Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The group

After the last miscarriage, reality set in.  This may not happen ever.  We didn't have luck on our own, we didn't have luck with medication, and the procedures, I was beginning to wonder what was wrong with me.  (I know every girl says that, and they shouldn't, its the way your body is, its not something you can help).

So I wanted to find others that may be in my same situation.  Thats not easy to do, not many people talk about it, and definitely don't say on Facebook, hey guess what we are infertile!  So you have to search.  A friend of mine introduced me to a girl in NC over FB that had been through 5 miscarriages, but never fertility treatments.  She and I started chatting, and she mentioned that I should visit a group.  That felt like AA or something, a group to talk about my feelings.  I thought well, I guess it couldn't hurt.  Why not!!  So, she helped me locate one in Florida, and soon after the last miscarriage I went to a meeting.

It was so odd, I showed up at the church, and walked into a group of randomness.  There were all sorts of walks of life, all couples and I was alone.  I didn't think hubby would want to go, so it was just me.  In reality I wished he was there.  I heard everyone's stories, and I cried for them.  I mean my story seemed so minor compared to theres.  Loosing kids, loosing babies it was horrible.  It made me scared to have one.  I thought, there is too much loss out there.  I left the meeting so upset and so frustrated for those people.  I couldn't believe how much pain they had gone through.  The whole thing made me sick.  In theory, the idea of a group is good.  I think it helped me put things in perspective, but it made me sad.  This was real and I wished it wasn't.

Soon after that, we went back to the doctor to talk about options, and what had happened to us that year.  Doctor told us he wanted me to have a panel of bloodwork done called a miscarriage panel, and recommended surgery to see what was going on in my uterus.  All this scared me, but we figured it was best.  So we scheduled the surgery for the end of January and did the bloodwork right before the holidays.  We had done so much and come so far to not know.

Craft fair, and pregnant...(November)

A good friend of mine asked me to display my Blue Chair product at her craft fair.  I gladly said yes!  It was going to benefit the humane society, which I thought was great!  So part of our profit would go to the dogs and cats!  So exciting!  So she asked me well, back in the summer, so I started getting my inventory ready back in June.  I knew I had a lot to work on, and I worked full time, and we were about to start all the fertility treatments.  I didn't know what would come of anything.  

Sorry this post is a little out of order, but at the time of this craft fair I was about 5 weeks pregnant in November, not knowing that the outcome of this one was going to be a loss.  I had literally poured myself into sewing and projects to keep my mind off of things from the previous loss.  Its just a blur, looking back at the whole process.  This helped at times, to just lock myself into the sewing room and not come out for hours during the weekends.  I didn't have to answer to anyone outside, or spend time with anyone, who would ask me why I wasn't pregnant or had kids yet.  Its just a crazy time, when you are going through fertility treatments, and not telling people around you.  Its heartbreaking when you get the news that it didn't work, or that it did and it was only a matter of time that you wouldn't have it anymore.  Its so sad, and so many women and men go through this struggle.  

Results from October

12 long days.  AGAIN!  Its literally the longest 12 days of your life.  You are trying to pay attention to your body, to figure out if you are pregnant or not.  We wanted this so much, we had come so far.  It had been 2 years, and we were exhausted.  I know some people try for longer, and we would have but we decided to go for the big guns.  I was now in my 30's and I knew that time would start ticking.

12th day, into the clinic, tested and waited for the call.  The call came, positive!  Got the numbers, and they were good, come back in 2 days, to see if the levels had doubled.  2 days later, came back the numbers had gone up, but not doubled.  They said that was ok, to come back in 2 days.  2 days later, numbers went up a little more but didn't double.   I was getting scared.  They told me that it was inconclusive just yet, to wait it out.   I was 5 weeks at this point, and I started spotting.  They told me that was normal.  A week later, I started bleeding more, 6 weeks now.  I went in for an ultrasound.  There it was, on the screen, the embryo in a little open space in my uterus.  I saw it.  But the doctor said, you know, its a little flat looking, which isn't good.  He said there was a chance of another miscarriage to come back in a few days.  In the mean time, go home, lay flat, relax, drink water.

The weekend came and went and I went back to work.  Then things started happening.  I started having contractions at work one day.  I know they were not as strong as labor, but I am pretty sure they were like mild labor.  They were worse than period cramps, and they were 5 min apart.  They made me tear up in pain, and couldn't breathe properly.  I was in a meeting, and I couldn't stand it.  I had to leave.  As soon as it was over, I took my manager aside, and told her, "I think I am having a miscarriage".  She immediately told me to go home, or do what I needed to do.  As hard as it was, I left, and I called the doc.  They told me to come in, they would work me in.  Hubby said he couldn't be there, but to call him when I went in, he would be on speaker.  Still contracting, and bleeding a lot, I went in.  Another ultrasound, and hubs on the phone, there was nothing.  It was gone, or leaving.  I burst into tears, they were truly the worst tears.  He was crying on the line, the nurse was hugging me, and the doctor was just telling me how sorry he was.  He was not happy either.  This was our 2nd miscarriage that year, and one IVF, one FET.  Again, devastation.  I went home, and my MIL drove from South Carolina to be with us.   That night, I remember basically collapsing on the bathroom floor, with my husband, in tears.  I was in so much pain emotionally, and I couldn't express anything but cry.  Luckily it was getting close to the weekend, so I took that Friday off, and just rested.  I bled for a month this time.  Then I went to NC for Thanksgiving.  We had talked about telling them at dinner about the baby, but now we just had to deal with the loss.  I was still bleeding while in NC.  I think I finally stopped around the first of December.


After our little blow with a good friend dropping the bomb that she was pregnant, many others were posting on Facebook, and hubby and I were getting over things.  Work was going great, I just landed a huge job designing a medical clinic, and potentially would have 15 in the future to design.  So life was getting back to normal.  We decided after our little vacation in Lido (gulf coast) we would try again.  We wanted a family, and I thought that why not try again while we were fresh with what we had to do.  So we booked the FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) for October 31st....not the best day in my opinion, but ok.  Beginning of October, we went to Lido.  

We bought beach cruisers, packed them in the pickup truck, and had a room on the beach facing the sunset every night.  We walked to dinner after drinks in the room, there were plenty of places in the circle to shop and eat.  It was so nice.  We took a kayak trip, we went to a museum, we watched movies, laid on the beach, road bikes, and picked up shells.  It was so nice, and relaxing, I didn't want to leave!!!  

All this trip we were starting the meds again though, to get my body ready for the FET.  To do so, you shut your ovaries down.  That way, you don't produce any eggs, since you are putting a fertilized egg inside to grow.  You prepare your uterus for the embryo as well.  Its a different amount of medication, but still there are shots, pills and creams.  We were hopeful, but we also didn't get too excited about the whole thing.  

October 31st rolled around, and back into the doc.  This time, you don't go under, you just are awake. It is what it is, there is pain, its not comfortable, but it is the way we have to go.   And then, we transferred, and so again, technically I was pregnant.  

The call

I will have to say, it was taking me time to get over things.  I know I didn't have the pregnancy long, but it was there, and it took so much to get there.  We wanted to go to a game in NC, and see friends.  We figured that would be fun.  We also started looking into a vacation for the two of us, to get away, we decided October would be our best month.  We had a few things to look forward to and that was exciting.  So in September we decided to make the trek to NC.

I got a call one afternoon, it was late August maybe first of September.  I literally had just finished miscarrying, and I had gotten my smile back.   If we had had the baby, we would have been due in April 2014.   We had been working on our next idea for the house, and Hubby and I were strong.  My good friend back home called, and she wanted to talk about the upcoming game.  She was going to be there with her husband, along with several others we were excited to see.  I will never forget it, I was in the parking lot of the grocery store, about to go in to get dinner, and she said "Candace, I wanted to tell you before you all came for the game, that we are pregnant and due in April!"  I think I died inside, but held it together for the call and told her how happy I was!  I had to lie, I mean I was happy for her, but I was lying to myself.  She said she was due beginning of April, exact week we would have been due.  It was uncanny.  I then had to see her and others at the game in a few weeks, and I had to keep it all together.  I didn't tell her a thing, I wanted her to be happy with everything and I wanted to be happy for her.

No one could understand what we had gone through, no one we knew that is, and no one really knew how we felt.  It was not something I would wish upon anyone.  But when you get news of friends or anyone expecting, you can't help but have this pit in your stomach just hurt.  Its like someone is stabbing you in the stomach, you have to stop the tears and stop any words of pain coming out of your mouth.  You then get this strange almost reflux come up through your throat, and hang there, almost paralyzing your voice.  Then you have to smile, and laugh and seem excited through watery eyes that you are holding back, and sarcasm.  You don't want to be that way, you aren't that way but its the way you feel at the moment.  You want a family so much it hurts.  You want your husband to have a child so much, that you feel inadequate.  Its a horrible feeling.  You just want to run in a hole, and not come out till you are pregnant.  I don't think I can describe those feelings any different, you don't want to feel the way you do or act the way you act, but you do and you can't help it.  Its like something else takes over.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Project Management: Back door and pantry, and the results...

 So, in the midst of everything we were going through, we did what we typically do, start another project.  I truly think that my husband did this to get his mind off of what we were going through, and to have things to talk about with his patients and people he met other than to talk about the fact he didn't have children.

We wanted to get French doors on the back since we bought the house.  

I can imagine that having to tell people you meet constantly, "no we don't have any little ones" and then for them to ask "why not, or do you want any" knowing that you do, and that currently your wife is going through a torturous 12 days of waiting to find out whether she is pregnant or not, and how much time and money you just spent to possibly not have it work.  Its exhausting to even think that, and smiling each day is hard.  

Then we added a pantry in the front of the house, in the "sitting room" that is o so not useful!  Its great, we keep extra food, the vacuum, all our appliances for the kitchen, towels, sheets, games, our winter coats that we may never wear again in Florida but want to have them for when we travel north, and light bulbs!  Its a great use of space, and I am proud of my hubby for coming up with the design! I got to paint the room purple, the door yellow for ECU, and the side in the hallway chalk paint so I can draw and write all over it.  Its such a great use of space!!  I love it!  And it got our minds off of things.  

12 days later, tested, and we got a positive.  We were so excited, we just couldn't believe it worked, we were pregnant.  It was surreal!  Of course when you first find out, you are scared and excited, all kinds of emotions.  

So we went to the doc, to test the levels, they were ok.  They told me to come back in 2 days, they needed to double and things would be looking good.  2 days past, and I went back in for more tests.  I waited all day for the call, just to find out, my levels didn't double, they actually went down a few points.  They wanted to test me again in 2 days, it may have just been a bad reading. 
2 days later, back in, more tests, then the call.  Levels had dropped again.  I was going to loose it.  It had only been 3 weeks since we did the procedure.  They told me to just be prepared for my period to start any day now.  Well, it didn't, I went another 2 weeks with nothing, and the 6th week I finally started bleeding.  It took 6 weeks for the embryo to leave me.  We were devastated.  
Then, I had to wait this out, 3 weeks of bleeding.  I know this is graphic, but it was.  It was heavy, and painful, in many ways, physically and emotionally.  My levels dropped so they didn't feel a need to do a D&C, so we waited things out.  This was August at this point, mid summer, the weather was hot but gorgeous, and we decided we needed a vacation.  We had just gone through IVF, and a miscarriage, and I didn't know if I could ever do it again.  

Information day

Spring, the flowers in the garden were blooming, and the weather was warm.  I was enjoying getting tan for the summer earlier than in NC.  We also were visiting the doctor again, talking about more options.  The doctor really said our next step was to either have exploratory surgery or IVF.  IVF was something hubby and I talked about when he had his tumor, not knowing this could actually be real one day.  At the time, I was completely ok with it, and then again today, when it was becoming a real topic, I was scared out of my mind.  IVF isn't anything to take lightly.  Its a journey in itself.

So what you have to do, is get regulated, but being on birth control for a month, and also to sync up with other girls going through the process.  They like for a group to be going through it instead of individuals.  Which in theory makes sense, but after the procedure, I found that it wasn't as easy to be in a group.  Everyone is excited if they get positives, and upset if they get negatives, and you have to watch others around you get good and bad results, all together.  I know it makes sense for the docs.

Then, after BC for a month, you start to build up your ovaries.  They want them to be huge, full of eggs.  They become the size of grapefruits, and you look 3-4 months prego.  There is pain, the ovaries are so big, it feels like the worse ovulation you have EVER had.  In my case, that was a new experience since I rarely ovulated.  Then, they would do a procedure to remove the eggs, then merge with the specimen (taken in the office same day) and left to grow for 5 days.  Once the 5 days arrives, you can tell how many embryos survived, and they insert them back in.  Then any remaining get frozen for any future transfers.  So there is fresh and frozen.  Fresh is IVF and happens 5 days after retrieval.  Frozen is called Frozen Embryo Transfer, and they thaw out the little guys, which in turn is like a 5 day fresh transfer.  Yeah I was overwhelmed!  The doctor and nurse were giving us all this information along with what it may cost.  We were again shocked.  And that was not mentioning the medication.  Medication that had to be refrigerated, and was time sensitive.  I had no idea what was about to happen.

New Year....2013

We were hopeful, this was a new year!  Everyone always says that, new year, and new things to come, new outlook, and new hopes.  We of course went right to the doctor first part of the year, because we wanted to know what our next steps were.  We had heard hubby had a low count, and I had PCOS, and so we wanted to find out what our options were.  This time, we met with the doctor. At the time, I was 2 days into my friend, and the doc said we should go ahead and try IUI again.  Hubby got tested again, and it was normal, odd....and I got checked, and started the process again.  I then started to research PCOS, which caused lack of ovulation at times and difficulty getting pregnant.  It was very common amongst women.  One of the solutions was to work on diet, gluten free, more protein, no sweets, and to loose some weight.  2 weeks later, friend showed up again, the IUI didn't work.  We had done 3 sessions now, and we decided one more just to try.  I had to take a month off, due to having a cyst, and then tried again for number 4.  That was also unsuccessful.  I had also started working on our diets, new recipes, salads, a lot of fruits and veggies, less grains (I couldn't go completely gluten free) and no sweets.  I started dropping the weight, not trying to, but it was not a bad thing.  Hubby started loosing some as well!  I started exercising more, walking in the evenings with Bella, still had the occasional glass of wine, but cut out sweets altogether.  And for those of you who know me, that is NOT easy.  I love chocolate, and sweets, and this was quite a challenge for me.
One of the new foods we found, because I was going semi gluten free, was spaghetti squash,  I tried all kinds of new recipes with this vegie.  This was was with marinara, mozzarella and basil.  I mean overall, these new recipes weren't bad.  Hubs enjoyed trying new things too.  I started going crazy on pinterest, new recipes every other night!  No sweets....

So, since we were still not pregnant, I started pouring myself into my etsy and sewing.  I mean, it was like therapy and I would earn a little money :)  I also really got into gardening a lot, it was spring by this point!  Oh so many projects, it was taking my mind off of everything.  I was over a year of trying, and 4 unsuccessful IUI's, 15 lbs lost, and I still had nothing to show for it...