Joining the wave of light for Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day

I am 1 in 6 who suffers from infertility.

I am now 1 in 4 who suffers from pregnancy loss.

Each day my heart slowly becomes whole again, but I know there will always be a tiny hole that represents this missing piece of me: my angel baby.
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I carried her in my body for a 7 weeks, 1 day, but I will carry her memory with me forever.

Tonight, I light my candles with love and light in honour of each and every baby that left us too soon, each and every parent who grieved in silence or out loud, each and every broken heart.

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Employers offering to pay for egg freezing: empowerment or enslavement?

This article has been circulating online today:  Apple, Facebook to Women Employees: Keep Working, We’ll Pay to Freeze Your Eggs.

Immediately after I read it,  I posted my reaction to my Facebook wall:

As much as I believe in a women’s ability to choose her life path, I struggle with this concept. I would never recommend fertility treatments to anyone who did not medically need them. IVF (or even egg freezing) is not easy on a woman physically or mentally. If we are going to approach fertility from the scientific standpoint that age doesn’t matter, then maybe we should first consider Government funding for those who medically suffer from the disease know as infertility. It’s difficult for me to grasp the concept of my treatment not being funded, yet companies are stepping up to encourage women to delay their fertility which poses higher risks and no guarantees. On top of that, what kind of message are we sending to women? Can you not have a successful career and become a mother at the same time?”

I should not be as surprised as I am. 

I would love to read the internal publications that promote these programs. I would love to read the fine print and see how much they are actually funding, what are the caveats, what are the loopholes.

This is not empowerment. This is another sign of society condemning women for embracing their femininity, their womanhood and their birthright to be a mother.

This is enslaving women to their jobs. It’s taking away their choice to become a mother when THEY desire. It’s potentially ostracising them if they do not pursue their career path first.

Because as much as they SAY that won’t happen, we all know it will. 

They try to sell it as a positive choice, but really they are promoting a high-risk scenario. They are encouraging women to look to science to solve their fertility woes instead of letting their bodies do what they were naturally built to do. They are encouraging putting drugs in your system and enduring invasive procedures “just because it’s easier for your career”.

Is it really easier for you? Who paints the picture of what fertility treatments are ACTUALLY like? 

The disease of infertility leads so many of us to pursue treatment. Yes, we have a choice to accept treatment or not, but for most of us, it’s not a matter of choice. We will not conceive without fertility treatments.

It’s too soon to be promoting “fertility treatments by choice” when infertility is barely recognized and hardly funded.

What will happen to the infertility industry if a drawn our fertility timeline becomes the societal norm?

I think we need to take a step back here. I’m all about women’s right and women’s choice, but this jaded infertile feels like this issue needs some more thought put into it first.

Heartache is worse than physical pain

Yesterday morning, I got my period. I now get to deal with period cramps on top of lap gas, incision pain, loosing my left tube and my baby.

Why does it feel like I keep getting kicked even harder when I’m down? 

The past two days have been emotionally rough. I’ve cried A LOT.

I am upset with my husband. I know he suppresses his emotions and takes longer to process than me, but he hasn’t really acknowledged the baby loss (nor has his family but that’s another topic). His only response is, “Yes, it sucks“. Today he told me that he has to be strong because one of us does.

I just want him to feel with me. I want him to cry with me.

I want to be able to talk about all of the questions on my mind like:

  • Should we name her?
  • Is this baby gone forever or is she coming another time?
  • How can we celebrate her life? How can we remember her?
  • Are we willing to wait longer for our FET if I’m not emotionally ready by January or February?
  • What if that FET doesn’t work?
  • What if I have another ectopic?

I’m scared of what the future may bring. I’m scared of facing another loss, another surgery, another failure.

I don’t trust my body.

But, I do trust that something good has to come from this journey.

I trust that our children are waiting and they will come to us – someday, somehow.

But right now, I don’t want to think about what else we may have to face to get there.

I just want someone to say, “Lindsey, you have a baby. You are a mother even if she is gone.

It feels like everyone around me doesn’t get it.

They think I’m just recovering from surgery when really I’m recovering from a broken heart.

Ectopic post-op update

We got home yesterday. It helps to have nurse friends in Ob/Gyn as my wonderful friend gracious reminded the surgeon that I was waiting on 5E for him to discharge me. The surgeon came by around 11:30 am and we were home by 2:00 pm.

I’m sore but moving around much better today. My main issue is dealing with the post-laparoscopy gas build up. I’ve been walking around the house, then rotating between laying down and sitting up to ease some of the discomfort.

The outcome of the surgery is that I lost my entire left tube. Pre-op, I was adamant that the surgeon check for endo if he was going in. He said my left ovary is in tact, my right side looks perfect and there are no signs of endo. He wrote me a note for 2 weeks off work and advised me to take Naproxen and Extra Strength Tylenol to manage my pain. So far, I’m doing ok but I do notice an increase in pain a few hours before my next dose of Naproxen.

I have been super impressed with my fertility clinic. While I was in surgery and throughout the next day, Dr. H kept in continuous contact with my husband via phone calls and text. He asked this morning if I could call him on his cell and we chatted for a good while. He showed much compassion and concern for my condition. We discussed the surgery, recovery, my emotional state, my diet, next steps, etc. This man truly cares for his patients and I am so glad that we are under his care.

Dr. H said that often fresh IVF cycles can create harsh conditions for an embryo which could result in the embryo searching out better tissue (i.e. the tube) (I still have to discuss the potential immune issue with him, but I thought we would dig into that at a later date). Even though our 1st pregnancy ended tragically, Dr. H thinks it is proof that my body can achieve pregnancy and it will happen again in the future. He is positive we will have a successful pregnancy at some point.

He mentioned that on any given day they always have someone on ectopic watch as HCG levels are not always predictable. Unfortunately for me, he said the majority of these cases do end up in uterine pregnancies. I fit into that unlucky 2% who end up with an actual ectopic.

I was relieved to hear that we also shared similar sentiments about the Methotrexate drug. Dr. H said it is harsh for the body and he thinks that many women are unnecessarily prescribed it without proof of an ectopic (Yes Jen – we were talking about you here. I mentioned how crazy it was that I knew someone else going through this at the same time when the odds are so low. He asked if you had proof of your ectopic and I assured him you had an ultrasound that detected the tubal pregnancy before you took the drug. Another sign of how compassionate this man is – he showed care for MY FRIEND who isn’t even his patient). 

Dr. H also mentioned that it’s kind of a good thing that my tube is gone. Yes, I know this sounds fucked up. He said often when the tube is left after an ectopic, it is scarred and can actually increase the risk of another ectopic. I get what he is saying. And in all honestly, do I really need my tubes if we know that IVF is our best chance to conceive a baby? Right now, my womb and my frozen embryos are the most important pieces of my infertility puzzle.

Even without my left tube, I’m still going to be high risk for a second ectopic. Dr. H made me promise that I would always pay close attention to my cycles. In the chance that we did conceive naturally, the clinic would arrange my Beta tests and monitor me to ensure it is not ectopic – and the same will happen if the pregnancy is achieved via embryo transfer.

In the end, I have no one to blame for my condition. At first, I was upset that the clinic did not get me in for an ultrasound sooner, but I honestly do not know if that would have changed the outcome. As much as surgery was a worst case scenario, I had no other choice – my life was at stake.

In the end, we got the proof we needed to find closure and slowly move forward. I’m glad the waiting game of uncertainty is over.

I haven’t spent much time feeling my emotions of loss and grief yet. I cried yesterday evening, but right now, I’m focused on healing physically.

One step at a time, one day at a time…

Ectopic emergency

I know quite a few of you have been wondering where I am. I didn’t post my usual beta testing day update.

Yesterday,  my beta rose to 1022. I found this out while waiting in the ER to be diagnosed as left tubal rupture due to ectopic pregnancy.

I joked with the ER doc that it only took them 5 hours to diagnose what I told them when I walked in the door.

Suddenly at 4pm yesterday,  I started experiencing sharp burning pains in my lower abdomen. Let me just say if your tube ever bursts it is NOT comparable to period cramps.

My husband rushed me to the ER. After an hour in radiology,  followed by a OB/Gyn consult,  they determined that my scans showed evidence of a ruptured tube with blood in the abdomen. Surprisingly,  I barely had any blood coming out vaginally.

Because my vitals were stable (and you know the OB had to deliver 3 babies first),  I didn’t get in for emergency laparoscopy surgery until 1:30 am.

Surgery was complete and I was out of recovery by 3:30 am.

I’m still in the hospital tonight. Unfortunately, the surgeon did not come in today to update me on the outcome of the surgery. I won’t be discharged until he does. I’m looking forward to finding out what I have left (does that sound bad?) and why the surgery took much longer than he had originally estimated.

My RE and one of the nice nurses from my fertility clinic have been in continuous contact with us. 

I’m doing alright emotionally. I had enough people ask me how far along I was last night which sucked knowing that it was never going to go any further. Although, it was comforting to see the sympathetic look in their eyes when they discovered it was my 1st pregnancy. The nurse who took me into the OR cried with me as we went in.

Right now,  I’m just in physical discomfort more than anything. I had a wild and crazy adventure on morphine last night. I’ve just been taking half doses today to limit the side effects.

So, this the end of my first pregnancy –  an ectopic tubal rupture at 7 weeks, 1 day.

Good-bye my Angel. Momma loves you. Xo

How to get through Beta Limbo

It’s been two weeks since my 1st beta from my 1st IVF cycle. I can tell you this waiting game hasn’t been easy.

Here’s what I recommend to help you get through Beta Limbo:

Keep yourself occupied

I am on pelvic rest which means NO exercise, lifting or sexual activity. My RE recommends doing the bare minimum daily.

It can be challenging to keep your mind occupied when your ass is glued to the couch. Find some easy tasks to occupy yourself.

Here are a few things I did:

  • Made two burlap wreaths inspired by Pinterest
  • Started online Christmas shopping
  • Enjoyed Netflix marathons. You can watch ENTIRE seasons of shows on Netflix. This will eat up many hours of your time.
  • Meditated
  • Coloured Mandalas
  • Wrote in my journal
  • Invited close friends over for a visit
  • Ordered take-out via delivery J
  • Enjoyed stillness in nature. I sat under the tree in my backyard. You don’t have to go far to get outside.
  • GOT OUT OF THE HOUSE! I went to the bookstore, picked up a few groceries, and went to lunch with a few fertility friends. Just because you are going through a hard time, doesn’t mean you have to be a hermit. Quick, effortless outings can easily take your mind off what’s going on at home.

If you find yourself loosing focus and feeling anxious, I highly recommend breathing exercises and meditation. I also used some essential oils to help ease my tension.

Limit your time on Google

I know realistically you are NOT going to completely avoid Google. Everyone faced with infertility knows the power of the Google.

If you have to give into the urge to search the internet, I recommend a small dose of realistic, sad stories combined with many, many successful ones. I’m not saying this to give you false hope. I’m saying this because you don’t have much left in Beta limbo except hope. Feed it. Let it grow.

I wish that your story will be the next miracle I stumble upon online.

Allow yourself to feel

I’ve lived the past 2 weeks in increments of 48 hours waiting for my next blood draw with uncertainty, fear, hope and many, many prayers.

My betas continue to very slowly rise, but I have grieved for this child. Some days, I can barely hold it together. Other days, I’m fine as if I’m regular not pregnant Lindsey. And then, I even get excited. I dream and hope and wish for a positive outcome. I visualize my baby in my arms. I feel happiness.

Don’t hold in your emotion. Hide in the washroom where there’s a steady supply of snot wipes. Put a few Kleenex in your purse for those spontaneous outbursts while driving home, or after being stuck in line between two pregnant ladies at the book store (True story).

Go with the ebb and flow. Be gentle with yourself.

If you can’t be gentle with yourself, you can blame it on the hormones. :)

Lean on those who support you the most

I’m not sure if it’s because people think we are hiding out to announce our pregnancy or if they are just afraid of catching me in one of my emotional moments, but I can sure tell you that many of my friends and family have disappeared since we got home.

Toss ‘em aside. You have bigger worries on your mind. Those who don’t care to support you don’t deserve your attention or time.

Show gratitude for the ones who are there for you.

These are the people who show up unannounced for a visit when you are wearing two-day old stinky sweats, a greasy pony tail, and  “obviously been crying” red eyes. They don’t care about your appearance; they just want to know HOW you are doing.

These are the friends, who may be miles and time zones away, but still send a “Thinking of you” message each morning on testing days.

These are the people who send flowers, not because they have to, but because they know you love fresh flowers. This act of kindness brightens a dark and uncertain future.

These are the women who have never met you personally, but anxiously wait for your blog update knowing that you may need their sympathy. They have been in your place before. They understand the heartache and the fear.

This is your support circle. These people are your cheering squad, your shoulders to cry on and your ultimate strength when Beta Limbo becomes unbearable. Don’t try to do this alone. Lean on those who support you.

Be your own advocate

Even though I trust the professional expertise of my RE and the nurses, I have read way too many misdiagnosed miscarriage stories (courtesy of Google) to have them tell me that my pregnancy will not be viable without proof.

Stand up for yourself. Ask for validation by getting another blood draw or ultrasound.

I’m not saying to ignore what the doctor says. I’m just saying we all have the right to a validating test, a second opinion, or an opportunity to think about it.

Make those difficult decisions when you are ready to. Consult your partner and ensure you get their opinion and blessing.

Trust your instincts. Do what’s best for you and your baby.

I believe that a miscarriage plan is much like a birth plan. You can hope for a natural occurrence, but when the time comes, you may have to accept medical intervention if necessary.

And if that time doesn’t come, you are a miracle! Share your story and give hope to others.

Don’t forget to laugh

My husband and I were laying in bed the other morning. He said something funny and I couldn’t stop laughing. I also couldn’t remember the last time I had laughed. Wow. That’s not like me.

Beta limbo is scary and emotionally draining. Don’t let it completely engulf you. Find those simple pleasures that bring joy into your life – even if it’s just for a moment.

Best of luck to you in your 2WW or Beta Limbo. I send you baby dust, love and light. <3

Beta #7: I feel like I am moving in slow motion

Today’s beta is 658.

It rose just over 100 points from 48 hours ago. NOT GOOD! Definitely NOT doubling! 

I emailed my clinic yesterday and told them I would not be willing to take a shot of Methotrexate or stop my meds until I have ultrasound confirmation of what is going on in there.

My heart just can’t take the uncertainty. I need the visual before I can make a decision.

They have scheduled me for an ultrasound next Wednesday, October 8th.

I know the probability of a positive outcome is slim to none, but I am looking forward to moving forward and getting some answers.