Friday, May 27, 2011

home and empty

First, I need to thank all of you who have kept us in your thoughts and prayers, who have reached out by leaving me a comment, or by calling, or sending me emails. I want to thank Rebecca and Jess who posted about our situation and sent many of their readers over to my blog, and who also left very supportive comments. Thank you to all old and new readers who left a comment of support. I thank Misfit, Bunny, Adele, Roccie, Pumpkin, and LisainSK who reached out by email. It was really helpful to talk with Misfit and Adele about the m/c options and help make up my mind. I thank Oat who posted an update yesterday in the comments section when blogger was being uncooperative, and for her immense support now and always. I also thank all my beloved IRL friends who read this blog and grieve with us at this time. As much as grief is trying to occupy 100% of the space in my heart, gratitude cannot help but grow in there at the same time. I am not sure how I would have gotten through the last 48 hours without all of you.

After several earlier phone calls with my doctor on Wednesday, we talked in the evening about what options were available for evacuating the pregnancy (doesn't that sound horrible). She told me that the u/s report showed that little owlet stopped growing at 9w0d. It had already been three weeks. In retrospect, I see that the decrease in nausea wasn't coincidental, but in fact a sign that things were not going as they should. She gave me the option of taking misoprostol at home for 2 consecutive days, bleeding out over the weekend, and having an u/s on Monday to see whether everything was gone. Let me say that this option never appealed to me. It sounded protracted and emotionally draining. The other option, a D&C under general anesthetic, is the one I chose. I told my doc at 9:30 am yesterday morning that it was my preferred option, and by 10:30 am, she called back to say that my surgery was at 3:30 pm that day. My doctor has had a stillbirth (and thankfully, 2 other successful pregnancies which resulted in beautiful boys), and she said that the doctor who took care of her during the stillbirth was the one who would be operating on me. She said she was lovely.

We arrived at the hospital with heavy hearts. I was looking forward to visiting that hospital in December for the birth, but instead we were going in to put an end to this pregnancy. The person who registered me at arrival was pregnant. It felt a little cruel, dear Universe, but I quickly decided it wasn't personal. I got registered and admitted quickly. The nursing staff was exceptionally kind. We were there at 1:30pm, but my surgery didn't happen until 4:15 pm. We had a visit from our doctor in that wait, who was indeed lovely. She came in and right away shared her sympathy for our grief. I guess my doc had told her our story, and I was glad for it. She felt that it was a very good sign that my body had taken on the pregnancy and that we should try again.

The procedure was quick, I think. It's good to be asleep for these things, if you ask me. I am so glad we made the decision to go with the D&C. I woke up in the recovery room, not sure if it had happened. When the nurse told me it was done, I started to sob. "I'm not pregnant anymore". But that didn't last too long. There was some physical pain to contend with, some morphine to be administered. I was finally wheeled back to the day surgery area at 6:35, where I was reunited with Mr. A. I was ready to go back earlier, but they had brought an elderly lady to the recovery who was in very rough shape. Both nurses were tending to her. I felt so bad for the elderly lady. I could hear the nurses and the doctor talk and she clearly was palliative with what sounded like lung cancer. It was another hour and a half before they let me go home. I got to drink and eat some cookies. Again, the nurse was extraordinarily kind. She was giving me hugs by the time I left. We got home a bit after 8 pm.

It feels steadying to have events to describe. Somehow, I feel like the worst is yet to come. I know how to be in survival mode. I've had a lot of practice at that. But when it's time to go back to work, and start thinking about thriving again, I fear I won't be adequate. I fear the dark grips of depression wanting to close in on me once again. How many more years of depression? How many?

For now, we are just regrouping. I had a pretty bad sleep. I was up from 3 am to 6 am. My body was confused with the lack of eating from yesterday, and was ready to eat again. So I spent those hours reading, eating a bagel, and sitting outside for 45 minutes listening to the birds in the early morning.

Today, a few of our dear friends have stopped by to offer us their love and support. It feels good to have so many loving friends around us, in real life and in cyber space.  

Thank you. I can't say it enough. Thank you, dear friends.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's over.

(oh, how I have dreaded ever having to write this post. But here we are).

Little owlet did not make it. He stopped growing at some point between our 8 week u/s and now.

I went for the u/s this morning and when I asked if there was a fetus in there, the response was "I'm not seeing what I should be seeing at 12 weeks". We then did a transvaginal u/s and no words were coming out of the technician's mouth. Only my sobs to fill the room.

Of course, technicians can't tell you anything, because they are not doctors. He said my doctor would be calling later today or tomorrow.

On my way out, I dropped my glass water bottle. It smashed into hundreds of pieces. There were 2 men from housekeeping standing 10 feet from me. They didn't acknowledge me when I walked towards them. When I asked if there was something I could do to help clean up, one of they shoved a broom in my hands and left. I picked up all the pieces and went home.

I did not return to work but went back to Pleasantville instead. Mr. A and I have just been sobbing all afternoon.

My doctor called several times. She is very kind. Even gave me her home number in one of her messages. I did get to talk to her, and she confirmed that this is a miscarriage. She needs to get the u/s report to know what the next steps will be. I guess it will go one of three ways, all of which sound horrid. The worst is yet to come.

I'm not sure how we're going to tell Sattva. We might need to wait until tomorrow. We both are train wrecks at the moment.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The cure for T1 grumps

Is coffee.

I woke up on Saturday morning, and felt like the constipation was more than I could continue to bear. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Mr. A and I went to the farmer's market, our typical Saturday morning activity, and for the first time since October, I had a cup of caffeinated coffee. Did I ever mention that I LOVE COFFEE? It tasted so bloody good, it must have been illegal. The sun was shining (it's been raining for weeks in Ontario), it was the beginning of a three-day weekend, I was wearing a red skirt with sandals, I had a coffee in hand, my honey at my side, and life was grand. I honestly couldn't remember the last time I felt this good. We sat outside with our coffees and breakfast sandwiches. It was wonderful to feel good again.

I visited Dr. Ninja later that day. I asked whether he thought the 15mgs of iron in my prenatal vitamins could be related to the intestinal misery I've been experiencing. Yes. He did think it was worth trying to replace it with a different multivitamin. He freaked me out a little bit with his concerns re: the impact of constipation on the fetus (squishes the fetus and increases toxicity in the body). But I did reason with myself that many pregnant women experience this symptom and go on to deliver healthy babies. Two days later, I am happy to report that the iron might have been the culprit, as things seem to be improving.

I am not back to drinking coffee, but that little taste certainly made me lusty.

To follow-up on my last post, it appears I will be getting an u/s much sooner than anticipated. I wasn't going to go through with the IPS (integrated prenatal screening - which includes a blood test and the NT scan) because we have already ruled out having amniocentesis. We thought that the information the test would provide us would not be of great use because of our reluctance to do the amnio. My doctor was also unsure of whether the testing norms would mean anything for someone who is pregnant as a result of egg donation. She called me back last week to say that the test was valid for those who went through egg donation. In the end, it was the u/s that got me. The chance to have an u/s soon was too alluring. Of course, my doctor said it wasn't a good reason to get the test done, but I don't care. We are about to start telling people of the pregnancy, and I would like to have it on fact that there is a living fetus in there. So I'm having the scan on Wednesday morning. Hoping all is well in there.  


Thursday, May 19, 2011

First trimester grumps

There is a theme in my life right now. That theme is that am behind on everything. Even my blog postings. I apologize for the e-silence, ladies. I am just tired and a bit, well, behind in everything.

Luckily, or hopefully I should say, I am not behind on growing a fetus. But I have to take that one on faith because I don't know what is going on in there. Augusta was all happy to graduate from the fertility clinic at week 8. Yet at week 11, she is wishing like hell she could drop by for a quick ultrasound. My next visit to my family doctor, where I will theoretically be able to hear this owlet's heartbeat, is on June 17.  This is about 100 years in first trimester time. Wish me patience.

My nausea has abated a bit. Quite a bit, actually (alarm bells ringing). I still feel queasy and disgusted by the sight of some foods (volume of alarm bells turns down). The exhaustion continues, and I continue to fight through my days at work, hoping I am not coming across as entirely incompetent because truly, it feels like the lights are on but nobody's home.

My mood has been low lately. I realize that I am allowed to feel however the hell I feel, but it's hard to accept feeling low when I've been hoping, dreaming, begging every god and goddess to be pregnant for years. And now it's here....and I'm cranky. How to resolve the dissonance? I'm hoping a crossing of the line into T2 will help in that department.

I realize there are factors at play in my low mood. The first trimester really does suck the living daylights out of a woman's energy. And my great job is still great, except that to do it well, I would require the energy I had when I was 26, or at least when I was 36 and not yet pregnant. I am seriously dragging my ass at work, and I don't like that. The way I used to resolve the overload of work was to put in serious overtime all week. I'd just put in 10 or 11 hour days regularly and managed not to get too far behind. Now I don't have the stamina to do all this (unpaid) overtime, so I am falling further and further behind.  I have so many darn reports to write that I can't even come up with a plan of how to get them done. In the mean time, these kids schools, and parents, and community agencies are waiting for my pronouncements (in paper format) on these children's mental health.

I have also been missing Mr. A and Chicken a whole lot. And missing being home. This week, I decided to drive back home on Wednesday night so the week wouldn't seem so interminable. That helped a little in the missing home part, but not so much in the fatigue department. Chicken is not too keen on letting me sleep, since really, I could be petting her instead. A complete cuddle monster.

I think that's all the complaining I have in me for the moment. Thanks for reading and not throwing rotten tomatoes (well maybe you are, but that is going to be nasty to clean off of the keyboard). In the happier news department, I've booked a few fun weekends in July to get away. We are going to Montreal, where I'm from, on the Canada day long weekend and spending time up north at my mom's country house. I also look forward to visiting my dad during that trip. I haven't seen him in a year (which is terrible). We are heading back to Niagara-on-the-lake, this time, with some good friends of ours who will be a month away from welcoming their first child. I'm really looking forward to that.

And in the good news department, I just spoke to my beloved friend Dragonfly (also known as A) live from her hospital room. She was due to have a baby girl on May 31, but she delivered early this morning. I am so excited for her and her husband. I will have to go visit this beautiful girl as soon as possible (and sadly, the 10 hour drive makes that trip tricky to arrange (see the part about my stressful job above). I am hoping to head there in early September, before I get too big. I can also visit Oat when I go, which will be marvelous.

Those are my thoughts for now, lovelies. I am terribly behind on my commenting (see first paragraph) and I hope to make some retroactive progress over this weekend. It's a long weekend in Canada. YEAH!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

10 weeks

I reached the double digits today. My first thought as my feet touched the ground off the bed this morning was: made it to 10 weeks! I went for a celebratory walk with the chirping birds and there was a spring in my step. The spring doesn't ever make it past 9:30am, but still, it was nice to feel energetic for 3 hours this morning.

Today is also the day that I reduce my intake of prom.etrium from 200mg three times per day to 200mg twice per day. I admit to being a little nervous about the decrease and hoping the little owlet is ok in there with less progesterone.

I went to the grocery store today. The theme was green: green grapes, spinach tortilla wraps and green peas. Don't ask. I saw a pregnant woman at the grocery store. The old habit is to look away, but I let my eyes linger today. I looked at her and thought "that will be me".

My fatigue continues and despite the extra B vitamins Dr. Ninja prescribed, I am dragging myself around all day. I can't say my work schedule does much to make me feel less tired. I was able to find 15 minutes to gobble up some soup at lunch, but it's been nuts.

Off to rest, my lovelies. So excited that Bunny's baby is here. Welcome to the world, sweet girl. Also excited about Lisa and Cassie who recently had baby boys. Happy Spring! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

first prenatal appointment

I had my first prenatal appointment with my family physician today. I had not seen my family physician since last summer, when I cried on her exam table after she asked how the fertility treatments were going. My demeanor at today's appointment was different. She was very excited for Mr. A and I and visibly disappointed to have to refer me to an OB in FTT (fertility treatment town - where I will be working until November). It's nice to be loved! She spent quite a bit of time with me doing a physical and talking about the screening tests and the next steps. She said that normally, she follows pregnant women until week 24 and then refers to an OB. When I told her that Dr. RE suggested an OB was probably best sooner than later, she got on it right away. I still have an appointment to see her in 1 month, but if the OB's office calls before that, I will just cancel my appointment with her and start with the OB. I somehow don't think I'll get to see an OB within the next month (this is Canada folks: free health care = awesome, and free health care = waiting). 

My doctor had a doppler but said right off the bat that it wasn't very sensitive. She usually only hears heartbeats of 11 week old fetuses and up. She heard one of 10 weeks recently (I'm at 9w2d), so she was willing to try, but at the condition that I wouldn't get anxious if we didn't hear anything. She poked around for a long time, but alas, it couldn't be detected. Yes, I could get anxious about that if I let myself, but that would be ridiculous (please also remind me of this in your comments). The instrument isn't sensitive enough to pick up the heartbeat of such a young fetus.

I found it interesting that they made me pee in a bottle today. Oh look, there is hcg in my urine! I guess they were being thorough. The nurse took my blood pressure (a-ok) and weighed me. I weighed a pound more than the last time I weighed myself (2 weeks ago) and pretty much the same as pre-transfer. I think the extra pound was all constipation. That is the new symptom this week, along with heartburn. Poor digestive tract. It's really struggling.

It was great to walk out of the doctor's office. I was back in Pleasantville, which is where I like to be. The sun was shining, something we haven't really seen in weeks. And I had just spent an hour talking my pregnancy. What. my. pregnancy. Yes. I had been thinking of Bunny all day, since this is the day that Bun Bun is coming to the light of day, and I suddenly felt my heart fill with substantial hope. This happens. People have fertility treatments and get pregnant and have babies. This really happens. Maybe it's even happening to me.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

the telling begins

I can't really say the news has fully sunk in. When did you start believing your were pregnant? I know that I can say the words: "I'm pregnant" and that those words reflect a biological fact. I know that the collection of symptoms I feel are all explained by that very biological fact. Yet, I am truthfully still at the stage of skeptical bemusement.

The word is getting out, although I am titrating the flow at which it goes very carefully (trying to). Some of the immediate family now knows. Friends that supported us through Infertility Hell also know. In four weeks, if all continues to go well, there will be more people to tell. Like my dad for instance. I have chosen not to tell him before we reach T2. Explaining the whole egg donation situation to my dad will be tricky. Not that he will be upset or negative about it, more that it may be difficult for him to fully understand it. He gets confused by medicine and science. He never made it past grade 10. He's not an idiot, but he is not at all worldly. Bottom line is that if I'm happy, he will be happy. But I anticipate it to be tricky. And I insist on telling him about the egg donation. I feel strongly that he has a right to know that the child won't be genetically related to me and our side of the family. Obviously, Mr. A and I have fully embraced egg donation and Sattva's generous gift. But both my parents have a right to know this fact so that they can do what they need to do to come to a place of acceptance.

We met my mom and stepdad for a few days in Toronto over Easter weekend. I might have chosen to wait to tell my mom, but I don't see her all that often since we live about 600km (375 miles for my American friends) away from one another. So it made sense to tell her now. There was also the fact that Mr. A's parents knew that we were going through the procedure and were told that it resulted in a pregnancy early on that made it imperative to tell her. We didn't want her to feel left out because we told them and not her.

The telling was very fun. We were at lunch on Saturday and I busted out a little board book I bought in preparation for the reveal. My mom is a chartered accountant by trade, although she fries bigger fish these days, so I thought a book about counting would be up her alley, and part of our child's education she would certainly like to be involved with. And besides, all the 'grandmother to be' books portrayed antithetical grandmothers to the kind she will be (i.e. she will not bake cookies, knit booties or sew quilts). She opened the present and was trying to figure out what cockatoos were and why we were giving her a book about cockatoos. "Mom, you'll need this at your house. You'll want to read it to a little person." It was my stepdad who blurted it out, and much to my surprise, he started shedding actual tears. So did my mom. It was great. I'd never seen them so emotional. The rest of the weekend had quite the celebratory tone.

It's funny how I had idealized my mom's reaction to our donor. In retrospect, her reaction was exactly in keeping with what I know of her. I had imagined her being immensely grateful and wanting to buy Sattva an expensive gift. In actuality, she was cautious at first. She asked if Sattva had any claims on this baby and could she later on "take it back". Mr. A and I quickly nipped that issue in the bud. It felt a bit strange to us because we know and love Sattva, and understand why she donated. I can't say I fault my mom for her reaction. I can think of it as her wanting to make sure I was protected because she cares about me. And I also feel glad we told my mom and stepdad about the egg donation part of this beautiful equation at the start of the weekend because they had time to ask questions during the rest of the weekend. I think by the end, my mom did not feel cautious anymore about the donor. I am also planning for them to meet when my mom and step dad come for my convocation in June.

I am thinking about the next wave of announcements come June. At that point, we (read: I) will feel comfortable with the word spreading, although I certainly won't be posting an ultrasound picture on fb. As I approach this stage, I am thinking of those I could sadden with our good news, just as I felt devastated so many times in the past with pregnancy announcements. There are of course those women in my life who I know the news might be hard to take. And then there are those who might get hurt but that I won't know until it's too late. I realize that it won't be me who is hurting them, but infertility who is the assaulting party. Nevertheless, it feels very strange to be on the other side right now, and to be close to having this great, big, happy news to share.