I got the karyotyping results back today.
My husband and I are both chromosomally normal.
My doctor told me in order to explain the embryonic results that came back, she had to tell me the gender. It was female.
They were able to culture 20 embryonic cells. 19 came back as “normal female” cells; 1 came back as “abnormal female” with trisomy-20 (three copies of the 20th chromosome instead of two). This could be one of two things:
1) indicative of a complete trisomy-20 in the embryo where the other 19 cells (normal female) were actually my cells
2) a “confined placental mosaicism” (CPM) where the 19 cells of the embryo were normal and the one was just an “oops” (my term, not hers) that was confined to the placenta. 90% of fetuses with CPM are born perfectly healthy (this assumes no maternal contamination happened when she collected the sample during the D&C)
While either one is possible, odds are that the embryo was abnormal because there is often a high rate of maternal cellular contamination when taking the sample from a D&C. If it came back as “normal male” in 19/20 cells, they could establish it as a mosaicism; “normal female” does not really mean much. So, it was probably a genetic error, but since we do not know for sure, we will still treat as if it could be an autoimmune problem.
What I am not going to do: use the words “daughter” or “baby girl.” This is exactly why I did not want to know the gender. In order to preserve my sanity, I must only think of it simply as an “embyonic female” or “proto-baby female.”
Yesterday, I got to play with this for hours and hours. It was terrific, even if I didn’t get to see such an awesome snot bubble. I did get a babyfood raspberry that was pretty impressive, though. I can’t believe how adorable and good natured he is. Artsweet and Pili are very, very lucky and Pepito is so very, very lucky to have such great moms.
However, I now officially hate them because they are moving to a new city and are taking Pepito with them.
For those of you that know the lingo, “ttc” means “trying to conceive.” On miscarriage boards, you will see a lot of “ttm,” which I assume means “trying to maintain.” Well, “maintain,” for me, doesn’t quite cut it.
ttmittftwhted = trying to make it through the first trimester without having the embryo die
tntppwttmttjktewmnpwbjf = trying not to punch people when they tell me that they “just know” that everything with my next pregnancy will be “just fine”
ttgttpwidhwasadac = trying to get to the point where I don’t have to worry about scheduling a D&C
ttmittftwfbimu = trying to make it through the first trimester without finding blood in my underwear
ttgabtddbihf = trying to grow a baby that doesn’t die before it has fingers
ttcaetdhmewbdctcffw = trying to conceive an emrbyo that doensn’t have to be monitered every week by dildo-cam to check for fetal wasting
ttgaaeiojaes = trying to grow an actual embryo instead of just an empty sac
tthabtwlletbtoskat = trying to have a baby that will live long enough to be that obnoxious, screaming kid at Target
Baby aspirin, or “low-dose” aspirin as the bottle now reads, was originally given to babies and children. It is 81mg, or less than a third of a typical 300mg dose. People used to give their kids aspirin until 1963, when Dr. Reye and his colleagues published an article detailing the problems of aspirin use in children and teenagers with viruses.
Dr. SBS wants me to start on baby aspirin as part of my magical anti-miscarriage regimen.
My Poop doc said — in theory — aspirin could aggravate my colitis. Baby aspirin is much lower than a typical dose, so it might not. I can try it and if it does not agree with me, it will be pretty obvious. (I will leave how it will be obvious to your imagination.)
I have decided that the baby aspirin and the thyroid meds are going to work miracles. Do you hear that universe? Freakin’ miracles.
Have you seen that ad? I hate that ad. People who have depression know that it sucks and we do not need some stupid ad telling us “depression hurts everywhere” and “depression hurts everyone.” You know what depression especially hurts? My ability to follow through on things.
I did not go to yoga today. Reasons: I am bleeding super heavily; I am exhausted; noon seemed really early. Reason I Am Focusing On So As Not to Exacerbate Depression: you are not supposed to do yoga the first three days of your menstrual cycle. See? I am not lazy. I am a good yogi.
The 90-minute hot stone massage got rescheduled for this weekend (scheduling problem with massage place).
The HSG has to be rescheduled for later next week (doctor’s office called, another sort of scheduling snaffu).
I was supposed to go to the library to research an article that is due in a week. I didn’t go. I am supposed to go today. I might go. I might not. I really should go. I am having a hard time caring.
I am planning to go to a support group tonight at Dr. SBS’s office for infertility and pregnancy loss. I am hoping for punch and cookies and a group of women who are not freaky. If they are freaky, I will sit silently and think snarky comments. If they aren’t, I can tell them all how depressed I am and assure them that “depression hurts everywhere,” just like the ad says. If that is true, is it the depression giving me monster cramps because they really hurt like hell?
Update: Nope, didn’t make it to the support group either. Instead, hubbie and I are going to eat Middle Eastern food, go the the library, and then go watch the new Harry Potter movie.
I had a very bad day yesterday. The kind of bad where you can’t stop crying so you just cry and cry until you either can’t breathe or you throw up. I had an asthma attack.
It is one thing to have horribly negative, terrifying thoughts swimming in your head all day. It is another thing to realize that those thoughts are impacting those around you and jeopardizing the one thing — your marriage — that you thought was going well.
I am taking my antidepressants. I am seeing a therapist. I try not to dwell on how terrifically scared and sad I feel, but it is very, very hard to not think about miscarriage. I am sad for what I lost and what I might never have. I simultaneously feel like giving up and boldly striding forward. I am terrified to be pregnant again and terrified not to be pregnant. I do not trust statistics, luck, or the laws of the universe. I wish I could make some sense of this but instead I have this petrifying fear that things are not going to ever work out the way I want them to. Ever.
I am ready to adopt. I am ready to plunk down an obscene amount of money for a baby that some other woman — who ironically probably considered herself unlucky to be pregnant — birthed. I am ready to be a mom and I do not trust that I am going to get there biologically. I do not see it as “just” adopting; it is something that I am very committed to doing. The question is in the timing, as it is not sane to start the adoption process while actively trying to get pregnant. I am 32 and by waiting, even 2-3 years, I increase my risk of miscarriage just by virtue of being older. If I want to have any biological children, this is the time to do it.
I stared researching adoption days after my second miscarriage. It feels very right to me. However, I do not want to stop trying to have my own biological baby. I want both.
I knew I was ready for a baby because I felt a hole or an emptiness in myself without one. The miscarriages seemed to rip that hole even larger, leaving it raw and exposed. The emptiness seems to follow me in everything I do and everywhere I go. I do not think this is an emptiness that is filled by antidepressants or therapy visits; it is filled with a child.
I have two sets of papers sitting next to me: the adoption information and preliminary forms for Korea and the information packet from the RE. We go to the RE this afternoon, but I do not have high hopes. Anything short of “I can guarantee you a healthy baby” is not going to be good enough to quell my anxiety and pessimism.
I start aikido tonight. Perhaps a little Japanese martial-art training is just what I need. At least I will not be surrounded by a bunch of happy, glowing pregnant women, which is usually the case at yoga. I am hoping to be blissfully in the company of those who rarely, if ever, think of babies: pimply teenage boys.
Update: And just because life is oh-so-fair, I now how colitis-y symptoms starting. It could be emotional fallout from yesterday, but I am not taking any chances. I started back on Colazal and Asacol, bringing my pill total up to 48 a day, if anyone aside from me is counting. I just can’t bear to have to delay trying to conceive because my colitis is flaring, not to mention that colits flares suck big time. I would rather swallow all the extra pills just to be extra sure it stays under control.
Update #2: Guess what arrived in the mail today? Well, Satan’s henchmen were hard at work, publishing yet another issue of Enfamil: Family Beginnings and making sure that it arrived on schedule in my mailbox. Inside are important articles that every depressed/anxious woman who just had two miscarriages needs to read: “See What I Can Do!” (um, live more than I few weeks?); “Finding the Perfect Babysitter” (… “For Your Animals While You Are Having Your D&C”); “Let The Games Begin” (… you mean like going to a specialist to find out what the hell is wrong?). My personal favorite, however, has got to be the closing essay, filed under “One Parent’s Thoughts” and subtitled “Extreme Makeover: From Party Animal to Proud Papa — A Changed Man Tells His Story.” If you are not lucky enough to be on Satan’s mailing list, here is just the last sentence of the last paragraph of the essay. “Our makeover transformed us from a couple to a family, a prize worth every minute of lost sleep, a gift I cherish every day. Of course, a new wardrobe would have been a nice bonus, too, but I’m already counting my blessings.” Need I say more?
When I first started trying to get pregnant, I thought it might take a few months. Once I got that coveted BFP (“big-fat positive” on a pregnancy test), it would be about another nine months until I would have a baby. This was good: I could estimate, I could plan. Well, here I sit, well over a year later, waiting for my first post-D&C period. The worst part is, aside from obvioulsy being post-miscarriage, is that I have no idea how to plan for my future in the medium term. I like to plan; it makes me feel more in control. How do you plan for the future when you realize that so much of it is out of your control? Do you live your life as if you might be pregnant when you very well might not be?
When I was first pregnant, I had a trip to Europe already planned. I would have been 7 months in March, and my OB did not think that was such a great idea. She said we would adopt a “wait and see” approach. Well, two weeks later I had my first D&C, so travel to Europe while pregnant was a moot point. I went and was glad I had not cancelled everything, because it gave me something to do to take my mind off of my crushing grief.
Here I sit, trying to decide whether to plan another trip to Europe. (These trips are for work — I am not laying around eating bon-bons, although that sounds lovely, doesn’t it?) I feel like I should plan it, even if I end up having to cancel it because I am too round and pregnant next March to sit in coach on an international flight. I hate having to anticipate where I will be in 6+ months. The answer is that I have no idea, and that stresses me out. It could take me 6 months to even get pregnant, and who is to say that this time will be different and I will have an actual baby?
I feel comfortable living in the next few weeks. The short term does not scare me; I have a plan and I feel somewhat in control. I hope that in two years I have a baby, either because I birth one or I adopt one. It is the time between two weeks and two years — the medium term — that scares the crap out of me.
Waiting around is not for sissies.
Here is a conversation I had with one of my students yesterday:
(Necessary background information: she left early last week — visibly shaken and upset — because she went to go with her cousin who, at 25, was getting the results back from her breast biopsy. My student’s aunt, her cousin’s mother, had died at 35 from breast cancer.)
Me: “How is everything with your family? Did your cousin get her test results back?”
Student: “Yeah, yeah, she did. She has stage IV breast cancer that has metastasized to her spine and lymph nodes.”
Me: “Fuck. Oh, I am so sorry. How is she coping with the diagnosis?”
Student: “Well, she and her sister were both being screened every 6 months for breast cancer, and this was a lump she found on her own between mammograms. She always knew this might be a reality, but she did not expect it at 25.”
Me: “I don’t think anyone expects it at 25.”
Then I proceed to tell her about one of my high-school friends whose mom lived for 7+ years with stage IV breast cancer. We talked about chemo, radiation, etc… , and how medicines that can save your life can have very unpleasant side effects. I told her my friend, who was only three years older than I at 35, was thinking of having children, but she was not sure if she wanted to potentially pass the cancer gene that had killed both her mother and grandmother on to a daughter. If she adopts instead, she is seriously considering having a radical mastectomy, just to abate the risk.
Student: “Wow, that is really bad.”
Me: “Having a mastectomy before even having a cancer diagnosis? Well, I think it will give her peace of mind and she is planning to have reconstructive surgery. It must be so hard to even have to think like that.”
Student: “No, I meant having a baby after 35. They are usually born with Down Syndrome. It’s just not a smart thing to do.”
I thought of launching into a complex explanation of the hows and whys of chromosomal abnormalities, how these relate to the age of the mother, etc … , but I was just too tired, and, frankly, I just did not want to lecture this poor kid.
I am sure when you are in your early twenties, thirty-five seems very, very far away.
… because I am just that bitter.
People For Whom Death By Car Is Too Nice
NOTE: This is a post about how many pills I take a day. If you thought anything different, well, sorry.
I have a chronic medical condition, so taking tons o’ pills is nothing new to me. However, as I sit here and swallow my retinue of pills, I can’t help but wonder just how big a weirdo I am for taking this quantity of pills every day.
Here is my swallowing schedule:
20mg Prozac x 2
1 Pharmanex Life-Pak Prenatal (3 pills)
Brewer’s Yeast Tablets x3
Fiber Capsules X6
B-6 Supplement (2 pills)
B-Complex (2 pills)
Omega-3 Capsules x2
Brewer’s Yeast Tablets X3
Fiber Capsules x 6
1 Pharmanex Life-Pak Prenatals (3 pills) [You take them twice a day; not a typo.]
Brewer’s Yeast Tablets x3
Fiber Capsules x6
Pro-Biotic Power (that I have to mix in a non-carbonated liquid, but I still have to swallow it)
For a grand total of 40 pills per day.
This is my maintenance routine. If my colitis flares, I take 20+ more pills a day. When I am pregnant, I “just” take the pro-biotics, prenatals, prozac and the fish oil.
Does anyone have me beat? What do you swallow every day (non-pornographic answers only, please)?
I got a cancellation appointment with our local RE, Dr. Short-But-Sweet, next Monday. We have not had a chance to run any of the tests yet, save for our karyotyping, but I will show him what my OB has ordered and see what he wants to do. I also want to ask him about my weight and when I can/should start trying to get pregnant again.
I bought a pedometer and am going to try and take 10,000 steps a day. I don’t mind going to the gym when it is cold outside, but it seems wrong to exercise inside when the weather is nice. I will still need to go the gym to lift weights, but I will do my cardio outside in the sunshine (with proper SPF on, of course).
I am limiting myself to one Diet Coke a day and am trying to drink sparkling water or Arizona Green Tea the rest of the day. Yeah, there are probably better things for me than Arizona Green Tea, but the bottle is pretty, it tastes good, and it is certainly better for me than Diet Coke. Next week, I might try and give up the Diet Coke completely.
I started acupuncture to help regulate (or re-regulate) my hormones. Last Friday was my first appointment and I will go once a week. Once I get the karyotyping back (to see if the miscarriage can easily be attributed to chromosomal abnormalites), we will proceed to herbs and/or different acupuncture points. The two times I got pregnant was when I did acupuncture to boost fertility, and it also helps with my colitis. Even if it is hocus-pocus (and I don’t believe it is) it is super-relaxing and that is never a bad thing.
I am thinking about doing either yoga or aikido. I have done yoga but never aikido, and I am leaning towards something new and different. However, yoga is definitely more pregnancy-friendly, which is probably a better long-term choice.