I feel a little strange writing this and in fact I wasn’t even sure if I should include it, but it is part of our family story.
Although it has mostly taken my husband and I months to get pregnant we can do so naturally, but when I was first diagnosed with the BRCA-1 mutation we realized that we really couldn’t wait around to see if we would have problems conceiving. So I had asked my family doctor about it and she immediately got us a referral to a fertility clinic. And they didn’t seem to know what to do with us – we hadn’t been trying for years with no pregnancies or faced repeated loss. Plus many of the drugs that are used in infertility can increase your chances of breast cancer, so not really something you want to be messing with if you are already at a an increased risk. So they decided to start with basic testing and see if there were any obvious problems. Some of my results were borderline, can’t remember the exact results, but since many of the drugs were out it was decided that we would try naturally for at least 6 months (which is what would have been suggested anyways based on my age – over 35). However, my husband’s sperm was wonderful, in fact they even asked if he would like to be a donor! Fortunately, we got pregnant about 4 months after the meeting so never had to resort to any infertility treatment. But it was really odd meeting with a doctor who didn’t seem to know what to do with you.
After you are married one of the most popular questions is: “Are you planning to have children?”. This is really a question that should be decided on before marriage. Fortunately, both my husband and I agreed that we wanted children. Unfortunately, my health concerns changed our plans slightly – it meant trying as soon as possible, but again this had to be held off at least a bit as my PhD work involved some experiments which included working with dangerous chemicals. So family planning was put off until these experiments were done in June 2013 and we started trying a month after that to ensure all the chemicals had been flushed from my body.
Our (second) wedding was in August and we left for our honeymoon. Just after school started up again, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive! I was a little surprised as it felt like my period was coming, so I didn’t tell my husband and made an appointment with my family doctor for two days later. By that time the test at her office was negative – it was a chemical pregnancy and my period started the next day. After reading online I realize this is actually fairly common and most people don’t even know it occurs – they either get their period on time or a few days late. I was a few days late and the period was more crampy and seemed heavier than usual, but didn’t really notice anything else and likely wouldn’t have thought anything of it except for that positive pregnancy test.
The next positive test was in late October or early November. This time a told my husband immediately, but I also didn’t feel like my period was right around the corner. We were excited to be expecting our first child.
So instead of continuing my story, I’ve decided to talk about blogging.
Wow – there is someone who read at least one of my posts! I really wasn’t expecting much when I started this, but it is nice to know that someone has actually taken the time to look at this stuff. It actually feels good to get it all out and out there. And if I ever forget there is a record of everything, and not in a journal (that with my luck I’m likely to lose).
I’ve also been reading a lot of blogs since Ava, it made me feel not so alone and even more grateful for what I have. So thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share some of their life with the internet.
So this is a continuation of my post of After Marriage.
So we were now married, much earlier than expected, but honestly everything felt pretty much the same – although I was very happy to claim my man! And about 2 weeks after our marriage it was my sisters funeral. I felt badly for my husband, here is is at the funeral for my sister, with whom I was extremely close and meeting most of my extended (and some immediate) family for the first time.
As my sister taught in Cambridge, we held a service there first. In a lot of ways I found this event more moving and harder than her actual funeral. This service was held in a large church and I’m not sure how many people were there but I think it was over hundred – it was humbling to see how many lives she touched and how many of her former students came to the services and you could tell how much she meant to them. That was a very hard day.
Plus while still in Cambridge my parents and I (my husband was already back in Ottawa) met with a genetic counsellor who informed us that I had tested positive for the BRCA-1 mutation. It was unbelievably hard to hear – I had previously been referred for genetic counselling as all the females relatives on my dad’s side (grandmother and aunt) had died of breast cancer or it’s complications, but I didn’t qualify as there wasn’t enough history. It’s hard to think that this might have helped my sister.
After the funerals were done I was back to real life which meant back to school for me.
While in the hospital to deliver Ava (I’ll leave this for another post), a social worker met with us and gave us an information pack – part of this was a handout about perinatal grief counselling. When I called the lady in charge of the program said they had a new group starting in January, so after meeting in person and ensuring that it would be a good fit I decided to join the group. We meet every two weeks and I find it so helpful. It is horrible that we are all in this situation, but it is comforting to know that others understand what your going through. Ava was born at only 20 weeks so a lot of the time I feel like no one else even remembers her – let alone misses her. So during this group I find that I can talk about how I feel about Ava and no one gives me the look. I’m sure anyone who has experienced grief is familiar with – the aren’t you over it yet and move on with your life look. Yesterday was a hard meeting – we were suppose to write letters to our babies and maybe some day I’ll share it online. Listening to the other parents was hard but I found I could relate to all of them to some degree. Sharing my letter was hard but I felt really good doing so – although I did feel pretty drained the rest of the evening. I’m going to be sad when group ends and hope that some of us will continue to meet afterwards.
So this is a bit out of order but I HATE the TWW. Since losing Ava I’ve really wanted to be pregnant again and was hoping that it would happen before her due date – but five months later and nothing. I guess the upside is that my age (over 35) I can get a referral to a fertility specialist if I’m not pregnant after 6 months of trying.
The first month after we didn’t really do anything to prevent pregnancy but weren’t trying, but after that first period I started using OPKs. Then began the work – it really is work (and stressful) if your really trying to get pregnant. With my son and Ava my husband and I were trying and did have some concerns – my age (approaching 40), BRCA-1 mutation and possible removal of ovaries (which obviously limits your ability to have children), but I didn’t feel as bad each time when no second line appeared on that pregnancy test. Now during those two weeks after the positive OPK I oscillate between hope, disappointment and fear – and feel all these emotions thinking I might be pregnant. But it usually ends in disappointment with that BFN.