It’s been a while

[warning]This is a fertility post. Possible triggers (though I don’t really think there are that many. I think you’ll be more excited by the outcome, but there is some sad things. There’s also much more that you might identify with than be triggered by). ALSO, there is semi-grownup content in this post. Nothing graphic (I’m not that kind of person), but if you’re too young to be talking about fertility, skip to the next article.[/warning]

It’s been a while. I don’t apologize for my absence. I needed it. We had another miscarriage and I just needed more time to heal. Didn’t want to write about it. Didn’t want to write anything else that wasn’t about it. Didn’t want to sit down at a computer. When you sit down at a computer, somehow you inevitably end up on Facebook with everyone announcing babies (seriously, is it just me or is the only thing Facebook is good for anymore is baby/wedding announcements made easy (and inappropriately so)). That and the occasional forwarded status that you’ve already seen 20 times and didn’t care the first time. I do get on Facebook to check information on corn allergies, and to learn more info from Norwex consultants, but otherwise, it only brings heartache. At least I’ve tweaked my Pinterest feed. When I see baby stuff now, it’s usually from a kindred spirit who posts infertility articles. Don’t know her, personally, but wish I did. I’d hug her and we could cry together and be mad as the fires Down South together.

The problem with reporting a loss is that everyone tries to send sympathy. But what I really want (at least after as many as I’ve had) is to just pick up the pieces and move on. I am done with hurting. It’s better to just let it go and look forward. But people try to help by bringing it up. Maybe to some it’s helpful, but to me, just let it go. Don’t make me keep having to live there. I’m not saying that you should pretend it never happened, but help me look forward instead. My ward was perfect about it! I’ve never felt so loved when I needed them and left to heal when I needed a break. They called and checked on me, they came and visited about everything and anything. They let me pick up the pieces when I was ready to move on. I’ve been so blessed to remember what a good ward is like. In all of those visits, I learned of a doctor that many of the women I associate with have turned to because they, like I, felt like all the other doctors in the area just ignored their pleas. In my opinion, the doctors in the area have enough healthy and easy babies to deliver, so they’re not so concerned for the woman who can’t have them, the woman who loses them, or any woman who has some other female-related problem. It is interesting to me that all these women gave the same doctor name! You would think that there would be options, choices. Apparently, there is not. Not if you actually want to be heard, anyway.

I met with the PA at the new clinic (I’ve already met with her twice, actually. And I have another appt with the main doc and the PA in about a week!) and I am SOOOO happy! I had collected all of my charts (from 5 other clinics where I’ve tried to be heard and wasn’t), all of my data and test results and on and on. We’re talking well over 300 papers. She went through all of them. Of that entire stack, she pulled out 2. She scanned the entire stack in, but felt that only 2 papers were relevant to actually have physical copies in my chart. Out of YEARS of paperwork, she only kept hard copies of 2! I think one was the most recent semen analysis and one was an x-ray of what my uterus looks like. Both give little to go off of, so maybe they’re just there to check off her list. (interesting note about my uterus, though: it’s crooked. It explains so much! Why my only child tried to make her own hole through my hip during birth, being the easiest to tell you. No one seems concerned, though, so it must not be a big deal.

After explaining a few things and answering a few of her questions, and after she looked through my charts, she looked me in the eye and as frankly as can be (I love people who tell it like it is! I’m so excited! Seriously. You wanna be my friend, talk truths to my ear. Don’t sugar coat it) she says, “Keira, you are an enigma. Your charts are all over the place. No one started from the beginning, and no one finished testing anything. We’re going to have to start from square one.” To me, she seemed to be saying that instead of any orchard masters going and picking an entire branch from a tree and moving to the next branch, they’d pick an apple here and an apple there. None of these doctors was in enough of a hurry or had enough forethought that they cleared the whole branch of apples to know that there was nothing wrong in that sector.

She was ticked that no one believed me about the Rh factor (I’m A-. In childbirth, especially in miscarriages, that’s a big deal. But all the docs just told me to stay home during my miscarriages. They argued that there wasn’t high enough HCG levels to warrant a RhoGam shot. Even when I did have high enough HCG levels, they still just told me to take it easy and my body would take care of itself). She was disgusted that no one had followed through on the blood-attacking-itself bit but just prescribing me aspirin and letting it go. She also was ticked that in “trying to find what was wrong with me,” they failed to keep up on the basic tests. Like yearly exams. I know I could have said something and pushed the issues, but I spent so much time (and money) there anyway, I wasn’t in a rush. Before I left her office, I’d had 13 vials of blood drawn and 2 more appointments scheduled.

The only problem was that one of those tests (the one that took 8 whole vials of blood) cost $3000! When I mentioned that I’d have insurance starting on the first of January, but that I would have to pay full price at the time, they said “Oh man! Well there’ll be such a difference in price, we’ll just throw away what we collected today and we’ll just recollect at your next appointment.”  What a loss! Is it silly that I almost would have rathered paying the $4000 (total) than throw away a piece of me? Anyway, because they’d just have to do the same draws in 2 weeks, they put me on a strict steak and iron pills diet. When I came back in to get my blood drawn again, the PA had decided to do another test, so there were even more vials this time (didn’t count. Kept my eyes focused on a little square sticker residue on the phlebotomy chair. The same person drew my blood each time, but the first time I hardly felt a thing, and the second time, she kept digging into my veins with each change of vials. I also took a much harder hit this time. I had to stop and take a break and grab a burrito before I could even think straight. I scarfed the entire thing down and then did NOT feel good! But I only knew I needed to eat! I probably shouldn’t have driven to the taco place. Anyway, the big test, the one that the PA is most anxious for, takes 2 weeks to get back to them, so I don’t expect to hear from them very soon. They said they’d call for all my other labs when they came in, but really it’s not going to make too much sense until all the labs are back together.

Before I left the office after my first visit, I asked the PA if she thought it would be possible to get pregnant right away (SOOO sick of waiting), and she said “For all we know, yes! You could just be extremely deficient in Folic Acid. I’ve seen that happen.” Part of me knows I’ll be pretty ticked if all of this waiting has been because of something silly like a vitamin deficiency. But the other half of me would love for the solution to be that easy (although a folic acid would be less easy than it sounds, since I’ve been taking folic acid supplements for YEARS. It would have to be more of an absorption issue).

At my appt in a few weeks, I intend to talk to them about why I feel so much better on Clomid. I’ve taken a few cycles off now and I’m back to feeling instant rage. When I called my old clinic about it, they said, well it means you weren’t ovulating (in a no-duh way) and I didn’t bother mentioning that I’ve had positive ovulation charts and bloodwork the entire time. I asked what I could do when I wasn’t taking Clomid. She said, “Well, there aren’t very many options. You could take anti-depressants [I didn’t say I was depressed, lady. I said that I wasn’t angry. That clearly says there’s something wrong hormonally and an anti-depressant is like a silly bandaid when what I have is a cold. Honestly! We won’t even get me started on the whole medication overload issue. There is a time and a place. This isn’t one of them], or you could just wait. Because anything else is going to counteract your efforts to conceive. You  can’t take Clomid for more than a few cycles.” Somehow that answer only caused anger (couldn’t tell, right?). I don’t think she heard anything I was saying. She didn’t listen, didn’t try to understand, and only showed her ignorance on the issue. The real question is WHY does Clomid fix something? And WHAT does it fix? If I’m ovulating anyway, why is Clomid fixing anything? I have a feeling my question will go completely different with this new doctor. And I can’t wait to get started.

More Tidbits from the Fertility Front

On another fertility note…

[warning]First let me say that this one is way TMI… [/warning]

I can’t get over how much Clomid has helped me not be secretly plotting revenge because someone looked at me funny. Mostly, I keep the crazy in (because I could still tell it was crazy, even if it was a real emotion), but Ranger usually ends up hearing my flippant thoughts. I think he heard the few I had this time, too. Seriously, I’ve got to get better. But it has been way easier to be nice to the world. And my family. And myself.

On another note. WOW. Let me just say, Niagra Falls aint got nothin. That is all. (Told you… Way TMI).

This is my second Clomid cycle, and I’m pulling out all the stops. Raspberry tea, vitamins, Evening Primrose oil, Clomid, and taking care of myself with sleep and healthful food (most of those happen every month, but I’ve added some vitamins and the tea). At least, if I can ever remember to drink my tea. I seem to find it 2 hours later. Cold. It’s not good cold. Ranger is taking the Fertilaid (Seriously, swear by it! I don’t think Ranger wants me touting that story, but I will tell you, it’s a blessing)

I confess that I’m super nervous. If we throw all our cards on the table, what do we do if it doesn’t work? Ranger assures me that we’ll never be able to throw all our cards on the table, but I really don’t know what we can afford to try next. The rest of the options are expensive. But one of my doctors (the ‘big guy on campus’ dr. I like the ‘underling’ better) is trying to tell me that no matter what, it’s going to be expensive. One of my blood tests came back positive for a rare blood autoimmune disease. He’s convinced that that is my problem. But more and more lately, I’m not so sure. From my research, I need both tests to be positive two times in a row, 12 weeks apart. I’ve only had one test show up positive, and I’ve never been retested. I can’t figure out why he’d tell me it was this autoimmune disease if he’s never ordered the second test. I intend to talk to the dr I trust, and run my feelings by him.

One thing is for sure, if I continue to stress about it, I’m going to hurt our chances. Luckily, we’ve got some fun things planned over the next month. I bet that will help.

Guess I Needed it?

[warning]This is a fertility post. It could be considered a trigger to some (though, not really. I trigger to fertility posts regulary, and this one is a good news one), and way too much information for others. If you don’t want to read it, I won’t be offended. [/warning]

I don’t feel miserable. And that’s not normal!

I’d better explain. The short story is… My cycle started today.

The long story makes a whole lot more sense. For the past 3 years, when my cycle starts, I’m a physical and emotional wreck. I never bleed very heavily (I warned you about the TMI) but I cramp so much that I can only handle curling up in a blanket all day and wishing my uterus didn’t hate me so much.

And then you add the emotional side. I’m so frustrated and sad and mad, all because I’m not pregnant. Yet again, I have to wait a month. I wonder to myself if I can handle it. I have to reaffirm my testimony. I have to remind myself not to hate my body. Every. Month. I spend the day fighting back tears.

I’ve always wondered how much of that emotion was hormonal. Today, I’ve come to the conclusion that most of it was. And apparently whatever hormone it was doesn’t mess with Clomid. I know we’re only supposed to take clomid for 3-month stints, but I like this. I think I’m going to have to tell my doc something’s working. Even if it’s not what was intended.

Today, I organized my computer, helped move a fireplace (it’s not in yet , but we’re closer), made apple butter and 5 kinds of fruit leather, washed a ton of dishes I just unpacked (my nice set), hung picture frames, took empty boxes downstairs, showered (yes, that’s a big deal), and made a pre-planned, pre-marinaded dinner. I had time to marinade! I had sanity! That doesn’t happen on day one.

I was still a little testy, but at least I could make myself shake it off and start over. I even had the mental clarity to follow love and logic when my 9-year-old forgot she wasn’t 14 (seriously! Drama! Over making her bed! No one told me the drama started at 9! I wish 8 had lasted longer). Normally, it’s all I can do to not raise my voice or dish it back. She has no idea who she’s messing with! Her mother was the queen of sass. Just ask her grandmother. And no, that’s not something I’m overly proud of.

I think of today, and I’m filled with gratitude. I forgot what this felt like. I have no idea what the Clomid fixed, but I like the change.