I’ve been reflecting a lot on our IF past. I think this is because it’s starting to feel like it’s more in the past than in the present. It’s strange.
People have asked me what it was like to lose the pregnancy that resulted from our first FET way back in summer of 2010. They’ve asked if I still think about it. I’ve been asked if it haunts me. I’ve been asked how I mourned it. I’ve been asked if it will stick with me forever.
In fact, it’s never really haunted me and I don’t think about it much at all (if at all, really). Not like when we had our first IVF failure.
That’s weird, isn’t it, to not be bothered by a miscarriage? I think that’s what bothers me the most about it – that it doesn’t bother me and I think it should.
I never had any faith in our first FET. The 7 frozen embryos were from a cycle in which everything went perfectly until the very end, when I stimmed too quickly over the weekend before retrieval. That was the cycle that landed me in the ER with minor (but what felt like major) OHSS. After that first cycle failed, I wrote those embryos off in my mind. Something was wrong with them – all 7 of them.
When our doc wanted to do the FET, I knew it was the responsible thing to do. I knew it was not responsible to do another fresh cycle with 7 embryos in the freezer, with the very real possibility of adding to that collection. B and I truly want to give all of our embryos a chance (even those last 5 we still have in the freezer) and the thought of adding more to the freezer terrified us.
But I also knew it wouldn’t work. Not with those embryos.
The cycle did not go well from the start. My estrogen wasn’t rising appropriately so I was put on estrace tablets twice a day that had to be administered vaginally. Ugh. They were blue and dyed my lady bits blue and made my urine green. It was terrible. People who haven’t been through this may think this is a minor inconvenience and you know what – it really is minor. 😉 But at the time, the last thing I wanted to be doing in addition to hormone shots was MORE hormones put up my lady parts. It was just… humiliating. Every time I had to do it (have I mentioned I had to do it twice daily?) I would cringe and be on the verge of tears. I hated it.
My lining got better, but was never better than the minimum/average they wanted. I didn’t get all wrapped up in that because I knew it wasn’t going to work anyway. I sort-of didn’t care. I was doing this cycle out of obligation – not desire and hope.
The transfer went well and the blasts they put in were perfect (again). I still had little to no hope and had a hard time taking my bedrest seriously. I did enjoy my bedrest though – that is when I watched the first season of Glee back-to-back and fell in love with all the crazy talent on that show. We were living in a corporate (furnished) apartment because we’d sold our town house without a new house picked out (only we would do such a thing in a down market – we got freaking LUCKY!) – so I wasn’t even “home” for my bedrest. After 2 days, it was done and I went back to work, not thinking at all about the cycle.
I had some light spotting at 5dp5dt and got excited for the first time that cycle. I started testing at 7dp5dt and got a positive HPT – so I took the day off to celebrate with B. Here I’d been all gloom and doom about the cycle but it was seeming to have worked! Who knew?
I tested again at 8dp5dt and I got another BFP but it was not darker. I got a little concerned. Everyone will tell you that they don’t always get darker – but let’s be honest – they usually do. Gloom and doom came back and never left. Day after day, I tested and got faint BFP’s – nothing seemed to be getting much darker at all. I just knew we were in trouble.
We went for our first beta and I told them I’d gotten a BFP, but that it was rather faint. The nurse told me not to read into it and sent me on my way to wait for the call. We went back to our little apartment and waited. They called before lunch.
The target at 12dp5dt is 100 and more. I got a 76. B was happy with it – I was not. The nurse told him it’s not what they were hoping for but that they were being cautiously optimistic. I told him it was over. We returned 2 days later and it was 140 – not quite doubling. B said it counted as doubling and so did the nurse, and I called BS on them both. 140 is not 152. But the nurses were still obviously concerned because I was scheduled for another beta to check again.
We actually had a weekend away scheduled so we went to Atlanta and I was a freaking wreck the whole time. All I wanted was to get back and get my blood drawn so we could stop the charade and move on from what I was calling a chemical pregnancy. B stayed in Atlanta for work and I flew home alone to keep testing. at 18dp5dt, my beta was only 357 when it should have been 608. I knew we were in serious trouble and just wanted someone to call the game.
Two days later, my beta was 549 – far from the 1216 we needed. It was over. I asked the nurse to have a doctor call me with the results because I was tired of the song and dance, so the other doctor in the practice (whom I’d only seen once) called me to give me the news. He started by saying, “I’ve been told you like blunt honesty, so I’ll give it to you straight.” THANK YOU! That’s all I wanted. He told me the number and said it’s most likely going to be a miscarriage. Dr. C said that he wanted me to keep taking the meds, though, because he’d had a recent patient with similar betas and she was currently 20 weeks pregnant – and that he wasn’t telling me that to give me hope, but to explain why he’s making me keep up with the shots. We discussed what would be done if it is a miscarriage and he assured me I could have a D&E.
So I kept doing the shots and let me tell you – you don’t truly resent PIO shots until you’re taking them just to cover everyone’s asses, including your own 😉
Doctor C said that we’d have to wait 6 days to do an ultrasound because my betas were still too low to show anything on ultrasound. That made sense, so we scheduled it for 6 days later (when B would be back, so that was nice!). The nurse showed us the (empty) sac and said that that was what they expected to see at this point. I knew that was BS and when she left the room, I told B that she was just telling us that so that the doctor could tell us the truth. He sort-of scolded me for being negative.
We crossed the hall to an exam room where we waited for Dr. Y. He came in and immediately said, “I’m sorry guys, but this is a miscarriage. It’s an empty sac, there is not fetal pole at all.” God, I love when people are straight with me! I could have hugged him – truly! I did not cry – there was just nothing to cry about. There was no baby. I felt like I had lost nothing but time. I was relieved – I got to move on to a better cycle, one that may work (we had an agreement with Dr. Y going into the FET that we would only do one FET before returning to fresh cycles because of my lack of confidence in those embryos).
I was thrilled!
Dr. Y told me to consider my options and I told him I already had and wanted a D&E. He agreed, saying that the sac was not degenerating at all and it could take weeks for my body to figure things out on its own. The D&E was scheduled for 3 days later.
The D&E was no big deal. No tears. When Dr. Y came in prior to surgery, we laughed. We joked. I told him I was ready to be done and move on. I told him I wasn’t sad at all. He believed me. I thanked him for being a great doctor.
And it was over.
I walked out of that surgical center with hope that I’d get my period soon and start a new, fresh cycle. Because there was no fetal pole, I did not have to wait multiple cycles to start again. I started the next cycle exactly one month later.
And it worked!
I never think about that baby that could have been. In my mind (and biologically), there was no baby. It was an empty sac that was confused. That empty sac bought me the time to get to the magical cycle that created Matthew, and now this new baby that we’re expecting. It was part of fate’s plan for me.
And I’m totally good with that.
* Please note that this post is simply about how I felt about MY experience with an empty sac miscarriage. In no way am I implying that others in a similar situation should feel the same way.