Posted by: laughing4heir | August 11, 2009

Widgets out the wazoo!

The last time I visited pregnancy forums, before this pregnancy, was after my second miscarriage.  I decided I wanted to find other people who were experiencing the hurt and frustration of recurrent loss.  I stopped visiting after about a week, because I found that I was in something of a minority, it seemed:  though I wanted the babies those pregnancies would have created, and though losing them was heartbreaking, my anger and upset was as much with my body as it was with the loss of the potential child.  A large portion of the women on the forums, it seemed – even the ones who lost their pregnancies as early as all of mine ended (4 – 6 weeks) felt they had lost a full-fledged child, not, as I felt, the beginnings of a child or the promise of a child. (I can’t say I’ve ever felt like we lost a child.  It seems like I would rather suffer 100 early pregnancy miscarriages than ever lose a child.  Even at 14 weeks, now, I believe my baby is my child, but I can’t imagine the agony I’d feel losing it today would ever compare to that we’d feel if we lost it at birth or anytime thereafter.)  I was definitely the odd woman out.

But what irked me with the pregnancy forums then, and is starting to irritate me now are the 10,000 icons and widgets you can add to your profile.  And they show up in each posting a woman posts or responds to.

The women on the loss boards often decorated their forum profiles with icons about their lost angels and the dates of loss.  Some, who were pregnant at the time, had pregnancy tickers running with their forum profiles.  While I’d never wish loss on anyone, I found that particularly distasteful, since we were all grieving.  It almost felt like flaunting.  And begging for goodwill.  Just ask for goodwill!  We will all gladly give it.  We all want women to have healthy, successful pregnancies.

But those decorations do not even compare with what I have to sift through on boards right now.  It seems every third woman who posts or responds has about 17 widgets on her profile, meaning I have to sift through so many layers of shit to get to the next woman’s response.  And these widgets are anything but tasteful.

There are, of course, the ever-popular pregnancy ticker widgets.  If the decoration trend stopped there, I’d be more than happy.  But it doesn’t.  In the last few weeks since I’ve gotten on the boards – namely just at whattoexpect.com – I’ve seen photos of womens’ ultrasounds, photos of their dogs, their existing children, their wedding days and of course, their naked bellies.  Many women have photos of all of these.  Some of these belly photos actually have ultrasound images superimposed on them, as if looking at a stranger’s pregnant belly wasn’t awkward and creepy enough!  Women who choose not to include scans of their own ultrasounds often opt for a variation on the ticker, which features an animated peach-colored fetus, complete with umbilical cord, floating against a black background, featuring how many days left until delivery. (Don’t know if they make other colored fetae, or if a peachy, white fetus is the only option.) Others include widgets, with any assortment of icons, that include the given name of their child to be.  Another widget is a stick figure drawing of the entire family, pets included, including a pregnant belly mom.  And one of my absolute – read, least – favorite widgets is that of a prediction.  Apparently, you can have Madame HokiePokie (or some stupid made-up name) guess the fortune of your pregnancy and delivery date and include a little paragraph to show everyone.

Now, with few exceptions – like the bellies with superimposed sonogram images, or the fortune forecasts – I wouldn’t mind these widgets, individually.  You wanna include a preggo belly pic?  Fine.  A stick drawing?  Okay. Even, the creepy CGI animated floating fetus?  Be my guest.  But must these women include ALL of them?  My profile is thin; almost just perfunctory.  I don’t even have a profile picture of me up there, so when I post or respond, all people see is some default images of clouds by my name.  I don’t know if there is some way these women can put all these widgets on their profiles, but not on their forum posts.  If there is, I wish they’d do it.  I’m happy to let someone else decorate her space all she wants.  It’s your locker:  go crazy!  But what irritates me most is that I have to sift through all that crap just to get to the next response.  If 10 people have responded to a question I want to know the answer two, between 3 – 6 of them will have in excess of two – and sincere excess – widgets I’ll have to scroll past in order to get to the next woman’s response.

Ladies, it’s all about content.  That’s why we’re here.  I shouldn’t have to sift through layers of scrapbooking to get to the verbal description of your experience.  Let’s leave the accoutrement for the baby books that we all hope to make!

Posted by: laughing4heir | August 8, 2009

Breathing more normally

put this mic on your belly; tell me what you hear

put this mic on your belly; tell me what you hear

We decided to have the Nuchaltype Papp-A test done last week, in the middle of week twelve.  I’m glad we did for a couple of reasons, but 90% because I think we just want to be informed of any heightened possibility of chromosomal defects before birth. Having lost so many previous pregnancies, I still wonder and worry that maybe some of them were because they were too genetically deficient to progress.  So, getting this test was important to me.

I knew I was going to have an ultrasound, but not having had one in three weeks – the longest I’d gone in this pregnacy without a peek inside – I wasn’t sure what they’d see.  I was concerned, of course, that the baby hadn’t grown, or that it had, but had stopped and died.  But I was still hopeful that we’d see it in there, plugging along.

When my name was called, I followed the ultrasound technician into a darkened room with a bed facing a giant HD flat screen TV with the ultrasound image of a fetus in profile on the screen.  Clearly this was an image left up from the woman who preceded me.  I laid down on the bed, lifted my skirt above my belly – badly bruised from an ill-placed injection of lovenox I administered to myself two days earlier – and the screen went blank.  The technician squirted a warm jelly on my stomach.  I was excited that I’d finally been promoted beyond the transvaginal “wand” sonogram.  She touched the sonogram paddle to my belly and boom, there in profile was an image of a little fetus lying on its back.  She pulled the paddle off for a moment, for reasons I don’t recall, and for a moment I thought, “oh, the other woman’s image must’ve come on the screen.”  But then she replaced the paddle and there it was again:  a little fetal baby alien animal!  In my tummy!  And not only that, it was moving and kicking and wiggling and even sucked its finger – which I couldn’t tell, but the tech could – for us.  The sonographer kept telling me I had a “social” baby.  “Oh,  this baby is very social,” she’d say each time it shook its fist or kicked or stretched its back.

And I got to hear the heartbeat.  It was really cool.  Apparently its heart rate is about 155/minute.  So I only assume it’s engaging in major aerobic endeavors.

Either way, I was amazed.  In just three weeks, our offspring had gone from looking like a curled up grub worm to looking like a baby.  The proportions are still kind of funky, but I could see bones in its face and appendages.  I got to see the top view of its developing brain and it was so cool:  it looked like a butterfly shadow.  This pregnancy was still “legit.”  We have pictures of a developing baby inside me.  (I’d post them here, but my scanner’s been acting a-fool lately.) Luckily, the baby’s neck measures a safe thickness – i.e., not so thick that I should be concerned about possible Down Syndrome – and though I haven’t gotten the exact ratios yet, apparently my bloodwork came back looking good.  In other words, it doesn’t look like the baby’s at any higher risk for carrying a fatal or debilitating trisomy.

It was discovered, however – because I can’t be allowed to have a flawless pregnancy – that I have complete previa.  In other words, my placenta is lying entirely on top of my cervix right now; in exactly the wrong spot for so many reasons.  The nurse practitioner who consulted me after my Nuchal ultrasound told me not to panic about it.  Apparently, the placenta usually migrates away from the cervix as the uterus expands with the growing baby.  But we’ll need to keep an eye on it.  “Don’t have sex for a while <great, just what I want to hear.> and don’t go prying around on the Internet for information, because you’ll just scare yourself,” she admonished.  But that’s like saying, “Don’t think of Clive Owen naked.”  Once you’ve told me Clive Owen is naked, now that’s all I can think of.  Naturally, I did some checking around on the Net.  And it did scare me, at first.  But I’ve decided for now, to trust that it’ll move.  If it doesn’t, I’ll likely have to spend a portion of my last trimester on bed rest (blech!!) and deliver by C-section, which we’ve already been considering anyway, to ensure that my previous uterine surgery scar doesn’t rupture.

This past Wednesday, I visited my OB for my monthly check up.  I wasn’t sure what to expect beyond consultation and vitals.  Which was pretty much what it was.  She brought a device into the exam room that looked an awful lot like a more advanced, less colorful My First Sony recorder.  I assumed, rightly, that it was something to pick up the baby’s heartbeat.  She managed to pick up my heartbeat on the doppler good and strong, but not the baby’s.  Oddly, I wasn’t worried.  I don’t know if it was because I figured the baby was probably okay, or if it was because even if the baby had died, I was feeling satisfied that I was able to carry a pregnancy through to early fetal development – long enough that my body made a baby-thing, and not just a cluster of fleshy cells.  Either way, I didn’t panic.  “This doppler – and the equipment I have in this office – isn’t as advanced as the equipment in the peri-natal wing where you had your ultrasound last week,” she explained.

We stepped into another exam room where her ultrasound machine is.  Sure enough, there was the baby, wiggling and kicking.  “Oh, this one’s active,” she said.  Turned out the baby had its back to us.  Which is probably a large part of the reason why we didn’t get a heartbeat.  It was turned over on its right side and seemed to be wiggling laterally, much like I have been a lot at night.  Only the baby was lying on top of my placenta, whereas I lie on a Certa … or maybe it’s a Sealy; I haven’t looked in years.  Either way, it was fun to take a look at our baby, and to see its tiny spine; to watch it squirm around like a kid in church.  Which makes me think this will probably be a squirmy kid in church.

I’ve begun leaking this information to more people, with the caveat that it’s not general knowledge yet.  I’m not sure when or how I’ll make it general knowledge.  I think in the next week or two.  I figure I’ll let mid- and outer-circle friends know and they can share it as they want.  I’m not going to do a FaceBook announcement or anything.  That’s just not my style, particularly after all the loss we’ve had leading up to this; I just feel very protective of my pregnancy and of my baby’s dignity.

I’m still really unsure how I’m going to tell my boss and supervisor.  I feel like I should have a plan.  But frankly, I’m not even sure we have a maternity/FMLA plan in my office.  There are about 10 of us.  We’re owned by a larger company, but they don’t extend the same benefits and privileges to us that they do their direct employees, and we mostly operate like a small company still.  Hubby and I really need to have that conversation this weekend, I suppose.  The “what can we afford/how long should I take off/should I return to that office” conversation.  Since we’ve never advanced this far in a pregnancy, to the point where it’s likely that parenthood is imminent, I’ve never had to consider the career effects.  I know don’t want to return to that office.  I’m tired of it right now and want to find newer, freelance things to do from home, when this kid comes.  But I’ve never been great at self-promotion, and I guess I’d have to step up.  I’m hoping that having a kid will teach me to be a better self-promoter and also less of a procrastinator.  C’mon, kid.  Kick yer mom into gear!

I find the more I progress in this pregnancy, the more I have two conflicting thoughts:  1) I’m happy and increasingly excited and 2) I worry that being happy presses my luck; that I’m being too confident.  For now, I’m allowing the growing confidence to override the worry.

Posted by: laughing4heir | July 20, 2009

Brief Update – a month on

Sorry it’s been almost a month since I last wrote.  I need to go to bed soon, so let me just drop a brief update about what’s gone on in the last month.  Sorry in advance for the bullet points.

  • A few hours after I wrote my last post, I bled a lot.  Bright red blood. Painlessly bled, but it was enough to scare the crap out of me and to be furious that I might be losing this pregnancy just a day after I finally made it to a heartbeat.  How cruel is that?  The bleeding didn’t last long.  I called our fertility specialist’s on-call number and set up an ultrasound for the next day.  Rather, they thought it would be a good idea, though they told me not to panic, because it’s not unheard of, apparently.  The nurse on the phone told me she had the same thing with her two IVF pregnancies and her kids are healthy.  Cold comfort.
  • Father’s Day we had an early morning ultrasound.  There was the baby, with heart still beating.  Not for sure where the blood came from, though it’s possible it was from some vascular something or other – basically a clot – that ruptured.  I was glad that A) the baby was still there and growing and B) Hubby got to see the heartbeat; he wasn’t with me two days earlier when I got to see it.
  • I’ve been upgraded to a “regular old pregnant lady” and am now seeing a regular OBGYN.  She’s mostly new to me. I saw her last year for my PAP since I’d grown tired and wary of my old practice.  She was recommended me by two good girlfriends who see her.  I LOVE her.  I saw her a few days after week 9 passed. I figured I probably wouldn’t get an ultrasound since “regular old pregnant ladies” don’t tend to get those on their first OB visits. BUT I DID!! Yea!  And finally, it’s starting to look like something you see in text books.  It’s got that warped snuggled bean look to it.  The doc took her time with me during the consultation portion; we probably talked for 45 minutes, but she’s one of the first, if only, doctors I’ve ever met with who didn’t rush me at all.  She could’ve gone on for another 45 minutes if I needed.  Love her.
  • My little brother got married last Saturday.  This is only relevant because we finally took my parents aside and told them last Sunday (after the festivities, as to not steal his thunder).  Though both know we’ve gone through IVF, but for some reason, Mom was totally caught off-guard by the news that this cycle was not only successful, but that I’m still pregnant, whereas Dad’s expression conveyed that he could see this announcement coming a mile away.  Go figure.  They’re happy and are sitting on the news until we tell them we’re ready to tell.
  • We’ve leaked to a few close friends who know what we’ve been going through.  I’m at week 11, today.  I kind of think I want to wait until week 13 or 14 before we make this information general knowledge.  I’m still nervous.  I’m settling into the idea that I’m pregnant, but I’m – we’re – not really fully accepting that it’s real and that it may (will?) result in a baby.  Still cautiously optimistic, but more optimistic with each passing week.
  • I was originally supposed to go off the progesterone last Sunday, but my OB said if I’m comfortable taking it till next Sunday I may.  It won’t hurt the baby, but after 10 weeks, it’s not terribly necessary either.  I’m not taking any chances – I’m going through the end of this week.  I’m still on Lovenox, the blood thinner, though we’re not sure how long I’ll be on that.  Could be the entire pregnancy, minus a few days, or it could just be through half the pregnancy.  It has yet to be determined.  I have my next ultrasound in about a week and a half.  I’m eager to see how it’s grown (God, please let it have grown) and to see or hear the heartbeat.
  • I think some people who don’t know I’m pregnant are beginning to suspect.  These are largely people in my social circle who know I normally don’t turn down a glass or six of wine.  But maybe I’m being self-conscious.  These same people probably also don’t notice that I’m not eating lunch meats …

Okay, so that was not as brief as I assumed it’d be.  But there’s still more left to write – especially on the Lovenox and blood thinning, as it looks like there might actually be some answers to the recurrent loss wrapped up in that.  But that’s for another post.  There you have it, though:  where I am and where we are.  I’ll try not to lapse so much next time.

Posted by: laughing4heir | June 20, 2009

More Numbers to be by: 134

134.

That’s the pulse rate of our baby.  (It looks like the little sucker is, indeed, solo.)

I’m finding myself kind of confused.  Happy, but confused.  I’ve never progressed this far into a pregnancy before.  I’ve never made it to a heartbeat.  I was hoping we’d see one yesterday, of course, but I wasn’t entirely counting on it.  I just wanted to see that the little sucker had grown and not disappeared.

The tech spotted the heartbeat right away an announced so.  I could barely make out a little white squibbly that is, presumably, the baby.  I asked her if she was sure.  My doctor, knowing that I’ve never made it this far, replied, “Ahh, she’s not going to believe you.  Make sure you show her.”

The tech swung the screen around for me to view.  Still I didn’t see any movement.  She zoomed in on the white smudge and there it was:  a little white speck that was fluttering.  I played it cool, but I really almost wanted to cry.

I was happy to see a white line last week, because in the past, I’ve only ever seen the black shadow of the yolk sac (or whatever sac that is).  But to see movement was really cool.  I have an organism living inside of me that could grow into a real baby.

With the exception of a little “feed me” nausea, I’ve not felt anything resembling morning sickness, yet. I’m still holding my breath.  I know I have no guarantees that I’ll make it to 12 weeks, but I’m feeling more hopeful than I have in any of my pregnancies.  I’m allowing myself to do some things that, perhaps, most women as newly pregnant as myself do all the time, but which I think of as dangerous indulgences:  I bought What to Expect When You’re Expecting; I’ve begun trying to guess what sex it will be; I started looking up names online.

I worry about allowing my mind to wander into these areas.  Will this only set me up for harder heartbreak if history repeats itself?  I really don’t want history to repeat itself!  I feel like I’m taking too many emotional liberties … all based on a heartbeat, which is really no guarantee of any success at all.

But it is evidence that I’ve met at least this success.  It’s an open window that gives me hope for an open door.

I’ll be at 7 weeks tomorrow.  I’ll have another sonogram about a week after that, my final one with our specialist.  Then, I’ll be out on my own, with no medical professionals taking my call every time I get a cramp or calling in my prescriptions when I stupidly let them run out. Our nurse has referred me to my OB regarding when I can start exercising, and we can start having sex again.  My libido started returning this week and boy would I like to satisfy it.  I’ll be having my first “regular old pregnant lady” appointment with my OB in about two weeks.  I just want everything to be okay.

I just want to be able to hope and expect without any restrictions or to my hoping and expecting.

Posted by: laughing4heir | June 14, 2009

Update from the Trenches

All last week my HCG levels had been increasing steadily at the rates the doctor wanted to seem them increase.

I had my first ultrasound Friday morning.  There’s definitely one in there, as well as some shadowy figure that could either be a vascular something or other, or another yolk sac.  They’re not ready to call twins, but they’re not ready to rule out the possibility yet, either.

As of Friday, I was 5 weeks, 5 days along.  This is, of course, my danger zone.  I’ve never made it to 6 weeks in a pregnancy – possibly a little over, but I can’t be entirely sure of it. It seems all my pregnancies find a way to commit embryonic defenstration by week 5 or between weeks 5 and 6.

Naturally, I’m very nervous right now.  Hubby and I are traveling, and while I’m confident all is well, I’m still finding myself getting terrified by every little twinge, pressure and owie.  Yesterday afternoon, and this afternoon, I felt a warm pressure cramp, the likes of which usually precedes my period by a day or two.  It wasn’t sharp, it wasn’t painful; it was just there.  Naturally, I worried.  Each time I took a Tylenol and prayed. And tried not to sink into a puddle of tears and fear. So far, the sensations seems to find a way to pass and only seems to last about 5 minutes, max.  My nurse, Friday, told me that around this time in pregnancy, women sometimes report feeling like they’re having menstrual cramps, so not to worry.  (Easier said than done, of course.)  I suppose that pain is just my uterus expanding.  For a woman who’s never miscarried, she’d probably be a little concerned and then just move on.  Not me, of course.  I feel like I can’t take any twinge for granted.

I’m basically trying to take mental notes of the pains, twinges, pressures and odd sensations I feel:

  • nothing sharp yet, nothing resembling the sharp radiating pains I’ve had with previous miscarriages
  • mild menstrual cramp feeling
  • occasional stretch pain on my left lower abdomen, usually when I’m in bed, akin to the feeling you get in your side when you’ve been running too much and you’re out of shape (or what I suppose a pulled groin feels like, but maybe higher?)
  • occasional similar pain on right side, though lesser
  • one pain in my right upper chest that exploded like a little fire-cracker, sending a sharp, pain up my right chest and down my lower tummy.  But it passed quickly; attribute it to gas, indigestion and what have you

So those are my worries, now.  I suppose I’ll be in my 6th week starting tomorrow.  Honestly, I haven’t even asked all the questions I suppose most people want to ask like due date and what I’m supposed to be doing. I really don’t know when I should pick up “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”  I’ve been pregnant so many times that I’m not sure I’m allowed to expect anything! I’m not sure what that’ll be like:  to expect a baby. I’m just concerned about getting past week 6, and then week 12, and then week 40.

We’re still hoping for twins, though, of course, we’ll be happy with one.  All we want are healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.  I kind of still think it is twins.  The only other time I’ve seen a gestational sac of mine on an ultrasound was with my first pregnancy.  My period had been irregular and after I’d had some painful cramping (which we now know of course what that meant) and bleeding, I saw my general practitioner. We both thought I had some stomach bug or digestive disorder at the initial appointment. But he also tested for pregnancy since he knew we were trying, but ordered an ultrasound to make sure it wasn’t ectopic.  I was concerned it could be, since I’d been in such pain.  At that ultrasound, I was measured at 5 weeks.  I remember clearly seeing only one yolk/gestational sac.  On Friday’s ultrasound, there was the very definite yolk sac, but adjacent to it a very big and round something else.  It was about 1/2 to 3/4 the size of the yolk sac.  Maybe it’s a big old blood vessel, and that’s fine, too.  But if they’re not ready to rule out twins, then I’m not either.  And I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s Baby B hiding in Baby A’s shadow.

I have my next ultrasound later this week.  I’m looking forward to it, but mostly, I’m just praying this pregnancy will persist to the next one.  And the next and all the ones thereafter.  I’ve already set up an appointment for my 8-week, “regular-preggo-lady, no-longer-in-the-TLC-of-the-fertility-doctors” OBGYN appointment.  It’s actually scheduled for week 9, but whatever.

Still hopeful.  Still scared.  Still praying.

Posted by: laughing4heir | June 5, 2009

The Results

First hurdle cleared.

I’m pregnant.  My HCG level is at 467. I almost burst into tears when our nurse told me that.  I’d been so frought with concern.  I still am, but the first obstacle has been overcome.

This morning, my nurse told me they were going to look for it to be in the 80 – 100 range, so I’m beating that.  It’s not the first time I’ve had a high beta.  But it’s the first time I’ve had a high beta while being pumped full of drugs to help me sustain a pregnancy.

Of course, I’m not out of the woods, and as my woods get treacherous very early in, I’m still guardedly optimistic.  But I’m still optimistic, which is also sort of comforting.

I’ll have a couple of blood tests next week to make sure I’m trending up.  Usually, they’d wait another two weeks or so to do a sonogram, but my nurse thinks, given my history, the doctor will want to take a look sooner than that:  perhaps late next week, or early the following.  I guess, right now, it’s still too early to see much on the screen to verify what we’ve got and where we’ve got it.

Tonight, I start Lovenox, a blood thinner.  I’m not thrilled about having yet another injection, but if it’ll help sustain this pregnancy and the little critter(s) in my womb, I’m willing.

I’m still imagining it’s twins, just because I have no indication that it isn’t.  And, though originally, I went in just wanting one, but now I’m actually kind of hoping for twins.  That might be relatively insane, but whatever.  Ultimately, I’m just praying for a healthy pregnancy, healthy baby/ies and a healthy delivery.

Posted by: laughing4heir | June 5, 2009

Waiting

Had my blood drawn this morning.  Should know in the next two hours or so whether or not I’m pregnant.

I’m so used to being pregnant that I’ve assumed I am.  I know how I’ll feel if I am:  very scared about staying that way.

But what if I’m not?  I’ll feel down for sure.  I’ve been telling myself I’m pregnant.

I hate that recurrent miscarriage has robbed me of the joy of discovery.  Because even if I am … then what?

I’m so nervous, either way.

Ergh.

Posted by: laughing4heir | June 1, 2009

T minus 4 days and counting

I have been chided for not giving an update on the road to babyville.  Sorry.  I’ve been napping.

Here’s the situation:

Originally, I was to have a day 3 transfer, on May 20.  Then, that morning, the doctor’s office called and said, “Nah, they’re looking so far so good.  Let’s grow these to day 5.”  So, I got a call on Thursday for the Friday transfer.  THEN, I got a call on Friday morning saying, “Actually, they’re not kee-wite where we want them to be, let’s do it tomorrow morning.”  A day 6 transfer?  I’d not heard of such a thing and naturally my worry monster started surfacing.  I did some quick research and found there was very little difference between the success and health of day 6 embryos over day 5.  So, since I don’t work Fridays, and Hubby had taken the day off to tend to me, we headed out for a matinee of Night at the Museum 2:  Battle of the Smithsonian, so we could completely numb any fears in our minds.

Last Saturday morning – 9 days ago, I think it was – we headed out to the high tech lab and got our update.  We had two balstocysts that were of good-looking quality.  There were 6 remaining that they were going to keep for a day or two to see if they got to an acceptable quality phase and then freeze them, if they did.  (Those, apparently, didn’t make the cut, saving us about $1,600 in Frigidaire fees.)  I came with the requisite full bladder and warned the doc that I might pee on him a little because I was agonizing.  Good grief, my bladder wanted to rupture.  They took quick sono-peek at my bladder and decided to let me part with a fraction of its contents.  Apparently, looking at my bladder on the sonogram, they were impressed that I hadn’t marked my territory in the transfer room already.

Hubby and I signed our requisite paperwork.  Our doctor had been pushing for a single embryo transfer since I’ve shown no problems getting pregnant in the past and since the practice we go to are very conservative – they strive for singletons.  And he seemed to have been going back and forth on whether to risk twins on me since I’d had previous damage to my uterus – a puncture he discovered and then sewed up.  The last thing he (or Hubby or I) wanted was to have my uterus strained and then ripped open.  However, when we last checked on the thickness of my womb, the puncture had healed so nicely that the wall was thicker than the corresponding wall on the opposite (un-injured) side, and there was no evidence of a weak spot.  I know he was being conservative, and I’m thankful that he is. However, Hubby and I decided to go ahead and have two – the only two good ones – transferred.  The idea being we’d rather risk getting twins and end up with one viable pregnancy than risk a single one and get no viable pregnancy.  It’s a sad gamble, really, but when you’ve lost as many times as we have, that’s the thought process. Our doctor ultimately conceded to our wish for two.

I laid on my back in the exam room, feet in the stirrups and let the doctor do his work.  Hubby stood by my side while the doctor  slid a catheter into my vagina, through my cervix and transferred, into my uterus, two pre-embryos whose creation my husband donated to in absentia.  It was kind of surreal.  Here was my husband watching another man knock me up.  Luckily, the doctor (not my usual) seemed to be down with my sense of humor and he, Hubby and I talked wine while he was impregnating me. By the way, if you’re ever in that situation, don’t discuss verboten ingestibles.  I wanted wine so badly during that conversation and it seemed a bit masochistic on my part, because I think I’m the one who initiated the topic!  Grr.  What next, Laughing?  Chatting up about sushi and ceviche?

The next 24 hours were spent mainly on my back.  Which sucked.  I’m still not allowed to exercise or … something else, I can’t remember what.  Have sex.  That, I know.  We can’t have sex for another month or so.  As all this medication has almost eliminated my libido, and as I’m not taking progesterone shots, but bodily assuming it otherwise (please don’t ask), sex is not really high on my list, anyway. (Which breaks my heart.  I love sex!)

I won’t know until this Friday whether or not I’m actually pregnant.  That is to say, as of a week ago, I was carrying two embryos, but we don’t know if they’ve burrowed in and started paying rent.  We’re assuming I am.  Since my body seems to like getting pregnant, we’re working on that assumption.  I’ve been exhausted a lot lately and my breasts are swollen and tender.  I haven’t really had nausea or anything.  So far, just the breasts and the tiredness.  But I’m scared, of course.  Afraid that for all the estrogen and progesterone I’m taking, neither of these little buggers will settle for long.  One or both might die.  I’m trying to stay positive.  I’m trying to assume that because I am pregnant (I’m pretty sure), then I will have a baby. Or two!

Hubby is happy and hopeful.  He’s sure I’m pregnant and thinks I’m pregnant with both.  He’s positive we’re going to get twins out of this.  After meeting his enthusiasm with very measured caution, I’ve decided to surrender to it this week, at least outwardly. Okay.  We’re going to have twins.  I’m pregnant and we’re going to have two little blessings at the end of this arduous trek.

I’m still very scared.  About everything really.  Having weathered 5 miscarriages, all occurring around the same time, I have a nagging fear in the back of my mind that maybe something dreadfully, genetically wrong is happening with these embryos and nature’s “taking care of it” for us.  What if I’m forcing a seriously flawed embryo to grow into a terribly sick and doomed baby?  Yesterday’s assassination of the doctor in Kansas makes me doubly worried.  God forbid there is something horrifyingly, insurmountably wrong with the baby, or if the pregnancy goes so awry that my health and life are at stake, this country apparently only has two doctors left who could provide a late term abortion.  I shouldn’t let myself think of these things, but I do.  I pray every day for a healthy pregnancy that results in a healthy baby or babies. That’s all I want out of our family expansion:  healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.  And I guess believing that God loves us, regardless of what comes our way and how we handle it, basically sustains me.

I’m bitter and scared and want to be excited and optimistic.  So, I will join in Hubby’s optimism.  I will set aside my surface skepticism in hopes that I can affect my attitude from the outside in.  I am pregnant.  I am pregnant with twins. I will stay pregnant with twins.  I will have a healthy pregnancy and deliver healthy twins.   … we shall see.

Posted by: laughing4heir | May 19, 2009

Forging on

hip onesie featuring another laugher who had baby-making troubles

hip onesie featuring another laugher who had baby-making troubles

No matter how much I tell myself I’m going to blog more often, I almost never do it.  It has been embarrassingly too long since my last post.  And judging from the flood of comments (insert sarcastic tone), my audience has been pining mightily for me.  Pine no longer!  Here I am!

We began our first round of IVF this cycle.  I started Lupron injections a few days after returning from Hawaii. We had our retrieval Sunday afternoon:  20 ripe eggs.  Twenty!  The sheer number is high, but my only concern was the possibility of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS).  That didn’t happen.  My belly is still bloated and distended from the insane super-ovulation and I’ve still got some lingering pain from the extraction. I spent Sunday afternoon imagining the frat party that must have been going on in the petri dish.  My eggs giggling, as hordes of sperm swarmed around them.  I imagined, in particular, one of my girls, leaning against a wall, shyly holding onto her red Solo cup full of beer, while one of Hubby’s guys flirted over her, holding up his weight with a hand against a wall, leaning in, hoping for a smooch.

As of yesterday, we had 14 embryos that made it to 2 pro-nuclei (basically, split into two) and we’ll get another update today and the recommendation for either a day 3 or day 5 transfer.

But I don’t want to go to too much detail, as I find the alphabet soup of reproductive endocrinology a little annoying and daunting to the uninitiated.  Especially, since I want this blog to be more about the emotional journey of recurrent pregnancy loss and baby-making attempts than about the clinical facts of that journey.  However, I will say this:  so far and I’m actually feeling really hopeful and confident.

… and that scares me.

I don’t know any women, first-hand, who have conceived and carried to term on their first cycle.  I know they exist, because the statistics bear out that some people carry to term the first time out.  And I’ve had some friends tell me of 2nd or 3rd hand stories of women who’ve carried to term on the first attempt, but what if those are all just the same batch of women?  The same women from the statistics we see on pamphlets?

For now, I’m just happy things are going well.  I’m hoping that all the hormones and drugs that are being injected and ingested into my body are changing my chemistry to be the happy, hospitable environment that an embryo needs to grow and develop into a real-live, healthy baby.  But it’s hard not to look forward.  I found myself looking up snarky and hip baby clothes online last night.  How messed up is that?  I don’t have a baby.  I have 14 two-cell possibilities and a history of a pregnancy rejection and yet I indulged in fantasizing about how I would deck out my imaginary infant in a onesie that says something like, “My mommy drinks because I cry.”  I tried to tell myself that I was also looking for cute onesies for a good friend who just announced to us.  (As we were going to a group dinner with other old friends this last weekend, she and her husband were planning on announcing there.  However, they called us ahead of time so we would know and have the opportunity to process it.  I was really flattered that they thought of us like that.  That they cared enough of our feelings as to make sure to approach us with care.  I kind of hate that we’ve become “that couple,” but such is life.  We love them, of course, and were nothing but ecstatic for them.  It may have helped that we’ve got our own baby-making attempt underway, but even so, our joy for them is unmitigated.)  But I knew the truth:  I really looked at those baby clothes for me. That really only jinxes stuff.

Transfer will be sometime this week.  I think we’re going to transfer two.  I don’t want twins, but I do want to hedge our bets.  I’m really, really scared.  I’m afraid to hope for much.  If I hope for a pregnancy, then that’s a dangerous hope.  All my previous pregnancies have failed and I’m so, so, so, so, so tired of losing.  I’m tired of having my heart broken.  I’m surprised how resilient I’ve been in the face of these, but I don’t want to lose any more.  If this cycle does not produce a baby, I would rather it be because the transfer didn’t implant.  But I obviously don’t want to wish that, either.  I really feel like at least one of the two embryos will implant and a pregnancy will occur.  I’ve never had trouble getting that far.  But I’m so terrified of that.  Because that means I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled around week 5 to 6, when I’ve lost all my previous pregnancies.  I’m so terrified of that milestone.  I want to be pregnant to make a baby, but that date-gate has always been closed to me.  Even for all the excitement I feel at this possibility, I’m scared shitless.

I guess we’ll know whether anything took, or anything miscarried, by late May or early June when they bring me in for bloodwork and sonogram.  Plus, that’ll be around the week-mark that I’ve yet to conquer.  I’m so hopeful.  I feel good.  I’m allowing myself to daydream.  But I fear I’m just setting myself up for failure.  I just want this to work.  Haven’t we been through enough heartache?

Posted by: laughing4heir | April 18, 2009

Do you mind? I’m on vacation, here!

Hubby and I are in beautiful Hawaii for the next 5 or 6 days.  We’ve been here for about 3 days already:  2 in Oahu, and 1, so far on Kauai.  Today, we decided not to sight see or beach bum, but just chill at the resort, napping, hanging by the pool or doing whatever laziness we could do.  So far, it’s been a brilliant plan.

However … (admit it, you knew there’d be a “but.”  This is a blog about the woes of inability to make a baby.  If I had a 100% fantastic time, I wouldn’t be blogging on vacation!)  However, this afternoon, after we’d been at the pool for almost two hours, a young couple – probably our age; maybe a bit younger – assumed the lounge chairs nearest us.  They were a very attractive young couple.  I think we’re good-looking, too, but these people were the couple you cast in a movie about a law school romance:  beautiful, sophisticated, hip and ethnic.  (He looked of Indian-descent, perhaps.)  We exchanged hellos and the wife removed her cover-up and made her way into the pool.  The husband just kicked back in the lounge chair.  She wore a two piece.  I only saw her from behind, but she looked a little slimmer than me.  That is to say, she looked decent in a two piece, but not the kind of body you’d pay to see in a two piece.  (Which is like me, only slimmer.  I wear a two piece and I don’t look horrible, but I’d look a lot better in it, were I 10 lbs lighter.  I’m NO Sports Illustrated Model. Though, who is, really?)  I paid no more heed, and then I returned to my book sample on my Kindle 2.  (That’s right; that’s how I roll.)

Then another couple came by, pushing a toddler in a stroller.  No big deal.  There are children and babies in the world.  For the most part, I’m able to witness families and not feel threatened.  Even under her cover-up, though, it was evident the mother of this toddler was a smokin’ knock-out.  Perfect boobs, perfect tan, perfect hair, Chanel sunglasses.  The little boy was a-fucking-dorable.  And the husband was a hottie as well.  California picture perfect.  Both couples, really.  The hottie couple got to talking with the central-casting law school husband.  From what I gleaned, they were both from California, though, as I know nothing of CA, I couldn’t say where.  Oh!  And the law school husband was very interested in this couple because, as it turns out, “My wife is expecting!”  His wife.  Who was in the pool, looking better in her two piece bathing suit than me.

“Congratulations!” chirruped the perfect breasted, flat tummied, bronze-tanned mother of the toddler in the stroller when the pregnant wife swam toward her husband, to linger on the edge of the pool.  “Your husband says you’re expecting!”  The expectant mother thanked her.  “How far along are you?” Malibu-MILF Barbie asked.  “22 weeks.  Due August 20th,” she replied.  … and the conversation between the two couples went on.  The content of the conversation – at least what I could gather – was a little like “what to expect when you’re expecting,” except on the outside.  That is, “what to expect when you’re a new parent.”  Malibu-MILF and her husband visited Maui about two years ago, and their son is a year old.  They didn’t say they conceived in Hawaii, but I think we’re supposed to suspect that.  The two couples continued chatting along the lines of early childhood development and “we’re having a boy” and cute kids’ gear, as one might expect expectant parents might with another set of new parents.  But what’s innocuous conversation to the rest of the world is toxic gas for those of us who can’t get off the launchpad.

I could my throat tensing up.  I tried really, really hard to focus on my book.  I tried to read. every. word. carefully.  Didn’t work.  I turned to Hubby and said I’d like to go back to the room.  We packed up our few things and began the return.  “Are you okay with going back?” I asked once we were out of earshot.  “Yeah.  It’s hard to read when people are talking,” he responded.  “Especially, given the content of the conversation,” I added.  “I figured that’s why you wanted to leave,” he said.  I love my husband.  If we’d only been there 5 minutes and that conversation occurred around us, he’d be okay with leaving.

I was bitter for about half an hour and cried a little bit in the shower.  I hate feeling bitter.  I don’t wish ill on any of those people, but it’s hard not to feel bitter when strangers are sharing the happiness that I’m not sure I’ll ever get to experience.  I don’t want to begrudge them those moments.  Those moments are important for parents and expectant parents.  Information sharing is crucial.  But it does feel like salt in the wound.  Salt they don’t know they’re rubbing, into the wounds they can’t see.  And the lemon juice in that wound is that I look fatter in my two piece than the 5 month pregnant lady and that the bronzed mother has a slammin’ figure.  Thanks, genes!  More lemon juice, or perhaps some ironic lime juice, is that while I’m here, I’m having to track my ovulation, as we’ll begin lupron injections the day we get home.  Also, I’m now on metformin to help my body respond to the injections and my little digestive system is none to happy about that.  I’ve got enough baby-making angst, people.  I don’t need your hot, fertile selves to get in my face.

The rest of Hawaii has been great so far, and I anticipate will continue to be so.  There are children, preggos and toddlers all over the place.  So far, this incident has been the only ouchie.  I’ve put what salve on it I can, and will continue to thrill in my vacation.  Besides, while I’m here, I, at least can still eat sushi and drink wine! Take that, fertile hotties!

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