I hope my post will offer hope to others who may be concerned you may have a miscarriage in the future. I am 39 y/o and my husband is 46 y/o and we are conceiving our first child (neither one of us has been married before and have no previous children by another partner). As you can see by our age, time is ticking, and becoming pregnant sooner is better for us than later.
My husband is very healthy and has no known fertility issues. After receiving the s____n a___lysis, he likes to boast that he has an 88 million strong Army of sperm. LOL...As for me, I have a different story to tell... I have had extreme irregular cycles since I was a teen (a cycle may occur every other month, and/or not for up to six months), back then I was not complaining who would want their cycle to come as a teen. However, I had no idea how this would impact me later in life. I had been on birth control pills since I was 20 to help manage my cycle(s) and my PMS symptoms. If I were not on birth control bills, my symptoms would include: heavy cramping (usually needing a heating pad and 500 mg of pain relievers to cope with the pain), heavy menstruation for up to 3 days straight, extreme moodiness (I am usually a very carefree and relaxed person), flu like symptoms (Caution TMI - vomiting, diarrhea and the chills), and I craved salty and citrus foods like crazy. In addition, I was diagnosed with mild case of hypothyroidism (3 years ago) that impacted my activity level a bit. Now, I am on medication and my activity level is much better. I had no idea that I had the condition, but I have always been a nappy person as a young adult, and I did not realize it was a medical reason that attributed to me being nappy.
My husband and I have been married for over four years, and when we began TTC after our second wedding anniversary (late Fall of 2009). What this meant for us, was that I would stop my birth control pills, and we would see what happens. In addition, this was my first time TTC in my life, so I had no prior experience of what hurdle(s) may be in front of us (me). After over a year of TTC with no luck, I spoke to my general pract_tioner, and asked if I could receive a referral to an IF doctor that may be able to help us determine the reason we have not become pregnant thus far. My general pract_tioner mentioned to me that since I had been on birth control pills for so long (15+ years), my ovaries and eggs were preserved in a sense, which was a good thing. I did not know this...
Before seeing the IF doctor, I did some research online to have more insight into why we have not become pregnant. I learned a lot through the online IF resources and IF forums/blogs. I had no idea that my irregular cycle and hypothyroidism could have been the delay in us becoming pregnant. This was a true revelation. Since I had more knowledge in hand, I began tracking my temperature daily before I got out of bed; I wrote down anything I felt during the day/night; and, I needed to minimize any consumption of wine (even if it was one gla__s) so I had a better read on my temperatures. I learned a lot about my body including many things I did not know. I learned that my temperature is fairly elevated (my baseline/cover line is around 97.5), and I ovulate much later in the month (around CD 19- CD 22). I started to track my temperatures since mid November 2010 until present. I switched my thyroid medication to a stronger dose that was recommended by the pharmacist and to stay with a name brand medication. My thyroid readings was initially 4.5 and is now down below 1, which is best when one is TTC. I did not know this either...
When I first visited the IF doctor, a plan was established that I would go through a baseline trial cycle (wait for my period to come, then take 50 mg of Clomid, skip the trigger shot, test with ovulation predictor kit (OPK) until I receive a positive ovulation result, skip the IUI, have timed intercourse, and then wait for an outcome). My IF doctor also prescribed me birth control pills in the event my cycle runs behind or does not start after our visit. I thought to myself that works for me, I do not like shots anyway. I picked up my prescription the IF doctor provided, and I had an interesting visit with the pharmacist. My pharmacist informed me that an IF doctor she knew had recommended their patients to take over the counter Robitussin/Tussin that only has guaifenesin (No DM,CF and etc) on the label, which I picked up along with my other medication(s). I was told that Robitussin/Tussin with guaifenesin helps when your TTC as it helps to absorb the medication in the body better. Also, when one has timed intercourse it helps the body to clear any extra mucus and etc that can allow the sperm to go to the destination where the eggs are hanging out. I did not know this either...
My period arrived (January 27th) a day after my IF doctor visit...Woo Hoo... Here we go...I have been keeping track of my cycle with a notepad and on Fertility Friend. (fertilityfriend.com) I started Clomid on CD5-9 (January 31st to February 4th) at 50mg. My only symptom I had while on Clomid was a faint headache, which I used regular Tylenol (the type doctor recommend for pregnant woman to take). I thought to myself if I am going to become pregnant, I need to start taking medications like pregnant women do. During this time, I began taking my Robitussin like the pharmacist recommended twice a day while I was on Clomid until after timed intercourse was done. I thought to myself what harm can this do, and this was a baseline trial cycle after all. I noticed I was beginning to have some pressure on the left and right side around the ovaries after taking Clomid. At CD12 (February 7th), I visited my IF doctor to have my first ultrasound to determine how many eggs are developing and their sizes. I had 9mm (2) and 8mm(1) on the right side, and 13mm (2), 8.2 mm (1) and 9mm (1) on my left side. The doctor recommended I begin testing for ovulation and record my results. Since I started my cycle, I was taking my temperature daily in the morning before I get out of bed; recording my discharge (dry, watery, sticky, creamy or egg white texture); and, list what I was feeling each day no matter how significant or insignificant.
Around CD 16 (February 10th), I notice my ovulation pain had increased, I felt more uncomfortable in the abdomen area, and I though I should be ovulating soon. On CD19 (February 13th), I received my first positive OPK (WOO HOO), and had my most intense ovulation pain on the right side. I informed my husband that tonight is the night, and we will be having intercourse for every night until I receive a negative OPK. Side note: My discharge did confirm ovulation as I had creamy/egg white discharge on CD22. I had positive OPK from CD19 to CD 22 (February 13th to February 17th), and had time intercourse CD19, CD20 (Valentines Day), CD21 and CD22. My temperatures were inline when I had ovulated as my temperature was 97.7 on CD19, then shot up to 98.2 and more after CD21. Now we wait the threaded two weeks...As you can see I am not your typical 28 day cycle gal, but my cycle can range from being a 38 day cycle to a 60 day cycle or more. (Keep this in information in mind as you continue to read my post). After testing positive on the OPK, I began taking my Progesterone medication (Prometrium, 200mg x 2 daily, orally). I found that it is best for me to take Prometrium in the evening before I go to bed as the medication makes me sleepy.
My DPO1 (February 15th) per Fertility Friend, I started to count down my two weeks. For me the time went more quickly than for others as I promised myself that I would not test for pregnancy until after DPO17 for a few reasons. Around DPO7-11, this is when implantation occurs and I may have a negative result, and I would be upset since I have been so diligent tracking my symptoms, temperatures and etc. Also, I will return home from a family vacation, and I did not want to ruin my vacation if I tested negative. Plus, I wanted to be home when I tested for the first time so my husband and I can learn the result together. At DPO17 (March 3rd), I tested positive for being pregnant. My first reaction was...OMG... I called out to my husband, "Honey, can you come to the restroom? There is something you need to take a look at." My husband always gets nervous as he thinks there may be something wrong in the house. I asked him to take a look at the pregnancy test. I knew it was positive when I called out to him, but I wanted him to see the test results for himself. He looked at the test, read the instructions on the test kit, and then he smiled. I tested a few more times just to make sure using the cheap Dollar Store pregnancy test kits. The next day (DPO18/March 4th) I called my IF doctor's office to have my first beta test done, followed by a second beta test on Sunday (DPO20/March 6th). My first beta test was 217 and my second beta test was 454. I was not asked to come in for a third or fourth beta test(s).
So we are now pregnant...It was very surreal...My husband and I did not expect to become pregnant this soon, and thought we had a long road in front of us needing to do multiple IUIs and etc. However, given our age we will accept our fate that now was the time for us to become pregnant. Since this would be my first pregnancy, I was not sure what symptoms I would developed. I have asked my mother in the past what symptoms she experienced while she was pregnant with my siblings and I, and she did not have strong pregnancy symptoms like many women experience. I thought to myself, I hope I am just as lucky as my mother. After I learned I was pregnant, I began tracking any possible pregnancy symptoms. My earliest pregnancy symptom that I can recall looking back started on DPO9 (February 23rd). While I was flying to my vacation destination, I noticed what seemed like stinging needle points to my left b___st. OUCH! Other symptoms that I had, but dismissed were while on vacation were fatigue, sleepiness, headaches, sensitivity to smells, and I ate more salty and meaty foods. Since there was over a four hour time difference from my vacation destination to home, I thought I was adjusting to the time difference which would explain my sleepiness, and I was on vacation which would be a great time to catch up on some rest. Also, I walked around more (sightseeing) than usual which I attributed to my fatigue. I did have some dull headaches off and on, since I was in a much hotter climate I thought this is the reason for my headaches. I took some Tylenol and off I go. Since I was on vacation, I was eating foods I normally refrain from eating while at home. I ate more meat, and I could not lay off the chips (Pringle flavored chips). YUM...I still crave them...
After arriving home from my vacation I began noticing other symptoms that began to crop up. I began having frequent urination, metallic taste in my mouth (like a penny was my throat lozenge), increase/daily v____al discharge, elevated temperatures (above 98 F), and my b___sts became sore and tender. I was due to have a crown put in on DPO21 (March 7th), which I canceled after learning I was pregnant. However, I should say that during the entire time of my pregnancy (before, during and after conception), I have been having an infection/swelling on the lower right side of my mouth due to having three wisdom teeth removed in mid December 2010. I have always worried about this, and I still worry about any possible impact to this day on my pregnancy. After canceling my dental appointment, I scheduled an appointment for my first ultrasound for March 17th. I was so looking forward to having my ultrasound, which this was the first glimpse into the pregnancy.
Two weeks have pa__sed by, and I project I should be 7 weeks pregnant at my first ultrasound. My known pregnancy symptoms before my first ultrasound were sore/tender b___sts, frequent urination, metallic taste in my mouth, craving salty, beefy and citrus foods, v____al discharge, heighten sensitivity to smells, fatigue, sleepiness, pulling sensation (someone is pulling my uterus out but with no pain) in the abdomen area, and sudden discomfort when I get up quickly. I had no cramping or bleeding since I started my cycle. My first ultrasound was scheduled on St. Patrick's Day, the luck of the Irish should be on my side. I was looking forward to seeing the first heartbeat and the size of the baby, as this is what I have read I should be expecting to see at week 7.
This is it, my ultrasound day is finally here. I was so excited. I went to the appointment by myself as my husband was very busy at work, and I thought this would be a very routine procedure/visit. I had no worries or concerns at this point. My name was called by the technician, and I went into the room to prepare for the first glimpse of the baby. The technician and I had some small talk, she asked me what was the first day of my last menstruation cycle and the picture came onto the screen. The technician showed me the gestational sack and the yolk sac, and asked me again if I was sure my first day of my last menstrual cycle. I asked the technician, "where is the heartbeat and the fetal pole?", and she said, "it is not visible at this time, and it is best for you to get dressed and talk to the doctor's nurse about next steps..." Before she left, she said "I will see you again... this will not be the last of our visits together." I laid there stunned and thought to myself, "Why is the heartbeat not there? Is there something wrong? I have not felt bad? Could it be my dental infection cause the baby to die?" I was brought back to talk to my IF doctor's nurse, but instead I spoke with my IF doctor directly. My doctor asked me when was my first day of my last menstrual cycle and I told him. Then he said, " I want you to come back for another ultrasound in one week, and if we are unable to hear the heartbeat then you may experience having a miscarriage soon. Since your baby is where he/she needs to be, you may have a missed miscarriage if your pregnancy symptoms begin to go away." I tried to make my next ultrasound appointment one week from today, but my mind was miles away and racing like crazy. I was able to set my next ultrasound for Friday, March 25th at 2:00p.m. I thought to myself, "If the baby was no longer viable, I did not want to go back to work that I would just want to go home and mourn."
I left my doctor's office. I was numb, stunned, devastated, confused, sadden and angry. I had all of these thoughts running through my head, here are a few of them. "How can this happen with my first pregnancy? Would this be my first and only pregnancy? If I were to miscarry, when would it happen? Have I noticed my symptoms going away like the doctor mentioned? What would be my chances to conceive in the future? If the baby was not born, would it have been a boy or a girl? This would have been my first child and the first grandchild for my parents? Did the baby have abnormalities and this is why I may miscarry? I had been doing fine, no cramping or bleeding. I do not understand how this happened? Why is this happening to me?...."
I had planned to run some errands after the ultrasound visit before going home. I went to the three stores, hoping shopping could distract me from thinking the unthinkable. I was not sure how I got to the stores as I was driving on autopilot. When I walked into each store, I realized I should have foregone my errands and went straight home. There were kids both small and tall at everywhere store I went too, of course it was Spring Break. I picked up the items I needed and quickly left each store. I tried not to look at the school that I pa__s by on my way home. I decided it was a good idea for me to go for a walk when I got home to clear my head. My route walk includes a walk by a park near my home. After walking by the park, I decided I needed to alter my walk until I learn the fate of my baby. It was so hard to see parents in the park with their kids both small and tall. I came home and I wanted to cry. I was in no mood to prepare dinner, and ate very light that night. I went online and began researching miscarriages. I could not believe I was researching miscarriages and the different types that could occur in early pregnancy. It was important for me to become as educated as I could. I would have never thought in a million years that a miscarriage could be likely.
I read through countless blogs for a week leading up to my next ultrasound. I looked up images of ultrasounds that resembled mine to see if I may have my weeks off. I read through blog posts that made me sad due to other ladies unfortunate outcome(s) and it gave me hope to read blog posts that had a fortunate outcome(s). Unfortunately, the unfortunate outcome(s) appeared to dominate the blog posts than those who had a fortunate outcome. I made a decision to myself that if I were to miscarry, I would have a D & C so that I have minimal recoup time, and my husband and I can begin TTC again soon. During the week, I noticed my pregnancy symptoms came and went. The pregnancy symptoms that would come/go were sensitivity to smells, metallic taste in my mouth, food cravings, headaches, fatigue, and on occasion my temperature was below 98, which really freaked me out. I was starting to get scared. The pregnancy symptoms that still remained (which I did not know why at the time, but gave me hope) were frequent urination, v____al discharge and sore/tender b___sts. It was one of the longest weeks of my life. I had a hard time concentrating at work, I researched miscarriages and read blog posts every night, I went to bed early but I would wake up between 3am to 5am each morning, including the weekends. I did not want to go anywhere or see anyone (including family, friends, strangers and particularly, not kids). I knew it was important for me to continue to walk each day although I had no motivation to do so, but it was important for me to do a healthy physical activity. I continued to take my medication(s) as instructed: Synthorid, prenatal vitamins, folic acid, and Prometrium.
My husband and I decided we would not tell anyone we were pregnant until we were ready, which included immediate family members. We did not want the added stress of family and friends asking questions and such. It was a good move on our part for our situation. However, the drawback is that I am very close to my parents and keeping this from them was very hard for me. The only person I could talk to about my feeling was my husband, and I think it may stress him to know how stressed I was feeling. So, I found researching miscarriages and reading blog posts to be easier to cope until my next ultrasound, if that makes any sense. During the course of my research I suspected that I may have either a blighted ovum or a missed miscarriage in the future if this is what fate had in store for me. I had no cramping and no bleeding which gave me some comfort. I would wear pads to work just to be on the safe side, if I did miscarry. My husband was on high alert, and would pick me up from work (I am on a van pool at work) if miscarriage would occur.
On March 21st, I had a conversation with my supervisor. At this time, I knew I needed to tell my supervisor about what is going on as I may need to miss a few days of work in the future regardless of either outcome. Since I had been off of work for two weeks (February 21st to March 4th) before learning I was pregnant, I did not want my supervisor to think I was abusing my leave. I informed my supervisor that I was pregnant, but at my first ultrasound there was no heartbeat and my doctor informed me that I may have a miscarriage. I told my supervisor that I would have a follow up ultrasound on Friday (March 25th). My supervisor was very rea__suring, and asked if I needed time away from work. I informed my supervisor that I preferred to be at work as work will be a great distraction. plus I am unable to go online at work due to security reasons. Furthermore, I asked him to give me plenty of work, so that I can stay busy and not think about my situation. I told my supervisor that I want to have this information stay confidential, and if the information needed to be told that I would tell the appropriate parties.
The week leading up to my second ultrasound was one of the longest and torturous weeks of my life. I had thought about either outcome a lot, but particularly I wanted to prepare myself psychologically, mentally, emotionally and physically if I needed a D & C. I decided that if a D & C was needed that I would want one as soon as I could have one, preferably over the weekend so I can recoup. I decided the next cycle, my husband would try naturally and then go back to a medicated cycle,if needed. I began contemplating having a natural cycle teamed with acupuncture and Chinese herbs as this is what helped my supervisor's wife conceive their two children, and we have similar fertility issues (extreme irregular cycles). My husband rea__sured me that we would be fine and prepared for either outcome. It would be best to take each day, one day at a time. During this time my husband said the sweetest thing to me, "If we are not meant to have children I am OK with that as I am the happiness I have been in my entire life, and I do not know how much more happy I can be than right now."
The day was here Friday, March 25th. My ultrasound was scheduled at 2:00p.m. Most people look forward to Fridays at work, while I was nervous, scared, distracted yet hopeful. I could barely focus on my work, and the day seemed to drag. My husband picked me up at work at 1:00p.m., and we drove to the hospital (45 minute drive). I saw the same technician again...deja vu all over again... However, this time was different because my husband was with me. My husband and the technician joked a bit, while I was afraid yet hopeful for the ultrasound process to begin. My husband and I went into the same room that I was in when I did not hear the baby's heartbeat. I undressed, laid down, and waited for the technician while my husband explored the ultrasound machine (he can be such a kid sometimes).
The moment of truth....The ultrasound procedure began, and we were able to see the gestational sac, but the yolk sac looked much different than last time. The technician informed us the pregnancy looked as though it was 6weeks/5days. However, by my first day of my last menstrual cycle, I was 8weeks/1day. The technician measured the baby from crown to rump (.82cm), a fetal pole was present and praise God there was a heartbeat. The heart beat was strong, and was beating 141 bpm. I have never been so happy to hear "Whoooose...Whoooose..Whooooose..." I have never been so relieved/happy/at peace in my whole life...I began asking the technician a few questions (that is if she was able to answer them)... "Why am I measuring 6weeks/5days and not 8weeks/1day?... Is this the right size, heart rate and etc you have seen in women this far along as me? Can I hug you?" Her responses were, "Some women if they ovulate late in their cycle (like I had), the gestational stage may be off by a few days to a few weeks. Yes, the size of the baby and the heart rate is right where you want it to be. Yes, I like hugs."
My next ultrasound and first OB appointment is scheduled for April 11th. I am finally looking forward to my next ultrasound, and I am not holding my breath due to fear.
It is my hope that by sharing my story with you, it will provide you with hope going through a similar situation. It helped me to read about positive outcome(s) and the positive outcomes gave me hope when hope was hard to find. During the week between ultrasounds, as hard as it may have been I always tried to have hope. I hope you have hope going through this journey. I encourage you to wait a week or more between ultrasounds as a lot of growing is happening to the baby during the first trimester. Don't lose hope until you are given an affirmative otherwise from your doctor.
Best of luck to you, your current pregnancy and future pregnancies you may have.