Thursday, April 23, 2015

Full circle: loss, longing and getting out the other side

I took Magpie to the Manhattan Children's Museum a couple of months ago and we ventured in to a special exhibit on Japan. As I rounded the corner in the exhibit, I stopped short and was transported back in time. Right there in the exhibit was a model of a Japanese offering tree, the kind you tie wishes to in the hopes they will be granted. We saw offering trees outside several temples when we visited Japan in 2008. And they hold a special resonance for me.

Children's museum offering tree in Japan exhibit

We'd tied our own wish to a tree when we were in Japan just after our second miscarriage.  Outside one of the temples we'd visited, we'd found a Nanairo-no-yadorigi tree. This is a particular kind of offering tree. Located near a shrine, the tree is believed that it brings prosperity and protection to those who are pregnant and hoping to conceive (the word yadori means “conceive").  Fresh with the grief of our loss, we tied our wish for a healthy living child to that tree. The custom is that when your wish is granted, you return to remove the paper.

Mo tying our wish for Magpie to an offering tree in 2008

At that time, we had no idea what a long road was in store for us, that four more years and five more losses would stand between us and Magpie in our arms.

So when I stood in the children's museum this winter, and I saw the offering tree while holding Magpie's hand, I nearly cried. And I was also filled with gratitude. Here we were full circle.

This time, I didn't need to tie an offering to the branch. This time, I could ask my girl to stand in front of this tree for a picture. I knew she couldn't understand why this picture was important to me, but I needed to take it nonetheless.

I am humbled again and again that we made it out the other side. That Magpie is here. That we struggled so mightily and succeeded. I am ever so grateful for this little one in our lives.


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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Family photo then and now

From this... this!

Our little family is growing up!

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Back to unpregnant

Thank you so much for all of your kind thoughts and comments.

The miscarriage proceeded uneventfully, beginning five days after my last post and lasting about a week. The nurse had said it would be like a "very heavy period," which I was skeptical about, but that turned out to be mostly correct. There were a couple of days of intermittent heavy cramping, but it wasn't unbearable. Perhaps a benefit of being in labor with Magpie for 36 hours is that even if my uterus is very crampy now, I appreciate that it is a relatively small organ, compared to something taking up my whole abdomen and pressing my diaphram upward.

Someone asked in the comments if i was able to do genetic testing - I didn't do any testing, because it was so early there really wasn't anything to test. Previously when I've had a natural miscarriage in which I passed a gestational sac, I did take that in to the OB's office and they were successfully able to test the embryo and tell me it had trisomy 16, but this was too early to do that. If I could have tested, I probably would have. In the super unlikely event that this was another chromosomally normal male, that would have been conclusive evidence to me that the hocus-pocus immune stuff we've considered is perhaps actually necessary. Finding out that there was a chromsomal abnormality (which is what I strongly suspect, given my age and history) would have also been somewhat helpful for closure but since we have a history of normal chromosomal male embryo loss, wouldn't have be so much useful beyond the emotional piece. (Does that make any sense?)

I was supposed to go back in to my OB's to get another beta drawn and watch it drop to zero, but I've been super busy, and to be frank, haven't felt up to seeing all those pregnant ladies in the OB's waiting room. I tested with a very sensitive HPT late this week and it was a stark negative. Good enough for me.

Physically, this was not such a big deal. Emotionally too, it's been manageable. I was very sad for a couple of days. But I didn't invest a lot of time or money in getting pregnant, and I also haven't expected to be able to get pregnant. Given that, this surprise felt like an unexpected amazing event. Followed by a sad event. Which perhaps in sum total feels like a bit of a mind fuck, but it's not a tragedy. I chalk my attitude up to having had stage IV, terminal infertility, and then having the miracle of Magpie's pregnancy and birth. I know completely that having her defied my doctors' expectations. I'm not expecting sibs for her. Do I wish for them, long for them? Yes. But I know it's a long shot. So I think that psychological frame helped with the experience of this loss.

I have also tried to think of this surprise pregnancy as a warm-up for our frozen embryo transfer to come. I need to get all the preliminary testing, etc. out of the way so we can get that done with and answer the sibling question. I'm hoping that we can move forward on that in the next three to six months. So stay tuned on that.

But all in all, doing ok. Thanks for being there.

Resurrected from Hallmark Rejects, circa 2009.
Just seems appropriate somehow, you know?

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Headed in the right direction with beta and perspective

I've never been so relieved to see a dropping beta (as of yesterday, HCG = 237.3, progesterone = 11.12). Ultrasound for ectopic was negative, as expected. In my mind this has been over since Monday's results came in. Glad my body seems to be getting the picture too. Lingering in this semi-pregnant but not heading anywhere good state is not recommended. I just want this limbo situation to be over with.

In your experience, at what point does an actual miscarriage commence? Is it when the progesterone drops low enough, and at what level does that tend to be?

I am sad, but knowing I will miscarry while simultaneously having Ms. Magpie here in my life is a qualitatively different experience. I would love to have a sibling for Magpie, but I am thrilled with her presence in our lives. She changes the experience of this miscarriage so deeply for me. So this feels hard, but it is not the profoundly hopeless, filled-with-fear-that-I-will-never-get-out-the-other-side sadness I have experienced with all of the other losses. I am sad, but definitely still intact.

Magpie, on the other hand, is magnificent. I am even more grateful for her presence in our lives than usual, and she feels ever more a miracle.

On the day I went in for the induction before Magpie's birth, I quoted Carole Maso (with thanks to Gwinne): "I dream of the one yet to be born. The one still curled in my womb. The one who will open like a star." 

And Magpie has opened like a star - she has unfurled into our lives in all her glory, a shining, living, breathing, amazing girl, one who came so close to never existing. I still can't quite believe it.

Now, as if on cue, she is calling from her crib: "Mommy?".... "Mommy?".... "Mommy?" And so I will go to her for some morning cuddles in the rocking chair, warm milk in her sippy cup to hand her for this cold, cold morning.


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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Groundhog day: The HPT version - edited

Another day, another pee stick. They test lines look remarkably the same across days, don't they? Not a good thing at all to not see the lines darkening. And yet, the lines don't really look significantly lighter to me either. Sigh.

Still waiting to hear from the OB, which seems rather unbelievable. I put a call in this morning asking for where to go from here, so hopefully I'll get a response later today.


I heard from the OB's nurse and they want me to get an ultrasound today to rule out an ectopic. Plus repeat the beta so we can get results before the long weekend. Both seem like reasonable next steps.

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