Elizabeth Petrucelli

Author, Blogger, Educator

Tag: infertility

The Monthly Miscarriage

What is The Monthly Miscarriage? Is this really such a thing? For many women, especially women struggling with infertility, it absolutely is a thing and it can be devastating. I have experienced it myself although not monthly as my cycles were not that close together but it is a horrible experience to say the least. So let’s talk about it.

The miscarriage begins. It begins with that “inkling” that there may be a baby brewing within your womb. The place where you aren’t quite sure but think you might be. We question every twinge, cramp, emotion, or feeling and try to place it as an early pregnancy symptom. Desperate to know, yet scared to confirm. All the signs could merely be the beginning of the next cycle but they also might be the beginning of the rest of your life.

For here, there is where your life changes. You may pee on a stick. You may hold your breath as the stick holds your fate. Will there be celebration or the feeling of defeat? Will there be excitement or fear? What will this little stick share with you?

So you put it off. You wait and hope for a particular outcome. Maybe delaying the test will give me another day of hope? But what if you don’t really want to be pregnant again? What if you don’t really want another baby? Yet you know you will feel utter disappointment when you pee on the stick and it reveals you are not pregnant.

Those feelings and emotions can also be very confusing. You thought you were done or could no longer have children. Maybe you were planning your family and it’s not the right time but it seems a life may be desperate to get here and you have been chosen. You have been chosen to carry this new child.

But you still haven’t confirmed it. This is where it starts. Those hopes and dreams; that possibility of your life changing. You begin to imagine. You begin to plan. “If I am pregnant, I will…” “If the test is positive, I want to…” “I will tell my husband by…” “I will share with my children when…” “I need to purchase…”

You visualize the pregnancy, your life within you, and can see this child after they are born. You wish, you hope, you pray. Then, you pee on the stick. It was time. You needed to confirm it. You could no longer hold out for what you know is coming. If you are not pregnant, it’s better to find out this way then to see the redness on the toilet paper.

The blood is a sad reminder of what isn’t going to happen. You would rather a stick tell you. So you pee on it.

You hold your breath. You wait. But you can’t not look. You watch and hope to see a line. But nothing comes. You put it in the trash and say you won’t look at it again. That all those signs and the thoughts in your head weren’t real. That the disappointment you feel is silly and shouldn’t be felt. “I don’t have the right to grieve what I never had”, you think to yourself.

But later, you return to the stick in the trash. You look. You stare. You hold it up to the light. You take pictures of it. You reverse the pictures digitally, hoping it will reveal a line. But you can’t see it. You share the picture, desperately hoping someone else will see a line, but they don’t.

You are sad. You mourn. You are angry. You grieve.

Because what you really see is “Not Pregnant.”

Negative Pregnancy Test

Then it comes. The red on the paper. The monthly miscarriage. Your devastation confirmed.

– Breaking the silence of First Trimester Miscarriage

Infertility to Fertility – The Loss of a Possibility

I hate the term “Loss of a Possibility” but what has been happening to my body lately has certainly brought this about. In a previous post, The Silent Battle of Infertility and Miscarriage, I wrote, “I know what it’s like to suffer with infertility. To try so hard to have a baby yet every time I peed on that stick, it was negative. I know! I feel! I understand! I am sorry!”

One issue that wasn’t discussed was that egg. The treasured egg that we are desperately attempting to fertilize. With infertility, women can either not ovulate and have to force ovulation through drugs, find a donor egg, or they ovulate but for some reason there is an issue with fertilization. I am certainly not trying to make infertility sound as simple as this because it’s not. It is extremely complicated in many cases.

For me, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). My symptoms have never matched a majority of the symptoms of PCOS but because I had a “ring of pearls” around my ovary, which in essence were eggs (follicles) that attempted to make their way out but were not successful, I was diagnosed with PCOS. I knew I was struggling with infertility but didn’t know the impact until I began trying to conceive my now 10 year old.

When we lost Ruby, her egg was a fluke ovulation. Something I had rarely experienced but I knew the signs and we attempted a pregnancy. It was successful in that her egg was fertilized and life was created but she was not meant for this earth. I was never meant to hold her in my arms. She was never meant to wear the clothes we purchased for her nor sit in the stroller that friends bought for her. Like most people, I was naïve in thinking miscarriage wouldn’t happen to me…that a pregnancy led to taking a baby home. I never imagined my baby being thrown out with the hospital waste.

After a year, we decided to seek medical treatments again in order to conceive. Nothing worked. A last ditch effort was the exploratory surgery that I blogged about in 2012. Miraculously, we conceived just one month following the procedure with no medical intervention. Another “fluke” egg ovulated and we managed to fertilize it.

In the back of my mind, I felt like this pregnancy would throw me into fertility. While I assumed this would happen, it wasn’t logical. I had been infertile since I was 15. That meant by the time this baby would be born, I would have been “infertile” for 23 years. How possible would it be for me to become fertile after being infertile for so long?

Well, in February of this year, I ovulated. I thought it might have been another fluke ovulation and didn’t think much of it but when I ovulated again in April; I began to wonder if I had become fertile. Another ovulation in May and I am convinced, I am fertile. And now…after saying for over a year that I would never have more children, I am contemplating another pregnancy…another child to love. Something we never considered.

This month, the feeling was overwhelming. I imagine the pull during ovulation to fertilize the egg was only natural as it seems to be dissipating slightly after ovulation but every day, for several moments throughout the day, I imagine myself pregnant or Timmy playing with a sibling. The thoughts warm my heart.

Now back to the initial title of this post…”Loss of a Possibility.” I ponder each egg. Every egg that goes unfertilized feels like a “loss of a possibility.” It feels as if I am flushing children down the toilet. That thought doesn’t even make sense to me as I write it but I feel like I am wasting the opportunity to bring forth new life with each ovulation. Sure, the first ovulation felt like it was a fluke. I never expected to ovulate again, certainly not a month later and definitely not again two months later.

With each egg that goes unfertilized I worry…is this the last egg? Was that my last opportunity? So while I struggle with making the decision to have another child (Can I physically and mentally do this? What if the baby has a disorder or illness or worse, dies? What if I die?).

I am also struggling with the wonder of if I just missed my last chance. I know I would never return to fertility treatments. Ultimately, this isn’t in my control. Only God will bless us with another when He deems us ready. That brings IMMENSE comfort despite the push and pull inside me.

The loss of a possibility has put us in a place my husband and I have never walked before. Is this the cliché’ “road less traveled?” Is this a road that most women travel? I doubt that women who ovulate regularly feel that they are killing possible babies by not fertilizing each egg, every cycle but that’s how I feel. Why? Because there wasn’t a time in my life where I had a choice. If I ovulated, I HAD to try to fertilize it. That might have been our ONLY chance at a child. I have never had the opportunity to say, “Hey, let’s wait until next month, six months, next year.” It was always a race against the clock. “The egg is only fertile for 24 hours, hurry, let’s have sex, make your deposit, we need to do this several times or we will miss the opportunity!”

Yes, that’s what infertility sex sounds like. Intimate huh? So here we are, with the opportunity to choose. Another baby or ??

Loss of a Possibility - All That is Seen and Unseen; A Journey Through a First Trimester Miscarriage

Loss of a Possibility - All That is Seen and Unseen; A Journey Through a First Trimester Miscarriage

I can’t even believe I have to update this post with a follow-up that we have become infertile again. Read my newest blog post, Infertility Poem – My Body is Silent.

 

– Breaking the silence of First Trimester Miscarriage

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Crazy Life!

I have been quite busy over the last few weeks. I am sure you have been wondering what I have been up to. Well, besides going back to work and being SUPER busy there, I have been going to school part-time (College Algebra), preparing for my amazing son’s 9th birthday, preparing for the “Walk to Remember,” camping with the family, and baking!!

On the baking front, I HAVE to share one of the recipe’s I tried. These were the most AMAZING cupcakes I have ever had and I was so glad that I attempted this recipe despite all the work involved. You can find those cupcakes here: I made Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream Frosting from Krissy’s Creations. TOTALLY worth it but extremely fattenting so be careful. You will just want to eat the mix!

Joey’s birthday was fabulous! I can’t believe this is the last of the single digit years for my son. He is such a joy and is growing into a great little man. We had a family party for him on Friday and a friend party for him on Saturday. The friend party was a Nerf Gun party and we set up an obstacle course with shooting stations and a prize for the best shooter. For the family party, we took Joey out for Sashimi (the rest of us had Hibachi) and then had dessert at our house. It was really nice and Joey made out with the cash!!

I got a surprise phone call from Greenwood Village Police Department. They want me to come in and interview for a police officer position that I tested for at the beginning of the year. What an opportunity! This is the department I dreamed of working at and was also the department that crushed me out of the academy. Of course, if I had gotten the position there that December, I wouldn’t have this blog or book and Ruby Josephing wouldn’t have existed. That’s strange to think about.

There are many reasons why I would JUMP at the chance to work for this department but as you have read, I have moved on from police work. There are so many reasons why. I didn’t turn down the interview but I think I missed the opportunity. Work has been CRAZY busy this week and even though I could have called back by 7pm each night this week, I worked late each night this week. I didn’t make it home until after 7:30 on Thursday! Ugh! I very much enjoyed the investigations I have been involved in at work. There are a few and they are quite complex!

Now I am focusing on my preparations for the Walk. I am trying to decide if I should purchase a booth for the event. This would be a tremendous opportunity to sell my book but I want to participate in the walk as well. I may try to find some friends or family that might be willing to man my booth while I walk. If anyone out there is interested, it’s September 29th from 8-12. If you can help, please let me know!

I will close with some thoughts from church today. Each Sunday I see beautiful families with their young children. Some sit in the pews, others are up moving around because their little ones are restless. I too would have a restless one. She would be a toddling around and reading board books in mass. She would probably babble and talk through the entire mass. If she would have been anything like Joey, she would probably talk in 3-4 word sentences despite being almost two. I miss her and wish she was here. While I feel so blessed by the gift of my amazing son, I feel like I am missing a child. I feel an emptiness…

Fertility Journey

I have come to a cross roads again on my journey to fertility. It’s now time to have my belly explored due to a pain near my ovary that I have had for years. So, Wednesday, I go under the knife. The laparoscopic knife that is.

Laparoscopy, is a type of surgical procedure in which a small incision is made, usually in the navel, through which a viewing tube (laparoscope) is inserted. Basically, the doctor is going to insert a tube through my belly button, stick a camera in there, puff up my belly using CO2, and look around for what is causing my pain. It could be nothing or it could be something.

I really hope they find something so I know what the pain is from but I don’t want anything serious to be in there. It could be a number of things and not all could be related to fertility.

  • Hernia
  • Endometriosis
  • Cancer
  • Adhesions/Scar Tissue

My worst fear is that NOTHING will be in there causing the pain. My hope is that the doctor finds something minor, corrects it, and we can move on to trying to conceive again. Jason and I have decided we will only try again for a few more months. Probably just until the end of the year. My eggs are getting old.

I have made this decision before and changed my mind so nothing is set in stone and we are always open to another child should God bless us with one but actively seeking fertility treatments and getting on that roller coaster ride is much different than hope and prayer.

We’ll see what happens but for now…I am heading to the operating room to see what my insides look like.

Trying Again?

I ordered fertility meds again. Not sure what else to say about this fact but I DID order medications. This doesn’t mean I will take them, but they are there for me to use if I so choose. It’s not as simple as just taking them though. They have to be timed perfectly.

Everything with fertility medications needs to be timed perfectly. Last time I used these there was so much involved. Let me break it down for you so you can see what infertility is like.

No ovulation means no period or chance for pregnancy so you MUST start by inducing a period. How do you induce a period? Progesterone. Natural progesterone doesn’t work for me so I MUST start with synthetic. Take these for 10 days and wait.

I am too impatient, so I always cut them in half and take them for 5 days.

Progesterone for 5 days, wait…within 2-5 days, I will start a period.

Period starts….Check temperature every morning before waking.
Day 3 after full flow, begin fertility medication. Take this medication for 5 days.
Day 12, arrive at fertility clinic for ultrasound to determine egg size.
Day 14, arrive at fertility clinic for ultrasound to determine if eggs are 16-20mm.
Have sex
Day 16 (usually), take HCG shot in belly to force eggs to ovulate.
Have sex
Day 18 – OVULATION day! (hopefully) Have sex
Have sex
Wait 2 weeks and see if you are pregnant.
REPEAT!

Sounds VERY romantic doesn’t it.

There are many other signs that lead up to ovulation and I will spare you those details BUT, I can’t afford this type of a monitored cycle so I am not doing it this way.

What can I typically spend per monitored cycle?

Fertility Meds – $10
HCG shot – $100
Ultrasound – $250 x 2 = $500
Sex – Free!
Prayers – Free!
Pregnancy Test – Well, you don’t HAVE to take one but I always do. Good thing I got a bunch on ebay for $20.

So the typical cycle is $630/month. Not too shabby compared to IVF.

Unmedicated cycle?

Fertility Meds – $10
Sex – Free
Prayers – Free!

Who knows if my body will ovulate without the HCG shot. If it doesn’t, I will expect a hospital bill for a large cyst or two on my right ovary (which is the one that typically works). We’ll see.

I’ll know in a little over a month and a half if it worked on it’s own (Assuming I induce a period and try the meds).

I have used soy, acupuncture, chiropractic, mayan abdominal massage, herbs, chinese medicine, more herbs, massage, aromatherapy (oils), caster oil wraps, ALL the above together, ALL the above together WITH fertility meds. Ugh! How tiring and expensive!!

Ovulation on it’s own should result in a pregancy within 6 months. The average woman has a 20% chance of conception each cycle. Obviously, I am not average. I have to force ovulation and that doesn’t raise my chances one bit. I completed four cycles not too long ago. A little over $2500 spent and NO baby! That only meant I had an 80% chance of success. Does this mean if I try again one more time I should get pregnant? LOL!

If I choose to take the fertility meds, I’ll blog through the journey because I know many will be interested. So, for those who are following this journey… I am on day 62 of a cycle. 1st day of progesterone is today…

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Already July? A bit on infertility.

It’s July 1st!  We are over half way through the year. Where is the time going?

I didn’t blog last week. Work had me consumed. It is getting frustrating to be getting home so late and I continue to work on a way to be home for my son. He starts school in August and I look forward to being home when he gets off the bus. He loves it…still, and I know that won’t last much longer. He is growing up so fast.

Over the next two weeks, Joey will be in Oklahoma. He flew on the plane all by himself yesterday. I always worry, despite the fact that he has made this trip many times over the last few years, even at the young age of 5! He never ceases to amaze me. He can be such an adult sometimes.

I am still teetering on whether or not to have another baby. We tried for 5 months last year and part of this year with no results. I haven’t ovulated since I stopped the fertility medications. If I just ovulated, we could try whenever we wanted but I don’t, which is sad and hard to deal with especially when friends seem to get pregnant out of the blue.

Should we or shouldn’t we? Joey is almost 9. What’s the point?

Adoption? What age? Baby? Toddler? Someone close to Joey’s age?

I have been trying to listen hard to what God is calling me to do. I believe that if I was meant to have another child, He would bless me with ovulation. That hasn’t happened…but am I supposed to take medication to help with that? Is that what he is calling me to do?

Ugh! Why can’t it just be as easy as having sex?

What would Ruby want me to do? I cried during Mass last week. A little girl walked passed me and there was something about her that made me think about all the life experiences I would be missing out on by not having a daughter. The biggest? Her wedding day. Sounds so silly but I will not experience that kind of bonding.

Sure, Joey will get married but that’s not the same. I look forward to his wedding day. He talks about getting married and having lots of kids all the time and I can’t wait to live that life with him but I won’t have that with a daughter.

Is there anyone else out there in the same situation as me? Nearly 37, one child who is older, with infertility, preferably Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)? I would love to walk this journey with someone else in my situation.

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