Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dec 7 - adding another "due date that won't be" to my life...

We got the greenlight to try the IVF again 4 months after my C-section. We wanted to start ASAP. After we lost our first set of twins, it took more than a year (and 5 IVF cycles) until we had a viable pregnancy again. I'm terrified of getting to July again and not even being pregnant or having any other route to parenthood open.

So, we started our FET (frozen embryo transfer) in October. We only had one frozen embryo to transfer and after a few weeks of hormone treatments, we did the transfer in mid-November.

We only had about a 20% chance of a viable pregnancy (an estimate based on the quality of the embryo and the fact that we were transferring 1). When I got the news that the cycle had worked and I was pregnant, I was in shock! So much of a surprise that I went back for multiple blood tests, just to be sure.

As usual with IVF cycles, our first u/s was scheduled for when I would be 5 weeks + 3 days pregnant, which fell out on Monday, December 5.

On Sunday December 4, I started bleeding - a lot. I was nervous, but I had a ton of bleeding when I was pregnant with the boys and everything had been fine. I called my clinic and they said to come in on schedule for the u/s the next day.

On Monday morning we got good and bad news. The good news was that there was no sign of miscarriage but the bad news was there was no sign of a pregnancy either. The blood test results we got later that day were also okay, but not good - my beta hcg levels had gone up, but not nearly as fast or as high as expected. We were told to come back on Wednesday, December 7 for a follow-up.

Well, this morning, we got definite bad news. Still no sign of pregnancy on the u/s and my blood beta-hcg levels have dropped from 1,200 to 300. Definitely a miscarriage.

So I add another "due date that won't be" to my life -- August 3, 2012 - another day we should have a baby, but won't.

While adopting will take 7 years before we can even begin, we'd been recommended to apply to an organization called Summit, which manages the foster-to-adopt cases. Ideally, we would take in an infant and eventually (when the parents officially lost their rights) we would adopt. About 90% of babies chosen for the foster-to-adopt program are adopted by the foster parents (and we'll try not to think about the 10% chance that the baby we've been raising will be taken away from us).

Unfortunately, we've been categorically denied as prospective foster parents (before they even met with us) because I suffer from chronic depression and take anti-depressants. We are trying to appeal to them. I've been stable on the anti-depressants for years - even with all the hell we've been through recently. Both my therapist and our couple's counselor are writing letters of appeal. So more waiting and uncertainty.

I know we deserve to be parents and that we would be great parents. I just don't know if we ever will be parents (again). I hope so, but I don't know.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nov 8, 2011 - 16 weeks since the boys were born...

Today was the boys' due date.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I thought early November was a fantastic due date this year -- how awesome would it be to be a few days overdue and have a baby on 11/11/11? Then we found out that I was carrying twins. There was no way that I was getting that close to my due date. Oh well - they wouldn't have a cool birthday, but twins! We expected the boys any time in October. Sadly, they came in July. But today is still hard. November 8th, 2011 - another due date passing without a child in my arms.

May 1, 2010; April 18, 2011; November 8, 2011 -- I remember them all.

People have been asking who the boys were named after. We had been planning to explain at their britot (circumcision ceremonies). We never got the chance. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to explain why they got the names we gave them.

Micha was named after David's father's father - Mischa Elman. I love the tradition of naming children after family members who have passed away. Naming after one of our grandfathers was really important to me.

Asaf's name was picked because the boys were due around the Jewish holiday of Sukkot - the harvest festival ("Asaf" means 'harvest'). Later, someone pointed out another meaning of the root word of Asaf's name - 'addition'. Seems an especially fitting name, since he was our 'additional' baby - twin b.

I still can't believe they're gone... I would give anything to get the chance to hold them again. There is a quote that circles among 'baby loss moms' -- "A thousand words can't bring you back, I know because I've tried. And neither could a thousand tears, I know because I've cried". I would do anything, give anything to have my babies with me again, but I know that I can't.

We have visited the cemetery several times, but it's not the same. Whenever I pass by the hospital where they were in the NICU, I find myself thinking I can stop by and visit - but then I remember that I can't.

Life marches on. I have a new job now. I was planning on being a stay at home mom, but instead I'm working in a law firm.

We are still meeting with doctor after doctor - not necessarily looking for answers about what happened because nothing can change what was, but instead looking for the solutions for the future. Getting pregnant again will be so hard, is it worth trying? Will I be able to carry to term? If I can't carry to term, why would I spend so much time and energy on getting pregnant again? No one has the answers, but the doctors are encouraging me to try again. They don't seem to understand. I'm so scared. I can't lose another baby. This is more than just 'another try' -- this is my life, my babies. I'm not sure what we'll do.

We are pursuing adoption as well, but as anyone who has tried that route knows, adopting is incredibly difficult, both emotionally and logistically. Adopting means giving up on so much - a biological child, carrying the child inside me, giving birth under 'normal' circumstances (instead of the craziness of my 2 deliveries), holding our child on the day s/he is born, and so much more. We are willing to give up all of that to have a baby of our own. Unfortunately, adopting isn't that simple. The waiting, the bureaucracy, the uncertainty, the energy, the home visits, the psychological checks, the criminal background checks, the financial inquiries, the unknown. We met with the adoption agency on Sunday and were told that it's a 7 year wait for a healthy baby -- we've been "on the list" for a year now, so we should call back in 5 years and start the process then. 5 years. <sigh>

I hope we do get a child to bring home one day. I'm not sure we will, but only that hope gets me through the dark days. On other days I acknowledge the fact that not everyone gets a happy ending, and I try to figure out who I am if I'm never a mom again.

I don't know what will be. I don't what the future holds for us. I just hope that if we don't get our 'happy ending', we can still learn to be happy with whatever ending we get.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

follow-up with my high risk OB

We met with my high-risk OB (Prof Yossi Ezra) today. As I expected, he has no answers for us. The pre-term labor was totally unexpected and there is nothing he or I could have done differently to prevent it. He said that even if I had gone for a check up the day before, they wouldn't have seen the signs - and by the time the PTL started, there was nothing they could have done to stop it.

With regards to getting pregnant again, he said that there is no reason I shouldn't be able to carry a singleton to term (twins would be super tricky and risky -- but odds are super slim I would get pregnant with twins a 3rd time, even with the fertility treatments). He said there isn't much we can do differently next time either - since we didn't do anything 'wrong' this time. Next time, I would still do the frequent u/s to check my cervical length (which was fine this time, even just a few days earlier). We would add P17 (progesterone) injections - which we couldn't do this time since they don't help with twin pregnancies, only singleton pregnancies. But other than that -- things would be the same and chances are good that I will carry to term.

Because of the C-section, and the fact that I've been pregnant so often (56 weeks total out of the last 2 years) which severely diminishes the store of vitamins and minerals in my body, we need to wait before we try to get pregnant again.  Because the paperwork and bureaucracy takes so long to process, I made an appt with the IVF clinic for next month so I can at least get the balling rolling. I'd like to get all the paperwork and re-testing done so that when we can start the IVF again, we are ready. (I'll need the national health care to re-approve my IVF qualifications which will probably take a few meetings with a few specific doctors as well as a ton of testing redone -- STD panel, blood count, clotting factors, hysteroscopy, HSG, etc)

After the trip to the doctor, we made a trip to the Ministry of the Interior (Misrad HaPanim). In general, new mothers don't have to go into the physical office to register their child's birth. You get a temporary birth certificate in the hospital after delivery that has a detachable part where you add the child's first name and mail into the government. They process it and mail you back the official birth certificate. Death certificates you can only get in person. So we went in and met with the special person who handles cases where new parents need to file for BOTH a birth and death certificate. Luckily, we had all the paperwork we needed and the guy was really nice. I now have 2 official birth certificates and 2 official death certificates. He asked us if we wanted to add them to our identity cards (children are listed on their parents identity cards and only get their own cards at the age of 16). We decided that we did. So now, both Micha and Asaf are listed on both of our identity cards, with the initials z"l (standing for the Hebrew version of "of blessed memory"). It's bittersweet...

Friday, July 29, 2011

visiting our little boys

This afternoon, we went to visit our little boys. Sadly, we went to the cemetery and not to the hospital. They are buried very close to each other (only one other baby in between them - we didn't think to ask to save the plot next to Micha just in case Asaf didn't make it). Their graves are so very tiny.

We are both still quite numb. I really thought that this would finally be the pregnancy that brought home the baby we would get to keep. We were both so excited about the prospect of raising 2 little boys. We keep getting so so so close to having a child to raise, and keep having that dream stolen away from us.

Jewish tradition is not to buy anything before the baby is born safely. With my first pregnancy, I didn't buy a single thing. When we lost our little boy and girl, I really regretted that I had never bought anything for them - never got to have the fun of shopping and buying for the baby. So this time around, I decided to be positive and I bought some things when I saw something either on a great sale or something really extra cute and special. When I was having a 'bad day' and worried about losing them, I would go out shopping to a baby store, to remind myself that the vast VAST majority of people who get pregnant really do bring home healthy babies.

Alas, once again, lightening struck and we are NOT part of those lucky people.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

good bye little Asaf

At 8:30pm today, I had just finished pumping and we were getting ready to go to the hospital to visit Asaf and say good night. I got the dreaded call from the NICU -- come as soon as you can, things got worse.

Completely numb, we drove to the hospital as fast as we could. When we got there, his heart was barely beating and the ventilator was breathing for him. The doctor explained that the kidney failure had gone on too long and his little body couldn't handle it. His heart just gave out.

Sometime between my afternoon visit and this evening, his eyes opened for the first time. We'd like to think that his first and last sight was his mommy and daddy telling him they loved him.

We held him and kissed him and told him how much we loved him. I can't believe we did the same thing with his twin brother just earlier this week.

We are completely heartbroken. I really believed that this could finally be the time when we had the baby we got to take home and raise. But, sadly, that didn't happen.

I don't know what we do next. For the next few weeks, I think we will just struggle through, trying to survive from day to day.

Little Asaf will be buried near his older brother Micha tomorrow morning. We love and miss them both so much.

still waiting for that good news... (Day 9)

Still no urine, still no kidney function. Every day that goes by makes the situation more and more serious. If things don't turn around, we will lose him.

People keep asking why dialysis isn't an option. He is much to small and much too delicate for dialysis or a transplant. Even giving him medication is always a concern. Since he has so little blood, adding just a few ccs of medicine to his IV can raise his blood pressure dangerously high. Since he is so small, his entire system is incredibly delicate. The doctors have to be careful that the treatments they give him don't cause issues in other parts of his body.

When I sit and watch him, I can't imagine life without him. He is a little person, so strong and cute and active. But when I leave the hospital, I remember how serious the situation is, and can't imagine how things will ever get better. When I look at pictures of him, I can't picture how he could ever get big enough to come home. When I visit him in person, I can't imagine how we could lose him.

At the very least, it's good that there is no more bad news to add to the bad news we already have. So far, the issue is "only" his kidneys. Unfortunately, there is no good news either.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

still no good news, but some new pictures and videos

Sadly, our evening visit did not bring us good news. The kidneys still aren't functioning.

We sat and sang to him. It's amazing how stress can make you forget all the lyrics to every song you know! We couldn't sing a single song all the way through. I guess we'll have to print off 'cheat sheets' with lyrics. Any recommendations of good songs to sing?

He is incredibly tiny. He now has a new roommate in the 'critical care' section of the NICU - and she seems HUGE (even though she is also tiny).

We both held his hand as much as possible. The pictures with us really put his teeny tiny size into perspective.

Here is Asaf holding Daddy's hand:

Here is Daddy standing next to the isolette:

Here is Mommy standing next to the isolette:

Here is a video of Mommy saying 'good night':

We are hoping and praying for good news tomorrow...