Archive | May 2014

The story of how my baby ended up in my fridge

I’m just going to cut straight to the chase here because I’m so friggen tired and don’t have the energy to create any sort of interesting or witty introductory paragraph. This is the long version of the story of my third miscarriage. Feel free to skip it if your life is awesome and you don’t want me to drag you down into the muck which is the home where I live.

Oh and I should probably warn you all that some parts of this story are graphic and potentially triggering (if you didn’t get that already from the title of the post).

I guess it started on Friday morning of last week. I went to the bathroom and wiped away the tiniest speck of blood. I’m talking so little blood I couldn’t even tell definitively if I was looking at blood or just odd coloured crinone. Nonetheless, next time I was speaking to the nurse I mentioned it to her very nonchalantly. Given her previous reaction to the news I was bleeding, I figured she would brush over it again like it was no big deal.

“Oh no!” she cried. “Oh no! Go and get another hcg test right now and step up your crinone to 3 per day.”

“Really?” I asked, extremely hesitant. “I’m not sure that kind of reaction is warranted?”

I had wanted so badly for my progesterone levels to be checked, but the idea of taking too much progesterone also scared me. But the nurse was insistent so I very reluctantly did as I was instructed. My hcg level came back that afternoon at 14,800 which was a great number.

That night, I woke up at about 3am. I was lying on my stomach and when I tried to roll over I found I was stuck to the bed sheets. I was extremely confused at first, then I realised that I was leaking breast milk. I have prolactinemia (read this if you want more info) so unfortunately I am no stranger to breast milk.

I’d been pulled off the medication that stops me from lactating when I fell pregnant, because the doctor explained that the pregnancy hormones would be able to regulate the body to do what it was supposed to do. Hence my fear and surprise when I realised my breasts were leaking. I knew that wasn’t normal for six and a half weeks pregnant. But of course I couldn’t phone anyone at the clinic because they don’t open on weekends. And all my damn problems seem to happen on weekends!

Other than the leaking breasts, I felt totally fine all weekend. No signs whatsoever that anything was wrong with my pregnancy. I even started looking at nursery sets online and started making a list of things I would need to buy over the coming months.

Come Monday morning, I called the clinic and explained that I was lactating. The nurses seemed confused and asked me to repeat my hcg test again, but the doctor said it was fine and told me not to worry. He explained that some women fall pregnant again while they are still breast feeding so it won’t hurt the baby.

Mid morning, the nurse called to let me know my bhcg level had risen over the weekend to 25,300. Once you start to get really high numbers they stop doubling every 48 hours and they start looking for 72-96 hour doubling times. She said my levels looked perfect and not to worry at all.

Monday afternoon, I went to the bathroom at work. I’d been having morning sickness and constipation. These were symptoms I was actually really excited about, because they made me feel like I was really pregnant. For the first time ever I was really truly pregnant and I was going to go all the way and I was going to be a mother. I was on cloud nine. I’d even sent my husband a text message that said I have morning sickness THIS IS BRILLIANT.

I tried to go to the bathroom, but my constipation was still a problem. I decided to give up trying and go and buy some prune juice on the way home from work. And then, out of habit more than anything because I hadn’t actually gone to the toilet, I ripped some toilet paper off the roll and wiped.

And there was a streak of pink blood on the paper.

I sat there for a second, staring blankly at the toilet paper, and then I laughed and said to myself “Would you look at that! The constipation has made my bum bleed.”

Yes that’s right. I was so delusional about being a mother that my initial reaction to blood streaked toilet paper was that my bum was bleeding.

A few moments later I came to my senses and wiped my front. That time, there was considerably more blood on the toilet paper. Enough to make me worried. I pulled my tights up, pushed my skirt down and raced back to my desk to get my phone out of my handbag. I went out into the hallway and called my clinic in a quiet space where none of my co-workers could hear me.

“Sadie what’s the matter?” asked the nurse.

“Um…I’m bleeding.” I said breathlessly. “Like proper bleeding.”

“How much bleeding is proper bleeding?” she asked.

“Like when I wiped it was on the paper.” I replied feebly.

“When you wiped how much blood was there? Like the size of a $1 coin? A $2 coin?”

“No it was much larger. It saturated the toilet paper.” I explained.

“Okay.” the nurse said. “Here’s what I want you to do. Go to the bathroom now and give yourself a dose of crinone. Then come straight up to the hospital. We’ll be waiting for you and we’ll bring you straight in when you arrive so you won’t have to sit in the waiting room.”

I hung up the phone, rushed back to my desk, snatched my handbag out of my drawer, muttered something extremely cryptic along the lines of “I’m leaving. I have to go.” to my very confused co-workers, and then rushed to the bathroom with a crinone clutched tightly in my hand.

I ran into the bathroom, locked myself in a cubicle and pulled down my tights. The little bit of blood was now a steady trickle and it was bright red. It dripped all over the floor before I could even stop it. So then I was crying and trembling and trying to wipe it up off the tiles before someone else came into the bathroom. And I was trying to hold my shit together. But all I could think or say was “No no no no no no no this is not happening to me.”

Thankfully the hospital was only a ten minute drive way. I phoned Doug when I got into the car. I was sobbing when I told him I was bleeding and on my way up to the hospital to get checked out. He was at a meeting across town but promised to try and get to the hospital as soon as he could.

I cried hysterically the whole drive. I’m surprised I didn’t crash the car. I was crying so much I could hardly see where I was going. I was hyperventilating and shaking and just in total shock. And then I remembered that I hadn’t shaved my legs that morning, because I’d decided to wear black tights. That made me panic even more. I wasn’t prepared for a scan. The doctor was going to touch my prickly legs!

When I arrived at the hospital, a nurse came out to meet me. She took me straight into the bathroom to clean myself up and put a pad on. The trickle of blood had actually slowed down, much to my relief.

Then we went into the scan room. She helped me take my tights off and sit comfortably as possible on the exam table, before the doctor arrived.

“It’s okay Sadie.” the doctor said, entering the room. “It’s going to be fine. This blood is probably coming from your cervix okay?”

We started the scan and immediately I saw my baby on the monitor. He looked so healthy and fat and happy. I could see his heart beating strongly. He’d grown so much since I saw last him. The doctor smiled and told me my baby looked pretty cool.

“It’s all okay. There’s some blood sitting in your cervix, and a tiny pocket of blood sitting above the baby’s head in the uterus. You see the little bit of blood?” the doctor said, pointing at the screen. “Your baby is protected from that bleed because it is tucked away in the gestational sac. The baby looks totally fine. You need to go home and rest. This bleeding will stop soon.”

I was awash with relief and gratitude. My tears became happy tears. My baby was okay.

“Could this have been caused by the extra progesterone? Or the lactation?” I asked.

“Not at all. Don’t even worry about that.” the doctor said.

He then reached down to grasp both my hands and help me up off the bed. As I stood up, I felt a sudden rush. I looked down and there was blood gushing down my legs. It looked like someone had popped a blood-filled water balloon inside my vagina. It was puddling on the floor, and also seeping underneath the table.

“It’s okay.” the doctor said again, trying to keep me calm. “The nurses can clean that up. Just don’t you worry. You need to go home and rest.”

The doctor then put me back down on the table and turned to mutter something urgently to the nurse. She rushed out of the room, and came back moments later with a needle in her hand.

“This is anti-d.” the nurse said, smiling broadly. “This is a drug that will help stop the bleeding. It’s going to help you, okay? So don’t you worry.”

And that was when I knew something was actually really wrong. Because doctors give me anti-d when I’m miscarrying. If all I had to do was go home and rest, why was the anti-d necessary? And why was the nurse blatantly lying to me, and smiling like a freako? I knew anti-d couldn’t prevent or even mildly slow bleeding.

Moments later, Doug arrived at the hospital. By that stage the pain was so bad I could hardly move. I felt like someone was ripping my insides out. The doctor insisted I go home and stay very still in bed, and to come back and see him in 36 hours. He insisted the baby was fine. Fine, fine, fine.

Doug half carried me back to his car and put me in the passenger seat, then rushed up the street to feed the parking metre where my own car was parked. He promised to come back and get it after he got me home in bed. It wasn’t until we were on the road that I looked down and realised my leg was covered in blood where the nurse had stabbed me roughly with the anti-d needle.

Once I got home I tried to lie in bed. I really did. But there was just so much blood. It was flooding everywhere. It was going all over the sheets. And then I felt something weird. A heavy sensation. Like there was something stuck in me.

So I hobbled into the bathroom, sat down on the toilet, put my hands out, and caught this gigantic piece of bloody tissue as it fell out of my vagina.

“Oh fuck!” I shrieked. “Oh fuck oh fuck! I saw the baby on the ultrasound an hour ago! What the fucking fuck is this that just fell out of me?!”

Doug came rushing into the bathroom and almost passed out at the sight of my blood covered hands, and the blood all over the floor.

“Get out!” I screamed, horrified that he was watching this happen.

“I want to be here with you.” he argued.

“Are you kidding me? Get out get out!”

“Okay!” he cried. “I’m going!”

Next thing I knew, I could hear clunking noises and I looked out the bathroom window. Doug had a shovel and he was out in the backyard frantically digging up the gardens. Yes, he was digging up the gardens. It was certainly an interesting way to deal with stress and anxiety.

Thinking fast, I cleaned myself up and rushed down to the kitchen to grab a Tupperware container. Then I went back up to the bathroom and locked myself inside. Over the next few hours, I passed chunk after chunk, which I carefully placed inside the container. Then I felt something really huge. It was almost so huge I felt the need to push. And then there was a big splash, and I looked down into the toilet, and a giant red lump was in the bowl.

Oh God. I thought. That one looks very big and important. I think I need to pick it up before the toilet water ruins it.

Without even hesitating long enough to take off my wedding ring, I plunged my hand into the bloody water to retrieve the lump. It was much larger than the other clots. It definitely had the mucus plug attached. It was fully formed and looked like a smaller version of the mucus plugs women lose when they’re full term. And then there was a whole bunch of other stuff. Tissue that had real definition to it. It was white, and veiny. Somehow, I suspected the worst of it was over.

I went calmly over to the bathroom window. “Doug I think I just passed the baby.” I called down to my husband.

“Oh okay.” he called back, continuing to dig frantically with his shovel.

I put the chunk into the Tupperware container with the others, placed the container inside a cardboard box so it was hidden, and then went downstairs and put it in the fridge. Then I went back upstairs, cleaned up the bathroom and had a long shower.

After that, the bleeding slowed down significantly and I was able to finally hop into bed. Doug also came inside and cleaned himself up. He was shaking and crying, he looked really shattered. He came and lay next to me in the dark, and our poodle Arnold snuggled up so that he was lying across my tummy. It was almost like he knew something was very wrong.

“I don’t want you to feel alone tonight.” Doug said. “If you can’t sleep please wake me up. I want to be there for you.”

I didn’t think I was going to be able to get any sleep at all, but in reality I’d lost so much blood I fell into a deep sleep almost immediately and didn’t wake up for 10 hours. When I woke up the next morning, the blood had turned brown and slowed down to a trickle again.

I called the nurses station to inform them, and unfortunately ended up talking to my least favourite nurse. I imagine she was hired because she is aesthetically pleasing, rather than good at her job. Nevertheless, I explained the situation to her.

“Well that sounds very positive.” she said.

Silence.

“Um…sounds positive?” I managed to eventually splutter.

“Yes we see this happen sometimes. Women bleed in early pregnancy when there is a clot in the uterus, and then after that they just go on to have healthy normal babies.” she said. “Your hcg numbers were rising so perfectly. I’m sure nothing is wrong with the baby.”

And let me tell you right now, had that stupid nurse not made such a ridiculous comment, she would have saved me 24 hours of desperately hoping and a lot of subsequent heartache. She advised me to keep up with my medication, stay resting in bed and come in the next morning for my scheduled appointment.

Doug tried to tell me over and over that the baby was gone, but I kept on quoting the nurse’s words at him. She was a trained professional so surely she knew what she was talking about!

But this morning at my appointment, when the doctor scanned me we saw nothing but an empty uterus. Well actually, not empty. It was filled with a shit-load of blood. A whole whoppin’ amount of blood just waiting to come gushing out again. Blood, but definitely no baby.

“I’m so sorry Sadie and Doug.” the doctor said, reaching out to hug me. “The baby is gone.”

Doug was crying again, but I was totally calm and emotionless.

“The baby isn’t gone. I know where the baby is.” I informed the doctor.

“Errr where is it?” he asked, confused.

“It’s in my fridge, in a Tupperware container.” I responded matter-of-factly.

“You kept the tissue you passed? Oh good girl. Very good girl.” the doctor said, clearly impressed. “Go home and get it, and then bring it back to the pathology lab. They can do genetic testing.”

After I cleaned up and got dressed, we met up with the doctor again in his office. Doug slumped back in his chair, tears rolling down his face. It took me a few minutes to notice I was sitting polar opposite to him. I was leaning forward intently with my elbows rested on the doctor’s desk.

For twenty minutes, the doctor and I discussed my case. He offered me a D&C, because he said I have a significant amount of blood left in my uterus. But we eventually decided to let me bleed naturally first, and then check in a week to see if I actually need the D&C. I’ve had so many surgeries lately and he doesn’t want to put me under a general again for no real reason.

He also said I can now officially add “Recurrent Pregnancy Loss” to my list of infertility titles because I have lost three babies. But this is the first one we’ve actually been able to collect for genetic testing, so perhaps it will shed some light. Though the doctor did stress that only 1% of RPL can be explained.

The doctor kept shaking his head and saying he couldn’t understand how a healthy young woman could go through eight cycles of IVF unsuccessfully. He encouraged us to research preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) testing, but stressed we need to talk to scientists first because it does cost tens of thousands of dollars and there are risks involved.  We definitely don’t have tens of thousands of dollars. The eight cycles we’ve already been through have depleted our savings.

Then the doctor and I discussed moving forward with my ninth cycle of IVF, trying to pick up more eggs than last time, and all the testing he wanted to repeat on me just in case all the doctors who have tested me previously had missed something obvious and important.

“Can we please not do this?” Doug suddenly piped up. “Why are we talking about moving forward with another IVF cycle? I just found out a couple of minutes ago my friggen baby died. Can’t I grieve this baby before we start talking about the next one?”

“I agree mate.” the doctor said. “You need time to grieve and I need you to keep seeing your counsellor. But I’m also trying to help you. I’m trying to move you in the right direction. Your wife is young and healthy. This shouldn’t be happening to her and I’m trying to figure it all out.”

“What’s the point?” Doug asked, throwing his hands up in the air. “We keep doing this. We do it over and over and over again, but it always ends the same way. No baby. No baby! Why should we keep doing IVF if we aren’t going to get a baby?”

“Your wife is 28 years old. Eventually something different will happen, and you’re going to get a baby.” the doctor argued.

“But don’t you understand I don’t want to talk about this right now?” Doug snapped. “You don’t have any answers for us right now. So let me just grieve okay?”

By this stage I was reeling. I felt completely torn between the two men in the room. I wanted desperately to tell my doctor to ignore every word coming out of my husband’s mouth and to start prepping for the next cycle. I didn’t want to mess around, or sit and wallow in my misery. I wanted to push forward, full steam ahead. I wanted to try new drugs, do everything different. I wanted to do something.

But on the other hand, I wanted to comfort Doug. I could see he was hurting badly. He was taking the whole affair so much harder than me.

“Okay mate.” the doctor nodded. “You go home. Take Sadie home and put her back to bed. You take as much time as you need to grieve. And in a week, or a month, or six months, or whenever you feel ready, you give me a call. And only then will we move forward.”

I was secretly furious, but had to kind of go along with the new plan. I knew if I tried to rock the boat my husband would start bawling his eyes out in the doctors clinic.

So instead I said nothing and left the clinic. Doug insisted that he wanted to go back to work, so I drove home alone and collected the container from my fridge. The plastic box that contained my baby. My baby was in the friggen fridge.

When I arrived at the pathology lab, and explained to the specimen collector what was in the bag I was holding she actually took a step back and screwed her face up.

“Are you serious? Ew!” she said.

Um…what?

“Well I don’t want to touch it. Is it in a sterile container?” she asked.

“No.” I replied coolly. “I didn’t have time to go out and buy a sterile specimen jar while I was miscarrying my baby, sorry.”

“Why are you being so calm about this?” she asked. “This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever had to deal with.”

“It isn’t exactly a fun experience for me either, lady.” I said.

Then she made me label the container myself, and she passed me the barcode stickers to place across the side of it. While she passed them to me, she made sure to face the other wall so she couldn’t catch a glimpse of anything. I wanted to scream at her that she was being stupid. I mean people bring poo in jars to pathology clinics all the time! What’s the big deal about some blood and tissue?

Finally, she passed me an opaque pathology bag, made me place the container inside and then seal it up. Only then, when the container was safely tucked away, would she look at me.

“Put the bag on the table. And then you can leave.” she said. “Just leave now.”

After I left I was completely shaken up. She hadn’t even said she was sorry for my loss. She had just been rude, and bizarre. I briefly considered making a complaint, but it was the same pathology lab that I complained to last time. And I’m still waiting on a response from them…

So instead I just went home and watched television. I watched Good Will Hunting, and then made myself some lunch. I didn’t cry. I still haven’t cried.

My baby is gone. Nobody knows why I bled out because the pregnancy itself looked healthy and perfect. I am more infertile than ever. Nobody has any answers for me. I will probably never have children. My life has pretty much lost all meaning or purpose. But whatever. It happens. C’est la vie?

I don’t really have anything else to say. Doug is so upset he is hardly speaking to me. He doesn’t blame me, he is just devastated and dealing with it really badly. Being at my house is like living in a funeral parlour. Which I guess it kinda was for a while, given there was a dead baby in the fridge. Well actually, that would probably make the house a morgue.

I’m going to go back to work tomorrow because I don’t have any sick days left. That ought to be a hoot. I explained the situation to my boss and she was very understanding, but there’s no reason for me to sit at home doing nothing. I may as well be at work earning money.

It feels like my whole life is over, and nothing good will ever happen to me again. But strangely enough the sun came up this morning and it’ll undoubtedly come up tomorrow as well. The world keeps spinning, whether I like it or not.

I don’t really have anything else to say so I’m just going to end this blog update as abruptly as I started it.

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Fading to black

Everything can change so quickly in this game.

One minute you’re watching your baby’s heart beat on the ultrasound monitor and marveling at how perfect they look.

Next thing, you’re gushing red blood all over the floor of the doctors office, passing disgustingly humungus clots that closely resemble chunks of human flesh, and having a nurse stab your thigh with an anti-d injection right there in the scan room because you are rhesus negative and they can’t risk your baby’s blood mixing with yours as it leaves your body.

And because it’s all happening so quickly the nurse is rough, and leaves blood gushing down your leg where she has pulled out the needle. And you’re crying hysterically and your husband has gone all pale, and the nurse makes some feeble comment like “This injection will stop the bleeding!” and you want to scream at her “No lady! Don’t try to lie to me because you pity me!” but instead you say nothing because you’re so emotional that the words fade away before they can even form in your mouth.

Just like that, people. Just like that.

And then all you can think is…why can’t I go too? Why can’t this baby take me too? Why do all my babies leave me behind here, so miserable and alone?

Then you’re supposed to be resting in bed until they can scan you again tomorrow, but instead you’re in the bathroom collecting the huge chunks that fall out of yourself and putting them in a tupperware jar. Even though you don’t have any idea why you’re doing this.

Maybe because there’s nothing else for you to do now. You have lost all other purpose.

Eight cycles of IVF. Another dead baby. Another crushed dream.

A reverse squinter

This week I am home alone because Doug is away on business. When Doug isn’t here I have no one to kindly inform me when I am being crazy. Inevitably, this leads to bad things.

Tonight I suddenly thought to myself “What if my hcg levels are dropping and I don’t even realise it? That would be bad.”

Coincidentally I had a spare pregnancy test in the bathroom. I know I know what are the chances! I decided to give it a whirl even though it’s 7pm and I’ve had over 2 litres of water to drink today.

Holy shitballs it’s like a reverse squinter. The control line took so long to appear I thought at first it was a faulty test. In contrast, the thick test line appeared instantly. It was kinda freaky!

image

I really wish Clearblue Digital made an IVF version of their test that can give you hcg level readings instead of weeks past conception.

I’d love to see Pregnant: 2000+ appear in the little window and then Pregnant: 5000+ and so on and so forth up to some sort of acceptable number like 20,000. That could put all our minds at ease.

I would pay really good money for that kind of comfort. Even if it only had an accuracy of 87%. Who makes Clearblue Digital? Can’t someone send them a memo or something?

If only I ran the world…

Progesterone

This is pretty much every phone conversation I have had with the nurses at my IVF clinic over the past two weeks.

Scenario A

Me: “Can I get my progesterone levels checked?”

Nurse: “No. Why would you need them checked? Your hcg numbers look good.”

Scenario B

Me: “Can I get my progesterone levels checked? I have bad cramping.”

Nurse.”Cramping is common. We don’t need to check your levels.”

Me: “Can I have them checked anyway?”

Nurse: “….no.”

Scenario C

Me: “I know you’re probably aware of this, but this is my eighth cycle of IVF. Eight is a lot of cycles, particularly for someone my age. I’d really prefer not to have to do a ninth cycle. Can I have my progesterone levels checked?”

Nurse: “We don’t routinely check progesterone, it’s not necessary for you unless you’re bleeding. Are you bleeding?”

Me: “No.”

Nurse: “Then we don’t need to check your progesterone.”

Look honestly all I want to know is my damn progesterone level. Why is this such a terrible thing? Why can’t I get the damn blood test? The fact the nurses won’t let me get the test done just makes me want it even more. I think about it constantly. I’m almost more obsessed with my progesterone levels than I am with the concept that I’m pregnant.

As if I haven’t been stressing about this enough, yesterday my temperature (yes I constantly take my temperature with a BBT thermometer. I am a long-term IVF crazy lady and I don’t care if you judge me) suddenly dropped a whole degree. My normal non-pregnant temperature is on the low side of average (around 36.1 degrees celcius) but my entire pregnancy so far my temperature has been consistently 37 to 37.2 degrees. But yesterday without warning it plummeted to 36.2. In the evening it crawled up to about 36.7, but then fell to 36.1 this morning. Cue panic.

Doctor Google tells me that a drop in temperature can be linked to falling progesterone levels. That word – progesterone  – is taunting me. It’s everywhere. It’s feeding my hysteria.

It’s as I feared! I think to myself. My progesterone levels are dropping! This is all over because these nurses don’t listen to me! Why won’t they listen to me? What is the world coming to? Won’t somebody think of the children?

And then something occurred to me. Something genius that I hadn’t realised before this morning. The nurses only seemed concerned about progesterone when bleeding was involved.

And then I phoned the clinic, and told a tiny white lie

Me: “I have cramping and I also have spotting. Can I get my progesterone checked?”

Nurse: “Spotting? What colour is the spotting?”  

Me: “Well it’s not quite brown but it’s not quite red. It’s somewhere in between.” (yes I actually said that…)

Nurse: “Okay just monitor yourself closely for today. Maybe bed rest would be a good idea.”

Me: “Can I get my progesterone levels checked now?”

Nurse: “If you have any more spotting I’ll get you to come back in and we’ll repeat your hcg blood test.”

Me: “But my temperature dropped a whole degree.”

Nurse: “Errrr what?”

Me: “My temperature! It dropped!”

Nurse: “I’m sure it’s fine. Just call me if you get more spotting and we’ll repeat the bhcg test.”

WHAT ON EARTH?! BHCG? I don’t want another bhcg test! What does a girl have to do around here to get a friggen progesterone check?? Not even lying to medical professionals seems to work! I am shocked!

Is it just me? Is my clinic the only clinic that won’t check progesterone? Is it true that progesterone tests aren’t necessary if the hcg is normal? Does falling temperature actually mean my progesterone is dropping? I currently use crinone twice a day. Is this enough progesterone to hold off a miscarriage due to low progesterone levels? Are you getting sick of me typing the word progesterone over and over?

I think I’m done with this post now. Wait, just once more for good measure…

Progesterone.

 
p.s My white lie wasn’t actually a very big lie at all – I did have some brownish stuff this morning when I went to the bathroom but I’m thinking it might have been old crinone. I mainly just exaggerated, rather than lied. Still…a moment I am not proud of. And still can’t believe they wouldn’t check my progesterone!

p.p.s While I wrote this blog post someone ate my entire bag of popcorn. And I’m pretty sure it was me.

I am 28

Another year older.

Another year closer to needing a hysterectomy.

Another full year struggling with infertility.

Another year without a baby in my arms.

Yesterday morning my husband got dressed for work, kissed me goodbye and said “Don’t forget I’m using your garage door opener because I lost mine. Once I’ve closed the garage door behind me I’ll leave your remote control in the letterbox for you to pick up on your way out.”

It took me a few moments to comprehend that he had actually left for work, that he had actually forgotten it was my birthday…

But in the end it all turned out for the best. I texted him mid-morning to ask if there was something he was supposed to remember and he was instantly mortified.  He said he was the worst husband ever and he was so bad and so sorry and I totally milked it for all it was worth. Poor guy haha…

But even more important than my birthday was my appointment with my doctor. Unfortunately for me the appointment was at 4pm so I had to sit through almost an entire day at work first.

I was so nervous, I was well past the point of anxiety. Forget butterflies in your tummy – my stomach was actually flipping the same way it does when I’m on a roller coaster. It was quite sickening.

And the day moved soooo slowwwwwwly. The seconds felt like minutes, and the minutes like hours. Doug was nearly vomiting from the anxiety before we even made it to lunch time.

I ended up getting to the clinic 45 minutes early because I couldn’t stand sitting at my desk twiddling my thumbs. I didn’t want to go inside and look like an idiot so I bought a chocolate bar from the convenience store across the road from the hospital and ate my feelings.

At 3.45pm I went inside to wait for Doug to arrive. I didn’t mention this to you guys but my favourite person from my old clinic was my embryologist (at that clinic everyone had their own dedicated scientist to do their transfers and look after their embies).

On the day of my egg retrieval during my seventh cycle (my first cycle at this new clinic) I was shocked to see my favourite embryologist! She had jumped clinics at the same time as I had. And she was just as happy to see me as I was to see her!

I was even more happy when I found out she was also going to be the scientist who would be in the surgical theatre during my last retrieval. She actually came over and held my hand as the anesthetist put me to sleep and I remember groggily telling her “I love you, you’re my favourite…” right before I closed my eyes. Because that’s not embarrassing at all.

Every time I come into the clinic now she comes rushing out of the lab to see me. It’s like having your own personal cheerleader or something. She’s such great value.

Anyway, yesterday was no different. She actually came and sat next to me in the waiting room and held my hand.

“I have been following all your results so closely!” she said. “I’m so excited that you are pregnant but so worried about your cramping. You’ve been through so much I don’t even know what to say.”

Moments later the doctor came out of his office and called my name, so the embryologist hugged me and wished me luck then disappeared back into the lab.

Thankfully just before the doctor closed his office door Doug also turned up in the clinic waiting room. I was super happy I didn’t have to go in by myself even though my doctor is mostly awesome. I just didn’t want to deal with bad news on my own.

“So you’re up the duff eh?” He said, sitting at his desk. “Well done me. How far along are you?”

“5 weeks 1 day.” I replied.

The doctor then typed some information into his computer and turned to me. “According to my computer you’re 5 weeks 1 day.”

“Yes I just said that!” I protested, trying not to laugh.

“Oh but I’m a man so I don’t listen when women talk to me. Just ask my wife! ” He joked. “And just in case you weren’t aware smarty pants, your official due date is 17 January.”

I did already know my due date but it felt so weird to have a medical professional actually say it out loud and then record it in my file. It was surreal.

“Look I’m really worried.” I said. “I’ve been having severe pain on my right side.”

“It’s not an ectopic pregnancy if that’s what you are hinting at. Your hcg numbers are perfect. ” Doc said firmly.

“But the cramps!” I cried. “What if I’m that one in a million woman who has an ectopic with great numbers?”

“Oh goodness! Okay okay. Come on, I’ll scan you!” He said, leading me next door into his scan room.

I lay down on the table, Doug holding my hand tightly, and Doc inserted the dildo cam. So fun when you’re full of crinone…

Immediately we saw a gestational sac and yolk sac on the screen. I was kind of shocked to be honest. I wasn’t even emotional,  just…stunned. Was I really looking at my own insides?

“There you see!” Doc said. “A perfect looking pregnancy in the uterus. No heartbeat yet because it’s too soon but there will be one next week I guarantee you.”

He also checked my right side and found no cysts or blood. He concluded that the pain is caused by a small tear in a muscle that is being exasperated by my stretching ligaments.

Then he moved the wand back so we could see the uterus again.

“Is that a yolk sac?” I asked worriedly. Even though I knew I could see the yolk sac I just wanted confirmation. “Could this be a blighted ovum?”

“Blighted ovum? Sadie you need to step away from the internet.” He scoffed. “This pregnancy is normal.”

Then just like that he printed off two photos, handed them to Doug, and removed the dildo cam.

“Ok young lady here’s the plan.” Doc said. “Clearly you are terrified so I want you back here in a week and we’ll see if we can find that heartbeat for you. In the meantime I want you to pick a good obstetrician and book in now. The good ones fill up fast and you’ll be having a baby in January.”

Just like that our appointment was over. When I was at the front desk picking up more crinone three of the nurses and two of the embryologists came out to say congratulations and happy birthday.

It was actually extremely overwhelming to have all these people congratulating me. I felt like I was listening to someone else receive congratulations. I felt like it couldn’t be happening to me. Good things just don’t happen to me.

My follow-up appointment was set for next Thursday. A whole 10 days until we can check for a heartbeat. I don’t know how I will cope until then. I certainly won’t be booking in to see an obstetrician before then. My God! I still don’t in any way believe this is real or that anything good will come of it.

All in all I guess I had a pretty ok birthday. It was low key and most people forgot (including my husband!) but I am certainly better off this birthday than last. I’m not going to count my chickens before they hatch but I have moved in a positive direction. I can’t really ask for more than that…

You guys, as of right now there’s a baby in my tummy. It might not be there next week or the week after but it’s there now as I type this. So surreal! If this is what you get to have when you’re 28 bring it on!

Maybe just maybe 28 is going to be my year.

Sadie xx

bhcg level – a quick update

Hey ladies! Just wanted to say a big thank you for all your support after my last blog post. I really have missed you guys!

Well I got my results from my third hcg blood test this afternoon.

My level has risen to 1870, which gives us a doubling time of 40 hours.

So at 10dp5dt my level was 330, at 12dp5dt it was 805 and at 14dp5dt it is 1870.

The nurse said this is “text book” so far for a healthy pregnancy, however the pain on my right side is persisting. She suggested I push for a scan at my next doctors appointment on Monday afternoon just to check.

The pain is so bad it woke me repeatedly in the night and I had to stay home from work today.  My mum even came over to make me lunch so I wouldn’t have to get out of bed.

I remembered this morning that during my IVF cycle in January I had that large blood filled cyst that the doctor needed to drain during my egg retrieval. Maybe it has reappeared and is now reacting to the pregnancy hormone in my body?

I don’t know. I’m just so worried. I really need to keep this one. I don’t know if I can just keep doing IVF cycles indefinitely. Isn’t 8 cycles enough for any gal??

I am going to keep up the bed rest over the weekend and just anxiously await my appointment on Monday. An appointment which just happens to fall on my birthday. Surely I can’t get bad news on my birthday…?

Thoughts? Opinions? Advice?

Oh and also one last question – for those of you with the MTHFR mutation what type of folic acid do you take? I have been taking Megafol 5 but I’m not sure if that is right.

Thanks ladies you are awesome!

Sadie xx

I’m back! And I’m on the hunt for advice…

You know those bitches who disappear from their blog for a few months and then suddenly come back and they’re pregnant?

Yeah, sorry about that. Because I’m pregnant.

Seriously though I need some huge advice. I am freaking out and I don’t really know what to think or do. I suppose I should give you guys a quick recap before I get into the questions. That’s only polite.

First of all I want to explain the reason I left my blog. I never stopped thinking about you all, but I made a personal decision that was best for my relationship with my husband. We went through a rocky patch after my sixth cycle of IVF failed and he admitted during a disagreement one evening that he hated that I felt I was able to vent my true feelings on the internet but not to him. I was upset with him for thinking such a thing, but also desperate to mend our shaky marriage. So he made a request that I temporarily suspend my blog until such a time when our relationship was more stable, and I reluctantly obliged.

After that our relationship quickly improved (though I’m sure it had nothing to do with my lack of blogging, and more to do with the fact we both started seeing our therapists more regularly) and I would often think about returning here, but things have been very busy and I just never found the time.  

I am currently in my eighth cycle of IVF. You guys missed me moving to a new doctor, my entire seventh IVF cycle, another major laparoscopy where heaps of endo was removed, a D&C, more tubal studies, and another round of needle diathermy for my PCOS. Told you it’s been busy around here!

My new doctor is awesome, and so different to my last doctor. He swears a lot, which took a little getting used to. He said it was “fucked up” (his words, not mine) that a 27 year old had failed six cycles of IVF and no one seemed to really care or think I was important. He said decent fertility doctors would pay more attention to me because of my circumstances, rather than ignoring me to focus on older patients.

He took me on as a challenge, and even did my laparoscopy with no out of pocket expenses (even waived his surgical assistant’s fees) because he wanted to get me as healthy as possible as cheaply as possible. And because no young women should have to suffer what I’ve suffered through, and he wanted to make my life better. Just like that! Last time I had a laparoscopy it cost us around $5000 out of pocket so the saving was ridiculously massive. It was like falling in love all over again, except you know, not in a romantic kind of way…because he’s old…and I love my husband…

This doctor uses much more radical treatment methods, and pays close attention to studies coming out of Europe. He believes in throwing the book at IVF, rather than taking the ‘softly, softly’ approach that most IVF doctors in Melbourne seem to take. For example I was up to my sixth cycle and still wasn’t allowed to use embryo glue at my old clinic in case it resulted in twins! I mean honestly!

My previous doctor also kept refusing to test me for MTHFR gene mutations. She kept insisting I didn’t have it and the test was pointless and would cost us thousands out of pocket. I asked my new doctor and he said “sure go right ahead if you want to get tested I’ll write you a pathology request.” And guess what? The test only cost $65 out of pocket. And guess what else? I am a homozygous carrier of the MTHFR mutation. SURPRISE SURPRISE!!! I cried so much when I found out, because I’m so sure that fact at least contributed to my previous two pregnancy losses. Now I take blood thinners, and I feel better not only about the fact my treatment is more successfully managed but also hopeful this will lessen my chances of thrombosis in the future.

During my seventh cycle of IVF I experienced a fun new thing which I can add to my long list of fun new things. It’s called Empty Follicle Syndrome and it’s extremely rare in young women. Doc estimated I would have approximately 30 eggs picked up (he was deliberately overstimulating me to pick up as many eggs as possible, and then triggered me with Synarel instead of Ovidrel in order to prevent OHSS – I told you his protocols are more radical). But on egg retrieval day I only had seven eggs in the 30+ follicles.

When the doctor found out he didn’t dismiss it as “just something that happens sometimes” like my old doctor would have. Instead, he said “Well this is shit. Really shit. I’m really sorry. If we don’t get any fertilized eggs we will figure something out I promise. And I hope to God you have embryos on day five because I don’t want to deal with your wrath if you don’t.” It made me feel like he actually cared. I appreciated that.

In my eighth cycle we had some success and ended up transferring one perfect hatching AA graded blastocyst, with one lower quality blast tucked away in the freezer. Obviously we didn’t need assisted hatching, but we did use embryo glue.

And now we get to the part of the blog post where I ask y’all questions so please pay attention.

Last Monday (3dp5dt) I had a temperature spike and a tiny bit of pink spotting, which I thought might have been implantation bleeding. Then throughout the week I had bad headaches and ran a low grade fever but my boobs weren’t sore even though I constantly poked them. Last Friday I started cramping so I took a home pregnancy test and got a super super strong positive. Honestly I’ve never seen a pregnancy test turn so dark so quickly. Then on Saturday I had pink spotting in the morning and a small amount of red spotting in the evening followed by awful cramping. I was sure I was getting my period.

But on Monday (10dp5dt) I had my first beta test and my level came back at 330. I was ridiculously shocked to pull such a high number so early, particularly because in both my other pregnancies my levels were always so low. Not to mention the cramping and bleeding.

Two days later (yesterday) they did a follow-up blood test and I was so depressed and anxious. I was completely 100% convinced my numbers weren’t going to double so I went down to the supermarket on my lunch break at work to buy chocolate to console myself. As I was coming out of the supermarket, the nurse rang to tell me that my hcg at 12dp5dt was 805. I asked her to repeat that number like 6 times. “Sorry did you say 805? Can you just confirm 805? My number? For me? 805?”

The nurse said usually patients get numbers between 100 and 200 at 12dp5dt. So my numbers are pretty high and my doubling time was 36.14 hours which is also super fast am I correct? Like it’s the fast end of the normal range? She said my pregnancy seems strong and healthy. But come on. This is me. Things don’t go right for me. This can’t actually be happening for me.

My first thought was “Oh my god they’ve both implanted” and then I remembered we only transferred the one embryo, and put the other one into storage. So then I looked up identical twins and saw that the second embryo usually implants between days 10-14. Immediately I recalled the second lot of spotting I had on the weekend, which was 8dp5dt or technically 13dpo. So are identical twins a possibility? I guess so. My hcg levels don’t seem high enough for twins, but seem very high for a singleton.

All day today I have had a strong pain on my right side. It’s about 2.5 inches to the right of my belly button, but much further down near my pubic bone. It’s sort of a consistent twinging pain. Sometimes it’s on my left side, and sometimes in the middle, but mostly it’s on my right side. And now I am freaking out. I called the nurse and she said maybe it’s ligaments stretching but why is it mostly on one side?? Like I mean constantly twinging on my right side and occassionally mirrored on my left. The pain never leaves my right side.

So here are the questions:

1. For the IVF ladies who have had success…what were your hcg levels like in early pregnancy?

2. When my last pregnancy wasn’t located in the uterus, my hcg numbers were much lower than average and kept fluctuating up and down. Can I still have an ectopic pregnancy if my levels are higher than average and doubling nicely?

3. What does ectopic pain feel like?

4. Is this cramping normal? In women who have PCOS did the cysts on your ovaries react to the hcg increases and cause you pain? Could it be my ovary I am feeling?

5. If I have higher hcg levels with fast doubling times, does that mean I am more likely to have a normal healthy pregnancy, or is the actual number irrelevant?

6. I have an appointment with my doctor on Monday (I will be 5 weeks, 1 day pregnant) should I push for a scan or would it be pointless this early on because it’ll be too early to see anything?

I really can’t believe I’ve been away for months and now I’m coming back and asking for advice. Like, how selfish am I!

I really truly need assistance to calm down here. I know you all probably think I am overreacting, and I most likely am. But I feel like I deserve this one. Eight cycles of IVF is enough for anyone and it’s my 28th birthday on Monday. Please oh please can’t I just have a baby this time? 

Thanks in advance for your advice ladies.

 Sadie xx

p.s sorry for any spelling or grammar mistakes in this post – I didn’t have time to edit it I just wanted to get my post out there!