Friday, December 31, 2010

go to dust, 2010!!!!

Happy New Year everyone!  May 2011 be a better year than 2010.  For me, it would be almost impossible to have a worse year than 2010, so I am pretty sure I am stepping forward in the right direction.  I am kicking 2010 in the dust, and stepping on it while grinning my evil grin, may you disintegrate in peace, stupid bad-ass 2010!!!

Just as a fun reminiscence of my 2010 New Year "celebration", I was in the hospital, on bedrest, 5 days after my emergency cerclage that didn't work.  I had diarrhea and was lying down, not allowed to lift my head off the pillow so that I don't create intraabdominal pressure.  I was also too embarrassed to allow the nurses to clean up my mess, so MrH had to clean up my shit.  That was one great way to click into the new year.  As a special dinner, we had two cups of Save on Foods parfaits (that probably created the diarrhea to begin with), and a hospital sandwich each (disgusting indeed) because the hospital staff in the cafeteria was off for New Years.  We were so lost, that we didn't even realize that it was the New Year's celebration until about dinner time Dec 31, when we realized that I wasn't getting any dinner, and the sandwich came with the above explanation.

On Jan 2 at 2 am I woke up in labour.  The rest is history.
Enough said.
To a better 2011, for everyone.

PS.  I can only say one thing for 2011:  I just bought pregnancy clothes.  I phoned my OB today to ask if he thinks I will jinx it if I do, and he said "no, go ahead, I have a very good feeling about this pregnancy".  So I did.  Three pairs of pants and two tops.  I can't wait to wear them.  Is 12 weeks too early to start do you guys think?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

7 weeks

I had to change the blog background because the brown was making my nausea worse.  I am not kidding.  Will go back to the brown once the nausea subsides.  At the moment, something simple such as this background is more soothing for my stomach.

7 weeks today.  I feel so very sick on most days, that I spend most of my time in bed.  I go to work, sometimes cancel half the day and come home to throw up in my own bathroom, but overall I survive.  Being pregnant is very demanding physically for me, but I would not trade it for the alternative any time.  The constant nausea and the daily vomiting are definitely uncomfortable, but I accept them with more serenity than the first time.

Having Adrian has changed me a lot.  His stillbirth was on January 2, 2010, and as that date is approaching, I am thinking more and more about him, about what I want to do on that day, about my life and how it has changed.  I have become a mother.  It is difficult for others to grasp this concept, and sometimes for me as well, but it is a significant mind shift that permeates every action and thought I have taken since having him.  I feel that I live my life for him, as well as for myself, and hence I cannot let any unlived life pass me by.  I grab at opportunities, and launch myself into what I want to do with both feet.  I am not afraid of death.  I feel comfortable knowing that my remains will join the same thin air into which his smoke vanished, and that our ashes will be merged at one point, and maybe buried together at the root of a big tree.  I feel free knowing that I will go the same way that he went.  Without fear of death, life is a lot easier to live.  I want something and I go for it.  I don't stop to wonder too much about consequences, and I realize that no amount of preparedness will prevent disasters from jumping out unannounced.  A bit of planning, a lot of navigating, that is my life right now.  It used to be a lot of planning, and then more obsessive planning, followed by a fear of launching the boat at all.  I am so different now!

I also have a different attitude towards pregnancy.  This is not my body now, this is my unborn child's body to do as he or she needs to with.  If it means non stop nausea and throwing up daily, then I surrender to that, I don't fight it, I don't compare myself with others, I don't expect it to be different, I don't feel sorry for myself.  If it means gaining weight and building cankles, then so be it.  As for my previous morbid fear of operations, c-sections included, I am pretty happy to report that it is the least of my worries right now.  Having a live baby is the only thing that ultimately counts in a pregnancy, everything else is fluff.

Pregnancy is such an alive time for both me and babyH, as it was for me and Adrian as well.  It felt like a constant fight for survival, with a very sick-feeling body, joyous milestones (seeing the heartbeat, hearing the heartbeat, then feeling movement later on), occasional bleeding, and a lot of worrying.  Every day is a struggle to get through at this point, and although it might improve, it did not get that much better last time.  This time it is going to be a psychological struggle.  And I take on the battle with joy, because as long as I am doing this, I am engaging in life and going after what I want, for all four of us: MrH and myself, Adrian, and babyH.  My little family.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

on men, part one

I am going to start a series of posts about the men in our lives.  I don't know everything about the topic, but I do know a little bit, and this little bit was hard earned, hence it is a gift to whomever cares to listen.  It will come in short posts that need to be individually digested.  I would love love love to get your guys opinion on the topic, since I am hoping that I will learn something out of this sharing of knowledge as well.

I am happily married to a wonderful man, MrH.  He is older than I am, and much wiser in a lot of respects, but when we got married, we each had to learn how to make the relationship work, because if my memory serves me right, the first year of marriage was a little rocky.  We even thought of divorcing during our honeymoon.  We were not very serious about it, but it reflects the fact that we used to have real conflicts, real hurts from this relationship.  Nowadays, after learning how to treat each other in a more nourishing manner shall we say, we just about never fight.  I can't remember the last fight we had, it must have been almost one year ago, around the time when we lost Adrian and we were both raw and tired.  And it was not a remarkable fight either, it had to do with our speed of recovery being different, and frankly I think with the enormous stress we were under.

I cannot speak for him, but I sometimes give my girlfriends tidbits of advice from what I have learned, and it crossed my mind that I should put some down in writing, in case I need to re-read them at a future date (when I regress under stress again, perhaps).  Here is one that I really need to remember:  men really need to make us, women, happy.  It is part of their DNA.   Just like we, women, need to make our men, and our mothers, and our kids happy (and everything else that moves as well), men are also hard wired to make their women happy.  They need to know that their mate is satisfied with the life that she is leading (that he is providing, in man-brain speech).  They need to know that their Christmas present made us happy.  They need to know that their hug made us feel special.  MrH needs to hear that I appreciate him putting the soup in the fridge and especially folding up my laundry when all I asked is for him to bring it upstairs, so that I can fold it.  This effort that they make on our behalf, it is something that they need us to recognize and appreciate, or else they wither and die like an unwatered plant.  It is NOT a weakness on our part to say thank you, I love that, I really appreciate that.  It does not mean that he will get lazy and complacent.  It does not mean that he will keep score and ask us to reciprocate in kind.  They just need to feel like they PROVIDED for us something, something that we value, that made our lives a little better.

And, just as some women are about to say "but he doesn't do anything right", we need to remember that he does his best.  And his best, like our best, is not perfect.  However, it needs to be acknowledged as the gift that it is, even if it was not what we hoped for, even if we could have done it better.  He could not have done it better.  He could not have guessed our mind.  He could not have measured/bought/sold/made X decision better.  He did his best to please his woman, because he really is hard wired to do it, and it comes naturally to him.

Any thoughts?

Monday, December 27, 2010

A better day, 6w4d

Last night I vomited so violently that my esophagus felt like a raw wound the whole night.  I was pleased to sleep a further 12 hours, not that I needed it, after having slept about 10 hours of daytime as well.  I practically slept my way through this Christmas holiday.  

Imagine my shock when I woke up feeling NORMAL.  No tiredness, no nausea, no vomiting.  How weird is that?  No rumbling stomach.  Afraid not to upset the pregnancy demons, I started out timidly, by eating two carrots for breakfast.  Carrots for some reason don't upset my stomach, and are pretty hard to regurgitate, so I eat them in industrial quantities as my main source of nutrition.  So far so good, still not sick.  I went out for a chai tea latte at Starbucks to celebrate feeling well, and I kept that one down well.  I even went for a 5 km walk on the indoor track, where I ran into my obstetrician (small town) and told him that I don't think I am pregnant anymore.  Really, I feel so NORMAL, it is hard to describe the huge contrast between the time spent as a half dead beached whale on my bed, and the full of life albeit a little pale and gaunt-faced woman that I was today.  

Too bad that I can't enjoy my brief time out of prison because I am too worried that something is going wrong.  Although now, towards the evening, the nausea is coming back in reassuring waves.  I hope it won't interfere with the Danish Butter Cookies that I had planned for my little tea party later on. 

Having finished Mad Men, I am now engrossed into a new show, called Nip/Tuck.  It is a about two plastic surgeons.  One of them is married to a woman who wanted to go to medical school, but had to give up her plans because she fell pregnant and had two children, who were now teenagers.  In the movie, she returns to school as an adult student, and of course falls pregnant again.  (If only my time in school were the miracle fertility drug that it seems to be for others, I would have had a whole litter by now).  In this pregnancy however she is diagnosed with incompetent cervix (don't know how) at 8 weeks, and is told that she needs to get a cerclage and spend the rest of her pregnancy on modified bedrest.   She tells the obstetrician that she does not think she can do it, for seven months, and he replies:  "You'd be surprised at what you can achieve if you want something badly enough".   She does not want this pregnancy badly enough though, so she goes to school to write a midterm, and miscarries.  (She gets a good grade in the midterm however).  

Aside from the obvious mistakes made with regards to the incompetent cervix (the early miscarriage at 8 weeks, and the weird diagnosis made based on nothing), the movie does remind me that lying in bed for so long is a difficult task.  It was hard enough to be bedridden for three days during the weekend, I felt like I became sick of my bed, sick of my body, sick of the computer, and nauseated even looking at my own blog page (that's just a temporary association, but I might have to change the background if it continues), it is going to be seriously hard to do it for five months (from 18 weeks on).  However, as the OB in the movie said, if you want it badly enough...and that is not even a question.  I would be bedridden for a year or two if it guaranteed me a baby.  Perhaps this past year, as full of tortures as it was, was necessary to make me amass enough desire to want this badly enough in order to be able to stay in bed for such a prolonged period of time.  In the end, despite the fact that there are other things to do with my body and time, nothing seems as important as the task of gestating carefully.  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

enjoying the affliction

Because I truly am an overachiever, I don't just suffer from morning nausea, I have morning-evening-and-afternoon nausea, with occasional vomiting to accentuate just how very well I do things around here.  It hit predictably at 6 weeks, just like last time.  Except, unlike last time, I recognized it this time and avoided all that worry about dying of some kind of septic shock.  I kid you not, the first time I was pregnant and the nausea hit, I thought that my uterus must be infected and killing me with a septic miscarriage, especially that I was coincidentally also bleeding.  I had never been this sick in my life, not even when I had the flu.  This time, luckily, I know and hence do not need to panic, but rather take it like a woman, lying down.

And lying down I am.  Today I tried four times to get out of bed, and the furthest I could make it without feeling faint and having everything in front of my eyes go dark, a buzzing high pitch sound in my ears, and the familiar vomit raising towards daylight, was about 2 meters.  Each time I had to lie on the floor, head between my knees, my favourite position when it comes to staying conscious in the face of adverse fainting spells.  That's how MrH found me when he got home, and, used to it by now, asked me to please get up slower next time, as due to my delicate condition I can't just hit the ground running like usual.  Although I hardly think that moving like a lovesick hippopotamus with a broken hip qualifies for hitting the ground running.

I don't know what you guys use in the United States, but here in Canada we have a nifty little white pill with a pregnant woman drawn on it (to reassure us that it is safe in pregnancy) called doxylamine, or Diclectin.  It is used for nausea, and it is not bad, if you don't mind sleeping about 16 hours a day.   In the US you can find doxylamine sold as an over the counter sleeping tablet, called Unisom.  Trust me, it works!  I have spent the past 48 hours in a coma, which is good, because when I sleep I generally don't do my other two favourite things, which are retching and fainting.

I hope I don't sound like I am complaining.  I physically feel like... the above description, but I am very happy.  It was entirely self inflicted, with full knowledge of what it would feel like.  And although occasionally I try to push out of my mind the fact that Charlotte Bronte died of this sickness (which, for some reason, is a scary thought), mostly I am a blissful blob gestating happily in my bed, thinking of the little ticking heart that goes on and on inside of me.  And I would not want a thing to change. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

heartbeat

We saw the heartbeat, 115 bpm.  Excellent!  And no source of bleeding on ultrasound again.  The embryo measured 5w6d, and I was 6w1d, don't know if the discrepancy has any significance, but I refuse to worry, I saw my baby's heartbeat today and I am planning on having a Merry Christmas, spotting or not.
Happy holidays and a Merry Christmas to you all today and tomorrow!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

6 weeks today, and more bleeding

I spent a blissful four days this week during which I did not spot at all, and felt nauseated frequently.  I don't like feeling very nauseous, but a little bit is good, because it reassures me.  I was so happy that I would wake up at night of too much happiness, and then be unable to fall asleep again.  I even had a little break during which to start bonding with babyH, and realize that I am growing my husband's child, what an enormous happiness and privilege for which I have fought so hard.

Then, last night, just as I finally started going to the bathroom without examining every molecule of toilet paper for traces of red, brown or yellow, I got another tablespoon of bright blood, no microscope required, as it soaked through the paper.  I wish it would STOP!  It makes me so worried and sick whenever I see it!  I phoned my OB again today (no, he did not change his phone number yet, so might as well take advantage while I can) and told him that, although I know what he is going to say, I just need to hear it again.  He reiterated that it is harmless bleeding, and that it might be going on and off for the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, until the placenta covers the entire uterine surface area, and there's no more decidua left to bleed from.  I felt more reassured and made it through the day without further bleeding.  But what a way to take the joy away from a pregnancy, I tell ya!  (It's not like the second trimester promises to be more joyful, with worries about my anemic, dwarf-size cervix, so can I please at least have my first trimester in peace?)

Tomorrow I am going for my ultrasound.  I am 6 weeks today (the clinic recalculated my dates and put me back one day, for which I sulked for a while, because damn it, I am FIGHTING HARD over here to make it through every day and you can't just take a day away from me just like that), so the chances of seeing the heartbeat are a bit on the slim side.  However, with Adrian I saw it at 6w1d.  MrH thinks that babyH is a girl, and hence that she will be smaller and less developed than Adrian, who was quite big for his gestational age (was 409 g at 20w).  He does not know that all my offspring are overachievers by definition.

Perhaps I should stop comparing all of the gestational stages with Adrian's, so that babyH has his/her own gestational journey, but I can't help it, it is all I have for reference.  Wish me luck for a heartbeat tomorrow, it really will help in the reassurance sector.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

pregnancy books from another universe

First off, love all your stories.  So good to know you guys also do silly things, not just me.
Secondly, here's BabyH, looking handsome.

I am busy trying to find some pregnancy books that apply to my situation.  I find most of them completely useless.  First, the introduction, to the nine months of your life during which you will see yourself flowering and blooming.  Nobody is mentioning freaking out every other day or so.  Then, the statement that "you will never again be alone in the world, you are part of someone and they are part of you forever"-do any of these writers know how enormously alone you feel when you lose a baby?  And do I really want to read this now, when I know that it might happen again, do I want to remember that I might be on my way to feeling again even more alone than before, even more empty?

The rest of my grievances have to do with the lack of applicability that most advice books have to my life, for example:
a.  sex in pregnancy - I wish.  It's gonna be a long, long time, so brace yourself, MrH.
b.  exercise in pregnancy - unless they have some sort of bedrest workout, I doubt I will be able to use it.
c.  preparing the nursery - do I look insane to you?  so I can have to disassemble it if I lose the baby again? learned that lesson once:  no baby clothes, no baby gifts, no baby anything until actual live baby present.

On the other hand, I crave to know what normal pregnancy feels like, so I am trying to learn that feeling from these books.  I want experience that innocent hope that everything will go well , because I forgot, or maybe I never had it to begin with.  I also really want to know if it is ok to dye my hair, because my roots are going to show in the next month or so.  Does anybody here in cyberspace have any advice about hair dye?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Honey, I shrunk the sweater!

Welcome to the ICLW crowd (I wish for a crowd, ha!), thank you for stumbling over here, my story is here.  I have a stillborn son, and am now pregnant for the fourth time this year (no, I am not a gerbil, although sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be easier to be one).  I hope this one sticks, and it is looking very hopeful so far.  Or maybe I am feeling very hopeful because I am deluded, but either way it's good. The previous losses were the stillbirth in Jan 2, 2010, and two subsequent biochemical pregnancies, which I know I should not classify as "losses" in the real medical sense, but they just felt that way to me.  I also don't get pregnant the old-fashioned way.  I have a costly and addictive IVF habit, only marginally more justifiable than crack.  Come to think of it, if I were a crack addict I would be pregnant probably even more often, and really, who gets pregnant more often than a gerbil?

Now, I wonder what possessed me to take on the ICLW commitment, at a point in my life where I need to sleep almost non stop.  The pregnancy demons (also known as the pregmons) are taking over my brain.  On top of needing to sleep the moment I get back home from work in the evenings, I am also engaging in embarrassing and destructive behaviours.  Two days ago, when I was bleeding and thought I am miscarrying, I decided to wash my clothes as the pile of laundry was threatening to take over my closet and suffocate my purse collection, and we can't have that happen around here.  I put in the wash (on regular cycle) and then in the dryer, my 500$ Brunello Cucinelli white cashmere sweater!!!! It is the single most expensive piece of clothing that I own(ed).  Even my wedding dress was cheaper.  And I loved loved loved that sweater to death.  It is still wearable, if you like three quarter length sleeves.  Ughhhhh.  Please anyone out there in the universe reading this story, tell me that you have done a similarly stupid thing, otherwise I will continue to bite my nails until they fall off.

Also, if anyone out there can confess to eating 10 chocolates today, that would make me feel less alone as well.  For all my vegan pleas, I seem to be lacking in motivation, or something short circuited my brain and I forgot that I am not supposed to be eating junk food anyway.  I. Must. Absolutely. Stop.  I know that putting weight on in pregnancy means having to keep it until nine months later when one can start exercising and dieting again.  Every indulgence that will add on an extra two pounds (like the ten chocolates) is something that I am doomed to carry on my love handles until next fall.  MUST REMEMBER.  If only I had a brain to record all these details with.  Unfortunately, it has been taken over by a small placenta, and it will be returned to me sometime late next year.  Until then, we'll have to make do with the temporarily modified IQ of 64.  I wonder if I qualify for government assistance.  Perhaps they can send over someone to do my laundry, since obviously I can't handle that complex task myself.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Yolk sac, sunny side up

Today I did my third beta, it was 13200 or something like that, up from 6131 on Friday, 3 days ago.  This is a good increase, as it no longer doubles every two days but every three days once it gets over 6000.  I also snuck into the ultrasound room and begged my OB for a quick scan to see how many we have:  there was only one round beautiful gestational sac, with a yolk sac inside.  I was very relieved that it was only one, but somehow I felt that I knew it all along, just like I know it is a boy.  Don't ask me how.  I was right last time as well.

At 5w4d (5 weeks 4 days) it too early for a heartbeat, but will try again on Friday at my formal ultrasound, although I have been warned that I might not see it, that it might still be too early even then.  But the most important thing is that there was no sign of a blood collection anywhere near the sac.  The bleeding has completely stopped yesterday morning, and today there isn't even a streak of pink.  The OB thinks that it is decidual bleeding (one point goes to Tiffany for guessing correctly in my last post's comments).  I had my money on a subchorionic hemorrhage.  Basically, the decidua is the lining of the uterus in the pregnant woman, and a decidual bleed can come about a thick decidua (from the hormones) that bleeds because pieces of it may slough off (if it becomes too thick to maintain itself with its own blood supply).

So, other than this little hiccup, everything is right on track.  I think I am going to need nerves of steel to make it through this pregnancy.  The pregnant demons are taking my body over already, it is three hours earlier than my usual bedtime and I need to sleep.  Not to mention that I can smell things that I never could before, like my parrot's poops.  But the worst thing is the nausea that is creeping up, just like last time.  I am hoping that my vegan diet will be easier to tolerate than my previous diet.  I am a lot more relaxed about all these symptoms though, because I know now that they are temporary.  Last time I somehow felt that they would never end.  So this time I can just sit back and enjoy the ride...(and that is what we call wishful thinking!)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

clotting, clotting

I did not have any more gushes of blood today, just some black clot that came out, I think it is starting to slow down, and perhaps dare I hope GO AWAY...  I am strangely calm, I made bread, and did all my paperwork for the weekend (paid bills, bought plane ticket for going to my parents' on New Year's Eve), and once in a while entertained the idea that perhaps I am losing the pregnancy, but frankly not believing in it all that much.  Because, you see, I still FEEL pregnant.  I am getting small waves of nausea, and if I stand for a long time I get dizzy.  I don't like the smell of mesquite powder in my hot chocolate, which is something that I have always liked (mesquite is a carob-like powder, coming from Peru, it has a high iron content, and I use it to increase my iron consumption when eating vegan, and normally I like its flavour, but not today).

If it were not for the bleeding, I would say that the progression of symptoms is going according to last time's schedule as well.  Even the bleeding is right on track, what can I say.  I am continuing to hope.  My mom was saying on the phone that it is God's will, and I said yeah, I think God has decided to take away this pregnancy from me, a pregnancy which I have achieved after one whole year of trying, and which comes after losing my other baby for which I have also tried one whole year.  I am sure that is exactly the way God is... NOT!  I was praying to God last night to help me get through this ordeal, whatever it will end up to be, and I felt that He heard me, and trust that He will, but I know in my heart that He does not want me to miscarry any more than a loving parent would.  

bleeding, bleeding, bleeding

I woke up last night to blood running down my leg, into the toilet, and all over, like a period, bright red and scary.  I took one look my blood, which I have seen so very often in my life, and started retching.  Somewhere in my brain, my subconscious must have recorded that this blood was wrong, and gave me a vasovagal reaction.  I try not to think of it as the kiss of death, although I know that the chances are 50-50 at this point.  I still need to go do a third beta tomorrow, for the IVF clinic, and will probably get some information from that as well.  My ultrasound is ages away, on Friday, and there is no point in moving it sooner, as we would not be able to see a heartbeat anyway.  

I phoned my OB again (for the sixth time this week) and he told me to try and stay positive.  (I asked him what for? he knew me better than to respond to that one, but still said that it would make me feel better not to think about the worst all the time).  He still believes it is most likely a marginal sinus bleed, not necessarily a miscarriage, although he agrees with me that it's fifty-fifty.  I don't think bedrest will help anymore, since I started bleeding in my sleep, in the middle of the night, so I will get up and about, albeit gently.  I am waiting and seeing.  And I am strangely calm.  I feel like I have gone through so much, that nothing phases me anymore.  Last night, when I was bleeding, I asked MrH what are we going to do next if I miscarry?  He said more of the same, I guess, as in another IVF after three menstrual periods.  And then he rolled off to sleep, and eventually so did I.  Like two people in the middle of a war, who can sleep despite the bombs shaking the roof.  There is a limit to how much even I can worry.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Brave women get rewarded

It is something that I think I read on a blog, or in a book, a long time ago, which said that "brave women get rewarded".  As far as I remember, they are the words of a high risk obstetrician, and they have given me strength many times throughout this past year, which was by far the hardest year of my life.  I have thought long and hard about whether what he said is true or not.  The cynical part of my mind likes to reject anything that looks too much like a hopeful communist slogan, along the lines of "hard work makes anything possible".  I am no longer a child.  I know that some things may never be mine, no matter how hard I work.  But the other side of the coin is that without being brave and trying again, women like me will not get rewarded.  Only brave women have a chance at reward in the end.  If you want to have a child after a miscarriage, a stillbirth, or an infant death, bravery becomes necessary.

I spent the whole day in bed, resting, and towards the evening I got up to cook a simple meal of onions, mushroom, garlic, corn, tomatoes and basil.  I just threw it in as it came to mind, and it turned out very good, fresh and simple, with the corn right off the cob popping sweetly amidst the soft filling mushrooms.  I did not notice any bleeding today, which goes to show that being still is a good thing in my situation.  I will probably spend tomorrow in semi-bedrest as well, just to make sure that the blood vessel that probably popped is healing.

I had a moment of self-pity last night, when I asked MrH just before I fell asleep:  why am I so bad at this pregnancy thing?  I mean really, I am only five weeks pregnant, and I am already dealing with threatened miscarriage.  He said that I am not bad at it, I just don't have any choice in the matter.  "You can't be bad at something that you cannot control" he said.  That is definitely a wise thing to ponder, and will give me comfort one day should I choose to stop my self-critical tendencies... I must say however that I am much better at dealing with the threatened miscarriage this time.

Last september, when I had the threatened miscarriage with Adrian, due to a subchorionic hemorrhage, I became pretty hysterical.  We had no obstetrician in town at that time, and I drove 70 km to the nearest obstetrician, who did a transvaginal scan and told me that there was no heartbeat, and that he would have expected to see one at that beta HCG level.  He looked grim, and I went back home preparing to miscarry at any time.  I didn't know what to expect, so I had large absorbable pads in my purse at all times, in case some kind of floods happen.  A week later, I went for my repeat ultrasound, and they could see a heartbeat.  I bled for a few days more, and then I stopped.  But the driving, the ultrasound, the crying, the hysterical feeling of being out of control and of losing something that I had worked for so hard, all of that made me bleed even more.  This time I am older and wiser, and I am simply staying in bed.  No ultrasounds, no driving, no crying.  Just calmly expecting for the bleeding to stop, or for the other shoe to drop, whichever might come first.  I know now that not me, not my obstetrician, not any human being can predict the outcome.  Only God can, and He won't tell me yet :)

"It's gonna be a long 9 months" my obstetrician said to me yesterday with a sigh, after I phoned him for the fifth time this week... I think he was thinking about himself, but hey, I hope he is right!  Nine months sounds like the perfect amount of time to me.

Friday, December 17, 2010

um...twins anyone?

I gave in and begged to have a beta HCG again this evening, because I started spotting pink again throughout the day.  Guess what the beta was?  6131!!!  The doubling time is 1.41 days, and my OB thinks it's twins.  I feel extremely happy that the beta is raising so well, despite the spotting, which does not worry me anymore.  While waiting for the call about the numbers, I sat by the phone and promised myself that if it is good, and this pregnancy goes on, I will be a lot stricter about my vegan diet, which in a very unrelated way I am offering as a sacrifice to the universe, as in being a better person, reducing my carbon footprint, and not terminating other lives to enhance my own.  It looks like it's tofu and veggies from here on...

Now, onto serious business.  How am I going to hold onto twins when my cervix is so incompetent?  will the band hold?  will I go into preterm labour?  I will definitely be a higher risk pregnancy, but on the other hand, if it works, I would be done, done, done with IVF, and what a sweet deal that would be.  I don't want to get too carried away.  It might not be twins.  I guess we'll find out next Friday on the ultrasound.  I am delirious with relief though...

the fight for optimism

Had some more spotting last night, and today it has completely stopped.  I am not worried anymore, and sure that it was due to implantation.  As many people know, one can spot and downright bleed during a pregnancy many times and things can still go well.  I definitely did not freak out during this pregnancy to the extent that I did with Adrian, when I was a novice to these things. I am now a veteran of pregnancy mishaps, having suffered from subchorionic hemorrhage last time, and unexplained bleeding at 15 weeks, none of which amounted to anything, only to lose the pregnancy at 20 weeks with absolutely no symptoms at all.  Which goes to show, that symptoms are only that, symptoms, and one cannot read the end of a pregnancy into every new development.  It would be like worrying that your child would die at every cold or infection.  The embryos and fetuses have some resilience, and we need to believe in their will to survive as well.  Plus, on the negative side of the truth, just like it happened with me and Adrian, one can lose a pregnancy at the drop of a hat with no symptoms at all.  A baby can die in utero suddenly and without explanation.  Why live waiting for that to happen though, when there is so much hope to look forward to?

This bleeding episode made me think about the attitude that I want to take during this pregnancy.  I cannot simply wait for it to end with every breath, like my negative side is trying to convince me. I will fight for this pregnancy, and believe in it with all my heart.  Part of the fight is the mental attitude in which I believe that I will bring home a baby next summer, a healthy term baby.  I will believe in my baby's own fighting power and will for life, which makes it develop so beautifully.  I will not go into my next blood test and ultrasound with the attitude that I already know there will be bad news.  Why should I believe that?  I deserve to hope for a baby and a good pregnancy just like any other pregnant woman.  I realize that it will not be easy, but I want to give myself that, and will strive for that optimistic goal one day at a time.  Today I am doing well.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

feeling better

The spotting has stopped for now, but I did give my obstetrician a call and he said not to worry at all about it, that it is very common at this stage while the embryo is burrowing into my endometrium for some blood vessels to bleed a little.  It was a very small amount, and in fact I think someone less paranoid than me would not have even noticed the subtle discoloration of the vaginal progesterone remains that collect on my  pantyliner three times a day (I do the progesterone vaginally, not by injection).  I have, to my credit, abstained from posting pictures of the evidence...ew!

This episode shows me that this pregnancy is going to be a mind game as much as a physical transformation.  I must LEARN TO TRUST what my body tells me.  I feel pregnant.  I am tired, my breasts hurt and they are spilling out of my bra already, I am inclined towards worry and negative thinking (this is also a pregnancy effect, although some of it is constitutional), and I have bits of nausea with tons of heartburn.  My body is telling me loud and clear that I am still pregnant, and perhaps, as MrH says, I am getting more and more pregnant every day.

spotting

very light spotting today, almost imperceptible pink/yellow, but definitely blood.  Will try not to freak out.  This happened with Adrian as well, and it was fine.  I think it is implantation related, but still hard to convince my brain not to worry.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday-5 weeks today!

5 weeks today, babyH is looking handsome, at 2.5 mm length, positively gigantic.  I really needed to feed his massive body today, so I had some Christmas baked treats for snacks... this must STOP!  the excuse that I am now pregnant and therefore I can have dessert is nonsense.  I am usually very strict with my diet, and now, if anything, is a time during which everything that enters my mouth should be in the cleanest, purest shape. I still had my veggie juice and beet/tomato soup for dinner, chickpeas for lunch, and my usual breakfast of oatmeal, brazil nuts and chia seeds with soy milk, but I must absolutely stop eating sugar and drinking milk that is not strictly organic, the last thing I need in my bloodstream is extra insulin or an extra dose of growth hormone.  It is only a matter of time until I get gestational diabetes, given that my mom had it, and I have diabetes lurking in my genes.  Put together with a pregnancy during which I am not allowed to move much, and you get GD easily.

I have had a chat with my OB today.  We decided that, if everything goes smoothly, I will go off work at about 18 weeks, and then at 24 weeks I will go live in Vancouver for a few months, in case I need NICU, as it takes many, many hours to fly babies out of here.  My husband has to stay here, and I won't like being without him, but I would do  anything to give the baby a better chance. 

I can also have my cervix scanned for length regularly, at least every 2 weeks, to see if there are any changes before 18 weeks, and then go on bedrest earlier if the cervix is shortening.  I am starting off with a very short cervix, of only 2 cm or so, and he told me that my chance of preterm labour is 30%.  He also made sure to remind me that although most cerclages work, not all of them do,  but that if it fails it fails, there is nothing we can do to prevent it.  Naturally, after this conversation, I was a bit depressed today, and starting thinking of what am I going to do if I lose this baby in the same way... as I doubt very much that it would make any sense to try again.  However, I came to my senses after a long chat with my friend, and decided that if it fails, I will first have to find out why it failed (i.e. was it preterm labour? uterine rupture? cerclage failure? membrane prolapse? or preterm rupture of membranes) and then see if anything can be done about it, then decide what to do next.  It is impossible for me to decide now what I would do then, because I don't have all the data, so I am going to stop worrying and enjoy the fact that babyH is starting to develop a heart, which will be beating in the next 2 days or so.  He is also growing eyes!   How exciting!  

I have started to picture myself with a baby.  That is definitely progress.  I have even thought of child care.  I am really jumping the gun here.  But, like I said, must let mind do its own thing.  Mind knows what it wants and cannot be stopped anyway. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

still pregnant

I had a bit of nausea yesterday, and quite a bit more today, to the extent that I am finding it hard to eat my veggies and drink my juice concoctions.  I talk about the juicing quite a bit, and it is an involved procedure at my house.  We have a centrifugal juicer for carrots and celery, and sometimes apples/oranges, plus a masticator juicer for leaves, so I daily juice a bunch of chard or collard greens, plus about six carrots, a bunch of celery, and an apple, then I drink it, like it or not.  It is usually not too bad, but now that the nausea is starting, I really don't know how I am going to down the green juice from the leaves, that is the tough part.

What keeps my nutritional goals alive is the thought of little babyH that is growing so much every day!  This week, he (I think it's a boy again) is growing from a little tube to an S-shaped embryo, and at the end of the week he will look almost like a little human project.  At the rate at which he is growing, I know that he needs the best nutrition, and leaves/veggies have a lot of folic acid, beta carotene, vitamin C and who knows what else.  I would never be able to eat and absorb all of the stuff I am putting through the juicer, so the juicing makes sense.  Of course, in addition to that, I try to actually eat vegetarian meals, although I slip sometimes and today I had Hungarian sausage for lunch.  (I felt so guilty afterwards that I promised myself no more slip ups during the first trimester, really don't want to feed babyH any nitrates if I can help it).  I introduced dairy again, and am liking it quite a lot, at least this way I won't have to worry about the calcium or vitamin B12.

I am sometimes feeling guilty about upsetting others that are still struggling with infertility just by my mere presence.  I don't know if I should comment on people's blogs, perhaps I am a bit of an unwanted person at this point.  I feel happy and full of optimism, and perhaps this is reminding others of what they hoped a pregnancy would bring to them.  I am sometimes feeling this in real life with people as well.  I don't quite know how to deal with this sixth sense that I am upsetting other women, so I am keeping to myself.  Any guidance would be appreciated.

Monday, December 13, 2010

beta very good!

I went in today to do my beta HCG guessing that I would be around 300, based on my calculations of doubling time of 2 days.  It was 861!  I am now a bit worried about twins, although it is impossible to say based on beta numbers.  If I take the first day that my preg test was positive as Dec 5 and guess that the level was about 20, because it was barely detectable, then the doubling time is 1.2 days, which is a bit too fast for a singleton.  I am not going to stress out about this.  It is good news, the likelihood of miscarriage and ectopic drops when the beta numbers are so good.  I think we are in business!  

My ultrasound was supposed to be scheduled for 7 weeks, because I wanted to be patient and wait, but I broke down and begged to be moved earlier, to Dec 24, at 6 weeks and 3 days.  The advantage of doing it earlier is that I find out earlier how many exactly took, and the disadvantage is that sometimes it is too early to see the heartbeat.  But I think we should be fine with 6w3d.

I had some more pasta tonight, with a vegetable sauce.  I have really cleaned up my diet after this beta test: everything that goes in my mouth has to have some nutritional value.  I might make a tiny exception for some of the Christmas treats (read : I will probably indulge like a piggy) but for now I am sticking to my green freshly juiced rainbow chard, my spinach puree, and my mushroom tagliatelle.  Yum!  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

hand rolled pasta and pregnancy skin

Winter has really come to us, today we had a wonderful snowfall, and everything is white, like in a fairy tale.  This is a picture of my patio taken this morning.  I wanted to laugh at my mom who suggested that we barbecue a piece of salmon, as my barbecue is underneath two feet of snow.  I did however bake bread, the first time in over one year.  I used to bake all the time, but stopped after Adrian's stillbirth, and now I felt the need to go back to it.  It's almost like some kind of life force is coming back to me, some kind of lost zest for living that was based on hope and simply disappeared this year.   This is the bread, or the one half that was left after last night's dinner with company, and after I had my morning coffee and slice of bread with honey.
It is a regular French loaf, made with three and a half cups of white flour, one and a half or so cups of water (I go by the feel), some salt and yeast.  That is it.  I let my Kitchen Aid do the mixing with the dough hook, then I let my dehydrator do the raising (because it has a temperature for bread raising, otherwise the house would be a bit too cool), and then I bake it in a Romertopf, a ceramic container which can be soaked in water and hence creates steam, which closes the crust and makes it crispy.  MrH said that it was my best bread ever, but I think the poor man was simply deprived by my long baking strike.  Nothing like that to make you appreciate what your wife can make, eh?

Then, because I did not have enough carbs for one weekend, I went over to my Italian friend's house and  we made hand-rolled ravioli (she made it, I made conversation) which we had with cream and prosciutto sauce.  I really am vegan, I swear.  But once in a while I must allow myself a little piece of heaven, and I must say, her pasta was THE BEST I have ever eaten.  I did not know that pasta can be this good.  I must get on with the rolling pin and learn how to make those works of art, or else I will miss out on good food in life.  All in all, I think I should lock the scale in the cupboard tomorrow.  And possibly for the next year, I think...

My ass is growing, but my skin is absolutely fantastic, like with my last pregnancy.  Three days ago, all my blackheads committed suicide and jumped off my face, and now I have these infinitely small pores with porcelain coloured skin.  No reddness, no acne.  Ten years of anti acne medication (which includes at least two courses of every medication known to mankind used for this purpose) did not do it for me, and now this one little change makes me look like I am no longer a teenager with pimply skin.  Got to love it.

Tonight from 7 pm to 8 pm there is a candle lighting ceremony for parents who lost living children.  Here is my candle for Tiffany who lost Julius to SIDS, and for all of those parents who lost their children or babies.  May we all find peace eventually.

PS.  My birds ate the wax off the candle!  That is why the bottom half looks like somebody sculpted it with an axe.

PPS.  In case anyone else has a newly found hobby in embryology, here is babyH today.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I am the mothership

I want to thank all the wonderful ladies here who encourage me in the comments section, it really means the world to me.  I check my comments at least three times a day, and get so excited when I get a new one!

Today I had a little hint of nausea.  I don't really think that it was pregnancy-related, as it is too early (normally the nausea stage of my pregnancy starts at 6 weeks), but it was exciting nevertheless.  My breasts are slowly becoming more painful as well, kind of premenstrual-like, and I have lost a total of 6 lb from the 10 lb gained on Suprefact, I still have four more to go.  I watch what I eat, but I am not as strict anymore.  I just try to not overdo it, and to choose sensibly most of the time. That did not stop me from having three deserts in the past two days, but to my defense I only had about two tablespoons of each.  

Over the past three days, the news about my pregnancy got out there (at 4 weeks and 3 days! the earliest pregnancy announcement in history), and hence a lot of people want to know details.  Women, in particular, who know that the baby was conceived via IVF, want to know details of my trials and tribulations involved in conceiving this baby.  I tell them about my six attempts so far, try to describe exactly what is involved (depending on the person's level of understanding), and hint a little about the emotional and financial drain involved.  Well, I am baffled to report, it amazes me how many times I get the following response:  "and I on the other hand can get pregnant just by looking at my husband" or "just by thinking about wanting to be pregnant" or "always in the first month of trying" or "I barely came off the pill and got pregnant both times".   I mean HELLO, anybody home in your brain?

It is a bit like going to a homeless person and telling them that I, on the other hand, have a nice warm house, with a lovely cat and a delicious dinner on the stove, and running hot water every time I want it.  Or like going to your friend who has cancer and telling them that I, on the other hand, am brimming with good health and hope to live to be a hundred.  I think women have a subconscious need to compete, in order to secure their spot in the pack, and how do we compete? by bragging about our mate, our ability to reproduce, and our kids.   I cannot believe how insensitive some people can be.  I can instantly tell the level of empathy that a person might have by how they respond to the news about my infertility.  And I have had some pretty calloused responses in my life, I tell ya'.  

However, the truth about my current state of affairs is that no matter what happens, I have this secret happiness that simply cannot allow anything to overtake it.  It's like I have a light flickering inside me and there is no way it can get dark.  I share my life with another being, it is so magical!  The first time I got pregnant, I was not able to separate myself from the concept of my baby, until I actually held it in my arms, and saw that he was an individual, different from me.  Now I seem to be acutely aware that I am carrying another human inside, not just a bunch of my own cells that are busy reproducing.  Whatever stage it is at, even when it was just a ball of cells, I cannot think of babyH as anything other than a separate human being, an embryonic person.  And most of all, at all moments of the day and night, I feel like a vessel, whose needs come second, whose body comes second, who feeds and houses and protects babyH, and I love being this vessel more than anything in the wold.  Everything is now put into a different perspective, where work, and conflicts, and worries about mundane stuff comes second, a far second to my first and foremost job, that of being the mothership. 


Friday, December 10, 2010

can't think outside the box

Wanna see the pee stick today?  it was quite exciting, after the fear of last night, to see this line here, which to me looks like the brightest line on a pee stick in the whole wide universe:
To compare with the one from two days ago, it is at least doubly dark, here is that one as well, just because I seem to be obsessed with these details lately:

I should be reassured by these lines, and I am, enough to say that today I will restrain myself to the morning stick only.  That is not to say that tomorrow bright and early I will be able to urinate without the assistance of one of these trusty little gadgets, since I honestly think that if I go for more than 24 hours without marking my territory on one I will convince myself that the pregnancy has died.

Along the same lines, a dear friend of mine, who is very pregnant, offered to give me a website for buying  darling little cribs after hearing of my news (by now, everybody in my community knows that I am pregnant, and that is fine with me, as news travel fast around here anyway) and I, for a long while, could not shake the feeling that she must be talking to the wrong person.  What do cribs have to do with being pregnant?  I ruminated the question in my head the whole day, and I still cannot honestly say to myself that I actually believe, even a little, that at the end of this pregnancy I will have a live baby that will require a crib.

I love being pregnant so far, and thinking of the life developing inside me at breakneck speed, doubling in size every day in extremely organized fashion.  I read avidly embryonic developmental websites, and can describe all three layers of the primitive embryo, plus what happens next (which is not the most exciting post material, so I will not go into details of my newly found hobby).  I can see myself growing a little body inside me, and carrying it happily to about mid-pregnancy, around 20-24 weeks or so.  I know that much is possible.  And I am fine with that much only.  But I cannot, for the life of me, think outside that box.  I would rather feel comfortable shopping online for a little urn than for a crib.

I know that I am shooting for the stars, and somewhere inside me I am completely closed off to the possibility of a live baby.  It is a dreadful thing to say, and an even more dreadful thing to live, but it is my blog and I choose to be honest.  I also need to let everyone here know that thinking this way will not cause a bad outcome.  This particular truth has taken me a whole year to grasp, and please don't tempt me to regress and go back to thinking that awful things happen to me because I believe that they will.  It is a circular argument, and the more accurate version would be to say that I believe awful things will happen to me because they do.  Or at least they did.  Perhaps, if the universe gives me a break at some point, I will believe differently, but I think that we can only go as far as our experiences allow us to go.

If you have never experienced pregnancy but have seen the majority of other women deliver babies after being pregnant, then that is the extent of your ability to imagine things, and that is what you will consider the norm for yourself.  I used to think that way with my first pregnancy.  If you have already given birth to a live baby, then you already know that you can, case closed.  If all you have ever been able to do is to produce a stillborn and a couple of miscarriages, then you know with every fiber of your being that ALL you have been able to do is to produce a stillborn and a couple of miscarriages.  There isn't a minute of the day where you think anything else.

I do think as time goes on my mind might allow me to imagine a baby at the end of this, but for now, each time I try, I get nothing.  Nothing.  I can imagine a fetus, but not a baby.  I guess perhaps I have to give it time.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Statistics and fear

I have bored myself silly reading statistics about miscarriages and live birth rates.  I really don't know why I bother.  My pregnancy with Adrian went pretty well, had excellent HCG numbers, and I could actually detect a fetal heartbeat with the doppler ultrasound at 8.5 weeks, and yet I lost him, with a 99% chance of live birth.  I was in the other 1% category.  Why do I bother reading statistics?  I should just enjoy my newly unfolding pregnancy and try taking it one day at a time.

And for the most part, I do.  (I have even downloaded a pregnancy countdown box for fun, not because I really believe I will have a baby at some point, but because I have always wanted one).  In reality, occasionally, such as tonight, I freak out in worry.  I had too many liquids during the day because my throat was dry, and when I came home I did my customary pee test, because I cannot live without knowing at least at 12 hour intervals that there is still pregnancy hormone in my body.  The line was, naturally, faint, because the urine was so dilute.  However, all the knowledge in the world could not stop me from worrying that the pregnancy is dying, just like the other two chemical pregnancies did.

I know that in all likelihood tomorrow morning the test will be darker still, just as it has been darkening progressively over the past four mornings.  But tonight no amount of logic can ease off this terror that accompanies me at every step, that I will lose my baby again, just like I did before.  Inside me there is a little scared woman who thinks that she is doomed to lose every baby in her life, to go repeatedly through the same trauma until the hurt of it is more than the pain of stopping.  Hopefully though, there is also a woman who can live in the moment a little, and enjoy the knowledge that every second is shared with a little soul the size of a grain of sand.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

new feelings

I seem to be a little bored today, staying in bed all day like I have, so I am posting again.  Just in case you missed me...

I would like to assure you guys that ALL FERTILES ARE WELCOME HERE!  I am only KIDDING when I am teasing y'all.  Of course you can read my blog, comment, and follow my journey.  I am honoured that you are interested in my experience, and enjoy your comments very much.  So, please people, don't take me too seriously when I tease.

I was going to write "If I sound unfriendly and harsh, I am probably kidding", but that got me thinking about something...something uncomfortable and deeply buried, which I don't really want to dig out, but I think it's time.  When I was pregnant with Adrian, I was open to the world.  I wanted to give, to get involved, to learn about politics and international affairs, about wars about to erupt, about pollution, about the fate of Earth and humankind.  I also wanted to be friends with people, to get more and more integrated into our community, to share experiences.  Then, when I lost him, after I went through a couple of grief stages, some of which included anger and resentment, I alienated myself from people.  I am a very open person as it is, and it's hard to notice that I have closed myself in, since even at my most closed in I am still quite social.  But I know myself, and I noticed.  This is one of the tragedies of stillbirth, the loss of social network, because like it or not, others will have what you lost and remind you of your misfortune, or they will not understand and make upsetting comments, or they will be impatient or forgetful with your sorrow, or they simply will seem like they live in a parallel universe.

This notion of the parallel universe is still very vivid for me.  What makes us, humans, a collective society, is the fact that we share roughly the same types of experiences, and end up feeling roughly the same about life, with similar expectations and ways of acting.  Nowadays though, stillbirth and infant loss are fortunately very rare.  Only 1% of pregnancies end up in stillbirth (remember the rule of 1%), and even then, nobody talks about it, avoiding the subject like any other taboo.  What I have felt after losing Adrian was this immense sense of isolation, like I was the only one that this had happened to. Then I discovered the online community, when I was strong enough to start a blog, and it changed me a little.  I am more open and more accepting of my fate, especially after reading other's stories that seem at least as bad as mine, often worse.  It allows me to see that I have not been singled out by the universe, that bad luck happens to all of us, in different ways.

Over the past couple of days, what I have felt in particular was a desire to open myself up to the world again.  Undoubtedly, it has to do with this budding pregnancy, and undoubtedly, if this pregnancy were to end up badly, you'd find me hiding in the cupboard again.  But for now, I feel ready to rejoin the world.  I don't know how that will happen exactly.  I have alienated people with my harshness and my unapologetic refusal to take part in social activities.  I still feel mostly different from others, and largely misunderstood.  I often still feel singled out by fate, and hence need to hide, lest fate were to strike again in a tender spot.  However, in the midst of all this, I am slowly becoming aware of this new energy that is peaking through my shell, and will likely start to honour it soon.

my little thief

Just in case you guys thought I was kidding here is the proof that the little maniac is into pee sticks:

He stole it from the nightstand while I was busy writing the previous post.  So cute!

Beta Hell

This is this morning's test, taken with the iphone.  The line is pretty clear now.  It is definitely getting darker by the day, which is great, because that means that I am probably going to pass "Beta Hell".  For the fertile women out there (what are you guys doing reading my blog anyway?), Beta Hell is something reserved to us, the lucky girls who go through assisted reproduction.  The beta HCG hormone level needs to double every 48 hours or so.  If it does not, if it only goes up a little, not even one and a half times increase, then you know you'll likely miscarry, at some point in the future.  The problem is that nothing is certain.  You don't know IF you will miscarry (miracles have been known to happen, just google "good beta HCG stories" or something like that), when (it could be in a week, or in seven weeks), and usually all you are asked to do anyway is to wait, and to keep going to the lab every second day to get another blood test, ad nauseam.

I have been through Beta Hell three times so far, passed once with Adrian, then failed twice with the subsequent chemical pregnancies.  When I passed, it was simple: take one test, then another one two days later, doubling well, done.  When I failed, it was ...hellish.  I took one test, which showed low numbers.  I was told to take another one in two days, which I did.  It was the same.  I was told that I would likely miscarry, but to still take the hormone supplements, in case the embryo revives and starts dividing, a miracle that has less than 1% chance of happening.  Well, I thought to myself, so does incompetent cervix, and look, I got that one, so let's keep hoping.  Apparently the rule for me is:  if something BAD has a chance of less than 1% of happening, it will happen.  If something GOOD has the same statistics, then get real, who do you think you are?

Anyway, long story short, I waited, and did bloodwork diligently for about eight days, during which time I became numb from having my hopes crushed repeatedly and regularly, like a hammer.  The numbers were staying the same.  I started praying that the stupid embryo stop living and producing beta HCG, so that I can stop hoping and crying each time.  I even plotted embryonic assassination by stopping my hormones.  Well, we all know how that one ended.  And the next one.

But not BabyH.  He is already demonstrating his superior capacities by providing me with an increasingly darkening strip daily :).  I think we are going to get along just fine...

I am sick like a dog, lying in bed.  Yesterday MrH told my workplace to cancel my day, because he knew that I am a true verified workaholic, and would not dream of ever calling in sick.  I don't think I have done that since grade seven.  I figure a cold is not a reason to slow down, you just show up, wear a mask, wash your hands and try not to faint (sitting helps, standing is harder).  I think MrH is already behaving like an expectant father again, by protecting me against the elements.  I love a man who listens to his protective instincts!  that is very sexy.  Score one for MrH.  Unfortunately, there will be no sex for us for the next nine months, as with my colourful history the only thing allowed in my vagina is the dildocam, and only if it wears a condom.

My only symptoms so far are occasional cramping, like I am about to get my period (which is scary, because I keep waiting to get my period and wipe babyH off the face of my endometrium) and itchy nipples.  That is a weird one, but I think it is the beginning of sensitive nipples.  I also have blue veins starting to show up on my chest, like a river, bifurcating, one to each breast.  Or maybe I am making this whole thing up, hoping for some symptoms to make this pregnancy real.  Because honestly, it still hasn't clicked in that I AM PREGNANT!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

primitive streak

The line is staying there, and it is getting darker.  This is good, very good.  MrH is smiling his expectant father smile, which I swear I have only seen on his face when I am pregnant.  He is radiating warmth and happiness like a child when he smiles like that, and he did it this morning when I showed him pregnancy test no. 1554 (kidding) that was an obvious line, the one that I tried to capture with my iphone.  Here is a better picture that I took with a proper camera:

I know I am silly taking pictures of weak positives, and I know we should not be getting so excited so soon, but heck, I have waited for one whole year for a good feeling like this, where you think everything  COULD go well.  Yes, it has lots of chances to not go well, but it could go well, and the chances of that are better than half.  Perhaps for once in my life the odds are going to be on my side.  And if they are not...it is better to have loved and lost than not loved at all.  I choose to get excited.  I have spent the whole evening reading about embryonic development, and at the moment, as we speak, BabyH is busy developing a primitive streak

It's a hard job, being an embryo!  

look, a second line

My mucus-filled head has woken me up this morning after only 6 hours of sleep, and I thought I would post some art on my blog:
is this a :
1.  Picasso discovered among the newly found 271 works of art that made the news recently
2.  a new cooking spatula
3.  a shoe horn
4.  my early morning pee stick without which I cannot live, showing a dark enough line to almost take an iphone picture.

The winner gets nothing, but don't let that stop you from playing anyway.

Monday, December 6, 2010

obsessive to the max

I woke up this morning and my first thought was "I wonder if the line is still there".  I checked on the FRER from last night, and sure enough the line had not been a figment of my imagination, it was still there.   Then, I did the first pregnancy test of the day.  It was reassuringly still positive, even more so than last night.  I then went to work, had tea during the morning, about four cups, as I am quite sick with a head cold, and at lunch decided to check again, just in case the line had disappeared.  During the course of the morning, against my better judgement, I phoned both my mom (who was skeptical, given her poor experiences with me and my preg tests) and my obstetrician, who was very happy, and more positive than I am (despite his previous experiences with me and my preg tests).  I had also emailed my IVF doctor, who simply replied to please do my bloodwork when it's time and stop pissing on tests (no he didn't say that, but it was implied).

Anyway, four cups of tea later, my lunch test was very faintly positive, almost hard for me to see the line at all.  I freaked out just a little.  Enough to make me take another one tonight.  This time, I made sure to not drink anything for about four hours before taking it, and the line was definitely the most satisfying I have seen so far, darker than last night, and darker than this morning.  This is a good thing... so far.  My other tests did not get so dark so fast.  Today is day 12 "past ovulation", in fact day 7 post 5 day transfer, so my period would have normally been due in two days, if I were to not be on medication.  I think the lines are appropriate for this time in the cycle, if I remember correctly from the first time I got pregnant, when it was the only normal implantation that I had.

I am battling a sinus infection I think, my head is swimming in mucus.  I have bought this new contraption that I feel the need to share with the world:  it started off as a WATERPIK, which is a machine that pumps a stream of water in between one's teeth, under high pressure, to clean residual plaque.  The waterpik is a fine gadget, but what I found on ebay a while back (and felt the need to own) is a nasal cannula that attaches to the waterpik, for rinsing one's sinuses.  Basically, you put the one end in your nostril, plug up the other one with your hand, and turn the machine on.  It pumps a steady stream of water that comes out through your mouth and your tear ducts.  In fact, I had gobs of mucus come up through my tear ducts this evening, I could not believe that is possible.  I love this machine.  I rinse my sinuses three times a day when I have a cold, and hardly ever need antibiotics anymore.  I used to use a normal sinus bottle before, and that worked just as well, this one is just more interesting to use (more "gadgety").

So, in between peeing on sticks and rinsing mucus from my brain, I have nothing else new to report.  Just waiting, and slowly starting to feel a little more positive.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

where's the magnifying lens?

Just as I managed to portray the strong woman whose willpower of steel and patience of diamonds allows her to scoff at the pregnancy tests and say not for me now, I will decide when...I have decided in the spur of the moment to pee on one tiny stick, just one teensy little one...it's so small, it can't harm anybody, right?

I waited, and waited.  Then I started to think my eyes were creating lines again where there weren't any.  I thought I saw the reagent line very faintly.  I showed it to MrH, who adamantly said he did not see it at all. I had just had two cups of tea, and it was not really the morning anymore, and it's only day 11 of embryonic life, so I thought what the heck, let's do another one, a FRER this time (first response, which are more accurate and more expensive), and an obvious but very faint line that even MrH could not deny appeared, within a few seconds.  We both looked at the line, and shrugged.  "I guess it's a positive" I said.  "It's early", MrH cautiously replied.  "I've seen it like this before" (and no pregnancy happened in the end, as the embryo died, was implied).  "It's a line, not a baby." Duh.  I don't know what to make of it.  Given my previously having positives that amount to nothing in a matter of days, I am not getting excited, I am not feeling pregnant, and I am more confused than anything else.  Where is this going?  Is this one going to stick?  All I can say is, it's a good start.  Let's wait and see, and cautiously smile a tiny bit.

If anyone who knows me in real life is reading this blog, then I ask of you to please not congratulate me or anything silly like this, the less we get excited about it in real life, the less memories I have to cry about if I end up with a chemical pregnancy again.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Control freak finally relaxes

I feel like I am regaining some control over this life of mine that is spiraling fast out of my hands.  I have stopped testing.  Just like that, I gave my mind the power to make decisions, and it guided me towards no more testing until just before it is time to do the bloodwork, which is on December 13.  I will make an exception if my mind guides me to test a bit earlier, just so I can start running again and maybe even have sex if it is negative.

I feel that I am taking care of myself with this decision.  If the test is negative, I would still have to continue the progesterone and the estrogen until the bloodwork day, and it is very depressing to keep dripping of endometrin (vaginal progesterone tablets) and ruining my precious underwear all the while knowing that it is for nothing.  Not to mention the sad fact that my period will not arrive until I stop taking the hormones, which will only be on the day when my beta HCG is drawn, Dec. 13.  So, nothing will change anyway.  I have been through this many times before, and I know exactly how depressing it feels to test day after day and to keep getting negatives.  You start each day with a cold punch in the gut, and spend the entire rest of the day drained of energy, dreading the next morning when you know that you will have to test again, because at least there is a chance, and c'mon, how much worse can it get, but it can get worse, and worse, each day, until you are sucked dry and all there is left is sleep.  A depressed, anxious sleep, dreaming of war, and of death, waking up sweaty and remembering the truth, that you have failed again, that August 17, 2011 will not be the due date, but just any other day that you might cringe a little on.

I have been there, done that, a total of sixteen times (the six IVF's and the 10 IUI's) and now I am ready to start focusing on being healthy and happy throughout this whole thing.  I am less careful, and often forget that I am carrying embryos.  I have an occasional cup of diluted coffee (third coffee, third hot water, third soy milk), which I would have never allowed myself before, and I exercise!  Exercising makes me feel like a human being again, like I am taking care of myself not just behaving like a human incubator.  The exercise consists of walking about 5 km on the indoor track, but it feels so good, just to allow myself this little thing, it is hard to describe.  I used to spend the whole two weeks lying in bed after coming home from work, partly from anxiety about the repeated negatives, partly from fear that if I move too much, the embryos will die.  I used to drive myself crazy thinking that the embryos are not taking because of something that I am doing wrong, so I would not allow myself anything, including perfume, body lotion, normal shampoo (I would only use this organic shampoo that has no smell and makes my hair coarse and dry).  I would eat more than usual in an effort to feed the embryos, and hence gain weight in the process, which always makes me more depressed.  I would meditate and visualize the embryos implant.

Now I try to ignore the process as best as I can.  I don't run anymore, and I don't lift weights, but other than that, everything is pretty much the same as always.  I shower with my usual colour safe shampoo from L'Anza, and smooth a wide variety of body creams, face creams and serums, and perfumes on my body, which make my skin soft and make my soul feel pampered.  I eat very little for dinner, and as a consequence I have lost two more pounds this week, for a total of four pounds since I have stopped the SuperFAT (I have six more pounds until I reach my preSuperFAT weight).  I walk for an hour every day.  I am happier since I have started doing these things (and since I have stopped testing) and can go for long periods of time completely forgetting that I am waiting for a result.  Which is the best way to spend these two weeks.

Friday, December 3, 2010

cherry on top

Thank you Tiffany for the wonderful award, it really made my day!  Tiffany blogs about her son who died of SIDS, and her story is so inspirational, as she manages to go on living and still helping others like me with her kindness despite this terrible tragedy.  She gave me this award:
The rules of this award are to introduce the person who gave you the award on your blog, and to send it to five other blogs, leaving comments in the process.  The five awards go to:
1.  MrsSpit
2.  Rebecca
3.  Rachel
4.  Kalialani
5.  Julie
Everyone on this list is an inspiration to me.  I enjoy reading these blogs enormously, as I either laugh or derive strength from them, and thanks to the online community that I have become part of lately, I don't feel as if I am going through these difficult years alone.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

depressed and sleepy

The evaporation lines are gone today.  This makes me very sad.  I am reliving my last two IVF's, when I got positives and then fainter and fainter lines, until negatives came out.  It is the way of the embryos that do not survive after a brief attempt at implantation.  I cannot make any judgements this time though, because I never got an actual positive, just evap lines, which can be a fluke.  Also, with two embryos, it is impossible to say what is going on, as one might have attempted implantation and failed, but there is still another one left.  Lastly, I am only on day 8 past ovulation technically (Monday was day 5 past ovulation, with the blastocysts), so still too early for any home pregnancy test to be accurate anyway.

I have decided that all this testing is making me crazy, and I will stop.  I will perhaps start testing again on the weekend, on day 10 or 11.

In the meantime, my house is very depressing.  I am too tired to do anything, too tired to even put my clothes back in the closet, so they are resting on the ironing board.  I haven't unpacked yet, so two large suitcases are waiting for me to empty them.  I don't cope with all this at all.  The progesterone is making me very very tired, and the waiting is making me very very depressed, with the end result of not wanting to get out of bed.  Today I had a bad TMJ inflammation, to the point that I could not eat anything other than pureed foods.  This is because I slept for one hour (took a nap) at lunch without the bite guard.  Bad idea, I now cannot chew, because my teeth no longer overlap properly.

My schedule is something like this:  wake up, feel immensely tired, unable to have coffee because it is not allowed during IVF, then work as best as I can through the morning, go home and take a half hour nap, drag myself back to work and try to survive through the afternoon while yawning every 10 minutes (that upsets my jaw as well BTW), then go back home at 6 pm and fall asleep, often in my work clothes, on the bed.  Wake up at 10 pm, eat something, type my notes (for work) which I did not finish during work day, blog, change into pajamas, brush teeth and apply multiple facial creams, spend 5 min with the bird and the cat, and fall asleep again around midnight, until 8 am.  I sleep a total of 12 hours per day.  I work a total of 9 hours.  I live for the remaining three hours, one of which is spent on hygiene, and the other two on eating and doing more work on the computer at home because despite spending 9 hours at work, with my current mental fog, I don't manage to get everything done, so I need to bring the computer home and finish another hour of typing in bed.

I am pretty sure that this is the progesterone making me so tired, as I am always like this after a transfer, but I know that the waiting is the most tiresome part.

I feel so pathetic.  I am just existing, I hate my life like this.  I cannot do anything, not allowed to exercise, not allowed to diet, and just discovered today that I will need to buy extra large underwear, for my very large butt.  I have never needed extra large underwear in my life.  If I don't get pregnant, I will go on a diet again, and hopefully I can postpone the requirement for new underwear shopping, as I don't feel like buying anything sexy right now, and am afraid I will walk out of the shop with frumpy undies, which is a no-no in my book.  No matter how bad life gets, frumpy underwear is out.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

vacuum in my head

Peed on three more sticks today, and am getting some evaporation lines, i.e. faint lines that show up after about five to ten minutes.  I don't think they mean anything, as I have seen them before (heck, I have seen true positives before that did not mean anything, since I still lost the embryos even after they attempted to implant).  The sticks are the only way for me to communicate with the embryos at the moment, so I cherish the faint evap lines, even if I don't hold much hope for them meaning anything.  MrH can't even see them, but I can, under bright lights.

Tonight we made the mistake of letting a Kirby vacuums salesman into our house.  We spent the entire evening praying for his demo to end sooner.  We did buy a Kirby, because the grime in our carpets could use a bit of vacuuming, but heck, he could have done the whole presentation in twenty minutes instead of two hours.  I even told him that he is much more likely to make a sale if he speeds the whole thing up, because I need to get my 16 hours of sleep that I currently require, but although he tried, the poor man just could not skip over any of the important, valuable and priceless Kirby parts and accessories.  Ugghhhh! just shoot me.  Now I have a Kirby, must vacuum.  Except that it is too heavy for me to lift it, so MrH will have the pleasure of vacuuming until I am proven to be nonpregnant, lose the baby, or have a live delivery, whichever may come first.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the parrot ate my stick

I am truly insane, I actually peed on a stick today!  I mean how sick is that, one day after transfer?  I just seem to be going through the motions like a robot, and don't feel in control of my own actions.  I don't know what the stick actually said, because the parrot ate the bottom half and destroyed the reagent, making me aware that I am an idiot in the process.  I think it was negative, although if I try really hard I can see lines on anything.  MrH said he saw "sweet blue bugger all", so I think we'll call it a negative-eaten-by-the-parrot.

I am doing it also because I want to give myself permission to do whatever the heck my mind wants to do, as in the past I have fought hard to stop myself from doing pregnancy tests and felt bad when I failed.  Let's just hope that the mind has a wisdom of its own, and rather go with that, as whatever you resist tends to persist anyway.

I am so incredibly sleepy from the progesterone.  I slept from when I came back from work until 9 pm, when MrH had to work hard to wake me up from my sweaty heavy coma.  I woke up reluctantly, ate, took my meds, brushed my teeth, wrote my blog (i.e. the essentials :) and will go back to sleep again.  If I could sleep through the next week I would.

Monday, November 29, 2010

transfer today

The transfer went well, I got there with an ultra full bladder and was made to wait for 40 minutes, which would not have been a problem were it not that my bladder was bursting. At one point my eyes were tearing from the superhuman effort made by my pelvic floor muscles. Finally, I stuck my head out from the cubicle's curtain, and with all the dignity that I could muster while covered up with a sheet I shuffled carefully to the doctor's desk and stated that "either we do it now, or I pee".  We tried to do it then, but my bladder was so full, that despite using the largest speculum available (and boy, was that ever comfy), he still couldn't fight my bladder to get to my cervix.  I had to go and void a fair bit (like half of the bladder content) in order to allow for the transfer, and then it went smoothly.

My mom was with me, and she found it impressive.  I had a strange lack of emotions, and an uncharacteristic lack of questions.  They transferred a 4AB (the best seen, apparently 4AA blasts are just about impossible) with 100% survival rate, and a 4CC (average) also 100%.  I don't worry so much about twins now after realizing that one of them was a 4CC, I don't think that one is going to make it.  In my body, the C's usually get gobbled up for breakfast by my evil macrophages.  The AB might stand a chance, but I refuse to get excited.  I really even forgot about the IVF on my way back to my town (I flew in right afterwards).  I did remember enough though to give them a wheatgrass shooter 2 oz (that is my usual booster during IVF) and a 14 oz freshly squeezed juice.  I am usually quite careful with the fruits and veggies while waiting for implantation, and although I am fairly unexcited at the moment, will still do my usual rest, eat salads, drink veg and green juices, tie myself to the bed to prevent my body from inadvertently trying to exercise (a BIG no-no at my clinic) and hey, I even broke open the seal on the folic acid bottle that I have stared at really hard for the past few months.

All in all, it went well, and although I keep on hoping that my lack of confidence and belief in the possibilities of this cycle are not going to affect the outcome, I am still berating myself a little for the pessimism.  However, things are what they are, I have done this way too many times to think otherwise. Statistics, prayer, hope and positive thinking, meditation and organic vegan eating, visualization, acupuncture and moxibustion have not helped me one iota so far.  Therefore this cycle I give myself permission to use Chanel skin care products with all of their poisonous parabens and luxurious scents, to be as pessimistic as my brain feels the need to be, and to not hope if that is not where my heart wants to go.  At least for now.

Even so...goodnight embabies :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Parental support

First off, in an effort to facilitate your guys comments, which I love to read, I have changed some of the settings. It should be much easier to leave a comment now for those who don't have a blog. And if you do read the blog, leave me comments, I really appreciate it.

I had a strange chat with my dad tonight. We were talking about our relatives and extended family and he told me that he had realized how out of his entire family, he is the only one who does not have grandchildren. I said that he had had one, but he died. My dad replied something loosely translated as "May God forgive him, but he doesn't count."

In that moment, like in so many others during the past year, I just had to remember that infertility, stillbirth, and this whole package that I am carrying on my back is supposed to hurt. It is inevitable that even in the middle of an otherwise lovely day, and without provocation, pain will be there, showing up from time to time in so many little ways, lest I forget that no matter how good life is at the moment, even if it is the best that it has been in a whole year, I will still hurt in the background, I will still be reminded, I will still listen to the outside world and let the Voice (hehe, you thought that the Voice was gone, no such luck boys and girls...) putting me down, making me doubt, telling me that I must still be doing something wrong if after all this time and effort I have nothing to show for it. Nothing including my poor dead baby, who apparently doesn't count.

Forgive me, Adrian, for not hurting your grandfather back. He is also in pain, his own pain, which makes him blind to mine, and makes him unable to acknowledge and love you like your daddy and I do.

It is a GOOD thing that my mom and dad don't understand my struggle or my emotions. It is because they themselves have never experienced anything like it, and that is a good thing. This kind of pain, I want it as far away from my loved ones as I can.

I chose to joke instead of even trying to explain. I suggested that my dad should perhaps have another child, preferably adopt one that is a little older, if he really wants grandchildren.

In the meantime, I will go on trying, knowing fully well that at this point my parents (and who knows who else) are thinking that I am still not trying hard enough. Perhaps this is part of why I started this blog, to be able to direct people to a written chronicle of my trials so far, hoping that seeing it they would stop judging my efforts as insufficient. But who am I kidding, my parents don't need to read it, they saw me living it and it still means nothing. In the all absorbing quest for a precious grandchild, neither Adrian nor me seem to count.

And who am I to judge that kind of desire? To want a grandchild with so much force as to forget about your own child's feelings might very well be akin to me wanting a child with my whole heart, and perhaps at times ignoring the fact that I am hurting my pregnant friends or cutting contact with my cousins who have recently had babies. We all hurt others when we want something so badly that nothing else in our life seems to count.

The lesson that I have learned is the same as always: don't fight. There is always a reason. Pain is here to stay. Carry it with grace.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Life as we know it

I am sitting here in the hotel, on the top floor, in a room with a view of the ocean, looking at the marina where the white boats sit quietly on the blue-green water. There are fluffy clouds hovering above the Lions Gate bridge, seagulls circling underneath, and a tug boat drawing its v-shaped tail on the water. I have just had a lovely latte and the obligatory french pastry (mrH is not here today) and am contemplating adding more red hues in my hair tomorrow (I have an appointment to refresh the highlights). I am waiting for monday, when I am getting my two embabies transferred. I have access to the most advanced, latest infertility treatment that the world as we know it can provide.

And I cannot help but notice how far life has carried me, from dark grey communist Romania, where I had to heat water on the stove to wash my hair, used menstrual rags that I would launder by hand in the sink, and never saw an avocado, or a pomegranate, or an espresso maker.

Life can be very unpredictable. And that is not always bad (huge grin :).





Here are some pictures, some of our breakfast meals, the view from the breakfast room (same view from our room), the olympic flame and the outside of the hotel, and an organic food shop nearby (Urban Fair)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

ultrasound tomorrow

Tomorrow at 8 am I will be having my ultrasound and if the lining is fine, which it always is, then I will be asked to stop the suprefact and to start progesterone. Normally you would hear me whine about the bloating, constipation, and the general sensation that I should urgently strangle kind looking strangers in order to alleviate the mandatory bitchiness, but this cycle I am so happy to be finally done with SuperFat that I don't even care about progesterEvil. (clearly I have been doing this for far too long, if I have starting to nickname the meds so lovingly).

Today I had the best, best, bestest breakfast, consisting of a plate of fruit, some sliced smoked salmon, an egg, and about one forkful of this fabulous french crepe filled with grated apple cooked in custard. (I would have snuck much more than a forkful in, but sadly MrH noticed what I was doing and asked me to stop)  I also had half a French pastry during the conference (which I also snuck in while MrH was not looking), and a bit of thin crust pizza which I disguised under a lot of salad, but that didn't work, MrH did notice, and asked me to please refrain from eating for the whole of Africa.  (I am eating for the whole of Africa, which is why the whole continent is malnourished and starving, kinda like me for the past three days).

I have even been diligent about my exercise tonight, although after about 5 km running I noticed in the adjacent mirror that my fat was jiggling in very disturbing fashion and decided to move to the elliptical trainer, which was next to a darker, more slimming mirror.  With the stress of the impending IVF, I really cannot tolerate seeing fat jiggle, it is too much for my frail nerves.  Although the show I watched on TV about liposuction was somewhat nerve-soothing.  There's always hope.

I must remember to take a picture of the gym tomorrow, it is quite fancy as well, in particular the powder room, with all sorts of creams and lotions and white fluffy towels, bathrobes and slippers.  The princess is very happy here.