/ The RE's Muse: August 2004

The RE's Muse

After 4 years of infertility, 2 surgeries, 1 miscarriage, and 19 months of high risk pregnancies, hubby and I now have two little women in our lives--one a toddler, the other not far behind. Buckle your seatbelts, it's gonna be a wild ride.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Heart takes gold and silver

Okay, so in honor of the Olympics, as far as bad days go for me, yesterday my heart won the gold and today it took the silver.

It is done, just like that. Yesterday I had a baby growing in me, today I do not. And that's okay, really. I understand that bad things like this can and do happen. I know that for a while I will question if I can find the strength to carry on and try again. But I also know that I can and will, that I am stronger than I think. I'm not ready to quit, not just yet. There's still some fight left in this dog (hmmm... maybe that should be '...in this beeyatch? Appropriate use of dog gender term, yes?).

I believe that, for me, my five weeks of joy and happiness was worth the heartache and pain. And that is what will help me jump back up in the stirrups when it's time. My post-op is 9/16 and I will know then where we go from here. Until then, I may lay low for a bit but I'll post from time to time. I have so much to work out in my head and soul, yet so many questions I want to ask you, so much I need to know to help me move on. But I also need to hibernate, reconnect with me, and slather my husband with love for his incredible support when I know that he must be hurting too; in short, find my joy and happiness again. It is there in the shadows, waiting to come back out. So I will laugh and cry--much, read trashy books, start working out again, and return to the oceanside--the one place where I truly can relax (okay, so I'm a Pisces--go figure--plus I live in south Florida).

And I want you all to know that your comments mean the world to me. I am so honored that you shared your love and comforting thoughts with me when you each have gone--and continue to go through--so much of your own good and bad. To know that you are out there, caring for me and my pain blows my mind, you who don't know me personally yet know more about me than just about any of my closest friends. I am grateful to know that I am not alone and, for this, I thank you. You each give me the strength to carry on when I think my spirit has been irretrievably broken.

So I will eventually pick up the pieces, get out the duct tape, and put my heart back in my chest (right after I find and corral that fucker--seems it ran off and bum rushed the stands after winning me those medals; haven't seen it since--I think it's out celebrating at the Plaka--or however those partying Greeks spell it).

Thank you, every last one of you, for your strength and grace...you are each my heroine.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

A critical scene from my day

(Note: long, depressing post follows. Please consider yourself appropriately warned.)

We got to the office this morning, all smiles and laughter. Telling private jokes in the waiting room until it was our turn to be called in.

In we went. I peed in a cup, got weighed, answered questions about my symptoms (sore boobs, peeing a lot, no real cramping, etc.) and eventually undressed from the waist down. A few minutes later, in came Dr. Blood (I call him this for the fact that at one of my first visits, all of the bloodwork he ordered equaled up to 17 vials--10 big, 7 mid-sized). I hadn't seen him personally since my post-op appointment back in early June. My husband hadn't seen him since immediately after my laparoscopy in May. He seemed pleased to see us, shook hands with my husband and then with me and asked me to scoot to the end of the table, feet in the stirrups.

Down I went. In went the wand. He turned the ultrasound screen slightly toward me so I could see it and said: Here's your uterus.

Then he asked me if I was sure about the date of my period. Um, yeah, pretty sure, I said (as a cycling infertile, you know this date without a doubt but something in his tone made me question myself). Mild panic starts to set in. Brain cannot fathom what I think may be coming next.

He moved the probe around for a few minutes and didn't say anything. And then the wave broke, crashed to shore, and I was caught in its rip current.

He said: By now we should see the fetal pole but if you look here, there's just the sac. When it forms, it should have two parts, one becomes the sac itself and the other, internally, becomes the embryo. That hasn't happened.

I couldn't breathe, couldn't comprehend. After what seemed like forever later, he took out the wand.

And said: We have two options. We can wait and you will have a miscarriage naturally in time or we can do a surgical procedure, send the tissue to the lab, check it for genetic anomalies.

I said: Would I be under general anesthesia?

He said: No, but you wouldn't be aware of what was going on. I don't believe in having to put someone through that if I don't have to. We'll give you something so you won't remember a thing. We can do it tomorrow.

And then I couldn't speak. All I could do was cover my eyes and cry softly. Thinking how happy I was only moments ago, how much I wanted this baby, how much I wanted to give my husband this gift. And so my husband held me (well, more like leaned down over me to hold me since I was still flat on the table in the usual position) as only he can.

The doctor said: Know that you didn't do anything to cause this. It happens. It's nature's way. This doesn't mean it'll happen again. It's common and once we send the tissue for testing, we'll know if it has anything to do with genetics or age. Or it may be nothing at all. But it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen again. I've had many patients this has happened to and they've gone on to have successful pregnancies.

My crying intensified. He told me I could move up off the edge of the table. My husband helped me sit up and I buried myself in his shoulder, sobbed uncontrollably--so hard I had trouble breathing, started to hyperventilate. Dr. Blood had not yet left the room, and he came over to me and hugged me, rubbed my arm, said he was so sorry, and brought me some tissue. The u/s nurse then did the same (and--thankfully-- gave me more tissue to boot). And then he said: I'll give you two some privacy, and left the room.

My crying really kicked it up then. Great big honking noises alternated with squeaks. The kind of crying you do when you're a kid -- great big sobbing hiccups. I must have been broadcasting my pain clear into the hallway because Dr. Blood came back in the room and hugged me again, again said how sorry he was, gave me more tissues.

And through it all, my husband talked me down from the ledge. Wiped my smeared eye makeup from my face. Told me it wasn't my fault, to look at the bright side, we got this far--we didn't even know we could get this far and we did, and once the tests come back, we'll know what else we're dealing with, we'll know where this journey will take us next. He told me not to feel like I'd let him down because I hadn't. But I did feel this way and I still do.

Dr. Blood's nurse came in, said how sorry she was, and gave me the pre-operative consent forms to review and sign, asked if I had any questions. Told me someone from the hospital would call me today to tell me what time to go in tomorrow, and so on.

I eventually started breathing again, stopped the giant hiccup cries. When it was time to check out at the desk, I couldn't keep my composure and the tears began again. These people had been so happy for me only moments ago; I'd been so happy for me.

The receptionist came around the desk and hugged me, held me, told me how sorry she was. Told me not to worry about the copay for now, to just leave and we'd deal with it at my next visit.

And so we left. Got in the elevator only after making sure no one else was in it. I went back to work, e-mailed my boss all the news since I'd need tomorrow off (and I knew I wouldn't be able to tell her in person without breaking down). She came over to my desk, told me how sorry she was, hugged me, told me go ahead and go home if I wanted, she would help me with whatever she could.

I managed to stay for an hour and a half but couldn't stop crying...still can't. I'm at home now, just trying to stop the pain. But it's not working and now I've got a horrendous headache from crying so much to add to it--oh well, on the bright side, at least now I can take some advil.

The hospital called me a little while ago to tell me when I had to be there (10:30 a.m.). The person who called said she was sorry she had to call me about this, asked me some customary questions about any allergies and medical conditions and, before we hung up, she said to me: There will be people who may say things to you to try and help you but sometimes they hurt. Know that they mean well. Take care of yourself; your body still thinks it's pregnant, the hormones are still there. Allow yourself to grieve.

And that, my friends, is what I am trying to do. My body still thinks it's pregnant, meaning that it's not, I am not. Today, a door closed. I hope I have the strength to open the next one that comes along because, right now, I don't think I do.

Nothing...abso-fucking-lutely nothing

Second u/s earlier this morning: no fetal pole, no heartbeat. D&C scheduled for tomorrow.

How can I get through this day and the next and find the strength to try again? How can I go on?

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

New hobbies

It seems I have some new hobbies these days--namely freezing, napping, and peeing. No matter what room I go into in our house, I cannot get warm. Now, that's to be expected in the family room where two vents force frigid 72 degree air into the room in tandem non-stop it seems. It's not to be expected from our bedroom where there is only one piddly vent and the room is clear across the house from the thermostat (so it's always 10 degrees warmer in there than anywhere else in the house). My husband likes it cool in the house and I like it a little warmer so we go back and forth on the programmable thermostat. Lately, when I get home from work I'm content to lay in our bed, watching the Olympics and trying to get warm under the down throw. I also freeze all day long at work--not a day goes by without me making at least two or three non-peeing trips to the bathroom just so I can wash my hands under hot water and warm them temporarily. It's that bad.

I've also started a new hobby of almost-daily naps after work. Man, I'd forgotten how great naps can be. It's gotten to where friends and hubby now know better than to call me between 4 and 5. While I feel somewhat like a slacker, screw it--naps are good and they make me happy.

I continue to pee a lot but overall I feel good. The discomfort in my boobs has grown exponentially the past few days (as have my boobs themselves) and the slightest touch sends me to far away galaxies before I zoom back into our atmosphere. I did have to bite the bullet and buy bigger bras recently. The reality of me and my cups running over with boob was too much, I thought, to unleash upon the general public. V-neck tops have become obscene on me in the last week as my formerly 38D boobs (and believe me, I'm not bragging about them at all--know that I've always wanted a reduction but am scared of the surgery) have--BAM--kicked it up a notch! (Thank you Emeril.) I've gone out and bought some 38DD and 40D bras (since manufacturers don't seem to follow the same size guidelines as one another) but don't know how long they'll last me. Which scares me...very much. My hubby...not so scared; in fact, he is joyous, gleeful even--can't wait to have access to them. (Insert my evil laughter here--BWAH HA HA!! FOOL! NOT ANYTIME SOON!) He looks like a kid in a candy store who's got a dollar to spend but just learned that all of the jars are sealed shut. Touch 'em and die boy...yes, I'm talking to you.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Have embryo will travel

I'm outta here for the next four days. Hubby is off to DC for a wedding and I'm staying behind since the doc suggested postponing travel this early in the game.

Don't cry for me though. Four days without hubby means I'll be down at my SIL's, laying out by her pool, and just relaxing. (Say, you don't think I could possibly 'cook' my emby by laying out in 90+ degree weather with 90% humidity, do you? God, I love Florida--nothing like a heat index of 105 or more--but since I grew up here, know that the rumors are true--you do get used to it.)

More news next week. Until then, I hope y'all have great days!

Friday, August 13, 2004

One more thing....

Oh, yeah, EDD 4/15/05.

Now I can breathe

Okay, so after a day and a half of intermittent right-sided pain (think ovary) radiating to my back, I threw myself on the mercy of my RE's office and called to see if they could get me in for an u/s today instead of Monday. Today marks the 5w mark and I had myself so convinced that I had an ectopic pg that I just knew I wouldn't make it through to Monday afternoon without having a complete breakdown. I had called my dr's office yesterday but they thought it was likely nothing and suggested I call the nurse, which I didn't do, thinking I'd just see what happened. No bleeding, just pain--but different from the cramping I've been having on and off the past 2 weeks.

Well, after the same pain kept happening last night and this morning, I called back. And, good people that they are at my RE's office, they told me to come right in this morning as one of the partners was there but would be leaving soon. I had my hubby rush straight over there. Off with my pants and up on the table. Dim the lights...and action.

Glory be.... The yolk sac was visible and it is right where it should be--in my uterus--no ectopic pg. (Big exhale.)It measured exactly within range and I'm to go back in two weeks for another scan. I didn't get a picture of today's u/s because--as the wand monkey told me--my dr has a thing about not giving the first u/s out the day of the appointment, he likes to wait until the second one to give it to the patient so she decided to play by his rules. Alas, I do feel like I cheated on him today--the doc on staff at the office today was not mine and 'stole' his thunder somewhat by being the one to confirm that all is as it should be. Whoops!

At the same time, it was noted that I have a large corpus luteum cyst on my L side (not the side with the pain) but they said that was completely normal since I ovulated from that side and the cyst is what's producing the progesterone to support the pregnancy at this point in time. It will eventually shrink down and my body will take over production, I believe after 12 weeks or so she said.

I can breathe now...even though the road ahead is long (and certain to be littered with more panic on my part). Hope springs eternal. Oh, and the doc suggested that I postpone travel if I can help it. We're supposed to fly to DC on Wednesday for a wedding so it looks like DH will be going without me. Gotta do what I gotta do and I simply could not live with myself if I went and something happened--even though I know that if something is going to happen, it'll happen anywhere and at anytime. Still, the 'what if' would never go away. So I'll be sitting on my ass around the house with the furbabies instead of taking in our nation's capital. Heck I may even take the fellas down to my SIL's and stay there...it'll be a mini-vacation without really leaving home.

My thanks to each of you for your comforting words...I am, as you can read, a complete basket case about this. You all are too good to me :-) and I hope I can return the favor....

Thursday, August 12, 2004

All's quiet on the home front

Thanks for sharing your POVs on whether or not to tell so early on. It looks like we will not be sharing the news with family for a while. After speaking with DH about it, I realize that I'm just not comfortable telling them yet. I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch. For now, I'll keep this wonderful secret between us and our 6 closest friends (those who knew about our treatment, etc.) -- and all of y'all great gals -- for the time being.

There's just so much that I'm worrying about right now, it can't be healthy to worry so much. It leaves my mind for a bit and then comes roaring back louder than ever. How to turn it off? I don't know. I keep telling myself that it'll be okay, it's good, my betas were doubling just like they should, even slightly ahead of schedule (every 1.28 to 1.4 days). But now--well, now there have been no more betas since the third one and I miss their reassuring progression. Now I wait until that first u/s on Monday and wonder what the doctor will tell me. Did it implant in my uterus? Is it ectopic? Will it make it? Will I make it? I just don't know...and that scares the hell out of me right now. My slight spotting stopped on Monday. My nausea and sore boobs fluctuate though and right now, both are not as 'pronounced' as they've been in past days--is that normal? Does it mean it's failing? What does it all mean? Maybe nothing but I just don't know. I need to make this all rational and I can't, it's impossible.

I tell myself that if I just make it through today, I'm one day closer to a preliminary answer. Four days more until Monday and maybe I'll get some slight peace of mind until the next u/s, if we get that far. I am going to drive myself completely crazy in the interim. I don't mean to complain about this when there are so many other IFs who deserve to achieve their dreams -- but, for me, once an IF, always an IF. Bad news follows us around like the cloud did Schleprock (children of the '70s, remember him?). Do I dare to hope, to dream, to plan?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

913 and climbing

Yesterday was beta #3 and a good number it was. 913; up from 181 on Friday. This was the last of my betas and I'm to go for my first u/s next Monday, the 16th. Amazingly, the doctor himself will perform that first ultrasound--I had just assumed it would be my usual dildocam operator.

In joking with a friend of mine who's a patient at my same practice, we said that the nurses do all the grunt work, they're your main point of contact, but then the doc comes in for the first pg u/s and gets the 'glory.' Of course, there's more to it than that but it's still an interesting dynamic. I know the doctor is (usually) the brains behind the protocol but still...you just don't think you'd get them (at least not in a practice as large as mine) to personally perform these simple clinical tasks. Luckily, I like my doc and can't wait to see/share his reaction--I'm such a goober, as if he fathered the embryo/baby himself!

Speaking of who made the baby, my husband is a calm life raft floating on this sea of change. He was excited in a low-key sort of way when I told him the news after that first phone call from the nurse. We went to dinner that first night but no big celebration. He asks how I'm feeling each day but that is sort of it. I can't really gage his reaction outside of that. My SIL said he told her he said he has reserved excitement; kind of like me, I guess.

We're also wondering whether or not to tell family yet. This coming Friday will be the 6 week mark (4 gestational weeks--which might be the stupidest calculating I've ever seen and I don't get why the medical field does it this way). I have a good friend who didn't tell anyone until after the 12th week and the danger of loss was somewhat reduced. I'm leaning toward that approach myself. Another friend told everyone right away and when she suffered a miscarriage, those same friends and family where there to help her through the grief and mourning. So I've seen it from both sides with these two wonderful people.

Now my husband and I find ourselves on the fence. At first we thought we'd tell his mother since she knew a little bit about our infertility and she isn't a blabber but then my husband suggested we just tell them all. This weekend we're having my husband's birthday party with all of his family at my MIL's house and that would be the optimal place/time to tell them since they'll all be in one location. Not only that, but supposedly, hubby's 93-year old grandfather will be arriving that same day for a three-month stay (he lives in South America and hasn't been to visit the family here in the U.S. since the '80s) so he'll be on hand as well.

Do we tell them or not? I am excited, on the one hand, to share this news with them. I am apprehensive, on the other hand, lest we lose this pregnancy and then have to share that painful news with them. I probably shouldn't even be thinking these thoughts, quite frankly, but you can't shake that worst-case scenario expectation when dealing with IF--at least I can't since that's my traditional coping mechanism. Expect the worst so it doesn't hurt as much when it comes but then it'll allow you to be excited when you get the best since it was unexpected. It's worked for me these past years but it still doesn't mean it didn't hurt any less. It sucks how IF robs (most) patients of the ability to blindly go forward and assume the best. Instead, at least for me, it's as if you're always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

So I guess hubby and I've got a lot of thinking to do in the coming days. As an English major, the words of the great Will Shakespeare come to me in an altered state: to share, or not to share: that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them. Works, doesn't it?

Friday, August 06, 2004


Today's doubling beta came in at 181--yea! Things are moving along on that front. I have had some very light brown spotting last night and today and have been slightly panicked at the thought. I'm trying not to read too much into it 'cause googling it sure brings up both positive and not-so-positive reasons for it. I did mention it to the nurse at this morning's appointment and she told me it's often common but to watch it and call them if it increases or clots, etc., join the fun. Also, no intercourse while I'm spotting.

Other than that, tonight, I'm to start weaning off the prednisone I've been on to suppress my DHEAS levels for the past months.

Not much else to report. I'm peeing like a champ one to two times an hour but I'm also going through 5 to 7 bottles of water a day right now so that's probably the reason for that. I'm to go back for another beta on Monday. Until then, hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Muchas gracias

I want to say thanks to each of you who read my blog and an especially warm and appreciative thank you to all you wonderful ladies who send me your kind comments, wishes, and thoughts. They are invaluable to me and I'm grateful to each of you for your cyber-presence in my life. I'm also honored to share your experiences on your blogs and to be a part of this wonderful and wise community.

I still don't think the reality of what I've now gotten myself into has sunk in but at times last night the realization found its way to my inner core. When it did, tears welled up; I had to will them away but they went without much fight. Yesterday was a happy day for me and perhaps today and tomorrow will be too, even if this turns out to be only fleeting ('though I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it won't). In the meantime, I'm just going to take things one day at a time...it's all I can do.

I hope and pray--and also know--that more members of the Barren Bitches Brigade will have their happy times, no matter what they are or how they get to them. With so much IF pain and suffering, both individual and shared, we all deserve a little happiness and I know we each shall find it at some point in time--or maybe at several points in time--in one way or another. Even in our darkest hours (and what IF among us hasn't had or shared plenty of those?), it hides in the shadows, waiting to come out and play, if only for a moment in time. I'd like to think she's related to Hope only nicer. Why she chose me now, I'll never know, but welcome to the sandbox friend. It's nice to make your acquaintance and I hope to see you around these parts more often--while you're here, get to know my blogland friends, you'll like them...I do.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Late breaking news bulletin

OHMIGOSH--my first beta (14 dpo) is at 67.5--it's official, I'm pregnant. I almost can't believe it. After three years of infertility treatments, the concept of actually getting pregnant was/is somewhat of a foreign concept to me, a uterine Tahiti if you will--a place you dream of visiting one day but you know that the chances of ever really getting there are slim to none.

I know I've got a long road ahead of me but for now I'm simply overwhelmed by the notion that there is a living human-to-be growing inside of me as I type this. I can only take it one day at a time, one beta at a time, etc. Yet, I can't wrap my mind around it. It's almost too much to take in and I'm just so grateful right now it's all I can do to hold myself together emotionally. I want to laugh, to cry, to scream, to dance, anything to blow off some of the stress and anticipation that was my day today. And a craptastical day it was to start off with (speech from boss about improving my work/cutting back on my absences--courtesy of my unbeknownst to her treatment, several missed veins at the beta draw, it's raining and dreary out, and so on). It's still raining out but in my mind, the sky is blue, the birds are singing, and my uterus--well, for once it actually did what it's supposed to do--yeah, it's still crampy and driving me crazy thinking AF is coming but I guess this time it's not. Holy cow. Let the terror begin.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Holy cr*p!

I've returned from paradise and a fantastic weekend spent among good friends. I won't bore you too much with the details when you're really wondering about the "holy crap" title, aren'tcha?

Well, the holy crap comes at the fact that I have yet to get my period. All weekend long I was on the lookout, checking my underwear and the toilet paper fantically. Nothing, nada, zilch, zip. Sure, from Thursday on I had plenty of twingy cramp-like pains here and there--all of which had me convinced AF was coming any day. Nope. I was sure of it, heck, I still wonder if it might be coming today, tonight, or tomorrow (oh how cruel fate would be) but am holding out hope--especially since my boobs are extraordinarily tender, something that is completely out of character for me. Sometimes they'll get a little tender before my period but they've been almost excrutiating to touch for the past 3 days. I bump into them and my teeth mash together in reaction before I shake it off. Weird.

Two of the previous IUIs I had done late last year saw my period arrive 10 and 8 days after the procedures, respectively. I don't remember the time frame between the IUIs and my period for the two I had done back in 2002, nor did I feel like going back through my files to find out the exact number of days but I seem to recall the longest being 10 days then too. Suffice it to say, today is day 13 past IUI for me and that is a record. Do I dare to hope?

So far I've resisted all urges to buy/pee on an HPT. It's tough but I'm sticking it out. One more day to go; tomorrow morning I go in for my beta, 14 days after the second IUI. What if this worked? Holy crap....

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