Bittersweet News

My primary nurse finally got back to me today via email. She will talk to the RE to see if he will approve the immune panel requisition (I don’t know why this would even be a problem, since I have to pay for this out of pocket).

We also got some results back.

Our last miscarriage, was of a chromosomally normal baby girl.

So much for statistics.

I was at the gym when I got the news, and started crying in the studio space between my sets of walking lunges.

So if the embryo was normal, then it was either my body or the extreme work-related stress that caused her to stop developing. Why the hell are they hesitating to send me for immune blood work?

I am doing so much body blaming right now.

I know that I have Celiac Disease. What other autoimmune issues are lingering in the background? Why didn’t they test for immune issues before we started all of our IUIs and IVF/FETs.

Tonight I had a massage appointment. I thought about cancelling because of how I was feeling, but went ahead with it anyway. My massage therapist is kind of chatty, but knows us and our TTC history fairly well, so naturally I shared the recent news. We talked about Thanksgiving, about the bird feeder that we plan to build to honour our angel babies, and she asked me

“Why a bird feeder?”.

I wasn’t really sure, except that this summer, we have really noticed their presence at the cottage, and on my daily walks in the forest with the dogs. She asked what kinds of birds we have been seeing mostly, and I named off a couple that we regularly see at the cottage: chickadees, nut hatches, hummingbirds, and blue jays.

“Which one stands out the most to you?” she asked.

I answered her quickly because it was clear to me- the ones that ate out of my hands.

The Chickadee.

Soon, my massage was over, and I got redressed in private. When I came out of the massage room, my massage therapist handed me a piece of paper- the symbolic meaning of the chickadee.

Courage
Adaptability
Social support
Standing up for yourself

Maybe our angel babies are speaking through the birds. Maybe they’re nuzzling into my fingers and looking into my eyes, sending us both their love.

Recovering at the Cottage

The night of the D&C, I followed up the Oxy and Tylenol with more Tylenol. The only kind that we had that wasn’t combined with caffeine was a children’s Tylenol, chewable grape flavour. I had cramps and some bleeding, but it only lasted for about 24 hours post D&C.

I felt well enough on Friday to bake these:

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And then Friday night we packed up the car and the dogs and headed to the cottage. The cottage is only about two hours away, and by about 9pm we were settling into the stillness and quiet of our little home on the lake. It was pitch dark, which is a delight when you’re so used to the never ending light pollution of the city, and there was a chill in the air, but it was clean and fresh.

DW fetched some wood from our wood shed, and started up the wood stove in the main room. We just sat there and stared for hours.

Last week I had read Sarah Waters’ Tipping the Velvet, a lesbian classic that for whatever reason, I never got around to reading until now. I was amazed by how racy it was! I have not read 50 Shades of Grey, but I imagine that the sex scenes in Tipping the Velvet might be comparable.

Friday night I started Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, which came highly recommended by Erin Morgenstern (who wrote one of my favourite books, The Night Circus), and let me tell you, I could not put this book down. I finished it by Saturday, ranting and raving to DW about how amazing it was, and how I wish I could join a book club just to have friends to revel in this book with me. Then I thought to myself, how amazing it would be to have a lesbian book and knitting club- especially right now with the seasons changing. Autumn and winter are high season for certain lesbian activities, such as candle burning, tea hoarding and drinking, knitting, reading, and the cooking of vegan comfort foods.

Anyways, back to the weekend. Other than reading, we finished another jigsaw puzzle:

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And roasted marshmallows in the fire:

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I thought very little of our pregnancy loss, which means that I might be moving on, I’m learning to exist with this experience being a part of me.

Rotisserie Chicken

So I spent the majority of the lit day at the hospital, waiting for my D&C. We arrived at noon, and didn’t leave until 7pm! I am tempted to write a really long, negative post about how ridiculous the scheduling is at this hospital, but I won’t.

Instead, I will rave about the amazing care I received from the nursing staff after the procedure. First of all, I got hot blankets. Not just blankets that would warm me with time, but blankets that were kept warm in an oven of sorts. And I got as many hot blankets as I wanted. At one point, I had three such blankets warming me.

Second of all, the nurses seemed just as frustrated as we were with the scheduling and whereabouts of the doctors. For example, my RE was booked from 1- 3, and no one knew where he was until he randomly showed up at 5:15 to check in with me pre-op. We suspect that he went for a late lunch/early dinner at the expense of making me wait even longer. The nurses exclaimed “Oh there he is!” when he finally appeared.

The anaesthesiologist didn’t believe me when I told him that I metabolize anaesthetic really quickly, and everyone was shocked when I woke up while being wheeled away to the recovery room. Usually they expect people to “come to” an hour after being moved to the recovery room. The OR nurse nearly jumped out of his skin when I started talking to him.

In the recovery room, the machine monitoring my vitals was beeping non-stop. The nurses kept having to switch off the alarm, but it kept going off because of how low my heart rate was. The machines are programmed to alert them when the heart rate becomes lower than 50 beats per minute (bpm), as the average normal resting heart rate is somewhere between 60 bpm to 100 bpm. I’ve worn my heart rate monitor to bed a few times, and know that my resting heart rate hits a minimum of 35 bpm, and averages at about 42 bpm over the course of the night. In recovery, my heart rate was steady at about 44 bpm, which drove the monitors crazy! The nurses asked me if I worked out or played sports, because abnormally low heart rates are common for athletes. Our hearts are healthy and don’t need to work as hard while at rest. But the beeping- it drove us all nuts!

It was also during my recovery room time that I got not one, but TWO popsicles, and got called “sweety” and “pretty girl” a ridiculous number of times, which also made me happy. They were also the first people to ask about our pregnancy, and to recognize how difficult it must be to go through this.

During my mandatory time in recovery, I had soaked through two pads, and was given oxycodone and Tylenol for the pain (rated 3/10). The pain went away soon after, and then I was wheeled off to the front of the hospital where my chariot awaited. DW whisked me away and since I was starving, we went out for dinner. (*I must also mention that DW deserves an award for staying with me the entire time that I was waiting for surgery and after my recovery.)

I was feeling nauseous during the car ride, but my hunger trumped all other discomfort.

What did we eat? Not congee, which would be my usual sick-person comfort food. Not even Vietnamese Pho noodle soup would satisfy my palate.

My body was craving crispy-skinned, salty rotisserie chicken. So we went to Swiss Chalet, which is a chain of restaurants usually frequented by senior citizens. Like many of the patrons there, I was dressed in comfy clothes, looking forward to the “2 quarter chicken meals + appetizer + dessert for 19.99”, and was wearing a diaper.

Oh and now my chariot is whisking me away to the cottage for the weekend. Just like the Real Housewives of [Wherever], I have the luxury of recovering from my surgery in privacy and amongst beauty.

Chillin’ In the Operating Room

I’ve been bleeding on and off for over a week now. Pregnancy symptoms are still plaguing me (I still can’t lay on my stomach comfortably because my tits are so bloody engorged and sore). But today my friends, is the official eviction of little spark #3 (#1 and #2 were evicted from DW earlier this year).

Of course, we are very sad about this, but I’m ready to move on. I’m currently swagged out in not one, but TWO hospital gowns, blue grippy slippers, and a very flattering hair net.

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My D&C is “on the list” but not scheduled per se. The appointments are triaged, so if someone else with an urgent OB-GYN needs surgery more than me, I will get bumped. I have been here since 12:30pm, and could be waiting until 4pm. So basically, I’ve been fasting (no food or drink) since last night, with no idea when I can eat again. It’s currently 1pm, and I’m in a room of irritates and impatient people. One twenty-something-year-old accompanied by his mom said he’s been waiting since 11am.

I’m all sorts of uncomfortable right now. I am legally blind without my contacts. Even wearing glasses, I have no depth perception and the blurriness in my peripheral vision (the part of the visual field beyond my glasses) makes me super dizzy. I can’t even walk up or down stairs while wearing my glasses because of this. But because of the surgery, I can’t wear contacts. So I’ve been wearing my glasses, meandering around like a drunk person, getting sick in the car on the way to the hospital (it’s not DW’s driving). We arrived at the hospital and I was on the verge of yakking.

I’m also extremely hungry and exceptionally thirsty. I usually wake up with a voracious appetite, so you can imagine my dismay when I woke up at 4am, hungry, and unable to do anything about it. I’ve been so thirsty that I’ve been swooshing water in my mouth and spitting it out, just to moisten my mouth.

Needless to say, I’m anxious for this to be over soon. Until then, I will keep waiting, dreaming of a clean slate and some comfort food when all of this is over.

Wish me luck.

The Bleeding Begins

I’ve always been a fan of technology, especially when it allows us to do things like take pictures of our bloody maxi pads and text message them to our wives at work.

Yeah, I did that today.

You see, I stopped the “pregnancy” sustaining meds on Sunday, and have been off work all week waiting to get this natural miscarriage over with. On Wednesday, the spotting began, though I can barely call it spotting, as it was like one smear per day (I’m not apologizing for the TMI), and unworthy of the panty liner changes.

But today, sitting in the car, on our (me and dogs) way home from the conservation park, I could feel the twinges I distinctly recognize as my angry cervix opening it’s long and hostile mouth. Ten minutes later, it let out a loud roarrrr and bloody clots and tissue started to waterslide, landing on my panty liner.

Lovely right? Cervical sea monsters and waterslides.

It seems to come in waves though. As the waterslide is vacant at the moment. I do feel some tingling in my uterus, perhaps some cajoling of the next sliders into the queue.

I know there’s a whole lot that needs to come out of there, and worry that this is gonna take a while.

Tomorrow is the review appointment with our RE (which I nearly had to bribe someone to get). I will likely try to get an appointment for a D&C, as this waiting is killing my will to live, and I’m anxiously waiting to just move on from this already. The pregnancy symptoms (morning sickness and food/smell aversions) are downright cruel and make me feel so shitty- both physically and emotionally.

Other than that, we’re gonna take the opportunity to also ask the RE where we should go from here. I know he’ll just encourage us to do the last FET, but since we have his attention for a few minutes, I hope we get a chance to talk about his speculation on why we keep miscarrying with my eggs, as well as whether DW’s nearly 39-year-old eggs would be a good option to move forward with. My GP seems to think that DW miscarrying twice with my eggs and me miscarrying once with my eggs is still within the realm of normal, but if this guy is an “expert” on fertility, I want to get his gut feeling on this.

Anyway, Happy Friday everyone!

Wish me luck on passing these “products of conception” quickly and completely.

Natural, Cytotec, or D&C? That is the Question.

The RE’s office called today to tell me officially to stop my meds. The radiologist took a look at the ultrasounds and called it.

I didn’t speak to them. In fact, my cell phone didn’t even ring. They sent it directly as a voicemail. Motherfuckers. Clearly, they weren’t interested in entertaining any questions. They just reiterated that I had three options: miscarry naturally, take Cytotec, or do a D&C.

Option A: Miscarrying naturally sounds the gentlest of the three options, but it could take weeks for my body to initiate this, and weeks for it to fully complete the task.

Option B: Cytotec/Misoprostal freaks me out a bit, as I imagine it’s basically Option A condensed into a violent and short period of time. I’ve read of women opting to bleed it out at the hospital for the access to effective pain killers, you know, the good shit. Getting it done with in a predictable amount of time sounds attractive to me. However, sometimes remnants remain and you end up utilizing Option C anyway.

Option C: D & C is the one most people fear initially. It involves dilating the cervix, and then either scraping or vacuuming out the contents of the uterus. It is often scheduled, and while women often report some moderate pain afterwards, it isn’t usually as painful as Options A and B because you’re under general anesthetic. With this option, you can be sure that all of the remnants are removed, while with the other two options, sometimes large clumps of endometrial tissue and the gestational sac have a difficult time passing through the opening of the cervix, which prolongs the bleeding and cramping (trying to flush it out).

Right now, I’m leaning towards Option B, because I don’t think I can emotionally handle waiting for the inevitable. I also need my HCG to go down as quickly as possible so that we can start trying again with our last embryo. I have heard that this can take WEEKS, even MONTHS, for women with levels as high as mine are right now.

Anyone at around 8 weeks miscarry naturally? How long did it take to begin the process, how long did it last, and how badly did it hurt?

Anyone with HCG around 40,000 know how long it will take to return to <5?

And finally, pain control: what works for the labour-like cramps and contractions?

Thank you for helping me mentally prepare myself.