Friday, June 28, 2013

The never-ending miscarriage

warning:  this is super confusing.  Still to us too.  I'm sorry if I don't explain it well below!

We've moved on from pregnancy and infertility, right?  I miscarried on May 29th.  I period-like bled for several days after that, spotted for a few more days, and then voila!  All was done and we moved on head first into adoption.  Those days are behind us, right?  RIGHT?!

Wrong.  The only conclusion I can come to is that my body hates me.  HATES ME.  Anytime I fall into a sense of normalcy, it laughs and rips the rug right out from under me.

After my first miscarriage, my period started exactly 4 weeks after my d&c.  Right on schedule, none of this "miscarriage can delay your period" stuff for me.  No, despite all the drugs, procedures, babies, non-babies, my body has always known how to have a period on time.  That was at least something I could be proud of.

I knew something could be different after my natural miscarriage.  Maybe it would take a little longer for the pregnancy hormone to leave my body.  Maybe my period would be a week or so late.  No biggie.  I could handle that.  To backtrack a bit, a "normal" miscarriage would mean that the hcg in your body (the pregnancy hormone that shows up on pregnancy tests) decreases substantially in the days after your miscarriage.  Once it gets to sufficiently low levels, you can ovulate or have a period.  Everyone seems a little different on which, as many people have anovulatory cycles after miscarriages, in which they skip ovulation and go straight to period.  In general, everyone's hcg comes down within a couple weeks (many are tested regularly to prove this).  The few that take longer have bleeding/spotting the entire time.  T looked online and found ONE person that still had hcg in her system at 4 weeks and the level was 40.  So surely, a spectrum of outcomes, all very normal.

Except me.  I'm not normal.  Never normal.  I have no idea what made me take a pregnancy test on Monday.  But I did.  Mostly because it was there and I couldn't just throw it away without peeing on it.  It was a digital test.  Within a short period of time, it said "Pregnant". 

Now, my mind never went to the possibility that I actually WAS pregnant at that point.  I first felt annoyance.  My body had failed me yet again, and there was hormone still in my body.  I sent T a message and asked him to buy the tests with the lines, so I could see how dark they were.  My theory was that it would be pretty light, and I'd just wait it out, cursing my body each step.   But, of course, it was a dark line.  As in, any person trying to get pregnant would have been doing cartwheels.  I talked to my ob/gyn, and they said to come in the next day to get my levels checked.  Said it was likely leftover tissue from my miscarriage and I would potentially need a d&c.

I totally agreed with that.  That was the most likely and totally reasonable outcome.  Then something hit me.  Something I still can't explain at all as I sit here scratching my skin while writing this.  As many of you know, I'm allergic to progesterone.  It really flairs when I take the progesterone shots during IVF and I have to take medications to manage it.  During a natural cycle, once you ovulate, the follicle that ovulated the egg also makes progesterone.  For this smaller amount I can usually handle the itchiness without ingesting meds. I just have some benadryl gel I rub on my feet at night. It really only lasts a few days during the peak production, and my itchiness then falls away right before my period starts.  No biggie.

I have been itching for over about a week and a half now. I remember Tory even commenting that I had the gel with me on the nightstand in Chicago.  I made this realization, and the only explanation I know is that I ovulated.  Like a normal cycle.  Which means my miscarriage would have HAD to be completed, and this pregnancy was a NEW one.  T and I both freaked out at this possibility.  It did not make us happy.  We were in a good place with the adoption.  Why in the world would I need to go through another pregnancy and a likely miscarriage.  For kicks?  And we can't even get pregnant on our own.  How in the world did this happen?!?!

I get my first day's beta/hcg results back on Tuesday.  136.  This is a ridiculously high number for 4 weeks after miscarriage, with no bleeding or spotting whatsoever in weeks.  Basing my supposed ovulation on the only "encounter" T and I had that could have resulted in pregnancy, I placed my time at 14 days past ovulation on test day.  The average on this "beta base" for 14 dpo is 109.  So it was right in the ballpark.  Freak out continues.

Two days later, I went for additional labs.  This would tell us if the level was going up or down.  It went...

...down.  To 131. 

I am supposed to go back next week to get another level taken and see what we are dealing with:

If it goes way down, then it was either a very long miscarriage that fixed itself or a very early miscarriage of a new pregnancy.  We will never know for sure.  I'd be inclined to think the first is more likely, but this is very very uncommon that it would suddenly "catch up" if it is taken this long.  Granted the second is very unlikely as well, but I can't get the itchy feet out of my head.  Ultimately, I'm guessing I'll always think it was an early miscarriage, as the path of the levels would "fit" that very well, and all symptoms and timing fit it.  Either way, my body sucks and I hate it.

If it stays about the same, then it seems most likely it was the IVF miscarriage that stalled. It looks like they will do a d&c or give me some drugs to break up whatever is inside me producing the hormones.  Both suck.

Theoretically, it could go up.  The most common reason for this is an ectopic pregnancy, where the baby grows somewhere outside the uterus.  Most likely in the fallopian tube.  They would likely try to give me drugs to break it up, but it is very common to lose your fallopian tube as well.  That sucks completely.

It all sucks.  I just want to concentrate on adoption stuff (which we are still doing obviously).  I just want this part to be OVER.


Monday, June 17, 2013

I'm gonna be a baker

Tonight was a huge highlight for me.  T and I met Thomas Keller!  (I was bursting at work all day today in anticipation, and everyone just stared at me blankly.  To each their own!).  For those not obsessed interested in a totally healthy way in cooking and food, Thomas Keller is a very famous chef with restaurants like French Laundry, Per Se, Bouchon and Ad Hoc.  French Laundry has long been respected as one of the best restaurants in the country.  It has been surpassed by newer trendier places in rankings, but it's really the granddaddy of all those babies.

Thomas put out a new cookbook with his pastry chef and was at our Williams-Sonoma signing the book and anything else you'd like!  I, of course, completely fumbled my words and literally said "Hi Thomas, baw, blah, blah, baw" before giggling nervously and handing him my book.  Luckily, he was much more smooth than me, and was super nice.  He also signed a wooden pig board (pig represents Ad Hoc) that we can hang on our wall.  Score!!  We ignored the fact that I don't bake at all, and getting a Michelin-starred chef's cookbook to start was not likely the best idea.  Just let me know if you want to be my guinea pig.

And the fact that Pottery Barn Kids was just across the way from Williams-Sonoma didn't hurt at all :)  I still love wandering in that store.

So, keeping with all things speedy, our home study should be done at the end of this week!  We have turned in almost all of our referrals and all of our documents.  The only thing outstanding is Tory's physical, which is tomorrow.  She then plans to have the report finished on Friday.  I also highly suggest that you go through the adoption process if you have any self-esteem issues whatsoever.  Reading other families' support of us has been one of the most touching experiences I've ever had.  It is so easy to do hard things when people around you love you!

We still have some profile work to do before we can become active with our agency, but once our home study is complete we are technically able to present ourselves as "ready" adoptive parents.  So if for some reason we were approached with a situation outside of the agency within our state, we would be able to act on it if we desired.  That is unlikely to happen, but still a huge hurdle to get over.

We head to Chicago to see my brother and some friends this weekend and are so excited.  Time to live it up before we're parents to a baby :)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Home study and lawn bandit update

I am pooped.  I am covered in mud.  I had a worm crawling on my arm at one point (which I think is entirely gross).  Not exactly how I planned to spend my Sunday morning.

We have not identified the lawn bandit.  But the lawn bandit morphed into the lawn returner, as we came home on Friday to sod laid into the portions cut out previously.  Very professionally, I might add. Honestly, if these guys could figure out how to read an address on their work order, I'd rehire them in a heartbeat.  Too bad we still have no idea who they are.

The issue that arose is that T and I eventually would want some landscaping there.  Not necessarily for the whole portion that was cut out, but still.  And apparently, cutting out your lawn is the hardest (and most expensive) part of the whole landscaping process.  So we decided the best recipe for these lemons (see what I did there!) was to take the sod back out and mulch the area for later planting.  Still an expense to us, but should theoretically cut into any later landscaping expenses.

Turns out rolling up sod and putting it at the end of your driveway is hard, messy work!  I mostly did the rolling and T did the wheelbarrowing, but whew I am TIRED.  Good news is we have free sod available.  We put a quick ad on craigslist and on facebook, but anyone in town is free to stop by and help yourself!  We might as well all partake in the positive side of lawn banditing!

I'm trying to eat some lunch to rejuvenate, because we still have a big day ahead of us.  We are painting our nursery today!  Now that we know a baby will pop a squat (or more accurately "poop a squat") in there eventually, we thought the painting would be both fun and symbolic.  We chose a pretty yellow, so all of our prep work will be gender neutral, but have picked out bedding, accessories, etc that will be more girl or boy once we know which gender our lovely child will be.  I'll post pics once we are done!

Our home study visit was super nice and laid back.  The home study specialist, CB, has adopted four children herself, so she has been on both sides of the equation.  She first came yesterday, since Cam would be there, and then will come back on Tuesday.  Yesterday was spent doing individual interviews with both T and me (we could both be there for them) and with Cam on her thoughts of being a big sister.  (I realized I'm not sure if I've referred to her by name.  Oh, well -- my initials are the same as her name which is a funny thing here).  Anyway, it was pretty easy and we laughed a lot, and luckily CB didn't mind the dog pretty much licking and smelling her whole body.

Next steps:  We have a phone conference call with our agency tomorrow to discuss our questionnaire answers.  We have our second (and likely final!) visit from CB on Tuesday.  Then we need to finalize our online profile with both the text portions and pictures.  We realize we don't have nearly enough current pictures - they want 50-100 in various categories - so we need to get busy picture taking.  We also have to do a video profile, but we're trying to get these other parts wrapped up before we get wrapped up in that.  Then it is go time!  CRAZY!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Speed demons

This is all going very fast.  We did not necessarily mean it to go this fast.  Apparently, we are just very efficient.

As noted in a prior post, we did find our agency that we plan to use.  Because they are out of state, we had to find a different agency in-state to do our home study.  We contacted the in-state agency suggested by AA (our overall agency) on Sunday.  Today is Thursday.  They need to visit our house twice.  Apparently that will be Saturday and next Tuesday.  We will have only a couple things outstanding at that point that should just take a week or so.  And then our home study is done.  Something we were told would take months.  Ours should be about 3 weeks max.  CRAZY.

We had to pull together our birth certificates, marriage certificate, divorce decrees (unfortunately that is plural), financial statements, insurance statements, house plan (??), and some other miscellaneous documents.  We have to answer some essay questions.  We had electronic fingerprints taken today, and our FBI clearance took all of 10 minutes.  Apparently that is a part that takes forever if you manually send in prints.  The only things that will be outstanding are physicians statements (and our appointments are next week) and our referrals from families and friends.  Those will obviously take however long they take.  And then we are DONE with the home study.

In the meantime, we had to fill out an initial questionnaire with AA.  It detailed all of our requirements for an adoption, down to our comfort with the adoptive parent or extended family having epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and a host of other things.  We have a conference call on Monday to discuss those results with the agency.  Then we have to create our profile and we are finished!

I'm okay with moving forward quickly, but just am shocked at the speed thus far.  I'm guessing something will happen to slow it down, so we will take advantage while we can!

Other weird thing happened today.  T and I got home from work and were standing on our back deck letting the dog out.  We suddenly noticed something odd....our sod had been cut out of our lawn all along the back and side of the house..  Basically, someone cut into the sod for landscaping.  It was a bang-up job and looked great...except we didn't order any landscaping.  We had no idea what to do!  Since it would be expensive to replace the sod ourselves, we figure we'd have to submit to insurance, which normally requires a police report.  So we called the police.  To report that someone stole our lawn.  We at least had the good sense to not call 911.  But the police dispatcher was laughing too hard to even take down Ts information.  So far, the lawn bandit has not been found.  Our neighborhood is dangerous!

Fingers crossed for a great home study this weekend!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Good things!

I got nominated for a blogging award.  Thanks Aislinn!

Since I started this blog for people I know, I'm still fairly new and on the outskirts of the ALI (adoption/loss/infertility) community. Although, now that I've hit all three full throttle, it's exciting to be recognized by a fellow member!

The award is the Super Sweet Blogging Award, which is uber appropriate since I am actually craving cupcakes lately (abnormal for me).

There are some rules I need to follow:

  • Thank the blogger that nominated you (like I wouldn't do that anyway!)
  • Answer 5 super sweet questions (below)
  • Include the super sweet blogging award picture in your post.  That would be those lovely cupcakes above.
  • Nominate 12 other bloggers (I'm going to cheat on this one)
Cookies or cake?:  Probably cookies if I had to pick.  Although I'm not much of a baked goods person (see cupcake comment above) and would pick candy and ice cream above all else.
Chocolate or vanilla?:  Caramel.  Which I suppose tastes better over vanilla.  Unless it is in Phish Food.  Then the answer is marshmallow :)
Favorite sweet treat?:  Easily the Chocolate Bag at McCormick & Schmick's, which I've mentioned in a previous post.  For something at home, I'd take a banana popsicle.
When do you crave sweet things the most?:  At work.  Peer pressure and community candy gets you every time.
Sweet nickname?:  This is actually a super easy question.  My husband has called me Sweet C for the majority of our relationship.  It was modeled after Sweet Dee from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but I'll hope it is not because he thought we were similar.

And now the further nominations.  I struggled with this one, as I wanted to nominate people that haven't been nominated (as most of the ALI community members have) and I wanted to branch out beyond the community as we sometimes need other sources of inspiration.  Therefore, there is no way I'll make it to 12, but I think it makes it more meaningful that I really want to point out these special few.

My first nomination is Stormy.  While her blog isn't specific to ALI, her challenges are relevant to all, including not envying others in life and conquering your fears.

Next is Aislinn, my super sweet nominator.  She's been struggling with infertility from the beginning and has helped me learn more about PCOS and its impacts.

Also, BabyDustPls.  I connected to her through online forums, and am excited to be following her through her successful pregnancy.

Egg Timer.  Admittedly, it was a little hard to keep up with this blog as we were on approximately the same schedule with our last pregnancy.  But anytime you can feel the joy felt by a couple based on the words in a blog means a lot.  They just had a fantastic 8w ultrasound and deserve some words of support and congratulations.

I think my font got messed up and not sure what to do about it (damn Blogger), but I really encourage you to check out these blogs as they have great things to say!

And go eat a cupcake.   You deserve it too :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Excited and terrifed

Me to my husband:  How do you really feel about this?  
T:  Excited.  And terrified.  Mostly excited.  And mostly terrified.

That, my friends, adequately sums up going down the adoption route.

TERRIFYING.  And the most ridiculously exciting adventure ever.

I have yet to find an adoption blog that I can really devour, so I pledge to be that person.  I'll try to keep up with what is going on, our issues, our concerns, and ideally our absolute best day ever when we finally meet our son or daughter.

So, what have we done so far?  Probably way more than most people do a week after a miscarriage.  But we were so ready.  We were ready prior to our "successful" FET, so it didn't take much to make us close this door and move on.  Our chromosomes just aren't compatible, so what do you do?

Anyway, we did pick our adoption agency.  It is American Adoptions out of the Kansas City area.  It didn't take us too long to pick them.  We had done some research after our first IVF, and at that point, had figured out what we didn't want.  So AA ended up meeting all of requirements, and was ultimately a fairly easy choice.

What we considered before committing (all of $200 at this point for the application):

-My parents live in the Kansas City area.  So while this agency is considered to be national, and unlikely we'd actually have to go there, it felt comfortable that it was in an area in which we are very comfortable.
-Any agency will have some bad feedback, but this was one that was mostly positive.  Both from birth parents and adoptive parents.  We also had some local people that used them, and had positive feedback.
-While more expensive than many other agencies, it also focuses on counseling for birth mothers.  So we can feel comfortable that birth mothers were not coerced into a decision, but ultimately came into it on their own.
-AA helps with financial risk...if an adoption is disrupted (e.g. we are "matched" with a birth mother, but she changes her mind and wants to parent later) we are refunded the majority of the fees that we pay.
-We set our own "budget" for the adoption.  A majority of fees are required, but we can define our excess budget beyond that for legal and birthmother expenses.  A higher budget obviously means that you can match with more adoption situations and a lower one may be more limiting, but it is ultimately up to the adoptive parents.  We ended up being in the middle range, as we know we have some flexibility, but didn't want to yet commit to a large budget if it wasn't necessary.

Our major first steps with this agency:

Start our home study.  This is where an agency in our state comes and reviews us.  We have been diligently pulling together documentation for this, and I'll go over it in more detail in a later post. 

We had to fill out an adoption preference questionnaire.  This lays out our race, budget, drug use, medical history, etc preferences.  We can be as open or as limiting as we prefer.  Again, more limiting means less chance of "matching" with a potential mother, but we want to be honest to our own limitations and desires.    

We are working now on references, background checks, and other documentation to fill out.  Once everything is finalized, we can go "active" and be available to birth mothers to choose.

We are SOOOO excited.  And terrified :)  Stay tuned for updates!
!-- Site Meter -->