Getting Back on the Horse

image: yark64
The one and only time that I broke a major bone (you know, not like a toe) was when I was thrown off a horse when I was about 7 or 8. I knew it was going to happen from the moment I got on the horse. I loved horses and I took lots of horseback riding lessons. I was extremely fortunate that the school I attended had horseback riding (no, it was not a public school – that hell came later) and I was able to spend many afternoons grooming the horses or perfecting my posting. I hadn’t made it to cantering or jumps yet, but I was getting there.

The horse that threw me was named “Johnnie” and I remember exactly what he looked like. He was a chestnut with a white diamond on his forehead and he had what my husband would classify as ‘tude. I didn’t want to ride him that day because he was being particularly ornery. And, I knew even at that tender age that you don’t mess with a horse that’s ornery. But, they said, “oh no, it’ll be fine.”

They had set him up on a lead line – they tie the reins on the pummel of the saddle, put attach a lead to the horse’s bridle and then direct the horse in circles with you on the horse. I seem to recall that the purpose was to begin me on cantering with a little “let’s-get-to-trust-the-horse” thrown in for good measure. While I had no problem trusting horses in general, I had a major problem trusting this horse. We started off fine but it went down hill when they decided to give him a little whack to move into a canter. He didn’t like the whack, bucked and so off I went (since of course, I had NO REINS!). I landed on my right arm and remembered that it hurt. Turns out I had a hairline fracture right below my shoulder and didn’t even get a cast for my trouble. I had a sling and had to learn how to write lefty-style which so didn’t go well.

What’s my point in telling this sob story? It’s that I knew even then that the only way for me to overcome my fear of being thrown again was to literally get back on a horse (although, not that horse, please). And I did. It was not a triumphant return and I don’t think that I handled it well, but I did it. Did it magically erase my terror? No, and I learned that I will probably always have a little bit with me since I have had that experience. But, I learned that I could do it. image: Big Grey Mare

I feel the same way about being pregnant again. You would think that doing it again would give you some sense of power and achievement when in reality I am terrified. I know first hand what can happen and how awful it is. I’m practically in denial that I’m pregnant because I am so afraid of getting excited again and getting smacked up side the head. I haven’t really looked at due dates (late September? eh?), I certainly have not pulled out the name list we started last time, and we haven’t even told Sweetie’s parents (who also didn’t know about the IVF). It’s just like when I was going through the IVF – one day at a time. Otherwise, I will look forward to each milestone as the time when the fairy tale will come crashing down. I know that I am trying to assume that it won’t work out because I can’t bear to let myself begin to hope. Not yet.

The good news is that my beta today was 191. So, in 48 hours, it *almost* completely doubled from 98 on Wednesday. A true double would be 196. I have decided that I’m not going to be concerned about those 5 little whatevers and take comfort that Dr. Uterus is so far not concerned. And my progesterone is still apparently quite astronomical.

Next hurdle: first OB scan (OMG, OMG, OMG) the week of Feb. 25. It was at my last OB scan that things went south so this will be hard to say the least. I hope I don’t have flashbacks. I also hope that Sweetie will be with me this time.

For now the lesson is to just breathe. Deeply. As often as necessary.
image: gratiella
ps: Ironically, I haven’t ridden a horse since the time I got back on the horse, but I’m not afraid of them and I still love to pet their wonderfully soft schnozzles (read = noses).

Mrs. X Muses. Pay Attention.

image: CTaylor
When I was a kid, I hated Valentine’s Day with a passion. As early as elementary school, I learned that the holiday was really about who has and who doesn’t. I hated the ritual of giving out little Valentine’s day cards because I knew when I was in school, it was not required that you give them to everyone else in the class. That egalitarian advance was after my time. The whole day was an exercise in self-esteem depending upon how many you got. In high school, my negative opinion of the day was further solidified when some club or another that was trying to raise money would sell candy-grams or other romantic items that you could give to your sweetheart and they would be delievered in class. In front of everyone. Meaning that if you didn’t get one, it was obvious. I don’t think I got one all of my time in high school.

In college, I was never in a relationship over Valentine’s Day (I was more a spring relationship kind of gal), so no organized frivolity, but at least now there wasn’t deliveries of goodies in class. Sure, the girl down the hall would get roses, but I was cynical and told myself that the guy was probably just trying to get somewhere.

When I met Sweetie, again it was about a month after V-day so it wasn’t until we had been dating for almost a year that we hit Valentine’s Day. Now I had someone to go out to dinner with and do the usual ‘couple’ things. And you know what? I still didn’t like it because it felt like we were celebrating a non-holiday. And, I felt bad for all of other girls who were still at home without a date on Valentine’s Day. We did the dinner at a restaurant thing a few years and it just seemed so trite and … expected. The hearts all over the wall, the roses on the table, it was just so “ugh”. I’d much rather go out to dinner to celebrate some important event that is of significance to us rather than buy into the craze to be ‘romantic’. Romantic to me is not Sweetie getting me roses on Valentine’s Day. It’s Sweetie getting me roses on a day just because. It’s him giving me an extra snuggle after a hard day. It’s him laughing at my many malapproprisms (“I’m going to go hare krishna on you!”).

As you can guess, we aren’t doing anything special for the big V. In fact, we didn’t even do cards this year. I didn’t want to buy into the commercial-industrial complex and I can find 50 better ways to tell him that I love him.

So, what I’m trying to say? It’s that the spirit of Valentine’s Day is a wonderful thing, but it has been so corrupted and used for commercial purposes that it is a tarted up shell of its former self. And I think everyone, no matter their current situation in life, should know on national “Someone-Gave-Me-Flowers-What-Did-You-Get?-Day” that it really doesn’t matter if you have a significant other. If you love someone or if you are loved (pets are most certainly included) then you are doing just fine. So sayeth Mrs.X.
In other news, my name today is Little Miss Cranky image: _elspeth
Pants. Apparently, my off-the-handle trigger has been set very low. This happened last time I was pregnant and it felt like violent thunderstorms that kind of pop up and then go away. On the bright side, it definitely confirms that there is HCG in my system.

My progesterone is also in the 200s so I’ve been told I can roll back the dosage. Luckily, there is no such thing as too much progesterone. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
image: psd
Thanks also to lori , jellybelly, farmwife, schatzi, loribeth, e, jj, peesticksandstones, paranoid, shinejil, pamela jeanne, kaaron, deathstar, Denise, TABI, Kelley and Lesley for your wonderful congratulations. All of you have provided so much wonderful support and I’m looking forward to showing all of you the same love.


I Can’t Freakin’ Believe It.

This picture sums up how I feel now:

It would seem that I am knocked up, in a family way, with a bun in the oven, in other words, for only the second time in my life I am able to say that I am pregnant. Whew.

Beta is 98 and I go in for another blood draw on Friday. Right now, I am fighting mightily to enjoy this moment that Sweetie and I have worked so hard for and not think about everything that could happen (including what happened already). I will not worry about my beta doubling and I will so not begin to worry about the scan.

Oh, and I have to continue shooting myself in the ass. I have never been happier to agree to continue to stick large needles in my butt.

Thank you, each and everyone, commenters and lurkers alike for your best wishes and continuing good thoughts.

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged

This is My Mantra, This is My Crutch

This so sums up how I’m feeling right now:

image: Mr. T in DC
I live in a fantasy world that I could be pregnant. Cramps? Check. Weepies? Check. ADD? Check. A really bad case of the crankies? Check. Boobs a little tender? Check. More peeing than usual? Check. Random sneezing? Check (that is so a symptom, people!).

To counteract this fantasy, I have been repeating the following mantra: I’m probably not pregnant, it’s just the progesterone. Or allergies. Or annoyance with the job that is my life. Or my period on its way. Or. Or. Anything but that which I want the most.

This is my mantra! / This is my crutch! / This is for coping! / This is too much!

I bet you saucy minxes are asking, “Mrs. X, why don’t you just go POAS?” Ah, were it that easy. See, I have a pathological aversion to taking an HPT. Part of it stems from my very real concern of a false positive as a result of the HCG trigger. That would just totally and absolutely suck. I also don’t have any HPTs in the house and I don’t feel like getting The Look at CVS or Walgreens when I surreptitiously slide the test across the counter. And I have always equated HPTs to that shameful feeling you have as a teenager when you think you’re pregnant and the only way to find out is to go and pee on the stick of doom. So, the answer would be “no”. I will not POAS.

Instead, I will continue my current practice of distraction which now includes trying to think of all of the things that I can do should the test be negative. Bath? Check. Wine? Check, check. Gardening? Check. Heavy lifting? Check. Diet Coke? Check please.

We’re in total self-preservation time, people. It’s going to get ugly.

Buying The Myth & Getting Disillusionment Free

images: NMCIL ortiz domney
I went to Tar-gét today to buy a hair straightener (ooh! hair gadget!) and a present for my mom who is retiring soon. Once I had found my perfect $20 number that promises me untold riches of hair straightening, I went in search of mom’s present. During the search, I found myself in the gift-wrap aisle and saw all of the baby gift wrap and gift bags.

I was struck by a) how adorable they are; b) how much I desperately want someone to give me one; and c) how much I wanted to be pregnant to justify B. Pretty quickly, though, I recognized that there was a myth in this gift wrap with its baby ducks and pastel colors. Not everyone has a happy ending with their pregnancy. Not everyone who wants to receive gifts in this precious wrapping is going to. And that made me angry that what we see as ‘reality’ really isn’t for everyone.

Not surprisingly, myth versus reality has been one of the themes discussed during my many hours spent on the couch opposite my therapist. To me, myth is what you replace reality with when you have no information or knowledge to make your own reality. Until I started trying to get pregnant when I was 29 (oh, so long ago) the only thing I could remember from high school biology about reproduction was when the teacher brought in diaphragms (not her’s!) to show us the various methods of contraception. I didn’t have the slightest memory about anything other than sperm + egg = baby and that this combination was very, very bad.

Unfortunately, when it comes to something as momentous and significant as the decision to have a child, you are very tempted to sit back and rely on the myths about family building that are perpetuated everyday. Myths such as, we should have children because that’s what people who get married do, we won’t have any problems getting pregnant, we won’t have any problems staying pregnant, childbirth will be a breeze and motherhood will be the most fulfilling thing we can do with our lives. After all, don’t we all know someone who embodies each and everyone of these myths? We know that they are based in someway on reality, it’s just not our reality.

We began to feel the cold smack of our reality when we learned that my tubes were both completely blocked. It was compounded when I miscarried. But, these events have proven to be an important, if incredibly trying and painful, lesson: myths, especially myths about family building, can only be vanquished with your reality and what you realistically expect and want. Of course, that requires some difficult soul-searching and introspection coupled with frank discussions with your significant other. We realistically expect that some way, somehow, we will have a child. Whether the child inherits its traits from us or belonged to someone else entirely, I don’t know. And that’s actually ok because the end goal is to have a child.

When I find myself leaning like a branch in the wind of the myth, I step back and right myself in the reality that is our quest. We don’t know how we will be successful, but we will be.

He Ain’t A Brute, He’s My Sweetie

image: ulv gullskeggr
Gentle Reader, in looking over some of my past posts, it occurred to me that they may have given you the impresion that my man, Sweetie/Mr. X is somewhat rude, crude and unrefined. In reality, he is all of those things but so much more as well. I wanted to take this opportunity to list some of his better qualities to make sure that he is seen in his complete glory.

First, I should mention that he is much smarter and funnier than yours truly – driving today on the highway I almost crashed because he had me laughing so hard, providing dialogue for the white-haired old lady that kept getting in front of me. He is much better travelled and more worldly having lived overseas for several years growing up. He totally did better in college (although, we both agree that I had more fun) and he makes a great deal more moolah than I do.

He’s incredibly handsome and has that certain boyish charm. He tans while I burn. He can explain how just about anything works while I can just point and say, “what does that thingy do?” He is extremely good natured while I tend to be moody (even without the aid of hormones). And, he loves animals. Awwww.

Now, just as he is all of these things, he also loves watching cop chase shows on cable and he seriously talked about getting a giant inflatible pig for our front yard (um, no). He whines that I don’t have any new reading material for him in the bedroom while I’m doing my PIO injection, and he makes me deal with all of the customer service people on the phone, health care issues and vendors that come to the house (“because you’re better at it than I am”). He hates talking on the phone so much so that I am the one who has to call to order the pizza and he will go pick it up. He plays World of Warcraft (WoW). And, after almost 5 years of marriage, he still leaves the *&Ying seat up on the toilet.

He’s the ying to my yang (you’re so right Lori!), the ivory to my ebony, the jelly to my peanut butter. He is all of these things and he’s my Sweetie.

The Post In Which Mrs. X Is Chatty

image: Lovely Day
First off, thanks to everyone who commented on my last post and helped me see that there really isn’t a whole I can do right now to ensure a positive outcome (short of like, sleeping with Kevin Federline – ick, yuck and barf), Instead, I should watch a Golden Girls marathon (fabulous idea Matthew M.F. Miller), do my taxes or play on-line games (I choose on-line games Deathstar), go shoe shopping (mmm, shoes thanks Melanie) and basking in the additional waves of good vibes coming from shinejil, schatzi, tabi, peesticksandstones, kidlicious (welcome!), and lori). If nothing else, I can’t say that I was depressed during the 2WW. So thanks and I can only hope to provide similar excellent advice should you ever find yourselves in such need. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We can also now have our own Disney On Ice special: Embryos on Ice! Yep, our six little blasts that were left after the transfer made it safely into the thaw just like Han Solo. Sweetie was concerned that they, too, would have carbon-freezing sickness upon being thawed. I assured him that this probably won’t happen. We also discussed the very real possibility that they are all skating around right now in the liquid nitrogen or maybe having one helluva kegger. One can only hope. They can survive in this state for eternity (assuming of course someone keeps paying the electric bill). We’re just glad to have six back up options.

I also got an answer on my question about the Day 3 v. Day 5 transfer. The missing piece of the puzzle that Dr. Google selfishly withheld is that to reach Day 5, the blasts are put in a rather challenging environment in the lab and those that make it to Day 5 are truly the “best”. Total survival of the fittest, infertility style. He only uses this for where there are many embryos and you can afford to lose some that don’t make it to Day 5. We had 9 embryos and I would have been supremely pissed if we lost some before transfer because of the Day 5 Challenge. Dr. Uterus would much rather see how the Day 3 embryos do where they want to be rather than in a lab. I was very pleased with this explanation. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
image: The Pack
It appears that I’ve been tagged by Lori in some out-quirk-ing contest. Well, let’s see what Mrs. X can come up with, shall we? But first, the rules.

1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) Post the rules.
3) Share six non-important things / habits / quirks about yourself.
4) Tag at least three people.
5) Make sure the people you tagged KNOW you tagged them by commenting what you did.

Quirk No. 1: I had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch every single day in high school. Yes, I still eat them sometimes. But maybe once or twice a month.

Habit No. 2: If I can’t find something, I automatically think someone stole it. It doesn’t matter that there might have not been anyone in the house. I am not above accusing my cats (“Kitty, what did you do with mommy’s keys?”)

Important Thing No. 3: I have been to Mardi Gras and flashed balconies with hundreds of people. One time (yes, there were multiple times) I was a little drunk and forgot to lift my bra in addition to my shirt so the crowd got a lovely view of my lace bra. I was roundly booed.

Quirk No. 4: I love even numbers and hate odd numbers passionately. Luckily, I was born on an even day, in an even month in an even year. Sweetie was born in an odd month, on an odd day in an odd year. I married him anyway (on an even day in an even month but in an odd year).

Habit No. 5: Everytime I walk into my kitchen I mentally curse my ugly, ugly countertops. Die Corian Die!

Important Thing No. 6: I have been in Newsweek and Time.

Well, Lori, Ms. Lord of the L? Quirky enough for you?

For my three tags I throw down the gauntlet to shinejil, melanie, and jellybelly. Who among you can out-quirk me? Hmmm?

The Post In Which Mrs. X Has Deep Thoughts

Now that the hoopla and busy-ness of ovary monitoring, egg retrievals, embryo reports and embryo transfers has gone away, I’m left to wait. When I wait, I dwell. When I dwell, I inevitably think un-positive thoughts. Let’s face it, you usually don’t dwell on positive thoughts – its the negative ones that sneak in and begin to mulitply. (image: wani abdullah )

I am just getting that feeling as if the die is finally set and what will be will be. Normally, I actually find a lot of relief in that thought because it means that worrying can’t do anything and therefore, I shouldn’t worry. But this time, unlike all of the other steps that we have gone through with IVF, there is no next step, there is no chance to pull things out. Either the embryo(s) implant or they don’t and all that stands between me and that test is a lot of time.

It is hard not to place a crushing amount of weight on the outcome of that test. You want to be positive so that you aren’t harming your body with negative thoughts, but you don’t want to think too positive lest you get horribly crushed should things go wrong. This is the seventh time I have been in the medicated 2ww and I have still not found that perfect balance, that alchemy between hope and caution that allows me to live through the 2ww without driving myself crazy while not getting my hopes up so high that I fall to the ground faster than you can say “infertility sucks”. Inevitably, my positive thoughts turn to that wonderful delusion that I could be pregnant. And I always, always feel lilke an idiot for thinking it when the test comes back negative.

I would like to say that I’m preparing myself for a negative. That’s probably partly true. I think, though, which each negative result, I’m learning how to shrink my hope that much more to prevent further heartache. Yet, I also feel guilty that I’m buying into a self-fulfilling prophecy if I prepare myself for a negative.

In the end, I am once again reminded that I can’t really control anything and I have done the absolute best that I can. I’m eating well, not drinking, no chugging the Diet Coke, and am faithfully doing the PIO injections (which are actually getting less painful – yay!). But, it just doesn’t seem enough. Can I just hibernate until next week?

Take Hand. Smack Forehead. Repeat.

Mrs. X thinks she’s normally pretty savvy. She’s manuevered through the gauntlet of serious infertility treatments for over a year now and only twitches occasionally. Sure, she’s grown a third eye in her forehead from all of the hormones (kidding), but she has survived the slings and arrows of insurance issues, repeated encounters with the speculum, and butt shots. But for all her savvy, her moxie and yes, her hard-won infertility wisdom, she has not absorbed one simple, yet elegant lesson:

Do not under any circumstances share your infertility details with your next door neighbor.

When we moved into this house a few years ago, I was not here for more than three hours when she came over and introduced herself while trying to find out how much we paid for the house. Nice. Back then, we were still in the honeymoon phase of trying meaning we hadn’t figured out that something was wrong and it was just a matter of time before I would be sporting a pooch. Back then, I still told people that we were trying – although I don’t remember if she found out because she asked if we had kids. That would be the most likely scenario.

Anywho, she has a mind like a steel trap and has asked for updates as the months (and now years) have gone by. She knew about our IF treatments and about my miscarriage and was very nice. I have been avoiding her ever since my miscarriage because I knew she would ask whether things had gotten back on track. Well, last weekend, she cornered me and in her oh, so point blank manner asked how “things” were going. There was no point in playing dumb and I told her that we were doing IVF. She oohed and aahed and vaguely mentioned wanting more details. Luckily, she had to go before she could extract the details.

Today, I took over some cake because they helped us out last weekend on some stuff and of course, I had to spill the beans.

Nosy Neighbor: So, tell me how things went!
Me: Fine. (blah, blah, details, details). We had the transfer on Friday.
Nosy Neighbor: So they’re in you right now?!
Me. Um. Yea.
Nosy Neighbor: You’re with child? You’re with embryo?
Me: [seriously uncomfortable now, making non-committal noises]. Uh.
Nosy Neighbor: When do you find out?
Me: In two weeks (I fudged the date – no one knows except me and Sweetie).
Nosy Neighbor: Oh, I have to put it on my calendar!
Me: No! Don’t do that! I don’t want everyone in the universe tracking the date. [She thankfully steps away from her calendar]
Nosy Neighbor: I hope you have twins. I can’t wait till my kids have grandchildren and then I can cuddle a baby and give it back.

WTF?! Ok, I will try to have twins just for you because you requested. Any other requests? Boy/girl twins? Girl/girl? Triplets, perhaps? Do you have any names you would like to request now before the list gets started? Un-freakin’-believable.

I was able to impose the “don’t call me, I’ll call you” rule on the results. If it is negative, the last thing I need is to have her calling me and me having to repeat it.

She also told me that the neighbors up the street (the wife is a teacher at the local school) are going to start trying next month. I have no doubt that she got this intelligence straight from the wife’s mouth, probably through some form of interrogation. I will not try to dwell on the fact that they will likely get pregnant pretty easily with few problems and sail through. I will try to be thankful that the wife may siphon some of Nosy Neighbor’s attention from away from me. I won’t swing by and warn the wife that she’s guaranteed herself requests for monthly updates on the state of her uterus.

Nope, I will just practice learning how not to share with her. Either that, or I will declare that I have decided to stop seeing people and to become a hermit. I don’t think she’ll accept either. image: aynne

Turning the Other Cheek

Warning: if you haven’t done the progesterone shot yet, you may not want to read this since all I do is complain about how much it hurts.

I have never had the misfortune to be shot in the ass by any projectile or bullet, but I imagine that I now know how it feels. It H-U-R-T-S like H-E-L-L. I did my first progesterone injection last night (more on how I did it a little later) and dutifully rubbed the site for 20 seconds. That didn’t do squat to ameliorate the already substantial ache that was beginning to build. Nada. Niente. Rien. As my right ass cheek gets progressively sorer (is that a word?) I use the heating pad – being careful to keep it on my ass, not near the midsection – which also does nothing. I go to bed slowly turning around trying to find that one perfect position where nothing hurts. It’s not happening. Only this afternoon is the soreness subsiding enough that the initial ass plant on a chair or seat hurts, but it gradually dies down. This of course, was just in time for injection number 2 on the left. The stick hurt like a mo-fo but that cheek so far has given nary a twinge. I suspect the right side will calm down just in time for the next injection.

Now, Melanie has asked for some tips on the pretzel twist method of giving one’s self progesterone injections.
Image: z e n
I should clarify that I was instructed to give them closer to the hip than toward the crack, so I don’t have to do a full 180° twist. It’s more like a 120° twist. I tend to stretch out the leg that corresponds to the Cheek O’ the Night but not tense it so that the leg kind of makes half the journey. Being a righty, it was much easier to stick the right side last night because it was right there (no pun intended). This evening’s injection on the left proved to be a little more difficult, but if you anchor your non-cheek leg and swing the cheek-leg you have good traction and can twist more easily. I was also given the option of doing it in the thigh, but that is so not an attractive option. I’m a butt girl, through and through. Hope that helps, Melanie!
In other news, I have been guilty of playing on Dr. Google again. This time, I’ve been researching the pregnancy rates of day 3 vs. day 5 blast transfers. I had a day 3 transfer and there seems to be a lot of discussion out there that this is not the way to go anymore. However, I trust Dr. Uterus implicitly, so I am pretty certain he had a reason for doing a day 3 transfer rather than a day 5 (and it wasn’t because the day 5 would have landed on a Sunday – I saw him last Sunday for a scan). I will ask about it, but there really isn’t a whole lot I can do about it now and fretting certainly won’t help.
Lastly, I should share something that I have been keeping to myself. Today is my birthday. On this day, 32 years ago Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow fortelling six more weeks of winter and in a now rather famous hospital, Mrs. X made her debut with a full head of hair, frosted at the ends in white blonde (that so didn’t last) without the benefit of drugs (at my mom’s choice, crazy woman). I cried out at the injustice of leaving a great free home and then kind of looked around (Actually, I don’t remember anything – I just heard this from my parents).

32 years later I’m still my parents’ baby girl and I genuinely and most fervently wish that I will have a baby (or two) in my arms by my 33rd birthday (or at least firmly in the oven).