Saturday, November 10, 2007

reproduction or not

OK, I am feeling like an idiot/Dr Phil wannabe having typed out that my husband and I had unprotected sex while discussing him finding an apartment. I'm not an idiot. Or a woman who would trick her husband into having a child to force him to stay with her. I swear, I am not. I'm level headed, and strong, full of common sense, and practical. In real life. I seem to have exited real life somewhere along the way, though.

My daughter's asleep, my husband's still out, and I'm not going to get anything done, so time for the reproduction recap.

I've said I've been spending most of my time lately on pregnancy loss sites (her blogroll is very comprehensive), and that still partially defines me. I wanted this blog to be an outlet to talk about something else entirely other than the mess that is my marriage.

So, in a nutshell, here's my story. It's far more complicated and painful. Bare bones is all I can manage for now.

We were married in 1999, when I was 30. We went through a rough time in 2003, which I thought was partially based on wanting to have a baby, and my husband being unsure. In late 2003*, we started trying. I was 36.

We tried for 6 months, I started charting and it seemed like I was regularly ovulating. At 6 months, my husband was tested, and he had varicoceles. Huh, interesting, I wasn't a big wikipedia user in 2004*, so first time reading that. In our case, those varicoceles were absolutely the cause of low sperm count, and an outpatient procedure resolved the problem. His doctor even said to my husband, your wife will be pregnant before your 6 week check-up.

And I was. For about 3 weeks - until an early miscarriage. I was really new to all this, and to me it just felt like my period starting 2 weeks late. And doctors assured us it was "just one of those things," not to worry. We told almost no one. The miscarriage had an impact on me, but it was hard to know what that impact was at the time. Now I think it's all cumulative.

We waited the proscribed 3 months before trying again, and it all worked fine. I was pregnant in December 04, and had my daughter in September 05. It was an uneventful pregnancy. We did a little bit of genetic testing (nuchal translucency) and all indications were fine. I had wanted natural childbirth, but my water broke, I never went into labor, only dilated 2 cm after 36 hours (24 hours on pitocin), so a c-section it was.

The doctors suggested that after a c-section, it was best to not get pregnant again for a year, to allow full healing. We wanted another, and knew the clock was ticking, but also knew we needed that year.

So, in October 2006 we started trying again. In November I was pregnant, with an early August due date. I would be 38 when baby #2 was born, and my daughter would be just shy of 2. I had a tiny bit of early bleeding, and we had some early ultrasounds. The tech told us I had released an egg from both ovaries, though there was only one baby. The baby was on the small side, but at 7 weeks everything looked reasonably fine. We decided to tell family at Christmas, to share. We thought it was all going to be smooth sailing.

In January, we went in again for the nuchal measurement. No big deal. We even brought our daughter. When the tech stops talking, it's a clear sign things aren't going well. Our measurements were a little off, but not significantly. We waited for the blood work. Measurements again a little off, but not significantly. The baby was small, but just a tad off. It was unclear what, if anything, was going on, though they thought something was wrong, they just weren't sure what. So we scheduled a CVS.

And those results were, of course, conclusive and definite. And the baby did not survive. By February it was over, except of course the loss did not go well and I needed a D&C. The months of January and February are just a fog to me now. We were seeing specialists, counselors, the whole realm of what could possibly be done. When nothing could be. The doctors assured us it was just bad luck. We could try again in about 6 months.

To say I was devastated is an understatement. To watch things go wrong step by step by step - with no possibility of averting or changing the course - is wrenching. I would not wish what we went through on anyone. My husband and I saw a counselor who specialized in pregnancy loss, and things seemed to be getting back on track.

I wanted desperately to get pregnant again. To put pregnancy 3 behind us. To be normal again. To give my daughter, who is a classic "little mother" to her army of baby dolls, a sibling. To be a whole family.

I've always had a regular cycle. 28/29 days, like clockwork. My period started up 4 months after my daughter was born. And the very next month after the loss and D&C. In July, at 5 months post loss, I noticed my cervical mucous indicated I was ovulating. I thought about trying that month, but we were going on vacation in August, I wanted to enjoy it and not be in the first trimester. So we tried in August. No pregnancy. I wasn't sure, but I thought I might not have ovulated. My cervical mucous signs are pretty clear, and there was almost none. Same in September.

What the hell. So I started charting, and decided to try traditional Chinese medicine. And bought little pee sticks to test for ovulation. There was maybe mucous in October, and the pee sticks seemed to indicate ovulation, and we had sex at the right time - just before I discovered his infidelity.

I actually thought I might be pregnant. I was nauseated, and tired, and felt terrible. However, all those symptoms can be explained by finding out your husband wants to leave you. My TCM guy thought my pulse as a pregnancy pulse. I hoped I was. My period started the day I found out my husband hadn't ended the affair.

So, endlessly long post later, that brings us to last night. I'd lost track. I barely know what day of the week it is, much less what day of my cycle it is. After three months, I seriously doubt I'm suddenly ovulating. No Jerry Springer/Dr. Phil moment for me. I've been through too much in the past year to even be capable of trickery and treachery. At 39, in addition to dealing with infidelity, divorce, remnants of pregnancy loss, and everything else, I'm coming to grips with knowing I'll only ever have one living child (I know I'm incredibly blessed to have one adorable, precious, unbelievably wonderful child. I will never, ever discount that.)

In the panoply of loss that my life has become, this loss - the loss of fertility and possibility of another child - is the hardest to bear.

* edited to correct dates


Juliness said...

The loss of fertility is devastating, no two ways about it. Coming from someone who is unable to concieve biologically at all, I can say that I understand your pain.

I have walked this path and I offer you much empathy. Hold your daughter close and rejoice in the miracle she represents. And if your husband isn't going to put forth the effort to recognize everything you are experiencing, then shame on him.

niobe said...

It's almost impossible to have to deal with so many devastating events all at once. But (and this may be something that it doesn't help to hear -- and if so, ignore it) none of us has a crystal ball and we can't see into the future. It's impossible to know how things will work out on all these issues and some of the losses you fear may never come to pass.