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Schrodinger’s Baby Is Dead

Today’s ultrasound should’ve shown an 8 week baby with a heartbeat.  Instead, we saw a 7.5 week baby with no heartbeat.  Schrodinger’s baby is dead.

Before the appointment, we had been so careful to guard our emotions, but in the exam room, K couldn’t hide his excitement.  Seeing him like that made me want to shield him from experiencing any pain or sadness.  I, on the other hand, was expecting the worst.  When the scan started, we could both tell right away that there was no heartbeat.

This sad news comes right on the heels of AMAZING news we got this week.  According to a brand new Fragile X blood test by Assuragen, the risk of my specific Fragile X Premutation expanding into a Full Mutation is LESS THAN 1%!  This makes us feel a whole lot better about conceiving naturally, because now our chances of needing to terminate for full-blown Fragile X are very minimal.  If we’d known, we wouldn’t have bothered with PGD.

Unfortunately, this wonderful genetic news unearths new questions about why the frackety fracking frack I’ve had 3 pregnancy losses.  If not Fragile X, then what?  Well, today our RE reminded us that Fragile X prematurely depletes a Carrier’s ovarian reserve, so my eggs are crap.  “Your healthy 36-year-old body has the eggs of a 43-year-old,” she said.  My decrepit ovaries are probably producing embryos with a host of OTHER chromosomal/developmental problems besides Fragile X.

We have a D&E scheduled for tomorrow.  They will test the baby for chromosomal abnormalities.  Meanwhile, I have to hold it together for a quartet concert tonight (“the show must go on”).  Thank you so much, dear readers, for your support.  ❤

Schrodinger’s Baby Lives!

Last week, I was completely unprepared for what we saw on the ultrasound.

It was an actual baby. Measuring perfectly for 6 weeks. With a heartbeat of 123. The tech even caught the sac via the abdominal ultrasound before she used the dildocam. I try not to take the Lord’s name in vain, but in the exam room, I did… three times.

The heartbeat was probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, even more beautiful than the one I saw at 8 weeks with my first pregnancy. It sounds cheesy, I know, but this time around, it was delicate, lovely and all the more magical because of our long struggle.

The radiologist chatted with me a little while he interpreted the results. “Are you a medical professional?” he asked. “You sound very knowledgeable.”

No, I’ve just been doing this for a really f*cking long time.

The RE said this pregnancy could not look any better, but that with my history I simply cannot bond with it. I’m still at a high risk for miscarriage and this could be the pregnancy that I’ll have to terminate for Fragile X. I should take my prenatals and avoid eating all those things you’re not supposed to eat, but otherwise pretend I’m not pregnant. And she instructed me to stop humanizing the baby by calling it Schrodinger. That is kind of funny to me… I have to wonder if she knew the reference.

“Don’t tell people about your pregnancy,” she advised, “because talking is a huge emotional drain. And no one needs to know that you might have to terminate.” It was interesting to hear her say that, because I had come to that same conclusion last summer, which is what led me to blogging.

The nurses made me mad this time. They were quick to congratulate me after my second beta, excitedly saying, “It’s a good day!” Then when my third beta didn’t rise much, they were SURE the baby had died and said to expect bleeding in the next two days. (There is still no explanation for the slow rise.) I wish they would’ve just given me the facts without editorializing, because it’s hard to stay even-keeled when a nurse is super excited or crying in sympathy, whichever the case may be.

The next step is the 8 week ultrasound, which will be Mon the 24th. This will be a pretty important test; they want to see 2 weeks’ worth of growth. I go back and forth on pregnancy symptoms. My bb’s and nipples hurt like a SOAB, I chomp on prunes for constipation, I take two hour naps in the middle of the day, and I cry like a baby at The Bachelor even though I think he’s a dumb*ss homophobe and Sharleen was smart to leave. Then suddenly I feel no symptoms and I’m 100% convinced I’ve lost the baby.

So, we wait. ❤

Go in Peace

What I can only assume is the first miscarriage cramp happened just now, across the top of my uterus, for about 30 seconds. Maybe I’ll be lucky and get through the worst of it this weekend. There hasn’t been any bleeding yet, just a slight bit of pinkish staining. I have begun traveling with a stash of super maxi pads and adult diapers in my purse.

One thing I forgot to mention earlier was that I demanded a progesterone test this time. It was normal. The nurse said we can definitely rule that out as a potential cause for the miscarriage. Most likely, this baby died because it had Fragile X.

Dinner with our 8-month pregnant friends tonight actually wasn’t that terrible. The guys ended up monopolizing the conversation with job interview stories, so aside from having to see my sweet petite friend with a big baby bump, our evening was thankfully baby-lite.

We bought our fancy new LED TV, which, sadly, won’t be delivered until Monday. Gypped of the full retail therapy experience!

Pregnancy loss could be the worst reason to decide in the world to adopt a third cat, but nevertheless we put in an application today for a really nice adult male. We met him just before Christmas and haven’t been able to forget him! So maybe our little family of fur babies will grow even if our human family is on hold.

Despite being emotionally numbed, I feel sad, but also grateful that our embryo lived, however briefly. I’m grateful that my body hosted our little embryo as long as it did. I’m grateful that our baby didn’t suffer and only knew the comfort of my womb. And I’m grateful that we weren’t forced to make any heartbreaking decisions 6 weeks down the road.

Go in peace, little one. You will always be loved. ❤

Thanksgiving Tidbits

Happy Thanksgiving Tidbits

Thanksgiving with my parents went really well, better than K or I could’ve imagined.  It was so fun that I’ll be sad now every time we don’t host.  (Thanks to Alton Brown at the Food Network!)  Surprisingly, things are finally warming up after six years of my parents’ awkward, passive-aggressive and sometimes mean behavior towards K.  (They blame him for leading me astray from the Church.  In reality, he rescued me from a cult-like life.)

After they left, I asked K, “Do you think you’ve forgiven my parents for treating you like crap over the years?”  Happily for me, he said yes, although he doesn’t “endorse everything they’ve done.”  I’ll take it!  I  want my future children to know my parents, who are loving people but very brainwashed by extreme religion.  My childhood with them was very happy… it was my move to independence that killed them.  K and I will just have to figure out what to tell our kids about religion… no biggie.  (Ha.)

The best thing about the day was that my parents didn’t ask how “adoption” was going.  They have their heads in the sand and think that we’re done with TTC ourselves (because they don’t imagine we’ll consider TFMR).  They want us to try some adoption agency recommended by Focus on the Family (NO THANK YOU).  Maybe my in-laws’ way of never talking about personal stuff isn’t really so bad.

Thanksgiving Prep

…wasn’t quite as carefree as I’d hoped.  Our plan for Wed was to cook everything but the turkey and do all the house-cleaning/decluttering/making-things-presentable-for-guests.  I tasked K with peeling potatoes while I cleared the dining room table.  The table is where I leave a lot of stuff “to do,” so I cleared it by (gasp!) actually doing those things.  Meanwhile I washed, dried, folded and put away about 6 loads of laundry and put away all the painting supplies from our bathroom reno a couple weeks ago.  I’ll admit, it took a while, so K kept on cooking.

I wanted to switch places for a while, but we couldn’t because K is incredibly bad at decluttering.  So I tried to explain that I wanted his appreciation for making it possible for him to do the fun stuff.  Instead, he thought I was accusing him of not letting me cook.  He kept saying how every other woman in the world would appreciate that they don’t have to lift a finger to cook, and if I wanted credit for cooking the meal, we could *say* it was a team effort.  Grr.   I wanted him to THANK me for doing the sh*t he didn’t want to do, not give me his imagined charity.  (Since then, we’ve finally resolved this issue; he didn’t realize he had to VERBALIZE his appreciation.  Guh?)

Chocolate Pudding Update

Even AFTER the chocolate pudding incident, K made my chocolate cream pies WITHOUT TELLING ME!  (I was in the other room folding copious amounts of laundry.)  He was just being a dumb boy but he definitely got an earful about that.

And now, the kicker:  The two gluten-intolerant family members DID NOT THANK US for making them their favorite pie!  In fact, they each took home almost an entire pie, in a beautiful ceramic pie plate, in a special pie carrier, didn’t say thank you, probably won’t return the plates or carriers, and did I mention they didn’t thank us?  Next time I’m making the f*cking chocolate pudding and bringing it in a disposable bowl.

Thanksgiving Wisdoms

My dad had a couple interesting things to say at TG dinner.  First, he said that when someone (like my SIL) takes over all the responsibility for hosting, or always insists on paying the restaurant bill, they THINK they are giving everything, but they are actually taking something away from other people who want to contribute.

Then he told us about the first Thanksgiving he and Mom spent together.  Dad’s dad, to whom we secretly referred as “Grumpa” because of his short temper, was asked to say a few words.  He paraphrased/modified an old proverb about being thankful for your problems:

Say each person writes their troubles down on a slip of paper and throws it into a bowl.  The bowl is passed around and everyone pulls out whichever trouble they’d prefer to have.  Invariably, they  take back whichever trouble they threw in.

Anti-climactic Endings

That evening we went to K’s family’s house for turkey dinner #2.  I understand they’d just started eating when we showed up, but their reaction to our arrival was lukewarm and disappointing. (Thanks, by the way, for not telling us you’re starting without us….)

I’ve decided that there is just too much assumption that happens in K’s famiily.  K assumed that dinner would be at my MIL’s, and everyone assumed that we knew the location was changed to my SIL’s house.  There was still no actual start time, either, just “later.” Despite everyone being pleasant, there is something funny about the family dynamics that I’m not quite understanding yet.

And the most disappointing part of the day, as I briefly mentioned before, was that AF visited on TG.  Luckily I had plenty of distractions that day to keep me from wallowing in self-pity.  By now, I’m back in the 2ww, hoping that this will be the month.   ❤

Bitten?

This is going to sound crazy, and it probably IS crazy, but I’m going to say it anyway: I am pretty sure I felt implantation last night. It felt like something bit me on the inside of my uterus, relatively near my left ovary. There was some mild cramping in that same spot for a couple hours. The timing would be pretty on-target based on my ovulation date.

Do not congratulate me. I’m serious, don’t. I know that the IVF crowd wishes they could feel some implantation, and believe me I feel terribly guilty about that. But I would rather have condolences right now. Sadness and dread are weighing heavily on my heart.

Here’s why: Fragile X, my evil genetic mutation. There is a really high probability that if I do have an embryo in there, it will die. My egg quality isn’t great to start with, so even if I have a non-Fragile X embryo in there, my chances of a successful pregnancy are already lowered. If the embryo does have Fragile X, it will either die of natural causes (as it did with my 2 miscarriages), or if it lives long enough for us to do CVS at 11 weeks, it will die because we choose not to allow it to live with Fragile X. The thought of having to make that decision and live with it makes me nauseous.

It’s so ridiculous, already mourning a loss of something I don’t even know I have yet. Fragile X continues to suck significant amounts of joy out of my life. I miss pregnancy naiveté.

The Struggle to Find Support, Part 2: Online Forums

As a Fragile X carrier, I find it difficult to fit in with existing support groups.

An “IVF with PGD for Fragile X” group doesn’t exist. That’s too specific, I suppose, or maybe Fragile X isn’t well-known enough yet. With Fragile X being the “#1 Cause of Inherited Mental Retardation,” it’s surprising that nobody outside of the Fragile X community has heard of it, save a few medical professionals. It’s more understandable that people wouldn’t have heard of PGD (Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis), since that kind of testing for Fragile X has only existed since 2008, and only in a couple labs nationwide.

Miscarriage forums were helpful for a little while after my first miscarriage, but they only took me so far. As soon as Fragile X came into the picture, I felt that my trajectory took me in an entirely different direction.

IVF groups *should* have been helpful when I was going through IVF, but mostly they were just depressing and panic-inducing. They should’ve been renamed Failed IVF support groups. It was stressful for me, a desperate woman, to read about all the other desperate women on there, listing all their unsuccessful cycles, talking about their angels and sending everyone else baby dust. I was looking for a more positive, comforting group, but I can see why they don’t really exist. Either you’re on the IVF/TTC site, or you’re on the Pregnancy site; there’s no in-between.

Fragile X groups are actually the worst. They’re intended for families who already have a child with the disorder. To join the group and shout that I might terminate for medical reasons (TFMR) seems like the worst kind of insult.

A TFMR support group would probably be helpful at this point, I guess. It certainly wasn’t when I was still completely committed to IVF with PGD, thinking it would work. I’m ashamed to admit that I judged everyone in those groups. Being a Fragile X carrier has turned many of my “beliefs” and “morals” on their heads, for which I am extremely grateful.