Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Holidays, and making a break for it

Happy Holidays!! I hope you all are having wonderful vacations/ holidays/ what all.

That said, I know that this is a purely brutal time of year for many -- the holidays sometimes seemed designed to really just rub salt into already very painful wounds. And New Years is just another reminder of time passing, and the things that we (still) are missing. So that's not all that awesome either. So maybe I'll revise that initial line to read "I hope that the holidays have sucked less than you feared they would, and that they continue to be as painless as possible." Because I do believe in being realistic and sometimes minimizing trauma is the best that you can hope for.

I'm actually at work this week, although it would be a real stretch to consider what I am doing working. Mostly I am just here, occupying space, and trying not to use any vacation days so that I have more paid time off next year. And writing a blog post, which has happened all too infrequently recently.

We don't celebrate Christmas, so it's been a relatively quiet week for me -- just some cooking, hanging out, going to movies and long naps. Oh, and a blizzard that dumped 20 inches of snow on the neighborhood so I had a snow day yesterday, which was awesome. (I love the first snow and yesterday was lovely -- fluffy snow in the park, blue sky and sun. The dog, the Boy and I all played in the snow for about an hour, which was just perfect. I never get tired of watching my dog leaping through the snow and burying his head in the deep drifts. It cracks me up every. single. time.)

On the pregnancy front, not much new to report except that I'm just about 31 weeks pregnant and I'm starting to be b-i-g BIG. Right now, there is some body part lodged under my right side ribs kind of further back than you might think that a gestating fetus would belong. And the movement has been characterized by huge kicks and pushes and swooshy turns that feel, truly, as if something is going to break out through my right side. It's highly entertaining and very cool, but not the most comfortable thing ever. I keep trying to convince it to move, but it is really happy up there. So I'm basically getting resigned to some discomfort.

On the discomfort front, I don't know what I ate wrong the last few days, but my heartburn has been epically bad, even with pepcid. I'll not regale you with my story of woe from the other night (it involved a panicked run to the bathroom to be sick) but I'm really really hoping that things quiet down. Really really hoping. Really.

But I do love LOVE the moving around. Yeah, it sometimes has a bit of an alien invasion feel (and look) to it, but I love it and already know I'm going to miss it. While I like sharing what's going on with the Boy and having him watch/ feel what's going on, I also like the secret part of it: it's just me and the little one, and that closeness is wonderful and magical and will change forever when le bebe enters the world.
As a holiday present to you all (just go with it), I have posted my first (and perhaps only) photo. I'm wearing leggings, so you can truly see how enormous I am in back and in front, but I guess that's how it goes. The body changes are pretty amazing, actually (except today someone asked me if I was having twins, which was not amazing at all and made me feel like a cow. What Evs.). I feel that about a lot of this pregnancy nowadays -- that it is just a series of small miracles that combine into the truly remarkable.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


That's the number of the trimester of pregnancy I am now in. Three. There are only three, so I am in the last one. I say this, and yet am still surprised and joyous and grateful, all kind of jumbled together.

Had my 28 week appointment today, and all is good. Well, let me amend that, what they could measure was good. I'm awaiting the results of the glucose test (that orange stuff? blech. It had so much sugar that both le bebe and I were totally jittery) and will have those tomorrow. But le bebe is looking good, head down today (so those ARE feet in my ribs!) and a nice strong 150 bpm heart beat. It is starting to look more baby like, which is amazing.

I still have the same stuff -- heartburn, minor edema, stretching pain, low back pain -- but none of it is worrisome to my OB, just niggling annoyances to me. I also am now sporting a stripe that runs down my entire abdomen.

I guess when I first thought about being pregnant (as opposed to getting pregnant, which I thought about for the previous 2 years) I said "I'll never gain more than 30 lbs" and "Oh those weird skin discolorations -- my body is not going to do that" and "Eeew -- swollen ankles? Never!" And I have all of them. In spades. It's just a really good lesson in why not to be arrogant (Incidentally, you'd think I'd have learned that before, during the whole "I am not getting pregnant and my body is betraying me in ways I never expected it would" phase. Apparently not.). Thankfully, I don't have that sense of anger and betrayal at my own body -- just more like a sense of surprise at how it is changing. Do I love all of the changes? Nope. But do I understand that they are all part of this miraculous process and accept them? Yes. And some I even think are wonderful and beautiful. And I suspect that the changes will continue as le bebe grows and that not all will be that great for me. But they will all be part of this process and I will (I hope) accept them with some amount of grace.

Dealing with things I cannot control has never been my strong suit, and infertility made that so. much. harder. But now, pregnancy and (dare I say it) motherhood are just one thing after another that I can't really control, and so grace and acceptance seem like the best way forward.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's December and I'm still pregnant

I suppose that it should not be a surprise to me any more, but it is. I'm 27 weeks pregnant today (thank you Baby Center for telling me that le bebe is the weight of a head of cauliflower.) And since I haven't written much about what's going on with me and this pregnancy, here's my not-that-interesting-to-anyone-including-my-husband rundown of what's going on.

I'm officially enormous. There is no more thinking "is she just fat?" -- I am unambiguously pregnant. So much so, people have started offering me seats on the subway, and I have shamelessly started to take them. But despite the enormity, I like the way I look. Yeah, I want my own boobs back, but for right now, it's all kinds of awesome.

The amazing energy level of trimester two? That's starting to fade a bit, and my advanced maternal age is starting to make itself felt. I'm pretty tired most evenings after work, actually, and would love to be in bed at 10pm every night.

The swelling has started. Actually, it started on vacation, but was mitigated by a lot of water. Now even my 96oz per day and elevating my feet doesn't really get rid of it all. So I'm consigned to clogs and a couple of pairs of flat boots, and just looking forward to seeing my ankle bones again in March. Although my compression socks do help and I have to admit to being kind of in love with them. Yes, putting them on requires a tremendous effort and all manner of grunting and groaning, but they rock.

My lower back is starting to hurt. Not a lot, but I'm stiff and its harder and harder to get comfortable. So sleeping through the night is definitely a thing of the past, and I expect it to get worse before it gets better (like in a year). Similarly I am winded easily, and find climbing the 3 flights of stairs to our conference rooms more challenging, and know that this will also be harder. And my reflux has not gone away -- yes, it's better most of the time, but it still pops up at inconvenient times (I completely over-ate at Thanksgiving and then thought I was going to die. Or explode. It's so annoying when you feel bad and you know it's your own damned fault. It was like a hangover -- I had no one to blame but myself!)

While none of this sounds all that awesome, I am good. It turns out Le bebe had the hiccups for the first time today (or, more accurately, I really could tell what they were) and moves around a ton. Sometimes it's pretty insistent moving, but I love it. And so despite the fact that I was awake for 30 minutes at 4am and had an aching hip, I was beyond happy about the kicking and the wiggling. I lay in bed giggling and crying because what I am feeling is magical and wonderful and I am lucky. Yeah, I'd rather do without the swelling, but I'd take a whole lot more discomfort for the 30 minutes of wiggling I got this morning.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What a difference a year makes

Just about one year ago I was having a meltdown because (a) I was 39 crashing into 40; (b) my first IVF cycle had been cancelled because of a cyst; (c) I was actually doing an IVF cycle and; most importantly, (d) I wasn't pregnant despite about a year of trying.

This year? This year I am 26 weeks pregnant, 40 years old and ok with it most of the time, and feeling pretty good. I don't have to bring syringes and drugs through the airport and I am obsessing over the perfect gender neutral crib bedding.

And for this difference -- this tremendous, life altering change, I am thankful. I could cry every time I think about how happy I am that modern science worked for me.

Many of you all are still on the road to parenthood, and I know how hard this time of year is, because I have been there and wept and moaned and raged. And I hope that your path leads to a family in a way that brings you joy and leaves you at peace and that you don't dread the next holiday season.

I'm wishing you all the very best for this Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What should I do? How should I feel?

I've been mulling over this post for a long time, and I'm finally ready to put it out there because, well, I'm kind of just fed up. Here's the story:

About a year ago when I was just embarking on IVF #1 after about a year of trying (and clomid, drug of the devil), I was in hiding. We've all been there -- other people's lives just look too good when you are in the pit of despair. But I came out of hiding and confided in one of my friends and she mentioned that another friend, S, had also kind of dropped off the map. So I took a leap of faith and emailed S to see if she and I were both trapped in the same circle of hell and whether she wanted to get dinner and commiserate.

As it turned out, I was right, and S was already the veteran of 5 or so IVF cycles, had lost both of her tubes (don't ask me how/ why) and was still very much not pregnant. We had a good dinner where we shared and laughed and even cried a little about how horrible it all was and generally just commiserated.

Subsequently, we got together a couple of times and emailed when things were bad and generally just kept up on how each other was doing or when another friend did something horribly insensitive, etc.

In February we had a big girls trip with 11 of us (3 without kids, to include me and S) and it was hard. It was fun and I'm glad I went, but it was hard to hear about kids and second and third kids all the while knowing that my recent beta was a whopping 5.2. And it was hard for S as well. That was visibly obvious. And when I checked in on her after the weekend to try to get together her response was "I need some time -- let's just connect in June."

So I get it. People need to retreat to their comfortable places when they are emotionally not ready to deal , and I don't presume to know how bad it was for her or what she went through, but it kind of pulled the rug out from under me and took away a source of my support as well. But again, when things are bad, we all get very focused on the "me" and not so much on the "you." But it kinda sucked anyway, especially since I went on to fail IVF #2 at that time and could have used an IRL friend who "got it."

Then, against all hope, FET #2 from our first IVF cycle actually worked and I got pregnant. And so I didn't contact S during the summer because I wasn't telling anyone I was pregnant, and I thought that sharing with her would just be cruel. But I agonized over it -- I agonized over not checking in on her and over how I would tell her if the pregnancy continued. Because frankly, I never thought she would get pregnant -- she had done 10 IVF cycles at that point and was thinking about giving up.

After I started coming out to our mutual friends, I was very clear with each person I told that not everyone knew. The Boy and I had decided that the best way to tell S was to send her an email right around the same time I told other people. That way she wouldn't find out from anyone else and she wouldn't have to pretend to be all kinds of nice to me on the phone or in person -- it just seemed like the most respectful and kindest way to deal with what was a really a very difficult situation. But because I was still agonizing about it, I tested my plan with another friend, C, who knows both of us -- and our IF issues -- well. And when C said "don't worry about it -- S is 22 weeks pregnant," while I felt relieved and happy for her, I also felt a little bit kicked in the gut, because it was clear that I was a whole lot more worried about how S's feelings than she was about mine. And I also felt like an idiot, because apparently all of our friends knew she was pregnant except me!

I executed on my plan anyway, and sent her a short note letting her know that I was 15 weeks pregnant and that most of our other friends did know. Her response? "I'm so glad for you. I'm also pregnant, due on Jan 2." It seemed kinda terse. But I soldiered on as if all was fine and set up a plan to meet for dinner, which we did a few weeks later. Dinner left me feeling kinda cold and sort of like she'd rather be home organizing her sock drawer. And she hasn't responded to my two emails since.

I've talked to a couple of other friends about this and two have had similar experiences. And S has said to multiple people, including me, that she doesn't think she will ever get over her experience of IF. And I get that -- trying and failing to get pregnant for well over a year and doing IVF cycles changed me too.

But we are both now pregnant and it has actually kind of worked out. And it would be pretty cool to have a friend in NY who has a kid the exact same age. But she's just shut me out, and I can't get past feeling sort of betrayed and hurt by her. And so I'm essentially writing off the friendship. She doesn't appear to want to be friends and she doesn't really appear to care about my feelings or experience of pregnancy after IF. And I don't want to make it a "thing" and even address this -- I'm just kind of done. Sad at how things turned out, but done. But I guess I'm wondering whether I'm giving up too easily or should at least have the conversation before I check out completely.

Gah. Interpersonal relationships are so messy.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I'm still here

And all is well. I've just been crazy busy at work since we got back from vacation and in the evenings either I am falling asleep at 8.30pm or the Boy has commandeered the computer to watch NHL games that aren't on TV (yeah, our lives are exciting like that). I'm reading on my bberry, though, but I just can't figure out how to comment.

So what's going on here? Vacation was fabulous. We ate truly spectacular food, did tons of walking around each city, and had some great travel adventures. Everything really worked out perfectly.

Funny thing? It appears that I now look pregnant. A couple of little old Italian ladies were really sweet -- one wouldn't let me go through the metal detector at a museum because "it wasn't good for the baby" (this communicated in Italian and sign language).

A couple of takeaways: Rome is not a stroller friendly city. Very narrow sidewalks, cobblestone streets, and kind of crazy traffic. Paris -- much more stroller friendly, and loads of French people wheeling their kids around. Other takeaway? We actually noticed. And noticing people with small children and not being hurt or angry about it was, well, kind of wonderful.

I think it's because I can feel the little wiggler moving pretty much all of the time (except for an inordinately long time yesterday, which completely freaked me out, but that's another story) that I actually have some amount of confidence that we will have a real live baby early next year. So much confidence that tomorrow I am -- wait for it -- going to order a crib and dresser and glider. And I agreed to a shower and I've started allowing people to give me seats on the subway. I'm pregnant for what may be the only time after nearly 18 months of trying, and I'm starting to enjoy the hell out of it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I'm off!

I realized that I haven't been posting and commenting very much recently. I've been totally crazy busy at work because, well, I'm taking the next 10 days OFF!

Yep -- I leave tomorrow for vacation!

We've had this planned for a while, but it just kind of crept up on me because I have been so dang busy.

But tomorrow we leave for Rome (5 days) and Paris (3 days). And I am super beyond excited and we have loads and loads of fun meals and activities planned. (Except I don't get to drink the wine or eat the soft cheese. But I'm not focusing on that.)

So I'll be gone for a bit but look forward to checking in upon my return. May this week be full of nothing but good news for everyone.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The woman who ate Manhattan

I am officially enormous.

That's the bad news. The good news is that at our 21 week appointment yesterday, all looks exactly as it should, the little one's heart was thumping away at 145 bpm, and it's all wiggly and has a somewhat simian appearance in profile. (Hence our new nickname "Monkey".)

And I am happy beyond happy about that good news. I go back in 3 weeks for a check and then in another 4 for my 28 week appointment where we test for fun stuff like gestational diabetes. And since I can now feel wiggling a fair amount, I have less fear that the Monkey has expired.

My current fear is about me and my pace of weight gain -- it's kind of stressing me out, and while I can rationalize it away in a variety of manners, it is stressful. Here's the story:
- I am nearly 5'9" and my desirable weight is <135. (I've been as low as 120, but not since I was 30.) I have a pretty small frame, and until I was older than 35 used to be able to eat whatever I wanted, but now there is real risk of porking out if I submit to my desires for dessert(s).
- IVF helped me pack on about 10 extra pounds, so my first weigh-in at the OB (8 weeks) had me at 145 (grrrrrr.)
- I just clocked in at...(wait for it)...165. I'm only 50% of the way to full term and already I have put on 20 lbs on top of the 10 I already had. And so I am kind of stressed out that I am going to be giganto-girl during and after this pregnancy.

I know that this is silly, and I can even come up with a good medical reason to have gained so much weight (more below) but I just feel icky about it. I love my round belly and am very happy that there is a healthy Monkey wiggling away, but I will admit to being pretty freaked out about my size, especially my increasingly enormous rear and the fact that I seem to just be spreading wide everywhere. I guess I just wasn't prepared for such tremendous body changes and I appear to be having a harder time adjusting to them.

And I'm worried, too. In Feb, my thyroid levels had gone kind of wonky and I got put onto synthroid to bring my TSH level down from 4, which we all thought was too high. And I've been having it monitored very regularly and it has been below 2 through this entire pregnancy, but last week my TSH was up to 2.5, so I have had to up my medication again. And now I'm worried about all of the issues that hypothyroidism can cause during pregnancy. I know that mine is anything but uncontrolled, and that lack of control is the cause of the problems, but I still worry a bit. And I wonder if whether the low thyroid function is what is causing the weight gain, or whether I am just meant to be round.

Either way, I'm trying to be ok with the weight gain but I'm just not. And I feel both stupid about even caring, and somewhat reasonable, both at the same time. I dunno -- I guess I didn't realize that being pregnant would be this emotionally complicated.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I've done it

I think that, now that I can feel the little one moving pretty regularly and have passed the anatomy scan, now I might actually believe that there will be a baby.

As part of my believing in the (oh please don't let me jinx this) potential baby, I posted a little ticker thingy on my blog. I figured there's got to be some time when I stop being so neurotic about this pregnancy and start settling in and enjoying it, and this seems as good a time as any.

So that's it: I'm pregnant, I feel pretty damned good (I seem to have learned to minimize the reflux), I'm rocking some comfy elastic waist pants, and I can feel the little one move as I type this. There's no drama and I love it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Anatomy scan -- check!

We have a healthy 19 week old fetus bouncing around inside of me.

Today was our anatomy scan and everything is, despite my anxieties to the contrary, perfectly, absolutely normal.
I really really enjoyed watching the bebe for a full hour and getting to see all of the different pieces and parts. There are 4 chambers in the heart, which was pumping away at 145 bpm and looking good and healthy. There are 2 kidneys, a gall bladder, a stomach, a liver -- all of the insides are where they should be and appear to be functioning well (I loved the renal blood flow check -- that is just so neat). 10 fingers and 10 toes, 2 ears and 2 eyes, a properly formed brain -- everything was normal and we could SEE it.

A lot of time my inner luddite comes out and I protest hat modern technology has made life harder and more stressful, not easier, but this, this was cool and I'm super happy that the science exists for me to be able to see inside me and the little one to check it all out.
What did we not see? Boy or girl parts. We are still trying to keep this a "mystery baby" and so the tech was great about telling us when to turn our head away and didn't use any gender related pronouns throughout (although, weirdly, I kept slipping into the "he" and "his").

However (and you knew that this could not be drama free), the Boy thinks that he saw the gender on the computer screen with all of the measurements. Up in the upper righthand corner was "Sex: F." And while F makes me very happy (as does M -- I'm just going for healthy), I have a very strong suspicion that the information across the top of the screen was not le bebe's, but actually mine, since also at the top of the screen was my name and SSN.

The OB's office called to confirm that they had received the results and that they were all normal, and I asked the nurse whether, on the screen with all of the data, that was my info or the mystery babe's. Turns out, per the OB who called me back, it was mine. But now the Boy doesn't really believe me and he kinda wants to know the gender. But I am holding firm and really would like the surprise.

We got loads of pictures which I have been trying not to ogle all day (I am supposed to be doing a rather odious spreadsheet task), but here are 2 of my favorites. They crack me up and make me weepy, all at the same time.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hello? Anyone there?

I can feel it move.

Let me amend that. I'm about 85% sure that what I am feeling is it move.

Wow. There is something in there and I can feel it.

Suddenly the reflux and lack of decongestants seem really really unimportant (and incidentally, both issues appear to be resolving themselves with rest, no eating before sleeping, and a lot of chamomile tea and honey).

There is a growing child inside of me and it is moving and I can feel it.
That is so unbelievably exciting and wonderful I just might cry.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Status update

Warning -- this is a whine-fest. But if you want my view on some of the physical aspects of being pregnant, here it is.

I've been feeling like shit, recently, in at least 2 different ways, but I've been holding back from sharing because, well, it's just seems not terribly gracious. But now? I'm tired, and cranky and need to offload.

I am more excited than I can possibly tell you that I am pregnant. Every day I wake up, rub my belly, and feel grateful to all the powers that be for allowing me to make it to 17.5 weeks. But being pregnant is HARD work.

Way one I have felt bad:
Just when I was rejoicing about how the nausea went away and the exhaustion had lifted, and how I really wanted to eat again for the first time in about 12 weeks, I ran headlong into my new worst enemy: reflux. It turns out that the really spicy food that I am craving (like a burrito with spicy barbecued beef) makes my chest and throat burn like, well, like a whole lot of acid is eating its way through tissue it shouldn't be touching. And worse still? It's not just the spicy food. It's tomatoes. And cereal with milk. And green salad with oil and vinegar. And a peanut and butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread. All of these foods have caused tremendous gastric distress and forced me to look longingly at food and then turn away, which is a problem because I am starving.

The solution? Eat virtually nothing I like. The other solution: sleep sitting up. It's bad enough that I am no longer allowed to sleep on my back, which blows as well, but to sleep propped up? I'm basically awake for at least an hour every night just sitting there like a fool, feeling really annoyed that it's 3am, I am sitting up in bed with my chest still burning despite the aforementioned sitting and not asleep. So I am tired, too. Oh yeah, and my shoulders and back hurt from sleeping like that.

Way two: I have a cold. And pretty much all I can take for it is liquids and more liquids and tylenol. Of course, citrus juice would be good, but that makes the reflux kick into overdrive. (I tried it. Not fun.) So I am coughing and coughing and yesterday I coughed so hard that I vomited. It was epically horrible and I think I am scarred for life. Word from the wise: next time you are pregnant and coughing hard and have to pee insanely badly all at the same time, try to hold the pee and face the toilet. Because I made the other decision and it was a disaster. Oh, and I was at work. Which made it horrible and embarrassing, because some poor soul was two stalls down. I took today off because (a) I was afraid of coughing/ puking again in public and (b) I'm hoping that a day off will actually help me kick this, and (c) I think the other person in the bathroom deserves a reprieve from the horror show of yesterday.

And since I can't for sure feel le bebe yet (and of course am starting to get worried about that), and have no other indications aside from belly growth that I am still pregnant, I've convinced that my belly is smaller, which means, to my mucus-addled brain, that the bebe is not growing and doom has finally caught up with me.

In short, I'm sick, chock full of acid, and a nutcase. Fabtastic combination.

On the plus side, Glee is on tonight, I got to sleep until 10 (with a "what the fuck are you doing sitting up" break between 4.30 and 5.30am), and I am starting to feel better. Oh, and I'm 17 weeks and 5 days pregnant, which blows my mind and means that my fancy dancy level II ultrasound is in just. one. week.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I've been tagged!

Thanks to Sienna and InBetween for tagging me in this "let's learn more about each other instead of about our periods and hormones" game.

Here you go!

1) What's the best dish you can cook?
I make a really good roast chicken. It is one of our go-to staples -- roast chicken with lemon, rosemary and roasted potatoes and onions. Sadly, because we are gluttonous, it never lasts more than one meal.

2) Have you ever been mentioned in the newspaper? What for?
I think 2x -- once for my wedding announcement in my hometown paper (thanks, mom, for that) and once way back in 5th grade for winning the local spelling bee. So basically, I've done nothing notable between the ages of 10 and 38.

3) What's the worst/ most memorable job you have had?
I had some truly sucky ones in my teenage years, but I think that the all time worst was working for OhioPIRG (Public Interest Research Group) going door to door canvassing for some initiative or another. I hated it with a passion, and lasted only 2 or 3 days. I mean, I wouldn't even go to people's houses to sell them Girl Scout cookies when I was a kid, so going to ask them to do something that is a lot less appealing than buying thin mints? Not for me.

4) When you were a teenager, at what age did you envision getting married?
When I was 8 and my sister was 5 (or something like that), we were watching Little House on the Prairie and my sister said to my mom: "I want to get married when I'm 16 just like Mary." This prompted a little chat where we were basically told not to get married until we were 26. Why 26? I don't know, but I think my mom wanted to be sure we had an opportunity to be independent between college and marriage. So I always though "after 26." I don't think my mom had in mind that I would be 38 and my sister (now 37) would still be holding out. I guess that falls into the "be careful what you wish for" category?

5) What's your most hated household chore? What's your favorite?
I hate cleaning the bathrooms. So I don't. We have a housekeeper that keeps us in shape. My favorite? I love putting away groceries. It's consistent with my desire to organize the universe.

6) What's your earliest memory?
This is hard. I think I remember being in the hallway outside my bedroom when my sister was brought up the stairs for the first time. It was late out, and dark, and she was way up high being held by one of my parents.

Now to pass it on --

Pie at Slice of Pie
Circus Princess
Rebecca at Trying Not to Scream

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ooops -- I missed it!

I missed my one year blogoversary -- it was yesterday.

Last year at this time I was pretty much an emotional wreck:
- I had left my job because the stress and travel were too much, but had no concrete job prospects.
- The Boy had been out of work for a few months and his industry (finance/ trading) was in significant disarray, making job hunting very challenging.
- My mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time.
- My FIL's cancer had returned and he was undergoing aggressive chemotherapy.
- We had been trying to get pregnant for 9 months to no avail, and were just about to start our first IVF cycle.

This blog was an outlet for me to express all of the stress and fear and anxiety in a way that was both (hopefully) productive and could connect me to a community of people that could support me through the hard parts of everything. I had no real expectations of what I would find, and I have to say, I still remain floored by the unconditional outpourings of kindness that are received in this community between women who are, by some measure, complete strangers.

I've leaned on all of you, and leaned on the writing, to help me get through the very darkest, hardest parts of the last year. My IRL friendships, family relationships, sense of self, and marriage were strained, but I've managed to muddle through and have emerged, a year later, into a place I could only have dreamed of.
- I have a job I love, and found it relatively easily.
- Both my mom and my FIL's cancers are gone. Mom's is hopefully really gone, and my FIL is again in remission and he is feeling good.
- I'm 17 weeks pregnant today.

The Boy, throughout all of this, has been nothing short of spectacular. Yes, we have disagreed about how to proceed on cycles, about turning down jobs in the face of no other prospects, and about all manner of other foolishness. And yes, he made/ makes me crazy sometimes. But he has never really wavered in his support and love of me, even when I was hormonal and mean and not necessarily deserving of what he was offering. And for that I am profoundly grateful and immensely happy. We have made it through a very very hard year, and can honestly say that it has made us, and our relationship, stronger in every way, and has shown us that we really can weather even storms that by all rights should overwhelm us.

So now, looking forward, what do I want from the next year? Three things, actually.

I want more than anything for the thing that keeps the Boy up at night worrying to be gone. I want him to find a position where he can contribute his experience and expertise, and is valued and he enjoys his work. He has been so patient and hard-working throughout this whole process, and is so talented and smart that I want nothing more than for him to be rewarded with a role that deserves and values him.

I want this pregnancy to stay, and stay healthy and smooth, and then for there to be a healthy, happy baby at the end. I still have moments of sheer terror that this will all end in tragedy, but most of the time am just so grateful for each day of being here and being pregnant.

Finally, I want the world to be right and just and fair, and for everyone who is trying so hard to have a family to do so in a way that makes them happy. The women in this community are some of the most caring, kind, thoughtful people I have ever encountered, and they would all make wonderful mothers and should all have that opportunity.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

All is still well, but I'm stuck

I'm 15 weeks 6 days and all is still well.

I haven't been writing a lot recently because, well, this started as an infertility blog and I feel kind of shitty about turning it into a place where I bitch about how I don't fit into my pants any more because I am gaining pregnancy weight. I hate the idea of this blog in any way making someone else unhappy, because I can certainly tell you that there were many blogs that I used to read and had to stop because (in my mind, at least) they got pregnant and seemingly forgot all about how it felt to be infertile.

So I'm torn, I guess. I struggled for a while -- 18 months to be exact -- to get pregnant, and that pain is still very fresh in my mind. But I'm pregnant and things appear to be ok for now, and for me that means that some things that used to really bother me don't sting so much any more. But I'm not sure about talking about them here, because I really don't want to make anyone else feel bad.

This blog, then, like me, is torn between two worlds -- pregnant, fertile-dom and infertile-dom.

This even came up IRL at dinner on Saturday. We went out with friends who have a toddler, and much of the conversation was spent discussing baby stuff. Read: pregnant, fertile women conversation. But then it shifted, and I was back to being infertile: we were discussing another friend who is expecting in January after many many rounds of IVF. While I haven't spoken to that friend yet (more on that in another post), apparently she said that, while she is thrilled to be pregnant, she may never recover from the experience of infertility. The friend who was telling the story was dismissive of that; something to the effect of "she just doesn't know yet. I view my life as really starting when I gave birth and I think she will forget all of the trouble she had getting there." Infertile me could feel the heat rising and my pulse rate going up when she said that, because, frankly, I don't think you ever really "get over" infertility. I tried to explain to her that the fundamental loss of control, the loss of trust in your own body, and the sheer amount of bitterness and jealousy are really hard to get past, but I don't think she bought it. But the hurt and the anger, the lack of confidence and fear that it would/ could never work all came rushing back when we were talking.

Anyway, this is kind of rambling and long, but the point is that I feel stuck in the middle. I'm definitely pregnant (we just saw it yesterday, and so it is still there and still doing well), but I feel definitely infertile. And because I feel stuck, this blog has felt a bit harder to write. I'm sure it will change and evolve, but right now it's definitely a challenge for me to navigate these two worlds.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The great reveal, and random thoughts

I told my direct boss today.
He was awesome about it, although he did say those dreaded words "Oh I *knew* it!" which leads me to believe that I am just looking F-A-T fat. (Actually, he said he knew because the day that my nausea hit we were at an all day meeting at his house, and since I both (a) asked for hard candies and (b) threw up in his bathroom, his wife kind of guessed. And yeah, I'm mortified that someone actually heard me puking my insides out, but at least I was very tidy about it.)

Which leads me to another point: I'm very ready for the nausea to take its leave. I believe that I'm ready to eat a meal and then not feel terribly bloated and nauseous for the following three hours. It was super reassuring back at weeks six and seven, but now? Now I just feel like poo and would like to be back to my own self again.

I'd also like, if the pregnancy gods are listening, to sleep more at night. I get that I have to wake up to pee. That's fine. 4am-4.03am seems like enough time for that. But at 5.44am I'm not sure I still need to be wide awake listening to my husband sleep peacefully. And, while I know this is wrong and makes me a bad wife, when I'm awake and he's asleep, I want to wake his sleeping ass up. It makes me angry that he is sleeping and I can't. I know it's bad, but it's true.

Lastly, I'm just waiting to actually look pregnant, not overweight. I know that I was probably 6-10lbs over my ideal weight when I got pregnant, and I would like to thank IVF for that (all those drugs and the times where exercise was verboten really did a number on my girlish figure), but right now, even when I look at myself hard, all I see is that stupid extra weight around my stomach instead of a pregnancy bump. I'm having a weirdly hard time with this, and really am feeling icky and fat and kind of ashamed of how I look instead of all glowy and pregnant. Maybe its just too early (13+ weeks) to look like much at all, and maybe in a few weeks when things progress further this will change, but I'm not at all in love with my pregnant shape right now, and that makes me kind of sad. The sad, of course, then makes me feel guilty that, after all of this time waiting to get pregnant, I'm not enjoying it as much as I should.

To summarize: on the one hand, very very excited to be pregnant at 40 with what appears to be (for n0w, at least) a healthy child. On the other hand, some of the stuff that comes with first trimester (weird body changes, nausea, insomnia) are not that great, and while I'd rather have them than not be pregnant, I'd also rather be pregnant without them.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's done

I bought a new bra and one of those bands. Yep, I did it. Yesterday I braved the fates and I bought what I desperately needed, and so now I am much more comfortable.

But that's not all I did. The Boy and I told people. Specifically, our families and some close friends of mine who were aware that we had been trying for a while.

It feels weird, and makes me really really anxious, as if by telling people I could super double jinx things. But at this point, after the test results and the number of weeks, we decided that it was time.

Of course then I panicked, because we hadn't been to the OB since the CVS test, and who knows what could have gone wrong. For at least three days I was convinced I had made a terrible error in telling people because I was sure that I had been leaking amniotic fluid since the CVS and that everything was over. As it turns out, I went in for my scheduled appointment on Tuesday and everything IS just fine, and I am 13 weeks today.

And next week, when my boss returns from vacation, I'm going to tell him and stop wearing oversized shirts and holding my stomach in. Because it doesn't feel good and is starting to not really work. And so then? Then I will be out for real.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

CVS test, part 3

Well, results are in and they are good.

The structural chromosomes all look good, and per our blood work, we are not at risk for any of the hereditary genetic diseases that strike our particular ethnic tribe.

So as far as we can know at this point, it's genetically/ chromosomally normal. Here's more info on the test itself.

I am beyond relieved, since I thought that my old eggs were certain to screw this up. We were giving it about a 50-50 chance.

I'm at 12 weeks today, and this plus the test results gives me the peace of mind to both buy some new bras (I'm literally overflowing my regular ones, and the underwire is leaving some nasty marks) and one of those belly band things, because the clothing situation is somewhat dire.

And we might actually tell people. That scares the living daylights out of me, but we are thinking that it might be time. We are going to see my mom and grandfather in person over Labor Day, so I'm going to wait on them, but my sister and inlaws might find out in the next day or two!

Oh. my. god. This is insane. I cannot believe I'm here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mysterious happenings

Dear Abdomen:

Could you please pick one size and stay it throughout the day? It's very hard when I get dressed and have one waist measurement and then blow up like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon by mid-afternoon and have to unbutton and unzip my pants when seated because my waist is many inches larger and I fear that I will cut off circulation to my lower half.

I know mysterious happenings are afoot, but it's a little disconcerting when I go from looking not-so-pregnant to looking like I could give birth any moment all in the course of a few hours. It's also hard to keep things a secret at the office if I am so round.

Also, could you please tell me what is actually in there? I know it can't actually be all fetus-related, because last we looked it was only the size of a lime and every afternoon you are the size of a ripe honeydew melon. Is it air? Water? The concentrated hopes of a 40-year-old woman who is praying every day for things to go well with her first pregnancy after 2 years of trying? As this is a question that the Boy has asked I'd really like to know too, because the "I'm just getting fat" answer is starting to give me a complex.

Thanks much for your help.

Friday, August 13, 2010

CVS test, part 2

Early results are in.

Everything appears to be normal for chromosomes 13, 18, 21 and the sex chromosomes.

What is the FISH test? The FISH test basically looks for pairs of the above chromosomes and ensures that there are no more or less than 2 of each. Per the genetic counselor, this test is 95% accurate for what it tests for.

I may be relaxing a tiny bit.

CVS test, part 1

Test is done. So far so good. For those of you considering/ planning, I'm giving you my full experience below.

On the plus side:
- We got to see some really high resolution images of the little guy (yeah, I have given it a gender). That was pretty amazing and made me really, really happy.
- It measures 4.6cm (~11w3d) and has a heartbeat (which we got to hear!) of 170 bpm.
- The nuchal measurements were avg of 1.1mm, which I understand from both the Dr and Google is well within the normal range for its CRL.
- We got to see this cool thing where they show blood flow on the u/s, and saw the umbilical cord.
- It was SO active that it was actually tough to do all of the measuring. But it was really awesome to watch, and the Boy, who hadn't seen it in 3 weeks or so, was amazed by how much was going on in there!
- We got to hear the heartbeat again after the procedure. I seriously can't get enough of that!
- I got to keep my pants on the entire time. Amazing.

On the down side:
- The procedure itself, while only lasting about 90 seconds, was really not very comfortable. Because I have an anterior (front) placenta, they went in abdominally.
- The initial numbing shot stung. Not a fan.
- The big needle, which I did not see and would prefer to not have any visual image of, didn't hurt going in, but once it got to it's destination? Holy crap.
- On the "holy crap" part of the procedure: it felt like very very unpleasant, deep cramps. The closest analogy is the HSG cramping, except this involved a needle being moved around to break up some tissue and suck it up the needle. I didn't watch at all. I counted ceiling tiles and breathed. I want no visual images of what was going on there, as it's too scary.
- There was still some pretty tough cramping yesterday, but today its about 60% better. No spotting or bleeding, though, which is good.

The amusing part? The MFM Dr, who depite being quite the renowned specialist, is a tiny little woman wearing tight white jeans, platform sandals, and a fluttery silk shirt with exposed shoulders. Not exactly what I expected. Quote of the day from the Boy: "she looks like she should be pole dancer." While that did not boost my confidence, it did make me giggle just a bit before we went in.

So preliminary results either today or Monday, and full results in a week.

Overall, very glad I did this. Now I just need to wait to be able to exhale and relax.
Please please please please be ok.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


CVS test is tomorrow morning and prelim results are due back either Friday afternoon or Monday.

I'm terrified.

We met with a genetic counselor today, during which time she reviewed all of the 100000 things that can be wrong, and then went over our test results (all fine from my bloodwork) and then we both created a family tree and discussed illnesses, etc.

At the end of it, the Boy was ready to curl up into a ball under the covers and I was nauseous. Pretty much everyone has/ had cancer or heart disease of some sort. Even if this potential child makes it out into the world ok, now we are worried that WE are going to die.

I'll let you know how the procedure goes. Like I said, I'm terrified.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Pretty much everything about having a baby is a series of ambiguous choices. No one really knows what the "right" answer is, and the "go with your gut" is often the only way to really avoid being gripped with indecision and paralyzed at the crossroads.

From the very beginning, there were decisions:
- Should we have a baby?
- When should we stop birth control?
- Is it time yet to get some advice about why this isn't happening?
- Do we do IUI or IVF?
- Which clinic do we choose?
- How many embryos do we put back in?
- Are we ready to cycle again?
- Who do we tell that we are infertile?
- Do we skip the baby shower?
- Do we switch REs?
- Are we ready to start thinking about alternative routes to a family?

Now there are a whole bunch of new questions, some of which have answers:
- Do we tell anyone? (Nope, except one friend who just had her second baby, her first was IVF, and she "gets" it)
- Do we want to know the sex? (Nope)
- Are we able to handle a disabled child? (Not really. That's the honest truth for us.)
- Do we want to find out if everything is chromosomally ok? And when? (See below)
- How do I deal with feeling so physically crappy but at the same time remaining incredibly grateful? (Work in progress. Depends on my level of nausea and exhaustion)
- Do I have to tell everyone I am pregnant how I got to be? I'm not ashamed of the IVF, but is it anyone's business? Will I help the "cause" if I am open? (Not yet an issue, still thinking)
And I'm betting that there are more that haven't even arisen yet, but that list has already taken quite a decision-making toll on that "instinct."

Since the Boy and I both agree on what we will do with the chromosomal information, we are going forward with the CVS test next week. Thanks to all of you for your wisdom and advice -- ultimately it came down to what would work for us as a couple and (that old standby) our gut feeling.

As of today (10w1d) all is well. We took a look and it's about 3cm long and has a strong heartbeat (she didn't measure, and I resisted the urge to say "I must know this -- I need data!" because she did say that everything looked just perfect). It was on a different angle/ plane today, so initially there was just a big black circle, which created some panic, but then we found it, and it looks, well, less alien-like, but still kind of like something from a movie you might see at a drive in (back when there were drive ins).

So onward we go. Next week is a big week for us, so I'm just holding tight until then.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Making decisions (need help!!)

I've found something new to worry about! The big decisions (assuming that things are still cooking inside) are all about chromosomal testing.

Option a -- Nuchal translucency (NT) scan in 2 weeks and (assuming all is ok) amnio at 16 weeks. If something looks wonky on NT scan, CVS immediately.
Option b -- CVS test in 2 weeks and then blood test later to test for neural tube defects.

The upside of CVS test -- definitive information now. Which is great. The downside? Risk of miscarriage, which some estimate as high as 1/100, but others as low as 1/1000.
NT scans can get us a lot of good diagnostic information now with no risk, but they are not definitive.

I'm trying to decide which I would feel worse about: going for a CVS now and losing the pregnancy, which would make me hate myself for making such a bad decision; or having to wait until 16 weeks to find out that there was something really wrong and then having to make a termination decision then. Basically, both would be awful, so it's impossible to decide, but I'm quite anxious about making the "right" choice.

This is such a personal decision, and so hard to make, and I don't think either is wrong, but we do have to choose only one and I would love any input that you all, in your collected wisdom, have to share.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Other side of the looking glass

I had the most bizarre experience yesterday: I went to my first obstetric appointment and, while special consideration was given to my advanced maternal age and heightened anxiety about this pregnancy because of the long road I took to get here, overall I was treated just like any other pregnant woman!

It was weird. My OB was very interested in hearing about my IVF path to pregnancy (she knew the clo.mid part, since she prescribed it), but once we got the "how did you get here and what meds are you still taking" part out of the way, she mapped out the major milestones FOR THE REST OF THE PREGNANCY.

People, she wrote dates on paper.

Things like a due date and when I am supposed to stop air travel. And while I was super duper excited to see this all laid out, especially because I am a huge planner and really like to know what comes next, I was worried that doing that jinxed it and that, by the time we walked into the next room and I disrobed it would all be over. So I got vaguely nervous during what should have been just a totally normal conversation. I held it together, but I definitly felt as if I were tempting fate.

But, like many of you very very wise women have said, there is really very little I can do to screw this up, and all of a sudden becoming superstitious is not going to make this any easier nor is it going to actually blow it. So maybe I should just park the superstitious bit for a while. We'll see how that goes!

Once I got to the exam room, I took a deep breath (actually, during the breast exam I took several, since my boobs are SO sore that it hurt a LOT), and I actually believed that the little bean would be there, ok. And guess what? It was. Thinking positively actually did not call forth hail and locusts, but actually just made me feel better.

I think it was because I was treated as if I was a normal, not-batshit-crazy pregnant woman I almost started to believe I was one.

The details? It's 22mm long (actually, it was measured in centimeters this time, so 2.2cm), which is 8w6d by her calculation, and I was 9w0d, so it's pretty much right on target. It has a heartbeat of about 150bpm, and it moved. And the yolk sac was visible this time and looks perfect. Everything, weirdly, is ok. Can I say Yay for moving while I am looking? Because that just makes me so happy.

Of course, I had a brief freakout after I left about why it was measuring a day behind, when last time it was measuring 2 days ahead, but then I said "that's why they say +/- 3 days" to myself and I calmed down. Mostly. After googling CRL measurements and realizing that it was, in fact, ok.

And the best part? I get to go back in a week and see it again! Yippee!! (And yes, this was scheduled before we took our peek yesterday, so it's not because something didn't look right, but because she knows I'm neurotic.)

Wow. I'm still pregnant. And I have an OB. And a plan. (Actually, we have possibilities for the plan, so more on that later.) Wow.

Monday, July 26, 2010

oh for pete's sake

So today I am feeling very insecure about this pregnancy. I have heavy duty cramps (still not quite like my period, but more insistently crampy than previous twinges) and the spillage from my progesterone suppositories was very very slightly tinged beigey-pink last evening. (And yeah, I had to get really really close to the pantiliner to see that it was not pure white. It was as awesome as it sounds.)

But my nausea, which had been on a wee bit of a hiatus is back in full force today, causing several dry heaving attacks, and my boobs are still sore.

But I am insecure about it and again in need of reassurance (please?) and again counting the moments until my appointment (Thursday morning).

My insecurities hit a high point today when, since I was out of snacks and was trolling for food just like everyone else here does someone said "you know, my wife also loved snackwells when she was pregnant."


I'm barely pregnant and this thing could end in heartbreak at any moment so pardon me if I don't announce my barely pregnancy to you who are practically strangers. I mean, just because I didn't drink at a party last week, and wasn't feeling well last week I'm pregnant? wtf???

One woman, who as it turns out is an IVF veteran, saw ginger candies and crackers on my desk last week and called me out, but I am pretty sure that it wasn't her, as she has had several miscarriages and knows too well the risks of the early reveal.

I am SO not ready to be out of the closet (I'm not even at 9 weeks, and I have had no screening tests done), and frankly I think it is inappropriate to even talk about it so early. In fact, it makes me really super duper anxious even writing it down. I guess my plan is to continue denying anything. But MAN is it stressing me out. Because I don't want everyone up in my business when (if) this goes to hell.

Fuck. This is stress I did not need.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

You did it!

You sustained me through the crazies, and I cannot thank you all enough. Seriously, without you all providing me both comfort that my symptoms can wax and wane as well as validation that it was ok to be this crazy with anxiety, I might have just curled up into a ball and not gone to the RE out of fear.

But here's the news: I am still pregnant.

The thing is HUGE -- 17.4mm from top to bottom -- that is more than 3x bigger than last time! It's measuring at 8w1d and I am (officially) 7w6d, so it's right on target. And it has arms and legs, and a head with a brain forming inside, and we could SEE it. And we saw its heart beating away really really fast and, best thing ever, we saw it MOVE. No shit it moved and we all saw it. And I pretty much nearly started to cry, which kind of freaked my husband out.

We also got to HEAR the heartbeat. It was really really really fast, and sounded more swooshy than like a grown-up person heartbeat, but there was a regular percussive quality to the swooshiness. The downside? The u/s machines at my RE are not clever enough to be able to measure how fast it is beating, so we had to take her word for it that everything looks really really good.

And so now? Now I have an OB appointment scheduled for next Thursday. Because I really want to know how fast the little thing's heart is beating and I don't want to wait too long.

Ohmygod it MOVED. That was amazing.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Here's how I know I am crazy: because every morning I am convinced that this pregnancy is over (or isn't) based on the number of hairs that fall out when I am washing my hair.

In the TMI category, I usually lose a decent amount of hair every morning when I wash and condition. But since pregnant? Pretty much no hair is falling out. So to me, counting the hairs that fall out is a reasonably accurate way to determine whether the pregnancy is still healthy. And so every day I start my day with this and so by about 30 minutes after I wake up I'm totally convinced one way or the other.

So today? 16 hairs fell out. That's more than double the average of 7 from last week. And that is b.a.d.

Now I know that's ridiculous. I know this, but yet I can't keep from counting every morning and comparing it to the days when I knew that the pregnancy was still moving along ok (that would be 2 weeks ago, prior to the u/s).

I have created a whole mystical, quasi-scientific set of reasons that I am not pregnant, and hair loss is one of them.

Other reasons I am convinced that I am not pregnant? Nausea, which was really very bad last week, has been better. About 50% better, so the "oh my god I'm going to vomit right this minute" bad of last week is more of a low grade queasiness and periodic gagging. I ate two normal meals over the weekend, which I had not been able to do for the previous 4 days. So what does that mean to me? That means that my HCG levels are falling, which means doom.

And my last piece of scientific (I like how I throw that around, as if any of this is really "data-based" and not just the ravings of a woman who has lost all touch with reality) evidence is that my TSH test from yesterday was still in normal range -- 1.85 vs. the 1.2 prior to the pregnancy. Now some might consider that good news -- the syn.throid is keeping things under control. But since the Dr had essentially said "pretty much everyone needs to adjust their medication during pregnancy" the fact that I don't have to means to me that there is nothing special going on that is requiring that my thyroid work hard at all.

Oh, and my cramping seems worse. Still no spotting, and still nothing that even feels like I am getting my period, but just more pinging/ stretching/ weirdness from down there.

(On the positive side, boobs have become sore and remained sore. But that is probably just due to all of the progesterone I am taking. So that doesn't count.)

The u/s is tomorrow afternoon (7w6d). I'm never going to make it. Seriously I have completely lost my mind.

Friday, July 16, 2010


I'm terrified.

No good reason -- nothing has changed to lead me to believe that I should feel the shadow of impending doom, but I'm scared. I'm worried that because I told one person that I was pregnant I have doomed everything.

I'm scared that this next u/s will show that the heart has stopped beating. Or if not this one, the one after that. Or that the other myriad tests they run will show something horribly wrong.

And that this will all come crashing down. This little, tiny sand castle of hope that I have built will just get washed away.

I knew how to prepare myself for the heartbreak and sadness of failing IVF. I knew how to hurt and rant and rail and then dust myself off and move ahead. But this? Failure now? I've never been here before and I don't know how to prepare for pain and sadness. So I am terrified.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Keeping the crazies at bay

In my last post, you will note that I promised not to freak out until a week has passed.

You will all be happy to note I have not yet freaked out and I have presently silenced the drumbeat of failure and destruction that I usually listen to in my head.

I have also managed to spend an entire 4 days with my mom and not tell her anything. Even though I kind of wanted to about 100 times. But we made a joint decision collectively not to tell, and so even though the Boy kept saying things like "are you still dry heaving" to me with my mom there, we didn't tell. (And yeah, it's just that romantic around our house.)

I have, however, developed a new set of symptoms:
- hunger. Hunger like I never knew existed. All the time.
- gagging, carsick feeling. Pretty much all the time as well. It's the worst right after I eat, which is weird, since I thought that eating was supposed to help. But no. I pretty much dry heave after every meal. Yum!
- extra sensitive sense of smell. This is becoming a problem, because it's been REALLY hot in New York and it's definitely pretty stinky around here. And that tends to trigger my gag reflex. So going to work on the subway -- it causes me a good deal of fear and results in my hand being permanently over my mouth and nose. People look at me funny, but I'm pretty sure they prefer that to me puking on their shoes.
- boobs are starting to get sore. Not too bad, but a little bit sore. I hope they get bigger, actually, because, well, I've been holding off on buying new bras since I kept hoping I'd be pregnant, and my old ones are kinda stretched out. (I know, it's pathetic that I've been waiting about a year to buy new bras. I just kept thinking "I'm not going to fit into them soon." and so I waited. Fucking IF even screwed up my lingerie purchases.)

I'd like to try to solve the gagging, dry heaving thing by acquiring some of those pregnancy pops, but even though they are sold at a maternity store right around the corner from my office, I'm fairly convinced that going in there will end this pregnancy immediately. I know it's not rational, but I'm afraid to do anything that even appears to the universe to be taking this for granted. So instead I will gag. (Note - I got anxious just now typing "pregnancy pops" so I don't think I can safely buy them on line either.)

But otherwise? Otherwise I'm still unbelievably grateful for where we are now. It is very theoretical and in no way real, and I'm going to keep it that way until much further down the road because I'm pretty scared about things going awry. But for the time being, I'm still carrying around this sense of wonder and amazement.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


All is normal. Everything measures as it should for 5w6d.

There is actually a sac in my uterus (as opposed to somewhere else) so that's good.
There was a clearly identified, albeit blurry fetal pole hanging out on one side. It measures 4.55mm, which is exactly what it is supposed to be right now.
We saw the heart flickering away, but my RE said it was a little too early to register an actual heartbeat. But I saw the flicker and that was cool.

Yolk sac? Yeah, I don't remember anything about that. I was just pretty psyched that the amniotic sac wasn't empty, and I lost focus when I saw the flicker.

What I do know is that my RE said that everything right now looks as it should, and that she's not concerned about the spotting episode from earlier this week. She cautioned us that it's early, but said that she was pretty excited for us.

My husband came with me, and it was pretty fun to have him there, although he couldn't see the little bean as well as I could. And since today went well and our next view isn't for 2 more weeks, then he made me promise to not freak out for at least a week. And so I made that promise, because there is nothing I can do that will change things in any way, and all I can do is eat well, stay hydrated, rest and be diligent about my drugs (prenatal, estrace, progesterone, folgard, baby aspirin). Everything else is out of my hands.

Terrifying, but true. Next scan is July 21, so all I can do is hang on until then.

I'm still amazed at this entire thing. Amazed, happy, and really surprised.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

And in further news...

The spotting stopped Sunday. Phew. There were only two bright pink spots and then a bunch of brown, so hopefully it was just an errant progesterone suppository.

I still am light on the symptoms, but here they are:
- acne like a 14 year old (charming)
- compliments on how healthy my hair looks (even from the women who was waxing my eyebrows -- she told me they looked very healthy and luxuriant. It was pretty amusing as she was taking the hair out.) And no hair falling out at all when I brush/ shower.
- crampy pulling feeling from the uterine area.
- constipation. This is not so awesome. I have tried prunes, but since those just caused a prodigious amount of gas when I ate them on vaca (sorry -- TMI) and I am back at work today, I thought I'd hold off. So I am drinking water and eating fruit trying to get things moving.
- gagging/ queasy feelings a couple of times a day
- awful taste in my mouth all the time
- constantly starving, until I feel queasy, and then starving again
- tired. Really tired.
- the thirst. Oh the thirst. All I do is drink and pee.

OK -- that was a longer list than I had expected, but I still think that this whole thing ended already and that tomorrow afternoon I will be shown an empty uterus and told to try again next time. And I can't tell whether I'm making myself nauseated from nerves and over-googling, or whether it is real. Either way, I've given it a 65% chance of being there -- slightly better than even odds, but I'm managing my expectations downwards.

Thank you all for making me feel better about the spotting and cramping, btw. It really helped. Of course it didn't stop me from obsessively googling about this stuff and realizing how many things can go wrong. But it helped me from being a complete wingnut.

26 more hours to find out what's up. This is hard. Still exciting, but hard.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Uh oh.

Tonight is our lastest night of vacation before we head back into the oppressive heat on the East Coast. It's been good -- really nice -- to be away and even better to be able to relax a wee bit and try to enjoy being happy and grateful for actually getting pregnant for the first time ever.

We still have some trouble buying into the idea that it is not all some elaborate ruse, but considering two labs in two cities in two countries gave us positive confirmation, we are forced to confront the fact that it may not be a hoax.

I'm still feeling pretty much nothing. No sore boobs, no change in how they look at all (I ask every time I get undressed, and still nothing). However the cramping is real and I have to be honest it scares me to death even though I know that many women experience it. But if any of you want to tell me that it's ok, I'm all ears.

Here's the specifics -- sometimes it feels like sharper pains in the front middle area (essentially where my uterus is), more on the right than the left, but its definitely all around. Some low back achiness like when I get my period, which is a newer phenomenon.

Teensy eensy bit of spotting two days ago, which is hard to discern given the amount of progesterone I am shoving up into my nether regions. Just a few minutes ago, some darker pink spotting. And so I am starting to get scared that I am losing this.

I was able to get an u/s appointment for Wednesday 7 June with my RE -- I know it's early to see much (5w6d), but I'd like to know something more than I do already.

Mostly, I'd like to fast forward a whole lot of weeks to be just adorably, roundly pregnant. Because this? This is scary. So any confirmation that I am ok would be awesome.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I heart socialized medicine - Updated

Sorry for the long absence and delay in posting -- I've been navigating the Canadian health care system, and it hasn't been all that easy.

Although I tested yesterday, results from the lab were not available until this morning. So I walked into the walk-in clinic this morning, before the nurse could look up to say hello, I saw the printout with my name on it.

My beta as of 13dp5dt is... 1326!

Holy shit!

I appear to still be pregnant, and am thankful, relieved, and still in a state of complete disbelief that this appears (for the moment at least) to have actually worked. Maybe it's because for month after month there was just so much defeat and disappointment I am having trouble actually accepting that this is working, but it seems completely theoretical and like it's happening to someone else.

I spoke to my RE's office and the plan is to get an u/s in 1-2 weeks. I'm presently scheduled for next Tuesday, but think I am going to swap to the following week so that we can see my RE. It just seems like such a long time to get no news, after a process where I am monitored every 24-48 hours. 7-14 days? Are they kidding? But I'd rather see my RE, so I think we will hold out. But I'm not sure I can wait. I'll sleep on it before I make a decision to switch (yeah, I know, it's a lot of thinking for a relatively small decision).

So now we are on the far west coast of Vancouver Island with slightly easier internet access than we have had for the last 3 days in Vancouver, so I will try to catch up with reading.

Thank you to all for your wonderful support and comments.

Updated with symptoms, per request :-)

I have very few. Seriously, this is all a great mystery to me, as my boobs hurt more after the trigger shots than they do now.
I do have persistent unslakable thirst (and the corresponding repeated trips to the bathroom from trying to quench it). Otherwise, I got nothin'. (There is some crampiness that feels like ovulation cramping but in the center, but since I only feel it on the days I get the beta numbers, we are convinced it is completely psychosomatic.)

Friday, June 25, 2010


I appear to be pregnant.

My beta is 254. It's 10dp5dt.

Holy Shit.

We are heading to Vancouver tomorrow and so I'll get a second test on Monday there. Then an u/s when I get home on the 6th or 7th.

Have I mentioned that my husband and I had no expectations that this would work? That I have already gone to orientation for my new clinic? That I ordered the bcps to start on day 2 and have already packed them? This is crazy. It's the first time I've had a beta >5.

The best thing that I have done in a long time is call my husband and say "I'm pregnant." It was awesome. I could hear him smiling.

My heart is beating at 100mph and I can't stop smiling. I know we have a long way to go, and that 1000 things can go wrong, but for now, I am happy. Crazily, stupidly happy.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Good timing

Email I received today:

"To celebrate the start of summer, parents of the under 12 set will be bringing our kids into the office for part of the morning on Thursday, July 1st for fun, games, snacks, sing-along with Jill and otherwise barely controlled chaos."

Since about 40 percent of the staff at my organization has kids in that age group, and another 50 percent are young single women under 30 who just loooove babies, this place is going to be a zoo. I will literally be the only person who isn't either accompanying a child or fawning over one.

Thankfully, I will be an entire continent away for all of next week. I feel like I dodged a bullet. Sometimes, the gods smile.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mrs Crabbypants

That's me. Turns out that when I am anxious and can't exercise and jamming progesterone up into my nether regions 3x daily I get a wee bit cranky.

What else has been making me cranky?
My dog has been sick, so that's freaked me out a bit. On transfer day (Tuesday) while I was parked on the sofa I noticed that he was straining to stand up, and had some weird facial twitching. He'd been pretty lethargic for a day or so, but we figured it was the heat. And so when I saw his hind legs were weak, I freaked out into a huge, sobbing, hysterical mess. Because if anything were to happen to the dog I'm pretty sure that right now I would die. Because my dog is the object of all of the love and affection that I would focus on a child (although I do NOT dress him in silly outfits), and he is also the best. dog. ever. and makes me incredibly happy.

So dog illness caused a bit of a wrinkle in my "relax at home transfer day," but the Boy took him into the vet the next day and as it turns out he caught Lyme disease when we were up the country roaming through the woods. I learned an important lesson: apply the tick medication every 2-3 weeks if you will be in high tick areas. So note to you dog owners -- the ticks in Connecticut are not messing around.

The peanut (our dog) was better after only a few doses of his antibiotics, and all symptoms have now totally disappeared and he's back to himself, but it was really really scary for us to think about something happening to him, especially at a time when we rely on him so much.

Other reasons for cranky? The Boy has been on my very last nerve. There is no good reason for it, and I suspect that I am just being sensitive and difficult (that's his position, at least), and he has been really quite great about being supportive during this infertility thing, but jeeesus has he been bugging the living daylights out of me. I know he's just being himself, but sometimes "himself" is a pain in the ass.

Since he reads this I'll leave it at that (Note: if you are reading this, if you haven't acquired and taken your vitamins I am going to lose my shit and start forcefeeding you the ones we have like a goose being fattened up for fois gras). So I let the bad mood spread and that was pretty much no fun at all. We've recovered mostly, but I did create a bit of a scene Saturday and yesterday, which leached some of the fun from our weekend.

Otherwise? Otherwise I am just not exercising, not drinking booze, and not feeling anything that could even potentially be a side effect. Not even the progesterone is having a physical effect on me. Emotionally, it's made me a basket case (see above) but physically I feel fine.

We will see how things shake out on Friday. Until then, I'm just pretending that nothing is going on at all. Check back with me Wednesday to see if I've gone crazy yet.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

it's done

We transferred the last (one)of our frozen embryos today.

My first cycle in November 2009 resulted in 3 5day blastocysts. We initially transferred one (because it was of course going to work) and then transferred one frozen in Feb.(Again, did the elective single transfer to avoid twins. We laugh about that now.) This was the last of that batch.

I'm trying so hard to be hopeful, and my sweet lovely husband keeps reminding me that this could possibly work, but I'm afraid of getting hurt. I'm trying to let hope sneak in just enough so that the positive thoughts make it down to where it matters in my body, but not so much that I am devastated by the failure. Its pretty much an impossible balance, and I've resigned myself to more pain.

Good thing is, we have a plan in place and are switching clinics and will start again in July. I liked my RE, but need to shake things up a bit. And since we've maxed out on our IF benefit, it's self pay either way. I'm super excited (there is sarcasm there, in case you can't hear it) to start dealing with my savings account being depleted, but am not worrying about that yet, because there is really nothing to do about it except give up, which is not an option.

So today I am resting on the sofa, per my lovely husband's request. He made me lunch and is in charge of dinner. I'll go back to work tomorrow, and then have my next acu appointment (went yesterday, too). But no more gym or yoga. Do any of you exercise in the 2ww? Can you tell me what you do/ don't do? I just want to keep up with my yoga and cardio, but think that's verboten. What do you think about mat pilates? I need positive stories! Please? The exercise is really the only thing that keeps me sane and from blowing up like a balloon, so giving it up is hard.

Its been 1.5 hours and I'm bored with resting already. Getting knocked up is getting to be a drag.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Where I'm not

If my first IVF cycle had worked, I'd be 28 weeks pregnant by now.

If my FET had worked, I'd be 18 weeks pregnant.

If my second IVF cycle had worked, I'd be 10 weeks pregnant.

Instead, I'm waiting for FET #2 next week so that I can find out 2 weeks later that I am not pregnant again.

I know that I'm torturing myself by looking up due dates and such, but I am just losing hope that this will ever ever work.

Fuck, do I hate this.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My new friend Brenda

Brenda has become my new bff.

Who is Brenda? Brenda is the manager for my company's account at Cigna, our insurance carrier, and she and I are going to get to the bottom of why my infertility coverage is so fucked up.

The whole thing started bad last year when I was first looking into it. When I called to ask about coverage for specific procedures, the clever operator forwarded me a benefits letter that they had sent to a colleague that indicated that retrieval, transfer and other testing were not covered. Which was surprising because the policy stated that I had $30K of infertility coverage. So why the discrepancy? Apparently the colleague who wanted to get pregnant was a gay man interested in using a surrogate. And while personally I think his course of action should have been covered, too, it shouldn't have taken me 30 minutes on the phone to explain why my situation was a tiny bit different.

So I have $30K of coverage, and since we've done 2 IVF and 1 FET with a preferred provider, we've had mercifully little out of pocket so far, but figured our luck, and coverage, was likely running out.

And so here's where the fun begins. When I asked for the balance in April, I was told I had used $28K. And so I asked for an itemized listing of all of the charges that added up to $28K. That took a week. And then it only added up to $25K, and some of the items on there were clearly not IF related (my annual mammogram? my annual physical? my dermatologist to check on a mole?).

The front line rep (Sandy, the very same one who sent me the incorrect memo 12 months ago) basically said that there was nothing that she could do, but that the system couldn't be wrong because, well, it was "the System" and the codes that it pulled were only IF. When I explained to her that there were clearly some issues with what she sent me, she blamed the physicians for coding it incorrectly.

So then I started talking to her boss, Brenda. And Brenda has been awesome, and basically agrees with me that unless they can itemize the charge, it should not count against my maximum, and she has been unbelievably helpful in pulling off charges that are clearly not IF related, and has allowed me to get new bills for things that appear to have been given the wrong diagnosis code.

But there are some charges, such as all of the blood tests I just took on clotting and the full karyotype that is still at the lab, that I was told by both my RE's office and a cigna rep -- I read the rep every single code -- would not count against the max. These tests actually are IF-related, but I might not have done all of them if I knew they would burn through my increasingly scarce resources. So I'm going to the mat with Brenda on these charges, which are about $1K total. And right now, it looks like I am winning.

It's a fuckload of hassle for only a few thousand dollars, but there is principle involved (I can't imagine how many other women have gotten screwed out of some of their benefit) and it is actually enough to cover this FET and perhaps some monitoring next time, so I guess it's worth it.

But I hate having to lay all of these charge out there and talk about it with Brenda. Because even though she is really nice, and very helpful to my cause of getting the numbers right, she is probably thinking "this woman is a crazy person. she's 40 and trying to get pregnant and yet is arguing with me over pennies -- how pathetic." And so that bugs me. I don't want to be judged, or pitied, or to even have my situation known, and yet I need to go through every line item of this pathetic story with her to get to a point where I think it is fair. Yet none of this is fair. I shouldn't have to do this, or know Brenda, or have my medical history laid out for all to see. It's profoundly unfair, and I am getting to the point where I really resent everyone who isn't or hasn't gone through this. I even resent the women who got pregnant on their first IVF, and then seem to have forgotten all about the infertility that led up to it. I'm just bitter and resentful and angry. But I'm not giving up on my search for justice with Brenda. Because someone, somewhere owes me something and there's only so much getting screwed over that I am willing to take.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A whole lot of nothing

Not a whole hell of a lot to report from these parts, except that (gasp) I am still not pregnant. Period came and went, and so now I am prepping for our last shot with our frozen embryo.

The Boy and I have spent a lot of time talking about what's next and making plans, since we never thought we would get to this place and still find ourselves somewhat surprised to be on the statistical short end of the stick.

What have we recently learned?
- After putting back in 4 embryos (2 5day and 2 3day), I am still not pregnant, although I did manage to have a very low-beta chemical pregnancy.
- My hormone levels are all still good (my FSH is under 7, for chrissakes)
- My thyroid appears to be working too hard, as my TSH was 4, but all other thyroid and antibody levels normal. With daily synthroid, I'm at 2.1.
- I am heterozygous for the MTHFR mutation (no, I don't know which one), so am now also taking folgard and baby aspirin in addition to my prenatal.
- Despite everything, I continue to have clockwork cycles and ovulate regularly.
- We have blown through our insurance coverage, and will soon be paying out of pocket for everything.

So what are we going to do?
- We are going to switch doctors from the "very convenient, like our RE, like the nurses, takes our insurance, really don't like the clinic overall" to the "across town, very smart very nice RE, great lab, nicer space, more individualized attention, noticed some things in my chart that he would do differently" but can't start right away because their lab closes for a while this month.
- In the interim, we are going to do a non-medicated FET and use our last frozen 5-day blast this month. In fact, it's CD8 and I am all estrogened out (2x daily) and then will go in Friday for a lining check. Transfer date scheduled for June 15. Really looking forward to the 3x daily progesterone suppositories. I should buy stock in whomever makes pantyliners, since I'm keeping them in business. (I hate that word -- panty. It's ridiculous. Makes the whole situation seem like something out of a 1960's era sitcom.) Incidentally, I think it's pretty entertaining that they consider 2x daily estrogen, 3mg cetr.otide, and 3x daily progesterone to be unmedicated. I guess it's the lack of lu.pron that earns it that label?

How do I feel about all of this?
The FET is a throwaway -- I have no hope that it will actually result in a pregnancy or child, but I figure I might as well use the embryo since I already have it. I was kind of hoping to have 2 shots on goal, and be able to try naturally and transfer the embryo back in, but apparently they frown upon that at my current clinic, so this weekend I will be shooting up with cetrotide to prevent ovulation. I think it sort of stinks, but I'll live.

I'm anxious about switching clinics, not because I don't think they will do a good job, but because I know that I will expect it to work the first time there. And that's a lot of pressure on me and on everyone else involved in this process. And, although this is probably weird, I feel bad about leaving my RE, as she has been really quite nice and pretty responsive most of the time. I wanted our relationship to end with me heading off to the OB with a healthy pregnancy, and somehow I feel disloyal for even meeting with other REs. That said, I can't keep doing the same thing over and over, and so need to go with something different. But I feel bad, all the same.

Am I excited about any of this? Hard to say. I'm starting to believe that this never is going to work.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

American Idiot

No, not the Green Day Broadway play. Me. I'm the idiot.

I'm the idiot because I actually, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, thought that I could get miraculously pregnant on our "break month" before we try with IVF again.

When CD28, 29, and 30 rolled around, I actually let hope in. And the bitch fucking took off her shoes, put her feet up and made herself at home. Once again, I googled things like "timing of implantation bleeding" (there was a tiny bit of light pink spotting) and "spotting at time of period." You'd think I had never done this before. What you really would think is that I should just bookmark this stuff on my web browser.

And so, since I am usually a 28-day girl, I went out and I did the unthinkable. I bought pregnancy tests. Expensive ones. Ones without lines but with words that tell you the news. And to no one's surprise but mine, the test said "not pregnant."

The Boy had a pretty good observation (and I promised to give him credit). What the sticks should say is "Yes" or, in our case, "F**k you." I'm not sure how you market those, but I think it's really quite a bit more honest and more appealing for certain segment of the buying public.

And in more great news, immediately after my "f**k you " result, I discovered that we had no hot water and had to suffer through that. Which sucked almost as much. I love camping, but doing the cold shower at home? Not nice at all.

Then I had to spend a day at site visits with my pregnant co-worker and listen to how she was feeling and hear all of the cooing, and discussions of pregnancies, and listen to her whine about how hungry she was.

So overall, a banner day. Oh yeah, and by 3pm my period had officially arrived.
Like I said, I'm an idiot.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A little perspective goes a long way

Since January, I have worked for a large poverty-fighting organization. And we do really great, really important work, but are still somewhat divorced from the in-your-face realities that exist for the poor here in the United States.

But yesterday? Yesterday was different. I went to an organization that provides housing, food, healthcare and job training services to people in NYC. There are a lot of these organizations and they are mostly doing great work, and the people who work there every day deserve all of the credit in the world for sacrificing higher pay for this important work.

Yesterday I actually got the opportunity to sit down and talk with someone who is homeless. Someone who lived on the streets and in the subway stations pretty near where I live in my apartment. He lived on the streets for 15 (yes you read that right) years, and through the outreach from this program was convinced to come indoors and be helped.

He is polite, charming, well-spoken. He graduated high school. He is 55 years old. He has both a serious mental illness and is an active substance abuser. And for the last 15 years of his life he has lived with a suitcase and his wits on the streets of my neighborhood.

Hopefully, through this program he will get stable housing, treatment for his mental health issues and begin treatment for his substance abuse. But what he said was the most important thing was that he is finally, for the first time in a while, regaining a little bit of what it feels like to be human -- to be seen, and not ignored, to be treated with respect, and not discarded with the trash.

I went back to my office, and someone had sent me this presentation. And the combination of this with my meeting really, really, I mean at a visceral gut level, hit me: I am lucky. I have pretty much won the life lottery by being an upper-middle class American. But yet I complain too much. I whine about infertility, about my husband's lack of meaningful work, and about pretty much everything. Instead I should feel grateful -- grateful that I have a wonderful husband and a supportive family. Grateful for my health, for my education, for my income bracket. Grateful that I do not worry where I will sleep or what I will eat or my personal safety.

I'm not sure how long this feeling will last, but I am going to try to hold onto it for at least a few days. Because sometimes I need a little perspective on what is really important.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thank you

Thanks to you all for your help with both my recent MTHFR diagnosis (is that the right word?) and in supporting me through this bumpy path with my friend-who-could-not-be-more-tone-deaf.

So what have I learned and done since then? I learned that I have only one copy of the MTHFR mutation, although I don't know which part of the gene, so I guess that's better than it could be. And since I am a firm believer in taking my medical care into my own hands, I have basically increased my folic acid, b-6, and b-12 intake to what it would be if I was also taking Folgard with my prenatal. Lastly, I have added a baby aspirin.

I do promise to tell the RE all of this before I start my next cycle (in about a week, unless I am miraculously pregnant this month), but I figured that I could get things started now. As far as I can tell, these vitamins are all water soluble, so there's no real downside risk of taking more.

Other news? I have not heard any more from tone-deaf friend, and I'm thinking she thinks she was super helpful and now I'm just being difficult and "hiding." And it's true, I have hidden out before when things were bad, but I had dinner and brunch with other friends this weekend, and am pretty open about things, so that's not what is going on now. I'm sure she just thinks I can't deal with her blissfully happy life, but in fact I just can't deal with her. Clearly I am still hurt/ angry and so I'm going to have to sit with this for a while more before I'm willing to call her, and I think I may just wait for her to call me.

But it was really really nice to hear from you all that I was not unreasonable in being disappointed at the emails I received, and it makes me feel better knowing that you all do get it. We each are following different paths and are in different places, but understanding the soul- crushing experience of wanting something very badly and not being able to make it happen? You all get it. And while I wouldn't wish this on anyone, I'm really happy that you are here.

Otherwise, things are just fine. Had a nice weekend and now am just waiting for my period to come (ugh) so that we can get started again on IVF v.3.0