Friday, February 29, 2008


image: mamabrarian
Calliope over at Creating Motherhood has a beautiful post today making today a day of remembrance for all of us who have lost in life. Her timing is unfortunately perfect as I wait for what would have been our baby to leave the inner sanctum.

Here is my remembrance.

I should have a beautiful four month-old baby right now. It would probably have been a boy if there had been no Turner's. Maybe I would have gotten the hang of breast-feeding by now and we would be settling into a nice routine. Maybe I would have started back at work, if only part-time. Instead, the room where the nursery should be is still filled with boxes that have no where else to go and the guest bed. The room is dark, unused and neglected.

I should be celebrating a second pregnancy right now, too. Instead, I'm waiting for a natural miscarriage and feeling particularly crampy and cranky.

I cannot verbalize my thoughts to the babies that we have lost here. They are kept locked away, deep inside where they are safe and looked after. But, I do remember them in a tangible way.

Shortly after my first miscarriage, I looked for a piece of jewlery that I could wear that would remind me of our little one. At La Belle Dame, I found the perfect necklace. It brought me a great deal of comfort as I knew that whenever I wore it, our little one would be close to my heart. I wore it a lot after my first miscarriage, but gradually the need to wear it lessened as my heart healed. I brought it out again yesterday because I wanted our first little one close to me as I confirmed that we were losing our second. Unfortunately, my necklace is now for two babies, not one.

I try not to think about the life that could have been. I try not to guess how old babies I see are and calculate how old our little one would have been now. I try to move on.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gone, Gone, Gone.

It was as we suspected. The gestational sac hadn't grown and the yolk sac had actually disappeared. A miscarriage is imminent. No D&C this time, though, as it was so early on - this also means no karyotype. I did talk with Dr. Uterus about why this keeps happening and as I suspected, we just keep getting the bad draw as my first miscarriage was most certainly a random chromosomal event and this was one was likely the same. I told him if he used the "bad draw of the hand" analogy again I would hit him.

Sweetie and I will probably have chromosomal analyses run on our selves just to rule out some weird problems. We don't anticipate that they will find anything, but it will be worth it to know anyway since that is likely the only testing we can do. I am very lucky that I don't have uterine abnormalities, luteal phase issues or other problems that are usual causes of miscarriage. I just keep getting smacked upside the head by the roll of the dice.

We will definitely take a minimum three month break. Part of me is sad as it seems like we are giving up, but I know that it is the right thing to do. I actually feel incredibly relieved at the idea of just living for a while. Unfortunately, I haven't managed to completely extricate myself from Dr. Uterus' grasp since I have to go back for the repeated bloodwork to make sure the HCG quant goes down. Hopefully it won't take the six weeks it took like time since this pregnancy wasn't that far along. And, I hope I don't have a period for 45 freakin' days straight.

I cried some at his office and I will probably cry some more, but I also was able to have a nice lunch with my friend who came with me. I had prepared for this (although it still hurts).

I am now a member of the even more unenviable club for women with two miscarriages in a row. And still, no baby. It's unfair and sucky, but I have led an otherwise charmed life. I'm married to a wonderful man, have wonderful friends, wonderful parents, the fluffiest and sweetest animals, a good job, a beautiful home and unlimited access to a pied-a-terre in Paris.

I just also happen to have sucky luck when it comes to reproducing. Just once, I would like to work. Is that too much to ask?

Maybe I should just ask for someone to pass the vino.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Packing It In

In anticipation of tomorrow's likely bad news, I've begun the process of packing things away. The progesterone and accoutrements have been packed into a box and safely ensconsed on a shelf in the corner of the closet. I shut off the daily alarm on my phone for my PIO shot. I'll take back my (very full) sharps container to Dr. Uterus' office for disposal tomorrow.

This time, though, there will be no pictures to deal with, no scans, no notes on heartbeats or calculations of due dates. All of that makes this easier. There will be only small notations in the calendar of dates for tests and procedures. It won't be like last time.

Last time, I made Sweetie immediately remove the baby name book that we had borrowed from his co-worker. I hid the scan pictures and whited out the weekly notations on how far along I would be for the next month. I wanted no reminder of the bitch slap that I had gotten.

Through these past few days, I've been reminded of the poem by W.H. Auden that I am embarrassed to admit I didn't actually ever read until Four Weddings and a Funeral:

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

I feel a certain peace now. As far as I'm concerned, tomorrow is just confirmation of the bad news and the time for starting to move on. I've already been through the initial freak out (which always sucks) and am now moving on to the deeper process of grieving another failed pregnancy.

I emailed my dad today to ask him how we move forward. His advice? Take a full year off from trying to conceive, infertility treatments, the works and focus on us, our life outside of infertility (there is such a thing?) and basically recuperating. Initially, a year seemed rather draconian to me, but the idea of time away from Dr. Uterus and the shots, the expense, the inconvenience, the heartache, the waiting, everything IF-related is so tempting and ... liberating.

I mentioned it to Sweetie during his daily call and he said that ultimately, it was my call. I don't think I can wait a whole year. I thought about six months and then three months. I decided that I could do three months and Sweetie was cool with it. So, we decided that if things are as we expect them to be tomorrow, we will take three months off and then re-evaluate. Our little totscicles will wait for us.

In the mean time, we plan to go to Paris in the spring and just enjoy each other. I will continue making the baby quilt for my friend (and learn to quilt at the same time). I will also try to finish a certification process for my job that I have been putting off.

And, we will grieve our second baby. That is all we can do right now.
image: R.I.Pienaar

Hopes vs. Expectations

image: herby_fr
I've been trotting out the line, "I'm hoping for the best, but expecting the worst" since yesterday, but I have to admit that I'm a bit of a poser on this issue. For me, hoping for the best and expecting the worst is like trying to pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time. It's impossible. I feel the pull of one of the tasks to the detriment of the other. I either hope or I expect. I can't do both.

What's worse is that I have these bipolar vacillations between hope and despair. It's the worst possible roller coaster. I have already consulted Dr. Google and doped up on stories of women who had small gestational sacs and went on to have normal pregnancies.

But, when I start hoping I swing back to expecting the worst.

A River Runs Through, who took this picture above, had a wonderful comment in her notes to the picture: "I knew what to expect, but sometimes expecting the worst, doesn't prepare one to accept the worst." Truer words were never spoken.

I am working today (well, trying to) in an attempt at maximum distraction. I also had a lovely dinner last night with my neighbor who went with me yesterday and her husband. I got to snorgle multiple poochies which definitely helped. Sweetie has been calling regularly and will be home tomorrow night. My therapist is on call and my parents are wishing themselves to be magically transported here. I also turned to my best friend who is pregnant (which amazingly so doesn't bother me right now) and she has been a wonderful source of encouragement and love. My other best friend has been equally supportive. And of course, all of you have provided such wonderful support.

And yet. I still have to get through this on my own because otherwise, I will never be myself again. I know that peace will come because it finally came after my last miscarriage (although the pain will always be there). Grieving, though, is hard work and not particularly fun. To their credit, my beasties have been very loving and have snuggled up with me in bed for purr support.

I'm also looking at adoption ... of a furry animal, that is. There is a huge adoption fair this weekend not far from our house. I feel the need for more fur in the house to make up for the lack of the at least one baby we would have had.

I will also fight the urge to once again shake my fist at the sky and scream "why me?". I know there is no answer. I will also go through all of the reminders of this IVF cycle, like the insurance bills and other documents that will strike me as particularly cruel. I will hear dates in the future and automatically calculate how far along I would have been. I will have to go through the hell all over again.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Not Looking Good.

I had my appointment with Dr. Uterus and there's not much good news to report. There is a gestational sac, but it measuring small based upon the date of the embryo transfer. There is also a yolk sac which is measuring on target. And, he couldn't find the fetal pole. Unfortunately, this isn't the end of the nightmare. I have to go back on Thursday to confirm things because it was such an early scan, but it's not looking good.

I don't know how many more times I can have my heart stomped on.


I haven't been to the appointment yet. No new news. I just need to blow off some of these thoughts.

** Spotting Watch - nothing really overnight, dark brown this morning. **

image: dieselbug2007I totally rocked the verbal portion of the SATs when I was in high school (math, not so much). I was particularly good at the analogies. I had a particular gift for the subtleties that are involved in these. With this scare and the memories of my last miscarriage resurfacing, I was struck by my own SAT-esque analogy about trying to get pregnant:

Trying to have a baby is like dating.

Here's the thing. You meet someone for the first time, you're interested and you think, this is going to be pretty easy. You begin to reveal yourself and slowly open your heart to the person. Sometimes, this happens with little drama and the person accepts your heart as it is with all of its flaws and quirks. Other times, you aren't so lucky. The person stomps on your heart, and makes you generally wish you hadn't even started the whole process.

If you are one of the legions to suffer infertility, it would certainly seem like you are already destined to start heading down the second road. That road is cemented when subsequent pregnancies have complications, or worse, ends in miscarriage or still birth (with or without infertility preceeding it). As much as infertility, experiencing a pregnancy that does not end happily is, as far as I'm concerned, the equivalent of getting your heart stomped on.

But, as humans have realized and written about for millenia, you have to put it out there, you have to try, otherwise, you will never even have a chance at the happiness that could result.

There is the inclination, however, to retain some of your heart the next time around to try to prevent the full effect of a subsequent stomping. I have definitely tried to do that here, but I can't help but miss the full effect of letting go with the innocent assumption that you will be caught while you are falling.

image: Vicki's Pics

Monday, February 25, 2008

Very Scared.

Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, but this one has not turned out that way. I started spotting yesterday (very light brown) which stopped and then started again (this time pink) then stopped and started again (this time darker brownish red) and then it stopped again and the last wipe revealed light brown. To say that I am freaking out would be an understatement. I never had spotting of any kind with my last pregnancy (which was why the Ultrasound of Doom was such a shock). So, even though it is very common, it's not common for me. I now dread going to the bathroom.

To make matters worse, I won't be able to see Dr. Uterus until tomorrow morning. I was able to talk to him this morning and he was quite reassuring, but nothing short of an ultrasound showing everything as fine and the spotting as just some random event that will I finally be able to take a breath.

(He also knows me very well which was illustrated by his comment, "Don't jump to conclusions." This is like telling me not to think, but I will do my best.)

Please, please, please send me good thoughts and help me get through the wait until I can get some answers. I am terrified.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Wherefore Art Thou, Mrs. X?

image: notanartist
I have felt very much out to lunch these past few days. Between distractions and complete exhaustion, the best I could muster the other day was a paraphrasing of Sweetie. His man-musings are good filler, but let's face it, he's not the one writing this blog. I am. So, I'll see if I can step up to the plate.

I think I have turned the corner on my anxiety, no doubt in part to just being plain tired of being anxious. It takes so much out of you that unless you are prepared to really expend a lot of energy, it's not sustainable. Since I can't abuse alcohol, drugs or caffeine (yes, I include chocolate in this category), I had to address my anxiety head-on or continue to suffer anxiety and the utter exhaustion that it brings. Sweetie, and one of his man-musings actually got me over the hump. I asked him if he was worried about the scan next week and he very quickly and decisively said, "no." His theory: there's not much we can do about it and so worrying isn't very productive. This is the lesson that I have spent the last 32 years trying to learn (and obviously, still haven't completely internalized).

I realized that a lot of my anxiety is trying to avoid another suckerpunch like the one I got last time. I figured if I prepared myself that it wouldn't hurt as much. I've tried this in the work context and it doesn't work, so I don't know why I suddenly had delusions that it would work in this situation (actually it is yet another manifestation of my need to control EVERYTHING that happens to me). I've prepared the best way I know how and now I will just sit back and enjoy the weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, the man and I are hitting the road, taking a jetliner, getting out of dodge, etc for the weekend. We had this trip planned for about a month now and it turns out to be spectactularly timed for purposes of maximum distraction. We will be seeing his family (who I lurve) and enjoying that mellow feeling you get when you are at someone else's house and they don't expect you to do a damn thing other than sit with them and talk. I plan to catch up on my magazine reading (back issues of numerous magazines are strewn about my office and staring accusingly at me that I haven't molested their pages at least once since they arrived), work on my cross-stitch (the project I was going to finish in November), and avoid thinking the big P word at all. It helps that the rels don't know and we won't be telling them. image: rah77az

I'm also going to use this weekend as the opportunity to take a minor and short hiatus from the blogosphere. I will return when I have news. In the mean time, remember to play nicely with everyone, don't run with scissors and whatever you do, make sure you do something I wouldn't do.

Kisses, Mrs.X

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Silly Boy Award

Sweetie earned the title of Silly Boy today in a phone conversation we had about my PIO injections. Ever since I have been doing them, he keeps me company in the bedroom. Originally, he was there in case of some dire emergency where I was unable or unwilling to go through with the final poke. Now he's just there because it's nice to have him with me and we get to catch up on things while I poke myself. He also helps me keep track of which side's night it is - left or right?

Here's how the conversation went:

Me: I can't remember if it's a left night or a right night.

Sweetie: Well, obviously neither side can be hurting that much anymore if you can't remember which side it is.

Me: They both hurt! That's why I can't remember!

Sweetie: Oh.

Oh, indeed.

Monday, February 18, 2008

"You Made My Mascara Run!"

image: tanakawho
Thanks to everyone for their lovely comments to my last post. (PJ - I inadvertently rejected your comment when I meant to accept it. Sorry!) You are all correct that I need to just focus on the present and practice some mammoth distraction techniques. It's a shame, really, though, that I need to use mammoth distraction techniques rather than allowing myself to be joyful. I just don't think I have reached that point yet. Frankly, I don't know if I will ever reach it. I do know that I miss the innocence that I had last time. I knew the statistics, but I was fairly confident that we would be in the 90% who go on to a successful delivery after hearing the heartbeat. We heard it twice and still lost our baby. That experience taught me a very important lesson about odds: they don't mean shit. Statistics are a crude way of giving clinical meaning to important events. The insurance industry is built upon statistical chances, but it's no way to live in real life. If I only looked at the statistics, would I have still done IVF? Would I have tried to get pregnant again? I don't know. I made both of those decisions based upon how I felt, not what numbers told me.

So now, the odds that a woman who miscarries once will go on to have a successful pregnancy 85% of the time doesn't really mean much to me because I have been on the winning and losing end of the stats. I know in my heart of hearts that what will be will be and the control freak in me can't do anything to change it at this point, so there is no purpose in worrying about the heartache that might come. Worrying about it doesn't make it any easier than if you are completely taken by surprise with bad news.

While I don't think I can be joyful yet (or as my friend put it, we haven't reached "woo!"), I can actively not worry either. I can just exist. And visit to see adorable pictures like this:

If this can't make things all right, nothing can.
My zen attitude has already been put to the test, though. I realized this weekend that Sweetie will be out of town the week I have my first OB scan. He's on a business trip that has been scheduled for some time and he can't reschedule. Dr. Uterus' office gave me the option of waiting until the next week, but my need to know sooner is greater than my need to have him there. That may sound harsh, but I prefer to get my news (good or bad) as quickly as possible.

This of course left me with a Class A Dilemma. Should I go by myself? I went to my Last OB Scan of Doom by myself because we didn't think there was going to be much drama and it was right after vacation (so Sweetie needed to show his cherubic face at the office). Of course, it turned into the OB Scan of Doom. It was horrible. It was up there in the top 3 worst days of my life and I went through it by myself. By the way, I have no ill-will toward Sweetie about this. Neither of us had a clue and if we had, he would have certainly been there.

All this past weekend I vacillated between "yes, I can do this by myself" to "no, there is no way I can do this by myself." I hinted to my mom that it I wanted her to fly here for the appointment but she's not available. I asked my neighbor down the street who went through IVF, but she's working. I had one option left: my other neighbor (no, not nosy lady) who I'm still becoming good friends with.

I had told her briefly that we were going through IVF and bless her, she didn't really ask for details. It was one of those, if you want to, you'll tell me, otherwise we'll talk about how adorable my dogs are (and they are). I was kind of afraid to ask her to go with me because it's a very private moment and we haven't known each other for more than 10 months or so.

I finally decided today that I really wanted someone there with me who cared about me and could handle the good and the bad. I called her and told her that I need to ask for a really big favor. I told her that I was pregnant and asked if she would go with me to the scan since Sweetie will be out of town. Her immediate response: "Absolutely!". I was so relieved and grateful that I had someone who was willing to do this for me and be there with me. I thanked her profusely and she told me, "You're making my mascara run!"

I'm not nearly as worried now because no matter what happens, I have a really good friend with me. And, I'm even luckier since I have all of you as well. Now my mascara is beginning to run.

image: DanAllison

Friday, February 15, 2008

Getting Back on the Horse

image: yark64
The one and only time that I broke a major bone (you know, not like a toe) was when I was thrown off a horse when I was about 7 or 8. I knew it was going to happen from the moment I got on the horse. I loved horses and I took lots of horseback riding lessons. I was extremely fortunate that the school I attended had horseback riding (no, it was not a public school - that hell came later) and I was able to spend many afternoons grooming the horses or perfecting my posting. I hadn't made it to cantering or jumps yet, but I was getting there.

The horse that threw me was named "Johnnie" and I remember exactly what he looked like. He was a chestnut with a white diamond on his forehead and he had what my husband would classify as 'tude. I didn't want to ride him that day because he was being particularly ornery. And, I knew even at that tender age that you don't mess with a horse that's ornery. But, they said, "oh no, it'll be fine."

They had set him up on a lead line - they tie the reins on the pummel of the saddle, put attach a lead to the horse's bridle and then direct the horse in circles with you on the horse. I seem to recall that the purpose was to begin me on cantering with a little "let's-get-to-trust-the-horse" thrown in for good measure. While I had no problem trusting horses in general, I had a major problem trusting this horse. We started off fine but it went down hill when they decided to give him a little whack to move into a canter. He didn't like the whack, bucked and so off I went (since of course, I had NO REINS!). I landed on my right arm and remembered that it hurt. Turns out I had a hairline fracture right below my shoulder and didn't even get a cast for my trouble. I had a sling and had to learn how to write lefty-style which so didn't go well.

What's my point in telling this sob story? It's that I knew even then that the only way for me to overcome my fear of being thrown again was to literally get back on a horse (although, not that horse, please). And I did. It was not a triumphant return and I don't think that I handled it well, but I did it. Did it magically erase my terror? No, and I learned that I will probably always have a little bit with me since I have had that experience. But, I learned that I could do it. image: Big Grey Mare

I feel the same way about being pregnant again. You would think that doing it again would give you some sense of power and achievement when in reality I am terrified. I know first hand what can happen and how awful it is. I'm practically in denial that I'm pregnant because I am so afraid of getting excited again and getting smacked up side the head. I haven't really looked at due dates (late September? eh?), I certainly have not pulled out the name list we started last time, and we haven't even told Sweetie's parents (who also didn't know about the IVF). It's just like when I was going through the IVF - one day at a time. Otherwise, I will look forward to each milestone as the time when the fairy tale will come crashing down. I know that I am trying to assume that it won't work out because I can't bear to let myself begin to hope. Not yet.

The good news is that my beta today was 191. So, in 48 hours, it *almost* completely doubled from 98 on Wednesday. A true double would be 196. I have decided that I'm not going to be concerned about those 5 little whatevers and take comfort that Dr. Uterus is so far not concerned. And my progesterone is still apparently quite astronomical.

Next hurdle: first OB scan (OMG, OMG, OMG) the week of Feb. 25. It was at my last OB scan that things went south so this will be hard to say the least. I hope I don't have flashbacks. I also hope that Sweetie will be with me this time.

For now the lesson is to just breathe. Deeply. As often as necessary.
image: gratiella
ps: Ironically, I haven't ridden a horse since the time I got back on the horse, but I'm not afraid of them and I still love to pet their wonderfully soft schnozzles (read = noses).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mrs. X Muses. Pay Attention.

image: CTaylor
When I was a kid, I hated Valentine's Day with a passion. As early as elementary school, I learned that the holiday was really about who has and who doesn't. I hated the ritual of giving out little Valentine's day cards because I knew when I was in school, it was not required that you give them to everyone else in the class. That egalitarian advance was after my time. The whole day was an exercise in self-esteem depending upon how many you got. In high school, my negative opinion of the day was further solidified when some club or another that was trying to raise money would sell candy-grams or other romantic items that you could give to your sweetheart and they would be delievered in class. In front of everyone. Meaning that if you didn't get one, it was obvious. I don't think I got one all of my time in high school.

In college, I was never in a relationship over Valentine's Day (I was more a spring relationship kind of gal), so no organized frivolity, but at least now there wasn't deliveries of goodies in class. Sure, the girl down the hall would get roses, but I was cynical and told myself that the guy was probably just trying to get somewhere.

When I met Sweetie, again it was about a month after V-day so it wasn't until we had been dating for almost a year that we hit Valentine's Day. Now I had someone to go out to dinner with and do the usual 'couple' things. And you know what? I still didn't like it because it felt like we were celebrating a non-holiday. And, I felt bad for all of other girls who were still at home without a date on Valentine's Day. We did the dinner at a restaurant thing a few years and it just seemed so trite and ... expected. The hearts all over the wall, the roses on the table, it was just so "ugh". I'd much rather go out to dinner to celebrate some important event that is of significance to us rather than buy into the craze to be 'romantic'. Romantic to me is not Sweetie getting me roses on Valentine's Day. It's Sweetie getting me roses on a day just because. It's him giving me an extra snuggle after a hard day. It's him laughing at my many malapproprisms ("I'm going to go hare krishna on you!").

As you can guess, we aren't doing anything special for the big V. In fact, we didn't even do cards this year. I didn't want to buy into the commercial-industrial complex and I can find 50 better ways to tell him that I love him.

So, what I'm trying to say? It's that the spirit of Valentine's Day is a wonderful thing, but it has been so corrupted and used for commercial purposes that it is a tarted up shell of its former self. And I think everyone, no matter their current situation in life, should know on national "Someone-Gave-Me-Flowers-What-Did-You-Get?-Day" that it really doesn't matter if you have a significant other. If you love someone or if you are loved (pets are most certainly included) then you are doing just fine. So sayeth Mrs.X.
In other news, my name today is Little Miss Cranky image: _elspeth
Pants. Apparently, my off-the-handle trigger has been set very low. This happened last time I was pregnant and it felt like violent thunderstorms that kind of pop up and then go away. On the bright side, it definitely confirms that there is HCG in my system.

My progesterone is also in the 200s so I've been told I can roll back the dosage. Luckily, there is no such thing as too much progesterone. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
image: psd
Thanks also to lori , jellybelly, farmwife, schatzi, loribeth, e, jj, peesticksandstones, paranoid, shinejil, pamela jeanne, kaaron, deathstar, Denise, TABI, Kelley and Lesley for your wonderful congratulations. All of you have provided so much wonderful support and I'm looking forward to showing all of you the same love.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I Can't Freakin' Believe It.

This picture sums up how I feel now:

It would seem that I am knocked up, in a family way, with a bun in the oven, in other words, for only the second time in my life I am able to say that I am pregnant. Whew.

Beta is 98 and I go in for another blood draw on Friday. Right now, I am fighting mightily to enjoy this moment that Sweetie and I have worked so hard for and not think about everything that could happen (including what happened already). I will not worry about my beta doubling and I will so not begin to worry about the scan.

Oh, and I have to continue shooting myself in the ass. I have never been happier to agree to continue to stick large needles in my butt.

Thank you, each and everyone, commenters and lurkers alike for your best wishes and continuing good thoughts.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This is My Mantra, This is My Crutch

This so sums up how I'm feeling right now:

image: Mr. T in DC
I live in a fantasy world that I could be pregnant. Cramps? Check. Weepies? Check. ADD? Check. A really bad case of the crankies? Check. Boobs a little tender? Check. More peeing than usual? Check. Random sneezing? Check (that is so a symptom, people!).

To counteract this fantasy, I have been repeating the following mantra: I'm probably not pregnant, it's just the progesterone. Or allergies. Or annoyance with the job that is my life. Or my period on its way. Or. Or. Anything but that which I want the most.

This is my mantra! / This is my crutch! / This is for coping! / This is too much!

I bet you saucy minxes are asking, "Mrs. X, why don't you just go POAS?" Ah, were it that easy. See, I have a pathological aversion to taking an HPT. Part of it stems from my very real concern of a false positive as a result of the HCG trigger. That would just totally and absolutely suck. I also don't have any HPTs in the house and I don't feel like getting The Look at CVS or Walgreens when I surreptitiously slide the test across the counter. And I have always equated HPTs to that shameful feeling you have as a teenager when you think you're pregnant and the only way to find out is to go and pee on the stick of doom. So, the answer would be "no". I will not POAS.

Instead, I will continue my current practice of distraction which now includes trying to think of all of the things that I can do should the test be negative. Bath? Check. Wine? Check, check. Gardening? Check. Heavy lifting? Check. Diet Coke? Check please.

We're in total self-preservation time, people. It's going to get ugly.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Buying The Myth & Getting Disillusionment Free

images: NMCIL ortiz domney
I went to Tar-gét today to buy a hair straightener (ooh! hair gadget!) and a present for my mom who is retiring soon. Once I had found my perfect $20 number that promises me untold riches of hair straightening, I went in search of mom's present. During the search, I found myself in the gift-wrap aisle and saw all of the baby gift wrap and gift bags.

I was struck by a) how adorable they are; b) how much I desperately want someone to give me one; and c) how much I wanted to be pregnant to justify B. Pretty quickly, though, I recognized that there was a myth in this gift wrap with its baby ducks and pastel colors. Not everyone has a happy ending with their pregnancy. Not everyone who wants to receive gifts in this precious wrapping is going to. And that made me angry that what we see as 'reality' really isn't for everyone.

Not surprisingly, myth versus reality has been one of the themes discussed during my many hours spent on the couch opposite my therapist. To me, myth is what you replace reality with when you have no information or knowledge to make your own reality. Until I started trying to get pregnant when I was 29 (oh, so long ago) the only thing I could remember from high school biology about reproduction was when the teacher brought in diaphragms (not her's!) to show us the various methods of contraception. I didn't have the slightest memory about anything other than sperm + egg = baby and that this combination was very, very bad.

Unfortunately, when it comes to something as momentous and significant as the decision to have a child, you are very tempted to sit back and rely on the myths about family building that are perpetuated everyday. Myths such as, we should have children because that's what people who get married do, we won't have any problems getting pregnant, we won't have any problems staying pregnant, childbirth will be a breeze and motherhood will be the most fulfilling thing we can do with our lives. After all, don't we all know someone who embodies each and everyone of these myths? We know that they are based in someway on reality, it's just not our reality.

We began to feel the cold smack of our reality when we learned that my tubes were both completely blocked. It was compounded when I miscarried. But, these events have proven to be an important, if incredibly trying and painful, lesson: myths, especially myths about family building, can only be vanquished with your reality and what you realistically expect and want. Of course, that requires some difficult soul-searching and introspection coupled with frank discussions with your significant other. We realistically expect that some way, somehow, we will have a child. Whether the child inherits its traits from us or belonged to someone else entirely, I don't know. And that's actually ok because the end goal is to have a child.

When I find myself leaning like a branch in the wind of the myth, I step back and right myself in the reality that is our quest. We don't know how we will be successful, but we will be.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

He Ain't A Brute, He's My Sweetie

image: ulv gullskeggr
Gentle Reader, in looking over some of my past posts, it occurred to me that they may have given you the impresion that my man, Sweetie/Mr. X is somewhat rude, crude and unrefined. In reality, he is all of those things but so much more as well. I wanted to take this opportunity to list some of his better qualities to make sure that he is seen in his complete glory.

First, I should mention that he is much smarter and funnier than yours truly - driving today on the highway I almost crashed because he had me laughing so hard, providing dialogue for the white-haired old lady that kept getting in front of me. He is much better travelled and more worldly having lived overseas for several years growing up. He totally did better in college (although, we both agree that I had more fun) and he makes a great deal more moolah than I do.

He's incredibly handsome and has that certain boyish charm. He tans while I burn. He can explain how just about anything works while I can just point and say, "what does that thingy do?" He is extremely good natured while I tend to be moody (even without the aid of hormones). And, he loves animals. Awwww.

Now, just as he is all of these things, he also loves watching cop chase shows on cable and he seriously talked about getting a giant inflatible pig for our front yard (um, no). He whines that I don't have any new reading material for him in the bedroom while I'm doing my PIO injection, and he makes me deal with all of the customer service people on the phone, health care issues and vendors that come to the house ("because you're better at it than I am"). He hates talking on the phone so much so that I am the one who has to call to order the pizza and he will go pick it up. He plays World of Warcraft (WoW). And, after almost 5 years of marriage, he still leaves the *&Ying seat up on the toilet.

He's the ying to my yang (you're so right Lori!), the ivory to my ebony, the jelly to my peanut butter. He is all of these things and he's my Sweetie.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Post In Which Mrs. X Is Chatty

image: Lovely Day
First off, thanks to everyone who commented on my last post and helped me see that there really isn't a whole I can do right now to ensure a positive outcome (short of like, sleeping with Kevin Federline - ick, yuck and barf), Instead, I should watch a Golden Girls marathon (fabulous idea Matthew M.F. Miller), do my taxes or play on-line games (I choose on-line games Deathstar), go shoe shopping (mmm, shoes thanks Melanie) and basking in the additional waves of good vibes coming from shinejil, schatzi, tabi, peesticksandstones, kidlicious (welcome!), and lori). If nothing else, I can't say that I was depressed during the 2WW. So thanks and I can only hope to provide similar excellent advice should you ever find yourselves in such need. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We can also now have our own Disney On Ice special: Embryos on Ice! Yep, our six little blasts that were left after the transfer made it safely into the thaw just like Han Solo. Sweetie was concerned that they, too, would have carbon-freezing sickness upon being thawed. I assured him that this probably won't happen. We also discussed the very real possibility that they are all skating around right now in the liquid nitrogen or maybe having one helluva kegger. One can only hope. They can survive in this state for eternity (assuming of course someone keeps paying the electric bill). We're just glad to have six back up options.

I also got an answer on my question about the Day 3 v. Day 5 transfer. The missing piece of the puzzle that Dr. Google selfishly withheld is that to reach Day 5, the blasts are put in a rather challenging environment in the lab and those that make it to Day 5 are truly the "best". Total survival of the fittest, infertility style. He only uses this for where there are many embryos and you can afford to lose some that don't make it to Day 5. We had 9 embryos and I would have been supremely pissed if we lost some before transfer because of the Day 5 Challenge. Dr. Uterus would much rather see how the Day 3 embryos do where they want to be rather than in a lab. I was very pleased with this explanation. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
image: The Pack
It appears that I've been tagged by Lori in some out-quirk-ing contest. Well, let's see what Mrs. X can come up with, shall we? But first, the rules.

1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) Post the rules.
3) Share six non-important things / habits / quirks about yourself.
4) Tag at least three people.
5) Make sure the people you tagged KNOW you tagged them by commenting what you did.

Quirk No. 1: I had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch every single day in high school. Yes, I still eat them sometimes. But maybe once or twice a month.

Habit No. 2: If I can't find something, I automatically think someone stole it. It doesn't matter that there might have not been anyone in the house. I am not above accusing my cats ("Kitty, what did you do with mommy's keys?")

Important Thing No. 3: I have been to Mardi Gras and flashed balconies with hundreds of people. One time (yes, there were multiple times) I was a little drunk and forgot to lift my bra in addition to my shirt so the crowd got a lovely view of my lace bra. I was roundly booed.

Quirk No. 4: I love even numbers and hate odd numbers passionately. Luckily, I was born on an even day, in an even month in an even year. Sweetie was born in an odd month, on an odd day in an odd year. I married him anyway (on an even day in an even month but in an odd year).

Habit No. 5: Everytime I walk into my kitchen I mentally curse my ugly, ugly countertops. Die Corian Die!

Important Thing No. 6: I have been in Newsweek and Time.

Well, Lori, Ms. Lord of the L? Quirky enough for you?

For my three tags I throw down the gauntlet to shinejil, melanie, and jellybelly. Who among you can out-quirk me? Hmmm?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Post In Which Mrs. X Has Deep Thoughts

Now that the hoopla and busy-ness of ovary monitoring, egg retrievals, embryo reports and embryo transfers has gone away, I'm left to wait. When I wait, I dwell. When I dwell, I inevitably think un-positive thoughts. Let's face it, you usually don't dwell on positive thoughts - its the negative ones that sneak in and begin to mulitply. (image: wani abdullah )

I am just getting that feeling as if the die is finally set and what will be will be. Normally, I actually find a lot of relief in that thought because it means that worrying can't do anything and therefore, I shouldn't worry. But this time, unlike all of the other steps that we have gone through with IVF, there is no next step, there is no chance to pull things out. Either the embryo(s) implant or they don't and all that stands between me and that test is a lot of time.

It is hard not to place a crushing amount of weight on the outcome of that test. You want to be positive so that you aren't harming your body with negative thoughts, but you don't want to think too positive lest you get horribly crushed should things go wrong. This is the seventh time I have been in the medicated 2ww and I have still not found that perfect balance, that alchemy between hope and caution that allows me to live through the 2ww without driving myself crazy while not getting my hopes up so high that I fall to the ground faster than you can say "infertility sucks". Inevitably, my positive thoughts turn to that wonderful delusion that I could be pregnant. And I always, always feel lilke an idiot for thinking it when the test comes back negative.

I would like to say that I'm preparing myself for a negative. That's probably partly true. I think, though, which each negative result, I'm learning how to shrink my hope that much more to prevent further heartache. Yet, I also feel guilty that I'm buying into a self-fulfilling prophecy if I prepare myself for a negative.

In the end, I am once again reminded that I can't really control anything and I have done the absolute best that I can. I'm eating well, not drinking, no chugging the Diet Coke, and am faithfully doing the PIO injections (which are actually getting less painful - yay!). But, it just doesn't seem enough. Can I just hibernate until next week?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Take Hand. Smack Forehead. Repeat.

Mrs. X thinks she's normally pretty savvy. She's manuevered through the gauntlet of serious infertility treatments for over a year now and only twitches occasionally. Sure, she's grown a third eye in her forehead from all of the hormones (kidding), but she has survived the slings and arrows of insurance issues, repeated encounters with the speculum, and butt shots. But for all her savvy, her moxie and yes, her hard-won infertility wisdom, she has not absorbed one simple, yet elegant lesson:

Do not under any circumstances share your infertility details with your next door neighbor.

When we moved into this house a few years ago, I was not here for more than three hours when she came over and introduced herself while trying to find out how much we paid for the house. Nice. Back then, we were still in the honeymoon phase of trying meaning we hadn't figured out that something was wrong and it was just a matter of time before I would be sporting a pooch. Back then, I still told people that we were trying - although I don't remember if she found out because she asked if we had kids. That would be the most likely scenario.

Anywho, she has a mind like a steel trap and has asked for updates as the months (and now years) have gone by. She knew about our IF treatments and about my miscarriage and was very nice. I have been avoiding her ever since my miscarriage because I knew she would ask whether things had gotten back on track. Well, last weekend, she cornered me and in her oh, so point blank manner asked how "things" were going. There was no point in playing dumb and I told her that we were doing IVF. She oohed and aahed and vaguely mentioned wanting more details. Luckily, she had to go before she could extract the details.

Today, I took over some cake because they helped us out last weekend on some stuff and of course, I had to spill the beans.

Nosy Neighbor: So, tell me how things went!
Me: Fine. (blah, blah, details, details). We had the transfer on Friday.
Nosy Neighbor: So they're in you right now?!
Me. Um. Yea.
Nosy Neighbor: You're with child? You're with embryo?
Me: [seriously uncomfortable now, making non-committal noises]. Uh.
Nosy Neighbor: When do you find out?
Me: In two weeks (I fudged the date - no one knows except me and Sweetie).
Nosy Neighbor: Oh, I have to put it on my calendar!
Me: No! Don't do that! I don't want everyone in the universe tracking the date. [She thankfully steps away from her calendar]
Nosy Neighbor: I hope you have twins. I can't wait till my kids have grandchildren and then I can cuddle a baby and give it back.

WTF?! Ok, I will try to have twins just for you because you requested. Any other requests? Boy/girl twins? Girl/girl? Triplets, perhaps? Do you have any names you would like to request now before the list gets started? Un-freakin'-believable.

I was able to impose the "don't call me, I'll call you" rule on the results. If it is negative, the last thing I need is to have her calling me and me having to repeat it.

She also told me that the neighbors up the street (the wife is a teacher at the local school) are going to start trying next month. I have no doubt that she got this intelligence straight from the wife's mouth, probably through some form of interrogation. I will not try to dwell on the fact that they will likely get pregnant pretty easily with few problems and sail through. I will try to be thankful that the wife may siphon some of Nosy Neighbor's attention from away from me. I won't swing by and warn the wife that she's guaranteed herself requests for monthly updates on the state of her uterus.

Nope, I will just practice learning how not to share with her. Either that, or I will declare that I have decided to stop seeing people and to become a hermit. I don't think she'll accept either. image: aynne

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Turning the Other Cheek

Warning: if you haven't done the progesterone shot yet, you may not want to read this since all I do is complain about how much it hurts.

I have never had the misfortune to be shot in the ass by any projectile or bullet, but I imagine that I now know how it feels. It H-U-R-T-S like H-E-L-L. I did my first progesterone injection last night (more on how I did it a little later) and dutifully rubbed the site for 20 seconds. That didn't do squat to ameliorate the already substantial ache that was beginning to build. Nada. Niente. Rien. As my right ass cheek gets progressively sorer (is that a word?) I use the heating pad - being careful to keep it on my ass, not near the midsection - which also does nothing. I go to bed slowly turning around trying to find that one perfect position where nothing hurts. It's not happening. Only this afternoon is the soreness subsiding enough that the initial ass plant on a chair or seat hurts, but it gradually dies down. This of course, was just in time for injection number 2 on the left. The stick hurt like a mo-fo but that cheek so far has given nary a twinge. I suspect the right side will calm down just in time for the next injection.

Now, Melanie has asked for some tips on the pretzel twist method of giving one's self progesterone injections.
Image: z e n
I should clarify that I was instructed to give them closer to the hip than toward the crack, so I don't have to do a full 180° twist. It's more like a 120° twist. I tend to stretch out the leg that corresponds to the Cheek O' the Night but not tense it so that the leg kind of makes half the journey. Being a righty, it was much easier to stick the right side last night because it was right there (no pun intended). This evening's injection on the left proved to be a little more difficult, but if you anchor your non-cheek leg and swing the cheek-leg you have good traction and can twist more easily. I was also given the option of doing it in the thigh, but that is so not an attractive option. I'm a butt girl, through and through. Hope that helps, Melanie!
In other news, I have been guilty of playing on Dr. Google again. This time, I've been researching the pregnancy rates of day 3 vs. day 5 blast transfers. I had a day 3 transfer and there seems to be a lot of discussion out there that this is not the way to go anymore. However, I trust Dr. Uterus implicitly, so I am pretty certain he had a reason for doing a day 3 transfer rather than a day 5 (and it wasn't because the day 5 would have landed on a Sunday - I saw him last Sunday for a scan). I will ask about it, but there really isn't a whole lot I can do about it now and fretting certainly won't help.
Lastly, I should share something that I have been keeping to myself. Today is my birthday. On this day, 32 years ago Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow fortelling six more weeks of winter and in a now rather famous hospital, Mrs. X made her debut with a full head of hair, frosted at the ends in white blonde (that so didn't last) without the benefit of drugs (at my mom's choice, crazy woman). I cried out at the injustice of leaving a great free home and then kind of looked around (Actually, I don't remember anything - I just heard this from my parents).

32 years later I'm still my parents' baby girl and I genuinely and most fervently wish that I will have a baby (or two) in my arms by my 33rd birthday (or at least firmly in the oven).

Friday, February 1, 2008

Uh, Houston? We, Uh, Have a Transfer

Around 1:30pm this afternoon, I was strapped into the gurney of death, legs firmly velcroed into the cushy stirrups (so much better than the ones at Dr. Uterus' office!) and our three little A grade embryos made the final journey through the catheter back to the mothership. They are now pinging around my uterus where hopefully at least one (but not three, please!) will implant for the next nine months.

The mock transfer was a lot easier than this one was, though. I had some cramping as he was inserting the catheter, which I told him about. Once the catheter was in, he gave me the time to wait for the cramping to subside before he inserted the embryos. I did some deep breathing and held onto Sweetie's hand (he was in the Bunny Suit and he looked like a giant Smurf with a blue cap rather than a white one) waiting for everything to subside. It did and he went ahead with the transfer. He removed the catheter and Dr. Freak Out looked at the entire thing under the microscope to make sure none were still in there. She gave the all clear and he released me from the jaws of the speculum. All in all not horrible, but not the most pleasant experience either.

I had to remain lying down for another 30 minutes during which time we talked with Dr. Uterus about the procedure and what to expect from now on. I had to ask the obvious question of whether the minute I went to the bathroom I would expel the little guys which Dr. Uterus informed me was "outlandish" bordering on "impossible" (there's that hyperbole kick again). I'm not on bed rest, but I am on restricted duty - so no raking (no chance of that anyway), but most sedentery activity is ok. I'm not the super high impact kind of gal anyway, so I am perfectly content to read, blog, sew, snorgle animals, and just plain be boring which is exactly what the doctor ordered.

I also start the progesterone shots this evening. I'll be on my own this time since I can't call my neighbor every night to come down and help. Sweetie has promised to be just outside in case I find that I need reinforcements. I'm going to try not to dread them as that will make them that much more painful.

Ah, what I won't do for a child.

Image: Saffanna