Monday, October 1, 2012

Learning to Live with Loss

It has been a long, long time since I've written. We took a break. We tried to stay busy. I put the thermometer away. I stopped tracking. We tried to just "live" for a while. I kept trying to pick up the phone to call a new OB but kept putting it back down. I wasn't ready. I still cry frequently when I think of Dr. Asshat and the things he said to me. I'm still traumatized by him, and the way Aurora Medical Center and Aurora Fertility Services handled things. On my really bad days, I filled out my hospital surveys for Dr. Asshat and sent them in. I left online reviews for him. Limited impact, but it made me feel better. My testing obsession subsided. I was tired of getting my hopes up to just have them crushed. Mostly, I just tried to get back to living.

My grandmother (my last living grandparent) also passed away. Little did I know that while I was going through the emotional turmoil of losing her and dealing with my crazy family, I was pregnant again.

I was determined I was just going to let things be that cycle. I didn't do any early testing. I made sure I didn't even have them in the house. I just kept trying to move forward until one day I felt a little naggy headache.  I know what those headaches mean. 

The next day, I went and bought a pack of First Response. I took one that night before bed and thought I saw a little second line. I had quite a bit of water that evening and thought it could just be a evap line, since I sometimes got those gray evap lines on FR tests. When I held it up to the light it looked like maybe it had some color but I wasn't sure if it was just wishful thinking, so I went to bed.  When I tested the next morning, there was a definite pink line. I picked up a pack of Answers, another FR and ClearBlue digital tests, and my obsession came back like it had never left. Test after test, double lines. I showed Tom and he was seeing them. Understandably, his reaction was not one of excitement or joy. Instead, his reaction was solely "Are you going to call a new doctor? Promise me you'll call in the morning?".
That night, I bit the bullet and took a digital test.  One word popped up. Pregnant. The one word I had been waiting for such a long time to see on one of those stupid digital tests. This was REAL to me. Not that it made any of our other positive tests less meaningful, but it meant it was stronger. It meant I was already beyond any point I'd been before. When you've been waiting to see one of those tests show only one word for so long, finally seeing it does something magical. It transports you to this euphoric place. I floated to the living room on cloud nine with that test in my hand. I was shaking. I was grinning like a fool. Tom was standing there sharing a piece of string cheese with the dogs when he gave me a funny look. I handed him the test. I couldn't even get the words out. Neither could he. We stood there hugging and bawling for so long. THIS was the moment we'd been waiting for. I wanted to celebrate. I wanted to let myself feel the joy of that little word. I didn't want to think of the what-ifs or the negatives. I wanted to be able to be happy. I have seen my husband emotional over the years, but he's still a "tough guy". Our hug and cry session was therapeutic. We had both needed to do that for a very long time.  Again, he asks if I'm going to call the doctor. I promised him I'd do it in the morning. I was cautiously optimistic. He was holding his cards pretty tight to his chest.

When I called the new doctor, his receptionist told me they had a protocol on seeing patients, and that he didn't see anyone before the 9-10 week mark. She made an appointment for a 45 minute "orientation" meeting with a nurse, and another for October 18th for my actual first appointment. When I expressed some concern over waiting that long because of my history, she was nice enough to transfer me to a nurse. When I explained my story to the nurse, she was immediately concerned and said she would check with the doctor and call me back. An agonizing 2 hours later, she said they wanted me in for blood work, and that they had already called in a prescription for Progesterone and that he wanted me on baby aspirin immediately. I was so encouraged by that step. A step I had yet to be able to get a doctor to take for me. This was exactly what I thought I needed. 

I had to put my realist hat back on. I had stopped on my way to work to pick up more tests. I even grabbed a First Response gold digital Yes or No test. When I took it, it said NO. I blinked and looked at it again. Still No. I looked at the non digital I had taken with the same urine and it was clearly still positive. I tried to search for the sensitivity of FR digitals online and found encouraging news that they sucked. I chalked it up to just detecting really high levels, and it was maybe still early for me. But any remaining joy I had crashed after seeing that No.

I found myself getting incredibly stressed. I screamed at Tom on the way to the hospital because he was late picking me up. I was out of control. I was a walking combination of fear and hormones. Blood test was at noon. I waited impatiently for the results. When the call came in a couple hours later that afternoon, the nurse was gentle and quiet. She asked if I knew when I had ovulated and I said I couldn't be sure. She said "Ok, your hcg came back at a 7. That's pretty low, but it could still be early."

After I hung up, my heart sunk. In my heart, I just knew 7 was not good. How would a digital test pick up a 7? Heck, how would my regular FR pick up 7, when they never had before?  I tried deluding myself into thinking that it was maybe just really early or that on some off-chance, the blood work was wrong and that things would be ok. I kept up on my progesterone and my aspirin and rode the hormonal storm. I continued to pee on sticks. I continued to try to convince myself those lines weren't getting lighter.

When I went for my recheck, I already knew. I still had no spotting or bleeding, but had some cramping the night before. I knew better. I went in again at noon for blood and waited for that phone call. And waited. And waited.  I hoped that a no news was good news type situation. But I knew better.

The next morning, my lines were lighter. But I was sure working hard to convince myself otherwise. Now, when I look back at the photos of those tests initially, there is a HUGE difference. Granted, all of those damn tests are finicky and inconsistent from one pack to another. (See me justifying it even now?)

The call came in around 9 or 9:30. The rest of that day is a blur right now. All I heard was "2" and I shut down. Broke down. Fell down. She said he wanted to see me though. Whenever I wanted. I picked Thursday Sept 27th, thinking at the very least I'd be over things by then and in a better place.

For the next few days, I waited. Impatiently. No spotting, no cramping, nothing. I had stopped my progesterone the night before that phone call because I already knew, so I didn't bother to take my morning dose. I just wanted it over with. I couldn't face it, couldn't make it real until I saw it was over. I was a mess.

I feel like I have suffered an incredible amount of loss, more than a person ever should. I feel like I've been in some stage of grief or mourning for such a long time that I'm not sure what "normal" is anymore. Maybe this IS my normal. That I can function at all after what I've been through...dang, in my eyes it deserves a gold medal.

I am encouraged by the steps my new doctor is taking, however. He has put me back on my Metformin after being flabbergasted about Dr Asshat taking me off of it. He seemed encouraged himself that we've managed to achieve these pregnancies without intervention so far. For now, we are hoping the combination of Met, progesterone and baby aspirin just might be the magic we need. I sure hope so. 

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