Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thank you

I am truly blessed.

I'm sorry for the blog-silence lately. I've honestly been extremely busy and just haven't had all that much to say. That's actually a good thing because usually sadness means writing. So quiet usually means I'm doing fairly well emotionally speaking.

I've actually had a rough patch last 2 days, though. For whatever reason, yesterday just seemed hard. Nothing particularly set it off, but I was just very sad, thinking about our journey. Then some song on the radio mentioned a son and I lost it. Bawled on the way home. Completely random.

Then had a stupid fight with the husband (about cleaning up cat vomit, in case you wonder) and didn't get enough sleep. Add a migraine both days.

So yeah. It's been a stressful couple of days.

Had a night out tonight with 2 of my infertile friends. One is now successfully pregnant with twins, the other is still in the trenches. It was good. It's nice to bitch and moan and laugh about stuff and not have to explain or soften it.

Came home and spent some quality time with the husband (we've made up.) I settled in to check my email and such for the night and was actually getting up to get ready for bed when I noticed an envelope addressed to me at the top of today's mail. It was a manila envelope and it was hand addressed.

The return address was from a salon. I've scheduled myself for an acupuncture session (my first!) on Friday and the place I'm going offers a variety of services so I thought maybe it was some questionnaire from them or something.

Only.. it wasn't.

It turns out to be a ridiculously generous gift card to a salon. From whom, you ask? Oh. Just some people I've never met. Specifically from some amazing women on a message board I frequent. This isn't an infertility board. Not a pregnancy board. These people are fertile, for goodness sake. (Well, most of them.) Don't they know they should be smug? Of course, I burst into tears. Hell, I'm crying again now.

To those of them that might find this post-- a huge thank you again.

And really. To whoever invented the Internet (Al Gore? Are you out there? hehe.) thank you.

I honestly can not imagine how I'd manage if it weren't for message boards, medical websites & my blog. To have a place to really let it all hang out. And to find people to love, who love me back.. in spite of the fact that we've never been able to share a real hug... that's truly amazing.

The woman that I talk about sometimes who was due the same day as my first baby (who has a beautiful baby girl now, I might add) was met through the Internet. When I visited her in the hospital, she and the woman I mentioned above (the one pregnant with twins) gave me a card and angel in honor of my first. I was there to celebrate her joy but she could see past that to my grief and not ignore it.

I've received so many cards... from people I've never seen in person. It's just overwhelming.

Through this very blog, I've received so much support. So much kindness.
I wish I had the words to express my gratitude.

To all of you- thank you.

Now I'm going to go leaf through the brochure from the spa and decide how many hours of massage I'd like.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Doin' it.

In all my cave-hiding in the last few days, I missed another anniversary. August 18th. The anniversary of my virginity loss.
You really don't want to know how many years it's been.

Okay. I'll tell you. If you can hear about what color my bleeding is, you can handle it. Sixteen years. HOLY SHIT. SIXTEEN YEARS? Yeah, I'm 30. My brilliant self lost my virginity at the ripe old age of 14. What was I THINKING?

I only did it once, then not again for another 2 years. The story is long (would take longer to tell than it did to happen) and really not all that amusing. The sex was not exactly completed and basically terrible. And in a TMI but sort of funny-later way, it is still the largest penis I've ever seen up close and personal. Yeah, and me a virgin. You can imagine how that went.

No, we didn't use a condom. Yes, I was a moron. I think that is obvious. I was FOURTEEN.

Thus began my first 2ww. Obviously the desired result was a little different than now. Of course, I was wholly convinced I was pregnant despite the fact that he didn't finish. But you know, we learned in school that there is sperm in precum and it only takes once and don't-you-dare-have-sex-cause-you-WILL-get-pregnant. Hahahahahahaha.

Of course, I wasn't pregnant. I didn't get pregnant for another 15 years. And then not from sex. I think there should be a way to reclaim all the hours I spent in sex-ed in school. I was lied to.

On the other hand, maybe his swimmers swim properly. Hell, he was 16, he probably had 20 billion motile sperm. And what cute little babies we'd have made. He was tall and lanky & had beautiful light blue eyes. He also never called me again. Jackass.

We ran into each other a few months later and you could tell he knew he was a jackass. I let him off the hook and hugged him good-bye and he hugged me for what must have been a good 5 minutes. I think he was grateful for the forgiveness. I honestly hold no bitterness towards him at all. He had no more business doin' the deed than I did. I think we both did just cause we were "supposed" to. I mean, his brother was screwing my best friend. That's how it worked. It was high school, you know?

What a funny trip down memory lane. As much as I know I was an idiot, I can't say I regret it. I mean, I regret that my first time wasn't with someone I was in love with. That it wasn't sweet & romantic. But you know, no harm, no foul. I hope he's doing well.

So tell me, readers. How was your first time? I love these stories. I'm such a voyeur.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

RIP my first angel

Well, it's here.

My due date for baby #1. The one I've decided was a boy. The one I call Gabriel, my gift to God.
This is the day I've dreaded for 32 weeks. Dreaded since we found out he'd died.

I've been thinking about what to feel all week, what I'd write. I knew I'd need to write something because writing is usually the best way I can deal with pain. And God knows I feel pain today.

I never did really decide how I'd feel or what I'd say. I only slept about an hour, but as the sun started to come up, I decided I feel sad. As the day goes on, I just feel more sad.

The trip to the hospital for the D&C really didn't help. The hospital we were at is the largest in the state of Missouri. It's impressive in size and honestly, as hospitals go, quite pretty.

As we approached it I had a brief flash of what it would have been like if we'd have been on our way to deliver a live baby instead of a dead one. For just a moment I felt this flash of excitement and nervousness. I could see me with a pillow from home and my bag that would have been packed & repacked for weeks anticipating the day. I could imagine the shy smile on my husband's face knowing we were about to do something momentous.

It was really just a brief flash and then reality crashed back down. I realized there were no suitcases with coming home outfits, or excited phone calls to make. Instead, I was going to have the remains of baby #2 scraped from my womb. What a cosmic joke.

I think of how many times I prayed that I'd just be pregnant by my first due date. How I didn't want to face my due date without another baby in me, without at least that glimmer of hope of motherhood to console me. And yet, here I am. My first officially unpregnant day since baby #2.

I spent my sleepless night looking for some way to remember both my babies. I toyed with the idea of a tattoo. I'm relatively anti-tattoo for myself because of the permanence. But my babies will always be a part of me, so it seems as good a reason as exists.

I never could decide what I'd do. I thought about a flower with two petals falling to the ground. Though sick as this is, I couldn't help but have to think that it would need to be expandable. If we lose more babies, more petals could be added. And if we ever manage to make a live one, perhaps a petal added to the growing flower. But that seemed complicated and then, where would I put it? I'm a fat girl and there's nothing crappier than a stretched out tattoo.

So, I went back to jewelry. I'm not really big on jewelry. I always manage to break or lose it. But I found this site. Particularly this piece. I would do my two should-have-been-birth stones- aquamarine & peridot.

I think the forget-me-not is a lovely touch. Even if I didn't wear it regularly, just having it seems important to me. The artist also suffered 2 losses herself, and I like knowing that someone who truly does know what it means to lose a baby will make it.

It comes with this note:

Forget me not

My little one
You have left us too soon
Though my body can no longer hold you
I hold you forever in my heart
As precious and beautiful as this flower caught in time
A mother's love does not forget

Having come up with SOMETHING, I feel a small sense of relief. Of course, the sadness is still here. The house seems very quiet today. Instead of being filled with last minute baby things & probably visiting relatives wanting to be here for the birth, I'm home alone. Still bleeding from loss #2.

There isn't much more that can be said to that.

So I'll leave with these thoughts.

To my first never-born,

You will always be loved.
I hope to one day be able to hold you and tell you that.
Until then, please look after your sibling in heaven.


Your mom

The only baby picture I may ever have.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's over

The D&C was this morning.
The procedure itself was fine. Waking up from the anasthesia was less-than-ideal.

From what the anasthesiologist said later, the procedure went quicker than expected, so when they woke me up, I was still in pretty deep. My chest wall wouldn't expand leading me to think I was drowning. She said I was getting plenty of oxygen, but it sure didn't FEEL like it.

My first thought upon waking up was "Someone please help me." but I couldn't speak. My next thought was "So this is what it feels like to drown." Finally I managed to choke out "HELP!" and everyone went crazy for a while. She kept telling me I was okay and I kept shaking my head no. At one point I started to cry cause I just kept thinking they were going to have to put me on a vent or something and all these horrible things were going through my head.
But finally it got a little better. It was honestly probably close to an hour before I really felt like I was breathing really normally.

All in all, it was not one of the highlights of my life. But all's well that ends well. I'm fine now.

It was a rough start. On the way to the hospital I started to cry. Tomorrow is my due date with baby #1 and I said to my husband that we should be on our way to have a baby, not to lose another one. He agreed but said that hopefully this is the last time we ever have to do this.

My doctor said that the cytocryology may not work because the tissue has been in me for so long that it may not grow. They sent it off for testing anyway, but there's a good chance it won't work. She told my husband after the procedure that she still doesn't think there is probably anything wrong with us, just more bad luck. Maybe next time, the bad luck will run out. We'll see.

I feel okay. I had a massive headache when I got home, but took some of the prescription strength ibuprofen they went with me and slept for several hours. I'm still all dried out from all of it, but that'll pass.

I go back to work on Monday. I'm relieved not to have to work tomorrow. If I want to sit at home and sulk and cry all day, at least I have that choice.

Now we start praying for my first real period. Step #1 complete. Step #2 can come on any time now.


Monday, August 13, 2007

D&C scheduled

Too tired for much of a post tonight, but wanted to let everyone know.

I called the office when they opening this morning (one of the benefits of not sleeping is being available at any hour) and left a message that nothing had happened.

I think the receptionist just told Good Nurse Crystal to call me and not what I had said because when Crystal called she sounded very hopeful when she asked "So, did it work?!"
And really disappointed when I said "not even a little."

She was pretty frustrated. She apologized a hundred times even though I told her it was MY body that was not cooperating, not anything she'd done.

She said she'd call the doc at home and call me back. An hour later, she called and asked me to come in for another beta. I really don't know what the point of that was when we had an u/s on Thursday that showed a sac not budging, but hey, whatever floats their boat. She wanted me to come in to the office rather than going to the lab so she could make sure she got the results back today.

She called about 3 this afternoon and my # was still in the 600's (I was FINALLY sleeping after being up for 2 days and was too groggy to remember the exact #) and wanted to schedule a D&C right away.

So Wednesday morning at 8:30, I get the pray-n-scrape. Of course, all this talk about uterine scarring has scared the shit out of me, so I'm a little nervous. Not about the procedure. I've done that before. No biggie. But the consequences. But what choice do I have?

I'm just glad to have an end in mind. Honestly when I left the office from the blood-draw I almost broke down in the car because I thought they were going to put me off again and I'm just not sure how much more of this I can take.

I felt better after a 4 hour "nap" and a resolution.

I'm actually quite tired tonight and about to go to bed. There's a good chance I'll be up in 3 hours, but I have to at least try.

I'll write more tomorrow. Lots of stuff swirling in my mind this week, just too tired to put it all together.


I hope.

I hope.

I don't know how many of you are regular Post Secret readers, but even if you aren't, I highly recommend taking a trip over there this week.

For any who may not know, Post Secret is a amazing art project. It's run by Frank Warren. People create a post card art project representing a secret. Then they let it go. It is sent to Frank, who sorts through them and posts 20 of them each week. He has also compiled some books that can be purchased at any bookstore.

This week, instead of simply posting the photos, he's made a video. It's set to a song that I hadn't heard but moved me to tears almost immediately. Combined with the sadness and joy of some of the secrets, I was extremely moved.

As I felt the tears well up for the person who wrote "I'm 25, and I've never been kissed. It's not that I don't want to... it's just that no one else does." I then found myself giggling and joyful at "Hooray! I found someone who loves me even though I have HERPES! Yippee!"

I listened to the lyrics of the song, Breathe Me by Sia:

Help, I have done it again
I have been here many times before
Hurt myself again today
And the worst part is there's no one else blame

Be my friend
Hold me
Wrap me up
And fold me
I am small
and needy
Warm me up
and breathe me

Ouch I have lost myself again
lost myself and I am nowhere else to be found
Yeah I think that I might break
lost myself again and I feel unsafe

I felt the words in my soul. Feeling so meek. Reaching out to my friends for comfort, as I do in this blog so often. I was already fighting the urge to truly sob. Then I saw the very last secret.

Two words.

I hope.

I cry again as I type them. I hope. Don't we all?

I hope for you.
I hope for me.
I hope the 25 year old who has never been kissed finds the person who has been waiting to kiss her.
I hope the person with Herpes will forgive herself for having it.
I hope you all have peace.
I hope I hope I'll have a baby.
And I hope I'll survive if I don't.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Wanna know what the definition of hell is?

Babies-r-us while miscarrying my 2nd baby less than a week from my 1st due date.

Yes, my friends. I'm friggin' brilliant. I was feeling emotionally strong last night and thought I'd be fine. I wanted to pick up a few things for a friend and wasn't really worried at all. I asked my husband over dinner if he minded stopping by. I was worried it might upset HIM. Of course, HE was fine. I was not.

As we walked in, there were the wall decorations. One of them reads "I am a dream come true." I walked over and touched it longingly and said quietly to my husband, "this will be for us." He just smiled and agreed.

We moved toward the back of the store where all the strollers and such are. There was a couple obviously registering. I thought how right now we'd have all this done and set up and just waiting for labor. I felt the tears well up. I shook it off and turned around.

I found the clothing section and touched all the soft stuff. I even toyed with buying one particular outfit for a hope chest of sorts. Then I decided that was dumb because it was a girl's outfit and we might have a boy. I refused to think about the fact that we might never have either.

Then up to the front where I put on a shiny face for the too-perky check out girl. She handed us some coupons. I managed to stifle the urge to scoff at the notion I would ever need them.

When we got out the door, I could feel the waves of sadness about to overtake me. I knew if I started to sob my husband would get that deer-in-the-headlights look so I fought it back. He chatted cheerfully, completely unaware that my heart was caving in. I drove home in silence, berating myself for being stupid.

Why in the world would I think I was strong enough for that? I have been okayish. I really have. I've been working very hard to accept that this is the path that we're on, whether we chose it or not. I've looked back on all the shitty circumstances I've found myself in throughout my history and reminded myself how I wouldn't change any of it because it lead me to who I am and who I'm with now. And I really do believe that 10 years from now, maybe even 5 years from now, I'll be able to look back at this time with sadness, but see that we came out better people for it all. It's helped me stay sane.

But babies-r-us? (Or, rather, babies-r-them, as I informed my husband it should be called) I must be insane. Would an alcoholic still in rehab take a day trip to a brewery? Of course not. Everyone has limits.

Anyway, yes, I'm still miscarrying. Still bleeding with no apparent change. The Cytotec turned the bleeding from brown to bright red for perhaps 10 or 12 hours, but back to same ol' same ol' now.

I'll call on Monday and ask what next. I found it amusing that not only can I not get pregnant or stay pregnant properly, I can't even get UN-pregnant properly. I'm nothing if not special, I suppose.

The insomnia continues. I actually slept about 9 hours yesterday. It was fitful. I was awake several times but it was leaps and bounds better than the 3ish hours I've been getting. (Save for the 6 hours I got on Codeine. That was great sleep, but I was up for a day and a half after that.) Tonight it's back. I got excited because I got really tired about 1 am. I was asleep by 2. And yet a little before 5, I was up- WIDE awake. Here I sit.

I think I might wander out and see if I can see any of the meteor shower. I went out before I went to bed and think I saw something, but it could have been my eyes playing tricks on me. There is a street light in the neighbor's front yard and I think the light pollution might have gotten me. I think I'll go to the back and see if that's any better. Otherwise I might take a drive to the country tomorrow. I haven't had any blood tests in weeks, my body is probably confused by being topped off. I should donate to the mosquitoes.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Small update

Had a 2nd round of Cytotec inserted about 2 hours ago. I FEEL NOTHING.
This shit is not working.

I am extremely irritated.

No progress

"I'm not scared of my vagina."

Yes. Those are words that came out of my mouth yesterday.
Had a follow up ultrasound and appointment to see if I'm EVER going to actually pass the sac. (Apparently the answer is no.)

I agreed to a dose of Cytotec to try to get things moving. That meant driving to the pharmacy and back to the doctor's office to have them place it. It's a vaginal suppository.

As the doctor and I were discussing if I REALLY had to come back, I managed to utter the above words. She just smiled. This wasn't my actual R.E. Apparently she was stuck in an airport trying to get back, so I saw a different doctor. This doctor is quite young. Seems like someone I could be friends with.

Turns out she's no stranger to the world of hoo-ha trouble. She said she has 1/2 an ovary. I had asked how she decided to go into infertility.

I think it's a testament to how bizarre the whole world of infertility is when I'm chatting about career choices while someone shoves pills up my hoo-ha.

Let me backtrack. When I got to the office and back to the ultrasound, the tech was having difficulty identifying what was going on. The sac was quite visible, but she was trying to see a heartbeat. (Not sure why, perhaps she's an even harder case for hope than me.) Anyway, everything is starting to break down. The sac isn't quite round anymore, and the fetus itself no longer looks like much except a blob. She asked if I'd mind going to their brand new u/s machine for a better look. I figured what's another dildo-camming amongst friends and agreed.

So I wrapped my blanket around my waist and traipsed across to the next u/s room. Well, because the machine is new, she needed help from the person trained to work it. AND the doctor decided to come in and see how things were going. Nothing like an audience when I'm in the stirrups. They were all very nice and apologetic about it all. I just laughed and said that not much phases me these days- that I scoff at people complaining about a pap smear.

The doc agreed they're wusses. (Her word, not mine.) We then discussed which is worse- the dentist or a pap smear. We all agreed it was the dentist. The doc actually saw the dentist that morning, and said she'd rather have 12 paps than do that again.

So, to the office to discuss our options. That's where we decided on the Cytotec, and I uttered my famous words. I was saying that I might be able to insert them myself. But they have to go behind my cervix, so that wasn't going to work out so well. She was concerned I wouldn't be able to get the angle right.

After a hellacious 90 minute visit to the Walgreen's from hell, I returned to the office with my lovely suppositories. They were placed and I left with a script for some Tylenol 3s. (Yes, another visit to Walgreen's. But a different one this time. MUCH better.)

I started to feel really bloated and odd within an hour. I went ahead and took a pain pill. A friend came over to sit with me until my husband got home, just in case anything happened. All that happened is that I found the cure for my insomnia- Codeine.
I slept on the couch a few hours, then moved to bed and slept another 4. The doc told me that most of the time it kicks in between 4 and 6 hours. Since I woke up 10 hours after they'd been placed, I hoped it was over.

No such luck. I'm barely even bleeding. I wish I could say I'm surprised. NOTHING comes easy. She said if nothing had happened in 24-48 hours to call back. I'll call this afternoon. That'll mean another dose of Cytotec. If that doesn't work, we'll have no choice but to have a D&C. She really doesn't want to do that and she's told me so many times how worried she is about uterine damage that she's got me scared, too.

Of course, at this point, just MAKE IT STOP. I've been bleeding for 2 1/2 weeks and I'm getting nowhere. The sac is in the same place it was 9 days ago. My body just will not cooperate.

Adding to all of this, my friend that was due the same day as me had her baby yesterday. Her blood pressure went up and they took her early. I'm very happy for her, and I surprised myself by not crying. But the irony wasn't lost on me. Instead of having a baby (My first baby was due next Thursday) I'm trying desperately to get rid of one.

I'll say it again. This sucks.


P.S. Hate the new colors? I don't know what to think yet. The green was just too bright. I'm not feeling very bright (aka: cheery. I'm not feeling dumb, for the record.) I'm feeling very dark, actually. And all I do is bleed these days, so the blood red seemed appropriate. I'm moody. I might change it again in a few days. We'll see.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Insomniac ramblings

It's 5:30 in the morning. Apparently I just don't need to sleep anymore.
I've struggled with insomnia for years. After my 1st miscarriage, it was BAD. I was so anxious for so long that I couldn't sleep. That's not what I'd call "insomnia." I mean, I wasn't sleeping, so I'm sure it qualifies, but it really wasn't my normal kind of insomnia.

At that time, I went to my (now ex) PCP and asked for something to help me sleep. The woman I normally saw wasn't available, so I saw the new doctor in the office. Big mistake.

The nurse came in and asked why I was there and I told her I was having a miscarriage (hadn't even had the D&C yet, it was the same day that we had our 2nd u/s to confirm no heartbeat) and I was having a lot of trouble sleeping. The nurse.. well, all she said was "I'm sorry." but in such a way and with such a look that there was no question in my mind whatsoever that she'd had a miscarriage herself. She said the doctor would be in shortly and walked out. I looked at my husband and said, "Well, she's had a miscarriage." He just said "Yep." Even he got it. Such a look of intense pain. I wanted to get up and chase after her to hug her.

So in comes the doctor. She says she understands I'm having anxiety. I said yes, but that's understandable, the main problem is that I can't sleep. She tells me I have depression and she'll be right back and out she goes. I was left sort of gape mouthed, staring at my husband. The conversation had seriously been maybe 3 minutes and I suddenly have depression?

So she comes back in and in her hand she has a prescription for Zoloft and a quiz about depression she wants me to take. The questions were on a scale of "Occasionally" "Twice or more in the last two weeks" "Every day for the last 2 weeks." etc etc.

The questions were things like "You've cried." "You've felt sad." "You've felt hopeless."
Um. HI. They told me 2 days ago that my baby was dead and confirmed it TODAY. Yes, you crazy bitch, I've cried more than twice in the last 2 weeks.

I answered the quiz but looked up and said "I'm having a miscarriage, crying is normal." She just shook her head and tried to shove the Zoloft at me.

I started to lose my temper at that point. Even David looked pissed and it requires serious effort to upset him.

I have suffered an anxiety disorder in the past and was medicated for about a year and a half. I feel no stigma whatsoever about a depression or anxiety diagnosis. I wasn't in denial, I was GRIEVING. All of this I explained to her. Apparently this crazy bitch doesn't believe in grief, or perhaps any emotion at all.

I refused to take the script and she finally gave me a new one for Ativan with some HUGE dosage on it. Which, btw, the original prescription is still in the cabinet with maybe 2 pills out of it. If I took what she told me, I'd probably be found on the side of the road drooling. Anyway, she made me sign a form that I was "refusing treatment for depression." I guess in case I offed myself, she wouldn't be liable.

I never went back to that office again. I'm not thrilled with my current PCP but anything is better than THAT. I have bad PCP mojo, btw. I can pick hoo-ha doctors with my eyes closed and have great luck. I've had 5 doctors over the last dozen years that I adored. But PCPs? Not so much. I liked the nurse practioner at the old office, but that's as close as I've come to not-completely-bat-shit in many years.

I digress.

This time, however, I don't feel anxious. I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel pain. I don't feel anxious. But I'm still not freaking sleeping.

I haven't been to bed before dawn in almost a week. I'm half convinced I'm working on a 36 hour schedule at some times, but even when I finally do get to sleep, I don't stay that way very long. Go to bed at 7:30 and up at noon or 1? That's not great.

Tonight I exercised a little. (Just on the exercise ball. My goal was actually to try to get this freakin' sac to pass.. STILL NO LUCK.) I was hoping that would also maybe wear me out. I haven't been doing ANYTHING, so maybe it's lack of movement. Yeah. And it's now going on 6am and I'm still up.

I should just take the damned Ativan. If nothing else, it would probably make me sleepy. But I'm really not a pill popper at all. I always end up with some strange side effect so I'm leery of most stuff. (Except fertility meds, which you know, I'll take any thing, any time, any place, on anyone's recommendation.)

The side effect of not sleeping, though, is more sadness. I tend to get weepy when I don't sleep. Add my crazy hormones, and the obvious reasons to be weepy and I'm just a mess.

It also makes me short tempered which isn't good. I find myself angry with a lot of people. Mostly anyone who has never had a miscarriage. Totally rational. I know. I have been spending a lot of time lurking on a miscarriage board because I just want to be surrounded by people who get it. Not people who are sorry. But people who really get it.

And that's shitty, I know it is. Everyone has been really great. Cards of sympathy, chocolate, etc in the mail. Even the friend who really, really let me down after the first miscarriage has come through this time, just coming and sitting with me a while one day.

But I still feel so disparate from anyone who hasn't been through it. I find myself wanting to scream YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE! FUCK YOU, YOU DON'T KNOW MY PAIN!

Which is dumb, cause Lord knows we all have our own pain. I don't know the pain of losing a spouse, or being beaten by one or losing a limb or any of 1000 other horrible things. Plenty of people have experienced far worse pain than me. But I feel SO self-involved currently. Like I'm in my cave and I don't want to come out. I don't want to see everyone else's problems because I'm just so all fucking consumed with my own.

And I'm not that kind of person. Anyone who knows me would tell you that I'm all about the empathy. But I just don't have it in me. And this expectation (by myself, not from ANYONE else) that I should makes me angry. And it's all me. Everyone has said to me that I deserve some time to be selfish. But selfish isn't my nature, yet here I am. Chalk another side effect up to all this infertility/miscarriage bullshit. I'm a selfish, angry, weepy moron.

Speaking of my cave, I'm struggling with when to go back to work. I feel guilty being at home. For probably 22 hours a day, I'm physically fine. But there's this 2 period each day where I want to fall over and die.

I STILL haven't passed this damned sac. I would really rather not do this at work. I COULD.. but I don't know how much pain I'm going to be in, or how messy it's going to be.

Plus there's the whole complication if I DON'T pass it. I see the doctor again on Thursday and have yet another dildo cam view of my uterus. If it's not gone, I've either going to have to have a D&C or go with Cytotec to try to move things along.
So that means arranging for time off for the appointment on Thursday, plus if I haven't passed it by then, more time off for whatever happens from there.

I'm also going freaking stir crazy in the house. And again, I feel GUILTY being at home when I COULD be at work.

But with our fucked up attendance policy at work, it's far more complicated to go back to work and then go out again that it is to remain off work.

The tone the disability lady took with me didn't help. It was only a hint of disapproval, but I didn't take it well. Probably because of my own sense of guilt. I've now been off work for 10 days. Granted, from Wednesday to last Tuesday wasn't "miscarriage" related. It was pregnancy with spotting related. Then Tuesday with the U/S confirmation that indeed I was losing the baby, it transformed into miscarriage related. So I've actually been off for 3 days for the miscarriage. Which doesn't sound SO bad. But I'm totally justifying here.

I don't know. I just feel weird. I have no doubt that my time off will be covered by FMLA, which means no trouble at work. But having it covered by disability is a different matter. And that determines if I'll be getting pay from this past Wednesday on or not. We're lucky that David is working again so we'd be okay financially, but it is something to think about, you know?

Anyway, I'm babbling. Which, btw, is another symptom of my ongoing insomnia. Be glad you aren't here with me. You'd be passed out on in the chair and I'd still be rattling on. I talk a lot under normal circumstances. This is just insane.

So. I think I'm now going to go lay in bed for a while and see what happens. If I'm still awake when David gets up for work in 20 minutes, I'll pick a movie on the TiVo and go from there.

Got any recommendations? I've been considering signing up for NetFlix. I've seen all movies playing on Showtime, HBO & Starz that I not only had any desire to see, but even thought I could stand to watch. MUCH time has been spent with the television the last 10 days. And I'm working on my 2nd book.

No work and no sleep leaves LOTS of time for mindless entertainment.



Saturday, August 4, 2007

No change

Looks like my response to the blog I linked to the other night didn't get posted. Probably too long. I wasn't belligerant or anything. I'll post it at the bottom of this entry.

The author has posted a new entry. A change of heart! What a pleasant surprise.

I can't really evaluate my emotional health currently. I had a rough night last night. Very sad, very angry. And the sadness hung into today. Every little thing has made me cry today. Normal, I know. Still sucks.

Oddly enough, a lot of my sadness isn't so much about this pregnancy but about my first. My due date is quickly approaching. Knowing that I'd now be in the "baby could come at any minute" stage hurts. A lot. Even just typing those words gave me an ache in my heart. I came across the one ultrasound picture from my first pregnancy (which is lovingly stuffed in a drawer with spare batteries and birthday candles because.. well.. I just don't know what else to do with it. It was on the fridge and that's where I shoved it to get it out of my sight after the first miscarriage.) the other day. Yeah. That was an odd moment. First sadness. Then a deep sigh of wistful. Then I turned it upside down and shoved it further back in the drawer. Sentimental, I know.

Anyway. Physically, about the same. Depends on the hour. Sometimes I'm fine, sometimes I'm certain my uterus is falling out. Still haven't passed the sac. The bleeding has picked up in the last day and have been passing some tissue again tonight, so hopefully soon.

I'm quite ready for this to be over. If not just for the pain & general PITA of bleeding and pads, but because it's one step closer to the NEXT MOVE.

I know I've been working on my patience. All in time. God's time, not my time. Yeah. I'll keep working on that. But really, that is what is keeping me going.

Step 1: Stop freaking bleeding. (After passing everything, thank you.)
Step 2: Start bleeding again.
Step 3: Lots of tests.
Step 4: Find some simple, easy to fix problem.
Step 5: Fix said problem.
Step 6: Start bleeding again.
Step 7: Get pregnant.
Step 8: Have live, healthy baby.

Simple, yes? Let's get started on that.


My response to the blog from my last entry.

I think most of the other infertiles have really commented on the emotional aspects of what I would have to say, so I'll just brush those lightly and then get into what I really want to add.

I see you say that you think that fertiles should adopt just as infertiles should. Do you also think that fertiles who choose not to are "narcissistic" and "selfish?"

There are points where I can understand where ignorance of the full situation would certainly lead to your original thoughts, but that particular one makes my teeth grind a bit.

As for why we (infertiles) want to have our own biological children... well... for the same reasons that fertile people do. That doesn't seem so complicated.

Honestly, wanting children AT ALL is sort of a crazy choice. (Biological, non-biological but home-grown, adopted, whatever.) They are messy, disobedient, expensive, and all leave you in the end. And I can't WAIT to be annoyed as hell.

The desire for this illogical choice has nothing to do with fertile vs infertile. We're just crazy. We believe that the love will outweigh all of the bad stuff.

Not to get too far off track, but why do people want dogs? They smell, pee on your carpet, chew up your belongings, steal your food, escape and piss off the neighbors, and are ultimately fairly expensive. Yet I wouldn't trade a moment with my dog. It's my choice because the love and companionship he provides outweighs everything else.

I've seen many, many references to "just adopt"ing. My problem isn't with the question "why don't you adopt?" It's with that "just" part.

There is NOTHING "just" about it.

The short answer to the question is the honestly, MOST fertility treatments are cheaper, quicker and far less invasive than adopting.

This is going to get sort of technical. Feel free to skip on by this part.

There a lot of options depending on what your diagnosis is. A great number of women who don't ovulate regularly have PCOS. It's the #1 diagnosed "infertility" diagnosis. (I quote that because PCOS can be a very severe medical problem. The short explanation is that you end up with LOTS of cysts on your ovaries. You can imagine that's quite painful, and they can burst (both the cysts and/or the ovary) and that REALLY hurts, and in the case of the ovary, well, you would die w/o help.)

In this case, infertility is a symptom, not really the disease. PCOS is very closely linked to insulin resistance. I won't get any more medical than I already am, but basically your ovaries have insulin receptors on them and if you are not processing insulin properly, things go haywire.

The treatment? A diabetes medicine. Costs about 5 bucks. It has some not-so-pleasant gastrointestinal side effects when you start it, but it also drops your risk of developing diabetes later by a significant amount. (You don't have to take it forever. Just a while.)

Sometimes that drug by itself will kick start ovulation. Sometimes you can combine a drug called Clomid with it. Costs about $25 for 5 pills. Sounds expensive until you find out you only need 5 pills (max of 15) per month. It increases your risk of twins to a little less than 10%. The usual chance is about 3%, so it does go up, but not to a crazy level. And a risk of triplets is a little less than 1%. Again, negligible. And a proper doctor is monitoring you to make sure you're not releasing too many eggs anyway. The pregnancy rate for Clomid is about 40% in three months.

Clomid has been in existence for decades. I'm not sure it's inception, but it was at least in the early 70's as I have friends who are a product of it. I have gotten pregnant (and miscarried, unrelated to my infertility) on it twice. With one baby, for the record.

We combined the Clomid with IUI. My husband's swimmers suck so the hope was to get as many swimmers as possible as close to the egg as possible. (I ovulate on my own, but not well, hence the Clomid.)
IUI is a relatively inexpensive treatment as well. Basically, my husband does his business in a cup; they send the semen through a "wash" which strips the semen and just leave the sperm. The sperm is deposited via catheter into my uterus.

It sounds awful, I know. But honestly, it doesn't really hurt that much. I had a painful one a few months ago (I've had 4 total, resulting in our 2 pregnancies.) but the last one.. I didn't even know she'd put the cath in. It's really not torture. No more invasive than your average pap smear.

As for cost? It depends. The IUI itself is probably 2-300 bucks. (These are all US dollars, btw.) If they do a follicle scan (ultrasound) you might add another 2-300 for that.

(I live in a state with infertility coverage, and the insurance company doesn't pay nearly that much. Not sure how much you know about American insurance, but the out of pocket cost is NOT what an insurance company pays. usually a small percentage, actually. For example, I'm "billed" $183 for an ultrasound. My insurance pays $50. The doctor's office writes off the rest because they are contracted for a certain amount through the insurance company.)

Anyway, so, completely out of pocket, a Clomid/IUI cycle is probably 5-600 dollars, max.

Now, if Clomid doesn't work to make a woman ovulate or doesn't succeed, you can move on to bigger and better drugs. They are also MUCH more expensive - in the range of probably a thousand dollars per cycle. So let's say a cycle of that is approximately $1500. They're also injectible, and let's be honest- needles suck.

The success rate of IUI is hard to state because a lot of it depends on what your diagnosis is. It’s usually quoted at 20%/cycle, but that's sort of misleading.

For us, our odds of IUI were quoted at around 10-15% to start off with. The sperm issues really drop it, so they weren't great. And sadly, there wasn't anything they could do for my husband to increase his chances. They couldn't find any "reason" for his count to be so low so there wasn't anything to fix, really.
We lucked out and my husband's sperm washes well. Meaning that the treatment they give it for the IUI usually doubles his motile count. As I've mentioned, our pregnancy rate is 50% in 4 months currently.

IVF for my area would be about $12,000. With my age and diagnosis, success rate is about 45% per cycle.
It is FAR more invasive, yes. Lots of shots, lots of monitoring, and ultimately a surgery to retrieve the eggs. There's very little chance we'll need to do it because we've proven that IUI will get us pregnant. But with our original diagnosis, IVF was our most likely chance at pregnancy so we certainly looked at it.

At one point you said:

"This makes perfect sense to me. I’m all for reducing the invasiveness of fertility treatments. My question, though, is: repeating the cycle, isn’t that going to be just as if not more invasive? how to balance out these options?"

The answer is not necessarily. If you respond as you should for an IVF, you'll probably get around 10 eggs. Those eggs are then fertilized and you wait and see. If things go well, you might end up with 7 or 8 fertilized eggs. The (usually) 2 best are transferred back with hopes of implantation 3 or 5 days later, depending on how well they're growing. That leaves maybe 5 fertilized eggs still growing. maybe all 5 still look good at the 5 day mark. Maybe 1 or 2 do, but certainly, most people have a few still good. Those are frozen.

Now what happens is that if the transferred embryos don't take hold, do take hold but don't make it, or if they do and you then later decide you'd like more, you can do a FET. (Frozen Egg Transfer.) That means much less invasion because you don't have to go through the egg retrieval again (which is the worst part.)

Here's where coverage for infertility can make things less invasive (and less costly, which I think is part of your problem with all of this.)

A woman paying for these options out of pocket is looking to up her odds of getting pregnant.
I'll use me as an example. I'm a healthy 30 year old. Odds are, if you put an embryo (1) into me, it will implant and grow. But if I'm laying out 12k, I want to up those odds a bit. So they'll put 2 back just to make sure. I might only HAVE enough money for 1 cycle, so my eggs are LITERALLY in one "basket."
This means a few things. First, I’m now much more likely to have twins. Multiple gestation pregnancy is expensive. The risk of complication goes up exponentially. That means hospital stays for the mother. $$$$. They are often born early, which means hospital (NICU) stays for the babies. $$$$$
All of which you're already paying for. No debate.

Secondly, it means fewer eggs are left to try for a FET later. Which means starting the IVF process from scratch all over again.

There have been a number of studies done showing that IVFs/FETs with less embryos put back cost far less over the long run than those with more. But the difference is that people just plain can't afford to do it less. They may only have enough savings for one shot, so they can't hold out for a FET.

Now, I know I've gone on FOREVER here and probably bored you to death, but I think that often the problem is ignorance about infertility treatments. People see a 60 year old woman or a woman birthing 6 babies on the news and they become the face of infertility. When, in fact, they are no more an accurate representation of infertiles than O.J. Simpson is of African Americans. They make the news because they're ODDITIES.

I just wanted to add some adoption facts to the discussion.

Domestic adoption of an infant costs a minimum of about 25K (averages closer to about 40k) and takes 2-3 years. It is fraught with disappointment and invasion. Sometimes even physical invasion just like infertility. You'll have to prove your health. Plus the invasion into your home, past, finances, etc.

International adoption is even MORE expensive. I did some research into it last year and the cheapest fee was around $6400 (Columbia & Mexico.) That's the fee to the agency. That does not include travel, paperwork, visas, hotel stays, etc etc etc. By the time it's all said and done, it's usually in the 30k range. Not to mention all the time off required. Countries like Russia require two trips to visit with a lengthy stay each time. That requires a lot of time off from work, which isn't a fee, but is certainly a cost.

I had someone ask me recently why I didn't just adopt because I'm so disappointed when a cycle fails. As though adoption is better.
Domestic adoption is the worst as far as emotional risks because in many states, the birth mother has up to a YEAR to change her mind. You think I'm disappointed in a negative pregnancy test? Imagine what I'd be like holding a baby in my arms for 6 months only to have to give it back.

Then there is adoption through the foster care system. It's pretty cheap fee-wise most of the time. Sometimes only a few hundred dollars, depends on the age of the child and some other factors. However, as a previous poster pointed out, adoptable kids actually aren't that readily available.

A friend waited several years for a placement of a toddler aged child who was "probably" going to be available for adoption.
What this meant is that she took a developmentally delayed, behavior issue filled toddler into her home. His birth mother comes to visit. To their home. This is a woman who has had her child taken from her. Let's just say she's not the usual houseguest my friend would have. Talk about invasive. My friend is responsible for taking the child to get togethers with his extended family. And the aftermath of those visits isn't pleasant. It's upsetting for the child in many ways.

Never mind the costs involved with his therapy. It is currently being covered by the state because he is still their ward, but eventually it will become their responsibility IF the birth mother REALLY terminates her rights as she keeps promising. And the mother may not. My friend could ultimately lose the child anyway.

So, a breakdown.
Basic infertility treatment: $500/month Success rate: ~40% in three months
Upgraded infertility treatment: $1500/month Success rate similar to basic.
IVF: $12k/cycle success rate: from 30-50% per cycle depending on age/health of the woman.
Adoption: $25k-$50k Success rate: Not sure on this one. Probably somewhere close to 100% as long as you're approved. (I can't find any good statistics on this, I'm sorry.) Average time to adopt: 2-3 years.

In the end, my point is that there are NO easy solutions. There is no "just" in any of it. As for being selfish.. I can't imagine how you could possibly be selfish and choose ANY of them because they're all difficult.

For us, we thought we'd try the easiest, cheapest way first- Clomid/IUI. That the child will be biologically ours is a benefit. YES. A BENEFIT. It isn't a non-negotiable benefit, but yes, I do dream of looking into my child's eyes and see their father looking back at me. If it wouldn't ultimately work, I'd love the eyes looking back at me no matter what, but the ideal situation is, indeed, a biological child.

We made our choice, just as you make yours to remain child-free. I don't think that makes either of us selfish.

Anyway, I apologize for being so verbose. It's just something I feel strongly about and quite frankly, I talk a lot anyway.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Small update & discussion

I don't have much to report. Still haven't passed the sac, though the bleeding and cramping picked up a fair bit tonight.

I had to apply for short-term disability through work since I've been off more than a week. The woman from the insurance company called today to clarify some things. She was polite, but you could tell she thought a miscarriage was a stupid reason to be off work.
"So you don't have any physical restrictions?"


"Oh." (please read this with some curtness.) "Alright." (Add a sort of half sigh.)

If I'd been in a bitchier mood I'd probably have asked her if she'd ever had a miscarriage and then told her to fuck herself. In the end, it's probably best that she caught me off-guard. I'm not sure if she's a decision maker or not, but sometimes my mouth goes anyway.

I mostly came because I wanted to direct you to an interesting discussion.

Fertile Frank is the one that lead me to it. Thanks, Frank!

It's basically a childless-by-choice feminist blogger discussing her feelings about infertility treatments. She doesn't think she SHOULD feel so "bugged" by it, but she does. The post is maybe a little maddening (got me at first, I calmed down by the end of it.) but the real interest is in the comments. I posted a REALLY, REALLY long reply, but we'll see if it makes it up or not. If not, I'm prepared to repost it here.

I'd love to hear what you guys think. Either comment there or here. I love a good debate and a topic so close to my heart (just up from the uterus) really piqued my interest.

Hope you enjoy it, and that it doesn't piss any of you off too badly.