Thursday, August 5, 2010

Our History

In order to start this blog off, I think our history is important to note. Here's our story.

I'm 37 years old and my husband is 35. It took us 8 years to conceive our daughter. In late 2007/early 2008, we went through 6 months of fertility treatments. I had so much bloodwork done, ultrasounds, an HSG, Clomid, my husband giving me HCG Trigger shots, IUIs with a cervix that wouldn't cooperate and needed clamped open. My husband endured sperm analysis and several months of specimen drop offs. It was such a roller coaster of emotions. Timing everything, taking all the right supplements, my husband wearing boxers even though he hates them, reading dozens of books, taking hundreds of home pregnancy tests and ovulation predictor tests, stressing about the out of pocket cost (insurance didn't cover a thing), surfing the Internet for that one thing that might make it happen for us. I know that we were so fortunate to have had such an easy road compared to many who struggle with infertility. On our last chance at Clomid/HCG Trigger Shot/IUI before moving on to all injectible meds we ended up getting pregnant. In 2008 I had a lovely pregnancy with her (aside from having gestational diabetes), and we are so grateful to have our little sunshine in our lives. She is perfect in every way!

At the end of December 2009 (almost exactly 1 year after our daughter was born), I got pregnant naturally after 7 months of trying, but that sadly ended in an early miscarriage in January. I had positive pregnancy tests for two days, then they turned into negatives. They call that a "chemical pregnancy" - I hate that term. We were so saddened by this loss. We also knew we wanted to try again immediately.

We were lucky enough to get pregnant on the following cycle in March (yes, my cycles are always irregular like that). It was a dream come true. We had been more nervous this time around after suffering a loss, but trying to remain optimistic. Things went well in the first trimester. All of my bloodwork came back great, I had morning sickness, and my belly was growing appropriately. We saw the heartbeat on an ultrasound at 6 weeks, and heard it loud and clear on a Doppler at two different appointments after that. In July 2010 I went in at 16 weeks pregnant for the quad screen bloodwork, feeling good that I was comfortably in the second trimester, and anxious to get my results back, hoping they would be as good as they were with my first pregnancy. Our results set us in a tailspin. We had a 1 in 10 chance that the baby had Down syndrome (odds for my age should be closer to 1 in 200). We scheduled some tests, and on July 8, 2010 showed up for an ultrasound - I was 17 weeks pregnant. We had no idea what was about to come. There was no heartbeat. Our baby had died, likely when I was about 15 weeks pregnant. Shock...what's next? We talked to my OB who gave us our options, wait and see when I miscarry, or come in to have Cytotec inserted to start the labor and delivery process. We opted to use the Cytotec. The following day, July 9, 2010, we arrived at 1:45 PM for the Cytotec, and she sent me home, instructing me to go to labor & delivery at the hospital once I started to bleed, and I would deliver there. Labor started for me at about 5:40 PM. It was an intense, hard labor, without much of a break between contractions. I did not bleed. At around 6:45 PM I delivered our baby in our master bathroom with my husband. We held him, cried, and told him how much we loved him and wished things had turned out differently. Amidst all the sadness and despair, this moment was one of beauty and love that I am forever grateful to have had. Not until after I delivered our baby did I start to bleed. We called my OB and met her at the hospital. I was put in the same triage room that I was in on delivery day for my daughter, how strange to be there for two very different outcomes. I ended up needing a D&C to remove the remaining placenta, so my husband was left to worry, while I underwent the surgery. Our baby was sent for testing, and we have since found out that he had Trisomy 21 aka:Down syndrome. It's good to have answers. The past month has been full of grief. We named our son and have his ashes at home with us. We planted a tree in our backyard that people from my husbands' office gave us to honor him. This has been the most difficult thing I've ever had to endure. Our son will be forever in our hearts.

Now we get to "Try Again" - moving forward. I'm waiting for a fresh cycle, then we'll start, hopefully with my cycles we won't have to wait too long - add that to the frustration list. I'm not sure how I feel. A mix of emotions. I'm excited about the prospect of having another healthy child in our home - a "take home" baby, as a fellow miscarriage sufferer has called it, how fitting. I'll always be a mom of three, one living child, and two angel babies. I'm hoping for another "take home" baby to make me a mom of four. I'm mad we have to start this process all over again. The stress of trying to conceive can be overwhelming sometimes. I'm afraid of losing another baby, or any other complications that may arise. It's interesting, the mix you feel when new life and death become so easily intertwined. I'm sure this blog will be therapeutic to me. Some days I'll be excited and hopeful, and others I'll still be dealing with the grief. If we are fortunate enough to get pregnant again that will be another set of worries.

Editing to add additional history for new blog readers wanting our entire history without reading through the whole blog.

In September 2010 we found out we were pregnant again, the second cycle following my miscarriage with my son. Things looked really promising. I had great beta numbers, great progesterone levels, an ultrasound at 7 weeks 5 days with a very strong heartbeat and appropriate growth. Just 2 weeks later we went in for a routine exam and there was no longer a heartbeat. The baby had stopped growing at around 8 weeks 4 days. I miscarried the baby naturally with the help of misoprostol and sent the baby in for testing. We found out she was a little girl and she had Turner's syndrome. Another chromosome abnormality but not associated with Down syndrome.

My husband and I had a lot of testing done. Our chromosomes, blood clotting disorders, vitamin levels, glucose levels. We also met with a genetics counselor. All things pointed to it just being bad luck. Not much showed up in our testing. I do have PAI-1 4G/4G genetic mutation, which is a blood clotting issue, but my levels are fine. It's not something that would definitely cause a problem.

After some of the testing was finished we decided to meet up with our RE (reproductive endocrinologist, ie: fertility doctor) to see if she had any suggestions. She had us do more testing, then we proceeded to start using Clomid again. I got pregnant again right away on my first round of Clomid in February 2011. We were thrilled but trying not to get too excited until we were certain this pregnancy would not end in miscarriage. My first two betas showed good results with good doubling times on my HCG levels and great progesterone levels. We went in for our first ultrasound at 6 weeks, but things did not look good. The baby was measuring less than 5 weeks, there was no heartbeat, and there was possibly a yolk sac but no fetal pole. We were sent home to wait and hope for a miracle. My HCG level was okay but not great or ideal. At 7 weeks my RE told me the pregnancy did not look viable. The sac grew and was about 6 weeks in size but no heartbeat or anything that looked normal. There was some sort of tissue in the gestational sac, but that was all. The 9 week ultrasound was the final one we had. The baby had not grown at all and my doctor called it a blighted ovum. I tried to miscarry naturally with misoprostol again, but my body wasn't cooperating, so I ended up having a D&C in April 2011.

We got pregnant again in September 2011 on 100mg Clomid and an HCG trigger shot. We are so blessed to have welcomed our rainbow baby boy on May 3, 2012.

1 comment:

Julie Sterling said...

Your story is one of love, loss, tragedy and healing. I will keep you and your family in my prayers! ♥J♥