Monday, November 10, 2008

Our Story

I met my husband at work. We started dating in 1999 (or 2000, depending on who you ask). In 2001, the opportunity to transfer to a different work location arose. This, in turn, led to our decision to move in together. We bought a house in my husband's home town. In 2002, my husband's Army Reserve Unit was called up for duty in Uzbekistan. J spent 9 months in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. When he returned home in 2003, we got married.

In 2005, I finally convinced J that having a baby would be a good idea. He was unsure of the whole idea due to the fact that he's fairly well convinced that he has long term as-yet-unknown health issues from serving in Iraq during the Gulf War. Anyway, we had a discussion in December of 2004 that I interpreted to mean that we could start preparing to have a baby. He meant we should start thinking about it, but I stopped taking my bcp, and when March came around, I was ready to try for a baby. So we did. And I got pregnant right away.

I made an appointment with a carefully chosen OB/Gyn. Unfortunately, I didn't choose carefully enough, so we now refer to her as Dr. Bad Karma. On my first appointment, I was instructed to meet with the midwife. The office staff told me that many women prefer to see the midwife instead of the doctor, and this should have been my first clue that I would probably not like this practice. So, at my first appointment, I met the midwife. I hated her immediately. I have a degree in Biochemistry, and I'm not very social, and I don't really like to express my feelings. I was also almost 36. During my appointment with the midwife, I had a ton of questions. I'd never been pregnant before and I had never been close enough (distance-wise) to be involved in any of my friends' or family's pregnancies. I wanted facts. The midwife gave me feelings. When I inquired about the possibility of miscarriage (since several of my friends had recently experienced miscarriages), she handed me a tissue and told me not to worry about it. I resolved not to make any more appointments with her.

The next appointment, I met with the doctor. She was OK, if somewhat brusque. I appreciated that and felt that I would get straight information from her. I can't remember if I had a chance to hear the baby's heartbeat on the Doppler. By this time, J had told all of his family. I had told my family. Then, one day, he let it slip to our coworkers. That was on a Thursday. On Saturday, I started bleeding a little bit. Nothing to worry about, the weekend service said, just stay off your feet. On Sunday, I lost the baby, just shy of 12 weeks. J called Dr. Bad Karma and was completely offended by her manner. It seems we were interrupting her Father's Day celebrations and she let it show. I thought she was just being her usual terse self. Either way, I was able to see what I thought was the baby when I passed it. Needless to say, I was hysterical and sobbing and my poor husband couldn't do anything to help me or himself.

I went in for the internal ultrasound the next day, to confirm the loss. The doctor told me that it happens in 15% or more of pregnancies, and we could just try again whenever we felt we were ready. I took the next few days off of work, leaving it to J to tell everyone at work. He is not a very sympathetic person in general, but he reached new heights of insensitivity during this time. On reflection, I know that he couldn't be sensitive because he was completely helpless to deal with his own emotions. I knew it subconsciously at the time, I think. I knew how to grieve, as I had lost several people who were very important to me, including my dad. J's only loss was the death of his grandfather, and he was pretty young when that happened.

So, being determined people who had set their minds to a project, once we were able to try again, we did. And we got pregnant again. And, in September, at 8 weeks, I lost the baby. This was not as devastating as the first loss. I think maybe I expected it. I hadn't even made it to my first doctor's appointment, and didn't even have a due date to focus on. But I went in for the internal ultrasound to confirm the miscarriage. When I was in the office, the nurse or med tech, said, "Now you're about 24 weeks, right?" Uh, no actually. I lost that baby, I'm losing another one, and don't you people read your charts or do you just not f'ing update them??? I got stuck with the midwife again. She seemed somewhat perturbed when I said I wanted to see the doctor about some testing. Normally, the doctors go with statistics and make you keep having miscarriages until you beat the odds (or maybe have 3 depending on the doctor), but I insisted on having some testing. Since I was already "old," they indulged me.

This time, we hadn't told anyone about the pregnancy, except one of J's sisters. She had also had a miscarriage recently, but followed that up with a successful twin pregnancy. Anyway, her husband is a doctor. So, after reflecting on our situation, he decided to ask around and find a doctor who might be able to help us. Enter Dr. A - the perfect combination of 2nd generation MD, good looking, and knowledgeable.

Dr. Bad Karma recommended a series of blood tests, which I did, and an HSG. I had sent my information to Dr. A and had a telephone consultation. He recommended additional blood tests and a hysteroscopy instead of the HSG. Having read the HSG information, I was inclined to agree with his view. To me, a camera beats radioactive dye any day of the week. So there's a little anesthesia involved, so what? Anyway, I had all my bloodwork info transferred to Dr. A's office. Dr. Bad Karma's office was confused that I was branching out on my own. Apparently, they'd never had a proactive patient before, because they couldn't understand why I wanted my info transferred without having Dr. Bad Karma recommend someone to me. Another sign.

After Dr. A's intensive battery of tests, and making my husband donate a sperm sample (which we retrieved at home and then I had to carry it in my armpit for the 45 minute drive to Dr. A's office), we had some results. J was convinced he had mutant sperm. He was also unconvinced about Dr. A, since our insurance would not cover all of the testing that was done. He was wrong on all counts. Dr. A was wonderful, our insurance covered most of the costs, and I was the one with the problem.

My father died in 1991 due to complications of Rheumatoid Arthritis. RA is an autoimmune disease, and it is usually inherited. In my dad's family, it follows a meandering path. My dad's uncle had it, my dad had it, and my cousin has a different autoimmune disease that falls into the same family. Based on that information, I should not have any problems, and I don't. Except for this one small thing. Anti-nuclear antibodies. Everyone has some, but an elevated level is a non-definitive indicator of an autoimmune disease. But then again, some people just have them. I theorize that I have excess ANA's because my dad had RA. Dr. A seemed somewhat disappointed that all I would need was a few drugs and things should work out just fine. He told me to go home and let him know ASAP when I was pregnant again. Then he would prescribe heparin and aspirin, and the pregnancy would work out fine.

In January, I got pregnant again (I am not infertile! I can get pregnant at the drop of a hat. Or a sperm , if you prefer. I just have trouble holding on to that pregnancy. Oh, I guess that means I am infertile). Dr. A gave me drugs - fun injections twice a day for 2 months - and a couple turns with the vagi-cam. I got a lovely cd showing pictures of the baby and saw her heartbeat at 6.5 weeks. Then he sent me back to Dr. Bad Karma.

The main reason that I was trying to stick with Dr. Bad Karma was that she practiced out of the hospital that is 5 minutes from my house. There was no one else in the area that I wanted to use. It was either her or another hospital. I really gave her the benefit of the doubt - over and over. The final straw was when I saw her for my first appointment after Dr. A released me. I was 12 weeks at that point. I had now surpassed any other pregnancy, and things appeared to be going just fine. During the appointment, when I told her what protocol Dr. A had used, she sneered a little and said that she'd never heard of that being used for my particular problem. (Hey lady - screw results! Just because you've never heard of it means it just shouldn't be used, right?) Then, when I requested a level 2 ultrasound (yes, a 36 year old woman who's had a couple miscarriages had to request a level 2 ultrasound before 20 weeks), she snidely asked me if the major teaching university in our area would be OK with me. Apparently, I was not supposed to participate in my own health care. At that point, I decided that I would ask J's BIL for a recommendation for a new OB. When I left Dr. Bad Karma's office, they told me I owed them $50 for my pregnancy copay. I should have told them to bill me, but I foolishly paid.

Enter Dr. Fantastic (his name is actually a synonym for that). When I went to see him, he had actually read all the information in the medical history from Dr. Bad Karma's office, and he talked with me for 15 minutes in his office. Then we went in for the exam. He got out the Doppler, and...he couldn't find the heartbeat. He searched everywhere. It was a very tense time period (seemed like an hour but was probably only 5 -10 minutes), but he finally found it. My little menace was not cooperative about lodging in a place where her heartbeat could be easily detected. When Dr. Fantastic finally found the heartbeat, he breathed a huge sigh of relief. I said, "You're not kidding. And you're not even emotionally invested in this baby." He said, "you'd be surprised." After that, he called the ultrasound service in his building and got me in for an ultrasound right away, saying "you haven't seen the baby in 8 weeks. I'm sure you want to reassure yourself that everything is fine." Dr. Fantastic won my heart right there.

Over the next few months, Dr. Fantastic took excellent care of me. He sent me to Specialist Dr. B to determine that I did not have Lupus (could have told them that). That was a bonus, though. With Dr. B, I got to have ultrasounds every month. Finally, in October, on my due date, my daughter arrived via C-section.

Now, 2 years later, I want to try again. My husband, however, thinks the economy is so bad that anarchy is around the corner. It's hard to talk him into having children when he thinks the world is going to end. On the plus side, he always keeps his word. I seem to remember him telling me we could try again...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog and the comment too. Wow, you have been through the wringer to have a baby! Best Wishes for Everything!