Monday, November 2, 2009

Trying to stay positive the aftermath of having a miscarriage in June and an ectopic pregnancy in October. Yeah, this again... Sorry, it's just so heavy on my mind.

I had a methotrexate shot last Wednesday to terminate the ectopic pregnancy (which had started to end on its own, but not fast enough to alleviate my doctor's fears about rupturing my fallopian tube). What's that like? Well, it was mostly a lot of waiting in the ER, then two needles of the methotrexate in the bum (two injection locations increase absorption). This is a chemotherapy drug that basically stops cells from replicating. There are lots of potential side effects, but "all" I felt was a little nauseous and really tired. The nausea has passed, but I still feel fatigued. There's very little pain (just some continued cramping that I was experiencing before I got the shot), and no bleeding really, just the same daily spotting I've been having for two months now. I wasn't as far along (only 3-5 weeks is my guess) so this time there are no painful contractions, and no bouts of crazy bleeding (thank goodness) like last time.

My doctor has told me that this drug is teratogenic (it can cause deformity in a fetus), so we have to wait for at least three months before trying to conceive again, to make sure it's out of my system. Meanwhile I am getting lots of blood tests to watch my levels of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin - the hormone that indicates pregnancy) and make sure they drop right down to zero.

After a year of trying and two lost babies, it's so hard to think we have to wait another three months before even trying again. (Honestly, it's going to suck to have to use condoms!) But we can't take the risk.

All of our closest friends now have babies one or two months old. Even our neighbours all have babies - I'm not exaggerating, both our immediate side neighbours, both our immediate backyard neighbours, one across the street, and two others beside our immediate neighbours have newborns. That's seven houses full of baby goodness, right outside every window in our house. We're surrounded. And I'm not going to lie, it's hard to be the only ones among our peers who are going through this. It's hard to hear about our friends' "surprise" pregnancy and wish it could be so easy for us. It's hard to hear about the new babies and even the parents' small complaints - I can't help but wish we could trade places.

Anyway... my point is, I'm going to try to stay positive. I'm not exactly a believer in the 'power of positive thinking', but at the same time I have seen how negative people seem to be magnets for trouble. I'm not sure if there's any logic there, as I am in general an optimist (and look what's happened to me!), but I find life is better when I am upbeat... and if I start to be pessimistic about things I could really see me spiraling into depression. So happy and hopeful is the plan.

I've been preparing myself for pregnancy for 15 months now. I started three months before we started 'trying'. I cut out caffeine, alcohol (except for a few occasions when I knew I could not possibly be pregnant and only had one drink), and try to get enough sleep. We already eat a very healthy vegetarian diet, but I've also cut out artificial sweeteners and non-pasteurized cheese. I stopped eating mayonnaise for a while during the two pregnancies. I kept track of my cycle. I avoided hot baths and hot tubs. I did everything I could to make sure I was an ideal candidate to conceive.

And really, I think it worked - we conceived after just 5 cycles of trying, then again the 3rd cycle after the miscarriage. I think we have just had two ultra bad luck flukes.

So I have these three months to wait. Three months that can go by however I choose. I can choose to be random and get my drink on (well, actually no, not with the methotrexate - increased risk of liver damage doesn't sound fun), eat all the junk food I want, stop going for my daily walks... or I can choose to maintain the pre-pregnancy lifestyle of healthy habits which may increase our chances of conception next time. Hmm, no contest. My body's been a temple for 15 months and I'm going to keep it that way.

One thing I'm doing that is at least making me feel a little in control of this situation is reading a book called Making Babies by Sami S. David, M.D. and Jill Blakeway, LAc. I won it (!) on the blog Park Avenue Princess and it came in the mail on Thursday - yes, the day after I got the shot that ended this pregnancy. I decided that November 1st was the first day of my three month wait, so last night I dove in and read the first three chapters.

It's basically about (so far) learning about your body, how conception works, and things you can do to increase your chances of conceiving a healthy baby. They combine backgrounds of Eastern and alternative medicine and traditional Western medicine. The focus is on natural conception, but they definitely discuss all the alternatives from acupuncture and herbal supplements to fertility drugs and IVF.

Even with all the reading I have done in the last year+, I am still learning new things as I read this book. It has a little much self-aggrandizement in the writing for my taste, but the information is easy to read and doesn't dumb down the details. I like the case studies and the diagrams and charts that are easy to understand. They have also included a basal body temperature chart (to photocopy and use) with wayyy more information on it than I have seen elsewhere - and discussed exactly what to look for to determine ovulation in three different ways! It's all the stuff we never discussed in health class. I'm talking cervical mucus here, with descriptions of exactly what it should look like and when; how to check out your own cervix, really detailed stuff like that, things my family doctor/midwife/girlfriends/mom certainly never told me.

So far I'm pretty impressed. I'm not sure how much it will help us as we do seem to be able to conceive, but I also am a big believer in knowing your own body and taking charge of your own health so I am very happy to be learning more and feeling a bit more in control and aware of myself. And who knows, maybe there's one simple thing that has meant we had these two flukey losses. Maybe there's one small thing we have missed that will help us have a healthy baby.

If I have learned anything in my experience with conceiving so far, and could give advice to anyone, it would be not to wait so long. I was 32 when we started trying, and I'll be in the last months of 34 or even 35 by the time we (hopefully) have a baby. While I have always wanted two children, the later it gets the less the likelihood that we will - my husband is saying with the increased risk of problems after 35, and how old we will be as parents, he doesn't want to have two anymore. (I still do. That's a whole other issue.)

For me I had a late start because I was married, then divorced (over my ex not wanting kids, there's irony for you), then I re-married last year. Obviously that's not the way I expected life to happen. And I had actually wanted to start trying back when I was 26... but that's not the way things panned out. Now time is working against us.

Anyway. I will be posting some giveaways later as well (in a separate post), if that's what you were looking for and got this instead!


  1. Sorry you have to go through all this.

    Have you read the blog, Kelly's Korner? (
    It took her a while to conceive, she had infertility issues. Then when her baby was born this past January she was in NICU for several weeks. Her story is very inspiring and she really supports other women that go through the same thing.

  2. As hard as it is, I think you are on the right track: trying to stay positive and continuing to prepare in any way you can because it will happen. Just not quite when you wanted it, but it will come. I'm glad you have great book to read. Lots of fantastic websites out there too.

  3. I really am sorry that you've been going through so much with trying to have a baby. I really feel that positive thinking does work. I hope that the next few months of waiting to start trying again go well for you :)

  4. I am so sorry you have gone through this, one piece of advise I can offer honestly relax. Live life like you did prior to trying to conceive. Its great that you gave up alcohol and such but you dont have to give it all up. Your body will give you the baby you desire when you relax hun. Easy to say hard to do hun I know I have been there. I had no issues when I was young conceiving my daughter, but it took a long while to get my son and it happened when I let go and stopped worrying, enjoy the act!

  5. I won the same book on a blog recently too, and i love it! I am hoping it helps us too. I really hope that you get to experience the wonderful joy of mommyhood soon. There is also another product i have tried for a review that i think you might like, called fertilaid.

  6. I think you have an awesome attitude. I am wishing you guys all the best with having a baby. Let us know when you start trying again and we will send you lots of good thoughts. :-)

  7. I'm so sorry hun. ((((HUGS))) Be sure to do some things you enjoy, even if it is the occassional drink. Your attitude is fantastic and that will certainly get you thru the next three months! {Is it three months or three periods??} The book sounds good! :-)

  8. Very thoughtfull post on Positive Thinking . It should be very much helpfull.

    Karim - Positive thinking

  9. Very hard and HUGS! I have had two m/c's and almost lost my daughter, so I am VERY nervous to try again. It is easy for me to get pregnant, it is just keeping them in me that is not! HUGS and prayers that you will find yourself pregnant in a few months!

  10. Oh Emily, I'm so sorry you have to go through this!! I had 4 miscarriages scattered in between 3 live births... I say that as a bizarre sort of encouragement that just because things really and truly suck sometimes doesn't mean they always will. Good for you trying to stay positive. Huge hugs to you.

  11. Hi! I can definitely relate to being surrounded by pregnant people. At my office, there are three girls do within a month of the due date for the baby I miscarried! I didn't find out about two of the girls untils after my miscarriage, so it was hard to hear their news. I kept my fingers crossed as I asked them their due dates -- knowing it'd be close to mine.

    Part of me wishes I could be in their shoes, but I definitely don't wish them to be in mine -- so I try my best to be happy for them -- and that actually works most of the time. For me it's the initial news of the pregnancy that's hardest to hear.

    I'm so sorry that you have to wait three months before trying. For me having to wait to go back to square one is really difficult -- especially since it seemed to take so long to get pregnant in the first place. But hopefully, things will work better for both of us this next go round.


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