Yes; it’s complicated.

Have you ever been pregnant?

For the past few years, this standard question has been a slight source of frustration.

No.  Damn it.  No, I haven’t.  I’m trying.  It’s not working.  Thank you for reminding me.

 

Today, for the first time, I had a new answer.

I was sitting in the acupuncturist’s waiting room, filling out 35 gazillion forms, and this is  the question that made my breath stick in my throat for an extra second.  To be fair, I did have to answer this question while I was in the hospital for my surgery.  But at the time, I was in excruciating pain, and the emotional weight of it was not my priority.  Today was the first time I have had to answer this question and have the full, raw history come roaring back.

 

Also, congratulations to me, I have a new surgery to record in my medical history: salpingectomy.  Removal of fallopian tube.  I had to google it for spelling.

Later on, I was sitting across from this seasoned, published acupuncturist, and she said, “I really need 3-6 months to help you heal.”

“I bounce back quickly. I feel great”

“Mmm hmm… ”  (writing something down).  “You had a traumatic surgery and then had complications and anemia.  But if you’ve made your decision and you’re starting a new cycle, I am suggesting that you come in 3 times a week.”

So, I may be painting an unpleasant picture of this woman, but actually she couldn’t have been warmer or more knowledgeable. It’s just, her reaction really got me thinking.

Did I bounce back quickly?  Or am I a really good actress to the point of even fooling myself?  I read other blogs and I don’t feel the constant anguish that some women describe.  We are all different, and so I just assume that I have dealt with it and am one of the lucky ones who can move forward.  But then there are these moments that stop me in my tracks.  And I’m not sure.

So, no…no, I am not sure I am ready.  But, yes…yes, I am starting round 2.  Yes; it’s complicated.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho…

It’s off to the ER again I go.

I’m ok. I’m sore and bruised, and yes, I was rushed to the ER again today, but today’s story ends like this: I’m home and I’m ok.

I had hoped not to have much to post for awhile, but it looks like the universe had another plan.

So quick rewind: emergency surgery to remove ectopic pregnancy and ruptured tube this past Saturday. Here’s a fun fact I didn’t know until today: I lost half my blood that day. half. Like, of all my blood. The doctor referred to what I went through on Saturday as “life threatening” and “extremely dangerous.” I knew that from reading, but I hadn’t heard those words used in conjunction with me until today. **After reading this, my sister, RN, explained that what the doctor probably meant was that my hemoglobin count was half of what it should be.**

Anyway, day after surgery I woke up and the swelling and bruising on the right hand incision seemed worse so I called Dr. R and she had me send a picture and told me to come in the next morning.

Went in next AM, more bloodwork, saw my other doctor, Dr. D, (both had been present at surgery), he examined the bruising and agreed it was alarming to look at but probably just a nicked blood vessel. Sent me home with orders to come back NEXT Friday.

Got a call later that day that due to my counts, he wanted me in sooner and I scheduled for THIS Friday.

Tuesday, bruises get darker and wider, headache, dizzy, sore as hell on the right side.

This afternoon, Dr. R calls. She wants to see me right away. My numbers from Monday finally went across her desk and she was extremely concerned. She takes one look at me and tells me she is sending me for a CT Scan as a precaution.

Mom and I make the hour plus journey, go through all of the ER stuff again. More IV tries, more attempts at blood draws. Thanks to a family friend, I get bumped up the line for imaging.

6 hours later, I am discharged. I am anemic from Saturday’s surgery, have a raging headache, a small and probably harmless blood clot on the left, and bruises like you wouldn’t believe, but at least I’m home and I’m ok.

HCG went from over 6,000 to 800, which is great. My hemoglobin is back up to 8.8. So all of the numbers are moving in the right direction. Dr. McDreamy from the ER says it will take about 2 weeks until my body has replenished everything it needs, so until then just take it easy and let myself heal.

As I commented on Facebook earlier tonight:
Thanks, everyone! I’m home and looking forward to some sleep. I will be closely monitored for blood loss but numbers are moving in the right direction. My chin is up and I’m looking forward to healing and putting this behind me. Love you all for caring and sending positivity my way. It’s been a scary and emotional week but the winds are changing. xoxo

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And Then I Ruptured

Thursday: cramping and bleeding starts (again, this time allegedly from Monday’s MTX shot).

Friday: continues.

Saturday 10 AM: excruciating pain.

10:30 AM: I take two Tylenol (looking back I laugh at how futile this was)

12 pm: the pain has not subsided; it feels like stabbing in my left side and it takes my breath away- I finally stop being stubborn and call it in to the answering service.

12:30 pm: Dr. calls me right back and doesn’t hesitate to tell me to pack a bag and meet her at the hospital.

1:30 pm: arrive at hospital and the rest is somewhat of a blur
– check in: answer 500,000 questions
– triage: answer a million questions
– ER: nurse Maureen starts my IV and takes blood; I almost faint from anxiety / pain, 2 additional nurses come in for more blood (they forgot to test for one thing ordered by doc) and after being stuck 4 addition places there is nothing to show for it; answer more questions
– Ultrasound: extremely uncomfortable, she asks me to guide the probe in, my doctor is right there but she is not allowed to do ultrasound. She looks over the tech’s shoulders and sees what she needs to in order to call the surgery (there is blood pooling in my pelvis. “You are rupturing through the Methotrexate.”)
– Back to ER: quick phone call to R at work (“Stay at work just get home as quickly as you can and try to get tomorrow covered.” Lots of I love yous.). Doc informs me my Day 4 numbers had gone WAY up and she was expecting to hear from me this weekend. She is not surprised.
– OR prep: Leave mom in waiting room. Dad joins soon thereafter.
Note to family: repeatedly get described as “such a sweet girl” (how do most patients act?!?)
– Surgery: laparoscopic removal of pregnancy (an extremely healthy 6w3d embryo) and tube; don’t remember this at all, thank goodness
– Recovery 7:30 PM: they took left tube (fully ruptured- it was “badly diseased.”), other tube also looks pretty not-so- good but they leave it without medical reason for removal; this is of course the dark cloud of the whole ordeal for me…
– Pediatrics (post recovery and dishcharge); though I have 3 incisions, the one on the right (and the whole right side of my body seems to be sorest, also my throat from the anesthesia tube, I have to pee and eat a turkey sandwich before I can be discharged; answer 2 million more questions

11:45 PM: home sweet home – R finally home from work, mom finally gets some sleep

4:00 AM: I got a little sleep but it’s hard to recline. Also, I am very bloated from the anesthesia which is actually extremely painful from neck to hip. Right surgical site appears to have more blood and stuff going on; not sure what that’s about. Hopefully it’s normal.

** Silver lining: I don’t need to return for Blood work and possible second MTX shot tomorrow morning. Also, I came out of the infertility closet on Facebook. My #100happydays post was about being grateful for my doctors and care and had a pic of my room on the pediatric floor. In my post I urged people to tell their TTC troubles, ending with, “It doesn’t have to be such a secret.” Many took me up on this. We are not alone.

I have even more to process now and of course the surgery adds healing time. Follow up in two weeks. Have to wait 3 months to try again. IVF Round 2 will be with one damaged tube (supposedly there is a plan to stitch it closed or something like that so no embryo can get in. I guess will talk about that when the time comes).

Finally I just want to add that I accomplished the following things while bleeding internally:
1) I directed a musical
2) I interviewed (twice) for a new position AND got the job
3) I went out for sushi
4) I walked the dog several times a day
5) I led a workshop for new teachers in my district

So anytime I don’t feel up to something, I’m just going to encourage myself, “It’s not like you’re bleeding internally right now…” Note to self: this should also work on the man, i.e. “Please walk the dog. It’s not like you’re bleeding internally…”

And now the road to recovery…

Thank You!

I didn’t respond individually to all of your messages over the past few days but I just wanted to send a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you ladies in this amazing and supportive community.

When I started this blog, I never imagined anyone would actually read it, but now that my TTC journey has taken me on so many roller coaster rides, I can’t imagine getting through with out you all. (The highs and the lows!).

So, thank you for all of your kind words of hope, strength, and empathy over the past week. I appreciate it more than my silly words can express.

Even though I can’t put a face with most of your names, we are truly all in this together. Isn’t that something else. (AND YES, we should start our own little gated community with a state of the art fertility clinic right in the center. We could all celebrate the BFPs and take home babies together, and take care of one another through BFN and loss… I think it’s brilliant. OH, and UNLIMITED BETA TESTING for everyone, of course!!!)

Ob La Di…

It is a very strange feeling to have life continue on around you, even though everything in your private world has stopped.

When my cramping and bleeding began last Thursday (almost a week ago?!?), all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. But I had a show to direct, and an interview to attend. And the world kept turning, and I did these things, even though my heart had stopped.

And we haven’t stopped moving into our new {old} house just because we are suffering a loss. There is painting and unpacking and cleaning and choosing furniture. It is all still happening. Even though at times, I catch myself in another world, not breathing.

R has been with me for two days but tonight he has to go back to work. The members of the country club where he works in summers still want to eat and drink and swim and party. They don’t know that he has been holding a crumpled version of his wife in his arms at night. Life goes on.

As for me, I have my game face on in public. We attempted to go out for dinner last night. I have round two of interviews this afternoon, and I will go and no one on the interview committee will see the pain that is in my heart right now. And a new school year will start in two weeks, and my students will have the funny, upbeat, lighthearted and caring teacher they deserve.

The world is turning and time is passing all around me, but my insides are still frozen.

Methotrexate and Me

* Ectopic /Loss Mentioned; may be a tigger for some. *

One shot in each butt cheek, and by the weekend we should start to see the numbers go down. 4-6 weeks until I’m back to neutral, if all goes smoothly. 3 months until we can try again. I am in the 1-2% of ectopic pregnancies. Go figure.

It’s no one’s fault but mine. My fat sausage tubes with scar tissue from endometriosis and maybe that one bad pap smear I had back in college.

The man came with me for the shots, which I didn’t think was necessary until we were leaving the doctors office. Then, thank god I had someone to break down to and he was as comforting as anyone could be right after you’ve just had pregnancy ending chemo drugs injected into you.
Me: Will you still love me even if I can’t give you children?
R: (pulling me closer and kissing the top of my head) I didn’t marry you for your Fallopian tubes.

But I’m relieved it’s done and that I’m not in limbo anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I am devastated and have shed my share of tears with more to come, but I have suspected this would be the outcome for the past 4 days and I am relieved to be on the other side of the verdict.

And like clockwork, the fertility necklace I ordered weeks ago arrived today of all days:

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The color of infertility awareness, a reminder that miracles happen every day, and moonstone which is said to have positive influence on fertility.

I am looking forward to three months of getting my life back: my hormone levels, my body, my mornings not spent in the waiting room. I’d rather be pregnant, but I will try to use this time to heal and to be as happy and fulfilled as I can be.

And when those three months have past, there is a perfect 5 day blast waiting for me “in the freezer.” And I just have to believe in miracles.
xoxo

Not a Club I Wished to Join

1684 was my lousy beta number from this morning.

Here’s what the numbers did:
38 Wed.
156 Fri.
599 Mon.
no beta Wed.; should have been 1200
1684 Fri. (today- should have been over 2,000)

I will go back Sunday. If numbers are rising but they still see nothing on ultrasound they will have to check for ectopic. If numbers decrease then it will be a regular miscarriage.

So basically I’m just waiting to hear which of two evils I will be dealing with. My dear husband still thinks I should be positive and not be fixated on it all weekend. How funny.

I’m sure I will write more about this in the coming days, but I really don’t know how to feel. Before I heard from the doctor, I thought I had come to terms with this inevitable outcome, but now it feels raw all over again. I go from devastatingly sad and crying, to apathetic and numb, to angry, and back again. At least it is happening early in the pregnancy; though it still feels like a terrible loss.

This is not a club I wished to join.