miscarriage

a dear friend sent me a link to a sermon {almost more like a conversation} on miscarriage recently.  having been through a loss herself, we both have many of the same emotions and thoughts.  we know that healing is a process, that there are many emotions, and you have to let yourself feel every single one.  we have discussed how loss is uncomfortable for those who haven’t experienced it – especially something like a miscarriage which is so real to the mom carrying the baby, but not tangible for many others.  we both agree that loss is magnified after a struggle with {in}fertility; just when you think the journey is over, it continues, but with more bruises and scars.  the church doesn’t talk about this kind of loss much, at least not mine, and we were both glad to hear the church addressing the early loss of a baby.

whether or not you have experienced miscarriage, i think this sermon is so important to listen to.  it validates the many emotions those who have experienced miscarriage feel: sorrow, grief, frustration, questioning of faith.  and the sermon also shares a few pointers on how you can support someone who suffered a miscarriage, even if you haven’t experienced it firsthand. 

i will admit that i struggle with miscarriage in the context of God.  the Bible promises that for the people who serve Him, God works all things together for the good {Romams 8:28}.  a miscarriage is not good – to me it makes no sense, at least not immediately.  the Bible also promises that we will have trials in this world {John 16:33}.  this is life and a result of the broken, sin-filled world we live in.  no one is immune.  at the end of the conversation, the pastor said that at its roots, miscarriage comes from sin in the world.  not necessarily my sins, but just sin.  that may be the only answer i have in this lifetime.  i have experienced God working all things together for the good after my first loss.  i don’t know why i had to have uterus surgery, an ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage, 3 failed cycles, IVF, and a high risk pregnancy to get to brian, but i wouldn’t trade any of it leading to him for the world.  the pastor’s closing remarks ignite faith and hope that God will make this loss good too:

just never forget who our God is.  He is always in control.  He is never not in control.  and He is never not good.  He is always good, all the time.

an {un}official last post

this will be my last post… at least for a while.  i started this blog during a time when i needed it most.  i found hope, strength, and encouragement from so many of you.  it was fun to see many of us get pregnant and have babies within a few months of each other.  some of us have gone on to get pregnant again {whether planned or unplanned}, some have decided they are content with the baby or babies they gained from that long awaited successful cycle.  unfortunately for me, i’m sort of stuck where i was before.  even though i’m a mommy to brian, i have a longing to feel another baby stretching my belly, to hold another fresh little bundle, to smell that new baby smell.  and i want a sibling for brian {because life is easier when you have someone to discuss just how crazy your parents are with}.  but here i am, stuck being {in}fertile, only this time, our go-to treatment {FET} doesn’t seem to be working.  my womb is empty once again, and my heart has a hole that is longing to be filled.  i wanted to share one last update {or lack thereof} and provide some closing thoughts, mostly because i need closure.  stick with me if you can.

after brian, we had 7 frozen embryos left. i never really tracked my cycle, but imagined it would be much the same.  coupled with hubby’s awful sperm statistics, it just seemed easier to go back on birth control and try to get pregnant through a FET.  well, things are seldom what they seem.  our transfers post brian have been everything but successful and easy.  brian was our only AA embryo.  we had one AB, and 6 BBs.  when transferring our AA led to brian, i always imagined God set apart the AA and AB as our two children.  i imagined the AB would be successful, so naturally i was shocked and upset when the AB didn’t even survive the thaw.  we transferred a BB back in may, which led to a negative pregnancy test and an awful skin reaction called dermatographia for me.  after 2 weeks of pure hell crawling in my own skin, the dermatographia slowly improved over the next two months but never went away.  we waited the month of june out, but hubby and i agreed it was probably time to start the process up again in july.  of course my RE has never seen the skin reaction, the allergist told me it is what it is and the only treatment is an antihistamine which i already take daily, but my dermatologist offered a little more in at least trying to determine the cause.  he said the skin reaction is usually caused by a meciation, in my case he felt the antibiotic we used for the FET protocol, and that it usually takes a month to go away.  desperate for answers, i wasted a ton of money at my old acupuncturist who promised quick results with one or two treatments.  finally after 8, i accepted that his treatments were not making a difference for me.  i did seek the second opinion of another acupuncturist and traditional chinese medicine doctor.  her treatment plan seems more promising and easier on the budget, so i decided to stick with her.  she cleared us to try again and said we could fix the underlying cause of the dermatographia after another baby.  so, we were back at in july with another transfer scheduled for early august.  i wish this transfer had a happy ending, but it doesn’t.  we transferred one BB, which implanted, but is currently ending in a chemical pregnancy.  and, the dermatographia is worsening, despite changing the antibiotic in the protocol.  to say i’m frustrated would be an understatement.  i have so many emotions – resentment, anger, feelings of abandonment, sorrow, the list goes on.  while we still have 4 embryos left, i don’t feel that my body is in a state to accept them.  knowing nothing about the health of these embryos, it’s hard to keep putting them back in my uterus since we do know my body is upset, as evidenced by the dermatographia.  i’d like to say we will try again one day, but time will tell.

as for the emotional aspect – call it whatever you want, chemical pregnancy or not, there was a tiny baby in me, that i now choose to believe is in Heaven with the first baby we lost through ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage.  i really felt like God was opening doors this last cycle, so it is hard for me to see the door close and to lose another baby.  i desperately do not want this to be my last experience and memory with pregnancy.  it’s hard to end on such a sour note.  i’ve had a hard time managing my grief this go around too.  how do i let myself grieve while experiencing so much joy from brian?  the two are separate but intertwined.  i see my bouncing little boy, with his full head of blonde hair and big blue eyes, but have this extreme sense of loss and sorrow.  i know time will bring healing, it did the first time.  but brian also brought healing to my first loss, and i pray that there is another baby to bring healing to the second loss.  in the meantime, feeling the twinges of my body trying to accommodate this life, but knowing there really isn’t life is hard.  hubby and i have framed every picture we received of our embryos on transfer day.  it sits on our nightstand, but like the last, this one will also be taken down and filed in my huge medical organizer.  i’m sure one day i will have the strength to look at the two embryos that never came to be again.

another reason i started this blog was to share my faith through this journey.  i have friends who are Christian, who also experience trials, and who also keep the faith.  i also have friends that can’t accept God and Jesus because of the injustices they experience and witness in the world.  how do you explain loosing a baby?  or when a child is born with a debilitating disease?  or when anyone gets a cancer diagnosis?  or when a loved one’s life is cut short because there should always be more time?  or when entire cities of people are harmed by natural disaster?  i hate when people try to bring comfort by saying “everything happens for a reason.”  i don’t think this is always true.  i don’t think there is a reason innocent babies have to suffer.  i don’t think there is a reason i have had two miscarriages {or at least i don’t know the reason yet}.  often times, there is no explanation.  stuff happens.  life happens.  life is not perfect, for any of us.  but i choose to believe in our Creator.  i choose to have faith and hope.  i choose to believe that one day, my aches and pains will be made better, that one day i will meet the two babies i never got to hold on this earth.  i also believe that God works all things together for the good.  the Bible tells me this, and it’s easier on the heart than to think there is no God or a God that doesn’t care.  while i hope and pray for healing on this side of Heaven, i look forward to complete restoration and perfection on the other side.

to all those waiting on babies or something else in life, don’t give up hope.  don’t lose faith.  the journey is tough, but there will one day be healing.

“for I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” {Jeremiah 29:11}

those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. he who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him {Psalm 126:5-6}

and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose {Romans 8:28}

dear baby g

it has been easier for me to open up about my {in}fertility journey to friends and those i barely know than it has been for me to share this journey with family.  don’t ask me why.  i wish a knew, but that’s just the way it is.  but the beauty in sharing this journey with fellow believers is that i get great advice.

one of my lifegroup ladies suggested that i keep a journal “by writing letters to your baby.  write your feelings… what you imagine that new life being like.”  she also reminded me that “it’s ok to write frustrations,” and that this will help me “to build that faith and trust with God’s will for you and your baby.”  i like this idea, so i’m going with it.  welcome to the new series, dear baby g.

but before i can write to my future baby, i need to write to my first.

dear {1st} baby g – i miss you.  i would be 7 months pregnant with you right now if everything had worked out.  i’ve spent a lot of time mourning and crying over your loss.  even though you were not growing in me for long, you were there.  even though you were tiny and young, you were a life.  i believe you are in Heaven now, and i can’t wait to meet you when i arrive.  i often wonder whether you are a boy or a girl.  guess i will find this out one day too.  what i do know about you was that you made me tired.  i loved how well i slept while the pregnancy hormone was in my system.  sometimes i have a hard time turning off my thoughts and finding rest, but you guaranteed me a good night’s sleep {and several naps too}.  i miss you, 1st baby g.

between then and now

i realize it’s been a while since my last post.  i’m behind.  and i was already trying to get caught up on my {in}fertility journey so far so i could blog real time.  so that makes me really behind.  i’m going to try to sum up the rest of 2013 in this post, everything that happened post-PCOS diagnosis.

after i found out the results of my uterus surgery last summer and started charting, i pretty much made up my mind that i wanted to start trying to conceive {especially knowing that not everyone nails it on the first try}.  however, it takes two to tango, and husband wasn’t on board.  so we talked about it for maybe two months, and i finally just decided to let it rest.  but while it was resting, my brain was thinking.  and my brain kept thinking and thinking about wanting to try to conceive until i became super resentful and bitter towards husband and our difference in timing started to affect our relationship.  he wanted to wait 2-3 more months and i wanted to try immediately {so we’re not talking years here}.  this is a good example of when husband should concede to wife’s wishes.

in the meantime we started planning a big vacation for the fall.  i told husband that i do not work hard for nothing, and if we weren’t going to try to conceive, then i was going on a trip.  so we settled on italy and planned a tour of venice, florence, the cinque terre, tuscany, and rome.  but my resentfulness grew and grew and grew until at some point hubby conceded and we officially began “trying” in september.

but remember, i have PCOS.  even though i had been on metformin for two cycles, my body was not behaving.  when he prescribed metformin, RE told us that he would begin fertility treatment right away if we were ready to get pregnant.  he obviously had little faith, but we were {husband was} optimistic.  our plan was to try on our own for a few cycles and then pursue treatment if we were unsuccessful.  we tried, and boy did we fail.

i used the clearblue ovulation kit that cycle and got a smiley face signifying ovulation on day 9 of my cycle.  suspicious.  especially for someone who has 35+ day cycles.  so i called my RE’s office and asked them to confirm.  and indeed i did not ovulate.  they kept following me, i kept testing, and on day 19 of my cycle i received the news that my RE was pretty much giving up on me that cycle.  they offered to do one more blood test before we left for italy that week just to make sure, but recommended i schedule an appointment for after our trip to discuss next steps.  i sobbed.  having a baby was going to be a harder task than i thought.

so we continued to “try” knowing that i had not yet ovulated, but i pretty much decided it wouldn’t happen that cycle.  two days later when i went for my last blood test before our trip, i learned that i did indeed ovulate.  on day 20 or 21.  i was so excited.  every time i thought about the idea of carrying a baby, i had butterflies in my tummy.  i wondered if being excited/nervous like that would interfere with a baby trying to form, so i tried not to be nervous.  we embarked on our trip for italy and two days into the trip at our first destination, my period showed up.  we moved on to florence the next day, and i cried and cried thinking about just how hard the journey to parenthood would be.  and i continued to bleed for 7 days.  i think i stopped bleeding about 2 days before our trip was over {how’s that for romance in italy?}.

so we returned home and i waited for the usual signs of ovulation to return.  except, they didn’t.  my boobs were sore and every few days, i would leak pink liquid.  not normal when i’m supposed to have “egg white” cervical mucus signaling impending ovulation.  i remember a friend telling me about the first few weeks of her pregnancy earlier that year.  she thought she was on her period too, but actually was pregnant.  so i decided to take a pregnancy test.  three weeks post ovulation, i woke up one morning to test and saw this:test

i was excited, but in the back of my mind i had a fear that this wasn’t the real deal.  for one, that line was really faint for 5 weeks of pregnancy.  not to mention, i had a period for 7 full days, and i was currently leaking pink liquid.  i called my RE’s office and they did a blood test.  i found out the same day that indeed, i was no longer pregnant.  the nurse told me that it looked like something tried to happen, but was unsuccessful, and that this was a chemical pregnancy {translation: i was having an early miscarriage}.  she expected me to bleed soon, then we’d wait a cycle, and then we’d go full force with fertility meds. stinky.  but not as stinky as what happened next.

my RE kept watching my hcg level.  it dropped once, but then rose again.  and eventually i was advised to receive a methotrexate shot to dissolve whatever pregnancy tissue was stuck in my system.  i should’ve been seven weeks along, but my hcg level was not rising.  the level was relatively low so the tissue was still microscopic, and my RE became concerned that it could be in my tube.  instead of rupturing a tube and loosing access to a whole ovary’s egg supply, i reluctantly opted for the methotrexate {mostly because i felt like i didn’t have a choice}.  methotrexate is nasty stuff.  it robs your body of vitamins and folic acid so soft tissue can’t replicate.  it will find a pregnancy in early stages and stop it in it’s tracks, and then continue to deplete your body of vitamins.  so if you are unfortunate enough to have to go down the methotrexate path, you know that you have to wait 3 months after receiving the shot before you can try to conceive again.  disaster scenario.

my hcg level finally started to consistently drop with the help of methotrexate.  i would bleed a little every now and then, get stabbed in the arm at least once a week at my RE’s office, and then almost 6 weeks after receiving the shot my hcg finally returned to a “not pregnant” level.  during this time i was not allowed to drink or take vitamins.  i missed out on the goods at every holiday party.  and, i was flying solo during cold and flu season, which caught up to me.  i came down with a nasty cold the day after i was cleared to take vitamins again {what luck}.

this was a miserable experience to say the least.  i remember sobbing for two hours one saturday because i was so sad about the miscarriage and being delayed from trying for an extra 3 months.  not only was i depressed, but i was angry at my husband.  not that i think the result would’ve been any different had we tried earlier, i just felt like we would’ve been past this point and already seeking treatment, which is desperately where i wanted to be.  plus going through this during the holidays had to be the worst possible time.  i felt so hopeless in a season that is supposed to be full of hope.  it took me months to overcome my resentful feelings towards hubby.  months.  and sometimes, if i think about it too hard, i let the resentment creep back in.

here’s the faith part of this story.  there are four things i want to mention:

  1. every day i prayed that God would show me a sign that this would all be ok.  he gave me several.  from friends reaching out, to hearing someone’s story on the local radio station, to perfectly preparing my daily devotional, i truly felt God was sending me little messages of encouragement and hope.  i’m thankful for that.  i couldn’t have made it through those 3 months without that comfort.
  2. God also taught me that even though this part of my journey absolutely sucked, life could be worse.  i was otherwise healthy and had a life full of so many blessings.  i heard {and still hear} prayer requests at church about friends and loved ones who were literally dying from painful illnesses.  it’s all about perspective.
  3. even though i thought i was “suffering,” i really wasn’t.  Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice and suffered for every single one of us.  He was mocked, rejected, and ultimately murdered and hung on a cross to die.  that’s real suffering.
  4. Jesus forgave me, and in order to follow his example and become more Christ-like, i needed to forgive my husband.

this brings me to 2014.  january’s and february’s happenings to come soon.