In addition, I think it's delightful that other women mention the gentle intra-womb flutterings of their babies. Hortense's movements are more reminiscent of Homey the Clown, swinging a loaded sock around my uterus. Apparently, we most definitely do not play that.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
People have been asking me if I'm putting "the nursery" together for Hortense. I have to restrain myself from having some sort of panic attack, because I'm still trying to sell my immaculate, practically-brand-new, $12,000-below-tax-value townhouse, which has been stripped of all my personal pictures and objects and staged out the wazoo since March, when I first put it up for sale. So - I keep thinking about how I can't buy any baby furniture until I know whether I'll still be living in this place in January. I mean, I can - but doing so means that I have to move out the furniture that's currently in my second bedroom and figure out where to store it. And on top of that, there's the double panic of knowing that if I don't sell soon, I won't sell it for two more years, because I'll be damned if I clean and stage a house daily while toting around a newborn.
But on top of all this, there's the triple, intense, cherry-on-top panic of simply buying the accoutrements necessary to PUT THE BABY TO BED SAFELY. Have you noticed this? Am I more sensitive to this as a recovering-ish infertile, or is sleeping now the most dangerous, perilous, fraught activity a baby can participate in? I'm developing a serious rage that threatens to put me squarely in tinfoil-hat territory.
First off, I completely accept the findings and conclusions of the whole "Back to Sleep" businesses. I GET IT. I can't even buy a flipping sleep sack without that little mantra on it. Obviously, I'm going to put my child to sleep on her back, if that's what reduces the risk of SIDS. Agreed. Let's shake. However. What if she spits up in the night? What if she chokes on said spit-up? Why is this legitimate fear not addressed by the "Back to Sleep" information? All they give us is "healthy babies won't choke on vomit." Really? That's not terribly reassuring.
I don't like that the medical organizations downplay the possibility that one might feel anxiety about this proposition, and sometimes I feel like they're saying, "well, we've covered our asses with Back to Sleep. If you don't burp your kid well enough and she chokes to death in her sleep on vomit, you have no one to blame but yourself for being a crap burper." And they say that SIDS isn't caused by vomiting...I say, okay, semantics, then. Vomiting and choking would cause death by vomiting and choking. But the end result is the same, no?
So then you want to buy a sleep positioner that will incline the baby's head a bit to try and rectify that problem, but the consumer orgs are iffy on those, because if there are foamy parts, the child could end up pressed against one and suffocate, much like crib bumpers, which are apparently death traps as well. As are loose sleepers. As are tight sleepers, though, also, because the baby can't be overheated. Or rebreathe exhaled carbon dioxide into its sleeves. And you should keep a steady stream of fresh air flowing over them. And they should be sleeping in your room, but in a bare, safe crib, away from a window. There's a lot of opportunity for you to screw this up. Between the medical organizations and the consumer-products ones, some days, it seems like every baby product for sale is marketed as "Buy This Or: Death!!"And, BTW, if you really, really, really want your baby not to die of SIDS, you'll breast-feed until you're taking the training wheels off her bike.
I'm thinking I'll hire two eunuchs/vestal virgins to stand in Hortense's bedroom. One to hold her aloft in the very center of the room all night - no loose blankets, fuzzy crib positioners, or inadvertent tummy-sleeping allowed. The other will lightly fan exhaled CO2 away from her mouth and make sure she is adequately cool, yet never cold. Otherwise, I doubt I'll ever get any sleep.
But, you know, I have to remember not to stress out too much about this, because ya know - stress during pregnancy is bad for the baby. Everyone says so.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
So, generally my days begin as follows: wake up around 7-ish; realize that I'm on my back; freak out over the fact that I went to bed on my side, wrapped around a body pillow that's too big to fit under the covers with me; then bemoan my sore back and rise from bed. This morning, I threw in a bellow of obscenity as a calf cramp crippled me.
I put on one of a few outfits that will fit me - probably a maternity top that obscures the fact that I'm wearing a pre-preg skirt, or maybe those maternity gauchos that make me look like a big fat pirate. Every day, I cringe as I see myself from the side and wish that someone would ask if I'm pregnant, instead of just assuming that I'm sporting a full, taut, belly that grows weekly. Every day = silence. I know the rule...never ask a woman if she's pregnant unless you can literally see the child crowning. But still.
I eat a high-fiber bar around 7-8 a.m., and wonder if today will be the day that I'll poop.
I drive to campus, park the car, and haul myself up the hill to class, complete with calf/thigh/ass cramps, side stitches, etc. As I reach my first class, I'm usually embarrassingly out of breath, since I haven't yet modulated my walking speed to accommodate my new heft.
At about 10:30, I feel hungry again, and Hortense is treating me to some jarring kicking and pounding. Between my first and second classes, I inhale a granola bar, or some peanut butter crackers.
Around 12:30, I have the peanut butter and jelly sandwich that's being squished in my bag. Sometimes, I eat this during my 3-hour class, like a preschooler.
I spend 3-4 hours at work on campus, three days a week. Unfortunately, all of the stool/chairs available for me to sit on are oddly tall, which means I have to fling my bulk upwards and backwards and hope to land at the right place on the stoolairs. Usually, right after I manage to get myself settled (when I get myself on the chair, I then have to pull up my maternity pants in the back and my underpants in the front), someone needs something, and I have to slide off again.
Around 4:30, I become oddly delirious with hunger, and Hortense pummels me.
I get home at 5-6, lie on the couch, and whimper until my husband makes me dinner. I complain about the teeny hairs that are now growing on my stomach and the lack of flattering pregnancy jeans in my life. I choke on my own spit once every 2 or 3 weeks, which is terrifying.
So that's essentially the life of a big fat pregnant grad student. With any luck, it will continue this way, with minimal drama, for the next 18 weeks. Last week, I asked my OB, "Are there things I should be doing at this point in the pregnancy? Not doing?" Her response: "Don't drink, don't smoke crack, and try not to get punched in the gut."
That's all??? I am never reading another baby book AGAIN.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Me: "You know how boobs and nipples and whatnot are supposed to get bigger with pregnancy?"
Me: "Well, all this time, I've been looking at the big, circular part of my nipple to see if it was getting bigger or darker and it's not."
Husband: "That's not your nipple."
Me: "But I noticed these little sticky-out bits in the middle..."
Husband: "You mean your nipples."
Me: "Semantics. But anyways, those parts are getting bigger, just like the books said."
Husband: "So, essentially, you're telling me that at the age of 29, you have at last discovered your own nipples."
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Crap salad, I've been lazy.
In my defense,
1. I've just started grad school, which involved running all over campus, trolling for part-time jobs.
2. My house has been on the market for six months, and I've been pricing kitchen overhauls to see if the investment is worthwhile.
3. I dunno. Other stuff.
No major life changes while trying to get pregnant? That's for the weak.
So the big news is that I had the 18-week ultrasound and learned that Napoleon is more of a Napoleonette. Which is a big surprise, given that I was nearly convinced it was a boy. On the other hand, my mother was convinced it was a boy, and she's always, always wrong at gender-guessing. So that should have been a clue.
I guess the obvious thing would be to rename Napoleon Josephine, but that's a name that I could conceivably give to a child someday (husband's grandmother's name), and so it's not nearly as amusing as Hortense.
Other exciting ultrasound news - I seem to have developed a succenturiate placental lobe, which they claim poses no threat to Hortense (although she seems to be rather snug between those two big lumps of placenta, and I wish she had a bit more room to flail around in) but which will have to be extracted from me after delivery, so as to keep me from hemorrhaging. My mother describes the manual extraction of leftover placenta as "worse than 36 hours of labor" and "oh, God, I wanted to die." So, that's exciting. But - if this is the only complication I encounter between now and January 27th, I'll probably be a pretty lucky girl.
Off to breakfast - my insane husband is drafting a document in which I release him from responsibility for any future gestational diabetes diagnosis, and aver that I am eating the Krispy Kreme he brought me of my own volition.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
- Goose and Maverick.
- Mamie and Ike.
- Nub and Digger.
- Biggie and Puffy.
- Captain and Tenille.
Not currently in the running: Meemaw, Peepaw, Glamma, Granny, "Big" anything, or Gogie. Or, sadly, Toot.
Monday, August 10, 2009
There are women, on this message board that I read from time to time, who say that milky goo has, at one time or another, flown out of their boobs when sneezing, say, or squeezing a nipple. This was shocking to me. When I cough and sneeze, my boobs stay completely sealed. I even tried to squeeze a nipple, to see what would happen (not something I do every day, let's just say). Nothing.
On one hand, it's always a relief not to inadvertently milk yourself. On the other, I don't want to fall behind developmentally. Hmm.
Good night, then. Off to scrutinize my boobs.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I've taken a brief blogging hiatus, as I've been out of town attending my grandfather's funeral, an event that serves as a sobering reminder that everyone in the family tree is about to climb up a branch. The grandparents, as I knew them, are all gone, and the parents are ready to take their places. That, naturally, means that at some point very soon, I will be moving from the ranks of child (metaphorical: clearly a grown-ass married woman with a mortgage is not a child) to parent. If I step directly into my mother's footsteps, I'm looking at years of child-raising followed, possibly, by years of parent-caretaking. Serious stuff.
Is it scary? Yeah, a little. Do I feel like a wussbag for making this transition at 29, instead of, say, building a log cabin with my bare hands and raising six children and some cows and chopping cotton all day by age 19 or so? Again - yeah, a tad.
So, loins must be girded and all that. I do wish my grandparents had gotten to meet the kid, though.
Monday, July 27, 2009
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I want a turkey sandwich.
I have told my husband that come January 27th, he needs to be prepared to run to the Subway outpost in our hospital and hook me up with a six-inch turkey sub with lettuce, tomato, cheese, pickles, and copious amounts of oil and vinegar, possibly on my way out of the delivery room.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
I have seen the enemy, and she is a pair of maternity jeans. Yesterday, I went with my mother and aunt to look for maternity clothes. Truly, the stash I came home with is not bad-looking and quite reasonably priced (big ups to JC Penney and Old Navy), but let me tell you - if this baby's a girl, I may end up naming her Polly Esther, because that is apparently the official fabric sponsor (TM) of gestation. I will be rocking polyester pants (with giant stretchy belly band) and polyester tops soon...and for many months, apparently.
Of course, since I was with two pregnancy veterans, I got to hear ALLLLLLL about how huge I was going to be, how huge I would stay afterwards, how I should probably go ahead and buy everything in the biggest size possible because I would surely need it...you get the picture. I freely admit that prior to getting knocked up, I was size 10 on top and 12 on the bottom. So I'm not the sveltest svelte that ever svelted, but I don't think I'm quite at the level of having my own show on TLC.
I had thought I'd get some stuff to get me from here deep into trimester 2, rather than immediately buying the roomiest stuff and waiting to grow into it. On the spectrum of pregnant clothes, though, these two women see no middle ground between "not quite being able to button my jeans" and "Welcome to Caftan City." They urged me to consider wearing stretchy black pants and a black shirt that reaches to my knees for starting school in the fall. (When I am carrying a visible lump of child in the front, I'm sure the long shirt will be handy, but right now, I look like a fool.)
"But black is slimming!" they cry.
I can't wait to show up for my first day of class looking like a high school stagehand.
Other excellent pieces I tried on included: a pair of embroidered Ren-Faire-ish shirts, with sleeves that would have caused a pre-teen Anne Shirley to pee her pantalettes; an Empire-cut top that already appeared to have a rounded puff sewn in, awaiting my burgeoning gut and making me look seven months along at 13 weeks; and a sleeveless top with a smocked panel across my bosom. I didn't really have too much objection to this third option - smocking is likely more flattering for my gradually broadening boobs than just allowing them to continue on their current path, drifting apart like two halves of Pangaea.
I get where my mother and aunt are coming from - they don't like the whole concept of walking around in tight midriff tops, pregnancy-innies on full display. Despite basically agreeing with them, I still got to hear lots of "When I was your age, I made do with a polka-dot muumuu and a denim jumper! For five months! As God intended!" You'd think I was planning on hanging out in a bikini top and denim cutoffs (as I did that one time at Carowinds, summer of '97. I'm not proud, but if you're going to sport that look anywhere, that was the place.)
I think I'm going to pull a Lohan and invest in some leggings. If I pair them with a good ol' fashioned, Mama-endorsed muumuu, I might be able to claim it's cutting-edge fashion, y'all.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
1. Boobs not getting bigger in an attractive way, but may be spreading sideways in a fat-ish, glandy way.
2. Trying not to roll eyes over story of a friend who accidentally got knocked up from one night of unprotected sex with husband (just! one! night!), because they're apparently overflowing with fertility.
3. Small roll of fat beginning to tiptoe over waistband of underpants. Hott.
4. Being told that I'm not acting "excited" enough about my just-shy-of-13-week fetus...you know, not announcing the occasion to enough people I barely know. In fact, the person who inflicted this opinion on me told me that I was "acting like this was an unwanted pregnancy."
Yeah - I've been trying for eighteen months to get pregnant, dealing with tubal pregnancies, sperm issues, needles, and stimulation meds because I'm COMPLETELY NONCHALANT. Maybe I'll go smoke some crack, drink some tequila, and toss myself down the stairs.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Yesterday, I was pretty anxious over my first OB appt, especially the FFW (first f*cking weigh-in) and the DSDSS (desperately serious Down Syndrome screening). Both turned out to be pleasant surprises.
The OB (who I've seen before, and like pretty well) did not bring up my weight or what it should or shouldn't be. We talked briefly about exercise, and about how it was okay to dial it back if I found spotting afterwards. I was also reassured that a sweaty-palmed 23-year-old med student would definitely not be delivering my child.
The ultrasound tech who did the screening was very friendly and chipper - I was expecting her to measure in silence, then tell me grimly to wait for the results, but she was chatty and encouraging, told me that things looked generally normal, and had a nice bright flat-screen on which I watched Napoleon flap around like a fish, then settle on his/her back and wave a fist, which was odd and amusing.
In other news, I quickly consulted the pregnancy book my friend loaned me (which seems to be a recruitment piece for the Natural Childbirth Brigade) yesterday and learned that it's still TOTALLY OKAY to go skydiving at 12 weeks. Yeah. That's great news. I was really worried about not being able to skydive for nine months. Let me go book that airplane right now.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Life has improved somewhat since I stopped shoving unnecessary progesterone-jectiles into my business, but the cramps (or are they muscle pains?) still linger a bit. Sneezing, coughing, laughing hard, and stretching all produce a pleasant sensation akin to having nails driven into my pubic bone. I don't know what to make of it - two urinalysis tests came back clean, and when I called the "resident on call" the other night at the hospital, he informed me that "Uh, that might be, like round ligament pain. If you start bleeding a lot, you should, you know, come into the ER." Yeah, homes, I don't really need to be told to seek help for "bleeding a lot." If I can stick it out until Wednesday, I'll finally get to see the OB, who will hopefully have more answers and will hopefully verify that Napoleon continues to hang on to his small tract o'land.
Prior to discontinuing my use of progesterone, I was reflecting on the idea that using those messy suppositories reminded me of Ye Olde Dayse of Tryinge to Get Pregnante Naturallie. Remember those? When you thought that a little unprotected sex was all it took to get knocked up?
...okay, I'm done laughing hysterically now. You?
And then, after the Deed was Done, you'd put your feet in the air for twenty minutes, clenching muscles you didn't know you had, because no one ever told you that unprotected sex was so MESSY and aside from not wanting to wash the sheets again already, you wanted to make sure that the Junior Einstein sperm didn't ooze back out, leaving you with the Wee Jeffrey Dahmer ones?
Yeah, those days.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
And the dumbest. I noticed last night, whilst putting yet another bullet of creamy hormonal goodness into my junk, that it HURT LIKE A MOFO to do so. This prompted my tiny reptilian brain to direct my fingers to email the RE and ask if I was supposed to have stopped using the progesterone supps at week 10? Or keep going until 12? Could this be contributing to my abdominal pains?
Her response: Yuh. You were meant to stop them at 10 weeks. How constipated are you right now?
Monday, July 6, 2009
After a brief vacation/internet hiatus, I can report that at (allegedly) 10.5 weeks, my uterus feels like a balloon with a Rubik's cube inside. No morning sickness, no lovely clear skin and heaving bosoms, just gas pains. Lots and lots of crippling gas. I am probably the most desirable pregnant woman ever.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Ugh. A few days of distance from Sunday night's events means that I can make jokes about myself.
I woke up at midnight, Sunday night, and went to make one of my usual evening pee excursions. Only when I looked down, I found an oval of red blood, about the length and width of the top two joints in my little finger. When I dabbed at myself with toilet paper I found watery bright-red blood. Ad I just kept thinking - two miscarriages, two Father's Days in a row. This is actually going to happen. I woke up my husband, then remembered, in a blind panic, that I had fallen asleep and forgotten my progesterone dose, which I took immediately (two hours after my usual time). I called the OB on call at my clinic, which as I think I mentioned before, is at Big State Hospital, so naturally, the person who answered the phone was probably around 23. To her credit, she started to tell me that there were several non-m/c-related reasons for bleeding, but then - in a moment that encapsulates the infertile experience - she got paged by labor and delivery and had to get off the phone.
I think it's fair to say that I sat up from midnight until about 6 a.m., visiting blogs where angels fear to tread - you know, the ones where you hear about someone's ninth or tenth miscarriage, and it just feels like inevitable disaster is staring you right in the face. I read that "bleeding can be normal, unless it's bright red, that's usually trouble" and that "progesterone can mask problems and make you hold on to a pregnancy that should be over;" all statements whose truth I could not and still cannot testify to in any way, but which were like emotional lead weights on two hours of sleep.
Fortunately, I was able to page the RE on call in the morning and ask him to work me in early before the usual round of ultrasounds, which he kindly did. And everything was fine. A fetus remains in my womb, heart still beating...a bizarre little white apparition that kind of resembled Orko from the old He-Man cartoons, but I digress.
It all brought me right back to those old feelings: you're not normal, you can't actually do this, your luck will never hold out, don't get too comfortable. Don't expect anything from your body, because it will always fail you.
Thus, I declare now in writing what I have always thought in my mind: if I get this baby out, both of us in one piece, I swear I will never forget what it's like to be part of the Subfertile Nation. Fight the power, bitches.
You can't see me but I have a fist in the air.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
OH. MY. GOD.
If I read one more article, or comment on a website, or sentence from a stupid baby book that says "Well, we're not saying that not having morning sickness means you're going to miscarry, but if you do have morning sickness, your chances of miscarrying are less, and ten percent of you all are going to miscarry, soooo..."
I am going to kill someone. Straight up.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Holy moly. The progesterone suppositories arrived today, and THEY LOOK LIKE BULLETS. This is creepy.
Honestly, I believe that if men were able to get pregnant, the drug companies would have already patented a progesterone patch that would stick on the hip for ten weeks. Or, for that matter, a progesterone gel cap that tasted like Thin Mints. (Oh, wait, we're talking about dudes. I meant to say ribs.)
Monday, June 15, 2009
Second trans-vag ultrasound shows that black blob continues to be black and blobby, small kernel within continues to have an active heartbeat. Pictures taken by RE continue to be difficult to decipher.
I have decided to name this embryo Napoleon. (I can't bring myself to say something like "bean.") Possibly because of its small size, possibly because I use a large biography of Napoleon to keep all the ultrasound pictures flat, possibly because I really like the song "Waterloo," possibly because I have taken pictures of myself next to Napoleon's taxidermied horse and doggie in Paris, or possibly because I enjoy tormenting family members with the idea of naming my child Napoleon.
Today's true trauma: getting evicted by the RE. Despite clinging to the bed and saying "please don't make me go back to the regular OB clinic. I like it here, where everyone's nice and has a sense of humor. You can't just kick me out," they did exactly that. Not in a cruel way, mind you. They gave me recommendations for three doctors over in the other clinic, said to call if I needed them between now and then, and that they wanted to be kept in the loop. Still, back to the OB clinic. Where the waits are long and at least two of the providers have tested negative for personality. Which reminds me, I still haven't discussed the meat of last summer's Ectopic Adventure, including Rage towards the OB Clinic. To come!
Other developments: it's my last night for progesterone injections, which is good, because searching for knot-free Upper Outer Ass Quadrant Real Estate is about to drive my husband over the edge. Next up: progesterone suppositories. Vaginal suppositories, thankfully - I made sure to check that they were not butt-positories, because no thanks - I'll stick with the needles. I have IBS, I'm familiar with synthetic goods going in and coming out of my butt, but I generally don't have to put them in there myself.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Monday's ultrasound confirmed that, in the sealed-box-with-radioactive-isotope that is my uterus, the kitten, if you will, is currently alive.
I am the possessor of one small black blob, complete with teeny, super-rapid heartbeat.
Just one. That means of my 18 clanking oocytes, I ended up with one embryo that was capable and willing to latch on, and one blastocyst on the rocks. Wow, that's a lot of work.
My always-supportive husband: "Man, why did (neighbor's name) get twins and we only got one?"
As always, I reply that someday I will stuff two large, non-round items up his butt and ask him to push them out.
We'll apparently learn a lot more at next Monday's ultrasound. I have now brought the two borrowed pregnancy books into the house, but haven't read them yet. At some point, I think it's just going to be considered negligent to refuse to read them for fear of awakening the Bad Luck.
Although, as an extremely wacky family doctor once told me, "Crack addicts and drunks have healthy babies all the time. I don't recommend it, but it happens." So, um - I guess I won't screw up too terribly bad in the next few days, given that the most addictive substance I've had since April was a deeeeelicious Wild Cherry Pepsi at the movies the other night. (I was afraid I'd doze off during the 7:oo p.m. show.)
If only I could...
1. Tell the difference between gas pain and uterine cramps.
2. Get some Giant Pregnancy Ta-Tas (TM) to balance out my progesterone bloat.
3. Feel more confident. (But maybe soon!)
Friday, June 5, 2009
The babies are everywhere.
College friends are posting pictures of their toddler (or their toddler and their newborn) at the beach, high school friends are about to deliver, casual acquaintances are posting picture of their swollen bellies on Facebook. Even goofy kids from the neighborhood, who I'm not sure are old enough to drink, are with child. It's quite discouraging.
I've thought about this - and it's not that I feel jealous of the babies as babies. I can look at pictures of your kid, or play with him or her, without suffering any psychic pain. It's their health, their ability, maybe their basic anatomy that I resent. The world is full of people who snap their fingers, spread their legs - and then it's "Yay, let's decorate the nursery!" for nine months. No gloom and worry, no wondering why, at six weeks, they don't feel more nauseated, or why their boobs are the same size they were three weeks ago, and WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN THIS CAN'T BE GOOD.
I'm angry at myself for being less-than and unable to do something that seems to simple to everyone else. I'm angry that I still can't get the pregnancy books my friend gave me out of my car because I've banished everything baby-related out of my home until...when? A heartbeat? A kick? Viability? I'm angry that there are people out in the world who turn up their noses and say, "Well, people are infertile for a reason. Nature/God/etc didn't mean for you to be pregnant." (Never to your face, of course, but through passive-aggressive hints, or the full-on hateful aggression of the internet.)
I suppose I'm just an angry person.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
- How much I want to ninja-chop the people of this town for their lack of interest in my lovely townhouse, which is for sale (for $3K under tax value), but which has committed the unpardonable sin of NOT HAVING GRANITE IN THE KITCHEN. GASP!!! Truly, I must be a Philistine.
- Is Elizabeth Taylor really updating her own twitter feed, or is she paying an assistant to do it? Because if it's not really The Liz, I will be heartbroken.
- My Netflix queue. I arrange and re-arrange it three times a day. "The Powder and the Glory" was "available now" for all of one day, but for some reason, they skipped over that one and sent me something else instead and now it's back to "Very Long Wait." Phooey.
- Whether or not I should cut Jessica Alba bangs for the summer. Because on the one hand, I do not have her thick shiny hair and might just end up looking raggedy. But on the other, change is good, as long as they don't end up looking like those bangs Gisele is sporting in the Dior ads (Dior? I think).
- Shopping for elastic-waist, forgiving skirts - my bloat/rapid-ish weight gain is challenging.
These items take up a smaller segment of my thoughts than you might imagine...
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Progesterone shots continue to be manageable, despite the husband's occasional experiments with "the five-finger ass grab" and the technique of "pressing really hard on your butt to, like, keep the medicine in." Yeah.
The risk here is that I occasionally begin laughing uncontrollably, which then causes hormone-loaded progesterone oil to shoot out of my hindquarters.
I have discovered, though, that the oil tends to build up around the injection sites, giving me these small knots that are sore to the touch. So I decided to invest in a heating pad, thinking that the heat might help the knots break up. I actually do think it's helping. But even better than that, I have realized that wrapping a fuzzy, gradually warming, blanket-type contraption around your butt feels kind of fantastic. Seriously, the first night I tried it I was asleep in about eight minutes. Wonderful. Soothing. Butt-nurturing. I recommend this to everyone, progesterone user or not. In fact, I plan on firing mine up again tonight.
In other news, ended up getting another beta HcG done, since the nurse was a bit concerned about some muscle pain I'd been having. Numbers again looked promising, though, and a nice, steady, regular doubling is more than I had to go on last time, so now I'm just focusing on making it to the ultrasound in two weeks and seeing what that shows us.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Well. The doctor is happy with the results of the second HcG, and the spotting has mostly tapered off - it was a very small amount of blood, most of it brownish. I was really unnerved by this awful elbow/upper arm pain Friday night when the spotting started. It felt like someone was slamming my funny bone over and over against a hard surface. Now, I've had some serious muscle pain before, aches that I chalked up to a progesterone reaction, perhaps. So that left me wondering - was this terrible arm pain just another one of my muscle pains or a symptom of another ectopic? At some point before or during my previous ectopic, I had a wrenching pain in my arm that kept me awake one night. I spent Friday night convinced I was getting ready to have my second ectopic, and even despite the good numbers from Saturday morning, I'm still not entirely convinced that everything's fine.
I check the pantyliner in my underwear five or six times a day and I think that ever since the test came back positive - before that even - I've been waiting for this to happen. Waiting to start bleeding, because I don't expect anything better from my body. Ugh. At this point, like every time before, there are two possibilities: once again, my feelings of dread/woman's pessimistic intuition will prove right; or I'm just paranoid. It would be nice if the second possibility won out for a change.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Y'all. I have decided.
The worst possible television show for an in/subfertile woman to watch isn't "A Baby Story" or "Jon and Kate Plus 8." It's "Wife Swap." Stay away from this program unless you want to find yourself saying unsavory things like "Why were these deluded douche biscuits allowed to replicate?"
Oh, look. Light brown spotting.
Obligatory "I know that normal women have this happen, but as we've discussed before, I have serious issues" call to nurse's line...guess there's nothing more to do besides show up tomorrow for blood draw. Blerghs.
Life on progesterone: early on, my chest and upper arm muscles felt a little tight and I was somewhat short of breath for a day or two, but eventually, I think I became used to it, or absorbed it more successfully, perhaps, and those side effects went away. I did burst into tears over one of those commercials where they show you pictures of abused puppies, but - who doesn't, right?
So for the last few days, I've had some dull pains in the uterus-type area, and I assumed they were menstrual cramps. So, yesterday, I went in for the HcG blood test, expecting nothing. And then, my RE called - Dr. Sunshine - from out-of-state (I guess she's on vacation) to tell me that my number was 164. She was thrilled. Huh. Meaning...I'm pregnant. Ish. For the time being. Frankly, I'm shocked, and in addition to being shocked, I'm semi-convinced that writing the word "pregnant" will call up the forces of bad mojo and make it all go away. Clearly, my husband's superstitious predilections are beginning to rub off on me. So we'll see what happens when we do another HcG test on Saturday and if that goes well, the real test - the ultrasound - in a few weeks.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Yesterday, on the fateful day referenced above, two embryos were apparently sent into my uterus via catheter. I say apparently because the catheter felt so light and small that the procedure was over before I knew it had begun. I say that also because in my position, legs elevated and blocking my view of the doctor inserting said catheter - well, I just have to trust her. This strange body position also set things up so that I was flashing the goods, with the help of a speculum, in a major way to the embryologist who stood in the next room, separated from us by glass. Have you ever completely exposed your nethers, in a way designed for optimal viewing, to a strange man standing at your window? Well, as of yesterday I have.
I was asked to show up with a full bladder, and apparently I did too good a job of filling that organ, as the embryo transfer required that the nurse press down on my abdomen with the ultrasound sensor while I tried not to urinate directly into the face of the doctor adjacent to my vadge.
Actual transcript of the procedure:
DR: Can you try to relax your legs?
Me: They're tense because you're SMOOSHINGTHEBLADDEROHMYGOD.
DR: Please don't pee on me.
Me: Dude. I am really trying.
In the end, fortunately, I did not pee on the reproductive endocrinologist. They also assured me that I wouldn't pee out the newly-installed embryos, although I released about a liter of urine with great force, so I hope they're right.
Also! And this was the best part - we got souvenir photos of the two embryos. If these two make it to baby-hood, I am SO putting these shots in photo albums and using them to squick the kids out when they become teenagers. One appears to be dividing neatly and evenly, with cells of mostly equal size. One is more of a spaz. (God, let me not be having real-life Wakefield twins. I'll take Skywalker twins. Or Weasley twins. Or Olsen twins, for that matter.)
Progesterone shots still not terribly uncomfortable at the time of injection (which has given rise to a new paranoia that perhaps we're doing them in the wrong segment of the upper, outer butt quadrant and that the injections should maybe be more painful and difficult. I have no explanation for how this idea entered my mind.), but afterwards, patches of skin around the injection site are irritated and sore/itchy. Lotion with aloe helps.
Now we wait, shoot up progesterone, and see what comes of the pregnancy test on May 21.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
Jeepers. Yesterday, the 18 oocytes clanking around in my pelvis were removed via a strange, awkward, drug-hazy process. The end result: 7 fertilized eggs. I wasn't terribly encouraged by the precipitous drop from 18 to 7, but Dr. Optimism is encouraging, per usual, and says that this isn't necessarily an indicator of the overall success of my cycle. Dr. SultryAccent (a new acquaintance) also says that these seven look "very nice." So, we'll see what that means.
As for the process itself, it began with me cringing my way into a musty-smelling hospital gown, booties, and a snood, while a nurse who clearly had some issues put an IV into my hand and secured it with a metric ton of tape. (When I managed to rip it all off afterwards, it removed a good chunk of my arm hair and left a rash. Seriously, this woman was out of control.) Hand IVs are so uncomfortable; they get on my last nerve. This one prompted my first "Oh, there has GOT to be a better way" moment of the day.
Next, Nurse Tapesalot pulled an unappealing blanket over me (like the free ones on airplanes but thinner...and stiffer). The husband and I exchanged wide-eyed looks of "GAAAHH! GERMS!" and I was rolled into the operating room, wondering how quickly MRSA could spread. The first drug they pumped into my IV was Phenergan. This was "there has GOT to be a better way" moment #2. If you've never had the blissful experience of having Phenergan shot into your veins, let me ask you: what do you think a small-to-medium cardiac event is like? I bet it feels a bit like intravenous Phenergan. Big Tapesalot said "This one burns a little bit as it goes up your arm."
Burns is an understatement. My arm was sore for the rest of the day and my fingers were swollen.
I went under shortly thereafter but - delightfully - not all the way. I have some very dim memories of a speculum, something uncomfortable being inserted into me...a very bizarre experience. Then, two different doctors came in to speak to me, while I was still shaking off the drugs, perhaps for the entertainment value, like that poor little kid on YouTube flopping around his mom's car.
The recovery period wasn't bad - lots of sleeping and very little spotting. The pain was manageable with 2 Tylenol, no need to tap into the prescription for Percocet I was given. I also discovered that for me, the pain of the progesterone shots is really over-hyped. The nurses will make you think that IM progesterone shots are going to be like pounding a 12-inch hollow needle into your thick, resisting muscles, the resulting pain leaving you unable to move for days. It just ain't that way.
I recognize that this is probably different for everyone but it would be a shame if people went into this worried about the prospect of agonizing pain. Lucky for me, my husband is used to pushing viscous drugs, intra-muscularly, into unwilling psychotics, so progesterone in sesame oil is not too hard for him. Honestly, I felt very little pain. We'll see if he loses his touch some time in the next few weeks, but for now, that, at least, is manageable.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
If I were more savvy, I'd find a non-copyrighted image of Indiana Jones being chased by one of those giant rolling balls, because that's about how big my follicles feel at this point, and probably what it looks like in my ovaries right now. Plus - callback to the title of this blog. But then, that scene is from Raiders of the Lost Ark, not Temple of Doom, and the truth of it all is, I've never seen either movie, because I tried, but I don't like all the attacking animals and monkey brains and general ick.
At ten this evening, I gave myself the shot they've been calling "the trigger" - a dose of HcG which should cause my stimulated follicles to ovulate just enough that the eggs will be floating in follicle fluid, rather than connected to the wall, facilitating retrieval. The stimulation process lasted from April 25 to May 4, with estrogen spiraling upwards into frightening four-digit numbers, but with no unpleasant side effects or hyperstimulation.
This morning, in my final ultrasound before retrieval, we found 7 or 8, I think, on the right ovary, varying in size from 14-19 mm, and on the left, one giant one around 20 mm and at least 9 smaller ones, from 13-16ish. As you can imagine, this increasing number of unwieldy follicles has made me feel strangely full in my abdomen. It's a bit like having really bad gas all the time. (Oh, the miracle of life!)
Speaking of the miracle of life, everyone should have an RE as cheerful as mine. Today, while giving me instructions for Thursday's retrieval and Sunday's transfer, she referred to Sunday as "and then we CREATELIFEYAY!" which is delightful and cheerful and very un-me, so I'm glad someone else is bringing the happy.
Tomorrow - freedom from all meds and needles! Thursday - retrieval and getting wacky on conscious sedation. Eggs ahoy!
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Well, it's been an exciting six days. Last Saturday, I began injecting a veritable cocktail of stimulation meds.
Possible cocktail names: A Stimulator? A Feisty Follicle? A Purple Bruise? A Hormone-tini?
1. Gonal-F pen. This one seemed a tad complex in the instructional videos, but is actually quite user-friendly. It's chunky and pen-shaped, and lives in the fridge. Each day, I pop a small needle tip on the end, turn the dial at the bottom of the pen so that a black arrow points to my required dosage, pull out the stopper and inject. The needles are pretty small and comfortable enough - the only odd bit comes when you've got one hand holding up a chunk of your skin and the other holding the pen; then you realize that you need to slide your hand up the pen (whatever the opposite of 'choking up' would be), to give yourself enough leverage to push the little stopper back in with a finger. It doesn't glide as smoothly as a syringe would, but all in all, no major complaints.
2. Lupron, still, but now half as much. Same old.
3. Menopur. Jeepers. This one involves mixing, which introduces all kinds of chances for human error. First, you draw up a clear liquid diluent into a syringe, then you shoot that into a vial of white powder. You swirl the vial around a bit until the powder is totally dissolved into the clear liquid. Then, you put that in a spoon and heat it over a flame in your dark, seedy den of iniquity... MWAHAHA. Okay, no. Not really.
When the powder is completely dissolved, you pull the solution back up into the syringe, switch to a smaller needle, and inject. The awkward part of it all is that they gave me a Q-cap, which pops over the tops of the vials and on the ends of the syringes, and which is meant to facilitate all the mixing and blending, without the use of a long mix-y needle. Somehow, though, I didn't get that from the instructions, so I popped a Q-cap over one vial, then stuck a needle into the Q-cap, and couldn't figure out why I couldn't use the needle to pull liquid through the plastic cap. As I said: USER ERROR. I have now, fortunately, mastered the use of the Q-cap, but still struggle a bit with these syringes, which seem specifically designed to collect giant air bubbles, then wiggle free from my fingers and shoot expensive liquid on my kitchen counter.
Sidebar: this stuff is apparently made from the urine of post-menopausal women. I'm quite sure I could have obtained some of that on my own. Sadly, I bet I wouldn't have been able to save any money that way.
So now: three injections, and one bad-ass hematoma to show for it. It's about the length and width of my pinky, oval-shaped, a rainbow of purple and pink, with some interesting circular shapes underneath. I don't know which needle to blame for that one.
I have 19 follicles, which I saw on my ultrasound today, none of them up to 10mm yet. When I think about follicles, I imagine they look like tentacles, or like sea anemone fingers waving underwater. They're not nearly that cool. Seriously, they're just black spots on the ultrasound screen.
I got a small boost in my dosage amount two days ago, since my estrogen level was only at 89, instead of the desired 150. Today, though, it's at 300, so we're holding steady at current doses and seeing if those follicles get bigger by Saturday. I'm waiting for the steadily rising estrogen levels to make me suddenly freak the freak out and want to watch Hallmark commercials or "The Hills." Fortunately, I've felt pretty good so far. On the night I started these meds, I had a migraine and a bit of nausea, but that condition hasn't been repeated since then.
One small complaint - I don't really know if my number of follicles is "normal" or something that I should feel good or hopeful about. As it was explained to me, they still needed time to fully mature before anything more could be done. They didn't really say how many they were hoping to see, or how many the average patient had, or how big they should be. The doctor implied that things looked promising, and the nurse told me "let's stay positive and see how things look on Saturday." What I wanted to say was that I was positive I wanted to know what was happening inside me. But I didn't.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Let it be known that Sunday is pretty much the worst day for any sort of medical problem to occur. I've been doing my OBGYN appointments at the big state/teaching hospital where my husband works, for the sake of convenience, so the on-call doctor for that Sunday was some 20-something resident who told me only to come in if I began bleeding enough to soak through a pad an hour. This was not the mental picture I wanted to have - in fact, I went ahead and decided for myself that I might go in to the ER if I were only soaking through, say, a pad every two hours.
So I spent my day on the couch, reliving middle school and replacing my giant maxi pads as needed. I kept thinking the shedding of significant amounts of bright red blood was probably not the best way to begin a pregnancy, and watching "The Tudors" on Showtime On-Demand was probably not helping. Or maybe it was. I watched Natalie Dormer's Anne Boleyn writhe in a puddle of blood, clutching her sheets between her legs as if in a futile effort to keep it all in, and thought:
A. She's doing a pretty decent acting job here.
B. Well, at least no one's coming along to decapitate me after all this.
Around 6 p.m. I became tired of not knowing what was happening to me. I was also tired of the increasingly anxious phone calls I was getting from my mother. So, despite the husband's moaning and groaning that the ER was a new, special ring of Hades, we went. We spent 6 or 7 delightful hours in the ER - an exam showed that my cervix was still closed, an ultrasound revealed nothing, as is the case when one is only 3-4 weeks pregnant (despite this test being almost guaranteed to be inconclusive, it was given to me anyway, probably because ultrasounds are so cheap). They took blood to check my HcG levels, and told me those levels would need to be checked again in two days for comparison. By the time we finally convinced someone to send us home, I was delirious, tired, hungry, and out of sanitary items. I was almost zombie-esque, standing in the doorway of our room, blood on my skimpy hospital gown, slowly kicking a stool back and forth for entertainment.
Yes, I know - it's my fault for going to the ER instead of waiting for the clinic to open. By showing up in the evening, all my subsequent blood tests had to be done in the evening, guaranteeing me more needless and pricey ER trips for simple blood draws. But somehow, just being in the hospital, even when I was being driven nutrageous by the slowly grinding gears of the hospital machinery, (I waited 30-45 minutes for someone to come push me back to my room from the ultrasound room in a wheelchair, despite the fact that my own legs worked perfectly well. Also, the person being asked to push me had not shown up for their shift. So that went well.) made me feel as though as least someone was listening to me and would figure out what was going on.
That bubble, eventually, was burst.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I should first invoke a muse, no? Which one covers oligomenorrhea?
Sing to me of the woman, Muse, the woman whose fallopian twists and turns
have driven her time and time again off course. And the people and things that have plundered the hallowed depths of her womb-iness.
We'll begin, as you're s'posed to, in medias res.
Last July, I stood at my washing machine with the remnants of an old bar of soap, trying to scrub blood stains from the crotch of ten to twelve pairs of cotton underpants, thinking "Is this as bad as it's going to get?"
I began 2008 free of birth control and ready to spawn. I had just turned 28 and I wanted three children. I soon discovered that periods could be unpredictable and that cycle day counting is harder than calculus. After years of being told that any missed birth control pill could immediately land me pregnant, suddenly I felt that the rules had changed. The same people impressing upon me that no method of birth control was 100% effective were now cautioning that it could take some time to become pregnant. Bizarre.
In May, after two negative pregnancy tests, I got the two blue lines. And I was happy. My husband, on the other hand, is basically Your Superstitious Grandma from the Old County. He has an evil eye charm, for reals. He expressed very few opinions on the subject, didn't want to tell his parents, the whole bit. I thought, as we all do at first, and as I never will be able to again, that I had no reason to be afraid. I had no reason to think that I wouldn't have one of those perfect, uneventful pregnancies. I felt like a healthy hoss of a girl - exercised four or five times a week, drank tons of milk, popped a prenatal vitamin every morning.
So I got to feel that way for about three weeks. And honestly, I never will again. I feel like that might be the worst part of this whole experience - that I'll never be able to look down on a pee stick, see two blue lines, and feel secure or optimistic, because now I know that two lines don't equal baby.
One night, I showed the husband something that I'd bought at Target - a three-pack of receiving blankets with little ducks on them. And not just ducks - ducks wearing snorkels.
Me: "Look at this! How adorable are the ducks with the snorkels?"
Him: "Put that away!"
I dismissed his worries - why shouldn't we be fine, like so many of our friends? Like every other person we knew, in fact? Why shouldn't we be lucky?
The next morning, I woke up early, needing to pee. I stumbled into the bathroom and screamed for my husband when I saw the bright red blood stains in my underwear. It was Father's Day.
(How much you do love that song? The original, I mean. Take a moment if you need to have a brief impromptu dance party. I'll be here.)
Lupron injections are proceeding without much ado. Oddly, I have no trouble injecting myself on the left side of my abdomen, needle sliding right in and everything. The right side, though, feels much more like...oh, I dunno...jabbing at myself with a needle. It must have something to do with being right-handed and the angle I'm using.
So, since things on the pharmaceutical front are uneventful, I was thinking about How I Got Here. It's been fifteen months since I chucked the NuvaRing - and I distinctly remember primal screaming my ass off last July or August, because I thought I was going to be derailed from TTC-ing (T'ing-TC? must ponder the conjugation) for two months. Am I Zen or massively repressed? Hard to say. For the benefit of anyone who cares, though, or anyone who can identify or be comforted, I give you...my epic.
- The Ectopiad?
- Le Chanson de Zygote?
- One Thousand and One Nights in a Maxi Pad?
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Is a trans-vaginal ultrasound at 8:05 a.m. Goooood morning!
On Monday, I found myself in a familiar place - on a table with a Wii controller poking around in my goodies, while a doctor looks for The Amazing Disappearing Follicyst/Cysticle. This time, she's accompanied by a young woman, who is introduced to me as a resident.
However, this supposed "resident" (and yes, I'm making air quote fingers) was not wearing a white lab coat, or a clip-on ID badge, as one would expect a hospital staff member to wear. She was a semi-bashful young woman in a skirt and sweater set, and the more I think about it, the more I feel that I should have asked for some ID. For all I know, this was Take Your Grown Daughter to Work to Vaginally Probe a Stranger Day. I suppose I'll never know.
So, the impostor gingerly bumps the wand around and of course, the attending doctor then helpfully shows her that she was not PUSHING DOWN (oof) with enough FORCE (grunt).
"I feel like I'm going to pee now. Like, forcefully."
This did not perturb either of them in the least. After a few more deeply awkward moments, I was told my ovaries were Follicyst/Cysticle free and given the go-ahead to commence sub-cutaneous injections.
That started yesterday. And...well...so far, it's been fairly easy. The needle is small and thin, and slides quite smoothly into my nice, convenient ripple o'abdominal fat. It's almost strange how quickly one becomes accustomed to sticking teeny needles into oneself. I could have been doing this all along! Back in high school, when I'd go out for the evening with friends, my mother would always say, "Be home by 11:30 and don't shoot any heroin into your eyeballs." A grotesque image, to be sure, but had I only known, I could have been shooting things into my belly instead! Oh, for opportunities lost.
Until next time...
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Is on hold for another week. Last week's ultrasound showed a follicle on one of my ovaries; in the IVF-verse, this is an obstacle. Perhaps because they want complete control of when I make eggs? The nurse who called to remind me to come in for the ultrasound told me that another week of BCP would treat my "cyst."
Me: "What cyst? The doctor said it was a follicle."
Nurse: "Cyst, follicle...they look the same."
My interior monologue: "Soooo...you opt for the word with the negative health connotations? Awesome."
Another day, another diagnosis, another mysterious set of events unfolding in the unknowable vortex that is my uterus.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Terms I Cannot Bring Myself to Use
1. "Baby Dance."
Seriously, y'all, this is just awful. I've seen this expression on way too many TTC message boards. It's not "baby dancing," it's procreative sex - intercourse between two consenting adults for the purpose of achieving conception. Call it sex, doing it, getting it on, screwing...anything but "baby dancing." That term is a set of Lee Press-On fingernails down the blackboard of my soul.
And then there are people who abbreviate the term and make it "BD," which makes the whole thing far too close to both "BM" and "VD" - two things I don't want associated with the action in my boudoir.
"Baby dancing" is what happened in the early years of "Ally McBeal," (ooga-chaka, ooga-chaka) and despite my love for Ally, "Hooked on a Feeling" and Nick and Nora jammies, this expression has got to go.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
First blog post.
It's kind of like singing along to the radio in your car. You're jamming, all by yourself, not sure if your voice sounds good, or if it's just your own ego. Eventually, some of the people driving by you notice that you're singing. They might think you're completely lame, or they might think "she seems to be having fun."
And why now? Because two days ago I received a large box in the mail, full of vials and needles and pre-loaded pens and my very own wee biohazard container. And for some reason, I thought - I need to chronicle this. Trying to conceive can be lonely (sexytime notwithstanding), and we often find ourselves on the internet, looking for answers to the questions we're afraid to ask our doctors, or the encouragement we need to get on our feet (or on our backs...) and try again after months of negative pee tests.
My intent is for this blog to be about: life as a not-so-fertile person, bouncing back from an ectopic pregnancy, the absurd side of trying to conceive, and a realistic look at ART for the curious and wary. I'm not overly sentimental, and I don't do sparkly animated fairies; my goal is to be humorous and helpful, but honest. There are certain phrases I will never use. I'll tell you what they are later. Maybe it's a diary that nobody reads, I dunno.
Anyhoodle - T-minus five days until I give myself the first injection, hopefully without spearing my own spleen like a cocktail weenie.