We interrupt this regularly scheduled program …

Today we are going on holiday for a week. To the beach with us!

A much needed break from all the crap we have going on in our lives right now. A break from the losses, the testing, the treatment, the work BS, the knocked up friends, the home renos. A break to spend time just the two of us. It has been over 3 years since we have been on holiday just us. And I can’t wait. I think I will want to stay forever.

I am very much looking forward to the sun, the beach, the heat, the food. The time alone, the time to read, rest, reflect. Hopefully this will allow us to recharge a little. I’m hoping at least for me I will be able to return home to with a better attitude. I’m tired of being sad and miserable all the time. Maybe this is my opportunity, a turning point that will allow me to start to pick up the pieces and to start looking to the future with hope. Let’s hope so!

In my excitement from my appointment yesterday from I’ve decided to queue up a few pending posts while I’m gone. Didn’t want to leave you guys hanging but don’t want to bore you to tears either 🙂

Over and out ladies, see you in a week. xx

The New Clinic Part 1: The trials and tribulations of the Super Fertile.

Part 2 Super Fertility treatment

Ok you ladies interested in this super fertility argument let me fill you in on my day. My mind is racing with all this new information but I’ll try to get the gist down here in a way that’s hopefully legible!

Today I had my follow up appointment (previous appointment discussed here) to investigate NK cells in my womb lining with a biopsy and to discuss the suggested prognosis that I am someone who is “super fertile”. I will go into the NK cells in another post I think because this super fertile thing has got me all riled up.

The idea of super fertility suggests that the womb is overly receptive to embryos but is not selective enough. It allows embryos that aren’t developing properly to implant. This results in miscarriage.

When I first heard this idea I thought, great does that mean we’ve produced no good embryos in nearly 3 years? Are all of them destined to be chromosomally abnormal? That could mean huge money in PGD IVF etc.

Apparently not. And apologies for paraphrasing in my lay woman’s lingo, it was difficult to keep up with this guy. He knows so much and was throwing these amazing ideas at me non-stop. I was also all by myself because hubby couldn’t get away from work to be there today. A lot of notes to take, a lot to digest!

So it was explained to me that no not all our embryos are shit. Some are more flawed like our last loss (triploid) but that is a random occurrence. He questioned why the womb allows a deficient embryo to implant at all. A process called decidualisation, the cells tailored response to abnormal embryos, is not occurring.

He carried on to say that actually most embryos are formed with some element of abnormal chromosomes in it. With a selective nurturing environment the womb knows how to respond to enable the healthy chromosomes to take over and flourish. In a womb that isn’t functioning as it should this step is missed and subsequently this allows the abnormal cells to grow further which results in miscarriage.

This struck a chord in me. No one, out of all the 8+ consultants we’ve seen so far, has been able to explain this to me. Allow me to clarify. For our first four implanted little embryos I never got my BFP until 5 weeks or later, then a few days or weeks later I would miscarry. My hcg rose too late. This I’ve learned today is a sign of an impending miscarriage, the late rise of hcg. But the late rise of hcg is also indicative that the critical stage, at what is meant to be day 21-23, when the embryo and lining make contact and suss each other out, is delayed, resulting in late implantation. This isn’t supportive of the embryo and the selection process that should occur wasn’t given the appropriate chance to do so and the womb begins to shed its lining because it’s all confused and voila. Loss of pregnancy.

When I asked other consultants about why I might be getting late BFPs and could that have anything to do with a slow rise in hcg I was told I was delusional. One RMC consultant told me I was just getting multiple false positives and to go get donor eggs because I was clearly too old for this.

I feel a huge relief that at last someone can potentially account for our losses. Even down to the details! It is something I can buy into. For now anyway. And when I reread my notes I can see how much sense it makes.

So to break it down here are the main observations for women with recurrent early pregnancy loss like mine explained as super fertility, as far as it was explained to me:
1) they fall pregnant easily
2) embryos that shouldn’t implant are implanting. Why? Flawed process of womb preparation
3) high quality embryos without a good response are not adequately supported

Crazy huh? I find this fascinating and so unlike anything I’ve heard from other clinics. I have so much more to say but your eyes are no doubt drying out from reading all this crap so I will continue the details tomorrow. Thanks for reading today

Blog buddies

I never began this blog thinking that people would read it. It started as a way to get my thoughts down, an electronic easy to access journal. But more than that, to store them in cyber space as proof that these events took place and these feelings were felt. And that they meant something to me. And although I want to forget it all and make all the sadness go away I felt I needed a way to be able to reflect on how I am coping in this process. To see that I do in fact have some good days mixed in the with bad ones, when things don’t seem as heavy as they do 90% of the time.

I do have mixed feelings about this blog. It’s hard to write or reread my own posts. I relive the hurt and frustration all over again each time. But once written it feels good. Lighter. And since I’ve become a serial friend dumper this has been my selected method of communication. Although I’m not willing to make myself vulnerable to judgement in the outside world, I am more than happy to do it here.

But what I never wrapped my head around is that others would read this too. The gratitude and assurance I feel when I read from comments from you guys has made this process even more cathartic than I ever would have imagined. You have made me realise that although I know next to no one in my day to day life going through what I’m going through, there are a whole lot of you out there suffering silently too.

Reading the blogs written by you lovely people about the hardship you are enduring hurts too. Not only because I am a human being and seeing others enduring pain makes me sad, but because I can relate to your stories, I can understand your hurt and frustration and anger and anxiety. Your blogs make me cry, laugh, curse with you. Seeing the strength you ladies have, faced with your own difficult and unfair situation, has helped me find strength to endure it too. Or to at least try to. It’s not like we have a choice really is it? At least we can make it easier on ourselves by sticking together.

And while I find it heartbreaking that we are all part of this invisible community of loss and heartache, a community none of us elected to be in, I do feel connected to everyone out there. A bond that is more meaningful than some of my longest lasting friendships. Where emptiness is understood. That I can say anything to you guys and you might actually tolerate it. You might even understand it, or might even relate in some way. And there’s something encouraging and uplifting and liberating about that.

And even in this short time since I’ve started this blog I’m actually feeling a bit lighter. A bit less bogged down, one blog at a time.

More crazy dreams

I’ve been keeping track of my dreams. I don’t know why really, I guess it’s something Julia Indichova got me thinking about. Maybe it’s because they seem seriously messed up. Maybe it’s so I can look back on them later to decipher what’s really been going through my head during these rough patches and how it can be used to turn things around.

The recurrent nightmare has been absent for a few days. Last night, after I relinquished to an assisted sleep, it was replaced with this:

I’m faced with crossing a large river, much like the Thames but it’s deserted. There is a Mordor-like apocalyptic blustering grey landscape on both sides of the river but it seems necessary to cross it. The river is red, a deep muddy dirty red. There’s no one around. No one but my therapist. It’s her but she looks different. Taller, stronger build. She’s standing in front of me and I have to put my hands on her shoulders so she can lead me across the river. Except there’s no bridge, we have to walk on the water to get across. She’s able to do that with confidence and assures me it’s ok to follow her. It’s not miraculous, it feels practical. But I must hang on. It’s windy and I have to hang on tight.

We start to cross the river and she’s able to walk on the water and I notice I can too. After a few meters I can see we aren’t walking on the surface anymore but sinking, struggling with laboured steps to get through the muddy red water. But we can’t. And then I notice she’s not there anymore. That I’ve let go too soon.

And then I start to sink. I’m sinking through the water slowly like quicksand until it absorbs me. My view transforms to see myself from above. I can see my body slither into the water until only my hands are above it. But they’re not frantically trying to escape, they’re not fighting it. I can see my pale skin floating and slipping through the surface of the muddy red water as I wake up in tears gasping for air.

Just another cheery nighttime adventure! Sleeping is such a pleasure these days! But it is a weirdly cliche dream as well. I feel like I’m drowning everyday but now I actually do it in my sleep too. Great!

The Sauce

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I stopped drinking this year on New Year’s Day 1 January 2013.

It’s not official or anything and it’s actually been over a year but there were a couple of alcohol fuelled meltdowns after each loss last year so I don’t count last year. Haven’t touched the stuff properly since New Year.

Do I miss it? Hell yes.

Why am I doing this? Is it because I won’t allow myself to live a little? No.

Is it because drinking has a negative affect on fertility? No (but I suppose that’s the upside of quitting).

It’s because I know as soon as I get back on it there’ll be no stopping me. I can’t just have one drink or a few sips. All the months of anxiety and anger and grief will come flooding out with every sip. It’s an exposure I can’t afford. I reckon I’m not far from reaching the bottom of pit-o-despair as it is. A little help from the sauce might just expedite me there on a direct train.

The relief and release from having a drink for me is fleeting. It feels good at the time but then my sadness reappears even stronger. I don’t want to feel worse right now, I want to feel better.

Currently, I can’t even attempt that little glass of vino with dinner for fear of needing to shotgun it directly from the bottle. Or becoming that belligerent dinner guest who tells all the fertile couples off for being so flippin perfect all the bloody time. Or better yet, turning into that emotional sobbing slobbering mess everyone is afraid of during a work function.

I can see it all play out in my head. The pats on the shoulder, the nervous uncomfortable glances exchanged between friends, their rushed excuses for a quick getaway. Perhaps you’ve had enough now, let’s get her home. I can feel the hangover from the hangover already. If I’ve already destroyed my kitchen during a sober meltdown what am I capable of during a trollied tantrum? I best not find out.

I wasn’t out getting shitfaced every night of the week but I sure did enjoy the taste of nice a glass of wine or a homemade cocktail. A few units a week, at social gatherings or a meal out, or just to unwind. But tasting anything remotely boozy now fills me with dread. It’s like my body’s warning me to tread lightly.

I am getting some grief for it. Why don’t you just chill out. Why don’t you just have a few drinks. It’ll loosen you up. Yes I think A drink (singular) might do that but I don’t have the control to stop myself and you probably won’t want to be around when I turn into the Shitfaced Incredible Hulk after my second.

On the upside, quitting has made me feel healthy! I’m contributing to my wellbeing and fertility! Or so I tell myself. I’m improving the quality of my eggs and all that other good stuff. And I guess if I can control any part of this process, this would be it.

I’m not saying I won’t try to have a glass of wine on holiday next week. Because I probably will. I’ll test the waters and see how it goes. At least if I turn into a miserable sobbing cow it will be with The Hubs and he is used to it!

Books Books Books – Part 1

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I think I’ve nearly bought every book on pregnancy loss that has been written.

Information. Give it to me. I can’t know enough. I must absorb every scrap of knowledge in order to turn our luck around. Or so I think.

As a way to remember all the books I have read to help me through this process I have decided to write them down here. Some of them were more beneficial to me than others.

Part 2 will cover books that I’ve found helpful to begin to heal the soul and for a hopeful look at the future. I’m still making my way through some now.

Pregnancy Loss

Miscarriage : What Every Woman Needs to Know
by Professor Lesley Regan
I bought this book when I was first accepted into St Mary’s Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic so I could understand their perspective. This book explains a lot from a clinical standpoint but doesn’t delve much into the emotional side of miscarriage.

Preventing Miscarriage : The Good News
by Jonathan Sher and Carol Dix
An empathetic and encouraging look at miscarriage. Covers immunological causes of miscarriage as well as more conventionally recognised causes.

A Silent Sorrow. Pregnancy Loss : Guidance and Support for You and Your Family.
by Ingrid Kohn and Perry-Lynn Moffitt
I didn’t really connect with this book, I’m finding it hard to finish. It’s not a easy read but is a supportive resource.

Miscarriage : Women Sharing From the Heart
by Marie Allen and Shelly Marks
Heartbreaking. Full of stories from women suffering, I found this book difficult to read during my darkest moments.

Miscarriage : Women’s Experiences and Needs
by Christine Moulder
Shares a lot of women’s varying experiences with loss and has a good section on guidelines for good practice that are not put to use often enough.

Trying Again : A Guide to Pregnancy After Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss
by Ann Douglas and John R. Sussman
A good resource for the various causes and tests for pregnancy loss.

Avoiding Miscarriage : Everything you need to know to feel more confident in pregnancy
by Susan Rousselot
Hate the title. Reviews all the causes of miscarriage and has a good section on the psychological impact of loss and how to rebuild confidence.

Coming to Term : Uncovering the Truth About Miscarriage
by John Cohen
A personal look at miscarriage but also follows the treatment by several consultants I’ve seen personally. Interesting.

Fertility

Taking Charge of Your Fertility : A Definitive Guide to Pregnancy Achievement, Natural Birth Control and Reproductive Health
by Toni Wechsler
An amazing resource that made me feel empowered and aware and appreciative of my body. Can’t recommend it enough.

Is Your Body Baby Friendly : Unexplained Infertility, Miscarriage and IVF Failure
by Alan E. Beer
A fascinating look at immunological aspect of miscarriage and infertility. Controversial within the medical community but hopeful for those of us looking for answers.

The Infertility Cure : The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies
by Randine Lewis
Really interesting read for anyone who is interested in traditional Chinese medicine and fertility. A west meets east approach.

The Fertile Female : How the Power of Longing for Child Can Save Your Life and Change the World
by Julia Indichova
Very encouraging and uplifting.

The Infertility Diet : Get Pregnant and Prevent Miscarriage
by Fern Reiss
Not a huge fan of this book. There have been so many progressions in fertility nutrition that makes this book now seem very out of date.

The Billings Method : Control Fertility Without Drugs or Devices
by Dr Evelyn Billings and Ann Westmore
A book purely about cervical fluid. Yup. A true gem. Was hard for me to follow at first but once I got the hang of the method it became the most reliable means to determine my fertile days.

Inconceivable : A Woman’s Triumph Over Despair and Statistics
by Julia Indichova
A great story of how one woman turned her luck around. I blame my juicing obsession on her.

Fertile Thinking : Your Practical and Emotional Aid Through the Trials of Infertility and Beyond
by Anya Sizer
A brilliant little book jam packed with coping mechanisms and strategies. So glad this book entered my life. It helped me find a structured way to approaching our fertility journey and struggles with loss.

What motivates the man

Man I feel guilty.

The Hubs is downstairs right now sanding, filling, painting. Plastering, drilling, sawing. Sweating away on home renos. He is unstoppable.

What am I doing? Jack shit but surfing wordpress and eating an ice cream bar. In bed.

Guess I better pull up my socks.

He is somehow able to channel all his frustration and energy into making our home a better place to be. Working on the house after he gets home from work and all day every day on the weekends.

We have been living in a construction site for the last year, a serious undertaking. But it has been especially nasty in the last four months. No room in the house has been left untouched. Ceilings have been ripped out, floors have been stripped, walls replastered. We are talking bare bones here people.

As if planned, we were in the middle of the worst part of the works right around when we found out things were starting to go downhill for our little sweet pea. Since that day any work on the house came to a screeching halt. We have more or less been living in squalor since then.

But recently he has slowly started getting back into it and now he is full swing again.

Before the loss I was able to paint, sand and help him do stuff. Feel like I was contributing to our new home. Now I am at a loss of direction and motivation to do anything. I can’t get my ass out of bed let alone pick up a drill or a paintbrush.

But I see there is something to his motivation. Maybe instead of crying, blogging, surfing forums or bitching to a counselor, he is able to work out his sadness and frustration on something energetic and productive. And the bonus is he can see the fruits of his labour. And he says he feels like he is contributing to my positive mental attitude (who me?) by making our home more comfortable so I don’t have to feel holed up in the bedroom, the only quasi sanctuary in the house.

It’s times like these that I really admire the man. Even more than usual. I admire his direction and motivation. It’s about time I follow his example and get myself moving. If only I knew where to start. One lick of paint at a time I guess.