A Long Week

* pregnancy mentioned *

I am sorry for not keeping up to date with others’ blogs this week. I also apologize for not updating my own sooner. I have had a lousy week physically (more on that below) and I’ve been scared, exhausted and swamped at work. Things are feeling a little less horrible in this moment (because I haven’t left to go to work? because everyone else in the house is still sound asleep and will be for hours yet? because I haven’t tried to get dressed in something in which I don’t look frunky (chunky and frumpy – the only way I can accurately describe this stage of my body’s changes in pregnancy)? it could be any of the above or a combination of them.)

I will start with some great news. I can find Azulito/a’s heartbeat on both the rental Fetal Doppler (which I’ll be returning in a couple of weeks to avoid a second month’s charges) and the one I bought for Mandy’s pregnancy, which sadly ended almost immediately after I got the device. The rental one has a 3 MHz probe and the purchased one a 2 MHz probe. If anyone is shopping, always go with the 3 MHz unless you are really large physically. Last summer I could not get a 3 MHz Doppler in Canada; now you can. For the same price I paid for the inferior model. Of course.

Baby’s heart rate has been between 170 and 175 over the past week on the dopplers. I’m now 11 weeks and something (3 days? I should know these things. It’s early, sorry.) but baby may be measuring 12 weeks and something if the pattern s/he has established is continuing. I hope and pray it is simply because a regression at this point would put me over the deep end. Next ultrasound is our Nuchal Translucency scan on Monday, December 15, 2014. I’m scared. The LP is scared. We are trying to be hopeful.

The fear stems in part from our long and checkered recurrent pregnancy loss past at a general level but more immediately and much more vividly it has ramped up over the past 10-12 days when I’ve had a slew of increasingly alarming histamine-like reactions to this pregnancy. Last week Friday (December 5th) Dr. Braverman increased my Neupogen by 50% because my white blood cell count had dropped almost in half (not good given my immune issues) and increased my Prednisone from 20 mg to 40 mg per day and on Wednesday morning this week, based on symptoms that would not relent and were interfering with my ability to function, he suggested we increase it to 60 mg for two weeks (so until December 24th) and then taper back down to 40 mg after that point.

The fact that the first Prednisone increase and Intralipid treatment on December 5th did not alleviate my symptoms scared the pants off of me. My immune system has clearly flared wildly after the natural drop in hCG that began around 9 weeks. The first two nights on 60 mg of Prednisone, I was wide awake at 1:50 am and never fell back asleep. My heart was racing during the day at points and I felt like a caged animal at least 50% of the time. An exhausted caged animal with a boat load of legal work to do. Not ideal.

The week has been grueling, to be frank. Last night I felt a little better in terms of the racing heart and night-waking (I actually slept until my alarm went off at 3:50 am). Now I just feel frunky. And stressed out about work. Ugh.

My stomach has also been upset by all of the drugs. I started taking Pepcid this week too and got off of the baby aspirin at my request (Dr. Braverman approved). Aspirin can mess with histamines so I figured it was best to take it out of the equation since I am staying on the Lovenox in any event.

As a result of the second jump in Prednisone dosing, I have to return to New York two days earlier than originally planned, miss two full days of work when I’m super busy and miss my family for 4 days right before the holidays. Don’t ask if I am happy about this. I threw a massive snit on Wednesday and Thursday morning when I had to rearrange work, personal and travel schedules for this and deal with my fear that I would do all of this, spend all of the extra money required to do it, and Azulito/a could still die.

Yesterday I asked Dr. Braverman to tell me the plan with respect to medication dosing going forward so I can avoid these last minute dashes across the entire North American continent to get medication I cannot get prescribed in pregnancy here. Did he answer me? No. Am I happy? Would you be? I explained that I want to avoid travel that is both very stressful and very costly as well as completely unnecessary if he could tell me what to expect more than 15 minutes ahead of where I am at any given moment. I was nicer than this makes it sound. Of course. I am going to re-send my email with a question mark at the top of the forwarded e-mail this morning. That’s my most passive aggressive e-mail move, by the way. If I ever do that to any of you, you can rest assured I’m peeved.

I wish this blog were more cheerful lately. Pregnancy is not my friend, despite my myriad efforts to befriend her. I desperately wish my immune system did not take such umbrage at me trying to carry forward a little life. I wish I knew what to do to appease this rampant immune system. It has been a long haul and I’m not even through trimester number one. I have had more than one pity party lately.

It is truly overwhelming to have things go so sideways recently when I thought we had things under control. I feel like a quintessential failure as a mother, as a woman. My body is not built to stay pregnant. That hurts. It hurts way down deep inside in a way that defies language. Please believe me when I tell you that it is painful in a cut-to-the-core kind of way. I would not wish this on anyone and I have the utmost empathy for others who struggle not only with ANY pregnancy and infant loss, recurrent loss but now immune-related fertility and pregnancy complications.

In short, this stuff is rough. And it hits you at so many levels. That part is hard. Maybe one day I will find words to explain. For today, I just own that I never expected this pregnancy to be as challenging as it has become – not just physically, but emotionally. And I offer a warm hug and a compassionate nod to those of you who haven’t even made it to this point yet. That part is hard, too. One day, for each of us, I hope all of our efforts and endurance pay off.

On that note of hope, I wish you all a good weekend.

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40 thoughts on “A Long Week

    • Thank you. That is very kind. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. I am really struggling with my shock at how resistant my immune system is to keeping babies on board. I was very naive in how I expected things would unfold after we got past week 8 (the point by which Dr. B thought my risk of loss would go way down). I really appreciate the thoughts though I cannot imagine you having time or energy to think at all these days! So glad your boys are home with you.

  1. Immune-related pregnancy issues are so not discussed in society, but clearly are complicated beyond belief. I feel your fear though. And I’m going through the same thing right now going into our FET. Once you have been on the infertility/pregnancy loss road long enough, it that much more difficult to loss fear aside. I hope going into 2015 you can find some peace and baby continues to thrive. Much love to you friend.

    • Thank you. I fully appreciate your concerns moving forward. Has Dr. H suggested any other inmune meds for you in the FET? I cant remember if you are considering natural, fully medicated or hybrid (I cant remember anything these days, it is not for lack of caring or attention!)? I have so much hope and yet fear for you too. Once our eyes are opened we can never shut them to the risks and the inexplicable. I hope 2015 is *our* year, my lovely friend.

      • None for me. He basically said he doesn’t think the intralipids are worth the extra travel expenses this round. We are doing natural – just estrogen and progesterone with monitoring for ovulation. And don’t worry – I feel you. I’ve had a hard time keeping up these days too.

        • My gut tells me to give this one more shot. If that doesn’t work, then yes, I believe we need to pursue those tests. It definitely could be immune related, but I’m hanging onto naive hope that maybe for once something could be a bit less difficult for me. My acupuncturist treats my immune points quite frequently and I did have something come up in my ND appointment. I’ll email you about it.

  2. When I didn’t hear back from my email a few days ago, I’ve bee worried sick. Mr. MPB has even had to listen to my worried crazy. So, while you are clearly struggling and rightfully so, I am just relieved and thrilled that your little one is still in there with a strong FHR. I wish I could take all your worries away…

  3. Every step of this journey is a struggle …but am so happy to hear that you have a fighter through and through! Sometimes I am so bitter that so many women just get pregnant so easily and then feel happiness instead of constant worry (or so I can imagine…I’ve never gotten to a BFP yet..) sending you strength and good vibes!!!!

    • Thank you very much for the good wishes and the thoughful words. I hear you. I try not to begrudge our lucky counterparts, I truly mean it when I say I would not wish our suffering on anyone. I hope so much you see that BFP soon. You are right – this will be one tenacious kid if s/he makes it through this!

  4. So sorry you are having a rough time but it is totally understandable. I am glad to hear your lil one is safe and okay and I am praying for you to have an increase of peace. I think of you often. Xo

  5. I’m so sorry you’re having such a hard time right now hon. I would be frustrated with Dr. B’s office too. All this traveling back and forth can’t be good for you and baby either! And you’re working so hard to make up for it! I hope things get easier as you move into the second trimester. I really hope Dr. B get’s your protocol sorted out and that you get these immune issues under control. I’m so glad you’re able to find baby’s heartbeat and I hope it’s giving you some reassurance, though I know you won’t rest a little easier until after the NT scan, and even afterward I know it’s going to be hard. Praying little Azulito is thriving and completely oblivious to what is going on with you. I will be thinking about you on Monday and praying for you guys.

    • I cannot thank you enough for this kind, thoughtful and truly compassionate note. I hope for all of these things too and I do not like the cranky, emotional and impatient person I become on this high dose of steroids. I am sorry I am not myself and hope you are right that baby may be completely oblivious. That would truly be a blessing!

  6. Hugs my friend. Just keep telling yourself you’re doing everything you can and then some for this little one and that’s all you can do. I really do hope this all gets better in the coming weeks as you move into the second trimester and some of the hormones balance out a bit.

  7. Thinking of you often. I’m sorry that this is so hard. I was hanging on by a thread for a good portion of pregnancy as you know. Praying that this protocol works and everything ends well. Is there a point where they thing you’ll be “safe” in terms of the immune issues, or will you get followed this closely all the way through?

    • Not really. There is a high risk of third trimester complications (preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction among them) correlated with my lack of KIR activating cells. Part of the aggressive treatment now and into the second trimester is an effort to avoid those third tri complocations but ultimately it will be wait and see. Thank you so much for keeping us in your thoughts. I do the same for you and am always so relieved to see notes from you that Sam is still chugging along. One day at a time for each of us. 🙂

  8. I honestly have no idea how you are getting through this pregnancy, especially with as much grace as you’ve shown so far. I can’t even imagine how I’d feel in your shoes, but I’m pretty sure I’d be paralyzed by fear. You are doing great! You really are. You are so strong! Just keep listening to that racehorse heartbeat. That’s your long-awaited baby, making its way home to you.

    • Thank you. That is very kind. I feel like the antithesis if grace on all these steroids to be honest. My emotions and temper are all over the place! Hearing the heartbeat definately helps. So glad you will be seeing your little bean soon (it probably doesn’t feel soon enough for you, I bet ;-)). I am looking forward to some happy news!

  9. I really hope things slow down for you soon. I know exactly how it feels when work stress starts interfering with life at a time when you need it least. That’s been my week as well.

    • Oh, dear. I am so sorry for what you have been facing. I usually like being busy at work to take my mind off of the fears but right now I just end up feeling scattered and incompetent which only adds to my distress. I hope things ease up at work for both of us soon.

  10. Sorry you are not feeling well, but glad baby is hanging tight. What meds are you able to fill in Canada?

    What days are you back in NYC? I’m going home Thursday and Friday for presurgery appt with OB 1st day and oral surgery the next.

    Hang in there. Hopefully next trimester will be better, but if not, enjoy the pangs of pregnancy….
    V

  11. Frunky could totally catch on! Sorry you’ve been feeling so crappy lately. I can only imagine how stressful this all can be. Glad you are able to hear Azulito/a on the doppler. I know that in the early stages of Callie’s pregnancy this was the one thing that provided us some much needed relief on certain days. THinking of you, and praying that things get a little easier ❤

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