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...