Thursday, May 13, 2010

location, location, location

So, as it turns out, my HCG levels that I had to have repeated yesterday actually increased. And in the back of my mind, I was fantasizing that there was a vanishing twin and perhaps maybe I had a viable pregnancy after all.

Today while I was at a meeting, I was called - repeatedly - by my doctor's office. Because I'd turned the volume down, I didn't even hear my phone ringing and was surprised to see that I had five new messages from the same number. All of the messages were tagged as urgent, with the request that I call the office as soon as possible. When I called back, they told me they wanted to see me immediately, but first, I needed to stop by the lab again.

My hopes soared while I imagined that all would be well. Surely, today's lab would just confirm that my numbers were on the rise again and then, I'd have an ultrasound and oh, what a wonderful and surprisingly fun blog post it will be to show the picture of one healthy baby!

When I arrived at the office, for the first time during this whole ordeal, I was seen by my OB that delivered Henry. His eyes were so kind when he came in to talk to me. He smiled as he said, "I've always had a suspicion that you weren't done. I've always suspected that you wanted to have another baby!" But then he dropped his voice and said, "But you understand that this pregnancy isn't viable. Right?"

Because I'd given myself an opportunity to dream that MAYBE they'd made a mistake, my hopes were instantly dashed. My eyes teared up as I nodded my head and said, "Yes. I know. But I've tried to block it out. I was really hoping you were wrong."

He did an ultrasound and then pulled up my lab results on the computer, while pointing out that because my HCG levels have 'plateaued' he is extremely concerned that this pregnancy is ectopic. He told me that at my stage, I am a very good candidate for methotrexate which is a drug that is frequently used to treat cancer. It stops cells from growing, which would effectively terminate the ectopic pregnancy, hopefully before the pregnancy advanced to the point that my fallopian tube would rupture.

As he stood up to fetch my most recent lab results, I asked how ectopic pregnancies "resolved" themselves in nature? I mean, in my case - where my HCG levels were so low - wouldn't this just absorb in to my body, or be shed during the next cycle? If there was some way to let "Mother Nature" take her course, I'd much prefer that route than anything invasive or highly medicated.

He told me that he wasn't willing to take the chance that this would just resolve because ectopic pregnancies could be fatal. He added that long ago, before ultrasounds existed to identify where the embryo had implanted, or methotrexate and surgical procedures existed to "remove" ectopic pregnancies, women would die.

We talked for a few more minutes about statistics and the chemical properties of methotrexate and what type of side effects I might experience. And then he closed the door behind him so I could sit and think about things while he called in the orders.

Mostly, I thought about how it would be less heart wrenching for me to die, than to kill my unborn. As such, it is very difficult for me to get my head around the notion of intentionally taking a drug that would kill off any fetal cells, hence triggering an abortion. Even though I really have no option in the matter because if this pregnancy is left untreated, I could die. Apparently, there's no way to extract a fallopian tube and let the baby continue to grow, outside of my body. Although it might not seem it, what with billions of people running all over the planet, fertility can be helluva complicated.

(At least it has been for me.)

An hour later, I very sadly received my two doses of neon yellow methotrexate via intramuscular injections in my hips. And now, I wait. Until something happens that the doctors have told me will most likely happen over the next few days and quite possibly might hurt a lot. I wait until Monday when I am back in the lab having more blood work completed. And again next Thursday for yet more blood work. And then two weeks from Thursday. Or maybe sooner, depending upon how quickly my HCG levels drop.

As I told my children tonight during dinner, there is a baby. But unfortunately, as it happens in approximately 2% of all pregnancies, our baby is in the wrong location. And sadly, jumping on one leg - as Elizabeth and Carolyn have both suggested - isn't enough to fix the situation.

(Cue even more tears. Goodness gracious, is there no end?)

In happier news, check out my awesome little boy...

IMG_0140

I think he might have found his calling as "The Whale Whisperer."

39 comments:

  1. My mother had an ectopic pregnancy and almost died.

    I am so sorry, Jen. I keep waiting for your universe to unfold in a different direction. I hope you get through this quickly. This is just awful.

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  2. Oh Man.......I was hoping that by now you be heading toward recovery and peace. Oh jeez!

    I wish there was something I could do.

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  3. Well THERE's another emotional blow...

    I'm so sorry you're all going through this tough time.

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  4. Awe Jen, I am so very sorry. I don't even have words to express my my sympathies but please know that you are in my thoughts & prayers through this difficult time. I like many of your readers, friends & family members are grieving this loss with you.

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  5. wow- praying for you today. I cannot even imagine what you are going through.

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  6. Oh Jen, I'm so sorry you are going through this :( My first pregnancy was an ectopic (treated with methotrexate) so I completey understand what you are going through. My thoughts are with you,
    Jen

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  7. So sorry for what you are having to go through at this time.

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  8. I'm glad that the doctors are keeping an eye on you. I had to have two doses of methotrixate. Did they tell you to double flush the toilet for 24 hours? Weird!

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  9. I have nothing to offer but a hug. And chocolate.

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  10. I had an ectopic with my first pregnancy...I also had the methotrexate. The treatment is good in that it is less invasive than surgery, but it draws out the mourning of not being pregnant when you wanted to be for as long as you have to continue to do labs to check HcG...which in my case was about 3 months. I'm so sorry you have to go through it...You have 4 beautiful children...enjoy them and try not to think about what could have been...I know...easier said than done!

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  11. Your girls are so sweet :) I love how kids think they can fix things....and the photo of your son and the whale - WOW! :)

    I wish you peace and healing in the next few days.

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  12. I had to fight back the tears. That is so hard. I'm sorry.

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  13. You are in my prayers. That must be so difficult. You of course are doing the right thing, but I'm sure that doesn't offer comfort.
    I hope you don't have to go through too much physical pain, cause I know you've suffered enough emotional pain. I'll be praying for you...you certainly have very loving children....jumping on one leg (that is so sweet)!

    P.S. That picture is really amazing.

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  14. I'm sorry, Jen. I'm just so, so sorry.

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  15. I am sorry you are going through this but please do not refer to it as "killing your unborn child" or even come close to comparing it to abortion. It is NOT. Many of us have had to use methotrexate for ectopic pregnancies. (and also experienced other miscarriages and difficulties getting pregnant) I was in PAIN with my ectopic. And, I would NEVER dream of EVER having an abortion.

    Godspeed...

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  16. Michelle M in TX5/14/10, 10:07 AM

    Aw, I'm really sorry, Jen. Thinking/praying for you.

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  17. Oh, Jen. I wish I could say something that would help. I can only imagine your pain right now. Please know that I am praying for you and your family. In fact, you were on my heart all day yesterday. I'm sorry that you guys are having to go through this.

    ((HUGS))
    Sarah

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  18. I am just so so so sorry.

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  19. My mother's last pregnancy was ectopic. I was 16 and scared to death. She was already experiencing internal bleeding and had to have emergency surgery. Not fun.

    I loved Elizabeth and Carolyn's solution - it's so sweet and heartbreaking. I think the worst part about my own miscarriage was telling my daughter (who was almost five at that time) that there would be no baby. She wanted a baby almost more than I did and was devastated. It was hard.

    Still praying for you, Jen.

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  20. Jen, I had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy in 1986, which started my whole infertility trek leading to finally having my triplets in 1998. Trust me, it is not something you want to experience. It was the worst pain I have ever experienced.

    I was (according to the drs) close to death. I look at my five children I have now and am so thankful I didn't die.

    It's tough, I know, but the alternatives are tougher.

    You are in my prayers.

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  21. You are in my prayers! While you are doing the right thing - I'm sure that doesn't offer any comfort. Thank you for sharing with your readers. I hope the physical pain in the next few days is minimal...and I hope the emotional pain gets better.

    P.S. That picture is wonderful!!!

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  22. I'm so sorry, Jen. This is terribly sad news. Hugs and prayers from Ann Arbor.

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  23. I'm so sorry, my sister. May this season of grief pass quickly. I am holding you in my heart.

    Christina

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  24. I am so sorry for all this Jen. Seems to be insult to injury that you had to make this tough call too. Praying for you and the family.

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  25. My heart breaks for you all over again, Jen. Your story sounds very similar to mine. My HCG levels were in the 400s at first, then they more than doubled into the 800s, giving me hope that maybe it was a vanishing twin. Then the carpet was ripped out from under me when the 3rd reading went back into the 400s where the readings then plateaued. They suspected ectopic with mine as well. I opted to go without the mtx (my Dr. gave me a couple of days to do my own research since they couldn't visualize the embryo in the ultrasound). Regardless, the results are the same - one beautiful little baby awaiting your arrival in heaven. I don't know what is harder - knowing that you're miscarrying and losing a baby, or knowing that there might just be a perfectly healthy baby, but in the wrong place. Anyway, my thoughts and prayers (and tears) are with you. And thank you for being so open with your situation - I think women would gain much solace from sharing these situations rather than keeping them secret.

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  26. Oh Jen, I'm so sorry. My heart is breaking for you. I've been there and it hurts so bad (except mine were not ectopic). I will be saying some prayers and will tell myself, and you, that our little angels shall play together in heaven.

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  27. I'm so sorry : ( that breaks my heart too.

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  28. I was thinking, Jen, with the lower back pain that your pregnancy sounded ectopic. I have had two and know they the trauma of the tricky HCG numbers. So sorry to hear about your dashed dreams for this baby. Hope you can achieve your dream of another child, however, it may happen.

    Alice

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  29. Jen - My heart goes out to you. I can't figure out how to email you directly so I hope if you're up to it you will email me at cmbresolve@hotmail.com. I've followed your story from Babysteps for years. I've gone through IVF 9 times (thankfully have a toddler and twins as a result) - but 2 of those cycles were deamed "ecotpic" and I had the MTX shots. Feel free to email me if you want someone who has been there/done that. Hang in there.

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  30. The last post I commented a big congrats on your pg. I've noticed in the last few posts that you're not posting comments which I totally understand. I just wanted to send you my hugs as your go through this trying time. (((Hugs))).

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  31. I only know you from your blog...so maybe this seems weird...but I did want to tell you how sorry I was.

    And the whale whisperer photo is very cool!

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  32. Oh, I am so, so sorry. How scary.
    Sending you healing thoughts.

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  33. Jen- So very sorry. Have been thinking and praying for you all week. Can't be easy being so open and vulnerable in your posts, but know it has meant many prayers going up on your behalf. Peace to you.
    -Melinda

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  34. OMG you're so right this month has sucked. I know this was a very painful decision for you to make. However, it does leave open the possibility that another miracle can occur and you seem to specialize in miracles.

    Again I wish I could be there to hold you while you cry so I'm sending lots of Healdsburg love to you, Charlie and your 4 little miracles.

    Cry your heart out my therapist assures me that it is a very good thing.

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  35. I am sorry that it didnt work out.

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  36. I will just keep praying for you. Hold in there.

    Marla @ www.asthefarmturns.wordpress.com

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  37. Jen, I have giant cysts on my ovaries too. I bet you have Polycystic Ovaries, not the big C. That would explain your infertility issues as well. It would also explain your symptoms and weight gain. Three of my closest friends have PCOS, so I am very familiar with their struggles. They are all on metformin (sp?) to balance out their hormones and ease the symptoms. It's an autoimmune disease, and that would also make sense.

    Okay, you are freaking me out daily here.

    Please do not take a hiatus, because we need you. And you need me to talk you down off the wall. See? It's a mutually satisfying fake internet relationship.

    I cannot believe you are going to Virginia still. OH MY GOSH!

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  38. I read your blog regularly, and have been meaning to send you some words of support. I went through a miscarriage last summer (my twins were almost 4 at the time) and it was incredibly heartbreaking, bringing back all sorts of sad feelings about infertility I thought (or at least hoped) were gone.

    I didn't expect the emotional pain to last so long, but it has. I've felt sadness off and on this past year, especially around my due date, and when I've watched friends with babies around the age my little one would have been. It doesn't matter how many children you already have -- though I only know my experience, I think it's almost more painful for women with children because you have a deeper understanding of what you are missing.

    I read a book that was really helpful to me called "About What Was Lost" -- it's an anthology of writings on miscarriage, loss and healing. I thought I'd pass that along in case you find reading about others' experiences helpful or comforting. I've also found some online support through Baby Center chat boards.

    Hang in there, and know you're not alone. Whatever you may feel, good or bad, is totally normal.

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  39. I'm so sorry for your loss. You are an inspiration--your heart and the way you communicate it.

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