Monday, January 28, 2013

Some "please say a prayer" news (written on 1/15)

*DISCLAIMER* This is personal. It's not my usual "I took Clara on the swings and baked cookies post*
*IMPORTANT MESSAGE* please share this with as many people as you think it will touch. I encourage comments and questions below, please share your stories and spread the word that it's okay to talk about these things - it helps.

This blogpost was written almost two weeks ago on Tuesday, January 15th, but Charlie and I weren't ready to post it yet.

On December 11th, two days before Charlie and I were leaving for Boston, and exactly one week before he deployed, I was g-chatting with Eden, and casually desperately went to take a pregnancy test. Without getting too much into period math, I was about a week before my missed period. Even if pregnant, I knew a test wouldn't yet show it.

You can imagine my astonishment when this came up:
I immediately called Charlie and said the news so calmly, he didn't even believe me at fist. It hadn't even sunk in.
I then typed "omgomgomgomgomg" to Eden which was followed by "I can't tell you, I have to tell Lauren" (my mother) "first".

We told very few family members and best friends, and waited for the news to sink in.
Here is Jaren giving me 23482384 books to read:

We had all noticed my more extreme exhaustion, but I am ALWAYS a tired person. I never want to wake up in the morning. So we didn't think anything of it. Also noticed a heightened sense of smell, but the same - I usually have a strong sense of smell. No nausea or anything.

I kept taking pregnancy tests each day to make sure it was real. When sore breasts made their way into the picture I believed it a bit more. Charlie left on the 18th for his deployment, and I traveled a bit more. I kept obsessively taking pregnancy tests and analyzing if the "line" appeared more quickly. I hope some of you are laughing at this since I am sure we've all done the exact same thing.

I started believing I was pregnant a bit more. You really don't feel pregnant at first, it's very surreal! I snapped pictures of food I couldn't eat (the conference I was at was at the Ritz and had amazing food) and sent pictures to Charlie and my mom with pouty faces.
Sad, no seared tuna for this sushi lover!

I went home and enjoyed it.
I took a "belly" pic to highlight my not flat for the first time tummy:

My body is very un-proportional - I have a tiny waist (25 inches) and large hips, thighs, and butt. I know the baby was the size of like, a pea that week, but trust me, that is a pooch compared to my normal tummy.

I was still exhausted and had a great New Years Eve eating a pizza in bed with my dogs and disney movies :-) Hmmm, maybe my pooch was due to these sorts of things....

I had an appointment a week after I came back (7 weeks pregnant already). Can you imagine my frustration when I wasn't scheduled for an ultrasound? Let me just say, that although I love my ob-gyn and have been with her for over 10 years, that I am beyond disappointed with her office. I will talk about this more later in the blog, and yes, I have a list, and some advice on how to be an advocate if your doctor's office is incompetent.

Since my dad is a radiologist, I begged him to get me an ultrasound at an imaging clinic that day. My doctor wrote the referral, and Charlie stayed up until after 1 am his time, having to fly the next morning, so he could Skype in to the appointment. Best husband ever award. Hands down.

We had a heartbeat. Tiny thing in the middle of a white alien blob flickering! Instant relief. I measured about 6 weeks, which wasn't a red flag (based on my last menstrual period I was 7 weeks) since early in pregnancy your dates can be off, and I didn't know when I ovulated, just when my last period was. Heart rate was 105. Jaren said her heart rates with both girls were much higher, but I wasn't concerned - the heart starts beating at around 5 weeks, at around the same as the mothers (85), and increases about 3 beats per day. Keeps beating til it gets really fast (up to the 180s in some cases) and then levels off for the rest of the pregnancy.

Anyway, the baby basically looked like a blob. Charlie snapped one through Skype that semi-resembled a gummy bear as opposed to a triangle:
Okay it still looks triangular. Most beautiful triangle you've ever seen though, right?

And now I present you with another act of disappointment with the doctor's office - I had to call 5 days later to get my official results. It went something like this:
Them: Oh, (casually mentioning) you need a follow up ultrasound, since you measured so early. You need to do it on Thursday.
Me: (internally): WHAT THE F*** why am I calling you for this information, are you incompetent? (if you're curious, the answer is, yes they are)
Me: (to them): Okay, what time should I come in on Thursday then?
Them: We're full on Thursday.

Me: (I had to remove the "what I would have liked to say to them" line because on second thought, I am still a lady)

Really was:
"Dad can you please book me again?"
Thank goodness his imaging center takes tricare and fit me in. Thank you for their amazing ultrasound tech for staying late etc for me. The cookies I baked were not enough to express our gratitude.

Thursday rolls around. I've already told a few more people - they say once you hear a heartbeat it's extremely unlikely to miscarry.

2 days growth happened in 7 days. Heart rate drops. To 99.
Avigail PANICS.

Now all of you that know me know I do not have a good memory for detail. You usually need to tell me you're going out of town 6 times before I stop asking you for a gym date, etc. Let me tell you something - when you're studying about your baby's medical development, you remember every single figure. It's miraculous.

The ultrasound tech did not know if it was bad. Charlie starts looking things up. Everyone I know starts looking things up.

But I know what it's supposed to be.

I call my doctor's office, and they literally said "your progesterone went up, we'll see you on the 31st for your next appointment" (this was on january 10th, so 3 week wait).

Um, I am having a 90 something percent chance of a miscarriage, and you're telling me I'm fine????

Yeah, no.

No no no.

Through the power of dad being a doctor, I got another ultrasound the next day elsewhere, to make sure that the reading was accurate. He also spoke to my doctor who told him I should come in early next week (he spoke to her on a Friday, she acknowledged it was very bad, and wanted me to come in Monday or Tuesday to follow up). She supposedly called her office to tell them that. Guess what her office said when they called me?

"Your progesterone is finally higher. We'll see you on the 31st".
To which I again had the reaction go "F YOU!!!!" (excuse the insane amount of profanity in this post).

That same day during the ultrasound, we couldn't even hear the heartbeat, just see a small irregular ish flicker. They guessed 93.

It's so interesting what happens then. I didn't feel like grieving. I didn't feel like people telling me to pray for a miracle. I didn't pray for a miracle (then). I just knew what it meant, wanted to accept it, and that's it. I of course had to share the news with the few people that were desperately keeping tabs on me. I texted something like "barely detectable heart rate. don't want to talk about it". I didn't take any phone calls, not even from my sister whose almost a doctor (in may!) or my MOTHER. I went over to Jaren's house and told her I didn't want to talk about it. Instead I played with her daughters and we baked a cake.

Obviously you get the "I love you so much and I'm here when you are ready", or "I'll pray for you" texts when you ignore the voicemails (sorry friends). At that moment, you just ignore the text because anything loving, any support, makes you remember what you're going through, when you just want to bake a damn butter cake and watch an episode of Friends. By the way, thanks Nick at Night for airing the episode when Rachel has her baby. That wasn't a moment that made me wake up my mom after midnight sobbing.

On Saturday I decided to pray for a miracle. I remembered reading the story of a college friend who was told at 6 weeks, that he and his wife's baby stopped growing at 4 weeks. They went two weeks later for a d&c, and there was a strong heartbeat and a growing little lima bean (she's now due in February and has a gorgeous round belly)! So I started singing "mishehberach" with Odge, and asking friends of all faiths to pray. I remembered that my friend Ilana Shapiro (the same one with the original cookie recipe) had recommended a doctor to me a few months ago. I called and scheduled an appointment. They fit me right in.

To anybody in the Las Vegas area who is pregnant, call Desert Perinatal (I saw Dr Adashek). They are a g-dsend.

Do it.

I had an ultrasound the day I wrote this, which was 13 days ago, and there was no heartbeat. The baby stopped growing at 7 weeks. I know nobody ever thinks this will happen to them. Especially after seeing that initial heartbeat, you think you're safe. You're basically guaranteed to be safe, except for a very small percentage, which we fell under.

I made an appointment for a d&c (update, I had the d&c 9 days ago and will write a blogpost about why to expect); I did not want to risk waking up soaked in blood - sorry if that's too graphic. The blood isn't even what I care about, but the emotion of going through that. Plus, with the d&c, they will send in the "specimen" for analysis, to see what went wrong (probably chromosomal, in which case it was inevitable from conception). It may not work because they need live cells, and the baby has probabley been dead around two weeks. If they are able to analyze, we can choose if we want to know the gender. I want to know but Charlie doesn't.

I had to leave immediately to teach my Hebrew school class, so I guarded myself up again and didn't accept hugs or anything. Definitely shut my mind off during T'filah (the prayer portion) of the evening. I really don't want to talk about it just yet. Nowhere near ready. I know you all love us and are praying for us and are there when we are ready. Thank you in advance for those messages I know we will receive.
*update - it's been a week and a half since I wrote this and I am ready to talk about it if anybody has questions, etc*

I was astonished when I realized that I hadn't made an effort once throughout this ordeal to console Charlie.  How freaking selfish. We are both ready to be parents and want it so bad, and we know our time will come. Sorry my most amazing husband, I love you more than you know.

Well that's my debbie downer story, or my "shit happens" story, or my "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" story etc. Like I said, please understand that when I see you, I will have a smile on my face and talk about things like the Golden Globes, the freezing weather (seriously what is up Las Vegas?), and my dogs needing to be groomed. I guess that's just my way of coping for now.


  1. I am sitting in the library reading this and I don't know what to say. If you need to talk, let me know. ~Brianna

  2. I don't know you, but I'm very good friends with Jaren, and we lost baby #2 of over the Christmas Holiday at about 7-8 weeks. I didn't grieve. Didn't mourn. It just..... was. My daughter (Raynne... almost 2 years)was a Desert Perinatal baby, and now that we have re-stationed, It's SO hard not to wonder... if we were still in Vegas, and I had my "team" (of doctors) would things be different? I feel you. You are in good hands. I pray that when you family is ready to add another, that you don't have to go through this again.

    1. Any friend of Jaren's is a friend of mine! Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story. How horrible to have to go through the loss during the holiday. I so hear you on the "just....was". After a couple days of grieving, that's exactly how I felt! Then I felt guilty for not grieving! Especially when people on message boards still are. I definitely felt that reading message boards on helped me because i could give support to others. Where did you guys pcs to? I wonder if desert perinatal can recommend a doc where you are at!

  3. Hi Avigail, I'm sorry to read this as I know exactly what you are feeling like. In July of 2009 I became pregnant with what would have been our first child. At 6 weeks we had a heartbeat but at 10 weeks we didn't. I cried desperately for 2 days and had a d&c. It was a very depressing time in my life. My cousins wife told me that you may not feel better about it until you get pregnant again. The good news is I was pregnant 7 mos later with Jax and 19 mos after that with Cole. You will get pregnant again, I just know it. If you need someone, Let's get together for coffee or something.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Heidi! So encouraging to hear how fertile you were following :-) I think that hearing the heartbeat and then having it stop was the absolute hardest, because you think you're in the clear! Statistically, you just about are! Actually for me the hardest was that the heartbeat slowed down, and I just had to wait and see what happened. I'd love to get together for coffee and would love to see both boys! I've never even met cole!

  4. We are so sorry to hear the news....Just don't know what to say other than we love you both and wish you God's comfort and blessing. Please let us know if there is anything we can Uncle Wm, Aunt Jackie, Em, & Jackson.

  5. I'm so sorry, Avigail - almost the same story happened to me between Corina and Danica. We had names picked, both boy & girl. After the d&c, I felt cleaned out and ended up getting preggie with Danica 3 months later. Please accept a virtual hug until I see you next. I'm glad you have the support of your parents, family and online community. One day, hopefully soon, you and your husband will be wonderful parents. Love & hugs, dear girl.

  6. רויתי, מצטערים ומחבקים אותך כולנו חיבוק גדול. חנה ושי וכל החבורה

  7. We are so sorry to hear your news. Please feel my arms around you, giving you a hug. I know how much you want to be a Mother, so my heart is breaking for you. I honestly do not know what to say, other than I would love to see you right now. Please tell your Mom how sorry I am and how very glad I am that you have her to lean on right now. Love you, Pat

  8. You poor dear. You will grieve in your own way, when/how you need to. I will say a little prayer for you and your family. I believe the soul of your little one will shine down on you.

  9. Hi there... I'm so glad you posted your story. I only wish we could go grab a drink, I have a feeling we'd hit it off immediately. Hoping like hell our good fortune is around the corner. Hang in there.