Feeling slighted by an ovum, blighted

I have been very emotional lately, with the holidays coming up. That’s no surprise. What is surprising, that in my feels-like-it’s-all-happening-all-over-again sadness, I feel compelled to go into detail about the loss of Mason. This is not a post that I want to write, but feel I should, for the sake of others in similar situations. It’s raw, hurtful, sad, and depressing. Pregnancies vary from person to person, pregnancy to pregnancy. So do miscarriages. No two will be exactly alike. When I lost Jordan, I was about 6 weeks along. My hCG levels were decent. I didn’t have too many symptoms except that I was crazy, super emotional. I hadn’t even made it to my first OB appointment. I went to school one day, and there was blood. Lots of it. I drove myself to the hospital, trying to stay calm. I didn’t tell anyone except my professors that I had that day. My family didn’t even know I was pregnant at this point. By the time I had gotten to the hospital, all hope was lost. As I was checking in, I was hit with a double whammy. The women checking in before me was pregnant with twins and she had a cold… I wanted to punch her in the face. I’m here at the ER because I’m losing my baby and your here because you have a freaking cold?!

The doctor ran labs and did an ultrasound.  There was no tissue left.  Since this was my first u/s and the tissue was gone already, I never got to see my baby. It was probably around 10:00 am, when I let anyone know where I was. I was supposed to work  at 11:00. I texted my mom and told her I was in the hospital having a miscarriage and I thought that I’d be late for work. She works for me in the mornings, while I’m in school. As I’m laying there alone in the ER, I am freaking out. This can’t be happening. I’ve wanted to be a mother for so long and now I’m losing my baby. Momma drove to the hospital and sat with me for a while. I did leave the hospital and go to work, but I was late. I needed something to do to pretend this didn’t actually happen. It didn’t take long for my hCG levels to be back to normal, but emotionally, I was a mess. I don’t know the gender of this baby, but mother’s intuition tells me it’s a girl. We’ll call her a her. Her name is Jordan Eryn. *Jordan, if you’re a boy, I apologize for the semi girly spelling of your middle name. Your aunt and godmomma, Liz and I decided on the Irish version. She helped me name you.

Now it’s Mason’s turn. I wasn’t too worried about having a miscarriage with this last pregnancy for a few reasons. 1) I had already had one. I couldn’t be cursed twice in a row, right? 2) My hCG levels were super high and constantly rising. 3) I was horribly nauseous to the point of throwing up on myself, in the car, while eating an apple. Since we weren’t telling anyone yet that I was pregnant, we said I had a little bug. Hence, Mason’s nickname Bug. 🙂

So my pregnancy is moving along great if you consider morning/noon/night sickness, horrible nausea, lack of appetite except for healthy snacks, tiredness, emotional, and sore boobs great. Weirdly, I did. I thanked God for all of these symptoms because my baby was going to be okay! My first ultrasound with him was around 6 weeks. At my OB’s office they have big TVs on the wall so that you can see everything that’s going on. I saw a sac, but no baby. My heart sank. The doctor tried to tell me maybe I had my dates mixed up and I wasn’t as far along as I thought. I knew exactly how far I was to the day, since we had been ttc for 3 months. I wasn’t mistaken. She didn’t say anything, but scheduled me for follow up blood work and another U/S in a few days. My hormone levels were still rising at this point, I was still sick, and there was still no baby on the giant TV.

At this point she informs me she thinks I have a blighted ovum, or anembryonic pregnancy. I didn’t exactly know what this was, but I knew my heart was broken. I went home, read everything I could get my hands on, and prayed like I’ve never prayed before. I held out hope knowing that some women can’t see their babies until 10+ weeks on the u/s, due to the babies location. Once to twice a week I was having my blood levels checked and ultrasounds done, but the results were the same. Blighted ovum. No baby. No sign of impending miscarriage so the doctor scheduled me for a D&C (dilation and curettage). When I left the hospital after surgery, there was a mother leaving with her baby and a mother coming in to have a baby… What timing I have… It took about 6 weeks for my hCG levels to finally drop below 2.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, “A blighted ovum (also known as “anembryonic pregnancy”) happens  when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall, but the embryo does not develop. Cells develop to form the pregnancy sac, but not the embryo itself.”

Here is why I didn’t want to write this post. I’m pretty sure at least one of you will be thinking that since I didn’t have an embryo, I wasn’t really pregnant. This bothered me so badly in the beginning and even now writing this post because I struggled with the question if I was actually considered pregnant myself. Does this count as a baby or what the heck is going on with my body? I don’t understand. I don’t know how I can have all of these symptoms and there not be a child. I believe that life begins at conception. There was a fertilized egg. It was multiplying and growing. I had a pregnancy sac and a placenta. The genetics testing came back the sex was male. How can it be a male, if it is not a life? He is my son and his name is Mason. I’ll fight to the death if you’d like to tell me otherwise.

This makes 2 pregnancies and I have yet to see a baby. This makes 2 pregnancies and I have yet to hear a heartbeat. This makes 2 pregnancies and I am absolutely terrified of the next one. Right now, at this moment, I want to cry. My heart hurts wondering if you think of Mason as a blip. As an accident. As not a baby. He is my baby and the pain of missing him and Jordan haunt me daily. Please, if you have ever had experienced a blighted ovum miscarriage, know that you were pregnant. You are a mother. You created life. You are not alone.

“Blighted Ovum.” American Pregnancy Association,  2011. Web. Web. 16 Nov. 2012.

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Unexpected (and unwelcome) emotions

I know Kristen already posted today, but I had an unexpected breakdown yesterday I want to share with you. So if you haven’t yet, check out her blog from earlier, so that you don’t accidentally skip over it. 🙂

Yesterday, I had a migraine all day, which is one of many health problems my body and my mother have blessed me with. (Thanks Mom!) My loving Christopher thought he would try and ease my pain by trying to “impregnate me.”His words, not mine. (It’s been 4 months ttc since we lost Mason.) That works for headaches, but not so much for migraines. Too much head flopping and brain shaking… However, I love the fact that he knows what will make me feel better. Babies. Babies make me feel better. My babies, not other people’s babies that is. He even suggested we can have twins and quadruplets! The idea of twins freak him out and quadruplets freak me out. We’d both be running for the hills at that point. Ok, not really since I’ve always wanted 4 babies, but since he has 2 of his own (8 year old Emily and 9 year old Brooke,) he told me our limit is 2. What would probably happen if by some miracle I get pregnant with quads is that I would keep 2 and give 2 to Kristen… Happy birthday, friend!

If you have ever experienced a loss, you probably know that you have good days and bad days. After your initial phase of grief wears off, you’re probably pretty good at knowing your triggers and what things/people/dates/events to avoid to keep your sanity. As previously mentioned, my triggers are new babies, pregnant women, pregnant women at weddings, pregnant women at family functions, pregnancy related posts, pregnancy announcements, ultrasounds, etc… Side note: I had an unexpected pregnancy announcement yesterday and I remained calm, gave my congratulations, and did not cry. Round of applause for me. You do what you can to keep yourself in check, but sometimes there are those things that just pop up out of nowhere and your suddenly a blubbering mess.

Side note/Background information: (Side note on the side note: Yes, I am aware that I have multiple side notes. I’m slightly ADD and I’m giving you the information in the order my brain gives it to me. Welcome to my world.) Chris loves football. He loves his Cleveland Browns and I love being able to share that with him. When I found out I was pregnant, I told Chris by wrapping up Cleveland Browns pacifiers in a gift bag. Soon after we found out Mason’s due date, who at the time was called Bug, was January 26. This was my grandpa’s birthday, so it must be a special day. My birthday is February 3, just a week after, so I’d be getting the best gift EVAR!!! Guess what else is February 3 of next year? The Super Bowl. Chris loves football, Chris loves babies, genius idea– I’ll buy Mason his first Super Bowl outfit to wear! Are you seeing the football theme? Boy or girl, it didn’t matter, my baby was going to be dressed in football clothes for it’s first Super Bowl party. I was so excited!

Ok, so unexpected and unwelcome emotions. Fast forward a bit in time from the pregnancy/loss in June, back to last night. I still have a migraine, and I’m trying to sleep. We’re talking about moving and Chris mentions that if all goes well, maybe we could have a Super Bowl party in the new house! My reaction- “That would be so much…. that wouldn’t be so fun.” If there was a way to shrink those last words, I would have done it. I trailed off at this point* As I was saying how much fun I thought that would be, my brain reminded me that I won’t have Mason there with us. I burst into tears. Chris was so supportive about it, which I love about him. He lets me cry and holds me tight. He is absolutely amazing. The Super Bowl is my new, unexpected trigger. Who woulda thunk it? This may be the only time I am glad the Browns have no chance at all, but there’s always next year…

Hormones and the 2 week wait

My doctor told me once that my hormones were out of whack.  I knew this before I spent $30k on fertility treatments but I’m glad he noticed.  Since we lost the baby in June of this year, we were unable to “try” again to get pregnant until my hcg levels reached 0.  It took almost 3 months.  In that time span, not only did my body completely revolt but it decided to add new and unwanted hormonal effects.  We started trying again in late August and I only did ovulation induction pills.  Everything else we figured we’d try on our own.  Of course…no luck.  September rolled around and we tried again only this time my body told me to go screw myself and my follicle, or egg, turned into a massive cyst.  Luckily it disappeared and didn’t stop any further attempts at getting pregnant.  I went back in October and after taking the medications later in my cycle was shocked to find I had 3 follicles.  2 were good size and 1 was small.  In a panic I set out to gather funding to pay for the hcg trigger shot and 1 iui.  I thought “This is it!  2 at once and we are no longer paying this doctors mortgage!”  Unfortunately that too did not work.  That brings us to this month.

Let me backtrack a bit.  If you are going through ANY kind of efforts trying to conceive, you know your stress level is outrageous.  Anything added on top of that makes your chances of conceiving that much worse.  You know that every pinch, tug, twinge, pull, stabbing pain or ache makes you hopeful.  You fantasize for 2 weeks after “trying” about this miracle that could be growing inside you.  I hate that part.  I get my hopes up and my heartbroken every month without fail.

So, this month, we are trying again.  I had 1 follicle that was 25mm.  That’s a good size.  I had my appointment on Friday and OF COURSE my doctor was out-of-town.  Due to that, I had to wait to get results on blood work to see where I was sitting as far as ovulation goes.  I had gone about my day and in the middle of a chiropractor appointment I get a phone call from my RE’s office saying “Doc says you are ready and he wants you to have an hcg shot.  Can you be here now?”  I panic.  Of course I rush my chiropractor along and race back to my RE’s office to get stabbed with a syringe full of pregnancy hormone.  Normally, that medication does not bother me.  I get no side effects and I barely know I had the shot until I feel ovulation happen.  This time was a different story.  As I drove home I received a call about a job interview.  I was so taken aback by this call saying they needed to interview me right then that I may have freaked out.  I had 1 hour and 35 minutes to get ready and drive an hour for the interview.  When I got home I found that my suit pants were missing.  Immediately this is my poor husbands fault.  I flew into a rage and tore the house apart looking for my pants.  He finally braved the storm and came up to help me look and he immediately went to his dresser.  My exact words were “Do you think the effing laundry fairy magically put my damn pants into your dresser because she so freaking stupid she didn’t know whose ass those belong on?”  At that moment my life was over.  I was in hysterics.  The smart man I married said “I love you and I am going to work.”  I screamed a little more and then moved to my dresser where sure as hell I found my pants right where I had put them the week before.  I texted Jeremy and told him I was sorry and then Candi called.  I released my rage on her and then immediately felt like the biggest jerk in the world.  Now, this shot makes me crazy.  Just great.

So now I sit and wait.  I am in what is known as the dreaded “2 week wait.”  The only significance to this is that I have to wait for 2 weeks from the day I received the hcg shot to find out if I got pregnant.  We didn’t do any artificial insemination.  We only did the deed and hoped that everything swam into place.  I try to compare how I felt when I actually got pregnant to now and I can’t.  I don’t remember how I felt.  I honestly don’t remember feeling any different than I did on a normal day.  Right now, I don’t care.  That may sound wrong but I know that the stress of worrying about everything that is now out of my control does not help.  The test will either be negative or positive and then we go from there.  The only advice I can give to people is to try not to care.  That sounds even crazier but if you can find something to occupy your mind instead of sitting and wondering, you stand a better chance of having a better out come.  I know that I still care.  I worry.  I panic.  I am nervous.  I am petrified.  I also know that if this month is negative I can try again next month.  Not everyone has that knowledge.

All of this trying and waiting is horrible.  Candi and I are both waiting.  We are practically in sync with each other and can probably find out the same day.  Either there will be much rejoicing or a lot of crying and bitching about our bodies.  I also know that everyone has different experiences.  I am curious to hear about yours.  It’s something that is difficult to share about but one of our goals for Lotus Be is to get people talking.  So, to all of you trying to conceive right now, baby dust and good thoughts to you all.  To all of you still waiting for the ok to start trying again, even more baby dust and hugs and support.  We all got dealt a raw deal.  All of us will make amazing mommies one day and until that day comes we need to build a strong support system and stick together.  I have had people look at me like I am crazy when I say I want to make infertility and miscarriage something that is talked about as much as any other disease or problem people face.  Stand up with us and help us break the silence and shout “My reproductive organs are here, we’re jacked up, help us fix it!”

I would also like to ask if you will please excuse my insanity for the next few weeks.  My uterus and I are in deep conversation and I tend to get loud and obnoxious.  I yell at my uterus sometimes hoping that will help give it some motivation to stop pissing me off.  Again, I am hormonal and insane so please exuse me.

Your time will come… and many other annoying phrases

As a member of the “angel baby club” or the “my body hates me and I can’t get pregnant club”, you hear many different words of “encouragement” from well meaning friends, family members, and neighbors down the street. I say encouragement loosely because the advice that comes from those that love us sometimes hurts instead of helps. The list is long. And crazy. I’ll throw out only 10 of my favorites that I’ve heard along my journey and I’ll include my internal thoughts. Feel free to comment with your additions. Again, we are giving you the inside scoop on our lovely, messed up, fantastical lives.

1) “Your time will come” Are you a fortune teller? Can you promise me my time will come? Because if you can promise me that, you will ease a lot of my fears.

2) “You’re still young” Relative to my life expectancy, I am still young. In fertility years, I’ve been trying/wanting to get pregnant for 10. I got married at 18 with the idea of being a young mother, just as my mother was. To have longer to love my children, but also be able to kick them out and travel the world. I am since divorced (and very thankful. It was an abuse situation.) and am still waiting for my precious babies. You can also factor in my mom had a hysterectomy at 29. I’m 28. This scares me to death.

3) “God didn’t want you to have that baby/You don’t deserve it” (In response to my first loss) This is absolutely ridiculous and you sir, should be ashamed of yourself. My God wants me to have tons of babies, it just hasn’t happened yet. He knows that I will make a kick-ass momma someday and is waiting until a child comes along that can handle my awesomeness.

4) “Trying is the fun part!” No. No it’s not. I don’t know what is “fun” about your whole life being broken up into 28-32 day chunks that are then divided into the first 2 weeks and the 2nd 2 weeks. Peeing on a stick for 1/3 of those days either on an OPK (ovulation predictor kit) or a pregnancy test is not fun. The dreaded “two-week wait” is not fun. Getting your hopes up about every twinge and pain you feel hoping that you may be pregnant this month and then BAM! You’re not. In Kristen’s case, the “fun” part is going to the doctor to be turkey basted while being shot up with needles and meds that make her crazy…

5) “Just relax” I can’t. I have never wanted anything more in my entire life than to be a mother. Would you “just relax” if you were trying to get a new job, a promotion, or that new house? Nope. You’d do whatever was in your power to control the situation and get things to go your way.

6) “You want kids? Have mine!” You don’t realize how often I’ve thought about coming to your house with adoption papers or even kidnapping your child. *Please note I would never kidnap a child. Technically, you told me I could have it anyways…*

7) When asked what Kristen’s annoying phrases she’s heard are, she said, “My baby died.” To that I say Kristen, stfu. My babies died and I can say it if I want to. Your opinion is no longer valid and I will be sole author of this blog. 🙂

8) “It was meant to be” I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, but I also know that does nothing to take away my pain. Maybe my babies would have been born sick or something horrible, but we have no idea what would have been. We only know what is and that we have no babies, empty wombs, and broken hearts.

9) “You aren’t a real mom” Say that to my face. I became a mom when I first saw that plus sign. I have always been a mom in my heart. That is what I was born to be. I was pregnant. Twice. I grieved over the loss of my child. Twice. I grieved over what should have been. Twice. My body remained pregnant after the loss of my children. A miscarriage is a slow process. You may lose your baby, but your body may take a while to realize it. With my first loss, my body got rid of the tissue on its own, but I still produced milk for a day. That was really weird. With my second loss, I had to have a D&C (dilation and curettage). It took about 1.5 months for my body to be without the H Cg hormone. My body thought I was pregnant for a month and a half after my baby was gone. I am a freaking mother.

10) And the final one for today, “At least you know you can get pregnant” I absolutely am able to get pregnant, but what is the point in being pregnant if I can’t carry my baby to term, or at least until the point of viability? I could get pregnant 100 times, but if I don’t have a child to show for it, I’d rather have never been pregnant in the first place. *I mean future children. I do NOT want to ever be without my two babies, Jordan and Mason. They are forever a part of me and my life. I would just rather never have to experience that loss again.

In other news, (relating to 4 and 5 if not others) month 4, day 15 since the loss of Mason, I finally have a line on an OPK. It’s not positive, but it’s getting there. That’s correct, it took 4 months and 15 days to have even a glimmer of hope at getting pregnant. My body is finally deciding it might want to start trying for another baby. Stupid body, it’s about time you’re ready!! I’ve been waiting…

Baby dust and only encouraging words to all. ❤

 

Sunshine and Unicorns

Candi told the truth.  No sunshine and unicorns.  If I had a unicorn, I would name him Stabby.  But I digress…

Today was one of those days that started out like any other.  I woke up late for work which is an everyday occurence.  Candi texted me to see if I was up for work.  I got ready and ran out the door and, as usual, my phone rang with a call from Candi.  Our usual commutes to work and school follow this routine unless I screw her day up and get up WAY too early just to get out of work or I have a doctor’s appointment.  Again, typical day.  Work, complain about work, get done with work, wait for Candi’s call and then I talk to Candi on my way home.  Today was grocery day.  I hate grocery day.  Candi and I chatted for a while and I got to shopping.  I knew I had to go to Wal-Mart for a prescription so I finished shopping and went to Wal-Mart.  Ladies and gentlemen, I have a love hate relationship with Wal-Mart.  The hate comes here in a minute.  I go to the pharmacy and they inform me of a 45 minute wait for 10 pills.  Begrudgingly I tell them I will wait and I begin to meander about the store.  I grabbed the food items that the “cheap store” didn’t carry and kept walking.  I needed cat food so as I purposefully walk around 10 extra isles in order to avoid the baby section, something catches my eye and I head towards babyville keeping my eyes down, slightly averting my gaze.  What I saw was completely irrelevant because at this point I had forgotten about it and was now staring at baby clothes.  Not just baby clothes but baby snow suits.

Now, if you have ever gone through fertility treatments for ridiculous amounts of time or lost a baby, you know that ANYTHING baby related makes waves of emotions sweep over you.  It’s completely normal, or so I’ve heard.  I have a really hard time seeing pregnant women, babies (especially tiny ones that are still wrinkled from being stuck inside liquid for 9 months), and baby clothes.  Snow suits make me mad because I would like nothing more than to have to carry around a star-shaped baby for the entirety of winter.  In order to avoid a panic attack, I walk away. My continued need to wait for this medication keeps me walking towards the Christmas aisle.  Again, I love Wal-Mart but….seriously…holly jolly go screw yourself.

Normally I am insane about Christmas for completely other reasons.  I love decorating, out-doing the neighbors, buying presents, wrapping them, trying to put red noses on my dogs, and all of that other happy horse crap (take no offense please).  This year I am Scrooge.  The reason is that our miracle baby was due on Christmas Eve give or take a few days.  I was so very pleased to be having at Christmas baby.  I was planning the holidays around baby coming.  We were so excited that I would be on maternity leave for the last month of the year because Jeremy wouldn’t have to hear me bitch about work being boring.   I walked in the department and saw a sign that said 53 days until Christmas.  I don’t think about Christmas.  I think about “53 days until I would have had our baby”.  Christmas is inevitable.  I know I should try to make the best of it and put on a happy face and try to not be miserable but….guess what…that is a little harder to do than I thought it would be.

So, I finish my shopping trip and pick up my meds which are the Letrozole pills that make me ovulate (yeah….my ovaries suck because of PCOS which I will explain another time).  I get home, start putting groceries away and I realize that I bought 2
dozen eggs.  As I am trying to shove them in my crowded refrigerator I realize I currently have 2 other cartons of eggs.  At the moment I have 50 eggs in my refrigerator.  My only thought was “my damn refrigerator is more fertile than I am…”

Welcome to the Circus!

Hey guys! Candi here. Kristen didn’t tell you anything except that we had a crazy year and we are the proud owners of a new company. Well, short story: She had a first term miscarriage and 4 weeks later, so did I. We both lost sons at 9/10 weeks gestation. That was after her incredible struggle to get pregnant with fertility treatments and it was my second loss. This was May/June/July time frame we’re talking here. We should still both be pregnant, but alas, we are not. Through this blog we hope to give you a look into our crazy worlds and how we are coping with our losses and how we came to start Lotus Be Infertility and Miscarriage Awareness Foundation.

Honestly, I have no clue how it happened that we came to be President and CEO of a non-profit organization. All I know is one day I was filing articles of incorporation, and for tax IDs, and vendor’s licenses. It’s really all a blur. Now we find ourselves business owners and it’s a scary, scary thing. We both freak out a little on a daily basis when we stop to think about what we’re doing. We want to help fund fertility treatments for those that aren’t covered by insurance. We want to help everyone we possibly can. Our dreams for this company are so big; it’s frightening. We really have lost our minds.

As to how we are coping, Kristen definitely is the more blunt of the two of us, and we aren’t censoring ourselves for you. That being said, my go to answer for when I’m having an awful day and struggling with my losses, “My babies died.” Yes, I know it’s blunt, but it’s the truth. Our babies did die. We struggle with that every day. Some days are better than others. Sometimes I can’t help but cry because my heart aches so badly. Anniversaries of loss dates and due dates are hard. Holidays are hard. Seeing pregnant women and babies is hard.

I think that’s enough sadness for now. Remember, we are trying to keep this light. Of course we want you to know that it isn’t all clouds and unicorns though. If you have dealt with infertility or pregnancy loss, you are not alone. Whatever it is your feeling is perfectly normal. Grief is different for each person and has no timeline. We are here to support you and hopefully make you feel like you are at least saner than we are.

I am saddened by the fact that Kristen shares my pain of loss, but I am truly blessed to have her support. We literally talk on the phone multiple times a day discussing business ideas, blessings, struggles, gossip, silly animal pictures, and the crazy antics of our fur-babies.

Thanks for finding us here. Thanks for supporting us. Thanks for not judging us. Welcome to the circus!