Saturday, December 29, 2012

On the brink of 30

Oh, if only that were my age! Well, I'm still pretty darn grateful to be on the brink of 30 weeks in this pregnancy. I'm sorry to bore you with this again, but it still is completely unreal (and I say that as gummy elbows me in the ribs).

I am surviving the Holidays. It is not my favorite time of year. This year, I decided that being a good daughter was more important than being true to what I really want. So I traveled to Montreal and played the good daughter part for far too many days. Despite it driving me almost completely bananas (my current visit to my in-laws is actually completing the process), I'm still glad I went. There were important moments to take part in. Chats about life and death. I still always feel peripheral in my family (in my life, really - which is another post), but there is value to being there, even in the periphery.

The family, both on my mother's and my father's side, is convinced I am carrying a baby boy. The best explanation was from my darling grandmother who explained that my tummy wasn't pointy, but more round and even, which clearly signaled a boy. I find it all amusing. I don't have a real sense about whether gummy is a girl or a boy. But I've got a requisition for a growth scan that might shed light on the matter.

I saw my OB on Friday, which is truly always a pleasure. Dr. Smiley is like a brook in spring. Despite the Christmas eating, I had gained only 3lbs since the last appointment. She asked about that, and my best explanation was a stomach bug combined with my licensing exam, followed by a cold. One cannot be earnest in their effort to gain weight in those circumstances. And Christmas brought some good eating, but meals were often consumed with a dose of irritation, since most of them were with my mother. And irritation can fill you up. Oh, to be more tolerant of my poor mother.

My blood pressure was great, again. I was thinking it would be awful, since I was running on a few hours of sleep (we left Montreal in a record breaking snow storm, which meant that our train was delayed by 5 hours. We got home at 4:30am, to the very lonely and relieved Chicken). I also just started having the ankle swelling everyone warns you about. My socks leave troughs of significant proportions on my lower legs, which is fascinatingly gross.

I was happily surprised to learn that I am nowhere near having gestational diabetes. Woohooo! The nurse said I wasn't even flirting with the borderline range. My iron, B12, etc. were all good.

Dr. Smiley did note that I was measuring ahead in terms of fundal height. Knowing who she is dealing with, she told me twice not to worry about it. I've avoided asking Dr. Google about it, and I will continue to tell myself that baby gummy is just long. From her palpation, she could also tell that gummy is breach right now. It clarified that what I have been feeling at the top of my abdomen are in fact elbow pokes and wee head butts.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the Holidays, I feel thankful. I rub my belly and think that if gummy arrives safe and sound, I will be a mother. I am so lucky. So very lucky. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Infertility: yours and mine

Third attempt at this post. Did you know T3 gives you writer's block. Apparently, it does.

I have regular lunch dates with some very close friends. I love them to bits. We talk about everything: work, life, good wines, narcissistic parents. You know, the gamut. They have been very supportive to me through IF hell. One had a child in the last years. One actively started trying. I was always apart because of IF, but they never let me feel that in their company. These are pearls, people.

By early last spring, our lunch conversations migrated to infertility, and not just when it was my turn to speak. Turns out they were both facing this scourge. The thing I wouldn't wish on my enemies was now afflicting my good friends. I stood dismayed at how we could all get taken by the wide-cast net of those nasty statistics. Could it not spare one of us?

I didn't have much experience with IRL infertile friends. I had one friend who struggled with IF. She moved away soon after getting pregnant, although we did support each other through at least a year of IF hell and I was very thankful for it. I have another friend with IF who started trying at 40 and was never successful. She is also very supportive. All my other IF friends are reading this blog right now.

My two close friends are in the thick of IF/Loss hell right now. That's about all I can write in an effort to protect their privacy, but they are in the kind of hell we have all experienced here. It breaks my heart into a million pieces to know that they are going through this, just like it breaks my heart when you go through this (most recently Adele - I'm so sorry, lovely woman).   

I'm not sure if there is more to say than I am sad. That it is unfair. That I don't understand why this even happens at all. I struggle with pop-ups of just-world beliefs* in my brain: it's not fair...but life is not fair.

I guess the other thing I can say about it is how entirely strange it is to be a pregnant infertile in the face of what my dear friends are going through. There was a time when I had to psych myself up a great deal before going to lunch with them because I was certain they would have pregnancy announcements. And now when I see them I feel sad that they have to look at my belly. I know they are happy for me. And yet, I can't help but perceive myself like my old infertile nonpregnant self would: a difficult reminder.

It is strange to negotiate the world as someone who is hypersensitized to infertility and someone who is pregnant at the same time. I even make assumptions about who might be infertile in my viscinity and try to avoid them if I see them and they don't know I'm pregnant yet. It happened at the gym the other morning. A woman I know showed up (I don't usually see her there in the mornings so I was surprised see her). I remember her telling me about a miscarriage within the last year, and I purposely avoided her. Why should she be subjected to me at this point, I thought.

I realize that I am not realistic in my quest to protect everyone around me and that I might, you know, have issues. But darn, it hurt so much to be surrounded by all the bellies all the time. I walk the halls at work and wonder who is suffering in silence (and let me tell you, there are plenty-a-pregnant-belly walking around at work right now).

You want to know if I'm feeling survivor's guilt. Maybe. But am I a survivor yet? That's the other side of the coin, the side where I'm not sure this is for real yet. Someone asked me the other day where I was thinking we would send gummy to school. I answered that we were still hoping gummy would be born. The person laughed. I was serious.

My beloved friends who are in IF hell worry about dragging me back into the world of IF with sharing their struggle and their pain. They would like this to be all unicorns and butterflies and kittens' whiskers for me (I'm paraphrasing: my friends have huge hearts but are not one ounce of corny). I'm not sure how out of the IF world I am, to be honest. I sure am not done dealing with my own feelings about the years of infertility and childlessness I faced. (But you know, I'm a licensed psychologist now so I should be done with that by next week). I can relate to my friends much more easily than say, to this couple we visited last week. They wanted to talk about their decision to only have one child when the world expects them to have two. I could appreciate their questionning process around the number of children they would have, and I could give my view on having been an only child myselt, but I was glad they never asked: 'what are you thinking about: one or more?' We're still working on being able to have one child. Still hoping and praying and holding our breath.

*the notion that people get what they deserve - which I try hard not to believe in too much because it's simply not how life works.

Friday, December 7, 2012

the updates keep being boring

It's been a bit of a roller coaster this week, the reason on which I will pin my absence of posts. But this morning, thanks to insomnia, I got up at 5am (after tossing and turning since 2am) and have some time to cough up a lengthy missive (yes, I think this is sleepless boot camp for the mother-to-be).

I got a stomach bug on Tuesday. Hum, stomach bugs and pregnancy are not a winning combo for more reasons that one. I was also trying to prepare for my oral licensing exam through the stomach bug situation. I will remember this week, mark my words. Probably mostly because I DID get my license! I can now practice my profession autonomously, which is a huge deal in my little world. I am thrilled.

I went to visit my OB last week. I continue to like her so much. She was once again very pleased with everything, and said so. It still feels a bit suspect to have everything be going well, but I'm trying to roll with it. She did send me for some blood work and the glucose tolerance test. I'm still concerned that I will fail my glucose test because of a family history of diabetes on both of my parents' sides. But let's wait for the facts to emerge, shall we. So far, no phone calls from the OB's office, although it's only been a week.

At the OB's, I looked at her while she was measuring my uterus and preparing the doppler for the symphony of the heartbeat, and asked "is there really going to be a baby?" She seemed to think so. "Well, there is something in there!" is what she said. It's still not entirely real, although the wiggling and kicking does help.

Oh, and I got a diaper bag. Received it in the mail this week. After much back and forthing, I chose this one. I'm sure gummy will approve (this is me being sarcastic about my own penchant for consumerism. Gummy for sure will not care). In a separate package, I received a whole whack of formula products. I'm not sure how that got to me, probably through signing up for one thing or another. It's nice to have though, in case my double A breasts don't deliver on their promise of milk.

So apparently, the third trimester is around the corner. I think there is nothing more to say after that. Except: !  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


24w1d today*. We have reached the elusive viability status. I beg gummy not to think this means it's time to make an appearance. But this was the next big milestone in my mind and now I've reached it. At the last OB appointment, I asked specifically about it. I thought that being in a smaller town, viability would be later, since there is no NICU at Pleasantville General Hospital. But the OB said viability is the same as it is everywhere, just that any babies looking to be born before 32 weeks will buy their mamas a ride in an ambulance to the university hospital 45 minutes away, or to the big city, or west to Fertility Treatment Town, my old haunt. Well I'm not planning on making the ambulance trip, but it's good to have the notion in mind of what would happen, and that gummy could live at this point.

At work today, I had the two extremes on a continuum of reactions to pregnant bodies. One colleague guffawed loudly and said "Wow Augusta, you have grown so much in the last few days! You have really popped!" And then later on, my boss stopped me in the hall and said "Augusta, I have to say I was looking at you in the kitchen and you can barely tell you are pregnant!" It just makes me laugh, since you know, I'm not feeling a tremendous amount of control over this. It's nothing I'm doing or not doing. I'm just growing a baby and I look the way I look. But it is a bit intense how much people are commenting on my body.

Speaking of work, it has continued to be super busy. I'm thankful for it, but it leaves me with less time to blog. At the beginning of December, I will be taking my final licensing exam. This one is an oral exam in front of a panel of three. I'm imagining it as nerve wracking as the Ph.D. defense, except this time, everyone in the room will be strangers. If I pass, it means I get my license and I won't have to worry about it while on mat leave. It also helps with looking for work after mat leave, since a job candidate with a license is preferable to one in the process of getting a license. Now if I can only start convincing myself that weekends are meant for preparing and not eating out and watching episodes of House.

Chicken thanks you for your sweet comments. She is well aware of how beautiful she is, but never tires of hearing it. She's a cat, after all. 

* I put a substandard bump pic on the gummy bear page of what my torso looks like at this point.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My girl Chicken

Dude! why is my favourite lap getting so small?

Chicken is not sure that the expanding belly is such a good idea.

Where is she supposed to sit?

She also wants to know why people write an FET instead of  a FET. If someone could explain it to me, I can transmit that valuable information to her.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I could get used to this

I had my first 'in office' OB visit this morning (my last one involved meeting my OB at the hospital). It went so well! She confirmed that the ultrasound results showed that the shadow was completely gone and there was nothing to worry about. Little SCH could still be seen, but she said that again, those were shrinking and nothing to worry about. My blood pressure was good. The fundus height was exactly where it should be. The baby's heartbeat was wonderful. She said gummy's weight estimation puts him/her at the 55th percentile. I told her I could get used to appointments like these, were everything goes well.

Oh ladies, it felt completely unusual (and frankly wonderful) to go in for an appointment and have absolutely nothing wrong. How many years of going to the RE and getting bad news after bad news, sprinkled with some good news that turns into bad news? Too many.

I asked about the sex of our gummy but it was not on the u/s report. At first, the resident seemed to say that I just wouldn't find out since there might not be any more u/s. When the OB came in, she said we'd probably do a growth scan at 30 weeks and be able to see the sex at that point. She intimated that the u/s tech was wrong to say that 19w4d was too early to visualize the sex. She said she'd send me somewhere else next time.

I also learned more about viability in our part of the world. It is, as in other first world nations, 24 weeks. I asked specifically if that was true in our little college town, and was told yes, since they transfer women to the big university hospital. The resident said she'd delivered a 23-week-old who lived. They will keep women delivering in Pleasantville starting at 34 weeks. I was grateful that Dr. Smiley explained all that, and that she totally got why I was asking. I need to get to the next milestone, I said.

I brought up the weigth issue, but it turned out to be a nonissue. When asked about it, my weight gain was described as "perfect".  Of course, I had been worried about it since, you know, it seems to be going up and up and up. The small remnants of anorexic Augusta start to voice their concern with any upward movement of the scale. But it was a tribute to my healthy self to hear that this is all unfolding as it should. At least, that's what I heard. Healing from the eating disorder has involved working towards eating as intuitively as I possibly can. It took more than a decade to get there, but I know it's been a great deal easier in the last 5 years. To know that I can do this part intuitively - the part about eating more to grow a baby - makes me see how completely I'm over that mindfuck. I feel really thankful for that (and yes, I might sing a different tune when I feel crappy about the baby weight once gummy is here). 

Well, I feel a bit like I jinxed things by congratulating the four amazing women who are recently pregnant. Almost as soon as I posted, I learned that La Fille's pregnancy was doomed, in more ways than I can really describe here. If you have any words of French in you (bonjour counts as a word), please go over at L'AMP pour les Nuls and give her a hug.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halfway today

Yes, it's true. 20 weeks on the dot. Unfreakinbelievable.

A few things before I launch into boring pregnancy updates.

1) I LOVED your comments on my last post. Thank you so much ladies. I feel like writing that post helped me clarify some of the inner conflict I had pulling at me from within. And reading your comments helped remind me that we really all struggle with emerging from infertility into motherhood. We all (will) get there, somehow.

2) I am so thrilled by all the great news in blogland lately. A huge congrats to Egghunt, Ginger and Lime, J.J., La Fille who are finding themselves pregnant, after years of struggle and loss. I cannot tell you, women, how much my heart sings to think of you pregnant. And I also want to acknowledge those who are still waiting. In particular my dear friend Patience, who has had to watch everyone go first, and still doesn't get her turn to be a mom. I continue to hold hope for you, my friend, and can't even imagine the happy dance we will all do when the call finally comes.

Now for updates:

The anatomy scan was on Friday. It went very well indeed. I think gummy is the most beautiful fetus in the world. I was expecting to find out the sex of our baby, but the tech told me it was too early. At the time, I made as though I believed what she was saying, but in all honesty, I think it's hogwash. I know some of you have found out earlier than 19w4d, which is where I was at on Friday. I later talked to Sattva, who said she heard tell Pleasantville General Hospital had gotten into some hot water over revealing the sex of babies, and were now trying to avoid the practice altogether. It wasn't too big of a disappointment, especially when I got to see that gummy looked so healthy. I asked about the shadow, not expecting that anything could be said about that, but was happily surprised when the tech said she couldn't see it at all. She then volunteered that it was a nonfused chorion, the most benign of all three possibilities. How do you spell relief? (apparently, you spell it r-e-s-o-l-v-e-d n-o-n-f-u-s-e-d c-h-o-r-i-o-n).

I've also hired a doula to help us with the birth. When I thought about who Mr. A and I are as people, and how we handle our own and each other's anxiety, it felt like we probably needed the presence of a calming third influence in the midst of what's going to be a beautiful and likely painful experience. Despite the recommendations to shop around, I think I like the one I met on the weekend well enough to hire her.

I am wondering if the little sensations I feel sometimes are perhaps kicks from long legged gummy (this kid is going to run marathons one day). I've got the anterior placenta situation, so I know that it's supposed to take longer to feel the movements in this situation. One of my work friends described the movement akin to when your eye starts to twitch, and somehow, that was closer to what I had been feeling than gas bubbles. So, I think I may be feeling gummy move, but it's not with any certainty yet.

One last anecdote before I sign off. I went for a walk with a friend yesterday, and when she gave me a hug, she squealed and said she could feel my bump. I have not taken any pictures of the bump yet, but I think it might be time to start that. Watch for it in the gummy bear tab.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

the pregnant infertile identity

Snippets of thoughts are swirling around. Will they actually come together in a blog posting? I think I've found the thread, with a little help from my friend (yes, that's you, the Scottish mama/psychologist).

We are in the car, driving up to a cottage for the weekend, and she says I'm not infertile.

What do you mean?

What she means, pointing at my (now visibly) growing bump is that I am looking like fertility incarnated. That what's going on inside of me is what fertility is all about. That my biology, and my social world, all think I'm as fertile as it gets.

She has a point. But I protest, of course.

I'm not about to give back my infertile badge. I feel like I'll be part of that club until death. Is that short sighted of me? Maybe. Probably. But at the end of the day, my body didn't create life. Yes, it is growing it as we speak. And yes, my body, my whole being will work hard to sustain this life once it joins us on the outside. 

But I'm still infertile.

I hear myself tell people I don't know well that this was a long awaited for baby. I do a double-take on myself when I say that it has been years of work to get here. What is that about? I look the same but I'm different, and I need the world to know it? I don't know. I just find it odd that it keeps coming out of my mouth. I go back to thumbing my rolodex of emotional patterns. Oh yes, I see. This is the one about deserving things only if I've absolutely worked my ass off to have them.

Don't get me wrong. I've long abandoned the idea that my infertility is psychosomatic. My psyche did not create this. No amount of relaxing would have brought us this pregnancy. But I do find it disturbing that my actions perhaps demonstrate that I fancy myself more deserving of this child than others since I've suffered so much for him or her. That's a tad effed up.

Is it that my experience of pregnancy is completely the one of a pregnant infertile? I don't think so. There are aspect I feel I'm experiencing like every other woman who has or is or will be pregnant, no matter what route she took to get there. I have the same worries (ok, perhaps magnified a bit). I've started to smugly rub my belly (yes, you can hate me). I'm interviewing doulas, and I've picked out a colour for the nursery (parma grey - farrow and ball), and I'm getting freaked out about giving birth.

And yet, I'm not ready to say that all has just gotten back on track with the pregnancy. This train didn't just jump the track, it piled up into a full wreck. And perhaps that is what I am holding onto when I cannot drop the infertile after the pregnant in my title. Let's not pretend there wasn't hell to go through to get here (and perhaps more hell before we get there - oh please no. PLEASE, NO MORE HELL!). And without going all psychoanalytic on you folks, this is perhaps a parallel with my childhood. There was a certain amount of shit that went down, all of which went unacknowledged by my parents and extended family. 15 years of therapy later, it appears I find it important to acknowledge the truth of what happens to me. Go figure.

So, I am pregnant. And I am infertile. Both of those are my truths. And I understand that to the outside world, I am just another pregnant woman* Very few know about the donor egg process we've been through and for now, it's very easy to decide who gets to know and who doesn't. But on the inside, I'm mostly still infertile and waiting for the other shoe to drop. I know enough to let hope in and go with the facts (inside my uterus = growing fetus). And I also know that this is entirely a miracle, that science, money, selflessness, another woman's eggs, good medical staff, lots of missed hours of work, enormous support from all of you, and a large measure of determination on our parts made it possible. And I know that if we lose this miracle, we can't just have sex to try and make another one happen.

I think I'm ok with living as a pregnant infertile. That's what it will need to be for it to be my truth, so I'll stick with it for now.    

*Did I ever tell you how much I dread being that woman to someone in the throes of infertility. Like I could just be sitting somewhere, and she is having the worse day ever after a beta of 1, staring down her 4th IVF, and then she sees me with my bump and I am her last straw. Funny how self-important we are in our worst fears.

Friday, October 12, 2012

week 18 - updates

Last week was full of pregnancy-related episodes that I'll recount here. If you are not in the mood for pregnancy talk, please feel free to skip it entirely.

 So, yes, the prenatal yoga was a trip. It ended up, not surprisingly, that I knew 4 of the 12 women in the class. One of them is in my closer community circle and I'm glad I had found out the week before about her pregnancy (through a few channels, including her friend writing on her wall something about her pregnancy - eeeeeekkk. I'm so afraid of that happening to me). I was surprised by how much it stung to find out she was pregnant. It stung just as much as when I was infertile period. I knew that becoming a pregnant infertile would not remove the infertile out of me, but it took that news to reveal it more completely. Truth is I'm very happy for this woman. And she, in turn, expressed in as few words as possible to protect my privacy, that she was happy to see me in the class. I've chalked up the stinging to plain old infertility reflexes, which will probably be in operation until I'm 80.

I also got to meet my OB last week. It appears that my streak of amazing luck with health professionals continues. Dr. Smiley was a-w-e-s-o-m-e. And young. Close to 10 years my junior, I would guess. I was a bit puzzled that I had to meet her at the hospital, and wondered why I wasn't meeting her at a medical office. I got myself there and it became evident that I was to wait in triage. Two women were being admitted. Like, to have their babies. And I was sitting across from them, in the same waiting room, feeling quite out of place. Dr. Smiley was very compassionate about my infertility history, and was keen to learn about the DE process in the U.S. She felt that the shadow on the last u/s was a wait and see situation, and that I shouldn't worry about it for now. She noted, as I expected, that she would send me to the big university hospital if there was cause for worry. I wasn't expecting it, but she did an u/s. I was so excited to see gummy. Unlike in the last 2 u/s, gummy was quite calm. Gummy looked like he/she had filled out a little bit, and didn't look quite as gaunt as our last peek inside. Dr. Smiley didn't take any measurements, but said the baby looked like an appropriate size for his/her age.    

The anatomy scan is booked for October 19. She felt that it was a good idea to have the scan at the same place as last time (Pleasantville General Hospital), so as to compare results with the 14w scan. She said that she may also send me to another place she likes to send patients if there is a need for follow-up.

There have been a few sweet occasions for revealing the pregnancy to close friends. One evening last week, we went out to dinner with a group of friends, most of whom did not know about our little miracle. A few of them knew about our struggles in some detail and were over the moon when I told them there was a fetus in there, pointing at my stomach. As luck would have it, some other dear friends were also eating at that restaurant. I shared the news with them and both husband and wife just started crying. It was incredibly sweet.

I've been excited and hopeful by reading of some great developments in blogland. My fingers (and aloe plants) are crossed that all continues to go well for you, dear women.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A riddle

Q: How can you tell that the lovely woman you've just met in your prenatal yoga class is not at all infertile?

A: She is 6 weeks pregnant

(From the vantage point of my 17 weeks, I was still feeling rather exposed to be affirming my pregnant state so early.  Going to that class was a big emotional hurdle to summit, but I did it and even enjoyed it!)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

put it in a box

Thank you for your lovely, supportive comments and emails on my last post. I wrote it soon after getting the phone call from my doctor and still felt pretty agitated by it. I've since been able to find a more calm place to live inside myself. Since then, life has been very busy and there has not been much time to write posts, emails, or anything else. I had my second licensing exam last Monday and crossing my fingers that I passed. It is next offered in March, which won't work for me at all. Work has picked up this fall, which is nice, but it does take away from my blogging.

In the day or two following my doctor's phone call, I discovered that I didn't have anything left in me to put into active worrying. It's like a charity I've given and given to, and who keeps coming back for more. This time when they were at my door, I simply had nothing left to give. The first trimester and the SCH took it out of me, and now I can't do it. I can't spend my days and nights worrying about something that may or may not be real, something that may or may not be terrible.

So I put the information in a box.

Compartmentalization is traditionally known as a defense mechanism. When it is overused, it's not very healthy for the person. For example, if there are parts of you that you really can't stand and you keep putting those in a box, cutting off your awareness and the possibility of integration of all your parts (the ones you like and the ones you don't like), you are likely to get into some trouble, psychologically speaking. It takes a lot of effort to keep all those parts you don't like in a box, and that takes its toll on your functioning. You also might not come across as genuine to others. However, compartmentalization can also be thought of as a very useful, adaptive process. For example, if you're trying to get through a big project at work, and your job is hanging in the balance, it's probably a good thing that you are able put out of your mind the fact that you've had a fight with your spouse.

At this point, worrying about a shadow would be just that: worrying about a shadow. Of course it could mean all sorts of nasty things, but it could also be nothing. I'm sure that if it turns out to be something, I will do a great job worrying and fretting. But I'll leave that for the future, if that's even needed.

For now, I'm busy looking into strollers and wondering which cloth diapers we'll use. I'm also looking ahead at our first OB appointment on Friday. And I'm also in awe that tomorrow marks the start of week 17. Week 17???? How did that even happen? 

Friday, September 21, 2012

the good news/bad news phone call

And the circus continues...

The good news
It appears the little shits (SCH) are gone. "Almost completely resolved" were the words used by my doctor.


but there were new findings on the u/s

The bad news
Shadows were detected on the ultrasound, described as a thin membrane on the right side of the uterus.

Dr. Lovely said it could be 3 things:

1) An amniotic band: the most shitty of all prospects, these things wrap themselves around the fetus's body parts and constrict growth. This is apparently how cleft palates, cleft lips and club feet are made. And worse. Please don't google-image it. It's not pretty.

2) A uterine synechia: basically adhesions (fibroids, polyps), which seem to threaten babies less than the effing bands mentioned above. However, I did find a study that said it could lead to PPROM, placental abruption, or malpresentation (i.e. breach or other non-birth friendly positions of the fetus). Another study said it was not associated with complications.

3) A nonfused amnion: this third possibility, she urged me not to worry about. She said that it was too early to tell if this is a problem. Dr. google said it's related to chromosomal abnormalities in some cases.

Also, it appears that the placenta is low lying (but not considered placenta previa at this point). Luckily, I knew not to worry about that right now. As the uterus grows, the placenta tends to move up (well, it doesn't move, but the uterus expands making it seem as it is migrating north).

She advised that the restrictions recommended for the SCHs be kept in place until I see the OB on October 5 and/or my next u/s at 19 weeks. No gym. No lifting. No sex. Mr. A will be thrilled.

So, there. More exquisitely precise potential afflictions to worry about. I feel like I'm really excellent at worrying about things even without prompts. Really, I don't need tangible causes for worry, I do just fine worrying over nothing at all.

I just want gummy to be born alive. Healthy. Ready to grow into a child, an adolescent, an adult. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

office politics

Interesting what prompts one to share the news at work. While I had considered the timing carefully, and meant to start telling people somewhere between weeks 20 and 24,  it seems like life had other plans.

Some of you who have been reading this blog for a while now (bless you for wading through my excessive verbiage) will know that I am the queen of maternity leave contracts. It's an ironic position to be in as an infertile, but I'm not proud. Work is work, and I'll take it where I can get it. Of course I lust after my colleagues' permanent full time positions with cushy benefits and pensions, but when I go down that road, I steer myself back with the reminder that getting a job in this economy is rather fortunate. And I've been lucky to have good jobs, for the most part.

The job I'm in now has offered a number of benefits. Like it's nice to sleep at home during weeknights. I enjoy the people I work with, and I get to do some interesting work. My contract was set to end in October (next month) but sometime last spring, my boss told me they had found a pocket of money to keep me until the end of March 2013. She said they had all been very pleased with my work. Nice to hear.

In August, the two psychologists who had been off on mat leave returned to work. It made me a little nervous at first - I could see that it would be nonstop baby talk, and that I would have the priviledge of feeling like shit all the time because of it. Of course, I was pregnant myself at the time, but I wasn't ready to believe I would stay pregnant. So, APPREHENSION grew.

Turns out the two women are entirely lovely. Yes, they talk babies a lot, but they also talk psychology, and tv series, and frustrations with husbands, and lots of other topics to which I can relate. Like tofu. And shoes. While I had been friendly with lots of people at work, all of a sudden, I had FRIENDS at work. Sweet!

Then one day in early September, the colleague with whom I share an office closed the door and said she had to talk to me about something. Turns out she is returning from mat leave pregnant. Unexpected, she said, but feeling very pleased. When she got to saying the due date (one day after mine), I couldn't not tell her about my little gummy. Her reaction was a surprise. She jumped up and squealed, stating that we would be on mat leave together and that this was awesome. Her reaction moved me a great deal.

Our boss was as supportive of her as expected. Which means very. We have a stellar boss. But I quickly learned that she was looking for me to talk about my contract. When I finally met with her, she was so pleased to offer me a one-year extension, which I genuinely wished I could have accepted. I must say her expression was priceless when I turned it down and said why.

So while she didn't broadcast it throughout the agency, my boss did have to share it with some key people. I decided to share with all my psychology colleagues who were all wondering if I would be taking over for the upcoming mat leave. It's been really fun to watch people's reactions when I say that I had to turn down the offer, and then say why. So far, I think the best one was from one of the senior psychologists who said that my timing was off. I responded that after 3-4 years of efforts, I felt that now was as good as ever. She looked at me and just offered me her condolences for having gone through infertility. Bless her heart.

And this is how the word is getting out. I've started telling other people at the office, although I'm not in a hurry to do it. At the same time, it's been nicer than expected. I do fear having to untell, but at the same time, I'm holding on to the fact that this seems to be a reality right now.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I am pregnant

Can you believe it? I guess it's easier for you on the outside, but for me, I have to get used to it several times a day. It fills me with awe.

We went to Pleasantville General Hospital for the ultrasound yesterday. The last time we had to go there was for the D&C. We got there and Mr. A just said "I hate this parking lot - such bad memories." Yes, I had been thinking about that the entire drive to the hospital. Out of the elevator and into the corridor: a left turn leads into the day surgery area. A right turn leads to the diagnostic imaging clinic. We turned left last time, and right this time.

A lovely ultrasound tech took me into the room, and told me right away that she could see the baby and the heartbeat. My eyes still filled up. It's always a very intense moment for me, waiting to hear if the baby is still alive. She had a hard time taking all her measurements because apparently, we have a wiggly gummy. It's absolutely amazing to see this little being move around so much of his or her own volition. She asked if Mr. A was tall, because the baby has very long limbs. I'm actually the one known for her long limbs (I'm 5'10" with a short torso), but I had no genetic say in the creation of this baby. So we'll go with Mr. A (who is about 5'11". Our donor stands at 5'6" - so also not short). It made me wish I could call Sophie and tell her this.

When Mr. A was invited to join us, he asked right away about the SCHs. She replied that she would need to let the doctor talk to us about that. She quickly followed that by saying that is was very common, and that it wasn't much to worry about. She added that it's a concern when the SCH are bigger than the gestational sac, which, when we reflected on it later, thought she said that because the SCHs she saw weren't that big. Nothing in her nonverbal language, noted Mr. A, said that she was concerned or alarmed. Of course, we'll have to see what kind of phone call I get from the doctor on Monday. But right now, I feel very pregnant.

Still no maternity clothes. Some of my roomier pants and skirts still fit well. I know that isn't going to last, but I figure I still have a few weeks. For now, I am focusing all of my time at home on studying for my second licensing exam, which is on September 24. Lots of updates from work to share, but that will have to wait for a different post. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I saw Dr. Lovely as planned yesterday. She was pleased to hear that there had been no bleeding. I started off with my big advocacy piece without delay. At first, she was gently suggesting that an additional u/s would not tell us anything new, that we would want to do that if I started to bleed but not really otherwise. I said that waiting a month to visit the OB seemed like a very long time, especially because I feel like a ticking time bomb. And also that this sounded like a reactive, as opposed to a proactive strategy. She listened. She's really good like that. I said that I wondered where the SCH were located exactly in relation to the placenta. She looked at the report from the imaging clinic, which is when I realized she hadn't seen the u/s at all. The report said the placenta is anterior, and the big mofo is on the right, while the little SCH is on the left. Ok, that helped a tiny bit. Perhaps the SCH is not ripping the placenta from the uterine wall as we speak.

I started asking about options. Could I not go see the OB earlier? She's really busy, I was told, and never even answered Dr. Lovely's query about recommendations for dealing with SCH. She said she would bug the OB office for an answer. Could she send my referral back to the large university hospital MFM clinic to see whether, now that I have a large SCH, they would consider taking me as a patient? She said she could try that. Could I get another u/s between now and the day I have to see the OB? Yes, she felt that was reasonable. When I said that the word on the street about the imaging was pas bon, she looked curious. What did I hear, she asked. I told her a few things, and she admitted that she herself had a bad experience there. Consensus! So she referred me to the Pleasantville General Hospital for the u/s, which will happen on September 14. She said it will be good to get a second opinion. I'll say.

In the appointment, we also listened to the baby's heartbeat. She laughed and mockingly scolded me for buying a doppler - after saying that she used the one at work all the time during her pregnancies (and she would, especially for the pregnancy after her stillbirth). It took a few minutes to find it and then there it was, loud as a crow. It still seems so amazing.

And amidst my questions about when the second trimester really, truly starts, Dr. Lovely declared that I had made it. Good enough for me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

cloudy, but mostly calm

Dear reader, are you tired of the drama in this blog? I'm asking because I'm getting pretty tired of it myself. I can't really do anything to prevent shit from happening, but I've focused on chilling the hell out and so far, it's been working.

The SCHs have been silent. No cramping. No bleeding. (thanks for the reminder, Roccie). I used the doppler on the weekend and heard baby's heartbeat loud and clear. So while there is this threat of impending red doom, there is at the moment, nothing alarming (and please let this writing of it not act as a big jinx to the dormant SCHs, or as my friend dragonfly named them, the little shits).

Mr. A did some chatting at his men's group (yes, my hubby is a SNAG (sensitive new age guy) who goes to a men's group to drink imported beer and talk about his feelings). Turns out all the men were against the imaging clinic we visited. One of the men is married to a midwife, who steers all her patients away from that imaging clinic because it is crap. Another man relayed the story of how they measured his son as 4lbs over his actual birthweight and told his wife she would surely need a c-section (she didn't). So, this left me wondering about the diagnosis made from the ultrasound at said crap imaging clinic. And it made me long for the days of just going to our fertility clinic and getting an ultrasound from a DOCTOR. In our system, the technician does the u/s and the doctor reviews it and comments/diagnoses as needed.

I have an appointment with Dr. Lovely tomorrow (my gp), from whom I will request a consult with an OB. Pronto. I think I deserve to be assessed by an expert who can tell me what's what. I'd like to know where the little shits are located, and know what to expect. Are they likely to interfere with the placenta's attachment to the uterine wall or not very likely? Have they grown in size since assessed last Tuesday or are they shrinking? I need some answers women.

In the mean time, I am 13w1d, which is just a little bit amazing. I went to a big outdoor concert on the weekend and I declined when they wanted to put a "you're of age to drink alcohol" wrist band on my wrist. "I'm pregnant" I said. It felt SO GOOD to say that. While I still am afraid of the ramifications of the SCHs, and everything else that could go wrong, I am feeling like this might really happen. I'm sure I'll eat my words next time I get scared, but that's how I've been feeling in the last few days, and I like it.

Thank you for reminding me of how the horror stories of SCH turned up roses in the end. I needed to be reminded. Your support continues to help me put one foot in front of the other.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

dark clouds on the horizon

What was that - 16 hours - of feeling confident and beginning to believe in this pregnancy. I was sitting at work this morning, 9:37am and my cell phone rings. It's my GP's office. The office staff asks if I can come in right now. RIGHT NOW? I'm at work, I said (work is a good hour's drive away from Pleasantville). She offers me the possibility of talking to the doctor on the phone instead. Sure, that would be helpful. Then I get put on hold. The blood drains from my head. My heart pounds. I close my office door and start pacing (thank god my office mate wasn't in).

After an eternity, the office staff comes back on the line. The doctor is busy with a patient and can she call me back. Of course. She tells me the doctor said it's nothing to panic about.

yeah, right.

I go into a meeting (a meeting that's already started) and as I'm being directed to a chair, the phone rings and I have to excuse myself. [Oh the intersection of infertility and work. There's a whole book waiting to be written about that.] Dr. Lovely (that's what I'll call her from now on, my lovely family doctor who has been so good to me) tells me I have 2 subchorionic hematomas: one large one (6.9cm) and one smaller one (2.9cm). Nothing to do now, she says. She put a call in to the OB's she's referred me to, in order to ask what recommendations she should make. She just said not to exercise too intensely. No more stairclimbing at the gym, only flat walking. She said to call in when/if I start bleeding, noting that she'd want to do an ultrasound at that point.

I want to believe that this won't end the pregnancy, but I know it can. I also know that it has happened to many of you, and that you've come through it with babes in arms. I just feel like a ticking time bomb at the moment, knowing that at any moment I could start to bleed profusely.

The one good thing is that usualy, SCH are diagnosed after some bleeding. In my case, it's reversed and so I can be warned about what's coming up. It still doesn't make it fun, but it's a small comfort.

it's never easy, is it. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

the gummy lives

Baby is alive and kicking. And flipping around. And moving his/her arms around. And has a great heartbeat (165bpm). It measured ahead by a few days: today is 12w1d, and he/she measured 12w5d.

Another long wait before my turn, and how grateful was I to have ignored their directives to start drinking water one hour ahead of he appointment. I ended up waiting 45 minutes in the waiting room, so I would have had to do something with all that extra fluid in the mean time. Like cry. Or drool (thanks Pumpkin). No need, I simply started drinking 30 minutes ahead of my appointment and so it was all tolerable. As for the crying, that happened anyway. The technician put the probe on my abdomen and didn't say a bloody word (and I couldn't see the screen). Here's a reenactment:

Augusta: [silence]
u/s tech: [silence]
A: (in her most feeble voice - choking on her words) it still alive?
u/s tech: (in a bubbly voice as if to say the sky is still blue) Oh yeah!
A: [tears]
u/s tech: there are some tissues right there...and now I'm going to cry too.

This u/s gave me a lot of confidence. Gummy bear seemed so strong, so much his or her own person. Gummy looked so comfortable in there, just chillin' by (in) the pool, looking for someone to bring him or her a virgin mojito.

It's a glorious day, women. Thank you for celebrating with me.

Monday, August 27, 2012

superstitions and miracles

Miracle: I weaned myself from all my meds on August 15. As you recalled, I acted in defiance of my medical orders and took some progesterone on August 16. Again on August 18. And then no more progesterone. Those first 5-6 days post weaning were inhabited by cold sweats and obsessive inspections of the toilet paper. Nothing remotely pink turned up. What is more, I felt more nauseous and more fatigued. I was forced to conclude that my pregnant state was continuing.

Superstition: I have successfully put away the bottle of estr.ace. However, the bottle of promet.rium, despite being almost empty, is still required to sit on the bathroom shelf. This is purely out of superstition. If I move it to the cabinet, I may start bleeding.

Miracle: I heeded your suggestions and purchased a doppler. Mr. A had some reservations about this. He petitioned against it, stating that it would only make me more anxious in the event that I couldn't find the heartbeat. True, I said, but then I can drive myself to the doctor's office and get that checked out if I'm so worried. I told him all the blog women were doing it. That sealed the deal. Doppler arrived on Friday. Couldn't quite make out the hb on that day, although the machine seemed to be picking something up that was around 125 bpm (certainly not mine, which is really slow). But I tried again on Saturday and used headphones that time and I'm pretty sure I heard it.

Miracle: 12 weeks today and I seem (oh please, please, please) to still have a living fetus inside of me.

Superstition: My nausea is abating. Isn't that a clear sign that my fetus is dead? I guess this is about the time when nausea should decrease, but last time, the decrease in nausea was the one sign that told me (in retrospect) that things were amiss. That being said, I only noticed a little decrease this weekend, right around the 12-week mark. Shit, I sure hope everything's a-ok in there.

Miracle: Hoping for one tomorrow at the NT scan. I will keep you posted.

Friday, August 17, 2012

10w4d update

I'm glad you are all taking the ice water testicle advice seriously. Go and spread the news. I think we are on the brink of eliminating infertility altogether with this breakthrough.

It's been a fairly intense few weeks. I know there was a lot going on in the external world, but I've been focused inward. There's a way in which I feel not very present in my life, but I realize an internal focus is an appropriate point of perspective for pregnancy (did you like the aliteration?).

Women, I don't even know how to thank you for literaly carrying me on your shoulders in the last few weeks. I was SUCH a wreck in the week leading up to the last ultrasound and you let me go on about it and offered the most compassionate comments and emails. Thank you for understanding my level of panic, and letting me get through it without telling me to buck up. There are times when you can't even begin to hold yourself together, you just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I feel like my simple thank you isn't really illustrative of how grateful I am to you all. I guess you'll have to trust me on that one. I owe you all big time.

I'm probably on the verge of another freak out, calculated by the length of time since the last ultrasound and the amount of time until the next one (August 28). But while I am relatively calm (I'll qualify that later), let me give you an update on this pregnancy.

First Prenatal Visit
I met with my family doctor last week for my first prenatal visit. My family doc continues to be a superstar. I think she spent 45 minutes with me that day, the time needed to do the physical and to answer all my questions. My weight was right at pre-transfer level. I did lose about 4-5 pounds in the first few weeks because of the nausea, but seem to have adjusted. I don't know how this whole weight gain business is going to go for me, but I'm keeping an open mind.

I asked my doctor about whether she would refer me to a local OB or to the MFM clinic in the big university hospital center 30 minutes away. She thought about it, and called me later to say that she would refer me, and if they felt the referral inappropriate, they would flip it back to her. That's what happened. So a regular OB it is, which is completely fine with me. It means that if (when, Augusta, when) there is a baby to be delivered, it will be in Pleasantville and not 30 minutes away. She booked me with a new OB in town, about whom she's heard very good things. My appointment is October 5 - which seems like a couple lightyears away.

I had a concern about my iron levels, since I sort of cheated and never took a true prenatal vitamin. Instead, I've been taking a multi without iron every other day, and a multi with low iron on the other days, as well as extra calcium, high powered folic acid, vitamin D and probiotics. I figured I had most of my bases covered with that cocktail, but I was anxious for blood work. My iron came back A-ok. She noted that my B-12 was on the low end of average and asked me to supplement, which I promptly did. Otherwise, all was well on my insides.

She tried the doppler, but at 9w2d, she was really not sure whether she would find it. We had that conversation in my last first prenatal visit, and we never found the heartbeat. She was quick to reassure me that it most often couldn't be found this early, but in reality, owlet didn't have a heartbeat anymore. This time, she couldn't really find it either. Except when we both heard it very briefly and then lost it. I was nauseous on that day and many days since, so I'm trying not to read into it.

I made arrangements for my integrated prenatal screening, which includes an ultrasound at 12w. I'll probably be a wreck again, but I will get through it. August 28 will not come fast enough.

This past Wednesday was the last day to be on all my meds. I was still taking estr.ace, prome.trium, and del.estrogen. As per my instructions from SG, I stoped taking them. Yesterday was my first drug free day. I had some UES throughout the afternoon, and made the mistake of calling it cramping. Bad mistake. By the time I got home after work, I did what any red-blooded infertile would do and shoved some progesterone up my hoo-ha. I feel like a crack addict, except my bliss comes with messy vaginal discharge. Will I get through the day without falling off the wagon - we'll see.

Ok, I guess I am technically at work and should do some work. Have a great weekend.

Monday, August 13, 2012

funeral post mortem

We have made it back from our long trek east for my grandfather's funeral. Thank you very much for your wishes of condolences. I appreciate them very much. The funeral was fairly light, as these things go. My grandfather was known as the life of the party and an incorrigible trickster, who always made people laugh. Some of the funny memories were shared during the service, which steered the mood away from gloomy. The man lived to be 82. He had a good life, and by what my mom tells me, he had a good death. I was comforted by this a great deal.

It's never easy with my mom, and because her father had just died, and she was organizing the funeral, she was stressed out of her gourd. I managed to lose my cool at her only once, which I realize was once too many, but still not as bad as it could have been. I kept reminding myself that this was one of the worse days of her life, and it helped me be kinder to her.

In the last weeks of my grandfather's life, I had told my mother that if she felt it could cheer him up, she could share with him the news that I am pregnant. I knew that this meant I would have no control over who would be told, but according to my therapist, this was my gift to him. It did make him happy, so my relatives said. He felt sad that he wouldn't be around when the baby was born, but happy that there would be a baby.

Fast forward to the funeral, and there I was, not quite 10 weeks pregnant, with people rubbing my belly. I tried not to get my panties in a knot about it, and just go along - although, I can't say I like people I hardly know touching my belly (all there is to touch right now is chub - my chub). I felt a bit like an imposter, thinking about what the hell would happen if I didn't 'produce' a baby after all that. On the whole, it was probably good to get the chance to practice being out about the pregnancy among people I never see (except my immediate family). It's positively weird to have a large group of other people share in this idea that you have that there is a human being growing inside of you. There were moments when I thought to myself that it was mass hysteria. But mostly, I just tried to let others' confidence that there would be a baby come March influence my own sense of things.

After we left the funeral home, gone to my grandmother's place to regroup, gone out to eat with my mom and stepdad, and came back to where we were staying, Mr. A felt it was finally time to share with me a little story of what happened that day. We had been talking with some of my second cousins, one of which went on at length about her fertility issues. I intimated that our growing gummy bear had required much time and effort, without going into any details about it. She later cornered Mr. A and told him what he needed to do to address the problem. She proceeded to tell him that his testicles were probably too warm, and that he needed to soak them in ice water. Keep in mind that Mr. A had NEVER met this woman. He looked just as flabbergasted when recounting the story to me, as I'm sure he did when she was dispensing her unsolicited advice.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

reporting on life (and death)

My grand-papa died on Friday afternoon.

Gummy bear is alive and wiggling. He measured 9w2d (one day ahead), with a solid heartbeat.

The attending RE walking in a bit late (the lovely fellow who was there last time was performing the u/s), took one look at the screen and proclaimed that it was "disgustingly normal."

I'm in between patients, so this is all I can write for now. I will post again tomorrow or Thursday from the train.

Thank you so much for holding my hand through this. Thank you.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Swimming in uncertainty

Warning - I feel like this might infuriate lovely women who are trying so hard to get pregnant but haven't yet. So, if you are not up for the ramblings of a pregnant infertile, please click away. I won't bat an eyelid.

It feels like forever since the last ultrasound. The next one, scheduled for the near future (Tuesday morning), also seems like it is forever from now. All par for the course, ain't it.

The weather in my head this week has been overcast, with a few thundershowers sprinkled throughout. This even if in reality, there is no cause to think anything is wrong. But there was no suspecting anything was wrong last time either, which is the retort I can't get my mind to shut up about.

Being at the end of week 8 (8w5d today) feels like entering the valley of the shadow of death. My mind is trying to work out the details of when the D&C will happen, trying to anticipate my work schedule and my grandfather's imminent passing (he's now in palliative care - it's the end). I guess what I know of pregnancy, the parts that I know in my body and not just intellectually, have to do with lots of nausea, lots of medication and fear of weaning, lots of uncertainty, and then the end. My mind plays that tape, and each time, I say that it can be different this time. I pull out my list of things to combat anxiety (to which, dear readers, you have made a very significant contribution), and I get back to a state of semi-okayness.

And then I get distracted by the nausea and its management.  


All we can do is wait.

It's hard to imagine sharing this news with anyone outside of our close circle yet. As I was saying to Mr. A, what I'm most uncomfortable about is that people would feel (or look) more happy and excited about this than I do at the moment. Not that I am not happy and excited. You know I am. But those feelings are not predominant in my experience at the moment. I'm still a bit stuck on how crappy that is, and how unfair it is to the gummy bear. I should be jumping up and down instead of thinking every 10 minutes that  he/she is dead.

Can you control your feelings, Augusta? NO, no you can't.

Alright then, let's just ride them out.

So, we'll wait for Tuesday. All we can do is wait.  

From JM Barclay Photography

Friday, July 27, 2012

welcome weaning? not sure

First of all, I know. I know, I know, I know. The placenta takes over. By about 10 weeks, it's all placenta all the time.

Still. I am experiencing weaning worries.

Probably not entirely rational.

On Monday, after the ultrasound, I got a call from the U.S. RE congratulating us on the great u/s and the continuing pregnancy. I tried to ask him questions about weaning and he referred me back to the nursing staff. I decided not to be a door mat and just voice what my concern was. He still was quick to get me off the phone, but tried to answer my question. He seemed very sure in saying that ovaries don't do anything once the placenta takes over.

That's also what my research on the subject has led me to believe, but when one has ovaries that cannot be visualized on an u/s and have never put out any amount of estrogen or progesterone, one has to be 100% sure of this. There's another life at stake now.

The nurse phoned later on in the day. She said that she wanted me to stop my PIO the next day and start prometrium. I balked. At 7w1d? Are you kidding me? When I expressed my discomfort, she showed a willingness to negotiate. While she asks me to trust the treatment team, she also wants me to be comfortable with the steps taken. She mentioned that most women want to get off the injections as soon as is possible, and so that's why the transition to vaginal progesterone happens now in their protocol. I said I had no problem at all with sticking a 1.5" needle in my ass every night (and two on some nights) for as long as it takes. So, I bought myself another week of PIO. Weird on this brings me greater peace of mind.

I am waiting to receive the weaning schedule, but our nurse said that I would be off all medications by August 15. That will be week 10, when it's all placenta all the time.

Dr. RE, our local doctor, wanted to make sure that was well handled, because of what happened last time. We established that the m/c didn' happen because of a lack of progesterone, since I was due to completely wean the day of the u/s of doom. It's hard to have one doc who says we should be cautious and one doc who says you're just like everyone else.

Maybe I am just like everyone else, or other women who go through DE. But the fear is that my complete failure in having a working reproductive system is somehow going to affect the pregnancy. It's not that crazy to think that, really, since we are talking about reproduction. On the other hand, we aren't talking about reproduction anymore (that happened in the lab already), but talking about gestation. And perhaps gestation really is all placenta all the time.

I am thanking my lucky starts that Dr. RE went ahead and booked me for an u/s at 9w. SG did not order another u/s and so I would not have had one until 12w or so through my family physician. That would have meant getting through many weeks of FEAR and ANXIETY without any reassurance (ok, the constant nausea helps to remind me of what's going on).

On a much sadder note, my heart breaks for Jay who just found out yesterday that her little one did not make it. Please go send her some love if you'd like.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Turns out I haven't been nauseous for nothing. There is a little gummy bear* (more like a gummy worm at this point, really) with a beating heart in there. There being my uterus. Still hard to believe, but the evidence cannot be ignored. While I calculated that I was 7w0d, the wee one measured 7w3d. Although the internet tools told me the due date (if there is one) will be on March 11, Dr. RE said it would be March 6. The day Mr. A and I got married. Oat's birthday. A very wonderful day indeed.

There was a lovely young doc who was set up to do the u/s, but they couldn't find my chart. Turns out Dr. RE had snatched it up, since you know, he wanted to do the u/s himself. And then our nurse walked into the room for another reason, and ended up tagging out the nurse on duty. She too wanted to be there. The young doc ended up performing the u/s and, although young, not too green to keep silent. She voiced in the first 20 seconds that she found the heartbeat. Dr. RE said he couldn't see any collection of blood (no SCH - thank the lord), and he commented that the lining looked good. I checked in at the end with the young doc just to make sure there was nothing concerning that she saw, and she said there was absolutely nothing concerning. At this stage it all looks like it should.

Dr. RE, not surprisingly, was incredibly thoughtful in planning for the next steps. He wasn't sure whether SG would order a repeat u/s, but he remembered well the timing of the fetal demise last time (9w). He said we would be booked for another u/s on August 7. I love this man so much.

It's early days, women. There are still many, many mileposts to cross. But you can't get to those mileposts without crossing this one. So today, I'm just going to be happy we've gotten this far. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts. It feels so steadying to be supported by our great medical teams and you, amazing friends.

*I'm trying to think of something else to call this growing bean in my belly, but so far, that's all I've got.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

the wilderness or 6w2d

I decided it was prudent to pee on a stick again yesterday morning. Why? I'm not sure. I just had some leftover from the July 5th stash and wanted to just see that plus sign appear. Well, I'm apparently very pregnant because there was no waiting for a line to appear. It seemed that as a response to my tomfoolery, the cosmic giggle came down on me and I barfed out most of my breakfast (the uneaten portion still in the bowl on my kitchen table). Dude, the universe said, YOU'RE PREGNANT!

Ok, I get it, says the girl currently nibbling on dry rice cake bits (I recommend the lunberg plain salted).

I feel like pregnancy is a sort of deep wilderness. One is certainly a visitor in a strange land. Getting through the day is a goal that repeats each morning, necessitating the right combination and timing of hydration, carb intake, and walking. The nausea is serious, and I am managing it. Although I am a little apprehensive when I read that it is most intense from weeks 7 to 12. Ladies, I think I'm in for a ride.

I had some spotting last Thursday. Nothing of any significance, either in colour or in volume. It did sweep me up and drop me into the land of tears for a few minutes, and then I grabbed hold of myself. I've known all along that spotting/bleeding was likely, and that it doesn't necessarily mean anything.

The ultrasound is booked for next Monday, July 23rd. We'll get to see if this gummy bear has a heartbeat.

I really enjoyed reading all your comments from my last post, and felt like all of a sudden, I had an arsenal to defend against the attack of FEAR and ANXIETY. I've actually started to write down all the strategies you've suggested on a list. I plan on carrying it around for the moments when I need immediate assistance.

I still don't know how this story ends, but it helps me to hold on to the words "we're having this baby." I've even started to integrate the fact of being pregnant into my dreams, which is much different than last time. I met with my beloved supervisor this week, and she said that I was making space for this baby and that it was my work right now. I think she's right.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

very early days

Here I am, 5w2d into this pregnancy. How long will it last? I hope 35 more weeks. I won't get to decide, but I can still register my preference.

This is a twilight zone of sorts. It's not entirely real yet, and that's a normal feeling I believe. I've had some lines on a 2 pee sticks and a couple numbers - good ones at that - to confirm that I am currently pregnant. I also get to have pregnancy symptoms, which by golly, is a real nice bonus. Yet in a general sense, this is all still more theoretical than it is real.

I know, there is also a huge alcatraz-thick wall of protection around my heart about this (and other things, let's be honest). After I saw the lines on the POAS last Thursday, I walked into our bedroom to tell Mr. A who was just waking up. He reacted gleefully to the happy news. Yet, we clearly were much more muted than we were when we saw those lines in April 2011. I don't think we're any less happy than we were last time, I just think we are way more cognizant of the distance between a positive pregnancy test and a baby. It's lovely that many couples can just get wildly excited when they first get the news and start acting right away like they're having a baby, but that's not us. That's not any of us here in this community. We know in exquisite, excruciating detail all the ways in which what is given can be taken away. [On that note, I was devastated to find out that our lovely nurse Louisa's baby is no longer growing and living. I am so sorry, dear woman].

I've noticed that the fears and the relentless anxiety make really strong bids for my attention. Like the other day, I opened my 'word of the day' on dictionary-dot-com and the word was ectopic. Anxiety had a FIELD DAY with that. I kid you not.

Clearly, I need a plan for putting FEAR and ANXIETY in their place. Those two will run this whole show without me, and before I know it, I will have killed my embryo with repeated surges of cortisol.

Strategies I've been using with some success:

1) Misfit reminded me that this embryo's gotta want it, gotta do it of its own design. Somehow, and perhaps because it's coming from her, that helps me take myself out of the equation for a few minutes and reminds me that I have no control. If I have no control, then I can just keep doing what I'm doing, hope for the best outcome and chillax.

2) Whenever I feel something in the lower abdominal region, I take it as an opportunity to tell myself: "Oh look, you're having UES (Uterus Expanding Sensations - pronounced 'ewes' for the added imagery of mama sheep nestling their lambs). For some reason, saying to myself that I'm having UES is much less alarming than saying to myself that I'm having cramps. Cramps recalls menstruation, wherein one sheds blood. Why would I want to think of that right now.

3) I tell myself "we're having this baby." I realize that this may not be the truth in the end, but right now, I just need to hear myself say it, in a fake it till you make it sort of way. It helps me focus on the best possible outcome,redirecting my thoughts away from the doom and gloom scenarios, and towards how I'd like this to end. That is, delivering this healthy baby in March after a complete gestation.

If you've got other things to suggest that have helped you cope with this early stage of uncertainty, I'm all eyes. But even if you've got nothing, I love all your comments, so please just say hello.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Beta the second

Second beta is 4090 - doubling time is somewhere between 40.7 and 43.5 hours.

I think I'm pregnant.


No more betas for now. The ultrasound will be booked for 2 weeks from today or tomorrow, July 23 or 24. I will be holding my breath for that, to be sure. And thereafter. As you know, even a heartbeat does not mean you get to have a baby. But it often does. I'm holding on to that.

Lots of thoughts and feelings to share, but this is where I'll stop for today. I need to try and get work done (ha!).

Thank you for your encouragements. You have been amazing, dear women.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Beta the first

It's in. Mr A took the phone call while I was at work. Please excuse his lack of precision; he is just not as interested in those details as we might be here in the blogosphere.

So the beta is twelve hundred something. (at 13dp5dt)

So I don't know if that's too high. Jay kinda made me worried with the risk associated with high betas early on.

I go back on Monday or Tuesday.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Monday, July 2, 2012

gratitude, reassurance, hope and peeing

Women, you are amazing. You encourage me, put up with my whining, and wipe my tears. The comments you left me on my last post (or the emails) lifted my spirits greatly. I'm not sure what dark pit of utter despair I would reside in without your constant, loving presence in my life.

My funk turned shortly after I wrote my last post. First because it helped me tremendously to write about it. Second, because your amazing comments made me feel much better. Third, because I tried to eat my lunch and had to stop partway and put it away. I thought I might hurl. IF has given me such drawn-out, from here-to-forever time periods in hell, that it's kind of surprising to snap back from a downward spiral (an intense one at that) in such a short time.

I am cautious in interpreting it, but in all honesty, I have been feeling reliably nauseous and queasy everyday since Friday. I doubt myself and keep wondering if I'm making it up. I know that my brain could create this: I've seen a few patients with conversion disorder and I know that symptoms can be experienced as real even though they are not organic (although one would need a sort of blindness of their internal/emotional world to have that, and this doesn't fit me very well). I am feeling encouraged by these symptoms, reassured even, but I won't know for sure until I know.

While I don't want to make too much out of it, it seems that my nausea/queasiness has helped me let hope back into my heart. It really has, and I think that's ok. Preventing hope is not going to make the blow any softer if it didn't work. But for the days until then, allowing hope will make me feel lighter. 

On the subject of POAS, here's where I stand, respectfully acknowledging that mine isn't the best approach, just the one that feels most comfortable to me. I know that I could have started testing last Friday, but I was afraid of getting an equivocal answer. It felt easier for me to wait than to get a maybe yes/maybe no. Last time, we tested on beta day. Our reasoning was that we didn't want to first hear the news from the nurse. Positive or negative, I was pretty sure I would be loosing my shit either way, so why torture myself by adding the need to remain socially appropriate on the phone.

So for those who've asked, yes, I will start to pee on things this week. Given the logic above, it would be Friday morning, beta day, but there is a small hitch to that. I have to be at work that morning for a family therapy session, and it's already been rescheduled once because of my absence. If I test on Friday morning and it's no go, then I might be wallowing. So testing has been moved to Thursday, either am or pm. Please register your vote in the comment section for your preferred time.

Friday, June 29, 2012

not feeling it

Ugh. Yesterday, I experienced the steep downhill of the IF rollercoaster.

One more time, with feeling.

I am comparing what my current experience is to how I felt in the last DE cycle. Like I said, I felt an unequivocal bout of nausea at 5dp3dt, and some queasiness on the days after. This time, I have not felt a full fledge bout of nausea and I'm at 6dp5dt. I should say that there are a few moments each day when I'm feeling a slightly queasy (maybe). Like after lunch yesterday, I had about 3 minutes when I felt quite unsettled with the food in my tummy, which isn't typical for me. Still, that's not much to go on, compared to my memory of what it was last year (and yes, I see a problem with comparing a memory of what happened 1 year ago and what is happening right now - memory is not that accurate).
I came home last night and felt like this cycle was a bust. I got myself convinced of that and felt very crappy.

So, I did what usually helps, if only a little: I went out for a walk.

On my walk, I ran into this woman I know. I wasn't wearing my glasses and had I been, I would have run the other way. She is fundamentally a good and kind person, but there are layers and layers of stuff on top of that. And she is also a very, VERY successful clinical psychologist, with a beautiful house and 2 beautiful kids. Cue the upward social comparrissons and the feelings of sheer inadequacy that come along with that. She called me out when she saw me, and of course, I kicked into my socially gracious mode and started walking and talking with her. What else was I going to do? Fake a bout of nausea?

Anyway, mid-conversation, when I'm trying to steer that talk to all of her successful endeavours and her beautiful children (and get the spotlight off of me), she cuts in and asks where we are at in our family building.


Who the hell asks that.

And then she felt that the question might not have been appropriate so she starts damage control and I just mutter that there have been challenges, already saying more than I ever intended to this person with whom I am not close. She chimes in that it was a challenge to conceive her second one. I didn't know what to say to that and I certainly wasn't going to take that as an invitation to talk.

Thus, the downward spiral I was already on got a whole lot steeper after I came back home. This was one time when going for a walk didn't help at all, and in fact made things worse. There are so many ways in which I am disappointed with my life. All the hope and promise I've been feeling in the last weeks was sucked away in a cerebral stormcloud of 'where did I go wrong', 'when is it going to be our turn', 'how could I end up so far from where I wanted', and 'where is it that i even want to go at this point?' There was intense sobbing that went along with that, and lots of staring into a bleak future.

It's interesting how going into this cycle, I was really working the mindset of this being just the first try of many, and really preparing to be back in DC later in the summer for a FET. Despair management, I suppose. But of course, once that blastocyst is in, one starts seeing things much differently. You want it to LIVE, damn it. You want it to be your child, at long last. Seriously women, I will be crushed if this try doesn't work. There is really no way around it. I was a fool to think that there was. Perhaps that's just what I needed to tell myself to take this big leap of faith once more.

From Katie Evans

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

let the waiting begin

I have made it back home, and you will be able to tell since once again, I will be wordy. You can't grow up French and not be wordy. Think of Proust and his 2-page sentences. You'd think that 3 degrees at English-language universities would have whipped it out of me. No. Pour mes lectrices françaises, je ne faisais qu'expliquer que je suis finalement de retour à la maison et que je n'avais même pas besoin de le déclarer puisque de constater que je suis redevenue volubile serait assez pour s'en rendre compte (mon iphone me l'empechais lorsque je voyageais). J'ai également fait référence à Proust parce que j'suis snob. 

The train rides were epic. We particularly liked the DC to Pittsburgh train going through the Appalachians. Except the part where I had to do my PIO shot while the train was moving. But I managed to do it in a train change room. I've never seen a change room on a train before, but certainly was glad to find it there on this particular train. The bathrooms are visibly germy, and I was loathe to stab myself in the ass amidst such an ensemble of microscopic friends.

It hit me this morning that I will drive myself crazy for the next 2 weeks. Scanning for symptoms and trying to determine what they mean is what I'll be doing, under the pretense of going to work and you know, working. There is nothing I can really do about it. I decided to take CGD's words to live by and apply them to my situation: lean into it. Let this be my declaration that I will stop resisting driving myself crazy and will just give into it.

Beta is on July 6.

Monday morning upon waking up in Pittsburgh, I felt a bit off. Something was a little weird with my digestion, nothing major. I chalked it up to train fatigue and had breakfast. Moving on. This morning, I was slightly queasy. Not nauseous, but slightly queasy. Oh boy, did my mind chew on that one like a fresh bone.

And I had to throw some math in, of course. Last time embryos entered my uterus (3dt), I felt a strong bout of nausea 5 days later. I wondered to myself whether this time, if I were to be pregnant, I would feel nauseous 3 days after the 5-day transfer. That would be this morning, so no, not nauseous, but slightly queasy.

Do you see how I will be fit to be tied by July 6?

I got word from the clinic today that out of all those embryos, only 1 is good enough to freeze. I was disappointed and pleased at the same time, if that's even possible. I thought there would be more to freeze, given that there were 11 growing. I lowered my expectations when the doctor mentioned that that some were sluggish and they were hoping for 1 or 2 to freeze. I'm glad there is at least 1 to freeze. And because this is shared risk, we can go through this 5 more times if we need to. I'm hoping not though. But I'm not the one who decides.

It was great to read all your comments along the way. I felt like I had a whole big section of the bleachers calling out our name loudly and with pep. Thank you to all of you readers, commenters, cheerleaders and witnesses.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Precious cargo on board

Transfer took place this morning, as scheduled. I was so excited my blood pressure was higher than usual. Our doctor was not on call but elected to come in to do our transfer himself. Bonus points for that! Especially on a beautiful Saturday morning when he clearly could have gone to play golf instead.

The experience was quite different than the transfer last year. The most striking difference was that we got to watch it all on screen. Shoushhhh....our wee one slid in and it looked like a shooting star. Poetic.

The blast transferred is gorgeous, if I do say so myself (and since I had no role in creating it, it's not really bragging - ok, maybe a little). Here's a picture.

I am bed resting for the next 24 hours until we start heading home tomorrow evening.

I am really happy right now and filled with hope. I'll savor that while it's here.

I'm sending positive thoughts to the lovely and amazing Nurse Louisa. I read on Adele's blog that there is a concern in her pregnancy. She contributes to this community in such a significant yet understated way. Please join me in sending her good thoughts.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Is this even possible?

Still 11 embryos, all 8-cells at this point

Transfer is scheduled for Saturday at 10:45 EST

In other news, (tmi) I just managed to take my 6 pm dose of estrace (as directed) in the bathroom of the Amtrack train. Eewww. At Least it wasn't moving at the time.

(I think I included that last bit of info because I've been reading Jenny Lawson's book all day and found myself gripped with a sudden urge to overshare)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Growing like hot cakes*

I post these snippets from my phone, so if you are finding me noticeably less loquacious these past few days, now you know why. I also have not figured out yet how to have my iPhone win the battle of the captcha, and so I haven't been able to comment on blogs.

I visited grand papa today. He is 82 and has had a full life. Liver cancer secondary to cirrhosis will take his life soon. He has partied much in his day and now he will rest. It is sad and it is not unexpected. It just is. I'm glad I got to say goodbye.

How many embryos are still dividing, you ask?


Yes all 11 are still growing.


Yes. Really.

We are heading south from Montreal tomorrow morning, on a train bound for Hudson, NY. We meet up with my dear friend the geologist and make the rest of the journey on Friday. The transfer is set for Saturday, but I don't yet have the time.

I'll be sure to update tomorrow.

Thank you to each of you for your thoughts, support, encouragement and love. It means a great deal to me.

*as an ESL person, I used to mix up and combine my expressions, much to the delight of my friends (and this one was a favorite of the Tibetan dumpling)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


The eggs were sufficiently wooed

There are 11 embryos in the lab. I know the number will go down, but at this stage, I'm very pleased.

Life wanting to flourish.

I stand in amazement.

(well, I'm technically sitting on a train bound for Montreal. My grand-papa is ill with cancer and we are heading there to see him and likely say goodbye. Life and death often sit side by side)

I'm LOVING your enthusiasm, women. Thank you for being excited for me ( us) and with me.

Monday, June 18, 2012


from Imagination Kids on etsy

I just listened to my voice messages at home, and it looks like we've got some eggs. The last count was 20 follicles. Yet, 26 eggs were retrieved. Sophie is amazing!

13 of those are ours.

The eggs are probably being courted by Mr. A's boys as we speak.

Let there be embryos.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It's time

I got an email yesterday stating that Sophie was going to trigger last night. Wow. I did not expect it would come so soon, but golly, I was excited to read that. The previous day, the email received had stated that her biggest follie was 17mm and that it would probably be 2-3 more days of stims until she triggered. Apparently not. Her egg retrieval is scheduled for Monday (tomorrow!), which means that our transfer will be on Saturday, June 23. I start my PIO shots this evening.


We have kicked into high gear with trip preparations. There will be LOTS of time on different trains, so I am thinking about all the reading materials, magazines, etc, I will bring. What do you like to have when you go on long trips?

I am feeling rather positive about all this. Hope has crept back into my heart, on cue. I feel that taking the long view has helped me tremendously. If it doesn't work this time, we'll just go back in August and try again. We'll keep trying until it works or until we can no longer go forward. 

from UUPP on etsy

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

mid-cycle updates

The fun continues, folks.

33 follies counted yesterday. 20 today.

Thankfully, the nurse said not to worry about the variation. She explained that it depends on who does the u/s, and how they count them. Math is indeed a highly subjective endeavor. I personally really like it when 2+2 = 5.

Seriously, unless you tell me to panic about this drop in follicles, I'm not even going to register it. It's follies, not eggs. And since counting them seems to be hard, then why worry my pretty head? I've decided not to.

I went for my lining check yesterday morning. Tummy distress alerted me to the fact that I was really nervous about this, even though I had myself convinced I was chill and zen. Another fellow wanded me this time, under the watchful eye of one of the docs (the one who talked to me when I had bleeding in week 6 of the pregnancy). Once again, we played a game of 'Where in the World are Augusta's ovaries?" When I said they're usually hard to find, the doc said that they were keeping quiet for me. 'Snort', I later thought, 'that's their modus operandus.'  At least I don't have to worry about one of them sprouting an egg mid-DE cycle. Gotta look at the bright side here.

And the lining.

wait for it.

7.5mm at first glance. The email from my nurse said "we are happy with today's lining" Hey, if they're happy, I'm happy.

Sophie goes back in tomorrow. She seems to get monitored every day, which is different than with Sattva. I sent off the letter to her yesterday by expresspost, so the clinic should have it by Friday. It feels good to have written it and sent it.
I'll post another update this week. Thanks for the love, women. It feels so good to have you on my team. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

let's do this

Thanks for your great feedback on my last post. I was glad to read that in your experience, most clinics do accept recipients offerings to the donors. I asked two staff members at our clinic about writing the donor a card and got responses very promptly (that's more like it). The response was positive, as long as we don't put any identifying information in the card. I cranked out a couple of drafts on the weekend and the Mr. was looking over one last night. It's my goal to have it there before the ER so that she may even get it on that day.

On the weekend, I also got to spend time with Sattva. I find it amazing that after all that, our friendship continues. Not that I expected to end. It feels like so much was loss that it wouldn't have surprised me to also lose her friendship (yes, that's irrational. I know. I'm a psychologist). I had purchased a necklace for Sattva that symbolized connection. I gave it to her on the weekend as well as a card expressing my enduring gratitude to her for having donated eggs and for being such a caring friend. It felt good to let her know in this way how I (we) have so much gratitude and love for her.

We did end up picking a name for our donor. There is no special connection to that name, it was just one that we could both agree on and seemed to fit the darling little girl in the pictures. We've decided to call her Sophie. Unlike every name on this blog, this one is not a pseudonym. It is her real fake name.

I am heading to FTT for a lining check tomorrow morning. Hoping for an appropriately fluffy red fleece. I'm also picking up my PIO. It looks like I'll be starting those next week. Whatevs. I'm Xena. I can shoot up with estrogen AND progesterone behing my back, simultaneously, and blindfolded.

Oh, and in other news, Sophie was in for her monitoring this morning. She had about 31 follies they said. Sounded like follies-a-plenty to me. Her next monitoring is Wednesday. Receiving that email really told me that it's game on. Let's do this.

Anyone else out there over the moon about Misfit giving birth to a darling baby girl? It has been an extra long and extra hard road for Misfit. I'm so happy for you Misfit, I want to shout it from every rooftops.

Friday, June 8, 2012

a rose by any other name

Hopeful parents start trying to give a name to their unborn child soon after they've learned of the pregnancy. For women, it starts, long before then, like in high school during sleepovers with girlfriends and discussions of a Harlequin romance you were going to have with a muscular, square-jawed piece of a man, and then have several of his babies, and name them Tiffany, Crystal, and Corey.

The conversation at our dinner table last night was about naming. Naming our donor, that is. We're 10000 steps away from holding a baby in our arms. However, we are entering into this cycle more fully as of today because our donor starts her stimulation meds. She is on my mind, this goddess of eggs and generosity and youth.

The anonymity bothers me. I accept it and I understand why and I am very good with abiding by the rules. But the anonymity niggles at me. I would like to know her. I would like to be able to thank her in person so she could see in my eyes that this actually DOES mean the world to me. I would like to be able to tell my (hypothetical) child exactly which female human being on this earth is the one whose genetic material and whose generosity contributed to him or her being born into our family.

With Sattva, we had some established parameters around the relationships we were going to foster. She would be our child's aunt, and our children would be cousins. Our child would have had access to Sattva, and would have known all along that she was the egg donor. We considered the possibility that either family would move away from Pleasantville, and how we would be travelling to see each other and keep our families connected.

It is strange not make these plans with this donor. Even stranger to me is that I don't know what her name is. I think of her so often, and I wonder what she is doing right now, and how she is feeling and where is she going to do her injections this evening and will her son ask her what those are for. I wonder how long it will take her to drive to the clininc for monitoring. I wonder what car she is driving. I look at her pictures and my heart fills with love and gratitude. "thank you,____"

It's been on my mind for a while, but I decided yesterday that I must give her a name. It's not like I can guess what her real name is, but having accepted that, I'll pick a name that I can use in my offerings of gratitude, a name Mr. A and I can use when we are referring to her.

After my yoga practice last evening, I took some time to look at her pictures and decided on a name. I bounced a few names around in my mind and settled on that one. Mr. A and I talked about it at supper afterwards, and he challenged me on it (in a good way). The name I picked is one of Sattva's given names. Wouldn't that be confusing for our child if we kept that made-up name in the future and the child thought it was Sattva? Yes, I thought, that's not going to work. I guess that's partly why that name felt so right to me, because it is one of Sattva's names, because I love Sattva so much and so completely embraced the fact that our child would come from her gift.

Yes, I am still sad that Sattva won't be our donor. And of course, very grateful that we are able to do DE in the US where chances of success are so much greater. And I am seeking some form of connection with the donor, beyond accepting the embryos formed with her eggs into my uterus (how's that for connection).

So we will give her a name. And we will writer her a letter. I'm not sure we can have the clinic give it to her, or if it will be against their policy. We are hoping we can send her flowers on the day of retrieval. Do you think she will be able to know that we are deeply thankful?