Thursday, July 23, 2015

Still Waiting

The ultrasound showed no abscess so I was cleared to get pregnant or do whatever. However, I still get left sided pain off and on. It may go on forever....who knows. As promised we have had a great spring and summer! Camping trips and a two week trip to Oregon. School starts in two weeks and Tyler will be starting kindergarten! Crazy!

The original plan was to start trying in July or August. Well, it's now almost August and we are not trying. I just can't seem to get over the fear of being pregnant again. I do not feel ready yet. I didn't think this would happen, but the closer I got to the reality of being pregnant again and facing the sickness and being pregnant after so many losses and hospitalizations I just couldn't do it. My friend jokingly referred to it as PTSD (pregnancy traumatic stress disorder). It's actually a pretty accurate description. The thought of facing months of sickness with a 50% chance of loss is just too much for me right now.

And so, we wait. It bugged me at first that I didn't have a plan or a date in mind, but eventually I was able to just let myself get used to the idea of going a month at a time. My mom assumes that as summer turns into fall and eventually winter and things become a bit dull and routine (especially after the holidays) that I'll start feeling a bit more ready and excited. I agree with her, but only time will tell. I do want another baby. Enough that I know eventually I will deal with the fear of pregnancy and go for it. It's just a matter of when.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Life Always Changes

I broke my get pregnant on the first try streak. We tried in January and nothing. I was kind of surprised. I had totally expected a positive. I would later find out that it was actually a blessing. We planned on trying in February and then if still negative taking a break until August or so. We wanted to be able to have a fun summer and a sick mommy does not equal a fun summer! In reality I never expected to have to take that break. I full heartedly believed that I would get pregnant in January or February. Getting pregnant has never been my problem!

A couple days before I was supposed to ovulate in February I started having lower left sided pain. I thought it was just gas or constipation and that it would go away in a couple days. Instead it got worse and worse. A day and a half later I was in excruciating pain! More pain than I've experienced ever before! Finally early Saturday morning Mark suggested we go to the ER. You know it's bad if Mark is suggesting the ER. To make a long story short. I ended up being admitted into the hospital (my second ambulance ride in less than 5 months!) with a severe infection in my fallopian tube (called salpingitis), a tubo-ovarian abscess the size of an orange, and sepsis!! I was severely ill!! I was on constant IV fluids, and 3 different IV antibiotics for 4 days. I was finally discharged and released with 2 different oral antibiotics. It took me about 2 weeks to feel normal. I still have some left sided pain, especially when I ovulate or am bloated. My doctor said that there is still inflammation in my abdomen and when things move around or become swollen or tender (like they do during ovulation and gas) it will cause pain. I will probably have inflammation for a while - possibly up to 6 months. I have had a couple follow up appointments and I am still waiting on the results of the final ultrasound. It will show if the abscess is still there, if my fallopian tube is clear or damaged. Hopefully everything is fine. If not, I may need surgery to either drain the abscess or possibly remove the abscess and the tube with it. I feel ready to accept whatever the outcome. Because of this, I do have a higher chance of ectopic pregnancy on that side because of scar tissue, or my tube could be completely blocked causing infertility on that side. But I still have my right side and that's all it takes! It just might take a little longer. I also have a higher chance of getting salpingitis again, but not too incredibly high. Now that I know what to look for and now that I have a record of this, my doctors will be more on top of it, and so will I!

So, as you can see, it was a blessing I didn't get pregnant in January. I can only imagine how much worse that infection would have been if I was pregnant. I'm assuming it would have killed the baby or possibly would have required me to choose a purposeful miscarriage to save my own life. I don't really know, but I do know it would have made things way more complicated! In fact, at one of my follow up appointments my doctor said he wouldn't be surprised if I had had this infection just stewing below the surface for the past year causing my miscarriages!! It actually makes sense. A year ago I had left sided pain that was never officially diagnosed. All they found was a small cyst on my left fallopian tube. (a cyst on my fallopian tube that was quite possibly the beginning of the tubo-ovarian cyst!!!) I had pain on that side off and on during the year, but I didn't think much of it. I can't believe that after all might have been causing all this! UGH! But at least its taken care of now. My doctor said he thinks my next pregnancy will go much better! :) 

It was also a blessing that we had already planned on taking a break from trying because after all this I need a break. I do mentally, emotionally, and physically. After 2 miscarriages (one requiring a D&C and blood transfusion) and now this.... it's time for me to focus on me and the family I do have! My poor family has had to deal with so many ups and downs over the past year and we all need time to heal and spend time together. If anything this and the other experiences I've had this past year have taught me a lot and given me empathy, gratitude, and perspective. I feel I have grown tremendously and am changing for the better. I suppose that is the purpose of trials after all. I am planning on making this spring and summer our final big bang before we jump head first into pregnancy and having a brand new baby and starting that whole process all over again. It'll be a good one!    

Thursday, January 22, 2015


I finally had my final blood test and follow up appointment this week. The result: normal. All abnormal tests came back normal the second time around, meaning that most likely they were elevated from my last pregnancy. Good news.... I guess. Except, that leaves me with nothing to fix. So either its bad luck or poor egg quality. Can't do much about the egg quality so we just hope I have some really bad luck and that next time around my luck finally changes. With 3 miscarriages under my belt the statistics for a 4th miscarriage are about 40-50% and my chances for a healthy full term pregnancy is 50-60% So kind of 50/50 with the odds slightly in my favor. Can't say I particularly love those odds. All the doctor can do now is support the pregnancy any way possible - even if it's not necessarily proven to help. She put me on baby aspirin from ovulation until period or second trimester, whichever comes first. The baby aspirin is supposed to prevent blood clots and some studies have shown that it can reduce the risk of miscarriage. She is also putting me on progesterone suppositories as soon as I get a positive pregnancy test. The progesterone should support the placenta and thereby reduce the risk of miscarriage. Aside from that they just try to support me as much as they can emotionally and mentally. Studies have shown that women who feel more support and less stress have lower rates of miscarriage. The doctor I have been working with will be my doctor during my next pregnancy until I get past my first trimester and move to low risk. She told me that I will have a few extra appointments and that if I ever feel worried or scared I can call and come in for an extra ultrasound to check the baby! It will definitely help to have that reassurance. I think the hardest part of my next pregnancy will be the time between appointments. Last time I had all assurance that things should be fine and I knew that if I called in and said I was worried they would tell me I was fine. And yet, I had a dead baby inside of me for 3 weeks! My doctor said that if I called worried about the baby no one would think I was crazy, because I have a history and a reason to be worried. They will do everything they can to keep me stress free and reassured. I am so thankful for that! I was also given the go ahead to try again. I am actually really hopeful. I didn't think I would be, but I feel excited and hopeful that next time it'll stick! Hopefully I can get pregnant just as quickly this time and that everything will be perfect!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Let the Testing Begin

It has been a little over a month since the D&C. I was referred to infertility because I have now had 2 miscarriages in a row, 3 overall, and because this last one was so late. So far it's just testing. I have had several blood tests. All have come back normal so far except the IgM and IgG test. However, they said most likely it's elevated from my pregnancy and I'll retest in a couple months. I've also had a uterine abnormality ultrasound which came back normal. Mark and I both had chromosomal tests, but we won't get the results back on those for about another month. Mark also has to give a semen sample. I'm assuming everything will come back normal and we will be one of the 60-75% of couples you have unexplained recurrent miscarriages. Really there is no obvious reason for this to be happening. We are healthy and young and haven't ever had alcohol or drugs or a cigarette. I am not obese or overweight. We have had 2 children without any problems. It's a puzzle.

As far as the baby is concerned, I finally got the pathology report back from St. Mary's only to learn that no testing was ordered so they only did a visual examination: weight, length, head shape, skin maceration. So I don't know the gender for sure and I will never know if it was something wrong with the baby or with me. I can't even begin to explain how upset I was when I saw that report. Maybe I had expected too much, but I was counting on that paper to rule out something, anything! And to help me with closure. I wanted to know the gender so so badly! I wanted to name it - if only in my heart. I felt like if I just knew the gender and whether or not it was sick I could heal a bit more. So when I saw nothing my heart broke all over again. It was a rough day, but luckily it only lasted the day and I was able to realize that it's still my baby regardless of it's gender or why it died. Someday I will know the gender. I will know that baby.

I have also learned some statistics. Two recurrent miscarriages only happens to 2% of women and 3 recurrent only to 1%. After 2 subsequent losses you have a 60-70% chance of having a successful pregnancy, which is actually not that much worse than never ever having a miscarriage. However, being part of 2% of the pregnant population makes even a 30% chance of another miscarriage seem terrifying and completely possible.  I'm starting to realize what a wreck I will be next time. I don't know when I'll ever feel "safe." I should have been "safe" last time. I made it so far. I had heard the heart beat 3 times. I was sicker than I have ever been. Everything pointed toward a completely healthy pregnancy and yet it wasn't. Was it me? Was it the baby? I don't know if I'll ever know. Next time nothing will ease my anxiety. Not symptoms, not a heart beat, not even making it past the first trimester. And since this last one was a missed miscarriage, the time between appointments might just do me in. I mean I walked around with a dead baby for 3 weeks! 3 WEEKS! The whole time thinking everything was fine! I will be a disaster! I can only hope that I will have divine help! I will need it!

Luckily, I haven't been given the green light to try again so I'm just trying to enjoy this time not being pregnant or thinking about being pregnant. I am giving myself time to heal (and maybe even forget) some of the pain and fear. I know that the second we start trying I will be afraid to get pregnant and afraid to not get pregnant. So for now I am just enjoying the lack of anxiety. In fact, I feel the healthiest mentally that I have felt in a long time! My anxiety is at an all time low and I love that! Maybe going through that trauma gave me a good reality check or maybe my hormones got knocked back into place. Who knows. Hopefully it sticks around! I also feel like I have gained a huge amount of empathy. I have a couple friends who are pregnant right now and in their first trimesters. I have found a lot of healing helping them out - bringing them dinners, taking their kids for a while, or visiting with them. I have also taken a good look at my life and the lives of my children and taken screen out of our lives during the weekdays and its been amazing! So there have definitely been blessings during this trial, which I am grateful for!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Where to Begin

So much has happened since I posted a week ago. I did have my follow up appointment Friday where the obvious was confirmed - a missed miscarriage at 14 weeks, baby measuring 11 weeks. I was scheduled for a D&C Monday morning in the Ontario Kaiser Hospital and was sent home to wait out the weekend.

During the weekend I struggled to figure out my emotions. Besides the tears I shed Thursday after first finding out, I felt kind of normal and I felt bad about that. Shouldn't I be devastated? What kind of mother was I? I looked up some missed miscarriage stories online and found out that many women felt similar in the interim between finding out the baby was dead and having the D&C. It's a numb, limbo feeling. You're pregnant, but not pregnant. You're a we, but at the same time just a me. Even though your mind knows, your heart is still coming to grips. I guess you could call it denial. I did have some anger. I felt a bit annoyed that I had been sick for so long for nothing. That after already having a miscarriage I was having another one. Most of my feelings were anxiousness for the D&C. I just wanted to get it over with and move on and deal with the emotional side of things.

Beside the small amount of spotting Wednesday, nothing else had happened to indicate my body had any idea what was going on. I figured since my body hadn't recognized the fetal demise for 3 weeks I was pretty safe. What was 3 more days? Saturday night, after waking up in the middle of the night to pee, I saw some brown spotting. My first thought was...uh oh my body just might be catching on. But I ignored it because I still had no cramps and everything seemed fine. More googling convinced me I could have several days of brown spotting before things really got going. So I didn't worry and just prayed that I would make it to Monday morning. As nervous as I was for the D&C, the thought of doing it naturally was worse. I did not want to do it naturally.

Sunday passed uneventfully and I was feeling pretty confident I would make it the few hours left until Monday. At bedtime I started feeling little tight and twisty contractions. They were so mild I would compare them to late term braxton hicks. I still wasn't worried so I fell asleep with a small warning to Mark that I was having small contractions. Around midnight I woke up with much worse contractions, but still no blood so I went out to the couch to watch a tv show to get my mind off the pain. It got worse over the next couple hours until it seemed to reach a pitch. I was in the middle of an intense contraction when I felt a pop and gush. I stood up quickly to avoid getting the couch wet and bloody and ran to the bathroom. Basically my water had broken and when I sat down over the toilet I felt something fall out of me. When I looked down I saw the baby hanging from the umbilical cord. It wasn't bloody or in the sack. It was a 3-4 inch, 11 week developed fetus! I don't know what can prepare you to see that. I started screaming for Mark hysterically. He came stumbling into the bathroom and was a bit disturbed at seeing the baby. I finally managed to detach it from the cord and just held it in a piece of toilet paper in my hand sobbing. Here was the grief I was waiting for. He was perfect! (I feel very strongly it was a boy so I'll just call it a "he"). He had two little eyes, a nose, a mouth, ears, arms, fingers, legs, toes, a belly button, everything. I couldn't bear to just flush him down the toilet! I finally wrapped him in toilet paper and put him in a bag. I would later hand him over to a lab technician. I should receive the results within a month or so.

Little Baby Andreasen. He really wasn't this gray/green color. The light in the bathroom made the picture this color. I couldn't give him away to the hospital without taking a picture. He was not disgusting to me in any way. He was my baby and I wanted to remember him forever. 

Once that emotional outburst was over, my body decided it was going to go in to full blown miscarriage mode. The cramps came back with a bang. "Cramps" doesn't even do it justice. These were not cramps, these were contractions and they HURT! I started to gush blood and clots and tissue. I sat on the toilet for an hour or so just watching life drain out of me. Within an hour or so I started to feel light headed, weak, and dizzy. Next came the dry heaving. I don't know if it was from the dizziness or the blood loss or just the trauma my body was going through, but every 15-20 minutes I would have to move from sitting on the toilet to leaning over the toilet so I could throw up. My body was so weak at that point that I had to prop myself against the toilet, throw my arm over the toilet bowl and lean my head on my arm so I wouldn't plunge face first into the toilet. I was getting worried that I might be losing too much blood and there was no sign of it slowing down. I was still a few hours away from my scheduled appointment time and I just couldn't imagine waiting any longer. I called Kaiser and after listening to me for a few minutes they told me to hang up and call 911 and get to the nearest ER now! Mark assured me he could get me to the closest ER (which wasn't Kaiser) as fast as an ambulance and I agreed. He woke the kids up while I laid on the couch and called our amazing friends the Clowards. They woke up ready to have 2 extra kids come over at 5 am. (I will forever be grateful to all the people who took our kids during that day with no notice - the Clowards, the Horrocks, and Molly Fox. I was so thankful that Mark could be with me the whole time and I never had to worry about my kids!) Anyway, Mark basically carried me to the car because I could not walk on my own.

When we got to the ER they took me back immediately. And finally, after a few questions I got relief thanks the the beauty of morphine. Even through the morphine I could feel the contractions, but at least I didn't want to die. At this point I called my mom and told her everything that was going on. Using her mom intuition she got ready to come be with me and help me. She knew I would need it. My amazing cousin, Crista, who works for delta, put her on a flight using a buddy pass and got my mom here by 8 pm. I seriously can't begin to explain how much love I felt that day!

 Anyway, I continued to bleed very heavily and my vitals were becoming unstable. My blood pressure was alarmingly low, along with my oxygen saturation, and my resting heart rate was crazy high at about 120-130. A simple lift of my finger would send my machine alarms into a frenzy. To make an already long story slightly shorter I spent about 8 hours in the ER here in Apple Valley while they tried to figure our what to do with me. A pelvic exam showed that my cervix was still open and my bleeding refused to stop. My hemoglobin started to fall quickly. I went from a 13 to a 10 within a few hours. They finally decided that they needed to transfer me to a Kaiser hospital an hour away in Ontario, but I couldn't go on my own so they called for an ambulance. My vitals were too unstable and they wanted me to be monitored every second. And so I experienced my first ever (and hopefully last) ambulance ride.

Getting ready to be loaded into the ambulance. I took this picture because Tyler thought it was pretty cool I was going to ride in an ambulance.

At the hospital my hemoglobin continued to fall until it reached an 8.8. To put that in context, they won't do surgery if it's below 8 and at a 7 your organs are effected. So I was low...really low... and getting lower. They informed me that I would need a blood transfusion and a D&C that night to stop the bleeding and replace what I had lost. This all sounds really emergent and crazy, but really it was all done in a very calm, non emergency kind of way. I never felt that I was in trouble or that things were going too fast or out of control. I knew it was serious, but I wasn't scared for my life or anything.

I was soon rolled into pre-op and prepared for the D&C. I didn't know it, but for the procedure you are put under and intubated. That kind of terrified me and for the first time since that morning I started to cry and get scared. I was just so weak and tired - mentally, emotionally, and physically. Mark prayed with me and we knew my mom would be there soon so I calmed down and waited for them to come get me. The rest of the night was a blur, if not completely forgotten. I have a memory of being given "happy medicine" and then nothing until they put the mask on me in the operation room. There's nothing after that until I woke up in recovery. I was pretty loopy in recovery and Mark videotaped me saying weird things like "Did I pee my pants?" and "Do I have Ebola?" and "Mark, you have 4 eyes." Soon my mom arrived and was able to come sit with me as I came out of the fog. There had been a piece of tissue or placenta stuck in my uterus causing the hemorrhaging. The D&C removed that piece and everything else, effectively slowing my bleeding to almost nothing. During my surgery I received 2 units of blood. I had a slight reaction to it causing a low fever, which is really common so they just waited until my fever came down and my vitals stabilized and sent me home. They were impressed at my quick recovery after surgery and I was SOOOOO happy I didn't have to stay the night. After 18 hours in a hospital, an ambulance ride, blood transfusion, and surgery I got to go home.

Since then, thanks to my mom being here to help, I have been able to rest and recover. The first couple days I felt like I had been hit by a truck after running a marathon. Everything hurt, even my skin and hair. Today is the first day that I feel physically normal. Emotionally I've been all over the place. That night when I laid down in my own bed after everything that had happened I felt gratitude. It wasn't an emotion I was expecting. But I just cried tears of gratitude for the baby, for the doctors, for my family and friends and husband that had been with me through the whole day, and for my life! Had I lived in a different time I might not have survived. The sorrow has come since then. I'm grieving and mourning the loss of this baby. I miss him and I miss all that I had planned. But I feel like he is mine and will be mine forever!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Missed Miscarriage

After being afraid of this for weeks and being told it only happens in 1% of pregnancies, it's happened to me. This morning was the Murphy's Law of mornings. We got out of here around 9:20 only to discover no gas, after getting gas we hit every single red light possible down Bear Valley, after finally making it onto the freeway we hit stop and go traffic through the pass, after finally getting down to Fontana with minutes to spare there were zero and I mean absolutely no parking spots. I had to park outside at a different building and walk. After finally getting into the building, we were told we were too late and would have to be squeezed in, so we sat in the waiting room for an hour and in the examination room for another 30 minutes or so. Oh and did I mention that my kids were with me during all this? I figured I was due some good news, but it wasn't going to happen. The doppler couldn't pick up a heart beat. At that point I knew what the outcome would be and surprisingly didn't feel surprised. I felt like I had known all along that this would be the end. I somehow knew I would have this missed miscarriage. Anyway, they rolled in a portable ultrasound machine and confirmed the fetal demise. The baby measured around 11 1/2 weeks - right when I started feeling better. When I told the doctor that, he said that made sense. Often times that's the only symptom of a missed miscarriage.

I have a follow up ultrasound tomorrow morning to officially confirm the fetal demise with a ultrasound tech and radiologist and to discuss my next move. The doctor today said its most likely too big to do naturally so I'll probably end up having a D&C - which is slightly terrifying. But at the same time now that I know it's gone I just want to move on. I don't need time to come to terms. I need time to heal and be with my family, not waiting for the miscarriage to happen.

The doctor also said since it's my second miscarriage in a row, and third overall they'll probably do a full work up on the fetus and on me to see what the heck is going on! Hopefully it's something easily fixed. It could just be a fluke, but who knows.

So there you have it. I'll write more tomorrow when I find out what the next step is.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

14 Weeks and Some Spotting

I am officially 14 weeks and feeling pretty dang good. The nausea is pretty much gone and so are the food aversions and such. Even the gaggy/indigestion feeling is off and on. The depression and anxiety has lifted. I've been feeling great! At least until today. I had some pink and red spotting and light cramps today. The spotting has stopped which is great, but the cramps are still there keeping me nervous. I have an appointment tomorrow morning to check the baby and make sure everything is ok. Man I was SO close to being in the "safe zone." Mentally and emotionally I feel fairly confident that things are ok or I'm in denial. Time will tell. Something in my brain just won't let me accept yet that after all this time it could be over. Hopefully I won't have to accept it. Although, I'd rather it happen now then at 20 weeks or 30 weeks or after birth. And here I was thinking that I maybe, sorta felt a movement every once in a while. Who knows? Maybe I have. Maybe I'll see an active, bouncy baby in there tomorrow.

My friends have been wonderful! One brought over cookies and another brought us dinner so I could stay laying down. It's really nice to know that when something happens I have a support group that will help take care of me! Tyler even wanted to give me a blessing. I told him he couldn't put his hands on my head and give me a blessing, but he could say a prayer and that would be like a blessing. So he said a little prayer about keeping the baby alive and helping it to be ok. Very sweet! If anything, his little faith will make this ok.