Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It takes a Village ...

It's been a while at least 5 months since the last time I updated my blog.  I have been secretly waiting for this AHA moment that I could sit down and pour out everything that has been going on since June, but that moment has't come.  So it is time for me to put my big girl pants on and update!

In June after our last mc Dr. Y suggested we go see a specialist who would probably give us recommendations on what to do about my condition.  She, Dr. Y, was positive after the number of miscarriages that they were no longer just by chance that my body wasn't providing the proper environment for them to thrive.  Till now I really haven't gotten into my condition, it was more personal that I wanted to get on a blog.  But in all honesty I'm not sure I could get more personal than I already have so here goes ... I have a Bicornuate uterus, basically when I was inside my mommys tummy part of my uterus that was supposed to disappear didn't and since it didn't go away it left me with a heart shaped uterus.  Sounds sweet right?  Well sadly it's not so sweet the tip of the heart the part that comes down in the middle is pretty much non vascular tissue, in other words if my babies try to implant in that part they have a high risk of termination because they don't get enough blood flow.  For a long time Dr. Y was not convinced that this is why my babies were dying.  But she couldn't ignore my numbers anymore.  So off we went to Dr. K the fertility specialist.

Our initial meeting with Dr. K's staff left me feeling less than confident that they could help us.  What was a fertility specialist going to do for me someone who had had 3 miscarriages?  I don't have fertility issues, I have failed pregnancy issues.  But we figured it was best to go ahead and give it a shot and see what he had to say.  I finally got to meet Dr. K at my second meeting.  Man was he Mr. Gloom & Doom - I told him what the techs and Dr. Y had said about a bicornuate uterus and he was honest with me he does not recommend surgery to correct a bicornuate because they don't always work and can cause more bad than good.  I was devastated and for some stupid reason I felt the overwhelming need to convince the Dr. that I was worth helping.

So there I went knowing more than the Dr., the specialist at that, and blurted out - Dr. Y said the babies keep implanting on my septum (the tip part of the heart) and that they are dying because it is non vascular tissue.  Dr. K perked up "did you say septum".  Well of course I had, no clue why, but yup I sure did.  And then he said it the sweetest words I have ever heard.  "Let's get you over into another room and get an ultrasound, because if you have a septate uterus that is fixable, and we will want to fix that right away"  Holy crap I wanted to cry!  I am fixable this horrible thing that has been causing my babies to die is fixable!

I had the ultrasound and sure enough Septate Uterus!  SCORE :o)  Then I was told I would need to have blood taken this many days after this and before they talk about surgery further he wanted to do an HSG.  HSG is code for gonna hurt like hell and those 6 Advil they tell you to take is more for their comfort than yours!  TRUST ME!

A few weeks later I had the HSG and man can you talk about awkward!  So in this tiny room, 8x8 I'd say, was my DH, the nurse, Dr. K, the NP, and the OBGYN student, oh and of course me on a table.  Did I mention the air was broke and they had the heated table on?  Sociopaths I tell you!  Anyway they did the HSG and found my left tube partially blocked but Dr. K wasn't really concerned about that, everything looked good.  He left the room came back and said well if you want to do surgery lets go ahead and schedule it.  Of course my question was how soon?  What I didn't expect was for him to say "What about tomorrow"  my jaw hit the floor.  Over 1 1/2 years of trying and failure and it could all be fixed within 24 hours?  Let's just say I jumped right on that!

So on August 2, 2011 I went to University of Tennessee Medical Center for Septate Removal Surgery.  The surgery went well and he was able to remove 90% of the septate!  So awesome!  I had a follow up and another HSG about 7 weeks after the surgery to check and see how things healed.  Unfortunately part of my septum grew back.  Dr. K wasn't sure why.  My heart sank when I saw the screen, this beautiful heart showed up.  I knew it wasn't supposed to be there - so I asked him what it meant.  He was honest he really didn't expect to see any of it grow back, it wasn't something he had ever seen so I was given two options.  Have the surgery again and this time they would put a balloon type stint in to keep it from growing back and remove it at a later date. Or go ahead and try and roll the dice.  I probably would have opted for the surgery again had he not been clear that there was no guarantee that it wouldn't grow back again.    He was okay with us trying again and seemed happy for us.

So here we are two years after originally deciding to try to have children and we are at the same place still trying.  The surgery not being as successful as we had originally thought has left some fear in me.  Today was a particularly hard day for me.  I really never thought I would be here in my life praying that GOD allows us to have children.  What are our odds when/if we do get pregnant again?  I don't think the fear of loss will ever go away.  We have had far too many losses to not hold on to some fear.  I don't let it consume me anymore not like I used to, but it is still there.

As sad as I was today worrying about my situation I was devastated to find out friends lost their first baby today at 16 weeks.  I know my words will never express the pain I feel for them and how much I wish I could take their pain away.  They are good people and bad things like this should never happen to good people.  So now I will stop feeling sorry for myself and pray for those who need comfort and love.

Joshua 1:9
Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Right Leg or Left Leg?

Just when you think you have it all figured out GOD throws another curve ball at you.  DH and I are still trying to get settled in, between the storms taking down trees, unpacking, and the never ending list of To Do's we have very little down time.  It probably is a good thing though.  Too much downtime leads to thinking, thinking leads to "What ifs?" and what ifs lead to "Why not me?" which ultimately leads to crying. 

I had been putting off unpacking what is going to be the craft room.  Boxes had over taken the room so I closed the door and forgot about it till this past weekend.  I woke up early on Saturday ready to tackle the day to just take the plunge and get some of this stuff done.  I put away board games, holiday decor, crafting stuff, extra linens and then in a box labeled 'BOOKS' I found some things I had really been avoiding, children's books.  Books I had been collecting over the years, some even from my childhood, books that I had planned on reading to my child someday.  I am not saying I won't read this to my future children, I just never thought when I saved the books from my Children's Lit. class, at the ripe age of 21, that I would be sitting in a room 11 years later without child to read the books. 

I sat on the floor for a while holding a book my grandmother had given me as a child, 'The Christmas Collie", just thinking about when I was young and where I thought I would be in life at this age.  And in all honesty I couldn't recall where I thought I would be I had never really gone past the age of 28 in my day dreams about the future.  I figured by that age I would have had my two children, be married, teaching and living life.  I guess one outta three isn't bad.  I mean it could be worse, I could be married to a man who doesn't love and support me and what the best for me.  The more I thought about it I remembered I actually have two out of three, so I picked up a book, "Olivia", and I read out loud.  I read to my Angel Babies.  It brought me a little bit of peace to my heart. 

Before you go off thinking I am nuts  I can promise you I won't do this everyday or possibly ever again.  It was just nice to sit there and read a book to my babies.  A nice little reminder that they are safe now not only with GOD but now with each other.  I cherish the idea of meeting them someday.  Being able to hold them and tell them how much I love them, but for now I will wait.  I will go and meet with specialists, go to work, continue to work on the house, to love GOD, love my DH, and make my life here on earth the best one that I can.  I mean seriously who would have thought something that sounds so special like a Heart Shaped uterus, could cause so much pain? 

The reality of it all is that no matter what GOD throws my way I will wake up every day ready or not, face the world and put my pants one leg at a time.

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” – Galatians 6:9

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Good, better, best. Never let it rest. 'Till your good is better and your better is best!"

Wake up, take the dogs out, coffee, feed the dogs, shower, get ready, go to work, come home, let the dogs out, feed the dogs, clean the house, laundry, grocery store, let the dogs out, go to bed ... Lather, rinse, repeat.  This is what my life mainly consists of, I can guarantee that these are a constants in my life.  These are things I will do over and over and over again.  That is just how it is.  Occasionally (a lot more recently) I fit in new things like, paint a room, decorate, unpack boxes, organize new things in our home.  They shake things up a little make life a little different, exciting!  Sometimes they cause stress but I know these things are temporary and do my best to not let the stress over take me. 

But what about the things the come up in life that are devastating things that only one person controls our GOD the father?  The events we pray never happen in our lifetime because no one deserves to experience them not even our worst enemy.  For me when the events of losing babies and failed pregnancies have come up I have found a way to push through it and try again.  My DH has found a way to support me love me and push through the pain as well.  When our most recent baby died I opted for a natural miscarriage at home, and there he was by my side, tending to me for those long hours in the middle of the night while I had contractions.  I cannot even begin to explain to you how much this meant to me for him to be there by my side ... I am blessed!

Here is my question how do you push past three miscarried babies?  Five times in a little over a year I have happily gone to my DH and announced 'We are pregnant'.  And five times I had to see the pain on his face as I told him the pregnancy had failed or the tech has told us there is no longer a heartbeat.  I know there is hope we got our genetic testing results back and everything is great ... chromosomes GOOD, blood clotting panel GOOD, cystic fibrosis GOOD.  We are good to go on that front and for that I am grateful to GOD.  He has given us a chance we can do this. 

Ohh how I wish we could still go through life with those rose tinted glasses on.  To not know this pain this underlying fear.  To go into the idea of growing our family, having babies, with the happy thoughts of 'I'm pregnant and our baby WILL be here in 9 months'.  Instead we are forced to have this cautiously optimistic attitude.  The fear of loving our babies too soon, the "What if?' factor.  Life has changed my view on things when we find out we are pregnant.   After the first miscarriage I thought that once we had a scan and we saw the baby I would be okay that everything would be okay.  Our second baby proved that wrong, that baby stopped growing so early it never had a heartbeat.  So I re-evaluated how I would deal with it next time and came up with this check list of sorts first positive hpt, then two positive blood tests from the Dr office with rising levels, then a good viability scan, then a visual heartbeat, then an audible heartbeat.  This was my new check list this one would work how could I be disappointed if I stuck to this one, because the statistics say that only 1% of babies miscarry after a heartbeat is detected.  Unfortunately like our first baby our third became part of this statistic. 

The more times this happens the more I learn and the more I wish I knew nothing.  That I could forget what the doctors tell me and to be able to not be afraid.  To be able to not give up hope to not allow my faith in GOD to waiver.  To keep telling myself it's not a matter of if but a matter of when.  To remember to not let the fear of the unknown future effect my known present.  To be able to forget everything the tech told me, everything but the best part, "The only reason that people with your condition don't have babies is because they give up.  Just keep trying and one of them will work."  She is the expert, forget the rest and keep with the best ... "Good, better, best.  Never let it rest.  'Till your good is better and your better best."

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act.
Psalm 37:5,7

Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's just different ...

The day is drawing near. The anniversary of what I consider one of the happiest days of my life.  Well what ended up being one of the happiest days of my life it certainly did not start out that way I was moody to say the very least.  When I finally got home from work I had this odd feeling that I needed to test, to take a home pregnancy test.  I followed the directions and much to my surprise in under 30 seconds I saw a big FAT positive ... it said PREGNANT!

OMG seriously?  What?  Huh?  NO WAY!  My DH and I had been open to the idea since November of 2009, so on April 5, 2010 as I sat on the toilet (classy huh?) I knew my life would forever be changed.  I was pregnant.  DH was at work for a certain company named after a fruit and wasn't expected home until after 9, so I had time to plan the announcement.  I had taken a picture of a bun in the oven and made it the background on his computer.  When he got home I asked him to show me how to do something on his computer, he opened it up saw the picture and had about the same response I had  - NO WAY?  Are you really?  He was grinning ear to ear, I couldn't help but cry I was so happy!

A few days later some family were in town so we were able to announce the news in person, just a little over 3w pregnant.  Things were good and wow were we blessed to have such an incredible support unit around us.  At 5w2d I had bleeding and went to the Doctors office where I had my first ultrasound.  And then just like that there she was, heart fluttering such a beautiful sight.  This was so real I had a living being in me, growing and depending on me for every need.  I was holding my breath the tech told me to breathe, everything was going to be just fine, the baby looked great!

At 6w3d I had my first official prenatal appointment.  The tech started the ultrasound and again there she was heart fluttering.  And then suddenly a pounding sound, strong and fast.  Our baby's heartbeat!!! Words just cannot describe.  I was speechless!  I had no clue I could love this baby anymore than I already did, but it was impossible not to!

We had one more appointment at 8w3d, the baby was still doing well strong heartbeat growing, we were beyond grateful.  And then somewhere between that appointment and 9w6d something went wrong.

We were out of town and I started having cramps and some bleeding.  I told my DH and we prayed together, but I knew in my heart something was very wrong.  I called the doctor the next day and was told to come in as soon as possible.  DH was at work and was not able to be with me, I was concerned but not too much, I had convinced myself that was happening was the same as the first time and would have the same positive outcome.  The tech started the scan, then suddenly that sound that horrible sound of static!  The doppler was trying to find my baby's heartbeat.  Suddenly I felt faint, I started sweating, I could not breathe.  The extreme anxiety that rushed over me, inexplainable.  Not once but five times that sweet girl tried to find my baby's heartbeat.  I wanted to yell at her to STOP!  I wanted off that table out of that room, to just RUN away!  I knew what she was doing, so I asked, "There is no heartbeat, is there?".  Bless her she had to tell me "No", that she tried but wasn't able to find a heartbeat.  Our baby had died.

I called my DH sobbing left alone in the ultrasound room.  He is my rock, he met me at the door when I came home held me and told me we could get through this and we would do it together.   The next day May 26, 2010 they took my Angel Baby from me.  The procedure was done as outpatient day surgery.  I remember nothing of it and felt no pain.  Dr. Yang came and met with us before hand and reminded us that "Healthy Babies don't die".  Truer words never spoken, that is why the first trimester is so critical.  This is when we find out if the baby with thrive or not.  Looking back I think about my response to people who asked "boy or girl?" I always responded the same way 'Healthy!'.  God answered my prayers, not in the way I had expected but in a way that I now understand.  Our baby wasn't healthy, healthy babies don't die.

When I got home for some reason I really felt that the worst was behind me, I prayed the worst was behind me but it wasn't.  As heart breaking and devastating it was for us to find out our baby had died the worst part was letting go and healing.  So on a beautiful sunny day in May I started the grieving process from the loss of my first baby.

It has been a long hard journey but I have found myself becoming stronger and more positive as the year has gone by.  What the future holds I have no clue.  I pray for good things but also know that no matter how much God loves us he also has to throw some bad our way. I now understand why they call it the 'miracle of life' and thank God for allowing me to fully appreciate the creation of his children.

I came across a poem today that explains in simple words exactly how I feel and what this process has been like for me ...

"You don't get over it, you just get through it. 
You don't get by it, because you can't get around it. 
It doesn't 'get better'; it just gets different. 
Everyday... Grief puts on a new face."   
-Wendy Feireisen

With our recent miscarriage this March we were deeply saddened with a second loss.  For 9 weeks we wished and prayed things would have a different more happy outcome.  Unfortunately this was not our time.  This loss brought forth a flood of memories.  Wounds I thought were healed and gone I now realize are scars.  A constant reminder of what we have been through and how far we have come. This loss was deemed a Blighted Ovum, we never saw a heart beat or saw the faintest flutter, something went wrong from the moment of conception.  So if you ask how I am doing and I look around and don't seem as upset as you think I should be. Please know I am heartbroken and I do cry, most everyday.
It's just.  It's just that this time it's different....

Jeremiah 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chasing Rainbows?

While dealing with complications with our second pregnancy I found a community of women who were cautiously awaiting the arrival of their 'Rainbow Babies'.  I had never heard of the term but just the two words together made me smile what could be more beautiful than a Rainbow Baby?

But what is a Rainbow Baby?  A woman named Courtney someone I have never met explained it beautifully ...

"Rainbow Babies" is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm.  When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath.  What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds.  Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides the counterbalance of color, energy and hope.

I am currently 'Chasing Rainbows' with the hopes of someday finding a beautiful Rainbow ... our Rainbow.  I will never forget my Angel babies, they are part of me and always will be, but I cannot give up hope.

Psalms 31:24
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.