Friday, January 28, 2011

The Second Miscarriage

Our second pregnancy looked great.  JK had a couple of ultrasounds.  All systems go.  The pregnancy moved on to the end of the 1st trimester.

Usually when over 35s get to this stage, they will choose one of two options to check for chromosomal abnormalities.  The one I'd heard of is amniocentesis.  That procedure extracts some amniotic fluid and then tests it.  It usually occurs in weeks 15-20.

We opted for the CVS, short for chorionic vilius sampling.  In this procedure, the doctor scrapes tissue from the birthing sac.  It's said that the CVS is a little safer.  Not liking any risks at all, I clung to safer.  Of course, in the end it wouldn't matter.

When we arrived at the high risk OB's office for the CVS, she started JK with an ultrasound.

All systems stop.

Our unfortunate egg would never know life - it's heart had ceased beating a week before.  The poor little guy was too polite to let JK know with a painful expulsion episode.  Instead, JK would be forced to repeat the D&C procedure.

Number of surgeries: 2.  Number of babies: 0.

Dr. B ordered a scan, hoping to understand the cause for the repeat miscarriage.  When all was said and done, the cause was Turner's syndrome.  And in case anyone believes that understanding would bring comfort...

You're dead wrong.

Wannabe Dads out there - another warning.  If your wife is over 35, there is a small chance that her pregnancy will have a chromosomal abnormality.  And yes, it is true that consecutive pregnancies are unlikely to feature such abnormalities.  But what if they do?

The plain truth is: once a Wannabe Mom learns that her plumbing is somehow busted, she will experience pain over that fear until a viable pregnancy convinces her otherwise.

JK experienced the worst of these fears and anguish, and Wannabe Dads, this is where my own stress levels began to increase.  Yours will too.  Because there are few things that hurt a woman worse than infertility.  And, because there are few things that frighten a husband worse than the powerless feelings that result when you can not console your wife.

Fortunately, as it turns out, I had friends that had been through this.  Without them, the road already rocky would have been near impassable.

Next time: Turning to Friends

Monday, January 17, 2011

The First Miscarriage

Our story began to take a sad turn in the third month of JK's first pregnancy.  A routine ultrasound appointment.  Image up on the screen.  No growth.  No heartbeat.  And then, the tactless ultrasound technician saying, "This is not a good pregnancy."

Message received.

Dr. B comes in and confirms a miscarriage.  So begins our rocky journey.  Because the miscarriage has not been expelled, JK is immediately scheduled for a D&C (long name: Dilation and Curettage) to get the non-viable fetus out.

And now, a message to all of the Wannabe Dads:

The rocky road to fertility inevitably includes surgery.  Oh yes, there's certainly things that challenge a man's dignity - supplying a sperm sample not least - but you will find that pales in comparison to the dread you feel when your wife goes under the knife.  My wife experienced a number of procedures these past 2.5 years, and I never felt that dread subside.  I love my wife.  No surgery is guaranteed safe.

The D&C went without incident and I took JK home to care for her while she recovered (a couple of days).  Dr. B saw us soon after and encouraged us to try again after three periods.  After all, miscarriages are common in women over 35, and not usually an indicator of infertility.  So try we did, and true to form became pregnant on the second try.

Next time: The Second Miscarriage

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pilot: The First Bad News

JK and I got married in May of 2008 and started trying to get pregnant right away.  After all, I was 39 at the time and JK was 36.  Why wait?

We successfully got pregnant on the second attempt.  Second attempt!  Not bad.  I remember exactly what I was doing when we learned of the pregnancy.  We were holed up at my Chicago apartment.  JK had given up her place and we were searching for a house.  I was the early riser and so got up one Saturday morning and got started on my favorite vice, FullTiltPoker.

JK woke up and grabbed the stick.  Moments later, I was staring at the double line, and experiencing elation.

We agreed that we would not talk about the pregnancy until after the 1st trimester.  The only people who learned of the pregnancy were JK's fitness instructors.  Unfortunately one misunderstood, "You can not talk about this with anyone.  Not even our folks know."  That instructor knew my mother and I feared that word might get back to her.

Shortly thereafter, JK encountered uncomfortable questioning from my mother.  Two weeks later, we learned that JK had miscarried.

Next time: The First Miscarriage