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.

Awesome.

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

Self-advocacy

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.