the end

there is nothing to say.

there are no words.

no words can change what has happened, nothing can change what i am feeling.

i am empty.

i see my legs move beneath me, climbing the stairs, walking here and there, but i do not really move. i am frozen in this spot.

i hear my voice leave my mouth, the words float up into the air. i don’t know what i am saying. i can’t remember.

i am a shell.

i wince with pain changing positions, turning, coughing, shifting. a swift reminder that this nightmare is real. my belly is swollen, it’s scars re-injured. this isn’t our first rodeo, you would think it would be used to this by now. but it hurts nonetheless. however the small bloodied incisions that appear on the surface don’t tell the real story of the hurt that lies beneath.

i can’t make any more tears. i will them to come but nothing happens.

i am empty.

the end started sunday night. i was at a dinner party with amazing husband when the pain began. what started out like cramps quickly turned into that all-too-familiar steady pain, and my old frenemy, rectal pressure.  in the back of my head, i already knew it was coming, i just refused to give in to the truth until it was staring me in the face. i was scared. rectal pressure was the give away in my last 2 ectopics. you see, when blood starts pouring into your belly, gravity helps it settle into a small space between your bowels and your uterus = rectal pressure. i felt like i had to go to the bathroom so very bad, but of course, that was not the problem.

i told amazing husband we needed to leave, and embarrassingly excused myself from the party after only being there maybe an hour. we walked to the car in silence. we had been “here” before, and we both were too scared to say it.  we drove home, and called best friend to come over and talk me down from the ledge. i was panicking. the pain was not abating, it was coming in waves, but not as bad as last time. i tried to talk myself out of it but there were 2 too many sensible people in the room. they were right in arguing for getting to the hospital sooner rather than later so i acquiesced. best friend made some calls to our friends in the hospital and when we arrived they ushered me right into the ED triage (there are bonuses to working in the hospital you frequent).  i explain to triage nurse what’s happening, they know my history from last time so they waste no time and before i can blink i’m in a bed waiting to see a doc. more friends show up in my room to show support. i have the best friends.

i get an IV, blood is drawn, and doc comes in.  i know him (hell, i know everyone in this ED), and when he looks up to see my face he is taken aback. “do you want someone else?” he asks. i laugh. “it’s all good, i know you’ve always wanted to know my insane infertility history.” my blood work shows baby is growing appropriately, HCG is 1557. (wednesday’s result was 327, that’s doubling every 2 days). he orders ultrasound. i ask for pain meds, the pain is not going away.

the pain does not go away, despite multiple doses. morphine. dilaudid. they just lessen it but it never disappears. i know something is wrong. my parents show up. god bless them, they are so nervous.

ultrasound time. i will summarize here, tech couldn’t find anything that showed an ectopic nor could she see anything in my uterus. she admitted with an HCG at that level she wasn’t surprised to not see a baby yet.  incidentally she found a 1.8cm x 1.8cm spot of free fluid next to my right ovary that she attributed to a ruptured cyst.

my sister in law is here now. i am feeling the love but inside i am dying with fear. doc calls on-call OB, they go through my labs, ultrasound results, vital signs, etc. and he says at this point there is no intervention to perform; there is no real cause for the abdominal pain. watch and wait they say. come back if pain increases or you start bleeding they say. plan is for repeat HCG and ultrasound on tuesday.

we live to see another day. i literally said that to husband. i am a fool. we left the ED breathing a tiny bit easier. i prayed to god harder than ever before. please show me mercy. please bless us and this baby. please don’t make me suffer this again.

i couldn’t sleep all night. every turn made me wince with pain. the pressure was growing, and i tried to sleep it off. i’ll be fine. the ultrasound found nothing, it’s going to be okay.  we woke up to start the day but i stayed in bed, exhausted. i had already told boss i was taking today off. amazing husband got amazing son ready for school and as he walked out the door to take him to school told me he loved me and would be back soon.

i figured it was time to get up and moving. all i had to do was make it to tomorrow, tuesday. tomorrow i would know for certain what was happening. i stood up, took a few steps, and the room started to spin. i quick sat back on the bed, took some breaths, and it righted itself. i stood up too fast, that’s all. i haven’t eaten much in the last 12 hours. i walked to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, went downstairs and plugged my phone in to charge.  OB called me, she got the message i was in the ED last night. she was concerned the HCG level wasn’t doubling like it should. wait, what? (she shared with me friday’s result was 1176) and she wanted me to re-do blood work ASAP at the same lab i always go to, and then come right to the office for an ultrasound. i told her i felt a little dizzy and the pain was still there but i could do what she asked. i walked back upstairs to change and i felt the blood drain from my face. something is terribly wrong. sweat started to drip down my back. i need to get my phone, i need to call for help. where is my phone?? 

it was downstairs. i had to walk down the stairs, holding onto the walls, and nearly collapsed and fell. i crawled to the kitchen, got my phone and crawled onto the couch to lay down. i called amazing husband and asked him to come home right away. he could hear the panic in my voice.  i text best friend to please come over and bring her blood pressure cuff. i need to know if i should call 911 or if i could make it to OBs office. i wanted so badly to believe everything was going to be alright. i was a fool.

within minutes they both were at my side, my blood pressure was fine and i told them what OB said. husband wanted me to go to ED but i convinced him i was alright and we should do the blood work and go to her office.  i’m not sure how i managed to stay upright for the next hour, walking and functioning, while i was bleeding into my belly. we waited an hour in OB’s office to have the ultrasound. for an hour i watched belly after belly walk in front of me, listened to these women ooh and ahh over their stats, and the only thing that saved me from face punching them was the fact i would’ve passed out if i stood up. i even had the pleasure of walking into the ultrasound room to see a nice healthy 13 week old fetus on the screen. congratulations to the chick who laid on this table before me. fuck off.

the tech inserted the probe (aka dildo cam), it had suddenly grown cactus spikes on it. i cried out in pain. and in an instant i saw a ton of black areas on the computer screen. black = fluid. she sighed, and that was enough to confirm our worst fears. we had lost the baby. there was about 400cc of blood in my belly. i couldn’t hear anything else. my ears plugged up, my eyes filled with tears and everything went black. amazing husband put his arms around me, his tears falling onto my face, and we were swallowed up in grief.  i said i couldn’t do this again God, what did i do to deserve this?? 

i was whisked to a room to speak with OB. i heard things like “emergency surgery”, and “remove your tube” and “dangerous”. i didn’t hesitate: i told her to take it out, that way i would never be in this situation ever again. i won’t ever do this again. you won’t be able to do this to me again God. we headed across the street to the ED to be admitted for emergency surgery.

the rest was a blur. more IVs. more blood work. more pain meds. doctors. anesthesiologists. surgeons. friends. tears. more and more and more. again, you think i’d be used to this already, but it was another lesson in pain. each time is exponentially more difficult to bear. the OR suite was frigid, i was shaking uncontrollably (chills and from fear) and the tears wouldn’t stop. they were going to take my baby. going to take my tube. the mask was placed over my face. “take some deep breaths”. everything went white.

some hours later i woke up, groggy and queasy. quickly scanned my surroundings and with relief looked over and saw amazing husband right next to me. he had tears in his eyes. we stared at each other silently.

it was the end.

there was nothing to say.

and here i am today. in a paradox. i am filled with emptiness. i move but i am frozen in place. i breathe but am not living. i am here. but i am not. whatever did i do to deserve this. where is god now?

all is lost

i will keep this short. the anesthesia and pain meds are still barreling through my veins and my thoughts are fleeting, foggy, at best. and i can barely muster the energy to type these next words.

the baby is lost.

my right fallopian tube is lost.

that one shred of hope i held deep down in my heart, it too, is lost.

though i am grateful this time to have not been faced with life-and-death gravity of previous ectopics, i am still living a nightmare.

i am beyond broken. and all is lost.

IMG_9518

two down… 999,998 to go

every other day this last week i found myself in a cold (very freaking cold, like an arctic tundra) waiting room of Quest Diagnostics. and every time i got the pleasure of going there, there was a massively pregnant woman waiting as well. in fact, this last time there was a baby sitting 3 chairs away from me, pregnant with her own baby. okay, maybe she was 15. MAYBE. still, a child having a child. wtf universe. when i see pregnant women i try my best to pretend they don’t exist, literally. i avert my eyes. try to look around them. if i have to look at them (god forbid) i look THROUGH them like they are a ghost or something, not real… they don’t exist. i walk the other way even, i have to get away from them, for my own sanity. you see, the big belly is a huge trigger for me. it’s a symbol of what will never be again: a miracle living within my body. so further down the rabbit hole i go in this insanity… i conjure up all kinds of things so i can almost hate them and not feel bad for pretending they are thin air. i tell myself they don’t realize how lucky they are and they are taking their pregnancy for granted. the envious voice in my head whispers terrible things and then i start to see red. another reason why it’s a good idea i steer clear of them, as i imagine face-punching pregnant strangers is frowned upon. the big belly is a huge trigger. it makes me cry, it makes me so very green with envy. and it is everywhere. the worst was going to OBs office after every miscarriage i endured. sitting in the waiting room literally SURROUNDED with massively pregnant women, hearing them complain about swollen feet, or the crib sheets they bought aren’t the right shade of navy, and whatever will they do now that this fourth baby is coming. fuck that noise. they really should make a separate waiting room for people like me, to save us from further suffering. i hate the OBs office. it too, is very cold. why are all waiting rooms so damn cold?

every two days i’m having blood drawn and holding my breath for the call. i’m in denial that this outcome will be different. i started cramping last night, feeling like my period was about to come, and i immediately felt the rug getting pulled out from under me. here we go again. but every time i went to the bathroom half-expecting to see blood gushing out, there was none. this will surely make me insane. my friend talked me down for the ledge and i managed to put myself to bed early and sleep off the negativity. i woke up this morning and prayed for a miracle, that my blood levels would be doubling and i would live to see another pregnant day.

Monday’s level was 90.

Wednesday’s was 372!!!!!!!!!!

it QUADRUPLED in 2 days. not just doubled, QUADRUPLED. dare i do a little happy dance right now? OB was feeling good about the number, telling me perhaps i ovulated later than i thought and that’s why the first number was so low. crossing all my fingers and toes although my luck is crap. i confessed to her i had started taking progesterone supplements after the first draw was incredibly low (5) (i told you this stuff makes me insane) and promised her i wouldn’t pretend to be a doctor anymore. all i wanted to do was help this baby with whatever i could and if shoving hormone supplements up there was the only thing i could do, so be it. she laughed and said she wanted me on them anyway. maybe i am a doctor after all. i also mentioned the cramps to which she said as long as i am not bleeding and the pain isn’t severe (like with my ectopics) she’s not worried. and then she said this: “it’s probably your uterus stretching”. um… i’m sorry, can you repeat that? does that mean baby may actually be in my uterus!?!?? why else would it be stretching right? oh my god, i can’t let my mind go down that road yet but there may be, just *may be* hope here that it’s in the right place.

the plan: next blood draw is tomorrow however i won’t know the results until Monday. what kind of sick joke is that! it’s going to be the longest weekend of my life, but today i’m pregnant and i’m going with that until told otherwise. two down, 999,998 to go.

one down, one million to go

this weekend was unbelievably stressful.

i went for blood work on Friday to check the level of HCG (the hormone produced by pregnancy). oh man, the nerves, i was shaking. my doc’s PA called me to tell me the good news. “with a level this low this is likely a chemical pregnancy; let’s see what happens this weekend and we will recheck on Monday”. HCG level was unbelievably low at 16. you guys, 16 isn’t even technically pregnant. <5 is definitely not pregnant. >25 is definitely pregnant. those numbers in between are “equivocal”, meaning… meh, you may or may not be having a baby. Fuck. cue emotional breakdown. I HATE YOU UNIVERSE. it should’ve at least been 25.

all the anger, sadness, despair… came rushing back as if i was re-experiencing every miscarriage all at once. why is this happening? enough already, this is much too much to bear. i literally got on my knees and prayed to god to please make it stop. mercy. i can’t do this anymore.

on saturday naturally i peed on allthesticks and the test line was darker. well, that’s not supposed to happen if it’s a chemical pregnancy. on sunday my line was even darker. wtf universe, enough of the mind games. and monday morning it’s even darker. boobs are hurting. this is definitely not a chemical pregnancy. went in for STAT lab work and on arrival came to find out doc ordered a blood type and crossmatch as well. well i guess i know where she thinks this is headed (read: ectopic). waited all damn day for the results. ALL. DAMN. DAY. and no one called. 5 minutes before the office closed i found out lab messed up the order and i wouldn’t have a result until the morning.

you ever see a toddler lay on the ground and cry? just totally lose control of themselves and wail? that was me. the stress was unbearable. i’m literally dying here.

Tuesday morning. no call. ain’t nobody got time for this. i call the office like an insane woman, voice quivering, making no sense, pleading can someone please just tell me if this baby stands a chance. this shit makes you insane people.

HCG was 90. NINETY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The level should double every 2-3 days in early pregnancy, and mine doubled in 19 hours.

and just for good measure, you can get out your pee stick spectacles and observe for yourself.

that line tho 😍

<<<<<
rything is puppies and rainbows? hell to the no. this is one obstacle down, one million to go. levels still need to double appropriately. tentative ultrasound on 12/26 to visualize if baby made it into my uterus. in my last 4 pregnancies i've never made it to the ultrasound. so today i'm just taking it one day at a time. that's all i can do.

insanity

i’ve heard the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over and over again, but expecting different results. the dictionary says it’s also extreme foolishness or irrationality. in fact, going further, it’s the state of being seriously mentally ill,… madness even.

well, infertility will drive a person mad. anyone who tries to argue that has never walked a minute in an infertile’s shoes. the constant highs and lows. the inflated hopes and the dashed dreams. it’s easy to go insane having your end goal be a baby. infertility treatments can bankrupt families. it can cause arguments, despair, affairs, and divorces. it can easily destroy your marriage. it will test your strength as a spouse, a woman, hell, even a human.

if i’m being totally honest here, i have toed the line of insanity… peeingonallthesticks. ladies, you feel me here? those home pregnancy tests, they created a monster in me. positive line or no line, i won’t believe it and have to try another brand and compare results. hold it up to the light, squint eyes shut just so… angle it just right. analyze. remember that scene from Knocked Up where Katherine Heigl peesonallthesticks? that shit is real folks. it just occurred to me the writers likely knew an infertile woman who jokingly told them how the pee sticks drove her insane.

the doubt that comes with peeingonallthesticks will drive you insane. is that a second line? is it just the dye running? is that a ghost line? compare pee sticks day to day. is the line getting darker!?! because that’s the only proof you have that 1) you’re still pregnant (no, you haven’t lost it yet), and 2) it’s all you can do to pass the agonizing time waiting for your first ultrasound.

the pee sticks drive me insane. after above-mentioned regimen of pee/squint/angle/open new package at some point i have to go to the store and BUYALLTHESTICKS. the checkout girls side-eye me as they ring up five, ten, (who am i kidding, twenty!) Dollar Tree home pregnancy tests. lay off me. i know i have a problem. they aren’t infertiles. the infertiles would be patting me on the back and saying “i think you could stand to get a few more, dontcha think? those won’t last you 3 days.” insanity i tell you.

over the last year i stepped away from the insanity. amazing husband and i decided to take a formal break from trying (internal hemorrhaging will do that to you). i stopped BUYINGALLTHESTICKS at the Dollar Tree. i enjoyed getting smiles instead of side eyes from behind the register. i felt some weight come off my shoulders every month. it’s never a happy moment to have your period arrive, but in a strange way it was a welcome relief that i didn’t have to step back on the gut-wrenching rollercoaster of “will this finally be my take home baby?”

and then this happened.

to say i am in shock is an understatement. i didn’t plan this. and truthfully i am not happy/blissful/excited, there’s no room for that. i am a realist – i am fastening my seatbelt and bracing for impact. my odds are terrible. lucky #7 wasn’t lucky, in fact it may have been the most UNlucky pregnancy for me. pretty sure my luck ran out years ago.

luck or no luck, i will be saying hello to insanity, my old friend. there’s no getting around that for the next few days. i’m getting blood work done today and we’ll go from there. excuse me while i go BUYALLTHESTICKS now.