Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Trying Again

So it's been a hellish couple of months. I'll talk about it another time. When I'm in a better space.

We are ready to try again. Well, actually, we've been trying for a couple of months but we don't seem to be able to get pregnant through sex so. . . back to the clinic we go. It will be a frozen embryo transfer (FET) this time, using leftover embryos from our IVF last fall.

I will be doing a lupron protocol starting after my next LH surge. I'm supposed to use ovulation predictor kits until I show a surge, and seven days later I start lupron, then go to estrace, then progesterone shots. I'm really scared about starting this again. And I'm really scared that I will have severe joint pain again.

So, after the loss I was prescribed premarin to rebuild my uterine lining. A few days after starting the estrogen, I developed bad joint pain. I woke up in the morning with stiff, achy joints and they hurt all day. It was hard to do much of anything, my hands hurt so bad. Sounded a lot like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. That and the pleuritic chest pain I still have. But my rheumatoid factor was low and I had two negative ANA tests and was told I therefore did not likely have an autoimmune disease. And none of the doctors I saw (my internist, my peri, a rheumatologist and my reproductive endocrinologist) felt that the premarin was a factor in causing the joint pain. So here I go again, back on the estrogen. Hoping I'm not doomed to have joint pain for months. Because as bad as infertility is, infertility paired with chronic pain is even worse. And according to the protocol, if you do get pregnant they continue the estrace and progesterone for ten to twelve weeks.

So I just hope for once there is good news. Lasting good news. Long awaited good news. A healthy pregnancy. A living, healthy baby. No more joint pain.

I would pray but I gave up on praying when our son died. Although I find myself unconsciously sneaking one in now and then.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Happy New Year

So we spent the early hours of 2009 in the emergency room of our local hospital. My nurse wore a "Happy New Year" tiara. Cute.

During an hour long ultrasound, I saw what had happened immediately. Our child looked like he was wrapped in cellophane. There was little to no amniotic fluid left. You'd think this would be reason for the on-call OB to come down. But no. The ER doctor said there was nothing they could do and I should go home and take it easy. Drink lots of fluids. That might help.

We were sent home with directions to call my obstetrician's office the next day. Or come back if something changed. Like if I started having contractions. Or if I developed a fever or other signs of infection. There was nothing they could do.

I drank obscene amounts of liquid. Slept on the couch. Only got up to pee. Leaked fluid like crazy on an irregular but frequent basis. No position helped, not lying down, not sitting up. We scoured the Internet. Even on line things appeared dire. I felt desperate. My husband continued to carry some hope.

On January 2 I finally got to see an OB. Turned out to be the same one who told me it would be "very unusual" to leak amniotic fluid at my stage of pregnancy. She said, I just talked with one of our perinatalogists and they said there's a very low chance of this pregnancy continuing. She said, I didn't have the number before but they said less than 2% for a healthy baby. Then she put the doppler on my belly. We heard our child's heart beating steadily, 155 beats per minute. She said, let me arrange for you to consult with a perinatalogist. We were then scheduled to meet with one.

The perinatologist explained the situation to us. No fluid means poor lung development and poor kidney development, let alone the distinct likelihood that other systems would also be severely affected. Unlikely to survive and profoundly disabled. The peri had been in practice for more than 40 years and had seen one healthy baby after a pPROM this early. And that pPROM was due to amniocentesis, not due to some random event that caused mine. And I would likely develop infection which could jeopardize our chances of ever having a healthy pregnancy.

We chose to end our child's suffering by not trying against all odds to take him home with us. We loved him too much for that.

Now I'm sure that there are people out there who have made a different choice than we did. That would be your business. We wanted this baby more than life itself and his father and I made the best, most loving decision we could make. The most unselfish. And while I miss him every day, I have never regretted putting his needs before ours. Even though sometimes the pain I feel is almost more than I can bear.

So keep your judgements to yourself.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Been There, Done That, Bought the Tee Shirt

It's been a long road for us.

Mr. Chop and I were married in 2003 but didn't start TTC right away. I wanted to go to graduate school. So we waited until I turned thirty in 2005. That means it's been nearly four years. For a long time we tried on our own, when that wasn't successful, we went through the process of testing and found that my husband has poor sperm morphology. Five intra-uterine inseminations later, we still weren't pregnant. Next step, IVF with ICSI.

I was what they call in the IVF world a great responder. Thirty-eight eggs were retrieved, 25 of which were mature. Two beautiful embryos were transferred into my carefully prepared endometrium on day three. Our clinic froze six three day embryos and four six-day blastocysts. After our two week wait, we got the positive result we'd waited for, a positive beta, followed by doubled numbers in beta #2. At 6 weeks 5 days I had my first ultrasound. One beautiful heart beat.

But we didn't get to enjoy the pregnancy for long. Three days after this amazing ultrasound I woke up from a Saturday afternoon nap to a nightmare. I was bleeding profusely, so much that I passed out and had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance.

At the hospital we were amazed to see that precious heart beating on ultrasound. Despite all the bleeding, our little one was still hanging in there. I was diagnosed as having a "threatened miscarriage" caused by a large subchorionic hemorrhage. I was sent home and told to take it easy. Only time would tell what would happen.

I went on bedrest. My mother-in-law flew two thousand miles to spend a week taking care of me. Ultrasound after ultrasound showed all was well, but that blasted hemorrhage was still there, a dark, constantly reorganizing reminder that my pregnancy was precarious. Over the next couple of months, I had almost constant uterine cramping. But every time I went for an ultrasound, baby looked great. I kept my activity level to a bare minimum and was on and off modified bedrest.

By January 31, 2008 I was starting to feel pretty good. I was 14.5 weeks pregnant, and finally starting to have an appetite again. That day I worked half a day and met a friend for lunch. I felt so good I went to the mall to exchange a few items. When I got home that afternoon, I got up out of the car and felt something leak. I felt panic rise as I rushed into the house. I had leaked some fluid that was tinged with dried blood.

I took a deep breath and called the obstetrician's office. It was 5 p.m. on New Year's Eve and I was forwarded to the on-call obstetrician. I asked what the fluid could be. Could it be amniotic fluid? "That would be highly unusual," she said.