Friday, May 10, 2013

Things Don't Always Work Out


I know I've been a little absent from blogging lately. And well, I was pregnant.

I guess I should just start at the beginning.

But first, I know some people might disagree with my choice to write about this, and I respect that. However, both of us have chosen to share our infertility experience and to be open in an effort to bring more awareness to infertility, and we don't feel that this is something we should have to censor. There's no reason why we should hide it or act like it didn't happen. Its not something to be ashamed of. Yes, its personal, but we share what we are comfortable with, and there are still things we keep between ourselves because they are special and sacred. Further, I've learned that writing about things is how I cope with them. And Joey is aware of this and is a part of every decision made about the content of this blog. Blogging about this experience is part of what I need to grieve. Neither of us are looking for attention. We are just trying to understand and get through what happened.

Our instructions were to take a pregnancy test on April 25th to see if the round of medications and injections worked. As the day got closer, my fears grew and my thoughts always eventually turned to how I was going to face the results. I was flying to Ohio the next day, and was so scared I was going to have to spend the weekend hiding a heavy heart. Wednesday night and into Thursday morning I couldn't sleep, so at 1am I finally sat up, quietly snuck out of bed as to not wake Joey, and took the test. My hands shook, I was so nervous for the results.

I put the stick on the bathroom counter, set a timer, and waited on the edge of the bathtub. I think part of me just assumed that this test would be negative like all the others, so when I got up to check it two minutes later I was beyond shocked to see two little blue lines. I kept looking away and then back at it, wondering if my eyes were playing tricks on me. Deciding to trust the results, I went back in to the bedroom to wake Joey and show him. 

You know, when friends call to tell us they're pregnant, I always wonder what that moment is like for them. Did they cry? Were they happy? Were they scared? Could they believe it? We were stunned. And really, there was not one part of it that felt real. I was so nervous that it was a false positive, that it in fact wasn't real, and I had a hard time being happy or telling myself that yes, I was pregnant, until I could confirm it with my doctor.

We tried to fall back asleep for a couple more hours before the alarm would go off. I think Joey was a lot more successful than I was. I pretty much waited for morning to come so I could call my doctor and schedule a blood test. I eventually went in for the test and later that evening as we sat down to dinner, my nurse called me to give me the good news. I was in fact pregnant and my hcg was looking great at 70.9. Shock and amazement consumed us again and we tried to stop crying just long enough to finish our dinner of homemade burgers (I had been craving red meat morning, noon, and night) and potato wedges.

We had talked about it a little in the weeks prior, but that night we discussed what our plan would be as far as telling people. Obviously since I've documented everything here, people would begin asking questions, so hiding it for three months like the average couple wasn't an option. We decided to wait a week or two to see how my follow up blood tests went before telling family and friends.

By the following Wednesday (May 1st) I had returned from Ohio and was going in for another blood test to monitor my hcg. I suppose for a brief moment I assumed I was going to have a regular, run of the mill pregnancy like anyone else, because I was not prepared when my nurse called that afternoon with less than hopeful news. After six days my hcg had only risen to 170. It should have doubled every two days. We scheduled appointments for Friday and the next monday to see if it would improve, but she said we were most likely going to be dealing with a miscarriage and that I needed to pay attention to my body and any sudden changes. 

I don't remember much about the next two days, except a lot of crying, cuddling on the couch, and praying. Every time I went to the bathroom I held my breath, hoping their wouldn't be any bleeding. Any little twinge or cramp sent me into a mental frenzy of worry. It felt like it was going to take forever for Friday to come.

When the day finally did come, we rushed to the clinic, hoping to get everything taken care of and still make it on time to Joey's graduation that morning. They drew my blood and sent me on my way. Though it was cold and cloudy, graduation went well, and as we were driving home from the event my nurse called with the results. There was more hope in her voice as she told me that my hcg was now at 281. She was looking for a level of at least 267. The fact that it was at least rising and not plateauing or decreasing meant that we could be "cautiously optimistic", as they like to call it, and we'd go ahead with an ultrasound on Monday. Our worries were temporarily relieved and we spent the weekend doing service projects, taking a trip to see Iron Man 3, and day dreaming about the little appleseed that was growing inside of me. 

Though we were nervous for the ultrasound on Monday (May 6th), I don't think we really thought anything would be wrong. My hcg levels were rising, and perhaps the baby was just getting a slower start, taking his time. Perhaps he was dramatic and loved the attention all of this concern was getting him. I think we just assumed we would see our little pea, safe and growing. My doctor began the ultrasound, but it didn't take long for him to explain that unfortunately he couldn't see a gestational sac or a heartbeat, which should've been visible by six weeks. There was no baby anymore. 

Joey squeezed my hand and tears filled my eyes while we waited for him to finish the ultrasound. It was impossible to not cry, but I tried to hold it together as best I could until we could get home. Before we left we met with my nurse and she explained what I need to look out for, to call her if I have any bleeding or other symptoms, and that I'd have to come back in a week to see if my hcg is going back down and if my body has miscarried on its own, if I'll need a d&c, or if its an ectopic pregnancy. As of today I still haven't had any bleeding, severe pain, nothing. And its scary not knowing when its going to happen.

That Monday the sun was shining for the first time in a week. Fresh air and warm sunlight replaced the clouds and rain that had overstayed their welcome. Everything was vibrant and green and new. But the world couldn't seem more dark and grey for us. We came home and didn't know what to do with ourselves. We felt lost, confused, broken. It would come in waves---we'd cry and cry and eventually our hearts would calm for a couple hours, and then we'd remember that what felt like a bad dream was our reality, and the crying would return. I have never seen Joey more upset or devastated. It broke my heart to see how much it hurt him. I've wondered what people do when something like this happens-- how do they get through each day, how do they cope. We tried to distract ourselves with episodes of Downton Abbey or 30 Rock, or making a batch of cookies. We thought about running away for a night or two. But then we realized, there is nothing we can do and nowhere we can go to escape the pain. It is with us. It is literally inside of me. We can't forget about it. 

I keep thinking about the ultrasound appointment. I think about my doctor asking me questions before we began. I never had a fever, no severe pain, not even the slightest spot of bleeding. I had all the normal symptoms--nausea, tiredness, bloating. I gave my replies with such confidence, as if I had met certain criteria to have a healthy pregnancy---if I have A, then I will get B. As if there were rules that my body was required to follow. But I suppose if I've learned anything through this whole experience, its that there are no rules. No rhyme or reason. If that were the case, then I would still be pregnant---or would have been a while ago---because I followed the rules. 

I feel foolish sometimes, thinking that we would have a successful pregnancy after only one treatment. What makes me so special that we would get pregnant on the first treatment, while so many others spend years and thousands of dollars on dozens of treatments that never work? And I feel like I can't find much comfort in the "at least you know you can get pregnant, you'll have another chance" kind of encouragement. Because it took 11 months and very expensive medications and getting poked and prodded every week for months for this time to even work out. Even this treatment only increased our chances to half that of the average couple. So I can't just get pregnant, now can I? 

I know that there are people out there that would wonder what we're so upset about. How could we be so sad about something the size of a pea that looks nothing like a human baby. My body hasn't even changed that much, so how could I even know something was in there. And I'm not sure how I could even explain it to them. But that was our baby. However small and incomplete, that was our baby. We're not going to meet him in January anymore. We miss him. And we're heartbroken.

[And I'm sorry but I just have to say it---going through a miscarriage the week of Mother's Day is just a cruel joke. A woman said "happy mother's day!" to me at the commissary and I nearly burst into tears] 

Now that we are going to New England in June, we don't have time to try another medicated cycle. So basically everything is getting put on hold until we return and, depending on what my body does, we might not be able to try another cycle until September. I suppose it will be good for us to get away for a couple months. But I can't even begin to figure out how to mentally put everything on hold and just forget about our dream for almost three months. 

Our hearts are heavy and I don't know when things are going to feel like they're ok again, but we're trying to get through it. Despite all of this, the one thing we always return to is that we have each other. All of this has shown us just how strong we are together. I think some people worry about our marriage and if it'll make it through this infertility stuff. Perhaps they don't want us to focus on having children because they fear it'll strain what we already have. But I can say confidently that though this is difficult to get through right now, we've never been happier with each other and we love each other more than ever. Joey has gone above and beyond to take care of me, especially while my body goes through hell with shots and medications and all of the ultrasounds and exams, the surgery, and now the physical pain of waiting to miscarry. He's absolutely incredible. And when he's having a hard time, I take care of him. We balance each other. we talk with each other. Our marriage is the one thing in life that we feel is undeniably successful, despite the storms that come our way. Joey keeps me going, and I know I'd be so lost without him. 

We are facing this together, and that means the world to us.


  1. My heart breaks for you. I'm so so sorry youve joined the miscarriage club :(. Not going to lie, lately ive had moments, on and off, of being mad at God. But I tell myself over and over "I can do hard things" and thst makes it easier. I hope you can find some semblance of peace soon.

  2. The first thing I have to say is that if anyone IS out there wondering why you would be upset about miscarrying so early, then they have never had or lost a child. The next thing I have to say is that you are an amazing, brave, beautiful (body and spirit) woman. Our baby died before she was born and I can't even tell you how hard it is that she is not recognized on the records of the church or even birth records. She has no birth certificate or death certificate to verify that she in fact was a human being, she is just a stillbirth. There is nothing so horrible as to look forward to holding your baby in your arms and then when the time comes to have nothing but emptiness. I have some advice that you are welcome to dismiss (I believe that when it comes to most things people have way to much advice to give) but I am going to tell you anyways. Allow yourself to grieve for as long as it takes and do it in your own way. Do not allow others to tell you that you should "move on" or "get over it" or anything else.


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