A couple of months ago M and I started talking about having a second child. We'd always hoped for two kids, and with four good quality frozen embryos waiting for us in the Czech Republic the decision to go back is a no-brainer. Even so, talking about it and actually doing something to get the ball rolling are two totally different things. Knowing all of the problems and hurdles I encountered the last time around (my RE promising to help and then backing out, finding a particular type of BCP that no one in Canada uses on short notice, trying to find someone to do a Day 10 lining check and give me the results same day as opposed to sending them to my GP a week later)...the thought of dealing with all of that again was just exhausting and discouraging. So although we talked about it, that was about all we did. I just wasn't ready to face the logistics of organizing a foreign FET just yet.
In the meantime, though, I suggested to M that maybe we could try naturally. Ever since my period came back post-baby, I'd noticed that it had been a lot more normal and regular. Gone were the 25 day cycles and week of pre-period spotting that I'd had before Q. Now I was having what I'd call normal 28 day cycles, and although I wasn't deluding myself into thinking I was a normal fertile person, I'd seen one too many "unicorn" bloggers with spontaneous accidental post-infertility BFPs to discount the idea entirely. You know, the mythical ones that get spontaneously pregnant after years of failure or after having a successful IVF pregnancy. Maybe I could be a unicorn too! So we started trying, the old fashioned way.
And it worked. But only briefly. This story doesn't have a happy ending, for those who would otherwise stop reading now.
In early June, my period was four days late when I finally decided that it wouldn't be totally crazy to take a test. I peed on a stick, and wasn't completely shocked when it came back positive. And while we were both happy, any excitement we had was tempered with an awful lot of realism. After all, I'm 40 years old. Even if I didn't have demonstrably crappy eggs, my risk of miscarriage would be upwards of 30%. With my infertility history? It had to be higher. Not to mention the risk of chromosomal abnormalities or other pregnancy complications.
On top of the worry, another feeling that didn't completely surprise me was a healthy dose of guilt. I'd always told people who knew about Q's donor egg origins that I had no intention of trying for another baby with anything other than our frozen embryos. Since Q's donor is anonymous, something that I think about a lot is how he's going to feel about not being able to find out much information about his genetic maternal side. Will it bother him, or will he not care? If it does become something that's an issue for him, I always thought it would be better for him to have a sibling who is just like him to share those feelings with. But now, I was potentially bringing a new baby into our family who would be genetically mine. Would he resent this in the future? Would he feel different? Would he feel somehow like he was "less than", or that he hadn't been enough for us? Those questions pricked uncomfortably at the back of my mind at night when I was lying in bed.
In the meantime, we didn't let ourselves get too excited about things. We didn't tell anyone, and we talked about it only rarely. No plans, no names, just a vague reference to a February due date and the occasional "how are we gonna manage with two?" when Q was being particularly rambunctious.
Because of my infertility history, my GP agreed to send me for an "early" ultrasound at 8 weeks. I'd been starting to feel pretty nauseous, so I was actually fairly optimistic going into it. But when the technician didn't offer to show me the heartbeat, I figured something was off. My GP called later to confirm: there was no heartbeat. Everything was measuring on track, though, so it must have stopped not long before. Which was somehow even sadder.
I decided to take misoprostol to move things along, since we were heading to our annual beach vacation in Maine in a week's time and I really didn't want to be miscarrying while I was down there. It wasn't fun, but it seemed to work as advertised. I had plenty of nasty cramps, passed a ton of huge clots and then the worst of it was over.
Mentally, I felt surprisingly ok. I guess it's hard to wallow when you have a 16-month old demanding your time and attention, and obviously having Q already in our lives has helped to soften the blow. If we don't ever manage to have another baby, we have him and that's more than we ever thought we'd have in the first place. Plus the guilt I felt over him being the only donor baby was gone, too. If we do manage to get pregnant again, it will be with the frozen embryos from our egg donor. He won't be different.
Unfortunately, though, when exactly a new transfer can happen is up in the air. I haven't informed my Czech clinic about any of this yet, because it's still not over. I found out at a follow up appointment today that my beta is still 952 and there is tissue left in my uterus that is being fed by blood vessels. I was offered a D&C, but M's parents are still in Maine so we have no babysitter which means I can't have a surgery under anesthetic since M can't be there to take me home. They gave me misoprostol again, but warned me that the likelihood of it working the second time around is pretty low if it failed the first time. I can wait a bit longer but if nothing happens in the next two weeks, I should have surgery to avoid any risk of infection and preserve my ability to carry another baby.
Strangely, after everything that's happened over the past month, hearing that the misoprostol hadn't worked and that I might need a D&C was the straw that broke the camel's back. I cried for the first time since this all happened. And I cried a lot. I'm not sure how much of it is for the baby we lost, and how much of it is for the baby we want that is now put on hold. We had originally hoped to do a FET in Prague in the fall, but that's obviously not going to happen now. So unless we want to go in the middle of winter, we're probably looking at spring at the earliest. I feel completely and utterly stupid for even thinking that we should try naturally. That I could be one of those unicorn bloggers. We won't be trying again. It's not worth it. If we hadn't, we wouldn't be in this position and I'd be planning a trip to Europe right now.
Because I'm no unicorn. I was just pretending. All along, I've always been just a horse.