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Tag Archives: HSG

Finally

6 Dec

Some good news to report for a change!
HSG was clear. Ole’ righty is alive and tubing.
Thank FSM.
Oh, and unlike the last time, it wasn’t even that painful.
Score one for the Shmersons!

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The Atheist Prays (and other musings on existential crises)

17 Jun

So I’ve been really down the last couple of days. I’m still pretty sure about our decision to count on Ole’ Lefty, but I feel like I’m already preparing myself for the next inevitable loss. I mean – my luck has been so crappy thus far – I highly doubt I’ll catch a break. The bottom line is I’m scared out of my wits.

I spent the day going back and forth in my head about this decision. Debating. Discussing. There was even an emergency call to my shrink to talk it over with her, in which as usual, she dropped some wisdom and perspective on my ass. Basically, she said I’m upset not because of the decision, but rather because neither decision is ideal. She also pointed out that on a lot of levels, what we have is good news, because my body has been deemed healthy enough for us to try again naturally. A wise woman indeed.

But all of that didn’t do much to allay my fears. I keep on googling incessantly to try to figure out what the chances are of a left side ovulation going into the right tube. And Dr. Google is failing me miserably.

I’ve written here quite a bit about my general heathenism. I have a serious issue with organized religion, and I don’t really know what I believe in. I would categorize myself as an atheist, yet today, I found myself trying to bargain with god, or fate or the universe, or something.

It was toward the end of my yoga class, where I’ve been avoiding twists due to the fact that my right side is still sore from the HSG (is that normal, BTW?).

We were sitting in a sort of meditation and I found myself speaking to the heavens:

“God, or Universe, or Fate, or whatever you are – please make this work. Please let me get pregnant through the correct tube and let this baby stick. I promise that if you do I’ll believe in you. Please prove to me that there is something out there by granting me this one humble request.”

This whole bargaining thing kind of caught me off guard. I surprised myself with this internal monologue. But Twofer’s words keep on echoing in my head: “God owes you one.” And “all you can really do at this point is pray.”

My shrink and I have been talking quite a bit about how this whole repeat miscarriage thing is a manifestation of this ongoing existential crisis that I’ve had for as long as I can remember.

At the age of 8, I realized that I was going to die, and that I didn’t believe in God, and I had my first ever panic attack right there on the spot (just like any normal 8 year old, right?).

Since then, I’ve been plagued with anxiety and a constant search for some sort of comfort or spiritual direction, with no luck. I’m a born skeptic. This may sound pompous, but I’m too smart for my own good. I out-smart myself all the time and go into fits of circular logic.

I know I’m kind of rambling here. But I do have a point – I think.

I wish I could have faith. I wish I could just plug my nose and dive in and be sure that everything will be alright, because “God owes us one.”

But instead, I’m back to Einstein. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Statistically, I’ve already been screwed in every way possible. there’s only a 5% chance of infection from a D&C, and I fell into that percentile. There’s like – what? a 1% chance of an ectopic? Check. About a 40% chance of a repeat ectopic? Double check. Not to mention that there’s only a 15% chance every month for a woman to get pregnant and somehow Shmerson’s super sperm have managed twice to swim up a partially blocked tube and knock me up against all odds on the first month out of the gate, not to mention his first bulls-eye which led to the Blighted Ovum.

So – the chances of Ole’ Lefty not picking up the egg from my left ovary and it swimming over to Righty instead are most likely slim. But I’m apparently a freak of nature. Statistics count for nothing.

So all I have left is prayer. And that’s kind of a crappy place to be when you’re an atheist who has been in a constant existential crisis for over two decades.

Today I sat there and begged the universe for proof of some meaning. I bargained. I hoped beyond all hope that there was something – anything – listening.

I wish I was a believer. Maybe then all of this would make sense on some level.

But for now, I’m stuck somewhere between Einstein and the Flying Spaghetti Monster, sitting in a Yoga class, begging for some faith, and making deals with someone or something that I generally don’t think actually exists.

Maybe that’s the definition of insanity.

The Results Are In – Time For An Info Dump!

14 Jun

Man – I look back at my posts from the last couple of weeks and they’re heavy! I’m starting to realize just how down and out I was. It feels like such a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders – I can’t even begin to describe it.

Official results are in. My uterus is immaculate. Left tube is clear, Right tube is completely blocked. I emailed Twofer with the results and he replied – “well, we thought it was something like that. ”

Indeed, we did.

I have to say the one thing I’m most in awe of is that I KNEW IT. Anyone who’s been reading this blog for an extended period of time knows that I’ve had this stabbing pain in my right side for AGES, and just ignored it because stupid Dr. Blunt had said it was probably “nothing”. (So’s your package, asshole. ehem. sorry.).

AAAAANYWAY

So Wed evening we go to Twofer to figure out what’s next. And guess what? It’s time for you guys to chime in again!

A few facts to remember:

IVF here is free

So’s everything else fertility related.

Universal healthcare and Lawmaking Jews believing fully in the whole “be fruitful and multiply thing” = grateful me.

Soooo – what should I be asking for? I’ve heard there’s a procedure to block both tubes before IVF. Do you guys think that’s necessary? Anyone gone down that route? Does it make sense to attempt clearing the tube and trying again naturally? Or should I just yield to IVF?

I think my big thing right now is i can’t handle another loss. I seriously can’t. I want to go the most secure route possible, but also, if possible, the least invasive (me and general anesthesia aren’t friends).

sooo –

thoughts? suggestions? what questions should I be asking?

Fire away!

Oh – and now that the weight of an oversized elephant has been lifted off my shoulders I promise to be a bit more entertaining.

A pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel on his penis. The bartender asks – hey, why is there a steering wheel on your penis? the pirate says “Arrrrgh! It’s driving me nuts!”

Yes dear readers, I am stooping to bad dirty jokes to entertain you. Perhaps I should quit while I’m ahead. (well, not so much ahead after that joke).

So – blocked right tube. Next steps. Fire away!

Answers

12 Jun

Well – I don’t know where to start, so I guess I’ll describe the HSG itself – just cause I’m sure there are a couple of people out there who are curious.

Shmerson was in the room with me. Inserting the catheter hurt. A lot. Once it was in Shmerson went with the doctors and techs behind that radiation-proof wall and saw the test. The doctor administering the test doesn’t give clear cut answers on the spot because he goes back and re-examines the film to give details.

So for now – all I know is the information that Shmerson relayed to me from being in the room. I should have official written up results later tonight or tomorrow, then an appt. with Twofer on Wed. to figure out what’s next.

So – the catheter was inserted and the ink started going through. It hurt. It hurt so much I was yelling. In between my screams of “OOOOWWWWW!” I heard one of the techs say “it’s stuck”. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, thank goodness it was over. The nurses claimed I was a hero – that in cases similar to mine the woman usually does much worse than yell. I smiled to myself and thought – “after three miscarriages my pain threshold is officially in another stratosphere”.

So – the Doctor didn’t give official diagnostics in the room. All he said was “there’s something there”. Here’s a recounting of what was said in front of Shmerson:

The Uterus filled up quickly. It took a while for the spill to reach the left tube, so they think there’s some kind of blockage there, but eventually, it did fill up completely. The right tube, on the other hand, is very clearly blocked. The pain I felt was them pushing the ink through. It did get through eventually – but not without a struggle, and perhaps not fully (we’ll know that with the official write up).

Shmerson said the Dr. that performed the procedure made an off-handed comment that with his patients, he’d recommend IVF in this situation immediately.

That doesn’t mean that is what’s happening. This Dr. doesn’t know our history, so I’m taking it with a grain of salt. Of course, we need to wait for official results, and then our appt with Twofer on Wednesday to know our next steps for sure.

But you know what? I’m ok with waiting for a change.

I FINALLY HAVE ANSWERS!

I know now the reason for my last two miscarriages. I’m guessing there’s scarring and damage from the D&C. That’s the most likely culprit.

But guys – there’s an answer! I can’t describe the incredible sense of relief that I have right now. ANSWERS!

I have spent the last week dreading this test. Mentally preparing myself for the inevitability of a fourth miscarriage. Now – there’s this incredible ray of light shining at the end of the tunnel.

Whatever it is, however it’s treated – we have a reason. Which means we have a solution.

I don’t know what I’m about to face. It could be surgery, it could be IVF. All I know is this:

As difficult as the road ahead may be – I am lucky.

The referral for the HSG put my diagnosis as “Infertility Female”. It was the first time I had seen it in writing. But now, it’s no longer unexplained. I know why I lost my babies. I know there are solutions.

No matter what torture my body will have to go through in the coming months I know it’s NOTHING compared to the heartbreak of loss after loss with no answers. I know that now I will finally have a path. It may not be an easy one, but it will be illuminated.

I am so grateful for my body. It recognized the ectopic pregnancies and ended them before they became dangerous to me. Things could have been so much worse.

And here I am. An infertile with a diagnosis! Not official yet – but that’s on the way. In the coming days and weeks I’ll have answers. I’ll know what lies ahead. For the first time in a year – I’ll know. I’ll know that any surgery or hormones or monitoring that I have is for a reason. I’ll know that there is hope. A diagnosis. Hope. Did I mention hope?

The road ahead of us is still long. There are still questions to be asked and answered. But all I can do now is feel that pain on the right side of my stomach, the one that’s been there for more than six months, now exacerbated by the invasion of that radioactive dye,  and know that it’s the physical manifestation of my losses.

There’s a reason. There’s an answer. There’s a path. I am flooded with relief and gratitude. I am humbled. I am hopeful.

Milestones

8 Jun

I’ve noticed something about myself and about a lot of the women I follow in this community. We have these milestones that we set for ourselves. For some it’s the first IUI, or the first drug you take when you’re gearing up for IVF. For me right now – it’s the HSG.

I’ve got a lot riding on this HSG. I’ve been thinking about it. Fantasizing about outcomes, doing math in my head about guessed due dates according to the results. I’m a woman obsessed.

Each milestone seems to spark a new hope. A new plan. Before the HSG, before my third loss, my plan was “take care of yourself and get healthy and then you’ll have a healthy pregnancy.” Before the second loss, it was “just get pregnant again as fast as you can.” After my third loss it was “get those betas down to zero”.  Now it’s become, somehow “the HSG will lead to a healthy pregnancy”. Each time a new milestone passes, and each time that milestone doesn’t bring relief, I shatter just a little bit more.

I’d like to share a story with you guys. I’m going to keep it a bit vague because I don’t want to break a confidence, even though I know the woman who told me this story doesn’t read this blog – what she told me was for her –  a darkly hidden secret. One that she hasn’t shared with anyone in her life, but felt compelled to share with me, because, I think, she saw in me a sort of kindred spirit. Despite the fact that she is more than 30 years older than me, I think she saw a bit of herself in me and felt compelled to keep me from going down her path.

This woman gave birth to a special needs child in the 70’s, at a time when it was unheard of to keep a child with this type of disability in the home. She insisted that the child stay home with her, and spent the next several decades caring for the child in a completely dedicated way. She is a pioneer when it comes to that, and for as long as I’ve been old enough to appreciate it – I’ve viewed this woman as a hero.

For as long as I’ve known her she’s had a bit of a tough shell. For as long as I’ve known her she’s battled with her health and with her weight. I always kind of guessed this was her defense against the world because of the hardships she’d gone through with her child. Yesterday, a conversation with her threw this guess into sharp relief.

She knows about my losses, and everything that I’ve been going through. So, in a catch up conversation I told her about the HSG and my hopes for it. Then I brought up this blog, and why it was so important to me. I told her “I feel like I am surrounded by women who speak my language, who understand what I’m going through in a way that other people can’t.”

Something about this sentence made her break down her usual tough-as-nails facade. She confided in me about her feelings toward her son, and how it was to raise him.

Again – I am going to refrain from going into detail because her story was so intimate, so raw, that I would feel like I was committing a violation if I were to betray it. But her conclusion felt so relevant to me – so completely true, that I can’t keep it to myself.

This woman has spent the better part of 40 years thinking about milestones. Fighting for them for her child. And she confided in me that she used to set deadlines. That every time she and her child didn’t make the deadline to reach this or that milestone – well – she would break. She described it as “losing another piece of myself.”

This happened for decades. Until she finally decided to reframe her thinking. Until there was no other milestone except “My child will be happy.”

When this milestone was reframed and reached, she became a different woman. She softened. She was happier. Her life became more fulfilling. She took better care of herself. But like she told me – the physical damage was already done. The decades of shattered hopes had taken their toll on her body – and there was no turning back.

She looked at me, with my fluctuating weight, my smoking, my overeating – all things she knows all too well – and said “please don’t be like me.”

This hit home. I was crying by that point. I asked her – “How do I hope without it being shattered?”

She told me – stop measuring it by dates. Stop speculating. Stop setting deadlines. No matter how you get there – eventually, you will hold a child in your arms. That is what you hang on to. Don’t put your hope in a procedure or a date. Just know that you will be a mother. Don’t set a deadline. Just believe it will eventually come, no matter how it reaches you.”

Marriage 2.0 recently posted about how the knowledge that she will most likely never be able to get pregnant, and is now pursuing adoption, have been freeing for her on a lot of levels. I immediately thought about her post when my hero said what she said.

Why is it that there is relief in adoption? Because the milestones are done. Your path is clear. There are no more spikes of hope followed by heartbreak. You have a long road to go – but it’s laid out for you more clearly than it ever was before.

But – why does it have to be that way only when we reach a conclusion?

My hero also told me  that I won’t want to reach motherhood as a broken woman. That if I continue to set store by these milestones that is what may eventually happen. I already know too many stories of women who suffered for years battling infertility, and became depressed once they were finally mothers. Because they were tired. Because they were broken. Because there were no more milestones or imaginary deadlines to be had and they didn’t know how to live on the “other side.”

My hero didn’t tell me to stop fighting. She didn’t tell me to “just relax”. I think she knows better than most people how much that sort of advice can sting.

But – she told me to reframe my goals – to let go of the milestones – to keep my eye on the final outcome: “I will be a mother.”

And really – the outcome needs to be beyond that – “I will be a happy, healthy, whole mother to my child.”

My hero told me she didn’t expect me to make a change overnight. That’s impossible. But just to think about it. To let her hard-fought life lessons sink in for a bit, and see where they take me.

Which brings me back to the HSG. A clear milestone. One that will determine our path from here. There’s no getting around that.

But perhaps – perhaps I can try not to put all of my hopes in that one milestone. Perhaps I can just look at it as another step toward one outcome:

I don’t know how it will happen, and I don’t know when. But eventually, I will be a mother.

Now let’s see if I can work on the “happy, healthy, and whole” part of the equation.

The Great Hope Debate

29 May

I’m back after an amazing weekend with Shmerson. If you want to see pics, just check my twitter feed on the right. Much fun (and beer) was had by all (well, the beer was actually had mostly by Shmerson). The three days away really gave me some space to relax. I didn’t even know how much I needed it until we got there.

Then of course, I was blown away by what I found when I got back. Mel over at Stirrup Queens (AKA the Oprah of ALI blogging), pointed out my last post as part of her friday blog roundup, and the reactions I’ve gotten have been overwhelming.

I think just writing that post helped put quite a few things in perspective for me. Your comments took it even further. From Kristin pointing out that I’m showing classic signs of depression, to AK berating me for using the term “That” to describe my last miscarriage, to Me0Me giving the astute observation that I merely have to expand my bubble, not necessarily “pop” it. And those were all just from the first few hours. Your deep and eloquent thoughts and comments really touched me and I really want to thank you all.

I think the biggest lesson I learned from that last post is if you raise a question in this little blogoverse of ours, you will receive love, understanding and support. Because most of the questions we have don’t have open and shut answers. But all of them require tools, not clear cut yes’ and no’s.

Which brings me to a skype conversation I had with Marie yesterday. It was mostly our usual fun chatter, but at one point, due to something that happened earlier in the day (I’ll spare you the TMI details), I had to bring up the upcoming HSG.

A little background: My HSG is currently scheduled for June 5th, though because my cycle is still wonky from the miscarriage I may have to push it to a bit later. I’ve been kind of obsessing about this HSG. Not so much on here. Not even in most conversations I have (both with bloggy and real life friends). But in my head – well – it takes up most of my time.

Here’s how my conversation with Marie went:

Marie: When is the HSG?

Me: No clue. That’s the problem. Scheduled for June 5th but if AF shows up after the 2nd I’m gonna have to reschedule. Currently crossing my fingers she’ll show tomorrow or the  day after. That would be perfect. Though very unlikely.

I just had something happen this morning that totally got my hopes up  that the whole problem is an infection because of the D&C. I’ll spare you the details but now I’m totally convinced it’s an infection

Marie: Yay! Wait, that’s good, right?

Me: Well here’s the deal: HSG can go 1 of three ways

1) tubes are all clear (sucky – because that means there isn’t an explanation and who knows what we’ll do next)

2) tubes are blocked with scar tissue (sucky, because even though there’s an answer I’ll either have to get surgery or get the go ahead to go straight into IVF)

3) Tubes are blocked with mucus due to an infection, and the HSG will actually clear the blockage

I’m trying to bargain with the spaghetti monster for #3.

It’ll hurt like a motherfucker, but at least I know the next time I should be all good.  So I’m trying not to get my hopes up but of course I’m gonna find every excuse to get my hopes up.

Marie: Well yeah you have to have hope

Me: No. Hope makes me pissed when I get disappointed

Marie: Would you rather just be pissed to begin with?

Me: Good question. Trying to figure that out now. Still have about a week before I have to decide. We’ll see.

Then I promptly changed the subject. This little skype chat, I think, brings up the crux of my current internal struggle. I love hope. I really do. It makes me feel giddy and awesome and helps me fall asleep at night.

But I also hate hope. Because hopes are more often than not – at least in my case – crushed. My last pregnancy came at a time when I was completely hopeful, completely optimistic, and completely at peace.

Then I spent a night in the hospital and all of it was crushed. In an instant.

It’s been about 6 weeks since my miscarriage. I’m starting to build up hope again. I hate that. I hate it because so far, each time I’ve gotten my hopes up, they’ve been smashed into little tiny pieces.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

So by that logic, in my case, having hope makes me insane.

So wouldn’t I be better off nihilistic and pessimistic? Wouldn’t that – in fact – be a much saner place to be in my situation?

Yet hope creeps up, because I need it. Because otherwise I don’t know if I could handle everything the universe has thrown at me.

And I hate it. Because I feel like it’s insane to have it.

On Friday night, our anniversary, Shmerson and I went out to dinner. We both made toasts in honor of our first year together.

My toast went something like this: “They say the first year of marriage is the hardest. I really hope ‘They’ are right.”

Hope. It’s a four letter word.

What do you guys think? Is it crazy to hang on to hope when you’re in such a state of limbo? Would you rather have no hope at all, and be pleasantly surprised? Eager to read your thoughts.

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