Trying to hold ourselves together and find our new normal after loosing our precious twin babies at 20 weeks to HELLP Syndrome.
Baby Boy A and Baby Girl B, conceived after 20 months and IUI plus injectibles; born still on November 12, 2008.

A blog about pregnancy loss and infertility. And whatever comes next. A blog about hanging on together and holding each other up.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Hollow Victory

I used to feel so victorious when I thought we had “conquered” infertility. We had gained what so many IF-ers desire: the knowledge that we could get pregnant. But that knowledge didn’t get us very far.

I was so elated once we passed the first trimester. We didn’t have to worry about vanishing twin syndrome, and the risk of miscarriage was slim to none. But that victory, also, proved to be hollow.

Our ability to get pregnant seems insignificant now. In fact, we got pregnant relatively easily as far as IF stories go (20 months, multiple break cycles due to cysts, and IUI plus injectibles) - although you never could have convinced me of that at the time. Each person's journey causes pain for that person.

But I also realize that some couples go through years of pain and invasive treatments, spend tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, and continue to suffer a broken heart month after month. . . I am thankful that our IF journey was as short and easy as it was, relatively speaking. And I have to remind myself to not assume that it will be just as easy for us to get pregnant again. (Isn’t it interesting how “easy” becomes a relative term?)

But regardless – none of that matters now. Because now we have to face it all again. We’re starting over, empty-handed.

Or maybe not.

And the possibility of "not" is what I’m struggling with right now.

If you’ve never been pregnant, at least there’s options to try to get pregnant – IUI, IVF, ICSI, PGD, donor egg and donor sperm, and even donor embryos. I’m not suggesting any of those options are easy. Or cheap. And its terribly unfair that anyone should be faced with these choices to achieve what comes so easily for others. I so respect and ache for the women who have to decide whether to take each step after painful step in the IF treatment process.

But I’m terrified that we’re not going to have any decisions to make. That we won't have any options. That it won’t matter if I can get pregnant, because I won't be able to stay pregnant. That B and I will be able to make beautiful babies, but I won't be able to carry them and give them what they need. That I won't be able to deliver a baby with a fair chance at survival. And I'm scared that we might have to go through this heartache again to even figure that out.

Then what? Then what would be our options?

To get so close. . . To think you had overcome, only to realize that the biggest obstacle is still before you. And is potentially insurmountable.

I go for more testing tomorrow. We should have the results in a few weeks. I'm so confused that I don't even know anymore what results to hope for. But please keep us in your thoughts nonetheless.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Let's start at the very beginning

On A.pril 30, 2005, I married my best friend, B. Cliché, but true. Together with our two puppies (they will be “puppies” no matter how old they become), we made a small but happy family. We worked on our careers and setting up our home. We learned to love and lean on each other, and became a perfect team.

In January 2007 we started working on expanding our little family. Finally, after 20 months, and IUI plus injectibles, we found out I was pregnant with twins – Baby Boy A and Baby Girl B. We were so overwhelmed: it was perfect. Even those dreams we didn’t know we had came true.

Or so we thought. On Nov.ember 10, 2008, after a seemingly normal OB appointment, I was sent to the hospital and diagnosed with severe HELLP Syndrome and preeclampsia. At only 19 weeks 2 days, it was a death sentence: for the babies, and possibly for me. On Nov.ember 12, 2008, at just 19 weeks 4 days, our precious babies were born. They were too small to survive, but so beautiful and perfect.

We will never be the same. And we’re trying to figure out what has been so aptly referred to as our “new normal.”

So why start a blog? Why now, after having already faced infertility? After already experiencing the loss of our babies?

Because it is only now, after living through the worst days of our lives, that I fully appreciate the power of relationships formed with virtual strangers based on common experiences. I always thought it was slightly ridiculous to search for friends online. I have a better husband than I deserve; we have wonderful, loving families and caring friends. But I also happened to be a member - a rather inactive and not very well known member - of a few message boards. And those women did for us what few others could do, or dared to do.

These virtual strangers told me: “You’re so strong” - and I believed it, and gained strength. I found others who lost their babies and was deeply saddened, but also reassured to know that I wasn't alone. And I gained hope reading about a pre-e survivor who is pregnant again. These beatutiful women provided comfort as they cried with us for our sweet "babies;" as they called me a "mom." And these women made us realize that we can never say, "No one cares" or "No one understands."

I would never have made it through the past weeks and months without the communities of women who have been through or are going through infertility, multiple pregnancies, preeclampsia and HELLP, pregnancy loss . . .

So, I’m blogging for myself, of course. But also because we need the continued strength and support of these strangers we now consider friends. And because maybe, just maybe, reading our story might also help someone else feel slightly less alone.