A rollercoaster in early pregnancy

We finally did it! After a second FET we made it to pregnancy. WOOOOOO friggin HOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Our beta was due during the holidays when the clinic was closed, so I did a home pregnancy test and it came up immediately. Amazing stuff. It was actually very, very surreal after all this time, to finally see those two lines. My husband cried. I was pretty speechless. You’re always hoping for the best but prepared for the worse during a journey like ours.

A few days later, my beta came back at 5 weeks at a massive 25,000 or thereabouts. We were on cloud 9 and booked our scan in for a couple of weeks later. I was feeling similar to how I felt with Little One, pretty nauseous at times and extremely tired. We were on our way.

I had a couple of days where light brown spotting occurred. I wasn’t overly concerned. With my first pregnancy, which was natural, I had that from 4 weeks right through to week 9. Then last Thursday I felt terribly nauseous all day, which I take is a good sign that things are going well and hormones are raging, but that night brought us the worse fright. I stood up and felt a warm gush. Yep. Blood. Yep. Red. Yep. Bright. Through the following few hours I had several more substantial gushes with a couple of clots too. Scary shit. I tried not to panic, especially as hubby was not holding it together (he had finally let the emotion of this journey in on seeing the HPT). I centred myself, knowing there wasn’t much I could do if the worst was happening. In the morning I phoned straight through to my specialists rooms. I reported the events of the night before and that I hadn’t bled since, had no cramping during the episode or after but was spotting brown and red. I couldn’t get scanned that day and had to wait the entire weekend to know more!!! I was told to go to the local hospital if I had anymore bleeding or things became worse.

That weekend was hell. We literally just willed time to pass. My husband was a wreck. He couldn’t sleep or eat. I was in a bubble. Refusing to feel anything. I had another slightly smaller bleed and another clot on Saturday afternoon which stopped as quickly as it had started. I lay in bed or on the sofa, doing nothing and feeling empty. We feared the worst. We were pissed. This was a chromosomally normal embryo! What were the chances?!

Monday morning eventually arrived. We were up and out the door when it was still dark and the first people at the clinic. The nurse warned that at just over 6 weeks it might be hard to see what was happening exactly. But there on the screen was our little 6 week 3 day old baby with a strong heartbeat a 128bpm. Unbelievable! Wow! It was what I had hoped for not allowed myself to belief would happen. The nurse checked everything possible and spotted a, I quote “small”, area where the bleed had come from at the back of the uterus. She reiterated how small it was and that everything looked good. It baffles me still as the bleed was certainly not insubstantial. We saw the specialist too, and both reassured us things should be fine and that this does happen sometimes. I don’t want to get ahead of myself yet, so I don’t want to encourage anyone that has bleeding like mine. But it is somewhat reassuring to know that bleeding doesn’t always mean the end immediately.

Later that day my blood work came back from a test I’d had whilst at the clinic which indicated falling progesterone. It was down to 26. I wondered if that was linked to the bleeding. My HgC though had risen well to 90,000ish. At that point my specialist switched me to daily PIO injections with the one pessary at night. We have been following this protocol for a few days now. My husband does the injections and so far so good. They really aren’t bad. I’m still spotting though. Pretty much just brown now, with the odd spot of red.

It was a massive relief to see the baby on the screen. It looks strong! But our anxiety is certainly creeping slowly back in. I’m now wondering if progesterone has been the problem all along even though test results have come back normal in fertility investigations. I wonder if there is a case for normal ranges not applying to all individuals? With my suspicions of failed implantations all those years ago when we began TTC #2, to spotting before a period, to a cancelled fresh transfer due to progesterone rising before it should and to a failed FET on a lower progesterone dosage there seems to me to be some strong indicators. All this is floating round in my head and now with the continuing spotting we are worrying about whether my progesterone is going to stop us holding on to this pregnancy. I’m nearly 7 weeks. I need another 3 weeks to get to safer waters when the placenta starts doing its thing.

My specialist has sent me on to an Obstetrician now. After the scan and the progesterone adjustment I guess she felt happy enough to. I see him in a few weeks, so I feel like we are in a weird limbo until then. I can go to either in an emergency, but in the meantime no one is really tracking us which feels very strange after all this intervention and poking and prodding. I’m going to request a progesterone test again for my piece of mind. I want to see that it is rising back to where it was again now I’m on PIO. Maybe I will do a second pessary too?

I hope the spotting disappears so I can relax a bit more. I’m developing a fear of going to the toilet right now! I hope PIO is good to me. I hope my baby is still happily growing in there. I hope my body helps us out. I hope for the best at this time of anxiety and fear, where I feel so happy but also afraid to be joyful. I hope for dreams come true when I’m afraid to look too far ahead.

Wish me luck folks. It’s going to be a tense, rocky few weeks!

 

Needles!

Last week we saw the specialist for the first time. I was expecting a pass straight to IVF, as Miss Acupuncture and the Ob/GYN I was seeing before he referred me, both told me that in my unexplained case there wouldn’t be other options laid on the table.

They were wrong. She offered us injectables. It took me by surprise, but I was happy to have another stepping stone rather than leaping right across the pond into IVF. I know this continues to be an issue for me; the idea of IVF scares me, although I am getting there and, honestly, I’m so utterly ready to move on from this trying to conceive journey one way or another that I know the time is imminent. Living in this limbo feels like living half a lifI’m here and going through the motions, but not giving things my full attention or enjoying what I have to the full. And that makes me sad, because I have a lot to enjoy and be happy about.

The appointment was … short. That was a little disappointing. Not getting pregnant is such a big part of the life of the couples that end up in these offices, and we felt a little like just another set of ovaries to get working better! But, this specialist is supposed to be the bomb, so we will give her the benefit of doubt. In a nutshell, the reality is we won’t get onto IVF, even if we said yes today, until the new year and she felt a few injectable cycles was worth a shot (I hope anyway!). Reviewing all our test results, she diagnosed our only issue to be a mild ovulation disorder due to late ovulation, which we already knew. Hubby looks all good to her. So injectables. No IUI. I was rather anxious, bringing these pens and needles home. I was so afraid of pain when sticking that first needle in that I messed the first dose up and pressed the button first as the needle entered the skin. Oooops! I’m happy to report that it really isn’t that painful at all. In fact, I think I prefer it immensely to clomid. I’ve got no side affects at the moment (other than some decent cervical mucous, which can only be a good thing, right??) which is a welcome relief after two of my clomid cycles were a massive rollercoaster of emotions. The specialist also said that this is better as it doesn’t affect the endometrium which can thin with clomid. I also like that there is more monitoring of me through the cycle to better understand what it happening. Only thing with this treatment, I think, is that there feel there is more at stake. We are spending more money on this, and there is a chance of cancelling the cycle if the ultrasound doesn’t show good news on the ovaries.

I’m back later this week for another ultrasound to see if I’m ready to trigger. TMI (as the ttc online forums users say), but I’m a little uncomfortable down there with thrush so am desperately hoping that has passed before the appointment so that a) I don’t have to feel mighty embarrassed and, b) so that we can get trigger happy in the bedroom.

Hit me up with some positive injectable cycle stories! I also need to find the answer to my question: I already ovulate, albeit on approx. 6 week cycles, so how does inducing ovulation improve my chances? No one has been able to explain this to me! Any insight appreciated!

When parenting pressure possibly prevents pregnancy.

Hey there! Long time, no speak. I don’t have a reason for it, other than I guess time flew before I felt the need to rant/unload/share anything. The basic truth is I was feeling rather good, and rather positive despite this being cycle 24. That was until 6 days ago, when I had an almighty emotional crash for some random reason that I couldn’t even figure out for a day or two. Hence, my logging in to my blog to rant/unload/share.

So, back up … Last time I blogged, I wrote about figuring out how anxiety is impacting my life and that I had decided to speak to someone. Fast forward to now, and I have had 3 lovely appointments with an extremely kind and warm lady. I instantly felt the difference after walking out of my first appointment. It was liberating. I have never had any sort of counselling before, but I happily blabbed away to my heart’s content. I came away feeling so much lighter and so much more positive.

Last week though, I felt my positivity came crashing down and I was left with tears, anger and frustration and I couldn’t see which way was up. It was so confusing. I even felt angry and about feeling angry. I was frustrated I had tripped up, emotionally speaking. But our paths are rocky, eh? No path is smooth in life. And this path I am on, finding my way back to emotional paradise, where downs are only dips, recovery from a minor stressful moment is instant and every day holds mostly happy thoughts, self-worth, fulfilment and laughter; it is a little rocky. I am lucky though. Most of my days contain happy thoughts a plenty, laughter and dips rather than downs if there are any. Many people have much darker times than me, I know that. Sometimes, I feel like I go for a little visit to see those people though. I feel the turmoil, the self-doubt, the negative self-talk. I see how dark it can be. I hear the screams of panic, cries for help and pleas for the pain to go away. I am lucky. Those times are fleeting for me. I probably get dragged there by my hormones if I’m honest. I visited this weekend just gone, but only for a short while. I’m back in my world now, and it is a sunny day.

Being back here gives me a chance to assess what I saw, felt and heard. It gives me a brief chance to talk to my subconscious about what is going on. This weekend I discovered that I’m angry about how our society parents in the western world (I’m talking a general thing here). I also discovered that I question my strength to bring another child into a world where parenting is in such crisis, putting them in potential situations that I’m not comfortable with. What am I going on about I hear you ask? Let me elaborate …

Personally, I feel that as a parenting society too many of us over protect our children and are judgemental of others. As a parenting society we are so afraid of hurting our children’s feelings, we can’t see through it to make good decisions for our offspring. As a parenting society, we act for our children before teaching them the tools to act for themselves. As a parenting society, in being so desperate to do the perfect job we are actually sending our children the wrong messages.

I put myself in the group of parent in crisis. I am desperate to do the best job, and ensure my child is not hurt in any manner. I put an immense amount of pressure on myself. But do you see how I am setting myself up for failure? I cannot do the best parenting job ever, because I am human. I make mistakes. There will be times I make the wrong decision. There will be times I lose my patience. But I also love my child more than life itself. I provide her with healthy food, clean clothes and motivating toys and activities. I try to teach her how to be a good friend, how to use manners and right from wrong. I try to teach her about the world, differences, similarities, how to be healthy and letters and numbers. I do the best I can do with all that I have. Surely, I am a good parent because of these things?

A friend of mine had something happen to her daughter at school with another child. She was unhappy, to say the least. Apparently, the other child was totally in the wrong, and the situation was dealt with at school. No child was hurt physically, and it was a ‘normal’ schoolyard one off clash as far as I could tell. However, my friend was in total anguish about the whole thing! She felt angry towards the other child. She felt angry towards the school for letting it happen. She felt guilty about sending her child to this school (they had recently moved there). She worried it would stop her daughter settling in and being happy. She entertained pulling her out! Stop. Stop. Stop. Surely this story should have stopped at, ‘the situation was dealt with at school.’ Perhaps rather than my lovely friend feeling so terrible about the whole thing, she should have stepped back, realised that in the path to being a fully developed social being children make mistakes! They do silly things that hurt feelings and occasionally body parts. Some children do things because they are hurting so bad inside. Perhaps rather than letting her child see the guilt and anger she had, she could have taught her how to be compassionate and loving. She could teach her how to be resilient and get back in that classroom with her head held high. She could have used the school community as a resource to help her child develop. She could have turned into something so wonderful, but instead chose to give her child a different message. In my eyes, the wrong one.

OH PARENTS OF THE WORLD HEAR ME! Putting your child first does not always mean instant gratification and even instant happiness for them. We must stop pressuring ourselves to be the ones who make our child happy 100% of the time. Our job is to teach them HOW to be a good, happy person in the world, who knows how to overcome obstacles when they arise. And they will. Just look at me and you!

So, how does this all come back to me and my blog about Secondary Unexplained Infertility? Well, I’m thinking I’ve (and by I’ve I mean my subconscious) been doubting my parenting approach at times, as it sometimes goes against the grain and in some small and bizarre way I feel a little guilty that I have brought Little One into a world that expects her to be bloody darn perfect despite her being so small. However, it is funny this is a thing for me, as Little One has many wonderful traits and we actually get lots of positive comments about her. She isn’t always perfect though. Yesterday she shouted at me because I had distracted her (it wasn’t on purpose!) and spoiled her playdough creation. I could make an excuse and defend her actions, like so many Mums do, but I’m not going to. Because she is not always perfect and that is OK. And that finally leads me to trying for Baby number 2 … Can I bring another imperfectly perfect little being into the world, to face criticism, judgement and labelling? Do I have the strength to just love my children for who they are, and ignore any whispers about their flaws? Do I have enough belief in the fact that my husband and I love them enough that nobody else needs to?

I think I can answer yes to these questions, because I am pretty sure it is fear who is asking them.

So, I count down to the end of cycle 24 … Bloated. Check; perhaps more so than normal, but hey perhaps I’m just kidding myself. Emotional and irritable . Check; and extremely so around 6dpo and 7 dpo. Swollen breasts. Check, well a little. I hope this is the one.

Why assume it’s me? Miracles do happen.

Have you noticed that I talk a lot about me? This blog is about my feelings. My thoughts. I don’t talk much about ‘we’, or ‘he’. He being the hubster. He is the most amazing man by the way. He sees the world in black and white, and is misunderstood by others sometimes but that is because he is pretty deep, and very thoughtful and spends a lot of time wandering around inside that beautiful head of his. He is also the most loyal, clever and balanced person and his opinion and thoughts on anything are extremely important to me. If he says our world is OK, I instantly feel lighter and safer. We are definitely ‘we’. We are open (not in a sharing each other kinda way, just to clear), and support and love each other. Big time. Compromise and understanding are key features of our relationship. It also helps that I find him a proper hottie.

During this infertility journey we have travelled a bit more separately than we would have liked at times. Thankfully, those times haven’t lasted too long usually ended up with a meltdown from yours truly, followed by cuddles and reassurance. Still, it has been testing. Infertility is tough on the relationship of any mother and father in waiting.

There have been times where I have felt alone in the first few days of a cycle. That heartbreak and disappointment are mine only. I have always known this isn’t true, but when in the hormonal dark cloud, I get these feelings, isolating myself. We experience those times very differently, and although I think he moves on quicker to look towards the next month, I know he hurts each month as we learn we won’t be seeing our future child on a scan monitor.

Hubster is also a believer. He believes we will hold that second baby at some point, and is more than happy to take whatever steps we need to, whenever I am ready. I’m far more emotional about this baby, and experience the belief too but also the angry, feet stamping moments when I don’t get my own way! This has no reflection on how much either of us want this child. We just deal with it differently.

The age gap isn’t so much an issue for him as it is for me either. He is more accepting of the fact there will be a large gap, and doesn’t feel bitter about our forced wait. Unlike me. As long as we get there he says. As long as we get there …

For two years we have focused on my wellbeing, body and emotional. For two years we have tracked my cycles, searching for an answer for the monthly disappointment. For two years we have paid thousands of dollars for me to see Miss Acupuncture so she can balance and enhance my reproductive system. For two years this amazing man has taken my tears and wiped them away, listened to my torment even though it kills him inside that he can’t make it go away and been the constant balanced and logical one in our house. I don’t thank him enough.

However, despite all of that, we have never shined the spotlight on him. Selfishly I have been all ‘why me?’ Hell, I should be saying why us? How are you feeling about this today honey? Does your body feel in balance? Do you think we need to enhance your swimmers? I’m not looking to point the finger here. But making a baby is a 50/50 thing. We both need to of optimum health.

Now, I know I write all about my feelings around this subject, rather than the numbers of test results, but here comes the science part. Well, sort of … Apparently, 80% of Unexplained Infertility cases are due to High Sperm DNA damage. So I read the other day. What the …? What is this? What causes it, and is hubster in a risk category for this? Why haven’t we come across this before? He had a sperm analysis and all looked hunky dory. Well acceptable at least, but this damage is something that isn’t tested on a normal analysis, so even when a SA looks good there can still be a problem. If it is true that 80% of Unexplained IF is down to this specific issue, why isn’t this something we have been guided to getting tested for as nothing else has come up as an explanation? If I’m honest, I think our situation will be something in the other 20% as I have had issues with spotting and long cycles. Maybe I’m clutching at straws to get an answer but maybe it is still worth doing the extra test to rule DNA damage out anyway?

I also read that most unexplained cases of infertility result in a pregnancy eventually. Eventually. Yep, well, that doesn’t feel like much of a guarantee when I am rapidly approaching the edge of dreaded mid 30’s fertility cliff. This same article I read said 6 to 7 years can be the time frame for most Unexplained IF couples to achieve a pregnancy. It’s good to know most of us can get pregnant, but for goodness sake, another 5 years of this. Cue stomping feet! I think I will stick with our plan to move this thing along a bit quicker.

I am still all over the positive thinking and believing as I creep towards the end of the first week of the TWW.

Case Study 1: I know a lady who had unprotected sex for 9 years before she fell pregnant. No intervention. Had a lovely, healthy, beautiful baby. Continued having unprotected sex after the baby was born too, but never fell pregnant again. Not a great story for me, wanting to get pregnant for a second time, but the point is miracles do happen. Let’s focus on that! Note to self: Think about contacting this person to find out how she was able to let fate decide the size of her family.

Case Study 2: Some good, good friends of ours had unprotected sex for 8 years. One miscarriage in that time, no intervention at all and recently, one beautiful baby. Again, miracles do happen.

Bodies are amazing things, and just because I am two years into a journey where each month has ended in disappointment, doesn’t mean next month will. Miracles do happen.