their donors to have already had “normal” children. These 20-somethings are still children, in my opinion. I’m old enough to be their mother. Hmmm, now there’s a cheery thought.

Many of you offered a hand in helping me if there was anything I needed. I thought of something some of you might actually be able to do. If you know someone who may qualify as an egg donor with our clinic (late 20’s, early 30’s, have completed their family, and an understanding that becoming an egg donor will not pay the kids’ college tuition, and live in either Nebraska or Iowa) maybe you can suggest they check out this site for more details. My clinic is the first one (hint, hint).

Yes, I am pandering for eggs. I will what is in my powers to do.

Segway of sorts. Have you all seen this??! My husband thought we should get one and use it. I said we’ve already paid hundreds and hundreds of dollars to know that my FSH is crap, and his motility is crap, so why would I pay another $100 to confirm that? Especially since it’s all irrelevant as we move on to Plan K, Subsection 42, Paragraph 3 that theoretically eliminates the crap? I did however, share the website with someone I know trying to get pregnant…

Before I go, I want to thank Mel and her husband for sending us flowers when you heard of our recent loss. I had them delivered to me at work. The lilies fill the hallway with their heavy, summer scent.

no. 459 – Get Thee to a Support Group

A few months ago I noticed in the church bulletin that an abortion support group would be meeting every so many weeks. I mentioned to my husband that I thought they should have an infertility and/or miscarriage/pregnancy loss support group(every time I say "pregnancy loss" I think of another blogger who remarked on how she dislikes the term "loss" because, really, it’s not like you lost the baby because it fell behind the dresser or something).

He harrumphed in response and the conversation effectively ended.

Ever since I’ve been thinking about posing the question to our local church to see what they thought. Unfortunately, my whole opinion about God and the church has been slightly tainted and I really don’t want to feel as if I have to have the church’s blessings, as well censoring myself to prevent me from shouting, "That is so CRAP!!" every time someone in the group would make that ridiculous statement, "It’s God’s will."

Now again I’m feeling compelled to do something, but I don’t know what. It is possible that I could make a suggestion through my employer, but what scares me the most about being involved in something like this is trying to leave my Anger at the door and instead mentor and support others without just throwing up my hands and instructing everyone to just get a blog instead.

The closest RESOLVE is in a town/city three hours away (and not in The Metro, surprisingly). You gotta love the Midwest for its forward-thinking progress. BTW, if you live in one of the states that borders the Great Lakes or you are further south than Kansas, you shouldn’t be saying you live in the Midwest. Why humiliate yourself like that?

In a cursory web search for support groups, I found this little blurb. While I’m fairly tolerant with the views in not only Claire’s article and the responses, I felt my hackles rise while reading the responses from "Protect the Rock" (PTR). As the mother of 8 children she states,

Our house is perpetually messy, noisy, disorganized and underfunded. Of course, we know this is our calling, our highest good.  But there are things we can not do in our state in life, at least not at this time: like take a job for less money in Catholic education, open a Catholic book store and coffee house, write a book or screenplay, go on a pilgrimage, attend conferences, and so on. […] If He is calling you to support this group of people, then do it, but make sure you are being open to do His will. There are opportunity costs in our choices, even starting a support group.

REEeaaaallllllYYYY??!! There are "opportunity costs in our choices"?? OK, maybe I don’t quite know what the fuck she means by that, but I’m offended nonetheless by her statement that birthing and raising a big family is what she thinks is her highest good, and that because of it they have sacrificed getting jobs that they like instead of what pays better; or that they can’t hire a care-giver or leave the kids with the grandparents for a week so they can go to a conference.  In fact, I’m sure she meant to include "write a Catholic book or screenplay, go on a Catholic pilgrimage, attend Catholic conferences, …" What good Catholics they are!

And then in a later response, PTR writes,

Neighborhood Bible studies can be very good, but we should realize many Protestant groups deliberately design such activities to target and pull Catholics out of the Church. So it is wise to have strong sense of the faith and use the authoritative guidance of the Church.

Those evil bastards, the Protestants. Next they’ll be asking you to bring your cat or dog to the groups so they can perform sacrificial offerings.

Obviously I’m not in the stable mental place I need to be to provide guidance in a support group. But why does there have to be an ulterior motive when it comes to support groups following the doctrine of the church? Why can’t it be just about women (and men) who need a physical shoulder to cry on when most friends and family members just don’t understand? Blogging is great for the virtual hug, love, support and acceptance, but there is nothing – I repeat for emphasis – NOTHING like having someone who has been through this shit wrap their arms around your shoulder, pull in you so close you can smell the shampoo in their hair and feel the gentle but unyielding pressure of the hands, and tell you that they care.

no. 458 – I’m a Rolling Stone

In the past 24 hours I have done the following:

Cried.

Replied to your emails.

Cried.

Read all your comments at least twice.

Cried.

Avoided posts from pregnant bloggers.

Cried.

Scheduled a botox treatment before the vacation.

Cried.

Confirmed our flight reservations.

Cried.

Half-heartedly attempted to work.

Cried.

Drank a red beer.

Cried.

Deleted my drafted post on the difference between a "Normal Woman" who was newly pregnant and myself.

Cried.

Threw away the half dozen positive HPTs.

Cried.

Restocked my feminine products.

Cried.

Battled another case of hives.

Cried.

Had our names added to the Donor Egg Program list at our clinic.

Cried.

Hugged and kissed my son a hundred times.

Cried.

no. 457 – Again

Today I had my blood drawn to check my progesterone since I was told to discontinue the PIO temporarily. That’s what I was told last Thursday. When I asked about another beta, they said it wouldn’t be necessary.

I second-guessed that decision up until 30 minutes before my draw when I called the clinic to ask them to add the beta to the orders.

I had almost convinced myself that with the numbers looking good from last week, and an ultrasound coming up next week, I could blissfully go about my days admiring how full my breasts seem to have gotten compared to when I was pregnant with Wolf and that all the mild cramping were signs of something growing.

Apparently I have Pseudocyesis.

The clinic agreed to add the beta to the order.

My beta on Thursday was 100.

Today it was 125.

Pregnancy No. 5 will be ending about the time I leave for my vacation, if not while on vacation.

Pregnancy no. 5 will be ending around Wolf’s due date.

Happy 40th Birthday to me.

Fuck you, God.

no. 451 – Remember

It’s Memorial Weekend here in the US. It’s the weekend set aside to commemorate the US armed forces killed in war. Many will visit the family cemeteries and place flowers on grave sites. My mother will make several trips this weekend with wreaths of plastic flowers in unnatural colors to different plots and remember. Many others will watch the parade, cook out and here in the Midwest, the water park and swimming pools open for the sumer.

I will also go visit the cemetery that is home to the plot that holds the remains of the unborn babies that did not get their own headstone. Vivienne is there. Wolf is not. But I will bring two candles with me and try not to cry too much.

It is beautiful outside. Unusual for Memorial weekend which is usually marred by seasonal storms.

This weekend will also be the 10, 11 & 12 day post IUI. This cycle has already been decided, I just won’t know for sure what the results are for a couple more days. I’ve written a half-dozen posts in my head about how I will feel and do if it’s negative. It’s much easier to imagine it will be negative than positive. It goes with the odds, I guess.

I just know that right now I’m very tired, not physically, but mentally and spiritually. I keep thinking that some day I’ll wake up and the nightmare will be over.

Earworm: Ten Little Indians

*
WARNING: The following may be contagious and should be read only under the condition that you can obtain immediate access to a radio to eliminate the chance this Earworm may infect your head for the next 24 hours as it did in the host.


“One little, two little, three little embryos.
Four little, five little, six little embryos.
Seven little, eight little, nine little embryos.
Ten little embies fertilized.

Ten little, nine little, eight little embryos.
Seven little, six little, five little embryos.
Four little, three little, two little embryos.
One little embie planted.”