Thursday, December 15, 2011

How did I get here?

Well, if you've stumbled across my blog, you are here for a few reasons.

1. You made a mistake in your search.
2. You have a friend/sister/cousin/wife/partner dealing with infertility and aren't sure what to say.
3. You yourself are dealing with infertility or secondary infertility (as is my case).

In any event, welcome. Feel free to stay. Maybe you'll learn something. Maybe you'll laugh. Maybe you'll tear up. (I hope not, but you might).

Now, that's how you may have gotten here. How I ended up in the murky waters of secondary infertility is not a simple 1, 2 or 3.

When Toddler T was about 18 months old, Mr. T and I decided that it would be a good time to consider giving him a sibling. We attended our friends' wedding and figured we knew what the outcome would be.  Fast forward 3 months later and a positive pregnancy test. It was joyous, for about 12 hours and then something changed. A dark feeling came over me. I called the nurseline to schedule my 8 week appointment and to report that I was having trouble keeping my head out of the toilet bowl. She laughed, "Welcome to your second pregnancy, honey. I'll call in some Zofran."  The next two weeks were spent at the lab, giving vials of blood and on the Internet researching everything under the sun about miscarriage. I was spotting, I was not responding to the Zofran.  I was told "that things didn't look good","Sometimes, a pregnancy is just not meant to be." and the absolute best "We are practicing watchful waiting".

I refused to get attached to the pregnancy. I knew my beta levels weren't rising appropriately. I knew. I just did. Now would be a good time to mention that my mother is an ER nurse and a brilliant one. My mother in law is a midwife and my aunt is an ob/gyn. They knew. They knew something was up. They wondered why my doctor was not ordering an early ultrasound to confirm the location of the pregnancy. But they trusted my Dr/Patient relationship and let me make my own health care decisions. 

Well, that watchful waiting got me into the ER with a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. Was I surprised? No. I knew all along something wasn't right. Did I know that I was going to pass out mid- ultrasound in front of Mr. T? God no. Did I know that  a ruptured ectopic is life threatening? No, I did not. 

Always one to be a little over the top. This story does not end with emergency surgery, a removed right tube and a pat on the back. No, 4 hours after discharge I was back in the ER needing a blood transfusion. I owe that trip to the diligent watch of my mom. She was already reeling from the past 24 hours and was on high alert as my mom/nurse. I was so furious, I tried to refuse to go the hospital. She took one look at me basically told me I didn't have a choice. 

I took a week off of work, collected myself. Returned to work, gave my notice and began my new life as stay at home mom to Toddler T.  I followed up with my doctor and got the all clear to commence with adding to our family. I was reassured that the ectopic was a fluke and was pleasantly surprised to feel like a normal pregnant girl in just a few months. I was feeling so appropriately nauseous that at my viability ultrasound, I began joking with the tech. Telling her that by this time with the last one, I was already a passed out. Did I speak too quickly?  Yes, Yes, I did.

The tech said "Have you gotten bloodwork done?" and "Have you had any spotting?" And once again, I knew. Just knew. Holy Hell.. something isn't right.  Off to the ER again. Beta was 9000, nothing could be seen on ultrasound.  A doctor from my group came to my beside and told me that she was 99% I miscarried and that a D&C was the way to go. Then I got a migraine. Then I got dilaudid and didn't really care what happened next. 

So, off to surgery I go. Guess what, the pregnancy was NOT where it should be. I hear the words ectopic again. I am crushed. The next doctor admits me to the hospital with the working theory that the ectopic pregnancy is in the stump of my right tube. She was 99% sure it wasn't in my left. (the only one remaining). I was not allowed to leave the hospital. Did I mention there was a hurricane blowing into town. So, off to the 2nd surgery in 24 hours.  Imagine Mr. T's surprise when the doctor leaves surgery to tell him that it was in my left tube and did he want her to save the tube or remove it. It should be noted that I am a former social worker. So, I talk things out a lot. Given my nature to talk, we had discussed such a scenario and agreed that the tube should be saved if possible. So, that's what was done. 

I awoke from surgery, groggy and with a picture of my Fallopian tube being held inches from my face. All I heard was the word "left". And once again, I knew. Baby # 2 was going to a bigger challenge than I ever thought. 

Does the story end here? No, remember, I have been known to be dramatic.  We leave the hospital and pack up for the family trip to the beach. I get a call. It's my doctor. She is calling personally. Lab results aren't good. Need to come home for a shot of methotrexate. My body is still showing signs of pregnancy. Mr. T and I say goodbye to Toddler T. ( We were with my parents) and head to the specialist. The reproductive endocrinologist. (RE for those in the know).  He is tan. He is cocky. He is obviously brilliant, given the number of framed pictures of himself on his wall. He tells me I'll be fine. And in comes the nurse with a large shot of a chemo drug and a list of recommendations to avoid alcohol, leafy greens and sun.  I guess she didn't realize I was in the middle of my vacation. I could ditch the salads, but the sun and the alcohol. Awesome.

Now, one would think that after two surgeries, one shot of methotrexate and a few (a lot) of tears. I would be able to move on. I asked my Dr. how I should go about creating baby # 2. She said "If you try it alone... pray. Otherwise, its time to start looking into IVF"

And here I am.


  1. Why the methotrexate? My sister was on that for her lupus...just wondering.

    BTW, what you have gone through is're a rock star and just getting better (even though it feels crappy most days).

  2. Rebecca- the methotrexate is used to treat a variety of issues. Rhuemotiod Arthritis, some forms of cancer and extopic pregnancies. It's job is to kill certain types of tissue in the body. In my case it was used to kill the fetal tissue that remained following the laproscopic surgery to remove the ectopic from my tube. My doctor was not able to remove it all, as she was trying to keep the tube intact for the hope of a future un-assisted pregnancy. We see how that turned out.

  3. you are amazing! i think keeping your sense of humor through all this is awesome, thoughts are with you!!!!