Sunday, October 28, 2007

7 things about me

McHope at The Infertility Monster tagged me . . . nearly 4 weeks ago now (or is it 5 weeks?). Without further ado . . . 7 fun, quirky, interesting, odd things about me.

1) I still sleep with my baby blanket. Ok, not the same blanket, but as close a copy as I could get. There have been more than a few generations over the years. It is adult sized, but it still has the nice silky feel, it isn't too hot in the summer, yet is an extra insulation in the winter. Besides, I just like it.

2) I live for chocolate. I rarely get through the day without at least a few squares of the really dark stuff. I usually prefer 72% - 85% cocoa. Did I say "rarely"? I'm not sure if I ever get through a day without some of the good stuff. I reached the point in a pregnancy where junk food tends to make me sick pretty quickly so I have cut back on my chocolate consumption, but not by much.

3) I have a very strong right / wrong paradigm. That is, I feel that things should be done the right way and nothing else is good enough. That programming has caused me a lot of pain as I struggled to have a baby outside of having sex (obviously, the only right way to have a baby) and every step further from that we have come. A side effect of that is my desire to tell people they ought to recycle, breastfeed, sell the SUV, etc. I could be a lifestyle police force all by myself. As I have gotten better with allowing myself to see a wider range of "right", I have gotten better about allowing others to make their own best choices too.

4) I am a bit of a geek. When I was in junior high I used to watch the original Star Trek with a notebook so I could record important notes and quotes for later memorization. I could tell you the name of the episode and the season it aired within the first 2 seconds. I could probably still quote you some lines from some of my favorite episodes and come pretty close. How about Plato's Stepchildren where Alexander declares (after Kirk offers him a chance to develop telekinesis like his oppressors), "Do you think I want that? To become my own worst enemy?" Actually, I am pretty far off there I think. But from the same episode I am certain Spock sings, "Take care young maidens and value your wine. Be watchful of young men in their velvet prime. Deeply they'll swallow from your finest kegs and swiftly be gone, leaving bitter dregs." AND most importantly this episode showed the first interracial kiss on television. Uhura and Kirk barely manage a peck - but they did it.

5) I joined the US Peace Corps and was sent to The Gambia in West Africa. I was there 8 months . . . more than a bit shy of the 2 year commitment. I had been dating Brad for five years when I left. It is a long story, but it was the right thing to do at the time. Little did I know I would miss him so much. I cried every day, but it was worth it. It was my experience in my host compound that flipped on the maternal switch. I always thought I would want kids some day, but after hanging out with the women and children and babies for a few months, I couldn't wait to come home, get married and have kids. I came home, we got married and you know the story about the kids.

6) I love to dance. I absolutely love it. You could say I need it. For better or worse, I didn't take my first dance class until I was in college - a jazz dance class - and I quickly found out how little I knew about more formal dancing. I continued to take classes - mostly jazz and modern - ballet scared me as needing way more training than I had. Heck, in my modern dance class I was at least twice the age of most of the students and had a good 5 years on the teacher, but I loved it. Even when my leaps were more like low hops. Man, those 6 year olds could dance circles around me! My husband and I took partner style dancing for several years, but we have been out of practice for the last 3 or so. My most enjoyable dancing still takes place in my living room or kitchen where I can just let it all out.

7) I am a pirate who doesn't do anything. Seriously, the Ve.ggie T.ales song could be Brad's and my theme song. We can hang out in a cafe and read books any night of the week. Should we mow the lawn or take a walk? Yep, the walk wins every time. Notice how my blog is right out of blogger template? I haven't gotten around to that either. I haven't touched my blog roll in months. I have 3 bags of fall bulbs that I bought a month ago. I am confident I will get them planted. Tomorrow. Some quite cold day in November I will realize that it will be now or never and I will get them done. When we even have a semi-productive day, we call it a "Jon Day" after a friend of ours who can't sit still. It is late Sunday and I should probably get some laundry going, but then again, I could probably do it tomorrow instead.

There you have it. A little more about Kami. There are many, many bloggers I would like to know more about. I am going to suggest Meg at Perpetually Waiting because she has been particularly quiet lately and Peep from Conflicted - we just met and it would be nice to get to know her better.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

6 weeks 6 days and still pregnant!

We went in for blood work and ultrasound today and everything looks good. The baby measured 7 weeks 0 days crown to rump and the heart beat was 130.

It was very good news to hear after our little drama yesterday. (TMI WARNING) I bleed quite a bit for a very short while. Bright red blood. I thought I was miscarrying but then it stopped as quickly as it started. I talked to my RE's nurse and my OB and they both said the same thing. It could all be fine. After an initial 30 minutes of crying, I convinced myself that we really didn't know anything more than we did before so today is no different than yesterday. I was calm, but still worried after that.

Which made todays news especially encouraging. The RE also said he saw a blood clot that is not related to the health of the baby and I may see some more light bleeding. Phew!

Outside of that, not much going on. I have been tagged to list 7 (or was it 8?) quirky things about me and I am having fun writing that post, but I haven't been very motivated to do anything but eat and sleep when I get home from work so it is going slowly.

Brad and I also might go to the Brandi Carlisle / A Fine Frenzy concert playing here tonight. We were planning on it, but after last night and the emotional relief this morning, I'm not sure that we are up to it. (sigh) I remember the days when I could stay out most (if not all) of the night and still go to work the next day. I used to tell myself I could still do that, it just wasn't worth it to me any more. Now I admit that the cost has become too high because I don't recover as quickly.

Well, it's all good. Next update on the pregnancy will be on November 2nd. I think I may be graduating from my RE after that appointment. Wow! It is hard to even imagine!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Better times

Thank you everyone for you very supportive comments. It has been so good for me to get those thoughts out and to know that I was heard. As we all know, it is often difficult, if not impossible for our fertile friends to understand.

I have been doing a bit better. I talked to my therapist about this a day after I posted it. Not surprisingly, she provided the same advice that many of you did - be gentle with myself. She also said it was normal to grieve this loss and it takes as long as it takes. Given the heightened emotions that often accompany pregnancy, she thought it would be good to soften the blow at this time by telling myself, "I will not always feel like this." I thought that was good advice. I have talked or emailed with people who have had children through adoption or donor gametes and they all say the good outweighs the bad. I suspect I will feel the same way in time even if it seems impossible now. I have tried it now for a couple of days and it does seem to take the edge off of the fear and sadness.

Today I was talking to my sister who was telling me cute nephew stories. He is about two now. My longing was palpable and in that moment I would have gladly taken my sisters kid and called him my own. It made this potential baby seem like a great idea again. It may not be my first choice, but she would be our baby and that is enough . . . Right? . . . Ok, so I am not 100% ok with everything, but I have my mantras - and meditations to help and I am hopeful it will make a difference.

Brad and I marked the third anniversary of Ernest's birth yesterday. We went geocaching as we have done each year since he was born. It seems appropriate since it was one of the activities we did when we went to the coast for a week after his birth. The first two years we left a baby item and a note about our little boy. This year that didn't feel appropriate. We didn't want to continue to think of him as a baby - after all he would be 3 this year. At the same time we know he will never grow up. We found a good compromise. We went geocaching as usual, but instead of leaving a baby item, we decided to leave an Infertility Awareness Bracelet. I put it in a zip lock bag along with the following note:

Infertility Awareness Bracelet

The pomegranate-colored thread holds a two-fold purpose: to identify and create community between those experiencing infertility as well as create a starting point for a conversation. Women pregnant through any means, natural or A.R.T., families created through adoption or surrogacy, or couples trying to conceive during infertility or secondary infertility can wear the thread, identifying themselves to others in this silent community. At the same time, the string serves as a gateway to conversations about infertility when people inquire about its purpose. These conversations are imperative if we are ever to remove the social stigma attached to infertility. Tie on the thread because you’re not alone. Wear to make aware.

You can continue to spread the word by making your own infertility bracelet. Purchase this pomegranate-colored thread (#814 by DMC) at any craft, knitting, or variety store such as Jo-Ann’s or Target. Tie it on your right wrist. Notice it on others. Wear to make aware.

For more information visit:

Please Note: This bracelet is intended to be worn only by those with personal experience with infertility.

I hope someone will find it who can use it or at least pass it on to someone else. Note: Most of the note I took from Mel's website at the link listed on the flier.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

No words

I can't seem to get out in words how I have been feeling. I have started this post a few times and I end up meandering around and never communicating what I had hoped to communicate. At the request of M at The Maybe Baby as well as my buddy Jill, I will try again.

Physically I am feeling fine. I could point to a few things that I would, in past cycles, relate to being pregnant. This time around I don't want to acknowledge for fear I will later find out they were all in my head. Suffice it to say I am feeling fine. Nothing is going on that would cause me to fear that the pregnancy is not going well. While I don't dream about this pregnancy producing a baby, I also don't live in fear that it won't. I am simply waiting to find out. I feel detached from this pregnancy and growing embryo. I wish I wasn't so detached, but for the time being, it feels like the best way to go.

I can't seem to get down the rest of my thoughts in a coherent way. I am just going to say it and you can wade through it or not.

I am sad and angry and scared. It is about using donor eggs. I am thankful and even happy at times that we seem to have a viable pregnancy - a place where we would likely not be if it weren't for Belinda's generous gift. But, damn it, it is not what I wanted. And it makes me sad that I will never, ever see my genes expressed in our child. I am angry that we have gone through all of this shit to have an outcome that may never feel 100% ok. I am scared that I will always feel the pain of infertility because our solution was just not good enough.

Here I am, growing a (hopefully viable) baby who has no idea about all the stuff that came before him, will only ever know me as his mother and I need to show up in that capacity. I need to not think that she isn't good enough because she isn't half me. I want to feel attached to the embryo growing inside of me now, not sometime in the future. I don't know how to do it. I don't know how to think nice, loving thoughts toward him or her without feeling hurt and scared and angry that it isn't how we had hoped it would be. So I don't think about him or her at all.

I feel like such a failure. I tried really hard to have a child. I did all the research I could, I tried all kinds of alternative medicine. Other people get lucky and they don't even have to try. Other people who don't realize how lucky they are. They think they had it tough because it took a couple of cycles of ART to have their baby. I tried so much harder. It wasn't enough. I failed. I am not enough. (I intend no offense to anyone. I am feeling sorry for myself and logically recognize there is no value in comparisons.)

I wonder if it will always feel like this. The other day, Brad and I were joking about my seeming inability to clean up after myself. Then he said, "Gosh, we should have asked Belinda if she is tidy." He meant it as a joke, but it broke my heart. I cried for hours. I am not enough.

If we had gotten pregnant with IVF and our own gametes I could have (I thought) put all the pain behind me. I could have minimized the journey to conception. Now I can't. There will always be a third party in our procreation. We could have forgotten about the doctors and injections and retrievals. We can never forget about Belinda. She will always be the genetic mother of our child. And I am angry and sad and scared about what that will mean to me for the rest of my life.

I know I cannot look at this in terms of if I can get passed the use of donor eggs. I know I need to get passed it. The choice has been made. Even if this pregnancy doesn't work, we will not be revisiting the use of my eggs. We will move on to donor eggs and donor sperm. So I need to get passed it. I just don't know how. Yet.

Friday, October 12, 2007

5w1d and still pregnant **updated**

I just got back from our first u/s at 5 weeks and 1 day. We saw one gestational sac. I am relieved. The last 12-24 hours has been very emotional, but now that the next appointment isn't for a week and a half I think I will be able to relax a little.

I should probably share more, but I am so emotionally drained right now, I don't know that it would be the least bit coherent.

Oh - let me add that I am happy with the results. I am a ways from being very hopeful or believing that this will work, but I am happy with how things look so far.

Update: Our beta came back good too. We have 3819 today - a doubling time of 39.1 hours.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Waiting and meditating

Thank you again to everyone for your support. It is amazing how much a little comment can help.

Per Leah's request, I am posting an update on how I am doing. I have been thinking about what to post for a couple of days. I would like to chronicle how my feelings (hopefully) continue to change to more acceptance regarding using donor eggs. The problem is that my emotions have been all over the place and I am not even sure where they come from.

I haven't been feeling particularly pregnant. I do have tender breasts and have had some cramping, but neither of these are definitely due to the pregnancy instead of the progesterone. They are also much milder symptoms than I had with Ernest - my only non-medicated pregnancy. Even though it is early, the lack of symptoms leads me to panic that this pregnancy is already over and I just don't know it yet.

I have also been crying a lot - not for extended periods, but for short periods several times throughout the day. At different times, I have different reasons for this. All or none of them may be true, but here is the short list:
  • I am afraid this pregnancy won't last.
  • I feel like this might actually work and that letting down my guard a bit allows the grief of the last 5 years to come pouring out.
  • I am sad that the first time we receive good, doubling betas is only after we have given up on my eggs.
  • It is just the hormones making me cry easily and all the reasons are just manifestations of a mind trying to make an illogical reaction logical.
In order to stay sane - or at least somewhat calm - I have been practicing my meditation per Mel's second happiness challenge. I either try to just notice my breath, the sensations around me or I create a happy place in my mind to visit. I have had varying degrees of success. I was surprised - when I finally set a timer - that I am coming nowhere near the 10 minutes. The time I did set a timer, I was amazed at how many different thoughts can pass through a mind in only 10 minutes. Especially when I'm trying to keep all those thoughts out.

I think it has helped. I especially find it useful to "go to my happy place" at night. Otherwise I would be too terrified to sleep. Don't get me wrong, I am hopeful. At least I think I am. At the very least I try to stay neutral and not think about it too much. The down side of knowing so many infertiles is you always know someone who was in a similar position and lost the pregnancy. In this case, I know someone who had high, doubling betas (they were thinking it was twins) and found no gestational sacs at the first ultrasound - the same timing as my upcoming ultrasound. Later the blood work revealed her beta levels were going down and she was diagnosed with a chemical pregnancy.

Did I say I am trying not to think about it too much? I guess "trying" is the key word. I keep reminding myself that it is either going to work or it isn't and there is extremely little I can do to influence the outcome. I don't want to spend the next eight months (if I am so lucky) worried or filled with anxiety either. I figure this is good practice.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Second Beta

It more than doubled!

14 dpo: 97.4
16 dpo: 297

Doubling time of 29.7 hours.

I can't believe it! Do I dare start thinking this might work?

Next update will be Friday when I go in for another beta and the first u/s at 5 weeks 1 day.

Thank you everyone for your continued support and well wishes.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Vigil for the beta

I am at work after getting my blood drawn for the beta. I hope to hear within the hour, but it could take several hours.

I took another HPT this morning - once again with the First Response Rapid Response that tests to 50 mIU/ml. It was darker and a clear positive, but not as dark as I would have liked. In two of the 4 IVF's I have gotten low betas - one doubled well after that, one did not - but they both ended in miscarriage. So, of course, I am nervous that this is already the beginning of the end.

Well, they called while I was typing this - only an hour after the blood draw

Beta = 97.4

We are very happy with that number. Let's hope it doubles by the next test on Saturday.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

I chickened out

I didn't POAS this morning. I was afraid of bad news.

Last night, I tried the First Response Rapid Response sticks and came darn close to getting a negative and it made me realize that I am better off feeling like this might work because of the faint positives than taking another test this morning and not having a darker line and possibly freaking out over nothing.

The FRRR (rapid response - measures to 50 mIU/ml) was about as dark as the FRER (early response - measures to 25 mIU/ml) stick from 24 hours earlier. I am taking that as enough good news for now.

I may POAS before the blood draw tomorrow, I may not. Either way I will post my beta when I get it. The clinic usually calls with beta numbers before noon PDT.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Thank you all for you thoughtful suggestions. I think taking an HPT (home pregnancy test) on Thursday morning is probably the best idea. But like the addict who ignores all the sage advice to lay off the drugs, I listened to the one that said, "Go on . . . you know you wanna."

I POAS'ed (peed on a stick) last night with a FRER (First Response Early Response brand HPT). We got the very slightest pink line after 3 minutes but before the 10 minutes they suggest as a cut off for reading a negative result. If I hadn't spent so many times staring at a start white background hoping for a line - any line - to appear, I would be tempted to all this an evaporation line. I swear I saw some pink. My husband did too.

So, this morning we took another. Same. Exact. Line. Ug! Can someone be almost pregnant? I am telling myself that this is a good sign. The difference in HCG levels over 12 hours just may not be different enough or I could have drank just enough more water. I am not counting this as a positive, but I am using it to be hopeful until we get something more concrete.

I will likely test again tomorrow morning, but I am out of the FRER. I accidentally picked up the First Response Rapid Response sticks that, according to the box, are designed to be used the first day of the missed period(as opposed to "up to 5 days" earlier) so I am assuming they have a higher threshold for a positive result.

I think, in this case, testing early has helped. Although I am no where near thinking this is going to work out, it has given me enough hope to be far less anxious than I was yesterday at this time. I hope we can maintain a bit of peace over the next two days and - hopefully - many months to follow.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A distraction

I thought I needed something lighthearted. Brad and I are both very anxious, but doing our best to survive this wait.

Our current thoughts - and please feel invited to voice you opinion:
  • No POAS'ing - have the beta on Thursday, but not get the results until after the beta on Saturday.
  • POAS in the evening starting tonight (11 dpo) or tomorrow (12 dpo)
  • POAS the morning of the beta on Thursday and if it is negative, call in sick to work.
  • Plan on taking the first half of Thursday off and wait for Beta results together (no prior hpt's)
Until then, I checked out my spirit guide.

Your Score: The Wolf

Here's your results! Your spirit animal has a Nobility ranking of 12 out of 18.

Your spirit animal is the wolf. It is a ferocious companion, and a loyal friend. It is both a respectable and noble creature; to have this spirit animal says good things about you, and that you are starting to figure things out. Wolves are pretty rare spirit animals.

***Wondering how this animal was chosen for you? These questions were carefully thought out to see how important you hold certain virtues such as: humanism, self-knowledge, rationalism, the love of freedom and other somewhat Hellenic ideals. Some of the questions were very subtle. Your score was then matched with an animal of corresponding nobility. However, you shouldn't think this was a right/wrong sort of test, but more of an idealistic values test. It's ok to not hold these values, you'll just get an animal spirit of lower stature if you do!***

Link: The What is Your Spirit Animal Test written by FindingEros on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test