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Trying-to-Conceive Blog

Ovary Wizard's blog

Welcome to My World of Calendar Gazing & Sperm-Friendly Lube

I’m among the women who were told it was ok to “try right away” after miscarriage, so as soon as my body was done ejecting contents of our blighted ovum last week, my partner and I were back to business as usual.

”You bought new panties?”

”Yeah. To try and make it fun again.”

”Oh. Yeah, that’s a good idea, I guess...”


(awkward silence followed by intercourse)

Sometimes I think of my loss in terms of science- that it happens in nature all the time, and that there’s no good in taking it personally. Monkeys miscarry. If they go through this, anyone can.

But at other moments I freak out and convince myself that it happened because I kept my prenatal vitamins near our radioactive microwave during the 6 months I took them and might as well have rubbed uranium on my womb, or that maybe the embryo didn’t make it to fetus status and disintegrated because I went on a 9 hour road trip or breathed too much air freshener at my job.

Perhaps the embryo sensed that its would-be parents bicker too much, plus our apartment is messy. Did it change its mind?

Maybe it reneged when my cellphone sent one too many radio waves through my purse and into my endometrium. 

I even find myself wondering if people had ill thoughts towards me, or some random stranger I cut off getting on the train gave me the evil eye and it “reached the baby.”

It’d be great to shift gears from this cycle of thinking but it hasn’t been that long since the hard-won contents of my uterus emptied themselves.

Even if I could sweep these emotions away with a magic broom, I‘m not sure what would come along to replace them. Probably just raw anguish. It‘d be the emotional equivalent of looking at the sun for an extended time period.

I look at my “ladies’ app” a few times a day and try to retrace my steps.

What  did I do differently a couple months ago when I finally conceived after all that trying? What were the signs that it had worked? Why did it backfire in the end?

The infuriating truth is that, when compared to previous months, nothing I did during the month of my doomed BFP was especially different. Technically we BD’d less, but big whoop. I‘ve come to believe thst, short of timed intercourse and healthy living, at best it’s all just a crap shoot. 

All this calendar gazing, the strategic prepping of softcups with gloopy school gluey Preesesd, the supplement popping and fastidious caffeine avoidance... I guess one way to look at it is a revisitation of self discipline. If I were to apply this much purpose and attention to my professional life I’d be the CEO of Disney by now or something. If I could have projected these passions onto fitness and general wellbeing I might be a renouned personal trainer at this stage.

Instead, I am a childless late-30’s educator with a very ordinary day-to-day life but extraordinary regret that I was so naïve about what it would take simply to biologically become a parent. Scarier yet, I’m just scratching the tip of the fertility iceberg. This is a picnic compared to what lays in store for many of us.

Babies. What a scam.

Ugh. Listen to me. Downersville USA.Please go watch a heartwarming romantic comedy under a fluffy blanket with snacks and know that in spite of all the heartache, hope springs eternal. I’ll be the first to admit it.

Back the the Old Drawing Board: Life After Miscarriage

Dear Fellow Trenchmates

Most of the posts I see on Two Week Wait in the section where I submit my blog entries are "fertility cure" spam which is major reader-deterrent (heads up TWW admin, time for some spring cleaning!) but even the 3 thoughtful comments users have left me- minus the ad for miracle supplements- have brought enormous comfort. So, here's my latest message in a bottle. 

It looks like my natural miscarriage at 7 weeks is drawing to a close. There's now barely any spotting left when I wipe, though when I pee on a Femometer pregnancy strip a medium-pink positive line still stares back at me. This feels like insult upon injury, but I'm trying to stay kind towards my body since it doesn't know any better and is, for all intents and purposes, just doing it's job.

All told, the bleeding and intermittent contractions lasted for 8 days. I won't go into details about the "content" I "ejected," but an image Google of "miscarriage 7 weeks" conveniently reveals everything you'll never want to see again. The experience made me realize what a disconnect there is between how I visualize my body's functions and what they actually look like. The tidy, pink representations in textbook diagrams are just an illustrator's polite interpretation of our bodies' gory truth. 

I took black cohosh supplements every few hours for the first couple of days of bleeding to help ripen my cervix, which really did speed matters along. I also took evening primrose and a homeopathic "women's balance" tincture in hopes of calming my furious hormones. Beyond that, I just tried to keep busy with work because the alternative of holing up and sobbing non-stop only made sense for the first couple of days, and after that I just wanted whatever taste of normalcy I could get. My partner and friends have been invaluable throughout this mess. They really showed up, and not everyone does in this life, you know?

The thought of starting our TTC journey again from scratch is not especially enticing, but I'll be damned if I give up now. Got my box of "fertility stuff" ready to go (as seen above) and am trying to see the bigger picture at this point:

- my body will return to it's unpregnant state

- ovulation is presumably just around the corner, and then another, and another...

- crazier things have happened in the history of mankind than getting pregnant and carrying to term following a miscarriage

Etc, etc, etc.

But there are some intense fears lurking in the wings too:

- what if the next BFP takes another year and then, wose yet, doesn't stick? Am I prepared to face the agony of miscarriage again, or possibly many multiple times?

- am I spinning my wheels for nothing? Could there be an undiagnosed condition in my body that led to this miscarriage and will lead to others? I did everything by the book, so am I an idiot for not barging into a reproductive endocrinologist's office already? 

And, well, you get the idea. Doubt is a bitch. 

It's hard not to be shell shocked in the wake of a pregnancy loss, but I'm in my late 30's so I can't exactly take a year off to contemplate all that's happened. I'll have to contemplate all that's happened while I actively try to conceive again. Yay, there's that eternal package deal: trauma and hope.

Bottom line, we women are warriors. We can- and will- survive anything.  



First Pregnancy, First Miscarriage. Back to Square One

Hello again, fellow trenchmates.

Earlier this week at my 7 week transvaginal ultrasound the doctor saw the gestational sac but no sign of an embryo or yolk sac. I spent the next couple of days freaking out and obsessively reading everything I could about blighted ovum, not to mention ultrasound "mistakes." I basically went about my days toggling between thinking everything-will-be-ok, and intense panic.

Fast forward to yesterday morning, when I called my OB/GYN to tell her I'd started cramping and spotting brown clots. She said to head over to the ER because the hospital can get you your HCG blood test results within the day, unlike the OB/GYN folks who have to send them out and await levels for up to a week.

My partner and I spent 6 hours in the corner of the ER- which is miraculously fast by NYC standards. The staff even gave me an IV because they were concerned that I'd be dehydrated from losing fluids. My blood was drawn and eventually we went in for the transvaginal ultrasound. Before they performed the examination, the tech dropped the "probe" on the floor and then didn't clean it. We were like, "Could you please just clean that probe one more time?" And she said, "I just sterilized it a minute ago! I used bleach. It's strong, it lasts."  My partner and I just sat there laughing and crying at the same time at the lousiness of it all. After a certain point on the sadness spectrum you just laugh at the absurdity of it all (yes, the technician humored us and wiped down the probe again before they placed it inside my vagina).

The results of the examination and bloodwork (showing declining HCG levels since last week) all indicated an early miscarriage. Now I'm just waiting out the natural process because I don't relish the idea of any more "medical scenarios" than I absolutely have to go through right now. 

For any of you who have miscarried, how did you "get back on the horse" afterwards? I'm on the dark side of my 30's so I can't really afford to take my time at this point. I guess I should just go back doing to all the things I did to get pregnant in the first place: prenatals, softcups, acupuncture, healthy living, etc. But whereas before it all felt exciting and empowering, like I was grasping my fertility by the horns, now it feels like a task that may just as well result in another loss. How do I shift my perspective so that I'm not approaching this from a heartbroken place? Honestly, what would you do?

Empty Gestational Sac at First Transvaginal Ultrasound (Maybe) 7 Weeks

Based on what I really hope are mistaken calculations, I'm 7-days-and-change weeks pregnant. Not so long ago I posted about what an eye opener TTC was leading up to testing positive for this pregnancy. The joy I felt when I saw that second pink line was unlike anything I've ever known, no exaggeration. Aside from a chemical pregnancy a few months ago (which showed up on the strip looking more like an evaporation indent than anything else) I'd never had a proper AH-HAH moment.

I was also in the midst of my fertility work up, with its blood panels and sonograms and HSG's etc. I'd really felt like TTC had me hitting rock bottom. But. Little did I know that TTC was an emotional cake walk compared to watching the OB/GYN's unhappy expression while she seached the ultrasound screen in vain for signs of an embryo and yolk sac. Nobody home.

She was very mindful not to prematurely diagnose what may well be blighted ovum and reminded me (while I sat there with trembling on the examination table under the giant lap-napkin they give you) that I may be wrong about when I conceived.

I wasn't up to explaining to her how I'd basically kept an OCD diary of every OPK result, symptom and intercourse session for half a year or more leading up the the BFP, and it's near-impossible that I fell pregnant more recently than I think I did given when I tested positive on a FRER.

A later date of conception than what I'd written down could explain an empy gestational sac, as in theory the embryo and/or yolk might not be visible in there before 6 weeks anyhow. The doctor said the gestational sac looked to be 5 weeks and a couple days, not 7. But a common symptom of blighted ovum is that the sac is developmentally delayed in measurement, so I don't want to get my hopes up.

The image on the screen of a dark, round hole-like hollow in my uterus struck me as the loneliest thing ever. I took a picture of it with my phone because I felt weird about carrying around this miserable image printed on a strip of fax paper in my wallet for the rest of the day. Later on my partner and I zoomed in on the image. We both saw a blurry lumpy form but research has shown that this is "debris," or possibly even the early stages of sac desintigration. Just the kind of thing you want passing through your thoughts on the job while you teach your class, right? That's the other thing you don't anticipate: when you feel like your universe is crumbling apart, you still have to get out there and hustle because life goes on. It goes to show you really never know what's going on in people's private lives. Lots of us are just keeping up appearances. I feel like I've been one of them forever at this point, and it just keeps getting lousier. 

Even though I'm supposed to hold out and stay optimistic until next week's vaginal ultrasound, and possibly the next, and the next since who knows, sometimes they say the baby just appears much later on, I can already feel myself distancing myself emotionally from this pregnancy because it's literally the only way I'm going to be able to walk down the street and function in society and not fall apart. I'm an emotional person to begin with and the pregnancy hormones had me crying over the baby dinosaur in the Jurassic Park trailer, so you can imagine what anticipating a probable miscarriage is doing to my mental landscape.

I got home and sat up late reviewing medically induced miscarriage (the pill route) vs aspirational (vacuum) or waiting it out until nature ejects the empty contents of an "anatomical pregnancy" (contractions, bleeding for days and weeks) and I'm just like wtf. This is heartbreaking and even though I know it's super common, blah blah blah everyone goes through it, nothing could have prepared me for what a misery it would be to consider miscarriage options the way you review any other set of medical choices: it's work that may have to be done, it'll come at a cost and this is how life goes sometimes so take your lumps like everyone else. 

I'm no stranger to prayer and I do believe in the power of positive thinking... to a point. But I've also lived through enough loss and disappointment to know how ugly reality can get and I don't know how else to respond to this unwelcome discovery than to start grieving now, throw in the towel and get the hopeful part, which can hurt way more than despair- as every woman on this board knows- out of the way.