Monday, November 11, 2013

On the road

I was at the doctor for my 6 week postpartum filling out the some forms. I came to this one..

and had to redo the "number of pregnancies " part. It hit me again that I have taken 4 positive pregnancy tests. 4 missed periods, 4 due dates, 4 babies inside of me. 4. It's the strangest thing, to think about this. When I am at the OB I always get the urge to get on this blog and read comments or previous posts. Not sure why, maybe it's my way of continuing to be amazed with how far we have come. How blessed we are. How strong I can be.  There were a few comments on my last post introducing baby Emmitt that I hadn't read yet. How wonderful to know that this little blog has been a source of encouragement to others. That there are women out there that have followed our story and taken this journey with us. That is exactly the reason I started writing this all down and sharing. 

I had quite the wait time at the office, so during my waiting.. And waiting... And waiting.. And after reading and thinking about comments on my blog, I decided to write down a few thoughts.

The series right now at church is all about transformation. It has so much meaning to me personally that I swear Pastor Mike and Keith decided on it just for me :) Seriously though, my personal transformation is very evident to me as I look back on the last year and a half. (And to be honest, as I look back on the last several years!) I guess that's ultimately what we do as time goes by, we transform. But there are certain events in our lives that show us how exactly we should go about transforming and which roads to take. Mine happened to be miscarrying two babies.

I am on the road to becoming the person I should be, want to be, can be. I'm not there yet, but last August set me on the right path and I work everyday to get myself closer to that woman.

There was a post from a woman named Heather on my last post.  She gave me a link to her blog, her story, and I encourage you to click on the link below and read her story.  If there is one thing I have learned by keeping this blog it's that people are listening.  People you know, don't know, people you wouldn't expect to be.. they are listening.  So take a moment and listen to her story.

This is what she told me about herself, but I learned so much more by visiting her website...

I am a wife, mother, and a mesothelioma survivor. At age 36, just after giving birth, I was diagnosed and given 15 months to live.  I knew that I needed to beat the odds for my newborn daughter, Lily.  It’s been almost 8 years now and I’ve dedicated my life to spreading awareness of this awful disease. Asbestos is not banned in the US, yet it’s the only known cause of mesothelioma. Once diagnosed, most patients die within 2 years. I am one of few survivors who openly share their story and work to spread awareness of these dangers.

Heather's Story

Saturday, September 28, 2013

In my arms




Meet Emmitt.  He arrived September 20th at 2:43AM at 7 lb. 6oz., 20 in. long.  He is perfect.  

It's been a long road getting to this point, but everything we went through in the last 14 months was worth it to be able to hold this little baby boy in our arms.  I wouldn't say I am thankful for losing those 2 sweet babies last year, but if I hadn't... I wouldn't have Emmitt.  I remember my mom telling me over and over that once I have him in my arms, once he is here, it will feel... okay.  Because I will have him. I didn't believe her.  I didn't believe people who told me I would be "okay" with what happened.  

I am.

The second I held him in my arms I knew I was letting go of the pain that was associated with miscarrying.  Does that mean that I am forgetting?  Absolutely not.  I will never forget, losing those 2 babies made me who I am at this moment.  Its a part of me.   But no longer am I able to yearn for those babies.  Because I have my baby.  In my arms.  The other 2 are snuggled in tightly in the Lord's arms, and I am okay with that.  

Last year at this time I was so hopeless.  I didn't think I would ever be able to hold another baby in my arms.  I wish I could go back in time and tell that girl what lies ahead.  But you know what?  I don't know if that would have helped.  I have friends that are struggling to get pregnant and working though miscarriage and I know that me telling them to hold on to hope, because the future is bright, won't take their pain away.  They will have to find that themselves.  Just as I did.  But I also know that without my friends and family supporting me and holding me up in times of pain and sadness, I might not have Emmitt.  I might have given up.  So to those who are fighting through the struggles of getting pregnant or working on holding on to hope in times of loss.. don't give up. Lean on people who are there for you.  Pray.  Know that you will find your brightness too.  Just as I did with my Emmitt.  




Sunday, August 11, 2013

365 days


One year ago today our lives changed. I had been bleeding slightly for 3 days so we made a trip into the ER. Aiden came with, I'm still not sure why we had him come, except because probably we didn't think it would be the trip that it was...

I was nervous. But not too nervous. I knew what they could tell me. But didn't think they actually would.  I knew how the conversation with family and friends could go.  But didn't expect to actually have it. 

The news we received led us to this: We lost our baby.

The story has been written here so I don't feel the need to repeat it. But I do feel the need to talk about where I am now. Because I remember reading and hearing stories from others, even strangers on blogs, that had gone through it.  And it helped me to feel less alone. And justified in my feelings. If I can be that comfort to even one other person out there, its worth it to tell the story. 

I think back on that day quite frequently. Not to dwell or make myself cry, although that's how it was initially. Now, however, I look back on that day to remind myself how far I've come, how much I've learned, and how incredibly blessed I am. And yes, I do still pray for that baby, and the other one, often.

I was so sad. That day one year ago. I cried more tears than I thought I had. I was also very confused. It was surreal. I remember asking "Why?" a lot.

The next several weeks took a toll on me physically, and emotionally I was a wreck. Lots of pretending happened. Pretending to be happy. Pretending to have fun. Pretending to be the mommy I wanted to be for Aiden. The list goes on and on. I thought it would help to get pregnant again. After losing the next, I realized I wasn't ready. I still needed some time. But then we were given yet another chance. And this time I was at peace. And I truly contribute that peacefulness to my faith. This last year I have spent a lot of time working on my faith. Working on my relationship with God. Church helped ease my pain and pastor Mikes words gave me strength. Little by little I was filled with hope again. And here I am, 32 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby boy. Was I scared this time around? Absolutely. Am I still at times? Absolutely. But Ive learned a lot....

I learned that you must fight for what you feel is right and best for your children (including the unborn)..even if people who are thought to be smarter and wiser than you tell you different. I truly believe that if I wouldn't have fought tooth and nail with my doctors and nurses to have my progesterone tested and supplemented, we would have lost this baby too.  


I learned that how I felt and dealt with the loss of babies was okay.  Regardless of what some told me, I wasn't crazy, or too emotional, or being ridiculous, or not looking at things the "right" way.  A couple of very good friends experienced the loss of a baby within this last year and one thing I was determined NOT to do was judge the way they dealt with it.  To each his own, especially when dealing with loss. 


I learned that people are good, good, good. Hugs, notes, gifts, flowers, emails, phone calls, blog comments, texts, cards... the outpouring of love trumped the judgers. I learned to lean on others. Really lean on them. 


I learned that I had much more to give to my faith. More time, more commitment, more trust in God. Its amazing what it's done for me. 


I honestly didn't think today would be hard for me.  I made it through the due date of our third baby without tears falling. But I had a few moments when the tears just came today.  I think mainly because I revisited the way I felt that day.  I kept seeing my face, Jeff's face. I thought about how my heart literally felt like it was breaking apart.. I could feel it breaking. Not crying because I want THAT baby, not because I wished it never happened. Strange to say that, but I mean it. The little baby in my belly is meant to be ours to hold in our arms and love here on earth. The other two babies were real and are in God's arms.  They brought me a lot even though I never met them. I love them and am so grateful for what they made me. They are a part of me and always will be. 


From hopeless to hopeful. 


365 days ago I was so, so sad. Today, 365 days later, I am so, so happy.  

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Our third due date

Today is the due date of our third baby, the second baby we lost. It's hard to be sad when I have a little boy moving around inside me, ready to make his appearance in just a couple months. More than anything I've been thinking back to when I lost that baby. And wanting to reach out and hug that girl and say, "You WILL be okay. You WILL have another baby." I remember so vivedly feeling hopeless the night I miscarried. That time much more than the first. That was the night I cried longer and harder than I ever have, and it was the night when I started to look into adoption, thinking "I'm never going to carry another baby." Thank God for pushing me to look beyond sadness and hopelessness and see the light. Because now I have another little baby growing inside of me and he will be here before we know it.

This morning we walked at the "Heart Walk" with a family whose son was born with basically half a heart. We heard stories and saw other friends we know whose son or daughter has a heart defect. It puts things in perspective certainly and it magnified how unbelievably blessed we are to have a healthy almost 3 year old and another one on the way who appears to be very healthy as well.

I have chosen to take this day and make it a good, happy day, instead of a sad day. I will drink in every moment with my Aiden and smile brightly every time I feel my baby boy move, kick me, or have the hiccups :) 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Just breathe...



video

We made it just about half way!!  This is our baby!  Our second... our fourth.. baby.  Leading up to the ultrasound I was extremely nervous.  Not about whether it was a boy or a girl.. but about if this baby was "okay".  Healthy.  Growing.  Developing.  Did the progesterone I was putting into my body for weeks upon weeks affect this little baby?  I truly believe it kept me pregnant this time, but did it do any harm?  I know they wouldn't have put me on it if it had devastating affects.. but still.. don't try to rationalize with this woman. :)

Guess what?  This tiny little half pound baby IS HEALTHY! 10 fingers, 10 toes, 4 chambers of the heart.  I asked if the baby was measuring where it should be, obviously a concern with our history, and she said YEP! Sigh of relief number 638. 

I watched this little bugger move around on that screen for almost 30 minutes and could not get over what an absolute miracle this all was and is.  I did take a moment and think about the screen we saw in August and how it only showed a yolk sac, about the screen we saw in December.. first with our tiny little peanut.. and then empty.  My breath caught a few times, and then I refocused on this wonderful little thing in front of me.  I said many prayers this day for those other two babies, and for my Aiden, and obviously for this new baby.  God heard my voice A LOT this day :) 

Hope.  This is what I was only barely clinging to so desperately for 6 months and now I can really, truly, feel it.  I can reach out and touch it.  Do I still get nervous when I go to the bathroom.. almost every time.  Do my twitches and twinges make me panic a bit sometimes.. yes.  But I can feel this baby MOVING now.  And for another reassurance boost.. the ultrasound.  And the smiles on the nurses and my doctors faces that day.  Hope is here. 

To be honest though, I still don't think I will be fully "okay" and "not panicky" until I have this baby in my arms, but I am a bit calmer now.. I can breathe a bit easier now.  




And yes, I did still get excited to find out if we would have more blue, or add pink, into our lives, so....





Blessed.  So very blessed.  I still can't get over it.  The miracle that is pregnancy.  The miracle that is having a child.  I thank God every single day for my Aiden, for this new baby boy, and for holding our two angel babies tightly.

I think its time to just breathe....



Monday, March 25, 2013

Due Date


Tuesday, March 26th is the day our second baby was due. The weeks leading up to this day have been a roller coaster ride of emotions. I'm pregnant, so not only am I basking in the joy of this new baby, but I'm also sick and tired. But when my guard lets down, usually at night, I am overrun by thoughts of "what might have been". Every time I walk by Aidens old nursery I picture a tiny little baby sleeping in that crib. The emotions have been running high for this girl, to say the least.

It still stings a bit (sometimes a lot bit) when I see pictures of our friends new babies who were born this month. I wonder, "Will I always feel that way when I see those children?". Will I think, "Our baby should be that old now." And I still get a pang of jealously when I see them holding their tiny little babies or when I see pregnant friends who are due any week.  Sometimes I feel like I am being irrational to feel jealously.  I have a marvelous son and another one 13 weeks in the making.  How can I be jealous?  But most times I give myself permission to feel that little pang for a moment.. and then I move on.  Thats one thing I have learned through this... I have to let myself feel.  I don't want to bury my feelings, pretend like nothing happened, and act like I am completely fine now.

God has given me a couple things this week for me to hold onto as I walk through the sadness of what might have been:

1. I was reading through a baby book of someone very close to me late last week. A constant thing I read over and over, written from mommy to baby, was, "We have waited for you for a long time," "You have finally come into our lives," "We prayed for you for a long time."... and they did. Years. I sat there for quite some time thinking about what an absolute blessing this little girl is to her parents, and also thinking about my situation. We got pregnant very easily with Aiden. We got pregnant very easily last summer and again in the winter and again at the beginning of this year. I have been pregnant 4 times in the past 3 years. There are people who go many months or years ( many who are good friends and family ) without seeing those 2 pink lines. It humbled me. It made me take a moment and say a silent prayer thanking God for giving us the blessing of being able to conceive. And to ask Him to continue to give strength to those who are struggling to do so.

2. A friend of mine shared a book her father wrote called A Foot in Two Worlds (by: Vincent D Homan). He lost his son several years ago, she lost her brother. Though I haven't finished the whole book, the amount I have read has once again, humbled me. He says many times that everyone's loss is the worst to them. Though I didn't lose a child that had been with our family for years, I did lose a child. I lost 2. Though my pain may be "easier" to live through because I never held those babies in my arms, it is worst to me. It made me feel justified for the way I felt after losing my babies and it made me feel justified that I still feel sadness about it. He talks about his faith before and after the loss of his son. He talks about hope and grief and the fight between the two. This book is an incredible testament and is honestly honest. I have been comforted by his words, and know that my light is a little dimmer this week, but it won't completely go out. I would recommend this book to anyone who has experienced ANY kind of loss in their lives. 

Once again, it is the people in my life, whether it be people I know or don't know personally, that are carrying me.  It truly is incredible what happens when you let yourself be carried by those who love you.  By those who have been through tragedy and loss.  And even by those whose stories you only read about..but connect to.

My hope remains stable. My heart, though a little weary right now, is maintaining its strength. I know the little peach inside of me is a true mark of God. That little baby is holding me up and continuing to remind me to "look up".

Take a moment out of your day Tuesday and say a quick prayer for our baby in heaven. And for all of the babies (no matter how old) who are with mine. And for the parents who are still waiting for those 2 little pink lines.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Why hello there!





Measuring in at 10 weeks 4 days here is Baby Lam again!  The ultrasound yesterday was great!  We even got to see him/her moving around in there... an absolute miracle. It was the cutest thing to see his/her little legs and arms move and occasionally his/her whole buddy kind of jumped :) The heart rate was 178/180 bpm which is good and to hear that this baby was ahead of schedule as far as measurement was such a good feeling!

It was so wonderful to walk out of that room with tears of joy and not sadness.  It was so wonderful to look up at the screen and see our healthy baby all snuggled in. If ever there is a time in a woman's life to feel the closest to God it would be during pregnancy.  Every night I go to bed thanking God for what he is giving us.  For this 1 1/2 inch MIRACLE that is inside of me growing and moving.  It's just like when I look at my Aiden.  I feel so incredibly blessed.

We met with Dr. Lyons after the ultrasound and she reassured us that everything looked great.  She tried to pick up the heartbeat with the sonogram device but it was a no-go.  My uterus is tipped back and because Im only 10 weeks along it made it tricky.  She said she heard it a few times but nothing Jeff and I could hear.  Since it was found on the ultrasound we weren't worried.

I stopped doing the shots this past Monday.  Made it a week and a half and then called in to ask what to do about the pain.  I was to the point where I was up all night delirious with pain and I couldnt really walk during the day.  Lyons actually had me stop them and go back to the suppositories three times a day.  Because of this she had me do my progesterone levels while I was there Friday.  She called me with the results at 5:45 that night because she knew I was anxious to know.  They are 20, which she said is good.  Of course, I would rather them be at 50 or even 30.. but 20 is much better than 16, where we were just a few short weeks ago.

I had a pap so I spotted last night and a bit today.  I knew it would happen and Dr. Lyons reminded me it would happen as well.. but its still such a scary sight to see the blood.  I haven't had any spotting this whole pregnancy so its not a comforting thing to see, even though I knew it would happen.

March has already been a month of conflicting emotions for me.  There are a couple women in our lives that had due dates within a 10-15 days of ours and they both had their babies this week.  It's hard not to think about what might have been.  Its hard not to look in our nursery and let my mind wonder what color it would have been.  Its hard not to see Aiden's old pack and play and wonder if it would be set up in our bedroom already.  Its hard.  But I keep going back to Pastor Mike's sermon months ago about lightness trumping darkness.  And its the truth.  Whenever I feel that sadness coming back to me my mind smiles at the baby that is growing inside of me right now.  There is no replacing the two babies we lost and there is no forgetting.  But there can still be happiness.  And there can still be light.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The new normal

Well long story short my progesterone just will not stay stable, or go up.  After finding out last week that they dropped again.. to 16.45 (a lot of research says the levels should be around 15 to sustain), my doctor decided to switch me from the progesterone suppositories to the injections.   The good thing: I only have to do the injections once a day compared to doing the suppositories 3 times a day (including once at school which is challenging.. having to find a spot to lay down afterward is impossible).  Bad thing:  They hurt like H***.  And Dr. Lyons made it clear that after we start these we will not be testing my levels anymore because basically this is the "last straw".  Nothing more we can change or try to get the levels to a "safe" zone. 

When I heard that last part my heart stopped for a moment.  Its definitely scary to think that at 7 weeks my numbers were already borderline "too low" and I have 5 more weeks to get me to the point that my placenta takes over the production of this damn hormone.  But.  I still feel good about everything (well besides these numbers).  I feel extremely sick still.  Im super tired.  My boobs hurt.  My waist band is expanding. And my menu is CRAZY weird.  These are all great signs.  And I keep thinking about our little baby up on the big screen.  (Although we all know that despite the "percentages" it is in fact possible to lose a baby AFTER seeing it on an ultrasound and finding a heartbeat...). 

So.  The shots.  OH. MY.  We went in to meet with a procedural nurse Friday who explained everything and had Jeff do a practice run with sterile fluid.  It hurt so incredibly bad!!!  The needle is quite large and long due to the fact that the progesterone is in oil so its thicker.  We do them in the bum and afterward I couldn't put weight on that side and I had to limp out of the office awkwardly (not to mention drive home!!)  Saturday evening we did the first true injection with the progesterone.  It actually wasn't as bad as the day before but it did hurt, and I am quite sore today.  I do them every night so it will be interesting to see how Im walking by the end of this first week! But I REFUSE to feel sorry for myself.  There are women out there doing these shots everyday in hopes it will allow them to GET pregnant.  I still have to remind myself that we are so blessed with Aiden and I get pregnant very easily, which is an unbelievable blessing in itself.  We are doing everything we can to keep this baby growing and I am still putting all of my hope and faith in God (and these shots :) ) and I know he will take care of us. We just have a "new normal" to get used to. 

Keep praying for us.  For this little baby.  That we continue to keep the hope alive.  And that Jeff continues to do a great job stabbing me in the bum each night.  :)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cheers to HOPE

How about that?  Our little blueberry, heart beating away at 142 bpm, all nestled in mommys "insides" :) Quite the miracle.

Our appointment yesterday topped off the "hope" cup.  The ultrasound took only a few minutes, and I felt no anxiety, no fear.. just faith that the Lord was with us and we would see that there in fact is light at the end of a very dark road, just as Pastor Mike preached months ago.  Everything looked great, we got to see our little baby for the first time and watch his/her heart beating on the big screen.  They measured the baby at 6 weeks 6 days, which is almost exactly where we thought things should be.  So my due date stays the same: October 4th, 2013. My third due date "assigned" to me for 2013. This one will stick, I can feel it.

At 7 weeks I am definitely feeling the "effects" of being pregnant.  The bloating has subsided, but the nauseousness and puking/gagging has set in... big time!!  Even though I am on the brink of not being able to function most days I am SO happy about it.  It's a good sign.  Even Dr. Lyons and her nurse congratulated me on being sick :) 

During my OB History appointment (when they ask you all sorts of questions and update your charts) she asked if this was our 4th pregnancy, and if we had miscarried twice.  It still feels like a stab in the heart.  I took a silent second and prayed for those 2 babies and asked God to hold them extra close today.  I have 3 friends that are due within a couple weeks of our due date in March so their babies are almost here.  It's still hard to follow their stories.  And even though I truly am happy for them, I still have feelings of jealousy and sadness when I see pictures of their very pregnant bellies and nursery's.  Being pregnant again does help, but it doesn't completely erase the fact that we lost 2 babies.    So take a second and pray for the baby above... and also the 2 babies that are with God.  

My outlook is still positive.  With each day that goes by we are closer to meeting this baby.  I am thankful for each day of being pregnant and say a prayer every. single. time. I go to the bathroom and don't see blood.  There is still hope.  We aren't giving up.  And this baby is growing like crazy.. I can feel it. 

Cheers to HOPE!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

+/-

I'll start with positives:

I'm still SUPER bloated and my pants hardly button.  I felt SUPER sick all day today.  I am SUPER tired.  My "upper" body is SUPER tender. :)

I needed french fries BAD tonight so Aiden and I went to the store.  I ended up coming home with fries, tator tots, chicken strips,  Cheez-its, and Gatorade (None of which I ever eat or drink).. then ate half the bag of fries and half the bag of tots and 2 chicken strips.

I love every last detail about what is happening to my body right now.  Truly.  It's beautiful and it's a miracle.  This baby is growing like a champ, I can feel it.



Here are some frustrations from the past week:

I got my results on Monday from last weeks blood test.  My HCG is still looking really good, but my progesterone went from 35 to 23 (they want the levels to be around 19/20).  My nurse told me they knew I would be nervous about that even though they did warn me these numbers could drop drastically (umm, yes!) and so they put me on 50 mg of progeserone supplement once a day.  She said they would re-check the levels at my ultrasound appt which is next Friday.  I hung up nervous that my numbers were already dropping, but glad that they put me on a supplement.

After thinking about all of this for about 5 minutes after I got off the phone (and some pep-talks from my awesome friends)  I decided I was not okay with it.  I wanted to have those levels checked weekly and I wanted more than 50 mg.  I have been doing my research and nobody that I've read about has been put on anything lower than 100-200 mg (and sometimes this much twice daily).  And these next couple weeks (when they won't be checking my levels) is the time frame when everything went so horribly wrong the last couple times.  So.  I called back and pretty much had to fight tooth and nail to get them to agree to this.  I did end up getting my way ( they scheduled weekly progesterone tests up until week 12 and bumped up my dose to 100 mg ) but I'm still so confused as to why it is such a big deal.  The test is simply them taking my blood.  I don't even see a doctor.  It's my money and my time.  The supplements won't do me or the baby ANY harm.. even if my levels weren't dropping.  Why don't they do this for every woman?  Test their progesterone hormone, at least once in the early weeks?  I know there are some doctors that do, but its very few and far between. I know it's not the "end-all be-all" but its something that we CAN TRY to control, when everything else is so OUT of our control.   I'm assuming its a money thing...

I don't want to nit-pick at everything my doctors decide, but I definitely know what I want and I am pretty in-tune with my body.  I've grown accustomed to the whole "be an advocate for yourself" thing. So they better start listening to me! :)

In a week we will have a picture of the baby.  I can't wait to see him/her.  Keep the prayers flowing!


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Peace


Last Wednesday, January 23rd I took my fourth positive pregnancy test.  And surprisingly, I felt incredibly at peace.  In November I had cried and instantly had a conversation with God.  I had felt anxious and worried and extremely skeptical from the second I saw the two lines.  But this time...

This time I feel so peaceful and positive.  I know it has a lot to do with the fact that I have truly "given it to God".  I never really understood that meaning until now.  I know that things could still end the way they did the last two times we were blessed with those little two lines.. but I also have complete faith that no matter HOW it ends, or starts, I'm going to be okay.  And I'm going to be able to continue being the kind of woman I want to be.  

My boobs hurt, I've grown probably 10 inches around my tummy from bloat,  and I am hungry all the time.  It's awesome.  I can't wait until I start puking everywhere.  You think I'm being sarcastic.. I'm not.  :)  Those "pregnancy woes" are one thing I cannot WAIT to experience again. 

We aren't quite sure how far along we are since we aren't sure if I technically even had a period.. but we are assuming around 5 weeks (apparently they weren't lying when they told us women are very fertile right after they miscarry...).  My progesterone was at a 36.5 last Thursday and my HCG at 104.  Good and good.  So they didn't need to put me on supplements.  On Monday my progesterone was at 35.4 and my HCG at 967.  Very good and very good.  I have another lab appointment Friday to test my progesterone.  Our first ultrasound will be in two weeks.  As positive and peaceful as I feel, I also will admit I am finding it difficult to look too far ahead.  I haven't thought past the present day.  One day at a time is my motto from here on out.  Let's have a good Friday baby!  Keep up the good work!

Thank you for your prayers, once again..you have no idea how much they mean.



 “Don’t squander joy. We can’t prepare for tragedy and loss. When we turn every opportunity to feel joy into a test drive for despair, we actually diminish our resilience. Yes, softening into joy is uncomfortable. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s vulnerable. But every time we allow ourselves to lean into joy and give in to those moments, we build resilience and we cultivate hope. The joy becomes part of who we are, and when bad things happen—and they do happen—we are stronger.” (from Daring Greatly, Gotham Books, 2012)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Answers and more questions.


My thoughts going into my appointment last Tuesday were simple:  'Get my blood drawn to find out if my levels are back at 0 (please let them be) and ask Dr. Lyons for a referral to another doctor because as much as I love her, I just can't walk into this office anymore.'

Here is how things went...

I'm sitting in the ob office waiting for my appointment with Dr. Lyons and just had a conversation I wanted to share.

The woman who took my blood when I got here offered me her condolences. She is the first one to do that, as far as lab techs go. I was taken aback for a moment and then said thank you. She told me she had 3 miscarriages.. After having a son. She lost the first at 4 months the second at 5 months and the third at 4 months. She told me the names they had picked out for each one, which were all girl names because she had wanted a daughter so badly. I asked if she had any testing done and she said she did and found out she had a blood-clotting disorder and she never was able to have another baby. And they didn't adopt because her husbands parents wouldn't have accepted it.  Just when I was about to start crying she said, "But I have a wonderful son and 3 beautiful grandchildren." And she said it with a smile. I thanked her for sharing her story with me and I truly meant it. It helps me to know that even if our worst fears come true, we will survive. We will continue smiling and being happy for the son we do have. And it also made me feel so very blessed for our families. Who would be nothing but supportive of any decision we make in the future as far as children go.

Here is how the rest of the appointment went:

Dr. Lyons nurse, Tami, came out and got me and I instantly started feeling a little better about being there.  She has always been so kind and today was no exception.  When we got in the room she asked me how I was doing.. not the kind of "How are you?" that you say to someone passing in the hall at work.. the kind that you know the person really cares because they stop, look at you, and wait for your answer.  She told me how sorry she was and we talked a bit about what happened.  

Even though I had planned on "breaking up" with her, when Dr. Lyons came in I felt such a sense of relief flood over me.  I hadn't seen her through this last miscarriage and it was SO GOOD to talk to her.  The first thing she said when she shut the door was "I'm so sorry Mandy."  and she gave me a hug.  She pulled up a chair so she was sitting next to me and we talked about a lot of "stuff".  Here is the run down:

She looked at my blood results from the last time we were in the office, which was the day we had the ultrasound and saw the baby.  She looked at my progesterone level (the growth hormone that sustains pregnancy until the placenta takes over.. which could also be why the baby was measuring a week small already) and she instantly had a plan.  She said it was at a 5 and at that point in my pregnancy I should have been at 19/20.  When I looked it up later I found this:

According to the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, progesterone levels need to be above around 15 ng/mL for a pregnancy to be viable.

and this...

Even an egg that implants properly can be threatened by low progesterone -- if a woman's progesterone is below 15 ng/mL, even if the egg has implanted in the uterus, she's at risk for a miscarriage.

So.  She told me that when we get pregnant again I need to head to the office and get my progesterone levels tested right away and then monitored from then on out until we are "out of the woods" so to speak.  If my levels are low, even at 17/18, she will put me on a supplement.  She is an advocate for progesterone supplements because of the results she has seen during her career.  I trust her and I think this is the right plan.  I did ask if there was anything else we could do, because I didn't think I could do this a third or fourth time, and she said at this point there is nothing else that warrants concern.  The ultrasounds didn't show anything abnormal with my uterus and because I have already had one healthy, full-term pregnancy it's a good chance I will have another.  But I still don't know why we lost our baby in August.. and possibly another in June.  That's what still worries me.  But this has given me hope again, that we may have found an answer.

__________

One thing that I am confused about, and this isn't something I thought to ask at the moment, but why don't they monitor these levels from the get-go in all pregnancies?  All they did was take my blood like usual and run a test. It seems like such a simple thing to do... and could possibly save many, many babies.  Also.  Dr. Lyons said if she would have seen these results that day she would have called me in to the office to put me on the supplement immediately.  Why didn't that other smily-face doctor do that?  Did she even look at my results?  If she did, didn't that number concern her?  Nobody can say that would have saved our baby, but it nobody can say that it wouldn't have either.  

I certainly do not want to start getting bitter and placing blame, but these things do tug at me when I really start to think about it.  

But.  I am focused on trying to stay positive.  Trying to cope in the best way I know how.  I read this on one of the blogs I follow.  I hadn't read it in a while, but Amy asked if I had read it recently and sent me the link to this post.  I found something that I have really tried to hold on to this past month..

 “Don’t squander joy. We can’t prepare for tragedy and loss. When we turn every opportunity to feel joy into a test drive for despair, we actually diminish our resilience. Yes, softening into joy is uncomfortable. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s vulnerable. But every time we allow ourselves to lean into joy and give in to those moments, we build resilience and we cultivate hope. The joy becomes part of who we are, and when bad things happen—and they do happen—we are stronger.” (from Daring Greatly, Gotham Books, 2012)