18 January 2009

If It Wasn't...

So, just to fill you in...

I actually started this blog, oh... a good long time ago. I wrote a couple of quick, witty posts about my rising betas and my wishes that the monkey would grow and become a baby. (Mr. Monkey and I called it Monkey.) That was almost two years ago. I stopped writing when the betas didn't rise anymore, and I just....fell.

Now, I am older, grittier, and just need to vent. There's something about casting your private thoughts out into the public Internet sea that speaks to me.

A little background on me and the state of my reproductive system...

I'm thirty-eight, took my time, and got my life in order before I felt it was the right time for me and Mr. Monkey...physically, mentally, and emotionally. I never thought it would be difficult to get pregnant when I decided that it was the right and proper time...and I was right. Mr. Monkey and I had a task, and while it took a few months, we worked hard to reach the final goal. Ta-da! A positive pregnancy test, and I became the poster child of what NOT to do after finding out you're pregnant.

I told EVERYONE. Parents, friends, and even the cashier at the local grocery store. No one was safe from my excited, gushing announcement. I walked around talking to the Monkey under my breath, telling it how happy we all were.

I had some classic symptoms...falling asleep on the couch, Pillsbury DoughBoy boobs ("pop n fresh") that hurt something fierce...and we thought things would just gently flow into parenthood.

We had a week of bliss that I will never be able to experience again. It was magical, innocent, and far too brief.

I began spotting, and promptly freaked out. I called the obgyn, who called in a favor, and Mr. Monkey and I found ourselves in a small room with mood lighting and a technician who tried, as best as she could, to find something positive. For someone whose name I didn't know, her face will forever be imprinted in my memory - that grimacing gaze at the screen before she turned to us and said that she needed to talk with someone.

I began heavily bleeding the next morning after having blood drawn. When the lab called, I already knew.

Friends were kind. Family was supportive. Those who said those inane sentiments like: "It wasn't meant to be." and "You can try again." were not shot on sight, but summarily dismissed with a smile, and a thank you for your concern. All the while, I was screaming inside: "If it wasn't meant to be, then why did it happen in the first place? I don't want to try again. I wanted this try to be a success."

It was our first miscarriage, and gosh, seeing as it was our first, when the doctor said that we could try again...we did. We just kind of tried a little earlier than most others.

I felt the same leaden eyelids, the same ouchy balloon boobs, and I knew that I was pregnant again. Back to back pregnancies. Back to back miscarriages. This time, we told a subgroup of our family.

My sister-in-law won a permanent "fuck you" for her statement to my mother-in-law (who, I don't know why, felt it necessary to tell Mr. Monkey). It was something along the lines of this... Mr. Monkey and I were not married at the time. (We owned a house together, were committed to each other, and planned on getting married when we decided.) She said the miscarriages were God's way of telling us we should be married.

You're joking, ma'am. Really? As if God really takes an interest in my reproductive system and the state of my legal (and religious) status. Was she blind to all those unmarried teenagers who get knocked up? What does God have to say about them? Thank goodness that my SIL and I do not talk...Mr. Monkey's family is not that close. Just close enough to lob emotional grenades into my fragile psyche at times.

So, where was I? Oh, yes. Two miscarriages down...and three to go. The perinatologist we saw upon becoming pregnant a second time in rapid succession was so fearful that we would conceive a third time (Mr. Monkey has pretty strong mojo, you know), that he made me pick up a Plan B prescription at the local pharmacy. (And boy, that was fun. Nothing like being judged by a pharmacist.) This was after the diaphram search (Five pharmacies...and I swear they dusted off the package at the sixth.), the intense discussion about using all forms of protection available (diaphram + spermacide + condom = are you kidding me? We spent months avoiding this crap, and now...::sigh::).

Timing, being what it is, is a matter of...oh, you get where I'm going. We got pregnant the third time two months before our wedding, and as I quietly sung to myself later on..."Third verse, same as the first" (Thank you, Violent Femmes). I was starting to see a pattern. I make it to almost six weeks...and then nothing. Betas don't double, bleeding starts, and I generally lose my mind. As a special treat, my wedding day coincided with my first period after the miscarriage. There's a story there, and it's not pretty, and it involved crying and scrubbing blood off my wedding dress.

By this time, we had graduated to a reproductive endo. Three times was the charm to be labeled "habitual aborter" (Hands up: who likes that name? No? No hands?), and we were off to give blood, wait, and have a discussion about what was next.

Chromosonal analysis, a complete panel work up costing a ton of money, a HSG (forget waterboarding as torture...iodine up your hoo-ha would have me spilling secrets from here to Bagdad.), and what did we get?

"We can't find anything wrong with you.

It's just bad luck.

Keep trying."

Bad luck? Lyrics from a blues song kept running through my head: "If it wasn't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all."

The endo wanted me to use a Clear Blue Fertility Monitor, track my cycle with it (Fertility Friend mocks me these days, but I used her back then...and now still.), and once I became pregnant again, start on heparin and baby aspirin. Thank you very much, and please take this sheet to check out.

We got pregnant the first month we used the fertility monitor. Not shocking, because it appears that we don't have a problem getting pregnant...just staying pregnant.

Six weeks. Bleeding. Good-bye. Pack up the baby books, put them in a closet. Try to not lose it when brother and sister-in-law announce they are pregnant after two months of trying. Try to be happy for those who have kids. Try to not break down at baby commericals. As Mr. Monkey states: "Major fail." (He's a computer geek god. It make sense to those who worship at the altar of nerdcore.)

We make some major life adjustments. We put the house on the market, move six hours away to the big city, no jobs, no friends....just a fresh start. Things were rough. We went to a new repro endo, who, without looking at my charts (even after I asked the old repro endo's office to fax them up...), summarily announced, that based on my verbal history, our only option was IVF with PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis), and oh, did I mention, without insurance, that will be $22K (give or take). It was a less than five minute consultation, and I cried for days afterwards. Mr. Monkey didn't know what to do with me anymore.

I did more research about RE's in our new city. Found another group (and doctor who specializes in recurrent pregnancy losses), and made an appointment. This new guy was....comforting...and personable...and spent 45 mintues with me going over my chart and listening to me. And then ordered five blood tests that hadn't been done.

After almost three years of "You're normal.", it was a perverted sense of bliss to hear that they found something wrong with me. I am homo MTHFR C677T, which means that I have not one, but two (always the overachiver, me...) genetic mutations that affect clotting...and messes with folic acid intake.

So, easily fixed. I take a prescription of folic acid, B6, and B12, start Lovenox shots after I ovulate, and baby aspirin is now an essential part of my diet. We found the answer. This is great. Things are looking up. We sell the old house. We both get jobs. We buy a house.Things are....good.

I had no idea that I was pregnant the fifth time. Mr. Monkey accompanied me on a business trip, one where I drank gallons of Diet Coke, ate all sorts of things I shouldn't have (and some were worth it...), and even stopped the Lovenox shots because I began spotting.

Joke was on me. We got back from the business trip and I felt...off. I only spotted, rather than a full period, and I figured that once I saw the "not pregnant" on a digital pregnancy test, my body would comply and I could start a new cycle.

I stopped by Target on the way home from work, bought the test, and decided that there was no better time....and promptly made my way to the closest bathroom...which was, ironically enough, in Target. I didn't want to pee on a stick at home, because...well, I figured it would be a disappointment to Mr. Monkey if I said: "Hey, I'm off to pee on a stick for closure. Don't mind me."

Peed on a stick, washed my hands, picked up the stick, and promptly choked on my own saliva.

Wandered home, stick in pocket, and quietly let myself into the apartment, where Mr. Monkey sat on the floor with Ms. Dog (see...not everyone is a monkey in this family). I stood there, until he grew alarmed and asked what was wrong. I drew the stick out like it was something distasteful, held it with two fingers and handed it to him.

We both said nothing. What do you say after doing this five times already? I knew that I had already comprimised myself by stopping the shots and not being diligent with blood sugars (yeah, yeah...did I mention that I've been a Type 1 diabetic for 25 years?), and this was going to be an uphill struggle.

Not only did I make it to six weeks before the betas stopped doubling, but I gave myself some extra credit. My betas refused to go down after two weeks, I had only lightly spotted, and finally, out of sheer frustration, I asked for chemical inducement. Fun, fun, fun...

I bled for almost 8 weeks. The nurse I didn't like at my RE told me that it was normal. (Oh...she's a barrel of laughs. That's a whole other post.) I told her that it wasn't for me. I finally asked for an appointment to see my RE, and an ultrasound showed that I had polyps. (Power to the patient who doesn't believe in "normal" anymore.) Those were removed less than a month ago, and we are back to square one. (Or pick a number...I hate counting at this point.)

It's also CD21, and apparently, my body decided for the second time I've ever tracked it....to not give up an egg this month.

This last miscarriage was the hardest. We had hope. I had something wrong, but we knew that it could be overcome. The numbers were going up, and I just kept saying: "Just let me get to a heartbeat, and then I can have hope." We pulled out the baby books after Mr. Monkey had a discussion about how this was happening, and I have to have faith. I took a breath, and hope peeked out behind the curtain.

I spiraled down after the call (from the bitch nurse) in which she gave me the numbers before reading my chart....and when I told her that the numbers hadn't doubled, her response was: "Oh, then this isn't a viable pregnancy."

Thanks. I think I figured that one out. It's not my first time at the rodeo.

I'm talking with a mental health professional who specializes in infertility. I'm taking the antidepressants. I'm trying. I'm writing this blog because I don't want it to spill out anymore than it already is into my life. I think that some people are just getting tired of talking (or not talking) about the fact that after 3 1/2 years, all we have to show for our effort is...the wanting.

And every night in bed, before I drift off to sleep, the last thing I do is mentally rock an infant in my arms. Dear Monkey. This is for you.


areyoukiddingme said...

Here from LFCA...

My sympathies for your losses. It's a tough road, and I'm glad you're getting the support you need.

Cassandra said...

Here from Lost and Found...

Your sister-in-law is truly amazing. Not for saying something so awful, which is bad enough, but for actually believing it. Personally I would exhibit all sorts of schadenfreude whenever anything bad happened to her, but I'm vindictive like that.

All the best to you.

Ms. Monkey said...

The only positive about my SIL is that she lives far away, so I don't have to hear her talk about what she believes in person. I think there would be "one of THOSE discussions" in which I would say something that I wouldn't regret later...or ever.

Thanks for the warm thoughts.

sassy said...

Oh, I should introduce your SIL to mine ! I think they'd be BFF's.

Another Dreamer said...

Big hugs. I am so sorry for all your losses. That last paragraph really hit me hard. I often imagine in my mind holding a baby in my arms, but don't dare hold my arms out in response.

luna said...

came over from the roundup. you have been through so much. wishing you well in whatever the next steps in your journey may be.

Rachel said...

I am visiting from the Round up.

I am so sorry for your losses.

Kristin said...

Oh honey...I am so very sorry. I had 2 kids before I hit my string of losses and, boy was it a bitch to have 6 miscarriages in a row. I can't believe your SIL was so cold and heartless.