I don't think I remember bleeding this much, this early on before. I am wearing a maternity pad and I'm still afraid to stand up in case I have another accident. I suppose that's the downside of a good, strong, early implantation. And of course my stubborn refusal to give up on progesterone supplements, even when I knew deep down it was all over.
I also don't remember crying so much and so consistently. The grief is more overpowering than when our baby died at 12 weeks. But then we had only lost one baby, now we have lost almost everything.
And now there's something new, a terrible anxiety that I can't identify. I have been depressed since our first miscarriage two years ago. I have never seen anyone about it as I have always been confident that there was only one cure. My brief bouts of pregnancy back up that theory. And no matter how bad I have felt, I have usually been able to manage my emotions on a cyclical basis. But how do I manage this anxiety, the feeling that something horrific is about to happen?
I don't know how I'm going to cope now that my crutch of TTC has been taken away. Where will I find the usual portion of hope that comes with a new cycle? How on earth am I going to survive the regular servings of pregnancy and baby announcements? I suppose I am just going to have to get myself something that everybody else wants - a bestselling novel or a lotto win. Watch this space.
This is the end. Not because I have had six miscarriages (the final one is in the post), not because of the physical, emotional, financial strain. The reason we are stopping is because I am going bald.
For the last couple of months, I have experienced severe hair loss. I lose small clumps constantly throughout the day and every time I wash it or run my fingers through it, I remove large handfuls of hair. I finally got to see my hairdresser yesterday and she was alarmed by the amount of hair I have lost. I must see a medical practitioner immediately. My hair is now so thin that she had to cut my once long, flowing, golden locks into a limp bob.
This is no more.
It could be the steroids, it could be the blood thinners, it could be any or all of the hormones or the chronic period of stress. It could also be immunological. Whatever it is, I am very scared. So, after two and a half years of pain and grief I could never, ever have imagined, it was vanity that finally killed the cat.
First thing this morning, my husband sent me this:
J caught me sobbing in front of the computer. I explained to him that sometimes when people are very, very happy, they cry. I showed him the video and told him that Daddy had sent it to me because he loves me very, very much. J threw his arms around me and said "I love you very, very much too".
People often say that I am brave. I think it's because no matter how many times I am knocked down, I get up and start again.
Other people think I am foolish, that it is time to stop and get on with my life. They don't leave comments on my blog, but I know they're out there.
Regardless of what camp they are in, what many people don't understand is that I do this because I have no choice. It is neither bravery nor foolishness that drives me. It is the overpowering love for the child I have, the ones I have lost and the ones that I cannot imagine living without.
Some people say things like "I could never have gone through what you have to get my children". All that means is that they didn't have to. How do they know they wouldn't have done it if things had been different? Nobody can say what they would or wouldn't do in a situation until that situation is forced upon them. When I ask those people what lengths they would go to to save the lives of the children they have, they say "Oh, but that's different". Why? Because your children lived longer than mine? Because you never before had to contemplate living without them? Don't people understand that the pain of infertility IS the pain of losing a child, over and over again?
Infertility was always my greatest fear, a Von Trapp sized family my greatest ambition. If we stop now, we'll never get to play the Salzburg Music Festival.
I have been trying to be cavalier about this cycle, at least in print. (Of course you know that IRL I have organised even my breathing schedules around it.) Yes, I have taken the pills, eaten the protein, worked out all the important dates. So even though my head is about to pop with expectation, my veneer is intact.
Until now. Three days of light brown spotting post-O can crack the smoothest finish. In all the, oh 30 or 40 cycles I've been monitoring, I have never had spotting until 7dpo at the earliest. So WTF is going on? Spotting at or a day after O I could understand, but 2, 3 and 5dpo?
Please, please tell me this is a symptom of pregnancy, because at this stage that is the only thing I want to hear. I have processed all the premature ovarian failure information and I know where we stand (or squat) there. Just don't give me any more obstacles to factor into our already pathetic diagnosis.
We've had enough of IVF. It's time for a new plan.
I went to see a new doctor last week. He's an advocate of natural fertility, which is not particularly something I have time for, but I may as well be doing something while I'm waiting for my body to let me know what's next. New Doc thinks my recurrent miscarriage problem, coupled with my high FSH, is indicative of an autoimmune disorder. I welcome such a hypothesis, as the bad luck theory just doesn't cut it for me any more. New Doc has put me on Naltrexone, an opioid receptor antagonist used to treat alcoholics and drug addicts. Low dose Naltrexone has had some success in clinical trials for autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease.
In the meantime, Old Doc will monitor my FSH while we try naturally for a few cycles, followed by a few cycles of Clomid with follicle tracking, and then, if my acupuncturist is successful in lowering my FSH level, we will have one last go at IVF.
So it's a plan. A clueless, shot in the dark, last ditch attempt at salvaging what's left of my dwindling fertility. But it's the only plan we've got.