Thursday, February 18, 2010

Our Journey through secondary infertility

I've debated how much to share here since I really don't like to have all of my personal life on display for the world to know.  But, we've reached a point where a lot of our life, or rather my life lol, is centered around expanding our family.

Secondary Infertility isn't really talked about a lot. writes this about secondary infertility:

Although over three million Americans are affected by the painful experience of secondary infertility, it generally remains an unacknowledged and invisible condition. Secondary infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant, or to carry a pregnancy to term, following the birth of one or more biological children. Even though the couple already has a child, the couple experiences secondary infertility as the loss of a child, the loss of pregnancy, and the loss of childbirth. 

Even though secondary infertility has a higher prevalence rate than primary infertility, couples are far less apt to seek treatment for this condition. When their first child is conceived with ease, many couples are caught completely off guard by the difficulty of having a second child because they hold the belief that past fertility insures future fertility. Physicians, too, may downplay the possibility of secondary infertility in their previously fertile patients and encourage the couple to "keep on trying." 

These couples are vulnerable to feelings of self-blame, particularly if they seek treatment at a later time and the interventions are unsuccessful. Often they feel regretful at not having taken a more aggressive approach to treatment when they were younger, as advancing age is often an issue in secondary infertility. 

The emotional experience of secondary infertility often is a compilation of the distressing feelings of anger, grief, depression, isolation, guilt, jealousy, self-blame, and being out of control. Couples may feel guilty for experiencing normal grief and worry about how their anguish will affect their existing child. The powerlessness to produce a sibling for the existing child often produces feelings of sorrow, as does the inability to perpetuate the parenting role. Many feel distant from their friends as those who were a great source of support when parenting the first child are now linked to sensations of pain and jealously. 

Sadly, couples with secondary infertility tend to receive less social support from others than couples who have primary infertility because the infertility is unacknowledged, the pain associated with infertility is invisible as the couple has a child, and there is no concrete loss in the family. In addition, couples experiencing secondary infertility may be recipients of criticism by others who think they should be grateful for one child and that it is foolish to go to extremes to increase family size. Of course, a couple can be extraordinarily thankful for their existing child and still long for more children. 

To avoid the sense of isolation that often accompanies secondary infertility, and to maintain necessary social support, it is important to educate friends and family members about the common feelings associated with secondary infertility. For example, with some guidance by the couple, friends may understand that declining an invitation to a baby shower relates to pain and grief, rather than a lack of interest in another's family.

I think the bolded statement is one of the most important to read.  It has so much truth to it.  On so many levels.  It is so possible to be incredibly grateful for what you have, incredibly sad for what you have lost and said good-bye to and incredibly impatient to expand your family.

The pregnancy last year in January was a surprise.  And while we still hadn't really talked about, decided or determined that we wanted more children, that surprise pregnancy absolutely pushed us into that direction.  And during that pregnancy, I was really naive.  Even though I had spotting in the 7th week, we saw the heartbeat and I was sure there was no way God would allow us to lose another baby.  I mean, why give us such a generous surprise just to rip it away once we got accustomed and excited about the idea?  Of course, it's pretty public knowledge where that pregnancy ended up, February 20, 2009 at 8 weeks, we lost the baby.

Once we got the go ahead, we were pregnant again in June.  All was going great, I was sick as could be and we decided that once we saw the heart beat and were passed the 8th week, we would share our news.  Kaitlyn had been through enough in her 4 short years and knew that our luck wasn't the best.  At 6 weeks, there was no development.  Well, there was a fetal pole and a misshapen sac.  But, I was determined that we wouldn't endure yet another loss.  How cruel would that be?  So, we held on another month, with awful sickness, and at 10 weeks, there wasn't any development.  I was diagnosed as having a missed miscarriage.  I was given a medication to induce a miscarriage and all should have been well.  But, of course, alas, it did not work.  My body just wouldn't let go.  Which, another week later, resulted in a d&c.  And a week after that I had a terrible hemorrhage scare. 

What a conundrum this was.  The pregnancy that seemed to have a healthy, well developing baby, my body wouldn't hold onto.  And then, the unhealthy, undeveloping pregnancy, my body was determined to hold onto with all it's might.

In December, we had another pregnancy, that lasted all of 6 days :) 

So, there we are.  Our initial diagnosis was "bad luck." But, after my history, I just can't accept that.  It doesn't make sense.  So, I changed medical insurance, and am at Kaiser to see a fertility specialist.

I started by seeing an OB, who I thought was great.  Until he basically told me I was uneducated on the art of fertility and flaked on my for an important appointment.  Of course, I did have a pap smear that came back abnormal.

Today, I was approved for the fertility clinic.  The doctor said that with my history I can skip the new patient orientation they normally require.  They will expedite the blood work and testing to try and find out what in the world could possibly be wrong with me.  I will have that next week as well as a follow up on my darn pap.

And that is where my life, angry ovaries and uncooperative uterus are today.


aalcanter said...

You and Dusty are in my thoughts and prayers. Keep me posted and let me know if there is anything I can do. (Even if it is just to be a distraction. I heard there were unexplored areas in Sacramento that we can get lost in. ;))
Love, Drea

AKD said...

Thinking of you. Infertility, especially when combined with baby loss, is horrifying, scary, and can be embarrassing. I hope you get lots of answers soon.

Nicole said...

I know how hard this must be for you to share, but just remember that those who matter would never judge or criticize you :) I'm so glad you were able to get into the fertility clinic quickly, and hope they get you some answers just as quickly!