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!

 

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.

Making plans, albeit temporary

So, Clomid round 2 was unsuccessful. We were disappointed as it was another Clomid round with B6 to support progesterone (only 2 days spotting before my period arrived), acupuncture, a lot of baby making sex in the fertile time, and I was really relaxed all cycle. Timing was perfect. If I can get pregnant naturally surely this month should have been the one? My emotional state was a big positive to take from this cycle. I felt really level during the whole two week wait. I think this is because I was feeling accepting of our situation. Getting pregnant is not something I am good at. Feeling in control emotionally makes the weight of infertility a little bit easier to carry. It’s not lighter. I’m just stronger.

So, cycle day 1 arrived and I asked Hubby, “Where do we go next?’ We talked about how I wonder what it will take to change the outcome each month. Hubby is able to see the glass half full, and his reasoning goes along the lines of, “Our tests have come back fine, we just need to get the month where everything just slots in place.” I guess I see the glass half empty or maybe I think more deeply or realistically about it all, because I see 21 failed cycles and can’t see why things would suddenly just work. We have tried numerous things hoping they would give us that extra percent in our chances of conception: honey, vitamins, acupuncture and herbs, diet changes, holidays for relaxation, exercise regime changes and lastly Clomid. I think that one disappoints me the most. I thought that would be THE thing.

After Clomid, the next step is to escalate things and see a fertility specialist. I’m not against this. There are pros, I know. We might find out what the ‘unexplained’ issue actually is, we might actually get some interest from that Dr and most importantly, we might get our complete family. But I’m afraid and melancholy too. As I’ve warbled on about in the last few posts, I am accepting. I really am. But accepting this is what we need to do is also upsetting. Hanging up my natural fertility and asking for help makes me feel sad, and I know it’s OK and that I’m not a failure but I’m still sad to see it go. I’m also afraid because we will take a step closer to the end. It will be so strange to put this era behind us in some ways. Infertility is familiar. I want to be finished with trying to conceive, but putting the lid on that without a baby is a lot scary. If we go on and try maybe IVF and it doesn’t work, well, I will be devastated. It will feel like the end of the road for having our second own biological child, and so I’m afraid to move on to IVF soon because there is nowhere else to go after that. That will be all our ammunition used up. Obviously if it works for us – AMAZING! It’s one of those jumps in life you take that will give you all or nothing. I think I will need to get my headspace to the place where I can jump with total faith.

The other weird thing, is that if we finally get pregnant, we will definitely be done and that will be a peculiar place to be after years of wanting children. I couldn’t ‘want’ to try again and then fail over and over and go through the pain, the hope/disappointment rollercoaster and the distraction. I couldn’t do this again. I guess even though we are living with the uncertainty of what our future family will look like, I must feel that someone is coming, that we are waiting to greet them and that there is another dimension to add. Maybe I’m just not ready to move on from here yet? If this is true, it is subconscious that’s for sure.

For the time being (this may change; as we all know, it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind) we have decided to do another 2 months on Clomid, which will take us pretty much up to 24 months TTC. By that point I think if we are going to do it naturally we would have done, and we will know the Clomid alone isn’t addressing our ‘unexplained’ issues. At that point I think that we will need to seek further intervention, or a second opinion or some new advice at the very least. This is the plan. For now.

Stage 1: Accept

Stage 2: Open the mind

Stage 3: Make a plan