Monday, October 28, 2013

Tough day for the Little Guy

I'll preface this by saying that to my knowledge, everything is fine with the tiny bun, and today's difficulty had nothing to do with my pregnancy (other than my pregnancy symptoms not helping the situation).  Today was tough because of my other kid, my fur-faced baby.  Or as Jeeves calls him, the Little Guy.

He looks especially chubby in this picture, but he is actually not that chubby - 12lbs 12oz, which is not so bad.

We took Abbott to the vet on Saturday, which was super traumatic, mostly for me.  The vet was running behind and so we had to sit in the waiting room for about 45 minutes, which was not fun.  But the thing I love about my vet is that once you're in with her, she's very thorough and you never feel rushed.  I explained what was going on with Abbott and the first thing she noted was that he does seem to have lost weight, especially along his back, where his spine is more pronounced than it used to be.  I had noticed this too, but wasn't overly concerned because he is a heavier cat and weight loss is usually a good thing for a heavier cat, especially since I cut down on the amount of food I was feeding him.  Anyway, we talked about the water drinking, and she agreed he should be tested for diabetes, but she wasn't too concerned about it because the amount of water Abbott is drinking each day (3 oz) is not a lot, and diabetic cats will drink a lot of water.

Then she started palpating his belly, and he started letting out these sad, upset meows.  She noted that she could feel something "hard" in the intestinal area.  She thought it could possibly just be some constipation, but she was concerned about lymphoma - cancer of the lymphatic system.  Unfortunately lymphoma can't be diagnosed through blood tests (which is how we were going to deal with the diabetes, other renal disorders, infections, etc.), and the best way to test for it was ultrasound.  Ultrasound is expensive, but it would give us a definitive answer and it wouldn't require sedation or cause Abbott any pain.  So we decided to get the blood work done that day and have an ultrasound done today (Monday).

Today we took Abbott in to the vet in the morning and we went off to work.  In the afternoon, my vet's office called and asked me to come in to go over results and fetch the little guy.  When I went into the vet's office, she started off with "It's good we did the ultrasound," and my heart sank a little.  All of Abbott's blood work came back normal - no diabetes, no renal problem, no infection.  The vet palpated his abdomen this morning, and she could still feel the hard mass which made her doubt that it was constipation.  Ultrasound confirmed - poor Abbott has intestinal lymphoma.  They aren't positive, but they think it's high grade, which means it's spread to other lymph nodes, probably in his lungs.

We talked about treatment, and between my vet's opinion and my own personal beliefs about how much medical intervention you should give to a pet, I decided I did not want to put him through chemotherapy.  I realize that chemo is the standard protocol for this sort of thing.  But with a cat, you can't explain to them that the reason you're putting them through something stressful and painful is for their own good.  I would do it if it could cure him, but chemo doesn't cure feline lymphoma, it just gives you a little more time.  And if that time is spent with my cat vomiting and miserable, well, it's not worth it.  My vet thinks that the oral medication has a similar outcome with less side effects, so I decided to go with that for now.  Unfortunately, with treatment, we probably only have 3 to 6 more months with Abbott.

I find this crushingly sad.  He is a good, sweet cat, a constant companion to me.  He is the first pet I have owned in my life that was truly mine - all my pets growing up always loved my mom or my sister best.  This is my first pet who preferred me to all others.  I got him three weeks after I moved into my very first solo apartment because I was lonely.  When he was a kitten, he would curl up on my chest and purr like a motorboat.  When Jeeves (who is allergic) and I started talking about moving in together, I told him I was bringing Abbott with me, and he should go to an allergist.  My rationale - I've been with Abbott longer than I've been with you, so if you need to take pills to make this work, so be it.  Happily Jeeves developed an immunity to Abbott and his cell phone is now filled with pictures of the little guy.  He has more pics of Abbott on his phone than he does of me.  

One of the things that makes me exceptionally sad about all this is that Abbott might not get to meet his little brother or sister next year.  My mom will never get to meet my kid, and I worry all the time about whether Dad will be around to meet our kid.  But now this?  Now we lose Abbott too?

The one bright spot in this is that he seems to generally feel fine.  Other than when his belly is being palpated by the vet, he's not in any apparent pain, he still loves grooming himself, and cuddling, and eating expensive cat food.  I'm hoping the medicine will keep things like that for a good long while.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The celebratory better nutter

I'm not going to be coy - we got a heartbeat.

I was extremely nervous on my subway ride up to the RE, and sitting in the waiting room, but thankfully they didn't keep us waiting too long.  I was relieved to see that the nurse assisting Dr. M was my favorite nurse.  I call her the Good Phlebotomist (I know, my nicknames are amazing).  But aside from being a boss when it comes to drawing blood, she's just super nice and she smiles a lot.  Dr. M asked how I was doing with regards to the pregnancy and I said I was fine, just super nervous, which she said was understandable.  

Dr. M fired up the dildo cam 5000, and at first all Jeeves and I could see was a big gestational sac with nothing in it.  We both thought, "Oh no - blighted ovum."  But about a second later, Dr. M moved the wand and I could see the yolk sac (cue the rising hysteria - "all we'll see is a yolk sac and they'll make me come back in a week like they did last time, and I'll know it's all over, but I'll have to be tortured for another week" thoughts), and a second later, the gray blob that is, hopefully, our future child.  Dr. M didn't torture us - she immediately said she saw the heartbeat.  I had a hard time seeing it because of the angle of the screen, but Jeeves asked them to point out the heartbeat and he could see it.  From a later IM chat, this is what he said:
"I wish we had a video clip of the ultrasound.  The beating heart is really kind of amazing.  So small."
The Good Phlebotomist made lots of positive, happy noises, and both she and Dr. M said that the fetal pole is measuring bang on target.  My estimated due date is June 16th.  And with that, and some congratulations all around, and lots of me saying thank you, I was released to my OB.  

It's still super early.  I know this.  But it does feel more real now.  I follow a lot of blogs and I know there are so many women out there who get the heartbeat and still miscarry.  So many bad things can happen.  Kasey at Stupid Broken Eggs wrote eloquently today about how she sometimes wishes she didn't know all the terrible things that can happen after you get your positive pregnancy test.  There's a lot of comfort in this community, but it can definitely be scary when you read about all the bad stuff that can happen.  We all have to work so very hard to get pregnant, and then if we do, it's like we don't even get to fully enjoy it because we know more than most people that a positive pregnancy test doesn't equal a take-home baby.  Wendy and I were talking on the phone a couple of weeks ago when I had gotten my last beta and she said, "I just wish you got to have that moment where you could feel really, really happy and excited about this.  I understand why you can't right now, but I hope you get to have that."  Me too.  But I'm not there yet.

I called my OB's office, and we're going in for our first appointment next Friday.  I'm really glad we don't have to wait long for another ultrasound.  

After our appointment, we went to Bouchon Bakery for lunch and had the celebratory better nutter pictured above.

Thanks for all the thoughts and comments about Abbott.  He's currently harassing me for his dinner and he's been eating the normal amount of food for the last few meals.  Jeeves thinks he is just being picky about the type of food he wants, which he does do sometimes.  I measured the amount of water he drank yesterday (because I am a neurotic cat owner), and monitored his urine output (again, neurotic cat owner).  The amount of both seems totally normal, but given that it's unusual for him to drink water at all, I'm really glad we're taking him to the vet tomorrow morning.  

I'm thinking of all of you going through your two week waits, or not going through two week waits.  I'm pulling for all of us to get the life we want, whatever form that takes.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

12 hours to go

In just over twelve hours, we'll have our ultrasound.  Normally I would be obsessing and worrying by now, but I've managed to find something else to obsess/worry about - my cat.  Abbott is 9 years old.  He is FIV positive, which means he has feline immunodeficiency virus.  It's like HIV, but only impacts cats.  He's had it since he was a kitten - cats get it from deep bite wounds or from their mother.  Since Abbott has lived with me and been an indoor cat since he was 7 weeks old, my vet said he got it from his mother, probably during nursing.  Most kittens will outgrow it, but Abbott never did.  Anyway, despite his FIV and the fact that when he was about 3 he had a urinary blockage that led to hospitalization and a dietary change, he's been a pretty healthy cat.

One weird thing about Abbott is that he never drinks water.  I keep a water dish down for him, but he never ever drinks from it.  Sometimes he splashes it around for fun, but I've never seen him drink from it.  To get some water in him, I usually add some to his wet food.  But about a week ago, Jeeves and I noticed he had started drinking from his water dish.  He's not drinking a crazy amount of water, but he is drinking from his dish about twice a day now.  At first I didn't think too much about it.  But I also started to notice that while he is eating, he's not housing his food the way he usually does, and he seems to be eating a little less.  

Today I started to feel concerned about his change in behavior, so I consulted Dr. Google.  You guys, as bad and dire as Dr. Google can make human illness, it ain't got nothing on Dr. Google for animal symptoms.  I am now terrified that Abbott has diabetes or renal failure.  If he has diabetes, that would be mean twice daily insulin injections, and I don't even know how we could manage that.  And renal failure... well, that would basically mean that he's going to die.  I can't deal.  Anyway, I called the vet (he needs his annual rabies vaccination anyway) and made an appointment for Saturday morning when Jeeves can go with me.  I think I experience more stress taking Abbott to the vet than the cat does from being poked and prodded.  Sigh.  

In some ways, I guess it's good to have something else to be worried about.  When I think about tomorrow's ultrasound, the idea that there could actually be a heartbeat just seems completely impossible, unreal.  But when I imagine the doctor telling us there's no heartbeat, well, then it feels like the walls are closing in.  Suffice it to say tomorrow cannot come soon enough and either way, will hopefully relieve some of this stress.

Wish me luck.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

48 hours to go

I've gotten through the majority of the 10 day wait till my ultrasound by keeping busy, but I have to admit this week is dragging.  Late last week I was walking home from work, and I started to worry because the perpetual exhaustion I generally feel had subsided for the day and I almost felt normal.  I worried that the respite from this pregnancy symptom meant I was having a miscarriage.  And then I reminded myself of two things - first, pregnancy symptoms subside all the time and then come roaring back, as my exhaustion certainly did the next day; and two, if this pregnancy isn't going to work out, it's a foregone conclusion and there's nothing I can do about it.  I realize that might not sound like a very comforting thought, but it actually helped me.  It reminded me that there's really nothing I can do at this point, and overanalyzing pregnancy symptoms is probably a waste of time.

Still, the time is dragging now.  The last book in the Divergent trilogy (called Allegiant) came out yesterday, so I started reading that right away and it's been a pretty good distraction.  I've been cooking a lot this week.   I'm not allowed to read pregnancy-related books right now.  So instead I'm focusing on Thanksgiving recipes.  

Last weekend we went to visit Jeeves' brother and his family in Pennsylvania because it was our nephew, J's, first communion.  As usual, it was fun and great to see the kids.  J is 8 and A is 5.  They are wonderful, loving, energetic kids.  And they are fucking exhausting.  And loud!  So loud!  Even my sister-in-law's sisters said to me that they think J and A are the two loudest kids they know.  It is common when we spend time with them that we can't sleep past 8:00 in the morning on a Saturday or Sunday because the kids are up and so very loud.  And when you stagger downstairs, they want your full attention before you've even had your cup of coffee.  Even though I love seeing them, when we do see them, I worry that I have romanticized parenthood.  Last year when my oldest nephew, Connor (my sister's kid), came to help me with the preparation for Thanksgiving dinner, I came downstairs early, poured myself a coffee, and then Dad and I sat bleary-eyed at the table while Connor talked and talked and talked.  My dad and I are not morning people, we need, like, an hour of quiet to drink our coffee and wake up.  My nephew takes after my mom - preternaturally cheerful in the morning and full of things to say.  It was very fun to have Connor help me in the kitchen, but that kid talks a lot and he asks a lot of questions.  He is 11 after all.  

My point is this - I love all my nephews.  My relationship with them has enriched my life and they are very dear to me.  But my nephews, and indeed, all kids, are also exhausting.  Parenthood isn't 24-7 fun, it's not easy.  I always knew that logically, but it's a little bit realer to me in this moment. My sister-in-law is completely sleep deprived.  She's up early to get the kids ready for school, then she either goes to work herself or has about a million chores/errands, then kids are home, homework, dinner, baths, bedtime.  As she explained it to me, she stays up far too late at night because after the kids go to sleep and her husband passes out on the couch, it is finally her time to watch TV or play on the computer.  That's her only time to herself when no one needs anything from her, and she chooses that over sleep.  

I came home from the weekend a little scared about the possibility of being a parent, which I know sounds ridiculous coming from an infertile, but I've read many other bloggers have similar musings after spending time with nieces and nephews.  I'm trying to look at it thusly - we will be good, hard-working parents, but we will enter this knowing full well that this is going to be challenging.  

Two more days.  I'm really hoping that Friday will give us an answer.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Beta #4

I'll skip right to the good stuff, my friends.  Beta #4, at 22dpiui (aka 5 weeks pregnant) came in at 2694!  That's a doubling time of 53.8 hours, which is just fine.  I'm over 1200, and the numbers don't double as fast over 1200, so I'm perfectly happy with that number.  And the best part - no more beta tests!  The nurse who called with the result told me to schedule my ultrasound for one to two weeks from today.  I felt like one week was probably too early, but two weeks seemed so far. So I went with next Friday, October 25th at 11:45am, with my original RE, Dr. M.  I will be 6 weeks 4 days at that point, and I sincerely hope we have good news on that day.  

Not much to report other than that.  I continue to be tired, basically all the time, and in other exciting symptom news, my boobs have finally started to hurt a bit.  Keep it up, tiny bun!  My plans for making it through the next ten days before the ultrasound are the usual: bake a bunch of stuff, watch a bunch of TV, read a couple of books, bicker with my dad, work, clean, and hopefully sleep a lot.  

It's not lost of me that this is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. The Motherlode blog posted a touching piece about it.  From 7 to 8pm this evening, I'll light a candle for our bean that we lost in June.  And I'll continue to hope that the outcome of this pregnancy will be different.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ice cream really is a cure-all

After my not-so-little meltdown on Friday, I'm doing much better, in large part thanks to my gentle commenters and the ladies on my infertile forum, many of whom have been through early pregnancy loss and were able to talk me off the ledge.  Also, the aforementioned large bowl of peanut butter and chocolate flake ice cream and an episode of American Horror Story all served to take my mind off of the stupid, stupid beta rollercoaster.  

I'm trying to remain upbeat and optimistic, but also temper it with some realism.  Which is to say, it's still very early, and nothing is guaranteed.  I'm sending positive vibes to the tiny bun, encouraging it to grow, and it in turn is making me very, very tired.  I'm trying to remember that every pregnancy is different, and I shouldn't jump to the conclusion that beta #4 is going to be catastrophic.  Just the same, Jeeves and I did talk about it and we decided that if beta #4 is catastrophic, I am not going to be strong-armed into going for an ultrasound this early.  I don't blame myself for what happened in my last miscarriage, and in many ways I feel that my RE's office handled it as best they could.  But that day they made me come in to rule out an ectopic at 5 weeks 5 days - they could have handled that better and knowing what I know now, I'm not going to put myself through that again.  Once I made that decision, I felt better.  And hopefully beta #4 will be normal and then I'll just have the normal nerve wracking wait for the first ultrasound.

To that end, I've been trying to keep myself distracted.  Jeeves' brother got him vouchers for a craft beer sail around lower Manhattan, so we went on that yesterday.  I obviously couldn't drink the beer, but the view was nice.  I then took a very long nap.

After that, I made more concord grape freezer jam, and I think it's safe to say I've probably got enough jam for the next year.  I wish my kitchen were a bit bigger, I'd really like to get serious about canning.  I've been reading a lot of recipes, and I think tomorrow I might make Homesick Texan's Houston Style Green Salsa.  Today is Columbus Day and I work for the City of New York, which means I have the day off.  Jeeves, unfortunately, does not.  So I went grocery shopping and made Jeni's maple ice cream with toasted buttered pecans.  I haven't gotten to eat it yet, but the little bit I tried was autumnal and delicious.

Other than that, I've been reading and enjoying White Cat by Holly Black.  I decided to give it a try after reading her book The Coldest Girl in Cold Town, and the world building is intriguing.  It's a great distraction.  If I make it through tomorrow's beta intact, I will have to set up a list of distractions until the ultrasound.  Now if only I could have a giant iced coffee to wake me up.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Beta # 3 and my PTSD

"We have to live with ambiguity, and that’s a lot of what I was thinking about when I wrote the book. Sometimes, there are questions that NEED answering . . . but that never get answered.  I wrote the book because I wanted to explore whether it is possible to reconcile yourself to that ambiguity, to live with it and not let your anger and sadness over the lack of resolution take over your life. Is it possible to live a hopeful life in a world riddled with ambiguity?"
- John Green, talking about Looking for Alaska

Beta #3 came back at 738.  That is a 50.5 hour doubling time from my last beta.  Cue freak out.  I know that 50.5 hours is well within the 48-72 hour doubling time.  I do logically know that.  I know that the nurse told me that the number was good.  But it slowed down.  And all I can think about is what happened last time.

Last time I had beta draws on days post IUI 14, 18, 20, and 25.  From 14 to 18 I doubled normally just shy of 48 hours.  From days 18 to 20, though, my doubling dropped to 56.7 hours.  At the time, I reassured myself that I was within parameters, and it didn't matter that it had slowed down.  And then from days 20 to 25, my doubling time was 95 hours (which sounds pretty bad, but at that point I was over 1200, and hCG doubling slows to 72-96 hours once you get over 1200).  That was when I got a phone call from the doctor instead of the nurse, telling me they were concerned about the slow down in doubling, and I needed to come in for an ultrasound to rule out the ectopic.  I wrote about that day at length in this post, so I don't need to go into how fucking awful that day with the ultrasounds was.  What I will say about it is this: when I went from my doctor's office to the Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) office and told the obstetrician reviewing my high res scan what my beta numbers were, he basically said he couldn't understand why my doctor had sent me there.  As he put it, yes, the beta doubling time had slowed, but it was still within parameters and certainly didn't indicate ectopic pregnancy to him.  After that, I went through about 2 weeks of ultrasound hell where we would have no hope, then a little ray of hope, then have it all squashed down again.   I understand, in retrospect, why my RE was concerned and wanted me to come in and get checked so early.  But I also think she was just covering her ass.  I think my RE's office put me through 2 fucking weeks of torture for a not particularly good reason.  Would it have been brutal to go in at 7 weeks, expecting to see a heartbeat, and then be crushed that it wasn't there?  Of course.  But living with that ambiguity from 5w4d until 7w3d - I just don't think I can do it again.  Clearly, I am still having some post traumatic stress issues from my missed miscarriage.  The point is - I hate betas and I wish my RE didn't make me keep coming in for them.  And it's hard for me to see slowing and not think that we'll lose this one too.

I realize that this all might sound like a pretty huge overreaction.  I am fucking terrified of having another miscarriage.  I don't know that I have the grit to deal with another one.  I don't know if I can start over again if this doesn't work out.  And I'm saying this as someone who has basically not allowed herself to attach to this pregnancy out of fear that it will be snatched away.  I realize compared to the many bloggers out there who have dealt with recurrent pregnancy loss, me and my whining about my one chemical pregnancy and my one missed miscarriage makes me sound like a huge pussy. Those women are astounding warriors.  But I just don't know if I can keep at this the way they do.  [Please note, Universe, that this is not a challenge.]

I have to go back for another beta on Tuesday, which will put me at 22dpiui, or 5w1d.  I think that if disaster strikes and the doubling time plummets, and they try to make me come in for a scan, I'm going to refuse.  They won't see *anything* that early.  Maybe, maybe they would see a gestational sac.  Maybe.  Instead, they would make me come in and torture me because their fucking machines aren't clear enough, and then they'd send me off to the grumpy MFM doctor, who would say, "yeah, I can't see anything because it's too early.  Why are you here again?"  No thank you.  I'm not doing that again. I will go in when they believe they might actually see something.

I'm trying to dig down and, as John Green says, live a hopeful life in a world filled with ambiguity - the uncertainty that this pregnancy will work out, that we will get to have a kid after all.  I'm having trouble finding that hope today. In lieu of hope, I am going to watch American Horror Story with the lights off and eat an enormous bowl of peanut butter chocolate flake ice cream.

Sorry for the emotional unload.  

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Beta #2

I'll skip to the chase, because I am really freaking tired, like, all the time now.  It's basically my only pregnancy symptom so far, other than some digestive issues that I will spare you.  

Beta #2 was 382.  That's a doubling time of 42 hours, which is good good good.  For my non-infertile peeps, in 85% of pregnancies, the level of hCG (human chorionic gonadatropin, the pregnancy hormone which is secreted by the rudimentary placenta) doubles every 48 to 72 hours in the first couple of weeks of pregnancy.  So, a 42 hour doubling time is fine and good, and I am relieved.

I don't think most clinics do this, but mine makes me keep coming in for betas until I reach 1000. So, I go back on Friday, and probably one more time after that.  Back in May, my third beta had a slower doubling time (56 hours), which was within normal parameters, but in retrospect I wonder if the slowing was a warning sign.  Beta 4 last time was an abysmal 96 hour doubling time, and caused my RE to freak out and think I might have an ectopic pregnancy.  So obviously I am anxious about the next couple of betas.  On the one hand, I'd love to be done with the beta coaster, but on the other, I guess more data points between now and ultrasound is not such a bad thing.

It's still very early.  Fingers crossed.  

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

I'm a hopeaholic

Well, I was clearly a disaster last week.  Weepy more often than not, and trust me, I'm not usually a cryer.  I think I vomited up most of my feelings in my Failure post, so I don't need to repeat myself.  I find hopeless, weepy Megs boring.  I know it's normal and absolutely okay to feel those feelings, and honestly, probably important that I let myself feel them.  But I get bored with feeling hopeless.  So on Friday, I called up Dr. Google and looked around to see if there were any women who had breast tenderness at the start of one pregnancy, but not the other.  There were plenty.  And also plenty of women who had no pregnancy symptoms until 6 weeks.  So a little hope creeped in.

Fueling this hope was the fact that my temperature did not drop at 11dpiui.  I am an avid charter, which for those not in the know means that when I wake up every morning, I take my temperature.  This is called your basal body temperature - your temperature at complete rest.  It can tell a woman where she is in her cycle (lower temps = pre-ovulation; higher temps = post-ovulation).  In most of my cycles, my temperature drops around 11 days after ovulation, continues to drop on days 12 and 13, and I either get my period 13 or 14 days after ovulation.  But on Friday, at 11dpiui, my temperature was 98.2.  I told Jeeves it was probably just because my progesterone was higher this cycle, it was going to take a little longer for my temperature to drop (because progesterone is what increases our temperature following ovulation).  Still, I felt that tiny bit of hope.  I tried to stuff it down, but I felt it.

On Saturday, at 12dpiui, my temperature still did not drop - 98.4.  Now it was hard to keep hope out, and worse, Jeeves was starting to get hopeful.  He's always more hopeful than me.  We spent most of the day outside, and when we came back, I was exhausted and took a two hour nap.  I had gotten plenty of sleep, so there was no reason for me to be so tired.  "Maybe something's cooking down there?" Jeeves wondered.  "It's probably just PMS," I retorted.  Still, we bought some pregnancy tests.  I made him promise not to let me take one unless my temp was still high on Sunday.  I had a good reason for this.  On Monday, if I didn't get my period, I was supposed to go for a beta test.  It costs me $25 as a co-pay every time I step foot in my RE's office, and that has added up over the last year.  I am there a lot.  I realize we're so lucky to live in a state with mandated infertility coverage, I am so lucky that the IUIs are covered.  I'm not complaining about the $25, but the idea of spending $25 to be told I'm not pregnant and my period is just a little late.... well, insult to injury in my opinion.  

Sunday morning (13dpiui), I woke up, and my temperature was 98.4 again.  I would definitely need to take that test.  I got up, peed on ye olde stick, popped the cap back on the test, put it on the toilet tank, washed my hands, glanced back at the test..... and there were definitely two lines.  I waited the requisite 3 minutes and this is what I saw:

I felt pleased... but I also thought, "hmm, that line isn't super dark... I wonder if it's good enough."  But that joy I felt back in May?  Not there.  I woke Jeeves up, and handed him the test, "I can't see," he squinted at it.  "I wouldn't give you a stick I had just peed on unless it was positive."  He yelled "Yay!!!" and his face broke into a big smile.  That's when I actually felt happy.

The line got darker yesterday morning:

I went uptown for my beta blood draw.  Beta #1 (14dpiui) came in at 173.  A very respectable number.  But meaningless until we get the second draw, which is tomorrow.

It is nearly impossible not to feel hopeful for this pregnancy, and not to feel insanely lucky.  I read so many blogs kept by other infertiles, and I know we are so fortunate that IUI seems to work for us.  At the same time, any excitement we feel is dampened by what happened in the spring.  I am trying very hard to be zen about whatever is going to happen.  I am trying not to be neurotic.  I don't really have any symptoms, other than sleepiness.  I try to reassure myself that I am only 4 weeks and 1 day pregnant and the majority of women don't have symptoms that early.  I am hopeful that the next two to three weeks until we go for an ultrasound where we will (please please please) have a heartbeat will pass quickly and with as little mental torture as possible.

So, today I am cautiously optimistic, but tomorrow I will possibly crawl out of my skin with anxiety as I await the beta results.  I don't necessarily think being a hopeaholic is such a bad thing.  What is the point of doing all these things we do to try and get pregnant if we don't have some hope that it will work?  That we will get our baby someday?  But I'm trying to temper it too, because I know all too well that a couple of positive home pregnancy tests, and a few good beta numbers don't mean shite.  Kate told me she tried to think of early pregnancy like this - every single day you make it, your odds of miscarriage drop.  So that is how I am choosing to look at it today.

If you know me in real life, I would ask that you keep this information to yourself.  We'll tell the rest of the people in our life a little further down the road, if things work out.  And to my fellow infertiles, your support means the world to me.  My only regret is that I waited so long to start blogging about this and commenting on others' blogs.  This is a super lonely process and you all make me feel understood and less alone.  That is priceless.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Chocolate in your peanut butter

Thanks so much to everyone who commented or reached out last week - your kind words really made me feel better.  I perked up by Friday, and the weekend was fun and filled with a lot of really good food.  Jeeves and I went out to dinner with Reefy at Luksus, which is a very small restaurant at the back of a beer bar called Torst in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn.  It was an excellent meal.  Sadly I didn't get to partake in any of the beer, but the food more than made up for that.  On Saturday, Jeeves and I decided to walk to Chinatown and eat dumplings for dinner.  We wound up at this sort of grimy looking place called Lam Zhou.  I would never have gone in there if we hadn't read that it has some of the best dumplings in the City.  So glad we went in - Best. Dumplings. In. The. City.  No lie.  After that, we ate soup dumplings at Shanghai Cafe Deluxe.  They were quite good.  Then I had ice cream at Chinatown Ice Cream Factory - coconut fudge.  It was yummy.

Today was a home cooking day, and that brings me to the finale of my two week wait to do list - I finally made some Jeni's ice cream.  Specifically, I made her Buckeye State Ice Cream, which is a honeyed peanut butter ice cream with "dark chocolate freckles."  Here it is right before it went into the freezer:

It tastes heavenly.  In case you have an ice cream maker, here's the recipe.  The recipe calls for light corn syrup, but Jeni uses tapioca syrup in all of her ice creams, so I bought and used a tapioca syrup as well.  I'm so, so happy with how this ice cream turned out, and I have high hopes for the rest of the cookbook.  The coolest part is that she has you melt the dark chocolate (she says in a double boiler, but I don't even own one of those, so I just nuked it - it worked fine), and then drizzle it in right at the end of churning.  It turns it into these awesome chocolate flakes - so much cooler and better than just plain old chocolate chips.

And now, if you'll excuse me, this ice cream isn't going to eat itself.  

Thursday, October 03, 2013


"I took a sip.  Straight rum.  It burned.  But it felt good to feel something strong besides failure."
- Emmy Laybourne, Monument 14

So, it's 10dpiui (that's 10 days post IUI - a friend of mine who reads this blog told me yesterday that he has no idea what any of the acronyms are, so there you go), and I'm feeling pretty down.  I want to preface this by saying that if you are in a bad place and someone unloading their sadness is going to bring your down, skip this post, come back another day, I promise I'll get better.  Or if someone who has two working arms and two working legs and overall good health whining about their life is going to piss you off, you can skip this.  Here's a picture of a stroopwafel that I ate in Amsterdam, and I'll see you another day.  

Anyway, I'm 10dpiui, and I don't have any pregnancy symptoms.  I feel about 90% confident that I am not pregnant.  I was sort of taken by surprise over how upset this made me.  I think what happened is this.  When we started IUI back in February, I didn't think it would work at all.  First IUI was a chemical pregnancy and even though I was sad, I was also kind of relieved that our cells did something, even if it didn't work out.  The second IUI didn't work out, and I was disappointed.  And by the third IUI I was back to thinking this wouldn't work and we'd have to do IVF.  And then I got pregnant and had the miscarriage.  But I was comforted by the thought that I could get pregnant, and by my RE's recommendation that we stick with IUI.  I think I really believed in my heart that this cycle would work.  And it seems it hasn't.  

It's left me with a lot of crappy feelings about infertility.  I wonder if we're wasting our time doing IUIs, if we should have just moved onto IVF already, even though I am not gung ho about IVF.  On the other hand, this was what our highly trained doctor recommended, so why would I discount her advice?  The worst part about this IUI failing is that it makes me think about the other treatments failing.  I mean, IVF's success rate for women in my age group is only 30.5% per cycle.  I realize that's actually a good number in the fertility field, but yikes.  If this were a bar exam and its passage rate was only 30%, I'd go to a different state.  The idea of going through IVF, spending all that money, and not having a baby at the end of it.... it definitely makes me sad and scared.

Yesterday I went out to lunch with Penney and we were laughing about how we are both renters in the City and how we feel like we'll never be able to buy a place because it's so expensive here.  This led to a conversation about how at our age we sort of thought we'd be a little more advanced.  When I got to work, I felt a little down even though lunch had been fun, and eventually I put my finger on it.  

I feel like a failure.  I am a failure at making and carrying a baby.  I work at a part-time dead end job with no serious career prospects ahead of me because I have put the pursuit of a career on hold while I try to get pregnant and take care of my dad.  I am 35 years old and I still have school debt, and my husband and I don't own our own home.  I don't even have my 160,000 mile car anymore.  I feel like I'm not contributing anything of value.  I feel like a giant, sad lump.  I know that looking after my dad is something that has value, but the truth is I don't even think he needs my help.  I realize there are many good things in my life, not the least of which is my freaking saint of a husband, but this week... this week I am struggling.  I need a win and I don't know if or when it's coming.

I wrote a lot of this in an e-mail to Kate today (b-t-dubs, I was totally right and she loves her yoga pants), and she responded with this: 
My love, I know nothing I can say right now can help, because you're going to feel however you need to feel right now. I'd just like to ask you to remember what you have accumulated in your life. Lots and lots of people who love you, street smarts and life experiences, a devoted husband, and the person that you are! It took you a lifetime to build all that.
I know that my feelings this week will fade and I will stop feeling like a failure at life.  I know that some of this is probably just PMS or snowballing from the disappointment of a probable failed cycle.  It's just taking a little time for my emotions to catch up to my brain.  I don't know if any of you watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine (and if you don't, you should, it's funny), but the main character is having a shitty day and he thinks he's in a slump.  I can relate.  I don't want to leave on a sad note, so here's a clip.  I'm sure I'll feel better next week.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Master of Distraction

Welp.  It's 8dpiui.  The wait is getting really hard.  And I'm starting to feel a little hopeless.  The good news is that I went for morning monitoring yesterday and my progesterone was 36.1.  36.1!  That is the highest it's ever been.  Even the cycle I got pregnant, it was "just" 24.2, and that had been my best progesterone level to date.  But the progesterone level doesn't tell you anything about whether you're pregnant, just whether you ovulated.  So I ovulated, and in theory the IUI was timed correctly.

I felt good about that number for about half a day and then I started to feel poopy.  Here's the thing.  I'm not having any pregnancy symptoms.  Well, I guess maybe there's been some twinges here and there, but I can't really tell if it's possible pregnancy twinges or just gas.  Yes, that's right, I'm 35 years old and can't tell the difference between a uterine cramp and gas pain.  When I was pregnant back in May, my boobs started to hurt around 9dpiui, and only got worse from there.  I keep poking my boobs, but other than the natural pain that comes with poking one's boobs aggressively, they are not hurting at all.  Not even a smidge.  I guess it's possible they might start hurting later, or maybe they won't hurt at all, but I could still be pregnant.  After all, Dr. Google tells me that not every woman gets sore boobs.  But I just have a feeling that if my boobs don't start hurting, I'm probably not pregnant.

And when I go down the "I'm not pregnant" path, well, it can start to get a little Debbie Downer in here.  And that is where the Master of Distraction pops up.  The MoD is the voice in my head that the minute I start to feel down about this process and its probable failure, pops up and yells "Megan!  Megan, look over here!  Looookkkk herrrrreeee!!!  Look at this book!  Look at this cooking magazine!  Look at this episode of Orphan Black!  Why don't we bake something?  How about we do some laundry!  Come on come on come on!  Don't look over there!!!  Don't look at that sad, scared pile of crap in the corner!  Look here!!!!"  The MoD is my own little cheerleader, waving her pom-poms (not a euphemism) around, trying to keep me from thinking about the bad stuff.  

Mostly it's been working.  Remember my list from last week of stuff I was going to do to get through the two week wait?  The first thing I checked off was buying a new pair of jeans.  What's with the skinny jean obsession?  I'm not saying they can't be a part of a well-rounded wardrobe, but most of the stores I went to only had skinny jeans.  I don't look so hot in skinny jeans because I have a pretty big ass/thighs for a small girl.  So I definitely need a boot cut.  Jeeves and I went to visit his mom out in Westchester last weekend and he took me to the mall.  God, I miss malls so much.  Anyway.  Something like five stores I went to only had skinny jeans.  And then a couple of them that did have boot cut jeans, well, they didn't really fit.  So finally I broke down, went into Lucky Brand, and said to the very gay salesperson, "Where are your non-skinny jeans?"  He took me all the way into the back of the store, looked me up and down, and said, "I think you'll like the curvy fit."  Ha ha.  Yes.  They should just call them I-Have-An-Ass jeans.  Anyway, he was very helpful and pulled down a bunch of jeans, and I now own a pair of comfortable and stylish jeans that do not have a hole in the inner thigh area.  Yet.

I have also read one and three quarters books.  And I've made a chicken stock from a leftover roast chicken carcass.  And I took Dad to chemo, which was kind of ridiculous in that everything re: my dad's medical care this week has been totally frakked up, but it all got straightened out.  I think Dad and I could use a break from each other  - we've seen each other three times in the last 10 days, I called him ornery and he called me a brat.  We were only half joking.  So barring any catastrophes, I won't have to take the bus out to New Jersey next week, which means I can just sit in my apartment, not drink caffeine or alcohol, and have hot flashes if I have to start taking clomid again. It's the little things.

Later tonight I will make that grape freezer jam and dinner.  I have tried my best to book up every waking fucking minute of this week to keep from thinking about the sad stuff.  At night after I turn off the light, for a few minutes while the MoD is fluffing her pom-poms (still not a euphemism) or powdering her nose or something, I have a few minutes that go something like this:
let me have this let this work
Followed by:
I am ashamed to admit that.  Ashamed to admit that sometimes that stupid little troll of a voice crushes my hope.  And then I feel scared.  I am scared that with three good follicles and good timing and good progesterone, this is the best month for it to happen and it won't happen.  And if it doesn't happen when I have basically just had a picture perfect cycle, then maybe it will never happen.

And then the MoD pops back in and says, "Oh my God, Megan, I thought of just the thing!  Let's rank our favorite dystopic heroines in order of badassness!" For the record, June Iparis at number 1.