it’s been awhile

I don’t know how many people actually read my blog anymore, but I figured I’d give an update.  Mike and I were successfully able to get pregnant in April this year.  It was a completely awesome surprise, as we weren’t actually trying at the time, and we needed no medical intervention to help us.  It seems as though the miscarriage I had in January got my cycles back on track, and Mike’s few sperm were determined enough to make this all happen.  I’m almost 14 weeks along now, and I was able to see the baby and its heartbeat at 10 weeks 3 days.  I can’t begin to describe the relief I felt when I saw the baby on that ultrasound screen, I just started crying.  I think I’ll probably continue to feel that way all through this pregnancy, as I’m just so grateful for this baby.  I feel incredibly lucky that everything worked out for us.

I know some might wonder if I had jumped into IVF too soon, especially now that I was able to get pregnant on my own – I know I wondered the same thing.  But I truly believe that if I had never had the miscarriage the first time, I would have never gotten pregnant this time.   I think my body needed a kickstart to get things moving as they should, and unfortunately it took a very expensive and emotional procedure to do that.  I don’t know if Mike’s sperm count went up as we haven’t done any further testing, but I’m done seeking answers.

I won’t be posting here anymore, as it doesn’t seem to fit the theme of my life at this point.  I wouldn’t want someone unsuspectingly coming upon my blog seeking support for their infertility, just to see that I’m posting all about my pregnancy.  Don’t get me wrong, I always loved hearing the success stories from others who struggled with infertility, but when I was going through infertility treatment and everything seemed so impossible, I certainly didn’t want to read about the joys of pregnancy.  I haven’t decided if I want to start another blog, but I’ll post a link here if I ever do, just in case anyone wants to follow along.

Good luck to everyone out there who is still struggling with infertility, I really hope the best for you.

it finally happened (warning: miscarriage described in detail) **Updated**

After about 12 weeks into my “pregnancy”, I am finally having my miscarriage.  I was beginning to wonder if my body would be able to do it on its own.

I have to say that it was much more painful than I had expected.  The doctor had led me to believe that it would be just a little worse than a period.  That is such an understatement!  I’ve known that it was coming for days now, because I started spotting this past weekend.  I woke up at 12:45 this morning with some bad cramps, so I took some ibuprofen thinking that might help them.  Silly me.  The cramps went from bad to absolutely horrible!    It’s nothing I have ever experienced before.  Nothing helped.  I tried laying down, sitting, curled up into a ball, walking, but they just kept getting worse.   At this point, I was passing huge clots of blood.  I googled to see if all this was normal, and others were comparing the cramps to labor pain…all I could think is if this is anything like labor, maybe I’m rethinking the whole natural birth thing.

After about two hours of this pain, I had started feeling very nauseous.  I decided I couldn’t deal with both cramps and nausea, so I decided to make myself throw up, hoping that would make me feel just a little better.  Well, every time I threw up, I felt a gushing of blood.  I knew I had went right through my pathetic overnight pads I had bought.  When I went to clean myself up, it was the most disgusting thing I had ever seen – the entire gestational sac had expelled itself during my retching episode (at least that what it looked like to me).  But…I felt 10 times better.  Apparently passing the gestational sac is the worst of it, and it was a stroke of luck that the pressure from throwing up helped push it out.  My cramps immediately dissipated.  I was actually able to go back to sleep!  ….for 2 hours until I woke up in a blood soaked bed.

The blood is now just pouring out, and I can’t even go to bed because of the rate I’m going through my pads.   I’ve ruined our sheets, multiple pairs of underwear, and a pair of sweatpants.  I’ve gotten a horrible 4 hours of sleep, I still have to go to school today, and my poor husband who was up taking care of me the whole time has to go to work (he just started his new job yesterday).   It’s just miserable.  The only thing I can be thankful for is that this happened while I was at home, rather than when I was at school.  I can honestly say I was not prepared for this.  That’s what I get for not doing my own research and just going by what the doctor said.

Sorry if the detail was a little much, but I figured that other women out there may want those type of details.  I know I would have found them useful so I could have been prepared.  If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask.

**Update: The bleeding has subsided quite a bit.  I think the worst of it has passed…at least I hope so.  I’m feeling much better now, just very tired since I didn’t get much sleep last night.  Thanks to those who commented.  I appreciate your support.

my girl Cayenne

CayenneHere she is, my amazing new little girl, Cayenne! We got her about a week ago, and she is making such a difference in our life already. She’s an American Pit Bull Terrier, and just the sweetest dog I’ve ever met (don’t believe all the hype you hear about pit bulls being evil mean dogs). I fell in love with her the moment we brought her home. She’s been keeping us busy with all the walks that we take her on, along with the school that I’m going through, so blogging has definitely taken a back seat. I have about 150 unread posts in my Google Reader, and I’m afraid they’ll probably just keep adding up.

It’s truly amazing how much happier I’ve been since bringing her home. I feel like she’s helping me heal from my last failed IVF cycle, like she’s filling the void of not having any children. It feels so good to take care of her, and she’s so loving towards us. I also feel more at peace with our decision to put off any more fertility treatments for the next several months. I’m not saying that my desire to have a child is any less, just that I don’t feel as urgent about it. Our time will come eventually, whether it be through IVF, DIUI, or even adoption. In the meantime, I have my girl to take care of.

taking a break

It looks like life has helped Mike and I make our decision for the next step. I’ve been offered a seat in a 3-month class which I will attend in place of work, the same class I was offered back in August before we started our first IVF cycle – which I decided to pull myself out of. Since this is the last time I’ll be offered the class I didn’t think it was wise to pass it up once again, so I told my work to sign me up. So all fertility treatments will be put on hold until this class is over. Although we had already discussed taking a break, I was still torn over the decision of putting treatments on hold for 3 months, but I was able to resolve those feelings. I don’t want fertility treatments to consume our lives, and I can’t allow myself to pass up awesome opportunities that I’ll regret later. 3-6 months seems like a long time to wait to start again, but it’ll give me some time to finish up some things I’ve been putting off.

In the meantime, we’ve decided to try to sell our timeshare in Vegas to pay for the next IVF cycle, pending a good genetics screening of course. We’d been talking about selling it for a while, but are still looking for a good company to sell it through. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. If the next cycle doesn’t work, then we’ll most likely move on to IUI with donor sperm. I just feel like we need to give IVF one more shot, especially since my mind is not yet willing to cross that barrier to using donor sperm. I’m sure I’ll be more open to it later, just not yet.


In other news, we finally adopted a dog. Her name is Cayenne, and she’s a one year old American Pitt Bull Terrier. She’s so beautiful and sweet! I know Pitt Bulls have terrible reputations for being aggressive and mean dogs, but it’s just not true (unless you train them that way, of course). We adopted her from a shelter where she was taken in as a stray. When we visited with her she was just so sweet – and the only dog in the place that wasn’t barking like crazy! We don’t have her home yet since we just got approved by the shelter and she has to go to the vet to be spayed before we can pick her up, but it shouldn’t be more than a few more days now. I’m so excited to get her home. I’ll make sure to post pictures soon.


One last note on the infertility front – I still haven’t had the miscarriage yet. I’m not sure when it’s going to happen, but I feel pretty adamant about having it without the help of meds. I feel like my body should at least be able to miscarry naturally. I don’t really see any harm in waiting it out. Has anyone had any experience with a blighted ovum miscarriage? How long after you found out did you miscarry?  Any information would be helpful.


First of all, I want to thank everyone who has stopped by to comment for your compassion. I really do appreciate it.

I’m doing much better today than I was on Thursday. In fact, each day gets a little easier. When I first found out on Thursday that instead of a growing baby I have an empty gestational sac, I was devastated. I can’t even begin to explain the thoughts and emotions running through me when I saw the ultrasound screen. It looked like a big empty follicle, really. The feeling that something was definitely wrong sank in even deeper when the first doctor didn’t say anything, she just kept moving around the wand, looking for something. Then she had a second doctor take a look. Still, neither said anything. When they finally broke the news that I was not going to have this baby, I can’t say I was surprised, but it still hurt to hear. In fact, even as I’m typing this I have to hold back tears. The doctor said that there was no fetus inside the gestational sac, and that the pregnancy had stopped developing early on. I could tell it wasn’t easy for them to tell me the horrible news, and one of the doctors even looked like she wanted to cry for me.

As soon as the doctors left the room, I burst out in tears. Mike just held me while I sobbed in the ultrasound room, and I could tell that he was having a rough time of it as well. While we both knew the possibility was there for a miscarriage, I think we still mostly expected that this pregnancy would work out. It had all seemed to go so easy; we thought we’d gotten lucky. I managed after a few minutes to compose myself enough to go into the other room to meet with the doctor. She asked me if I had any questions, but my mind was just numb. What could I possibly ask that would make me feel any better?

She said that the most common thing that patients ask is why. I’ve read enough to know that this happens in about 20% of all pregnancies, and that it’s most likely due to the embryo having something genetically wrong with it. And that’s exactly what she explained to me. And it didn’t make me feel any better. She told me that I needed to schedule a follow on appointment for the next week so they could make sure that I’m fine after the miscarriage – or I suppose if I don’t have it, then they’ll want to put me on medication to force it.

Mike and I were mostly silent on the way home…what was there to say? We were just both so depressed. After everything that we’d went through for this pregnancy, this was how it turned out? It’s just too much.

Now I question whether I am even capable of having a baby. If we do another IVF cycle, will it just turn out the same? Will we even get pregnant the next time? How much money and time will we have to spend in order to have a baby? Before this cycle, I was prepared to do about 3 cycles. Now I’m not so sure.

We’ve started discussing our options for the future. We’re trying to decide if we want to do another cycle of IVF or if we want to take a different route and do an IUI instead using donor sperm. The cost is significantly different between IUI and IVF, and while I hate that to be a factor, it is. We could do about 10 IUI’s with donor sperm for the cost of 1 IVF cycle. But there are still so many things to think about. This is not a decision that can be made lightly, and we’re going to take some time to think about what is right for us. Even if we do decide to do another IVF cycle, we’ll wait until the spring. January is just too soon. I feel too raw.

I’m working on getting a list of questions together for my RE, because I feel like I need to be more prepared before we do anything further. Mike and I are going to do a genetics test to make sure that this is not likely to happen again. I’m also going to take the next couple of months to start hitting the gym and get myself back in shape, since multiple weeks of not being able to exercise is taking its toll. I feel like I need to prepare my body and mind for another go with all the medications and procedures.

Again, thanks to all of you for your kind words. As I said before, I’m going to visit my family for Christmas and continue my healing. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.

it was too good to be true

I had my ultrasound this morning…they found an empty gestational sac, technical term blighted ovum.  I knew as soon as I saw it on the ultrasound what the doctor was going to tell me.  It doesn’t take a genius to see that there was nothing inside the sac.  I was hoping I was wrong, but the longer she examined it without saying anything, the more I knew I was right.

The doctor said that I had three choices, 1) I could miscarry naturally, 2) they could give me medication that would help things along, or 3) have an operation to remove the gestational sac.  I opted for a natural miscarriage.  I don’t want to deal with any more medication or procedures right now.  I have to go in for another ultrasound next week, I guess to make sure that everything is gone after the miscarriage.

I’ve been crying off an on ever since we found out.  Just when I feel like I have everything under control, I start to cry again.  Although I knew this was a possibility, I was hoping that I would be one of the lucky ones.  So much for that.

I’m going to take a break from blogging for a while over the holidays.  I’m going to see my family in California for Christmas, so hopefully being around them will help me get through this.

3 days and counting

Where have I been, you might be asking? I’ve been silently counting down the days until my ultrasound. The time seems to be dragging on and on, and it’s driving me crazy!! I keep hoping for more symptoms to reassure myself that I am pregnant (you’d think I’d be happy with the sore breasts and the exhaustion). I’m so scared to go in for the ultrasound this Thursday and find out that something is wrong. I’m trying to think pleasant thoughts, but the scary ones keep on nudging their way in. I just hope after I see the heartbeat I can relax a little and enjoy this pregnancy.

Seriously though, when I say exhaustion, I mean it. Most days I come home so tired from work that I have a hard time not passing out for a nap, and even when I do give in, I’m in bed by about 9pm! I’m having a hard time keeping up with reading blogs, let alone concentrating long enough to put coherent sentences together for a post of my own. My last post regarding the book tour for The Handmaid’s Tale took much energy to put together, and I’m not even sure all of my responses to the questions made sense! I just wrote as much as I could, pressed publish, closed my eyes and hoped for the best 🙂

So other than being a nervous wreck waiting for the ultrasound, I’ve been doing some research. Research on what, you ask? On birth plans. Yes, I am already planning how I want to give birth. Because in all reality, I don’t know what else to do. I like to plan and research and do some more planning and more research, and this waiting for the ultrasound has placed me in this state of limbo of not knowing what to do with my time. I’ve been too scared to buy any books yet on pregnancy (you know, in case I jinx myself), so instead I’ve been reading up on giving birth.

I wrote a while back in this post that I bought the book, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. I’ve been reading bits and pieces of it for the past several weeks, and I have found it to be very informative. The author discusses various medical practices in regards to birth, including c-sections, epidurals, episiotomies, induction, among other things. She points out that many OB’s have adopted the mindset that the baby must be rescued from the mother rather than it being a natural occurring event. They act as if birth is a disease that must be treated. While I think it is wonderful that we’ve had so many advances in technology that can help mothers and babies that are in danger during labor, I am not a fan of how common some of these practices have become (for instance, the 30% cesarean rate).

As I’ve mentioned before, I want a natural birth if at all medically possible. By natural, I mean no medical intervention, including pain medication (I used to think “natural birth” implied no pain medication until a few discussions with men I work with said their wife had a natural birth, then threw in that they had an epidural). I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with pain medication – to each their own – it’s just not my preference. I want to experience as much of this birth as possible, and being numb from the waist down doesn’t work for me. So in my goal to have a natural birth, I’ve come to realize that there are many medical practices that I must try to avoid when I near my delivery date. For example, induction. Henci Goer discusses how one medical intervention generally causes a cascade of them, and induction is just one of the examples she gives. She explains how induction medication such as Pitocin causes longer and more painful contractions and can lead to fetal distress, which can then lead to a c-section. While in some instances it is necessary to use, she says that reasons such as convenience (doctor leaving out of town before due date) or prediction of a heavy baby (due to the inaccuracy of the ultrasound measurement) are not a good reasons because of the associated problems.

I would love to say I’ll just trust my doctor to do what’s best, but I personally think that’s a load of crap. I don’t trust easily, especially not doctors. I’m sure there are some great ones out there, but as in every profession, there are some terrible ones as well. Being in the military, I won’t have much of a choice in who my doctor is or what hospital I give birth at unless I want to pay out of pocket – which I have considered. I’ve been looking into having a midwife deliver my baby because they generally share in the ideal that birth is natural and intervention should only be used when absolutely necessary. I suppose I have plenty of time to research all my options, though.

Anyway, I’m running out of energy for this post, so it’s either end it now or never post it. I’ll post again on Thursday after the ultrasound, hopefully with some good news and pictures. Wish me luck!

Book Tour: The Handmaid’s Tale

I participated in a book tour this month for The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, coordinated by Mel at Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters.  I read this book back in high school (which I didn’t realize until after I started reading it again), and I’m glad I got a chance to read it again.  The setting is in the society of Gilead, where women are now basically slaves to men.  They are not allowed to earn money, read, write, or have any of the basic freedoms that we have become accustomed to.  The main character, Offred (Of-fred), is a Handmaid, her primary purpose to produce a child to a couple that she is assigned to because the wife is infertile.  She is moved around from house to house, trying to get pregnant for the Commander and his wife, taking on a new name based on the name of the Commander.  If she is unable to have a child, it is considered her fault – never the males – and she will be banished from the society to work in a wasteland where she would die because of exposure to toxic substances.  The book is written from Offred’s perspective, like a journal, and she discusses her past life, where she had a husband and child, which were taken away from her.  The book is written with some interesting perspectives, and makes you think about how fragile freedom truly is if we take it for granted.

Even though the rampant infertility is acknowledged to be largely due to environmental pollution, Gilead refuses to acknowledge the possibility of male infertility; if a Handmaid is unable to conceive with three Commanders, it is assumed that she is at fault and she is reassigned to the Colonies. How did this double standard resonate with you, if at all?

I think that because of the way the society had been formed, with males being the dominant figures, they felt like they could not afford to question the “manhood” of men by allowing them to be the problem with infertility. This would demonstrate to them a weakness, while in the society of Gilead, all weaknesses belonged to women. I also think that the author was trying to demonstrate the common belief in our own society that when a couple is infertile, it is generally a problem with the woman.

For all that the Handmaids are supposed to be serving the society’s greater good and should be honored for that, they are looked down upon by just about everyone. Wives resent that the Handmaids do what they cannot, Marthas resent the time spent caring for them, Econowives resent them for the ease of existence they feel the Handmaids must enjoy. And the reverse is true as well, Handmaids resent the other women for having little freedoms they do not enjoy, whether it’s control over a household, the ability to hold a knife and make radish roses, or to simply not be a possession without a name. Does this mutual resentment exist in the world of infertility? Do “fertiles” resent “infertiles” and vice versa? If so, in what way?

I don’t think that there is a mutual resentment between fertiles and infertiles. I do think that many infertile women feel resentment towards both fertile and “less” infertile women. Infertility feels like a betrayal of the body, like something is broken and it cannot be “fixed”. Even though there are ways to become pregnant for most infertile women, it is expensive, time consuming, and a very emotional roller coaster. Fertile women have something that we infertile do not have, and we are jealous of that. I don’t think it starts out as resentment. After time, and many failed attempts, and hearing one too many time “just relax”, that’s when the resentment starts.

I have often wondered what happened to Offred after the events in the book. There was speculation in the lecture notes, but if you were to add to that speculation—what happened to her after she was taken away? Did she work with the underground? Was she pregnant? Did she try to find out what happened to Luke and her daughter? What would you want for her to accomplish (if anything)?

I generally have a dislike of books that have unanswered endings, but I thought it was appropriate for this book. It was not the author’s purpose to lead us to an end, rather to tell the story from Offred’s perspective, which ended upon her escape. My hope is that she would gain courage and strength from her escape, and join the underground, but based on how she dealt with the situation while in Gilead, I did not see her as a strong person with the courage to fight against what was happening in Gilead. She was a survivor. She would do anything to survive because she was afraid of dying. I imagine she probably escaped to Canada, most likely trying to get word on her daughter and Luke. She may have even tried to enlist help to rescue her daughter. As far as what I would like for her to have accomplished, I would like to think that she gained courage and strength to join whatever fight there was against the society of Gilead.

Intrigued by the idea of a book tour and want to read more about The Handmaid’s Tale? Hop along to more stops on the Barren Bitches Book Brigade by visiting the master list at Want to come along for the next tour? Sign up begins today for tour #9 (The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler with author participation!) and all are welcome to join along . All you need is a book and blog.

pass me some morning sickness

I told the first person at work today that I was pregnant. It felt so weird coming out of my mouth. In fact, I have no problem writing in my blog for the entire blogosphere to stumble upon, but I get this strange anxious feeling every time I tell someone in person (in person includes over the phone). I didn’t even want to tell this person at work, but I had to due to Navy specific reasons (I started to explain what Navy specific reasons means, but it was taking too long). Anyway, somehow I feel like I’m jinxing myself by telling people in person. I know that probably sounds extremely strange, since I had no such qualms about writing it in my blog, but it’s different somehow. For instance, for those who read my blog, you understand the heartache that can come with infertility, and that a positive pregnancy test does not necessarily mean a happy ending. But when I tell someone in person, I feel like I have to throw that caveat in there. “Oh, by the way, I’m pregnant, but don’t get too excited because there’s plenty of things that can go wrong”. I know that’s a terrible way to think, but I guess it’s just my way of protecting myself in the end. Expect the worst and be overjoyed by the best, right?

It doesn’t help that I still have yet to experience any symptoms of pregnancy. While I don’t necessarily want morning sickness, I think I would feel a twisted sense of comfort by it. It would be like my baby was saying “hey, I’m here! Pay attention to me!”. But I’ve had nothing. Logically, I know that is perfectly normal. But my emotions are yearning for some damn symptoms! Give me the aversion to food, or the super sore breasts, or yes, even the morning sickness! I can’t wait for my ultrasound in 2 weeks. I’ll feel so much better once I see the heartbeat(s).

On another note, the guy I told at work asked me if I was hoping for a boy or a girl. If he would have asked me that about a year ago, I may have told him one or the other. It’s funny how infertility can change your perspective – it truly comes down to just wanting a healthy baby. Nothing else matters after that.

still pregnant

I had my 2nd beta done today, and my HCG level came back at 271. It’s supposed to double every two days, and mine went up even more than that. I’m not really sure if that means anything, but nevertheless it makes me happy. I’m actually starting to believe things might actually work out with this pregnancy. There’s still a part of me that is holding myself back in case something goes wrong. There’s just so much that can happen, especially in the next several weeks. I’ll be breathing a sigh of relief when I have my ultrasound, or better yet, once I reach my 12 week mark! After 12 weeks, the chance of miscarriage drops dramatically.

I’m still not having any symptoms, but I’ve read that is completely normal for many women. Of course it’s still early, and there’s plenty of time for symptoms to kick in. I’ve also read that morning sickness shows up between 4 and 6 weeks, but I’m kinda hoping I’ll bypass that aspect of pregnancy 🙂 Mike and I are flying home for Christmas, and it will not be a pleasant flight with me in the bathroom half the time.

I’m still in quite a shock over this pregnancy. I had really resigned myself to it not working the first time. In fact, the first morning I took the HPT, right before Mike went to check it for me, I said “I already know it’s going to be negative” in such a matter of fact tone. I’m sure that was just me trying to prep myself for bad news, but I just couldn’t believe that we would be so lucky*. Now that it’s happened, it doesn’t quite seem real. I think it will sink in more once we get our first ultrasound. These next 3 weeks of waiting to see our baby’s heartbeat is going to be almost as agonizing as the 2ww!

*I say lucky in relative terms, since we were not so lucky in conceiving naturally.