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!

 

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To talk or not to talk? That is the question.

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I read another infertility blog yesterday, and a few of the points raised really struck a chord with me. The blogger told her readers not to ask people IF they will have children, WHEN they will have children and most poignantly for me, not to ask someone who already has a child when they will have another. Boy, I have had plenty of people ask me!

Those struggling with infertility are hurting, and hurting badly. Being asked about becoming pregnant is high up on the emotional pain meter. It is absolutely one of those experiences that cannot be fully understood by those who have never experienced it, and even then we probably don’t really understand it! I don’t mean to patronise those who are fertile, but it is true. I know because I have been on both sides of the coin. My first TTC experience was easy. I don’t want to get into a Primary infertility v Secondary infertility debate right now, as we are all in our own battles with infertility, but these last 2 years have shown me how truly awful it is to want to have a baby and it not happen.

 Our little one is at the age where people are now asking if we are going to have ‘anymore’. Anymore? Really? The phrasing of the question bothers me, because it makes it sound so bloody simple. It sounds like a judgement, that I should have more, and makes me feel isolated because I can’t provide a sibling. It makes it sound like I can just click my fingers and nonchalantly decide the universe will grant me another child. Like it is my choice and under my control. Sure, I can decide I would like another child and try to make it happen Au natural, but after that NOTHING is under my control. Not the timing, not the difficulty of the journey and not the measures we have to take to get our miracle baby. NOTHING. 

Asking about a fertility journey is brave when you think about … and yet, people ask. Perhaps us having our little one leads to an assumption that we have chosen to be a family of 3. But even if there is a suspicion of a problem, they have no idea what emotional state we are in … and yet, they ask. Are they wrong or right to do so? Is it something so normal and natural that we should be allowed to ask women of child bearing age about their plans to reproduce? Or is something very personal, between husband and wife, a topic not up for discussion? Sometimes I want to talk about it in great depth. I want people to give me hope (because I don’t know if you have found this, but the more people you talk to the more you find out that so many of us have a journey to pregnancy that isn’t smooth). I want to get this pain out of my chest so I can relax. I don’t want to be alone in my head with my sad thoughts. When I have talked about it though, I am left feeling exposed and I still feel isolated and alone anyway. And then at other times it is not up for discussion. I do not want to be reminded that we don’t have another baby. I don’t want to be reminded that my body is failing me for no apparent reason. I don’t want to say the words and put it out there for people to talk about. I don’t want sympathy. I know, confusing. My poor husband. My poor friends. I can be a royal pain in the derrière.

I think some people are just nosy. You know the acquaintances that don’t really care about you. The ones who are just looking for some gossip. Just want to be in the know. The ones who leave you feeling vulnerable if you have opened up and let them into your journey. In some ways I wonder if it would have been better to be subfertile or infertile in the UK circa 1920. I’m pretty sure the stiff British upper lip and social codes of that time would have meant no one would have asked about one’s fertility status. And anyway, infertility wasn’t such a problem then as it is now, so maybe I wouldn’t even have been infertile. But yet, here I am, blogging my heart out about our trials and tribulations. So perhaps this era is a great era for the infertile. A time where technology and medicine (Western and Complimentary) can combine to help many who can’t conceive naturally. A time where the internet is a place where people can anonymously seek support from those who understand, and blurt out their inner most thoughts and feelings without judgement, smug sympathy or well-intentioned but unhelpful and downright annoying advice.

Do you know where I am at with the whole should people ask others about their child bearing plans? Here goes …

Human nature means you are curious, so go on and ask me. I know you want to. But don’t expect a fluffy heart to heart with me. I may glare at you which pretty much gives you all the information you need. Back away. If you’re lucky, I will give you a little routine I have practiced in the mirror a million times for such an occasion. It goes like this: Tilt head to the side, give the shoulders a slight shrug and say with controlled voice, “Well you know, we would like to have more, but things haven’t gone to plan.” It’s another, more polite way of saying, you can know we haven’t been able to have another child but this topic is not up for further discussion.

I will choose who I talk to about this, when I want to talk about it, in the detail I want to talk in (DISCLAIMER: This does not apply to hubby or the couple of close girlfriends to whom different rules apply. Another blog). There will be very few people who get to know the details. I need to feel security, trust, understanding and an ability to be myself in a relationship if I am to talk to someone. Even my Mum doesn’t know the details, not because we don’t have those things, but because my hurt is her hurt, and I want to protect her from that.  I understand the curiosity to know if we are going to expand our family, but most don’t need to know the inner workings of my mind or uterus. I will save that for you, dear reader. After all, you really are the best listener. Thank you.

 

Creating a family. Are we there yet?

Three of us live under our roof. Mum, Dad and daughter. We are a family.

We love each other more than words can say. We have good individual relationships with each other. We have fun together. My husband and I have the same values. We are rarely argue. Our daughter is happy, bright and healthy. We live in a lovely house in a lovely part of the world, by the sea. We have a good income, and can afford some nice things, go on holidays and have a large SUV on the drive. Yes, we are grateful for all we have. What more could we ask for?

Another child please.

I guess we all just want that little bit more. It is human nature. Others may log on to Facebook, see our ‘Facebook life’ and think we have the perfect life. And we kinda do… But we want something more too, and have done for 2 long years. A positive pregnancy test. A bump. A birth moment. A baby. A sibling for our daughter. A family of four. If only it was as easy as saving up some cash for it! My husband is such a good money saver, we could have bought ten babies in the time we have waited and longed for another little bundle.

It is difficult. Very difficult. So very, very difficult.

You see, we are caught in this strange world of Secondary Unexplained Infertility. At this stage we are classed as ‘Subfertile’ (Thanks! Lovely. Don’t I just feel so feminine and womanly now? My uterus shriveled up just hearing the word). Within 12 months of starting to try to conceive, and with no medical reasons found, we hadn’t conceived or carried a child to full term after a natural and normal conception and pregnancy with our first child. Two years since beginning this journey, and still with no medical reasons found, we continue to try to complete this family of ours as naturally as we can.

Frustrating.

We are caught between the world of parenting and the painful emotional rollercoaster of trying to conceive. We have friends that have several children, young babies or bumps and our daughter’s friends all have brothers or sisters. At Playgroup, mums chat about how manic/difficult/crazy/amazing/special life is with a preschooler and a toddler, whilst gently rubbing their large pregnant belly and then ask me if I’m going to have anymore.

Jealous. Hurting.

We are caught between the world of people struggling with Primary Infertility and those who have complete families. I can only imagine the pain of not knowing if you will ever be able to hold your own baby, but I can only dream of how wonderfully content and whole those who have completed their family must feel.

Guiltily sad.

We are a family of 3. We have an empty space. It is silent, and yet it screams so loud. It is invisible to you, but I feel it every day. It is extremely hard, if not impossible, to ignore. And I fear it. Because if I can’t fill it, will it be with me forever?

We have created a family. We are still creating a family. Are we there yet? Nope.