Monday, 3 November 2008

Mourning the possibles


Hi.

Yep, it's me. It's really me. With an update at long last.

Apologies for my prolonged absence. I just haven't really known what to say.

Not true...I've known what to say, or what I've wanted to say, but I never could find the strength to actually type it out. Put it on paper.

Because that would make it real. And I would do anything for the events of the past month of my life to be a dream.

But alas, here we are again.

Truth be told, I can't even remember where we left off. I can't even remember if I'd mentioned that Hubs and I had decided to bite the bullet, drop the cash and go for IVF. I think I had, because I'd mentioned that our first go 'round was cancelled because I didn't respond to the meds.

That didn't happen the second time.

I responded, all right. Things went much better on the second try. Valuable lessons had been learned and were put into practice. By retrieval day, they'd gotten 15 eggs, 14 of which were mature. A day later, 10 had fertilized. And four days after that, seven of those 10 remained - we had seven beautiful day five blastocysts.

September 23 we transferred two of the wee things back to their rightful home. The transfer went wonderfully. The doctor was happy and very optimistic. I, for the first time in a very long time, was too.

Fourteen days after transfer I was supposed to go for my blood test (a beta, they call it) to see if things had worked. Never a patient diva, seven days post transfer I decided to pee on a pregnancy test to see if there was anything worth looking at in that elusive second line department.

Well sweet holy shit - there was.

Now, Hubs had to squint and hold it up to the light sideways to see it, but it was there. Truly. I still have the stick to prove it.

A few hours after that wonderful moment - I started spotting.

Not much, but enough to freak me the fuck out. My good friend urged me to call the clinic, so I did. They asked me to come in for some bloodwork - maybe I wasn't absorbing one of the support hormones properly. So I marched right over there and thrust my vein at anyone who would prick it.

Sure enough, I wasn't absorbing the progesterone. And that's not good - you need progesterone to not only get but, most importantly, stay pregnant. Expected levels during this time should be over 100. Mine was eight.

Eight.

I was literally millimeters away from starting a period and losing it all.

They also did a beta test to see if I was indeed registering pregnant that way. Anything under five is negative, over 10 is considered positive.

Mine was seven.

And thus the roller coaster that has been our lives for the past two months began.

Not only was I not absorbing the progesterone in the format in which they had given me, I wasn't making any of my own either. Doctor just shook his head, kept saying 'eight', like it didn't make sense to him either. So we switched to shots of progesterone in cottonseed oil, to be taken by a massive needle once a day directly into the muscle of my upper ass.

Good times.

I took the shots, the spotting stopped, my beta numbers started to increase. But not like they should. By day 10, my number was 27. Tripled (they're supposed to double every 48-76 hours) - this was exciting. But still, it wasn't nearly as high as it should be for that far along. I was told that I needed to see a number of at least 150 to 200 by 14 days after transfer for us to have a shot.

So what was my number on that 14th day? 151.

Seriously. I kid you not.

Numbers continued to increase, just barely along the lines of 'acceptable standards'. Doc booked me an early ultrasound because he was concerned about the viability of the pregnancy.

Turns out Doc's a smart guy.

We showed up for the ultrasound at 9:30am two Monday ago. I was ready to vomit, I was so so nervous about what they'd find - or wouldn't find. I should have been 6weeks4days along by this point. And by this point, they should have been able to see a heartbeat.

Bladder full to busting, I hobbled into the ultrasound room and assumed the position. The technician was poking and prodding and pushing around - and, of course, not saying a word. When she was all done, she told us the baby was there, measuring 5weeks4days, and there was no heartbeat.

I was crushed. Hubs believed it was simply too early to know.

We talked to the doctor. He told us that this is what he was afraid of...that by now there should be heartbeat, and we shouldn't already be measuring an entire week behind. He asked us what we wanted to do, and we were not ready to give up yet. We wanted to keep going, solider on as it were, to see what might happen. This little bean had hung in so far - we needed to know how much it had left.

Doctor warned us not to get our hopes up, that there was less than a 5% chance of this being a viable pregnancy. That horrible word again - viable. Like getting pregnant wasn't hard enough - now I have to fight and hope for it to just be viable? Isn't that kinda the freakin point here? Ugh.

I was a disaster. In my mind, it was the beginning of the end. Just a matter of time. Sure, we'd keep going back to see what, if anything, had changed, but that less than 5% was a death knell to me.

That week of being in limbo was brutal. I did my best to try and merely keep my head above water - to not worry about things too much until the day before the ultrasound because nothing could change the outcome. But every once in a while, these horrible thoughts would creep into my brain...visions of my uterus, so confused by all the artificial hormones, holding on with everything it's got to a baby who will never breathe a single breath.

It haunted me.

Finally, the week had passed and we were back in the clinic. I had an early morning meeting, so Hubs was going to meet me there - and of course, got stuck in traffic on the DVP. They made me go in without him.

The ultrasound technician, Lily was her name, was amazing. She got to work setting things up and said, 'okay, let's get ready to look at your growing baby' and I burst into tears. I didn't think I could handle this without Hubs there....she held my hand, stalled as much as she could, and before you knew it he was there and able to take her place as my official hand holder. She told me she was good luck, and that she thought good things were going to happen for us.

And then she turned the screen to me and showed me our baby's heartbeat.

I cried. Openly and deeply, I wept on that table, legs akimo, cooter cam lodged where the sun don't shine. I cried because I got to see that little flutter, and even if it was only for a few seconds and no matter what the outcome, no one can ever take that away from me.

Then I cried some more when she said to the doctor (who had recently entered the room) that the heartbeat was 89 beats per minute, and the baby was measuring 6weeks1day.

Before he even said it, I knew. But hearing him say the words 'this is not good news' truly solidified things.

He knows me well, my doctor. Knows that I don't want things sugar coated. That I need realism, not a cheerleading squad. And so he gave me realism, right between the eyes. While I was lying on that table, legs akimbo, cooter cam lodged where the sun don't shine. And I cried some more.

We chatted afterwards, and he told us his biggest concern was the slow growth rate. That the baby had only displayed three days of growth in a week's time. And the heartbeat wasn't great either. Yes, it was there, but it was low. Should have been over 110.

Feels like a broken record, doesn't it? Numbers never lining up, always there but not there enough. Yes, this has been my/our life for what feels like way too long.

So we decided to cut the hormones in half and see what that did. And it's back again in a week for, you guessed it, another ultrasound.

Of course, this is the week where I have my nephew's birthday, my niece's first birthday party, and a friend's baby shower. Oh, and Halloween. A truly kid filled week. And I won't lie - it was freaking hard. So hard, trying to keep a smile on my face. The only thing that saved me was thinking of that little flutter, and wondering, hoping against hope, that things might change direction.

Then today rolled around. In we go for another round of poking and prodding. I have the non communicative technician again this time who says nothing while she pokes and prods. Nothing. I have no idea what's happening - but in my gut, I know it's not good.

As I stand up to leave, I'm putting my pants back on when she tells me in her heavy Russian accent that the baby is measuring 6weeks1day. In that moment, I know it's well and truly done. No growth. Nothing.

I wait to ask about the heartbeat, sure that it's gone. That all life has just stopped. But instead, she tells me it's 114 beats per minute.

Yet again, we defy all medical logic.

We gather our belongings and wait to speak to the doctor. He confirms my beliefs - there is no hope left.

No growth in a week. In fact, what was supposed to be our baby actually shrunk in one of its key measurements. And he has no idea why the heartbeat has gotten stronger. Makes no sense, but he's sure there is something genetically wrong with this particular baby. And that we need to be put out of our suffering, our misery. He said that he hates to see us in this limbo.

And for once, Hubs and I both agree with him - this is the end.

So I'll stop taking all hormones and see what happens from there. Because oh yeah - no hospital will do a D&C on an embryo with a heartbeat. Talk about adding insult to injury. We know it's not going to be viable, but we can't help you.

So once again, we wait. We wait to see if my not taking drugs will help me to miscarry naturally. Goodie. Sounds like fun. Can't wait.

If nothing happens between now and Monday, you guessed it!, we go back in for another ultrasound. If the heartbeat has subsided naturally, they'll begin the process of scheduling the D&C. And if not, we have two choices - wait for nature to do its thing, or have it taken care of clinically.

That's right - I'd have to have an abortion.

Nothing like adding a truckload of salt to my already gaping wound. Because there's a heartbeat, we would have to make the decision to terminate the pregnancy and get it done at an abortion clinic despite the fact that there's no genetic viability for this little one. Just doesn't seem fair to me.

What's worse, is that after a D&C, they can/will take the tissue and send it away for testing. We could get answers as to what happened. Why this didn't stick, what went wrong. Not so with abortion. So again, not like it's bad enough we have to go through the abortion process, but we don't get any much needed/wanted answers either.

'Cause sitting in a waiting room surrounded by women who are CHOOSING to end their pregnancies isn't bad enough.

Fuck.

Fuck the universe, big time.

So there ya go. The update to end all updates.

Again, sorry for being absent, but now that you've had a front row seat, hope you'll understand why hibernation was the name of the game for so long.

I can't promise that I'll be back daily, but I'll do my best to update as I can, when I'm feeling up to it. I have no idea what the next few weeks shall hold, but then again that's nothing new for me lately.

So for now I'll sign off and thank you for reading if you've made it this far. Believe it or not, it actually does help to get it all out there.

And that's your long overdue dash. How's your diva doin'?

20 comments on "Mourning the possibles"

Marlene on 4 November 2008 at 08:46 said...

I don't know what to say, except that I'm just so sorry. Sending you strength and lots of hugs, and keeping you in my thoughts.

celtic_kitten on 4 November 2008 at 08:53 said...

*hug* <-- There's lots more where that one came from, too.

Talia said...

I don't even know what to say. All I can do is send you a huge hug through the computer. Know that I'm here for you if you need anything at all.

Shoe_Gal said...

Oh God, I'm just so sorry. I'm thinking about you lots and sending you TONS of virtual hugs.

-Jill

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry Diva. *hugs* If anyone deserved a good turnout it was you.

Anonymous said...

Diva,

You are an amazing woman! I followed your story closely on BB (and continue to do so) and your strength always amazes me. I so wanted this for you and celebrated with you when you got your BFP. Now I mourn with you as well. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Take time to care for yourself.

Chixor from BB

Anonymous said...

Oh Diva,

My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time.

Katherine on 4 November 2008 at 22:09 said...

I can't even begin to understand half of what you are going through. My heart is aching for you and my eyes are tearing up.

May you and your DH find strength in one another in this difficult time.

I'm truly very very sorry for you :(

Anita on 4 November 2008 at 23:10 said...

Diva my heart aches for you and your husband. I hope you can lean on each other for support and work your way through this very difficult time. My heart goes out to you.

Anonymous said...

I'm so, so, so sorry for you and your hubby.

Anonymous said...

Oh Diva, I'm so very sorry to read this update. I was pulling for you & hoping that finally things would work out for you. Sending you lots of hugs.

Ginelle

Anonymous said...

I am so, so, so, so sorry.

I really don't know what else to say.

Anonymous said...

Your new picture says it all. May you find the strength to continue on your quest for a baby.

Much love and hugs.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to send you hugs! I'm so sorry that this has not worked out for you and your husband. I will keep you in my thoughts.

Erica Barrera on 6 November 2008 at 20:58 said...

I am so sorry for you and your husband! My thoughts and prayers are with you. You are unbelievably strong and I admire you for that!

Anonymous said...

So so sorry to read this update.
As someone about to embark on the IVF journey, I can relate to half of your story but the rest is totally devastating. So sorry.

grimeysgal on 6 November 2008 at 21:44 said...

HUGS

Anonymous said...

I lurk on your blog every now and then and have thought about you often. I feel such sadness for the pain you are experiencing. I am so, so sorry. Life isn't fair and you don't deserve this. Hugs to you.

Anonymous said...

I am thinking about you and your hubby. You are in my thoughts and I hope for only good things for you in the future. I wish I could give you a hug in person.
Camilla

Shelley said...

I'm so sorry for you and your husband. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

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