Saturday, August 6, 2011


I've gotten a lot of requests for an update in the last few weeks, and a message asking if this blog was kaput or if we've moved on.

the thing is, I've been meaning to come on and give updates and pictures and share our good news, but it's trickier than i thought it would be. for starters, i'm not exactly sure what to say. i feel incredibly lucky every single day to be pregnant, but most of the people i bonded with through blogger are still TTC and so i am hesitant to share all for fear of being insensitive.

the fact is, at 22 weeks i still worry constantly that i won't have a baby to take home at the end of this. i know that isn't what anybody wants to hear and i understand that because i always thought that once i made it out of that scary first trimester or felt the baby move, or announced our pregnancy to the world that i would feel more strongly about everything. but the fact is, i still worry. i still have bad dreams. last weekend my husband and i were "baby-browsing" at this little boutique and ran into some acquaintances from work. they were really nice and chatty and everything was going fine until she said, "by the way! Jen told us you're expecting! congratulations!" and then i kind of got weird. i mumbled some responses and hurried my husband out of the store. when we got in the car i was beet red and shaking like a leaf. it felt weird to have word get around about my pregnancy. it's not a tightly contained secret anymore. everyone is telling everyone and that makes me feel incredibly vulnerable.

i'm also surprisingly still bitter about our losses and infertility. i thought pregnancy would cure that, but no. it still hurts to get the surprise "we're pregnant" bomb at a dinner party or out with friends. it still stings. a lot. way more than i ever would have expected. i should be happy to get some friends and a new support network for this new stage of my life, but i still don't feel like i fit in with all the "fertiles" and i still feel like an outsider, an observer of their world. a few days ago my cousin, who is more or less homeless and unemployed told me she was expecting and although i was very sweet and congratulatory to her, i ranted and raved for almost an hour to my sister later about said cousins ongoing stream of poor life choices. her response? "i can't believe you're still so bitter." it's true, i am.

this pregnancy, although very wanted and the result of years of trying, has been difficult too. i had severe all day sickness for several weeks and i actually still battle nausea and vomiting every couple of days even though i'm more than halfway done with pregnancy. at 22 weeks i have not officially gained any weight yet and i'm still about 10 pounds below what i was pre-pregnancy. and it feels unfair. if there was anybody on the planet who deserved a stress free and easy pregnancy, it's a person who's death with recurrent loss and infertility. i feel like i deserve a free pass, like "here you go, ttc was hard enough, don't worry pregnancy will be a breeze."

and the fact that i'm so miserable and sick and exhausted all the time makes me feel incredibly guilty, like i should be more grateful. like i should enjoy this more. like i'm squandering it.

there are good things to report too:

my son (yes! it's a boy!) is the most wanted, most beloved, and most beautiful person i can imagine existing. every time i feel him move inside of me it feels miraculous. i almost can't believe it's really happening. I have a son.

my husband and i feel so tremendously lucky, it's like we're on a second honeymoon. we've been to hell and back these last two years. infertility made us re-find each other and re-discover ourselves and now pregnancy has done the same. early on in our pregnancy we were out on one of those spring days that just feels amazing after a long chicago winter and laughing (we do a lot of laughing now) and my husband said to me "you're funny! were you always this funny?" and i said, "yeah, it's weird to have my personality back after being cripplingly depressed for over a year..." because it's like coming back from the dead.

earlier this year i posted about looking forward, never back, and moving on with my husband. but that isn't exactly how it's been. yes, we've moved forward, but we move forward as different people. our scars are a part of us now and denying their existence would be a disservice to the babies we've lost and the younger versions of ourselves that we've left behind. we move forward as a family, we look back constantly and wonder all the time why it happened this way, but every single day we are grateful for each other and the baby boy we have yet to meet but already know so well.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

a dream

There's something I need to get off my chest and record for my own memory here.

Ever since I got pregnant I've been dreaming it was twins; dreaming of twin ultrasounds, being chased by two babies, it was like every time my subconscious dealt with this pregnancy it always illustrated two babies. At first we thought it was a sign there really were two babies, but after our ultrasound showed only one and I kept dreaming in twos I realized that the babies were not twins, in fact one was noticeably larger than the other. They were more like siblings than twins. My husband and I talked about it and came to the eerie conclusion that because I had not technically passed my last due date, my subconscious still considered me pregnant. It was like the other baby was still here emotionally, still waiting for us to emotionally come to terms with her "birth" or lack there of...

Yesterday was an incredibly difficult day for us. Made even more so by the assumption that being pregnant again would somehow "fix" everything. Even my IF friends kept saying things like "just focus on the baby inside of you" as if this baby negates that one.

I felt an incredible need to have the baby we could have had acknowledged. I wanted very badly to remind everyone and even tell strangers "there is someone missing today. Someone was supposed to be born and isn't." I just wanted her existance validated. It was very confusing and overwhelming. And very isolating. It stormed all day yesterday and we were constantly under one tornado wat h after another. So my husband and I couldn't even go out and do the personal things we had planned. So we just let the day quietly pass.

But today, tonight in fact, I felt a lifting. A lightening of my heart and even in my belly. I know we passed that baby months ago, but I was still carrying her. I can't explain it. Its very psychological and emotional and I can't put the feeling exactly to words.

But I just woke up from a dream; I was getting an ultrasound and the tech said, "do you want to know the sex?" And we said "you can see that already?" And she said "here, see for yourself, its a girl!" And handed us the sonogram picture.

It was the first time my subconscious let me see a singleton pregnancy. It was one baby now. And she was perfect.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

today was my due date

my dear baby,

today, in another world, you are being born.

your daddy is panicking and hollering at anyone who dares look at him, and i am walking the hallway trying to bring you into the world. everyone is excited to meet you.

your grandma and aunties are telling me to breathe and clasping my hands, your papue is on the phone with your uncles.

in the midst of all the pandemonium there is you and me, still joined together. you are strong and feisty, kicking away and pushing down inside of me. and i can't wait to hold you in my arms and give you a name.

when it happens, it's like the world pauses for a few minutes. like a collective inhalation. there is great pressure, and then release. in that world, you are born perfect.

our midwife says "reach down and catch your baby!" and i do. i hold you and you are beautiful and glowing in your altogetherness. your daddy cries and cries. he kisses me, he kisses you. and the three of us are a family today in this alternate world.

i know you would have been tall like me, with your daddy's eyes and smile. i know everyone would want to meet you and know you and hold you. i know these things because even in this world they are still true.

we miss you so much. it's a complicated grief that we navigate every day. sometimes it doesn't ache very badly and we're able to imagine what you would be doing and how our lives would be different. some days it feels like there is a big hole in the world, like a mistake was made, like everything around us is lacking and monotonous.

then there are times i feel like we are still connected. like when the lilacs bloomed this spring and i thought, "i always wanted to have a spring baby" and when the air became hot and fragrant it was like you were smelling it with me. like we were blooming together into something different and not of this world.

mostly i am so grateful for the time you were inside of me. for the time you spent on this earth and changed us. there are not many babies who are purposefully conceived and wanted for every single second of their existence. i am so grateful that every moment you were alive you knew what it was like to be loved and wanted. there was not a moment we doubted you and there is not a moment to this day that we have ever regretted you. even the loss of you.

today we're going to focus on that; our gratitude. even while we are sad that we can only hold you in that other world, we are so happy you chose us as your parents. We love you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

what the eff do you know?

i am so sick of hearing about doctors giving gloom and doom advice in an effort to avoid giving "false hope." it is seriously my hot button rage issue these days. i can't tell you the number of times one of my IF friends has wept about being told their chances of having a child were less than 5% only to conceive on their own or get a second opinion and find out that isn't true at all.

i keep thinking about how emotionally raw we were when we went back to the RE after our loss. here it was, less than two months after i was "10 weeks pregnant" and this guy sits us down and tells us it is very unlikely we will ever conceive and carry to term on our own. i think back on that meeting and i honestly can't remember a single thing he said after that. my head just disconnected from my body. i understand he didn't want to mislead us or give us false hope, but did he have to jump to the worst possible scenario so soon after our loss?

i have a friend on babycenter who had an AMH level of like .5 and her doctor gave her the scary news that she was going through premature ovarian failure, likely had no quality eggs, and had about a 3% chance of conceiving on her own. two months later she did.

i have a friend on Resolve who had an FSH level of over 40!! her doctor told her nothing would work, that she was entering menopause and there was nothing she could do to change that. it was donor eggs or nothing. she spent the next year considering that option, but also getting acupuncture and chinese medicine and undergoing dietary changes. she just got her FSH restested, it was 6.8. i still can't believe it.

i remember a conversation had several months ago with a few of my IF friends. we talked about how hope was the enemy. how we didn't want to get our hopes up anymore. how we just needed to focus on getting through this and doing whatever we needed to medically to get a baby. someone quoted the movie "Shawshank Redemption" and said, "hope's a dangerous thing, a man's got no use for it on the inside." and we all laughed. the funny thing is though, when i tried explaining this conversation to my husband, he just didn't get it. "you don't want to hope?" he kept asking incredulously.

one of the women on my birthboard posted a few weeks back that she was having a miscarriage. we all sympathized and wanted to know why she thought that. apparently her betas were coming back low. although they were rising appropriately, they remained "low" according to her doctor, which indicated a non-viable pregnancy. her first blood draw at 9dpo came back at 11, three days later it was 30, three days later it was 60-something. each time it was doubling, but for some reason her doctor had decided it was too low and would end. she went into her 6 week ultrasound expecting the worst. her beta was only coming back around 7000, still much too low according to her doctor. they saw a beautifully beating heart and a perfectly formed embryo. it's sad to think that if she hadn't gotten a beta so early she would probably not have stressed so much about losing the baby. but this is how the infertile medical world conditions us: don't get excited, don't get excited, there's a lot that can still go wrong, your beta/progesterone/uterine lining is not enough/too much. it's crazy. whats wrong with letting her enjoy her pregnancy while she has it even if it is doomed?

anyway, that's my rant for right now. i have a few friends in my thoughts and prayers this week. some of them are still pregnant (against all odds), some of them are losing their pregnancies or at "risk" of losing their pregnancies, and some are trying everything they can to conceive. i think of them often, i read their blogs and their updates and sometimes i tell my husband about them. i wanted to say to you guys, i know how dangerous it is to be hopeful. i know the rollercoaster just never ends. but try, every now and then, to ignore the fucktard doctors and specialists determined to look at the worst case scenario and let's just try to celebrate the busted up bodies we were given and be hopeful.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

a long one...

I’ve been having a rough week. A very rough week. And for the first time in my life I don’t know how to write about it. I moderate several miscarriage and loss boards on a website called babycenter, and I participate in several loss forums on Resolve. Many times people have come on, anxiously pregnant and looking for support. In order to protect those still trying to conceive, I redirect them to a pregnancy after loss board and close the discussion. I have gotten a lot of public flack for this, but many, many private thank yous. Women have been vicious to me. There was one woman who repeatedly messaged me mocking my losses and infertility and calling me names. She followed me from forum to forum ridiculing me and antagonizing me. What did I do to her? I’m still not sure, but she made sure to rub my nose in my repeat pregnancy loss as if I were the worst person on the planet.
I find it kind of funny when people do that. I mean, it’s horrible and I’m way too sensitive, but it’s kind of funny still; you’re sending me vicious hatemail that I wouldn’t send my worst enemy in order to “defend” someone whose post got locked? As if their right to post on the wrong board supersedes the rights of the hundreds of people who are posting on the right board and read the rules and abide by them? I wish I could say that was the first time and the last time that would happen. But people seem to get very upset when I enforce the rules that are clearly posted on the TTC board. I have gotten many messages that say something to the effect of, “I’m sorry your personal losses have made you bitter and overly sensitive, but I did nothing wrong by posting pictures of my ultrasound on the ttc after miscarriage board…” right…
Anyway, I’m getting off track here, what I’m trying to get at is an analogy I have often used in scenarios like this. When people come to a ttc board looking for support for their pregnancy I have been known to liken it to showing up at a homeless shelter and talking about the time you got locked out of your house. Yes, I’m sure it was terrifying to be standing on the outside with nowhere to go and no way to get back in, but you did eventually get back in. Women who have been TTC for a long time haven’t just been standing outside their house waiting to get back in, they’ve been wandering the streets for weeks, no destination, nowhere to go; just lost and hopeless and aimless.
With repeat pregnancy loss the analogy is a little different, getting pregnant doesn’t have the same finality. It’s more like showing up at a homeless shelter to talk about the time terrorists blew your home up in the middle of the night while you and your husband were sleeping inside of it. Yes, you got a new home, but who’s to say the terrorists won’t show up and blow this one up too? You’re not homeless anymore, but you’re not exactly safe either. So where do you go? There are not many support groups for people whose homes have been blown up, but there are homeless shelters on every other corner. Couldn’t you just go there and get support from them?
I may get a lot of flack for this, but I’m a stickler. And I don’t think your need for support is grounds for breaking the rules and asking for support from people who have none to give to your situation.
I miss my in-person support groups. A lot. I mean a real lot. I wonder how they’re doing and if their IVF worked and if they ever made peace with their insensitive mom. There’s something about female solidarity that is such a comfort to me. But there are many women in my groups (I went to 2) that have never been pregnant before. They don’t understand how scary it is to be pregnant after several losses, and my showing up to ask for support would be so hurtful to them. I know they would be sweet, and try to understand, but ultimately my ability to conceive (multiple times) would trump the feelings of failure they have after 3 or 4 IVFs and not a hint of a second line.  Ironically, the last time I went to group two of the women there said to me, “I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but I am so jealous that you’ve been pregnant…”  I wanted to talk about what it felt like to deliver my fetus into the toilet after carrying it dead inside of me for a week, but I relented and bowed to the place of grief their comments came from. 
There’s a hierarchy of infertility and we always want to put ourselves and our personal pain at the top of it. Is it worse to struggle with multiple failed IVFs and FETs and half a decade of infertility OR conceiving somewhat easily and for some inexplicable reason never getting to meet these children? Is it worse to have secondary infertility or to never know the joy of having a child? What hurts the most? Obviously it’s whatever you personally are going through at that time. The hierarchy is bullshit, but all of us infertiles sign up for it and add our woes to the list. And then complain that it exists at all.
This has been a week from hell. I had a full blown anxiety attack on Saturday night after work. Why? Because I couldn’t find the pictures from my most recent ultrasound and I was sure that was a sign the pregnancy was doomed. I lashed out at my husband, screaming at him that he must have thrown them away. “those may be the only pictures we have of this baby and you threw them away like garbage!” Did he throw them away? No. In fact, my amazing husband stayed calm and didn’t argue with me. He went through every surface in our apartment until he found them. Did it help my anxiety when he handed them to me? No. In fact I was so deeply panicking by that time I could hardly breathe. All he could do was wrap himself around me and let me cry.
My OB refused to write me a refill for my progesterone. I’m ten weeks now and supposedly out of the danger of my pregnancy failing for that reason. “By ten weeks your baby has created a fully functional placenta which supplies all the hormones it needs. If your pregnancy fails now it will not be due to lack of progesterone.” Rationally I know she’s right. My husband agrees with her. Besides, what am I going to do? Stay on crinone suppositories for 9 months because I’m afraid to stop?
Stopping the progesterone has been a bit like freefalling. I have never had a pregnancy make it this far and so I have no coping mechanisms for this. What now? How do I know everything is ok in there? How do I know this house won’t be blown up in the middle of the night by terrorists?
The stasis is incredibly difficult. My OB agreed to do a heartbeat check on Monday with the warning that it was extremely unlikely we’d hear a heartbeat so early and it would probably make me more anxious. “no, no…” I assured her “I understand it’s a long shot…” And yet when she couldn’t find the heartbeat with the crappy doppler I barely made it out of the office without having a total meltdown. Last pregnancy my midwife tried to find the heartbeat with Doppler at 10 weeks exactly and couldn’t. I got the same schpeel about “it’s so early” and “it’s almost impossible to find now” and I believed it. Scheduled my ultrasound. And found out at 10w3d that our baby had died weeks before.
This week, my tenth week, has been by far the hardest. I start and end every day with the appeal “please don’t bleed.” My due date for my last pregnancy is next week and I keep thinking of myself with this huge round belly and a painted nursery…
It’s been a hard week but luckily I am coming out on the other side. When I had my miscarriage there were so many signs that that pregnancy was not going to work out, but this time the opposite is true. There are so many signs that things are going to work out. I just need to focus on that. I need to remind myself how sure I am and how strong this baby is. I have an order for an ultrasound and you know what? I’m not going to get it. I know that many women in my position want frequent ultrasounds, they want to see their baby constantly, and I understand why. But that has not been the case for me. in fact, this whole downward spiral of doubt and anxiety was, I believe, prompted by the ultrasound I got at 8w5d. I was confident and sure before that. Before I saw that tiny beating heart and got hit with just how vulnerable that tiny baby really is. I know I’m not the norm, but I dread the thought of getting another ultrasound. When I think about lying on that table I almost start to hyperventilate. So many ultrasounds have been disastrous for me it’s like I have post-traumatic stress disorder. I don’t want to be in that position again. Seeing the baby doesn’t make it stay alive. If I’m going to lose this pregnancy I don’t want it to end on that table looking at the dead baby trapped inside of me.
I know, it sounds crazy. But that’s where things are right now. It has been the week from hell. I have been so terrified I could barely function. But I’m still alive, and the baby is still alive, and my house is still standing.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

green-striped melons (a poem)

Green-Striped Melons -Jane Hirshfield

They lie
under stars in a field.
They lie under rain in a field.
Under sun.

Some people
are like this as well—
like a painting
hidden beneath another painting.

An unexpected weight
the sign of their ripeness.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

quick post

i want to warn you ahead of time i'm having a very emotional day and that is making me a little scatterbrained.

mothers day was this weekend. it was very bittersweet for me. i know hubs would have done something special for me either way, because whether or not my babies are here i am still a mother, but it felt weird to have my family be so happy for me. my mom bought me a stroller (!!??) and my sisters all got me cards. it was very sweet. i found myself really aching for our losses all day. i know we're very lucky to have this baby right now, but it's hard to not think about all it took to get here. i could have a 1 year old,  a four month old, or be due in two weeks. i could have been hugely pregnant.

the other thing that's kind of awkward is that i don't exactly identify with the fertiles yet. i don't feel like a mom. i feel scared and worn down and emotional. hubs wanted to announce "happy first mothers day to my wife!" on facebook and thankfully i was able to talk him out of it. not only are we only 9 nine weeks, but also i don't want to "come out" yet. i ended up posting this: "Some mothers never get to hold their children, some mothers give birth to children they know they will not raise, some mothers conceive children they will never meet and some mothers raise children they did not conceive. On this mother's day I honor every woman, those with children, those on the journey to motherhood, and those mourning the children they never got to hold."

i was also horribly sick for most of the weekend. the only thing worse than not being able to stop throwing up, is feeling great. honest. i'm not sure which i'd prefer. at least with the constant throwing up i have some sense of normalcy. on the rare day i feel fine i'm completely panic stricken.

a friend of mine is in the 2ww after an IUI and she called me on sunday morning freaking out. her doctor didn't refill her perscription for progesterone and she had none in her house. i offered her a box of endometrin i had leftover from my IUI (i'm on crinone now, so much less messy) and she sent her husband over to pick it up right away. it got me thinking, they should really assign you a buddy when you start ART. kind of like getting a sponsor when you start alcoholics annonymous. someone who's been in it a little longer and has a surplus of leftover drugs preferably. i think it would be really helpful for a lot of people.

Friday, May 6, 2011

it's alive!

patience and positivity carried us! instead of seeing a tiny speck, we saw an actual baby with an actual heartbeat swimming around in there! he was perfect, 171bpm and measuring right on target. we are so relieved!

i pretty much cried through the entire ultrasound. full on sobbing. instead of feeling some sense of relief i feel even more vulnerable. we have a new record holder, if i lose this baby now i will completely break apart. i can't even allow myself to think about it.

thank you so much everyone for your thoughts and prayers and well wishes. i was more excited to tell my online friends than i was to tell my family and that says a lot about how much you guys have gotten me through

Thursday, May 5, 2011

tomorrow's the big day

Tomorrow's the big day.

This has been an extremely anxious week for me. We visited the inlaws last weekend and I let hubs spill the beans figuring it was better to tell them in person. And because hubs refuses to believe anything bad could happen; 4th time's a charm, right?

My symptoms, which were not that horrible to begin with, more like bad PMS to be honest, seemed to be vanishing. And then there were the bad dreams. Horrible dreams. All with a common thread- our baby dying.

I realize they could have been caused by anxiety, but last time I dreamt exactly how we ended up losing the baby. It was such an eerie premonition. Its hard to not wonder if the same thing is happening now. Especially as they get more graphic.

On Monday night I dreamt that we went to get our ultrasound and there was something wrong with the baby's heart. It was beating irregularly and then it started to slow down and then we watched it stop entirely. I woke up sobbing.

I was sure that was a bad sign. I made an acupuncture appointment and ended up telling him everything. Please help me, I said. I just want to not feel so anxious. He gave me a full face of needles and it did help a lot.

But what helped more was the onset of real, bonafide morning sickness. Complete with puking. My symptoms came back with a vengeance. I am exhausted and sick. All the time. And it has elated me. I am probably the only woman puking with a smile. Yes! I think! Yes! I'm pregnant! With morning sickness! It is amazing.

So tomorrow is the big day. The day we see our baby.

Please let him be healthy and moving. Please give him a big beating heart. Please let us keep him.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

so far so good

I realize I have been a lousy blogger. To write these horrible feelings about how scared we are and how i'm spotting and then to not even update. I am so grateful for all the messages and emails, i can't even tell you guys. that was so nice. the real reason i haven't updated is because i don't really have much to update. so far so good. i am not getting any more blood tests, my ultrasound isn't until next friday. so i'm just waiting.

i'm trying really hard to trust my body and be receptive to the clues it is passing my way. although my boobs are less sore, my nausea and exhaustion have multiplied by a thousand. although lots of people have given me some great tips to help with the nausea, i am oddly attached to it. a few days ago i woke up and felt pretty OK and then promptly got terrified that my symptoms were disappearing. so i just try and get through it, enjoy the misery because in some weird way it reminds me that everything is still working in there.

last week, when we were debating telling my family on easter hubs and I asked the universe for a sign that everything was going to be ok. shortly after that we noticed that one of the plants we potted on the spring solstice (which turned out to be the day of conception) (and even more embarassing, we put that weird "baby dust" confetti that comes when you order cheap pregnancy tests online into the soil while we were planting) was dying. Oh shit, we thought, there's our sign. But we took it down off the shelf and gave it a little water and put it in front of a window and within hours it was up and blooming.

hubs got baptized on easter (i neither instigated nor ridiculue his new conversion) and my mom got him this weird necklace that she found in an antique store. it's a whale tail charm. not really religious at all. everyone kept saying "why a whale tail?" and drawing inferences to Jonah. What they didn't know is that Jonah is the only name we ever agreed on for a boy. so we decided to take that as our sign that everything is ok in there and our son is coming.

I am still having some cramping and little bit of spotting. I was really upset and crying on last week because i was trying to get everything ready for easter and Hub's parents visit and I was so tired and i started having these really scary cramps and spotting. the most important thing, i think, is that i don't push myself and let myself be lazy right now. I'm not getting roped into any dramas right now and i'm not going to feel pressed to be "the fun one." I'm just going to relax and grow this baby. there is a ton of family drama going on right now and my grandmother is dying and Hub's grandfather just had a nasty fall and is sick. both of our familes seem to be doing a lot of bickering about the whole thing. we're just trying to stay out of it and keep calm.

my dreams have been insane lately. most of my them have been either really sexy or really weird. I do keep seeing a little chubby freckle faced girl following me around and that is really reassuring.

early on in my pregnancy I used to dream about a little boy and girl. at first i thought maybe they were the twins i nanny for, then i realized they were my own kids and got nervous it meant i was carrying twins, then i came to the realization that the girl was slightly older than the boy and perhaps the girl is the baby we lost and the boy is the baby i'm carrying right now. interesting...

last night though was the first time i saw blood in my dreams. i can barely remember what was happening, but at one point there was a bloody sac, like an oversized amneotic sac in a plastic bag in a closet, and then the next frame of the dream is my cradling a little sac and i tried to open it a little and saw a tiny baby so i stopped and knew i had to find a place to bury it.

it made me very afraid when i woke up and i called hubs crying. i'm trying to not see it as ominous though.
it kinda feels like i'm still working out my anxiety from my last pregnancy, and i'm trying to allow myself space to grieve for that baby especially as we get closer to her due date.

Lastly, i want to poitn you in the direction of an amazing blog i read this week. Katie, over at From IF to When wrote about trying to find a resolution in infertility. it was very eloquent and even reduced me to tears. She likens infertility to a cockroach infestation: you don't just kill one and know it's gone for good, there are hundreds hiding out in the walls. I won't try and dumb down her post anymore, but i strongly encourage you to read it HERE.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

meditations in an emergency

in a weird way, i'm feeling very calm. i went to acupuncture yesterday and told the guy, "screw my progesterone and my uterine bloodflow, i want you to focus on my anxiety." i know i'm not supposed to blame my losses on my anxiety, but i always do. so the acu guy stuck about a million needles in my head and face and i walked out feeling totally calm and subdued.

even when i opened the letter saying that my husband's tax refund was being forwarded to the department of education to chip away at his default students loans, i just kind of shrugged and said man that sucks. oh well. then my cousin (who shares a due date with my last pregnancy) called to ask me why i RSVPed "no" to her baby shower and i was very together and explained we had plans to go to a wedding (true story, but even if there wasn't a wedding i would have never gone to that shower). even when she got all snooty and said "i understand this is hard for you, but i really needed you to be there for me" i was able to remain relaxed and apologize. and politely hang up.

i would never have believed in acupuncture. never in a million years. but it has obviously saved my life. i'm not this even-tempered, calm girl i appear to be. it is well worth my $20 every week.

especially because i've been spotting for a solid week now. am i panicking? meh, i'm certainly not happy to see brown blood every time i wipe. but my beta is still rising and my doctor assures me that everyone spots on Crinone (the progesterone suppository) because it irritates the cervix. old me would be at the ER and demanding an ultrasound, but new me says, "what can they do at the ER for a six week pregnancy?" and lays down in bed. i haven't even moved up my ultrasound, i want to be at least 8 weeks and i'm not budging. so i have to wait to may 6th to see whats going on there. i hope the little bugger is hanging on. i hope with every fiber of my being that we'll see my little bee buzzing around in there.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

fear and hope and knowing

we walk a fine line, us infertiles; a constant balancing act between fear and hope. "I got a positive opk!" hope "but my husband is sick!" fear. "I'm pregnant!" hope "for the 4th time in 2 years..." fear. on the one hand, we want the life we've always imagined, the life that everyone else seems to get. but on the other hand, as we've learned in the years of disappointment, wanting anything is scary. hoping for a resolution, one way or the other, is scary.

so we make deals with ourselves. we say, "I'm taking a break this cycle" so our expectations will go down (after all, you can't fail if you don't try right?). we say "I'm not going to get attached to this pregnancy" because in some small way we're trying to guard our battle weary hearts. we think, I've tried the gutless, reckless, hope beyond all measure. I've bought into the whole "positivity will bring positive changes" and in the end all I had was watching the man I'd walk through fire for unable to stop crying or get out bed. in end, we had to find some way to tape together the pieces of our shredded hearts. in the end, positivity had us making a hundred phone calls to tell everyone the baby was dead because we thought maybe if we told, maybe if we had more people pulling for us, it would work out.

so the next time you take the opposite approach. instead of hope you try fear. you try not to think about the possibility of being pregnant. you resist making plans or googling your due date or joining a 2WW club. you simply go about your business. you ignore the life inside of you, you take your vitamins and talk about Dancing with the Stars. read a good book. but in the end, you're not any more or less disappointed. and in fact you feel even more cheated. I never got enjoy that baby, or being pregnant.

I've vacillated. i've walked on both sides of this spectrum. i've greeted pregnancy with overwhelming joy and overwhelming fear and simple acceptance. and none of it ever works. disappointments are always disappointing.

this pregnancy may not work out. and there is nothing i can do at this point to save this baby. there is nothing i have done or have not done.

all i can do is keep taking my progesterone and my prenatal vitamins. get lots of sleep. stay calm. love my husband.

i've decided i'm not going to get any more blood tests. they don't tell me anything and there's no answer that i find reassuring. the baby is going to make it independant of me knowing what my hcg is or if my progesterone is rising or falling. i'm doing all i can right now. i'm not going to go in and get an ultrasound at 6 weeks because frankly i don't see the point. all that will do is tell me that the baby is alive at that moment. appehensions feed off of apprehensions. if i give in to my need to see that tiny beating heart once then every day after that i'm going to wonder if it's still beating. and eventually i'll break down and ask for another ultrasound. and the cycle will just keep repeating. i don't need that kind of reassurance. i need to trust my body and my tiny baby. i need to cling to my husband and find our way out of here.

i feel in my bones that this is my take home baby. that no amount of hope or fear will have any effect on his development. that he and i are going to grow together and in eight more months i'm going to reach between my legs and catch my baby, welcome him into this world and tell him, "i knew you'd get here eventually."

Friday, April 8, 2011

progesterone / atonement

How can you be so sure something is going to work only to watch it unravel before your eyes?

There must be something horrible that I've done. There must be some awful fucking travesty that makes me deserve this. When I was in college I worked for an urban needle exchange. We passed out needles for intravenous drug use to addicts who brought in their dirty needles. A few times we'd get people who had open sores or collapsing veins and we'd have to help them find a good vein to shoot up. One time a very pregnant woman came onto the bus with an open sore on her abdomen. He veins in her arms were collapsed and she was shooting up into her pregnant belly. Instead of advising her to give up heroin (which could have been deadly for her fetus because of the horrific inutero detox) I had to show her how to inject heroin into her leg so she wouldn't continue to inject into her belly. I was young and idealistic. Scientifically it was safer for her, at that point, to continue to use rather than detox. I am haunted by this now that I've lost 3 babies and have been TTC for over two years. Am I being punished for that? For not caring about that baby? Am I being punished for being pro-choice? For not valuing in-utero lives?

Its clear that I didn't want to get a blood test because I didn't want the dream to end. And it
hasnt- YET. My hcg is not bad, 292 at 4w4d, although my ob said she would like it to be higher.

But once again my progesterone is so low it does not bode well for my pregnancy. Even my OB said she is surprised to see me pregnant with a p4 level of only 8.

So its crinone 8% suppositories twice a day until something happens. Or nothing happens. We just have to wait and see.

And pray or appeal or karmically atone. Or make peace.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

thank goddess for reasonable people

After all the HMO hullabaloo I finally broke down and called my old obgyn who first explained what a chemical pregnancy was and put me on progesterone for my last pregnancy. She was super nice and really sweet and said of course she'd write me a blood test order for hcg and progesterone. She can't do a thyroid panel because it wouldn't be covered but for the beta and p4 she can bill it as "absence of menses" instead of pregnancy so it would be gynecological instead of prenatal.

So I go tomorrow at 9am. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

what, me worry?

Hubs and I have this friend who is addicted to sympathy. No matter what you ask her or how well things are going for her, she has to tell you about the one thing that's going badly. even if it's not going badly, she'll make it sound like the worst event in human history.

Whenever we leave her house we're just emotionally drained and then we get in the car and just kind of get those nervous tension giggles. we love her and she's our friend, but sometimes it's so hard to hang out with her because we just want to shake her and say "what is your problem?!"

yesterday someone should have taken me by the shoulders and given me a good shake. i was all hormonal and weepy and tired and i totally dumped about something that was so stupid it's embarassing. of course i'm nervous about this next chapter in our lives, but i'm also confident that it will run smoothly.

the way i figure it, i spent the last month blogging about how sure i was that our baby was close, how i could feel him over my shoulder watching us and whispering in my ear. even I'm shocked that i was right. to be honest, at the time i thought i was comforting myself. but if he was such a strong presence that i could feel him before he was even conceived then how could this end badly? how could we possibly lose him?

with every other pregnancy i've ever had it seems like the minute the stick turned pink i went into hyper overdrive. it felt like i had a limited time to enjoy this and by god i was going to enjoy every single minute. now i suddenly feel like i have all the time in world... like i don't have to rush anything. and so now all the energy that i was putting into getting pregnant and staying pregnant is just hanging there like a numb limb. what can i worry about now? my friends? losing my infertile support network? whether or not these blueberries are organic? i need something to focus on, right?

so i've decided to work really hard at turning all that nervous hyperfocus into calm release. little by little i need to let go of that. I don't want to be like my friend, who always needs something negative in her life to focus on. I don't want to transfer that energy, i want to eliminate it entirely. and focus on the amazing gift i have inside of me right now.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

survivor guilt

now what?

i've watched so many of my friends disappear onto the other side of infertility after their bfp. i find myself afraid of losing my friends now. i'm uncomfortable announcing that i got a bfp for 2 reasons: 1- i don't want to hurt anyone and 2- i don't want to lose anyone, especially because there's a decent chance i'll be back in a few weeks, only brokenhearted and looking for support.

a few weeks ago i wrote THIS blog about how anxious i'll feel when i get pregnant again. how it'll be a bit like freefalling. it's helpful to reread it and see how much i tried to prepare myself.

more than anything else i feel guilty. there are so many people who are on their 2nd IVF or have been trying for much longer than i was and i'm embarrassed to tell them we conceived. i feel guilty that we didn't need to go to an RE. one of my best friends on babycenter is going to stop trying when she turns 41 next month and i feel so awful that she may never get her baby that i don't even know what to say to her. so i said nothing. let my activity feed speak for itself and she'll see that i'm posting a lot on the pregnancy after loss boards and the december birth club. so cowardly. i can't believe it. how do you tell someone that you're pregnant without all the faux celebratory hoopla? how do you tell someone that you would gladly trade and give them this baby since it's their last month to conceive and you have years to keep at it, it's impossible to say that without sounding condescending. at least to me. but it's true, i would so gladly give her this pregnancy. it's her last shot. i have plenty of time. i wanted her to get this so badly.

how do i tell one of my best friend in real life who just had a miscarriage after years, almost a decade, of infertility? is it cowardly to wait months and then send her a heartfelt note when i can't possibly hide it anymore?

there's a part of me that's so excited and so thrilled and just buzzing inside. but there's another part of me that feels so guilty. because i know how it feels to see that blog update or get that email. a piercing duality of happiness and longing. you're so happy that it happened for them finally but so jealous and so sad it wasn't you. i have felt so guilty for my reactions to my friends pregnancies that's i've cried and cried over it. for them for me.

i want so badly for this to work out, but i also want so badly for it to work out for all of us. i feel guilty even writing this, like i should be telling you how much unmitigated joy i feel and it's everything i ever dreamed of. i don't want to be apprehensive. i want to go to my resolve meeting tomorrow night not to announce or discuss or get support for my pregnancy, but because those women are my friends and i care about them and i want to hear about how their treatment cycle went and what their next step is. because i want to be there to support them. because if i lose my infertile friends i will seriously be on my own here with no friends at all. and that is terrifying.

Monday, April 4, 2011


The most amazingly wonderful thing has happened; we have conceived on our own. It's almost unbelievable considering that in January my evil RE told me I had diminished ovarian reserve and was hypothyroid and have low progesterone and would not get and stay pregnant without help. But I did. So what now?

I am paralyzed. Afraid that breathing will end this. In the past, I was on the phone with my ob as soon as the stick turned pink for bloodwork. Hcg count, p4, thyroid panel. I needed to know these things to make the pregnancy stick. Then last September everything looked good, I was on progesterone, we were playing defense! This time it would work! Only then it didn't. We did everything we could medically do to protect that pregnancy and it didn't work.

So now, to my total shock, I have the overwhelming urge to do nothing. No blood test, no ultrasound, no progesterone, nothing. Take my prenatals and go about my business. Stay as calm as I can and feign amnesia. I'm just a normal pregnant woman, nothing can go wrong.

After a discussion with my mom and my husband, they urged me to get at least my progesterone checked. Its an easy thing to fix. So I said I would get a thyroid panel and a p4.

This is so not like me. I'm pushy! Proactive! I always thought I'd get pregnant again and immediately go into a panic, but something weird has happened. I feel strangely calm. Lackadaisical even. Is it the acupuncture I've been getting for my anxiety? Can acupuncture really produce results like this? A total personality overhaul? I was going twice a week for the last 3 months. Its hard to believe it works this well.

Now, adding to my own "fear of acting" I have to grapple with our HMO. Who can I call for bloodwork? The new RE? The old RE? My midwife from my last pregnancy? My gyn? I'm drowning in doctors here and its like Russian roulette to try and figure out which one will be covered.

Well, after calling around this morning it turns out that none of them are. My HMO won't cover infertility treatment with an RE since we conceived in an unmedicated cycle. My midwife won't run that kind of bloodwork without discussing it with a specialist who deems it necessary (which my new RE won't because she hasn't started treating me yet). My old gyn won't see me for prenatal because I'm under the care of a midwife for prenatal.

Around and around and around we go. And no one will monitor this pregnancy and I don't have the energy to figure this puzzle out.

So I can't tell you what's going to happen, or what my beta was. I can't tell you anything except thank you. Thank you all so much for all the support you're showing me. I feel like you guys are holding me up right now and pushing me forward. I feel your strength and goodwill and its keeping me sane. So thank you all and please bear with me.

still checking my horoscope

...don't worry, I think its a good one.

Capricorn Apr 4 2011
Some people believe that heaven and hell are both here on earth. In your life now, Capricorn, you could aptly demonstrate this philosophy. If you were to draw a line on a piece of paper, and divide up the good things and the bad things in your life, you could get a tangible sense of how much you have to worry about, and also how much you have to be amazingly thankful for. A lot is happening in your life now. By glorifying all the wonder, joy, and good fortune that is manifesting for you, you can actually minimize and drain the power from some of the more negative things. Give it a try.
Copyright (c) DailyHoroscope.
Download it now --

Capricorn Apr 6 2011
Start planning now on telling yourself a sweet bedtime story before you go to sleep tonight. Make sure it's a happy tale; one that involves a new beginning, a bit of enchantment, and a happily ever after. You need to hear something sweet and inspiring now, and you need to open up your mind to the possibility of magic. The cold, cruel world may have rendered you a bit skeptical recently, so it would be wise to retreat to the open-minded, vulnerable world of childhood dreams and stories. Not just to restore your faith, but to prepare you for a beautiful fantasy that is about to unfold in your life.
Copyright (c) DailyHoroscope.
Download it now --

Saturday, April 2, 2011

holy shit pt2

I am not going to jinx it. I am not going to jinx it. I am not going to jinx it. I am not going to jinx it. I am not going to jinx it I am not going to jinx it. I am not going to jinx it.

... double pink lines!!!!!!!

There you were, and it was like spring

(a poem by Mary Oliver)

There you were, and it was like spring--like the first fair water with the light on it, hitting the eyes. Why are we made the way we are made, that to love is to want? Well, you are gone now, and this morning I have walked out to the back shore, to the ocean which, even if we think we have measured it, has no final measure. Sometimes you can see the great whales there, breaching and playing. Sometimes the swans linger just long enough for us to be astonished. Then they lift their wings, they become again a part of the untouchable clouds.

holy shit

Its official, everyone in the world can get pregnant but us.
My mentally handicapped cousin just knocked up his borderline mentally handicapped girlfriend who already has a nine month old by someone else. I'm not being mean, they are both literally handicapped.

She has had no prenatal care, not a single prenatal vitamin, and spent the last three months "just hoping it would go away." Her baby of course is fine and healthy.

Holy canoli. There is no god.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

i am in love...

...with our new RE. she is amazing. I am so so so glad we switched. the very first thing she said to us when she led us into her office was, "I am so sorry for everything you've been through." and just hearing that from a doctor was like lifting a weight. our previous RE was so stuck up it was like we were supposed to feel lucky he would even speak to us. Not the case here. The offices are like night and day. It may sound sexist, but i don't think I'll ever go back to seeing a dude. There was this oppressive male energy at his office and everyone was so brusque and impersonal. not even a hint of some gynic solidarity.

When i was dealing with all the records and HMO stuff i got a chance to talk to the receptionists in the new office and they are just so chatty and friendly. one of them was like, "i went through 7 years of fertility treatments, my file is like a phonebook!"

That's the other thing, most of the women in the new office have actually been through infertility treatments themselves. Even the new RE talked about her miscarriage and how devastating it was for her. There's a real sense of comraderie and understanding. It was so great! I feel so relieved. i've been perpetually on the verge of a nervous breakdown every time i even thought about starting over and how hard it would be to jump through all those hoops again.

She laid out a very clear plan for us and even drew us a map (literally, a roadmap, with pictures) while she explained it. 3 cycles of clomid w/ IUI (required by our HMO) followed by one cycle of injectibles (with timed intercourse) to gauge my reaction to the drugs, then IVF. she included which days i'd have to go in for monitoring and how long that could take and how big they expected my follicles to be. she said clomid should solve my low progesterone problem and if it doesn't we'll do suppositories.

it just feels so amazing to have an actual real plan and steps to take. I feel like our baby is so close! I can't explain it and I know it sounds crazy, but it's almost like everything clicked when i walked into the office- like "ooooh yeah, this is the last stop"

I've had the worst insomnia this week, it's like my brain keeps trying to figure this out and solve it like a puzzle. i know the end is near, i can already see that little pinhole of light at the end of the tunnel, but when? and how?

At least now we're on the train instead of standing on the platform. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

mind power- astrology style

Capricorn Mar 29 2011
You're more powerful now than ever, celestially speaking. That means the universe is ready, willing, and able to transform your dreams to reality. Sound too out-of-this-world to be true? If so, you need to work on your concept of what's possible in this life. You have a strong mind. But you probably don't thoroughly understand how your very thoughts and the words you choose can change your reality for the better... or the worse. Enlighten yourself by doing some research into visualization and the power of positive thought. You're a practical sign, but tapping into this deep vein of power could help you to make magic happen in your life - especially now.

--Copyright (c) DailyHoroscope. Download it now

the underworld

in case you can't tell by the poem i posted yesterday, i am really feeling the myth of Orpheus. particularly the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, a married couple who love each other very much.

in the myth, Eurydice get bitten by a snake and dies and Orpheus is so overcome with grief that he decides to travel to the underworld and resue her.

everything seems to be going perfectly, Hades agrees that Orpheus can try and lead her out of the underworld, but under one condition: he must walk in front of her and not look back until they are both back in the upper world.

miracle of miracles Orpheus finds her down there! He sets off with Eurydice following, and, in his anxiety, as soon as he reaches the upper world, he turns to look at her, forgetting that both needed to be out and she vanishes for the second time, but now forever.

i'm trying to figure out why that particular myth is aching me these days. maybe it's because i feel like i'm going through hell right now, and my only way to get out of this is to look forward. of course i relate to the husband/wife dynamic. hubs has had to pull me out of my depression any number of times now and i do the same for him.

i keep trying to imagine that moment when Orpheus, so relieved that he's made it back to the upperworld, glances back at his wife only to see that her feet are still on the other side. the anguish in that. i imagine getting another bfp will evoke similar feelings in me. elation followed by dread.

i will never see those two lines and say "we made it out of this." but unlike Orpheus i will keep my gaze focused forward and look to the future. otherwise my babies will keep vanishing.

the only way i'm going to make it out of this is if i can manage to lead my babies into this world without anxiously looking back at them constantly. i need to trust that they are following me and i need to trust that they will make it to this side soon.

my favorite part of that Rilke poem i posted yesterday has to be this line : "What locks itself in sameness has congealed. Is it safer to be gray and numb? What turns hard becomes rigid and is easily shattered." because it reminds me that i've been going about this all wrong; by making myself numb (not hoping and perpetuating pessimism so i won't be disappointed) i've become rigid and that is what makes me prone to shatter. i need to be the change. i need to pour myself out and flow like water.

time to focus my eyes to the future and lead us out of this dark place.

Monday, March 28, 2011

i'm loving this poem

The Sonnets to Orpheus, Part Two, XII

Want the change. Be inspired by the flame where everything shines as it disappears. The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much as the curve of the body as it turns away.

What locks itself in sameness has congealed. Is it safer to be gray and numb? What turns hard becomes rigid and is easily shattered.

Pour yourself out like a fountain. Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

Every happiness is the child of a separation it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming a laurel, dares you to become the wind.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

i dont normally do this (cd23)

But I had horrible lower back pain yesterday. And for the past few days I've had really fitful sleep, can't fall asleep at night, can't sleep in in the morning... curiouser and curiouser.

Last night I had a dream I went in my doctor to get an ultrasound (I was pregnant) and while I was there they told me it was twins. What a cruel trick that would be, huh? To avoid fertility treatments for so long because I'm afraid of multiples and then to conceive them naturally right before treatment. Sheesh... still deciding if the dream was a good omen or a nightmare...

Thursday, March 24, 2011


As infertiles we are always looking for signs. fortune cookies, milestones, serendipidous due dates, we're always looking for a guidepost, an indicator that this is it. this month it will happen.

"my due date would be DH's birthday!"
"it's the anniversary of my grandmother's passing!"
"i found a halloween onsies in the bargin bin at target in february!"
"my horoscope says prepare for changes in your family life!"

no one outside of our infertile support group can fathom why or how we get hope from these tenuous "signs." it sounds insane on the outside, but it's all we have. thus when your friend sends you a message saying, "this month would be too perfect! we'll be at a family reunion the first day of my second trimester, the baby would be due on my late mother's birthday, AND my horoscope this morning said "you will get a long-awaited surprise!" the only thing you can respond is, "OMG that's PERFECT, you're so getting pregnant this month!"

and what's worse, you're honestly shocked when it doesn't happen. because everything was soooo perfect.

and what's more, it's embarassing when it doesn't work. how could you possibly think that any of that meant anything?! how idiotic of you. delete delete delete. then repeat repeat repeat. every month. ad nauseum. but this month is different! "DH got a promotion, my mom found my old baby book, my sister friend's wife got pregnant when she..." sigh

yesterday i was browsing baby gear online and saw an advertising for monogramming. there was blanket with 12/12/11 monogrammed on it. that would be my due date if we got pregnant this month. is that a sign?

of course, this is the one month we are kind of indifferent. my birthday is on xmas and i've always hated it. i really didn't want a december baby. is that a sign? will we be sighing and saying that when we tell people, as if our infertility never existed. as if our biggest worry all along was what month the baby would be due. riiiiggghhht...

so, here we are again folks. same game, different name. "but there was a super moon! the vernal equinox! i had 3 positive opks! my cervical fluid was amazing! we BD constantly!" it has to be different right?

and to totally discredit myself as a rational thinking woman, i'll say it feels different. something feels different.

we're hopeful?

how weird is that? my husband and i, beaten down infertiles that we are, have this weird hopeful feeling. i don't care, i'm not even embarassed of it. maybe it's because the last time we made an appointment with an RE we got our BFP the day after our consultation (my eggs, like me, are procrastinators). maybe the acupuncture is working and my anxiety levels are way down. maybe it's that a few long-time infertile blogs i follow got their bfp last month... i don't know what it is, but i feel like our baby is close. i dream about him. i can almost feel him in my arms. there is some weird over the shoulder feeling like we'll be out of this soon. i want so badly to just believe, but my pessimism keeps slamming doors and breathing down my neck. it's ridiculous really, after 2 years? after our losses? why do i feel so hopeful all the sudden? is it the support groups? the burgeoning spring?

here's my horoscope from yesterday:
Capricorn Mar 23 2011
There may be an odd yet endearingly quirky aspect to your day today, Capricorn. You may feel as though you are wandering about in a dreamy state, with unexplained expectations for some kind of very happy outcome. That's because your intuition is telling you that something quite wonderful is soon to occur. You can count on receiving a uplifting message, or a happy ending to a sought-after goal. Just be sure to keep your feet planted in reality so that when you manifest that moment you have the wherewithal to enjoy it.

my husband and i laughed when we read it. "oooooh no, not you again." we said. "you can't fool us this time!"

but here we are. 3DPO and uplifted.
come soon baby.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

family and gratitude (and shmaltz)

today i am feeling very grateful.

i know, i always get all emotional as soon as i hit the 2ww, but today i'm feeling especially emo. it's tempting when you're dealing with loss and infertility to focus on everything that gets taken from you, to get this laser hypersensitivity on everything that has gone terribly wrong. but today i can't help but feel like things are on an upswing.

for a long time i kept our fertility struggles private. no one knew we were trying and we liked it that way. slowly but surely as we started to crumble under all this pressure we started reaching out more and more. after my second chemical pregnancy i couldn't stop crying. i felt so defeated and i had no idea what was going on. my mom knew i was depressed but couldn't figure out why. one afternoon she asked me if i needed to go to Whole Foods (we're both organics and vitamin junkies so going to whole foods is a pretty expensive event for us). i was covered in stress hives for weeks after that loss. i finally had to take steroids to get them to clear up. i remember exactly how i told her about the losses. we were looking at vitamins and i reached for some of that money-suck "natural" progesterone cream and she asked me why i was interested in that, it was for menopause not hives. and i just said it, "i keep having these weird pregnancies that go away." she was quiet for a minute and then said, "it's pricey, let me get it for you."

i still cry when i think about it.

that's just how my mom is. we're not very emotion sharing people. we rely very heavily on nuance and intuition. after i told me mom i managed to tell my sister. then i managed to talk to my friends. then i managed to see a doctor and tell him what was going on. it was a trickle down affect.

it's tempting for me to say, "no one understands" because really, no one in my circle of friends really does understand. they have no frame of reference for this. but they try. my huge irish-catholic-constant-baby-having family tries very hard to understand all of this. my older sister even said to me after my last miscarriage "i feel very stupid talking to you about this because i have five children and i have no idea what all these hormones are" (i'd been explaining progesterone deficiency and failure to implant and lagging hCG levels). it meant a lot to me that she admitted that.

i found out a few days ago that my little sister told all of our aquaintances about our loss and told them not to bring it up unless we did. without us asking her, without any provocation. she just went into the toystore we love and the cafe i get coffee from and when they asked how i was and how they hadn't seen me much in my pregnancy she told them. i'd been avoiding these places since november because i couldn't bear the thought of facing them.

whenever people in the Miscarriage Support group i frequent on babycenter ask about how they can possibly face "untelling" everyone i always give the same advice: lean on your family and friends. let them do the dirty work. they are mourning too and trying very hard to figure out how to help you (often in misguided ways), so give them this job. send them to all your local hangouts and places where people recognize you. tell them to spread the word. lean on them.

yesterday my inlaws sent us a picture of the garden they're working on for our baby. they'd mentioned after the miscarriage that they planted a holly tree for us and in my fog i'd kind of discounted it. there was so much drama going on and i was so depressed and angry. i knew they were grieving too, but i couldn't see anything outside of myself. and when my mother-in-law called me crying i was enraged that she felt she could intrude on my grief. i'm not proud of it. so yesterday they sent us a picture of the garden. it's spring and things are starting to come up and grow. a bad storm downed a couple of trees around there and they hired a carpenter to make them into chairs.

i feel so overwhelmed knowing there's a place for our babies. and the tree they planted is a holly which means it stays green year round. it was important to them that there be something that would bloom and grow even in winter. in the midst of all the snow and starkness our tree would stand like a constant reminder that even as things were desolete, something was growing and alive and blooming. and even as a mighty oak tree was knocked down, we can still make something beautiful out of it- something comforting, a place to rest. they live in another state, so we don't see it very often, but the thought that it's there and growing is very comforting.

Monday, March 21, 2011

let's talk about sex

so one of my besties was visiting from boston this weekend. it was good to see her, but there were a few glitches i didn't anticipate. 1: the last time we saw each other i was telling her she had to go stay with another friend because i just found out my 11 week old fetus was measuring 7 weeks (yeah, definitely no more ultrasounds when i have a friend in town). 2: my very first chemical pregnancy, before i even knew what a chemical pregnancy was, was due on march 17th 2010. so basically i should have a 1 year old right now. 3: my friend is going through a brutal breakup (5 year relationship) and so is very moody and self-involved and wanting a lot of babying and sympathy. which is fine, except that i really have nothing to give.

i feel stupid even saying "chemical pregnancy." like it's a sham or something. we never argued over names or booked a prenatal apoointment or tried on maternity clothes. i never really got used to the idea. just about the only thing i got from it was the complete inability to trust home pregnancy tests ever again. but a few days before i got the bfp i was in Carsons at the mall and saw a little shamrock outfit on super sale. since it was july i took it as a definite sign that i was pregnant with a little shamrock. i bought it and tested positive a few days later. then i got my period a few days after that. i know it sounds ridiculous, but it's really tripping me up that i could have a walking talking child right now. toddling around and babbling in the other room...

anyway, back to my friend. she got in on wednesday the 16th and right off the bat the change was obvious. for starters she dyed her brown hair platinum blonde. wow. right away she started talking about where we could go to get drunk.

you should know i'm not much of a drinker anymore. i know it helps some people with depression, but not me. i come from a long line of alcoholics and i pretty much stay away from it except for the occational glass of wine when i'm feeling bad. i know how much of a slippery slope it could be.

anyway, we went out to a bar and she started eyeing this guy sitting alone. turns out he was waiting for his wife. then she starts chatting up the bartender. turns out he was gay. i then realized that the weekend's objective was to stay intoxicated and get laid a bunch. oy...

here's the weird thing though- as hard as it was to deal with her obliviousness and try to keep up with her, it ended up being a great weekend for me. not so much for her, since she never ended up having sex (despite following a dude home and sleeping on his couch) but i found something i hadn't seen in a while. my own sexuality.

before i get into it, you should know i'm not "hot" by any conventional standards. i'm overweight and i have this ridiculous ruddy hair, but i've always been confident. and funny. and therefore i've never had a problem finding boyfriends. i mean i got married at 24, so it's not like i had much time to get spinstery, but it seems like heavy women are always bemoaning that men are so superficial and i've never really had that problem. then again, i was off the market at 22, so take of that what you will.

the first thing to go, as any infertile will tell you, is your sex life. it takes a real nosedive. you began to see yourself a "less female" and then you start wondering what is wrong with you? and you feel past your prime and frumpy and the meds make you gain weight and give you acne... when you have a miscarriage your body confidence is really shot to shit. i mean really. your body has failed you in so many ways, and then in the most fundamental way. you sort of stop feeling like a woman.

this is especially hard for a woman like me. very into hair and nails and clothes and lingerie, very girly and sexual me. i lost myself. i flushed it down the toilet right with my pregnancy.

i honestly can't tell you the last time i felt sexual. don't get me wrong, my husband and i have been really good about having non-procreative sex, but i no longer feel desirable. i haven't gotten a haircut since i was eight weeks pregnant in october and told my stylist to cancel the colour, i was knocked up. i know i need to find a new salon, but what's the point? i feel frumpy, so it should show, right? i bought one new dress this winter and i wore it twice. i can't remember the last time i got my nails done. i can't even remember the last time i went to a dentist. seriously.

so this weekend, my friend dragged me in and out of bars all over the city. and i had to dress up for them. and you know what? men flirted with me. bought me drinks (it helps to have red hair on st. patty's day). they asked me for my number and made small talk. one guy even said i was a "goddess" (he was very intoxicated and at least 40). it was so good for me. every day i got better and better about getting ready and dressing up and just taking care of myself; i got better and better at feeling desirable. it was pretty miraculous. i know it sounds small, but i can't remember the last time i felt sexy.

of course i channeled all this into my marriage and my sex life with my husband. it was pretty amazing. there was this big perfect supermoon, and the spring equinox, and there was me: a fertile "goddess".

it was the best ovulation i've had since the miscarriage. we had sex every night, and 3(!!) times in a row on sunday. i wasn't even thinking about making a baby.

we may not get pregnant, but it's good to feel female again.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

acupuncture is amazing

seriously. maybe not even acupuncture so much as moxibustion. it is so so so cool. i haven't had my TSH tested this cycle, but i am sure my thyroid is functioning at great level. no more frozen extremities, no more hair loss or dry skin.

last month i was totally like, "i don't think acupuncture is doing anything." and my husband convinced me to stick it out "they told you it could take around three months." i am so glad i gave it another shot. especially because i go to "community" accupuncture and it's only $20 a session, so i bumped it up to 2 sessions a week which seemed to really have an effect.

this has been by far the best egg i've had since the miscarriage. i had a real, honest to goodness, positive OPK. i never get those. my RE always has to monitor me with bloodwork and ultrasound because i somehow miss my LH surge testing even twice a day. not this month! i don't know if it's the moon, the spring, or the acupuncture, but i'm basically begging the universe to let me have a good egg this cycle.

Friday, March 18, 2011

a poem for the full moon

These Hips (For the Full Moon)
-Adele Brown

They carry babies to term,
cradling them beneath ilium crest
until full moons rise over tide waters,
stretch long white fingers over the dark
horizon, and pull.

Lunar gravity bears down
and spreads the bones apart.
Pelvic plates press clean
against layers of glycerol flesh.
They stretch skin
wider than the wings of
a Rorschach butterfly,
leaving offspring behind
stained in dark reds and blues
of old blood and afterbirth.

As a river mouth
makes a bed of its own sand and silt,
these hips find softness in their own refuse.

such mixed signals, horoscope

Capricorn Mar 18 2011
When you try too hard to achieve something, it may seem perennially out of your range. That's because wanting something too much can cause a build-up of negative energy. When you are that eager, you might begin to imagine all the things that could go wrong. You might envision all the worst-case scenarios, and start to worry about them occurring to ruin your quest. Instead of letting your energy go in that direction now, Capricorn, try to imagine everything that could go RIGHT! Doing so will engage the best kind of energy, and get you to your goal much quicker.
Copyright (c) DailyHoroscope.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

equinox eggs

So something interesting is going to happen this month. despite my protestations of "not trying!" and "taking a break!" and even inviting my best girlfriend to stay with us while she visits from boston so i don't go all ovulation crazy this weekend, the universe is nudging me.

This weekend, days 14-16 of my cycle, there will be a phenomenon known as a "super moon." The moon is the closest it's been to the earth in the last 2 decades and this will cause it to appear larger and brighter. not only that, but this weekend is also a full moon AND the vernal equinox. Pagans celebrated the vernal equinox as a celebration of fertility. The holiday is celebrated as a sign to welcome the beginning of new life. All the pagan/ naturalist festivals related to this month were themed on fertility, birth, and revival and celebrate the goddess Eostre (when Christianity got hold in Europe it was re-named as Easter). The female hormone estrogen is even named for the goddess Eostre.

Here's hoping that the vernal equinox and Ostara (the pagan name for the day) gave me a little bit of extra luck this cycle. I'm feeling pretty calm about the whole thing. I'll be busy entertaining my friend and drinking too much on st patty's day, and hopefully in the midst of all that one tiny perfect egg will be drawn out with the full moon and see fit to meet my husbands sperm and make us a winter solstice baby.

a hand -jane hirshfield

A Hand

A hand is not four fingers and a thumb.

Nor is it palm and knuckles,
not ligaments or the fat's yellow pillow,
not tendons, star of the wristbone, meander of veins.

A hand is not the thick thatch of its lines
with their infinite dramas,
nor what it has written,
not on the page,
not on the ecstatic body.

Nor is the hand its meadows of holding, of shaping—
not sponge of rising yeast-bread,
not rotor pin's smoothness,
not ink.

The maple's green hands do not cup
the proliferant rain.
What empties itself falls into the place that is open.

A hand turned upward holds only a single, transparent question.

Unanswerable, humming like bees, it rises, swarms, departs.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

what to write...

i'm on cd3.

we're waiting for all our documents to be transferred from our old RE to our new RE. plus we have to wait for the referral to go through.

i'm kind of unclear about the etiquette of switching. i'm also afraid that we're leaving the devil we know for the one we don't. what if this RE is even worst than the last one? plus the new SART stats came out recently (for 2009) and our old RE has a much higher success rate than the one we're switching to. Is personality worth it? Also, what do we tell our old RE? do we owe them an explanation? I was checking out my husband's patient portal online and saw that he'd written dr. morris an angry letter demanding a treatment plan and specifics. it took dr morris a while to answer, but he did answer, and very cordially. he was well within his rights to totally call my husband an asshole for being so abrasive, but he took the time to write a very long and detailed reply. the fact that he did this has me questioning the entire switch. did i misjudge him?

what now? do i have to call them and tell them why i want my records faxed? or do i just go quietly?

this whole thing is turning out to be a lot more complicated than i thought. added to that is the inherent murkiness of unexplained infertility. there's no real reason why we aren't conceiving. i actually find myself jealous of women who have pcos and don't ovulate or have partners who don't make enough sperm. at least they have a reason and a clear problem to fix. i feel like all we can do is play guessing games and up the meds i don't really need. i also have this weird guilt that i don't know what to do with. there's nothing medically wrong with either of us, so maybe we're doing something wrong? or not relaxing enough? maybe this is a sign we're not meant to be parents... and even that thought isn't as terrifying as it once was, at least living childfree would get us off this rollercoaster.

what should our plan be? what do we do next? no amount of support groups or consultations can answer that. because there is no answer.

Friday, March 4, 2011


got my beta back already and it's negative. i'm so bummed. i guess i have to start looking for another RE, which is so depressing. it sucks to have to start over after going through all this. its even harder to do it because i know i can get pregnant on my own and i know that i ovulate on my own. i don't understand why it's not happening for us. my husband has this amazing sperm and i have decent enough eggs that pop out like clockwork. what's going wrong?

i feel like i shouldn't need help, it's so hard to go through all this knowing that i can and have done it on my own. i feel like i'm forcing nature or something. i feel like i'm being punished for wanting it so bad.

i keep wondering why i had to get pregnant at all last fall. why we had to see the heartbeat. why it had to last as long as it did. we were so hopeful once we made it past 6 weeks. it was farther than we'd ever gone. we saw the heartbeat! what was the point of all that? i mean, if we were just going to lose it anyway? now not only do i have my infertility but i also have to mourn our child too.

it's like the hits just keep on coming...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

shopping for a new RE

so, after last night's Resolve meeting I am more convinced than ever that i need to find a new RE. Plus one of my friends on babycenter just went to a new RE yesterday and i was all jealous of her glowy account of how perfect he is and how he actually listened to what she had to say.

So here's my HMO approved list of providers:
it's kinda slim pickings for sure. seems like everyone wants to recommend FCI or Advanced Fertility right off the bat. Plus most of these offices are way out in burbs which would be an insane hassel for monitoring twice a week.

I think I'm pretty much settled on Northshore Fertility. It fulfills my very narrow requirements of being a 20 minute drive away and a female doctor.

This is all such a pain in the ass. would it be too much to hope for a BFP at my blood test tomorrow to avoid all this crap?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Prayer -galway kinnell

Whatever happens. Whatever
what is is is what
I want. Only that. But that.

Monday, February 28, 2011

reckless hope

friends of ours had a miscarriage over the weekend. I wrote a blog about her a while back. They've been ttc off and on for the better part of a decade. She always thought she'd be one of those earth mommas who coast through their pregnancy with barely a care, but infertility is the gift that keeps on giving. Crippled by anxiety she became convinced she was going to lose the baby. So she got ultrasounds and barely was able to function. She found out last week at just over ten weeks that the baby stopped developing around 8 weeks.

It was so sad. The thing is, she's handling it really well. Almost too well. When she called me to tell me it felt like a punch in the gut. I can't stop crying every time I think about it. She had a memorial service and showed everyone (6 or 7 women who are all doulas, midwives, and infant caregivers) the fetus. And we all talked about how perfect he was, how adorable. It was so different from my own miscarriage experience. I'm mortified to admit that I'm actually wildly jealous of the support she got. My husband and I were basically ostracized in the weeks after our loss. No one wanted to talk about it and it clearly made people uncomfortable when we brought it up.

The thing I can't stop thinking about is how well she seems to be handling it. In fact, she told me, its almost a relief. "I've felt that something was wrong for so long, its strangely validating to know I was right."

And this is what infertility reduces us to: constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, expecting the worst so it won't hit as hard when it happens.

Now she gets to play the 'ol "did anxiety cause the miscarriage or was I anxious because I knew I miscarried?" It never ends.

Here I am, 8dpIUI just waiting for my negative beta so I can start again. Somewhere, somehow, I know there's a tiny kernal of hope in me whispering "what if? What if?" But I smother it with complaints about supplemental progesterone and mean REs so it won't crush me if it doesn't work out.

And I don't want to live like this anymore. I want to hope openly and speculate with abandon. I haven't even written a single 2ww symptom spotting blog. The best I can do is upload some horoscopes that look promising. When did this happen?

I want this IUI to work. There. I said it. It may not, and that will hurt. a lot. But I want it to work. I want to hope again.

true story

I was walking to acupuncture and there was a car out front with its blinkers on and the license plate was BFP.

If that's not a sign I don't know what is.

PS: tried moxibustion at acu today. It was awesome!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

i hate

progesterone. I hate it. I loathe it. It makes me feel like absolute shit. Headaches, sore boobs, weepy. It is seriously the worst feeling in the world. I want a baby. And I understand I have a progesterone deficiency, but I just keep seeing the cycles stretched out in front of me and every single month I'll spend the last two weeks feeling like a truck smashed into me.

I'm exhausted and disappointed.

horoscope 2/26

Capricorn Feb 26 2011
You can't control the weather, Capricorn. You could experience rain, sleet, snow, hail, high winds, and so on, but if you are prepared for any of these, the experience will be far more tolerable and even productive. That's a metaphor for the experiences you may face over the next few days. You have an unpredictable path just ahead of you. There could be a wide range of experiences waiting for you - including some very sunny moments. As long as you think ahead, and you maintain a can-do attitude, you will be able to deal with anything you face.

Capricorn Feb 27 2011
"Methinks he doth protest too much." So wrote Shakespeare more than four hundred years ago. Although those words are ancient, they carry a lot of wisdom for your current situation. Someone - maybe even you - is protesting something with great passion. It could be because that person (maybe you) isn't quite sure that he or she is right. If someone you know is in denial, it may require some alone time to concentrate on the issue and come to a conclusion free from public scrutiny. Soul-searching is the answer to the problem.

Capricorn Feb 28 2011
Something in your life isn't making sense - yet for some reason it just feels right. Even though the situation may defy logic, and may not fit in with your expectations, that doesn't mean it isn't meant to be. Don't question this phenomenon. Don't question your reaction to it. And most of all don't question whether you deserve the windfall or good fortune that comes with an unexpected change in your life. You do deserve it. And in the big picture, you will eventually see why it all makes sense after all.

well, here's my horoscope today. And while I'd like to believe I'm more rational than this, I'm pretty willing to take it as an indicator of a failed cycle.

People react differently to stress. Some seek out comfort food. Some drink cup after cup of coffee. And there are also those who indulge in far more destructive habits to find solace, like smoking or drinking too much. You, on the other hand, may have a habit of becoming more introspective. You go deep inside yourself. To the outside world, that may not seem like a bad way to deal with a difficulty. The problem is that you tend to blame yourself when you're in that state. Don't blame yourself for something that didn't work out recently. Comfort yourself in some non-destructive way and move on. Something much better lies just around the bend.

Friday, February 25, 2011

progesterone 7dpo

Got my 7dpo P4... its 5.8.
This is so not my month. But I'll be a good patient and start taking the endometrum progesterone tablets that have to be inserted vaginally. Awesome. Please let this week pass quickly so we can move on.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

our first (and last?) IUI

so i went into my monitoring appointment on friday primed to hear good news. I'd gotten a positive opk the day before and just knew things were going to start lining up. I got the call from the nurse later that day saying to give myself the trigger shot that night between 6-8PM and we scheduled the IUI for sunday morning (at the ungodly hour of 7:30AM).

we cancelled our trip to KY and triggered on friday night. Saturday i woke up feeling awful. I'd had a cold the last few days but this was just really bad. Plus the trigger left me feeling a kind of seasick nausea and extreme fatigue. I argued back and forth about whether or not I should try and treat what i thought was turning into the flu or hold off and hope it passes. I did the 'ol infertile "what will screw up implantation less?" debate and ultimately decided that the embryo wouldn't be implanting for another 7 days which gives me enough to time to have the infection gone and be finishing a course of antibiotics. I called my RE office and they said anything labled "class B" was safe for pregnancy.

my primary care doc (whom I've never met because by the time i get done with midwives, obgyns, and REs i'm basically doctored-out) isn't in on weekends so i went to one of those walgreens walk-in clinics. she told me i had a tonsil infection and strep throat, prescribed penecillin and sent me on my way.

sunday i woke up with a few hives, chalked it up to stress and took a benedryl. we got to the office at 7:15 and since it was sunday only one nurse was there (the one who'd be performing our IUI). Hubs got sent to the masterbatorium and i waited outside with a magazine. about a half hour later he called from the room and asked me to come in.

the room was basically set up to be every 14 year old boy's dream. loveseat, stacks of all kinds of porn and a TV/DVD combo. I could tell hubs was on the edge and quickly loosing it. "i don't think i can do this" he said... i spent some time trying to "help" him, but it just wasn't happening. too much pressure. i went out and asked the nurse if there were any hotel/motels around where hubs could take his time and de-stress a little. she pointed us in the direction of a Red Roof about 10 minutes away. "about how long do you think you'll be gone?" she asked. "umm, i hope not more than an hour." I answered. "Ok, because i'm only here for this, which is fine, but if it isn't going to work i need to know sooner rather than later." she said. geeze, way to take the pressure off lady...

so we drove to the red roof and hubs chillaxed for a minute before retreating to the bathroom to take a shower. i frantically started messaging my best friend on babycenter, "i'm in a hotel room praying my husband can masterbate so we can do an IUI today." she was very cool about the whole thing and we were all relived when hubs came out ten minutes later with a cup of jizz (which basically cost $59 since we needed the hotel room to get it and spent a grand total of 30 minutes in there). the count was great (109 million!) so it was worth every penny.

the actual procedure was so quick it was ridiculous. speculum, short jolt, over. then she put on some romantic music over the loadspeaker and left us in there for 20 minutes. hubs was so relaxed and happy. a little too affectionate and hopeful, but it was nice.

we had breakfast at the cracker barrell afterwards and spent the rest of the day relaxing and hanging out. there are worse ways to spend a sunday... wish me luck