Saturday, July 29, 2006

The biospy that wasn't meant to hurt

I was dreading the biospy. I wasn't sure whether it would be ok or whether it would really hurt...I'd heard both extremes. I raced around at work all morning & raced to the day surgery, got there late & A was waiting for me with a yummy sandwich. We were sent sraight in. RE advised me that usually he doesnt give any of his patients pain relief prior to the biospy but because it was me, would give me some fentinel. I felt a little bad...he obviously believes im a wimp & have a very low threshold...on the other hand, i thought who cares what he least i get pain relief.
Next i knew I was in the chair, legs in stirrups, feeling quite out of it - thank god for fentinel. he explained this would take 5 mins...not cervix was very tight & wouldn't allow the catheter through. For the next 30mins, he tried & tried to dilate my cervix & squeeze the catheter thru - it hurt, it hurt a lot.....i felt violated, awful & began to cry....why is everything so hard for us?....why is it never as it is supposed to be? A was there by my side. A nurse was giving our RE all the weird instruments he was asking for & i swear to you one of them looked like a 17th century archaic instrument that would render me without a cervix altogether.....RE kept apologising that it is not supposed to hurt so much but my cervix was tight & my retroverted uterus made it hard for RE to see where / how to progress through.
I wasn't suprised my cervix wouldnt allow the catheter through...i thought my cervix was protesting...of course it doesnt want this intervention....RE started saying he didnt want to keep trying as it was causing me too much pain & he would give it one more go & if it didnt go through I'd have to go back Mon for a general anaesthetic.....I so didn't want to endure that...I closed my eyes & prayed so hard to my mum to help me & on that attempt he got it through. I don't know if it was mum - but i sure want to believe it was.

Then the actual cutting of my endometrium was ok -a sharp, painful cut but so quick it was had been the cervix widening battle that was so awful. He wheeled me into recovery & I felt drained & violated & just awful. I cried to A - I was fed up.

That was the final investigative miscarriage test i had to have. They're all over.

Thank God.

While I was sitting in miscarriage management nurse came down to chat. She's lovely & I'm glad I've connected with her. Yet again I asked her the same old questions I've asked her so many times;
"So out of all your miscarriage patients, do most end up carrying to term?"
"Even the bad ones like me-do they?"
"Do you still think we'll be ok"

And once again my patient nurse explained to me that clexane was a wonder drug & it seems to be an immune modulator & that seems to be all that is needed as long as we get the chromosomally normal embryo. She went on to explain that she has had miscarring patients who have had 2,3, 4 - even up to 11 miscarriages & they have all carried to term....with clexane & with good chromosomes....

i get stumped at that point as we've already had one pregnancy with clexane & still miscarried but at that point she repeatedly jumps in with - its unfortunately a numbers will get there....when we get the right chromosomes....with clexane you'll be right....

This time i seemed to hear it in a different way. The negative, fearful filter of ''It wont happen to me, theres something wrong" wasn't as loud as usual. I really want to believe what she said, what they all say, the RE's too. I think if i truly believe it will happen then it may....but Im very scared to believe it will happen, on one crazy level its easier to actually believe i'll keep miscarrying....

In a way, now that we've finished all the tests & now that im invested in a job Im happy in, maybe i can relax more & just keep trying & when we get there, we get there. I know though, any more miscarriages will bring the same (in fact more) trauma all over again.

But for now Im going to try & be more trusting & positive & believe we will get there.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Yukky Day

What a few days....draining, exhausting, full on. I've been writing how these recurring losses have seemed to bind A & I closely together but in the last week, we've had those awful days where our conversation disconnects & the closeness recedes to a far place....& it hasn't been lovely.

Then my father announces he has been having severe chest pain & has had a test come back that his cardiologist wasn't happy with & was needing to go into hospital for an angiogram & potentially an angioplasty today, quickly, all of a sudden.....

I have had a very difficult relationship with my father my entire life. But he is still my father & i do love him. The thought of him going into hospital for this procedure (though i knew it is generally low key these days) still moved me, scared me....I've lost my mum & the thought of losing my dad is awful - hes all ive got as far as my nuclear family goes.

Then the next day, Dad & I had a terrible fight. I called his dr to ask about his cardiac situation & my father was furious that i'd interfered. He wasn't grateful I was concerned. He was furious I'd interfered. I was angry, upset & my whole 37 yrs of conflict with him came up & made me angry & say things that only an awful daughter would say.

That evening he called & apologised & yet again, i was there caring for him - he is my only father, my only parent.

& today he went into hospital. It was a strange day. I was in a way sad I wasn't there with him in pre-op as I had been always for my mother but we are not as close. He did not want me to be there with him. In another way, it was very ok I wasn't there with him.

& my afternoon at work was the worst yet, a very yukky political afternoon that has left me very uncomfortable. I have to deal with this tomorrow but it shook me & left me feeling insecure & not ok.

& then i returned home & A & I had an argument, one that had been coming all week.

& then i went off to the hospital to meet my dad in recovery, of course they wouldn't let me see him in recovery & i had to wait in coronary care for him ...& wait....& wait....

& he is ok. he is more tender than usual, more vulnerable. I feed him & attend to his needs & communicate on his behalf to the nurse. He is a charming patient but high maintenance. He was not allowed to mobilise but didnt want to use the bottle for doing a wee...he explained to the nurse he was scared of catching hiv...he is an intelligent worldly man, but paranoid, untrusting & stubborn. He finally got it & realised he was not going to be allowed to mobilise & so he eventually pee'd in a bottle.

He was starving but wanted dessert. They brought him what was left in the kitchen.

The nurse asked him a load of questions including ones about whether he was coping at home. he said 'only so-so'.

I was sad the whole time I was there.

It was agony watching my beloved mum become sick, sicker & let go & now my dad starts his decline & though we have endured huge struggles - he is my father, my difficult father. He is 84.

I am tired, haven't been sleeping, am drained & want it all to go away....i wish A & I were close & connected. I wish i could sleep. I wish this month of testing was over. I wish dad was well. I wish my mum was alive. I wish i wasnt a miscarrier. I wish i didnt have to had blood taken at 7am tomorrow, I wish i didnt have to have an endometrial biopsy on fri.

Yes, today was a yukky day.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I survived.....well almost

Well to those of you who commented on my last entry-you were right. My social evening was quite lovely. It may sound strange but at the moment, in this current state im in or we're in, Im actually more comfortable connecting with my boyfriends than girlfriends. It feels so cruel to write such a sentence as my close girlfriends are so supportive, loyal, loving etc but women are more switched on to the details, to our bodies, to our bio clocks, .....when im with my women friends i feel a different type of pressure (not in anyway intended by them, in fact its my stuff, i acknowledge & own). They ask the questions; where is your cycle up to? what are the tests showing? whats next?....because the women understand my acute pain - in a way, its harder to be around them-they get it, most of them are mothers & my pain & loss are all somehow reinforced. Whereas when im out or connecting to the boys...its very different. They are more than happy to hear or talk about it but arent so forthcoming with questions. They might simply ask..'hows it all going?' which means i can say a little, a lot or nothing at all. To them, they are not so actuely into the whole parenting in, they have other interests, jobs, renovations, trips overseas etc so it is easy to talk about other things. I am genuine with them, but it is a little more cerebral than a total heartspeak. In fact, with some of my very close girlfriends, we never talk work, or very rarely....we talk pregnancies, r'ships, the inner world stuff...all heartspeak

So last night we (A & I) were out with 3 close male friends, R who just moved into his gorgeous new pad, & an adorable gay couple C & D. C is a very close friend of mine & we love D too, his partner. So the evening was lovely & though we touched on miscarriages & ivf etc...conversation was not on my acute inner it was ok. I headed out hoping & knowing I would be far away from any women who would talk about their pregnancies or children or anything like that. I felt a little more safe & secure...but even when im out with all men - there was one moment when i was unprepared & came ridiculously close to bursting out into tears. Our lovely dinner was over, we were ordering desserts & teas etc & i was asking the waitress whether she had any herbal, caffeine free teas (not at all to do with fertility, though i don't drink caffeine except in organic green tea, but more because i knew i'd be trying to sleep soon & caffeine would keep me awake)...anyway, all of a sudden she announced that they did have peppermint tea but even peppermint tea has traces of caffeine in it because when she was pregnant, she was told not to consume it. I know this tiny incident probably sounds so minor & insignificant to most of you but all of a sudden i felt like the temperature within my body was rising rapidly & i was about to burst into tears. My safe, secure bubble had burst, even out in inner city on a Sat night with 4 men - i had to hear about a woman who was pregnant & couldnt drink peppermint tea.

It was crazy, i can walk past pregnant women & hold it together but for some reason it just really affected me - it was as not safe from this anywhere. I tried my hardest to hold it together, smiled at A & R, who immediately felt & knew i had a strong reaction & breathed deeply till i was ok. C & D didn't notice it -thank god. I think it would have been too hard to hold back the tears if all four had known & recognised my pain.

Apart from that incident - i had a lovely night. R's new nest is so nice, warm & suits him so much. Pre dinner drinks there were lovely & then dinner was great, the conversation, meal etc. I did drink quite a bit & thought how different my behaviour was from the usual deprivation. The conversation was interesting -our work, renovations, trips overseas, family, etc & as i said -yes we did touch on miscarriages but it was in a tongue in cheek, unemotional kind of way - the only way i could discuss it.

On the change in behaviour - ive observed an interesting shift. When we started trying for a baby, i gave up everything even remotely unsavoury. I read on a website green tea was potentially harmful so even my favourite green tea was gone from our pantry. Then i endured another 3 miscarriages without any green tea & so i figured, my first miscarriage was not caused by green tea. Lately ive been thinking about a heroic friend M. I've written about her before -she started ivf at 37, had her first child at 43 & second at 45. She lost count of how many miscarriages she had, had over 27 cycles, sold their house to afford it all, etc. She also told me that at the begginning she too was eating only organics etc, no alcohol, no crap, etc.....with each miscarriage she tended to loosen up a little as she realised they obviously were not being caused by her she started to relax, eat crap & stopped the expensive herbs, diet etc...& when she finally conceived her two boys - she told me, she'd never eaten so badly, .....when she told me this story....though i knew i wasn't quite there yet, it resonated with me & I am starting to understand & adopt some of her practices. For the first 4 miscarriages -i only ate organics, no alcohol whatsover, no green tea, no nothing -so this month i noticed i simply felt like & allowed the odd glass of wine, have had at least one or two green tea a day & am just starting to relax with all of that. Ofcourse im still being conscious of many other things ive been warned about like soy milk etc but it'll be interesting to observe how this pattern continues .....

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Sadness descends yet again

Well it seems like the vulnerability & sadness that came up for me last night remains today, im feeling sad & low today, i feel as though the sadness is descending once again & there isn't any room for anything else. A few times i've thought of her (the blogger I wrote about yesterday) & i cannot even imagine her joy spending these first few days getting to know her very own baby. That joy feels so far from me, it feels so unattainable right now.

I slept in today, walked the boys & then caught up with one of my closest friends. While it is good & comforting to see close friends, i am also finding it so hard & it takes a lot of energy & effort. It was good though. She is supportive & comforting & understands my need not to be talking about it. It was a lot easier to be talking about her world & the distraction was good.

Tonight we're off to another close friend to see his new pad & then 5 of us are having dinner together. I will be with very close loyal friends who understand my world & pain but even still it feels so hard - i havent been that social in a long time. Im no good at it anymore. I will go but there's a huge part of me that is dreading it.

It feels too hard when there is so much vulnerability & sadness around me to be social & out in the world. Im much more comfortable remaining in my bomb shelter.

Friday, July 21, 2006


When we were considering ivf last year after two natural conceptions & miscarriages, a friend of mine told me to visit a blog. It was the blog of a friend of hers who was struggling with infertility. It was in fact the first blog i ever read & it introduced me to blogland. Very shortly after that, we both went through an ivf cycle. For me it was my first, for her a frozen cycle but from her first stimulated cycle. She got pregnant with twins, lost one but continued to carry till Tues when she gave birth to her baby.

Im so happy for her. Of course I am. She had a hard & long struggle of her own, a very hard time & arrived at her dream destination but I would be lying if i said it didnt affect me. I cried when i read her latest entry announcing the birth of her child. I was sad, jealous, afraid, angry, bereft, grief stricken, ...the usual full range of emotions i face when my own loss'es, despair & pain are reinforced and triggered by the pregnancies & births of others.

Since then i again miscarried in march & she continued to carry.

Then again i miscarried in June & she continued to carry.

I know it is not helpful to compare me to anyone else. I know i must accept my reproductive lot but tonight i am so upset.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Back from our escape, back to the grind....

Our weekend away was lovely but far too short. It rained most of the time so it was a cosy indoors weekend with a fire & spa. It was nice to have a w'end without the computer or tv, we just lay infront of the fire on the couch & rug drinking wine, roasting marshmellows & connecting.....twas lovely. We had time to really talk about stuff we'd hung on to or just kept inside till we had some time. Some of the things I communicated to A i hadn't realised I'd felt or was one of those weekends....having the time to think, connect & share.
Our cottage was in the middle of a forest & the boys loved adventuring in the unknowns. They were so curious. Part of me loved their freedom & sense of adventure while another part was terrified they'd be bitten by snakes. A told me it was snake territory & from his country veterinary days he knew that only 50% of dogs bitten by snakes make it ....i was worried. They'd be exploring in bush & suddenly hear an unfamiliar rustle & run as fast as they could back to us with their tales under their bums....we've raised true city dogs.

We both were back to the grind today. I was grateful at least I was returning to a job I enjoyed but for the next 3 nights A is doing nights so we coexist like ships in the night for the next 3 nights & don't really see eachother till Thurs nite. I miss him.

I am grateful we are so connected & loving. Despite the trauma we are experiencing & living through, we have somehow managed to retain our connectedness & togetherness in a deeply solid way. I know this process is hard for couples but for us, while its been challenging it has also bound us closer to eachother & for that im grateful. The flip side of that i think is....while its bound us closer to eachother, its distanced us from others....i do feel more distant than i ever have from my closest friends. Im normally quite a communicative person who enjoys a good rave on the phone with friends. Over the last few years, ive definitely been less social but still enjoyed connecting with friends & since this last miscarriage it seems i cant even manage that. It feels as tho' this whole experience is so personal & difficult that it requires the conserving of energy & huddling together of A & i & unfortunately at the cost of maintaining good communication with my close friends. I know they get it & i know its ok but it does feel like Im quite distanced from them & their lives right now.

My RE consulted with a thyroid specialist about my thyroid results & called me today. Both drs arent worried at all since my thyroxin was totally smack bang in the middle of normal but given i had low level antibodies, they still think its important i retest them in 3 mths. It felt a tad worrying but im choosing to let it go for now (coz really what else am i to do?)...they tell you its normal & nothings wrong at all but then they tell you to retest in 3 other words....there is something going on but we dont know what it is but you do have antibodies but your thyroxin is normal but we dont know what were talking abt & we need to be covering our arse just in case so just retest in 3 mths....i know that sounds very cynical, bitter & untrusting but i do tend to decipher dr speak in that way now.....unfortunately.

Our RE tried to dissuade me from thinking about PGD. From his point of view, it would be very possible to discard good embryos due to a technical flaw in the process so he doesnt really like the idea. Apparently, a coloured type of substance needs to stick to the chromosomes in order for them to be tested & if, for whatever technical reason, the glue doesnt / cant attach to a chromosome, then that embryo is discarded when, according to my RE, it could be a fine embryo. I told A who felt he agreed with RE. The cost though, of not doing PGD is perhaps more unnecessary miscarriages as I get pregnant with embryos that cant survive.

& when i think about that - as strange as it sounds, i feel as though there are two versions of me experiencing this. There is a tough, quite stoic, quite resilient me who recognises RE is probably right & its probably worth just implanting the embryos we do make & riding the wave of miscarriages till we get to that chromosomally normal embryo & though it is torturous, i can handle the process. Then there's another version of me, a far more vulnerable me who feels i cant bare any more of this trauma & who therefore would like PGD if it in any way prevents unncessary traumas.

I think the distinction is time. When im right in it, awaiting bleeding after a miscarriage or knowing im going to lose it when im still effectively pregnant - im the most vulnerable. When im slightly removed from the acuity of it like now when im 2 & a half wks away from the first bleeding days of clots & a tad more resilient.

This w'end I finished Coming to Term. Im very grateful to Nikole for suggesting it. It was reassuring. It recounts all the possible treatments for miscarriage & for most of them, proves them invalid. It explains that most women my age who keep miscarrying will eventually carry a healthy child to term even if it is after 5, 8 or 10 miscarriages. It explains that despite all the women thinking its them, in 90% of cases it is the embryo & so it is, at the end of the day, a numbers game. I dont know why i (& my peer bloggers) are the ones who are forced to play this numbers game & others (most of my friends) dont seem to have the dodgy embryos that cause recurring miscarriage but the fact is - i am here. The book has helped me try to come to terms with my reproductive fate. If this is my lot & im surviving it & eventually we get there then - thats just the way it is for us. (dont get me wrong i hate that this is happening but every now & then i do get a glimpse of acceptance & faith we will get there too in our own time) other times im still angry & loathsome that this is happening.

& as I write this tonight I can feel my right ovary sore & stretching as it prepares to release my egg this cycle. I am ovulating much later than usual this cycle but apparenlty after a miscarriage, thats normal.

There was a time when i didnt recognise this feeling. There was a time when i had never experienced even one miscarriage. The thought of even one was my worst nightmare. I dreaded ever having to have a D&C. I think this is how resilience develops & grows...when there are things we fear & dread & then we survive them, only to face more pain that we never ever knew was possible.....& then we even survive that...& it goes on....& on.

Today I went in again for more blood. One tube only - delightful. I think I only have to have 3 more tests till the biopsy. Im not looking forward to that test.

The local pathologist knows me now, smiles at me differently, with familiarity & maybe even empathy. I told her Ive had 4 miscarriages. She is a sweet young woman who is professional & well meaning. If I have to go have bloods at 7.20am, then at least im going to someone easy to be with.

There are other thoughts, feelings & insights that came to me this w'end that i'd like to share but I guess they'll find their way to these pages in their own time. Im really tired now & my sleep is a precious thing.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Those were the days

Just a quick note...Im exhausted & want to collapse into bed with Coming to Term. I headed to the path lab this am, got there at 7.15am so I could definitely be first when they open at 7.30 & I was. The pathologist turned up at 7.25 & it took her 40 mins to determine exactly which tubes to collect all this blood for these remote tests she'd clearly never had to collect before. I felt like a friek. I wasnt there for blood sugar or usual standard blood investigations, I was there f0r remote, friek, miscarriage unknown crazy stuff.

She had to fax the request thru to her advisors who still didnt know & had to check with their advisors & finally after 8am we could start. By this time her waiting room was full of poor fasting patients who turn up early for their blood as they are fasting. They didnt know there would be some miscarriage freak patient accosting the pathologist & holding her up all morning.

She started by preparing 15, yes 15 tubes & my usual right arm was over it at 9 tubes. My blood dried up & she swapped arms & my left arm filled another 6 tubes. I put up with it. She was at least polite & lovely but I hated it & wanted it over. Thats why I had to go today after only receiving this referral yesterday arvo. I needed it gone from my to do list, I needed it over.

My miscarriage management nurse called me this arvo. 'Can I pls go back Mon am for one more blood test , only 3 hormones, 1 tube' she promised & then 7 days later & then 3 days after that & thats it for blood tests for the month. Then on Day 26 - the endomtrial biopsy......

Im so sick of it. I told A tonite I cant handle this anymore. I want us never to discuss we are trying to have a baby. We are to just continue & bare these experiences & live our life (all be it in our bomb shelter) & no longer actually describe any of it in terms of 'trying to have a baby'. The very term has become synonymous with pressure, dread, trauma, stress, deprivation, torture etc. Of course we both know we are still trying but even discussing it with A fills the dialogue with anxiety. Lets just get on with it.

I am working from home tomorrow, cramming lots of work in & then heading away with the boys for a w'end away. I know it will fly past but I am so looking forward to our log fire & spa & blissing out. This is our escape w'end from all the recent trauma so I intend to leave our trauma here in our bomb shelter & try to enjoy this w'end like we used to before we began to encounter this miscarriage trauma, when we had innocence, before we even knew we were miscarriers.....those were the days!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The second opinion day

What a day! My day started with a scare. When i arrived at work, a nurse had been assaulted walking from her car to the campus, a very short distance. I was then told this assault was the 4th assault in the last few weeks & there had been a series of muggings & assaults around the home. I didnt like hearing this at all. I leave & walk to my car when it is dark after work. I became quite afraid. These stories & happenings, I find, send my anxiety levels thru the roof (just what i need, not!), so that threw me & I suddenly felt that awful feeling of not feeling safe in the world, which ive experienced on & off over the last few yrs due to different experiences; a client assaulting me, a prowler in my house, a robbery etc....

Then my RE (my usual RE, as opposed to the second opinion RE we were seeing this arvo) called me this am to tell me some of my blood tests were back & i had an unusual result - low level thyroid antiboides, a normal thyroxin but a suppressed TSH & this was leaning towards hyperthyroidism. He didnt think this was a huge worry or directly causing my miscarriages but he said it could be connected so he told me he wanted to talk to a thyroid specialist & maybe i should see one. He knew we were seeing our second opinion RE this arvo so told me to talk about it with her. I sunk into my dark hole, thinking all the worst thoughts;
'finally they found something,
this is why ive been miscarrying, i knew it
i need to work this up,
what does this mean?'
I locked myself in an office & searched the net...& found conflicting advice as usual. Half the sites seemed to think that thyroid antibodies & recurring miscarriages are linked & i should take thyroid treatment etc, they even inferred that with thyroid issues, i would keep miscarrying. The other half said there was inconclusive findings on whether they are a site said "low level antibodies are the thyroid on the way to autimmune failure, not there yet but on the way"....just what i needed...more anxiety....& more....i rang A who didn't join me down my dark hole. A has a science background with a medical head on his logical shoulders so almost always applies the 'im a scientist, it must be a randomised, doubled blind placebo study before im convinced of anything' outlook & chose the 'wait & see' approach but did seem worried that i have antibodies. To be honest - i had no idea what it meant at all but knew one thing for sure - this was the first test where something other than 'normal' came back so my instinct was to grab hold of it & cling to it as the cause of my miscarriages & since the literature was agreeing with me (well half of it), i thought, theres gotta be something in this.

My RE also told me my cholesterol was way too high. It was 6.9 & should be below 5.4. He told me I had to start eating no / low saturated fats. I tried to explain to him that in fact before my miscarriages started I was a health friek, eating so strictly etc but since my miscarriages began, my eatings been out-of-control & the comfort food quick fix has been my crutch. He didnt comment. Its so unnnerving when so often he doesnt say anything on the end of the phone....youre left thinking hes disinterested, disapproving, who knows, i wish he'd comment.
I remained highly anxious. We were meeting our second opinion at 3.

On the way in the car to my appointment, my very close friend R called. His great uncle had a terrible stroke & was left lying in his house on the floor for up to 24 hrs alone ....terrible....R was very upset, they were close. He had been like a grandfather to R. Anxiety, stress, fear & tragedy...what else was going to go wrong today?????

I met A at our appointment. We didnt have to wait more than 2 mins - reassuring sign.
She was lovely, validating, human & all up - i think it was a great appointment....i think...The summary:

Of all of her recurring miscarriage clients -50% are unexplained -we are in that grp, most of those women still carry to term. According to her-we are in a 'good odds' group. Weird i know-dont ask me what bad odds is...oh thats right, bad odds is those couples who have reasons found that are bad -like translocation problems for instance. The fact ive had 4 pregnancies, is according to her - good odds for carrying to term - it tells her my body does get pregnant & implant quite easily. She actually said maybe my body isnt that good at filtering out the embryos with bad chromosomes ie: im getting pregnant too often as opposed to being more selective & only getting pregnant when the chromosomes are good. I told her what i truly believed-that my eggs are good, my embryos are good etc but she said - in almost all miscarriages -its the embryos -either the chromosomes, the genes or the mitochondria ie: the energy within the embryo. So she thinks what may be happening is -im getting pregnant because the placenta part of the embryo is happily implanting but perhaps the baby part of the embryo isnt continuing. She went thru all our history, our tests, & said we can redo some tests & order some remote new ones but our usual RE has done almost all. She understood my need to stop having miscarriages & research my situation & validated all ive done. She commended my level of research at one stage which felt good actually. Our usual RE gets the shits when im questioning him about all ive researched but she didnt. I asked about a myriad of treatments Id read about & she went thru each one & explained that they were a furfy or had been ruled out by the FDA or told me about the studies where they had actually been disproven or blah blah blah.....i did feel though, heard & understood. She suggested we think about PGD - pre genetic diagnoses. Its expensive but she explained since i make quite a good no of embryos, it would be worth considering doing a biopsy & testing their chromosomes. they can only test 7 out of 23 chromosomes but they are the most common chromosomal probs. then we would only implant the good embryos. at least we would know the embryos are probably chromosomally good. maybe this would reduce unnecessary miscarriages. though im leaning towards doing it (anythings better than more miscarriages) im scared about doing it too as...what happens if i keep miscarrying? then, is it me?
& we've already got 5 embryos in the freezer - that havent been pgd'ed.

She did say what our RE has said...that the pattern i most follow so a recurrying miscarrier who is started on clexane & perhaps has a few more but then carries to i suppose i should be feeling positive & optimistic...but its so hard to buy that....its not that i have a vested interest in being negative but honestly after 4 miscarriages...when youve done all you could, herbs etc, diet etc...& youre not that old yet....then, i cant buy her optimism -i feel my doom & fear still. the only pattern i know is, we keep miscarrying - that is all i know. its easier to believe that the drs dont know everything about miscarriage yet & clearly they cant work out why i keep miscarrying & its obvously something they cant test for yet.

All in all, our usual RE didnt say anything different to what new RE said today but their styles are different; shes a woman for starters, she stylistically didnt mind the banter of interruptions & my many questions, she didnt mind my research with dr google & my neuroticsm & anxiety. she didnt mind the tearyness & the swearing. she wasnt silent on the other end.

After we left A & I talked about whether we shoulds tay with our old RE & we decided too for now. He has done the (almost always) right thing by us. He has the highest success rate there. & in a way now i have the best of both worlds. New RE said i can email or call her whenever i want to ask her anything which i cant do to old for now i think we stick with him but access her when the need arises.

She also said she cant see any reason why we wont get pregnant naturally. We werent going to try this month as were doing the endometiral biopsy but she said we can & we'l just do a preg test before the biopsy. I feel quite strange about trying naturally again....for starters this month ive been eating trash & not chinese herbing properly & not taking everything i normally take to assist the process....but A seems to think all the more reason to try naturally. ....& were going away so it will be a nice relaxedintimate w'end at least....anyway..we'll see.....

So, it was good i guess...or rather, it wasnt bad....who knows.....she doesnt know whats ahead, no one does, but for now i guess we are still on this course of trying to get pregnant & maintain it...& so we keep huddled in our bomb shelter & we lay low & conserve energy in anticpation for the next trauma or anxiety.....

two more sleeps & we head off to the blue mountains for the w'end...i know our escape will come & go so fast but i cant wait.

Monday, July 10, 2006

It's a cruel world

A new suite of tests began today & they were all just plain awful!. This morning I had to be at the path lab by 7.30, 6 tubes of blood were taken from my poor veins. As I was driving there, I was angry. I am sick of these tests, I am sick of being pricked in the arm, I am sick of the intervention & medicalisation of all of this. Part of this testing was ovulation tracking, necessary to know when to do the endometrial biopsy & the other tests were more of the same, testing for possible miscarriage reasons. As usual Im not expecting anything interesting other than the usual 'all is normal'. Then I left work early, met A & off we went for this wiz bang , hi tech, 4 dimensional ultrasound where they inserted saline into me & then looked around for fibroids, polyps, septums or other strange happenings in my uterus or tubes.

THIS WAS HORRIBLE. Late last week, I was contacted & asked whether we could make it an hour earlier at 2.45 instead of 3.45. We juggled our lives around to fit in & guess what time we were finally taken inside, yep you guessed it - 3.45.
But the trauma experienced in that hour of waiting was pure torture. Couples came & went. They were happy, excited couples awaiting their 12 or 20 week ultrasound. They were so nieve yet protected, it seemed from the traumas that can horror you on those ultrasound days. They met there from their respective jobs, waited patiently for a few moments only & 20 mins later, walked out joyously, proudly carrying their first photos of their child in utero. They were ooh'ing & aah'ing over their photos & sharing their excitement. One couple who were really excited had just discovered they were having a boy & were thrilled. I found this unbearable & to be honest, I hated each one of them & their joy. The assistant sonographer came & explained to us why we were left waiting. She said 'the baby before you for the ultrasound of 20 wks is misbehaving so the ultrasound is taking longer' I felt like punching her in the face. Did it dawn on her that maybe a cute remark about a 20 wk old fetus misbehaving wasn't so sensitive? Why didn't any of these couples today experience the pain of finding no heartbeat as we have done & so many of you have done. I know this sounds so cruel, bitter & callous of me...but it is a true account of how terrible I felt today. I wandered whether we would ever experience an ultrasound without trauma? It felt as if maybe we wouldn't. I wandered why the clinic cant be more sensitive to the many women who are struggling? Why cant there be two waiting rooms, one for the healthy (supposedly) normal ultrasounds & the other for the women experiencing diagnostic ultrasounds who are struggling?
I remember learning something very important the year my mum died. I remember learning that when someone is acutely sensitive about their world & going through an extremely sensitive time due to acute grief or loss or pain ...then, at that time from their eyes the whole world seems cruel & insensitive. ....& to the other people who aren't experiencing the sensitivity - they just don't get it. I remember learning this, feeling this on such a deep internal level after she died & it is with the same level of sensitivity now that i am finding the world so cruel.
And then the sonographer & doctor told me it would be unpleasant but just like a pap smear. That was a lie, a total lie. In a papsmear, you dont have a thin pipe inserted through your cervix, you dont have saline solution pummelled into you - why cant they be honest & respectful about what will happen?
The dr, at least was decent & I felt so grateful. Isn't it a shame though, that when a dr is decent - it's like a miracle or rare event?
The procedure itself wasn't so bad. It hurt & was crampy but wasn't too bad -the emotions around it were worse. And of course he didnt find anything except that my uterus is retroverted so it was harder for him to see. He did query pcos as it seemed there were many follicle remains around my ovaries - but A quickly jumped in & reminded him I was stimulated only last month & this was probably the remains of an egg pick up.
& that was it - the familiar experience of feeling drained & fed up & angry & over it & traumatised were right back with me. We left in separate cars. A had to go to work & I home. All the way home I felt as though I just wanted to sob, but it never came. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs but that didnt happen either.

I am so sick of the tests, needles, ultrasounds, things up my vagina, the cramps, the pains, the insensitive clinics, the brutal staff, the waiting, the expenses, and the trauma.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Thinking about the unthinkable

When i was 30 i visited a local sperm bank. At the time I was single, A & I were on an 'off period' as opposed to an 'on period' & the thought of one day wanting to be a mother was very much in my psyche. I took myself off bravely to see what it was all about. I wasn't at all ready to be registered with an anonymous donor, not at all but it was just something I felt I wanted to begin to prepare myself with, just in case I needed to do it alone one day. At the time it was still quite a few years away but I knew I wanted a child & realistically, I didnt know whether id be in a partnership one day & did not want to miss out on something so sacred to me just because I was off I was a wild experience with a myriad of emotions soaring through me all at the same time. The social worker I met with decided I may as well be put through the assessment process so off she went asking me quite confronting questions. Within moments I was in tears, explaining to her this was not what i had imagined i would ever be doing.....we actually had a very engaging, honest interaction & then it was time to go. I explained to her I wasn't ready as yet but needed to 'go there' physically & emotionally explore it, see the anonymous donor cards I would one day possibly choose from, suss out the clinic, find out about the tests & treatment & somehow be prepared. I left the clinic feeling a combination of empowered but very sad.....but i did feel a tad prepared for the 'one day'. During that visit I received a lot of important info & I stored it all in a filing cabinet in my mind for the one day when i would possibly need to retrieve it.

A works very differently to me. He's certainly brave & prepared to explore the unknown but only when he feels it necessary. Throughout this whole process, when my fear & anxiety have dragged me miles ahead of where I need to be, he has frustratingly begged me 'not to go there till we need to'.

For me it is a self protective mechanism that kicks into place. The more frightening or abhorrent an idea is, the more I need to confront it, deal with my issues around it & process it ahead of time so in case I need to ever arrive at that most frightening point, i'm somewhat prepared.

And so last night, I googled 'adoption'. Since Jills decision had been so confronting for me, I knew my fear & resistance to this whole adoption idea was huge. The very fact it was so big & felt so insurmountable made me want to 'go there' & start to explore my fear & resistance. Like my visiting the sperm bank, we are still miles away from the adoption decision but maybe i should start to open myself up to the possibility. Maybe exploring adoption & my fears around it & why it feels so insurmountable to me is a good idea in case we do need to one day make that decision.

It was hard to do. It wasnt an easy read. I didnt research it for long. I found a few websites where local & intercountry adoption are organised & skimmed through the available info. And while I was reading this information, a million questions were racing through my mind....I wont go into them all now, they feel a little raw & I need to process it all a little more before I get it out of my head here in blogland but i guess in a strange way it was kinda helpful. It did assist me in starting to separate out the many issues that exist for me around adoption.

Then late last night after my preliminary initial search, I spoke to a close friend all about it. R was supportive & encouraging & together we unpacked some of my issues & questions all about it. He kept repeating 'were not there yet, not for a long time, we've only just done our second stimulated ivf timelines its still early days'. I was so glad. I dont know what lies ahead for us but we may need to confront all of this one day & maybe I should keep acquainting myself with it in preparation for that possible 'one day'.

Today I told A I'd looked into it. It was hard to talk about it with him. Discussing it with R last night was more cerebral, it was still honest & real but there was a somewhat intellectual tone to our discussions but with A today, I was teary as I recounted to him what i'd discovered & read. It was more confronting as together we were kinda 'going there'. I was aware it was all new & my initial reactions were just that - reactions. I thought A would get a little upset with me as once again, I was miles ahead of where we right now, needed to be, but he didnt. I was grateful. I told him that from application to actually receiving a child - the wait can be approx 2 yrs & he wandered whether we should register our interest. I told him I knew that they (the adoption agencies) insist that you have completed all your fertility treatments prior to registering with them. I also recounted to him a story of a woman I know, an old friend from my previous job, who applied to adopt & meanwhile kept up with her ivf treatments & then one day all of a sudden received a call from the agency that a baby boy was ready for her to adopt. Then & there she quit ivf & was thrilled. I told A that I'm not quite ready to register or apply for adoption just yet. Neither is he.

Friday, July 07, 2006

.....And I think i'll retreat into the bomb shelter

Yesterday morning on my way to work, i happened to look at the car to my left, or actually i looked into the car & instantly in the back seat i noticed a childs special capsule seat & a hanging toy from the car roof supposedly to entertain the baby or toddler (note; i dont even know what the right name is for the seat)....anyway....instantly my losses & pain flooded into the forefront of my mind. Perhaps I'd been distracted by appointments of the day but not anymore. Each & every time I see a childs car seat or baby capsule in a nearby car, intense loss mixed in with yearning & unbelievable pain is triggered & floods through every part of me. Instantly I thought of Jill & how at the meeting with the funeral director she had been referred to as a mother & the two events were connected. The pain I feel with every witnessed baby capsule is the pain of never been called a mother, never experiencing the name, the joy, the title, the role, the experience. And whether its a baby capsule or a pregnant woman or a mother walking with a pram or any other slight reminder of the fact -i havent been able to become a mother, I havent been able to successfully carry to term, i havent had a 12 week pregnancy, I havent fulfilled this lifelong significant dream....suddenly im there in the whirlpool of darkness.

Later in the day the new members of staff were taken on a tour of the holocaust museum. I was the only jew in the group & our tour guide was a holocaust survivor. The atrocities of this genocide were there right in front of me. Whole families were massacred, millions of them, children, mothers, sisters, fathers.....& then there are others who were blessed & who managed to survive the war & land in another country & have to start over with no one and nothing. And in this culture, religion & race of ours, there is such a primal instinctive drive for family and generations & the passing of traditions.....and in that context, my own pain was triggered is so important to me to have a family with A, to surround our family with the rituals & traditions we have both grown up with & loved, to continue these traditions, to know our past, to be connected to it intimately yet create our families future.....& how do we do this without children & particularly without our own children???

After my work day was over, we took the boys on a long walk. we bumped into a close friend of As & his new partner. Instantly I felt uncomfortable. They were not in my inner world. After our meeting, they walked away & I was filled with a distressing thought. I imagined the new girlfriend asking her boyfriend why we didnt have kids? I then imagined him letting her know we were having a hard time & we'd had already quite a few miscarriages & in my imagination, even though he was sensitive about it, it still hurt like hell. A instantly knew I was upset about something & after much persuasion i recounted to him this imagined conversation. At first he couldnt understand why i thought such things, why was i torturing myself? i tried to explain to him - that this was my reality. Seeing people who arent in my inner world doesnt feel safe to me, it feels like seeing the baby capsule. Even the possibility of acquaintances discussing our difficulties fills me with pain. Every tiny trigger reinforces how unbearable this.....and hence, why living in our bomb shelter is an easier alternative.

Though A feels intense pain at not being a father, i do believe it is inherently different. I dont think the triggers are so intense, frequent, profound or painful. I can tell A doesnt feel the need to live in our bomb shelter. He still likes the idea of venturing out into the world & doesnt feel instantly confronted if we bump into people. Though Im sure it hurts him, i dont think a neighbouring cars baby capsule makes his eyes well up with the tears of 4 miscarriages & the fear & dread of remaining childless.

Tonight I was watching a favourite drama of mine on foxtel & a main character was telling his son a story & recounted that often people dont let go of a painful journey or process because in actual fact theychoose pain over nothing. Pain is better than nothing. I went inside & wondered whether that was happening for us. Are we so afraid that we will end up with nothing, childless, empty....that we keep trying for the pain of recurring miscarriages ultimately more acceptable or palatable than the alternative?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Spinach & leek fritters..hhmm..being cared for.

Nikole from Babylust recommended a book - Coming to term. I ordered it from amazon & it arrived yesterday. It is so far, hitting the spot. Im not sleeping well, quite terribly actually. I am amazed I manage to function all day & drive to & home from work. I am very grateful for my new job.

I was in a soulless job but where the pay & conditions were great for maternity leave. I was stuck there waiting for our baby that never came. A few months ago, after struggling for 18 mths over this, I decided I needed to care about me too, not just this baby. I feared I may never have a baby or maybe I would but in years away still so i took the plunge & decided to leave & find a job where i was truly happy, felt effective & could make a difference. It has been years since I was in a job where i felt effective & had a valuable worthwhile purpose & finally I am there I am grateful for this job. It means that I have a new focus. Of course it cannot overshadow our losses & miscarriages but while Im there im busy & distracted & purposeful & thank god!

After working hard, long days I am returning home to yummy cooked dinners by A. He has over recent months, as Ive slowly lost my ability to cope with the mundane tasks of cooking dinner, taken a much greater role in our kitchen & now it has become normal for him to create a yummy, nurturing dinner for me. I feel cared for in a way i havent for such a long time, since, in fact, my mother would cook for me & as I write this the tears start rolling down my cheeks. Dont get me wrong A cares for me enormously but never really mastered the cooking for me. When he needed to provide the dinner if I wasnt up to it he would collect a take away which was ok but I missed so much the specific feeling of being cooked for & cared for. I havent experienced this for almost 4 years & it has touched me & warmed my heart so much that he has been cooking & caring for me in this way. I knew I missed it & had told him before that when im really low i'd love it if he cooked for me but now he is & they are recipes i like to eat & have chosen. ive had dinner cooked for me by people (mother in law, relos, friends etc) since my mum died but they werent really 'for me', they were cooked meals. But mum used to cook in a special way. She knew exactly what i loved to eat, the types of foods, special meals & when i'd visit i'd be spoiled by my favourite foods & in each mouthful you would know they were made with love & just for you.......& since our last miscarriage, A has been doing that cooking with love & just for me & it makes me feel so cared for. Thanxxxxx A.

There are often times I start an entry & have no idea what i will write but it pours out of me & that is what i needed to write that night & there are other times Im very purposefully wrting about something because there is only that one thing on my mind.....this writing is good.....& so is the reading.....thanx to you all

& a particular thanx to jill for sharing her insights & feelings with me & knowing I was confronted by her decision.

Im hitting the sack early & going to devour more 'coming to term'...if im not sleeping then at least im able to devour relevant & helpful material.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Truth Time.....Confrontation.

The physical pain has subsided as have the clots & i continue to bleed. I recall last miscarriage I bled for many more days than my usual period so Im preparing for another week even....& as the blood sheds, I do feel a little less trapped by the trauma & pain. It is all there I know but I am having moments when I can think of other

We have booked a very beautiful & cosy weekender for mid July in the mountains & we can take the boys so I cant wait. These days we take them on almost every holiday or weekend away. We wouldnt have it any other way. Thankfully we manange to find beautiful places that accept dogs. In the past while weve been on this painful rollercoaster I havent wanted to go on any relaxing holidays because last year when we headed away for a supposedly blissful week of nothingness....I found I became very depressed....when we had loads of time to sit & reflect & ponder & think, I found all I did was get very sad about the miscarriages & not being pregnant. So after that holiday I made a decision if we were to go on any holiday, it would have to be an action packed, stimulating holiday where we are kept busy by new sights & smells etc.....but after this last miscarriage, we do, once again feel the need to escape into nothingness just the four of us & breathe a little away from it all. A loves the mountains & the cold & to be honest I love the heat but theres a beautiful fire in our weekender & it'll do us good to get away. I just hope we do manage to get our minds & hearts i mean, to let go a little & breathe.

Over the w'end I spoke to quite a few friends & let them know where i was at ....with finding it all too hard to be communicating about it & I am now relieved. Strangely, I don't mind blogging about it but i do mind talking about it with my all the pain & confusion in my mind im experiencing, there are some things Im very clear about & one of them is i dont want to be talking about it with my friends at the moment (& for how long this lasts) sick of answering the same old questions, repeating the painful truth & it doesnt benefit me at all to talk about it. I understand they would like to know where things are at for me but Im feeling a little selfish with me at the moment, Im over talking about it & if it doesnt help me than i wont be doing it.....but blogging about it all feels very different.....becuase thats not answering the same old, same old, its writing whatever i feel like writing at that moment

Ok...Truth time. I read Jills entry & was overwhelmed at her decision to adopt a child. I respect her decision. I respect her pain & process that brought her to that decision. I believe she is brave & courageous to reach that decision & I am in awe of her being able to say 'enough' & decide to adopt......I was also terribly confronted by that decision. I know this is a very personal, unique process for everyone who travels this path & I know it is not helpful for me to think about me & our process at all in response to Jills but it is also natural & i am only human & i found it very confronting. When will we decide 'enough'? at 6 miscarriages? Well that means i only have two more chances.....Till now my husband & I have committed to try our hardest & keep going till we know we cant go on any more. We've both identified that at this stage we dont know when that will be but we will both know when we get there. After the trauma of this last miscarriage he said to me 'we can stop if you want babe, its your call'......though momentarily I cried to him that 'id had enough', I didnt really mean that.

We have met a few couples who persevered thru unbelievable odds. One woman, M, was 37 when she started ivf, had one child at 43 & another at 45 & had over 27 cycles. She lost count of her miscarriages & they sold their house to fund the exercise. All up they spent $300, 000. I have never met a more heroic woman & I have cried to her. In fact after this miscarriage I called her. She told me - Whenever I feel like I'd had enough just to go on that little bit more, she told me to persevere, to be relentless & we would get there. Similarly another couple I know persevered for 9 yrs, had 3 children & told me to keep going. (she was a lot younger than me when she started). My chinese herbalist who treats hundreds of women trying to get pregnant told me that for those who persevere, only a very few dont get there......& these are the messages we have chosen to follow (for now anyway)....but i cant deny Jills entry was confronting to this stage, no i dont want to give up trying naturally but i wont deny, i am afraid of whats ahead, very afraid.

After miscarriage 2 -when i was a teary mess, A said to me 'babe, if we have to, we will adopt but for now were not there yet'. I liked that we both knew if we had too, we would but we werent there yet & i know were not there yet now either what point will we be there - 10 miscarriages, 12, 5?????

There was something confronting about Jills decision because 4 miscarriages is close to 6 & she made that decision at 6 & I totally respect her decision & her pain.......her 6 was close to home for me & my 4.

Every friend tells me 'we will get there'......& I know they have no idea whether we will or not. Some really affirm it, they tell me they can feel we will definitely get the past I have had that feeling too - a knowingness we will get there but I dont know what that feeling it hope? is it dreams? is it fear to allow for maybe we wont? is it unbelievable yearning? is it an idenification & a love for my mother so much so that i feel i too will be a mother?, is it past life experience that makes me feels like being a mother is familiar to me? is it family & community pressure? NO ONE REALLY KNOWS if we will get there......

I know one thing, if I am yet to have another 5 or 10 miscarriages - i hope I dont wish i would have called it quits after 4. I know whatever we decide for us will be the right decision & I trust that. I trust A & i deciding together in this process.

All i know right now is that for now we are choosing to continue to try. I do not know past right here & right now.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Life in my bomb shelter

Sleeping pills are a good poison. I slept all nite for the first time in ages. We stayed in bed till late morning. It was indulgent but so necessary. It was a beautiful day so we headed out, just the four of us for a lovely coast walk. I was in pain all day, at times it was quite ok but at other times very painful - it was a cruel reminder of what was happening.

A & I are both low, the mood & tone of our interaction & dialogue is filled with grief & fear & uncertainty. We sat on the cliff & looked out for whales. There werent any today. Maybe they've all passed through & are already heading North to birth.

This arvo I called some friends who had called during the week. I feel close to them all & ideally wish I had the energy to connect & see them but i explained I was in survival mode & had no resources.

To one dear friend who has been very supportive, I explained I felt like we (A & I) had headed down into our bomb shelter & since that conversation, the metaphor has stayed with me. Thats exactly how I feel.

Its as if this 4th miscarriage has heralded doom & disaster. There are some experiences & events that you get used to managing when they keep happening. But not miscarriage - with each one, the loss feels greater & the dream feels harder to reach. Each miscarriage for me doesnt indicate we are getting closer but rather, this is so much harder than we ever anticipated. When we started trying to have a baby my worst nitemare was having to undergo IVF. I had never even considered i could ever have 4 miscarriages. And so with this miscarriage, I feel as though- it just gets harder & harder, worse than my darkest nitemare & with that realisation comes huger uncertainty & terror of whats ahead - If i had never imagined this could go down, what, for the life of me, is ahead of us? And that question which feels more like a state of mind has made me want to pack our dearest precious belongings, grab the dogs & head down to our bomb shelter & just be together & huddle in our darkness till its all over.

And that explains my state of mind & heart. Its war time & trauma. People who are in war & hiding in bomb shelters do not go out to socialise or shop or entertain themselves & that is where im at - im huddled with A & our dogs in our dark, contained, deep bomb shelter.

I have no idea how long this war will go for but thats where I'll be.

This arvo when I was telling my friends that I couldnt respond to all their calls & connect with them, some of them enquired about support & asked whether I was getting any? I explained to them that I had a blog & that I connected most nites to my international miscarriage virtual support group & I explained that it was 'just right' as far as support goes. I am grateful for this blog & to all of you who are experiencing the trauma of multiple miscarriage. I adore my friends & they are wonderfully supportive but there is something very special & helpful about connecting with people who are experiencing the same thing.