Ultrasound and fire truck update

Well, the spotting increased to full-on bleeding Wednesday afternoon, so C and I both canceled each of our evening plans and stayed home to mope. The bleeding slowed overnight, then started again Thursday afternoon, this time accompanied by cramping.

Ever the pragmatist, I emailed Dr. R before driving home from work:

“In the last hour I’ve started cramping and bleeding more heavily. Do you think I should still come in tomorrow if it continues/increases? Should I try to save any tissue for testing?”

She replied that I should still come in, and that I should save any tissue if I could.

Again the bleeding slowed that evening and overnight.

On Friday I got up and got ready for work. I taught my class (OChem II), replied to emails, prepped for Monday’s class, and represented my department at an event for prospective students. As I realized that it was time to leave, a feeling of dread settled into the pit of my stomach. I said a grim goodbye to my friend/department assistant (who is ‘in the know’ about everything going on), and drove home to meet C.

C and I drove to Kaiser, making small talk. I mentioned Dr. R’s email, and speculated that she might recommend a D&C so we could test the embryo and see if there was a genetic reason why things went wrong.

We arrived, checked in, and waited. A nurse took me back in to get my weight, blood pressure and urine sample, then brought me back to the waiting room because Dr. R was behind schedule and she thought I’d be more comfortable waiting there.

Eventually the nurse came back for us and as we walked down the long hallway to the very last exam room, I leaned over to C and told him it felt like we were walking to the firing squad. I undressed and sat on the exam table, feeling both literally and figuratively naked.

Dr. R came in and hugged us both. She said how nice it was to see us, that it had been too long. She asked if I felt pregnant, and I explained that the only pregnancy “symptoms” I had were feeling weepy and very tired…both of which could easily be attributed to depression over our apparently failing pregnancy.

Mercifully, she suggested that we postpone the usual prenatal visit stuff and skip straight to the cervical exam and ultrasound.

Dr. R did her thing as gently as humanly possible. She realized that the probe was disconnected from the ultrasound machine and had to start over. She tried again and focused in on the dark oval (the gestational sac) and said, matter of factly,

“I see a heartbeat!”

What?!

She carefully showed us – skeptical as we were – what she was looking at. She checked the rate and declared it to be a normal heartbeat, then she measured the embryo, twice, and showed us that it was measuring 6 weeks 5 days. (We were at 6w6d by my count.)

IMG_6576

Dr. R was so visibly happy; she just about started crying. Meanwhile, C and I displayed no emotion at all. We were (and still are) dumbfounded.

I had already been anticipating how I would tell my department chair that I needed to change my fall teaching schedule back to a normal schedule. (I had jumped the gun and moved some courses to accommodate a November due date, prior to student registration starting last week…) I had planned to console myself with a delicious cadillac margarita at the Mexican place behind our house, watch the depressing movie about stillbirth I’ve been wanting to see, and ugly cry on the couch by myself…

That I could still be pregnant was, and is, so unreal.

Of course, we know we’re not out of the woods – that we will never be out of the woods.

But that doesn’t stop this me from feeling like getting this far is a miracle.

Dr. R suggested I lay off the aspirin for a couple days and then start back on it again Monday and see how it goes. She said I could go to a ‘normal’ prenatal visit schedule and come back in a month…or that I could come back sooner if it would help me feel less stressed. C answered for me that of course I would want to come back. (He told her I’d just move in to the clinic if she’d let me!) So Dr. R set up an appointment for next Friday, and said we could “play it by ear” after that. It sounds like she plans to let me come in as often as I want!

We talked about other things, including how (and when) I should deliver, but it was pretty much consistent with what she had already recommended when we met back in September.

.

In other news, on Thursday I heard back from the sales rep for Kompan, the Danish company that we contracted to make Jane’s memorial fire truck. He said he had just confirmed that the pieces of the truck had arrived at our local Parks & Recreation office! We don’t know when they’ll get around to assembling it and removing the current fire truck, but this was unexpected good news!

He went on to say that while he didn’t know all the details, our story had touched the hearts of many of the people at Kompan who worked to make it happen. He shared that many years ago, he had lost an adult son (age 25), and that he was honored to be able to contribute to Jane’s memorial. ❤

Here were the plans for the memorial again. We can’t wait to see it in place at our local park!

Advertisements

Spotting

Thanks to all of you who wrote reassuring comments. (Thanks to those of you who left empathetic “Oh, shit!” comments too! Validation of my feelings is always welcome!)

On Monday, I got a nice message from Dr. R (my obstetrician for Jane, and for this pregnancy):

Hi, K! Please pardon the delay, I have been out of the office. Usually, the very earliest we can definitively see a heartbeat is when the fetal pole measures at least 6 weeks (your fetal pole measured 5+4 weeks). So, things can be totally normal at this stage, the ultrasound was just a bit early. The good news is that there is a tiny fetal pole and a gestational sac which is exactly what we should see at this stage. Also, the gestational sac measured less than 2 cm. This is usually the cut off when we can visualize fetal cardiac motion. So, once again, probably too early. As far as I can tell, your hormones rose great when checked and you have a pregnancy in the right spot (the uterus and not an ectopic pregnancy). When I see you this week, if all is progressing well, we should see a heart beat then. This week will seem like forever for you, please keep the faith! See you soon! 🙂 Dr R.

Have I mentioned how much I love Dr. R? (Pretty sure I have, but it bears repeating!)

Unfortunately, as the title of this post suggests, I started spotting on Sunday. It’s not heavy, but it seems to be most noticeable in the evening – presumably when the progesterone from my suppositories starts wearing off – which I think can’t be a good sign. While I’ve spotted in my previous pregnancies (with C. Samuel, with Jane, and even with this pregnancy), it’s only been at 4.5-5 weeks.

So here I am, still waiting for Friday’s ultrasound, hoping that I’m wrong to think that this pregnancy is all but over…

 

A funny thing happened on the way to Colorado…

But first, I want to apologize for the radio silence. It started because I was so busy with the start of the school year…

  • We traveled to Chicago Labor Day weekend (8/31-9/2) for a good friend’s wedding. (I got my positive OPK there, so, once again, our plans for natural cycle IUI were foiled…)
  • Fall classes started that Wednesday (9/4).
  • My promotion portfolio was due Friday (9/6).
  • Then on Saturday (9/7), I flew to Indianapolis for a whirlwind trip the American Chemical Society meeting.
  • Then back Monday (9/9) to teach the second week of classes…

And then on Friday (9/13), I found myself…

a little bit.

pregnant.

 

 

As most of you know, I’ve been diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve (AMH 0.19, FSH 13). I was a poor responder in both menopur + IUI and low-stim + IVF cycles. We were told by three different doctors that our chances of success with my eggs were slim.

We spent the last couple months doing (well, intending to do…) natural cycle IUI and taking a laundry list of supplements in the hope that they might improve egg quality, in preparation for a ‘last ditch’ high-stim IVF cycle at CCRM.

We had our CCRM phone consult a couple weeks ago, and scheduled our one day workup for this coming Tuesday (9/24).

As most of you also know, I’m a religious BBT charter. As a result, I know that I have a short luteal phase (usually only 10 days or so). When I got to 11, 12, 13dpo without a temperature drop (and noticed that my boobs were almost filling the cups of my bra…), I started to hope. Then a week ago Friday, I caved and used an old home pregnancy test I had lying around.

It was positive.

I called Dr. Y’s office and the advice nurse ordered a blood test.

  • Beta #1 (at 13dpo) was 110.

Then on Saturday, the spotting started. Red at first, then brown. On Sunday my BBT dropped half a degree and we just knew that we were miscarrying again. That morning I also realized that I had somehow FORGOTTEN to use the progesterone suppositories that the nurse told me to use when I called on Friday!! (You have no idea how completely out of character it is for me to ‘forget’ instructions from my healthcare provider…especially about something this important!!!) So I cried in bed for over an hour on Sunday, reading and rereading supportive comments on the online forum for my local Resolve support group, sure that I had killed our miracle baby with my thoughtlessness.

 

But I went in on Monday for Beta#2.

  • Beta #2 (at 16dpo) was 380.

I continued spotting for six days, but I kept going in for blood tests.

  • Beta #3 (at 18dpo) was 980.
  • Beta #4 (at 21dpo) was 3512.

Thankfully, the spotting seems to have stopped for now.

 

 

So now I’m feeling a bunch of things:

1) Elated. This is what we’ve been praying for the past 19 months. What we paid about $12K for so far, with nothing to show for it. What we were prepared to shell out another $25-30K more for at CCRM… And somehow we hit the jackpot ‘the old-fashioned way’?!

2) Terrified. Last time we got a BFP (nearly a year and a half ago), we miscarried at 9 weeks after seeing no heartbeat at our 8 week ultrasound. We were sad, but that was just the start of our infertility journey. At the time we were so sure that we would be pregnant again in a month or two. We’ve had a roller coaster year of infertility, a DOR diagnosis, a life-threatening injury, and two failed ART cycles since then. I can only imagine what a miscarriage would be like now that we know what is at stake… We are so far from out of the woods, and I’m really scared.

3) Embarrassed. I know it sounds really stupid, but I feel like a big fat infertility fraud. Like all the wonderful people I’ve met through this journey will resent me. (I could hardly blame them, as I’ve resented my share of pregnant women.) I feel bad for even saying that I feel this way. I’m sure you’re all like “Boo hoo for the poor pregnant girl.” But it’s weird. Infertility has become a part of my identity somehow. If this pregnancy sticks, does that part of me just die?

 

 

So we canceled the trip to Colorado. (Well, for fear of jinxing it, I waited until Beta #2, and used the word “postpone” rather than “cancel” when I called CCRM…)

Our first ultrasound is on Friday.

We are cautiously hopeful…

*******

To our friends IRL, I’m sorry that you’re hearing our news for the first time like this. Given our history and how early it is in the pregnancy (just 5 weeks today), we’re not ready to share far and wide yet… But I didn’t want to leave you hanging! C & I would appreciate your discretion for now.