I’m waiting for my Yang

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Less then a week leading up to my planned embryo transfer (last Saturday), I somehow managed to injure myself. Our house has been a chaotic mess for the past two months due to a kitchen renovation and I went on a mad cleaning spree. Apparently I bent over a few too many times as I felt a strong muscular ache start to build and spread from my lower back through my hamstring. But no biggy, I just worked hard. It’s just sore muscles. Just as I was about to sit down and relax after a day of cleaning, our dog started acting strange. She was frantically pacing and panting and drooling through the house. I rushed her to the vet right as they were closing up for the day. Nothing life threatening and her symptoms were inconclusive so we were sent home. Within a half hour after getting home she started vomiting. Repeatedly. Again, I was bending over, helping her and trying to take care of her. After two and a half hours of this, we rushed ourselves into stop and go Saturday night beach traffic and made our way to the emergency vet hospital with her gagging in the back seat for 45 minutes (our poor baby). We spent 3 hours there trying to figure out what was wrong and to treat her. Thankfully after their care for her, she started to improve and over the next couple of days she was on the road to recovery. But it turns out that all that repeated lower back strain I put myself through was reacting (unbeknownst to me) with a clamp down on a nerve like the strength of a zombie biting into it’s first victim. I woke up at 1am Monday morning in torturous pain running down my left leg. All the muscles in my glute and hamstring were as tight as steel rods and on fire. I’ve never had such horrible cramping and muscle pain in my life.   I had no idea what I was in for, but it turned out this pain did not let up and in fact got worse spreading through my calf and foot the next day. I could barely move. It was too painful for a long ride to a doctor’s office so my first thought was massage. It would just be a ten minute drive to a massage versus 30-40 minutes to the doctor. I had to drive myself as my husband had to go to work and I cried in pain all the way there. The massage provided a lot of relief for the 90 minutes I was there, but it quickly returned and I cried in agony all the way home. After a couple of days, I was able to get to my chiropractor (also near by) where he was rather concerned it was a pinched nerve (as half my left foot was numb and I did not have much control of my foot). As the week progressed, I got up the bravery and desperation to take the longer car rides to acupuncture and doctor appointments. This required some creativity with the husband and friends to coordinate with me since I couldn’t drive. But thanks to all of them, I eventually made it to the acupuncturist and the doctor. Every day, I kept thinking, this has got to get better, I have my embryo transfer on Friday! But I knew in my heart that my body was under too much stress and too much pain and on Thursday I talked to my doctor and we decided to cancel. I was so discouraged, disappointed and depressed. Of course, this cycle can be repeated but there had been so much work leading up to this point and now it was gone again. The injections, the workouts, the 3 day cleanse I did to make me feel healthier, the blood tests, the ultrasounds, the timed acupuncture appointments with my cycle…the list goes on and on. Plus the fact that this was my first cycle after taking a much needed break for several months. And now, just a big, fat, UGH. The embryos and I will have to wait for a later date.

I went to my acupuncturist for help with the pain and told her I had to cancel the embryo transfer. She said she was so sorry for my bad luck but not to worry. With bad luck, comes good luck. The Yin and the Yang have to balance out. My good luck would be coming.

After 4 days of absolute hell, I was finally in a doctor’s office. It was looking like sciatica and hopefully not as severe as a herniated disc. That night I started on a couple of different medications and the pain started to let up and I was finally able to sleep for the first night in 4 days. By Monday I was able to drive but still in discomfort. I spent this week, working a few hours in the office and a few hours at home each day. Unfortunately the medication I’m on during the day has been making me feel very sick and I’m struggling through every day in a Prednisone-induced stupor full of nausea, hot flashes, dizziness and overall uckyness and ickyness. Next week I’ll start physical therapy and my continued plight to find harmony between my Yin and my Yang.   There is no shadow without light. I want my Yang back and I want it in the form of a baby.

Cervix Denies Entry But Plan Continues

IMG_5254My July cycle to do the endometrial biopsy and ERA (Endometrial Receptivity Array) did not go as planned. My doctor had me go through the same controlled cycle that we would do for an embryo transfer but instead of transfer day, we would do this procedure. The hope was that 1) the endometrial biopsy would make the uterine lining “sticky” for the following cycle’s embryo transfer and 2) the ERA would let us know if we were transferring the embryo on the right day of the cycle for optimal endometrial receptivity. Sounded like a fabulous plan to me. There is no solid evidence that the endometrial biopsy directly increases chance of pregnancy, but I was willing to do it in hopes that it could make a difference for me.

The endometrial biopsy is not a fun procedure and I had done it once before and it did lead to my second pregnancy. The first time doing this procedure was without any pain medication and wow, that was a mistake. I remember getting ready for the procedure and the doctor asking me so calmly if anyone had warned me ahead of time of the pain level. Um, no, I was expecting it to be something like a pap smear. He proceeded to tell me it’s about a 7 out of 10 on the pain scale. Holy crap. Yep, he was right. Luckily it’s not a long procedure but I did not want to go through that again. For this second time around I was very apprehensive about the pain, so my doctor was able to do a paracervical block (lidocaine injection) and I could tell it was helping a lot. However, after what seemed like forever, staring at the ceiling, scared to move, and at least 4 tries by the doctor, he could not get through my cervix. It was such an unnerving experience and very frustrating for both of us. It turned out that my cervix had developed nabothian cysts. Luckily they are benign and not harmful, but due to the cysts, it was not possible to pass the instrument through the cervix. As I was lying there in tears, clutching the hand of the nurse and quickly becoming her new best friend, I could tell it was not easy on my doctor either. So we called it a day and decided to think things through for a few days. That procedure was now out the window and I’d have to consider starting over again.

In the follow up conversation with my doctor barely a week later, I was in the precise condition to start another controlled cycle. After a thoughtful discussion, we all decided to move forward with the embryo transfer cycle and skip the other procedure all together. We are now two weeks into this process and the frozen embryo transfer will happen in one more week on August 21. Due to the cervix denying entry just a couple of weeks ago, we decided to do a mock embryo transfer and this happened yesterday. He was able to see that some of the cysts had gotten smaller, but also mapped out the path through my cervix on the ultrasound. It’s like a labyrinth in there! It is not a direct shot. There is a hard sharp turn on the way in. Luckily, the mock transfer went without a hitch and was very quick, so that boosted all of our confidence for next week. We are quickly approaching attempt number 8 and I’m trying my best to be healthy, stay rested, get in plenty of acupuncture and ready to accept positive energy, prayers, and happy thoughts from anyone who will give them.

Photo by – CJE, Catalina Island

Angel Baby Keepsake

IMG_7003Having gone through the heartbreaking experience of two miscarriages (15 weeks and 9 weeks), I wanted to create something for other women experiencing this type of grief and loss.  The words “Miscarriage” and  “Pregnancy Loss” do not equate to the trauma experienced.   At any stage of pregnancy, we have already become parents.  We have fallen deeply in love with our unborn child.  We have experienced hopes and dreams and ideas about what this baby will be like, how our lives will change, and the future we see for ourselves as a family.  It is a loss that stings so deeply and it is a grief that some may never find peace with.  It is a loss that many people do not talk about, but so many experience.

IMG_7009While first trimester miscarriage is common, there are those that have lost their baby during the second trimester.  There are those trying to pull their lives back together after a stillbirth.  I simply can’t imagine a pain so deep that would accompany these tragic losses.  But those going through this heartache need love, support and acknowledgement of their grief and their baby who’s life was so terribly short.

IMG_7013But what do you say to someone who has experienced the loss of their pregnancy?  The loss of their baby?  For those of us who have had this experience, we are left with a loss that has nothing tangible to hold on to.  We rely on the memory of the feeling of pregnancy and the bond and love that so quickly developed.  There may be ultrasound images that we can save but are now so hard to look at.  If you have not been through this type of loss, you may not know what to say or how to help.  But here are some do’s and don’ts that I have found helpful and that I hear repeated in the community of women that have experienced miscarriage:

  • Please acknowledge our loss.  Don’t pretend like it didn’t happen.
  • We are grieving deeply.  There is no quick recovery.
  • If I’ve named my baby, it feels good to me to hear his name.  To recognize that his life was real, that he is my son, and that I became a mother.
  • It’s ok to acknowledge our loss on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day to let us know you are thinking of us and know that we are heartbroken that our baby is not here.
  • Know that important dates are traumatic:  the planned due date, the anniversary of the loss, the date we found out we were pregnant.
  • Be aware that for those dealing with infertility and experiencing the miracle of pregnancy through medical intervention, the loss is terrifying.  We are not sure if we can ever get pregnant again.
  • Don’t say things like, “It was God’s Will”, or “It was not meant to be”.
  • Do not assume there must have been something wrong with the baby.  (All three of my angel babies were genetically normal).
  • Do not insinuate that the mother and/or father did something wrong or that it was their fault.
  • Recognize that the person grieving may not be able to attend baby showers, or visit a friend or family member who recently had a baby.  Give space without pressure or expectations in these situations.

IMG_7019In order to help those witnessing a loved one who is experiencing grief after the loss of their baby, I’ve created a gift that can be given to the woman or the parents of the unborn child.  If you do not know what to say, this gift will provide the acknowledgement of the loss while also providing something for them to hold on to.  I have created a hand made Angel Baby Keepsake gift box and card.

IMG_7021The outside of the gift box includes an ivory satin ribbon and silver angel charm.  Inside the box, is a card decorated to hold their baby in memory and love.  Included is a poem and pewter heart.  The box can be further customized by the parents to add items such as an ultrasound image or to write notes to the baby or to add little items in memory of him or her.

To order:  Visit my Etsy shop

Card Chic by CJ

Thank You Miss. Conception Coach and the Fertility Conference Bloggers!

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The “Miss.Conception Coach Fertility Conference” came to an end after 14 days of heartfelt posts and I wanted to say a warm THANK YOU to Miss. Conception Coach and to all the bloggers that participated and to all of you out there reading, liking and responding to the posts!  I really enjoyed being a part of this online conference and making new connections with those of you going through similar struggles.

If you have not yet connected through www.missconceptioncoach.com I highly recommend it!  Through her website you can submit a request for the private Facebook page where you can safely and privately share your story and ask questions about all things infertility, miscarriage, hope, and loss.  It is a place to be supported by others on your bad days and to be a support for others on your good days.

As a recap, here’s a list of all the participant bloggers, in case any of you would like to follow any of these blogs.

Elena, Baby Ridley Bump Blog

Chelsea, Starbucks, Peace and the Pursuit of a Baby

Laura, Making Baby Provence

Halie, Then I Look Up at the Sky

Whitney, Running with PCOS

Jessi, Life Abundant

Caroline, In Due Time

Logan, With Great Expectation

Lindsey, Awaiting Autumn

Lindsey, Energizer 25

Ryanne, Girl Ryanne

Sarah, Ramblings of a Barren Heart

Ally, Uncomfortably Optimistic