Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Graduation Day

Well despite being buried in progress reports this weekend, I managed to maintain a decent level of panic about our ultrasound this morning. Old habits die hard.

The day didn't start out so well. I had to run and errand before the appointment, so KG and I left at slightly different times. I quickly realized I had cut it close on time with rush hour traffic, and pulled into the lot at the hospital with about 2 minutes to spare. KG didn't have as much luck with lights and shortcuts and was still stuck on the pike at that point. So, we decided I would go in without him, praying he would make it by the time they called me back. Cue additional panic. All I could picture was getting bad news, alone, on an examining table.

Luckily, it took a bit of time to get checked in, changed, and settled in the ultrasound room. Oh, and guess who had a student in the room with the ultrasound tech? I figured, so many medical professionals have seen my hoo-ha, what's one more?

I heard my phone ding with a text message as soon as I laid down. KG made it just as we were starting. This time, the ultrasound was in the main imaging center, instead of my RE's office. Biggest benefit? A screen facing the examining table, so we could watch the whole time. Score.

The tech took pity on me and showed us the heartbeat right away, so I would actually breathe. By the way, apparently it's my job to cry during ultrasounds these days. So yeah. She then did a bunch of measurements, took pix of all my female organs, and spent a generous amount of time showing us The Nugget's feet, hands, spine, and such. It just boggles my mind how teeny the baby is, and yet how much has developed in just a couple of weeks.

After, we went upstairs to meet with the RE one last time. There were many hugs and lots of congratulations. We went over all the testing, talked about my medications, and prepped for my OB visit next week. Then, we talked a bit about our frozen embryos and what to do when we were ready to use them. Before I knew it, we were wrapping up, saying goodbye, and leaving her office. On the way out, her nurse (whom I love) said, "Happy Graduation Day!"

After so many months of treatment and monitoring, it feels truly bizarre to be leaving her care. Honestly, sometimes I didn't believe that we would ever leave that office pregnant. But, it's time to fly the coop. I need to begin to see this pregnancy as a success, and not as a disaster waiting to happen. A big way to start is by seeing the regular OB, and not by being in the office that reminds me of infertility. I want to begin to assume the best, instead of bracing for the worst.

It's time to keep my promise to myself and create a shift in my thinking.

New pics are up on "The Nugget" page, for your viewing pleasure.


That's what the baby's heart was going this morning, thumping away at 185bpm. Measuring right on track. The Nugget even wiggled and waved a little bit.

Will post more later, including details from my graduation ceremony from the RE and u/s pix.

Can this actually be happening?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

One more sleep

...until the ultrasound tomorrow.

Please, keep sending the good vibes that all is well with The Nugget.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Distraction is a Good Thing

May is the absolute busiest time of the school year for me. Right about now, we are squeezing in loads of curriculum, field trips, school events, and various other mandatory items with a very distinct deadline. Need an example? While most of my friends are planning barbeques and picnics for Memorial Day weekend, I'll be writing 13 progress reports, each of which takes 2-3 hours. Yup, it's just me and my laptop this weekend.

Although all of this is exhausting, the distraction is probably a good thing right now. I have been thinking of sweet Belle's loss a lot, but all of this action at work leaves me very little time to think about my own upcoming ultrasound on Wednesday. I'll be a little over 9 weeks then, and am praying I'll see that same healthy heartbeat. I've been having a symptom or two here and there, but nothing remarkable. I'm just trying not to read too much into it.

Work stress has also left me a bit uninspired when it comes to blogging this week. But, I know that as soon as my last report is written and the last day with my students gets a bit closer, I'll start to reclaim some creativity 'round these parts.

In the meantime, I'll close my eyes and visualize summer.

DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, "Summertime"

Monday, May 21, 2012

Please send some love to Belle

I feel awful. Belle, of Scrambled Eggs, has lost her baby. Belle is a wonderful, funny, honest, and kind bloggie friend. Please go send her some love and support as she says goodbye to her Pip.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Keeping Promises

Mel called me out. She said, now that I promised to not waste my entire pregnancy being petrified, I have to follow through and keep my promise. I'm doing my best. I truly am.

At work, I had to teach a series of lessons to my students about child abuse prevention. The lessons cover the normal stuff: strangers, good touch/bad touch, get the idea. We teach it every year. We asked them during the lessons, "What can you do to keep yourself safe?" They suggested ideas like not talking to strangers, saying "No!" if someone made them feel uncomfortable, and never telling someone you are home alone. Yes, you still have to explicitly teach this stuff.

But, when I think about that question and what my own answer would be, the response is quite different. I think I have a handle on physical safety. I lived in major urban areas my entire life: first Los Angeles, and now Boston. I know about eye contact, staying alert, and looking like you know exactly where you are going at all times. I'm not so worried about keeping my body safe. It's the brain that's really vulnerable.

Emotional safety and protection is a really tricky issue. There is no feeling quite like that of being vulnerable. You could be vulnerable to another person (in a relationship for instance) or you can be vulnerable to life circumstances (as in infertility and other life crises). Everyone tries to protect themselves from heartache at one point or another, and we all have different methods of doing this. What can I do to keep myself safe? For me, it feels safer to constantly imagine the worst case scenario - to visualize the most frightening thing I can imagine. Somehow, I have convinced myself that if I can imagine a truly awful outcome to a situation in which I feel completely exposed and vulnerable, it won't hurt as badly if it comes to fruition. I've prepared myself for it, see?

This pattern sounds really depressing and cynical. KG kids me about it all the time. But I don't know how to change it. This is a long-time habit, that has been perfected over the course of my life.

I think perhaps my goal shouldn't be to stop it, but to balance it with also focusing on the flip side. Along with picturing tears and heartache, I should picture a round belly and kicks in my ribs. If I can get to a 50/50 ratio, that's major progress.

Like I said before, it is ridiculous to waste this time, purely based on the possibility it might end tomorrow. The fact is that I have no idea what's going to happen. I have no control. I have to accept that. So, I might as well reap as much joy as I can.

Since seeing the heartbeat on Monday (was that really only a few days ago? Longest. Week. Ever.), I feel better. I won't say I don't have moments of heart stopping, stomach dropping fear that there won't be a heartbeat at the next ultrasound. I do have my fair share of those moments. But, I also have a lot of moments where this is starting to feel a little more real. Where I relax a little. Where I smile knowingly. Hell, I even took a major step and unpacked some pregnancy books I had hidden in the closet since my miscarriage. This was a big thing for me, and I'm praying I didn't jinx myself.

Another accomplishment: I made an appointment with a regular OB for the week after my last ultrasound at the RE's office. It took me a few days to psych myself up to do it, but it's done. Of course, I keep picturing myself having to cancel the appointment because I've miscarried, but you can't expect me to have a complete emotional overhaul in one week, right?

Monday, May 14, 2012

The only slightly longer version

To say we were nervous this morning doesn't even begin to describe how much adrenaline we had pumping. Thank goodness we had an 8:15 appointment this morning. Waiting until longer in the day would have been torture.

Once we were there, we didn't have to wait long before my name was called. I know the ultrasound tech well, and the minute she saw me she knew how petrified I was. We went into a teeny little room, without a fantastic spot for KG. So, he made do, at my feet, giving me reassuring rubs on my toes.

Thank goodness this tech is one who tells you every single thing she sees as she goes. She did all the normal checks, and then quickly zoomed in, and pointed out the heartbeat, letting us sit and stare at it for a bit.

That's when I lost it. I wept on the table, letting out a lot of the fear I had been holding in my chest for weeks. She then measured the fetus and told us it was measuring right on time. Again, more tears. She compared the size of the baby to a grain of rice. That blew KG's mind.

Before she finished, she zoomed in for the heartbeat one more time, printed us our copy of a picture*, and sent us on our way. Our next appointment is on May 30th, when we'll get released to an OB if all looks good.

At least for today, I feel relieved. It is starting to sink in that maybe, just maybe, I'll be a mom by New Years. 

But, I thought about the tech a lot as I drove to school. Because I have been in treatment at this clinic since January of 2011, I know a lot about her. I know she just had her third IVF result in a BFN after needing to coast for several days before retrieval. I know she has premature ovarian failure. I know about her cute little dog. I know how hard her nephew's birthday parties are. I can't imagine how hard it is for her to see someone else be so happy about a teeny little heartbeat.

I'm also thinking of Belle today. Although her doctor saw a heartbeat at her first ultrasound today, she is feeling nervous because Pip measured a little bit small. Please go send her some love and support.

*I started a separate page for pregnancy updates and pictures. Click on "The Nugget" if you like that kind of thing. If not, feel free to skip.

I can breathe a little

Just a dash through to say all went well this morning. The baby measuring right on track and the heartrate was 130bpm! More later...

Saturday, May 12, 2012


As Belle would say, I have 2 more sleeps before the ultrasound on Monday.

I'll be 7 weeks then. There won't be any ambiguity - either we will see a heartbeat or we will know it is over.

It isn't any secret I've been in a bad place while we wait for that day. In the past, I've written about my scars and the ridges are definitely showing. We haven't been pregnant since 2010 and we know how that ended. I can tell KG has come to the end of his rope with trying to soothe me or make me feel more positively about the outcome this time. He isn't angry with me, but he's frustrated that he can't fix me right now. He can't make me assume the best.

I keep playing 2 different scenarios in my mind. The one that ends in joyous tears, and the one that ends in the other kind. If it isn't good news, how am I supposed to live through that again? I think back to the pain of those days and it just seems unimaginable that I could be forced to go through it for a second time. But, it happens. Unfortunately, when you are a part of this community, you are constantly reminded that it happens over and over again.

One decision I did make is this: if we do see a heartbeat on Monday, I'm making some changes. Although there is nothing I can do to avoid being scared between every ultrasound and chance to check on the baby, I refuse to waste my entire pregnancy feeling as petrified as I do right now. Somehow, I will force myself to try and enjoy this time, because I worked so damn hard to get here.

I have read several blog posts about the huge wave of BFPs lately in the blogosphere. They have had an undercurrent of pain in almost every one. It's understandable. I lived through several of those waves in the last 2 years, and they hurt me every time. Simultaneously, I was happy for and upset by those pregnancies.

In my logical mind, I knew those women had often been through hell and back with infertility and deserved those healthy pregnancies. But, I could never shake the feeling that it wasn't fair because it wasn't me. Now that I am one of those with a pregnancy announcement, it feels strange. Maybe I am so used to being on the other side, that I can't quite compute what it will mean if I do end up one of those lucky ones.

For tonight and tomorrow night, we sit in the nebulous place of not knowing. Maybe that isn't such a bad place to be. At least for this weekend, we can still believe in the 50/50 shot at a happy ending.

"So Hard" by the Dixie Chicks

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Top 10 Things I Wish I Could Make Myself Do

10. Go to the gym
9. Finish the novel I have been reading for 2 months
8. Stop Googling "pregnant no symptoms"
7. Not allow the stress of teaching to permeate every minute of my day
6. Resist the urge to call and move Monday's ultrasound to Friday
5. Cease begging SKB and other friends to talk me down off the ledge every day, when I am convinced this pregnancy will end in miscarriage
4. Eat some other food group besides carbs
3. Thoroughly clean my apartment
2. Absorb some of KG's ability to relax and go to a happy place
1. Start believing that this pregnancy will be a happy, healthy one, ending full term with a take-home baby

Big sigh.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

"Why can't you just be happy?"

I know I had good reasons for putting off the ultrasound until 7 weeks. I know I did.

What were they again?

This last week felt never ending. It really did. Although work is totally nuts (5 weeks of the school year left and literally over 20 events and deadlines in the meantime) time seemed to slow down enough to let me freak out about 5 times per day.

The thoughts in my head go something like this:
"I have no symptoms. I know this is another missed miscarriage."
"No, you have a hand picked embryo, high betas, and progesterone. Plus, your due date is New Year's Day! That's good luck! You're good."
"But, this has gone badly before. This will be the same."
"It's just too early. You are acting like a crazy person! Some people never get morning sickness."
"I wonder when I should schedule a baby shower in Los Angeles? I have a wedding to attend there in October."
"Don't think too far in the future, you'll jinx it. Don't blog about it, you'll jinx it. Don't be happy, you'll jinx it."
"You'll feel better when you see the heartbeat on the 14th."
"But what if you miscarry after that?"

You get the idea.

I have resorted to stupid, self soothing behavior. For example, I was in CVS looking for a Mother's Day card for my mom, and saw FRERs were on sale. It has been over a week since my betas, confirming I am pregnant. But there they wereon the shelf, three for $11.99 to boot.

Yeah, I bought some. Why?

Even if I did miscarry, I would still have a high enough hcg level right now to give me a BFP. But, it made me feel better for 2 minutes to see a fast, dark test line that came back darker than the control line.

This level of anxiety isn't good. It really isn't. But it feels out of my control, like a primal reaction. I can't seem to get attached, be happy, or focus on the positive. It's almost like an out of body experience. Without any symptoms or additional betas, I have nothing to latch onto. Nothing that makes me feel pregnant.

A friend who is waiting on the results of her recent IUI told me that because several people we know (along with myself) have gotten BFPs, that she feels like she is doomed for a BFN. Like there aren't enough BFPs to go around. I completely understand how she feels.

In the last two weeks, several bloggers (Unaffected, Belle, Miss Conception, Mrs. Rochester, Lanie -  did I miss anyone?) have also announced BFPs along with me. I am thrilled for all of us. We all deserve to get our babies after battling infertility and loss for so long. But, that cynical part of my brain kicks in sometimes. Are there enough take-home babies for all of us to be successful?

I really, really hope so.

I also can't help but think of the bloggers whom I know and love that have not yet gotten their BFPs or had a recent loss. It hurts my heart to know my BFP caused them any pain. This blogging community is special, but complicated. I know how it is to feel happy for another blogger and yet to feel disconnected and distant from them at the same time, because the sameness of the shared journey shifted.

I'm really hoping that all of you stick with me anyway.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Loving all the love

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the love, encouragement, support, and general enthusiasm on my last post. I can feel all the positive energy you guys are sending to me and I can't tell you how much it helps. I am incredibly touched that so many people care about what happens to KG and I. Honestly, it never ceases to amaze me.

I just want to address one issue: we only transferred one embryo (Thanks, SKB!). I know the betas are high, but the nurses didn't even blink. Unless some crazy miracle took place, no twins!

Now, we are looking forward to the ultrasound. They first told me to come in next week, but I shocked them when I requested we wait a little while longer. Reason? When we went in for our first ultrasound in 2010, we went in at 6 weeks 2 days. When they couldn't find a heartbeat, they said, "Maybe it is too early. Let's wait a week and see if one develops." I swear to you, there has never been a longer, more painful week.

So, KG and I made the decision to request that we wait until 7 weeks, just to make 100% sure that we will see a heartbeat. No uncertainty this time, please. This is a double edged sword, giving myself yet another long wait, but worth it I think.

Anyway, that you all so much again for all the love coming our way.