Tuesday, March 25, 2014

FET #8: The Ectopic

Each post was written on the date listed, but we weren't ready to post them until now.  In case you missed them, here are links to the previous posts: FET #1: Medications and a Miracle; FET #2: Baseline, Meeting the Fenlons and SHOTS!FET #3: Lining Check and Progesterone ShotsFET #4: Transfer Day!FET #5: Bed Rest and the 2WW; FET #6: Results!; FET #7: Life During and After Miscarriage

Monday, March 3, 2014
10 days ago my HCG levels stopped dropping and plateaued.  Today when I had them tested they had started rising again.  They aren't sure yet what the cause of this could be.  It could be left over tissue from the miscarriage, it could be an ectopic pregnancy, and I guess there is a REALLY small chance we could be pregnant again.  So, we wait another week to have my blood drawn again and figure out why my body is so darn confused.  I can't say I'm not worried.  If I stop and think about what could be happening and the possible future repercussions, I start hyperventilating.  I'm terrified.  Terms like Dialation and Curettage, and Methotrexate are being thrown around.  One could affect our ability to get pregnant again the future, and the other would prevent us from doing any more treatments for a while.  It's so hard to sit here having no idea what is going to happen after my next blood test.  It's like another two-week-wait.  Oh, and the nurse warned that if I feel abdominal pain on either side, dizziness, nausea or lightheadedness that I need to go to the emergency room immediately.

I can't say I'm doing it very well, but every time I start obsessing over outcomes I'm trying to pray and imagine myself handing this burden over to the Lord in a big, heavy box.  I have no control over this situation.  None.  That makes me feel very vulnerable and scared.  But, I'm finding that as I admit that I can't control the outcome of the situation and turn it over to the Lord my burden is made lighter.  This is a process.  Sometimes I have to pray and surrender my will over to the Lord every five minutes.  I know Heavenly Father is watching over me and He is the only one who has control over this situation.  This is all going to be ok somehow.

Friday, March 7, 2014
I've been having a rough few days just worrying about this situation and stressing over possible outcomes.  Yesterday I just started sobbing uncontrollably at work.  I'm sure that my hormones are partly to blame because my body is very confused right now.  My hormones have been telling my body, "now you're pregnant, now you're not, opps--now your pregnant again!"  Thankfully my boss is very kind and understanding and just told me to take some time off to recuperate.  But, not before he attempted to cheer me up with a pretzel smiley face on my desk.
There are so many incredible people in this world and we are blessed to know some of the very best.  Right now I'm seeing the world through tear-filled eyes and there is something incredible about that.  It just seems to put things in perspective.  I'm taking life one day at a time and trying to find little things to be grateful for.  Sometimes I wake up and take a hot bath and just marvel at the fact that we can turn on the faucet and hot, clean water comes out!  Finding little things to be grateful for helps me remember just how blessed we are.  I'm holding Matt a little tighter and appreciating his constant love and kindness towards me.  I'm recognizing how many incredible, loving, and supportive people there are in my life.  I look at every person I meet and wonder what heartache they have faced that no one else knows about.  I'm remembering what really matters and learning to rely more fully on the Lord for every second of every day.

I'm reminded today of a quote I shared a couple posts ago while we were waiting for the results of this treatment.  I feel it is particularly applicable to our current situation. "Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Prov. 3:11–12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain." (source)  I know that the Lord is trying to make us into the people he wants us to be and that these trials we are struggling through right now will help us learn and grow if we can seize that opportunity.

Saturday, March 8, 2014
Today I received a phone call from Tonya, a nurse at Dr. Foulk's office.  On a Saturday.  If that wasn't concerning enough, she said that Dr. Foulk wants me to make sure to get my blood drawn first thing Monday morning and he wants to have a phone appointment with us on Monday evening.  Usually the nurse just calls with the results, so I was a little worried.  Clearly Dr. Foulk is concerned as well.

A package came in the mail today from the Pound the Pavement for Parenthood ladies.  Talk about perfect timing.  I needed this more than ever today. We cried as we opened the package and saw each of the items in the box many with a personalized note.  These ladies are angels.  I can't help but be grateful for infertility when it has blessed me with each of them as my friends.  Especially when I think that if it weren't for this trial I probably never would have met any of them.  This box brought so much hope and served as a reminder that I'm not walking this path alone.  Nor am I the first one to walk this path.  Like I said yesterday, there are so many incredible people in this world and we are blessed to know some of the very best.

How sweet is this?  Now you can see why this made us cry.

These were very personal gifts from women who have struggled with infertility and pregnancy loss themselves.  Many of the items were given because they were something that brought peace and hope to them during the lowest points in their journey.

I'm planning to find a necklace chain for this charm so I can wear it close to my heart.  One of my closest friends wore this during her infertility battle and to the hospital when her little miracle was born.  I sobbed while I read the note that she sent with it.  Isn't it such a beautiful symbol of hope?

Monday, March 10, 2014
And, then there were two.  My OBGYN and Dr. Foulk have been watching my HCG levels each week to make sure they are dropping normally.  Last week they started going up again.  I'd be lying if a part of me didn't wonder if/wish that by some crazy miracle we were pregnant again...  We aren't.  We had the level tested again today and it is still rising, but not normally.  When I saw the results online I sent a text to Tonya (the nurse) like she had requested and she immediately responded saying that Dr. Foulk needed to talk to us as soon as possible.  We moved up our phone appointment by a few hours and I left work early.  Our phone call with Dr. Foulk really calmed my nerves as we talked about next steps and options.  He has been a huge blessing in our lives.  I can always tell that he really cares and he always puts me at ease.  No doubt, he is heaven sent.  It seems our miscarriage has also been joined by an ectopic pregnancy.  We think that one of the embryos implanted in my uterus, while the other implanted in one of my fallopian tubes.  After the phone call, Dr. Foulk called my OBGYN here to talk to him about the situation and to get me in for an emergency ultrasound.  I have an ultrasound scheduled tomorrow morning and then they'll give me some injections to stop the pregnancy cells from multiplying before my tube ruptures.  I also had to go in to have some more blood drawn tonight before my appointment tomorrow.

I have been through so many emotions today.  I was just sick when I saw the number on the screen.  Like physically sick.  I felt like I might pass out.  Then frustration set in.  Haven't we been through enough?  This isn't fair.  Then confusion.  What does the Lord want from us?!  What are we supposed to do now?  I cried.  And then cried some more.  Then Matt gave me a beautiful priesthood blessing.  After the blessing I just had this overwhelming feeling that this is happening for a reason.  I am going to use this experience to help other people.  My determination to help other couples with this struggle increases exponentially with every stumbling block we hit.  One of my favorite quotes has always been, "Lord give me courage... that I might turn each stumbling block into a stepping stone."  As much as I've wanted to just give up and lie down, I can't.  I will never let this trial keep me down.  I don't know what is going to happen or how this is going to work out.  Most of the time that just makes me terrified, but I'm finding a few moments of peace as I continually try to surrender my will to Heavenly Father and trust completely in His plan for us.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
This morning I woke and armed myself with this necklace before we left for our doctors appointment.
We stopped to pick up the Methotrexate at the pharmacy on the way.  I held it together pretty well until we were walking into the office.  Is this really happening?  I checked in at the front desk while I choked back tears and the emotion welling in my throat.  Then I turned around and saw a big poster with a picture of a new baby that said, "You'll have enough to take care of soon, let us take care of you."  No.  No I won't.  I despise the OBGYN waiting room.  Especially today.

Finally, they called us back and the ultrasound tech asked how I'm doing.  Um.  Terrible.  Thanks for asking.  She took us back and told me to undress from the waist down.  I mumbled to Matt that I might freak out if someone tells me to undress from the waist down again.  The tech was very sweet and I could tell she felt bad about our situation.  She performed the ultrasound and then took us to another room to meet with the doctor.  He came in and talked to us for a while.  He and Dr. Foulk had discussed the treatment plan at length and both agreed that this was necessary.  After my HCG had risen the last time, they were both concerned but wanted to wait another week to rule out an arbitrary rise or a spontaneous pregnancy.  If it were the former the number would have dropped again by the second test.  If it were the later, the number would have doubled 2-3 times in that week.  It didn't even double once in 7 days.  I asked again and again if they were confident that this was not a healthy pregnancy.  He said they were.  He gave instructions for future blood draws and then sent the nurse in to administer the injection.

As soon as he left I started freaking out.  Matt could tell, so when the nurse came in he asked her if she could give us a minute.  I was terrified that my mind wasn't at ease about whether this pregnancy was viable.  Maybe we should wait a couple days and do one more test before ruling it out.  Deep down I know this pregnancy isn't viable, but maybe I need the peace of mind of one more check before they give me the injection.  It's hard enough to end this pregnancy knowing that there is no possible way the baby could survive and prolonging the process would only put my life or ability to have children in the future at serious risk--let alone if there is ANY doubt in my mind as to whether this pregnancy is viable.  Matt agreed that we should at least talk to the doctor once more about it.  He went out and asked if the doctor could come back in.

When our doctor came back in I was a mess.  We asked him if waiting was a possibility and how sure he was that the pregnancy is not viable.  He explained that he is 100% positive that this is not a viable pregnancy.  He explained that both he and Dr. Foulk agreed on this treatment plan.  In fact, Dr. Foulk didn't want to let me wait until today.  If we were in Utah he would have given me the injections yesterday.  The risk with waiting is that the situation could become dangerous quickly and then I'd no longer be a candidate for the Methotrexate and they would have to perform surgery which could effect my ability to carry a baby in the future.  He assured us that both he and Dr. Foulk are VERY conservative with this kind of thing which is why they waited a whole week after the first rise to confirm that this was not a spontaneous pregnancy.  He was very kind and reassuring and I'm glad we talked to him again because I had so much more peace of mind after talking to him the second time.  I have no doubt that the Lord prompted us to talk to the doctor again if only so that our minds would be at ease about the situation.  This embryo could not survive growing outside my uterus and if we waited we would only be putting my life at risk.

The nurse came back in and Matt held me while she gave me an injection in each hip.  I sobbed.  Once I was getting injections in my hips to sustain a pregnancy and now these injections would end it.  I'm not even sure how to deal with these emotions right now.  I felt like I was getting stronger.  Doing better.  And now this.  We're experiencing that loss all over again.  For now all I can do is hope that peace will come with time.  I want to say that everything is going to be ok, but right now all I can say is that I hope everything will be ok.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Today I received this beautiful flower bouquet from my sister-in-law--who is also one of my best friends--with a heartfelt note that made me laugh too.  I'm feeling so blessed to have so much love and support around me.  How did I get so lucky to be surrounded by so many incredible people?

Yesterday after writing that post I started reading a post on one of my favorite blogs.  Ashlee writes about the murder of her husband and shares incredibly uplifting insight on overcoming trials.  I feel like I can relate so much with her.  I was reading her most recent post called, "I dream" and I felt like the Lord was trying to speak to me through her writing.  Especially as I read the last paragraph of that post, "There will be days when it feels like all of your dreams are lost.  You may be standing at your darkest hour right now... waiting for hope that even your smallest dream can still exist.  I promise you that better days await.  Don't give up on yourself... and don't give up on the light that is still all around you.  Even if every dream that you have ever dreamed seems to have been shattered before your eyes... you still have a reason to live.  You are enough... all on your own.  Jesus Christ has felt your pain, he has heard your cries.  He knows where it hurts... because he has been right where you are.  Don't give up on him He is right there... pray for the light that can help you see his hand through the darkness.  And when you find it... grab on and never let it go.  He will carry you to the dreams he has prepared for you.  They may be different than the ones that you had planned... but they will be perfect... because his plan is greater than any we can create for ourselves.  He is the healer of our pain and the writer of our script; live the dreams he has orchestrated just for you."  I love when I can see the Lord's hand blessing my life through people around me.  That post was definitely an answer to prayer and a reminder that the Lord has not forsaken me.

Friday, March 14, 2014
Today I opened my email and saw an email from Enfamil baby formula.  I guess I signed up for their emails at my OBGYN office during my first appointment.  The bold heading read, "How exciting--you're going to be a new mom!"  I think one of the most difficult parts of pregnancy loss is the constant reminders of what was, what could have been, and what you wish were true.  I wish with all of my heart that I was going to be a new mom in October.

If I'm being honest, I didn't feel right about this pregnancy from the beginning.  I'm not sure if it was intuition or paranoia.  When I first became pregnant Matt gave me a beautiful priesthood blessing where the Lord told me to be happy and grateful for this pregnancy.  After we found out that we would miscarry and especially after we found out that the ectopic pregnancy would keep us from trying again any time soon, I wondered why the Lord had told me to be happy and grateful for this pregnancy.  My confusion regarding this instruction from the Lord only increased when I thought about all the heartache it has caused.

I feel that in the last couple days the Lord has revealed to me the many reasons I have to be grateful for this pregnancy.  I got to be a mom for a couple weeks.  I get choked up just writing that.  For a couple weeks I ordered baby items, talked about baby names, and planned with great anticipation for the arrival of our sweet baby(ies).  We got to experience the overwhelming joy and anticipation of pregnancy.  My relationship with and trust in the Lord has become stronger than I ever thought possible.  My relationship with and love for Matt has been strengthened ten-fold.  It has revealed to me many things in my own life that I need to improve.  It has blessed me with an almost unbearable measure of empathy for women who have had miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies.  Whenever I hear of other women who have faced a similar trial my heart aches for them and I shed tears for the trauma, pain, heartbreak, and sorrow they have experienced.  My desire to help other couples facing infertility is stronger than ever.  The Lord has lit a fire under me in that regard.  I'm excited to be joining the board for Pound the Pavement for Parenthood.  I feel that helping other couples with this disease will help me find healing and peace.

Some may look at our story and think it's a tragedy.  I assure you it's not.  Every great triumphant story includes some events that may, at first glance, seem tragic.  However, it is those tragic events that make the triumphant ending so sweet.  One day we'll become parents and that moment will be made sweeter with each heartbreak we face to get there.

"And to all who suffer--to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely--I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in.

"Never surrender.

"Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.

"Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart." -- Elder Uchtdorf


Marie said...

What a blessing that your doctors agreed on the same course of treatment. I can only imagine how much harder it would have been not to trust the guidance you were given. What a rocky 3 months you have had!

Jill said...

Love you friend. <3

luke and kourt said...

The pregnancy that I lost was also ectopic. I was so scared also not knowing if they were for sure ending a viable pregnancy. As I was rushed into surgery I had to sign papers saying I was allowing them to end the pregnancy. One of the hardest things I've ever had to do. You are so strong and you will come out on top!

Tracie said...

I found your blog through your post on Ashlee's. It has brought me so much comfort reading this and yet my heart aches for you. I too found out that I was pregnant and due in October. Although we have 4 children it took awhile to get pregnant with our last. It had been 5 years since I had last been pregnant. I was scared, emotional, and cried all the time. But I couldn't get the feeling that something wasn't right because I wasn't sick like I was with my 3 other pregnancies (set of twins) On Feb 10th the day after my birthday I started spotting and like you had blood work and a miscarriage was confirmed on Valentines day. It has been devastating. I am trying to find joy in the moments and not be bitter when finding out someone else is pregnant or do in October but it takes some doing. Your blog about this sensitive subject has brought me much peace. May I ask if you have read the Gone to Soon book? I have it but am afraid to read it for some reason.

HeatherC said...
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Carson Center said...

You are so brave for posting all of these experiences. Thank you SO MUCH. You are helping so many people. You are helping my testimony grow stronger. I am praying for you. Thank you for your example.

Courtney said...

You don't know me, but I love reading your blog. Even though we don't have the same trials, you are so inspiring to me. I'm so impressed by your great attitude and the comfort you get from the gospel and your husband. You two seem like an amazing couple. Keep blogging :)