My Due Date and What I Got Instead

On Sunday, March 3, 2013 I got my first positive pregnancy test. There was joy. There was apprehension. A natural pregnancy after trying for over a year and just 2 weeks after our first meeting with a reproductive endocrinologist. Read about all that.  I went to see my doctor, she agreed I was in fact pregnant, patted me on the head and sent me on my way with a piece of paper indicating that my due date was somewhere around November 9-11, 2013.

November 10-11, 2013. So…..now.

Nearing the end of March I started spotting and the pregnancy ended in miscarriage. I wrote about it here and afterwards we embarked on the quest that brings us to present day.

My husband and I talked this past weekend and I told him that when I woke up Saturday it occurred to me that we would have been due this weekend.  He said, “wow, things sure would have been alot different.”

And it dawned on me: Things ARE alot different.

While we aren’t sitting here with a baby (which yeah, wouldn’t that be nice), alot of good has come:

1) I started blogging and the act of writing has been hugely cathartic. It’s been an amazing way to process my feelings during what could be an overwhelming time.

2) I started tweeting under my blog’s name. Between the blog and the tweets, I’ve found a supportive and vast online community of ladies going through exactly what I’m going through. I can reach out to folks and ask questions, seek advice, compare experiences, etc. I am so thankful for these ladies (and a few gents) who I will likely never meet.

3) I’ve learned that I can give myself lots and lots of shots (to date it’s in the area of 118, one IUI with follistim and 2 IVFs with follistim/menopur,lupron/progesterone). I feel pretty kickass about this and very empowered. Read about my thoughts on needles. I mean, you want me to give myself a shot right now? Name it: where you want me to do it, I’ll do it. Want me to give you a shot? I’ll do it.

4) My husband and I have gotten through all of this. Period. And I’d bet money on the fact that we’re better.

5) We’re now serious about adoption, which while it seems über daunting, also excites me. Even if I do get pregnant this current IVF, adoption could still be a likely scenario for us: we both have siblings and feel they’re pretty important. If our little one’s to have a sibling, it could very likely end up that adoption’s our route.

6) I learned that IVF can be a positive experience. It can be. For me it is not at all the horror story I’ve read about for years in the media. I know IVF isn’t nice to everyone. Some ladies have a terrible time with the hormones, there can be alot of expectations and emotions, doctors can be brusk, nurses can say things or look at you in ways you don’t like. HOWEVER, it’s different for everyone and you don’t know what it’ll be like for you until you start – try to go in expecting the best instead of the worst.

7) I now know more about what it takes to make a baby than friends I know who’ve actually HAD babies. For real. It’s an effing miracle ANYONE EVER gets pregnant with all the stuff that needs to happen for eggs and sperm to come together in a perfect chemical mix in the perfect uterine environment during a tiny narrow window of monthly fertility that the little egg’s even viable.  FUCKING MIRACLE.

8) I’ve learned alot about supplements and foods that are good for fertility. I’ve found people who are knowledgable about supplements and are good enough to write about them: InfertileChemist, I’m looking at you http://infertilechemist.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/supplements-part-i-dhea/#comment-1173   The CCRM website is also good for this:http://www.colocrm.com/FertilitySupplements.aspx   (There’s also alot of bullshit out there so you really just have to do the best you can with all of it).  Me? I took wheatgrass for a long time (my RE asked me to let that one go once we started IVF), but I still take: CoQ10, Royal Jelly, PreNatals…recently I’ve added Pycnogenol and a little extra Vitamin C.  As for food, I try to eat plenty of protein, vegetables, whole grains…..in particular lots of blueberries, chia seeds, avocado, yams if you can find them…..watch your caffeine and booze (some REs say absolutely none and others say moderation) and I’ve tried to cut out processed foods and am watching sugar….which is my kryptonite.

9) I’ve joined a support group and get to look into the eyes of other ladies who are struggling. We share stories and there are knowing nods. We learn from each other. It took a long time for me to take this step, but I did when the time was right and I’m very happy I did. We’re all in different places, trying different things, but we help each other.

10) I still have my hope.

There’s likely much more that I haven’t put my finger on, but one newish friend gave me advice a few months ago that I now carry with me every day:

We now live in a time that if you really want a family, there are so many ways that it can happen: pregnancy, IUI/IVF, donor eggs, surrogacy, fostering, adoption, etc. You may not know right now how your child will come to you, but you have to believe that they will come to you somehow.

So while I didn’t get my due date, and I am still waiting for our little bundle to show up, I really did get a whole lot more.

(But little peanut for reals, you can show up any old time now).

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The double-edged sword of “What If.”

WHAT IF can keep you dwelling on the past, treading water, living with regret.  But, WHAT IF can also propel you forward, risking steps into unknown territory, creating possibility.

We hear it all the time:

WHAT IF I’d caught that bus instead of just missing it?

WHAT IF I’d gotten that promotion?

WHAT IF I hadn’t spilled coffee on my blouse?

What if?

Well…..

What if I hadn’t gotten pregnant in February?

What if I hadn’t had that miscarriage in March?

What if that first IVF would have worked?

But I did, and I did, and well, it didn’t.  But I at least got to show my husband a positive pregnancy test and share that joy, and because of that miscarriage I saw a new depth of compassion in my husband and our marriage is stronger because we weathered that storm together, and due to that first IVF kapootzing I know what coming at this next time. I mean, I’m real good at giving myself shots, y’all.

What if I try to look for opportunity instead of failure when things go an unexpected or unwanted way?  What if I look forward instead of back.

Dwelling on the failure aspects of these questions for a few minutes here and there is one thing, but giving hours or weeks to them means that I’m treading water: these events are behind me and I can’t manipulate them into something they aren’t because I didn’t get what I wanted.

Is that it? Is that why we live with regret? Is it because we didn’t get our way?

Well I didn’t get my way. It sucks. I’m disappointed. I hate it.

And what about:

What if I’d met my husband when I was younger?

What if I’d never moved to Chicago?

What if my parents hadn’t divorced when I was 13?

Well then I’d be someone else, right? And I don’t really want to be someone else.  I mean I wish my thighs were less ample, there were a few dudes that I should’ve known better about way sooner, and of course there were some key times when I wish I’d just kept my big mouth shut, but other than that….I’m doing okay.

What if….can create opportunity and excitement.

I mean, What If I get pregnant this next IVF? What if I book a national commercial? What if my husband gets a new job and we move?

Yes, in my past there’s been heartache and worry and regret. I have mourned, I have grieved, I have given energy to negativity. And then those events gradually move from being my present into being my past.

Because what if something is coming that i need to be ready for?

What if I shut myself off and I’m not even watching?

What if I MISS SOMETHING?

I miscarried in March but don’t really know how far along I’d be if I was still pregnant. I know when I was due and when that day comes I’m curious as to how I’ll feel. My miscarriage was early at 7 weeks, but I was definitely attached and devastated when it ended.  But I can’t keep something alive that isn’t. I lost that baby because that baby wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t do anything wrong – didn’t drink a 5th of Jack or compete in a rodeo pogostick contest. I rested. I ate well. I took very good care of myself. It just stopped growing, likely due to chromosomal issues. For me to dwell on “What If I was still pregnant” is a delay of game on what still lies ahead of me.  I’d be investing my energy on something I can’t change rather than taking steps towards making the future what I want.

And that brings us to a “What If” I’ve recently chosen for myself:

What if I change my attitude towards pregnant ladies? For awhile I felt like I was encountering them everywhere as if the universe was mocking me, putting something in my path that I couldn’t have for myself, making me have rain when I wanted sunshine.

But WHAT IF the universe is simply pointing out what I myself will someday be.  WHAT IF the universe is providing me with a fashion show of how I should and should not dress myself as a pregnant lady?  WHAT IF I need to keep seeing the joy because seeing the joy makes me feel a lot better than seeing the regret.

And:WHAT IF I never get pregnant?

But, What If I do….

What if, right?

What if.

A smidge pregnant for the weekend

Turns out, you CAN be “a little bit” pregnant.

We had our 1st beta yesterday morning (10dp3dt) and I was told to look for the information online sometime after 3pm. I’m sure you’re asking, “why online instead of by phone?” That’s a legit question. The Russian’s right hand explained to me that they’ve found that people like to have some control over when they find out. A phone call could catch you awkwardly in line at the Piggly Wiggly or something. Online at the clinic’s secure “portal” system lets you check when you want, when you’re ready and either alone or with your hubbo.

Regarding pregnancy blood tests, a little research led me to the following information:

There are actually two different types of blood pregnancy tests, also called pregnancy serum tests. One type, called a quantitative blood pregnancy test (or a beta hCG test), measures the exact amount of hCG in the blood, while a qualitative blood pregnancy test simply provides confirmation of the presence of hCG, and a “yes” or “no” answer for pregnancy. If the blood pregnancy test reveals that hCG is under 5 mIU/ml, then the test will be considered negative. If the level of hCG is determined to be between 5 and 25 mIU/ml, this is said to be anequivocal result, and another test should be performed in a few days to confirm pregnancy.

I don’t actually know what our number was, only that it was “lower than they like.” I’m actually glad not to have an exact number as it would only lead to me scouring the internet for information that I’d over-analyze and worry over, instead of just waiting and seeing what comes of the next test.

I’m out of town Monday so I’ll go back Tuesday to test again. The 2nd beta will show us if the numbers have gone up or down and we’ll have a better sense of if we’re in Yes-ville or Not-This-Time-vakia.

While I was in the office I went ahead and asked when we could start IVF #2 if in fact we need to. Depending on the clinic (and/or your individual situation) you may need one or more natural cycles before putting the factory back into overdrive or you might go back on birth control pills and then into another IVF right away. Luckily, I fall into the latter category and the next go around I’ll likely only need 2-3 weeks of birth control (instead of five this past time due to holiday scheduling, etc).

So for me, even with the vague test results, I feel like I got good news all around. On one hand, I MIGHT just be knocked up and on the other hand, if I’m not, I can get right back in the game and we can try again.

Which brings me to this little gal, discovered while I was walking the dog the other day:

FairyGodmotherSidewalk

For me, whoever launched sidewalk chalk as a product line is a friggin genius. Kids (and adults) get to create little pieces of art to while away time expressing themselves and canine amblers such as myself get to be given random little influctions of joy.

It was Thursday when I encountered the little blue fairy godmother from Cinderella, either drawn by a flippin child genius or by an exceedingly cool adult who likely made some little girl’s day, and I was immediately struck by the following thought:

Keep the faith.  

Actually, two thoughts, the second of which was “yay a drawing!”

Cinderella’s a sweet dreamer with animal friends – they do the chores together and sing songs (careful, if you’re the least bit hormonal these lyrics will make your eyes leak):

A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you’re fast asleep
In dreams you lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish for, you keep
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling thru
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true

Poor Cinderella gets repeatedly dissed by her lousy step-sisters who also bait-and-switch her into thinking she’s gonna go to the big dance. I mean, all she wants is to go to the friggin ball, wear a pretty dress and feel like an effing lady. We’ve all been there.

And then, when Cinderella starts to lose faith in her dreams, along comes her Fairy Godmother to give her a bit of hope.

So as I spend this weekend in pregnancy-limbo, I say thanks to whoever drew that chalk drawing and thanks to my dog for wanting to walk down that street.

And I hear ya Fairy Godmother, I see what you’re trying to do:

I’ll keep on believing and figure that for now at least, I’m pregnant-ish.

 

Up to now Part 2: Not So Fast, Tiger

I was waiting for my period so I could start the IVF process, when instead I found myself staring at a positive pregnancy test, by which I mean three pregnancy tests (they’re like Lay’s potato chips, you can never have just one). The doc confirmed it the next day. A few weeks passed and I noticed a few symptoms here and there, mainly that the extra progesterone made me super sleepy and that I was finally getting a decent pair of knockers.  We were stunned and happy.

And then the bottom dropped out.

At about 7 weeks I started spotting. Serendipitously, we had our first ultrasound scheduled for the next day so I called them and they happened to have an opening in an hour, so I hopped a cab and hustled over. The doctor could not have been nicer – things measured far too small and there was no cardiac activity, so he felt very strongly that I was in fact having a miscarriage. (I saw him a week later to confirm).

The cab ride home, in retrospect, was cinematic and amazing. Imagine if you will: a grey March day, melodramatic music plays in the background, a lady sits in the backseat of a cab, eyes staring resolutely out the window, her jaw clenched, salty tears streaming down her face. Parker Posey would play me in the movie.

I got home and had a few hours before my husband got home from work, which may have been the hardest, but this allowed me to get out most of those ugly crazy-lady tears by myself. Now ladies (and gentlemen?), we’ve all had them, those ugly ugly farcical boo hoo tears…..the close to hyperventilating, sad sack, feeling way too sorry for yourself cries where tears spring forth Looney Toons style from your tear ducts with such force that they actually don’t even hit your face.

But man those cries are therapeutic.

Thankfully, my window of irrational self-loathing was very narrow. No matter how sad or hurt I’ve been in life, there’s always been the tiny voice that eventually speaks up to remind me that poop occurs.

Physically, it hurt like a mother, so I hit the ibuprofen and pretty much gaffer-taped a heating pad to my gut – but I was so relieved that my body took care of the process and I didn’t have to have a doctor help it along. Luckily, I had nothing on my schedule so I just loaded myself up with good books and bad movies, laid around and let it happen.

I will spare you the physical details but suffice it to say, I got herculean cramps that felt like a legion of tiny coked-up gnomes were grabbing ahold of my innards and playing a rousing game of whack-a-mole.

A few days on the air started to clear, I cried a little less, felt lots better and my husband did the best thing for me: in the morning he simply said, “okay, we’re getting out of bed and we’re starting our day. Come on, let’s go.”

A few days later I called The Russian and we started talking about what to do next.