Archive for February, 2011

For Posterity

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

After some consideration, we have decided maintain our blog entries regarding our cancer & fertility journey for posterity, but did not want them to remain the sole purpose of this website.

As important as that journey was, we are still here, and as we move through our grief together, we will have other stories to share.

And so, we are archiving our cancer & fertility journey, so that it may still be accessed if anyone wishes to read it, but it will no longer be the focus of this site.  You may access the archive using the menu link above, or with the “Archive Home” link below.

Thank you, to everyone for your love and support through this incredible story.

Crank & Flaire

Archive Home

Sad News

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

It is with heavy hearts that Frank and I share our tragic news.

Sadly, we lost the twins earlier this week.

We understand that some will want to know the details of what happened, and others will not.  For those that wish for more information, I will include it at the end of this post.

We would like to extend our sincere gratitude for the love and support we have received from everyone during this amazing journey.  When we stared this blog, and decided to share our story so publicly, we knew that as well as sharing our joy, that there may come a day when the news would not be joyous.  In for the good, in for the bad.  Although this end is terrible, we are grateful to have had the experience, and will be doing our best to move through it and back to a place of health and hope.

Without a doubt, this will be a difficult time for us, and we thank you in advance for your patience.  We are astounded by the outpouring of support to us, and we wanted to first say thank you, and also to say that no one need feel obligated to say or do anything – we don’t require poetry, as we know that sometimes there just isn’t words.  There is nothing we need, as there’s really nothing anyone can do, so we simply ask that you hug your families.  We are so grateful for our family, our friends, and our community, and just knowing that we are loved and supported is powerful in itself.

Frank and I are moving moment to moment, and supporting each other in our grieving.  Many have asked us already if we will try again, and we don’t have that answer right now, as it is a much more complicated question than many understand.  We need to honour Hokey & Pokey, and heal our hearts before we can think about the future.

Again, we thank you for everything, and we love you.

-Claire & Frank


Optional Reading: What Happened

The cerclage procedure I had done on Feb 2 was intended to compensate for my compromised cervix, a result of two LEEP procedures done to remove my cervical cancer last year. Believe it or not, the cervix is the only thing that keeps babies inside the womb, and an incompetent cervix can easily, (and dramatically) terminate a pregnancy.  The cerclage reinforces the cervix, but in my case, mine was so damaged already that there was not a lot of tissue to work with, and so the suture slipped.  Unfortunately, there aren’t really any symptoms that go along with an event like this, so I had no idea that anything was wrong.

I lost the first baby at home, on Tuesday morning as Frank & I were readying for work.  Frank was a powerhouse, called the doctor and rushed us to the BC Women’s hospital.  An ultrasound revealed that the second baby was still ok, and we were very relieved.  It was decided to perform an emergency repair/second cerclage to attempt to prevent the same fate for our remaining baby.  The surgery was successful, the baby was ok, and I was kept overnight for observation.  We would have an ultrasound in the morning (Wednesday) to confirm that the baby was still fine.

Sadly, the morning’s ultrasound revealed no heartbeat.  It is difficult to say for sure what happened, but it is very common for the second twin to not survive after the loss of the first.

The staff at the BC Women’s were amazing, and our obstetrician was so wonderful with us, and we are so grateful to have had her through this terrible experience.  She personally insisted on performing the awful task ahead, and I was kept through the day on and overnight on Wednesday, so that I could once again be knocked out for surgery, as the sutures needed to be removed, as well as the remains of the second twin.

I lost a lot of blood, and was very weakened from the events, as well as two rounds of general anaesthetic, but on Thursday morning I was deemed ok to go home.  My physical recovery is going well, but it will take time for our hearts to heal.

We’d like to take another moment to say thank you for choosing to follow us on this path.  Through cervical cancer and infertility, having friends to cheer us on and lift us up is a great treasure.  This may not be the end of the story yet, but it certainly is the end of this chapter.

BabyTV at 13 Weeks.

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

(Click the picture for full size!)

We went for our nuchal translucency scan on Monday, and all was well. They had a look at my cerclage too, which appears to be holding just fine. Hokey & Pokey were dancing around as usual, and making it difficult for the tech to get his measurements, but ultimately they said everything looked pretty good. There’s still some blood work to do before we get the official results back, but we’re not feeling very worried, which is great.

We hoped maybe that since the scan would take so long that we might get to have a peek at whether H&P were boys or girls, or one of each, but no dice. The scans were so focused on the head & neck that we didn’t get many full-body shots. I think we may have to accept that we’ll be waiting until they’re good & ready to show us, which I think is somewhere between 16 & 20 weeks.

In daily life, things are plugging along. Frank has been super-awesome-supportive-guy, and is incredibly sympathetic and understanding. He helps out as much as he can, and never gives me grief when he comes home to find me crashed out on the couch. We’ve started looking at things like cribs and strollers built for two, and sort of started making a list of things we’ll need to acquire before they arrive. My belly got big early, and although it seems to have slowed down a bit now, most of my clothes don’t fit anymore so I’ve been slowly getting some maternity wear. My round ligament pains seem to have eased off, but I have trouble being comfortable and my back hurts terribly when I wake up. My theory is that this is partly due to our bed being 10 years old, so I’m petitioning Frank for a new one, perhaps a bigger one, and one of those awesome Snoogle pregnancy pillows to boot.

I think I had my first official craving too: Baked lasagna from Gigi’s. I hadn’t been craving much, although I had been turned off by some things (like fresh basil and big slabs of meat). Mostly I found I wanted whatever was said to me… like if someone said French fries, I’d instantly want them. Or pie…somebody said pie and MAN, I wanted apple pie. (Thanks E & D for getting me pie!) The baked lasagna was the first thing that just popped into my head on it’s own, although I wasn’t compelled to get it immediately. But I’m trying not to give in too much to the desire for indulgent foods, and trying to make sure I’m still getting enough good stuff so the little wigglers will get big & healthy.

Pregnancy-dreams have started too. Over the last two evenings, I had two rich ones. First, I dreamed I was preparing to “jump” into the unknown, and I was super calm about it. I was sort of floating along, picking up symbolic things I felt I wanted to have with me as I made my leap into the abyss, not knowing if those things would survive the journey, but knowing I would. And last night, I dreamed of the bottom floors of a large building (school? hospital?) flooding with sea water. Normally water dreams cause me some anxiety, but in this one, I knew how high the water was going to get, and I stood Zen-like at the top of the stairs, enjoying the sound of the water crashing about, and watched others run past me in panic.

Still waiting for my second-trimester energy to kick in. I find I’m still running out of steam early, and my body complains when I do “too much” which really isn’t very much at all. Definitely tricky for us type A sorts that need to feel like we’re accomplishing something. Ah well… I suppose that’s just one of the many lessons and adjustments that comes with pregnancy, eh?

Cerclage Update

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Gah. Yesterday sucked hard.
When I woke up from the cerclage, Frank & the doc were there to greet me, which was nice, but the news was scary. Apparently, the procedure was really, really necessary. The kind of necessary in that if I hadn’t had it done right away, I most likely would have lost the pregnancy. The doc said that from the two LEEP procedures I had for the cancer, my cervix was a mess, and was already not doing it’s job. Gross warning for the next sentence: my poor cervix was already open enough that she could SEE inside to the birth sac.
So yeah, that stitched that right up.
Now that it’s stitched, there’s less to worry about, but I’m still high risk, and they’ll be keeping a close eye on me. I have a followup on Feb 18, and that should show that the suture is doing it’s job, and everything’s still bundled up properly in there.
They wheeled me into recovery around 11am, and I’d expected to be out by noon, like usual for morning day surgeries. All you have to do is pee and they let you go. It sounds arbitrary, but sometimes surgeries like that shock the system and you “forget” how to pee, so they make sure you can before they take out your IV or let you go home. But I couldn’t go. Hours passed, tons of water drank, and I still couldn’t. 3pm, they finally do the drastic measure of draining my bladder for me (really, REALLY unpleasant), because apparently that fixes the forgetful bladder thing. You still have to sit around for another hour, traumatized by the catheter experience, drinking more water, and then prove that you peed before they let you go.

At around 4pm, I finally got out. Exhausted, barfy, generally freaked out… and really hungry!
Frank took excellent care of me when we got home. Tucked me in on the sofa with water & juice to drink, made me toast when I was feeling barfy from the anaesthetic, and put lots of entertaining stuff on the TV for me to watch or nap through as I wished.

Taking it easy is my job for the next couple of days. Staying mostly horizontal, drinking lots of fluid, and letting my body recover.
And then on Monday, we get the fun of another ultrasound, this time it’s the nuchal translucency scan, so we’ll get to watch the womb-show for a good long time while they do their measurements.