Thursday, June 30, 2011

Goodbye, June

I don’t mind admitting I’m thrilled to see the back of this month.  Mainly because every time I click over to my WTE app the first thing that comes up is my month in fertility, with green days for fertile days and red days for period days, with June 1st, the day of my successful IUI, being labeled as “most likely to ovulate”, with the due date in the notes.  Also I had been in the habit of taking today’s date and subtracting 1 from it to see how many dpo I was; can’t wait for that to reset.  So, goodbye June, hello July!

What a whirlwind of a month it was.  Unexpected IUI on June 1st, followed by BFP, followed by miscarriage.  All in just 22 days!  I’m still recovering from the drama of all this.

In the meantime I have a wild hair up my ass.  This is all just a fantasy, but I’ll tell you because I know you won’t judge me.  So as much as I know I really need to wait until my next period shows up, take the Femara, and be responsible…there’s a big part of me that wants to run a little experiment this month.  Right now I am already starting to get early signs of ovulation.  If I get the CM, I’m going to start temping and see if I have a day of cramping like I did last time.  If I do, I’m going to see if the clinic will humor me and run an ultrasound for me.  I don’t see why not, since I pay out of pocket for it.  Is it worth $200 just to be told “no, you’re not ovulating” or “you’re ovulating but the lining isn’t good yet”?  Honestly – it kind of is!  I want to know if as is the old wives’ tale I am actually more fertile after a m/c; if my body has learned to ovulate on its own and I don’t need Femara anymore.  Nothing would make me happier than to move on from this whole experience and have something new to look forward to.  So I will monitor myself the next week or so, and if no cramping, then I won’t bother.  But if I do get cramping then I might just see if they can squeeze me in – I’m just curious.  If nothing then I can wait another month and try with the Femara + hcg shot again in August.

It did occur to me, too, that I can up my chances of success the next time by adding in some injectibles.  If this is potentially my last IUI then it might be worthwhile to bring out the big guns and produce more eggs, rather than assume the one egg I produce will be viable, which at my age it may not.  That’s worth considering.

Again, thanks everyone for the lovely comments on my last two posts.  I sure hope I end up being one of those success stories that inspire people, as so many of your blogs have become for me.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Oh, the indignities

In my last post I wrote a bit about all of the undoing I had to do last week – the telling everyone “it’s over”, the throwing away of paperwork, etc.  But there was more…before I left for my trip I emptied all my garbage, because I didn’t want to come home and see evidence of my miscarriage (you know what I’m talking about) in my bathroom garbage, nor did I want to stumble upon any of the positive pregnancy tests I’d kept kicking around for posterity.  I also turned my prenatal vitamins around so I wouldn’t have to see the big belly and the stork on the front of the bottles – and gave myself a pass to not take them for a few days until I can deal with it again.  I went through the house and threw away everything, and I mean everything, that reminded me of that few days I was pregnant.  I turned all my Choice Mom books around so I can’t see their titles.  Can you say I’m traumatized?  Yes, I think that’s a fair assessment. 

But I’m afraid the indignities continue.  Kaiser just wouldn’t accept an online cancelation of my first prenatal appointment, and called yesterday and left a message on my cell phone confirming the appointment and reminding me to arrive early – this message popped up after I got off the airplane, along with one from a friend who obviously hasn’t been reading my blog calling to check in and see how I’m doing with the pregnancy.  Welcome back to LA, motherfucker.

So today I tried to cancel my Kaiser appointment over the phone with the automated system – they wouldn’t accept that, either, so I talked to a human being, who said she’d put me on hold to talk to the nurse to “re-schedule”.  So I finally had to blurt out no, it’s not about re scheduling – I need to CANCEL, I miscarried.  She was appropriately taken aback and put me on hold while she left the facility a detailed message.  I can only imagine they’ll want to call me to talk about it some more and try to get me to come in for more tests that I can pay hundreds of dollars for, which I absolutely won’t do.  It’s over, and you probably won’t hear from me again for a long time – can you just cancel the damned appointment and leave me alone in my grief, please?

I tried to make myself feel better by RSVPing for a free IVF seminar at the clinic in Irvine I’m interested in pursuing mini IVF at, if it comes to that.  I figure I can at least get answers to some basic questions and get a sense of the place, AND I’ll be entered into a pool to possibly win a free cycle.  Hey, I ain’t got shit else to do.  But then the person at the clinic e-mailed me back saying isn’t my spouse attending, because if he is they need his name, too.  I felt like writing back saying, “If I had a partner attending I would have sent his name – obviously I don’t, so how about rubbing it in, huh?”  But of course I didn’t.  As is the answer to most questions I’m asked these days, I replied, “No, it’s just me.”

THEN I had to pay my credit card today, and as I’m wont to do I looked at all the charges for the month.  Yep, there’s that ultrasound that showed I had a good follicle for the first time ever.  There’s the purchase of the sperm vial in advance before all the prices went up.  And there’s the IUI that resulted in a pregnancy.  Here’s my money, my hopes, and my soul.  Take it all.

To comfort myself I read back into some fellow bloggers’ archives about their miscarriages/fertility issues that eventually resolved into healthy babies.  It’s enormously comforting to know that I am not alone in all this – my feelings are frighteningly normal.  The worry about age, the worry that all of this will be a big failure and I’ll be left with nothing, the jealousy of married/pregnant friends, the married/pregnant friends who can’t possibly understand what I’m going through despite their efforts.  The uncertainty, the fear.  I was always afraid of achieving a pregnancy and losing it, and yet here I am.  I have had that experience now.  I can tell you one thing – I am SO glad it happened so early.  I don’t think I can compare what happened to me to an actual miscarriage – after you’ve heard a heartbeat, after you’ve bonded with the baby, after you’ve gotten used to the idea.  I think that would just about send me into a mental hospital.  For me, I was still in shock and denial by the time I started losing it – I never *felt* pregnant despite the physical ickiness; it hadn’t sunk in, at all.  There’s a big part of me that can’t believe any of that ever happened – the fact that I can use the words “my pregnancy” or “my miscarriage” still feels weird on my tongue, like saying “my yacht” or “my penis”.  It all sounds so darned adult.  I guess it gets back to what I talked about a couple of months ago – I just can’t picture any of this.  I can’t picture myself pregnant, or with a baby, or with a child.  The concept is still completely alien to me.  I never really accepted that I was pregnant, at all.  But I know that was just because I never had the chance to.  Another week or so and I think it would have really become real to me.  So, I am very, very grateful that it didn’t get to that point.  The physical part was a walk in the park, too.  So far for me all of this physically has been as we’d say in Massachusetts, “no big whoop.”  Emotionally is another story. 

But I did try to have some perspective today.  I mean, as of now, I’ve only been actively TTCSW for FOUR MONTHS.  That’s it!  That’s not long at all, although it feels like a frickin’ eternity.  Two IUIs, two canceled cycles, one pregnancy, one chemical.  That’s it.  I’m barely at the starting line compared to what a lot of women go through.  And there’s so much still out there for me – I know I can get pregnant, I know what works to get me pregnant, and I know what doesn’t work.  I know that the tools I have to use are relatively cheap and have zero negative effects on me.  That’s pretty amazing.  And there is this thing out there called mini IVF which just might be the thing that saves me – or at least lets me see firsthand what my eggs are up to so there will be no more guessing about egg quality.

There are a couple of things I will do differently if the next IUI works.  I will ask the clinic, rather than Kaiser, to do some early monitoring for me.  I’ll see if they’ll be willing to run some hcg tests for a few days so I can see if the pregnancy is progressing properly in those early days, so I can be emotionally prepared for another loss.  Maybe if it makes it to six weeks I can even get an ultrasound from them.  Then, and only then, will I get myself into the Kaiser system.  All of that was a total waste of time and money last time.  So, lesson learned there.  I will also be very aggressive about pursuing good remedies for nausea since that knocked me on my ass last time.  Oh, and I won’t be using the “rapid result” tests ever again.  That cost me a week of wondering and worrying. 

So for now I’m going to let myself grieve and experience all the yuckiness an early pregnancy loss entails.  It’s part of the process, and it’s a life experience, for sure. Am I sorry I opened this Pandora’s box and made myself vulnerable to these kinds of experiences?  No.  Wasn’t it Mao who said “Everyone should taste some bitterness in his life”?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Trying to Conceive as a Single Woman.  I think this is a new term we should use, because doing what we’re doing as single women is TOTALLY DIFFERENT than trying to conceive with a husband or partner.  For example, I just lost my baby.  Was there anyone there to share equally in the grief?  No.  Do I get to just have free, abundant sex with my husband or boyfriend in order to “try again”?  No.  Can I just keep on trying (and potentially miscarrying) for free until finally the chromosomally healthy egg meets with the chromosomally healthy sperm?  No.  So as a single, *almost* 39 year-old woman, Trying to Conceive is not a sprint, nor is it a marathon.  It’s more like a triathlon.  Or maybe a very complex, very expensive obstacle course that expires when you reach a certain age, whether you’ve made it to the finish line or not.

So here is what the last few days have been like.  Started to miscarry (or have a chemical pregnancy, or blighted ovum, or whatever you want to call it) on Wednesday.  After sitting around wondering what to do, decided to go to the emergency room because it seemed like the responsible thing to do, although if I could I would take that back now, because the tests they ran only gave me false hope (they said they didn’t see an active miscarriage going on…but they didn’t see any evidence of pregnancy, either) and will probably cost me about $500.  Within about two hours I started to bleed in earnest so there was no question as to what was going on.  Could have saved that trip and that money, for sure.  Since I was about to leave on a five day tour of the east coast I thought it was time to fess up to my co-bandleader and his wife.  So I went over to their house and told them all – that, basically, I’m pregnant, and might be having a miscarriage as we speak, so I don’t know what kind of condition I’m going to be in during our trip.  They were shocked to say the least (they had no idea I was doing any of this) but super supportive and helpful; when I texted him the next day that I had miscarried they immediately drove over and took me to dinner.  It was really lovely and something I so needed at the moment – both a woman, and a man, having sympathy for me, and saying they’ll always support me no matter what.  Not that I expected anything different, know.  You know how it is.

So the next day we left on our trip.  The gigs were good – and I appreciated the distraction.  But the sadness seeped through anyway; I cried a lot, and desperately wanted to be home in bed with the puppy where I could wail like an animal with nobody judging me.  All I could think of was “every time I see pictures of myself on this gig I’ll remember I was in the middle of a miscarriage right at that moment.”  And this is true.  Also being on the east coast reminded me of my aunt, and the last time I saw her alive last summer, and how all of this came from that, and here I am experiencing even more loss.  All of it really made me start wondering – is anything good EVER going to happen to me?  Or is it just going to be one horrible depressing thing after another, for the rest of my life?

Of course this is the self pity talking.  I believe I’m entitled to a certain amount of that.  But I don’t intend to stay in it for long.  Had you asked me last week, “so…are you planning on trying again?”  I would have said “Hell no, I can’t take any more of this; I’m DONE.”  But then a funny thing started happening.  I found myself clicking over to my WTE app, checking for when my next cycle might start.  I started googling things like hope after a miscarriage, pregnancy rates after chemical pregnancy, success after chemical pregnancy, etc.  I spent a lot of time on the “Grief & Loss” board of the WTE app, reading with special interest the “Share your success stories after loss” thread, which had months and months of women sharing their birth stories after miscarriage.  A friend who had several late-term miscarriages assured me I would forget all the pain and want like nothing else to try again.  At the time I thought, “no way, not me.”  But you know what?  She was right.

I called the clinic from NY yesterday and miraculously got someone on the phone.  They were of course sorry for my loss.  They told me pretty much what I already knew – that this pregnancy just wasn’t viable (they used the term blighted ovum based on the fact that no egg sac was seen on the ultrasound…but I prefer the term chemical pregnancy), that we can of course proceed with the system that worked for me last time (Femara + careful monitoring) and I should wait for one more period so I know when CD1 is (I’m assuming this will be in about a month or so); they also mentioned if my donor has not succeeded in getting anyone over 35 pregnant that I may want to consider switching donors, which I am open to.  They said they’d run some reports for me.  They also said if I have another chemical pregnancy that they don’t recommend proceeding – that it’s time to get aggressive.  Which scared me, but I don’t know why, because I had already decided the same thing – one more chemical pregnancy and it’s time to move on to mini-IVF.  At least then I get an idea of how viable my eggs are.  I suppose I could move on now, but I guess I want to see if this loss was just a fluke or an indication of my overall egg quality – I could succeed next time and only spend another $1500; I think that’s smarter than plunking down $9000 right off the bat.  Again, if money were no issue…but it is.  So, the plan is to try again in August.  If no pregnancy I may move on at that point; if  another loss then I will definitely move on.  If it sticks, well, then…hooray!

I’d like to talk about the horrible feeling of loss, the crushing disappointment, the sadness that comes from some deep primordial place inside of me that I can’t even explain.  I’d like to talk about the misery of deleting the pregnancy apps with my old due date (Feb 22) off of my phone, of throwing out all my Kaiser paperwork, of canceling my pre-natal appointment that was supposed to be this Friday (and they won’t take a cancellation over the computer, so now I have to call them and tell yet another person that my baby died), of back-pedaling with nearly everyone I (stupidly) told already (won’t do that again – another lesson learned; keep your frigging mouth shut until the 2nd trimester!!!), of realizing with horror that I did NOT get off the hook, that this is now going to get very expensive and complicated and stretch into my 40th year, and I may NEVER achieve a pregnancy again, and even if I do, I may NEVER be able to carry a baby to term, ever.  Even more fun is that fact that I’m having some kind of phantom limb thing going on where I still get this faint tugging sensation in my right abdomen that for six days I thought was my baby implanting and growing.  I may in a year have to throw my hands up and say I failed.  But in a year I may have a healthy baby.  It’s like some kind of sadistic roulette wheel.  I had a friend once say she didn’t believe in God, but said if there is a God, he is a sadist.  Tonight I’m believing that.

But there is also this.  I’m not going to say I wasn’t thrilled I was pregnant, because I absolutely was.  But I was also terrified, and by Wednesday so sick I could barely function.  The first thing I thought after the initial high of the positive test was, “oh shit, I have to leave on tour in a few days and I have my event next month…how the hell am I going to do all this…?”  And as the nausea grew day by day I found myself in a near panic.  It was getting to the point where I pictured myself bedridden, totally unable to think or focus or do anything, and this with the four days I make my entire living for the year looming just a month away…it was horrifying.  I was happy to be pregnant, but I often found myself thinking “this is the worst possible timing!  What the hell am I going to do…?”  Of course I had no idea I’d be that sick or feel that terrible – but I know now!  So am I happy I miscarried?  Of course not, I’d give anything to be pregnant again.  But am I relieved I feel well and don’t have to be super careful with everything I do between now and my event in three weeks, which is a non-stop marathon of intense, crushing stress, heavy lifting, no food, and no sleep?  Absolutely.  I still look at food and can’t believe it looks appealing to me, and can’t believe I get so much pleasure from it.  It was a joy to be able to travel all weekend, perform, be up late, get no sleep, eat crappy food (or not), be able to fulfill my obligations, and work at my full physical capacity.  Everything between last week and end of July is going to be insanely stressful, demanding, and require every ounce of my physical and mental strength just to survive.  Is this a good time to be at a delicate point of a pregnancy?  No.  Am I relieved I get to try again when it’s all over and I can frickin’ relax and focus on just TTCSW for a while?  Yes!

If only I had a crystal ball and I knew there was a healthy baby at the end of this path…but don’t we all wish that, all of the time?  I could look back on this horrible incident and say, “see, that first one wasn’t right because the timing was wrong, but then the next month I got pregnant again and that one stuck…”  I so hope this is my story, but who knows.  My story may be I Went Through All This Only to Discover None of My Eggs Were Viable, or It Turns Out I Can’t Ever Carry a Baby to Term and Nobody Knows Why, or I Spent $9000 on Mini-IVF and All I Got Was This Lousy T Shirt. 

Only time will tell.

PS - thank you, THANK YOU all for your kind condolences.  They meant more to me than you'll ever know!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

...and just like that

It’s over.  Started bleeding yesterday about mid-day; went to the emergency room.  They did an ultrasound but couldn’t really see anything; said my cervix was closed which would not indicate an active miscarriage, but they couldn’t see evidence of a pregnancy, either (they said that’s not uncommon this early).  They did an hcg blood test – results just e-mailed to me – 11.8. 

But when I got home I started bleeding in earnest; have been ever since.  So, I was pregnant for a whopping six days.  Not sure where to go from here.  Not really convinced at the moment that I want to keep doing this.  Have a lot of thinking to do.