Archive | August 2013

My (NOT SO) Molar Pregnancy Part II

So there were completely devastated over a molar pregnancy.  After church on Sunday, we went to the hospital to have more blood drawn to confirm the diagnosis.  The doctor who was covering for my regular gynecologist over the weekend said that my situation wasn’t an emergency and could wait until Monday morning when I’d be guaranteed an early appointment.

All day Sunday into Monday morning we did nothing but cry and support each other.  I wrote a bit, he worked in the yard, we needed to do things to take our mind off of this terrible situation that was about to take away our ability to conceive for at least 3 months and possibly as long as a year.

supportive husband

Mentally and physically I could deal with having surgery to evacuate my uterus.  That’s no big deal, there wasn’t a baby in there just a “thing” that was growing uncontrollably.  It was the thought of taking oral chemo therapy for an entire month that was devastating.  I had so many questions?  What would it do to me?  Would it affect our chances of conceiving  after treatment was completed?  Would I be able to work? How long would the effects last?  When would I feel like myself again?

At random moments throughout the day, I just burst out crying!  We were so close to becoming parents and it was being taken away from us!

Throughout the day, Dr. C. called to check on us and give us more information on the treatment plan.  He was so patient with me, and answered all of my questions.  I couldn’t have asked him to do any more than he had.

One of the great things about blogging and running the Baby Steps and Tears Facebook page is that I have an amazing support network.  The outpouring of support from the blog and Facebook page were unbelievable!  I really wasn’t in the mood to talk, and I probably couldn’t have spoken much due to the uncontrollable tears.  Being able to connect with supportive people, typing back and forth made such a difference for me!

We needed to be a the hospital on Monday morning, which meant that my husband, Frank, needed to call out of work.  This is something he never does!  He only took one day off this entire summer!  But he swore that I would not go through this alone.  He called his boss, explained the situation, and was told to take as much time as he needed.

As (bad) luck would have it, I was scheduled to attend a professional development seminar the following day.  There was no way I’d be able to make it.  I texted my coworkers and filled them in.  Thank God for electronic communication!  There was no way I could have made that phone call.

After a sleepless Sunday evening, we called my gynecologist’s office and got an appointment with Dr. D who was covering for my regular gynecologist.  We got an appointment for 10:30 and headed to the hospital.  First, she reviewed the data she received from Saturday which stated I had an HCG count of 6 million, then she read me the results of Sunday’s lab work.  The HCG level was 2 which signaled that I was not pregnant.  This was quite different than the Saturday’s HCG level which the lab reported as 6million!  She suggested that we do a urine test.  When it came back, the urine test showed that there was no HCG in my blood.  I wasn’t even pregnant at all!

doctor and couple

Once again we were in shock!  How could this happen?  All that we had gone through in the last 24 hours and now to find it to be the result of an error! Okay, to be fair, it wasn’t officially ruled an error yet.  Dr. D ordered more lab work and an ultrasound.  We went to the lab to get my blood drawn then headed out of the hospital to grab something for lunch.

While we were at the restaurant, Dr. C, my NaProTechnology doctor, called.  He was astounded to look at the faxed lab results he had received.  There was no HCG in my blood!  Prior to calling us, he had connected with the lab who confirmed that the first test was an error due to a mechanical malfunction!  We couldn’t believe it and neither could he!  He said he’d keep in touch with us as he learned more about what had really happened.

We arrived back at the hospital and it was ultrasound time.  I got the full work up: an abdominal ultrasound and a trans-vaginal ultrasound.  Yup, lucky me!  Throughout all this, Frank was with me.  He never complained, he just supported me, took care of me, and kept making me focus on the positive.  He was convinced that this would be a mistake and that we’d be able try again sooner than later.

ultrasound machine

Frank was right.  The end result was that it was all because of a lab error.  We were emotionally drained, exhausted, and speechless. The good news was that I didn’t need surgery.  I wouldn’t need chemo, we wouldn’t have to stop trying to get pregnant!

When we got home, I started to notify all those who had been so supportive.  The word went out to the Facebook friends and followers. We e-mailed and called everyone who we had contacted.  They were as shocked as we were.

It took us a few days to recover.  We had barely slept or eaten for more than 36 hours.  Our bodies had run on nothing but pure adrenaline and we needed rest.  We felt as if we were spared from a great tragedy. We prayed and gave thanks.

My molar pregnancy part I…

 

Things weren’t quite right.  I had been bleeding brown cervical fluid from day 25 of my cycle. On day 29, my bleeding went to red for a few hours and then back to brown.    Though it was time for my period, I decided to call my charting consultant and check in with her.  She immediately suggested that I call Dr. C, my NaProTechnology doctor.  Dr. C agreed that something was up and that it could possibly be pregnancy.  Off to the lab I went for lots of tests.  Among the numerous tests Dr. C had ordered was an HCG test, HCG is the hormone that is produced once the baby implants in the uterine wall.  I was pretty sure it would be positive since I had so many symptoms of pregnancy.  I was congested, felt uterine pressure, I inexplicably gained a few pounds, my breasts we tender and enlarged, I had hot flashes at night, and experienced fatigue during the day.

heavy-menstrual-bleeding

I went off to the hospital for the blood work, and had the tests done quickly.  The baby chimes went off as the phlebotomist was drawing my blood.  I took this as a good omen, since I was a bit dizzy, congested, my breasts were swollen and tender, and I was having hot flashes throughout the night.

coffeeThis morning, just before church,  Dr. C called at 9AM.  Typically doctors don’t call patients over morning coffee, but Dr. C is amazing, so I didn’t think anything of it.  When he told me to give my husband, Frank, an extension so that he could listen too, we were a bit concerned.

Dr. C had the results of my blood work and they weren’t  good.  Apparently my body is not producing typical levels of HCG, my HCG levels are 6million.  I’m in my 5th week and my body is producing levels higher than a woman of 12 weeks.  So right away we know something was wrong.

It turns out that when levels are that high; it’s a sign of something called a molar pregnancy.  Dr. C explained that a molar pregnancy happens when an egg is fertilized by two sperm.  There is no embryo, just a placenta that forms and grows out of control.  He went on to say that I’d need to go to a teaching hospital to have a D&C.   I gave him my regular Ob’s name and said he’d call so that I could see her for an ultrasound in the morning.  After we hung up Frank and I embraced, and we cried like we’ve never cried.

I went off to church in tears.  Although I could have stayed home, I felt that I just needed to pray.  It was hard making it through church without breaking down, but it felt good to be there.  I talked with our priest afterwards and filled her in on the situation.  She was very comforting and offered to pray with me, after which I felt a bit better.

After church, my husband, Frank, and I had an appointment at the hospital for more blood draws to confirm the high levels of HCG.  Thanks to the kindness and diligence of the hospital staff, we were able to get our labs even though the hospital lab was technically closed.

blood_tube

As I awaited the results of my blood draws, I spent the afternoon accessing my support network, those friends and blog followers who have been so supportive all along.  Their comforting words and offers of prayer mean so much to me.  As I wait for my upcoming ultrasound and procedure, their kindness gives me such comfort.  Read part II

Listening to God changes what you pray for…

For two years, I have prayed that we would conceive.   I prayed that this treatment or that would take.  I’ve had doctors show me mature ovarian follicles on ultrasound and then not be able to explain why we didn’t get pregnant.  The answer is that there is no Earthly explanation.  These things are beyond our control.  All the technology in the world is not as powerful as what God wants for us.

ovarian follicle

I prayed to God for guidance and asked that he lead us down a path to pregnancy.  Almost immediately a friend introduced me to NaProTechnology.  My endometriosis and grain allergy were discovered.  I was on the path to better health and what seemed like pregnancy.  Again, more than once, my doctor was puzzled about why conception wasn’t happening.

TTC

I know with absolute certainty that I am being called to motherhood.  Who else could have an amazing husband, 4 dogs, a full time teaching career, and still desperately feel an emptiness in her life that only a child can fill?  Why would I have been steered on to NaProTechnology if I weren’t meant to be a mother?  Even if we haven’t conceived after almost a year of working with NaPro, I am certainly healthier than I have ever been because of NaPro.  Looking back on my health a year ago, I don’t think that I would have been healthy enough to become a mom just a year ago.

I know that finding NaPro was part of God’s plan for me.  I’m just not sure that pregnancy is.  I’m not giving up on pregnancy, I’m just finally ready to recognize that it may not be part of God’s plan for me.  I don’t know if God is calling me to adopt, I know that I need to honor the fact that he may be doing so.

adoption

Like many women, I’ve been so desperate to conceive that I’ve looked for signs of pregnancy around every corner.  Each month as it becomes time to try again, I keep looking for signs and changes.  I couldn’t see any.  What I did see was a hidden support network for adoption that was quietly waiting for me to recognize it.  There’s a woman at my church who is both a foster mom and an adoptive mom, another friend of mine was adopted by relatives, a co-worker of mine is an adoptive mom who swears that her children are her biggest blessings.  It seems that God has given us a support system to guide us on this next phase of our journey.

Adoption is not something we pulled out of the sky, rather it’s something that we believed we would do later on in our lives.  We’re both young and don’t envision ourselves having an “empty nest” in our 50’s.  Since we’re in our 30’s at the moment, and I see children who are in need every day, adopting a child in need is something that we decided to do long ago.   And now, we find ourselves needing that child as much as he or she needs us.

baby steps to big dreams

This doesn’t mean we’re going to stop pursuing pregnancy, it just means that we have signed up as a foster to adopt family.  We are recognizing that there is more than one way to answer God’s call to parenthood.

So, I’ve changed what I’m praying for.  I used to pray that God would help us to get pregnant.  Now I pray that God will bless us with a child.

Grain Free Peaches n’ Cream Trifle

Desperation becomes inspiration!

Since it’s cookout and barbecue season I’ve been a bit down about all of the foods I can’t eat.  Cookouts and barbecues used to be some of my favorite times to connect with family and try foods that I might not often make at home.  Pasta salad, baked beans, mac’n cheese, meatballs, pastry, tarts, trifles, I could go on forever!

food buffet

Given how in love I am with food, attending gatherings where there are few grain free foods is quite difficult.  People mean well, but it’s hard to understand what it’s like to have such delicious food in front of you and not be able to eat much of it.  Sometimes they even ask if I can’t just “cheat once in a while”.  Here’s the deal: when I eat grains, I get sick.  My stomach gets those nasty cramps that most of us associate with the flu.  They hang around for between two and four days.  It’s not pretty and the same way no one ever looks forward to getting the flu, I do whatever I can to avoid grains.

The good news is that while God may not have given me much in the way of patience, but he made up for that when it came to creativity!  Lately my favorite restaurant can be found right under my own roof!  I’ve been trying to come up with grain free alternatives to picnic food and I’ve been doing pretty well.  A few weekends ago, I came up with a trifle made with grain free cake, homemade whipped cream, and fresh fruit.  Why bother to do all this?  Because when I come up with grain free recipes that I can eat and share, it makes me feel normal.  If they don’t taste grain free all the better.  I’m tired of having to explain why I can’t try someone’s “to die-for” or “signature” dish.

Grain Free Fresh Fruit and Whipped Cream Trifle

Cake- adapted from http://chocolateandcarrots.com/2011/02/secret-ingredient-chocolate-peanut-butter-cake

 

 

 

 

 

1 14.5 oz can cannellini beans

1 stick butter

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 eggs

½ c sugar

½ t baking soda

1 t baking powder (I make my own so it’s grain free!)

Cream filling-

1 pint whipping cream

1 t vanilla extract

¼ c sugar

2 cups fresh fruit chopped into half inch pieces

How to make Grain free cake-

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two round (8 inch) cake pans. Rinse and drain beans.  In a blender or food processor puree beans.  In a medium mixing bowl, whip butter until it is light and fluffy ( it will double in size). Although I love my stand mixer, because we’re only using one stick of butter, a hand mixer and

a medium sized bowl seem to work best for whipping the butter.    Add in vanilla, sugar, and eggs one at a time.  Blend until fluffy.  Blend in beans, baking soda, and grain free baking powder.  Pour into greased pans.  Bake for 40-45 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

Cream filling:

Using a kitchen stand mixer whip cream and sugar in a chilled bowl on high speed, being careful not to whip too much or butter will result.

Assembling the Trifle…

When cake has cooled, remove from pans and slice into one inch cubes.  Place 1/3 of the cubes at the bottom of a deep bowl.  Layer 1/3 of whipped cream filling on top of cake cubes.  Sprinkle 1/3 fruit on top of cream filling.  Repeat layering until bowl is filled with trifle goodness.  (This usually requires layering about 3 times depending on the depth of the bowl.

Enjoy Grain-free Goodness!

Peaches and cream trifle, grain free, and to-die for!

Peaches and cream trifle, grain free, and to-die for!