Our Journey

2002 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #1

2003 1st consult with an RE, you know, just in case

2003 Got Married (at 37 (me) & 34 (DH) years old)

2003/2004 Naturally conceived pregnancies BFPs #1, #2, & #3 and miscarriages #1, #2, #3

2005 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #2

2005 IVF #1, BFN #1

2005 IUIs #1 and #2, just because, BFN #2 & #3

2005 FET from IVF #1, BFN #4

2006 Exploratory surgery to remove scar tissue from fibroid sugery #2

2006 IVF #2 (w PGD), BFP #4

2006 Emergency cerclage for IC @ 16w6d (5 months + 1 week of complete bed rest at home ensues)

2007 Our son is born @ 38w by scheduled c-section

2007 IVF #3 for baby #2, BFN #5

2007 IVF #4, BFP #5, miscarriage #4

2008 IVF #5, BFP #6, miscarriage #5

2008 IVF #6, BFP #7, miscarriage #6

2008 DE IVF #7, BFN #6

2009 DEFET #8, cancelled, embryos don't thaw

2010 Decide to adopt domestically

12.17.10 Profile is live with our agency

November 2011 Consult with RE re: donated embryo cycle

Early January 2012 Cleared to proceed with deFET

January 2012 Freeze our profile

1.20.12 deFET begins
2.12.12 eSET of one compacted morula
2.22.12 BFN

3.23.12 deFET #2 begins
4.14.12 transfer 3 embryos (1-8 cell, 1-5 cell, 1-4 cell)
4.22.12 + HPT
4.24.12 Beta #1 = 48.4
4.26.12 Beta #2 = 125.7
4.30.12 Beta #3 = 777.8
5.11.12 1st U/S - Singleton!
7.12.12 It's a Boy!
12.26.12 C-section: Baby G is born, 9#5oz, 20.5"

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Fortitude

Thank you for the replies to WWYD.  As I predicted and because she believes we are better friends than we are, she is pressing me to get together for coffee next week.  I am trying to keep her at arms length until I at least get past my ultrasound on Friday, and responded that the earliest I could get together was late Friday morning, but I know that I will have to put her off.  She is going to want to have both a conversation re: A) cycling and B) the state of our friendship.  I still don’t know how clean I’ll come because, frankly, it’s not an investment I care to make.  There are many things I can’t/won’t tell her since I do have to see her regularly.  Seriously, dealing with this is the last thing I want to do.

I have another weighty WWYD brewing, one that literally keeps me up at night.

I feel pregnant and that continues to be reassuring and worrisome.  I am only 5w4d pregnant and feel further along than that.  I am, of course, concerned about multiples, not because of high beta values, but because of short doubling times.  We’ll know soon enough.

I wake up between 3 – 4:30 AM every morning to pee. Because I am exhausted and am now going to be before 10, when I wake up at that hour it is very hard to go back to sleep since I’ve already slept a good chunk of time. And, once I am awake, I cannot turn my mind off. My thoughts of late surround how awed I feel to be here, pregnant, at almost 46. To have shut the door almost three years ago on ever being pregnant again, it is awesome, humbling, and gratifying to be here. It validates, in a calming of the beast kind of way, how much I have wanted another child and the lengths I was willing to go to make that happen.  It also gives me the chance to do pregnancy again.  That gift is the most humbling.

However, this is not at all a walk in the park for me, and by this I mean being pregnant, with possibly more than one embryo and a known incompetent cervix at almost 46. Some nights, I have a lot of uterine activity. It isn’t cramps, but overall uterine discomfort sometimes with shooting pains down each side of my groin. It is THE thing that has me worried about multiples. It also has me worried about accreta. Consult Dr. Google if you don’t know what it is.

So, this morning when I was up before the birds and when the moon still shone in the dark night sky, I began to think about all that it took for me to get to this point and all that it will take for me to deliver a baby. And I wondered, what makes me think I have the emotional and physical fortitude to get through this? And, I do not mean that to be cliche, not in the least.  I really wondered what it is that I think I’m made of that made me feel like I could even attempt this, knowing what I know (and suffering from PTSD) from my pregnancy with my son.  I did not go into this blindly but instead well informed and with eyes wide open.  And still, I felt that it was something I should attempt.

If there is more than one, we will selectively reduce for reasons I’ve already documented on this blog. We have been steadfast in that decision. However, having known two women IRL who have done so (one from quads to twins and one from twins to a singleton), I wonder how I will be able to actually do it? I get nauseous just to think of it.  The doubt has crept in, “what if I can’t?”.

A selective reduction (SR) is usually performed between 9 – 12 weeks. A preventative cerclage is usually placed between 12 – 14 weeks. I am hoping and praying to the universe that the former is moot but the latter will not be. A cerclage is placed in an operating room usually with either an epidural or spinal block (I had a spinal with my emergency cerclage with my son).  It requires at least a 1/2 day stay at the hospital. While it is not a fun procedure, since I have had one, I know what to expect. Having avoided an amnio with my pregnancy with my son, I’m not quite sure what to expect with a SR. I mean, I know the mechanics of what they do, how it is performed, but I am not quite sure how I will hold up emotionally (again, something I am hoping not to have to learn) because, all things being equal, it will be somewhat up to us which one to reduce.

The great hope is that a preventative cerclage with a singleton pregnancy will help me avoid bed rest (or prolonged bed rest).  Provided I make it to term, which, with a cerclage, is a big IF, I will have my 2nd and last c-section. Again, I know what to expect, so I am slightly less worried about it, but I do worry, in general, about all that can go wrong. However, there is no choice in the matter so I won’t borrow trouble.

This all brings me back to fear and fortitude. I am 5w4d into something that I hope will go another 33 weeks. It would be one thing to not have known what I was in for, but to know and do it anyway? I am in it, so now is not the time for armchair quarterbacking, but what reserves will I draw upon to get me through? Why do I believe that I will get through?  There are so many risks associated with pregnancy at my age that it is hard not to worry about any one of them befalling me.

So, why did I think I could even attempt it?   I think it all goes back to the death of my brother. That singular event set in motion a chain of events that precisely made me think I can do this. During my month long stay in the hospital and 9 months in a near body cast, I learned that I was the only one I could count on.  I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “you’re on your own” and I knew that meant that the only person who I could rely on was me.  That is a heart breaking realization for an eleven year old who just lost her brother, but it changed who I was to become and now, 35 years later, it continues to serve me well.  I think, at my core, I believe more in my ability to do this than I did in what would become of me if I didn’t.  Doing is something I know; giving up (or in) is not.

I am taking this one day at a time.  I know that I will not have to make decisions alone as I do have the support of my husband and the partnership of my marriage.  I believe I will have good medical care but have no problem going out of pocket if I need to get what I feel is better care.

I am in it, come what may.

11 comments to Fortitude

  • My first thought is that you’re down a path you don’t know you need to be down; you’re 5 steps ahead of what you KNOW right now. You don’t know how many embryos took; it’s fear dictating everything right now.

    Course, it’s not like you didn’t have, well, an EXPERIENCE in being pregnant with your son. And I know that my own coping mechanism has always been to prepare myself for all outcomes. So I understand where it comes from.

    I like the idea of meditation and trying to clear the slate every night before bed. I feel like you need tools in order to help cope with the Fear of it all.

    What helped me when I was pregnant with my son? Taking it a step at a time. A second or a BREATH at a time, often. I repeated to myself a lot: “There’s no indication right now, in this moment, that this won’t work out.” It helped quell the anxiety and panic so that I could get to the next moment.

    Hang in there. Right now, today, in this moment, you are pregnant. Keep breathing.

    xoxo

  • Mel

    Some advice I got once seems to be applicable in a number of situations, including this one. If you ever looked at the facts of your life on paper — or on the screen (all the things you listed here) — it seems impossible that you could make it through it. And yet, think of all the times where if you wrote out the details of your life, it would have seemed impossible to fathom life working out, and yet it did. And that is what will get you through Friday, it’s what will get you through a reduction if it comes to that, it will get you through those first hard days of sleep deprivation with a newborn. You will get through this because think of all the things that have happened in your life — including the loss of your brother — that you got through before.

  • Sarah

    Just love and hugs for the days and months ahead.

  • Ugh on the friend issue. We have an acquaintance in that camp, too. My coping mechanism of choice, probably not the best one, is avoidance.

    For you, I’m thinking a one-word mantra. One. One. One. One. And later on I’ll begin chanting August. August. August. August. (that’s right, right?)

    May things go as smoothy as possible from here on out.

  • Katie

    You need to put your needs first not those of your friend, it probably suits her to re kindle your friendship now. One lesson I learned early on is to get rid of people who are not there for me- the world is full of people who will suck the life out of you when they need to- the compliment is rarely returned, they require all the attention. To say that about your child was very hurtful, she did not spare your feelings there. If you decide to meet her tell her that you have decided not to talk about yourself, you keep it superficial and then move on from her. Have positive people in your life- those that make you feel good when you leave their company.

  • Anna

    Reading you planning out the risks and your fears and the choices you might have tells me that you are ‘in it’ and that you’re in the right place. Every pregnancy is riddled with risks and potentially lifechanging problems, yes, you are aware of some potential problems in your way but I genuinely think that the same strength that got you here will get you through this year. I had extreme sleeping issues and spent a lot of time awake in the night when pregnant, in some ways nice to have the problems of a pregnancy.

    You are amazing and though I have only been subscribing for a while you are nothing if not persistent, strong, conscientiousness and full of deep self-knowledge. I believe that you’re in the right place and will keep hoping for you,x

  • Tireegal

    I’m holding you in my fierce prayers to the universe for a wonderful outcome. I don’t know how to advise you except to take it one day at a time. I am interested in knowing more about SR. For my own future. Maybe we can talk off line. I think you are right on with your plans but I know it must be so hard to see a good end in sight at this point. You’re strong. You have great support from your awesome husband. Hoping for good steady peaceful progress.:)) xoxo

  • Mina

    Definitely a lot to think about. I hope everything turns out alright in the end. I do not know what kind of alright, but I hope it is the one that makes you happy. And when you’re happy you have no doubts or regrets.I think it is a kind of alright one could get used to.
    Fingers crossed. And best wishes.

  • I am very inspired by a lot of the things you write about here — especially your description of the hospital experience when you were a child, and that ‘everything’s up to you’ sort of realization. I must’ve had that at some point around that age myself. Could this be an adoptee thing too?

    Have you seen anyone describe a SR experience on their blog? That’s one thing I have never seen anyone touch — but I have wondered about it so much (and would be making the same decision if I were to become pregnant with more than one, for baby/mom health fears). Surely it happens a fair amount. My clinic is not particularly gung-ho about encouraging single transfers (but they do have a lot of older patients). Yet it always seems like the ‘dark secret of ART’ and I’d be curious what really happens out there.

    Anyway, I hope you are able to set these worries aside somewhat — and get some sleep! I would second Pale’s recco about the Belleruth Naperstack (great name!) meditation CDs. It’s hard for me to just do a ‘blank slate’ meditation, but having some visual guidance seems to help me focus when I’m in a middle-of-the-night, racing-thought place. Not that I have actually DONE this in a million years. But it’s a good reminder for me to maybe dust these off too :)

  • No doubt about it. You have a lot on your plate. Have I ever recommended healthjourneys.com to you? They have a lot of helpful guided visualization/meditation resources (both CD’s and MP3’s) … I’m sure they would have relevant ones … for pregnancy, sleep, stress …. Not for everyone, but helpful for many.

    Keeping you in my good thoughts.

  • Phew. So much for you to deal with. I had horrible insomnia (and late-night obsessing) during early pg, but it eventually eased. I hope yours does too. And I hope for all of your sakes that you don’t have to do SR. If you do, it will be for the right reasons and I for one will applaud your fortitude. I’ve always appreciated how much good research you do — you certainly won’t be making decisions from a place of ignorance. But oh man, what hard stuff to be chewing on at 2a.m.

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