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I have not fallen off the face of the earth.  I swear.  But, my blogging ability seems to have been robbed from me sometime in the middle of the night a few weeks ago.  I’ve put up LOST posters, taken out ads, but to no avail.  I am beginning to suspect G might have something to do with it. I keep getting emails of dogs showing their bellies.  Naughty boy.

Since paragraph formation is not in the cards, you will have to settle with items.

  • My symptoms and I have reached a detente.  They are allowed to take some time off and as long as they come back, I won’t send out the search party.  So far, this has worked out well. 
  • I have developed an aversion to chicken. And ceaser dressing. Very interesting.
  • I still have an aversion to obviously pregnant women.
  • The aforementioned symptoms have also worked very well to spark sympathy offerings of household choring from Mr. X.  This has yet to extend to laundry, but has involved food delivery. 
  • I’m finding it very easy to not be tempted at all to share our news with anyone other than those who have already been told. 
  • Although, it might have come in handy last night at Bunco when the hostess served dessert that for a while there sounded as if it might have salmonella.  No worries, though.
  • My googling has slowed to a trickle.  This is less a sign that I am becoming more confident and more a result that I have googled just about everything I can and now see the same stuff over and over again.
  • Next scan is on Wednesday.  I’m not freaking out . Yet. 

That’s all about I can manage for this evening.  Stay classy, blogosphere.  Thanks for stopping by.


Infertility and miscarrige have brought many new experiences into my life – needles (oh so many needles, of all shapes and sizes);  powerful, mood altering drugs; amazing bouts of unrequited jealousy; complete lack of modesty; an apprenticeship in reading follicle scans (seriously, I am a total pro. I can guess within 1 mm); the first opportunity since grade school to use ‘meniscus’ in a sentence. 

rogiroBut, one of the less obvious, yet still devastating experiences these two harpies have brought me has been a loss of trust and confidence in my body and its ability to nurture life.  Reproductively, we certainly didn’t get off to a good start – somehow both of my fallopian tubes became blocked and had to be cleared.  I have a champion uterus, but that has meant absolutely zero since the embryos that keep implanting in it are chromosomally abnormal.  So, I can easily say that I no longer have a lot of trust in my reproductive abilities. And, it is an awful feeling.

This has become painfully clear again with this most recent try for the teething ring.  I question my body, and frankly everything about this go round, constantly – am I exhausted enough? nauseous or just nervous? what was that twinge? cramping, but not too much? spotting? not spotting red? – because if I worry about it, or so the thinking goes, then I won’t be blindsided again with bad news.   

And, it’s not just physical feedback from my body that has me on edge.  I still eye even good news – good beta numbers, etc –  with suspicion because I’ve had the “good news” before and then watched it turn very bad.  I think taking a frying pan upside the head would have been less painful than the moment I learned that my first pregnancy had ended because I didn’t see it coming At All.  All subsequent pregnancy experiences for me revolve around never getting blindsided again like that because it was such an awful, awful experience. Easily one of the top 5 worst in my life. 

So, even when today’s scan at approximately 6 weeks had no surprises, I still cannot say that relations have improved.  But, I can report one bean, measuring on target with a gestational sac, yolk sac and a fetal pole. No heartbeat detected on the screen, but Dr. Salsa didn’t try using the microphone.  I had asked him ahead of time what we should expect to see and a heartbeat was a 50/50 at this stage, so I wasn’t too concerned (and Dr. Google repeatedly told me that it would be iffy seeing one at this stage).  The gestational sac was looking more oval and elongated than round, but Dr. Salsa once again was not concerned since the angle of the dildo cam can change how it looks on the screen. 

I still don’t trust my body or my reproductive abilities, but the ice is melting. Next scan is in two weeks, when the stakes get raised (or the limbo bar gets lowered, depending upon how you look at it) again. 

image: rogiro

Facing the Fear

I remember the wait before my first OB scan.  I was nervous, but mainly because I had no idea what to expect.  It didn’t occur to me that there might not be anything on the screen or if there was, that there might not be a heartbeat.  My naivete was rewarded with a perfectly normal OB scan, complete with a heartbeat (although it still ended up going south anyway – so much for statistics!).  The second time I was waiting for that first OB scan, I wasn’t nearly as naive.  I was also tormented with spotting which I had never had before and was convinced meant the end before the beginning.  By the time I got to the scan, I was so exhausted from worry that I wasn’t surprised that there wasn’t much to be seen

7 (Miguel Angel)So, approaching this latest first OB scan has been a study in compromise.  Should I allow myself to have even a little dash of hope?  Should I be like Mr. X and expect the worst?  I have, so far, chosen the middle ground.  Neither hoping or dreading.  Even when I started spotting last week (brown) or cramping more regularly today, I have refused to entertain that little voice in my head saying, “OMG, OMG, OMG, what if it’s all over?!” 

I do, however, sit down with it and ask, “So, what if it’s all over? What is the worst that can happen?”  And, I find comfort in knowing that I know what the worst is that can happen and I have survived it, twice now.  Ironically, whenever I think about it, I worry most about being an object of pity and how much that hurts.  But, I know that I would be ok, as would Mr. X.  We would survive as we have done before, and we would move on, although where I don’t know.  And, that by far is more comforting right now than anything Dr. Google has been able to provide. 

I have kept Dr. Salsa in the loop about all of the gory details – the brown spotting (or staining as I think it is officially called), the sudden change to reddish brown on Sunday that disappeared as quickly as it arrived, the increasing cramps – only asking whether or not I should be worried and taking heart in his all caps response, NO. 

In the end, my fate is out of my hands as it has always been and I can only wait patiently to hear what it will be. 

image: 7 (Miguel Angel)

O-Bla-Di, O-Bla-Da, O-My-God

alfarmanI had my blood draw this morning for my third and final beta and all I can say is thank God.  I actually find it more stressful to go to the clinic now than I did when we were just cycling.  Part of that is because those people insist on throwing out the p word at me and saying, “I’m so happy!”  And, they see my pained expression and say, “Oh, I know, I know, but I am going to be happy.”  I also cringe because it’s a fairly open office and I hated it when I was a patient and would overhear such protestations of joy.  I can’t bear the thought of someone else having to deal with that, too, in the one place where they are supposed to be able to get away from it.

And, with this last blood draw I thought with a certain amount of satisfaction that it was going to be a good while before they would have me back for an ultrasound.  I mean, at least not until the end of July, which would give me lots of time to mentally prepare, right?


Next week.  They want to see if there is a gestational sac.  This is a new one for me. With Dr. Uterus, they practically bar the door until at least 6 weeks because there isn’t much to see.  But, they also didn’t do third blood draws, so maybe comparisons aren’t as helpful here. 

I have a week.  A week to calm my self down and find that mellow spot of meditation where I can still function.  Because I have to be able to function.  Hibernation, while attractive, is not an option.  And, I need to develop a method for coping with my anxiety because this may not be the end of the road and I don’t think my body can handle the up and down stress for a long period of time.  I also don’t want to drive everyone around me batshit crazy (except Mr. X.  I’m certain that he accepted this in our marriage vows).   Any suggestions for how to achieve a zen like calm in this kind of situation would be greatly appreciated.

I could have really used them this afternoon when I had to wait until 4 to get today’s results.  They were worht it, though: 15dp5dt beta = 846.  Doubling time of 44.4 hours, which while not as overachievingly spectacular as my previous 36 hours is still damn respectable.  Progesterone = 306, and yet, I still have to shoot myself in the ass.  Sing with me, “While my butt gently weeps…”

image: alfarman

Every Little Twinge

I had a sort of friend in college who I used to run with sometimes.  She was a sort of friend because we knew each other and worked with each other, but we didn’t hang out that often.  For some reason, though, we ran a 10K together at some point.  We were talking about running in general one day and I casually mentioned the practice of taking pain relievers before a race so that you wouldn’t get slowed down by those nagging stings of pain that inevitably showed up at some point (or points).  She had a very reasonable (but rather smarmy, I thought) response: you shouldn’t take pain relievers so that you can know if you have a serious problem. 

Now, I can’t even think about taking a pain reliever even though my back is in an almost constant state of discomfort.  I want every damn twinge so I know that there is still something going on.  I mash my boobs every 15 minutes on schedule just to make sure they’re still tender.  If I’m really feeling masochistic (or the mashing isn’t having the desired effect), I even do a fair share of nipple twisting to make sure there are still little knives in there.  And, thank goodness I work from home. I don’t think I would ever be able to explain this in an office.

Why do this? At this point, my symptoms are pretty much the only instant feedback I have that this is real.  So, the boobs are still going to be prodded and I’m going to continue to sit in positions that aggravate my back pain because I need to feel it.  If I stop feeling it, I will assume the worst.

I do have some more good external feedback, though:  today is 13dp5dt, beta #2 = 400.  A doubling time of 36 hours.   I have a third blood draw on Wednesday.  Still content, still on parole.  Still not using the p word.

The Un-Announcement

I have read many posts written by fellow infertiles that say what I am about to –  indeed I’ve written at least one myself.  And, very few have managed not to stick a dagger right into my heart.  Those that did manage to insert knife into tender heart were not call-outs, or insults.  The stab came from their suffusion with emotions that I wasn’t able to experience very often – utter, indescribable joy at the happening of that which seemed to be impossible. 

My problem, of course, was that it still seemed impossible for me and so I wasn’t feeling particularly charitable to the person who was able to write of joyful news with undertones of “finally, it’s my turn to get out of his hell hole and get back to a normal life” – whether they were there or not.  I still remember very, very well the bittersweetness (with a lot more bitter than sweet, I’m afraid) with which I read those words.  So, I knew that should  I ever have cause to write a post like that, I would do my level best not to break anyone else’s heart with it.*   

And, that moment has appeared to come to pass.  Wednesday brought a faint second line, Friday a darker second line and today a number: 158.  All this means for now is that I am merely paroled from this maximum security prison of infertility, but still one violation away from being locked back up again.  I will be on my best behavior, but ever mindful that I am not free and clear of the spectre of being sent back to solitary confinement. 

So, you can understand if I will not be throwing out the ‘p’ word – I can’t even bring myself to think it, let alone type it for all of the internets to read.  I will not be shouting with joy and the exclamation points are just going to have to find someone else’s blog on which to reside because they sure as hell ain’t going to be on mine.  

Am I happy about this recent development?  I don’t think that happy is the word I would use.  Happy implies that I’m optimistic about the future.  I’ve burned my hand on that stove too many times to even go near it.  No, I think the best I can say is that I am content.  Content that, at least for now, we have good news. 

I humbly ask that if you are so inclined to respond to this news that you simply share in my contentment.  Above all, please no statements that I’m going to be a mom.  I know all too well that a positive test does not necessarily equal squalling ball of infant in nine months.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled (and blessedly snarky) episode of The Young and the Infertile

* This is not to say that the women who wrote those posts woke up that morning intending to impale me.  They just wanted to share their joy and I was being (and still am a little bit of) a petulant 5-year old.

So Wrong on So Many Levels

tantekFirst Response, that purveyor of hope and warm fuzzy images of normal fertile ladies, has a new product on the market that tests a woman’s fertility.  Apparently, it “accurately” measures your Day 3 FSH giving you a picture of the quality and quantity of your eggs.  I’m not going to address the fact that FSH is in some circles considered to be an inexact measurement of a woman’s egg quality (note that I didn’t say fertility – a woman can have the eggs of an 18 year old and still be unable to get pregnant due to other issues such as tubal blockage, uterine abnormalities, hormonal issues, etc) nor am I going to address what I consider to be First Response’s blatant use of this product to freak women the f*ck out and make them think that if they have a high FSH, they are permanently screwed. 

No, I’m going to address how they have marketed this scare tactic because it is a real smack to those of us who are fertility challenged.  They have put together a commercial for which I was not able to find a link, but that has been transcribed here

artnooseMy blood started to simmer at the first line, “The moment we pass from womanhood to motherhood, we cross a threshold“.  At least it could be read to include women who become mothers through adoption or even women who provide additional parenting as aunts, etc.  But, what is this magic threshold? Does that mean that you cannot be a mother and a woman?  Or, is it like the field in Iowa where you walk into the corn never to be seen again? What of those women who cannot be mothers or choose not to? Are we left behind in womanhood never to cross this magic Rubicon?

If only that were the top of the mountain.  Instead, it was only the tip of the infuriating ice berg. Here is the real blood boiler line:

Fertility is a woman’s most sacred birthright.”  What. The. F*ck.  Are you shitting me?  If this is the case, then I’ve been totally cheated!  I want my money back!  I’m going to call my parents and tell them that they really screwed this one up. 

 I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around how ridiculously awful this is.  It’s as if the most important thing that a woman’s most prized possession is her ability to reproduce, to repopulate the species.  (Notice that there is no mention of man’s most sacred birthright (or as the commentary so eloquently put it, “[s]trangely, I never see Viagra commercials arguing that knocking people up is a man’s most sacred birthright.” That would be sexist, right?)).  And, what of those of us who are infertile? We apparently lack that most sacred of birthrights, and have little else that can be nearly as important as this. We are, in essence, lesser people because of it.  Is it really necessary to beat on infertile women to sell a product?  Have we reached that low?

As unbelievably an eye-roll inducing a statement as it is, I know in my heart that my fertility, or lack thereof, is not a measure of me anymore than it is a sacred birthright.  I cringe at the word birthright anyway because it has so many connotations of people getting things that they have done nothing to deserve, although, frankly, I’ve thought this about quite a few fertile ladies in my day, so many they aren’t that far from the mark.  No, fertility is no more a sacred birthright than expecting that you will have blonde hair or blue eyes.  First and foremost, it is a choice, one of many that women get to exercise now that we have moved out of the Dark Ages.  Women can be mothers, but, they can choose not to be and still have fulfilling, non-spinsterly lives. 

So, shame on First Response for trying to repackage fertility into something that should be seen by women as a thing that they are entitled to or, by extension, must exercise.  

images: upper left – tantek; bottom right – artnoose, both used through Creative Commons.