Tag Archives: cramping

Facing the Giant {Again}

This morning as I was reading my Bible I came across these verses:

“Look carefully then how you will walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

This is the prayer of my heart right now as I juggle raising two toddlers with my husband, managing our home, getting projects done around the house (hello new fixer home) and working part time. I want to be a light (Eph. 5:8)– not only to my children but also the community around me.

After eleven wonderful months, all signs point toward the endometriosis coming back with a vengeance. I’m so bummed. I actually thought I would have a bit more time. My periods have been barely making a blip on the radar with one, maybe two, days of mild cramping. And then this month happened. I actually believed I was possibly pregnant because I had cramping and nausea for seven straight days (around the clock) before my period started. I thought that maybe it was implantation cramping. However, my period started up 3 days late and once it started, the cramping was horrible with ibuprofen barely touching the pain. I had to rest a lot of else the nausea from the pain would become too great. It was a real drag, and lasted longer than I thought it would! All in all, this cycle affected me so that I was unable to function at full capacity for about 9 days. I’m not happy about that.

I semi-joined this endometriosis support group on facebook (meaning I occasionally read comments, but that I’m not very committed to it) and if there’s anything I’ve learned from it — it’s that so many women have much more HORRIBLE endometriosis than to me. We’re talking debilitating daily pain that causes endless surgeries, nerve blocker pumps being placed, years of requiring menopause-inducing medications, loss of employment and other daily activities because the pain is too great. And let’s not forget to mention that the scope of infertility affecting these women is vast. So, I have a healthy fear of endo – not only from what these women have shared, but from my own personal experience with it prior to IVF and having children. Crippling pain for two to three weeks out of the month was my thing back then, and it stunk.

I have enjoyed not living in pain and I want to keep it that way, if I have any power to do so. I don’t want this disease to try to take over my life, like I have seen it do to many other women. So I am prayerfully considering what the best “next step” will be. I want to be wise, so that I will be able to teach my son preschool, take my kids to the park and on walks, and be able to work on our house. I want to have energy to help and bless others when there is a need.

On another note, not being pregnant when I had so much hope that I actually might be (despite that <1% chance of a natural pregnancy that I had, ha) was hard– I shed a few tears over that one! But I’m glad it happened, because it revealed to me that I really do want more children. There was not a hint of “How will we afford another child?” “Where will they sleep?” or “How will we manage?” There was just sheer excitement. So this will be something I will need to hold onto loosely, because I don’t know God’s plans for our family! All I know is that His plans are BEST, and I trust Him for our future. I just have to look at Josh and Rachel to be reminded of that.

Thanks for praying for me, if you think of it. I’m going to start by getting an HSG this Friday (hysterosalpingogram). This will tell me if my remaining fallopian tube is even patent (open). If it’s not, or if there’s water blocked in the tube (hydrosalpinx) then there’s really no point in taking the time to try to conceive naturally (you know…because a 1% chance is still greater than a 0% chance…). My hubby and I will have to prayerfully consider where to go from there, depending on the HSG results.

In the meantime, here are some pictures from last December depicting God’s blessings on us through our marriage and children. How blessed we are! Pictures are by my friend Katherine Owens.

 

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Filed under Endometriosis, Motherhood, Pain

Torture Before Testing

Well folks, no one said this waiting period would be easy.

It’s far from easy. In the infertility world, I’m what you’d call 3dp6dt. That’s 3-days-past a 6-day-transfer, to equal 9 dpo (which translates to 9 days past ovulation). A little early for a home pregnancy test, although some women pregnant with multiples get positives this early. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to our embryo transfer.

Our frozen embryo transfer (FET) was on Tuesday. All in all, it was a rough day. For the first time ever, I blogged in real-time about the phone call from our RE announcing the poor prognosis of one of our embryo. After that blog post, I got an email from my RE. I won’t go into detail because it’s not important. But let’s just say that he was pretty rude and unkind in this quick email. It had nothing to do with the transfer that day, it was a response to an email I had sent him the prior week regarding my thyroid. On any given day, the email would have just made me mad. But on FET day, the day I am injected full of hormones, the day Josh is for some reason out of sorts and threatening to be screaming during our (already stressful) transfer, and most of all the day I hear one of my babies might be dying — well, I burst immediately into tears.

Thankfully, my husband called his mom to babysit Josh and she came to the rescue with 3 minutes to spare! I popped my prescribed valium, guzzled the prescribed amount of water, loaded up and hit the road.

And on the drive to the clinic, I let the email go. It didn’t matter. What was important was getting those babies transferred where they belonged.

When we arrived it was clear our RE didn’t want to transfer in our embryo that was looking less than great (I never did hear what the official “grade” that the embryo was). We went back and forth as I tried to ascertain what the actual status of the embryo was. My RE said that in his opinion, the embryo was a “demise.” A demise? A demise means dead. “Is it dead?” I asked. No, he said it wasn’t dead, but it was as good as dead. “Death is pretty black or white, is it dead?” I asked again. He said it was black or white for him — it might as well be dead. So he wasn’t willing to call it dead.

Because it was not dead.

He stepped out of the room and gave my husband and I a minute to decide what we wanted to do. But we already knew we were transferring in this struggling embryo. We talked about it for about one second. My RE came back in the room and we told him we wanted both embryos transferred.

Ten minutes later, both embryos had been transferred without any complications. He handed us pictures of our embryos, then in the blastocyst (about to hatch) stage. I looked at each embryo with wonder and amazement– these were our children. One of the embryos, the struggling embryo, had some cells that had burst, indicating that things were not good. But there were still cells that were intact. It still had a chance, even if it is a very, very small chance.

As my RE was walking out the door, he said, “This is good. You only want one baby. You don’t want twins. One baby is best.” The door slammed behind him. I couldn’t help it — I gave the biggest eye roll at his comment. Never mind the prior appointments where I told him we were comfortable with the idea of twins. Never mind the fact that it was his idea to transfer two embryos last summer. How wrong he was, and how frustrated I felt with him for not rooting even a little for our struggling embryo. I’m not sure what was going through his head, but he seemed to be wrapped up in the well being of his clinic’s statistics of viable pregnancies.

Then, our lovely nurse (who I adore) asked to see the pictures of our embryos. “Hmm” she said. “They’re not what I’d call great looking embryos, but you never know.” The truth is, I had been thinking the same thing (comparing only with pictures of blastocysts I’d seen on the internet) and inquired further. Why did she think that? I appreciated her giving me her honest opinion. She popped her head around the door to speak with the embryologist. The embryologist explained that no, one of the embryos was of excellent quality (4AA) but it just hadn’t had time to re-expand after being thawed. My nurse said, “Well, the embryologist is the expert!” I breathed a sigh of relief. It was clear that the nurse just didn’t know as much about it, although I know she’s worked at the clinic for a long time.

Lastly, during the thirty minutes that I had to lay still on the bed following the transfer, my husband laid hands on me and prayed over our embryos. There was nothing sweeter that happened that day than his act of headship over our family.

We came home from the clinic and the 3 days of bed rest and waiting began. Within a few hours I felt some tugging and pulling. Could it be the beginning of implantation? It was a little sharp, but didn’t last long. I felt the same thing later on that night and then the next morning. Then more consistent cramps began and didn’t let up for a day. They started again yesterday afternoon and took another break this morning. Then more cramps this afternoon. But none now. I had cramping with Josh so I see it as a very good sign that I might be pregnant. But then when the cramps fizzle out I start to feel unsure again. And the thing is, cramps are not a guarantee of pregnancy. It could be false hope. I just don’t know the outcome, and I won’t know until next week.

So thanks for praying for me. All in all, it’s going much better than last time. I’ve only cried once. But it’s still hard.

I was in the car today, taking Josh with me to Trader Joes to pick up some ice cream and chocolate (um, what else?!) and Seeds of Faith was playing for about the billionth time. The words from Isaiah 41, “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” played over and over and the words began to sink in after a while. And I thought: I’m not alone in this. If I don’t get pregnant, He is with me! and if I don’t get pregnant, He will strengthen, help and uphold me.

There is nothing sweeter than that.

I’ll have an update for you sometime next week. I’m not trying to be vague, it’s just that my clinic ordered my beta (blood test indicating a pregnancy or not) for Monday due to the holidays and I really feel that it’s waaay too soon. I’ll only be 12 dpo on Monday. I would hate to get a false negative– it’s like signing up for pre-planned torture. So I may just call the clinic Monday morning and request a later date for the lab draw. I haven’t decided yet.

Again, thanks for your prayers! And thanks for helping to support me through this journey!

 

 

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How Easily Forgotten is Contentment

How quickly I had happily forgotten. The years of negative pregnancy tests and the dashed hopes that I might be experiencing pregnancy symptoms. The pain of looking into the empty room that I had hoped would one day be a nursery. The baby items people had graciously given me but that were collecting dust in the garage.

These were long, hard years. Filled with pain and tears, and often the threat of another surgery. I wasn’t sure if or when it would end. I learned to live with it most days.

And then I got pregnant with Josh.

Just like a whirlwind, I was thrust into the world of pregnancy and baby love. As my belly expanded, I could feel Josh wiggling and squirming and kicking up a storm. My pregnancy was filled with chronic pain, but also with so much hope and joy.

But even greater joy ensued. The days that have followed Josh’s birth have been nothing short of wonderful. Getting to know this little boy has completely shattered me. Delighted my heart in ways I could not have imagined. Each day I am eager to get out of bed and see what new thing this little guy of ours is learning. I never guessed that being a momma would be so fun.

And then one day, there was a bit of cramping and spotting, followed by nausea. I was sure my monthly cycle was coming back to wreak havoc. But then it didn’t. The cramping, bloating and nausea ensued. And all of the sudden, something in the back of my brain clicked: “What if I’m pregnant?” As the hope of a second child began to rise and swell to the surface, I choked back tears as I prayed and asked the Lord in faith for such.

But then I did a home pregnancy test, and it was negative. I felt immediate disappointment and couldn’t believe how quickly I had gotten sucked back into the vicious cycle of pregnancy tests and turmoil. A day earlier I had felt complete contentment as I played happily with my son. Instead, thoughts of implantation bleeding, pregnancy symptoms and the hope of a second child consumed me.

The symptoms continued. More negative pregnancy tests followed. I have no idea what is making me feel sick.

But I am choosing, today, to move on.

I’m choosing to enjoy my son as he learns to eats solid foods and reach out to touch my face for the first time. As he babbles endlessly and rolls over. As he giggles when I sing his favorite songs.

And I will not mourn this not being the Lord’s timing for us to have another child.

I will thank the Lord for the good gift He has given us!

 

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A Peace that Surpasses Understanding

So.Many.Contractions.

It’s another late-night post, thanks to contractions every 7-8 minutes keeping me awake. After contracting on and off since Saturday, I woke up to some pretty strong contractions this morning at 3am and they haven’t let up the entire day. Needless to say, I’m pretty worn out.

I believe what I am experiencing is what’s called prodomal labor. It’s basically the early stages of labor, in which the body does little bits of work at a time to soften the cervix and gently move the baby down into the correct position. These contractions can go on for days or even weeks before true labor hits. They are usually painful but not the “I’m going to die” kind of contractions. Not everyone experiences these contractions, but for those who do, the biggest complaints are lack of sleep and fatigue from constant contracting and cramping for days leading up to labor.

Prodomal labor differs from Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions in that BH contractions are mostly painless and don’t make any changes to your cervix whatsoever. Not everyone experiences BH’s either– but some experience them as early as 20 weeks along. I personally recall having a grand total of ONE lone BH contraction. It was nothing to write home about as it didn’t hurt at all– it was just my belly hardening for about 45 seconds. I was riding in the car with my hubby and sister and looked down and said, “Hey! Guess what? I’m having a contraction!” Compared to prodomal labor (in which I have cramping–often strong enough to make walking painful– as well as abdominal tightening, queasiness, and back pain), BH contractions seem like a walk in the park.

Finally, there is labor. I have yet to experience it but from what I hear there is no mistaking these powerful contractions that take your breath and often your ability to walk. Of course there is always the exception, the lucky one who reports “my tummy felt funny so I went into L&D and I was already dilated to 9 cm!” But most report strong contractions that are intense enough that it makes them want to cry.

I’m sitting here typing this up while eating tortilla chips in the midst of a contraction, so there’s no way I’m in labor. But I’m encouraged– although tired out–that my body is preparing for the big day!

Speaking of the big day, I had my appointment today with my lovely OB. Many were praying over this appointment and whether or not she might be willing to induce me early (next week at 37 weeks)– if this was you, thank you so much! Going into the appointment, I had a pretty good idea she would decline an induction this early. As it turned out, I was right. She explained the situation– she told me that due to legalities with Kaiser, the only way she could induce me before 39 weeks (aside from there being life-threatening conditions to either mother or baby) was to do an amniocentesis to prove that our baby had sufficient lung maturity. My heart sank, because there was no way I would agree to an amniocentesis, especially this late in the game. The risk of spontaneous abortion is low (1%) but even that 1% is far too great a risk in my opinion. Lung immaturity is something that can be remedied in a NICU in a matter of days, if not hours. Spontaneous abortion is a completely different matter, and one I’d like to stay as far as away from as possible. It rather baffled me that an institution would be willing to risk spontaneously aborting a baby for a test they deemed necessary to prove sufficient lung maturity. Perhaps I am ignorant, but it seemed to me that it all came down to money and wanting to avoid a potential NICU admission for lung immaturity.

Insurance policy rationales aside, we declined the amniocentesis. In retrospect, I’m glad the Lord allowed it to be such a black and white decision for us to make.

In any case, the new plan became to induce at 39 weeks. So unless I deliver earlier, we’ll be a little busy on March 9th!

As of today, I have 18 more days to get through. I remember writing a blog post a while back when I was 27 weeks along and I wrote “just 13 more weeks” — essentially encouraging myself that I could make it to the end! And the Lord gave me complete peace at my appointment today as my focus shifted from “I’m so disappointed my expectations to deliver next week have been obliterated” to “18 more days left until we meet our son!” As my OB reminded me, I’ve come 36 weeks so far, with over 16 of those weeks filled with almost daily pain. So she had faith in me that I could make it 18 more days. On days when I am bed-bound with pain it is all too easy to lose sight of these facts, but tonight I am rejoicing that there is an end date in sight.

In the meantime, I am thinking about these prodomal contractions and wondering if maybe I’ll have less than 18 days to go? Wouldn’t that be something if I ended up delivering at 37 weeks after all? Oh… the irony. 🙂

Another huge blessing that has been taking place– my family members and friends have been blessing my socks off by coming over and doing various tasks like cooking, cleaning, driving me places and bagging/loading/unloading my groceries, and best of all: visiting with me. Today my little sister Wendy visited and we had a great time! She drove me to the grocery store and also to my OB appointment. And she helped cleaned my floors! In spite of these many hardships I have faced over the past months, I have much to be grateful for. The baby’s not even here yet and many are giving up of their time and energy to bless me.

Love this sister of mine!

Love this sister of mine!

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I thought we might have a Valentines Baby

I just can’t keep myself away from L&D, apparently. I must secretly love that place! Yes, I had trip #3 to L&D  yesterday. Because two trips wasn’t enough already. I need to get to know all the nurses and doctors before I have this baby, I guess!

The past few days have been filled with braxton hicks contractions. In fact, a couple of nights ago I was up with nausea and contractions every ten minutes or so. I had them on and off the next day, which is pretty standard. But then yesterday morning, while lying in bed, I realized that I was having pretty regular contractions so I got out of bed and started timing them. Every 2-5 minutes. They came with nausea, cramping, and abdominal tightening. I changed up my activities and drank water. Took a shower, tried walking around, laying down… but it didn’t matter, the contractions kept up with regular frequency. I called the OB advice nurse (because, hey, who wants to make another unnecessary trip to L&D? NOT me!) The advice nurse made a really big deal about the contractions and made me promise I would get to the hospital ASAP and that I wouldn’t drive myself. She made it sound like I was going to have the baby at home if I didn’t scoot to the hospital right away. I tried to explain that the contractions weren’t really increasing in intensity, which was why I was calling to get her opinion, but that seemed to make no difference to her. So I hung up the phone and called my neighbor, since hubby was 40 minutes away at work. My wonderful neighbor agreed to take me to the hospital and said she’d be right over and I called the hubs to let him know to come meet me at the hospital. My neighbor picked me up about 5 minutes later, and off we went.

I got to the hospital and they hooked me up to the monitor and… you guessed it– no more regular contractions. That’s right. After steady, consistent contractions for 3 hours, I had a grand total of 3 contractions while lying there on the hospital bed. They checked me– my cervix was still VERY closed and baby still VERY high. I wasn’t even close to being ready to have this baby! They did find a yeast infection and said that was likely the cause of the contractions (pretty strange to be told you have an infection when you don’t have any symptoms).

We left the hospital and I felt disappointed. I was mentally prepared to meet our son. I even took our hospital bag with his little outfits and hats in them. Even so, I’m glad he’ll have more time to grow and avoid some time in the NICU. Still, false labor is the pits. I guess next time I’ll wait it out at home until I either can’t walk or can’t talk from the pain… then maybe it’ll actually be the real thing!

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