Monthly Archives: September 2009

Words That Strike Fear in My Heart

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Cycle buddy.

That phrase is enough to set me into a panic.  I’m probably the only woman in the free world to feel that way. Everywhere I turn in the IF community, someone is asking me when I am testing or if I am looking for a cycle buddy. If there is anything that this miscarriage and years of BFNs have taught me is to be guarded about my experiences. There is nothing worse than to tell someone when your beta is, only to have a BFN or to tell them you are having a miscarriage.

I have no problem being happy for people if they are pregnant but I’m not looking for sympathy if I fail. I don’t have the emotional reserve right now to want to share any of my feelings with people except MO2 and anonymously (e.g this blog). I don’t want to have to emotionally support another person until I am ready to and that is what is implied in a cycle buddy. I don’t have the emotional distance to be supportive and I don’t want people to constantly check in on me.  I am a private person and sadly, this experience, has made me more so.

On one support board I frequent, they made a little chart. They wanted to know what month everyone’s donor was stimming, what the result of the retrieval, the beta date and results. Are you freaking kidding me? I just ignore the chart. Do people not realize how stressful this can be? Am I the only one who feels that way? Surely not.

Enough with the rant. I took the drugs for the miscarriage Friday night. I think next time, I’d rather the D & C. It was pretty miserable for the first 4 hours (thank god for the percocet). I’m not a big blood person, so I didn’t spend a whole lot of time looking at the results. I’ve been spotting since then and sadly, my HCG is dropping very slowly. Once it is down to zero, I can pick another donor, I think at the present rate, that should take a few weeks.

I am happy to be back at work with plenty to do. There are many distractions and much work to be done. I’m making some progress on my walking but not as much as I would like. It has been difficult to get used to my office chair and that muscle soreness has slowed me down some but I’m slowly getting there.

Have You Heard About This?

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A Ohio woman was implanted and is now pregnant with the wrong embryo is planning to give the baby back after birth.

Here’s the story.

Wow, these are brave people. They have a history of difficult pregnancies and I think this their 3rd or 4th child. I wonder how they would feel about giving the baby up if it is their only child. I’m not sure if I could do it but I  admire them. I wonder if they just decided to give the baby back because they thought it was the right thing to do, or they were ordered to.  Can you imagine that custody battle? What a mess. I certainly hope that there is litigation and compensation for both families.

In other news, no AF yet so tomorrow we take the medication to help things along. Hoping it won’t be a horrible experience but I am planning to drag out my narcotics from my back surgery that I never used! I want this over with so I can go back to work on Monday.

Moving On

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Good bye to the Bench Warmer. Today’s u/s showed no fetal growth or heart beat.

I am relieved.

I will stop all medications as of tonight. If I don’t start bleeding by Thursday (and since I’m a good med responder, I doubt I will), they will give me some meds to help things along. I mentioned to the RE that I was hoping to get my miscarriage over by next week because I am going back to work on Monday. He informed me that the military gives 7 days of convalescent leave (free days off) in the event of a miscarriage. Who knew? To me, the best thing I can do is go back to work but if I’m bleeding heavily, I’d prefer not to be there (bleeding through a uniform while chairing a meeting is not so appealing to me). I had to tell my boss. It’s hard, I don’t want pity, I just want to move on. However, my leadership philosophy is that if you tell people the truth, then it is easier for them to understand and guarantees more compliance. The two supervisors I told were great.

Moving on.. I figure it will be two to three months (possibly December before I can cycle again). I have to wait until my beta is zero. Who knows how long that will take before I can select another donor. I only work with proven donors,  so we’ll have to see what is available and who my RE selects (we’re giving him a choice of 3 possibilities from the donor base).

Here’s what I plan to do in the coming weeks while we wait:

1. Get my new military social workers integrated into the clinic. They just graduated from the military’s new Master of Social Work Program at Ft. Sam Houston, TX. Both are experienced officers who are new to Social Work.

2. Firm up our initiative and funding to have 5 licensed clincal social workers in the Emergency Room 24/7.

3. Hopefully get rid of the crazy Major in my office once and for all.

4. Start working towards walking the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon once I’m cleared by the surgeon. I may never run again but there is no reason I can’t have fitness goals.

5. Finish my mandatory and (oh so painful) Lieutenant Colonel’s Course (one more dready module to go).

6. Have my official photo taken for next year’s Lieutenant Colonel’s board BEFORE I’m pregnant again (despite what they say, pregnant in an official military photo for promotion is prejudicial)

7. Speak with colleague at the University of Pennsylvania (my alum) about a military social work career (this speech was interrupted by the back surgery)

8. Have a rocking good time at our annoual Hallowe’en party

9. Ride the rides (back permitting) at the annual State Fair (I LOVE state fairs).

10. Finish putting up the remainders of my garden, jalapeno jelly in the works for today.

11. Lose 10 pounds so I can gain it all back with the next pregnancy.

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

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Tonight  sun down marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. While not an observant Jew (child of a mixed marriage), I’ve always liked this holiday it  is a period of prayer and reflection shared with one’s family and friends. It’s a time to ask for forgiveness for one’s actions over the past year, and to commit to a fresh start in the coming one.

My favorite Hebrew greeting is shana tova umetukah for “[a] good and sweet year.” My wish to all my readers is that we are all blessed with sweetness in the next year.

Rosh Hashanah is also called, Yom Ha-Zikaron, or the Day of Remembrance. This morning’s New York Times ran a fascinating article (During World War II, A Soldier’s Voice Rediscovered) about a Rosh Hashanah service held at the end of World War II on the battlefield at Aachen, Germany. This was the first Jewish Service broadcast from Nazi Germany since the advent of Hitler.

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The American Jewish Committee put a short film together with the live clips from that day. It is humbling and fascinating to listen to the service when you can hear the field artillery in the background. I especially appreciated the sentiments expressed in the film and hope you take a view as well. Battlefield services are extremely important to soldiers and the circumstances of this one is especially moving.

Thinking of a A Catchy Title and At A Loss

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Well things aren’t looking especially good for the benchwarmer. I’m OK with that actually.

This week, the BW has doubled in size but we have no heart beat. According to my RE @ SG, we should have one. We have decided to go one more week. If we don’t see one, then they will give me meds to start a miscarriage. I’m hoping for this actually and sadly, I want it to happen while I’m still on convalescent leave and not when I go back to work on the 28th. (I mean, really, who wants to worry about bleeding through their uniform)? Plus, I have plenty of painkillers left over from the surgery that I’ve never used.

Both my RE and the RE at Ft. Living Room feel a D & C would not be in my best interest. There is the potential of causing scar tissue in a relatively healthy uterine cavity (given the only good thing I do is lining and so I would hate to mess that up)!

SG RE and I spoke about our next cycle. I have been wanting to use 1/2 donor sperm and 1/2 MO2 sperm. MO2 has a nephew who has an extremely rare autosomal condition that has left him with the functioning level of an 8 month old (he is 25 and has been on hospice for the last 4 years). We don’t know if the BW could possibly have the same condition. SG RE feels that DH’s sperm count is good and so is his fertilization rate and we should give it one more shot with MO2’s boys. If the same thing happens again, we will move to exclusive use of donor sperm. (Oddly, genetic testing in the past has not shown any abnormalities and my dear Stepson is as normal as you can expect for a 17-year-old). SG RE stated that miscarriage happens in 10% of donor egg cycles. We could have the BW’s remains tested but it probably won’t tell us anything (and frankly, I have no interest in collecting those at home).

I am moving on. We will have the RE and nurse help us choose between 3 proven donors as soon as my betas are back to 0. I have decided (for my own sanity) to focus on the things I can do in the coming months that I couldn’t do while pregnant.

I leave you with a song that I recently heard. It is a contemporary version of an old hymn but I think it accurately reflects our state of mind right now.

Life After Infertility Treatments Fail

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This is an amazing piece that ran in the New York Times Parenting Blog over the weekend. I find it striking in its honesty and bravery. I’m going to post the link to it here and you can read it. If you don’t care, here is the brief summary. After many years of infertility treatments to include numerous IVFs, the author decides to abandon her dream of being a parent. It is also goes to say that she is choosing not to pursue adoption. In the article, she explains to America what it feels like to be an infertile adult and offers some suggestions for relating to people who experience infertility.

What staggers me is the 14+ pages of comments this post drew.

There are people who chastise the author regarding her decision not to adopt. She is called selfish for wanting an infant. She is told by parents that they feel it is their parental right to brag about their children. She is told to stop drowning in self pity and get on with her life.

And yet there are wonderfully supportive comments from people who have been there and who get it.

Wow. One groupings of posts were especially familiar to me. At the hospital where I work, I have the absolute misfortune of sharing an office on the same floor as labor and delivery. I don’t see the babies but all day long I get to hear Brahms’ Lullaby every time a baby is born, which I truly hate but can live with. However, I am the Deputy Chief of a Social Work Department and I believe it my job to advocate for my patients. We have counseling patients who have lost babies, who’ve had stillbirths, who’ve relinquished children for adoption or have had their children removed. They complain about the song, too. I was brave enough to confront the Colonel who is in charge of OB/GYN about the lullaby (you can hear it in the hospital but it is loudest on our floor). He basically told me and my staff that, “people like the song and the nurses find it comforting after cleaning up after a death to hear new life coming into the world.” So in other words, tough shit for you and your clients.

While I was out on convalescent leave, we received a new Sergeant in our department. After three days she approached the senior non-commissioned officer in our section and asked to be moved. Surprised, he asked her why. She had 3 miscarriages and couldn’t deal with the song. We moved her immediately. We’ve tried to disable the PA system but if we do, we lose our access to the emergency message system. So now, all we ask is that Labor and Delivery figure out a way to play the song in their department only. God help anyone who delivers a stillborn and has to hear it.

When a poster had commented that she had asked her hospital to stop playing the song, she was called selfish for taking away other’s happiness. Amazing. If I miscarry, I plan on ignoring the song just like I always do but those words are easier said than done and I might have to shut my office door and cry it out. I don’t know how I will react but I’m not looking forward to it.

As for my pregnancy, we aren’t that far behind for where we are in supposed to be. By dates, this pregnancy is only 4 weeks and 4 days along. (We know the dates of fertilization and of transfer). MO2 is frustrated that SG is applying Nagle’s rule to these pregnancies because unlike most we have pinpoint dates. We should expect a fetal pole tomorrow but we might be a bit early on a HB. If we don’t have one in a week, then we have a problem. I’ve already started researching our next cycle just in case. All I want is what is best for this baby and what is best for us. If that means this cycle isn’t successful, then we move forward (you better bet I’m grateful for the 6 donor egg cycle plan we’re on).

Read the article, if you can and let me know what you think.

Rain on My Parade

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SG is concerned about the benchwarmer and frankly I am concerned, too.

The benchwarmer should be further along than it is. We have been basically told that if the benchwarmer doesn’t have a fetal pole and heart beat by next week, it is non-viable. There is the slight possibility that the benchwarmer is just a late implanter.

To be honest, I’m not surprised by SG’s attitude. I’ve been worried all along that there is something seriously wrong with the benchwarmer. Part of me is sad and part is relieved. I am also angry. One of the problems with knowing there might be something wrong with your baby is that you are afraid to connect to it. I haven’t been able to move on in my emotional life and have been living in a place of uncertainty for the last 4 weeks. Buying a pregnancy cook book and new bras are the closest I’ve allowed myself to come to being pregnant.  I wish I could post with abandon on new Mom message boards but I haven’t been able to look at them. I don’t feel like I belong on my donor egg message board either. When you are trying to get pregnant or have a BFN you are recovering from, no one wants to hear about your slow increasing betas. At least, I am not like a forinfertile (former infertile) I know who posts vomiting updates on FaceBook. Note: Please don’t be that person! No matter how successful your pregnancy is.

The other problem when you know there is an issue is that you lose naivete. Betas and ultrasounds become terribly scary things that you dread. I had nightmares and couldn’t sleep before Weds ultrasound.  Nishkanu on Hard Knocked Up writes about it eloquently after several pregnancy losses, she can’t even bring herself to get excited about buying baby furniture for her presently healthy pregnancy.

I am thankful for my friends who have had pregnancy losses who have shared what to expect. I am thankful for those of you who put kind comments on my board. MO2 feels that I am too pessimistic as does my RE here.

My biggest worry is that MO2’s older sister has a 25-year-old with a rare chromosomal addition that has left him like an 8 month old. MO2’s had genetic testing which has come back normal. DSS is normal but what if the benchwarmer has the same condition. What are the odds? Neither MO2 and I want our child to have that quality of life. We are considering using 1/2 donor sperm on our next cycle.

If we have to start over there are some good things. Maybe we’ll have eggs that make it to freeze or even twins. My back will have more of a chance to heal. I will go back to work and not be so exhausted (I can barely get anything done now). We shall see what the next week brings.

Today’s UltraSound

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We actually got to see something at today’s ultrasound. We have just one baby who we refer to as the “bench warmer,” (due primarily to its non-aggressive nature). We are into the mid-2500s on HCG. I was really afraid we were going to see just an empty sack today so I was heartened to see the sack and yolk. They hope to see the fetal pole and maybe the heart beat next week although my sonographer told me that heart beats are tricky things and you may see them one hour and not the next this early in the game.

To be honest with you, my nurse (at SG) is driving me crazy. Today she asked me if there was a heartbeat. I am not even a month from fertilization and the Dr here at Ft. LivingRoom doesn’t seem worried or upset. It is making me neurotic! That is the last thing I want to be at this time. I’m neurotic enough as it is! For some weird reason, SG keeps telling me I am 6 weeks by dates when my fertilization was on MO2’s birthdate (August 11th). I’m not sure I get where the other two weeks come from.

Still Pregnant & Some New Products

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Hi Folks:  I’m still pregnant with a slow hanging -on-by-its-teeth doubler.  I’m still within normal limits, though on the slower end of normal. Today’s # is 1449. I’m still going in for blood work every 72 hours and ultra sounds every week.

Having more symptoms such as breast tenderness and nausea, which reminds me that I am pregnant and so I don’t mind one bit. I did break out the big guns and bought a pregnancy magazine. I am beginning to understand the need for some of the products such as the “wrap around boob holder,” which apparently you can wear in the shower to protect your breasts from pain. Who knew? But I’m beginning to get it now. I also went up a bra size. I am now the proud owner of two magical Spanx. They have a soft elastic back that is super comfortable and under wire like support without under wire.

And now a book review, I bought the book, “Feed the Belly”41uVCYS8lnL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_ to improve my diet. Even if this pregnancy is not successfull, perhaps the next one will be.  So far, we’ve tried three of the recipes; the meat balls with kale and orrichette, the carrot cake bars and the blueberry and papaya shake. The recipes (with a few exceptions) aren’t super simple but they are amazingly flavorful and healthy and make you feel better about cooking and (of course) eating. They address common pregnancy issues such as  cravings and have recipes for any kind you might have (salty, sweet, citrus, creamy) and also nausea and constipation (hello!). A worthy read for any pregnancy and pre-pregnancy diet.

Early UltraSound

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Today’s beta 787.4 up from 481 on Monday.

Today’s u/s showed something in the uterus (a frog, a kitten, who knows?) because it so early and hard to tell. The DR was completely non-committal about what’s going on (because it is so early) other than so say it looks to him like there is something in the uterus and not in the tubes. He doesn’t think there is a need to start me on methotrexate because he’s not sure it is ectopic but I got the speech “if you have sharp pain” , go directly to the ER,” speech as this is a holiday weekend. So I guess I am in limbo some more. I am surprised actually that they could see anything! I did find out that if the pg does not progress they will give me drugs to move it out instead of a D & C which is good news to me. I have another u/s scheduled for 9/8.

In other world news, the Duggars are expecting child #19. MO2 and I want to get us some Duggar eggs (well from maybe kids 1-9, not the double digit pregnancies). They have good looking kids (aside from the frumpy clothes) and are clearly proven donors. Here’s to you, Michelle Duggar! Gosh you must have a tired uterus!

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