Friday, April 07, 2006

My first perhaps-overly-personal post

Bear with me, I'm about to write about something which I have promised myself I won't hide, but which can be difficult for me to discuss. This may not be graceful. (This is, of course, in stark contrast to my usual writing. Oh, humor me.)

I am, technically, a recurrent miscarrier. Actually, the medical term is "habitual aborter," or "hab ab" when you just don't have the time to really sock someone. My first pregnancy was my daughter and it couldn't have been more textbook. There was the little matter of not getting pregnant for over a year, then the Clomid, but that worked the first cycle. We were fortunate enough to have a perfect little baby - a girl with all ten fingers and toes, whose growth matched percentiles throughout my pregnancy, whose head didn't have disturbing proportions, whose amniotic fluid was lush and plentiful. I didn't even know to appreciate most of those things at the time. (The ten fingers and toes I did get. Insert inbreeding joke here.)

I was naive.

When we were ready for a second child, we tried again for a year and were thrilled when I got pregnant without using Clomid - how lucky! How miraculous! We were like everybody else! That pregnancy was my daughter, Celeste. For 16 weeks we thought everything was fine. For another week we knew it probably wasn't. I miscarried her naturally at home, early on a Friday
morning that I feel fairly sure will not fade for me in any significant way. We found out later that Celeste had triploidy - 69 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. I still feel strangely proud of her for making it 17 weeks with what had to have been an unusually confused host of cells making up her tiny body.

I got pregnant again the very first time I ovulated. Now we really were lucky, we thought - this would help heal the shock of losing Celeste, and it was only fair that after having a second-trimester loss, we would get pregnant again quickly. (Fair! Ha! Apparently naivete does not go gently into that good night.) At my 8-week checkup, the same ultrasound tech who had given us the first hint of bad news before seemed truly relieved to see us again so soon. It didn't take any specialized ultrasound experience to see the completely still, silent embryo on the screen, though. The baby was a boy, this time with trisomy 4.

I decided to consult a specialist. At the first visit, after hearing that I had had two close chromosomal losses, my RE told me that we'd never have another healthy baby if we didn't do IVF with PGD. (If the only acronym in the previous sentence familiar to you is IVF, count yourself lucky and go hug your kids.) We knew we didn't want to go down that path. I convinced the doctor to do a slightly-more-agressive-than-normal Clomid cycle (read: my husband had to give me a shot) and we were again struck by good lightning, in the form of my son who is upstairs sleeping peacefully as I write this. He was monitored so closely - I always win the "how many ultrasounds did you have?" contest - and I never fully relaxed, but everything ended well. We have two beautiful children, just like we'd hoped, and I have the freedom of knowing I should never have to do twice-weekly blood draws again in the pursuit of a child.

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