Tuesday, May 18, 2010


For the past few days I've had this odd, surreal feeling when I think back to only two weeks ago. Could I really have been pregnant? Did the IVF really work? It feels so distant and unfamiliar -- or maybe it's that today feels so immediate and familiar, not being pregnant, after more than 2.5 years of trying. It's an weird feeling, like I've disassociated with the past two months...

Emotionally I'm doing well 98% of the time. Physically, the bleeding has almost stopped. We have our consult with the IVF doctor on June 8. We know it may take more than 1 IVF to get pregnant again. And we don't even know when the IVF cycle could start. But we can't wait to get going.

On the silver lining list, I'm doing a month at The Bar Method to get back into shape (I gained about 5 pounds between IVF meds and early pregnancy, but need some toning), and the month of no Heparin shots means the bruising is fading on my tummy. We're going to Napa for my birthday weekend (Memorial Day weekend), which we've done for the past few years, and we're looking forward to some great meals. (Unlike most people, we go to Napa for food, not wine, although we definitely enjoy wine too. I can't drink until November, though, because I'm on isoniazid.)

By the way, my friend Jamie (@wombwarrior) shared this great post from the American Fertility Association about infertility and pregnancy loss. Excellent read, and there will be a part 2.

Updated: Here's part 2 of that article about infertility and pregnancy loss.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Not the light at the end of the tunnel

This week started out great. We were excited for our 9 week ultrasound on Tuesday. Our last ultrasound was at 6 weeks and 3 days and we saw a heartbeat and everything looked good.

This one was different. My doctor (not the IVF doctor, but my awesome pre-IVF fertility doctor and ob) found that the embryo stopped growing 2-3 weeks ago. I thought my doctor was teasing me when he was looking at the ultrasound and not saying much of anything other than that he was trying to find it. Everything had been perfect less than 3 weeks before. My husband was devastated. After the good ultrasound at 6 weeks 3 days, he had put his fears behind him and really embraced the pregnancy and the expected baby. I had been carrying a lot of anxiety, even past the good ultrasound, but as this appointment got closer and closer I had gotten more excited, and less nervous. We had even talked about telling our family this Sunday at Mother's Day brunch, even though it was two weeks earlier than we had planned.

My doctor thinks it's probably a chromosonal abnormality, and the tissue has been sent off to a lab to be analyzed. About 80% of the time they can grow cells and find out if they're normal or not. Hopefully, it is a chromosonal issue, and there's nothing about my body or immune system that contributed. Since I never spotted or had any signs of a problem, it's likely that my body was doing everything it needed to. I have trouble calling it a miscarriage, because I didn't actually miscarry. It stopped growing.

I had a D&C to remove it on Wednesday morning. I took two misoprostol three hours before the 8:30 am appointment, got shots (in my butt) of Valium (holy fucking cow that one hurt), morphine and something else before the procedure, got two shots in my cervix (conceptual ow but not as bad as the valium shot), and then he did the D&C. Unfortunately, after he thought he was done, he did an ultrasound to check, and had to go back to get a little bit more. That last bit was the worst thing I've ever been through physically. Somewhere in there I fainted, but I'm not sure exactly when. After about 20 minutes of resting/recovery I was reasonably ok. Got a shot of RhIG because I'm Rh negative, and we were on our way.

I was prescribed methergine which helps the uterus contract (typically given after delivery). I had and have only very minor bleeding. Cramping was medium the day of the D&C, and I ended up taking a vicodin that night which may or may not have helped me get a good night's sleep. It was better yesterday and today. None of it has been worse than a bad period. TMI warning: annoyingly, I'm still constipated from the progesterone I had been taking, and that crampiness mixed in is very unpleasant.

We're sad, and drained, and weary, and impatient to be able to start another IVF cycle. The D&C was truly awful. My doctor had asked on Tuesday if I wanted to be put under for it, and I'm so bad with IVs that I asked about other options. I wish I'd decided to be put under, but then again, it might not have been able to happen so quickly. And I'm very very glad it's behind me. My body can start healing and my mind and heart can process and heal as well. We have a consult scheduled with our IVF doctor on June 8, and the results of the lab analysis should be back by then. My doctor said I can expect my next natural cycle in about 6 weeks, so the timing will work out about right to be able to start again in late June/early July.

So the title of this post...

I used this analogy yesterday with my husband, and it really resonated for us. After two and a half years of trying to get pregnant, having our first IVF cycle work was amazing. We could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we were so, so excited to think about having a baby this year, right before Christmas.

It turns out it wasn't the light at the end of the tunnel. It was a lantern.

It's marking some progress (we successfully managed my immune system; we were able to get pregnant; and my body handled the pregnancy beautifully, to the best of our knowledge) and it helps us see the way forward, but it's not where we thought we were, and that's horribly disappointing.

I so appreciate everyone's kind notes. I wish that so many of you hadn't been through this or something similar, and I wish for those of you who haven't that you don't ever have to go through it.