Monday, March 29, 2010

moving right along

On Friday, I had my first appointment with the ob-gyn. The regular baby doctor. The one that millions of women go to every year because they are pregnant, as most women can be, without any particular effort or worry. (Not that millions of women go to my doctor, but - oh, you get the point.)

I, myself, felt like a giant fraud. Like the nurses were going to look at me and say, "you? You can't be pregnant. You don't get pregnant! Why are you here?"

Everyone acted like my being there was so normal, and as if everything was just going to go along perfectly fine, and it completely freaked me out. The nurse chatted away about what would happen at the various appointments, and told me I needed to pre-register for delivery at the hospital before my next appointment in a month. The doctor talked about various stages of development and gave me some suggestions for the near-constant nausea, and the whole time, all I could do was think, "but what if something happens? What if something goes wrong? Why is everyone so freaking optimistic around here? What is wrong with them? Don't they know how damn-near impossible it is that I AM EVEN HERE?"

What's wrong, of course, is me. It is a miracle that I'm pregnant - a miracle brought to us by the grace of God and by the smarts and skills of a whole lot of medical people - but, the truth is, there's nothing to suggest that anything will go wrong at this point. The baby was measuring a few days ahead, actually, and the heartbeat was flickering away, and everything looked just fine. I, of course, asked the doctor about the chances of miscarriage, and she said "less than 5%," which you'd think would help - and it does - but I still find myself incapable of relaxing into this pregnancy.

The doctor said that was normal. I'm sure it is, although it's not a whole lot of fun. We're talking about how to tell my church - a step so public it nearly makes me want to throw up, as if I wasn't heading that direction already - and I keep trying to convince my husband to put it off, wait just a little longer. In a few more weeks I'll be out of the first trimester, and I still am afraid to say anything, just in case.

Somehow, somewhere, there is a part of me which believes that my worrying about things makes them happen (or not happen, if that's the better alternative). This is the part of me that hates flying, that worries the whole flight about the wings falling off and the engines quitting and the pilot dying of a heart attack, and acts as if my worrying about those things is the barrier which prevents them from happening. As if my worrying keeps the plane in the air.

And this part of me, this dark-and-twisty part of me, remains convinced that somebody has to remember the risk factors here, somebody has to keep saying, "just in case," and who better than me? Aren't moms supposed to worry? Isn't that their job? (Did you just learn something about my mom? And her mom? Hell, yeah.)

Today, I am taking cupcakes to my RE's office. I want to say, "thank you." I want to stop saying, "just in case." Cupcakes help with most things. Maybe they'll help with this too.

Monday, March 22, 2010

an end to endo

If you've been diagnosed with endometriosis, there's an opportunity for you: through my RE's clinic, I was asked to participate in a study which is looking for a genetic identifier for endo, with the goal of developing a test which would diagnose the condition without surgery.

They're looking for more participants. No, you don't get paid; no, there's not much to it (some paperwork and spitting in a test tube which you send back to them in the mail) - and no, you probably won't benefit from it personally.

But, hey - if we can help future generations, why not? You'll find more at End to Endo.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

march madness: or, why newly pregnant infertile women should not watch the NCAA tournament.

It's ALL about basketball at our house. My husband is a huge college basketball fan, so these few weeks in March are his idea of paradise. Fortunately, I enjoy basketball too, which is good, because otherwise this would be a very long month for me.

At this point, our various just-for-fun brackets are in shambles (thanks, Kansas) and we've only got one local team left to cheer for, but you can be sure that any game available will be on our television, whether we really care about the team or not. It's not a bad distraction for me. My day is largely spent either a.) feeling nauseous or b.) being hungry, which means I will be nauseous momentarily, interrupted only slightly by c.) realizing I am not nauseous at the moment, which makes me happy until I panic that it means I have had a miscarriage in the last twenty minutes.

And this is where basketball is doing me no good.

Because here's the thing about basketball: it ain't over till it's over, as they say. You can almost never count on a win until the last buzzer sounds; and this is so often true that even a 20-point lead with 2 minutes to go is hard to trust. My home team won yesterday by a handy amount. It really wasn't much of a close game after the first ten minutes. But because we were the underdogs, I could not bring myself to accept the win until it was completely done. Hell, we were up by 25 points at one stage of the game, with not nearly enough time left to lose the lead, and I still couldn't believe it was happening.

Not coincidentally, this is exactly (so far) how I am spending this pregnancy. I know the statistics: I know that seeing a heartbeat, as we have, greatly increases our chances of a successful outcome. We're ahead of the game. If the fat lady is not singing, she's warming up.

But she has to warm up for another seven damn months, and this is my problem. Plus, I watched Parenthood the other day (the movie, not the show; love the movie, am afraid the show will ruin it), and I could have cried when Jason Robards, in the midst of trying to decide what to do about his gambling, lying son, says, "you never cross the finish line. You never dunk the ball. It isn't over when they're eighteen, or twenty-eight, or forty. It's never over. You're never done."

Dude, that was profoundly unhelpful for me.

So I have changed the channel to the latest rerun of a Harr.y P.otter movie. And I am watching a lot of Ho.use Hun.ters. Sometimes denial is the best way to go.

Also, I cannot eat enough hot dogs. This is disgusting to me. However, it might work out well once baseball season starts. Now that's a game for a pregnant woman: it crawls by with interminable slowness, you can eat the whole time, and it's all about coming home so you can go back to the dugout and sit down. I'll be pregnant (she says, with crazed confidence) during the whole of baseball season, after all. Should be good.

Monday, March 15, 2010

sigh of relief

We have a baby.

Insert huge sigh of relief here.

The doctor scared us a bit at first, when the first thing out of his mouth was, "well, that's odd," but it turns out that both embryos implanted and one didn't develop. "Do we have one or two?" asked my husband. "Well, one and a half," said the doctor, and then explained, but our momentary disappointment (I was mostly relieved, to be honest) was quickly eclipsed by the one very healthy, perfectly-measuring, 152 bpm-heart-beating baby in sac A. We even got a little photo, complete with an arrow pointing as if to say, "THIS IS YOUR BABY." This is helpful, because right now, it looks more like a gummy bear.

Measuring right on track at 7 1/2 weeks, and due on October 28th.

Seeing the heartbeat really is amazing. Wow. I think this is actually happening.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I haven't written much lately, but the truth is, there isn't much to say. Besides, "excuse me, I need to go throw up" (or, more accurately, "excuse me, I need to go gag myself silly in the bathroom without throwing up, which in itself would be a bit of a relief after the gagging").

I used to read the blogs of women who were pregnant after fertility battles, and I would swear up and down to myself that I would never complain about morning sickness. I would happily throw up and rejoice in every second of it, because it meant that the long-held dream was coming true.

My mother says that the reason women gain so much weight after pregnancy is because they have to eat so many words. So many, "I will never," "I would never," "I could never" - right out the window. (Or, on the hips.) Don't get me wrong: I actually do revel in the nausea, just a bit, because it helps make this all feel more real. But said "reveling" is getting a little less fervent.

Some of you have suggested that I might try to move up my ultrasound date (which is this coming Monday), and I have considered it. But I've decided that I need to practice waiting, a skill at which I, to be perfectly honest, suck, because I'm going to need to get better at that over the next nine months. Plus, I figure that waiting until I'm 7 1/2 weeks will mean we can really see some good stuff on the ultrasound, and then it's only another 2 weeks until my first OB appointment.

I'm freaking out a little bit about leaving my RE. The idea of it, in theory, is great: no more injections! No more wandings (on such a regular basis)! No more freaking blood draws all the freaking time! But the actuality, walking away from this clinic where I have been treated so well, is just one more reminder that I am walking away from this huge part of my life, this definition of myself - infertile - which I have become comfortable with over the past four years.

More comfortable than you'd think, actually. So much so that, when a woman at my church told me a few days ago that she was pregnant, my first thought was something like, "Ugh. I hate you." (Not really, of course, but you know what I mean.) It took me a good ten seconds to remember that I am pregnant too. (I forget this on a regular basis. It's another good thing about the nausea: handy reminder.)

It's funny how the life you know, even if it's not the life you want, becomes so familiar that, when someone hands you the life you've always dreamed of, you're not sure what to do with it. It's a dilemma I'm happy to work on, however.

Friday, March 5, 2010


I spent last weekend at a women's retreat, which I organized months ago for a group from my church. We had a great time, and I managed to hide the fact that I wasn't drinking any wine by telling people that I had given up alcohol for Lent. Handy season, Lent.

However, you get a group of 30 women together and there is bound to be a whole lot o' conversation about children, birth, conception, and gynecological topics of all sorts. Nobody knew I was pregnant, so there was no need for them to be careful, and let me tell you: I heard horror stories the likes of which I really, really did not need to hear. At all.

Much of the time, I'm experiencing a great sort of zen about the pregnancy. The nausea is increasing, though not at a terrible rate. Boobs still sore. (Poking still abounds.) I am hungry all. the. time.

But I'm not zen all the time. Sometimes, when I think about the ultrasound in a week (10 days, to be exact), my heartbeat stops for a second. I imagine the doctor saying, in a sad voice, "I'm sorry; there's no heartbeat." I imagine trying to get out of the office without sobbing. I imagine my husband's heartbreak. I don't think about this a lot, but it's the sort of thing that pops into my head at 3am when I've gotten up to pee (again) and can't quite get back to sleep.

So, I could use a favor. If you have stories of yourself or others who have experienced pregnancy loss, or some terrible complication: please, don't tell me. Please don't mention it in a comment. There was such a comment on my last post, and while I'm sure it was not meant to hurt, believe me: I don't need any help scaring the shit out of myself. I'm perfectly capable of doing that on my own. I can't comment privately to that person because their blog is private, and it's not really about one person anyway: I'm just making my own personal public service announcement.

This blog just needs to be a happy place. Feel free to think of me as an unrealistic Pollyanna, but it's what I need. Thanks.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

5w5d. Really?

My average day looks like this:

Wake up. Feel pretty good. Then panic about feeling good. Surely should be feeling morning sickness as it is, in fact, morning? But then again, am only 5 weeks. So perhaps not. Poke boobs. Still sore. Relief. Shower, have one cup of coffee, which frankly, doesn't taste all that great. Go to work. Poke boobs intermittently throughout day, alternating with panic about not feeling nauseous. Then gag, cough, gag again, and feel relieved about sort-of nausea. But then panic that am actually creating gag reflex from personal panic about not feeling nauseous. So, poke boobs again. Still sore. Usually feel gag reflex shortly after eating, which surely is strange? Thought that morning sickness came from not eating? Poke boobs. Still sore. Feel momentary concern that someone at work will report me for molesting myself. But then again, probably not. Go home in afternoon because very, very tired. Cranky because must return to work in the evening. Sometimes forget am pregnant. Then realize this and panic because am feeling too good to be pregnant. Then calm self, as no reason to think anything is wrong. Poke boobs. Still sore.

I. am. exhausted. Mostly from the panic. And maybe the boob-poking.

Just under two weeks to go until my first ultrasound. On the one hand, I really wish I could get confirmation earlier that somebody is still in there. But on the other hand, this whole pregnancy thing is a big waiting game anyway, so I might as well practice right off the bat.

Sometimes I can hardly believe that I am nearly six weeks pregnant. Where did the time go? Then, at other times, I feel like I have been pregnant for four years and every day is creeping by.

Also, I feel carsick half the time. Like, for example, right now.

It's going to be a long nine months. This is for sure.