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January 7th, 2009, 08:29 AM
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LisaB LisaB is offline
Mom to twins + 1
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Carmel, CA
Posts: 5,872
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HUGS to all you ladies. Sadly our stories are much alike.

I've lost 6 children altogether before having my two beautiful live daughters.

Baby 1. We'd started trying to get pregnant early in 2005, but no luck. Finally, I went to the dermatologist for a rash, and she diagnosed me with thyroid disease & sent me to the endocrinologist, who prescribed meds. After I went on the meds, I conceived within 6 weeks! 9 weeks into the pgcy, I started cramping, and went to the ER. They told me it was nothing, and the baby had a heartbeat though was still undersize. They told me once the baby has a heartbeat, there's a 90% chance everything is fine. Looking back I now understand it was a warning sign that the US tech & doctor said I wasn't as far along as I was (I knew when I conceived, though). The next day, my birthday, we lost that pregnancy. It was the worst birthday ever. However, the doctors told me it was just a fluke, and that chances were the next pgcy would be perfect.

Baby 2. We didn't conceive again on our own for almost a year, so we went to the fertility clinic. They ran a bunch of tests & did an HSG, which showed I had a blocked Fallopian tube, which they corrected. Then they started us on IUIs.

The IUIs worked great. We conceived baby #2. Same story, heartbeat, then miscarriage. It was heartbreaking. I knew that something had to be wrong with ME since the doctors kept telling me that once you see a heartbeat everything should be fine!

Baby 3. IUI #2, and we conceived a baby #3. This time the baby lost its heartbeat on week 7. I wanted a D&C so they could perform a karyotype. Unfortunately, we found out the baby died the day before our pre-paid trip to Hawaii, and they couldn't schedule the D&C until after we got back. I spent an entire day calling hospitals to see if they could perform the D&C for us while on vacation but this wasn't possible, so we decided to go anyway to try and cheer ourselves up a little. Huge mistake, worst vacation ever. I pumped myself full of progesterone and estrogen to keep from miscarrying until we got back for our D&C, and I couldn't stop thinking about the dead baby still with me. I couldn't even drink to forget, because I'd think "How can you drink, you're pregnant" and start to cry. Most depressing vacation ever. My grandmother died the same day my baby did, incidentally.

Then I decided to get additional testing done on baby #3. Since it was out of pocket (beyond the karyotype done at the hospital) I had to go to the lab, pick up the paraffin block, and send it to New York to have slides prepared & examined. Nothing like picking up your sectioned dead baby in an envelope & Fedexing it across the country like something from eBay. Horrible. Indescribable.

Along came our 3rd IUI, and no luck, no pgcy. I felt like we were moving further and further from our dream.

Baby 4. This was our last IUI before moving to IVF. And, we conceived! I found out by POAS, and that very same day I went to the hospital for a beta test and a PAP smear, coincidentally. During the PAP, the OB said "have you been bleeding - because I see blood here". He even showed me. I knew my pgcy was over. I went out to the parking lot and cried. The beta confirmed, I'd been pg. I didn't bother with an u/s this time since we were only 4 weeks in at this point. I kept up with my meds just in case, but the bleeding got much worse and I knew it was over.

Babies 5, 6, 7 & 8. Next we moved to IVF. By this time I was so paranoid I'd thrown everything but the kitchen sink at my infertility. I tried everything - I went to a reproductive immunologist who charged me $6k in testing only to prescribe me the same thing he prescribes everyone with heterozygous MTHFR which is very common. I was like, couldn't I have skipped the $6k lab bill and just gone on the meds? Anyway, he put me on lovenox, steroids (dexamethasone but I ended up taking prednisone instead because it was covered by my insurance and I figured steroids are steroids, though my RI disagreed), baby aspirin, folic acid and sent me to Mexico to get something called LIT (lymphocyte immune therapy, which is barely controversial and, in my opinion, totally harmless and inexpensive so we went ahead). On the very sketchy advice of Google and I saw a chiropractor & an acupuncturist because I read they increase the odds of successful IVF. I only saw the acu a few times before I decided the needles were too stressful and counterproductive. On the advice of my RI I went on a diabetic diet, which works to calm the immune system. I really think the diet was key. You can get a good diabetic diet plan from your doctor or even off the internet. Even though I had doubts, I figured, it's free and it can't be bad for me to eat healthy. We agreed to do both ICSI and PGD for our upcoming IVF cycle. PGD is awesome. I don't know if ICSI was necessary but by then I had lost total trust in natural selection and was letting medicine take over everything.

The IVF cycle finally arrived and I conceived, which was such a blessing! We couldn't afford to try again. We transferred the only 3 viable embryos we had (8 embryos went through PGD, 4 were found genetically normal, one stopped growing following the PGD), and all three implanted. Then one split, so we had quadruplets! We were ecstatic for about 10 seconds until the doctor said "this is not a good thing", and suddenly we were faced with the choice of reducing, after losing so many babies. All our doctors strongly pushed the reduction because they said I was too small to harbor four babies, and I'd likely lose them all. After going through everything that we had to have a baby, how could I risk losing them all? Logically it made no sense. But how could I kill one? And the doctors were pushing us to kill two, the identical twins, since they are riskier pregnancy-wise. God if I had known what it would be like I would never have transferred 3 embryos knowing the risks of splitting which I was told AFTER the fact "seems to happen a lot with IVF". It was an utterly heartbreaking choice to have to make and we were 100% stuck making a decision. I procrastinated and procrastinated. I probably would have done nothing but then one of the identical twin baby boys (the one embryo that had split) developed severe hydrops/ascites, and the doctor said he would not make it, if was not if but when. You could see it on the ultrasound, he was blown up like a lightbulb, and in the end he looked like a balloon with limbs and a head. It was awful and the US tech let it slip that he was suffering, which made me break down on the table but I was glad she told me, since the doctors never would have. Since he was sharing a blood supply with baby D, chances were baby D would either die or be permanently disabled by a severe stroke. So after waiting as long as possible to see if nature would take its course, they told us to reduce NOW, since the babies were getting so big it was a risk to the entire pregnancy, and by now the baby with hydrops was quadruple the size of the others from swelling so room was already tight at only 19 weeks. Finally and with a heavy heart, we consented.

Looking back I wish I hadn't agreed, but then again, doing this may have saved our two daughters. I'll never know. In hindsight I think, if I was further along, I would have undergone a groundbreaking procedure at a clinic in San Francisco which can reduce only one of two identical twins by sealing off and rerouting blood supply, a procedure my RE said was impossible. Then I could have saved the one baby, possibly. Or I would have just reduced the one and faced the odds of Baby D's survival. I was erroneously told he would die or suffer horribly following the reduction of the other twin which is why I had to take them both, but I later - too late - read a comprehensive study correlating other studies from around the world spanning 50 years which said my baby actually had a 50/50 chance given his specific situation. So if anyone reading this is going through a similar situation, know that there are options your doctors may not be telling you because the information is so new. My source is the NEJM, you can share the study with your doctor and discuss it in detail, she will come around I guarantee it.

If anyone wants to know what a reduction is like I'll tell you via PM. Only if you are faced with that decision.

Finally, 38 weeks came and our daughters were born via c/s. They were so beautiful. I hadn't realized how much I'd been holding back my feelings until I heard Leigh crying (she was first). The tears flowed, as did the happiness.

I think if bad things happen to you often enough, you begin to stop hoping without even realizing it. The good news is, that part of you isn't dead - it's just sleeping.

---

Edited 6/2011: I have a baby boy! He is one year old now. After being told we had a less than 2% chance of ever conceiving on our own, and even less chance of carrying that baby to term, we didn't bother with birth control. And I didn't bother with pgcy tests even though I was breastfeeding and therefore not menstruating. So I didn't know I was pg until I was already one trimester in It was AWESOME to skip the torturous 1st trimester worrying! Ben is a perfect little man. It's so strange to go from NO kids and 4 years of trying to having three kids under three in the house! Our house is like a daycare and is incredibly crazy. I love it!!!

I think a couple of things helped me conceive/keep the baby. One, I stopped drinking. Did you know alcohol affects your egg quality? I didn't! Even a glass or two per week can have a negative effect on your fertility, according to my reproductive immunologist and IVF RE, even months before you conceive, so they sai it's best to stop at least 4 months prior to TTC. Two, I went through LIT (lymphocyte immune therapy). This is a controversial treatment, but only in terms of efficacy, not danger. It's nothing really - the doctor draws your husband's blood, spins out the white cells, then injects those white cells just under your skin (on your arm). Sounds like shots for allergies, right? That's basically what it is. The theory is that some women have antibodies to their husband's blood, which can affect fertility and pregnancy. I have no idea if it actually worked, but before I had it, I couldn't conceive or bring to term a pregnancy on my own. And after I had it, I conceived triplets with my IVF and we only transferred 3 embryos. Also, after the twins were born, I had one - yes one! - period and boom, I got pregnant again with Ben! Those are pretty amazing odds, unbelievable really, so chances are good the LIT had something to do with it since I was undergoing no other treatment at the time of my 2nd successful pgcy (LIT is permanent). Just thought I would share in case anyone is as desperate as I was to start a family and is willing to try anything!
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Me: Lisa, Mommy to twins +1
8/5/08 Beautiful twin girls Leigh and Lucy born after 4-year struggle with RPL & 6 losses
12/10/09 Surprise! Baby #3 is on the way, EDD 6/22/10

12/29/09 2nd ultrasound - joining team blue

6/16/10 Baby Ben is born!



Last edited by LisaB; September 6th, 2011 at 12:18 AM.
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