We got our genetic test results back today. The baby I miscarried was a genetically normal girl.
The nurse I talked to said that there is a very small chance that my DNA could have contaminated the results, but she thinks it’s highly unlikely in this case. She explained why, but I was too out of it to really pay attention.
A part of me wished the baby had been genetically abnormal because then at least I would have known beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was not meant to be.
But she was normal. She should have had a chance. Instead she is just gone.
I want to scream “Why?” at the Universe. I want to kick down trees and bust through clouds and pound my hands on the street. I want to beg and barter. I want, more than anything, for this not to be true. But it is true. We had a little girl. She was normal, she was alive. And now she is gone.
Her name is Anna Adele Best.
Anna is after my paternal grandmother and Tim’s maternal grandmother. Adele is the name of Tim’s paternal grandmother. All those grandmas are in heaven now, if such a place exists, so hopefully they can keep our Anna close and tell her how much she is loved.
The fact that this baby was a girl is hitting me just as hard as the fact that she was genetically normal. I know just what it’s like to love a little girl and it’s pretty much the best thing ever. I know exactly what I’m missing.
It makes me sad for Lettie, too. She could have had sister to share life with, a best friend, a conspirator.
Tonight, our dear friend came over for dinner. He mentioned that he was planning on taking a trip to Iceland this summer. There are few things that Tim and I get more excited about than Iceland — we’ll talk about it with anyone who will listen. We traveled there in the summer of 2011 and it was the vacation of a lifetime. We, of course, had to immediately show our friend the photo slideshow we had made of the trip.
I hadn’t watched the slideshow in years. My first thought upon viewing it was, Who are these people? The couple in the video looked relaxed and carefree. They looked insanely happy.
They looked madly in love.
I am undeniably still in love with Tim, but I can’t remember a time when we last looked that happy. We looked as if all that mattered in the world was each other. And it’s not like we were untouched by sadness during that trip — in fact, Tim’s childhood best friend had just died suddenly a few days before. I remember stopping on a black sand beach outside the town of Vik so Tim could drop a picture of his friend into the waves. We watched and cried together as it drifted out to sea. But even with that loss, I remember the trip as a time of sweetness and light.
To me, Iceland belongs to the time of Before. Before we lost my mom and our babies, before needles, endless doctors visits and drugs whose names I can’t pronounce. Of course, many happy things have also happened in the years since that trip — the most notable being the birth of our sweet Lettie. Despite all the good we’ve been blessed with, I’ve noticed that over the last few years our love has started to have a heaviness to it. What used to feel buoyant is now weighted down by our shared loss.
But here’s the thing I realized tonight. Although my first thought after seeing that slideshow was, Who are these people?, my next thought was Oh! That’s still us! And I started to feel excited. I began to feel hopeful for the first time in weeks.
Underneath all the grief and sadness, we are still those same two people who are madly in love. Our circumstances may have changed, but we didn’t. I believe that the core of who we are as a couple is still solid. We might not feel that giddy Icelandic happiness this very minute, but we’ve felt it before, and that alone is promise enough that we can feel it again. There’s no getting around the fact that we’re in a season of grief right now, but you never know:
A season of light could be just around the corner.
Disclaimer: This is fairly boring post that you may want to skip if you’re not interested in the details of IVF or miscarriage.
We had our what-the-f*ck-happened appointment with our doctor on Monday. I had a two-page list of questions prepared, starting with the IVF cycle and ending with the miscarriage. Here’s what we learned:
I did not respond to the IVF meds as well as my doctor thought I would. She initially started me out with what was a higher-than-normal dose because she was worried there might be some after-effects of the cyst. She said she was prepared to lower the dose, but instead ended up having to up the dose. She said this could indicate that I had lower ovarian reserve, despite the fact that my FSH and AMH (two tests they use to predict ovarian reserve) were good. I guess ovarian reserve is a big predictor of IVF success. The more you have, the more likely you’ll be successful. And the opposite holds true for low ovarian reserve — less chance of success. So, yeah, great, possible secret low ovarian reserve. That’s definitely what I wanted to hear. I’m not even sure what to do with that one. I feel a little blindsided by it. I don’t understand why my tests would be normal, yet my ovarian reserve is still possibly jacked.
If we do a fresh cycle going forward, she would continue with the same protocol as the first time (estrogen priming with no birth control pills), but start out with the higher dose of meds than I ended up with last time.
As far as the recurrent miscarriage tests go, the ones that came back so far were normal, save for one of the blood clotting ones, which was slightly elevated. She said that could just be attributed to still being pregnant, though, so they will retest me once my hcg drops to zero. The genetic karyotyping that Tim and I had done is not back yet. There are also several other tests that she wants to do, but she again wants to wait until my hcg is at zero.
Apparently my last hysteroscopy showed a slight heart-shaped uterus and a slight septum. Either of these things could have contributed to the eccentric embryo implantation, which could have contributed to the miscarriage. She said that the hysteroscopy findings previously did not worry her because I’ve had a successful pregnancy in the past. But now, based on the fact that I’ve had the wacky implantation, she may recommend surgery to get the septum removed. Sweet, another possible procedure. She’s going to see what the results are of my next hysteroscopy are before she makes that decision.
I had a D & C on Thursday (more on that in another post) and they are going to genetic test the “products of conception.” Lovely term, right? Apparently, it isn’t a sure thing on whether they can get reliable test results or not (I’m not clear on why), but hopefully we’ll get some more information.
Because I’ve had two losses, my doctor suggested that we pursue genetic testing if we do another fresh cycle. Apparently, if there are no other underlying issues, blastocysts that are genetically normal have a 70% chance of resulting in pregnancy.
We basically have a few options going forward:
1) Use the frozen embryo we have and don’t genetic test it.
2) Use the frozen embryo we have an attempt to genetic test it. If it’s already hatched when it thaws, then it can’t be tested.
2) Do a fresh cycle and genetic test the embryos we get during that. We can also defrost the frozen one at that time and test it with the others, if it can be tested.
Right now we are leaning towards option three, a fresh cycle. I’m not sure what we’ll do with the frozen one yet — that’s what we can’t figure out. I don’t want to end up doing something that will waste it somehow. I would hate to thaw it, find out it can’t be tested and then have to re-freeze it and risk damaging it. It very well could be totally normal. It could be our take-home baby, but I’d like to have some backup in case it isn’t. There are just so many unknowns here, it’s hard to know what to do.
I think the results of our recurrent miscarriage panel and whatever we learn genetically about the baby that I miscarried will help guide our decision as well. It could be well over a month until all of that comes back, so for now it’s all speculation.
Regardless of what we decide, I’m benched from starting another cycle, be it frozen or fresh, until at least mid March. I have to wait for my first period so my lining can repair itself after the D & C and then I have to get another hysteroscopy. So I won’t be able to start another cycle until my second period after the D & C. Plus, who knows how long this potential uterine septum surgery could delay things
And that, my friends, is what’s getting to me the most about this whole experience: waiting, waiting and more effing waiting. I just want to be moving forward. I feel like time is one thing that I don’t have the luxury of right now.
At least two more months for another chance at getting pregnant. That’s just for another chance! And if that chance doesn’t work, more waiting. And even if it does work, it doesn’t mean I’ll have a healthy baby in nine months. I know that, in the end, this period of infertility will just be a few years out of my entire lifetime, but right now I’m struggling to see anything beyond the waiting, uncertainty and heartache.