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Evanescence

OK, so the title has nothing to do with my post today, but I couldn’t think of a title, so I asked K to name a random word and ‘evanescence’ is what he chose. If you feel so inclined to look it up, it is absolutely something that I experienced with my first miscarriage, and it’s totally worth exploring in the future.

Anyway…

I’ve been working on a draft FOR EVER, but it seems that I have so much to say and way too little time to organize my thoughts. That big post is going to have to digest for a while longer before I figure out a palatable way to present it to the world. 🙂

Meanwhile, our poor girl kitty Bernstein leapt off the loft railing in pursuit of a moth, fell to the lower level, and injured her hind leg. The x-rays show no fractures, but she is still in pain 10 days later. The vet refilled her pain prescription today and she is a bit more comfortable but still limping everywhere and sometimes growling if another cat gets too close. Overall, though, I must say she’s been a great patient. She put herself on kitty bed rest and has never lashed out at us when we’ve tried to help. Here she is, looking sad while waiting for the vet:.

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In the fertility world, I’m SURE I had implantation spotting one week ago, but after 6 days in a row of negative pee sticks, AF finally arrived today. I might try a Clomid cycle this month. Fingers crossed.

Thinking of you all. ❤

The OB Waiting Room, Post-D&E

For an infertile, there isn’t much worse than sitting in the OBGYN waiting room for a followup appointment after a D&E. I don’t know if it was because I was 15 minutes late to my appointment (freak midday traffic jam, ARGH), or if it’s just this OB’s MO, but an hour after I arrived, I was still languishing in the waiting room with the pregnant ladies, the newborns, and the couple who have another bun in the oven but clearly can’t even control the bun they already have.

Here’s a tip for you ladies who have just had a miscarriage and are forced to visit the OBGYN for a followup visit: Ask the receptionist IMMEDIATELY for an alternative place to sit other than the waiting room. This isn’t an uncommon request and they do try to accommodate you.

Unfortunately, I didn’t ask to be seated elsewhere, so I just went on my merry way filling out the paperwork amongst the fertiles.

When I got to:

“Number of Pregnancies?” 4.
“Number of Children?” 0.

…I lost it. Just sobbed right there in the waiting room. Not a single person seemed to notice, or maybe they all pretended not to notice. I had to ask the receptionist for Kleenex.

Other than that emotionally charged day at the OB and my current flu predicament, K and I are feeling much better, and I thank MLACS for checking in on me and inspiring me to post again.

K has thankfully returned to his usual happy, laid-back, hard-working, sporadically-helpful-around-the-house self. On Sunday while I was at work, he surprised me by going food shopping and making 2 healthy recipes we can heat up all week, plus a Waldorf salad using greek yogurt.

K’s difference in mood is mostly because his new job finally came through and he gave notice to his current one. Hooray! Plus… There is a significant pay raise involved. 🙂

Unfortunately his new health insurance plan SUCKS, and the policy says right up front that IVF will never be covered. So despite living in a state that requires infertility to be covered, I’m still forced to go buy my own, very expensive policy to cover more IVF. And in the process, I discovered that no company will approve more than 6 IVF cycles in my lifetime (unless there is an intervening live birth, after which I might get one or two more) even if those cycles were paid by a different company. So I guess we’d better make these last two count. Gulp.

But right now, I will try not to worry about that. Instead, I will enjoy the fact that, because I don’t have children, I am afforded the luxury of recovering from the flu without interruption. ❤

Empty Stomach, Empty Womb

No food or drink after midnight, the nurses said.

I hate fasting. I really, really hate it. On the car ride down to my D&E, NPR aired a story on gluten free food that made me so hungry I had to change the station. When we arrived at the hospital’s surgical center, the receptionist gave us a buzzer just like we were at a restaurant. The waiting room smelled like french fries and I wistfully watched a woman sip her grande Starbucks drink.

Our buzzer buzzed and we were led to the pre-op room, where I changed into hospital attire and joked about the handy pocket in the johnny. (The “pocket” is actually a quick-access portal to my chest in case of emergency, a nurse explained.) The OR nurses have a completely different vibe from the IVF ones. The IVF nurses always seem a little blasé and patronizing, plus they’re mixed in with the green fellows and interns, who I never fully trust. Here, there were no students– just the nurses, the anesthesiologist and the OB/GYN– and I instinctively KNEW they were good.

I was asked again if I was a medical professional. Sigh. I’m flattered, but no, I’ve just been doing this for a really long time.

The actual procedure was easy, thanks to the expert anesthesiologist. She had me completely out for the exact length of the procedure and no longer. I wasn’t aware of them putting my legs in stirrups, sticking on electrodes, doing the procedure, putting mesh panties and a pad on me, or transferring me back onto the gurney. It is really an exercise in giving up control. Sadly, it must feel like this sometimes for the elderly.

Back in recovery, I woke up crying. One of the nurses was right there beside me with a comforting hand and a box of Kleenex. I’m sobbing now as I remember. She even offered to give me a minute alone before K came back into recovery, which I was relieved about, but alas, K was already on his way in. It’s not that I’ve wanted to hide any emotions from him; I’ve just wanted to be strong for him. This time around, he’s needed to lean on me.

I’ve been happy to be strong for him, but I definitely could’ve done without making my own dinner that night. It p*sses me off and perplexes me that K does NOT have the gene to wait on me hand and foot after a procedure like this. I was STARVING after fasting all day (DUH), but he just didn’t understand that food needed to happen for me RIGHT NOW. So I put some chicken noodle soup on the stove and informed him that he was in charge of bringing it to me when it was ready. I guess that’s as close as I’ll ever get to hand-and-foot. Either way, there’s really nothing better than chicken noodle soup followed by a giant bowl of ice cream. ❤

(By the way, I'm sorry this update took so long. You guys deserved to read something substantial, so I sacrificed speed.)

How I Can Feel Better Today

When I first opened my eyes this morning, my first thought was, “There’s no baby.”  Then as K reached over to comfort me, my second and third thoughts were, “Ohh, poor baby, he feels sad, too,” and, “I’m so lucky to have him.”  My fourth thought was, “How long have our three cats been on the bed, staring at me?  Yikes!”

Then I was faced with a decision:  What should I do today?

My D&E was inconveniently pushed off until Wednesday at 1PM, so technically, there is nothing medical on my schedule today except for a pre-registration phone call at 2:30PM.  Should I take the day off from teaching viola lessons, knowing that I will also have to cancel Wednesday and Thursday’s students because of the D&E?  Or should I keep my usual work schedule so that I don’t just sit here wallowing in self-pity?

So, to help me make that decision, I made a list of things I could do today to feel better.  I’m being very conservative with my ideas, and I’m not putting pressure on myself to complete every item on this list; I’ll only do what feels right at the moment.

How I Can Feel Better Today

1.  Make a list of things I can do to feel better today.  (Check!  I feel better already!)

2.  Cancel as much work as I can for the week, but don’t wallow in self-pity.  Instead, do other things that will make me feel better and help me cope, such as:

3.  Re-read and respond to all your wonderful, thoughtful, touching comments on yesterday’s post.  After my quartet concert last night (which went well despite everything), I was so exhausted physically and emotionally that it was all I could do to read your comments before I conked out.  I honestly slept a little more comfortably knowing that so many people were thinking of me and wishing me well.  A giant thank you to A Calm Persistence for sharing my post with her readership.  🙂

4.  Wash and put away all the dishes and wipe down the counter tops.  Having a clean, uncluttered kitchen makes me feel less lazy and also less embarrassed should we have any last-minute guests.

5.  Take a shower, get dressed and put on a little makeup.  This little bit of advice came from the FLYlady.  It’s surprisingly hard to do on a day like today.

6.  Go buy groceries.  We are out of most staples here.  I’ve often said that grocery shopping is my zen, because I’m not thinking about anything but food.  There is satisfaction in providing sustenance for my family, even if my family right now is just K and our three feline fur babies.  Plus, I NEED ice cream.

7.  Watch the dumba$$ Bachelor on DVR and appreciate that I have already found my soul mate.

8.  Respond to a few emails that have been hanging over my head for a while now.  In each case, I’ve dragged my feet because, basically, I don’t know how to say NO.  Well, people, get ready to read “NO” because that’s what I’m gonna type.  NO, NO NO.  (Just practicing.)

9.  Excuse myself from exercising.  I know, I know… they say that exercise improves a person’s mood.  Well, not today.  Today, NOT exercising is improving my mood already.

10.  Spend 15 minutes cleaning out the garage so I can eventually PARK IN IT.  Home improvement is always my go-to for post-miscarriage or post-IVF healing.  Usually, I want to paint a room or put up shelving, but it feels a little early for that right now.  I’ll start thinking about that after tomorrow’s D&E.  Right now, 15 minutes in the garage seems manageable.

11.  Complete ONE item on my to-do list for the May kickoff concert to my new monthly concert series.  Just one item.  There are like, 50 things on the list, but that is OK.  One item is progress.

12.  Arrange a time for Big Brother Big Sister to pick up the clothes and household items I’ve been wanting to give away.  Every few months they send a truck to my neck of the woods and I can sign up to have them come right to my front door for free.  I feel good about donating to that organization, it’s super convenient, I’m helping needy people, and I always feel positively giddy about getting rid of things I no longer use.  K and I are locked in a never-ending battle over that one… he loves collecting things and hates giving anything away… even trash!  So I just do it without telling him, and he NEVER notices.

If any of you have other ideas on how to cope today and over the next few days, I’m all ears.  ❤

Schrodinger’s Baby Is Dead

Today’s ultrasound should’ve shown an 8 week baby with a heartbeat.  Instead, we saw a 7.5 week baby with no heartbeat.  Schrodinger’s baby is dead.

Before the appointment, we had been so careful to guard our emotions, but in the exam room, K couldn’t hide his excitement.  Seeing him like that made me want to shield him from experiencing any pain or sadness.  I, on the other hand, was expecting the worst.  When the scan started, we could both tell right away that there was no heartbeat.

This sad news comes right on the heels of AMAZING news we got this week.  According to a brand new Fragile X blood test by Assuragen, the risk of my specific Fragile X Premutation expanding into a Full Mutation is LESS THAN 1%!  This makes us feel a whole lot better about conceiving naturally, because now our chances of needing to terminate for full-blown Fragile X are very minimal.  If we’d known, we wouldn’t have bothered with PGD.

Unfortunately, this wonderful genetic news unearths new questions about why the frackety fracking frack I’ve had 3 pregnancy losses.  If not Fragile X, then what?  Well, today our RE reminded us that Fragile X prematurely depletes a Carrier’s ovarian reserve, so my eggs are crap.  “Your healthy 36-year-old body has the eggs of a 43-year-old,” she said.  My decrepit ovaries are probably producing embryos with a host of OTHER chromosomal/developmental problems besides Fragile X.

We have a D&E scheduled for tomorrow.  They will test the baby for chromosomal abnormalities.  Meanwhile, I have to hold it together for a quartet concert tonight (“the show must go on”).  Thank you so much, dear readers, for your support.  ❤

Schrodinger’s Baby Lives!

Last week, I was completely unprepared for what we saw on the ultrasound.

It was an actual baby. Measuring perfectly for 6 weeks. With a heartbeat of 123. The tech even caught the sac via the abdominal ultrasound before she used the dildocam. I try not to take the Lord’s name in vain, but in the exam room, I did… three times.

The heartbeat was probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, even more beautiful than the one I saw at 8 weeks with my first pregnancy. It sounds cheesy, I know, but this time around, it was delicate, lovely and all the more magical because of our long struggle.

The radiologist chatted with me a little while he interpreted the results. “Are you a medical professional?” he asked. “You sound very knowledgeable.”

No, I’ve just been doing this for a really f*cking long time.

The RE said this pregnancy could not look any better, but that with my history I simply cannot bond with it. I’m still at a high risk for miscarriage and this could be the pregnancy that I’ll have to terminate for Fragile X. I should take my prenatals and avoid eating all those things you’re not supposed to eat, but otherwise pretend I’m not pregnant. And she instructed me to stop humanizing the baby by calling it Schrodinger. That is kind of funny to me… I have to wonder if she knew the reference.

“Don’t tell people about your pregnancy,” she advised, “because talking is a huge emotional drain. And no one needs to know that you might have to terminate.” It was interesting to hear her say that, because I had come to that same conclusion last summer, which is what led me to blogging.

The nurses made me mad this time. They were quick to congratulate me after my second beta, excitedly saying, “It’s a good day!” Then when my third beta didn’t rise much, they were SURE the baby had died and said to expect bleeding in the next two days. (There is still no explanation for the slow rise.) I wish they would’ve just given me the facts without editorializing, because it’s hard to stay even-keeled when a nurse is super excited or crying in sympathy, whichever the case may be.

The next step is the 8 week ultrasound, which will be Mon the 24th. This will be a pretty important test; they want to see 2 weeks’ worth of growth. I go back and forth on pregnancy symptoms. My bb’s and nipples hurt like a SOAB, I chomp on prunes for constipation, I take two hour naps in the middle of the day, and I cry like a baby at The Bachelor even though I think he’s a dumb*ss homophobe and Sharleen was smart to leave. Then suddenly I feel no symptoms and I’m 100% convinced I’ve lost the baby.

So, we wait. ❤

Reality sets in

Reality is setting in here at the hospital.

As usual, it was a real PITA to get in here before the lab closed at 8:30 AM. The rush hour traffic always starts blowing at 6:30, and for every minute I leave after that, it adds 2-3 minutes to my drive time. Sleep was fitful last night, so it was exceedingly hard to get up early and I finally got on the road at 6:45. Not a great start.

Nevertheless, I made it there in time for the vampires to take my blood. They instructed me to go home and wait for the results. If I needed an ultrasound to rule out an ectopic, I’d come back tomorrow morning.

The prospect of having to do this sh*t again tomorrow morning was too much for my tired, impatient, grieving self to handle. I almost lost it in the waiting room but managed to keep down 95% of the percolating emotions. The nurse took pity on me and put a rush on the blood work so that I can wait here and do the ultrasound today if I need to. She thinks, however, that given my history, this is just another embryo dying of chromosomal abnormality. I guess that is a relief.

Last night I think reality started setting in a little for K. I was wondering if any of you ladies have advice on how to help a husband grieve? My strategy thus far has been to let him zone out with video games until he is ready to talk, usually about 3-4 days later, and then his grief usually takes the form of being frustrated by something else.

Go in Peace

What I can only assume is the first miscarriage cramp happened just now, across the top of my uterus, for about 30 seconds. Maybe I’ll be lucky and get through the worst of it this weekend. There hasn’t been any bleeding yet, just a slight bit of pinkish staining. I have begun traveling with a stash of super maxi pads and adult diapers in my purse.

One thing I forgot to mention earlier was that I demanded a progesterone test this time. It was normal. The nurse said we can definitely rule that out as a potential cause for the miscarriage. Most likely, this baby died because it had Fragile X.

Dinner with our 8-month pregnant friends tonight actually wasn’t that terrible. The guys ended up monopolizing the conversation with job interview stories, so aside from having to see my sweet petite friend with a big baby bump, our evening was thankfully baby-lite.

We bought our fancy new LED TV, which, sadly, won’t be delivered until Monday. Gypped of the full retail therapy experience!

Pregnancy loss could be the worst reason to decide in the world to adopt a third cat, but nevertheless we put in an application today for a really nice adult male. We met him just before Christmas and haven’t been able to forget him! So maybe our little family of fur babies will grow even if our human family is on hold.

Despite being emotionally numbed, I feel sad, but also grateful that our embryo lived, however briefly. I’m grateful that my body hosted our little embryo as long as it did. I’m grateful that our baby didn’t suffer and only knew the comfort of my womb. And I’m grateful that we weren’t forced to make any heartbreaking decisions 6 weeks down the road.

Go in peace, little one. You will always be loved. ❤

Poof

I had just started believing that this pregnancy might actually be the one, and POOF! it’s gone.

The first HCG on Tue was 892. Terrific number for just over 4 weeks!

The second one, two days later, was 1950. The nurse told me, “it’s a good day.” F*ck her stupid optimism messing up my head.

I went for the third one this morning. I could tell by the way she hesitated that the news wasn’t good. It was 2140. She cried for me on the phone.

The best case scenario for me right now is that the baby has died in utero and I’ll miscarry soon. The worst case scenario is an ectopic.

They’ll test me on Mon to make sure the number goes down. I can expect to start bleeding soon. If neither of those things happen, they’ll do an emergency ultrasound to make sure it’s not ectopic.

After each loss, I always get the urge to do some kind of home improvement. Today it will take the form of a new LED TV! K got a new, better paying job yesterday with a pay raise and an additional 20% bonus, so we have something to celebrate and it makes retail therapy OK. 🙂

We have dinner plans tonight with an 8+ month pregnant couple. God help me. ❤

Chocolate Pudding

This is a really small, silly thing that happened last week, but for some reason I just cannot let it go. I thought maybe if I post about it, I can finally put it to rest and realize how ridiculous I’m being.

* * *
My parents are excellent planners. A month ago we had our TG 100% planned, down to who’s bringing what, what time they’ll arrive, and what we’ll do while we wait for the turkey to finish baking.

Conversely, my in-laws are notoriously lazy planners. If it were up to them, we would send out our first semi-planning email on Wed around noon. But somehow, amazingly, all 10 people manage to be present at every holiday. They’ve done it this way forever.

Until I came along. I’m the first addition to Kyle’s family in 15 years, and evidently I’m also the only one with a familial holiday conflict.

In the interest of being proactive, I sent an itty bitty feeler group email to Kyle’s family asking if we could have TG dinner late this year since we wanted to spend time with my parents earlier in the day. (Mind you, the only time we had an early TG dinner was last year, when two days before TG, Kyle’s SIL’s mother [yeah, I get confused too] invited us all to her place and set the time for 1:00, which is what my parents and I had already planned. I pulled rank and told Kyle we were going to my parents’ place. Kyle was not happy at all.) After a week, I did get “approval” for a late TG dinner. Planning Phase One complete.

Planning Phase Two: deciding what to bring. Kyle’s sister has always acted the martyr despite almost everyone else’s enthusiasm to contribute. She’s a workaholic, a cookaholic and a hostaholic, which my therapist says is actually a sign of being a control freak. It’s not the mean kind of control freak, it’s the “Oh, I already know how to do it, so it will be easier for me, and you shouldn’t try because everyone will like my way better and we’ve always done it that way” kind of control freak. So, once the “late TG” timing was set, my SIL’s final response was, “OK, Mom and I will start planning.” Which in SIL control freak language means, “OK, Mom and I will divide up the cooking and hosting responsibilities between us, and everyone else’s contributions will be purely nonessential.”

Call me crazy, but I was offended by her comment. Why weren’t Kyle and I included in the planning? Kyle and I both love to cook and we consider it an act of love to contribute to the food stash. I decided to ignore the “OK, Mom and I will start planning” comment and immediately asked them to please let us know what we can bring. After a week of not hearing from them, I decided to make a suggestion: I knew how much my gluten intolerant nephew and BIL love chocolate cream pie (so much so that I saw my BIL lick the pudding and whip cream right off the graham cracker crust last Easter), so I could make a big bowl of chocolate pudding with whip cream and they could eat it to their heart’s content without the threat of gluten. Seemed like a nice, thoughtful idea to me.

Kyle immediately jumped into the email thread by saying that he was sure we could make a gluten-free crust to make it a proper chocolate cream pie. I wasn’t thrilled about him editing my offer without my permission, but I let that go. Then my SIL, the martyr and control freak, said she had once made a gluten-free pie crust with cinnamon chex and could make it again. I fought off my first reaction, which was, “WILL YOU PLEASE JUST LET ME DO IT ALREADY?!” What the hell is wrong with pudding, anyway?

I decided not to let her be the martyr and usurp my idea, so I spent about 30 minutes formulating my response. I came up with “Interesting, I’m not much of a crust person myself, probably because of my anti-flavor-mingling tendencies. But it seems like a cinnamon chex crust will be much appreciated, so I will happily make that, along with a little bowl sans crust just pour moi.” There. I patted myself on the back for shutting the door on any argument while remaining sweet and civil.

At that point, Kyle stepped in again, saying, “Now, now, ladies, there is plenty of pie-making to go around!”

Well, I flew off the handle at him (privately, not in the group thread). In one sentence he had made it sound like I was perpetuating an argument and he was stepping in to lighten up this tense situation with his charming humor. It felt like he was trying to “manage” my relationship with his family. He said he was only “needling” me to be funny and he never would have done it if 1) I’d actually sounded b*tchy or 2) if he’d realized how much time and effort I’d put into my response.

I guess this silly little email thread has bothered me so much because I have a long history of being misunderstood by Kyle’s family. I’ve been working very hard to improve my standing. It started when Kyle proposed too early and I asked him to wait a while. Proposing at that time was a bone-headed move on his part because it was obvious I wasn’t ready. But of course, his family is understandably biased, so they only heard his side of the story and thought I was being a b*itch. I think Kyle and his family still believe that the proposal debacle was entirely MY fault. Then later there were 3 years of of fertility troubles, which meant that I was sometimes sad at family gatherings because I was either having a f*cking miscarriage, or the previous day’s IVF didn’t go well, etc, etc. Rather than ask me what’s wrong, they would just whisper amongst themselves about what a morose b*tch I was being that day, and oh poor Kyle for having to put up with that, and oh she seems depressed, has she gotten any medication for that? In more recent times, they have begun asking Kyle what’s wrong with me. But as you can see in the case of the TG feeler email, he doesn’t always make things better. Then there’s the fact that I occasionally need time to myself because I’m an introvert. Conversing meaningfully in a group of 10 isn’t one of my strengths, no matter how hard I try.

On several occasions, I’ve tried talking directly with individual in-laws about my issues so that they wouldn’t have to whisper, surmise, assume, or ask Kyle to translate badly. But every time, I have felt very distinctly that they don’t want to hear about it. They only want to hear about good things. My SIL knew how to react to exactly one scenario: she could be excited for us after embryo transfers. Fragile X, miscarriage, infertility, hormone stims, chemical pregnancy… these are all ideas that are completely foreign and uncomfortable for all my in-laws. They’ll either change the subject or just stare at me, not knowing what to say. The support from them has been lackluster. If you ignore it, it will go away, and all you will feel is happy. If you don’t feel happy, we can’t help you.

Well, that’s interesting! I thought this was about chocolate pudding.