Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Latest 3am Epiphany

So this past Saturday night I had my first real "oh my god, I might be going into labor" scare. Technically it was Sunday morning, about 3 am. I was woken up by pretty strong menstrual-type cramps. I've had them before, but never that strong. That plus the fact that baby girl hadn't been quite as active the day before, I started wondering what was going on.

Since it was 3am, I of course went online to see what it all meant. I found some women who said it was just Braxton Hicks, some said it was nothing, some said it was the way labor started for them. My sister was one of the ones who told me that's how her labor started with her first daughter.

In the end it was nothing, the cramps went away, and I did a kick count and got 10 (smallish) kicks in 30 minutes, and talked to my OB who put my mind at ease. Baby girl must have just been having a quiet day, by that night she was back to her roly poly self.

But the whole situation made me a little uneasy, and maybe it's because of pregnancy brain but it finally came to me tonight why (three days later).

I am scared of going into labor alone.

I mean, I know that I won't be alone at the hospital, but there could be hours before I even have to go, and I know I won't feel comfortable having someone staying with me for a few hours doing nothing but waiting for my contractions to get closer together. And if it happens in the middle of the night and I'm just laying there, wondering what to do...

I'm not looking forward to that.

I haven't spent any time at all thinking about this until right now. The actual childbirth part, THAT I've thought (freaked out a little bit) about. But all that time alone before hand, that I hadn't really considered.

Up till this point I have spent a surprisingly small amount thinking about how its been going through this without a partner, but now I guess it gets really real that I'm doing this on my own. I have so much family support, but at the end of the day, it's just me. I'm ready for this, I don't think it's something I can't do. But still, it's not the way I planned to start my family. 

Not the first time I've had that thought, but it can still stop me in my tracks when it comes up again.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

More of the Story

It was amazing how many women came out to tell me they had gone through miscarriages. Women I had known for years told me they had 1, 2, or more miscarriages. I had no idea. I also had no idea how truly in love with the baby I had been, I was really devastated. It was without a doubt the most difficult thing I had ever been through.

Even so, it never really occurred to me that I wouldn't try again, but I definitely needed to take some time off. My sister's mother in law, who is a labor and delivery nurse, told her that women are most fertile in the 6 months after having a baby, so in the back of my mind, that was my goal, but in the end it was closer to 8 months before I felt ready to start again. They had performed tests on the baby to see if they could determine why she had died but there wasn't anything they could find - no infection, no chromosomal abnormalities, nothing conclusive. My doctor was confident I could use the same donor since there was no evidence that it was anything more than just terrible luck. That was strange. To hear something so terrible reduced to "luck."

I did some soul searching but in the end I decided to use the same donor. I was really attached to him, I was so sure he was the right one. So I bought 4 more vials. 

I had my 4th IUI on July 26th, 2012, almost one year to the day of my 3rd IUI. Two weeks later I was stunned to find out I was pregnant again. Stunned. My doctor had told me I was lucky to get pregnant after only 3 tries, and I shouldn't expect such quick results the second time around. 

This second time, I felt so sure that I wanted to experience the pregnancy in a different way. I was SO tired of going to the doctors. I was so tired of getting poked and prodded and pricked with needles. I was so tired of the whole process being so clinical. So I took a home pregnancy test, and never went to get the blood test at the doctors office. I just wanted to enjoy it, even if just for a little while.

I didn't end up having the blood test till i was about 5 weeks, and right after I took it, the doctors office called me and said my hormone levels were a little low and they wanted to repeat it a few days later. So I did. They were still low so I went in for an ultrasound at 6 weeks. No heart beat, no fetal pole and still low hormones. My doctor was not hopeful. I tried to be - the fetus was still growing, although about a week behind. But it wasn't to be. At 9 weeks my doctor gave me some medication to force a miscarriage, and I took it at 7pm. By midnight, it was over.

It was a tough loss, because everything was happening within almost exactly one year of my first pregnancy. My second due date was 361 days after my fist. So in a way the second pregnancy felt like a second chance. But really, more than grieving the second loss, I think I was re-grieving my first.  It was, thankfully, not as difficult. I think never having seen a heartbeat helped.

TMI probably but I had collected the tissue so it could be tested, and when the results came in, my doctor called and said she wanted to talk to me about the results. In 4 days. FOUR DAYS. The longest 4 days of my life almost. I became convinced that she was going to tell me I couldn't use the donor, that there was some incompatibility between he and I. And that was terrifying because I had 3 vials left and there was just no way I could afford more. It would mean putting my plans on hold indefinitely. Then I thought, oh my god, she's going to tell me I can't have kids at all! In all the thinking and planning and soul searching I had done leading up to this journey, I can honestly say it had never occurred to me that I might be unable to get pregnant. Maybe it was naive of me, but it never entered my mind. 

Yeah it was a long few days.

As it turned out, it was another case of truly bad luck. There was an extra chromosome, and it was "incompatible with life past 9 weeks gestation." I'll never forget those words. No connection to my first loss, no reason it would ever happen again, no reason I couldn't use my donor again. How crazy. How awful. But there was hope.

My next cycle, I tried again. Almost one year to the day after the end of my first pregnancy, I found out I was pregnant again. 5 IUIs, 3 successful procedures. I couldn't, still can't, believe how lucky I've been in that respect. 

And here I am, 37 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby girl. I am so blessed. This pregnancy has been easier than I could have hoped for, and I can't wait to meet her!

For some reason in the last few days,  I've gotten closer to my due date, I've found myself thinking more about my first pregnancy. It's never something that's that far from my mind, but lately I think about her a lot, and it got me thinking about this blog, and this single mothers by choice community and how I was always so thankful for its support. How amazing it is to go through something this life altering and knowing you're not the only one doing it, even though, for me anyway, it can feel kind of isolating.

I actually just met a friend of my sisters who is in the thinking phase, and she told me about a local SMC group which I plan to join up with. She's the first potential SMC I have ever met in person, and I had no idea until I talked to her how empowering and great it was. As much as I've learned from all the  women I've connected with online, it's not the same to talk to people face to face.

So that's where I am. Happy and healthy, and kind of nostalgic lately. And very excited to meet my daughter :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

2 Years!!

I can't believe it's been two whole years since I last wrote here. Wow. SO MUCH has happened in two years. I can't even believe that I didn't write anything more during the first part of my first pregnancy I wrote about it the last post, because yes, a line was a line, and my third IUI was successful.

I was so relieved, because I had only purchased 3 vials of donor sperm, and I was going to have to wait a little while and save up some more money to continue if the third try wasn't successful. That put a lot of pressure on that third try. But as I wrote in my last post, it was a positive and I was SO happy.

My first trimester was pretty easy, I didn't have morning sickness, I wasn't tired, none of the stuff I expected to happen, I was pleasantly surprised (from what I remember, it was awhile ago now!)

Around week 12 I told people and of course they were thrilled for me. And then within literally days, I woke up in the morning in a 6" wide puddle of blood. I freaked (obviously). I had just transferred from my RE to an OB, so I went in that morning, and I remember being surprised that they didn't bring me right in and see me right then, but I waited about 45 minutes in the waiting room, freaking out with a million scary thoughts going through my head. I was alone there, and it hadn't even occurred to me to call anyone to ask them to meet me there and be there for me. I felt really alone.

Eventually I saw the doctor, they did an ultrasound and found I had a low lying placenta. Everything else was fine, the doctor told me to take it easy and not lift anything heavy or do any real exercise. In the end I realized the bleeding was probably caused by the fact that I had moved a bunch of boxes to the basement the day before.

So I did, I took it easy, but didn't worry too much about it, since the doctor didn't seem too concerned at all.

From that point on, every week or so I would have another episode of bleeding. It would take about a week for all the blood to work it's way out of my system, so it felt like the blood was just a constant in my life for those 4 weeks. It was all I ever thought about.

At 16 weeks on 11/11/11, my water broke. It happened at work, about 9 am when I was the only one in the office. It didn't feel like anything - suddenly my pants were wet, and just kept getting wetter and wetter. I didn't feel a pop, or a rip or like I was peeing, or anything. It just happened.

I packed up my stuff, called my boss and left her a message that I thought my water had broken, got in my car and started the 50 minute ride to the hospital. I called my OBs office on the way, of course I spoke to a completely different doctor (there were about 15 of them in that practice), who told me to go to the ER but there was really not much to be done, in terms of my rushing there.

That was the last time I worked for a month and a half. My water had broken - I had premature rupture of membranes, and I spent the next 3 days in the hospital, hoping, praying my placenta would heal itself and fill back up with fluid. Then I went home to stay with my parents, on bed rest for 10 days, hoping and praying it would heal itself.

It never did and on 11/21/11 at just about 18 weeks I had a D & E to end the pregnancy. I got a card with her footprints on it. And it was over.

I took a month and half of medical leave from my job to heal. Emotionally heal, the physical part took about 2 days. I was devastated. I tried not to dwell on it, but I've always believed my doctor never took my condition seriously enough. I wanted so much to believe that it wasn't a life threatening situation for the baby, that I didn't think it was dangerous to do prenatal yoga - the doctor said it wasn't wrong to do it! But now I think he was wrong and I hate him for it.

More later...

Friday, August 12, 2011

12 DPO

This morning I took a pregnancy test. I really, really wanted to try to wait, at least until Sunday or Monday morning, because right now I’m only 12 dpo (days past ovulation), and I know that can sometimes be too early to pick up anything. I didn’t want to get disappointed by an early negative that could possibly be false.

So what happened? Nothing, only one lonely line. Just before I gave it up for negative, I noticed a very, very, VERY faint second line. Very faint. But it was definitely there. So of course I went online immediately and looked up “very faint line on pregnancy test” to see what other people have gotten. I saw a couple photos of tests that looked very similar to mine, and almost all of them said “A LINE IS A LINE!” So that’s encouraging, but I don’t know, it was really faint. But it was nice to get good news from what I found online for once, instead of the normally discouraging news.

Trying to keep it all in perspective - not getting too up or too down about it. But really, after having a little crisis of faith yesterday, it feels so good to feel good about it again. I was so happy this morning on my way into work - it’s a stunningly gorgeous day with a tiny hint of fall in the air. The fall is my very favorite time of the year - a time for new beginnings I feel - and to be pregnant in the fall, how perfect. And I really hope that on the outside chance I am not pregnant this month, I will be able to look back at this time and remember how happy and hopeful I am feeling right now, and appreciate that THIS IS WORTH IT, no matter how it turns out. THIS is the feeling I need to hold onto, regardless of the outcome.

I have a secret…

On July 31 I had IUI #3, and I didn't tell ANYONE!

Everyone who knows I am going through this thinks I am waiting until my August cycle for the next IUI, at the very end of next month.

I can't express how happy I am I decided to do this in secret. I feel so free. Free to feel anything I want to feel about this, free to think anything and not have to talk about it with anyone. I love it.

And don't get me wrong, I am very, very aware that the people I love only ask me about it because they love me and want to be there for me and have gotten invested in this themselves. And the simple truth is that I wouldn't even be able to consider even having these procedures if I didn't have them there to help me through it.

But MAN this is the way to do it!! When I was driving home from the doctor's office on Sunday after having the procedure done, I felt almost giddy about it, knowing I had this secret and that's its something I get to enjoy all by myself for weeks before anyone else will even know anything about it.

I haven't allowed myself to even consider that eventually I might have to tell everyone that I had the IUI a month ago and it was unsuccessful. I know they won't begrudge me experiencing it on my own, but I think they might be a little hurt that they didn't get to go through it with me.

I've come to believe that in the end, this is how it is supposed to happen. Even though getting the BFN last month after the second IUI was so hard, now in retrospect, I believe it was a good thing. It sounds crazy now to say it, and I know for DAMN sure at the time I definitely didn't feel that way, but it was good for me to get emotional about it. I don't allow myself to get emotional about much, in fact I would charitably consider myself "closed off" emotionally. But having a child is by nature an emotional event. I need to be able to deal with the emotions that come with it, and the reality is, the emotions won't always be good, easy ones when it comes to raising a child. One of the questions that have come up repeatedly for me is whether I want this badly enough, almost as though I need to prove to myself that I'm worthy of getting pregnant. Unconsciously, I think my reaction to the failed #2 confirmed it for me.

Of course, I was not enlightened enough to understand all this in the moment when it happened. But better late than never I guess!

One other funny thing - back when I was first considering this, and imagining and planning how all this would go in a perfect world, one of the things I said to my mother was that if I had my preference, I would get pregnant in the summer (June or July I said) so that I could have a spring baby, and have my maternity leave be in the spring and early summer. That was my ideal in terms of timing, but in the end I was too anxious to get started to wait all those months, so I started in very early May. And now, my due date would be April 22. How perfect he or she will be born in my month.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wow, it's been awhile!

I didn't realize it until I sat down to write a post just how long it's been since I last wrote anything here! I keep a journal and I write in that pretty regularly, so sometimes I forget what I've written where.

Anyway I had my second IUI about a week after my last post. That one felt SO different. Different in that I didn't feel anything at all. After my first one, I had so many symptoms, and strong ones, and then I ended up with a BFN, so I figured, well this must be a good sign that this time there's nothing much going on. And then when I got the results from my progesterone test at 1 week, and the nurse left me a voice mail saying "the doctor said to make sure you come in for your pregnancy test in a week" - well then I started thinking, hmm maybe she KNOWS SOMETHING.

Well, it was not to be, because I went in for my pregnancy test and literally 2 hours later I got my period. Before they even called me with the results. I was sad, but I was at work, so I had to just deal with it and try to put it out of my head. But then when the nurse called to tell me it was a negative around 3:30, she sounded so sorry, that I just lost it a little bit. You ever notice you how things aren't so bad, until someone else feels really bad for you? Like when you're little and you get a cut while out playing, but you don't start crying until you see your mom and she says what happened honey? Well, it was like that.

So the second time around, I was really, really sad that it didn't work. And in retrospect...hell even at the time... I knew that it was only my second try, some women try over and over and over, many more times than 2, until it works for them. But I just had a feeling...

The first time, I think I was still trying to process the whole thing - still getting used to the idea that I was taking this plan and turning it into reality. Every single thing was new, and so it was easy to kind of get lost in that newness. And it seemed like I had just finished getting all sorts of tests, and having appointments every other day - it was just a whirlwind of activity. And plus, it was only the first try. So even though I so wanted it to be positive, I wasn't shocked when it wasn't. There were even times durring the 2ww that I questioned whether I wanted it enough (I know, I'm superstitious that way), so a BFN seemed to almost make sense in a way.

But by the second try, I was like ok let's do this. No more screwing around, tests are done, everything looks good, all systems go, etc etc. And then, nothing.

And there's one other thing. The truth is, I can only really try this 3 times, at least for right now. So when the second IUI was unsuccessful, all I could think was "now I'm down to my last shot," and that is a little scary. It's not like I'll never be able to do this again if the third time is not the charm, but it could be a little while until I'm in a position to start the process again, especially if it calls for any kind of (expensive) medication.

I decided to take my third cycle off, and instead I am going to have my next IUI at the end of the month. I'm taking that week off so I can be relaxed and stress-free and just focus on being positive and happy, which of course I am doing now as well :) That's all I can do I guess!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Final Negative.

AF arrived on Saturday, that bitch (I'm not bitter). My whole adult life I have had a hate/hate relationship with my period. It's been the source of so much pain for me - both physical and emotional. I can’t wait till I never have to get it again.

Regarding the BFN from my first IUI, I am feeling ok about it. I was sad, I was disappointed, but not devastated. Maybe it was because it was only my first attempt. Also, it’s proving to be really difficult for me to wrap my brain around the idea of being pregnant. It seems very abstract to me right now, even though it is something I really want. Part of me is very scared that I don’t want this enough and that’s why it wasn’t successful.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m doing this on my own, or if it’s totally normal when women make this choice, but I feel like so much of the experience of becoming a single mother by choice takes place inside my head. There is SO much to think about, so much to worry about, so much to second-guess yourself about. Don’t you feel like a choice this momentous and natural should be accompanied by a zen-like acceptance of everything that will come? Like you would immediately become this earth mother with a completely centered heart? Just me? I guess it’s unrealistic to think your personality will undergo an amazing transformation, but man, in this situation? It would be awesome if that did happen.

But the reality is that in about 2 weeks, I will try it again, and if it doesn’t work (which it will, because I am all about being positive!!), I will try again a month after that. And if it STILL doesn’t work, then me and my bank account will have to have a heart-to-heart.

I saw my niece and nephew yesterday, and nothing clarifies intentions to be a mother like a 4 year old jumping off a low wall into your arms, or a 1 year old giving you a big loud kiss. Love.