My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Something I don't get

Medical update before moving on to today's random thoughts.

I talked to my GP and he was pretty alarmed at my elevated prolactin levels.  When I gave him the number, his eyebrows jumped and his face did that thing that doctors faces aren't supposed to do.  While I tried to poo-poo the whole silly notion of a brain tumor by saying it's probably a holdover from the pregnancy, he's just shaking his head "nope, that's not it".  So I tried to poo-poo it another direction by asking if it's related to my PCOS.  Nope, not related.  His reaction?  "Well, these things are generally benign." 

Ok, that's NOT the reaction I was looking for here.  I was kind of hoping that we could all have a good laugh at my alarmist relatives for sending me running to the doctor to look for a brain tumor.  Yeah, he's not laughing.

So I get blood drawn and we send it out to the lab.  I call the fertility clinic and cancel my Monday blood draw appointment and kind of let them know that something different has come up that I'm going to have to deal with.

But my blood results came back really early (we were expecting them on the 4th).  Now my prolactin levels are BELOW normal.  WTF?????

So I call back, reinstate my bloodwork appointment at the fertility clinic and we'll see if this one test is a trend or a fluke.  And now my GP and IVF doctors are talking to each other and will be sharing findings with each other.

And I'm back in limbo waiting to find out if I have a brain tumor, if I am good to go on another FET round, or if I should simply just sit here and mope for a while.

So here's the thing I don't get.

I was chatting with the nurse while we were trying to get my blood drawn.  My veins have been drained so many times in the last year that they're starting to fight back by hiding and generally being empty so we had a significant amount of chatting time.  And this is a very small doctors office, so she is perfectly aware of the IVF, miscarriage, K's stomach cancer scare last month (he's fine), my skin cancer scare a few days earlier (I'm fine) and now this.

So I'm just kind of laughing about how the hits just keep on coming.  And she says "Well I think you're just an incredible woman."

Well, thank you, but uh, why exactly?  This last year has been just a string of incredibly bad luck.  How does it make a person brave, or extraordinary to simply live day after day of bad luck?  It's not like I had a choice in the matter.  I mean, if I had been given some cosmic choice, like either that person suffers or I can take on their suffering myself, well then ok, then I would get it.  But having all of this bad luck inflicted on me isn't a choice, and I'm not sparing anyone else any pain by taking it on myself.

There's nothing virtuous about surviving a ridiculous amount of bad luck.

The choices are deal with it or die.  And there's not much choice there since no one has offered an easy way to just die and not deal with this crap.

Is there some reaction here that I could be having that I'm not aware of?  Believe me, I'm crying and swearing about the injustice of it all at just about every opportunity I can get.  Am I extraordinary in some way because I haven't gone on some sort of public rampage?  Honestly, if there's an option out there that's a less brave reaction than I'm having and it would be easier to tolerate than just surviving day after day, I'd be perfectly happy to consider that option.  The day to day surviving isn't a whole lot of fun, but I didn't realize there was another option.

I'm not brave, I'm not extraordinary, I'm not even above average in any particular way.  All I am is still standing (sometimes) after all of these crappy events have taken place.  Show me a less brave option and I'll probably take it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The family gathering

The annual family gathering was yesterday and I didn't do so well.

The entire family always gathers at the end of March to celebrate my grandmothers birthday.  This year, she is 99.  I KNOW!  So her birthday party is pretty much a command performance because let's face it, every year it's very likely going to be her last one.  And yet she keeps on pluggin!  Various functions are failing her like her eyesight and hearing, but she has not lost a single brain cell over the years, and she was pretty well endowed with them to begin with.

Our family is huge.  And we all live in the area so when there's an event, there are a lot of us there.

I hate these events.  Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with the people there, everyone is nice, and interesting, and unlike other families, everyone actually gets along.  I would choose to hang out with the majority of people at these events, one on one.  But I'm shy.  I get really overwhelmed when I find myself in a crowd.  I don't like parties, I hate the mall, I just get nervous and introverted when faced with more than 3 people. 

Since I'm the youngest of my generation, I was always too little to get know my cousins as peers and never really felt like I knew many of them, but since I was the baby, everybody knew me.  In one branch of my family, I couldn't figure out which of the female cousins was which until I was a teenager.  Once I figured that out, they all started having kids and now I can't tell which kid is which or who that kid belongs to.

And my cousins kids range from ages of 5-just graduated from college.  I'm going to get real upset if they start having babies before I do, but I digress.

And this year, it was standing room only.  Seriously.  We walked in the front door and couldn't even get passed the landing because we were already standing amongst 10 other people and there was simply no place to go where there would be more elbow room.

So I chatted for a moment with those 10 people including an aunt and a couple of cousins.  I get embarrassed almost immediately because I incorrectly identify my cousins youngest boy with his older brother.  And another cousin starts talking to me about how miscarriage sucks, she went through it twice, and yeah it sucks.  Yup, in my family, the news travels throughout the, what, 200 or so family members within a matter of hours.  Everybody in that house knows that this is my first public appearance since the miscarriage.

So after that polite interaction, I head back out the front door to cry for a few minutes.  I gather myself together and head back into the fray.

A few more cousins, a moment of chat with my dad, I've made it into the living room now.  Grandma is stationed in the middle of the room and there are layers of people around her, so getting in there is difficult.  I'm faced with a few more cousins and as they say "Hi, how are you?" I'm trying to identify if that's just polite conversation starter, or if it's that "I know life sucks right now so really, how ARE you?" with sad face attached to it.  Am I supposed to politely chit chat or am I supposed to give a grieving status update?

And out the front door we go again to cry some more.  And while I'm out there crying, a distant cousin, one that's distant enough that I don't think I've ever actually had a conversation with her before, comes to the house with her new baby girl.

This particular cousin gets it.  She just had her baby in October and that was her 8th attempt.  She's done the IVF roller coaster, she's lost several children, a couple of sets of twins both herself and via a surrogate so when I say she gets it, she GETS it.  And we exchange a look that says she kind of feels bad bringing a baby into my sight but there's nothing we can do about it and I hope I was able to give enough of a smile to say that it's ok.  But yeah.

So crying jag finally over, and I try to wait it out a little bit because my face is red and puffy and there's just no hiding that I've been crying.  So, back into the fray.

I see Grandma and chat with her for a couple of minutes.  Yet another cousin tries to give me a hug and I have to ask her not to because if someone touches me, they are going to squeeze the tears right out of me.  After a few minutes of chat with Grandma, I consider heading deeper into the house to get a bite to eat.  But I glance over and there's an old woman goobering all over the new baby.

I'm supposed to be almost 8 months pregnant with twins at this event.  I'm supposed to have old ladies and kids trying to feel my belly for kicks and everybody is supposed to be trying to give me enough wiggle room to not crowd my giant belly.  But no.  I'm squished among people and the old ladies are goobering all over the other baby.

And that's it for me.  A total of about 30 minutes, probably 20 of those minutes spent outside crying.  And we head home, me sobbing all the way.  Didn't even make it fully into the house.

I called that distant cousin last night.  I didn't want her to feel like she brought with her the trigger that sent me running.  This camels back was already broken so the straw she brought didn't do a whole lot of damage.  We talked for about an hour and a half and I got a lot of good advice and some general comfort that I'm not overreacting about things, this really is as hard as I'm feeling it.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Really? Just, really?

Ok, seriously world, this is the direction we're heading?  Oh come on!  It's just getting friggin laughable now.

Here's the latest.

Just got a phone call from my aunt.  She heard about my elevated prolactin levels and had a concern.  You see, my cousin has battled a brain tumor for the last several years.  Getting it cut out, having it grow back, messing with his eyesight as is pressed on the optic nerve.  Some serious shit.  For all I'm going through, my cousin D has really had the worst of medical scary shit in our family.

Guess how they discovered it?  Elevated prolactin levels and headaches at the base of the skull. 


Seriously world?  You're giving me the same flippen symptoms that lead to the discovery of a brain tumor in my cousin? 

I've had pressure pain at the left side of the base of my skull for years.  Well before any of this crap started.  Nothing severe, just a random kind of sharp ouch between my ear and my neck. 

When they finally figured out what was going on with my cousin, his prolactin levels were in the thousands.  Mine are still in double digits so nothing nearly as severe as what they found with him.  But they also told him that it had been growing probably more than 10 years when they finally found it.  And for me, we're assuming that the prolactin is still raised due to the pregnancy.  Prolactin is the hormone that tells your body to produce milk, so yes, it's very likely just a hold over from the twin pregnancy, even though it's been over 3 months.

I'm sure this will turn out just like the mole that scabbed over yet turned out to be nothing.  Honestly, I'm not scared at the moment.  Just a bit incredulous that really?  Of all the things I'm dealing with right now, I need to consider the possibility of a fucking brain tumor???  It's like a frakkin soap opera!  Seriously, I would be rolling my eyes at the writers who even proposed this next potential storyline!

I'll be getting my prolactin levels checked in a couple of weeks.  If it hasn't dropped drastically or if it's increased, I'll be insisting that my doctor send me for an MRI just to double check.

I give up.  I just need to laugh at this because it's so flippin ridiculous.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pandora Fail

Turned on Pandora radio because there's nothing on TV.

First line I hear is Eddy Vedder singing "oh where oh where can my baby be?  The lord took her away from me...."

Hit the skip button to be greeted by "Stairway to Heaven".

I've cried enough today so I'm really trying to laugh.  It's not really working though.

Facebook Farfegnugen

Dear Pregnant People of Facebook,

It's not you, it's me.  Perhaps if I were more mature, or a better person in general, it wouldn't have come to this.  But it has.

I'm going to have to defriend you for the time being. 

You're all swell people and I wish you all the best in the world.  I sincerely wish I were a big enough person to be happy for you without it triggering sadness for myself.  But I'm not.

So awesome photographer, I hope we can be friends again in the future.  But a couple of days ago, my heart ached with jealousy when you said your little girl said "Mama" for the first time and blew you a kiss.  And while you're still in full on baby mode, today you smacked me across the face with a surprise ultrasound of the little boy you have on the way.  I can't keep seeing that beautiful little girl in my newsfeed every time you say something, and now I REALLY can't stand to see the growing ultrasound pictures that would be coming my way in the coming months.  That surprise ultrasound sent me into 2 hours of wailing and a really sobby phone call to my hubby at work.  But I really do like you and was kind of hoping we could be down to earth moms together.  And again, it's not you, it's totally me. 

College buddy who's wife is due about the same time my little girls were due.  Sorry I can't swap spit up stories with you.  I hope she has a smooth delivery and I wish I could watch that little girl wrap you around her finger.  But it would just kill me to watch you go from rocker to goo-goo guy when my husband isn't getting the same opportunity.

And God is Great SAHM, sorry, but you've gotta go too.  I'm sure this God character of yours does wonderful fabulous things for you, but if he exists, he's choosing to kick me in the teeth over and over and over again lately and I just want to throttle every mention of that imaginary bastard that you're praising every friggin day.  All the best to you and your family.

Miscarriage Mama

Friday, March 18, 2011

Just friggin fabulous

So I've been taking this horrible hormone for a couple of weeks and just generally feeling like crap.  I'm hormonal, I have cramps, I'm grouchy, I'm bleeding, and this morning I get a phone call.

My thyroid and prolactin levels are too high to continue with this attempt.


Oh, and it gets better.  Not only do I have to scrap this attempt, but a fresh round might not be available to me anymore.  Why you ask?  Well I'll tell you.

If you haven't been following along, than you might not be aware of the fact that I'm a fat woman.  When doing a fresh IVF attempt, if you're over a certain BMI, they can't do the egg retrieval in the office, they need to use the neighboring hospital facilities.

Why is this suddenly an issue when it wasn't an issue the last time?

Because my clinic has merged with another fertility clinic and now all of their standard procedures, agreements, la-dee-das are thrown into disarray as they figure out how they are going to do things moving forward.  So for the time being, they are discontinuing egg retrievals from women over a certain BMI.

Theoretically, they'll have it figured out by the time I could do a fresh round (July at the earliest) but there are no guarantees.

At least that's what they're telling me.  But here's what I think is going on behind the scenes.  The fertility clinic that they merged with happens to be the only clinic I have ever heard a radio advertisement for.  You know what that tells me?  They are more concerned about business than medicine. 

Fat patient = more cost to treat (higher dosages, extra complications, etc) and a slightly lower success rate.

When someone is shopping for a fertility clinic, let's face it, there's not much information we have to go on other than success rate numbers.  The clinic that mine merged with is about business.  So it would make sense to me that the fat cats running the place would prefer not to treat the expensive potential failure patients, and rather boost their success rate numbers by only treating the cheap and very good prognosis patients.

So I get this awful news that this FET attempt is a bust.  And I have to go on meds to treat the high hormone levels.  And we'll have to pay for the appointments we've already had and the lupron we've already used so that we can use our prepaid plan for the full next attempt, which is hopefully next month.

And on top of ALL of that, I need to spend the next 4 months attempting to lose a minimum of 14lbs so I'll be under the BMI line that will allow them to do an egg retrieval in house.  Will they have their shit together by then so I could do a fresh attempt even at my current weight?  I dunno.  So I'm going to have to diet and as a backup plan in case I'm ready to move forward before they are.

And if you remember back to the gestational diabetes portion of my pregnancy, one of my biggest fears/failures/life miseries is the attempt to maintain a diet and lose weight.

Chocolate gorge and crying jags this weekend, then start dieting and exercising on Monday.

I hate my life I hate my life I hate my life I hate my life I hate my life I hate my life I hate my life

Friday, March 11, 2011

The pain you have

I have a lot of guilt issues.  One of those issues is "how dare I feel so crappy when others have it so much worse than I do?"

But I have come to a conclusion.  There is no universal scale of pain.  There is no 1-100 scale set up by the world to determine how much pain a person is allowed to claim.  Stub your toe?  You can claim a 3.  Your house burns down?  You get to claim 50.  Every person around you has died and you have no food, shelter, love, or anything else in life?  You get to claim 98.

No, it doesn't work like that.

Every person gets their own person pain scale of 1-100.  When you're little and life is generally pretty darned good, not getting a candy bar can really rate a solid 95.  Why?  Because that's what your pain scale is currently set at.

Years later, and you realize that things generally do go your way, then Suzy tells Dougie you like him and he replies by saying you're gross, well, that's another solid 95.  The whole scale has reset to allow for new levels of pain.

And then later, when you experience the first death in your family, you've got a whole new level of pain to contend with and for that period of time, you're experiencing another 95.  The Suzy told Dougie fiasco?  On your new scale, that's now a 40 instead of being the 95 it used to be.  But at the time you experienced it, it was just as painful as what you now define as a 95.

So as we get older, our scales get reset over and over again as we experience new levels of pain.  Each time we get to a new level, it's the hardest thing we've ever gone through and we can't imagine anything worse.

And yet whenever we're going through our own personal hardest level of pain, someone is always there to tell us how someone else has things worse.  And in the process of trying to cheer us up by telling us all of the things we do have in our lives, they actually make it worse because now we have to feel guilty for feeling so crappy about what we don't have.

Am I currently experiencing some crappiness?  Yup, you betcha.  And I'm unhappy about it, and it hurts, and I'm scared and freaking out.

Am I experiencing the same amount of crappiness that the people of Japan are currently experiencing?  Hell no I'm not!  I will concede that they are experiencing a level of loss, and fear, and general crappiness that hopefully I will never know.

But quite frankly, the fact that someone else has it worse than me doesn't make my own personal crappy any better.  That's like saying the papercut on my finger doesn't hurt because someone else chopped their whole finger off.  Guess what?  It still hurts even if someone else is hurting more.

Why do people try to say you shouldn't feel bad because others have more reason to feel bad than you do?  Have you ever seen people try to do the opposite of this?  You shouldn't enjoy your new phone because your neighbor got a new car?  Obviously they are happier than you so don't bother feeling happy.

Yes, I know there are stories that are much more heartbreaking than mine.  They lost more children, at later gestation times, or have lost living children, or their partners have left them.  I'm aware of this, and my heart does go out to those who've pain scales have reset to include levels of pain that I've personally never felt.

Perspective is a good thing to have.  But when someone is genuinely hurting, if you want to make them feel better, perspective isn't going to help.  Really, it's not.

It's ok to be sad.  It's ok to be angry.  It's ok to feel like everything is simply miserable.  Just like you don't feel sad because Bill Gates has more money than you do, it's ok not to feel happy just because someone else has more misery than you do.

When I'm rolling my eyes at my kids teenage angst one day, remind me that I said this.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ugh, Lupron

It's only day 2 of Lupron and I'm already feeling crappy.  I remember this from my first IVF attempt.  The stuff makes me feel overwhelmed, low, depressed, hopeless.  At least I have the knowledge that I'm feeling this way due to the Lupron and it's temporary.  But I'm not enjoying it while I'm living it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sorry for your loss, God, and Heaven

For those who believe in God, you may just prefer to skip this post.

I am so sick of certain phrases!

Sorry for your loss.  On the miscarriage forums that I'm reading, this has replaced "Dear So and So" as a greeting. 

Just like the word "Dear" has been so overused to the point that is has absolutely no meaning, so has the phrase "sorry for your loss".  "Dear" used to be a term of endearment.  A way of describing the person you are addressing as someone who means something to you.  But because it has become the standard term used in letter writing, we now write "Dear" when addressing letters to strangers.

So at this point, "Sorry for your loss" is just a pointless phrase that people are writing for lack of anything better to write.  It bugs me.  It takes all of the meaning out of it.

And every time I see something about how my babies are in heaven or God has some sort of bigger purpose, bullshit people.  Plain and simple bullshit. 

If God had some sort of greater purpose in deciding who gets to have babies and who doesn't and when, then healthy babies would not be born to people who eventually abuse them to death.  And babies would not be born to people who have absolutely no way of caring for them, or don't even have the desire to do so.

Let's face facts.  There are dregs of every society.  The people who's mere existence makes other peoples lives a scary and more difficult place to be.  The abusers.  The thugs and thieves.  The people who choose to abuse the welfare system and drain society rather than contribute to it.  And these "people" are just as fertile as anyone else in the world.

So if you're telling me that some sort of God has a bigger plan and everything happens for a reason, oh bullshit in the highest order!  Why would God give a healthy baby to someone who would throw it in a dumpster?  Or who will shake it death when it cries?

So no, there is no bigger plan.  No, things do not always happen for a reason.  And no, there is no all seeing, all knowing, all blessed God.  Because if there is a God out there denying me and my husband the children we so desperately want to raise into strong, reliable, contributing adults, while choosing to give babies to the crack addict who can't identify the baby daddy with better things to do than to feed said baby, then your God is someone I want absolutely nothing to do with.  He is a completely fucked up shit head who's playing with humanity like some masochistic Sims game.

So seriously, quit telling me to find some sort of solace in God.  I didn't believe in a God before, and the last thing that will bring comfort is the concept that this was done to me and so many of the other wonderful potential parents on purpose. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Calendar Counting

Sooooooo, I glanced through a calendar.  Just counting a few weeks, seeing how things might fall.

If this FET works as currently scheduled, the baby will be due approx Dec 21st.  For those of you just joining us, my MC started on Dec 21st and finished Dec 22nd. 

And if it takes a couple of days for the embryo(s) to implant, we could be looking at a due date of Christmas.  While we haven't put a lot of thought into it, the boy name we have on the back burner is Christopher.  But you can't name a baby Chris if their birthday is Christmas.

I really should stop looking at calendars.  They never work out right for me anyway.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Lottery Ticket Round of FET

As reported last night, my body has decided to have a schedule all it's own.  I was planning on starting this process again in a couple of weeks but MEB (My Evil Body) has decided that I'm starting tonight.

Medications are being ordered.  Have to hit the pharmacy to pick up my birth control pills today (because that's how it ironically starts).

I'm calling this The Lottery Ticket Round.  I don't know exactly what I'm rooting for here.  If I get pregnant from this, yay!  If I don't, I can do a fresh round in a couple of months and hopefully get pregnant from that as well as some extra embryos for a chance at a second child later.  I'd almost be sad that I won't get the opportunity to bank more embryos this summer if I'm pregnant.  So, uh, win-win?

At the moment (subject to change of course), I'm not as emotionally invested in this attempt as I was and will be for other attempts.

And now for the musical song stylings of OK Go which is stuck in my head for some odd reason.

Because my body has no sense of calendars

Another slightly graphic topic I'm writing about tonight.  You have been warned.

Our plan was to induce a period and expect it on the second week of February.  Then induce another period and expect that to arrive the second week of March.

That March cycle was going to be the start of our FET fun and frivolity.  We'd do the transfer in Mid April and probably find out the results during the merry merry first week of May which includes our anniversary, both of our birthdays, and our girls original due date. 

The goals with this schedule had a few different purposes:

  1. Give my body at least one full cycle to clean itself out and calm itself down before we start pumping it full of hormones again.
  2. Give my emotions a little extra time to settle down so I'm not crying all the friggin time.
  3. To go into that horrible horrible first week of May either having something to celebrate, or just stacking our next disappointment on top of the grief we'll already be dealing with.  Ya know, be efficient about being upset.
And my period is responding with it's usual cooperativeness.  I took the medications to induce and then.....nothing.  Should have started the ended the second week of Feb.

But it was not to be.  So I refill my prescription so I can start another round on March 1.  And as my darling K is at the drugstore picking up said prescription, I go potty and pull away a lovely wad of mucousy pinkish toilet paper. 

What the frak is that supposed to be????

My periods tend to be so light, that if I get one bloody wipe, we say that counts and we move on.  But this wasn't even a real wipe of blood.  Just mucous tinged pink to give a slight indication that some blood might be mixed in with that icky discharge.  And I've just taken pregnancy tests (just to make sure nothing happened during our grieving time) and nope, I'm not pregnant so it's not a new and funky pregnancy discharge.

In the morning I will be getting blood drawn and we'll find out if I'm starting my FET a couple of weeks early.  I really did want to go through one full cycle before trying again but clearly my uterus has some mystery calendar that it's working with where 5-10 days until your period should start = 3-4 weeks until your period should start.

I wasn't mentally prepared to start all of this damned rigmarole again this week.  I was just starting to think "okey dokey, let's get geared up to start this again in 2 weeks".

Assuming I start all of this again tomorrow (week one is just birth control pills, it's week 2 that gets interesting), that means we'll be learning whether or not it's successful in mid April.  If that's successful, that puts my fear moment (the week 19 mark) approximately on my parents anniversary, and the approximate due date at, oh, I dunno, the anniversary of losing my girls?  A few days before Christmas??

Argh.  I hope I get to start again tomorrow because I do want to be pregnant again as soon as possible.  On the other hand, that's not the best of calendars really.  Poor kid would have a Christmastime birthday.

Ah the dance of mixed emotions.  Would anyone care to tango?