Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Journey Behind the Blog

A lot of folks aren't aware that this blog actually sprung out of a very rough time for me.  I had already had a long and rough battle with infertility that I thought was over when things crumbled around me again, this time completely without explanation.  I was crushed.  I needed a distraction.  I needed to feel like i was doing something worthwhile.  That's when I decided that my chemical-ridden, plus-sized lifestyle was far from helping my health and could possibly even be contributing to the untimely losses of my children.  It was time for change.  You guys have gotten to see the change, but I kind of promised myself I'd keep to my topic and leave my personal life out of it.  I've redefined my mission statement a few times over the last year, but i've always kept that promise.  Today, I'm giving you guys a little view into my world, my more personal struggles.  Maybe I'm sharing too much and will regret it, but maybe I've been holding back a little too much.  Here goes nothing:

Clicking through/Scrolling down is a picture which may be (emotionally) difficult to see

September 8, 2007:  My wedding day

February 2008: Later than we had hoped, we finally feel settled enough in our new life to loose the birth control. This is gonna be easy, right?

January 30, 2009: We close on our first house, get a puppy and (same day, I swear) after almost a year of increasingly frustrated trying, we get our first BFP (big, fat positive).  We're overjoyed and get a bizarre kind of pleasure out of not being able to partake in the celebratory champagne the realtor gave us.

February 7, 2009:  Bleeding lands us in the emergency room, and it's not good news.  Our precious little bean, whose presence we had barely begun to wrap our heads around, was gone.  We were sad, no doubt, but the docs assured us that these things happen, and are particularly common the first time around.

March 9, 2009: BFP #2  Are you serious? without even a cycle in-between?  We're once again overjoyed.

March 24, 2009: First ultrasound.  I get to see the baby's heartbeat, get an official gestational age (6w3d) and the ultrasound tech mentions that my uterus is shaped funny, but says it's nothing to be concerned about.  She calls it "heart-shaped", but it looks like two fingers giving the peace sign to me.  We figure the heartbeat is a good enough sign that we start to tell a few people.
April 3, 2009: Bleeding once again lands us in the ER, this time with no question of what was happening.  At just barely 8 weeks, we had lost our second child.  Before leaving, the bleeding in and of itself gets to the medical emergency point but our local hospital sends me home anyways.  We were absolutely devastated and this time I was also pretty physically in bad shape.  I would eventually loose a significant portion of the blood in my body and it took well over a month just to get a little color and strength back.  Emotionally, I would be dealing with this one for a very long time.  

Spring/Early summer 2009: I was diagnosed with a complete uterine septum, a developmental (as opposed to genetic) birth defect of the uterus that, if untreated, would leave me with about a 1% chance of ever having a successful pregnancy.  Thankfully, it can be largely fixed with surgery, and success rates after the surgery are just a hair below success rates of normal people.  We also did a full fertility workup and discovered i'm homozygous MTHFR... basically I have blod that clots more easily than most, and I don't absorb Folic Acid (very important for babies) at a normal rate.  It's debated whether or not MTHFR has any effect on pregnancy, but a baby aspirin regimen and some mondo vitamins will counteract it's affects.  We also suspect endometriosis.  

July 28, 2009: Surgery #1

September 2009: Surgery #1 was not enough, and we start planning #2

October 5, 2009: Surgery #2

November 2009: Surgery #2 wasn't enough, and we start planning #3, which will be the most invasive but hopefully take care of any endometriosis they find as well. 

January 5, 2010: Surgery #3

March 2010: Surgery #3 did the trick and we're free to start trying again

May 27, 2010: BFP #3  First few blood tests show hcg levels rising nicely.  I'm fixed now, this is gonna be the one.  

Mid June 2010: Bleeding, ultrasound and blood work confirm our third loss.  

July 5, 2010: My first blog post

December 2010: after months and months of nothing, we recheck everything and start talking about fertility treatments.  

March 2, 2011: Waiting for my period to start so I can call the fertility clinic, we get BFP #4.  I actually have to stay home all day so I can refuse shipment on what would have been our first round of hormone injections, cuz if they leave them here I'd have to pay for them.  

March 11, 2011: First Ultrasound, 5w 4d.  The pregnancy is intrauterine (as opposed to tubal) and the yolk sack looks good.  

March 21, 2011: Ultrasound #2, 7w0d, we see the heartbeat!  My surgeon decides all is well enough to release me to my OB of choice, and he considers me low risk enough to use midwives, whose approach to pregnancy and childbirth I prefer.  

March 28, 2011: I experience some significant bleeding over the weekend and everyone feared the worst, but ultrasound #3 (8w0d) showed all was well with the peanut.  

April 18, 2011: The midwives set up a consult with the high risk OBs to make sure we have all of our bases covered.  My two big concerns that we discuss are the MTHFR and my risk of incompetent or weak cervix, which both my uterine defect and the surgeries to correct it put me at higher risk for.  They say they have examined my file extensively and they see no reason to monitor me for such things.  As a matter of fact, they didn't see me as any higher risk than any other normal pregnancy (which isn't to say any pregnancy can't become high risk at any time).  I was so comforted by those words and having made it farther than ever before, I finally began to trust that this might be the one that works out.  

April 27, 2011: Ultrasound #4 (12w2d), First Trimester screening.  I had just taken a blood glucose tolerance test and the peanut was bouncing off the walls.  It made it difficult for the techs to get all the pics they needed, but It was incredible to get to watch peanut wiggle around for that long, and it finally looking like a person.  

June 13, 2011: Ultrasound #5 (19w0d), the big gender reveal ultrasound!  We already had our names picked out and we were dying to know what to call our little one.  It's a girl (Elizabeth Grace), her heart rate is well within range, we can see her wiggling and sucking her thumb.  It's the anatomy ultrasound so they measure every little inch of her.  She wasn't cooperating so they could look at her spine, but all of her bones and organs were growing well.  Then the ultrasound tech got quiet... and fetched a doctor to look.  My cervix had completely eroded and I was 4cm dilated.  My little girl was perfect and healthy in every way and she was in imminent danger of being expelled far too soon.  
Sometimes they can sew you back up again, but the doctors said they thought it was too late for that.  We were given 3 options: induce labor right then, do nothing (go home and wait for things to start, which they felt they would), or try some extreme bedrest to keep her in there as long as we could, knowing that the chances of that working for even the 5 weeks needed to make it to viability were EXTREMELY slim.  We knew the odds, but to us the latter was the only option.  We had to do everything in our power to fight for our little girl.  

June 14, 2011: They kept me overnight to observe for signs of labor or further dilation (which there were none) then it was time to send me home.  Before they did so, a team of doctors came in and tried to talk me into inducing again.  I could never have lived with that decision and when they continued to force the issue, i got very confrontational with them, so they agreed to send me home.  Shortly after arriving at home, a friend of mine who is a nurse with the high risk OBs at another local hospital said they didn't think i was necessarily beyond being sewn shut again and they'd be willing to look at me to see if they could ASAP.  It was a glimmer of hope for us and, with our decision to fight, it was an offer we couldn't refuse.  I was direct admitted and they wasted no time getting to see me, but unfortunately as I was changing into a gown my water broke.  At that point, there was no longer anything anyone could do for Lizzie.  I stayed there long enough for them to examine me, but the new hospital was out of network for our health insurance and none of the doctors there were familiar with my history.  

June 15, 2011: We transferred back to the first hospital in the middle of the night and decided to induce.  Technically, waiting was still an option for us but there was no longer any chance of Elizabeth surviving to viability and the infection risk of waiting after you water breaks is very great.  They checked on her before they induced me and she was still doing ok, but there was no way it would last being so long without amniotic fluid.  I was given the option to monitor her throughout, but i didn't want bad news halfway through.  I was still holding out hope that we might have a few seconds or minutes with her when she was born.  They wound up having to induce me twice, but Elizabeth was born still at 6:30 pm.  She was cleaned off and baptized and we got to spend some time holding her before going home.  I was given the option of staying the night, but there was no medical reason for it and I really needed the comfort of home.  

June 18, 2011: We laid our beautiful girl to rest and are now trying to figure out how to move on with our lives.  


  1. I am so incredibly sorry for the loss of your little girl. My heart goes out to you, truly. I wish there was something I could say to give you some comfort, but I know there are few magic words that would do it. Just know that I think you are very brave for so openly sharing your story. I hope you continue to do so. My blog has been a saving grace and a huge source of support for me through my losses. I hope this space does the same for you.

  2. AMAZINGLY brave post. My heart breaks for you and your family- but I am even more in awe of your strength in the face of heartbreak.

  3. Angela, your courage and strength are inspiring. I wish I could find the words for what I want to express, but nothing comes close. I'm heartbroken for you and admire you, and I wish I were close enough to give you a huge hug. Praying for you as you heal and God gives you wisdom about where to go next.