An American Horror Story

I can’t get warm. I live in Southern California,  and even though just about everywhere is colder than here, I can’t get warm.

I’ve spent the weekend waiting. Waiting to bleed, waiting to stop crying, waiting for something to feel normal or logical. I haven’t, started bleeding, I still cry easily though for shorter durations and thank god, usually in private. I’ve been waiting for the pregnancy symptoms to subside, they haven’t either. What has happened is that everything has begun to feel really surreal. Like it’s happening to someone else.

Saturday my husband spent the day with a client so I wandered around trying to do errands I wasn’t able to get to during the last few weeks when I’ve felt so ill, and tired. At some point I started to feel like I was so desperate and crazy that I couldn’t stand the idea of having a dead embryo inside me anymore. It was like some sort of surreal anxiety attack that just went on and on and felt bigger and bigger. I texted my acupuncturist on Saturday afternoon, to see if he could help me get the miscarriage started. He was shocked. He thought I was accusing him of hurting me. I wasn’t. I said “No, I want you to help me start bleeding”. He kept asking me over and over if it was true that there wasn’t any more hope, said there really wasn’t much he could do, got kind of annoyed with me that I haven’t seen him in 3 weeks (due to work, and just being overwhelmed with adjusting to being pregnant and the expectations my husband and family have of me) so I agreed to see him this afternoon. He says the best he can do is help calm me. I am not sure how well this appointment is going to go because I’m not sure anything except strong drugs will help calm me at this point.

I’ve dreamed about dead babies. The box the Dr gave me to collect a “sample” of the tissue has very graphic pictures of what is the right tissue to send and what is not the right tissue to send. Its like something about of a sick science experiment. It will need to be “collected” thoroughly washed, and placed into the sterile jar. A vial of the miscarriage blood must also be collected. once collected they are both to be wrapped in a “bio-hazard” bag, placed back into the box and sent to the lab. The box also says that while it can be used by a patient, it’s created specifically for the use of medial staff after conducting a d&c. No gloves come with it. So let me get this straight, I’m supposed to collect the sample from the toilet, wash it, identify it, and place it in a sterile jar? I’ve done a lot of things to become pregnant. I’ve gone through a lot but I don’t think I can do this. I don’t think I am brave enough to do this.

I woke up from a nightmare about doing this last night drenched in sweat, heart racing and shaking at 1:30am last night. I didn’t go back to sleep for a long time.

There is only a 50% chance that I will miscarry naturally. On Friday if I still haven’t started then I am to call the Dr who will give some vaginal suppositories that should bring it on. There is a possibility that also wont work so the Friday after that if I still haven’t miscarried, then he will tell me to get a d&c from my own Ob. I honestly don’t know if I can wait another 3 weeks for this to be over.

Overwhelmingly, sharing my story on Facebook has been amazing. Except for a few comments like ” You know if you really want something it will happen, so you must not have wanted it enough” and a God is punishing you, I never really thought you were cut out to be a mother”.

Why is it that I can get 50 amazing, caring, supportive comments, and the 2 that aren’t just bring me to my knees?

So where am I now? I’m about to get ready to go to work, dizzy, light-headed, shaky, anxious and with tremendous back pain that started on Saturday. I’m about to step back into my life, feeling more disconnected then I’ve maybe ever felt, and wondering if this was my last chance at my own biological child.

I know I need to thank everyone for their wonderful comments and support, but please be patient with me, I am still in the thick of this and just putting on foot in front of the other is proving to be as much as I can do.

Underachiever

CD10 Monitoring
I’ve had this really uncomfortable pain that’s been radiating from my back to front on the left side. Last Friday I thought it was related to my  car accident, neck and back injury. Now a few days later, and after some exploratory poking around my stomach/uterus/left ovary area I realized that its my withered little almond-shaped ovary stretching to fit what feels like an angry little gnome. It’s weird how one little shift can cause my mid-back to spasm and me to feel like the hunchback of Orange County. I am very familiar with this pain, but not on my left side. Normally its on my right. My last retrieval was in early July, so its been more than 2 months since I had one. And since my left ovary is such a underachiever, it didn’t occur to me that it was “Excuse me, I’m trying to grow an egg in here” pain.

Lets see what the blood results and ultrasound show. My appointment its at 11am this morning.

Results:

1 follicle still on the left side, now 15mm, E2 180, up from 72, 4 days ago, which is perfect for retrieval. Generally you want an E2 of 200 or more for 1 follicle. P4 .31, LH 16.8. Follow up visit tomorrow, trigger either tomorrow or Thursday which would mean a retrieval on Friday or Saturday. I’m hoping Friday.

I have plans on Thursday morning with a friend for breakfast, which makes me incredibly happy,  I’ve been asked to give a cooking lesson for my other friends twins 8th birthday party for 14 little 8 year olds, and I have midterms coming for my classes. 2 of these things I’m really looking forward to. It’s amazing how much having something to look forward to can shift your perspective. My “pretty pink positive thoughts” plan is really working well.

I’m getting excited for Halloween! We get a million kids here and everyone in the neighborhood decks out their houses. I am trying to decide if I want to dress my dogs up like crayons, or the Travelocity gnome. (you might begin to notice a pattern. I like gnomes.) Don’t ask me why I don’t know.

Lets put it to a vote: Crayons or Gnomes?

What I do know is,  there’s a life lesson in the phrase “Never Roam Alone”

 

Whorehouses and Underpants

That’s a title that will get your attention.

Last Wednesday I had my Endometrial Biopsy. After my protocol was 10 days of Estrace and 10 days of Provera. Then shark week, and the circus begins again.

The Husband and I had a nice weekend, we spent Saturday trying to see a movie which didn’t work out so we went to go get his hair cut, and I tried out one of those weird Chinese $15.00 for one hour of foot massage places. If you live in or near a city with a large ethnic Chinese population, you see they are everywhere. Personally I’ve always been afraid to go in one because it might be some kind of whorehouse or something that involved a “happy ending” and I don’t want anything to do with anywhere like that. Because its weird and creepy and obviously my mind goes to the perviest of all places. I only went in because husband was with me and said it wasn’t a secret prostitution ring.

Oh Mah Gerd. I’ve paid 100.00 for massages that didn’t feel as good as this. It was not weird or hinky at all, and the person that did mine really worked some of the meridians used in Chinese medicine. I wondered briefly while I was getting it done, if this would undo anything my acupuncture Dr. has been doing. Mother of all that is holy, there were some areas that freaking HURT! But once it was done, I was so sleepy and felt so much more relaxed, it really was amazing!

You sit in these lounge chair thingies, it’s all very hygienic and you stay dressed because its like one huge room of people getting massaged. There was pleasant music, and a TV on, showing some weird Chinese TV show with Caucasian people speaking fluent Mandarin, talking about eating weird foods. If you know anything about authentic Chinese food, then you know they eat some weird shit. The TV show was sort of surreal but whatever, you’re missing the point. After, Husband took me out to dinner, and we went home. By then it was about 10pm Saturday night. We settle in to watch TV, and SURPRISE! Shark Week is early. I’ve been on 2 separate meds to keep exactly that from happening. It was between 6 and 10 days early, and I still had 6 days of meds left.

Are these 2 things related? I don’t know, my acupuncturist says no. I just know he’s been telling me that my chi (energy) is really stagnant in some areas and that was one of them. I will see him today, so lets see if that’s still the case.

Which makes yesterday CD2. Blood work, ultrasound, all that jazz. Oh and the results from my Endometrial Biopsy. I have one follicle on my under performing, wallflower of a left ovary that CD2 is 6.1, right ovary is “quiet” for once. Natural cycle for now (no meds yay!) see him again on Day7 which will be Saturday.

While I was waiting without pants for the ultrasound tech, I started wondering why it is that I always hide my panties when someone is going to look at my vagina. Do we all do this? Why? I mean, someone is about to look at a part of our bodies that most of us have only seen a few times anyway. Or is that also just me? My ultrasound tech has seen my junk more than I have in my whole life. My RE has seen it even more than the ultrasound tech, but doesn’t matter, if there is a paper sheet involved, my panties must be folded and hidden underneath my regular clothes. Predictably irrational, anyone?

I’m feeling pretty good about my new plan. In fact I’ve felt better in the last few days than I have in over a month. I keep reminding myself “one thing at a time” “Control what you can left everything else go” I know, I’ve had about as many plans as I have had cycles so yes I know my “plan credibility” is poor. But I’m trying. I really am going to try to stick with this one. My numbers yesterday were not fantastic but whatever, I’m not going to let it bother me which is why I’m not bothering to post them. I’ve had better numbers and gotten nowhere, and I’ve had worse and gotten a blast so I’m not going to let one days blood work dictate my response to the rest of the cycle. New for me, and shows some improvement in my attitude, to toot my own horn. vvg

Dr is going to “wait and see” this cycle to see what happens since I had to stop meds because of the early period. Normally this would stress me the hell out, but I’m ok with it. Lets see what my body does and go from there, it’s still early so, no reason to start thinking negatively.

The results of my Endometrial Biopsy were perfectly normal.
On a completely different note, there have been a lot of women in the Infertility Blogosphere talking about peeing on things lately. A large number of posts about it in fact. I know there are lots of you waiting for BFP’s and I just want to make the blanket statement to all of you that I’m here, each of you are in my thoughts, my fingers are crossed and I hope you get them. But for the love of the sweet baby Jesus, stop peeing on things early. All of you.

A New Record..

 

 

for the worst cycle ever.

Yesterday was cd12 monitoring. Saturday there was a follicle on the right size 7.6. Yesterday, no view of my right ovary at all, so no idea if there are follicles or gnomes or whatever the hell it is growing in there.

E2 606, no that’s not a typo 606. W.T. F?

FSH 16.1 meh, but its better than 41 so I’ll take it.

LH 7.6
They asked me to monitor again today.

I went in CD13 monitoring no view of my right ovary at all, not vaginal and not through the stomach. Nothing. So it was decided to see how the blood work was going.

Blood Pressure was a little high, but heart rate was 39. So she took it again, blood pressure was pretty normal but heart rate was 37. Freaked everyone out. Everyone. I don’t know what it means but I know all of a sudden there were 5 people in the room with me and I was terrified.

E2 411.70

FSH 18.4

LH 20.4

I’ve been referred to an outside lab for another ultrasound tomorrow, and its confirmed that I have a vitamin d deficiency. Awesome. I wonder if all that is starting to add up to something seriously wrong with me or if I am the unwilling participant to a bunch of weird happenstances. Either way, just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, they do. Significantly.

Dr Paul said “something has to change” and I know he’s right. I just don’t know what that is.

 

 

 

Saturday in the Park

 

Last Saturday was my CD2 monitoring for the first time after what appears to have been a chemical pregnancy. It was crampy, uncomfortable, really messy and emotional. I don’t know why. It’s like limbo. It’s not far along enough to even register but all the same, to know my second FET failed was disappointing and sad. It’s also the longest shark week I’ve had in years. 6 days.

I made it through the ultrasound ok, 1 follicle on each ovary, 5mm each, until the tech left the room. At which point I stood up and looked down at the floor at a small thick puddle of blood, and burst into tears. I cleaned myself, put my clothes back on and crawled around on the floor trying to clean up the mess, crying all the while. Mortified.

My blood work was drawn, my E2 was less than 25, my FSH was 17.5 and it will be a natural cycle, with another check on day 9, this Saturday. I’m guessing I might have a retrieval later in the month, and at some point after that an endometrial biopsy. Last Friday I was tested for a vitamin D deficiency, and a bunch of auto-immune issues. I should get the results by Saturday.

I have not had a lot of good things to say about anything so I’ve done my best not to talk. I’ve avoided my husband and stepdaughter, avoided my friends, let calls go to voice mail and just keep trying to put one foot in front of the other. I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know how to say, I need support. I don’t know how to say, I need love or care or kindness. So I’ve said nothing.

I finally went out to lunch with the husband and stepdaughter today, it almost felt normal, except I no longer finish meals, and I am not hungry 95% of the time.

I guess that’s how you get back to normal, you keep putting one foot in front of the other.

 

 

 

 

Anarchists

CD 18 Monitoring appointment this morning.

E2 186, FSH 25, LH 17, P4 1.43

1 follicle measuring 15.8 left side.

Egg retrieval scheduled for Saturday morning at 9:45am

I don’t know what to think or say really.

This has been a really difficult cycle, for a lot of reasons. Some personal and some because my ovaries are anarchists who are defiant and refuse to coöperate or behave themselves in any kind of “normal” way. They are probably into Steam-punk or something equally hipster-ish that I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing. They just wander around giving me the finger and making obscene gestures at every turn. Just my luck to have hipster ovaries. They probably wear ironic mustaches and really tight skinny jeans.

I asked the Dr if I would ever have another normal cycle. His answer was, probably not. His answer was actually more complicated than that, but I’m tired and don’t have it in me to write about it and be witty today.

It doesn’t help much when it comes to coping with the fear, anxiety and uncertainty of this process. So I have that going for me.

Lupron shot tonight at 10:45, Ibuprofen tomorrow twice, to delay ovulation.

Surprise!

Yesterday was better than I expected. I spoke to my mom and had a 13 minute conversation where she didn’t swear at me or hang up on me so progress? I never heard from my stepdaughter but I never do on Mothers Day so that was par for the course.

The husband decided after 5 years of me asking, to take me to the Rose Bowl Flea Market. It was a beautiful day, and  the market was actually really incredible. We both had a great time. There were working Victrola’s, tons on vinyl, lots of old glass, milk glass, old toys, classic working typewriters, rotary dial phones, with handsets so heavy you could kill someone with them. I love the noise the dial makes, this soft kind of clicky sound, I must have dialed about 100 of them yesterday. Linens, vintage jewelery and clothes, furniture from all time periods, a lot of hardware from old homes, like doorknobs and window closures, skeleton keys, light fixtures, and I even saw some old slave sale documents. Which completely creeped me out because who the hell would want to own those? That is some seriously bad karma right there. I’d never seen such a thing before so it was interesting.

We had a late lunch, went to our favorite bookstore, and then home. Where husband promptly took a nap. He spent Saturday gardening, and isn’t normally an early riser so getting up early for the flea market was a big deal for him.

Which leads me to the least awesome part of the day. A farmers tan. Or in my case, a farmers sunburn. It’s a great look if you’re a man (not really). Or you know, a farmer. But I am neither. I put sunblock on my face ( I missed a stripe right before my hairline, put sunblock on my neck, but apparently SPF5000 doesn’t exist yet. I completely forgot about my arms above my elbows. Who knew that where you part your hair can get sunburned? Do they make SPF for your scalp? Husband laughed and said “You need to get a sun visor, or an umbrella like those old Chinese ladies”. I answered, I don’t carry umbrellas when it rains, you really think I’m going to carry one when its sunny? Hurmph.

I made breakfast for dinner, because we were both too tired to bother going out or making a proper meal and then sat down to watch what is absolutely the best night of the week for TV in my opinion. I loved the first 3 seasons of Mad Men, but they kind of lost me a little during season 4, and now at season 5 I feel like the show has completely lost its way. My new replacement for it is a show that is critically acclaimed, but I’m not sure how well it’s doing in the ratings called “Magic City”. Its fabulous, check it out if you can, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is in it, and who can’t look at him all day? I think the Good Wife is over for the season, and Parenthood ended really early (possibly too expensive to continue to produce).

RHWNJ has started, boy am I starting to hate Theresa, and Mob Wives is almost over. I refuse to watch either of those shows in front of my husband because they are so completely trashtacular that I’m embarrassed to even admit I watch them here. But I will DVR them and watch them later when my husband is working late.

Later today I will go to acupuncture, and then I have Chinese class tonight.

This might have been the first weekend in 6 months that I didn’t spend it obsessing over the status of my ovaries, follicles or lack thereof. It was really nice to have had something else to think about, something else to do. I felt like myself for a little while.

I’m not sure it’s going to take another 3 or 4 days for shark week to begin. The Circus may begin earlier that I anticipated. SURPRISE! As usual my body does whatever the hell it wants. No matter what I AM going to ask for a different protocol this time. Now, lets just hope I can get through another month without having to compare my ovaries those hollow chocolate bunnies or any of the Kardashians.