April 20, 2007

Check

The OB appointment yesterday went fine. The heartbeat was still nice and strong and it measured on time. I was testing out a new doctor and we both liked him. They have an ultrasound machine in the office so potentially more frequent scans are reassuring, and I liked all his answers to my questions about additional testing. He wrote me a script for the nuchal translucency screen and said it was up to me if I want to do it in the next few weeks. There is nothing in my profile that would indicate it except that the fertilization failure could be a chromosomal problem. I've got to think it over, I'm not sure if hearing the odds from the test would just freak me out unecessarily, but my first inclination is to do it as a non-invasive first step. The only other thing is that I have a polyp on my cervix, which may make it friable (it might bleed a little more easily when irritated), but he doesn't think it's a big deal. Neither did I until he said it's probably benign.

As requested, here's a picture of the little blob. We've taken to calling it Lucky because of those 7% odds we were given after rescue ICSI:

Actual size: about 3 cm. Which is pretty close to how it should look on your screen.

April 18, 2007

Thinking

Thank you all for your wonderful and quite flattering comments on my last post. I will try not to let it go to my head. I'm further flattered that my cycle buddy Val at Adventures in Parenting has nominated me for a Thinking Blogger Award.



Now to continue this meme, I am to choose five blogs that make me think and nominate them. Which is really hard because I love ALL your blogs and they all make me think. Given that, this list is probably biased by those who have most recently got me thinking? I don't know, but here, in no particular order, are my five nominees:

Serenity blogs with such honesty and in telling her story tells the truths of infertility we all deal with. She makes me think with every single post.

Bumble's posts always seem to show her beautiful soul shining through, sometimes delicate but also quite strong. Every fiber of my being is crossed for you this cycle, Bumble.

Disenchanted is absolutely the right word for the reality of infertility. My Reality tells it like it is, with a fantastic sense of humor (though things haven't been very funny over there lately). I love my snarky fellow baby-dust haters.

One of my favorite things about the blogging community is the international flavor. Sara's story fascinates me in part because she's living in Korea and I'm infatuated with all things overseas. Her experiences are universal though, and it's interesting how similar the protocols are around the world.

I just recently discovered Team Winks at Are We There Yet, and have already come across a number of very thought provoking posts. I made this blog connection through the IIFF, so thanks again to Bea and all the participants.

Okay, if I tagged you, you are suppossed to keep it going by nominating five more bloggers who make you think. Hey, if it promotes just a few new blogger connections, I'm all for it!

April 11, 2007

Life and Loss

Yesterday I got some very sad news. One of my favorite clients is an older guy in his 70's who I have never even met in person but who somehow became more than just another client over the years. Funnily enough, he's one of those people who asks me every six months when I'm going to have kids, and for some reason it doesn't piss me off coming from this crotchety old man. I kind of have to smile at the fact that he feels like at his age, he has every right to ask me whatever he wants. I imagine he farts out loud in his office and doesn't give a hoot (get it?) who hears.

Well yesterday he told me that his son was killed in Iraq on Saturday. I tend to be pretty desensitized to these things, but this one really got to me. The boy's mother left when he was young and the father and son had a very close relationship. He had told me before how proud he was of him. The boy was 25 years old and left behind an 11 month old daughter he had only spent five weeks with between deployments. He was on his second tour, up for a bronze star for saving two other soldiers' lives a few weeks before, and already had earned a purple heart in his first tour. Personally I am against our involvement in Iraq, but there is no question this guy was a hero. In corresponding with the dad yesterday, it was clear he was not even close to having processed the loss yet. He is behaving very 'business as usual'. I can see he is trying to continue to manage all the things he still has control over, in the face of such a horrible loss over which he has no control.

I think those of us who struggle with infertility are perhaps a bit more keenly aware of the whole circle of life thing; how death and loss is such a part of life. We deal with loss in every cycle where we fail in our persuit to create life. Like my client, we struggle to maintain control over what we can. Larisa described this perfectly in her recent post about being an IVF addict. That part of the cycle when you know what you're doing, exactly how to do it, and can see your progress at each check is such a reprieve from the waiting and the losses. It might sound ridiculous to my fertile friends, but there is something nice about feeling like you're good at infertility for a time.

And I really felt like I was good at it. Not only do I totally have the drugs and the injections and the appointments down, but I know my way around the clinic as well as the nurses. I know which cabinet the drapes are in if they forget to lay one out, and which drawer the pads are in if there was an extra lot of jelly on the wand. I know all the phlebotomists and which ones suck and will probably bruise me. But more than that, at some point over the last few years, I felt like I was even good at managing the emotional aspects of it. I was happy for other people's pregnancies. I went to all the baby showers. Diaper commercials no longer stung. I kept hopes at bay, expectations low, and no longer frantically searched for symptoms during the 2ww. I had reached the acceptance stage. I felt like I had mastered infertility.

As my blog buddy Lindsey pointed out, I had simply stopped imagining being pregnant. I made myself numb. It didn't hurt anymore because I refused to let it. At some point, I had taken all I could and I just turned it off. As I went through my cycle, I was focused only on each step in the protocol, without thinking ahead to the outcome. If I did mention it, I used euphamisms like "the end game" because I absolutely could not allow myself to think of being pregnant one day. It was a very odd feeling because of course no one would go through it all if they weren't hoping it would eventually work, but I had somehow totally detached myself from that hope.

So all of this, I think, explains why I had been having a hard time lately. It is not possible for me to remain so detached after hearing the heartbeat. As the pregnancy hormones go raging through me (no small thing on its own), all my hidden hopes and fears emerge from that steel box where I had locked them away and rush to the surface. The friends and family who read this blog and so know the news are growing frustrated with my unwillingness to share their excitement. I have been given congratulatory gifts which I accepted, but not at all graciously, feeling like a fraud. I know that all pregnant women have fears and this is normal and it's how we prepare ourselves, but it is different when you've become accustomed to experiencing a loss on almost a monthly basis for years.

And then hearing about my client losing his son reminded me that it will just never end. I guess you know on some level when your child goes off to war, but I just can't imagine how anyone prepares for that. Probably you can't anyway, so why be dominated by the fears? Still they must always be lurking somewhere.

As the pregnancy continues, I do find myself becoming more encouraged and looking a tiny bit further ahead. I'm also aware that I'm opening myself up to a fall from a much more terrifying height with each step. But somehow in the face of my client's news, my fears seem small. And it makes me feel like I can be a bit braver. So oddly his loss has allowed me to feel a bit happier about my progress so far, or perhaps a bit more grateful. I guess sometimes a death can heighten your appreciation for life.

Lastly, and I realize this post is already enormously long, but I just wanted to again thank you all so much for your support. It means the world to me.

April 9, 2007

7w2d

Just a quick update from my PDA... we saw the heartbeat again today and this time we got to hear it to. So I have officially been graduated to my OB. After a week of very mixed emotions about graduation from my little comfort zone, I'm actually kind of happy about it at the moment. We'll see how good I'm feeling after I find out how long I have to wait for the next check up...

April 2, 2007

The Scan: Taking it With a Grain of Rice

Yesterday my symptoms came back at full power. Super tired, bionic sense of smell, massive boob pain, not so much nausea as a very particular stomach. Probably other things I don't remember right now because I'm so freaking tired. Point being I felt pregnant again. I even caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror and thought I looked pregnant (okay so at 6 weeks that just means I have a pot belly, but still).

Then last night I was awake staring at the ceiling all night. Flopping around like a freshly caught fish. I knew I wouldn't sleep before the scan but I wasn't even thinking about it; my mind was just racing. I kept thinking about bad things I've done in my life and thinking I don't deserve it and wondering if the pregnancy symptoms were just back as one last cruel April fool's joke before the scan revealed there was nothing there. We all know how the fertility gods like to fuck with us.

But of course I know that being a good person is not what gets you pregnant. Otherwise my wonderful fellow bloggers like Reality and Serenity would not have to continue to struggle, because clearly they are amazingly deserving people. Not to single them out particularly, all the struggling infertiles out there deserve it, just their recent difficult cycles happen to come to mind at the moment. And I'm also aware that wretched people get pregnant all the time too.

So far my sins have not yet done me in. The scan went fine. We saw a heartbeat. Everyone says this is such an amazing moment, but I just can't even absorb it. To be honest, I am more terrified than ever. If I lose the pregnancy now it will be so much harder than just another failed cycle. Now it is real. Sort of. Except it doesn't feel real at all. It was cool to see though. It looked just like a little grain of rice, with a steady, strong throbbing near the middle.

And I got some good news - I no longer have to worry about the long odds of the rescue ICSI procedure. My chances now are just the same as anyone else at six weeks. Of course I know these next few weeks are the most common times to lose a pregnancy, so I'm still terrified. But it's good to know that I'm no less pregnant than anyone else six weeks along; a relief after a month of knowing what a longshot we had due to the rescue. And I'm never going to have a baby without first going through these first few scary months. The only way to get to the end is to start at the beginning. But the beginning is scary as hell.