September 8, 2010

Incompatible with life

I was going to wait to post this tomorrow, but I’m getting tired of reliving the past. I want to look forward, not back! So I’m going to post this tonight and finish up my story tomorrow. After that, I can AW about our latest donor cycle.

**WARNING**In this post I talk about the difficult subject of termination for medical purposes. Not everyone will be comfortable reading this, nor will everyone agree with our decision. You might also notice that I approach this post with humor and acceptance. Forgive me if I seem uncaring. This is a side-effect of my sunny outlook, my sense of humor, and the healing that’s taken place these past few months.***

Despite all the bad feelings I’d had about the cycle, I wasn’t surprised to get a BFP. At 7dp3dt I’d had really mild cramps all day long. I never get cramps before AF, and I’d never had cramps for any previous cycle, so I took the cramps as a good sign. I also received a batch of 50 cheapie pregnancy tests from Amazon that day, so I decided to test in the morning, or 8dp3dt.

Sure enough, the next morning I got a faint second line on an HPT. To rule out an evap line, I had Mr. GB get out of bed, pee in a cup, and watch while I tested his pee. He got a BFN. (For the record, I am a big advocate of POASing, and I would’ve done so sooner if I’d had HPTs in my possession.)

Fast forward past a few ultrasounds at the RE’s office. Despite my high betas, I admit I was disappointed to only have a singleton, because I knew we’d have to repeat the donor process (and expense) if we wanted siblings. At the same time I felt very lucky to have no morning sickness or fatigue. There were many times I’d forgotten I was pregnant. My mom was the same way with me, so I wasn’t worried. We even met my mom in Las Vegas for a short vacation and broke the news. She was thrilled, of course. We swore her to secrecy. Or so we thought.

Fast forward to my first OB appointment at 11 weeks. Yuck. Coming from a fancy-pants RE clinic to this OB’s office was like a culture shock. The waiting room furniture was uncomfortable, there were no magazines, and the décor was dated. The paperwork had no place for me to indicate that I’d used IVF, let alone an egg donor. The nurse kept asking me when my last menstrual period was, and I had to explain to her that my LMP was irrelevant and that she should use the donor’s LMP. She also asked me if I wanted genetic testing for cystic fibrosis. Clearly she was clueless both about IF and donor eggs. And don’t get me started on her gender predictions based on the Doppler heart rate. The doctor was equally uninspiring. I hated being treated like a pregnant fertile in an assembly line. I was ready to get out of there.

I vowed to find an infertile-friendly OB just as soon as I got my referral for an NT scan at 12 weeks. To me, the NT scan was a big milestone. Technically I didn’t need one because our donor was 28 and not AMA, but I wanted one anyway—I wanted to revel in the magic of high-tech ultrasound equipment and get my hands on the DVD they give you at the end.

Per my usual impatience, I booked the appointment on the early side of the NT scan window (11 weeks & some days) at a Maternal Fetal Medicine clinic at a local hospital. (MFMs see high-risk patients and have better-than-average ultrasound equipment.) The MFM’s office was also an upgrade over the trashy OB’s office in the same hospital complex. The MFM paperwork had questions about IVF treatments and a nice little “Donor Egg” checkbox. I was happy.

The exam room was also lovely, with twinkling lights on the ceiling. Didn’t see the doctor at first, just the technician and nurse. The ultrasound was my first experience abdominal ultrasounds--the RE is all about the vag-cam, which is a different experience altogether. It was weird keeping my pants on.

Long story short: at some point I was asked to go empty my bladder and return to the room for a vag-cam for a closer look (so I got to take my pants off after all). Ladies, I’m telling you, if this happens to you, it’s probably not good news. I’d seen the technician do the NT fold measurement and the number looked good to me, so I had no idea WTF was going on. So I pee, come back, meet the MFM’s vag-cam, and the technician resumes looking at the baby’s head. Finally she says she needs to go find the doctor. I ask her if everything is ok and she said she’s having trouble seeing the baby’s head.

At this point she stepped out of the room and left me and Mr. GB to hug and try to deal with this news. A few minutes later the doctor (a very nice woman) and a genetic counselor come to talk to us. They told us that the baby has a severe neural tube defect that was incompatible with life. Basically the baby had a brain but no skull. Our choices were to terminate or continue the pregnancy knowing that the baby would not survive.

As you can imagine, this news was terribly upsetting. But I knew there was no way I could continue the pregnancy, so we made arrangements for a D&E the following week.

Alrighty, that’s enough for today. I’ll try to wrap up my history in the next post.

Golden Bud


Worry Bud said...

OMG Golden Bud - I feel like my heart is literally breaking reading this post. I am so sorry for your loss. I can't wait to hear the rest of your story, which you have told so beautifully so far. I can't imagine how much pain you must have felt when you received that news. Sending big hugs & lots of thoughts & prayers your way.

Silver Rose said...

Oh my goodness! That is so heartbreaking. I'm so sorry you had to go through that. Thank you for sharing your story. *hugs*

Sunflower Bud said...

My heart breaks for everything you have been through. I am still inspired by how strong you appear to have been through all of this. *hugs*

Rai said...

My heart breaks for you, and I am so sorry you have had to endure this.

Sarcastic Bud said...

You are such an inspiration and I truly admire how strong you are.

Thank you for sharing your story with us.


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