March 27, 2009

JEALOUS

I'd like to add something to my grokking post from yesterday.

I am not better off for having this wisdom. If I could give it all back, I would. Without question. If I could magically go back in time and have a baby when I first tried to, without difficulty or heartache, I would do it in a heartbeat. I don't want to be wise and well-versed in life's lessons; I want a two year old instead.

I am, quite simply, gut-gnawingly jealous of people who can control their family planning. I am jealous of their naivete and their happiness. I don't want them to be wise like me; I want to be naive like them. I envy them, in a way that is entirely unhealthy.

I have also learned that dwelling on this doesn't do me any good either. It just makes me more insane and unfulfilled.

The meaning of life, if you ask me, is to create life. It's to pass on your genes and your values to another generation. And I haven't been able to do that. I cannot participate in the meaning of life. I can't begin to describe how that feels.

I don't want you to have trouble getting pregnant. I don't want you to not have children. I don't want you to get anywhere near knowing what it feels like.

I just want what you have.

So much so that I don't even know how to deal with it anymore.

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March 26, 2009

I FINALLY GROK

A person in my life is newly pregnant. An intermediary called me to tell me the news so I'd hear it in person and not through the grapevine. When I realized that this girl was only as pregnant as I was -- 7 weeks -- I remarked that they were not out of the woods yet and said to pass on my congratulations and that I would continue to hope that everything goes well with the pregnancy. The intermediary said, "Well, she has been to the doctor and everything looks fine." And I, complete cynic about pregnancy that I now am, refrained from reminding this person that I too had a healthy happy 7 week old baby once, a baby that subsequently and unexpectedly died.

And it irked me, irked me that someone could be so naive about pregnancy woes while having been acquainted with me for the past few years. That someone thought that good-to-go at 7 weeks put you in the clear. That this person was so...oh crap...I am not really going to let this word pop into my head, am I?...

flippant.

And all of a sudden, I grokked. I understood what she was feeling when she said that, even if I still disagree that I personally was coming off as flippant. But I also realized that it doesn't really matter, because I am sure this intermediary never would've characterized herself as flippant either.

But it's this naivete with the process, this happy-go-lucky vibe, that's hard to swallow when your own journey has been like dragging and clawing to Mordor. You want other people to have a healthy fear of pregnancy, an inkling that things can go terribly wrong very quickly; you want them to realize that bringing a child into this world, though it seems to happen easily to a great many people, is actually a miracle of engineering and timing. But people who've never suffered just don't have that perspective and never will, no matter how close they are to you or how hard you try to encumber them with your anguish.

They will sound flippant to your ears, no matter what.

What I have learned from this process, and from the whole flippant flap, is that I have to let it pass. I have to let these people be naive. Either they will learn the lesson the hard way, as I did, or they won't and life will turn out happy and jolly for them. But having me rain on their parade doesn't help any of us. It cannot make them understand the suffering that some of us go through to have children. I cannot give them wisdom they are not in a place to understand. It will only make them resent me for not letting them live their own life and learn their own lessons, as I resented her.

But I get it now, two years later. And these are the times when I am happiest as a blogger, when I can document my learning process.

And say that I finally grok.

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March 25, 2009

GROUCHY TODAY

You know the problem has burrowed deep in your psyche when you dream about doctors and genetic testing and surrogates.

I am still feeling about the same, but I am going to try to stay off the meds today. I actually have to leave the house to go get my bloodwork done, so we'll see if I can make it.

And then I go to my knitting group to knit for other people's babies, like I always do. Always a bridesmaid...

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March 22, 2009

DECEPTIVE

The last time I went through this miscarriage process, I was Afraid Of Becoming a Drug Addict. I wanted to ration out the percocet and only take it when it was extremely necessary. Thus, I spent a lot of time in pain and stupidly trying to justify to myself why I needed another pill. This time around, I threw caution to the wind and started taking them every time the pain returned. Unfortunately, that method taught me why the #1 listed side effect of percocet is nausea; I spent last night running back and forth to the bathroom.

So I skipped the meds at bedtime and managed to sleep through the night. I woke up this morning feeling great. I thought that since this pregnancy wasn't as advanced as the last one, maybe the worst was past me. I thought I was mostly done. I imagined going on in to work tomorrow and living a normal week.

Yeah, shoulda checked my notes from last time again: this process is deceptive. Just when you think you're on the mend, pain rears its head again.

An hour ago, I doubled over in agony.

I hate this crap.

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March 21, 2009

MY BABY

Charlie was holding his zebra toy lovingly and licking its face. It was too funny; it looked like they were making out. But when I grabbed the camera, he stopped and just stared at me like I was a peeping Tom. Heh.

zebra.jpg

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THANK HEAVENS I'M ANAL

During the last miscarriage, my heart was destroyed. I told my mother that the only way I could get through it was to completely shut off my emotions and treat the whole thing like one big science project. Thus I took detailed notes about what was happening to me and timecoded every dose of medicine and every symptom.

In hindsight, I am so glad I did that. Whoda thunk I'd need to consult those notes again?

I pulled the journal out yesterday morning and reread the event. I realized I had forgotten how much it hurt. I also had condensed the timeline in my head: I thought the medicine took effect in like an hour, but my notes say it took five hours. Good thing I didn't have to rely on my faulty memory.

The process went OK yesterday. This pregnancy was not as advanced as the last one, so there's less to expel. Still, I am pretty certain that we're not completely done, so I took another dose of cytotec this morning.

My husband, meanwhile, has required attendance this morning at the Multiculturalism Readiness Fair. Good old Army and their mandatory nonsense. Of all the Saturdays...

I am doing well. The percocet makes me goofy though. One minute I can be smiley and joking like a drunk person, and then I crash into pain. It's bizarre. I can't believe some people like the way that feels and take this junk on purpose.

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March 20, 2009

CONCLUSIVE

Well, the paradox has been solved: Schroedinger's cat is dead.

We actually had a good appointment with the doctor today. He was straightforward, talked to us like we were informed adults, and listened to my hypotheses and agreed with me. And I even got to wow him by knowing about the concept of a pseudosac, which I learned from reading about A Little Pregnant's first miscarriage. I felt like this was a really productive visit, and I feel like we're on the right track with how to proceed.

We went right down to the lab and both the husband and I gave blood for genetic testing. The doctor is also testing me for blood clotting problems, though the fact that this was my second blighted ovum leads us to believe that this was a chromosomal problem and not a clot.

My husband says that if we produce genetic mutations, his vote is for a Wolverine baby.

I already did all of my grieving for this baby earlier in the week. Unlike the last two times, the death of Baby #3 was not a surprise for me. I had been anticipating it ever since I started bleeding three weeks ago, so it's been a gradual sadness. I am feeling OK. Unlike last time, I didn't have the put-the-fish-back-in-the-water sadness. I took my cytotec (the miscarriage-inducing medicine) an hour ago, so now we're just waiting for the end.

It takes a few weeks for genetic testing to be done, which is fine. We need a break anyway. I don't want to try to get pregnant again until we have a better gameplan and know what the stakes are.

Oh, and today a seriously pregnant lady hopped on the scale at the doctor's office and she weighed less than me. Ouch. So while we're taking this break, I'm gonna give our new elliptical a workout. I've depressedly gained ten pounds since Miscarriage #1, and I really would feel better about myself and my health if I lose that before we start the process again.

Despite the fact that our baby is dead again, I am doing well and keeping my eye on the future.

Plus there's percocet.

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March 19, 2009

PAR FOR THE COURSE

So we go into the ultrasound room, shared again of course, but at least this time we're first. The ultrasound tech -- mind you, the exact same person as last week -- comes in with a big grin on her face and squeals, "Are you excited?" I guffaw a No right in her face. And then I remind her of who the hell I am and why I'm there.

Seriously, I couldn't invent more churlish behavior for this entire process if I tried.

I had my mother in stitches last week regaling her with tales from The Hospital Of The Absurd. I never blogged these at the time, but they become more ridiculous when taken as a group:

  • When I wanted a checkup before we started trying to have a baby, back in January 2007, I saw a doctor and wanted to run through my medical history, have a few blood tests run, and get some clarification on some stuff I'd read in pregnancy books. I asked her what advice she had for someone trying to get pregnant. Her response: "Just pray." Thanks, but um, that's not really medical advice. My mom already told me that one; I was hoping that since you were a doctor, you might tell me something I didn't already know.

  • When we finished things up in the ER in December 2007 after we learned Baby #1 was dead, the outprocessing nurse had to have us sign some forms. She looked at the paper and exclaimed, "Oh, you're pregnant! Congrats! How far along are you?" We just stared at her not knowing what to say until I said, "Um, well, we just found out that we're not anymore." Really, who congratulates a dejected-looking pregnant lady who's been admitted to the ER?

  • When I did the first IUI, my doctor told me, "Now I want you to have sex every night for the rest of this week." I said that sounded like a great idea, but did he have somebody in mind? Because, if you'll recall, I'm here on the exam table alone because my husband is deployed. But thanks for not remembering any detail of my life, again.

  • When I went to the ER six weeks ago because I was bleeding, the male nurse asked me, "Are you sure it's not your period?" Yes, I am a 31 year old woman who sits eight hours in the ER for her period. That makes perfect sense.

  • And let's not forget the gems I did blog about: the pregnant doctor who did my D&C, the who's-on-first phone calls, and of course the shared ultrasound room.

    Anyway, if we were writing another absurd chapter to this whole annoying story, I'm not even sure you could guess what happened today.

    The baby is still a Schroedinger's cat. The results were again inconclusive.

    Basically, the embryonic sac has grown, and there's now a yolk sac inside, which means progress, albeit weird progress since we're about two weeks behind schedule. Babies are supposed to have heartbeats at 6 1/2 weeks; we are at 8 weeks and still no heartbeat. But there was growth, so the doctor can't confirm that the pregnancy is over and advise me to remove it. It's just moving too slowly. This baby wants to gestate like an elephant.

    Yep, more WTF news. We are supposed to go back tomorrow and talk to the doctor.

    This is absurd. But it's par for this course.

    (And before anyone even suggests it, because the first person I told this to this morning already tried: No, I did not get pregnant two weeks later than I thought. That was while the husband was at SERE and I'd already taken a positive pregnancy test. Not possible. Please don't try to concoct sci-fi fantasies about how this could be a healthy baby.)

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  • March 18, 2009

    WE MAY BE DONE

    Nothing I can do will change the outcome next week, so I just live for the next ten days and go from there.

    That sounded like a great idea on Day 1. Now that it's Day 9, not so much.

    These past few days have been really stressful because we have been mourning not only what we see as the inevitable loss of Baby #3 tomorrow, but also the loss of the whole theoretical concept of Baby Grok.

    I have thought all this time that our problem was getting pregnant and that the two miscarriages were statistical flukes. Now I have started to panic that I can't carry a baby, which bodes so much worse.

    Even after experiencing two miscarriages, your chances of having a third one are not much higher than if you never had one. [...] After three miscarriages, however, your chances of carrying your next baby to term go down to 50 percent.

    There is no sense in trying to get pregnant again if subsequent babies will just die. And the normal problems that cause miscarriage -- low progesterone or blood clotting -- have already been addressed and don't seem to be my problem. And our jerk doctor doesn't seem to care about the underlying cause and just wants us to naively pay hundreds of dollars to try again.

    Plus there's a deployment looming on the horizon again too, severely reducing our chances of getting pregnant, much less getting one to stick.

    So we're heartbroken, because this may be the end of the road for us. We've spent the week trying to come to terms with the idea that we may never be parents and that we're cheating our parents out of grandparenthood (neither side has any grandchildren yet) and that our only legacy on this planet may be a date-harvesting program in Iraq and a few knitted items.

    The loss of this baby means so much more than the loss of this baby.

    *****

    Some links, for needed humor and whatnot.

    My Latest Miscarriage:

    Oh I'm rich with miscarriage material. I gotta tell ya -- I was thinking of creating a new line of greeting cards that instead of saying IT'S A BOY! or IT'S A GIRL! would say IT'S A MISCARRIAGE! Hello… is this thing on? Well I know for a fact I could have sold at least three of those cards… if I were buying them for myself.

    Leap of Faith:

    Trying once again -- or again and again -- to conceive after repeated miscarriages is a leap of faith, an act of amazing persistence, pure will, and even, one might say, stubbornness. For one thing, after three miscarriages, you're dubbed a "habitual aborter" by the medical profession, which is enough to make anyone take a vow of celibacy.

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    March 12, 2009

    JUST WHAT I NEEDED

    My husband walked in the door tonight with a bouquet of flowers for the third time in our nine-year relationship. I immediately burst into tears and cried for a long time.

    I really needed that tonight.

    I don't quite know how to strike the right balance on my blog. If I write too casually about my fertility woes, I get called flippant. If I write in too much depth about my innermost feelings, I get told I am self-centered. So I swing back and forth, trying to figure out just how much to let you know without sounding whiny or weak so I don't come off robotic either.

    Please don't take the fact that I still write about Obama and Thin Mints to mean that I am not constantly fretting about my baby and planning for the worst: becoming The Lady With Three Miscarriages And Zero Living Children.

    The flowers were a wonderful touch today, husband.

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    March 10, 2009

    THE SCHROEDINGER PHASE

    Even though I talked about getting one last time, I never did. So I just went and bought this t-shirt. Because we're back to the freaking Schroedinger's cat phase of pregnancy.

    I was talking to a friend earlier and I said that this is, oddly enough, the phase I don't mind so much. Because it's the phase I cannot control. There is nothing I can do to make a dead baby alive or an alive baby dead, so I just wait it out and see. I find this phase more comforting than the actual getting pregnant process, where I over-think everything and beat myself up wondering what else I could've done to maximize my chances that month.

    Don't get me wrong: this Schroedinger phase is absurd. But it's the closest thing I have had to a "vacation" from thinking about fertility for the past 2+ years. Nothing I can do will change the outcome next week, so I just live for the next ten days and go from there.

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    WTF NEWS

    We had to share an ultrasound room today with The Most Annoying Couple On The Planet. The guy talked just like Frito from Idiocracy, I am not kidding. He would've totally taken first place in a douche-off. So we got to hear all their business: here's their baby's head, here's the arms, oh look the baby's kicking. Then they turned the heartbeat monitor WAY up so we could all enjoy their baby's being-aliveness. The guy asked if they could stay there and watch their baby all day long. No, dude, there's someone else in the room who is silently crying behind that other curtain because she's been forced to listen to your joy while she waits her turn in agony because she's bleeding onto her exam bed.

    Then it was our turn, in which we preceded to find no heartbeat. Sigh. They sent me to redo my labwork. An hour later, the doctor comes in and tells us it's either 1) the baby is dead or 2) it's possibly multiples, in which case we might not see heartbeats yet. Only the labwork will reveal the answer, but unfortunately it's not completed yet, so go on home and we'll give you a call.

    So the husband went back to work and I went grocery shopping, because disappointment is such a normal part of our life that it makes no sense not to act like business as usual. And I made plans to eat my weight in fried mushrooms tonight and then get to work on losing ten pounds tomorrow. Oh, and to unload all my baby stuff on craigslist.

    Five hours later, the nurse finally calls with the lab results: my hormone levels haven't dropped any, so all we can do is check again at the end of next week and see what we see then.

    Dragging the agony out...that sounds like fun.

    This is exactly the crappy situation I worried about the last time, the something in between alive and dead scenario.

    And if anybody dares tell me that this is good news and that I should be happy that at least the baby isn't definitively dead -- and I swear I know somebody in my real life who will so do this -- I will freak out.

    So, um, that's my WTF news.

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    March 06, 2009

    HE'S HOME

    hands.jpg

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