(DPTS stands for Days Past Trigger Shot)
The two week wait is what the TTC (Trying To Conceive) community uses to refer to the time between ovulation and the time when it’s okay to test to see if you have a BFP (Big Fat Positive) or a BFN (Big F***ing Negative). It’s the longest two weeks of life.
For us, it starts with a trip to a doctor so I can get probed (ultrasound to see if the fertility drugs they have me on are indeed causing my body to develop follicles for any baby to attach to properly) and a big OK from my RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) to, as she so awkwardly puts it, “bring the love” for the next three days. That is, after I inject myself with a hormone that will ensure that I ovulate, and ovulate immediately.
The two week wait is a horrible, awful mind game.
After the “love” has been brought, I have to take an additional hormone medication to ensure that if I am pregnant I stay that way. Those two medications cause pregnancy symptoms all by themselves, mainly because if I had a “normal” body and/or pregnancy, these hormones would be created in the correct amount all on their own. I know what it feels like to be pregnant, I’ve been pregnant before THREE times. Those three times were without any medical help though, so I try to convince myself as my breasts swell, my moods bounce around, I get that uneasy feeling that makes me almost feel like I could yack, amongst other things… I try to convince myself that it’s all because this round worked. This round we got pregnant, I’m so sure.
I trick myself into thinking I’m pregnant. I realize I’m using the restroom more, but I do not take into account that I really have been drinking a lot more water than usual. Or I’ll find myself craving pickles and giggling as I eat one after the other, but really, I’ve always loved pickles. I’ll think “Wow! I really am so tired so early these days!” not thinking about how I’ve actually been staying up way later at night just to get through chapter after chapter in whatever book I’m reading. I trick myself into thinking I’m pregnant.
The day before test day I am a wreck. I get really emotional, and I try to think that it’s pregnancy hormones doing their dance… When deep down, I know that it’s just the good ol’ lady time trying to fight it’s way through. I know what it feels like to be pregnant, and again, this cycle just was not quite right. I get depressed, I get angry, I’m not pregnant, I know it, but I will test the next day just to be sure.
Then test day is finally here. I have to test on a particular time frame for two reasons. I cannot test before the two week mark because I could get a false positive (remember that injection I mentioned? Well, that causes an influx of HCG, the pregnancy hormone, to be in my system – and cause a false positive up to ten days after the injection). I have to test then to ensure that if I’m not pregnant, I stop taking the additional hormone medication they have me on because otherwise, said medication will prevent me from starting my next “lady time”. (SIDE NOTE: THIS cycle I tested throughout, trying to track when the shot was actually out of my system. AND boy, if day 12 after my trigger shot wasn’t a tease. – photo above)
I take the test and place it on the counter. Wait three minutes to look at it, I always tell myself. Sometimes I’ll distract myself, do whatever quick chore needs to be done. Other times I just stare at the test, watch as it processes. I imagine that second line appearing, and when just one is there, I feed myself a bunch of “it’s okay” statements when really, to me, it’s not at all okay.
I avoid telling my husband out loud. He knows it’s test day and he knows if it had been positive I would not be on the couch sulking. I want to send out a text “Still not pregnant! Happy?” to a few friends who I’ve felt have turned my infertility into a form of competition, one that they’re obviously winning against. I want to scream, put every annoyed parent in their place when their kid is simply being a kid, and punching every parent who would rather pretend their child does not crave their love and support and chooses to ignore them anyway, I want throw a chair at every woman who complains about how awful it is to be pregnant. I do not do any of that, but sometimes it can be extremely difficult not to. I throw a dirty look their way, that’s about as far as it gets.
Now begins a grieving process. I throw myself into misery and self loathing. You’re not pregnant, but if you were, who’s to say you would not miscarry it too?! I remind myself of all the things I’m not good at. I remind myself of all the things I cannot do. I try to fight through it, I swear I do.
I’ve been pregnant three times, all three ended in miscarriage. Monitor my cycles, give me fertility drugs proven to work, have the RE tell me how good they feel about this cycle (even though they said that four cycles ago), I will not get pregnant.
The two week wait is over, my home pregnancy test is negative. I’m grieving a pregnancy I never had, as well as the three that I lost. I still hang on to hope for a few more days. I stop taking the additional hormone medication, but hope that my “lady time” will not come. I hope that my HCG levels were simply not enough for the test to detect yet. IT WAS TOO SOON I tell myself, THERE’S STILL HOPE FOR THIS CYCLE! Those cramps must be my uterus stretching, not the inevitable approach of CYCLE DAY ONE!
Yet, Cycle Day One bears it’s ugly head. For women like me, who have miscarried, I think it’s traumatic on it’s own for many reasons. Fight through it, there are calls to be made. I have to call a mail pharmacy because the injection drug is not carried anywhere local and has to be shipped to me. I have to call my RE to report I am, indeed, not pregnant in the slightest. The nurse at the RE sends in a refill for the prescription of the other drug that is suppose to make those follicles mature quickly, and then refers me back to the probe lady so I can go on Cycle Day 3, and again on Cycle Day 10 (the usual start day of the Two Week Wait).
It’s a vicious, heartbreaking cycle.
I have a medical condition that makes this cycle REQUIRED, just to clarify. A pituitary tumor, a micro edema, that they (those medical studying folks) know so little about. I do have to worry. I do not have a lot of time to satisfy the 1.5 children quota of the typical American family. Because of my pituitary tumor, I could hit early menopause, and I could hit it SOON. Any hope and chance of having the word “mother” be an adjective for me; GONE. DON’T WORRY, they say. Easier said than done.
Today 125,000 abortions will be done, 360,000 births will be delivered, and somewhere maybe 360,000 women (or probably more, because some of them will have abortions) will discover that they are pregnant. (P.S. Don’t take this as a pro choice or pro life argument, because it’s not. I’m just regurgitating actual facts for the sake of it)
Today, for me, the two week wait ended.
I’m still not pregnant.
If you were here I would be the happiest mother there ever was. I would hold you close and be sure to let you know that you were safe and protected. I would memorize all your tiny features, trying to remember them before they grew too fast. I would sing to soothe you when you were upset, or to make you laugh and dance. I would read to you all my favorite stories, hoping you would grow to love literature as much as your momma. I would have daddy play the guitar for you so you would be just as passionate about music as we are. Daddy would teach you so many things, even some things he probably shouldn’t. For your naps, daddy would be your big teddy bear to sleep beside you. We would tell you that we love you so much and so often that “love” just might have been your first word.
If you were here you would have an official name. If you were a boy, you would have been named after your daddy, and his dad before him. If you were a girl, well, we probably would still be debating it, but your middle name would have come from your great grandmother on your momma’s side. If you were here, we may have changed our mind entirely, and named you something completely different to suit your laugh and your smile. We named you Avery, a unisex name because we did not know what you would have been. We were so excited to find out, but you left us a few weeks short of us being sure. Avery means noble, which we are sure you are. It also means blonde ruler, which is showing just how much momma was hoping you would have taken after your daddy.
If you were here, maybe your grandparents would be too, and our friends who are now like family. Your grandpas would probably boast about how awesome and amazing you are, just like them, all while your grandmas cooed and smiled for you. Instead, family and friends are across the country at home in California. They do not talk with us about you much, not because they do not care, but because they think it will hurt your daddy and momma. I hope they think of you just the same though as if you were here: fondly and with love.
If you were here we may not have known quite what to do every time something was wrong. We might not know what to say right away to make the bad okay again. In daddy’s case, it may have taken several tries to get your diaper on just right. If you were here, I hope you know we would have tried our best each and every time.
If you were here, we would have never known the hurt and heartache it was to lose you. We would have been so thankful, but somehow, we may have taken for granted how lucky we were to have you in our arms.
Today we expected you to be here with us. It was your day to be due for entrance into the world. It was the day you were supposed to have been born.
But you are not here. You are there, wherever there is. I hope that there you are happy, healthy, and know how much you are loved. We wanted you so much. We want you still. We hope that one day we can meet you, and memorize all your features, hold you close and tell you all the stories we have been holding inside.
Daddy and Momma love you, Avery. Please watch over your sibling for us until we can all be together again. ♥
I have taken some time to myself after my most recent miscarriage away from writing. This time around I have definitely had more support, and for that, I’m entirely grateful. I did not want to write about what I was going through and dealing with because I did that the first time around – and people do not know how to react. That is entirely understandable. I know who would be there for me, and sure enough, they’ve been there to pick me back up. Anyway – I did manage to stay current with my 100 Happy Days, however, so I have lots of catching up to do!
100 Happy Days, Days 1 – 10 & 11 – 20 & 21 – 30 & 31 – 40
In case you are new to my blog, I have been taking part in the 100 Happy Days Challenge and I have been posting my daily happy onto my Instagram account @CameraKristen. This year has been emotionally draining for me and my husband. In a few short months we’ve learned a lot of life lessons! This challenge is definitely helping me to remember to look for all the HAPPY in each and every day. No matter how tough times can get, there is always something to be grateful for!
Sunday, May 11th 2014
On Mother’s Day this year I found out that I was pregnant for the second time. It was going to be our rainbow baby! It was also going to be our secret until we got tests done though, having made our first pregnancy public too soon (only to be followed with bad news almost immediately). We spent the day on and off the phone with our mothers and ran a few errands in between. I also found possibly my favorite ice cream flavor EVER! Ben & Jerry’s That’s My Jam is chocolate and raspberry ice creams with fudge chips and a raspberry center AND it’s incredible! ALSO seemingly impossible to find now that I’ve admitted my love for it!
Monday, May 12th 2014
This was taken on the way to the hospital to get an official pregnancy test done. There had been a crazy thunderstorm the night before and it had made it a much cooler, refreshing day because of it! The green just POPED that day!
Tuesday, May 13th 2014
This time around I actually had cravings other than pickles! Anything and everything tomato – I wanted it! That particular day my sweet husband stopped by the store on the way home for work for just four tomatoes.
Wednesday, May 14th 2014
I was not feeling spectaular that day, whether it was pregnancy symptoms or what. My cat, Tayte, and I took it easy and watched one of my all time favorite movies: The Other Sister.
Thursday, May 15th 2014
While I was on the phone with doctors and nurses and getting labs drawn, Tayte took it easy. Her new spot in the house is on top of the couch NEAR the window. She doesn’t always need to look out of it, but she’s happiest near it.
Friday, May 16th 2014
I finally got the doctors on my side that day and it had been a struggle all week to do so. We ordered Chinese food and my fortune cookie obviously did not know what my dearest wish is.
Saturday, May 17th 2014
Feeling optimistic and happy we wandered around our new town and surrounding areas in attempt to get better acclimated.
Sunday, May 18th 2014
After being in a go-go-go state for awhile got to us – and that day we stayed in our pajamas. I managed to get Steven hooked on Once Upon a Time and we spent the entire binge watching it!
Monday, May 19th 2014
We had the house pretty much in order (or so we thought) and all that was really left was the frames to be hung. I didn’t know if I should even try to hang a bunch of things in my office because that’s the room that would eventually be turned into a nursery.
Tuesday, May 20th 2014
Halfway through my happiness project I was painfully reminded of why I started it. I started getting symptoms that reminded me a whole lot of my first miscarriage and when Steven got off work we spent six very long hours in the emergency room. BUT I did paint my nails that morning, so that was my happiness of the day.
It’s strange that these are the ten days that I got to be excited about my second pregnancy. If you read my last post (The M Word, Vol. 2), you’re aware that I lost my second pregnancy. It’s been a rough time, but there’s always something that makes me happy. Life is good, but sometimes it throws things at me that really put me to the test!
Let me say it: 2014 has been kind of a jerk (and yes, that is an edit of the original word I chose).
IN SHORT: Last year, after having no luck in the fertility department, I began to search for WHY. Turned out I had a benign pituitary tumor that was causing a whole lot of hormone imbalances. When my husband returned home from Afghanistan we found out we were pregnant! JUST like that! We rang in the new year with our eyes glossed over, happy as can be, things were starting to work out the way we wanted them to. But then I miscarried a little over a week into the new year. We’ve been going to counseling, we’ve been trying to look to happiness, we’ve been trying to not let it get us down.
When it came time to try again, I was not entirely confident I was ready. Although the truth is that we both want a family and we are not getting any younger. When we got a positive reading on an at home pregnancy test on Mother’s Day, I could not help but feel like it was a sign. We were going to have our rainbow baby! (Side note: Rainbow baby is a term used for a baby that is born after miscarriage. Like in the real world, a rainbow follows a storm: a symbol of hope.)
This time around we kept the news to ourselves. We wanted to know what was going on, what we needed to do, and what we were to expect before letting the outside world in on it. As soon as the OBGYN office was open that Monday morning, I was on the phone trying to get in to see someone. Turns out that whether you are high risk or not, the head of the clinic does not give a damn. After many calls, many tears, many reminders that it is their job to take care of my baby and to give it the best chance at life, and not to mention the previous doctor I had seen there (who has since left, go figure) said there were several steps that needed to be taken once I became pregnant again, they agreed to see me at what we thought might be my sixth week (the following week). They also put me on a progesterone supplement (the hormone that dropped significantly before my last miscarriage). We crossed our fingers and toes and tried to relax.
The next Tuesday I started noticing symptoms that had occurred towards the beginning of my last miscarriage. Five attempts at drawing my blood, two IVs of fluid, an inconclusive ultrasound and pelvic examine, and six hours later, we left the ER knowing just about as much as we did going in. The symptoms I had correlated with side effects of the hormone supplement, so we tried to think positive. The following Thursday, an hour before my OBGYN appointment, it became evident that I was having another miscarriage.
Turns out my replacement doctor is quite the compassionate guy. He did what he could, which wasn’t much, but he was able to make us laugh. He did raise the concern that my pregnancy could be ectopic (a pregnancy that forms outside the uterus that if it continued to grow – could cause a slew of other problems). I’m still not sure how we’re feeling about that matter, really, but my pregnancy hormones began to drop and have done so significantly since.
Here I am. Again.
I am a mother to two baby angels. My children were born with wings.
Que sera, sera. Maybe we’ll have rainbows one day, but the future’s not ours to see.
After the last miscarriage, I know who will be there for us and who won’t. I’m thankful for the internet because I’ve spoken with so many lovely people who know exactly what it’s like – and without them, this would have been so incredibly difficult.
It’s devastating. We’ve been here before. I’ve had all this happen to me, taken all the same pain killers, and had all the emotions that those pills cannot dull. Part of me says it was not as bad this time around, but I know that probably has a lot to do with the fact that I’m used to the lingering emotional pain.
Think what you will, but miscarriage is not something you get over. It’s not a pain that just goes away with time. It’s a scar left on me, two times over now, that will be with me forever. Those were our babies, and we will never get to hold them, kiss them, watch them grow and have families of their own. No, that’s not something you just get over. Miscarriage is a pain that you get used to.
I lazily posted on Facebook that we had two angels watching over us now. There’s so much happiness and things to celebrate back home in California that I hate to even attempt to distract away from it. Although, friends and family, if you’re reading this, we could use a little “thinking of you” our way. Kansas feels that much further from home these days.
I’m so jealous of the women who get to start sentences off with “When my baby is born-” because I will never have that comfort. If I ever have a baby. It will always be “If my baby is born.”
We will not be defeated, not yet. We will try again. We will be making our way out to Kansas City again to see the endocrine and fertility specialist soon.
Keep your fingers crossed for us please. We could use all the good juju, baby dust, hopes, wishes, prayers, all of that. ♥
Instead of making New Year’s resolutions I choose a word that I would like to focus on throughout the year. This year, I chose GROW.
Grow was meant to have so many meanings for me this year. I was going to grow as a woman, a wife, my belly was going to grow, our family was going to grow… G words and that one that begins with M.
This year has been taken over by another word beginning with G instead: Guilt.
Guilt because I was not able to save my pregnancy. Or was I? They say do not blame yourself, there was probably something wrong with the baby and it was just a process of natural selection, there was nothing you could have done. Although that is true for many to most miscarriages, for this situation, I do not believe that to be true. What was wrong with my pregnancy, and what is wrong with me, is that I have a pituitary tumor. It causes EXTREME hormonal imbalances and there was one in particular that was crucial for a healthy pregnancy that was dangerously low, my doctors and myself were aware. The specialist insisted on sending my prescription for a medication through snail mail, instead of simply calling it in. Took them two weeks to get it to me, and by then, I had lost the pregnancy. My child was already dead. It’s the past, you cannot change it, it’s time to move on. If it was your child, would it be that easy? I know I could have been more educated, more demanding, something! But I was not. I did not know. That’s guilt. Glum
Guilt because my husband is sad too. He hoped for this pregnancy more than me. He was the one thinking positively when things started to look bad, when the pregnancy was no longer viable. Everyone thinks he’s fine, he didn’t carry the baby, he didn’t feel the physical pain that I did. His pain gets put on the back burner and that’s NOT fair. We do the best to take care one another, but I know he’s always worried. He came home from deployment for a brief bit of happiness, and then the worst pain we’ve ever known. He’s such an amazing, loving husband and wants to always take care of me, but he needs cheering up too. It was our baby that died. Grief stricken.
Guilt because I have four pregnant friends that I avoid. Minus one, who gets where I’m coming from, for the most part. Their due dates are all within a month of what would have been my own. They’re all finding out the sex of their babies. They’re putting together nurseries, buying baby clothes, the life inside them growing and starting to show on the outside. Here I am, feeling sorry for myself, because my child is dead, barely having had a heartbeat for very long. I would have known if my child would have been a boy or girl by now, who they would’ve and could have been. Anything I bought for the baby, all the maternity clothes, are packed away in our basement in a corner. I thought if I could not see them, then maybe I wouldn’t think about it, and that did not happen.
I’m going to be fair to myself here in this situation though. It’s been a very mutual avoidance. Their happiness reminds me of my loss, my loss makes them uncomfortable about their happiness. Every milestone of theirs will now be a reminder of what I could have had, what life my child is missing. I’m not going to say I’m being a bad friend, necessarily. I’m alone in my sadness just as much as I’ve left myself out of their happy baby events. The majority of what they know about my moods and my life now, and even what happened to me that day and the following days after my miscarriage – they learned here, on my blog, not through talking to me directly. Gloom.
Guilt because happiness feels wrong. It’s getting to a safe time for me (getting my body back to normal, hormones leveled out, and postpartum effects passing) and my husband to try again for baby number two. There’s so much uncertainty involved with this. I will never have a carefree pregnancy, I will forever worry because I have experienced the worst that could happen and it may very likely occur again. Am I ready? Are we ready? Are we expecting a new pregnancy to fix the pain of the loss of the first?
I am not trying to make excuses for how I feel for you or even for myself. Everything I feel and have felt are completely normal. There’s no such thing as grieving perfectly. Regardless, it has to happen. For me, writing about it helps me greatly, and if you do not like what I have to say please refer to the x on the upper ride side of the browser.
I will GROW from this, I will be okay again, my husband and I will be happy again and the loss will not affect us as much. There’s no fully overcoming miscarriage, though, and we are aware of that. No matter if we have more babies or we do not, we can not undo the death of our child. We’re getting better, day by day, week by week. We’re going to counseling, and I do not think that the sessions help us all that much. The thought that we are trying to heal by going to counseling, by doing something actively about it, however, is there and helps.
PLEASE NOTE: The average cost of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) is $12,400 whether it works or not. The average cost of a domestic adoption in the United States ranges anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000. We are aware these options are available, but please educate yourself on realities and costs before suggesting them.
One day, hopefully soon, we won’t feel so gypped, grieved, and grouchy. Instead, we’ll be the giddy, goofy, giving, and good-natured people we used to be, but a revised version.
We’re trying, one day at a time. The little support we have received from friends, family, and all those I’ve been lucky enough to meet on social media, HAS helped TREMENDOUSLY. Thank you to those people! Thank you to those people who have genuinely listened/read and cared about our story and recovery, and not for the sole purpose of another G word (GOSSIP).
This photo was taken a little over six years ago (February 2009). I was starting to really get into photography and I had just discovered clone photos (more than one of the same subject in a single frame). At the time I was in between living at home with my parents and with Steven. I was going full time to school, working almost full time, and I was really happy. I took this photo to represent all the people I was while still being a blank canvas (having the ability to be whoever I wanted to be).
When I attempted to go through photographs yesterday for a different post, I came across this one. That girl, a blank canvas able to become whoever she wanted to be has became those things she wanted to be. I proudly hold a bachelor’s in English, I am a wife to an amazing man, I’m usually quite silly and happy. Somehow I got stuck becoming a few things I did not want to become along the way, having medical conditions that bring me down, and becoming a mother to a child I will never be able to hold. I’m those things and I cannot change them. I’m an ever changing canvas just the same, but there’s some cuts and dents in the canvas that will always be there. Bad metaphor; my apologies.
I got the proof that my body is as back to normal as it can be. I’m not going to go into detail about all that. I cried. I did not understand why.
I have always been very self aware. I have always been able to take a step back and understand what I was feeling and why. I know why I’m feeling this way, but this time I cannot control my emotions. I’ve had the worst anxiety I have ever experienced the last few days. My heart beats fast, I get a knot in my throat, I feel like I cannot breathe. It all started after said proof was given.
It’s real now. It really happened. There’s no going back, only forward.
Yesterday I got over my pride and called to make an appointment for counseling.
I understand that this is my personal business that I’m sharing for the world to see. To some, that may be strange. The fact of the matter is, I do not share my experience for you to feel sorry for me or even for those who have not been through it to try to understand. I share my experience for those who have been through it too, to know that they are not alone, to know what they feel is normal. The amount of support that has been shown to me (and by people I’ve never even met in person even!) blows me away. That is why I’m sharing my experience. Thank you to those people.
Grief is normal. It is a different process for everyone and it may take some longer than others. It is NOT okay to tell someone to just be happy. It is NOT okay to tell someone to not talk about it either. When you go through something that is traumatic to any measure, you need to go through a healing process. It is not okay to linger in sadness, I’m not saying that. For me, I’m choosing to get help. I’m not ashamed. This is what I need to do for me. This is what I need to do to heal.
As of next Monday it will have been a month since I miscarried. I’m still actually pregnant but without fetus. My pregnancy hormone levels have still not returned to normal. My heart is still shattered. I’m dealing with so many inner demons I never knew I had, and maybe I didn’t have until all of this happened. I’m angry, I’m depressed, and then I’m happy again. I think I’m very much all of those all at once. From what I’ve read and what I have been told, I will never be the same again. The pain will become less, each day will get easier, but I will always hurt because of this.
We told our friends and family too soon in the pregnancy. We were just so excited that we could not keep it to ourselves. Then I miscarried, shortly after making the announcement. So a few things happened as a response: those who did not know what to say, said nothing at all; OR people wrote it off as if it had been no big deal what happened to us. Miscarriages happen all the time, one in four women go through it, but it does not make it any less devastating. My loneliness turned into anger, and I’m still dealing with that. People we had been there for, shown support to, people we love, left us alone and did not dare reach out to us. We needed the support. We needed to know we were loved. We needed people to be there for us. They were not. It’s an extremely touchy subject, I get that.
NOT to be TMI or anything, but I did not just miscarry. I was in the worst pain of my life. I was in so much pain that I thought I was going to die. I would like to lend a big “F^%# YOU” to anyone who thinks I sat on the toilet for two minutes to pass the baby. I passed the baby naturally. That means there was a lot of blood loss, I was having nauseous fits where I lost more than I think I’d ever put in, I had a fever, I had severe cramping that I was told was actual labor pain. Oh, but I did not get to hold a beautiful baby in my arms after all was said and done. I was told to be happy, that it could have been worse, try again next time. I did get the chance to flush my child down the toilet, so there’s something I have to live with for the rest of my life.
We did not just lose a pregnancy. We lost our dreams for the future. We lost what we had nine weeks to plan, the life of our child, who they would be, what they would like and would not, who they would become, what they would do… The life that they would’ve had.
I lost what little confidence I had in myself and my body. Woman’s purpose (in all basic terms, do not get all feminist on me here) is to bear life. I had to FIGHT to get there, and then I was still not good enough.
I hope that when we do go to try again, we will not have to go through this. There are no guarantees. With my pituitary tumor, the hormone imbalances that could occur, who knows. My heart is completely broken. My confidence is lost.
I’m angry. I’m depressed. I am so far from being myself it’s ridiculous.
This was supposed to be a post about what I’ve done to heal, but it’s obvious now that I’m no where near healed. I feel like I’m back tracking more than anything. The reality of the situation is starting to sink in. I was finally pregnant after trying fifteen months. We were going to be parents FINALLY. But instead, our dream was ripped away from us. We were left empty handed with very little understanding and support.
This was written in anger. This was written with a broken heart. This was written from my lowest point. This was written to be therapeutic. This was not written to offend, but if it did, I’m NOT sorry.