Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

Second Trimester

Wahoo!!!!!

As of Saturday, I am officially in the second trimester. I’ve been trying to put together a coherent post for awhile now, and it doesn’t seem to be happening, so I bring you bullet points:

  • I have not felt like puking since Tuesday. While I feel infinitely grateful that I did not get the horrible, constantly puking sickness that some of my friends had while pregnant, I am also glad to no longer be in the feeling-too-sick-to-do-anything-but-well-enough-to-feel-guilty-about-laying-on-the-couch-all-day stage.
  • Saturday was the last day for my progesterone pills, and I now can truly understand the fear that some of my fellow bloggers talked about when they stopped taking them. It just feels wrong to stop taking something that has helped keep my baby alive up to this point. I don’t even have a bunch leftover to take for peace of mind.
  • We are now out. We started telling people on Father’s Day (13wks) when hubby wore a “Never fear, Dad is here” t-shirt to the church picnic. It was scary to start openly telling everyone, but hubby had so much fun–I’m so glad that I didn’t let my fear rob him of that experience. The reactions were great–it usually started with a confused look, then a “Oh, you guys got placed with the adoption?,” then squealing and jumping up and down. The amount of love that we have received in the last week or so has been staggering.
  • We took announcement photos with a good friend of ours, and it was so much fun. I realized as we were playing around and trying different things that it was the first time we had done something fun that involved pregnancy. I’ve been pregnant six times, and no fun. Hubby put on his fancy fire uniform (which he looks sooooo good in), and we went to his volunteer department and took pictures in front of/inside the truck. We had a onesie with a fire truck on it and one of our ultrasound pictures that we used as props–as well as various pieces of hubby’s fire gear. The pictures turned out amazing, and I made a collage that said “Tiny (Our Last Name Here) On Duty Dec. 2014” that is hanging on our fridge and the fridges of our families.
  • Now that I am feeling better, I no longer have an excuse to avoid The Room. You should all know what I’m talking about. When we bought our house and the world was rainbows and butterflies and we were going to get pregnant immediately, we labeled one of the rooms the nursery. Then, for over two years we have avoided that room and treated it like an oversized junk closet. Whenever we clean, and there is something I don’t know what to do with or I don’t want to deal with something, I will literally open the door to that room, toss the item in, and quickly shut the door. You couldn’t even walk into it, but hubby and I finally buckled down and started working on it yesterday. Now, as the spouse who is staying home all summer with the intentions of reading for her M.A. exam and cleaning out the house, I must continue the work we started. Good vibes appreciated because I am a hopeless pack rat and I hate cleaning out stuff.

I guess that’s the biggest news for now. Bullet points seemed to help, I may lean more towards those in the coming weeks. I know I owe you a post about my midwife, and I promise I will post one. Eventually.

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Ultrasound Day

Well, I made it to ultrasound day. Honestly, I’m having a really hard time wrapping my head around that fact. Today I am 6wk6d pregnant, and I miscarried on 5w1d with my longest pregnancy so even making it to ultrasound day feels like a miracle.

I still have light, brown spotting, but there has been no cramping and I haven’t seen any red since that scary morning last week. I’m guessing that means either this pregnancy is perfectly normal, and I’m just one of those women who spot in first trimester, or this pregnancy has been doomed from the start and is only being sustained by my progesterone supplements. Either way, we’ll find out today.

I have been going back and forth between being so excited I can’t stand it and playing out worse-case-scenarios in my head. Yesterday the excitement was much stronger, but I would say that today is 50/50.

I’m spending my morning trying to stay busy and praying that we see a baby in the correct place, measuring on time, with a strong heartbeat. Some benign explanation for the spotting would be nice, too, but I’m not greedy.

I would appreciate extra prayers, good vibes, and thoughts around 3:45 EST. Four and a half more hours.

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The BFP Plan

Over the past four months, I have thought a lot about what our next steps would be. We came up with a plan to try one more time to get pregnant and stay pregnant without any major tests or treatments. I was really convinced from the beginning that my low progesterone was the problem, so we’re going to give it one more try with the supplements, and I’m as hopeful as I can be about it while still staying sane.

The biggest question I’ve been asking myself lately is, “What do I do when I get that BFP?” After getting pregnant three times, I’m fairly confident that I can get pregnant again if we try hard enough (but I also know not to take anything for granted when it comes to TTC and pregnancy). So I had to come up with a plan, a BFP plan, based off of my last three mc’s. Here’s the general idea:

  • I will not call to make an appointment until I hit six  weeks. I lost my first two pregnancies so early that I never even made it to my first appointment, and with my last pregnancy, I somehow had it in my mind that my baby would be fine if I could just make it to an appointment. Now that I have successfully made it to a first appointment and had two betas, I know the truth: going to see a midwife or OB earlier is not going to keep me from miscarrying. I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but calling to cancel three different appointments for three different pregnancies was humiliating, and I don’t want to do it for a fourth time. So to avoid making yet another first appointment to only cancel it, I’m not even going to make an appointment until I am far enough along to hopefully find a heartbeat. 
  • No Betas I thought these would be helpful and enlightening, but all they really did was upset me and stress me out, so I don’t see a reason why I need them. I’m not going to argue if my midwife really wants me to do them, but I’m definitely not asking for them.
  • I will not tell anyone IRL until I see a heartbeat. Whenever I say something like this, people always look shocked and say, “You aren’t going to tell your husband?” I guess I’m the only one who thinks it is implied that I will tell my husband. There is a woman I work with who has some weird sixth sense–she always comes into my office on the day I get a BFP and asks me if I’m pregnant with this knowing look on her face. With my first pregnancy, she asked me before I even knew. Still trying to figure out how I’m going to avoid that because I’m the worst liar ever.
  • Double my progesterone supplements. When I went for my follow-up appointment after my last mc, my midwife said she could increase my progesterone for my next pregnancy, at which point I asked her if it was necessary because my progesterone was within the normal range on during my last pregnancy. She told me it wasn’t necessary but it couldn’t hurt, so I’ve decided that I will increase it to twice a day as suggested once I get a BFP. Why not before? I am very susceptible to medications that make you tired. For example, I cannot take a Benadryl without taking a two hour nap. When I take those supplements at night, I sleep so well because they make me so tired, and the midwife said to take one in the morning and one at night if I choose to take two. I have a boring desk job, and it’s hard enough to stay awake without taking the pill in the mornings, so I’m not going to give up two weeks of productivity until I get a BFP and it’s totally worth it.
  • I will take it easy. Nothing strenuous at all. I’ll get a burly EMT the change to bottle at the water cooler at work instead of doing it myself. I’ll do a lot of sitting around the house. I’ll read a book on my lunch break instead of going for a walk. I’ll love on hubby in ways that don’t involve my pelvis. It’s not permanent–just until I go to the first appointment at get some confirmation that I have a baby that is actually growing and has a heart that’s beating.
  • I’m limiting myself to one HPT every other day.  I don’t want to ban myself from them entirely in case I need some reassurance, but I’m limiting myself so I won’t constantly agonize over the tests. Part of me wants to say that I have to get rid of them after I use them so I can’t obsessively compare them all the time, but I’m trying to be realistic here.

Some of these points are for practicality (Do I really need to pay the copay on another appointment if I’m going to lose it a few days later?); some are to boost baby’s chances (A little more progesterone can’t hurt); and some are to save my sanity (Multiple HPTs a day can’t be mentally healthy). We’ll see how it all plays out once I actually see that second line.

What do you all think? Anything I should add?

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Stuck

I’m feeling a little guilty about my lack of posts lately, but I promise that I’ve been here reading all of your posts and even doing quite a bit of commenting. I have a few different things to post about, but I think I’m going to divide them up into different posts so I don’t overwhelm you. I’ll probably write them all today and release them throughout the week so I can hold you captive with the suspense.

I briefly mentioned in my last post that I feel stuck right now. After my last mc, I went to see my midwife who suggested that we wait six months before TTC again, and she also offered to refer us to either a high risk OB or a RE. She also ran a bunch of blood tests which of course came back normal. It has now been three months, and I have not gone to see anyone else.

There are a lot of reasons for this. The biggest one is money.

I live in a state where all infertility testing and treatment is completely out of pocket, and hubby and I really don’t have that money to spend. We’re still paying off the bills from my first mc which cost us about $1,000 with insurance. I usually don’t tell people that we don’t have the money for a RE because inevitably, they always tell me that kids are expensive and if we are worried about money, maybe we shouldn’t be having kids anyway. Needless to say, this really upsets me. We are very careful with our money–we don’t have cable, we rarely eat out, and we go without some things that we would like to have so that we can work on paying off school loans and other debt. We have enough money for a kid. We won’t have enough money for a kid if we spend thousands of dollars on a RE. Part of me keeps saying that it could be something small, an easy fix, and then I could carry to term and we could finally have our beautiful rainbow baby. But I am quickly losing my faith in small, easy fixes. IF and loss treatments can accelerate so quickly, and I honestly don’t know how far we would be willing to go once we get caught up in the rush of tests and treatments–I don’t know if I am willing to open that can of worms. We already have student loans and a mortgage, and we really can’t afford to acquire any more debt right now. Especially when we have no idea if we will get a baby in the end.

So we’re stuck. We just can’t move in that direction right now. Maybe in a few years after we pay off a few things and get better paying jobs. You know, when I’m thirty and my chances of getting pregnant start rapidly decreasing. Which is so fucking unfair. I just want to scream and cuss and curl up in a ball and cry at the injustice of it.

So hubby and I have decided to try one more time with just the progesterone supplements. We have talked about it over and over again and we always end up in this same place: trying one more time without seeing a specialist. After that, we are moving to plan B. (Actually, I think it’s plan G. Plan A was getting pregnant immediately without any problems. Plan B was getting pregnant by charting. Plan C was having a healthy first pregnancy. Plan D was having a healthy second pregnancy. Plan E was having a healthy third pregnancy. This would be plan F, but that makes it sound too hopeless.) Also, that whole six month wait thing isn’t happening. We are waiting three cycles, then jumping back in the game. That sounds reasonable to me, and that means we’ll be trying again in a few weeks.

Are we crazy for attempting this again without seeing an RE? Please say no. Lie to me. Also, does anyone else have problems with people saying that you can’t afford children if you can’t afford testing and treatment? Does that piss you off beyond all reason?

Stay tuned: more on hubby, sexy time, and Plan G later this week.

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Test Results

I knew that I was being guarded and that I was afraid to get excited or get attached to this pregnancy, but I don’t think I realized the extent of it until yesterday. Yesterday I went in for my second blood draw so we could see if my hCG levels are doubling like they are supposed to, and after she was done, Susan (the lab tech) told me my results were in from my last blood draw and asked me if I wanted to hear them. Part of me didn’t want to know because part of me was sure that the test would say that I’ve made a  mistake and I’m not really pregnant or  that I’ve had another cp and that my third pregnancy was already over. But I braced myself and asked her for my numbers. I was 15 or 16 dpo on Monday and my progesterone was 20 and my hCG was 259. Those are really good numbers! I walked out of the center in a daze, and once I got to my car, I sat in there and sobbed for about 20 minutes. Seriously, I was all snotty and hysterical and laughing while I was crying. I just couldn’t believe that they actually had good news for me, and I was just so filled with joy at the thought that I am actually pregnant and we might actually have a baby! It wasn’t until I felt all of this joy and relief that I realized just how much I was holding back. I know we still have a long road ahead of us and stuff can still go wrong, but I have already made it further in this pregnancy than I did in my first two and I can’t help being very excited about that!

On a side note, do not call your husband when you are joyfully sobbing in your car in the parking lot of the birth center because you will not be able to convey to him that you are crying because you are happy and healthy and you will cause him to panic. Speaking from experience here.

Now I’m just waiting for the results from my test yesterday, and I am hoping that I get them today because the center is closed on Fridays and they will be closed Monday too because it is a holiday. So if I don’t get my results today, I have to wait until Tuesday, which will be really hard–especially since I am going to the beach this weekend. I just don’t want that hanging over me while I’m on vacation… I’ll let you all know whenever I know!

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Not our month? Also, progesterone side effects

I don’t think this is our cycle. I don’t know why, but I just know that I’m not pregnant. I’m not trying to be all doom and gloom, and I haven’t given up hope that we will have a child–I just don’t think it will happen this month. And I’m ok with that. For now. We weren’t originally planning on trying this cycle anyway, so it’s like a bonus cycle. Maybe its a defense mechanism: if I go ahead and convince myself that I’m not pregnant, I won’t be as upset when I’m not. Then again, no matter how much calm and acceptance I feel right now, I’ll probably be a mess in a week or so when AF arrives–I reserve the right to change my mind or mood at any time.

Speaking of moods, let me give you an update on my progesterone supplement.

I had a hard time finding real life stories about progesterone and its side effects when I got my prescription, so I told myself I would write about it in this blog. My midwife told me to take 200mg at day at bedtime, and it is best to take the pill with food because it can cause nausea. No kidding. We’ve been eating dinner fairly late the past few weeks, so I’ve had food in my stomach when I went to bed, and I would just take my pill without thinking twice about eating something. It’s been working just fine, but we ate an early dinner on Sunday. I took my pill as usual, without thinking about needing to eat, and I honestly thought I was going to puke. It was horrible. I am absolutely certain that the only thing that kept it down was sheer willpower and mental determination. So if you ever have to take progesterone and they tell you that you should take it with food, make sure you have food in your stomach when you take it. Trust me.

Also, hubby informed me last night that I’ve had some considerable moodswings lately. We were talking, and after I said something to him, he responded with, “Ok little wifey moodswings.” I asked him if I had honestly had a lot of moodswings lately, and he said that, yes, the past week has been very up and down.  I have noticed that I’ve been very irritable lately, and it doesn’t take much to upset me or cause me to make a snappy, hateful comment. I have had to apologize to hubby quite a few times in the last week or so for saying something that wasn’t so nice or for accusing him of something that wasn’t his fault. Despite noticing all of this myself, I didn’t think it was that noticeable to others, and I’m glad hubby let me know (during a neutral conversation when I wasn’t mad at him). I reminded him that I am on a hormone supplement that is affecting my moods, and thanked him for putting up with me :o)

The only other thing I’ve noticed is dehydration. I had a hard time believing this was caused by my progesterone, but when I looked online, it looked like it is actually a fairly common side effect. I usually drink 2-3 liters of water a day, plus a glass of juice and a cup of tea. Despite this, I am constantly parched. Seriously. My skin/lips/throat are always dry, my urine is a dark yellow (sorry if that was TMI), and I keep trying to fight off dehydration headaches. We have some Pedialyte freeze pops in our freezer that hubby bought for me when I had a stomach bug, and I think I’m just going to have to start eating a few of those a day to help me stay hydrated.

Have you had those months where you just know you aren’t pregnant? Also, if you have ever taken a progesterone supplement, what side effects did you notice?

****Added on August 22:

One very positive side effect of my supplements is I’m sleeping so well. Seriously, I have slept better in the past week or so than I have in a long time. I wake up easily in the morning feeling refreshed, and I don’t get sleepy during work anymore (I have a desk job that can get a little boring, so sometimes I’m really fighting off sleep while I’m at work). I didn’t put this in my original post because I guess I didn’t attribute my sleeping well and feeling so great throughout the day to the progesterone, but now that I think about it, I am sure it is the progesterone. The only problem is that I feel great and refreshed every day, but I’m still a grouchypants. Thanks for helping me realize this positive side effect, Steph.

*****Added on August 28:

Two days after writing this post, I found out I was pregnant. I was looking at all of my symptoms as side-effects of the prometrium, but now I know that they could have been pregnancy symptoms. I intended this post to be helpful to others when they start taking progesterone, so they can be aware of some of the side effects, but now I have no guarantee that any of these symptoms were caused by my supplement. So, basically, this post is not probably not helpful at all to someone who is researching progesterone. Sorry.

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A Confession (and a little math)

Remember how I said hubby and I weren’t going to TTC this month? And I was at peace with that?

Well, on Friday I noticed some EWCM, and that evening I got a positive OPK. Why is this significant? First, any woman who has dealt with fertility issues knows how hard it is to know that you are ovulating and not do anything about it–especially when you are going to try a new drug once you get back on the TTC wagon. So that little smiley face on my OPK was awfully tempting, but it wasn’t just tempting, it was also a little disconcerting. Why? Before my first mc, my cycles were 32 days long with ovulation on day 21, so they were already a little longer than the average cycle. Longer cycles=longer to wait and less opportunities per year to get pregnant. Four days doesn’t seem like a long time, but in a year’s time, a 32 day cycle means that I will have almost two full cycles fewer a year than a woman with the average 28 day cycles. And my cycles seem to be getting longer after my mc’s. My first cycle after my mc’s was 38 days long. When I ovulated this weekend, I was on day 25. This means  instead of being a few days away from my next cycle like a “normal” woman, I was two weeks from my next cycle. So at the rate I’m going, I still have five or six weeks that I have to wait before I ovulate again. Once I realized this, all of that calm and zen just went out the window. Seriously.

We were planning on waiting two cycles to TTC again, but when you do the math, two average cycles would be 56 days. With my crazy long cycles, it has already been 61 days. So even if we haven’t waited two cycles, we have waited the average length of two cycles. The main reasons we were waiting (allowing my iron counts to go back up to normal, giving us some time to emotionally deal with our loss, etc.) depend on time not cycles, so I feel satisfied that this was a long enough wait. So here is my confession: we have officially tried this cycle. We had a fun weekend trying to make a little baby, and I started my progesterone supplements last night. Now I’m crossing my fingers and hoping, hoping, hoping that this is our month, but I’m also trying to stay realistic. Statistically, we have a 25% chance of conceiving when we are doing everything right. So now that I’m trying the progesterone, we have a 1 in 4 chance of conceiving, assuming that there is nothing else wrong. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: how the heck do women get pregnant by accident?!?!?!

So there you have it. We are officially in our TWW (what? more waiting?). Everyone keep your fingers crossed and say a little prayer for hubby and me.

-Danielle

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