Thursday, December 30, 2010

Why Does it Always Have to Be So Hard?

Where to start?

Tuesday was the one year anniversary of my losing Trey. I can remember almost everything about that day in vivid detail - what I wore, what time I called the doctor's office asking for an ultrasound, the list I made of things to ask which I then never needed, playing a game on my iPhone in the waiting room, joking with the ultrasound tech, answering her questions as she turned the screen away from me as if somehow that would save me from having to find out my baby had died..............

The day actually went okay. I was and still am sad and if I think about it too long I start to cry but I think that's normal. I think being pregnant again helps because I have hope that this will be our live, healthy baby.

It was back to Dr. Coulam's yesterday and the ultrasound went really well. The baby had a bit of a growth spurt and is now measuring a few days ahead. The heart rate was 171 so that is right on track as well. What wasn't so great was my blood work which once again came back showing elevated natural killer cell activity. The doctor doesn't understand why it keeps going up instead of going down since I have had the intralipid treatment.

She suggested I come back Monday for another intralipid IV and I asked if it has a better chance of working the second time around of if it would be worthwhile to try IVIg. She said that the IVIg is super expensive and I, like a total naive idiot, said that my insurance had agreed to cover it. She said in that case it was definitely worth trying that over the intralipids to see if I had a better response.

Back in July I had gotten prior approval for Gammagard as a treatment for recurrent pregnancy loss and so with that in hand I figured piece of cake. WRONG! The pharmacy called Blue Cross and they said that they would deny the claim. The pharmacy relayed that to me and so I called Blue Cross. Over and hour later I was told to call CareMark who administers my pharmacy benefits (despite me only having a Blue Cross insurance card which makes zero mention of someone else handling the pharmacy benefits). Anyway, a call to them and half an hour later I have confirmed my pre-approval for the IVIg and yet somehow now there's extra conditions such as it has to be ordered through a retail pharmacy and billed through my pharmacy benefits, not my medical benefits and on and on with a whole bunch of stuff that makes zero sense to me. A call back to the pharmacy yields the statement that they don't believe they will get reimbursed. At this point I give up for the night. It's exhausting and stressful (no wonder my natural killer cells are elevated) and something doesn't seem right about having to fight so hard for something that could potentially save my baby's life.

I spoke with the pharmacy again this morning, this time with a reimbursement specialist who agreed to all CareMark and check on if my pharmacy benefits really will cover the medicine like they said they would. Of course, it's now been hours since I spoke with her and I haven't heard back so that's probably bad news right? Or, was it good news and now she's just trying to find a nurse to come to my house to administer the IV?

I wish things didn't have to be this hard.

Monday, December 27, 2010

And Now, Nothing

Ugh! I haven't thrown up since the breakfast incident on Friday. What the heck? Sure, sometimes I feel a little nauseous but I'd rather have the full-on vomiting. I've also been eating more this pregnancy than any of my previous ones. In the past, I've always lost quite a bit of weight in the first and even second trimesters. So far, I haven't lost any. Today at lunch I ate an entire tuna melt whereas with all four other pregnancies I would have had a hard time even eating half. What does all this mean? Probably nothing as what is that thing I keep hearing? "Every pregnancy is different." But, what it really means is that I just have more things to feed my worry.

Last week I ordered a doppler and according to the United States Postal Service it should arrive today. I know I'm crazy for thinking I'll be able to find the heartbeat when I'm just eight weeks pregnant tomorrow but I'm crazy like that. I need some reassurance and it doesn't help that in the past my ob/gyn has always been able to find the heartbeat with a doppler sometime in the eight week. Please pray that I can find it and that it's still there to be found.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. Mine was good and I even managed to get through two family celebrations without spilling the beans. I think we're going to wait until closer to Valentine's Day to tell everyone, although that seems so very far away.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Two Times

Yesterday I threw up my lunch and today I threw up my breakfast. Today I was at home but yesterday I was at work. The bathroom is oddly situated right in the middle of the office so if I'm in there throwing up just about everyone on my side of the office can hear it. When I came out one of my co-workers asked if I was okay and I said that I was fine, great in fact and have never been happier. Now, that may have been a bit of an overstatement because I'm sure I've been happier, but as far as being happy about throwing up it's true, I have never been happier to throw up.

Today is Christmas Eve and so I can't let the day go by without mentioning my little Trey who I was pregnant with this time last year. The husband and I were putting together toys of SB and QT after they had gone to bed when I started bleeding. Massively bleeding. I didn't know it then but soon I would lose the pregnancy and my little boy. This year I'm still sad, I don't honestly think I will ever not be sad about losing him, but I also have hope for this little baby inside me. Keep growing little guy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Medical Mystery

The ultrasound today went well. The baby is measuring 7 weeks and the heart rate was in the 150s so I was very happy. All seemed well with the baby.

Everything is not as well with me, however. My natural killer cells came back elevated again despite having received the IV intralipids. Since this last blood test should have shown the full effect of the intralipids I was really expecting the natural killer cell activity to be back within the normal range. It's a bit of a mystery why they not only didn't go down but they went up. It makes me nervous. I had another blood draw today so the level's will be retested and if things are still elevated next week I'll receive another IV of the intralipids.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Joy and Sadness All Wrapped Into One

I couldn't even bring myself to look at the ultrasound screen this morning until the doctor told me there was a heartbeat. It was great to see that little flickering speck. The baby measured 6wk1d and the heart rate was over 120 so I was happy. The last baby's heart rate never got that high. So, I'm happy, thrilled, excited and nervous, oh so very nervous. Once the ultrasound was over I was right back into the great unknowing. I can't feel the baby move, I can't find the heartbeat myself and so I'm just left to wonder if things are going the way they should. That's hard for me to accept.

I'm also a little sad this week. Had I not lost the baby in June I would have been induced this week and would be bringing home a newborn little girl. Also, a year ago today is when everything started to go wrong with my pregnancy with Trey. I had the first incident of bleeding and less than two weeks later we would lose him.

So, I am hoping that today's wonderful news means that we are back on the path to having good outcomes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Feeling Good About Feeling Sick

I swear I have never felt so good about feeling so sick. I've been having waves of nausea off and on and I'm overjoyed.

Tomorrow is the big day.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fat Injections

Today I felt a little queasy and I've never been happier. Having lost a pregnancy where I was terribly sick the entire time it makes zero sense for me to want to get sick and yet feeling sick makes everything seem more real. And, I've had two successful pregnancies where I was sick, whereas the one pregnancy where I was never sick ended badly.

The ultrasound on Thursday went okay. For a brief time I thought I might have a blighted ovum. I honestly couldn't see anything in the sac but then things shifted and I could make out the yolk sac. The doc said there was a start of a fetal pole but I couldn't see that. They are dating the pregnancy at 5wk2d and fetal pole or yolk sac measured exactly that. The gestational sac measured 5wk5d, so a little ahead. I return on Thursday for another ultrasound and at 6wk2d we should definitely see a baby and a heartbeat. It makes me nervous just to type that.

After the ultrasound we reviewed my blood work results and my natural killer cells are elevated. Dr. Coulam said that could be from my body fighting off an infection or it could be my immune system reacting to the pregnancy. They drew more blood but I was afraid to wait until next week for the results because if they came back elevated again then would it be too late to treat them? So, we decided to go ahead and do an intralipid infusion just in case. The nurse got the IV in pretty easily, which is amazing since so many people have had a hard time doing that in the past, and then I just sat there for about an hour while the white liquid fat dripped into my arm. I never thought I'd be so happy to be getting fat put directly into my veins. I'm hopeful that if the natural killer cells are an issue that we caught it in time.

I've got Christmas gifts to wrap and a house to clean up so I'm going...........although probably going to nap instead of actually do those things. I'm worn out.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

All My Love and Good Intentions

My fifth beta came back and it exactly doubled in 48 hours which made me quite happy. It went from 1,417 to 2,834. I was supposed to go back yesterday for a sixth but come on, who really gets six betas? Actually, I would have gone except that my acupuncture appointment got switched to last night and by the time I was done with that I was just too darn tired to go sit at the lab. Also, I am having an ultrasound tomorrow morning and so that will give me more useful information than any beta ever could.

How nervous am I for the ultrasound? So nervous that I think I'm making myself feel sick. Last week we saw the gestational sac but this week we should also be able to see a yolk sac and please, please, please a baby with a heartbeat. I know I'm just setting myself up for disappointment by having such high expectations but can't a baby help it's mother out some and just reassure me just this once?

As for feeling sick, I've been over analyzing every little twinge. Last week I had many incidences of bad cramps, like more than I've ever felt before and so I worried if I was starting to miscarry. Was my lower back hurting so much from lifting QT all the time or was it a sign that I was miscarrying? My lack of appetite I took as a great sign but now yesterday and today my appetite is normal. Heck, last night I ordered and ate a McRib so clearly I'm not having food aversions because if you'd be averse to something it should be a McRib. Monday I felt joyfully sick to my stomach but then felt just fine yesterday and today. Tuesday I felt a spot of pain in my right calf and just knew my body was forming another blood clot. Today, thankfully, no pain at all in my calf.

So, what do I do to try and calm myself down? I put my hands on my stomach and say "I am sending you all my love and good intentions" and I hope like heck that the baby can hear me and is listening. You are very much wanted and very much loved.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

How On Earth Did I Get so Jaded?

I was doing dishes yesterday listening to my iPod while SB and QT danced around the kitchen to Soul Asylum's Runaway Train. I've always liked the line "How on earth did I get so jaded? Life's mysteries seem so faded." Isn't that just so true? As children we are innocent and everything is new, exciting and fascinating. Then one day it changes and you lose that innocence and suddenly you're a jaded adult hoping for the best but often times expecting the worst.

My fourth beta came back Friday night and it didn't quite double. It was 750 Wednesday morning and Friday morning it was 1,417. Now, I know that is greater than the 66% rise that many docs look for and that the doubling time should fall somewhere in between 48 to 72 hours to be normal and mine is somewhere around 52 hours, so well within normal, and yet I'm jaded and so I worry. What if it's slowing down? What if the next numbers fall outside the normal range? Ugh. I wish there was a way to turn my brain off or I wish I could go back to a time when I didn't even know what a beta was.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sticker Shock

Let me first say that in no way am I complaining. I am thrilled beyond belief to be pregnant again. However, at my doctor's office yesterday there was a moment of complete sticker shock. I'll break it down:

1. $35 co-pay
2. $50 shipping and handling fee for the blood work
3. $450 paid upfront to the lab for the blood work, hopefully my insurance will reimburse me for some of this amount
4. $15 for gas because the office is 85 miles away
5. $2.50 for tolls

That's a total of $552.50 PER VISIT and I'll be visiting once a week for at least the next 10 weeks. Grand total......drum roll please.......$5,525.00. Holy cats! I am completely clueless where that money is coming from but I'm hoping I have to figure out a way to come up with it because that would mean 10 weeks from now I'm still pregnant.

On to better numbers,

my hcg level at 12dpo was 48, at 14 dpo it was 190 and the latest is at 17dpo it was 750. My progesterone has been between 35 and 45 so that is good too.

In other big news,

During my visit with Dr. Coulam yesterday she not only did blood work but an ultrasound. At only 4wk3d pregnant it seemed almost silly and yet I could see a little tiny circle with a dot showing where the implantation was. It was amazing. Next week I'm hoping to see a baby.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It All Comes Down to the Numbers

First beta at 12dpo was 48. Second beta at 14dpo was 190. I was very relieved and very pleased that it only took 24 hours to double. That number is higher at 14dpo than it's been in any other pregnancy I've had. I am supposed to go back today for a third so let's hope that the trend of good doubling continues.

We also got good number news from the mortgage guy yesterday. The appraisal on our house came back about $10,000 more than we thought it would so that is great news.

In not so good number news, there is talk about a pay freeze for federal employees so that would mean no extra money for at least two years. My raises at this point are pretty small so it's not the worst that could happen by any means but it still means getting less and paying out more because I didn't hear the President say anything about freezing the cost of my health insurance, or the price of milk, or gas, or my property taxes, or any of the other million and one taxes and fees I have to pay every year. Nope, those will just keep going up.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Two Tubes

Back to the lab today for another blood draw. Only two tubes so it was really a breeze. The first is to test hcg levels and the second is to test progesterone. I got the progesterone results from Friday back and they were good - 35. Of course, I'm using supplements but my understanding is that they are absorbed into tissue and not the blood stream so whatever my blood levels are is what my actual body is producing and not the supplements.

I'm praying for a more than doubling beta and also praying that the results come tonight. I don't want to have to wait through the entire day tomorrow to find out and I also don't want a call at the office if it's not good news. Additionally, since tomorrow is when I would be exactly 4 weeks pregnant I need to call and schedule an early pregnancy monitoring appointment with Dr. Coulam. I figured I would make sure my beta doubles prior to setting that up but I definitely want to call her tomorrow. Then I'll also need to make an appointment with the endocrinologist to have my thyroid levels checked and I suppose I should tell the RE who did the IUI that it worked.

Hopefully, if the beta comes back good then I can stop using the hpts. I did two more today and the lines are definitely getting darker each day. I only have one FRER left but I have more than 25 cheap internet strips left so that spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Beating Out of My Chest

I spent most of the day yesterday worrying about how the lines on the hpts weren't getting a lot darker. If I were smart I would only use digital tests which give you nothing to compare anything with since there's no point in trying to compare one "pregnancy" word from another. But nooooo, instead, I use digital AND pink line tests. Oh, and not just one kind of pink line tests, but two. I have cheap internet strips and First Response. In an attempt to ease my mind I called Dr. Bear and asked for a beta. Amazingly, I actually slept last night, unlike last time around when I couldn't sleep waiting for the email saying the test results were available.

This morning I awoke to see the email. While logging onto the site my heart was pounding out of my chest and I felt as though it was going to explode. I was so nervous that the number would be super low and had a moment of relief when I saw it was 48. That seems respectable for 12dpo. Of course, one number doesn't mean anything since it's the doubling of the number that matters. And really, after having two pregnancies fail that both had nice, doubling betas I really don't put much stock in that either. But, I will dutifully report for a follow-up beta tomorrow and will be keeping my fingers crossed that the number more than doubles.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

New Thanksgiving Tradition

Two years ago I was five months pregnant with QT on Thanksgiving. Last year I was two months pregnant with Trey on Thanksgiving, only to lose him a month later. This morning I am officially pregnant again with what I am praying will be our live, happy, healthy, take home baby. I am going to skip the traditional picture showing all the hpts I've taken, and there are many, just because I know how little it really means. Yes, they tell me that I am pregnant, but they don't guarantee that I'll actually have a baby.

I found out yesterday. The test yesterday morning was so faint I couldn't decide if it was a real line or an evap line. There really wasn't a pink color to it. So, I took a FRER with me to work and tested later in the afternoon. A very faint, but definitely pink line appeared. I was overjoyed, bordering on giddy. That lasted maybe a full minute before the worry set it. What if I lose this baby too? If I'm pregnant that means Dr. Sherbahn isn't going to prescribe IVF meds for me and come January 1st I will no longer have insurance coverage for them. Will the universe be so cruel as to have me lose the baby on January 1st? I need this pregnancy and this baby to be okay. I need to find some peace so that I'm not going completely insane in the coming minutes, hours, days, weeks and months.

I know I'm telling anyone who reads this the great news but I'm not certain when I'll actually come out to everyone. I guess I feel as though we shouldn't tell the family until we've had multiple good ultrasounds. There just doesn't seem to be a point to announcing another pregnancy only to lose it early on and have to endure the "it was for the best" comments or the "you should stop trying" comments. And yet, I am the sort of person who just loves to spread good news and this is good news.

Hopefully I'll be able to keep quiet for a few weeks and then the morning sickness will set in and I won't even have to tell anyone since they will all figure it out.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Just One More Day

Tomorrow marks the end to my having to sit next to a woman who is pregnant around the same time I was due had I not lost the baby this past June. I know that even though she will no longer be pregnant every time she talks about the baby, shows pictures, etc. it will sting me a little bit for I will always remember that I should have a baby that same age. It's been almost a year since my first loss and I still have trouble hearing about babies that were born in June. Ugh. I should have an almost six-month old at home right now.

In more positive news, we semi-passed the home appraisal. We haven't found out what value the house has yet but at least all of our chipping storm windows passed muster. Well, all except one and we can just quick paint that one before the final inspection. A bigger issue is that we don't currently have a rail and railing on our front porch. The porch was replaced this summer and we were putting off getting a railing until a time when we have more free money. I guess it can't wait. But, all in all, I'm happy that all of our hard work scraping paint, re-painting a ton of windows, and all of our cleaning paid off.

Tomorrow I am 10dpo. With at least two of my pregnancies I got my first positive test at 10dpo. So, hopefully it's just one more day until I have great news to share!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Crack Down

The husband and I are trying to refinance our mortgages into one, big, ginormous mortgage. The appraiser is coming Monday morning and so this weekend has been termed "crack down" weekend. Admittedly, the husband has been doing far more cracking down than I have been. I'm definitely a better cleaner but I tend to lack motivation. The husband is better at starting and keeping going and better at getting rid of stuff. I tend to start sorting through things and then get overwhelmed, am not sure what to keep and what to get rid of and the stuff I do want to keep I'm not sure where to put it. So far we've done a pretty good job of getting the kitchen counters de-cluttered, tidying up the kids' rooms and our bedroom, but still waiting is the living room and den. There is just no point in getting all the toys put away while the kids are up and about and wanting to play with them.

Despite really disliking anything to do with cleaning, I'm glad that the appraiser is coming. I need things like this to really motivate me to get rid of things. Without a reason to immediately get rid of stuff it's too easy to just keep stacking it up. I also find motivation in watching shows like Hoarders or Clean House. The husband always asks me why I watch those shows and I say it's two fold. First, it makes me realize that my stacks of unread magazines don't even begin to compare to the Hoarders whose entire house has been overtaken by junk. Second, the next time I'm going through a stack of magazines I think about how I don't want to become a hoarder and so I throw the magazines away even though they have recipes in them I'd like to try or articles that had good information. Let's face it, I'm never going back to those magazines and all that information is available on the internet anyway.

Speaking of the crack down, I should really get back at it......or maybe I'll have another cup of coffee and then get back to it. I'm 7dpo today and I tested yesterday with a super faint almost not there line so the trigger shot is basically gone. I so want to get up Thanksgiving day and see a clear positive test and yet I'm just not feeling it, once again, so I'm trying to not get my hopes up too high.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Regarding Vomit

Helpful hint of the day - when a child tells you they are going to throw up believe them.

I remember back in the day when I worked at a family shoe store and a mom brought in her school-age child for new shoes. The girl kept saying she felt sick and saying she felt like she was going to throw up. Her mom told her she was fine and kept trying to get the girl to try on shoes. Flash forward to me kneeling down to check the fit on the sparkling white canvas Keds when, sure enough, the girl barfs everywhere - all over herself, all over the shoes, all over my hair!

So, having been through that you'd think that when SB turned to me yesterday and said "mommy, my tummy hurts, I think I'm going to throw up" that I would have moved like lightening to get him to the bathroom. But no, instead, I told him no, you're not going to throw up and wanted to calm him down. Bad move because, sure enough, he barfs everywhere - all over himself, all over my bed (the pillows, sheet, comforter and blanket) and a little bit on me.

Lesson learned.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Change Makes For Better Response

Adding in the Follistim seemed to do the trick and I had a much better response this cycle. I went in on Friday for the ultrasound and I had one 17mm follicle on my right ovary and two 14-15mm follicles on my left, along with one other strangler which was probably too small to catch up. The plan was to trigger Sunday night but I got a positive ovulation test Saturday so we did the IUI this morning. I'm hoping that having multiple eggs will result in one being fertilized and implanting. Just one, that's all I'm asking.

The Madison RE who has been doing the IUIs suggested I take dexamethasone this month as a way to help prevent miscarriage so after much hemming and hawing I went ahead and started it. I know that there are studies showing steroids can increase pregnancy success rates but I also know that there are studies showing they can cause complication later in pregnancy. Dr. Coulam doesn't use them so then that makes me wonder if I should have started taking them. But, too late now, so I'm going to continue with it and see what happens.

Okay, I'm off to get going on the laundry, cleaning up the living room, thinking about painting some more (note I said thinking about, I doubt that I will ever actually get the point of doing any painting). Oh, and I hope to get some pictures actually off my camera and onto the computer. I've been thinking a lot about trying to include more pics in this blog which also leads me to that I've been considering writing more about SB and QT. When I started this blog I was struggling to give SB a sibling and now I'm struggling again. I've shied away from writing too much about my kids, or including too many pictures, because I understand that for those who are struggling to have their first may not appreciate that. At the same time, I've been thinking that for the most part I blog about the bad things, the hard times, the struggles and perhaps it would help if I focused a bit more on all the positive things in my life as well. So, we'll see how that goes. I barely find the time to write these posts so practically adding pictures will add time. Stay tuned and see what happens.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thank God for Sticky Notes

What would I do without the almighty sticky note? I've always been a list maker. It's not that I have a poor memory, although more and more so I do have a poor memory, but more so I make lists so that I have a visual reminder of things and I have something to cross off or throw away when I'm done doing whatever is on said list and that in and of itself gives me satisfaction. When the husband needs to remember something he wears a rubber band. Me, I'd have to make a note reminding myself to put on the rubber band!

So, anyway, lately I've been thinking about all the things I need to get done. The list is long:

- paint the front door
- paint the back porch
- touch up all the paint chips on the inside of the house
- laundry (mine and the kids)
- grocery shopping
- pay the bills
- get going on Christmas gifts
- make a plan for Thanksgiving, find recipes, etc.
- get my bedroom cleaned up (put clean clothes away, pack away summer clothes, etc.)
- clean up QT's room to rid it of odd extra blankets and old books
- clean off the dining room table
- clean the litter box yet again

Well, you get the picture. It's everyday chores to longer range plans. Lately I've been feeling as though I need a different kind of list. One that would help me to snap out of this funk that I've been in for almost a year now. One that would help me to be happier and less annoyed with just about everyone and everything around me. What would that list look like?

- get into reading a really good book
- watch at least one really funny movie a week
- go out for walks when the weather is nice
- go out to dinner with friends more often
- even more hugs and kisses from the husband, SB and QT
- go back to church
- start knitting or crocheting again
- get this blog some bling or something to jazz it up a bit
- start baking again

I don't honestly know that any of those things would work, except that they help me to take my mind off of trying to get pregnant again, at least for a little while, and I need that now because I feel as though it's all encompassing.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'll Trade With You

Monday mornings are never easy, specially when it means returning to work where I sit next a very pregnant woman. You'd think that by this point I'd be used to it but nope, I'm not, and just looking at her is a struggle for me. This morning I listened to her talking about how she hasn't been sleeping well and how now her ankles are beginning to swell. I was so tempted to tell her that I would trade with her. I'll take the big baby belly, the swollen ankles and all the sleepless nights in the world if it meant I was pregnant with a healthy baby. I'll even take the pregnancies I've had in the past, meaning ones in which I was throwing up multiple times a day, every day for the entire pregnancy. Bring it on.

I've been pregnant four times so I know that it isn't always the easiest thing physically to go through but when you're complaining about things that are merely nuisances, and not really all that big of a deal, I start to get annoyed. After all, there are millions of non-pregnant women who don't sleep well at night or whose backs hurt or ankles are swollen. Those ailments aren't unique to pregnant women and at least for pregnant women there is an end in sight with a wonderful reward.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Suspicion Confirmed

I called Dr. Sherbahn's office this morning to schedule an IVF consultation. This was prompted by my receiving the stupidest letter I think I've ever received last night. Yesterday after I checked the new insurance plan brochure I was afraid that fertility drugs would no longer be covered. Well, any doubt that I had went away upon reading the letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield. It stated that in an attempt to make certain they were providing only best and most reasonable health care to their members they sometimes review accounts. I was receiving the letter because they say I had a history of being prescribed infertility medications. The letter went on to state that they will continue to cover these medications, however, for any woman under the age of 50, prior approval will be needed for the drugs AND they will NOT be covered if they are being used for artificial reproduction procedures. Hmmm..........when else would you be using fertility drugs but when you're doing fertility treatments???? I am so tempted to call and ask exactly when they will cover them but it would just make me madder than I already am to hear their lame response. It's like them saying they will cover chemo except when it's being used for cancer treatments. I hate insurance, I hate infertility, I hate miscarriages, I hate worry, I hate stress. That's a whole lotta hate. I don't want to turn into a little ball of hate.

Most of all I'm hating how now I am worried about this cycle working. I want nothing more than to be pregnant but I'm worried now that I will get pregnant this cycle, not be able to order any of the fertility meds, I'll lose the baby early next year and then we'll be right back where we were, not being able to afford the meds to do an IVF.

Dr. Sherbahn's office wants cd3 blood work done (which odd can be done cd1 - cd4) so I need to get that done today. With his office being over an hour away that doesn't make it the most convenient. I have a call in to my ob to ask him if he'll order the tests so that I can just get them done on my way home from work. I also scheduled an ultrasound so they can check my pathetic antral follicle count but now I'm realizing that I will have taken the Femara and will be using the Follistim when I have that done so that probably won't work. And, if it won't work, then I have to wait until December when this cycle is over to have the ultrasound which pushes back the doctor's time to decide what IVF protocol and, most importantly, what kind of drugs I would need. I don't want to be scrambling to get the meds in late December.

And, why is it that my ob's office can't just call me back? I left the message over two hours ago and my co-workers have been away from their desks almost that whole time but now that they are back and will be able to hear everything I say, I'm sure the office will call now.

Yea, I'm totally a little ball of hate.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Is it Bed Time Yet?

We're in that time of the year when it's pitch black outside when I wake up and it's pitch black outside right around the time I get home from work. It just makes me want to curl up and stay in bed.

Even more so this morning did I want to stay in bed. I'm sick with a cold/cough/throat thing and yet I dragged myself to work because I don't want to use up my sick leave on something as silly as being sick. I need to save every last hour I can so that I have time to go to my million and one doctor appointments and, if I get pregnant, time to go to the million and two doctor appointments, not to mention having a decent maternity leave. I can't waste my sick leave on being sick!

I got some distressing news today. It's the health fair (doesn't that sound like fun?) today which for me really is just depressing. We have tons of health insurance plans to choose from, like seriously, there has to be at least ten of them and yet not a single one covers any infertility treatments. They will all pay to diagnosis you with a problem but none will pay to treat those problems. My plan has been to pretty much stick with what I have now since although they won't pay for IUIs or IVF they will cover the drugs EXCEPT that the plan brochure for next yea has one line that isn't in this year's brochure and that is "Not covered, infertility drugs used for ART procedures." So great, just great. The one benefit I have is about to go away and now I just have one more f'ing thing to stress about. Seriously, I'm in a panic and wondering if I should try and get a doctor to prescribe all the possible drugs I would need for an IVF cycle now so that in case we decide to go that route sometime next year at least I would have that part covered.

Can I just go home and go to bed now and not have to think about any of this?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And So It Begins Again

Big stuff going on today:

1. My new cycle started. I'm still disappointed that last cycle failed and I'm not feeling super excited about this one but hopefully that will change the further into I get. I'm repeating the 12.5 mega dose of Femara on cd3-7 and then adding in 150 of Follistim on cd8-10. I'm not quite sure what to expect. Last month I got my hopes up that the Femara would help me to produce multiple follicles but in the end I only had one. Will adding that little bit of Follistim that late in the cycle really help anything? Only time will tell.

2. Mid-term elections. I got up a little early and was at the polls right at 7:00a.m. when they opened. I always enjoy voting, even when sometimes it's hard for me to find someone I agree with to vote for. The husband went a little later and took SB with him and I guess he got a sample ballot and an "I voted" sticker and he was just the happiest little boy ever. I hope my kids grow up to be interested in politics, their country and the world around them in the same way the husband and I are. I also hope they share more of my views than the husband's ;-)

3. Scaffolding is being built as I type. We've been in our house almost five years now and although we knew it was a major fixer-upper project when we bought it I'm not sure we were really prepared for how much fixing there would be. Our first seven months were spent fixing everything - new bathrooms, new kitchen, every inch of wall was painted, the den ceiling was replaced, new wiring, new pipes in some areas, new water heater, etc. It was a lot of work and a lot of money but it all seemed worth it. I mistakenly assumed that once all that work was completed that we were done fixing for a while. Wrong!

Last year, with most of our storm windows rotting beyond repair we set about replacing all the ones we could. This year with one of our front steps disintegrating to the point that I was just waiting for someone to step on it and have the whole thing collapse and a lawsuit to follow, we made the decision to replace the front porch. Just an fyi, replacing a front porch is expensive.

Now scaffolding is being built so that hopefully our leaky chimney and entryway roof will finally be fixed. This will be third time hiring someone to fix the fact that water pours down the walls of our entry way closet whenever it rains or snow melts. I'm excited to think it may actually get fixed but even if it does that doesn't mean we're done fixing because once it's no longer leaking I need to have the now very water damaged plaster repaired. Just another fyi, having real plaster repaired is expensive.

Monday, November 1, 2010

No In Between

Do you ever find yourself driving to work on a Monday morning and wondering if you even had a weekend? As I drive my daily drive, making the same turns, the same stops, parking in the same spot, I begin to think "didn't I just do this yesterday?" No, yesterday was Sunday so I know I didn't but it's like once you're back in that work routine it's as though you never left.

I enjoy my work, most of the time. Sometimes it's challenging and sometimes not. Sometimes I'm very busy, other times not so much. But, I find it's a decent balance and I often get a real sense of accomplishment from it so I'm happy.

What I'm not happy about is my daily stress over what to wear. This morning I chose the navy pants, the ones that are too big for me, and so I will now spend the entire day trying to get them to stay up (there are no belt loops otherwise that would be the obvious solution). You would think that having pants be too big would make me happy but honestly, they aren't big because I've lost weight, I just bought them too big. I have a pair of khaki pants which I have the same problem with. Last week I wore a new pair of black pants that I bought which are just a little too tight and so when I wear them I also wear Spanx underneath. The day after that I wore a new pair of gray pants which also require Spanx. By the end of that second day my stomach was sore from being squished two days straight.

The obvious question here is why don't I just buy pants that fit. My answer: there is no in between. Either the pants fit me in the waist but are too tight on my hips and butt or they fit nicely on my hips and butt but are far too big in the waist. What's a chubby girl to do?

Maybe the better answer is to just buy skirts!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Try, Try Again

When you fail what should you do? Try, try again! And so that is what my plan is. I'm disappointed and sad but need to just keep pushing forward. If I get really lucky I'll be able to have my ultrasound on Veteran's Day when I'm already off from work and then the IUI would hopefully follow on Saturday or Sunday. I need to save as much of my leave as I can so that I'll be able to take a maternity leave.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Annoying Mom

No, I'm not talking about my mother! I'm talking about those moms who incessantly chatter on about their children. It's one thing to tell a funny, cute, endearing story about your little one, it's a completely other thing to go on about the minutiae of what your child does during the day and night. You know, the mom who tells you in painstaking detail about how her child woke up at 2:03 a.m. and then they had to get out of bed and say "what's wrong sweetie" and then their child just kept crying so they picked them up and rocked them for exactly 14 minutes and then when they laid them back down in the crib the child started wailing again so they had to go find a pacifier even though they had said they were never going to use pacifiers and then finally the child feel asleep but woke up again at 5:24 a.m. and was calling for mommy so the mom had to get up again and now she's up for the whole day and she's exhausted but oh, the baby had such a cute grin that it just made everything okay until she changed his diaper and the poop was a mushy green and so that made the mom wonder if the kid is sick and should she call the pediatrican or not.............and on, and on and on...................

I listen to conversations like this multiple times each day and honestly, it's beginning to wear on me. I have children, I get it, and at the same time I don't get it. My children and not my sole interest in life and even if they were I am smart enough to know that they aren't the sole interest of my co-workers lives. Tell me the story about one cute thing your kid did yesterday but please, I'm begging, stop short of telling me the details of your child's poop.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Seeing God

When I was little and riding in the car with my mom she would sometimes say "look at the sky, you can see God peaking through the clouds." She was referring to when the sunlight streaks through the gaps in the clouds. I remember thinking how cool that was, that I could actually see God. Of course, now that I'm older, I know that isn't God, but then again, I suppose if I believe that God created the Earth, the universe, the sun, etc. that perhaps it in a way it is Him looking down on little 'ole me.

This morning as I was driving to work I saw God. Over the lake was a massive wall of dark and ominous clouds but just over the lakefront was beautiful blue, yellow sky with misty streaks of light breaking through. It was quite the sight to see.

Back in the day, before I became so jaded, I would have taken such a beautiful sight as a good sign. But, now I just see it as beautiful but really attach no other meaning to it.

Today I am 10dpo and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't make a second line appear on the test strip this morning.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Testing Out the Trigger Just Got Harder

I have a small stockpile of home pregnancy tests in my bathroom closet and my plan this cycle was to test out my trigger shot. My collection includes some internet test strips, some FRER sticks (results 6 days earlier!!!! is what it exclaims on the box) and one or two CBE digital tests. My problem is that both the internet cheapies and the FRER test for very low levels of hcg and so that makes it harder to test out the trigger. I tried Saturday morning and got a clear positive with the internet strip and then tested again this morning and got another positive. So, I tried a FRER this morning which was negative within the time frame but faintly positive later. It kinda sucks to have to waste tests trying to see a negative. I guess the good news is that if I have a FRER turn positive within the testing time frame later this week I'll know it's a real positive. Let's hope that is what happens. I don't feel pregnant.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Lately everyday when I come home there is a package waiting for me. Don't you just love getting packages? Mine have been coming due to a borderline obsession I seem to have with on-line discount shopping sites such as zulilly, the mini social and haute look. Each day I get an email telling me that new things are available for sale so I go, just to check it out, but inevitably I find something super cute for QT or SB and it's so easy to just click and buy it.

The other day this is what arrived:

How could I resist? I ordered it in the 9 month size since the trend is that my babies are chunky and grow out of the smaller sizes super quickly. The only question now is when will I have a baby to wear this?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Now is the Time

I was paging through a catalog last night, as I am apt to do as I receive about five new ones each day in the months leading up to Christmas, when I saw a silver ring inscribed with the saying "Now is the time to be happy. If not now, when?" It hit me like a ton of bricks. Yes, of course, NOW is the time to be happy. Why wallow in misery when you can choose happiness? I am happy quite a bit of the time, like when I see SB and QT playing with the kitten and laughing until they are almost crying, or when SB falls asleep next to me in bed right after telling me how he loves me more than anything on this earth, or when the kids and the husband give me big hugs before I leave for work every morning. So, I'm making progress. I just need to kick the sadness over my losses to the curb and remember that now is the time.

I'd also love to kick the massive headache I have today to the curb with some Frova, but unfortunately, I'm not supposed to take migraine medicine when I'm waiting to see if I'm pregnant. I'd love to think that this is a good sign but I think the headache was brought on my atmospheric pressure as it rained last night and also possibly by the progesterone that I'm on. That's the bad thing about progesterone, it can make you feel pregnant even when you're not. Cruel, cruel progesterone.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Year Ago Today

I've reached the point in time at which I'm going to be saying "a year ago today" a lot. So, this is the first in a long line of posts to come:

A year ago today I found out that I was pregnant.

Today I look back with such sadness and I'm getting teary eyed just typing this. I know I should be looking forward instead of looking back. I know I should be hopeful that this IUI works instead of focusing on my losses. I know I should just be thankful for the wonderful family that I have and perhaps give up the fight. But, ultimately, the heart wants what the heart wants, and my heart wants my babies back.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Anticipation, Anticipapapation

Without anticipation of a certain outcome you could not really have disappointment. I know this and yet I continually allow myself to come up with crazy expectations. This cycle I took 12.5 of Femara EACH day for five days. That is a higher dose per day than most women take their entire cycle. So, my expectation was that I would develop three or more follicles. I actually worried that I would develop too many and that we wouldn't be able to go forward with the cycle. I wondered what it would be like to find out that I'm pregnant with triplets. And on and on and on.

Yesterday I went for my follie check and guess what? One. One freakin' follicle. I know all I need is one good egg so I'm actually not too disappointed, I'm more concerned about what my only developing one follicle on such a high dose of meds means for the future. How many would I develop in an IVF cycle, two or three? Would we be wasting our money even trying one?

And, of course, my expectation now for this cycle is that I will get pregnant so once again I am setting myself up for some huge disappointment.

IUI is scheduled for tomorrow morning. For those who are keeping track, that will make about ten hours over a five day period spent driving to and from doctor's appointments. That is crazy.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

And the Winner Is.....

Option number one.

All of my test results came back normal with the exception of the MTHFR gene mutation which we already knew I had. The recommendation is to get pregnant and then return for early pregnancy monitoring which entails weekly blood work and ultrasounds. Yes, weekly. Certain blood tests would be re-run as certain problems only become activated by pregnancy. So, although my natural killer cells tested normal they could go into overdrive if and when I become pregnant again and at that point we would do IVIg. I understand not treating something that isn't wrong but I struggle with waiting until I'm pregnant to find out something is wrong and then treating it while crossing our fingers that we're not too late. I can't help but feel like the last pregnancy was behind from the very beginning and so even if I had gotten treatment right away would it have helped? And, that is another frustrating thing, I'll never know. I'll never know if anything would have helped the other pregnancies and worse, I'll never know why we lost them.

Be Kind 39

I'm 39 now and feel the pressure of time passing as it relates to having more children. Last year I felt as though I still had two good years ahead of me and a plan in place. As it turned out, I was actually already pregnant and just didn't know it yet. But, as we all know, that pregnancy ended followed by another loss just six months later. So, 38 kinda sucked. I'm hoping that year 39 will be kinder and gentler to me and my babies.

Today is the big day for test results. I have another consultation with Dr. Coulam and all the results, for both me and the husband, are in. I'm nervous. I keep trying to come up with the scenario that I'd be okay with but honestly there isn't one. Option one would be that she tells me all the tests were normal and wouldn't that be good news? Well, yes, except that would still leave me with no answers as to why I lost two babies and really wouldn't give me a ton of comfort going forwards. Option two would be she says such and such is wrong and these are the treatment options. At least then I would have a partial answer but oh the pressure of having to make decisions about moving forward. Should we keep trying, what are the risks, what are our odds of having a successful pregnancy, will the treatments even work, etc. Option three would be that she just tells me that it would be best to not have more children. Clearly, a devastating option, and yet freeing in that it really leaves me with no decisions to make other than if we want to pursue adoption and what to do with our little frozen embryo. Why can't life just be simple for once?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Well, What Do You Know

At the ripe old age of 39 (I guess I won't be 39 until next week but still) I am considering changing careers and going to medical school. Okay, no, not really, I am way too old for that but I think I could if I really felt the calling. Anyway, the thought pops into my mind because guess who called today to say that I need to reduce the amount of my thyroid medicine? Yep, endocrinologist man called to say exactly what I said in my post yesterday and exactly what I said to him two months ago when he insisted that I should stay on the same dose.

Just call me Dr. Kelly.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Blindly Moving Forward

Today my new cycle started and so with a bottle full of Femara on my desk, a syringe full of Ovidrel in my fridge, and a massive stash of progesterone and Lovenox, I am set to begin an IUI cycle. I called the clinic today and scheduled a day 11 ultrasound and am hoping that my blood work and consultation with Dr. Coulam happens prior to that ultrasound. The ultrasound is scheduled for the 16th so I really just have next week. Yikes.

In other news, my thyroid is still very wacky. Four months ago my TSH was over 5. After a mere one month on medication it plummeted all the way down to 0.10. At that time I asked the doctor if he was going to change the dosage but he firmly answered no and told me that I had the test done too soon and that I needed to stay on the same dose and get tested after I'd been on the meds three months. Well, it's been three months and the results are in and my TSH has dropped even further to 0.03. Clearly, to me anyway, I am on too much medication and it is making me hyperthyroid. I only have one pill left so before I go and refill the medication I am hoping that the doctor will call and let me know what in the world he thinks is going on.

And so, despite have basically zero answers, I am moving forward.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Different Kind of Two Week Wait

Ugh. I just got off the phone with Dr. Coulam's office and got the bad news that it could be another full week before they have my blood work results back. How can it take two weeks to do blood tests? At this stage in the came I shouldn't be surprised by this or even disappointed but I am.

So, now here I sit contemplating how much longer I should keep using the progesterone, trying to hold off on getting my period so that we could hopefully get the results, have the consultation, do IVIg or intralipids if necessary and still do an IUI this cycle. I keep thinking that it's all doable but deep down I'm thinking that it's really not. Things will not just fall into place how I need them to and we'll end up missing out on yet another cycle.

Next week I turn 39. At this point, every cycle is important.

Friday, October 1, 2010

IVF is Back on the Table!

Just the other day I posted about wanting just one day where things seemed to go my way. Well, perhaps today is that day.

I've been testing this week and each test has shown just one dark pink line. It's looking like I am not pregnant. And so, with that in mind, I decided to move ahead and fill the femara, ovidrel and progesterone prescriptions I've had since we thought about doing an IUI back in April prior to finding out I was pregnant. The husband made his 100th trip to the Walgreens to get them filled. Later that night he made his 101st trip back to pick them up. Here's where things get good - my insurance paid for them!

I thought that maybe we just got lucky so I decided to do some investigating. I called my insurance company and questioned if Gonal-f or Follistim were covered drugs. Yes, indeed they are and I can even get a 15 day supply for a mere $35 co-pay. Holy cats! I am in heaven thinking that we could do an IVF and have the meds virtually paid for. Of course, that still doesn't answer where we're getting the $11,000 to pay for the actual IVF procedure, but it sure is easier to come up with $11,000 than $18,000.

In this moment, I am happy and excited about the future.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's a New Record

Last night I beat my record for most number of vials used during a blood draw. Previously, the most I had ever had taken was 14 vials but last night I hit a new record high of 15 vials. Something to be excited about? Not really, but I can't tell you how relieved I was that someone was even taking my blood.

After the screw-up with the doctor's office where they forgot to run some very important tests on the blood I drove all the way to Evanston to give, I thought I would have to drive all the way back down there. After some discussion the nurse said she'd try and find a lab here to draw the blood and run the tests. The tests being a bit out of the norm, it came down to one lab that said they could do them. Saturday morning I presented my arm at the appointed lab but alas, no-one there knew what one of the ordered tests was. After waiting 40 minutes a decision was finally made to send me home with directions to return Monday if they had things figured out.

I was upset by getting jerked around yet again, and even more upset that the days until my next cycle starts just keep ticking away and I still have no plan of attack for next cycle. The delay in this testing delays everything else as well. And yet, at the same time, I'm just coming to accept that very few things have been going the right way for me lately.

In the end, the lab called me yesterday to report that they could indeed to the tests and I went back to the lab and had 12 vials of blood taken from my left arm and three vials of blood taken from my right arm. As she drew the blood, the technician and I were talking. Turns out she lost a son at one month old. I can't even imagine.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

One Day

That's all I'm asking for, one day. One day of not seeing pregnant women everywhere I go. One day of not thinking about how I'm about to reach the one year anniversary of finding out I was pregnant. One day of not thinking about how I'm about to turn 39 and rapidly running out of time to have another baby. One day of not mourning the loss of my two little babies. One day of not worrying about when or even if I will ever get pregnant again.

It's such a little request and yet it's not within anyone's power to make it happen.

I fall back on the wise words of Van Morrison, "momma said there would be days like this." He didn't mean bad days, but good days. Days so good that just the day before you would never have believed it was possible. There will be days where everything goes right. I'm just waiting for that day.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Today Dr. Coulam called me a "trooper." I guess when you've given birth to three children, had a D&C, had easily 50 ultrasounds, twice as many blood draws, a HSG, a hysteroscopy, two IUIs and an IVF, and go to for weekly acupuncture treatments, having two or three more tests done doesn't really phase you.

I made the long drive this morning so that I could have a uterine blood flow study, a saline ultrasound and 12 vials of blood drawn. Apparently, the blood flow to my uterus is normal and the ultrasound showed no anatomical impediments to my getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term. So, good news. The results of the blood tests will take a week or two so I'm back to waiting. I'm just hoping I get the results in time to decide on a plan for my next cycle. Times a wastin'.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I finally have a doctor who is willing to do something so long as I'm willing to pay lots of money, but willing nonetheless. At this point I'm just so jaded and so tired that I can't even muster up much anger over the ludicrous expense of mere blood work. I know that I'm at the end of the road of doctors to go see, tests to have done and treatments to look into so I might have just reached acceptance mode. I'll shell out $1,000 for blood tests if it means that someone will finally give me some answers and spell out possible treatments.

So, Dr. Coulam was very reassuring. She actually read through my records, reviewed all my past blood work results, and discussed my entire history with me. And she listened, really listened to what I said. It sounds simple but it happens rarely with doctors. She does not think my losses are chromosome related and so she wants to investigate the other three possible issues. One is that there is something anatomically causing the pregnancies to fail and so next week I will have another hysteroscopy to check for fibroids and polyps and also a uterine blood flow ultrasound to make sure there is enough blood going to be uterus to support a pregnancy. Second, the million and one blood tests to check for clotting and immune issues. Third, blood testing for the husband to see if my body is possibly reacting to some part of his contribution to the baby. After the test results are in I will meet with her once again so we can review the results and discuss possible treatments. So for right now I'm satisfied that I'm on the right path and with the right doctor. I only wish there was some way to make this all go faster.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

My chart looked very nice this cycle. I even had a brief time where it was triphasic. Normally that would bring on some excitement but when you start testing at 9dpo and day after day after day you see negative tests it kinda puts a damper on things. Let's face it, in the end it doesn't matter how good things look because the only thing that really needs to look good is two lines on a pregnancy test. I'm now 15dpo and I'm stopping the Lovenox and progesterone.

This morning right after I looked at yet another negative test, twisting and turning it in the light willing a second line to appear, SB woke up and asked if he could get up and come lay in the big bed with me and snuggle. Sure buddy, of course you can, and at least that made things a little bit better.

Friday I'm going to see the reproductive immunologist in Chicago and she had damn well better have some answers and a plan for me or my next post may just be from an insane asylum.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Doctors suck

That about sums it up.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Working it Out

No, I didn't say I was working out, oh please! I said that I am working it out, meaning I am working out the next steps (still). Here I thought making the decision about what treatment to pursue would be the hard part but au contraire, the decision to do IUI has been made it's finding a doctor to provide IVIg or intralipids that is proving to the be the problem.

After playing phone tag all week with the soon to be closing fertility clinic I finally talked to the nurse on Friday. I explained that I wanted to do IUI next cycle and also do IVIg and not wait to do IVIg after I find out I'm pregnant. She said she'd talk it over with the doctor and get back to me.

Not hearing back from her Friday and not being too hopeful of hearing back from her today, I emailed the Madison RE I saw back in April to ask her again if she'd be willing to treat the natural killer cell problem. Despite her saying prior that she's be willing to do that her new response is that she's only willing to treat the issue with steroids and not with IVIg or intralipids. She suggested I see a doctor in Chicago.

I honestly don't think I can get any more frustrated. How many more months am I going to have to waste just trying to find a doctor?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Broken Eggs

So you know how I was putting all my eggs into one basket and hoping that the new new doctor would be willing to deal with all of my issues? Well, the basket broke right along with all the eggs in it. Things seemed to be going fine until I brought up IVIG and the doctor literally rolled his eyes at me and just said "no." No what I asked and he was then happy to tell me how he doesn't believe that elevated levels of natural killer cells really mean anything in relation to miscarriages. According to him, there just isn't enough data out there to support the theory that IVIG will help. Gee, imagine that, pregnant women aren't willing to be guinea pigs and risk losing their babies in order to provide data for doctors who for the most part are already dismissive of the seriousness of miscarriages. I did manage to pry out of him, however, that there is no harm in doing IVIG.

I actually took the news a little better than I thought I would. It's somewhat sad that I'm so used to disappointment.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm Not Good at Limbo

I'm sure at some point in my youth I did the limbo. I'm also pretty sure that I wasn't any good at it. Now, far out of my youth, I'm still no good at limbo. I'm not talking about the game though, I'm talking about going through the days, the weeks and the months with no clear direction.

We made the decision to not pursue IVF right now and I have mixed feelings about that. I know it's our best chance for another baby and so it's hard for me to not go that route. At the same time, the IVF we maybe just barely could afford is with a doctor without a lot of IVF experience. If need be, I think it would be better to later on raid my 401K to pay for IVF with Dr. Sherbahn again rather than go forward with a cheaper but chances are less successful option.

No IVF leaves us with trying on our own and/or doing IUIs. This cycle we're trying on our own and that again leads me to mixed feelings. I want nothing more than to get pregnant again but I'm also worried about how we're not doing IVIG this cycle and so what if I do get pregnant and it ends poorly? I just keep telling myself to move forward and stop worrying so much but it's hard.

I've been referred to yet another doctor, another maternal fetal medicine doc, who I am seeing on Monday. The purpose of this is to find someone willing to manage my natural killer cell issue and either have me do IVIG or intralipid infusions. I'm pretty much putting all my eggs into this basket - the basket of finally finding a doctor who will handle my issues - and I keep trying to suppress that nagging feeling of doubt that I have. I am so worried that I will go on Monday and the doc will tell me he doesn't believe in the theory that elevated natural killer cells are a problem, or, he'll say he believes in the theory but doesn't prescribe IVIG. The desperation and frustration would really peak for me then and I just don't think I can take any more disappointment right now. My plate is full enough as it is.

Speaking of full plates, I managed to spend a week out of town on business, eating every meal out and I only gained back a few of the pounds I had lost. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way I have lost all will to diet. The Fresh Diet food delivery is awesome and the food all tastes really great but I'm in a funk where I just want to eat crap or I want to eat what I want to eat instead of eating a dinner I decided on a full week ago. With eating I'm definitely an in the moment person, I get a hankering for something and I go out and get that for my next meal, so the structure of a diet is hard for me. So, I'm thinking of tabling the diet for a while and seeing if I can just focus on maintaining the little bit of weight that I have lost.

Tomorrow's Friday and I'm just hoping like heck that I get paid tomorrow. The bills are stacking up and I need to tackle them this weekend but that will be hard to do with no money.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Going Places

Thursday night I settled in to read SB some stories before bed. He dawdled trying to find the book he wanted in the easily 100 books on his bookshelf. We love books (as any normal person should). Finally his eyes got very big and his little hand reached in and grabbed "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" He hadn't picked that book for me to read in easily six months and yet that night he deemed it to be the perfect book. Of course, he is too young to read this blog or to know what I've named it. He's also too young to know that we had buried his little sister that afternoon. Sometimes I think children just know what you need without even understanding it. I started this blog in the midst of our trying for our second child and choose the name because I considered myself to be in the waiting place. And so the waiting place is where I find myself once again. I hope it's a short stay.

Tomorrow I meet with my newest RE to discuss my options now that I know the IVIG therapy will be covered by my insurance. He is pushing for IVF but I am thinking perhaps we should try a cycle or two of IUI. I'm anxious to start doing something and have been worried that an upcoming business trip I am taking is going to interfere. My next cycle will probably start within a week and then I'll be gone for six days. Everything I read about IVIG is that it needs to be done 7-10 days before ovulation and so I don't want to find out that I need to wait next cycle out because I won't be in town when I need the treatment.

While I am physically going places my excess weight doesn't seem to be going anywhere. And, in fact, it seems to be inviting friends to come over and hang out. Honestly, I didn't eat very well last week and this past weekend was one bad choice after another. This week will be challenging as well. Tonight I am having dinner with a friend, Wednesday I am going out to lunch to catch up with a co-worker on all of our favorite tv shows, and Friday the family is going to the State Fair where there are over 60 food items sold on sticks. How can you pass up food on a stick?

I'm not the only one going places, SB had his first day of school today. Where has my little baby gone? He was so excited and looked so incredibly cute walking into school with his big backpack on. The husband and I hung out in the classroom a little while and then when the teacher was finished checking everyone in we went to leave. SB gave me a big hug and a kiss but only after lamenting that doing so was taking him away from playing with the blocks. Yea, I think he will enjoy kindergarten.

Friday, July 30, 2010

We Buried Our Daughter Yesterday

I took off from work yesterday but not to enjoy the beautiful summer weather or to take the kids someplace fun or even just to spend a lazy day reading a book. No, I took the day off so that I could bury our daughter.

The husband and I, along with my parents and the parents of maybe six other lost babies, met in a room at the cemetery. It was the same room we went to when we buried Trey in December. The days couldn't have been more different. December was cold and gray with a bitterly harsh wind blowing. Yesterday the sky was blue and sunny and a warm, an almost oppressively hot wind blew. The priest was the same and the talk he gave was the same and the drive to the gravesite was the same. You'd think having been through this once before and knowing what to expect would have made things easier but it was just the opposite. Back in December I can remember being so sad but I remember also having a sense that surely this was a one time thing. It wasn't even on my radar that I may end up back in the same place a mere seven months later burying another child. And I mean literally the SAME place.

This time I couldn't even bring myself to stand by the gravesite. Therese's grave is in the row behind Trey's grave and they are lined up almost perfectly on top of one another. So, the priest and other families who stood around the site were actually standing on the grave of our dead son. It was all too much for me to take so I hung back and kept my distance.

On our drive back home I told the husband that I had high hopes for our next baby and I do have a good feeling, as though surely this can't happen yet again..........

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Good Old Days

It's hard to believe that there was a time before the internet. A time in which your doctor would make a diagnosis, explain the treatment to you and you would proceed with very little or perhaps even no questioning. There was no Dr. Google beckoning to you at 2:00 a.m. to just search "natural killer cells and IVIG" just one more time. Oh, to have those good old days back.

Having easy access to information is both a godsend and a curse. Without such access many women would not even know that they can be tested for natural killer cell activity. However, with such access, women like me feel as though they are ever more responsible for their own medical care despite having no medical degree. That is a burden I don't enjoy.

My findings thus far are frustrating to say the least. Following what my RE told me, I have confirmed that natural killer cell activity should be no higher than 12 and a level of 18 or higher is a huge indicator of miscarriage. My level is 18. However, then I read an article which said that testing the activity in the blood doesn't mean anything since what you really need to know is how active the uterine natural killer cells are. Next, I read a book which suggested taking a liquid chlorophyll supplement in order to help move natural killer cells out of the blood and into the tissues. BUT, if what we're actually concerned about isn't how many are in my blood but how many are in my uterine tissue then wouldn't that be just the opposite of what I want?

Another mystery to me is what stance to take on auto-immune issues. One theory is that if your immune system begins to attack things it shouldn't (i.e. a baby) then the answer is to suppress the immune system. This is what IVIG, intralipids and steroids are designed to do. However, there is a competing theory that the immune system just needs to be reset somehow. Naprotechnology doctors are using low doses of a drug called naltrexone, in part, to help boost the immune system in an attempt to make conceiving easier and to prevent miscarriages. So, which should I choose, suppressing or boosting? I suppose I could try both, although in doing so, if I choose to try the wrong approach first it may cost me another baby.

Sometimes ignorance really would be bliss.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

And Some Bad News........

The immune testing results came in quicker than expected but the results were pretty much what I expected - my level of natural killer cells is elevated. Now, ask me what that means and all I can say is that some doctors theorize that my own immune system is attacking my babies and destroying the placenta. As the placenta is destroyed the baby perishes. Sounds pretty grim.

Notice that I said "some doctors", that's because there are an equal number of doctors who don't think elevated natural killer cells have any correlation to miscarriages. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I called five different doctors and asked what day of the week it was. I'll bet that I couldn't get them all to agree on that today is Wednesday.

The treatment for elevated NK cells is steroids and a series of IV infusions with either gamma globulin or intralipids (aka fat). The RE I am currently seeing using the more expensive gamma globulin. I would prefer to do the less expensive intralipids. The response I received was sure, you can go ahead with the intralipids but you'll need to find a doctor to prescribe it. Because just what you need when you're dealing with the stress of infertility, repeated miscarriages and treatment cycles is to have to coordinate multiple doctors and mulitple treatments all on your own. Why don't I just decide what IVF protocol to use as well?

So, putting aside IVF for a moment I thought I would call the clinic where our one little frozen embryo is and ask about doing a frozen transfer along with intralipids. I figured if they gave me an enthusiastic response I would take that as a sign that the FET is the way to go. Unfortunately, I got pretty much the same response. I need to find someone to prescribe it and coordinate that myself. Great, just great.

I feel stuck. I feel sad. I feel frustrated.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Finally Some Good News

I was dreading Friday. Friday was the day that the pregnant lady I work with was going to making the big announcement of the sex of her baby which is due mere weeks before our little Therese would have been born. Aside from just finding pregnancy talk in general difficult to deal with, I knew that my reaction to her announcing she was having a little girl would not be pretty.

I spent Friday morning getting my hair colored so I thankfully missed all the ohhing and ahhing at the office. By the time I arrived the talk had settled down and I managed to not even find out about the sex until this morning. Thank goodness she is having another boy. Finally some good news with regards to me keeping my sanity through January and another due date.

In other good news, I am happy to report that this morning I weigh three and a half pounds less than I did this same time last Monday despite having really not eaten very well over the weekend. Being at home is far too tempting for me. I do better not overeating when I'm at work. And, yes, I realize that most of that is probably water weight but you know what? I'll take it!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bad Timing Good Food

Why is it that things seem to happen but always at the wrong time? As the nurse was filling 15 vials with my blood so that I can be tested for any number of immune disorders that may be killing my babies, she mentioned that it would take around two and half weeks for the results to come back. Naturally, we don't want to start trying again until we know the results of the tests. So, although I've been waiting anxiously for my cycles to come back today was probably the worst day for it to actually happen. If today is cycle day 1, that means that we won't have the results back until I'm either just ready to ovulate or have already ovulated. I suppose if we get them back just in the nick of time, and assuming they come back normal, we could try on our own but doing an IUI is basically out of the running this cycle. The thought of sitting out a cycle is killing me inside but the thought of getting pregnant only to lose another baby is killing me even more.

On to good food!

My menu for today:

The muffin at breakfast was very moist and quite tasty. The yogurt was a tad tart for my taste but good nonetheless. I pitched the banana as I am a banana snob and prefer them still with a hint of green.

Pizza on a diet! Granted, it didn't have as much cheese as I would like but the peppers on top were a nice addition and this was pretty filling.

Instead of holding onto both of my snacks for the evening I forced myself to eat the buffalo chicken strip mid-afternoon. It was spicy and the pearl onions were awesome.

Dinner was stir fry, although stir fry with shredded carrots instead of rice. I love asparagus and roasted tomatoes so that helped spice up the chicken for me. One thing I tend to get really tired of on diets is how much chicken you seem to be expected to eat. When making future meal selections I'm going to try and make sure I'm not picking chicken for two meals/snacks in a day.

Yesterday I had a real dessert but today the dessert choices just didn't appeal to me so my dessert turned out to be a cheese and spinach stuffed sweet potato. Now, I've never really liked sweet potato but this was excellent!

I've enjoyed the two days of food so far so much that I extended my plan into next week. Hopefully the good food keeps up and the weight starts coming off.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Fresh Start

What's a girl to do when she's no longer pregnant? Diet :-(

One of the things I love about being pregnant is that I am free from the daily thoughts about how I'm too heavy, how I need to eat less, how I need to lose weight, etc. I also seem to just feel a whole lost less hungry when I'm pregnant. I can only eat about half what I'd normally eat and have zero interest in snacking or eating when I'm not hungry, which is not normally the case. Add to that all the weight I lose from the morning sickness and it's like the perfect state of being for me. Being back to the place where I need to consider dieting is just one more layer that is the crappiness of the miscarriages.

I've completely given up on trying to find the "right" diet and given up on burdening myself with coming up with a meal plan, deciding on menus, grocery shopping and cooking. How is that possible? It's called the Fresh Diet. Each night someone comes to my home and delivers a nice little cooler full of food for me to eat the next day:

Today's meals were actually all quite good. I had ricotta filled crepes with strawberries for breakfast, a philly cheese steak wrap for lunch, garlic toast crisps for a snack, raspberry chicken with whole wheat pasta and spinach for dinner and chocolate-chip, cappuccino cheesecake for dessert.

Tomorrow's food looks pretty good as well (pizza for lunch!) so I'm excited to taste it all. Well, excited for everything except the banana which is spotted and I'm type who likes her bananas rather on the green side of things.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Healthy Female

After four weeks of waiting and wondering I finally got an answer, it just wasn't the answer I had wanted. The pathology report came back saying that I was carrying a healthy little girl. No chromosomal abnormalities at all. None. Which also means no reason why she died.

I really need there to be a reason why she died, and why Trey died. Searching for that reason is leading me to be tested for immune issues such as anti-thyroid antibodies and elevated levels of natural killer cells. I'm scared that the tests will back showing problems and that we may never have another child and at the same time I'm scared that the tests will come back normal and I'll be left with still zero explanation as to why my babies keep dying.

We have named our little girl Therese Barton. I want the next baby I name to be a live, healthy, cooing baby that I am holding in my arms.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Washed Away By the Tide

A woman who I don't even know made this for me:

I look at it and it makes me happy and sad all at the same time. Happy that we had him, even if it was for way too short a time, happy that someone understands the deep, unbiding love I have for my little boy, and sad that his name was washed off the beach just moments later by the waves the same way his little life was taken away much too soon.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Don't Judge a Book by it's Cover

People have stopped asking me how I'm doing (those who did in the first place). Even more so, people are finding it appropriate to hold long conversations regarding pregnancy around me. Is that because they are clueless or because they feel I am "over" my losses or some other reason I can't even begin to fathom?

I suppose that if I just saw myself the way others do I too might think that I've made my peace with things and am moving forward but haven't we always been told not to judge a book by it's cover? Sure, I show up for work everyday, I'm on time, I get my work done, I even stand around with coworkers and gab about the latest episode of Top Chef, but that doesn't mean I don't cry in the shower in the mornings or cry my entire drive home from work.

I believe people have stopped asking how I'm doing because it's easier to just assume everything is a-okay. If they ask they risk finding out that the truth, which is that I'm a huge mess and every day is a struggle.

A small step in moving forward has been made though. Given that I am in limbo until my cycle returns, I have made an appointment with yet another RE to discuss our options. The Madison RE told us that mini-ivf was not for us and our plan, prior to this last natural pregnancy, was to do an IUI using femara. I'm still up for that plan but figured a second, third, fourth opinion can't hurt. I am going to what I fondly refer to as the "cheap ivf doc" to find out if what they call mild-stimulation IVF would work for us. Now, this isn't the original cheap IVF doc, who unfortunately passed away this spring, but it is someone who worked with him and is temporarily managing his clinic. The receptionist said that they are basically working on a month to month basis and so any treatments I wanted to do would need to be started immediately and completed by mid-August. Well, clearly that is not going to happen. When I explained my situation she was very sympathetic and said that a consult couldn't hurt and if the doctor agrees to continue to cover the clinic that it would be good if I were an established patient. So here's to hoping we get good news on Tuesday - that a mild-stimulation may just work for us and that the doc will stick around long enough for me to cycle there.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Due Date

June 28th was my official due date for Trey. Even though I would have been induced early, and so in my head June 15th was sort of what I was considering my due date, I am still so sad. So sad that I'm not at home with a newborn son. So sad that I still have another due date to have to wait for. So sad that we have to start over.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sometimes Being Right Sucks

Not to brag or anything, but I tend to be right about things. I always joke with the husband that he should just listen to me the first time because 99.8% of the time I am right.

And so it did not surprise me when I was right about the baby. The ultrasound at 10 weeks showed a baby that had stopped developing at 7wk4d. This is one thing I so wanted to not be right about. I wanted that dream of having it all work out. I remember laying on the ultrasound table and crying and being so upset and telling my husband how I was right and no-one had believed me. I think I found that part the most frustrating. Isn't everyone always saying how you should trust your gut? But then when a woman is saying how she knows her body and knows the baby growing (or no longer growing) inside her everyone treats her like she's crazy and tells her to just think positive and don't worry because it will all work out. Except that it doesn't always work out.

This is my second loss in under six months. Especially hard is that this loss falls so close to when I would have had Trey and now my due date for this baby will fall at the same time I miscarried last year. Ugh. That is just too much to take.

I don't want to say that this loss has been easier than the last but I think since I knew it was coming my grief has been spread out over the last eight weeks instead of it all hitting at once. What I am having a ton of trouble with is being right back where I was. Back to not being pregnant but trying to get pregnant. Back to wondering if we should try on our own or should we do an IUI and if so with what drugs and how many cycles should we try before moving on, and on and on............. I do not deal well with the unknown and so I am trying to take comfort in my deep held belief that I know I will have another child one day.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Crazy Eights

I am eight weeks today and I am still pregnant. I had my third ultrasound on Monday and the little peanut was still in there with a beating heart. I was shocked, truly shocked, as I was expecting the worst. And, as I sit here today, I am still expecting the worst. What I was hoping for from the ultrasound was an answer but that never came. What I got instead was more of the same. The baby grew one week but is still measuring a full week behind. The baby's heart was still beating but the first reading was 117 (below the 120 they want to see) and although the second reading was 120 I was thinking it should be higher given that the week prior it measured 110 and 115. So, 120 means it didn't gain very many beats over the course of a full week. My progesterone was retested and my levels have fallen, although not below what is acceptable, but I would rather see them go up than go down. My hcg was also retested and this is where I really am concerned. At almost eight weeks pregnant my levels are barely 21,000. When I calculated the doubling time from my last beta it came out to SIX days. Now I know that the doubling time slows down the higher the numbers get but six days is outside of the norm even for higher levels. And so, I can't help but continue to think that something is wrong.

I have to wait two weeks now for my next ultrasound. Two excruciating weeks.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

6wk5d vs 5wk5d

Monday I woke up to some bright red spotting. My assumption was that I was beginning to miscarry. I called the doctor and asked that my ultrasound be moved up to that day instead of on Tuesday. Monday afternoon I went for the scan and it was agonizing. I fully expected the tech to say that there was no baby and for a quite a while she wasn't saying anything meaning, of course, that there was no baby.....until there was! After many, many minutes she finally said "I think I see something and I think it has a heartbeat." I couldn't believe it. She showed us the screen and sure enough, there was the tiniest of babies with a little pulsating heart. The heart rate was 110 and 115 a few minutes later.

So, you'd think I'd be relieved, right? After all, doesn't everyone know that the chance of miscarriage after seeing a heart beat goes down? Well, not far down enough as evidenced by the loss of my last pregnancy. Anyway, the causes for concern are many. First, she measured the baby and declared me to be 5wk5d when in fact I was 6wk5d, or, if you read the last post, really 7w. So, I'm measuring at least a full week behind and the heart rate is along with that since at 7 weeks it should be up over 120. Second, while she was painstakingly trying to find the baby, she commented on the shape of the gestational sac and said that it didn't seem rigid enough to her. Third, she also commented on the size of the yolk sac saying that it seemed "large." Go ahead, google large yolk sac, I dare you. It is depressing, depressing, depressing news of almost guaranteed impending doom. Last, but certainly not least, is that I do not have any morning sickness. Three pregnancies in a row I've begun feeling sick right at 6 weeks and have had those feelings throughout the entire pregnancies. But not this time. Every once in a while I feel the slightest bit sick but then it passes and is nothing like my "normal" pregnancies. That really makes me question if this pregnancy hasn't just stopped progressing and I just don't know it yet.

After the scan the tech went to discuss things with the doctor. He breezed in and said everything looked good to him and he would just move my due date by a week. When I questioned the baby measuring behind he said I just conceived later than I thought. But, I know that isn't true (unless pregnancy tests are so sensitive now they can tell you a mere three days after conception). He ordered me to return in two weeks for a follow-up scan and I ordered him to allow me one in a week. If something happens I want to know sooner rather than later.

My gut is telling me that this isn't going to turn out well, that the ultrasound on Monday will reveal that the baby has passed on. I pray that isn't the case but I guess it's just too hard right now to have a ton of hope. I feel as though I need to prepare for the worst instead of hoping for the best.