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Sunday, January 24, 2010


Everything is timed with infertility treatments.  So timed that it is down the the half hour, even minutes.  Unfortunatly, this cycle's schedule does not work with my Dr.'s schedule.  So,  the other Dr. in the office is going to do this IUI.  I am not too worried.  She use to head the Mayo Clinic's infertility center, among other prestigous titles.  She has also done ultra sounds on me before, including my HSG test.  This is a test where they shoot saline or dye into your uterus and fallopian tubes to make sure everything is okay.  That test is somewhat painful but it was managable.  So, I thought having this Dr. do the IUI would be ok.  She does this everyday.

Um.  OUCH!  Remember when I said that I never feel anything during my IUI's when my Dr. does them? This Dr. sexually assaulted me with the speculum.  Now, she has been doing this for probably 30 years or more.  Is she just old?  It was as if she did not know how to use the instruments.  She kept shoveing the speculum into my cervix.  One time, I can understand, two maybe.  You know, this Dr. is not use to my body like Dr. is.  But for a whole 10 minutes?  It is my vagina.  Not a pile of dirt you are trying to shovel into a  fucking wheel barrel.  I am so angry.  I made my pain known and she did not seem to care.  I am pissed.  You would think a women would be more gentle.  I miss my doctor.  I want my doctor!!!!!

She inserts the catheder to put my husbands sperm inside my uterus.  It makes this really strange noise.  There was never any noise with the past two IUI's MY Dr. did.  Is something wrong?  Is she doing this right?  Oh god, if this does not work and she just assaulted me, I will kill her.

I stumble out to the waiting room to my husband who helps me into the car.  I go home and rest.  I cannot stand up straight for two days.  This cannot be normal.

Round Three

October 2009.

We start again.   Due to my diagnosis this summer of Thrombophilia, I can no longer take birth control pills to start my cycle.  So, I get to take progesterone pills.  Bring on the moodiness, sore boobies, hunger pains, headaches.  I hate progesterone.  Probably not as much as I hate clomid, but still.  So, I take the pills, get my period, and go in for my baseline ultrasound.  Cyst.  You may think to yourself "well, you do have poly cystic ovarian syndrome."  Yes, I do, however, I have never had cysts you can see before.  It is hard to explain. But,  because of the cyst, this cycle is down the drain.

November 2009.

I know the routine.  I take the progesterone, get a period, go in for a baseline ultrasound.  Everything looks good.  So, I start 150mg of clomid, the evil drug.  clomid stimulates your ovaries to produce multiple follicles at once.  It also tricks your body into thinking it is in menopause.  So, you probably have an idea of how it makes you feel.  Take PMS to another level.  And the hunger!  It is a bottomless pit.  But, it is manage.  On the 150 mg dose that is.  So, I take it.  I go in for my first monitoring ultrasound.  I have a few follicles, but they are not even at a 10 yet.  They need to be at least 18 in order for IUI (intrauterine insemination) to take place.  I was a bit worried.  I remember the last time this worked, I did have to come back twice as my ovaries are a little slow.  The doctor tells me it is not over, come back in two days.

Two days later.  They are not at 15.   This cycle is over.  The Dr. says "Your disease is getting worse."  What am I suppose to do with that? We try again on 150.  So, we start over with the progesterone, the clomid, and the ultra sounds.  I am getting tired of this.

December 2009.
When I go in for my monitoring ultrasound, I have great news! One follicle is already 20 mm!  We are set for IUI three.  I take an HCG injection two days later, have intercourse, then bring in my husbands sperm three days after my last appointment.  The procedure goes well.  I have a great Dr. I never feel much until afterward, and then it is just mild cramping for a couple of days.  Makes sense, since they are inserting a very long catheter through your cervix and into your uterus.  Now, the three week wait begins.  I say three because if you are taking HCG injections, which is what is detected for pregnancy, you have to wait after your booster shot.  A bout a week after my IUI's I take a booster HCG shot, which is a half dose.  So, two weeks after that, we test for pregnancy with a blood test.

Why oh why does this always happen over the holidays?  Thank god we decided to spend it alone.  We had a wonderful holiday, just the three of us.  My hubby, me and the dog.  It was all great, until the day after Christmas.  I start bleeding.  This round is over.

I go into the Dr.'s office and they say it did not work because my progesterone level was not high enough.  Okay.  So how do we fix this?  Doc says, higher dose of clomid.  WHAT!?!  That means I would be on the highest dose.  Did I forget to mention OHSS?  Over hyper-stimulation syndrome?  This is not a good thing. The higher you go, the worse the side effects, including the chances of OHSS which can be deadly.  I take a step back.  I begin to feel the hole in my heart, the loneliness, the impending black world we live in right now.  Okay, I sigh.  I agree.

 January 2010
Holy blurred vision batman!  After day four on the clomid, I start seeing spots.  I remember seeing spots on the clomid before, so I do not worry.  The day progresses, and so do the spots.  Then they turn into waves.  By day five I have blurred vision.  Now, I know this is a side effect, however, all the research says if you have vision side effects, contact your Dr. immediately.  Well, I have one more does to take, so I just keep on going.

The day my first monitoring ultra sound is scheduled, there is a massive snow storm.   We still make it to the appointment, but the Dr. did not.  His nurse does the ultra sound and does not have good news.  I am not responding to the clomid. I have two follicles, but they are only at 10 and 12.  I tell the nurse about my vision issues. She said that probably means no more clomid.  It means possibly injectables or IVF.  I was a bit shocked.  I do not know why, but I always thought I would never be one of "those".  I would not have to go that far.  My disease was not that bad.  I was devastated, but somewhat relieved,

I am so tired of the emotional and physical toll this all takes on my body.  It has given me some very low moments.  Moments I do not want to look back on.  So, on one had, not having to take the clomid is appetizing.  I go home and tell my husband and we prepare ourselves for the worst yet again.

I still have to go to my second monitoring ultra sound to be safe.  This time, my Dr. is there to perfom. it.  Surprise!  You have two follicles ready.  Wait, what?  But the nurse said it was over, said we were on to IVF.  The nurse was wrong!  We are doing an IUI.  Shock.  Excitment.  Fear.  Okay, so we do one more IUI and then IVF.  Doc says no.  If my progesterone level is where it should, I potentially have two more chances on clomid.  Fuck.  Or, great?  I dunno.  I hate clomid.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Lonliest Trauma

Miscarriage is different than "regular" grief. I am not down sizing grief in anyway. Simply just saying it is different. When a family member or friend dies or is killed, of course you grieve. But most people see pictures of the person you lost. You have other family members and friends feeling the same emotions you are. You can understand one another.

Miscarriage is very intimate. It happens to a woman. Yes, of course it happens to the partner as well. My husband is amazing. He has been with me every step of the way. He has been devastated by our losses. But he can only go with me so far. He did not carry the babies. So one aspect of miscarriage is that I struggle alone, at least with part of the grief.

You can never understand or respect what a woman is going through during and after miscarriage unless you have experienced it. And even then, everyone experiences it differently. My experiences have lead me to do something about awareness. I have heard so many horrible statements after my miscarriages. Some of you may not think they are that bad, but you are not on the other side. You are not a member of the dark and dreary miscarriage and infertility club. Many will say "It was meant to be" Really? Oh, okay, then I will just stop grieving and get over it. Others have said "You need to move on." You have got to be kidding me!

On Mother's Day, which also fell on my birthday this past year, I told my mother in law that I wanted to spend the day at home with my husband. I was very sad as this was suppose to be my first Mother's Day and I really did not want to spend my Birthday celebrating the fact that I was not a "mother" . I now realize that I am a mother but at that point in time it was not something I saw myself as. My mother in law responded by saying "You should not be sad, kids just disappoint you anyway." Wow. She has no clue.

My mother often said to me " Honey, your baby died for a reason. Something was wrong with it. It is best that it died so that it was not born with defects." She does not get it either. After my second miscarriage, my boss emailed me to see how I was doing. I really believe she was trying to figure out when to fire me. She said that getting back to work would make it better. How does she know? She has never been pregnant, never experienced this. I had missed two days. TWO DAYS for losing my baby! Below is a list of things I have had people say to me, or statements others have told women who I have interviewed for my book. Book? Yes, book. My experiences have angered me so much, that I must do something with that anger. I am writing a book about my experiences with miscarriage and society and the medical fields response to miscarriage. If I can change one persons perception, I have succeeded.

Don’t worry you can still have babies
You will have another one it is not a big deal
It was god’s will
Something was wrong with the baby, you didn’t want a disabled child anyway
It happens to a lot of women
It is so common
Oh well, next time
It was meant to be this way
It was just a chemical pregnancy
You were not that far a long
You can always adopt
You are still young
You have plenty of time
It’s just a period

Okay. Breathe! I know you may need to recover. Or maybe not since you may not have experienced a miscarriage. But all of the above statemens are inappropriate. They each take away meaning of our grief. They each take away from what a woman may be feeling when she is going through such a terrifying loss. Miscarriage is the worst pain. You feel it deep inside you. You feel it in your gut, your heart, your soul. You feel as if you are completely alone because you carried that baby inside of you and now you are empty. It is the worst hurt there ever was.

Friday, January 15, 2010

And to think this was enough.

My second miscarriage happened on a Tuesday night. I missed work Wednesday and Thursday. I was back to work on Friday. Monday was a paid holiday. On Tuesday, I was fired for having a second miscarriage. I know, I know, that has to be illegal. And it is.

I immediately set up an appointment with the equal employment opportunity commission in Chicago. They told me that had this happen two years ago(before little Bush ruined this country) when they still had the man power and funds, they would have taken on my case. They did give me the legal right to sue, but I cannot afford that.

I should probably give you background information. I was working as a therapist at a community mental health center in a north shore suburb of Chicago. I had been there for over a year when I first got pregnant. When I told my boss I was pregnant her exact words were "Couldn't you have used a fucking condom? Why are you doing this to me?" I actually found myself apologizing to her. I now know that should never have happened. I should never EVER apologize to anyone for being pregnant. I was shocked.

A couple of weeks later, during a staff meeting that I was not at, my boss took it upon herself to tell everyone that I was pregnant. I was not at the meeting because I was at a Dr. appointment. When I got into work, a bunch of people kept saying congrats. I finally asked and they told me what had happened. I was livid! I was only 6 weeks along. I had told a few people there, but did not want the whole center to know. Then low and behold less than a week later, I was having a D and C because I lost the baby.

Since that time, I was treated differently by my boss and some of my co-workers. Complaints started coming up about my paper work or calls that were said to not have been returned, when I never got the message. I know I was doing my work, I was keeping track of it for this very reason. My boss, who was once very inappropriately intimate with me in the details she shared with me about her life, started to become rude towards me. I did my best to let it all pass. I kept telling myself, I only have a while longer here. I was staying there because I needed my boss to sign off on my hours to I could get my second therapy license. Luckily I had her sign off on them just before I was fired and did end up getting my license during the two months I was unemployed.

I was told I was being let go due to the economy. It was a small non profit organization and the state had cut back part of the funds they give to the center. But I knew what was going on. This happened three days after I return from having a second miscarriage. My boss was nasty to me since I was pregnant the first time...the math was easy. I later found an add for my job that was posted the day after my miscarriage. Economy my ass!

It was a huge blessing in disguise. I was able to study for my exam and I passed it with flying colors. And I no longer worked for a corrupt organization that I really was not happy with anyways.

We took some time off of ttc (trying to conceive). My OB had told my RE what happend and we scheduled a follow up appointment. We did not get great news. The RE wanted to do alot of testing. We thought, okay, sure. We have good insurrance. The catch? They only used a lab that was experimental and not covered by insurance. Oh, shit. Trevor is a 5th grade teacher, and I am a therapist. Put the two together and you do not add up to much. The tests were going to cost around 6k. We bought our house a year before and with my job loss we were hurting. I was heartbroken once again. I thought to myself, this may never happen, We may never have a child.

We did alot of thinking and talking to our family. We decided to go ahead with the tests. Whats one more credit card ay? So this past summer the tests were done. The results came back in August. We found out that I have thrombophilia, a blood clotting disorder. The baby died because a blood clot cut off the oxegyn to the baby. The treatment for this is baby asprin, Vitamin B6, and prescription strengh folic acid. Once you are pregnant, you then have to inject yourself daily in the stomach with lovenox which is a blood thinner.

I was not happy with all of this. I felt my PCOS was enough to handle, but now this. And to think, I was on birth control pills for years and could have had a very bad clot. Thank god I seem to only get microscopic sized clots...or mayby not since it did kill our baby. So, we move forward.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

8 Weeks Pregnant

January 2008. I am at this point, definitely feeling pregnant. I am nauseous morning, noon, and night. My boobs are so sore they make me cry. My mood is very unpredictable and most should just stay away! The bottomless pit of hunger controls my life and I am up at least twice a night to pee! I could not be happier!

At week 8 we go back to the RE's office for an ultrasound. Trevor and I were absolutely crazed with nervousness. We see on the screen this pulsating figure. The doctor explains that this is the pregnancy and the heartbeat is great! I made him tripple check for more than one! One of Clomids side effects is multiples. Kate, from John and Kate was on clomid and we know what happend there! But he confirms there is just one and we are released from his care and now into the care of my OB.

Week 10 is here. I have my first OB appointment for this pregnancy. It was Tuesday morning. The doctor does her thing and tells me everything looks fine. She then tries to hear the heartbeat, but warns me that it is still early and we may not hear it yet. She searched and searched, closing her eyes with concentration. But, no luck. The Dr. again assured me this is normal and I am healthy and the baby is doing well. She has me schedule an ultrasound for Friday and sends me on my way.

I go to work for the reminder of the day, feeling great. I get home and have a nice evening with my husband. We are so excited we stay up a bit later talking about the baby. Everything finally seems to be falling into place. But if you know us, you know that would not happen. Our luck is not that great.
**Disclaimer** The next portion is gory, disgusting, and heartbreaking**

At 2 am I woke up to pee. I felt fine. Nothing out of the ordinary. Once I sit on the toilet the blood gushes out of me. I looked down and instantly knew that I was loosing this baby. I screamed for Trevor and kept saying "not again, not again, this cannot be happening again." I cannot go through this again. Trevor immediately calls the Dr. She calls us back in less than one minute. I have now moved from the toilet to the bath tub because the blood just keeps coming. Including big, thick blood clots and tissue. I kept thinking, maybe its just from the exam today. I feel no pain, I have no cramps, this should not be happening. Then, while my husband is on the phone with my doctor, I delivered our baby in the bathtub.

That baby had a head, little arms and legs, a heart. I saw it in the sac, I held it in my hands. My heart disappeared. I knew at that moment it was over. My life was over. I have failed myself and my husband again. I lost this baby. Afer the doctor calmed me down and gave me instructions and told me if I am bleeding through more than one pad per hour, I need to rush to the ER. If not, I see her in the am. I was hysterical. I was crying so hard I was hyperventilating. The only thing that calmed me was my doctor telling me that if I do not calm down and I cannot breath, I have to go to the hospital. I kept asking her, is there still a chance? Even though I knew I was holding my baby in my hand. I hand the baby over to my husband and I to this day do not know what happend with baby Jordan. I could not handle it, he had to take care of it.

As soon as I cleaned myself up and got back into bed, I physically felt empty, my uterus was completly empty. I could feel that the baby was no longer inside of me. I knew it was over. I knew I would never heal from this. I knew this was going to push me over the edge.

The next morning, the ultra sound confirmed there was nothing left in my Uterus. I had infact delivered our baby in the bathtub at 10 weeks gestation. There are no words to describe this pain.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Round Two

November 2009. We meet with Dr. Rinehart, our RE or reproductive endocrinologist. He is a brilliant man! He has his MD, PH.d, and JD. And yet, he is still so down to earth and talks to us in layman's terms, but does not make us feel small.

He confirms that I do have PCOS. We go over our treatment options and it is decided that I will start Birth Control Pills to get a period, as well as go on Metformin that treats the PCOS, and a Low Glycemic Diet, and then I will start Clomid which stimulates the ovaries to produce follicles. If you have never taken clomid, you have no idea! Clomid puts your body into menopause. It gives you hot flashes, mood swings, hunger pains, sleepless nights, cramping, bloating, and very sore breasts.

We were given a lot of information and all of this is very debilitation. You often feel that your body is failing you. You do not get to have a child the "normal" or "natural" way. Instead, my doctor gets me pregnant. Yep, I said it! Not only do you have to deal with the horrible intense pain of loss from a miscarriage, deal with a new disease which causes a lot of other health issue, you have to deal with not being able to conceive a child on your own, with your husband. My doctor knocks me up! It makes me feel like I am not a true woman, I cannot pro create on my own. It is hard to describe exactly what that feels like. I imagine it is a similar pain and lost feeling that women who have masectomy's must feel. You feel like your womanhood is being taken away from you. You feel like every woman who knows that you are infertile looks at you diferently. I take that back, it is not a feeling, it is a fact.

No matter how nice people try to be, society does not know how to handle this issue. They comment by saying stupid things like; "it was not meant to be" or "you will have another one" or " you are young" or "it happend for a reason". But you get these looks from people and you might think it is just in our heads but it is not. Whether people like to admit it or not, infertility is about sex and people think that couples who deal with infertility are doing something wrong. They are not part of the in crowd. They are failures. We already feel that way, we do not need your help in that!

My poor husband has to deal with me while I am on these drugs. This first round, I am on 100 mg. After taking the medicaiton for five days, you go into the RE's office for an internal ultrasound. Yes, ladies and gents, internal. With the lovely wand. It is painful as your ovaries are stimulated and very sore from the clomid. I remenber the first ultra sound. I had had them before for other tests, but not when I was on clomid. The medicaiton was working, but my follicles were not quite big enough. They need to be around 18 to 20 mm. So, the doctor tells me to come back in a few days.

Three days later, I am back and having another ultrasound. This time my eggs are ready! Yay ovaries! So, you go home and in two days I take an injection of HCG which tells my ovaries to ovulate. My husband was so nervous with that first injection. I felt bad for him. He did not want to hurt me. But, he was very brave and was able to pull through. He did a great job! 36 hours later I go back to the Dr. and have an IUI or artificial insemnation. Remember when I said you feel like failure...this is one of those moments. It is a very strange ordeal. We bring in my husbands sperm, they "wash" it and insert it into a special cathader. The nurse takes you into a small room with the exam table and the ultra sound machine. My husband was not even allowed in the room with me. Then they insert the catheder into my uterus and "ta da" you hope for a baby.

After the procedure, I go home and rest for the day. Then the wonderful 2WW begines They say it is two weeks, but it really is three. This wait is for the HCG shot to be out of my system so we can test for pregnancy. Oh, and you have to give yourself another HCG shot about three days after the IUI as a booster, to increase the chance of pregnancy.

On Christmas Eve, about three days after the IUI, I start to feel different. I felt flutters in my belly. I started to feel really tired. I was very emotional. I was hungry, smells were bothering me. I got into a fight with my 19 year old sister, with whom I am always close with and NEVER fight with due to all of the emotions. The hardest part of this is to not get your hopes up because the medication can make you feel this way. It can make you feel as if you are pregant, when you are not. So, you just ride with it and hope and pray for the best.

I am not a patient person. You would think I was, beign that I am a therapist and work with kids. But with this kind of thing, I am awful. You are not suppose to test for pregancy before the doctor does becuase you can get a false positive due to the HCG in your system from the shots. A week after the IUI, I begin to test. The first test there is a slight positive. My husband, being the patient and realistic man he is, told me to not get my hopes up and wanted me to stop testing. But something powerful comes over you and it becomes an obsession I tested every other day until I went to the doctor. I knew I was pregnant. I could just feel it.

So, on the big test day, I was excited and nervous. I went in in the morning for the blood draw and had to wait until after 3 for the results. That wait is the worst! I was crawling out of my skin waiting for the results. At about 3:20, when I could no longer wait, I called the office and asked for the results. They were postive!!! A wonderful BFP!!! Of course you have to go for a blood draw the next day to make sure your levels are doubling. Success! They were more than doubled the next day. We have won this round, or so we thought!

Friday, January 8, 2010

The begining of our Struggle

June 17, 2008. Our 2nd wedding anniversary. My sweet, handsome, amazing husband and I went out to eat at the restaurant we went to the day we got engaged. I was feeling kind of "funny"and I said to my husband "I think we need to buy a test on the way home". My husband said, okay, fine, but you are not pregnant.

I do not get a period, unless I am on birth control, or the doctor makes me. A couple of months prior, around April, I was seeing a new OB/GYN. She took me off the pill because she thought I had high blood pressure. No matter how hard I tried to convince her I did not (I have white coat syndrome, always have, always will) she refused. So, I had been taking a pregnancy test one a month, just in case, even though we knew I would probably have difficulty getting pregnant. We never new how difficult it would be.

Once we were home, I took the pregnancy test, never expecting anything to happen. It immediately turned positive! We were both totally freaked! We were not planning, we were not ready, we were really scared. It took us about a day to come to realize what was really happening, and we started to get very happy. We made a baby! We were going to be parents. Our love made something, another human being.

So, we told our parents and I went to the doctor(a different OB, one that would listen to me). She thought I was around 8 weeks along, based on when I stopped the pill. Everything looked good! So we scheduled an ultra sound. The U/S showed that I was only about 4-5 weeks along. So, they said come back in a week.

We did, and found out that there was no heartbeat, no living baby in my uterus. I remember just looking at my husband, with such uncertainty. I told the tech, "it looks bigger than last week, it is different." She said, "well, I am not a doctor, but your baby is dead." I hated her and demanded to speak to a doctor. She would not let me, said no one was available.

So Trevor (my husband) and I had to wait a whole weekend before we could see my doctor. I was sent to take a blood test to check my levels, and it was confirmed. On the following Monday my doctor confirmed that I was miscarrying. She held me while I cried, and was just there. She was amazing. She took the time to answer all of our questions in real terms. Made sure we understood. We decided to schedule a D and C because my body was not taking care of things on its own.

D and C day is what I call Dooms Day. It was awful. They gave us a paper to sign. We had to decide if we wanted a funeral or if we wanted the hospital to handle the remains. I was so confused, I did not want to see our baby like that. So , I choose to have the hospital take care of it. The surgery went well, and I was back to work the next day.

The doctor gave us a referral to a brilliant Reproductive Endocrinologist because thought I had PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome. But we needed time, we needed to heal, so we did what we could to move on with our lives.