Forgive me, Readers, for I have sinned. It's been almost three weeks since my last confessional post.
There has been a lot of wallowing in Agony land. Or, more accurately, had been a lot of wallowing. The first two weeks post-miscarriage were, in short, horrible. Not just emotionally but also physically, and in ways I didn't expect.
The headaches started immediately. Really bad ones, the kind that hurt so bad they'd wake you up from a sound sleep. This I attributed to the shifting hormone levels. Within a couple of days the headaches were accompanied by sinus pressure and, ultimately, goopy eyes, so this led me to believe I had some sort of infection. When my psoriasis flared up big time - like, deep cracks forming in the palm of one hand and on the soles/heels of both feet - I figured it was time to drag my ass to the doctor.
So, a week ago Monday, I went to see my primary. I filled her in on the failed pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage. I told her that I was having trouble functioning because of the headaches and sinus pressure. Oh, and I wasn't sleeping. I could fall asleep just fine, but the pain would wake me up and then I couldn't get back to sleep. In the previous three days, I'd logged about 16 hours total, and it was taking a toll.
I told her that I wasn't sure of the culprit: infection? fluctuating hormone levels? anxiety? depression? stopping the prednisone cold turkey?
Her head shot up so fast that if we'd been in a movie, you would've heard a record scratch. She was like, "Say what now? "
When I miscarried, Dr. Smiles told me to stop all of my meds. He didn't give me specific instructions about the prednisone, but I'd been taking a 20 MG dose since transfer. So, almost seven full weeks. Stopping that without tapering off was apparently Bad (capital B intended).
My primary looked at my ears and nose and saw that yes, there was something ucky going on up in there. Her theory was that stopping the prednisone threw my body completely out of whack. You can Google it but basically when you take prednisone for an extended period of time, your body stops producing cortisol. When you quit cold turkey, your adrenal glands don't have time to catch up and resume natural production.
So, she ended up putting me back on the prednisone with a tapered dosage: four days at 20 MG, four days at 10 MG, four days at 5 MG. She also had me increase my Wellbutrin by adding an extra 100 MG in. And, since she was convinced my inability to stay asleep was due to anxiety/racing thoughts, she asked me to temporarily take .5 MG of Klonopin each night so that I could get some rest.
Within a day or two, I was feeling much better. More functional, at the very least. So there was that.
Last Tuesday I had my first post-miscarriage follow-up with Dr. Smiles. I wasn't sure what the ultrasound would reveal, since I'd had some serious EWCM and ovulation-type pains over the weekend. Sure enough, the ultrasound tech saw a follicle that was about to pop. Remember, this is two weeks and a day after I passed Nugget.
When Dr. Smiles and I talked, he said, "Your uterus looks like you were never even pregnant." He apparently meant this as some sort of compliment, but hearing the words was like another kick in the gut. THIS NEVER HAPPENED. SEE? THERE'S NO EVIDENCE THAT YOU EVER HAD A BABY IN YOUR BELLY.
Because my body bounced back so quickly - way faster than Dr. Smiles had expected - the whole timeline for my next cycle shifted up a bit. I go back today to confirm ovulation. If I have, indeed, ovulated, then I will start my lupron today. After I get my next period, I'll start the estrace and officially be in cycle.
I wrote out the $2600 check for the new cycle, which includes a new donor blastocyst. Just one, made by a 34-year-old woman. I don't love that part. We were given the option of two 2PNs, the mother of which was just 26 years old, but there were no guarantees we'd even end up with one blast there. So.
The following day I had an appointment with Quirky, my infertility counselor. She was horrified by the prednisone thing, too. Her best guess was that Dr. Smiles forgot I was on it, since it's not a standard protocol but something I requested preemptively. We also talked about my stress level, which was sky high due to a variety of factors - work, home, cars, dog, money, and this massive freelance project I'd fallen completely behind on and would never in a million years be able to deliver by 2/15.
Quirky made me go through the list and pull off everything that was nonessential. Blogging was one of the things that I'd stopped doing because I couldn't pull it together enough to sit down and write. But what else could I do? Could I, a classic type-A overachiever, pull back at work? Give it an A- effort versus an A+? Could I stop cooking dinner every night and allow myself some takeout until I was feeling better? Could I talk to the person to whom I owed this massive freelance project and ask for an extension?
This was the big one. The elevator version is that years ago, I was doing a different freelance project for this woman that I never completed. Mr. Hope went through some rough times (different post for a different day) and it affected me deeply and I just stopped doing freelance work all together. I was worried that asking for an extension - especially the long one that I needed - would make the project manager think that I was flaking on her.
The good news is that the PM and I were friendly outside of our working relationship. Like, Facebook-friendly. Also we knew some details about each other's lives. I knew that she conceived her two littles through IVF, for instance. She knew we'd been struggling with infertility. When I knew my pregnancy was likely to end in miscarriage, I let her know. And when I lost Nugget, I let her know that, too.
We ended up talking on a Friday, because a mutual colleague passed away unexpectedly earlier in the week. He'd actually been the one to introduce us, so we wanted to connect. We talked about him and shared memories.
And then I did it. I told her how far behind I'd fallen - how the second my life started to implode I pretty much stopped working on the project.
She asked me if I was okay talking timelines and I said yes. She looked at the schedule and saw that we had wiggle room. I was given an extension until April/May. She understood that I wasn't flaking. She knew I was committed to the project. She cared about me and wanted to make sure I was okay.
The relief I felt at that moment was so overwhelming that I thought I would crumple to my floor and pass out right then and there. I'm not even exaggerating. I felt safe and sleepy and like everything was going to be okay.
Dealing with that stressor changed EVERYTHING. The next day I got caught up on paying the bills and updating my budget. I cleaned off my desk. I cleaned off the dining room table. I did a ton of dishes and wiped down the kitchen. I did the meal planning for the week and made the grocery list. I ran to Walmart with Mr. Hope to pick up things we needed. I met a friend at Panera where I worked on my freelance project for two and a half hours and knocked out twice my daily goal for getting the project done. I came home and had sex with my husband since the first time before my last cycle. I made dinner. I snuggled with Mr. Hope and Precious Pup.
I felt good.
The following day, I got up early and worked out for the first time since the beginning of my last IVF cycle. I made a healthy breakfast. I sent Mr. Hope off to work and knocked out some more of the freelance project. I had a lot of baking to do for a work function, so I started busting that out, too.
Crossing things off my to-do list felt good. Hell, before Saturday I'd stopped keeping a personal to-do list all together.
So I'm starting to feel like me again. The tapering off the prednisone has been amazing; currently the only pain I'm feeling is from the surrenders I did during Sunday's AM workout. My muscles hurt so badly that I couldn't work out again this morning as I'd planned - the last time I tried to push through pain like this I injured myself. But it's okay; I know WHY I can't work out today, and I know that tomorrow, when I should be way less sore, I will get back to it.
If all goes well today, I'm looking at transferring the first week of March. Which is, like, right around the corner. Crazy, right?
I have a lot of fears about this next cycle, the biggest of which is that I won't get pregnant at all. Or that if I do get pregnant, I'm headed for anther miscarriage. I want so badly to be on the other side of this whole process.
I am so ready to be a mom.