/ The RE's Muse: November 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.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

To have and to hold....

On this last day of hurricane season (yippee!), I married A eight years ago. We met in college and dated for six years prior to his popping the question. This coming February will mark 15 years we've been together. It's been a wild ride, a fun ride. We've done so many things, traveled to many places and for that I'm grateful. He is a wonderful man, partner, and human being.

We decided we'd enjoy life with just the two of us for a few years before we would try to grow our two-person family into three; we thought that when the time came when we were ready to have a child, it would just happen. Alas, as you know, the fairy tale didn't play out as we had hoped but somehow we found the strength to soldier on.

This Thanksgiving I had much to be thankful for--friends, family, the bean currently growing inside me, and especially A's presence in my life and his love. He calls me his rock but, the truth is, he is as much mine as I am his. Sadly, it took the miscarriage in August to make me realize this but I will never again take that truth for granted.

In the darkest days after the D&C, I sent A the following letter. I didn't write it but it summed up everything I was thinking and feeling. And even today, on this happiest of anniversaries, the words ring truer than ever. So I share it with you and give you a glimpse into the depth of my feelings for this wonderful man. And if you're so inspired, please feel free to share it with the special man in your life too....

A Love Note to My Husband by Carol Speck Schmidt

I love you for letting me be me, more than I could have been without you.
I love you for putting up with me through the tears, the tantrums, the depression, the hysterics, the desperation, and the trauma.
I love you for being my best friend when others had turned me away or were uneasy about being around me.
I love you for trying to give me hope when I felt there was none.

I love you for doing your best to make me laugh when I thought I’d never hear the sound of laughter again.
I love you for putting your grief on a back burner while you used all your strength and energy to cope with me and mine.
I love you for making sure that I got all the help I so desperately needed in dealing with our loss while you dealt with it all by yourself.

I love you for loving me enough to be able to yank me out of the deep pit of depression in which I had been immersed for so long.
But most of all, I love you for continuing to love me when I was most unlovable.
That, more than anything, helped me to again see how very blessed I am.
And having you and your love more than makes up for anything I lack. Because of you and you alone I’m the luckiest person on earth.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Turkey for you and turkey for me

I just wanted to wish each of you a very wonderful Thanksgiving, no matter what table you find yourself seated at tomorrow. Wishing you safe travels if you're traveling, sanity with family and friends, and lots of love and cheer.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Mi corazon

I am awed, humbled by this morning's events. There it was, clear as day...a rhythmic flicker on the u/s screen. A tiny heart beats within me that is not entirely my own but which I helped create.

In a nutshell: the embryo was there, the heartbeat was there, the yolk sac was there, all measuring right on. Today's blood pressure was a not-so-lovely 150/84--but, then again, I was a nervous wreck. Really (just ask my bowels who evacuated their contents twice this morning and not of the nice variety bm, if you--TMI--get my drift). For a second Dr. Rub and the tech thought I had a subchorionic hemorrhage but instead they said it's just vascular (um, not entirely sure what that means but it's normal they said). I've gained one pound since my last visit (gained, nah, more like normal weight fluctation on my part). I'm to stay on the prednisone and progesterone as well as the glucophage. Dr. Rub said there are some recent studies that show glucophage is helpful at reducing mc rates. The good doctor will do one more u/s on Dec. 2nd (at my usual office--so thankfully, no 60 mile drive!) and, if all goes well, I'll be released to a high-risk OB. He prefers I go there b/c of my congenital adrenal hyperplasia and recommended a couple of docs. Today I'll check my insurance to see if they're on the plan.

I have many thoughts swirling in my head right now and so many of them I can't put into words. I am overwhelmed by so much--not the least of which is your love and support.

Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, crossed appendages and whatnot. Did I ever tell you that you gals rock?! Well, you do...and I'm so very grateful for your friendship. Now (please) go have a nice weekend! And know that you hold a special place en mi corazon.* (*translation: in my heart)

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Sugar-free milano cookies

are the devil! No, seriously. I had a few before dinner yesterday and awoke in the middle of the night last night to find myself doubled over with stomach cramps and sounds emanating from my belly that sounded like a boiler about to explode. How I wish I could have gone poop to alleviate things but no go. The pain and noise eventually stopped after about 45 minutes. Good times, good times.

Um, yeah, I had a few after dinner the night before and this exact same thing happened to me Tuesday night. Woke to stomach cramps and sounds of belly doom. You think I'd learn my lesson but it took a second night of belly grumbling to give me 2+2. This was the first time I'd tried the sugar-free version of milano cookies. Something in the sugar alcohols that make up the sugar-free component just doesn't agree with me. Shame too 'cause I love me some milano cookies. Today I'll go home and throw the rest of the bag away. If I wake up again tonight in belly hell then I don't know what the deal is.

Dr. Rub's nurse just called--u/s #2 moved to 7:30 a.m. tomorrow (from 8:15). Rub's doing retrievals/transfers most of tomorrow so I'm first up before that gets underway. Nothing like a 60 mile drive to the main office to wake one up in the morning. But it's not like I won't be wide awake in anticipation anyway. I imagine it'll be a quiet, tense car ride for A and I. He'll make jokes and try to get me laughing but I know I'll be too tense to do much more than worry, let alone hold up my end of the witty banter.

We're hoping to see a hb tomorrow as I'll be exactly 7w. May not be able to eat...sleep...breathe tonight. I had been thinking very good, hopeful thoughts these past ten days since u/s #1 but now my anxiety is starting to amp up again. Last time, bad news came at 6w6d, D&C at 7w exactly so tomorrow is a big day, a huge hurdle if you will. Please keep all crossable bits crossed in the interim. If all is good tomorrow, I'll post afterwards--can't make any promises though if it's not. For now, I'm hanging in there and trying not to think negatively, but--as you dear reader know--it's hard when your hopes have been crushed repeatedly.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Weekend update

Not much happening in the Dee house this past week. A and I just returned from a weekend in Tampa where we went to attend a football game of his alma mater, USF, with a bunch of his college buddies. USF won (yea--but, being as I'm a Florida Gator, I was more excited by UF's whooping on South Carolina for homecoming last night--Go Gators!).

I am still having brown discharge but it's not heavy or pink/red. I've just kind of gotten used to it and now think it's more abnormal when I don't see it on the paper when I wipe or on my panty liner. My Google School of Medicine research found that some women will have brown spotting throughout pregnancy or for long periods of time during pg, so I'm not really sweating it too much anymore. No more bright red blood, no real cramps to speak of--outside of what I term 'growing pains' and which are actually quite mild and very bearable, no rhyme or rhythm to them so I try not to worry too much. I take this knowledge with me as I count down to this Friday's u/s #2. (I did call Dr. Rub's office and tell a little lie about my husband not being able to make it on the 22nd b/c really, there was no way I could've waited 'til then for the next u/s--so they moved it up to 11/19 at 8:15 in the morning.) Come on days, fly by.

While in Tampa yesterday, A's cousin called us to announce that his wife is 5 weeks pregnant. A was his typical considerate self, offered congrats, etc., and hung up the phone. Being on A's side of the conversation, I kind of deduced what his cousin told him and was eagerly waiting for A to pipe up with a reply to the effect of, "wow, guess what? we're 6 weeks pg." (this despite the fact that we've only told a few of our closest friends so far but haven't told his family yet, outside of my SIL).

I wanted A to tell him for the simple reason that this cousin is and always has been completely centered on competing with us (and with everyone for that matter). He has always been quick to brag about something new he bought/did/saw/etc. for so long now that I really wanted A to burst his bubble, take the 'oomph' of his cousin's satisfaction at thinking he had 'beaten' us in the baby race (naively thinking that pg automatically equals baby I imagine; schooled in mc, A and I know that a baby does not always pg make).

In addition to being so competitive and materialistic, this cousin is a vile human being. For years now, he has made inappropriate sexually-charged comments to both myself and my SIL (who he's related to--yuck!). Years ago, when A and I were dating, his cousin even hid in A's bedroom closet and listened to us have sex (I say listened because-thankfully-the closet doors were not louvered so he could not also watch us in the act). To this day, his cousin has never let me forget the sounds, etc., that he heard (and probably whacked off to) that night. He is a repulsive person.

How I hope that he and his wife don't come to know firsthand the nightmare of mc. I also hope that my own pregnancy continues for so many reasons--the least of which is that when we finally tell them we're expecting, he'll realize that we're about 8 days ahead of them time-wise, and he will know then that he didn't "get something" before someone else did. That should drop his pleasure principle a few notches. I'm sure that will incense him but good. This isn't a race, we're not in a competition with them--never have been--but he always has been with most everyone he knows.

So damn, will it feel good to know that he'll probably be somewhat disappointed to hear our news when we finally 'go public.' I guess being the bitter bitch that I am, I take pleasure in causing someone else's discomfort, especially when that person is a selfish, materialistic perverted prig.

Does that make me a bad person? Nah, but it might make me petty--and I don't care.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Breathing now

Forget Wednesday's u/s--who could have waited that long given the circumstances? Dr. Rub's office got me in this a.m. and I am able to keep breathing for the foreseeable future. Today I was the lucky recipient of u/s #1. At 5w3d; the results:

Cervix closed? Check;
Gestational sac? Check;
Yolk sac? Check;
Decidual ring? Check (whatever the hell that is and "nice" per wand monkey);
Source of bleeding? Unknown;
Sac measuring one week ahead size-wise (which makes sense to me since I believe my cramping 4-5dpo indicated implantation happened earlier than the 7-12 dpo window we hear so much about as 'typical');
Too early for a fetal pole or heartbeat yet (damn! that would have gone a long way in easing my fears).

Dr. Rub was very pleased, said things look great and wants to see me again in 10 - 14 days. In the meantime, I'm taking it easy per Rub's orders. So I check out and attempt to schedule u/s #2 for 10 days from now but--ack!--there is nothing available! Alas, u/s #2 not until 11/22--two weeks (!!) from today! Agh--whatever will I do with myself in the interim besides worry? Speaking of worry, my blood pressure before going in for the u/s this a.m. was a whopping 170/80 which they chalked off to my nerves (brilliant deduction Watson).

And I'm happy to report that the brown spotting seems to have stopped shortly before the u/s. My last 4 visits to pee today have seen no brown on the paper whatsoever. Let's hope it keeps up while I do my best to take things one day at a time. Please keep your good thoughts and positive vibes coming my way ladies, I could really use 'em. Did I mention two whole weeks.... *sigh*

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Will not panic...will not panic....

Yesterday morning I woke up at 6:30 a.m. and headed to the bathroom for my first pee of the day. It was dark, almost orange, but the tissue was clear when I wiped. But wait...what's that I saw in the bowl? A miniscule speck of tissue, red, with a tiny streak of blood radiating off it into the water. No blood on the paper when I wiped though so I chalked it off. Got dressed, headed down to Miami for a beauty day with a dear girlfriend. During the hour and fifteen minute drive to meet her, I had some mild cramping but thought nothing of it as that's been happening here and there.

After we meet up, we stop for breakfast at a Cuban bakery. As I'm standing at the counter, I feel discharge and don't have a good feeling about it. I go to the bathroom and pee and see nothing but yellow pee in the bowl. But then I wiped and saw it: Bright red blood.

I call Dr. Rub's backline from my cell and while I'm on hold, my call waiting beeps in--it's Dr. Rub's nurse. She tells me to lie down, take it easy, drink lots of fluids. And keep my appointment with them for Wednesday. If something is going to happen, it's going to happen.

So I take it easy. I lay around on my ass all day long. I drink so much water I'm pretty much peeing every 15-30 minutes. And the bright red blood turns to brown. It was never in the bowl when I went pee, it was only on the paper when I wiped afterwards. There were never any
clots, no tissue (outside of that teeny piece first thing in the morning) and the mild cramping eventually slowed and then disappeared altogether.

I'm still having brown spotting on the paper when I wipe today but there has been no more bright red since that first occurrence (knock on wood, cross my fingers, and all that jazz).

As you can imagine, I'm terrified. If I thought I was scared before...well, now it's amped up to a whole new level. How can I last 'til Wednesday's u/s to find out if all is still well in there? Now I'm definitely expecting only the worst news at that visit. Try as I might, I really wanted to go into it with some shred of optimism but now there's none.

I've read and heard so much about what this bleeding can be--implantation (perhaps it's so comfy in there it opted to burrow in a little deeper?), a subchorionic hemorrhage, the placenta can nick a capillary/vein/etc. when it begins to form, an inflamed cervix, dehydration, etc. Dehydration does seems like a very real possibility. A and I had the world's saltiest dinner at a local Thai restaurant Friday night and when we got back home, I was parched. So parched, in fact, I knocked back a record amount of water before going to bed. But, alas, I never had to wake up in the middle of the night to pee all that water out. Plus my pee was so dark yesterday morning, the first pee after Friday night's dinner. Last night I didn't wake up in the middle of the night to pee either and this morning's first pee was orange as well. Perhaps I should set my alarm to wake me up midway each night and make myself go pee. All last week I had been waking up on my own in the middle of the night to pee most nights. But the last few, no going.

So maybe the bleeding is nothing major. But all I can think is impending miscarriage. Help me make it through 'til Wednesday's u/s; that's all I want right now. To just make it until then.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Progesterone newbie

Um...so my lack of knowledge is kind of embarrassing but maybe you can shed some light on this for me.

Earlier today here at work, I went pee, wiped, stood up, turned around to flush and noticed--WTF?--smallish 'pieces' of bright white something or other floating on the pee water's surface. There were numerous pieces, ranging from flake-sized specks to one or two about the size of a moderate pinky fingernail and everything in between. I craned my neck to view the pieces from a variety of angles and noticed that there was a greasy-type sheen radiating off of each piece (well, off the larger ones from what I could tell).

This is the second time in two days that I've noticed this. The first time I just thought the pieces were in the bowl before I went pee and I just didn't see them because they blended in with the white porcelain. My mind thought that the only reason I saw them after peeing was that the yellow pee made them stand out. But after episode 2, I don't think so; now I think they're coming from my uterine nether regions.

I'm inserting one 200mg prometrium cap at night and assumed that the internal content of each caplet was liquid (kind of like a vitamin E gelcap), especially since the pharmacy info sheet listed peanut oil as a component. I also assumed that the contents - if they are liquid - were absorbed into the honey hole only to later produce heavier than usual discharge. I've had some discharge as a result but not 'chunky' white pieces. And no, I don't have any accompanying itch or smell (lest anyone wonder if it's a yeast infection). Are these pieces coming from the progesterone that I'm popping into the hootch each night at bedtime--perhaps the solidified remnants of said peanut oil (though one would think it stays liquid at body temp) or of the caplet 'shell'? Or should I be worried that I'm somehow producing small pieces of styrofoam in my pee? (Really, that's kind of what they look like for lack of a better way to describe them.) Anyone out there had anything similar or am I truly a complete freak?

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Things that make your blood boil

I've been taking advantage of my current "holding pattern" (T-minus 7 days and counting to first ultrasound) to catch up on my regional news coverage. I saw this in today's Miami Herald. Someone please explain why life is so unfair....

KEY WEST - A dead newborn girl -- placenta and umbilical cord still attached -- was found early Sunday in a women's bathroom garbage can at the Hilton Resort, police said.
A hotel security guard told detectives he noticed three men sitting in a second-floor lounge area late Saturday or early Sunday, waiting for a female friend who was sick in the bathroom. About 20 minutes later, a woman emerged, looking pale and holding her stomach, according to police.
The woman was described as being in her 20s, about 5-foot-4, of medium weight and with brownish blond, shoulder-length hair. She wore a baggy, white T-shirt.
Her male companions are believed to be the same age. One is described as tall and slender, with a goatee and wearing a red shirt and red cap. Another is believed to be shorter, with cropped black hair. He was wearing a black T-shirt and jeans. The third man had short, frizzy, medium-length hair and was wearing a gray T-shirt and shorts, according to police. Police said the group may have been at a Fat Tuesday's bar earlier in the night.
''There have been no arrests, and we are seeking the public's help,'' said Steve Torrence, a Key West police spokesman.

If I wasn't feeling nauseous already, this story would've done it to me. Though we see these stories all too often it seems, it never fails to amaze me how someone can give up something so very wanted by so many people. Here in Florida, new moms have three days during which they can actually drop their unwanted newborn babies off at local police or fire stations without legal ramification. I guess maybe she didn't know this--or wasn't from around these parts. Alas, another life cut all too short by someone's fear or ignorance or ? I just don't get it....

Monday, November 01, 2004

The twilight zone

Beta # 3 came in at 910 today. Doubling time between #1 and 2 was 1.35 days; between #2 and 3 was 1.37 days so things are moving along by the sound of it.

I've been fighting nausea off and on--more on than off--for two days now, which I guess is reassuring. I didn't have this lovely symptom last time (and Dr. Rub's other nurse was quick to point out to me today that in the pregnancy she had that miscarried, she didn't have any nausea but she a lot of it with her successful pg and that many take nausea to be a good sign). Hmmm...we'll see. I'm not a puker and detest it so I'm hoping it doesn't come to that. Outside of that, the only other thing I've noticed is that I've woken up the past few nights to pee.

I had a dream about two weeks ago, before any of the current uterine shenanigans were known, and in it I was told I had a beta of 1,003; that dream was engraved in my mind. As you can imagine, I was wondering if that would be the number when they called me today. That would have been pretty freaky if it was.

So now I'm in the twilight zone of no more betas and my first ultrasound is November 10th. At that point, I'll be 5w5d and the nurse says we'll see a sac and fetal pole (do you know when the heartbeat can be seen? I used to but it's left my shot mind). So let's hope.

Whatever will I do with myself until then? How will I be able to get through each day without thinking that all hell is breaking loose in my uterus? Okay, so I'll try not to think about that...yeah, right, who am I kidding?

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