Our Story: Part 21.
In November of 2006, we finally wanted to try again. Actually, we had been "open" to that option the whole time but my body refused. I was not ovulating on my own. I have a condition called Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which can hinder ovulation. I was able to get pregnant with Curtis on our own, but I was still having cycles. They were irregular, but we got lucky with him. Well, as lucky as one can be when losing a child at 40 weeks.
Honestly, I was pretty ticked off at my body. The least it could do was ovulate for me! Geesh.
I went to see my old OB that I had with Curtis. I was planning on being done with him once I got pregnant again, but for the mean time, he was fine. They ran a few blood tests and said "You, you aren't ovulating". And offered to put me on a low dose of clomid (a drug that aides in ovulation) to see if that would jump start my body.
I remember when I got the call from the doctor that they were going to put me on clomid. I was in between clients at work, in my car. I felt this wave of hope! Happiness! I hung up the phone, cranked up the radio and sang along.
I was SO happy.
I took the first round of clomid and had little in the way of side effects. Thanks to ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), I knew when I was ovulating and everything was timed correctly.
Two weeks later, I got a negative on a pregnancy test, and a blood test, and my period came.
I was not that bummed out. We were headed to Vegas right then, I could have some drinks, the next round could begin. It would be okay. All that mattered to me was I had the chance to get pregnant again. All that mattered to me was I ovulated. That was big since I hadn't had a cycle since getting pregnant with Curtis.
I picked up my new round of clomid and headed to Vegas.
Now, the next part of this post gets kind of technical, women who have been down the obsessive trying to conceive world will get it. For others, I will try to explain it clearly.
I was using OPKs to try to figure out when I was ovulating. Starting at 7 days in to my cycle, my OPKs were consistently getting more and more positive. That shouldn't have been the case at all. I shouldn't be ovulating that soon. Usually you ovulate around 12 or 14 days in a cycle. Clomid can kind of muck that up, so that is why I was testing early. And if I was ovulating, OPKs should only be positive for a day, maybe two. Not for days and darkening on each day. OPKs and home pregnancy tests do measure one of the same chemicals. So a positive pregnancy test CAN show as positive on an OPK.
Something was weird.
On a whim, I took a pregnancy test.
I knew something was wrong. Immediately. I did. I really did. But it didn't make the aftermath any less heartbreaking.
I had just finished my period. A full period about 10 days before. I had just finished my last clomid pill 3 days before. No way was I pregnant.
Little voices in my said "well, maybe...maybe something weird happened. Maybe you are pregnant. Maybe that period really wasn't a period. I mean, you hear about that stuff all the time...."
I knew that wasn't the case. I knew this wasn't right. I had taken a pregnancy test, it was negative.
I called Craig and told him. Him, not understanding the workings of OPKs and clomid and periods and things said "Well, if it is positive, you are pregnant." Yeah...but. But it wasn't right. I knew it wasn't.
I ran and had a blood test, but in the mean time I started to bleed. Nothing heavy, but something.
Yet, deep down, I still had hope.
I had a repeat blood test that showed the hormone levels were not rising. In the early parts of pregnancy, the hcg in a woman's body rises. The doctor told me to wait a few weeks to see if I would miscarry on my own.
I never did. I went in for one last ultrasound to be sure. There was nothing but some tissue. I was scheduled for a d&c the next day.
Laying on that ultrasound table just reminded me of the last ultrasound we had with Curtis. The one where his body lay still inside of me. No heart fluttering away.
We scheduled a d&c for a Saturday morning. I wouldn't have to miss work, Craig wouldn't either.
We arrived at the hospital and a chatty nurse did my pre-op stuff. She was kind and sweet. I was dressed in the gown at this point and she saw my Curtis tattoo. She started to cry when I said he was our son. Lost in May at 40 weeks.
Another nurse stayed with me while I was waiting to be taken back. "The doctor is running late! It is a baby boom up there!"
Great. Thanks lady.
She patted me on the head. (What am I? A golden retriever?) "I have had a d&c before. Don't worry, I went on to have other kids. Cheer up!"
"Well, I already lost one baby at 40 weeks and now this one. So I don't exactly feel like cheering up."
She LAUGHED and walked away.
Did she think I was joking?
At that point Craig was allowed to come back and sit with me. I didn't want him next to me. I couldn't stand it. I obviously couldn't give him a child. This pregnancy was different, it was pretty much broken from the start. Even though deep down we were hoping there was some little fighter in there, it was pretty obvious something was wrong. I honestly think Craig was much more worried about me at this point.
Later that night, I sat in our huge bath tub and cried and cried. I kept apologizing to Craig. I was so damn angry.
The following Monday, I got a phone call from a doctor (not mine) at 6pm that he was reviewing my reports from the d&c and was worried that I possibly had an ectopic pregnancy. Something the d&c would miss. He found no signs of conception in the tissue they took out of me. He said if I feel sick to my stomach, spike a fever, side hurts, back hurts, or any of these things, to go straight to the ER. If not, make an appointment with my regular doctor as soon as possible. I mean, if a doctor is calling you at 6pm at night, that isn't good, right?
I was pretty much on the ground sobbing at this point. I know what ectopic means. I know that is serious surgery. I know women die from ectopic pregnancies. I know women lose their fertility from ectopics.
I was a shaking nervous wreck.
The next morning Craig left for work and I called in sick. I had gotten an appointment for later in the day. Soon after he left, I started to shake, I broke into a cold sweat, I couldn't stand up. My stomach didn't hurt, but my shoulder and upper back ached. It felt like my skin was on fire. A quick google search said some ectopic pain can be diverted to the shoulder.
I was getting more and more scared. My eyes were going blurry. No one was around. In my panic, I called 911.
In hindsight, this was a MAJOR overreaction. But I had no idea what was going on inside of me. I was convinced my fallopian tube was exploding, I was never going to be able to have a baby and I was going to die. It seemed perfectly rational.
I was hyperventilating by the time the EMS guys came. They calmed me down and took me in to the hospital.
Where I was treated like absolute crap.
They ignored my "hey, the doctor told me to come in if I felt this way..." The nurse, boy you could tell I was annoying the crap out of her. I was scared. They ran a few tests, an xray of my neck. I know I was wasting space in the ER. I know the ER is for life threatening diseases. I know it isn't a walk in clinic.
But I was scared.
They said I had a virus. They said the burning skin was the number one sign of shingles.
SHINGLES? Are you flippin' serious?
I was discharged. My OB didn't even bother to come see me. Even though I heard he was in the ER at the same time because he needed to see another patient. Is it any wonder I dropped him?
I still didn't believe the shingles diagnosis. I was still shaking, feverish, and feeling miserable.
But they were right. I had shingles. The stress and anxiety from everything I had been dealing with caused the most painful sores to pop up all over my back and shoulder a few days later. Lovely. Just lovely.
On top of it, because I wasn't diagnosed "for sure" I had to go back to the doctor and get a prescription.
I never had an ectopic. My blood levels just dropped slowly, so I had to go for repeat blood every week until they were zero. Let me tell you, THAT was fun. They cannot explain the "no sign of conception" thing. Being that they can't explain WHEN I got pregnant. I had negative pregnancy tests before I had my cycle. AND my OPKs were not positive right away. It was just one of those "flukes" no one can explain.
The plan then was to go on birth control for a few months and shut down my body and then start a round of clomid again.
I honestly felt crushed. That day in my car, where I was first given clomid, I was SO excited. I liked having hope and now, hope felt lost.
I did too.