Saturday, October 4, 2008

Ramblings about another impending loss

I appreciate everyone's continued prayers and for continuing to hope for this pregnancy. It means a lot to me. I have heard and do know that others have had low betas and gone on to have viable pregnancies and healthy babies. But, I have a VERY hard time believing that I'll be one of them. Things like that just don't happen for me. When something looks grim it usually ends up being just that, grim.

Last night and this morning my symptoms were/are vanishing. I no longer have the pangs in my breasts, but rather notice they are ever so slightly sore from PIO. No cramping whatsoever to speak of. I'm guessing the first day I felt like I knew I was pregnant (6dp5dt) was when my blood levels reached their peak and now I'm guessing they are on the downslide.

I'm struggling with people's suggestions of trying Lovenox, baby aspirin, etc.. I am already using all of those things. I once said in another blog post that if it's available I've probably already tried it and I wasn't kidding! The only thing we haven't pursued at this point is the "black box" immune testing (e.g., NK cells)/treatments (e.g., IVIG) that my RE won't touch with a ten foot pole. J and I discussed doing a phone consult with a reproductive immunologist to hear his/her thoughts. For $300 the RI will review our records, chat with us for about an hour, and make a recommendation. This recommendation would include any future testing and/or treatments based on those findings. We figure a consult can't hurt anything.

My gut tells me something more is going on. I wonder about the immune stuff, but I also wonder about other problems related to my lining issues. Being a biologist gives me all sorts of hypotheses of what could be going wrong. Since I keep having chemical pregnancies where the embryo is dying after implantation, I think that possibly there could be a problem with blood vessel recruitment (angiogenesis) during implantation. When the embryo attaches and begins to burrow/implant into the lining "it" sends out signals that cause blood vessels to grow to it, which ultimately supplies it's life line. So, if the embryo can't recruit enough blood vessels it will die early on. Theoretically, if blood flow to the uterus is weak (like I speculate it is with me given my linings never plump up huge) then angiogenesis could be poor. (BTW ... in my opinion this could also be connected to my early, severe PE/HELLP.)

So, how do they assess and treat this? I believe they can do uterine artery flow studies to assess blood flow before transfer, but the problem is that there isn't a treatment. I plan to discuss my hypothesis with my RE. If we did the test and it showed limited blood flow, then it might be the information that helps us decide that it's time to move on to a gestational carrier (surrogate). (BTW ... in my opinion this could also be connected to my early, severe PE/HELLP.)

I have been having the worst time with this impending loss. It makes me miss Myles even more and makes me wonder if he will be my only baby. I am struggling with my choice to seemingly "throw away" perfectly good (well superb to be honest) embryos on my horrid, hostile uterus. I'm doing this because I want to carry another baby again and I really think I need to start asking myself what is really important. J and I had a huge discussion about this last night. He doesn't find my desires selfish and thinks it's natural for me to want this, but I keep questioning my actions. If I have a willing and able dear family member and friend with a good, hospitable uterus ready to carry our babies, why don't I step onto that path?! In the end what I really want is for us to parent living children. I'm just holding onto this dream that I can't seem to let go. I have a hard time giving up the amazing experience of pregnancy. I'm jealous to think of someone else feeling my baby(ies) move inside her. I'm envious of that special bond she'd have with them that I wouldn't. I wonder/worry how things would work in the delivery room when the baby(ies) is born. The list goes on and on.

I was hoping and dreaming of getting an opportunity of having a birth story that was much less traumatic and that ended very differently. I am happy and grateful to have had my pregnancy experience with Myles. It is something that I will forever cherish. But, it's hard to think it may be my only experience. I often wonder if I was blessed with Myles to make my dreams come true. To let me experience pregnancy. To let me feel him move inside me. To let me nourish my baby with my body. To let me hold and cuddle the most amazing, most beautiful little person imaginable. To let me become a Mom and let J become a Dad. To give us the strength, inspiration and hope we would need to make difficult decisions in the future.

I often read and reread a quote that a dear friend shared with me and try to figure out what it means for me:

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do." -Eleanor Roosevelt

I just wish I knew exactly what that "thing" was.

8 comments:

Lisa said...

Niki,

I am still in awe of your courage. You are an amazing woman and deserve happiness, whatever form that may take for you.

My first early miscarriage taught me not to give anyone else any suggestions pretty much about anything. Although I hope that it stemmed from care and love, the things people said to me still shock me. I think it has made me a better spouse, a better sister and a better friend.

So I have no advice for you, and even though we have never met, I only offer you a shoulder to lean on.

Jen said...

My favorite quote.

Much love to you.

Dora said...

Oh, Niki! I'm so sorry you're going through this.

Re "I just wish I knew exactly what that "thing" was."

You will, honey. You're just not there yet. Sometimes that place of indecision is exactly where we need to be. You don't need to decide the next step right now. Just be good and gentle towards yourself so you can get through this.

Big hug.

Heather said...

I haven't struggled with infertility but being a PE/HELLP survivor like you has also sent my mind towards surrogacy, and the complications that go with that. I share all the same concerns about it that you do. It's definitely not a light decision.

I have no advice, of course, but I hope you come to peace with whatever you decide. I'll be thinking about you.

And still holding out hope for your current pregnancy....

~Denise~ said...

Niki,

I wish I could extend my arms over your way and wrap you up in the biggest hug I can give you.

I remember the things people would say when we were trying for another child, and it took me a while to get over the insensativities of what they'd say to realize that most of them simply didn't know what to say. You have the added experience of losing your precious Myles. It's difficult to remember while going through it, but most people truly do have you in their hearts and are not saying things with malice or poor intent.

Take things one step at a time. It sounds like there is so much swirling around in your head. Grieving that "perfect" pregnancy and the loss of our dreams surrounding our children's births (no matter how realistic or unrealistic they may be) is hard. Plain and simple. To have preeclampsia rob you of so much, it takes it's toll too. I wish I could remove some of the things off your plate. I wish I had the magic wand to make things better for you. Please know that there are people who think of you and your family daily.

Much love to you.

travelaunt7 said...

Niki,
I'm sorry that you are having to go through another painful situation. I'm still holding out hope for you. You deserve happiness and I don't understand any of this. Good luck with your beta tomorrow. I'm here for you.
Linda

Travelwahine said...

Niki,
You are an amazing woman. You are so articulate.

It's a very difficult decision. It sounds like you've thought about it quite a bit. I wish money wasn't an issue in today's world, but it is. I think you should consider a consultation with the RI. I've never heard of the blood flow studies, this sounds great. Will your insurance cover it?

I will be praying for you. Lots of healing vibes your way and continued wisdom and courage.

(((HUGS))))

MDZ said...

For what it is worth, my sister had to use an anonymous egg donor and a separate woman as a surrogate to carry her children. While it was a bit scary for her to have twin boys dropped in her lap on day 1 without any prior bonding experience, these children don't know any woman as "mommy" other than my sister. She began to bond with them immediately and has had an incredible experience with motherhood. If you do, unfortunately, need to use a surrogate, I hope this post offers you some hope.