Tag Archives: fertility

Birthing an Embryo

15 Jun

NB: Reveals details about my recent miscarriage.

#3 started out fun. We were on vacation, our first as a family that didn’t involve other friends or family joining us. We had a much needed, great time together at the beach. We went out for seafood one night and the low country boil I ordered smelled very bad to me, and Dave and I thought, oh, hee hee, what if we’re pregnant? And then I felt pretty sick after a glass of wine, so I thought, maybe I really am!

IMG_20180502_142323175Morris Lighthouse near Folly Beach.

img_20180428_201759My boys exploring the sand and surf. Oh how I love the ocean.

We got home and my period was supposed to start. I had some cramping, but after a couple days of no Aunt Flo and some sore boobs, I took a test. I couldn’t even wait for David to get home from work, so I had to call him with the news. I was shaking with excitement and disbelief.

“We’re going to need to get me a bigger car, honey!”

img_20180509_095855050_topIt’s a blurry pic because I was literally shaking. Though Rexy doesn’t look too pleased at the prospect of being a middle sibling haha.

Fast forward a couple weeks, where we had told grandparents but no friends yet, and we enjoyed spending a couple late nights in bed talking over baby names, especially girl names. Since we had already had two boys, obviously there were no more boy names left, so we figured out some girl options.

My brother and his family came in town over Memorial Day weekend, and right as we were about to go to dinner their first night, I popped into the restroom for a quick pee. I was pregnant, after all, and had to pee all the time. I was not expecting anything abnormal, as the morning sickness was already playing a strong game all day long every day.

Blood.

Not that much, but I told Dave anyway. Most of my pregnancy symptoms seemed to vanish the moment I saw that blood. I barely slept that night, worried about the newest baby, and our little Rex was just starting to get over a double ear infection and he was up all night with a 103° fever. The next day I rested some while the rest of the crew went downtown to shop and eat lunch, and when I bailed on dinner, wanting to eat at home, my SIL was a bit confused. So I said, “Well, to be honest, I think I’m having a miscarriage right now. I’m supposed to be about 7 weeks along.” We hugged and over the next few days I gathered my strength and we had fun.

img_20180525_210142170Cousins are the best.

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Of course this had all started on a Friday night of a holiday weekend, so by Tuesday morning I called my new doc for an appointment as soon as their doors opened. I hadn’t even seen them yet, as they don’t see OB patients until at least 8 weeks, and my first appointment with them was still two weeks away. They had me come in that morning for an ultrasound check. Dave met me there to help with the boys. I had had two and a half days of spotting, mild cramping, one hour one night of heavy bleeding, no cramping, and one day of heavy spotting, no cramping.

I went in, fully expecting nothing on the screen and a diagnosis of a miscarriage. They saw a 6 week old embryo with no heartbeat and said everything looked fine, but maybe my dates were wrong for my last period? No, I said, they were accurate. They couldn’t confirm a miscarriage based on my symptoms alone, so they sent me off with a “threatened miscarriage” diagnosis and told me to come back in a week for another ultrasound to see if anything had changed. I was very happy that they were caring and professional about it all even though I wasn’t an established patient. They offered for me to come in multiple times that week for HCG testing, but after all the blood tests I took during the IUI for Rex, I opted to just come in in a week and see if the baby had grown any more. It wouldn’t have changed the outcome either way and it seemed like only more hassle for me.

Queue heavy cramping as soon as I left the doctor’s office. Literally started in the parking lot while sitting in my car. That day I continued to only have heavy spotting, so I was on the fence about having hope. I did have a dream that night that the baby would survive and she was a girl and we named her Penelope Grace.

The next morning I woke up with no cramping and no bleeding. So I vacuumed the house. And then the cramping began. It was pretty severe; then the bleeding started. And oh the clots that came out! After an hour or so of this I started getting afraid to go to the bathroom. Luckily David was able to come home early from work and take care of the boys while I ran from the bed to the bathroom. This continued for about 2.5 hours and then it stopped completely. No more cramping. Barely any blood. I felt great, surprisingly, but knew that the end had come for #3. Dave made me a batch of dirty rice for dinner that night, which I was craving, and it’s the only thing I wanted to eat for the next three days. Bowls of that with a cup of milk, and a banana for dessert.

We agreed David would go back to work, and I took the boys to the grocery store and the library. Upon returning home, I started severely cramping again, the pain much more intense than it had been the day before, even though I wasn’t bleeding as much. I called David home again, took some ibuprofen and sat in bed with a heating pad. I didn’t get out of bed for the rest of the night. The off and on severe pain and bleeding continued for the rest of the weekend. One night I had a mild fever and I was concerned I was getting an infection, though my OB later told me she had never had a patient get an infection from a miscarriage (I had gotten one post-Walter’s birth so I was concerned about that).

img_20180602_102033227Doughnut treats while all this was going on.

img_20180603_121711787Grandparents came to visit to make sure we were all doing okay. It’s nice to have an OB MIL during times like this!

I went back to the doctor’s office on Monday morning for my ultrasound and nothing was there this time. Even though I had been prepared for that, it was very sad to see. I’m glad I could have that visual confirmation though, because despite everything, there was a tiny bit of hope inside me that some miracle had happened and the baby was going to be okay.

The whole experience was very surreal. After it taking two years and fertility treatments to get pregnant with Rex, I wasn’t expecting to get pregnant again so quickly, if at all, even though with Walter it had happened right away. I was still trying to wrap my head around there being a #3 when we lost the baby. In only a few short weeks I had been excited, terrified, in love, and even relieved to not have to be sick all summer during first trimester. It was a lot to process.

Dave says that I knew from the beginning that it wouldn’t work out. I was very cautious and kept saying, “If anything happens, at least we know we can get pregnant again without intervention.” It’s almost as if my pregnancy symptoms came on too strong and too fast for me to be comfortable believing in the pregnancy. Even though I have successfully made two tiny humans before, the whole process seems like magic and my fertility journey completely confounds me. I have no idea what would happen if we try again. Pregnant in a couple months? Never pregnant? Lots of miscarriages? There is no way of knowing, but oh such is life, and that’s the fun of it.

I alternate between sadness and peace every day. The baby had it’s own DNA (though most likely DNA that wasn’t quite right for this world), but I don’t think it ever had a heartbeat, which somehow relieves to me. Dave and I have grown closer during this time, which is the silver lining and blessing of the whole experience.

All in all I bled for about 2.5 weeks, and my morning sickness tapered and finished after a week. I thought because it was so early on that it would feel like a heavy period, but it was really a mix between the worst period of my life and a birth. I’ve come through this feeling very grateful to be able to connect with my friends who have had miscarriages themselves, for they helped me immensely while I was stuck in bed hurting. There should definitely be miscarriage doulas!

img_0206These guys! They, and their dad, are the lights of my life.

I’ve decided to use this as a wake up call to get fit and have already started working out and eating even healthier. I feel better than I have in a long time, and I like knowing that if the universe decides I should have another child (because really, what control do we have in this crazy thing we call life), I’ll be the best person I can for the experience. And if not, I’ll be a healthier, happier person besides.

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The Universe’s Perfect and Ironic Timing

28 Aug

I’ve always wanted more than one child, and for two years we waited and wondered and worked to “make” that happen. You never know when the right egg and sperm will meet at the right time and it’ll all work out. It’s so hard when you’re going through it because month after month you never know when the end of the pain will be (though at first it’s not so painful, it’s just exciting). We would say to ourselves, “If only we knew how much time we had to wait, then we could relax about it” and it’s true. The not knowing when or if it’ll ever happen is very difficult to wrap your head around.

In retrospect, I wouldn’t have wanted it to be any other way. With Walter, we wanted a baby, and *poof* I got pregnant. I never took anything for granted, but it’s not the same type of appreciation when you have to struggle for something. Not being able to get pregnant when I wanted not only made me more thankful for #2 but also for every moment with W.

I suffered so badly during first trimester that I’m not sure I would have survived if Walter was any younger. He had to play on his own during the days I couldn’t get out of bed except to feed him. And, because he is older, he really understands what is happening, and that just makes it that much more precious to me that he can share in this joy with us. He was worried about me when I was so sick and that was sweet too.

And just because the universe likes to make me laugh with its unique sense of humor, I got everything that I wanted all at once. That might sound like it’s perfect, and it is great, but there is that whole “be careful what you wish for” saying for a reason. We tried to sell our house for two years. While that process is a little more cut and dry than baby-making, trying to do so at the end of a recession and recoup your money can be a little on the tough side.

But this time, it worked, and we were able to buy the house we wanted in the right neighborhood for the right price. We moved in a week after I found out I was pregnant, and I was feeling great. Dave even moved all the heavy boxes for me. All our dreams were coming true!

Then, the sickness hit. I sat around in a brand new house (to us) feeling worse than I’ve ever felt in my life. I felt so bad that I wondered why in the heck I had ever wanted another baby. My brain started changing from “this is my dream house” to “this house and its smells and everything about it makes me sick”. After working very hard to sell our house and immediately buying and moving in to another one, it was unbelievably upsetting and worrisome to Dave to have his wife talking to the realtor about selling. Again.

It got so bad I made us stay with my mom for a few weeks, which of course was confusing to W, who had been such a trooper throughout our long move. When Dave would go work on the house, he would send me pictures, and looking at them made me nauseous. I didn’t want to talk about the house or even see highway signs that said “Marietta”. I reinstalled Zillow and was looking at Midtown condos for sale. Our doctor said it was the first time he had heard of this pregnancy side effect.

As a friend of mine told me while we were discussing this, I needed to give myself a break and wait it out. Basically in one tiny period of my life I had been dealing with selling, buying, and renovating a house, and infertility, fertility treatments, and first trimester. It was a lot to handle.

Thankfully, it passed. We’re on the side of hope and excitement, waiting for little boy to get here and enjoying every kick. We’re doing puzzles on our dining room table and loving our yard and the public library, and it’s all good. It’s still going to take time to adjust and figure out this new area of Atlanta, but hey, that’s what life is. The journey.

IMG_20160820_183351588_HDR

A beautiful, full double rainbow we saw on W’s birthday weekend.

 

Baby #2 is a sweet little brother for our W

26 Aug

After too many months of crying and waiting and testing and trying, there’s nothing but joy here to say we’re expecting another baby January 2017. Just after health insurance deductibles switch to the new year!

BABY JOHNSTON!_0035

Already looking pretty stinkin’ cute

We had our 20 week ultrasound this morning and everything looks great! He was moving around and even sucked his thumb while we were looking. Walter enjoyed watching the ultrasound tech take pictures for a few minutes, then spent the rest of the time asking when she’d be done and talking about his cinnamon roll breakfast.

W seems just as excited for his brother as we are. He says, “My baby will be here after Christmas, and I want to keep him forever.” I’ll remind him of that sentiment when little boy #2 is old enough to mess up his Lego and magnatile creations.

It’s been a long journey to get to this point, including a first trimester that was hellish to survive, but as I feel baby moving around in there, it’s just an incredible feeling that I’m so glad I get to experience again. This procreation stuff really is a miracle.

How to be a Diva: 3 steps

22 Dec

The Diva Cup:

It will literally change your life. You’ll never have to worry if you have a tampon on you. You’ll barely have to think about your period except a couple times a day. You’ll save oodles of money, plus you’re helping out the environment AND your body. What more could you ask for? OK, I sometimes supplement with a reusable cotton pad, but I’m equally excited about those. It’s this kind of stuff we should be sending to girls and women who can’t go to school or work because of their periods.

diva

Magnesium Supplements:

I used to have terrible PMS, and, once my period started, I would take 600mg of Ibuprofen every 3 hours for four days just to survive til the next time I could lay down. Granted, my period has been better since I had my son, but it still wasn’t easy. Now, my period sneaks up on me (no zits either!), and I take only 400-800mg of Ibuprofen per day for the first 2-3 days of my period. I eat relatively healthy, but this supplement is my favorite so far of all the new supplements I’m taking. One 500mg pill every other day, and poof my PMS went away.

magnesium

Women’s lit:

Taking Charge of Your Fertility (which is not just about getting pregnant), Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Nursing Mother’s Companion, and Period Repair Manual. It’s important to graduate high school and go get a college degree… but what about learning about your own body? These four books will get you started in the best possible way.

There are many stages to our lives as women. These are the best books I’ve read and cover most of what you would want to know about what physically goes on inside of you. Don’t be afraid. It’s pretty miraculous and really, really cool.