Thursday, May 14, 2015

A New Hope

So it appears that improbable things DO happen to me after all.  A full eight years after Q and I were last able to make a baby just with tools we have around the house, I found out that I am pregnant again.  How did this happen, you may wonder?  I'll tell you when you're older.  Seriously, though, I'll write more soon about how Q and I got this shocking news and what has happened between then and now.

Where I am now is 14 weeks along.  What we know so far is that the baby is a girl, she has normal chromosomes, is measuring on track, and the due date in November 9, which is the week of my fortieth birthday.  What we don't have any idea about yet is the state of the umbilical cord.  If you know of my history, you know this is a critical matter.  Until more is known about the condition of the cord, I hardly dare imagine what the future holds.

When I was pregnant with Anastasia, my older two kids were in school, so I had a little discretionary time each day.  I tried to compartmentalize all things pregnancy-related into that time - appointments, finding baby's heartbeat with the doppler, writing this blog, and worrying.  Of course, I was unsuccessful at compartmentalizing the anxiety, but it was nice to have the free time for the other things.

This time I don't have any regular free time for myself and when school gets out in three weeks I'll have to cut back further, and that's really going to hurt.  It's very difficult to find time to write.  In the past, I was able to write and read other blogs frequently and thus became part of a community of bloggers.  This time around, I'm simply writing for myself and to update friends and family, as well as for the benefit of anyone who suffers recurrent cord-related losses like mine.

My kids, who are now 12, 10, and nearly 4, know nothing of the pregnancy so far.  One of the most difficult things about our situation is the need to hide the pregnancy until it is far enough along that we feel there is some hope that the baby will live.  We have a high-level ultrasound scheduled at 19 weeks which we hope will yield good enough news that we could tell the kids.  I look back at how fun it was a few years ago to tell them I was pregnant with Anastasia.  But then I also remember when I was pregnant with Miles, who died just days before we were going to tell the kids I was pregnant.  This could go either way.  Not having much free time to think about this is not such a bad thing after all!

? at 11 weeks because the 14 weeks pics are even fuzzier!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The End

Anastasia (Mei-Mei) is now over two months old.  So many roadblocks  could have prevented her from even being conceived, not to mention all the other things that could have gone wrong. 
I'm in a state of perpetual amazement that Cradles and Graves has ended with a cradle!  

It's been a long journey that began with one critical step - daring to try again despite multiple losses and infertility.  Trying again could have brought us the worst disaster we'd ever faced.  Instead it brought us our finest hour!

The hope and courage to try again were largely inspired by Cindy, who showed us that success is possible even after multiple losses.  Thank you, Cindy, for being willing to share your experiences!   My wish is that through this blog, I can pass on that hope and courage to others who have experienced similar losses and are afraid to try again.  It really is possible to have a live, healthy baby even after multiple cord-related losses.  Post-loss pregnancy is very hard,  but also very worth it!

It's been a joy "meeting" so many wonderful bloggy friends over the past few years.  Thank you for all the kind words, prayers, and support!  And with that, I will sign off:

Good morning, and in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!

Friday, October 21, 2011


Well, it's my penultimate post.  Blogging has been fun (despite some very grim subject matter), therapeutic, and educational.  I've learned a lot from reading your blogs and will continue to follow along.  Before I sign off on my blog, it's time for one last chance at fun prizes here at Cradles and Graves.  Here's the scoop:

The objective is to match the items in The List below to the post referencing it - you can use the post title or date.  [Example:  AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Are Not Dirt Cheap (7/5/10)]  You get one point for each match. All the answers can be found in posts dated from November 2010 until now.

Email me your answers on or before October 31; DON'T put your answers in the comments section below - that is just helping the competition! My email is cradlesandgraves at yahoo dot com

This is intended to be EASY. Almost all of the answers are in the post titles, so just look at the archive list. Three items are quotes within posts and can easily be found using the handy "Search This Blog" feature on my sidebar.

The person with the most points wins a $30 Victoria's Secret gift card.  If it's a tie then the prize goes to the person who got the score first.  It's fine to send multiple emails - send them whenever you find answers and I will keep a tally of your total.
One winner will be chosen randomly, so make sure to enter even if you find only one answer.  [Hint:  Look at the post just below!]  The winner will get a selection of fine chocolates and shortbread.

YOU can win.  It doesn't matter if you're a blogger or not.  Doesn't matter if you're a previous winner here, or if you live in a different country.  Or whether you're just stopping by for ICLW or are a long-time real-life friend.  

The List:  

1) the musical Annie
2) Tori Amos
3) A period of violence that occurred for one year and one month after the onset of the  French Revolution
4) The Beatles 
5) Tracy Bonham
6) Johnny Cash
7) Christian hymn
8) Bill Clinton
9) Charles Dickens
10) The Joy Luck Club
11) Lady Gaga
12) Led Zeppelin
13) Leo Tolstoy
14) A pop standard from the 1940's by Frank Loesser
15) A young-adult novel by Lois Lowry
16) Madonna
17) Marilyn Monroe
18) John Mellencamp
19) H. Ross Perot
20) Queen
21) Orson Welles
22) TV show in which the hosts use scientific methods to test the validity of various myths and misconceptions
23) TV show that profiles fugitives wanted for various crimes
24) Variation on the title of a theological book by C.S. Lewis
25) Young MC
26) 1967 romantic comedy/drama starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft
27) 1977 comedy film produced and directed by Mel Brooks, who also plays the lead role of new administrator of The Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous
28) 1995 comedy based on Jane Austen's novel Emma 
29) 2000 movie about a hostage rescue starring Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe

Update November 1:  And now, the winners of my contest! The Victoria's Secret gift card goes to Embracing the Rain, who scored an impressive 28 points.  I've decided to pick TWO random winners, so chocolates/shortbread go to Jana at Find Joy Now and Sissy Wisk in Kentucky.  

Also, here's a recent pic of Mei-Mei:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Suicide Bombs and Sleeper Cells

One of the many great delights of being pregnant was that it put my endometriosis in remission.  Now that I am breastfeeding, my hope is to enjoy at least another full year of feeling fabulous.  I also hope to keep my knees together and stay out of the stirrups, 'cuz I'm a lady.  

These days, my mind is usually occupied with happy things, but sometimes I worry about what awaits me when the endo becomes active again.  I picture the endometrioma(s) on my lone ovary as suicide bombers just waiting for the chance to blow it all to hell.  

And of course there are all the other endo implants lurking who-knows-where.  Right now they're sleeper cells,  but they may become quite menacing once activated. 

I've already had some familiar, though short-lived pain since Mei-mei was born.  Alarmed that the sleeper cells may be reactivating so soon, I reported this to the proper authority.  According to my doctor, the pain is likely caused by my innards yanking on some adhesions as they shift back into place.  

My doctor also mentioned birth control.  Ha!  He said he's seen miraculous post-IVF pregnancies, but I don't think that will happen to me.  Improbable things don't happen to me!  I don't know whether a do-it-ourselves pregnancy is impossible or just extremely improbable.  Maybe adhesions have distorted my anatomy.  Or maybe my only tube is blocked.  I have no intention of doing any sort of tests to find out:

As far as reproduction is concerned, Q and I are taking a laissez faire approach. I'm 99.9% certain that we can't make another baby just with tools we have around the house.  While we would welcome another living child, we have no intention of messing things up by risking another traumatic loss.  Not that it's up to us anyway - thanks infertility!  The objective now is to relax and enjoy our lives sans fertility treatment.  For me, no more charting, no more injections, and no more planning my life around doctor appointments.  For Q, no more Wacking Day, no more Uplifting Reading in The Back Room, and no more dealing with an erratic hormonal wife.  Ok, so maybe he's not totally off the hook on that last one.  

Since our story has reached a very happy ending and there will be no trying again, the time is nigh for signing off on this blog.  But first we will be having a little contest and giveaway, so stay tuned!

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, 

on where you stop your story.  -Orson Welles

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Anastasia Has the Answers

Right before Q and I got married ten years ago, we realized I might have reproductive issues but I never could have imagined just how hard family-building would be.  I'm very thankful to have our happy ending here in my arms.  My family is now as complete as it's going to get, but I'll always wonder why it all happened this way.

Why did everything go so perfectly for Anastasia but not for Jeremiah and Miles?  What made the difference?   I wish I could know why, not only for myself but also for other women like me and for my children, in case there is some risk for them when they start having children of their own.  Was it a lucky combination of genes?  Was it the aspirin and pig intestinal mucous I injected into myself?  Did the fistful of supplements I took daily help?  Anastasia has the answers, but she's not talking.

Last week I was able to see the pathology report on Anastasia's placenta and cord.  According to the pathologist, everything looked absolutely normal.  I'd have to fill out some paperwork and pay a ridiculous fee in order to get a copy of the report for myself, so I don't have it to post on the blog.  Maybe I'll get to it later, but for now I spend too much of my limited free time trying to get United Hell Care to pay up on all the medical bills.  Instead, you can enjoy these lovely photos of the placenta.  Or if you'd prefer to skip that, you can enjoy these lovely photos of Anastasia instead:

One month old
Return to Pooh Corner 
Our family tradition is to take photos of our babies with these stuffed toys each month until the baby is one.  It's a great way to see how quickly they grow.  Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore had been unemployed and collecting dust for years during our family downturn. What a joy it is to see them back at work with our new baby girl!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mythbusters: The Glowing Tomato

What does one do with all those leftover syringes once treatment is done?  Q and I tried to get creative.  Here are the results:

1)  I saw this video on YouTube and decided to find out if this is really possible.

I tried it, but my tomato looked nothing like this picture - not even the faintest glow.  All I ended up with was a leaky, stinky mess.  This myth is busted.

2)  Q did find the large syringes useful for applying glue to his model railroad:

3) And I use them to clean out blown eggs for making pysanky:

And while we're on the subject of needles, here is my impressive collection of used ones.  The grand total is 491!  I must give Q credit for helping me out with maybe ten of the PIO shots, but I self-injected with the other 481.  I turned all my sharps in at the clinic today.  No more needlework for me!  Time to find a new hobby!

Fun Math Fact:  If you put just the needles end to end they would reach over 26 feet (8 meters).  A needle that long could skewer this giant crocodile the long way...with 5 feet to spare!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ordinary is Extraordinary!

Mei-mei is nearly two weeks old now.  Yes, we still call her Mei-mei often but we're also getting used to Anastasia.  She is such a sweet baby and we all just adore her.

Now that I have a minute, I thought I'd post her birth story while I still remember everything.  Even though the labor and birth likely would have gone the same way had I been induced, I was very glad I went into labor naturally.  I had a few contractions Saturday night before 10 PM, so decided to skip my heparin shot and go right to bed.  I was exhausted and that is no way to start labor.  Q and I got a couple hours of sleep and by 2 AM decided to head to the hospital.  Q's mom had stayed with us a few extra days, so we didn't have to worry about the kids.

Driving to the hospital was easy and fast in the middle of the night on a weekend.  I had a some strong contractions along the way and was very thankful we didn't have to drive into the city during rush hour!  After checking in and getting hooked up to the monitors, I was very disappointed to find out I was still only dilated to 2.  And did I mention I was already exhausted before this even began?  So I put in a few more hours sitting on the birthing ball and in bed because I was too tired to be up and about more than that.  Still stuck at two!

Time loses all meaning when you're in a lot of pain, but I'm guessing it was about 9 AM before I got to 4 or 5 cm dilated.  Contractions were erratic.  This was looking like it would be another 30+ hour labor!  The doctor suggested breaking my water and/or trying pitocin to turn things up.  More speed sounded like a good idea; more pain did not.  Mei-mei had been handling all the contractions without any problems, so I decided to try the strategy that finally got my first daughter born after a 30+ hour labor - an epidural.  Lots of people say an epidural can slow labor down and cause distress for the baby.  Not so for me.  Just like last time, things moved along quickly after the epidural and baby handled it all beautifully.

The doctor broke my water and a short time later added a little pitocin.  It was probably around 1:30 PM that I told Q to go get the nurse because it felt like Mei-mei was moving down.  Sure enough, it was time to push!  For me, this part has always gone quickly - Mei-mei was out and screaming by 2:11!  She was perfectly fine and healthy and so was I.

No dead baby this time!  Also no gushing blood during labor, no having my baby whisked off the NICU, and no problems getting the placenta out.  And only a tiny first degree tear for me.  It was a very ordinary labor (17 hours) and a very ordinary birth resulting in an average-sized baby.   This was my last time having a baby and my first time having it all go smoothly.  It was extraordinarily ordinary!

Happy to be going home!