Saturday, August 8, 2009

Waiting for a heartbeat

So, it would have been nice if I had gotten pregnant this easily earlier on. In the first 18 months I got pregnant twice out of 11 cycles of trying. In the last year, I've gotten pregnant three times out of 5 cycles of trying.

Now I am around 4 weeks 5 days pregnant. My previous four pregnancies all failed around the fifth week (although with one I didn't miscarry and didn't find out until the 7 week scan).

However, I do have some reason to be hopeful this time around. My hormones are rising much better than they did with my previous two pregnancies where I had hormone monitoring. My levels are below the median, although not by too much, but they are rising faster than average for this stage of pregnancy.

And as every health professional I meet takes great delight in telling me - I still have a 70% chance of it working out fine this time.

At this point, I am waiting for a scan at six weeks where I hope to see a heartbeat. While there will still be many hurdles afterwards, this would be a huge milestone.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


So I left you all hanging there for a while.

The outcome from my last pregnancy is that they never found whether it was in my uterus or in my tubes but the hcg levels did eventually decline to nothing within a week or two. So the pregnancy did have some indications of being ectopic but we will never know for sure.

And life goes on, the sun rises and sets. I get up each day and try to do the things I am supposed to and that I need to do and sometime even that I want to do. And some days life has some joy and others it has mostly sadness. And we keep trying to have a baby.

It seems it is possible there is a genetic condition in my family called Fragile X. This condition can cause intellectual disability including autism, learning disabilities and developmental delays. About 20% of female carriers of the condition have premature ovarian failure. So if I have it it could mean that my miscarriages have been caused by poor egg quality. I got tested for Fragile X a couple of days ago and last week I had another test (an Anti-Mullerian Hormone or AMH test) which measures ovarian reserve. I should get the results back in the next two or three weeks.

If I am a carrier I'm not sure where we'll go from here. A Fragile X carrier will pass on the condition to 50% of her children. Embryos can be screened for Fragile X so that it is not passed on - but this means you need to have an ivf cycle where you collect a lot of eggs in order for you to have a decent chance of having a successful pregnancy with a baby that is unaffected by the condition. Its unlikely to be able to collect that many eggs if your ovarian reserve is getting low.

I figure there is no point getting too worried about it until I get the test results back. However, I have started to read more about the ivf process.

I am also having a procedure called an HSG which involves pumping dye into the uterus so that the fallopian tubes can be seen on an x-ray. Its possible, although unlikely, that I have some problem in one or both tubes that could be causing ectopic pregnancies. I only know for sure that one of the pregnancies was in the uterus. In theory, some or all of the other three could have been ectopic.

If you are thinking that looking for the cause of recurrent miscarriage is like looking for a needle in a haystack then you would probably be right.

I can't help but search anyway.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pregnancy of unknown location

This is my latest diagnosis. It means that my hcg is being funky (by neither rising - as it would if it were viable- or falling - as it would if it were an ordinary miscarriage - as it should) and they cannot see signs of pregnancy in either the uterus or the fallopian tubes when they look in a scan. So basically it means I might be having a (very small) ectopic pregnancy or else just a really weird ordinary miscarriage.

Some people like to 'do' countries by travelling around them, apparently my quest in life is to collect obscure early pregnancy complications.

Rats - NB post not suitable for readers with rodent phobias

I don't usually feel sorry for rats but I did for the one I found last night cowering next to my hall cupboard, no doubt a prime example of 'something the cat dragged in'. It was only half grown and it was brown and fluffy with a curled up tail like an earth worm. It appeared to be trembling.

I used my standard operating procedure, which was to throw an old towel over it so I could pick it up and take it outside to the very edge of our property where the cat was unlikely to find it again. As I went to scoop it up it made the most pathetic, whimpering/squealing noise. I felt so bad for it. (BTW, don't you love my non-traditional relationship where the girl gets to deal with the vermin.)

Anyway, the rat was officially liberated and we went to bed.

This morning we found the corpse of rat #2 sprawled in the hallway in front of the kitchen door. This one was decidedly less cute and rigor mortis was starting to set in but I still felt kind of sorry for it. I know he's just doing what comes naturally but sometimes my kitty can be a nasty little predator. He hasn't been in yet this morning so he must be out in the rain, attempting to pull in a little more of the rat bounty.

Monday, May 18, 2009

No not yet, maybe not ever

So in the last 48 hours I've been asked if I am thinking about using donor eggs and whether I am considering adoption. Clearly I've hit some kind of threshold where people are starting to think that I am pursuing a lost cause and that maybe I should give up.

This raises lots of issues for me.

First, adoption and donor eggs are generally expensive and difficult, neither are a sure bet and both have a whole lot of complex emotional issues attached to them that come with parenting/giving birth to a child with a genetic makeup different from his or her parent(s). Moreover, even if we did decide to pursue this as a couple we are not necessarily a good candidates for adoptive parents given our relatively advanced ages and the fact I am being medicated for depression. And it could be that donor eggs wouldn't work any better than my own eggs, if the cause for the miscarriages is some kind of underlying condition that stops the pregnancies from progressing.

Second, there is still a good chance that I will have a pregnancy that ends in a live birth of a healthy child. There are interventions that I haven't tried yet (basically because they are unproven and the doctors wouldn't give them to me until I had four losses or because they are really expensive). Plus most women with recurrent miscarriage eventually have a successful pregnancy if they keep trying. Its really about how many times you can bring yourself to go through it.

While my feelings on this stuff can fluctuate like mercury, right now I feel certain that we will be successful if we keep trying.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rollercoaster blah blah

So today the blood test showed my hcg is dropping, which means the pregnancy is almost certainly non-viable. I kind of feel like some higher power is cruelly toying with me.

So shall we just go back and replay Friday's post.

And for those of you who feel like something really carthartic there is also this song.

Monday, May 11, 2009

OMG, this stuff can mess with your head

So it seems, despite all indications to the contrary, that this pregnancy may be viable. My hcg levels have risen from 20 to 55, which is a 49 hour doubling time, with the average doubling time for normal pregnancy being 48 hours. Still bleeding though.

Sorry, again, for traumatising everyone with my post the other day. After everything that has happened. and with everything looking so bad it was self-protective for me to assume the worst.

It will still be weeks before the danger zone for miscarriage is past and things could go kaput at any time. From here on out I will have three-daily hcg tests and a scan at around 6 weeks - it will be a waiting game to see what happens. Wish me luck.