Friday, December 31, 2010

A Merrier Christmas

It was a merrier Christmas than we've had in years since I am actually pregnant at long last.  We were able to see the heartbeat again today and everything is looking great!  I am exactly 8 weeks along and the baby measures 8w2d.  Some of my meds are being reduced (progesterone, Vivelle patches) and I'm released to the care of my perinatologist.  While I wait for that appointment to get set up, my RE says I'm welcome to come back there and get another ultrasound if I get nervous.  Um, does she realize I'm always nervous?

I've been offline lately because our computer had a very nasty virus.  Prior to that, I was sick myself (bad cold - nothing major) and have been stuck in the house for most of Christmas break.  This has been boring for the kids and they have exhibited absolutely monstrous behaviour. I try to think "Yay!  This means they're not too pure for this earth!", but somehow this does not cheer me up.  I am thrilled that school starts again on Monday.  Might as well get back to the grind - we are not exactly creating glowing holidays memories that we will cherish for a lifetime.  Maybe next year.

Still this "most wonderful time of the year" has been a big step up for our family and we are very thankful.  Sickness and bad behaviour are mere annoyances.  The biggest stress for me lately involves my brother, who has a serious illness, and our mother who believes he is merely having a "spiritual battle" and is possessed by demons.  She takes him to get devils cast out (mysteriously, this has been ineffective.  hmmm.)  I've already seen two of my siblings buried and now I fear she is going to kill my brother with her denial and negligence.

I know that I need to keep my stress and anxiety down as much as possible for the sake of my baby, but my brother's situation is weighing me down so much.  My other brother (who is, incidentally, a psychologist) says we just need to preserve our own sanity by refusing to be involved in this ugly situation since we have no power to change it.  Giving up on my futile efforts to wrest my brother from our mother's evil clutches is sooo hard to do. Why can't the rest of my family be as sane and well-balanced as I am? *sigh* Sorry for the way off-topic vent.  I'm going to my happy place now.

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.   - Tolstoy

Monday, December 20, 2010

Proof of Life

This morning we saw one little heartbeat!  Everything is measuring just right so far (6w3d).  I met with one of my doctor's colleagues since she is out for the holidays, but I'll go back next week for an appointment with her and then hopefully be "released" (doesn't that sound wonderful?) into the care of my OB/GYN and perinatologist.
Since we'd transferred two embryos for this IVF, there was of course the possibility of Minnesota Twins.  For me, though, just having one is better as this pregnancy is already high-risk and we don't need it to be doubly so.  Sure it would be nice to get a two-for-one deal, but I just don't think my body could do it. 

Q and I both come from big families (5 kids and 8 kids respectively) and had wanted four or five ourselves.  That hope died when we lost Miles.  This is not about having a certain number of kids.  It's all about having a happy ending - a rainbow baby after our long and devastating storm.  Even if this pregnancy is perfect and free of complication (wouldn't THAT be a surprise!) we will most definitely not be tempting fate ever again!  Not that we could afford to go through all of this again, either financially or emotionally. 

Down near the bottom of my sidebar, I've added a "Labels" section. The most frequent topics on this blog have been related to infertility and loss, so those are at the top. Pregnancy is new here so it's way down at the bottom (but ahead of tomatoes, hamsters, and Snickers!). Hopefully the coming months will see it grow and come out on top of infertility and loss!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

She's Afraid of a Light in the Dark

The clinic called me on Saturday to set up an ultrasound.  It's tomorrow!  I am nervous, naturally.  I've never been able to take a peek at one of my little ones so early on.  My first ultrasounds with Jeremiah and Miles were the ones where we found out they were dead, so I'll certainly be terrified of hearing "I'm so sorry . . ." every time I have an ultrasound with this one.  Tomorrow we need to see at least one little heart beating away.  If not, it's going to be a hell of a Christmas.  Again. 

Last week I was supposed to get a shipment of Lovenox and progesterone in oil, since I am running low.  My insurance forces me to get these by mail from a pharmacy in Florida.  Both drugs must be kept at room temperature, but this was not indicated anywhere on the package.  I was actually home awaiting the delivery, but the FedEx guy didn't knock or anything!  He just left this package with $1000 worth of drugs at my front door and I didn't realize it for half an hour.  It was especially warm that day here in Minnesota (12 degrees), but still a far cry from room temperature.  So that package had to be returned and now there's the extra drama of waiting for a replacement package to arrive before I run out of drugs.

And speaking of drugs, look what my Lovenox did to me last night.  Good thing tomorrow's ultrasound is the pole-in-the-hole variety rather than the jelly-on-the-belly type, because OUCH!

Photos of my battle wounds may come in handy later.  Someday, hopefully, my little one will be a surly teenager who will no doubt refuse to help out around the house.  Then I will break out my album of dramatic photos and say, "What?  You can't even clean up your room after all I've done for you?!"

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Touch of Sin

After each of my losses, I would inevitably hear comments such as "He was too pure for this earth" or "Now you have an angel in heaven", which made me want to punch the commenter in the face. can tell that I'm not too pure for this earth.  I am hoping the Current Occupant of my uterus has an evil streak like me so that heaven won't want him/her back for a long, long time.  The last thing I need is yet another angel in heaven.  I need a little hellian who will wake me at all hours of the night and later fight with his/her brother and sister and write on the wall with permanent marker.  A lot of moms complain about these sorts of things, but that's what I want.  More than anything.

Early last week, I was delighted to finally have some pregnancy symptoms, namely mild nausea and sore boobs.  But last Thursday all symptoms stopped suddenly AND I woke up to some cramping on Sunday morning.  You can imagine how distressed I was this weekend.  By "distressed",  I mean sobbing and unable to function.  Yeah, being pregnant after three consecutive losses really messes with your head.  I am pleased to report, though, that my lab numbers look good today and I'm feeling a bit nauseous.  Also, my boobs feel sore when prodded, so I prod them a lot to help ease my anxiety!

So, a rough weekend and it didn't help that we were snowed in.  Seventeen inches of snow.  Our annual gingerbread party was supposed to be Saturday.  Other years we've had at least a dozen candy-crazed kids running around our small house on party day.  My kids were very disappointed that no one could come this year due to the storm.  However, we were able to decorate our gingerbread projects: a sleigh with reindeer and the Tardis from the British TV show Dr. Who:

The Tardis, complete with working blue light on top and Doctor Who action figure.
David Tennant can be my Doctor any time! 

Finally, not just one but three bloggers recently nominated me for the Cherry on Top award. They are Maria at Mission: Fertile Soul, Oak at The Acorn Chronicles, and runnyyolk at Yolk.  Awww, thanks girls! I'm finally getting around to passing it on:

1) Meim at Tears Are For Babies.  Make sure to stop by her blog as she should have beta results soon!
2) Shandrea at Loving My Angels.  She just had surgery, which hopefully will help her get her long-awaited rainbow baby!
3) Landert at Not a Fertile Mertile, who is transitioning to adoption mode after a long hard infertility fight.
4) Megan at Illuminating Sadness, who is a very good writer but seems to have gone missing from the blogging world lately.
5) Nicole at Caroline's Family, who is missing her very recently stillborn daughter. 

Whew - it's hard to pick just five!  Now it's up to you ladies to pass it on.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I Did Not Have Sexual Relations with That Woman...

...but she's knocked up anyway.  Annie's husband Q here.  Now that I have got your attention, we got good news on the labs today.  Over four days, beta rose from 88 to 746.  Also, progesterone is now in the normal zone at 60. 

As you know, Annie has been aggressively seeking ways to increase the size of our family for quite some time. It was fun at the start, but after months of failed efforts it started to get a little scary.  Honestly, it is quite stressful for a man to come home and be required to perform on command. Call me old-fashioned but I prefer a little romance leading to the moment.

Sex on Demand
Once we learned that the traditional method of having children wasn't working, we began IUI. Annie has done a great job covering the science behind this so I won't go down that rabbit hole. However, I will provide a glimpse into what the man must do for his part of the process. Let me start by saying that as a kid growing up in a religious house, one was expressly forbidden to "shake hands with an old friend". Likewise, lad mags were a no-no, although I have come to find that the articles are great.

Any-hoo, when it was time for me to contribute for IUI or IVF, I would haul myself into the reproductive center for some personal reading. Each time I arrived, the nurse would have me submit my government ID to prove that I was the man I claimed to be. They then would have me wait in a small closed area until a room became available. During the wait, I would encounter other men's wives who would give me the "I know what you're going to do, you sick pervert" look while they sat in the same area waiting for their husbands to complete the exact same task.

Once a room was available, the nurse would walk me in and provide the necessary instructions on how to dim the lights, raise the volume to the music, and where to put the deposit once finished. From that point forward it's a race to see how fast you can get done with your business. No kidding, I have seen guys go in and come out in about 2 minutes, as if the staff is gonna charge for every additional minute in there. My thoughts are, what's the rush?

Okay, maybe it's the awful music they play in the room. I mean come on, Michael Bolton, really??? Great to wake up to for the wife after a retrieval, but for us guys? I have gotta have a beat - at least play Michael Jackson's "Beat it" or something. Also, what's up with the paper thin walls? I didn't enjoy hearing about the staff's plans for the weekend or grocery ideas when I was trying to focus on the task at hand. No matter how loud I blared Michael Bolton, I could still hear them.  When the deed was done and in the cup, I headed back to work, knowing that was the most action I was likely to get that week or the next.

Word of advice to the wives:  Have your man purchase his own reading material. Basically, it's just wrong handling something that was handled by another guy in that same room. Uuggh!! Nothing is ever too clean there. Besides, Hugh needs some more cash to support all those bunnies of his. For me, I had never bought this sort of reading material before. I quickly learned to have Annie go with me or I would go late at night when women were less likely to be out and about. Oh, the shame of it! People would give me looks when I went with Annie, probably wondering why I needed that lad mag when I already have a hot wife.

Now, after weeks of sex deprivation, I'm still not able to score with the wife. For our 9th anniversary last week, Annie bought a little something from Victoria's Secret and then refused to put out until the OK is given by the doctor. So please persuade her to cave in so I can have sexual relations with that woman.

[Bad news for Q.  Instructions from the clinic clearly state:  It is advised that you avoid intercourse and/or orgasm until your ultrasound appointment with your doctor around 6-8 weeks gestation if you have undergone in vitro fertilization.  So there! - Editor]

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bless This Mess

Well, it appears that for now at least I've managed to get around infertility.  It's a great time for this great news since hubby and I just had our nine year anniversary yesterday AND it's December, the hardest time of year for me. Good news really helps.  But I can't help but wonder - is this my long-awaited miracle or just the precursor to more tragedy?  Will this little one stick?  Over the course of one day, I've transitioned from total despair thinking this cycle failed to both excitement and abject terror in equal measure. I try to distract myself, but I'm good at multi-tasking.  No matter what I'm doing, I can also obsess about this at the same time!

Now that I've got a minute, I'll tell you the Tale of the Two Week Wait in Hell.  Actually, it was only nine days from transfer to beta, but it sure seemed longer.  Post-transfer I was optimistic for two whole days.  I was high on hope and drugs.  Then I started to go downhill, reaching Soul-Crushing Despair Mode by late Saturday, five days post-transfer.  Sunday through Tuesday I was certain this hadn't worked thanks to some cramping and ovarian pain, which I assumed was the endo preparing for action.  Wednesday I grabbed a test from my bathroom stash and used it.  It looked like there may be a second line, but it was impossible to say for sure.  I wasn't even certain the test actually was a pregnancy test as opposed to an ovulation predictor test.  The only markings on the wrapper were lot #, expiration date, etc. and that's all I had at the time.  I acquired a digital pregnancy test and used it early Thursday, fully expecting it to be negative.  It wasn't!

This is the sixth time I've been pregnant.  Every previous pregnancy featured symptoms (sore boobs, nausea) for at least a couple of days before my period was expected.  This time there is nothing and that terrifies me.  Now I know why - low progesterone - and I've upped my doses but still no sign of pregnancy symptoms.  I want to have sore boobs.  I want to spend my mornings throwing up.  I want to feel awful so I can feel good about this pregnancy.

I'm extremely frustrated that because of the weekend, I have to wait clear until Monday to find out if my hormone levels are rising.  With my last pregnancy nearly TWO YEARS ago, I got a positive test only to find out three days later (yes, another wretched weekend wait!) that it was not viable.  To say that I am petrified is a gross understatement.  I'm a spectacular mess and I've really appreciated all of your prayers and kind words.  It means a lot.  Please keep those prayers coming for this little one!

Not "Expecting", But ...

... I'm pregnant!!  Beta is 88, but progesterone is low at 13 (should be 30-50).  Will go back on Monday for another blood test.  No time for the whole dramatic story of the 2 week wait, as I have a PIO shot calling my name and then I'm off to get my kids from school.  For now, we here at Cradles and Graves are crying tears of joy for a change!


Today is beta day and the blood has been drawn.  I thought I knew what the results would be, but now I'm getting mixed signals and have NO idea what to expect.  Waiting for the phone call is excruciating ...