All posts by michelle

Big News!

Alright, I know that I’ve been quiet for a few months, but honestly, it was to save my sanity.
My last post updated you all on my journey with my new meds. I was taking Letrazole and Metformin. We are feeling very lucky because on my first month of these meds, we got pregnant! On November 19, I had a positive pregnancy test. While we were over the moon, those two pink lines made me feel a huge amount of anxiety.

Once of the most common themes I hear from people when I was dealing with miscarriage was that “there will be a new pregnancy, a new baby.” And yes, it’s true. When I was pregnant with my twins, that was my mantra. It’s a new pregnancy, new babies, new experience.  But when that pregnancy ended too, it felt like I had no hope left for another baby.

So, with that said, the past 2 months have been difficult. It was difficult to take it easy, to not imagine the worst, and to hold on to the tiniest bit of hope for this new baby. We went in for an ultrasound at 7 weeks 5 days, and were told we were measuring 6 weeks 1 day. But there was a heartbeat. Sadly, I’ve seen a heartbeat one week and not seen one the next. My next scan wasn’t until January 24, yesterday. It was the longest wait of my life.

I couldn’t believe it when the tech showed us our baby, jumping and moving around, and measuring 12 weeks 5 days. I’ve never made it past 9 weeks before. Tears of joy streamed down my face. And so we decided to announce. In my four previous pregnancies, I never got to announce.

So here it is:

I. Am. Pregnant!

an update

In case you didn’t know, I have a slight obsession with Bitmoji.  Just to warn ya ?

I thought it might be time to give an update as to where we are on the baby making front.  I am so lucky to have a wonderful doctor at the fertility clinic here in Calgary.  I saw him on October 6, and he presented a plan to help us.

My issue is that I don’t seem to have any trouble getting pregnant, just staying pregnant.  I’ve had multiple tests done, and there doesn’t seem to be a cause for my four losses.  However, I do have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and therefore my hormones are definitely out of whack.  My doctor thinks that because of my fluctuating hormones, it is likely that my placenta does not develop enough to properly support a baby.  Thus, I don’t make it far in my pregnancies.

So, I’ve been prescribed two drugs. The first is Metformin, which lowers blood sugar, lowering insulin, and therefore lowering my testosterone levels.  I take it twice a day, and so far I’ve had minimal side effects from the drug.  The second drug is Letrazole, which is supposed to support my body during ovulation and increase my chance of getting pregnant.  I take this drug on days 3-7 of my cycle.  I’m then supposed to do the baby dance (this term always makes me laugh) every second day until CD 20.  I’m currently on day 9, so I just finished my first five days of Letrazole.  I have to say, it was brutal.  Constant nausea, lack of appetite, and frequent trips to the bathroom.  It made my work week an unpleasant one for sure.

If I’m not pregnant in the next three months, I’m to make another appointment with my doctor.

So there you have it, this is my life at the moment.  For my mental health, I’m trying to focus on other aspects of my life – my work, my friends.  Having infertility at the forefront of my mind was making me feel obsessive, crazy, and depressed.  It’s hard not to think about it, when I’m taking all these drugs, but I’m doing the best I can.

Wish me luck!

 

Our TTC Story

For those of you who don’t know, TTC stands for “Trying to Conceive”.  There are so many acronyms in the TTC world, many you’d never come across unless you were trying to make a baby.  I thought it was time to share our TTC journey, the journey of trying to start our family.  This may be a lengthy post, and just as a disclaimer, I’m going to be getting into detail about my miscarriages, so it’s going to be a bit of a sensitive post as well.

My husband and I were married in 2014 in Prince Edward Island, Canada.  I was 27, he was 28.  We met  online, and within a year of first talking we were married.  We wanted children, definitely, but were in no rush.  I took my teaching degree, and we ended up moving out west to Alberta in 2016.

In June 2016 we started trying to conceive.  I had accepted a teaching job and we felt like we were finally in a place to start a family.  It took 7 long months before I saw my first pregnancy test, on March 7, 2017.  I still remember that it was a Tuesday night, and I was so beyond shocked to see the “Yes” staring up at me from the digital test.  I couldn’t wait, I told my husband that night the exciting news.
Sadly, two days later, I started bleeding, and I learned I was having my first chemical pregnancy.  A chemical pregnancy is basically an early miscarriage, usually one where the embryo does not implant.

I was sad, but really had only known for two days so it wasn’t a huge blow.  The next month, my 8th cycle TTC, I got pregnant again!  I was so excited, I had heart that often women are extra fertile on the cycle following a miscarriage and it seemed to ring true for me.  We had an early ultrasound and lo and behold, there was a baby in my belly.  The doctor told us that the heartbeat was low for what it should be, but I should come for another scan in two weeks and hopefully it will have caught up.  So we booked a scan, on my 30th birthday.  Which was a really bad idea, it turns out.  On my birthday we went for the ultrasound.  I should have been about 8 weeks pregnant.  While there was a heartbeat, it was low, only about 50bpm.  We were told that I should expect to miscarry, but were not given much more information about that.  I remember trying to be so positive leading up to that appointment, and then having my hopes just shattered.  I had to book an appointment with my family doctor, who said that I was early enough along that I should just wait for a natural miscarriage.  It happened a week later, and I ended up going to the emergency room at the hospital because I was losing so much blood.  It was a devastating time, both physically and emotionally.

The months that followed were hard for me.  I remember looking for help, but upon doing some research I decided I couldn’t really afford counselling.  So I just cried a lot, and eventually we decided to try again.

It took a few months, but at the end of November 2017, I found out I was pregnant again.  I was super cautious during this pregnancy, and worried about every little symptom.  I was spotting a fair amount during this pregnancy as well.  The people at the hospital probably thought I was crazy because I ended up having 3 or 4 ultrasounds in a 4 week period.

We had a dating ultrasound just before Christmas.  Much to our excitement, we had not only one healthy heartbeat, but TWO!  We were having twins.  We were ecstatic.

Around 8 weeks in, I had some more spotting, and went back to the hospital where they did another scan.  They said one of the heartbeats was great, the other had slowed, but things still looked good.  Spotting can just be a normal part of pregnancy for some women, they said.

Well, the day came for my scheduled 9 week scan.  My husband couldn’t come as he was working, so a good friend of mine accompanied me.  I went in expecting good news, but to my shock, I received the worst news.  There were no heartbeats, at all.  I was devastated.  I don’t know how one week everything is okay and another it’s all falling to pieces.

I had experienced a natural miscarriage about 7 months earlier, and decided this time I didn’t want to wait to pass them naturally.  I hated the idea that there were dead babies inside of me.  So on Wednesday, January 10, 2018, I went in for a D&C.  I couldn’t eat prior to the surgery and they weren’t sure when they could get me in.  Finally, around 2:00pm they took me down.  I remember being rolled into the OR, and it was bright and scary and there were tears running down my cheeks.  I remember waking up from the procedure and tears were still streaming down my face.  I just kept saying to the nurse “My babies are gone.”

That loss affected me greatly.

On May 19, on my 31st birthday, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive.  My husband and I were cautiously optimistic.  Part of me felt like it was meant to be, because I found out about my first major loss a year prior, and now I was getting good news to make up for a hellish year.  But I started bleeding two days later.  It was another chemical pregnancy.

So there you have it.  It’s now October 2018, and we have been trying for just over two years.  I have a fertility doctor, and we’ve just come up with a plan.  I’ll be starting some meds that will hopefully help me sustain a pregnancy.  I’m sorry if this was a bit of a downer, but I think it’s important to remember what I’ve gone through.

Miscarriage is devastating.  The rollercoaster of excitement, hope, and heartbreak really take a toll on your emotions, your marriage, your mental health.

There is a unique pain that comes from preparing a place in your heart for a child that never comes. – David Platt

To anyone who has experienced loss, please know you’re not alone, and I’m alway hear if you need to talk.  xx

The Dream

This isn’t what I imagined,
When I dreamt of my life.
I didn’t know I wanted babies,
Until I lost one.

Then one became two, and
Two become three.
As the losses piled up,
So did the grief.

And I’m left dreaming of
Perfect little fingers, and
Perfect little toes.
And hoping for a life that
I’m not sure I’ll ever know.

Happy Thanksgiving

So it’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and I’m working hard on being grateful.  I haven’t been blogging much but the past few months have been a whirlwind of emotions.  From May-July I was really struggling with my mental health.  The month of May marked the year anniversary of my first loss, and I didn’t handle it well.

Thankfully, with a visit home, some counselling, and the help of some antidepressants (more on that later) I’m feeling much better.  And I feel as though I’m in a place where I can feel thankful for my life again.

So here are some things I’m grateful for:

  1. My marriage. My husband really is the best, and though we’ve been through a lot, we’re closer then ever.
  2. My cat.  We adopted a kitten in March and he’s been a great addition to our little family.  He’s a lot of work, and doesn’t necessarily cuddle with me as much as I’d like (cats are so fickle!) but I love him so so much.
  3. I’m grateful for the healthcare I have access to in Alberta.  I’m so grateful for grief counselling, fertility clinics, and doctors that take the time to listen to me.
  4. My friends and family.  Community is a great thing.
  5. My job.  It’s busy, loud, and often a little overwhelming, but I love it.  I love my students, I love how it keeps me busy, and I love being able to celebrate little victories every day.

Life is hard.  But one thing I’m learning is that even amidst the hard, crappy happenings, this is still a good life. <3

Only Human

So I’ve just discovered a new artist and I’m totally obsessed.  His name is George Ezra, and his songs are amazing.  They’re so relatable and catchy and honestly, I just can’t get enough.  My favourite song is Only Human and it hits me hard.  It’s all about taking chances, even if there’s a chance things will go wrong.  I’ve been lacking in the hope department lately, so I feel like this song motivates me to look at the positives.  I’ve linked the song above, and I’ll post the lyrics below.

It’s a new day
Wind up the music box and watch the city go
Always the same
Watching neighbours on the pavement rock’n’roll
Flicking through your inbox
Hundred miles an hour
Oh, forever dreaming
Lullaby
You can run, you can jump
Might fuck it up
But you can’t blame yourself
No, you’re just human
Come on, come on
No, you can’t blame yourself
You’re just human
No, you can’t blame yourself
You’re just human
If it’s a new day
Why don’t we invent a new world to explore
Why don’t we create a moment to remember
In five years?
Winner’s just a word
Loser’s just one, too
Oh, forever dreaming
Lullaby
You can run, you can jump
Might fuck it up
But you can’t blame yourself
No, you’re just human
Come on, come on
No, you can’t blame yourself
You’re just human
No, you can’t blame yourself
You’re just human
Winner’s just a word
Loser’s just one, too
Oh, forever dreaming
Lullaby
You can run, you can jump
Might fuck it up
But you can’t blame yourself
No, you’re just human
Come on, come on
No, you can’t blame yourself
You’re just human
You can run, you can jump
Might fuck it up
But you can’t blame yourself
No, you’re just human
Come on, come on
No, you can’t blame yourself
You’re just human
Come on, come on
No, you can’t blame yourself
You’re just human
No, you can’t blame yourself
You’re just human
No, you can’t blame yourself
You’re just human

 

 

When You Think You’re OK

I have spent a lot of time working on myself since my last miscarriage.  I’ve spent time working on changing my physical self, by losing weight, colouring my hair, and getting a tattoo.  I have also spent a ton of time on my emotional self.  I think that grief inspires change, and I’ve been doing a lot of that over the past few months.

I kind of wanted to focus on a topic today that I have been thinking about a lot.  I don’t have all the answers, in fact, I don’t think I really have any, but I’m definitely struggling with this.

I’ve worked so hard to be OK, to be strong, to have moved past the traumatic experience of a second miscarriage.  Most days, I feel okay.  But unfortunately, there’s no way to escape the reminder of loss.  There are children everywhere, babies everywhere, pregnant women everywhere.  For me, catching sight of a woman who is expecting a baby is like being doused with a bucket of ice water; it reminds me that I’m not pregnant, when I should be.

It’s especially hard when every second day there is a pregnancy announcement on Facebook.  I might be having a good day, and then another cute, unexpected announcement suddenly appears on my feed.  Usually after that I have a little meltdown.  It happens frequently enough that my hubby is starting to lose patience with me.

So how does one deal?  When you feel OK most of the time, but then can’t help but lose it when someone else announces their happy news?

Here are the few tips I have been trying to implement myself:

  • Remember that their journey is different from yours.  That is not your life, that is not your baby, it was not meant for you.
  • Try not to attach meaning to things/events where there is no meaning.  I recently had a positive pregnancy test on my birthday, which was a year after my first miscarriage.  I remember thinking “It’s a birthday miracle!” ”
    Sadly, I started bleeding the next day and so realized it was another chemical pregnancy (a very early miscarriage).  I know it’s not the most positive thought, but sometimes attaching meaning to an event just makes it hurt more.
  • Finally, try to remain hopeful.  Remind yourself that infertility is a season.  You don’t know how long it will last, but hopefully someday there will be a baby in your arms.  I find hope a hard thing to cling to, especially as I am not very religious.  But in these situations, there has to be at least a small thread of hope.

I know these aren’t concrete answers that will fix everything, but it’s what I’m trying to focus on when I’m feeling not so okay.  What are some of the ways you deal?

why hello there!

Hello, and welcome to my blog.  My name is Michelle, and I’ve done this before.

I’ve started and stopped many a blog in my time.  I think that I just like to bare my soul to the internet, but because I didn’t have much focus, I’d lose motivation and interest in the blog and it would eventually die.

This time, I feel I have something to write about.  It may not be the happiest topic around, but it’s given me a purpose.  In January of this year I had my second miscarriage.  I’ll delve into the miscarriages someday in another post, but for now, all you need to know is that it changed me.  I’ve always wanted to lose weight (me being on the heavier side most of me life) but now I have a reason.  I don’t know if it will actually make a difference, but I’m determined to get healthier so that someday I might have my rainbow baby.

See what I did there?

Rainbows are a symbol of hope, and when you have a baby after losing one it is often called a ‘rainbow baby’.  And elephants?  Well, they are a symbol of strength.  I’ve learned that I am so much stronger then I thought I was.  And elephants live in a matriarchal herd.  Despite the fact that I am not a mother yet, I hope to be.  And so this blog was born.  Here I will share my my struggles with getting healthy, trying to conceive, and (hopefully) I can write about being a new parent.

This is a place for me to share, heal, vent, whatever I need.  Miscarriage is rarely talked about, but the more I share, the more I realize that it has happened to so many women.  If you are one of them, I hope you know you are not alone.