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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Thoughts on Becoming a Mother"

I did not write this, and take no credit.  I "borrowed" from someone else on the internet.  It's poignant and true.  My favorite line is:  "I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall." It's that little bit of time that I need to mourn and cry and be sad - before I stand back up and fight again.  Because I do stand back up...
There are women that become mothers without effort, without thought, without patience or loss and though they are good mothers and love their children, I know that I will be better. I will be better not because of genetics, or money or that I have read more books but because I have struggled and toiled for this child. I have longed and waited. I have cried and prayed.... I have endured and planned over and over again. Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams. I will notice everything about my child. I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover. I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life. I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold and feed him and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot or cry tears of a broken dream. My dream will be crying for me. I count myself lucky in this sense; that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see. Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that God leads me to, I will not be careless with my love. I will be a better mother for all that I have endured. I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain. I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my own body. I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall. I have prevailed. I have succeeded. I have won. So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs. I listen. And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely. I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and when life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes. I have learned to appreciate life. Yes I will be a wonderful mother.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Unlearnable Lessons

We have a diagnosis for the miscarriages – it’s my bicornuated uterus. It’s not a septum, so there’s nothing we can do to correct it. Dr. K recommends we try with the little frozen guys – one at a time, because a twin pregnancy would be dangerous for me and the babies. If this doesn’t work, it looks like we may need to turn down a different path.

Feeling so sad for myself – I wondered to a friend that maybe God was telling us that we should not be parents. I was reminded to think of how many people do have children and waste that miracle thru abuse, abandonment, addiction, etc. Yeah… may be I will never remember that lesson on my own when I need it. This challenge should not be taken as a sign that we are unfit.

My Lovey is brilliant! He believes that we were brought together, each with our own problems, so that we could not blame the other for our predicament; and also because we are very strong team. That our strength will shine for whatever outcome we end up with. He is so smart and I love him so much!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A rotten-no-good-day!

A rotten-no-good-day! Yesterday morning, I got a bad feeling – and subsequently had a meltdown for my poor husband to deal with. I was very apprehensive of the HSG test I was to have that afternoon. Well… my gut was right, just like when I had the feeling of dread that coincided with losing baby Benjamin.

I explained to the Physician’s Assistant who was doing the HSG all the reasons why we were repeating the test. She said she had looked in to my chart ahead of time, but I filled in some of the gaps for her. Turns out – my uterus did look bicornate from one angle and “weird” from another angle. So much so, she actually called the doctor who teaches the HSG procedure to come in and take a look. He was very nice, and they talked through some other angles of looking at the dye in my uterus on the screen. However, what he did say wasn’t as impacting as what he didn’t say. I put him on the spot, basically asking him if I could carry a baby…. He said that it would be left up to Dr. Kahn to determine the exact treatment, but if it’s a septum and we remove it “I guarantee that you’ll have a live baby.” Ah – but what he didn’t say………. If it’s no septum and it can’t be cut out – does that mean my body is just not made to produce life? That is what I heard.

On the way home, I called my nurse coordinator, Chris, and vented on her voicemail. She did call me back – again I’m reading into what was said – she has asked Dr. Kahn to call me today to discuss how these test results may or may not affect moving ahead in this cycle. To me, that is stark indicator that I should expect they will impact whether or not we go ahead with a Frozen Embryo Transfer.

Right now I feel like everything is whirling around me and I’m standing still. I feel like I’ve been following a path that has always been mapped out for me but maybe I don’t belong on it. I can’t quite put words to the unsettle-ness I feel. What I do know is that I cannot put those three little embryos back into my uterus just so they can die. I did tell Lovey that if things go the way I think they will – I want to put them up for adoption. I don’t want them to die! I think adoption is beautiful and magical – and it also happens to scare me. It’s like I just climbed a ginormous mountain – I’m tired, I had to learn what to do on the way… but only to get to a point where you realize there is another huge climb ahead of you – and you have to learn a whole new set of tools to ascend. I don’t know adoption lingo, costs, resources, how-to’s. It’s been so difficult thus far – I don’t know if I mentally have it in me to start over. Then………I think about explaining to some little face how I gave up on them because it seemed too hard. And I feel like a monster. Guilt.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2011 was not a great year...

This past year, 2011, has been very difficult.   There's no way to sugar coat it.  In the spring, we did a fresh IVF cycle - and we were pregnant!!  We saw a little heartbeat...  I really can't rehash all the details again, so I will c&p and email in which I shared the details with my best friend.

We went to see the OB (Dr. Ayoub) and he could not find any baby on ultrasound.  He said there was so much bleeding it was hard to see; but he did see a sac but nothing in it.  He asked that we go back to Shady Grove (Dr. Kahn) and have him do another scan – and “luckily” they are both in the same building.  So he called Dr. Kahn for us and we went to his office.  He did another ultrasound and was able to see the sac, but it took a really long time for him to find the fetus.  There was no more heartbeat.  On Monday it was in the middle and you could see it and the hearbeat easily.  Now it was kinda stuck to the side and hard to see.  The hematoma stayed about the same size since Tuesday.  I learned it’s also called a SCH – sub-chronic hemorrhage.    Dr. Ayoub says it’s common in about 30% of pregnancies and comes from where the sac attaches to the uterus – kinda like an injury that doesn’t heal right.  But it doesn’t always cause problems.    Both Dr. Kahn and Dr. Ayoub agreed that we’re miscarrying and have lost this baby.  So, Dr. Kahn confirmed what Dr. Ayoub suspected and both agreed chromosomal testing (it’s called something else) of the fetus is probably a good idea since this is our second miscarriage.  The best way to make sure we can do that is to have a D&C done rather than wait it out at home.  So Dr. Ayoub squeezed us in to have the procedure done tomorrow. 
Honestly , I’m numb right now.  I did come back to work… and was really distracted and busy, until I just talked to John again.  He’s so sad.  I feel like a failure.  Both doctors were very sweet and supportive and both reassured us that there was nothing we did to make this happen.  Which is nice to hear in some ways but in other ways – I’d like to know WHY… you know?  Is there something we can change now? 

Lovey wrote this poem and shared it on Facebook:
Dad’s Angel
My special little child I never picked your name.
Know Dad always loves you, my life you would have changed.
I never got to meet you though I saw your small heart beat,
I never got to hold you or tickle your small feet.
You may have been a little boy or a little girl
To me it would not matter, I just want you in my world.
At six weeks old you were too small to see with my bare eye.
Know it hurts Dad deeply to have to say goodbye.
You never saw this world for the bad place it can be,
You went straight to Heavens gates to wait for Mom and Me.

John J Davis

Things were not to be simple either... standard testing of my HCG levels after the D&C indicated something was wrong.  They were going up!  I was sent for a 3D ultrasound at a radiology facility.  That would not be standard either - the technician had a difficult time getting a good picture.  My uterus is bicornate - heart shaped and they did see something left behind.  I had to have a second D&C.  Insult to injury....

A few weeks later, after all the testing came back, we learned that "it" was a normal boy.  I remember how the air was sucked out of my lungs when Dr. A said that.  I was not prepared to know we lost a little boy...who should have been fine.  No definite explanations for what happened.  John and I decided to name him Baby James.

After some time to heal; Dr. A had me do a thorough blood panel and an MRI.  The blood testing did not show any major issues, thankfully.  The MRI confirmed that I have a bicornate uterus - not sure if its from a septum or why it is the way it is.  This is confirming another stumbling block to our dream of becoming parents.  I am just not shaped the best way... 

Dr. Khan was not overly concerned with my bicorate uterus, and our nurse Chris backs that up by saying they have patients frequently with successful pregnancies.  So, after healing, we jump back in to another cycle. 

This time, we have serveral strong embryos.  We were scheduled for a 3 day transfer, then bumped to a 5 day.  We showed up on day 5 - they did not have us change, took us into a room and asked us to wait.  I panicked...wondering what was wrong.  We were bumped to a day 6 transfer cause there were several strong little guys still growing. 

We transferred two embryos; and froze 3.  We were pregnant!!  The ultrasound showed a heartbeat..and showed a small second sac where his twin was.  This time, I started bleeding the next day - I had gone to a bowling party, and had bowled just a frame.  I went to the restroom, saw blood and completely panicked.  Hysterical, I went to Sharon and we called John and he took me to the ER.  The ER was not very sympathetic - but they told me the baby measured behind.  Back to Dr Khan's office and there was still a heartbeat - and another SCH.  But this time...Dr Khan is confident we're ok.  Our nurse Chris gives us graduation instructions - has us make appointments with the high risk doctors too.

The day for our first appointment with the maternal fetal (high risk) doctors turns out to be traumatic.  The technician - just as if she's telling us the weather - says there is no heartbeat.  She was just as calm and cold as could be. 

What I should add - is that two days prior - I noticed all my symptoms ceased and I felt something was wrong.  Apparently, I was right...we think that is the day our baby died. 

Again - another D&C (10/14/11)... and again - testing came back to show a perfectly normal little boy.  WHY?!?!?  If he was a perfectly normal little boy why isn't he in my arms right now!  We named our little boy, Baby Benjamin.

Christmas is our favorite time of year, but there was no magic this year.  While in Michigan for Nicole & Alex's wedding in November, we made our usual trip to Bronners.  I picked out two sweet little angels and a memorial ornament for our tree.  You should have seen me in this happy Christmas store with tears rolling down my face.

 I am so disappointed with SGF right now though.  We received a letter that they are cancelling the shared risk medicine option as of the end of 2011.  We will get a refund of $7500.  But, it's not clear if we'll owe for past medicine, and we will need to pay out of pocket for any medicine going forward.  I am  not happy about this added stress.  We chose to use the shared risk programs to avoid adding more stress to the process. 

We have three embryo's on ice right now and we cannot let them down. So, to kick off 2012 we are meeting again with Dr. Khan to consult on the next cycle.  I pray that 2012 is kinder to us...