Monday, December 31, 2012

Auditioning for "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant (TLC)"

There's been a couple times I've been up way too late at night and that weird show "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" comes on TLC. You want to mock those women for so foolishly never knowing they were pregnant but the show just kind of sucks you in. I've always known within days of implantation, or the day OF implantation with Evie, so that show befuddled me.

Rewind to late May....we decided to try for another child. I called my Ob and her nurse sent in an Rx to my pharmacy for Metformin, Provera, and Clomid (100mg)- the exact same routine I did to conceive Evie and close (just a lesser dose of Clomid) to what I did to conceive Elly. It had worked well two times before and I was healthy, or so we thought. So, I started the routine and within a few days felt 'off'. Really, I felt terrible. Then I started spotting and that lasted for a month. And during the middle of all that I had a night where I thought I was dying and it was a large cyst rupturing. I really felt like crap the entire month and knew it was more than just the meds I was taking as I'd never felt so horrible on them. My Ob said yes, I could still conceive with all the spotting and the cyst rupture. It seemed unlikely but I took a test and holy cow, I was pregnant! I was so excited and couldn't believe it worked right away and in the midst of so much hardship as my mother-in-law passed away in June...after I'd already started all the drugs. I was thrilled to be able to surprise Craig as the other two times he knew exactly what was going on by the color coded charts on the cupboards. I ordered a special fortune cookie announcement off Etsy and decided to surprise him a week later when we went out for our 7th anniversary. Two days before our date night I started bleeding. A LOT. I believe I actually said, "Oh Sh**" when I pulled down my underwear to go pee. It was THAT much. I figured I was miscarrying but didn't know for sure since it had never happened to me. Of course if was a weekend and I had to wait til Monday to see my Dr. They had me in for bloodwork to check my Hcg/beta and also an ultrasound. My beta was high enough to be pregnant but low enough it was a threatened miscarriage. In the ultrasound there was a huge and totally empty uterus. Not a single sign of a baby. Then the tech was looking in my ovaries for a while and seemed a bit perplexed. She asked if I knew I had a Dermoid....."Uh, no, I have no idea what that is." She proceeded to show me the large tumor in my left ovary that made my ovary totally non-functioning. The right ovary was also in very poor health as every cm of it was covered with large cysts- between 5 and 6 cm each. My ovaries were swollen to the size of large grapefruits....HUGE compared to the chestnuts they should've been. I immediately started crying. Not only was there no baby, but I also had terribly unhealthy ovaries, worse then they'd ever been. In that moment I thought, "wow, I might be done with kids, forever." It was devastating. Add to this that not a single soul knew I was I told my mom and I told Craig. The nurse sort of confusingly told me to not give up hope til my hcg/beta followup two days later. Really my OB already knew I was miscarrying and it was not communicated well to me. Pretty sucky. So I waited til Wednesday and met with my OB. She said the baby didn't stick and my beta was half what it was two days prior (would've doubled or tripled if I wasn't miscarrying). She said I couldn't take Clomid or anything like it with the condition of my ovaries. As it stood the Clomid I had been taking was being funneled to the one functioning ovary which contributed to the ginormous cysts. The tumor rendered good 'ol lefty unavailable to work or balance out the distribution of Clomid. If my Ob had known about the tumor she never would've given me the 100mg dose. That was that.
I was sick. And babyless.

I had another appointment with my Ob a few weeks later to figure out what to do about the tumor. Dermoids are pretty much always non-cancerous. So much so that they don't even need to biopsy it prior to surgery. Many women, and even young girls, have smallish dermoids that don't interfere with their life and they can live with them for years. Mine was large and definitely interfering with my life. My ovaries were so big that intimacy had been uncomfortable for nearly a year. I sort of got used to it (if possible) and blamed it on the copious amounts of stress we'd been under. I also figured I just had some large cysts. A tumor never came to mind.

My Ob said I could wait 6 months and see what happened, but I wouldn't be able to try to actively conceive during that time and chances are things wouldn't look any better. The tumor might just be bigger. Add to the equation that DSHS kindly grants women 2 months of medical coverage after a miscarriage and it was a no-brainer to just do surgery right away and get it over with. It was a couple hour surgery and then I was released and crashed in bed at home. I was mostly normal the next day but still groggy and a bit sore. I strongly believe that surgery was life changing for me. We think I had the tumor for over 2 years, it had been slowly growing and messing up my hormones and life in big ways. Within 3 day after the surgery I felt like a different person. Like the old me. I could feel joy again. It was crazy how absolutely different I felt. On top of the tumor, which was nasty (I made my Ob take pics), my right ovary was twisted with a cyst making a candy cane pattern and effectively cutting off oxygen to the ovary. No wonder I felt like crap all the time! So, I recovered from surgery and wondered what would happen next. I didn't feel very hopeful about ever successfully having a baby again, but at least my ovaries were sort of normal looking. And the surgery was paid for (thank you for that, Jesus!).

At my two week surgery followup appointment everything looked pretty good in the ultrasound. A couple small cysts had already grown but nothing troublesome. My Ob said, "hey it only takes one time, you might get pregnant now." I sort of laughed it off saying, "yeah Dr.Q.....cuz that's ever happened in my 29 years!" She just smiled. I was told to wait a month and try to let my body have a period on its own. I wanted it so badly that I waited 6 weeks....hoping and hoping something would happen and my body would cooperate on it's own without drugs. But nothing. I played phone tag with the nurse all day and was just super irritated by the time night came and I had no resolve and hadn't actually talked to anyone. A miscarriage, surgery, 6 weeks of waiting and still....nothing. Craig and I were about to watch a movie that night and I went it to go pee first and whaddya period started. On it's own! I was a 29 year old with a huge grin on her face because my body finally, FINALLY, did something on it's own! I talked to the nurse the next morning and we agreed to wait it out and see what happened this cycle. We had no idea if I'd ovulate or not, but sure as heck wanted to let my body try. So, no more meds for yet another month. I took my temp every morning and charted on I notated every symptom and my cervical mucous. Fertility Friend said I ovulated on cycle day 17. So I waited a week and then started taking home pregnancy tests. Negative. Negative. Negative. For a week, 7 HPT's all said I wasn't pregnant. Then on Nov 18th I started bleeding again. I was kind of bummed that I didn't conceive but also happy that I was having a period. The 2nd natural one in my entire life. Fertility Friend started another monthly chart for me and I continued taking my temp every morning. My temps seemed kind of high and I kept waiting and waiting and it appeared I didn't ovulate. Very frustrating.

Then some things started happening:
*I nearly threw up trying to eat a steak for lunch. I spit out the one bite I took and had to throw the whole thing away.
*I had a really hard time breathing properly for a solo at our church's Christmas concert. It was like my brain and body weren't breaths were too shallow.
*I couldn't lose another lb. The scale was STUCK and that was maddening.
*I was emotional. I couldn't handle people and any petty crap. My tolerance was at a whopping zero.
*I was lethargic all the time. Coffee got me through the day...I felt so tired just talking to my kids was hard.

I mostly chalked all this up to being tired and having too much crammed into a few weeks time. I figured once I got through the Christmas concert and a couple parties I would be able to breathe again and feel normal. I went to my regular doctor and did end of the year labwork and everything came back normal; thyroid, cholesterol, liver, etc. I was super healthy but almost anemic. We chalked up my tiredness to me needing more iron. Part of me wanted to call my Ob's nurse and request her to send an Rx to my pharmacy....I didn't really think my body would work enough to conceive on it's own and I was afraid I was just wasting more time. With fertility friend saying I didn't ovulate I felt like the prior month's success was just a fluke and it would probably take drugs to make it happen again. But there was this still, small voice that kept asking me, "do you trust Me? Will you wait?" I wanted to trust Him. So I said, "yes Lord, I'll wait."

Then another week goes by and I'm not feeling any better. In fact, I'm falling asleep on the couch in the middle of the day. SO not like me. Friday, December 7th, I fell asleep on the couch while the girls were napping and then again that night while the family was watching a movie. It was like a tidal wave of sleep would crash into me and I was powerless to stay awake. After waking up from the second coma I started thinking, "you know, I have one HPT left in the bathroom....maybe I should just take it for my own sanity. It'll be negative and I can go back to life....but what if in some crazy reality, it's positive?" I took Evie to put her to bed and had her standing in the bathroom while "mommy's just peeing on this stick real quick." She watched while I peed and it turned positive before I could even stop. I stared at it incredulously thinking, how in the world is this possible??? I just had a period and I haven't ovulated! I hollered at Craig and he came in and saw me standing there with a very positive hpt and a puzzled look on my face. I said, "go put Elly to bed and then go to Albertons and get two more tests. Get blizzards, too, or Jake will wonder what's going on."

He got back, I peed on another test and same thing- it was positive mid pee. Unbe-stinkin-lievable. The other test he got was a dud and didn't do anything. But having the two very positive tests right there was pretty evident what was going on with my body the last few weeks! I knew that the tests being positive so quickly meant I was a little ways along.
Of course it was Friday so I had to wait til Monday to call the Dr's office and they couldn't see me til Tuesday. I went in for an hcg/beta check and it came back over 29,800. WOW. That meant I was somewhere between 5 weeks and 12 weeks pregnant.

My mind was could I be so far along but I just had a period mid November??? I sat on the couch playing with my Fertility Friend chart and realized if I made the 5 days of bleeding look like spotting then it would be just one long chart, not split into two months. When it was one long chart I could see how my temps got high just a few days after my last negative hpt and that they stayed wonder I didn't ovulate, I was already pregnant! I didn't ovulate on cycle day 17, I actually ovulated on cycle day 25! If I'd waited a week to take those seven hpt's, they would've been positive. So, why did I bleed for 5 days what seemed to be a period? I don't know. We'll probably never know. What I do know is that I'm thankful I didn't know I was pregnant then because I would've assumed I was miscarrying again and that would've been awful.

The day after my crazy high beta level my Dr ordered an ultrasound immediately. I went in that same day, and there was a sweet little baby bean with a heart rate of 135. I was 6 weeks and 5 days already.

I was shocked, but really happy. First period ever and I miraculously conceive that cycle, with no meds. I always hoped and prayed that I'd get to conceive naturally someday but after 3 drugged conceptions and then a miscarriage it sure seemed unlikely.

I think the surgery made a tremendous difference in my health. I think losing 38lbs helped a lot. I think cutting out sugars and carbs helped a lot. I think mostly God granted us a miracle in this baby.

I wish it was as simple as, "I lost weight and got pregnant!" But that's far from the truth. I've weighed this weight or less for really the majority of my life. It's only been since I got married (sorry, Craig) that I've been heavier. And when I was first diagnosed with PCOS I lost 20lbs....still didn't even have a period. At 18 and 19 I was 20lbs less than I am now even, still no period. All I know is I'm really wowed by how things played out and really thankful God has blessed us with this little one. I'll be 10 weeks on Friday.

I think once you've miscarried there lives this fear in you all the time that maybe the baby isn't growing anymore....I check for blood every single time I pee. The innocence of thinking a miscarriage won't happen to me was lost. I'm trying to give up my fears to the Lord and pray for myself and the baby. I go back to my Ob on Jan 14th and I'm praying for a very strong heart beat then. If something does happen, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

I'll be transferring to a midwife and doing a homebirth again, but I still need to call the midwife :)

        This is how we told the kids.....Evangeline wore this shirt that said, "I Am The Big Sister."


  1. I am so thrilled for you guys. What an amazing story. I have never been pregnant or had a miscarriage but that is my biggest fear now being pregnant is miscarrying. I am leaving it in God's hands and only he knows my story. I figured we have come so far and have already jumped over some huge obstacles to get where we are today, so we can only go up from here! Can't believe we are so close together and are due weeks apart so I can share this amazing journey with you. You are such a strong woman and an amazing mother. Love you!

  2. Thank you, Alona! You are such a dear friend and my happiness for myself is only doubled by my joy for you! Such miracles, both of the babies are :) Can't wait to visit you and experience the next 8 months together!