Intangible.

It turns out we didn’t have to wait that long.

The results from my labs came back yesterday afternoon. My hCG level was ridiculously low (4 mIU/mL*). Especially considering the strong initial positives I got, the level is low enough to indicate a miscarriage. I go back next Monday to have my labs redrawn. We want to make sure my hCG level drops completely.

And with that, my second pregnancy truly is over.

I have restrictions for the next month or so, to make sure my body heals properly. Since I was pregnant, my doctor wants to make sure my body returns to its pre-pregnant state. We have to put our attempts at conceiving on hold for a while, again to give my body time to heal.

We’re doing ok though, honestly. My doctor commented that we were in great spirits, considering. And we really are. In our minds, this is a good outcome. Clearly something happened during conception, be it chromosomal issues or a botched implantation. A clean miscarriage is a much better option than a complicated, risky pregnancy. It definitely throws a wrench into our timeline, but we’ll adapt.

*I can save you the googling. The typical hCG range for a women who is 5 weeks pregnant is 18 – 7,340 mIU/mL. It varies a lot due to late implantation, plus the fact that it doubles so quickly during early pregnancy. The pregnancy test I used can detect hCG of 25 mIU/mL. And remember, I got a glaringly obvious positive result the first time, implying I was well above the minimum of 25 mIU/mL when I tested the first time. I agree with my doctor’s conclusion. Even without another blood draw for a comparison point, it’s pretty clear that my levels are dropping.

Advertisements

No news

I really don’t have any further official news since Monday.

I started the progesterone Monday evening. The heavy bleeding subsided Tuesday morning, though I’m still having what I would consider heavy spotting. And I’ve done a whole lot of googling, from what little information I can glean from my patient portal. A whole lot of googling.

[And here is where I will put a pinpoint as a warning for all of those who are trying so hard to conceive or those of you experiencing loss or the tenderhearted among us because we are about to have a real tough conversation, you and I. Fair warning.]

The way I see it, I basically have three diagnoses on the table: (1) threatened miscarriage due to low progesterone, (2) threatened miscarriage due to chromosomal abnormalities, (3) subchorionic hematoma or SCH.

In the first case, low progesterone is the cause of the bleed and the pregnancy and baby are otherwise viable. I have already been prescribed a progesterone supplement and was shocked to see that it’s a three-month prescription. I suppose I would have to be on it for several weeks, until the placenta takes over production, though I would obviously need to clarify that with my doctor. Honestly, this is probably the “best” outcome though it seems somewhat unlikely given I’ve already carried a baby to full-term without the need of progesterone supplements.

In the second case, a miscarriage is the final result. This may take a while to play out, considering my bleeding has stopped at this point (so I’m definitely not actively miscarrying at this point in time). I’ve already had two ultrasounds and we’ve seen development between them. I could be experiencing a blighted ovum where there’s actually no baby to begin with. The baby could simply stop developing. My body could refuse to finish the job, so to speak. I’d need medical intervention at that point. Though it may take a while to unravel, I’d say that this is my second best diagnosis if only because it’s a clear-cut resolution and a clean slate.

In the third case, an SCH is the only complication of an otherwise viable pregnancy. This is where things get really complicated and unsure because the outcome depends largely on the size and placement of the SCH. Resources vary vastly in their prognosis and long-term outcome, though they unanimously say that many women with SCH’s go on to have healthy pregnancies. Some resources mention bed rest or activity limitations (for instance, no lifting anything over 10 pounds which would mean that I wouldn’t be able to lift the dumpling). No exercise. Some exercise. Pelvic rest, including no orgasms (which, dang, that would suck). But then again, other resources make it seem like a perfectly normal and simple complication. And I can’t find any information on whether these limitations are for the entire pregnancy or just while the SCH is actively bleeding. This will probably come off as callous, but I do not want this baby bad enough to not lift my preschooler or not teach my exercise class or not have sex for the next nine months. I am not that desperate.

And so, we’re just waiting to see what happens. I haven’t heard back from my doctor on the results of my labs from Monday (which is beginning to drive me bonkers). I keep thinking that the ultrasound on Tuesday will provide some answers until I remember that – through all of this activity – I will only be six weeks along. We may not even verify a heartbeat on Tuesday if only because it’s too early still. Gah!

Anyway, all of this… deluge of information is just my way of trying to wrap my brain around this. I truly thought I was having a miscarriage on Sunday and I have already grieved in a way. The idea that this pregnancy could continue just doesn’t compute. And when I think about trying to continue the pregnancy in face of dire statistics and heavy restrictions and poor fetal outcome…. well, I’d just rather not, thanks. But then, did I really just think that? And what if there’s never a definitive diagnosis, which is probably just as likely a scenario as any other. What then??

I have no idea.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Not quite over

Apparently, there’s a little more ambiguity to the tremendous amount of blood coming out of my nether-regions than I originally thought.

Oh I’m sorry, were you eating? My apologies.

I called my doctor today, honestly half expecting for them to tell me to stay home and rest and what-not. Self-care and all that. Instead, I got the red carpet treatment as appointments were shifted to accommodate me as early as possible. I had a wonderfully embarrassing moment once I arrived, which I’m sure you’ll all enjoy: I didn’t really know what to expect out of this appointment. I had stopped on the way to get some water, thinking they’d need me to pee in a cup (they didn’t). I was shown into the examination room and told to strip from the waist down in case my OB wanted to examine me (I hadn’t even thought about that). Since I was bleeding, they helpfully put what resembled a puppy pad on the table for me. I stripped down and hopped up on the table and waited for a minute or two before realizing… you know, I bet my cup would be in the way if he wants to examine me. I thought about going to the restroom for a minute, but spotted the sink in the exam room and hopped off the table to take my menstrual cup out right then. Of course – OF COURSE – my cup decides to hug my cervix as close as freaking possible and I was frantically groping at it, trying to pull it down within my grasp. That took up precious seconds that I didn’t have, apparently, as my OB knocked to enter the room while I was emptying my cup, clasping the pink paper sheet clumsily around my bare butt while trying to turn off the water and also get paper towels and also make this seem like the most natural thing in the world. Ahhh, such class and grace.

Anyway, I hastily wrapped my cup in a paper towel and hopped back up on the table. I’m 95% sure I didn’t flash him or anything, but then I remembered that he has seen inside my vagina. Hell, he’s seen inside my abdominal cavity…. I don’t think seeing my bare butt would phase him.

ANY-anyway, the appointment resulted in more questions than answers. I am definitely bleeding, a lot, but my cervix is closed. The ultrasound didn’t really show anything (no cute little blueberry) but that could just be because I’m still not quite even 5 weeks along. They drew blood for lab work and prescribed progesterone, just in case. My doctor let me go with instructions to call back if my bleeding gets heavier or hasn’t let up in a couple of days. We kept my original follow-up appointment on the books for next Tuesday, complete with an ultrasound.

And that’s where I am right now. Google University tells me that I’m experiencing a threatened miscarriage, where my body is basically deciding whether or not to miscarry. My cervix being closed is good news because once it opens, my body is truly miscarrying and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Crazily enough, about half of women who experience threatened miscarriages go on to have a perfectly healthy pregnancy. Which is a crazy thought, given the amount of bleeding I have right now. Luffy sort of thinks we should just wipe the slate clean now. I tend to agree. I mean, if my uterus is wishy-washy on the viability of the whole pregnancy now, perhaps we should just go with its gut and start over.

So yeah – we’ll see. I think I’m still going to miscarry. I’ve been having cramps, felt even through a double dose of Aleve. My doctor thought my bleeding would subside since he “wiped” most of it out of me this morning. I can assure you that it has not subsided. I haven’t taken my progesterone yet, so perhaps that will help. Only time will tell.

Intangible

And just like that, my second pregnancy is over.

I don’t want to be dramatic about it, frankly, because I don’t “deserve” that badge. I was pregnant for a week. I found out ridiculously early, so this miscarriage is actually deemed a chemical pregnancy. There are many stories much worse than mine.

I had some spotting last week, starting on Wednesday, that never really let up. It didn’t get any heavier though, so I just assumed it was due to the pelvic exam Tuesday and (ahem) sex. I made a mistake though and took another pregnancy test Friday morning. I had been hoping to see some line progression – darkening lines on the hCG indicator. I had tested Tuesday morning and had been a little dismayed to find that my lines hadn’t gotten any darker since my first test, four days prior. However, my retest on Friday in pursuit of reassurance brought me far from that. My test, though still technically positive, was drastically lighter than my first test a week prior. That, combined with the spotting, made me concerned I was going to experience a miscarriage. A worry which came to fruition this morning when I woke up to bright red spotting that quickly turned into a heavier flow.

The silver lining here though is that since this is basically a heavy period, we can start trying again right away (at least, according to my research – I intend to call my doctor tomorrow to make sure). And I have another couple of weeks to drink some wine, so there’s that.

And that’s all I really have. My inner superstitious self is side-eyeing my writing though. It can never really be that easy can it?

It returns

So. After all of this. And this. And this. This. Or how about this or this or this or this. Or this time or that time.

[TL;DR: The last period I had by myself, without relying on hormones or fertility treatments was in March 2015.]

AFTER ALL OF THAT… guess what came a knocking this week?

That’s right you guys, my period. It’s back. Hello bitches, did you miss me?

Even though breastfeeding supposedly suspends your period for a while. And giving birth totally messes everything up. And my history of anovulation. ALL of that. And my period’s back at just shy of seven months postpartum.

I know I’m coming off as snarky, but I’m actually really excited, for a couple of reasons. First off, it’s just another sign that my body’s getting back to “normal” after giving birth. Similar to the first time I went without breastpads at night. Or the first time I wore a normal bra again. Or when I was able to put on my real jeans again. I’ve celebrated all of these little milestones along the way to getting my body back. (And in this case, I mean “my body back” as in I’m regaining ownership of my body, if you will. I’m no longer pregnant or a newly minted mom or nursing every half hour or waking up with leaking boobs. It’s nice, to reclaim my body.)

Also, it feels really awesome to have my period back after so long without one. As I mentioned above, the last period that I got all on my own was more than two years ago. My body just didn’t want to ovulate in the meantime, so no period without fertility drugs and hormone treatments. So go ovaries! Knew you had it in you!

We don’t have plans to try for a second dumpling any time soon, but it’s nice to know that things may go a little more smoothly this time.

 

 

Your brain on infertility

I can’t quite wrap my head around it yet. I mean, it happened. The test was darker, “more” positive this morning (hey – I bought a pack of 50 from Amazon and I’m damn well testing every morning that I please). And, as my Mayo Clinic Guide to Pregnancy reminded me, any positive, no matter how faint, means that my body is producing HCG.

So yeah, I understand that this is happening, at least right now, at this moment.

But I still can’t quite bring myself to say the words aloud. Because I’m not sure about tomorrow or next week. Even my thoughts don’t quite go there. I added salmon to my salad at lunch for the omega-3’s for the — …. and that’s where my brain pauses like, not gonna go any further.

I suppose part of this could be a way to insulate myself, so to speak. As I mentioned yesterday, I tested positive very early and while, according to LMP math, I am precisely 4w1d along, there’s also the fact that I ovulated on the later side of things. Which means, technically speaking, I’m really not even four weeks along. I know this time is a very tenuous time for pregnancies and their little embryos. If something is going to happen (argh, let’s be blunt about this) I have a miscarriage, it’s like to happen in the first trimester. However, it’s even more likely to happen very early in the pregnancy….. like in the next couple of weeks. My mom had a history of miscarriages, something like five before she successfully conceived me. All of this stews around in my brain and makes me hesitant to acknowledge my status. At what point do you stop worrying about making it to the next milestone? When you make it past six weeks? Or hear the heartbeat? Or see your fetus for the first time? Or make it through the first trimester?

Another large part of this hesitation to label myself stems from infertility. As we navigated through drugs and doctor’s appointments and temperature tracking and never-ending cycles, I researched more and more and more. I’m intimately familiar with all of the statistics and the worst-case scenarios. Plus, it took us a year and a half to conceive, as opposed to the general wisdom of three months/cycles*. Because of that, I’m more used to things going wrong. It’s that status quo thing again, except this time it’s in the form of bad luck. Even though there’s no indication, right now, that I’ll have any issues – my infertility stemmed from plain-old unexplained anovulation as opposed to a recognizable issue or defect with my reproductive system – that doesn’t mean my body will be able to successfully carry/support a baby.

And what bums me out a little is that all of these thoughts are clouding together so that I’m not jumping for joy or singing from the rooftops like I thought I would be. In actuality, I don’t quite believe it’s real.

Anyway – thoughts for the day! As I try to wrap my brain around ……. er, my status. Still not ready to commit.

*It always annoyed me, the conventional wisdom of three months because what they actually meant was three cycles. Seriously, if I hunt through my archives, I’m sure I ranted about it at some point because it was a legit pet peeve of mine. Flash forward to now and I realized that, ironically, it actually did take us three cycles. Albeit, three really, really spaced out cycles with a lot of infertile time in between. Oh bodies, you’re so weird and yet so normal.

And suddenly there were two

GUYS – come over here. Shhh – gather round for I have a secret to tell you.

Yesterday morning there were two lines on my pregnancy test.

SHHHHHH – don’t get too excited yet. The test line was fairly faint (dark enough that I saw it right away but faint enough that Luffy needed explanation as to what he was looking at).

So there’s a distinct possibility that I am …. that we are …. that I could be ….

I can’t even bring myself to say it. Out loud. I haven’t yet, even to myself. I’ve ordered prenatal vitamins and the Mayo Clinic’s guide to pregnancy (Amazon Prime FTW!), but I don’t yet feel confident enough to say it out loud.

Yesterday morning, when I saw those two lines, my first thought was OMG, but I didn’t weep with joy or clap or dance or anything like that. I honestly pondered whether I should tell Luffy or not. I felt like I would just be getting his hopes up. And that’s how I phrased it too, when I told him (who am I kidding, like I could keep that kind of thing to myself for the next four or five days). I said “I don’t want you to get too excited because it’s still super early and the test line is very faint, but there’s two lines on my pregnancy test.” We hugged that grasping, strangle-hold hug that you give your truly favorite people and I showed him the test and then we sort of didn’t mention it the rest of the day – like it was the pink elephant in the room.

I suppose that’s what a year and a half of infertility does to you. I’m not overjoyed right now, I’m suspicious. I am waiting for Wednesday to arrive (the day my period is technically due) and pull the rug out from under me. HA HA. JK. AS IF*. I told Luffy this morning that I’m not ready to say it out loud because I feel like my tests are jerking me around, playing some cruel joke. I mean, it can’t be that simple, can it? It can’t happen just like that, right?

So that’s where I am right now. Suspicious and highly dubious, but oh so hopeful. Today is CD 29 but also only day 13 after ovulation. In other words, it’s still really early. Super early. Perhaps not even four-weeks-along early. Maybe if I don’t get my period this week and I get a more pronounced positive** result, I’ll finally relax and breathe and admit that I’m preg-

Eep! I almost said it!

* I watched part of Clueless this weekend and AS IF never fails to crack me up. I need to bring that back in 2016.

** For clarification purposes, the tests I have are doctor’s-office-quality, highly sensitive tests. The instructions actually warn users not to test too early because the tests are so sensitive that they can catch a chemical pregnancy. Combine that with the fact that I’m just too used to ovulation tests where the test lines need to be the same color for a positive result. Let’s just say I’d be a lot happier if my test line was the same color as the control line.