Monday, November 9, 2009

99- A visit sooner rather than later...

I've been bad about blogging lately...reading and commenting on other blogs as well as updating my own. For good reason...

A little over two weeks ago (I think, it's all been a bit of a blur), I got really sick. I was about to teach class on a Monday night when, completely out of the blue, I began vomiting violently. I cancelled class, went home, and felt a lot better, so I thought maybe it was just something I ate. I tried desperately to hydrate, knowing how dangerous dehydration is in pregnancy. All was fine...until I started vomiting violently again at around 1AM. Called the ob on call and as I suspected, she wanted me to go in right away for fluids. I got my one bag of fluids and a little Zofran and was feeling better - about to be released (discharge papers in hand) - when it all came crashing down. They took my blood pressure one last time and it was 175/109. I was released alright...released from the ER to Labor and Delivery.

Once I got to L&D they did their thing - NST testing, blood work, blood pressure readings, 24-hour urine analysis - and, the scary thing...the steroid shot to boast the baby's lungs in case I needed to deliver at 33 weeks. I spent about a day and a half at the hospital. Came home with "strict bed rest" instructions and an appointment scheduled in the office for a few days later. And the rest is history...bed rest, 2 appointments a week, baby monitoring twice a week, and a weekly ultrasound ever since....a diagnosis that wavers between pregnancy-induced hypertension and mild preeclampsia, depending on if protein shows in my urine. The hospital bag as been packed and is in the car. Essentially, the doc told us that we would be reevaluating what would be "the day" at every appointment.

And then this past weekend, another little jaunt to L&D - I had strong right-side pain under my rib. This was one of two "must call and get checked out" items. With this condition, it could indicate problems with the liver. Everything checked out fine - most likely a foot in the rib :-)

So things have been a little tense, although I can say we have been going with the flow as much as possible. Initially, we were told the he would deliver at 36 weeks at the latest (basically, this Monday). Then we were told 37 weeks. And now, at our last appointment, things were so stabilized that he said we would shoot for the Monday after Thanksgiving (38 weeks). That would be so great! Full-term, so less feeding issues, etc.

That appointment was on Thursday. It has been a nice couple of days since then. When we were told that we would most likely be delivering at 36 weeks, we kicked it into high gear - well, as "high gear" as you can get being on bed rest. We tried to get all the things that we planned on doing over that last month done, and for the most part, we did. So when we were told that we now have a little more time, we've realized that there is truly very little to do but relax. It's been nice.

Hopefully, part of my relaxing will be catching up on all your blogs...I'm so behind. But know you have all been in my thoughts.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

97 - Summer is over and school starts!

So I'm back to teaching tomorrow, and I am looking so forward to it - more so than in years past. I think there are several reasons why. First, I think I am ready to get into a routine and exercise my mind beyond finding baby things on Craig's List and organizing yet another drawer. Second, I will be teaching three courses this semester, which is basically full-time. So on Mondays and Wednesdays, I'll be hanging out on campus all day long; having lunch, running into students, working on curriculum and assignments. I think it is going to have a different feel from the semesters when I only taught one or two classes and would just run in and teach and run out. Third, I definitely think there is some strong maternal instinct going on - I feel a stronger motivation to do a good job - to really give these kids what they are paying for....to inspire them. Maybe I'll watch "Mona Lisa Smiles" tonight to really get in the mood :-).

The semester will be interesting in another way....classes end Dec. 12th, with exams the following week. My due date? Dec. 13th. I know, I'm cutting it a little close. I have already made arrangements for someone to proctor my exams. But who knows if I will go early. Ah well - everyone is advised, and I hope I have things organized enough for someone to somewhat easily takeover if that happens.

So what to do on the last day of probably the best summer of my life? Yesterday, I made a very large, unrealistic "to do" list...as if there will be no more time for anything (even though I will only be teaching 2 days a week) once fall starts. I think I'll work through that list the best I can without stressing about what doesn't get done. Then Alex and I have plans to go to the Saline Community Fair tonight...although it is pouring right now. Whatever we do, I will definitely be sad to see the summer go. I think this is the first time I've felt this way in a very long time.

On the baby front...deals, deals, and more deals. We went garage shopping this weekend and I got a exersaucer that retails for about $80 for $5. Then yesterday I got the EXACT $140 swing we registered for off Craigs List for $45...basically new condition. I'm getting excited for my showers - one is a Dr. Seuss themed family shower and the other one is a English tea friend shower at this very cool Victorian B&B. Oh - and for the first time in our marriage, Alex and I have resorted to sleeping in separate beds. Why, you may ask? Because I now snore like a tortured pig ;-).

Bye bye summer 2009! Hello fall...you have a lot to live up to!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

96 - Just livin' life...

The concept seems so simple, but for those of you who have experienced infertility, you probably understand the magnitude of this statement. I've been absent from the blog world for past month because I've just been livin' life - and it's been wonderful - but not without a grieving period. Only in the last month have I really understood how much I had stopped living life in those 4 years we were trying to conceive.

A quick summary of the last month - Went to Ohio to visit relatives in Columbus and Cincinnati, had a friend come visit us whom we haven't seen in about 4 years (went to the Ann Arbor Art Fair - so much fun), a wonderful reunion up north, a visit to Michigan's upper peninsula for a few days, a visit to the west side of the state to visit my niece's (including the preggo one), and lots of lunches and catch-ups with good friends and family.

On the baby front - our 20 week ultrasound looked great, with no signs of any abnormalities. At my last pregnancy he declared me a "textbook healthy pregnancy". Again, I'm sure many of you understand how this statement was truly music to my ears. In the last four days, I feel the baby A LOT...probably 10-12 times a day. I've also been feeling great lately, and I'm pretty confident that walking everyday is one of the reasons...now, if I can only keep that up during the third trimester. The nursery and registry are complete - I have a couple pics below.

As for the rest of the summer - unfortunately, not much left as classes start Sept. 9th - it is finally time for me to buckle down and get some class prep done and finish up some additional projects on the "nesting" list. Unfortunately, Alex and I will be making a trip to Columbus, Ohio this weekend because his grandmother passed away. We are so grateful that we had the opportunity to see and talk with her just about a month ago. We only wish she had had the chance to meet this little miracle - her great grandchild.

So, sorry for the very unprofound post. It it is clearly a report...I guess that's what happens when you haven't posted for over a month. I plan to spend time today catching up with all of you.

Below are various pics...


24 week belly pic


20 week ultrasound - we aren't finding out the sex, and we are aware of the baby's big schnozz ;-).



The nursery - with the combination of Craig's list and some very good deals, we were able to get all the furniture (crib, dresser, rocker, and bookshelf) for $400. My niece is going to make me a crib skirt with the material laying over the crib.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

95 - It's always something...

This is the phrase I probably heard the most from my parents while I was growing up - I forget which parent...maybe both. The electricity would go out..."It's always something". Someone would die...."It's always something". The vacuum would break..."It's always something.". So when we got the news that our NT Scan and blood work came back "positive", it is no surprise that "It's always something" was the phrase that ran through my head.

I knew something was up when my ob called on Tuesday and left the following message - "Hey, Christina. It's Dr. H. Give me a ring at the office. I'll be here till 4PM.". Obs just don't call to see how things are going. I figured it out before I called him back that he was probably calling with our results, and since he was calling at all, the results were probably "abnormal". So Alex and I had the discussion before I even talked to the doc. We wouldn't terminate, therefore, we wouldn't follow-up with an amnio.

Yes - it was a positive test. He said the average risk for Down's for someone my age is 1/110. Any test the comes in at a higher risk than the average is considered "positive". With our NT scan, the blood work, and my age, the risk for us came back as 1/60. That means rather than a .5% chance that this baby has Down's, there is a 1.6% chance. Or, another way to think of it is that there is a 98.4% that the baby is fine.

Of course we would have rather had different news, but I am happily surprised about how we have dealt with this. I feel like it is a true reflection of all the hard emotional work we have done has individuals and as a couple. First of all, we know the inaccuracy of this test and we are aware of the high probability of false positives. Secondly, we intimately know someone with Down's - Alex's sister. It is not an unknown to us, which makes any probability of it a lot less scary. I can honestly say this positive test has put little to no damper on the excitement we are feeling about this pregnancy. The part I am happily surprised about is not necessarily our decision itself - I have no judgment about what people decide to do with this information. It is such a personal choice. I am most happily surprised about our clarity and the fact that we are on the same page...whatever that "same page" may be.

I've been feeling movement. I'm getting big. And when I push on my stomach in certain places, I can tell I am feeling the baby's head. We just want to enjoy the rest of this pregnancy with as little medical intervention as possible.

So - in other news, the summer has been great. Perhaps one of our best. After we returned from Dublin, I went on another trip with Alex to Valencia, Spain. It was a beautiful city. We spent a lot of time on the beach. Some women were topless, and I was so tempted to rip my top off as well. I have nice boobs right now. I've never had nice boobs, nor will there probably be another time in my life where they are this nice. I wanted to show them off. But I resisted. Too bad...

This week we are visiting Alex's aunt in Ohio. Then a friend of ours whom we haven't seen in ages is coming up to see us and go to the Ann Arbor Art Fair next weekend. Then we are going to an air show...I'm working the beer tent for our Women in Aviation group. Lots of other summer plans, and the next thing I know, I'll be back teaching and 6 months along. I guess my parents were right...It is always *something* :-).

Some pics from Spain...



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

94 - Fish and chips and other adventures...


Well, I did make it to Dublin with Alex last week...and got the fish and chips which were delicious. Yes, yes - I do realize the phallic nature of the fish on the plate. HaHa. It was a nice, but quick trip.

We headed to Washington, D.C. to visit his family last Thursday and picked up Emily on Friday. We went to a museum one day, had dinner with friends/family, had a pedicure/manicure, and went to one of our favorite D.C. restaurants - Nam Viet. I absolutely love Vietnamese food. There is just something about it that is so flavorful and comforting to me. It was nice trip. We are now back hanging out in NYC. Alex was on "short call" today which means we couldn't really head into the city. So we relaxed in the crash pad today and had an authentic Italian dinner at a local joint called Vincent's. I'm eating my takeout cannoli as I type. Do you see my trend of focusing mainly on the food?

Tomorrow he will switch to "long call" which means we will be able to trek into the city. The plan is to spend the day at the met and then hopefully venture into the village for dinner. Actually, I don't know very much about New York...I just wanted to sound like I do ;-). If Alex doesn't get a trip by tomorrow night, we'll probably head back to Ann Arbor on Thursday.

As for new news in the world of pregnancy:

1) I got a public recognition at the subway last week when someone offered me their seat.
2) It doesn't matter if I have just emptied my bladder - if I sneeze, there is a 90% chance I will piss myself a little.
3) I love having boobs. Plain and simple.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

93 - Will Kill for Food and Hoboken Adventures...

So, we made it to NYC yesterday. As we were driving to the airport in Detroit, I suddenly felt a sense of panic. It was 11:15ish and our flight departed at 1:30PM. I asked Alex "Can we talk about the food situation and what we are going to do about lunch?". He laughed. This is so out of character for me...I am so not HM (High Maintenance)...well that folks, is slowly a changin' ;-). We decided we would eat at the airport Chili's. I was STARVING when we arrived there about 12:15PM...and this was after consuming a Danish in the car to the airport. After what seemed like hours (but I'm sure was only like 5 minutes), a waitress stopped by and said "I'll be right with you"...more "hours" seemed to have passed. I felt like I was going to strangle her if she didn't get "us" food pronto. Seriously. There is this instinct inside of me now that makes me believe that I could really hurt somebody over food. I think Alex got scared of the smoke rising from the top of my head and my red, possessed eyes...he talked to the hostess and she took our order.

Flight was great - first class. God, I love first class. I'll admit - I am a total diva when it comes to first class travel...because with our travel benefits, it is how we travel probably 95% of the time. How spoiled am I? So much so that when we thought we were going to have to sit in coach the whole 1 1/2 hours from DTW to NYC, I bitched (Alex did too, actually). Oh no - it wasn't good enough we were flying for free. Here's an admission - sometimes, I won't go with Alex on trips across the Atlantic if there aren't 1st class seats available. I know, total diva. But this is my only diva thing...I buy clothes at thrift shops and get my hair trimmed at Fantastic Sams. Truly.

So once we arrived in NYC, we went to his "crash pad" (the place were he stays when he is in NYC waiting for trips) in Howard Beach. I'm glad I got the chance to see it - it makes me feel better about him being here as it is a nice place. Then at about 5PM we decided to do the hour and a half trek across to Hoboken. Have any of you seen the TLC show "Cake Boss"? Well, the bakery is in Hoboken. We went there. I was surprised that the bakery was pretty much empty. We bought some pastries, and as we were walking out, I asked Alex to take my picture...just as he was doing so, "Mama Maria" came out. She was so excited that we were taking a picture in front of the bakery - she struck up a conversation and got in a picture with me. As she was walking away, she said "We're on tonight -10PM, TLC". Then she proceeded to tell her friend how exciting it was that people would actually want their picture taken in front of the bakery. Ahh, sweet Mama Maria...so new to fame. Give it a couple of months...I bet her excitement will slowly ween.

We had dinner at the Sushi Lounge...vegetarian for me, of course. It was delicious. Then we met up with this girl we knew from our college who is also a pilot for Delta and had "drinks" at this very chic bar called Lua. It had such a great view of the city. Of course, my "drinks" consisted of a virgin dacari and a couple of cups of mint tea, but it was still fun. We socialized for about 3 hours, then started the trek home at about 11PM...I won't go into details, but we got home at 2AM...I'll just leave it at that. It was a great day.

So today, Alex has a trip to Dublin leaving at about 7PM. Mmmmm...Irish pubs mean fish and chips...It looks like there is a pretty good chance I'll get on (1st class, of course, in my thrift shop duds). As for today, our plans were to hang out in the city, maybe go to an art museum and have lunch in Little Italy, but it is pouring and thundering right now, so who knows.

****

In other big news...my niece is pregnant! That's right - my NIECE. So here's the scoop - my sis is 17 years older than I am and had her kids pretty young. My niece is actually 26. Did you think it was a teenage "oops" story? Nope - they (her and my nephew-in-law) will be bringing the baby into a planned and stable situation. Her due date is February 2nd (mine is now somewhere around Dec. 13th). Our kids will be very close in age...and will hopefully have a close relationship as well!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

92 - NT Scan


Last Thursday was our NT Scan. Everything is fine. It is amazing how they make that determination by measuring the very small neck fold. See that bright spot at the base of the neck? They want it under 3.0mm. It was. Above 3.0mm would indicate a high probability for Down's.

Once Alex and I made the determination that we would have the test, we also had the discussion about what we would do with the information. We would do nothing except be a little more prepared for the news when the baby arrived.

Alex has a sister, Emily, who has Down's. She is one amazing human being. She gives and receives love better than most. She lives in a very nice group home with a couple other girls and a house mom. Her house is also nicer than most homes in appearance. She works at Subway - has been for several years. She loves to shop, listen to her CDs, and watch TV. She really loves to watch TV - so much so that when she was limited on her TV viewing time, she took about 15 pictures of the TV screen throughout an episode of Full House, printed them, and made a "Full House" book that she could look at when the TV was required to be off. Brilliant. She also is a supreme judge of character. If Emily is not showering someone with affection - beware - it is probably not someone who deserves it.

So for us, the decision what to do with this NT Scan information was clear. Of course we are thrilled that everything is fine, but we are also pretty convinced the world would be a better place with more Emilys.


And Emily, if you really did run for President, I would totally vote for you!

More to write...hopefully I'll fit in another post before I start traveling with Alex tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

91 - Tazmanian Devil unleashed...


Yes, the second trimester is here...and my inner Tazmanian Devil has made an appearance. I am bouncing off the walls with energy...as if I am making up for all the down time in the first trimester. Here is just a sample of one of my days lately...

6AM-10AM - Wake up bright eyed, and spend 4 hours catching up on about 30 friend emails I've neglected and submitting work-related paperwork and insurance forms.
10AM-12PM - Decide it is time to clean out the pantry, fridge, and freezer. Lay a bunch of stuff to cook on the counter.
12PM-1PM - Decide to do some touch up painting in the dining room.
1PM-1:30PM - shower, but also decide to paint my nails.
1:30-3PM - Errands, including the tailor, the post office, the grocery store, and a half hour walk around the mall for exercise.
3PM-4PM - Pick up Alex at the airport. Stop for a little ice cream treat on the way home.
4PM-6PM - Cook. Cook. Cook...all that stuff I cleaned out from the pantry. I had about 4 pots going on the stove and a couple of things in the oven. Alex walked in and his eyes got really big...he said something along the lines of "I really like the second trimester".
6PM-8PM - Went to a Women in Aviation Chapter meeting at the airport.
8PM-9:15PM - Had dinner with Alex and a fellow Women in Aviation member.
9:15-12AM - Had some friends over...actually, this family I use to babysit for from when I was 12 till when I was about 18.

Now does the above picture make sense? And this started about 3 days ago and hasn't let up...I think I am having a small taste of what it is like to be on Speed.

Lots more to write about. Yesterday, I had a meeting with the university where I teach at in regards to fall and winter semesters. I'll right more details later. And I think I am going to do some traveling with Alex in the next few weeks...and...and...and...

I trust that even Tazmanian Devils get tired at some point?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

90 - Our 28/38 baby...

This is the title of the email I sent to our CC.RM nurse with an ultrasound pic attachment. What is the significance? 28/38 were our first two betas. Tomorrow I will be 12 weeks in the eyes of CCRM - although the baby measured 11w3d at today's ultrasound. Completely on track since the first ultrasound at 5w6d, but I think we will officially celebrate the end of my first trimester this weekend.

My BF, Lauren, and her son Aaron came with me to this appointment because Alex is out of town. They weren't going to do an ultrasound, only the doppler to hear the heartbeat. But when the ob saw that I brought my BF along, he did an ultrasound anyway. I really like him, and this just sealed the deal. And it was on top - not transvaginal! What a treat after so many transvaginals throughout this infertility process.

I also graduated from CCRM today. No more meds. My nurse said that after being on the bottom for so long, I was actually graduating at the top... without meds, my progestorone was 44 and my estrogen was 1200.

So really - only one baby in there? After 5 ultrasounds, I guess they are right. Seriously, I look a lot bigger than 11w3d. The scale at my ob says I've only gained 2 lbs this trimester, but I think the camera is saying something different...



ADDITION: I have one box of Endometrin and about 16 vivelle patches left. I'll send them to whoever needs them , shipping on me. Just send me an email. First come, first serve :-). I know our insurance didn't cover then Endometrin until I was pregnant, and it was over $125 a box...and those patches weren't so cheap either. So someone please take advantage of this. You can email me at acdispatch@yahoo.com.

Monday, May 18, 2009

89 - It's the same, right?


I read in one of those pregnancy books this cute little suggestion that you should make the most of your time with your pets before the baby comes...that your relationship with your pet with never be the same. That's what I'm doing in the above pic - aside from trying real hard not to puke, I'm making the most of my time with my Kharma.

So the other night, DH and I were lying wide awake in bed. I hesitantly said "Please be honest with me. Have you thought "what have we done?" at any moment in the past two months?" Silence. Followed by a very comforting "Yes.". Thank goodness! I felt so much better. I have too. I've been reassured by many that this is a normal and healthy feeling, but for some reason, after going through infertility and trying so much harder than the average couple to make this happen, I didn't think we'd have those moments. I slept well that night, knowing that even though we have fears, at least we both have them.

The next morning, I was cuddling with Kharma on the loveseat at the top of the stairs while Alex was getting ready in our bathroom. Our conversation went something like (not exactly like, but you get the idea) the following:

ME: "You know how we leisurely wake up at 9AM, then Kharma sleeps till about 10:30AM at which point she often just quietly sits at the foot of the bed and waits for me to come get her? It's going to be the same with a baby, right?

HIM: Of course. And you know how when her food is gone, she just stares at you for while, and if you don't respond because she has already gotten her allocated food for the day, she eventually stops staring and goes and lays down under the end table. That's the same with baby, too?

ME: Absolutely. And you know how when it's raining how we skip out on the walk and instead just let her out in the backyard to do her business and then we pick it up about once week or so? Same right?

HIM: Sure. And you know how once every 6-8 weeks we hand her over to someone else to get groomed. Those services exist for babies, right?

ME: Why not? Oh and those last minute trips where we jet off to Europe for the weekend and call up grandma and gramps or L (also last minute) to take care of Kharma...same thing with the kid?

HIM: Ummmm.....

Ah well, we got a good laugh. I'm glad we are openly discussing our fears and concerns with a touch of humor.

We are sorting things out. Thanks for the helpful comments on the last post. Since then, DH has been great. He set little baggies of saltines in various locations around the house and refills them when they get empty (which happens a lot these days). He leaves Wednesday morning for a possible long stint away, so this morning he stocked the fridge with good food...he obviously did some research, informing me he got some walnuts "for the omegas" and dried ginger "for the tummy"...and he noticed my feet have been exceptionally dry, so he also picked up some Burt's Bees foot lotion. I loved all the gestures...they were very thoughtful. Not the typical "here's some flowers" to smooth things over, but gestures that were very specific to pregnancy - things I really need right now. I was impressed - even more impressed when I found him reading my "I'm Pregnant, Now what do I Eat?" book :-).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

88- Miss Independent

Ok - a little venting folks.

My husband, I love him...but as in all marriages, we have our struggles. I think a pregnancy has the potential to bring some the struggles to the forefront. At least that is how I feel today.

Our biggest hurdle over the almost 11 years of our marriage has been our basic lifestyle - he being gone for about half the month, every month. This lifestyle was at it's toughest when he was gone about three weeks in a row every month...this toughest part lasted for 4 years...and when I say "gone", I'm talking Europe, the Middle East and Hong Kong "gone". Things are better now - he is still gone roughly half the month (some months a little less), but the days are broken up into 3 or 4 day increments. It's manageable. I don't love it, obviously, but I've worked out how to live this way...perhaps a little too well.

As a result of this lifestyle, which has just magnified my preexisting stubborn and independent personality, I have learned to function best by myself. I'm use to running the house by myself, making decisions by myself, caring for myself. I've had to learn how to do this. And my dear husband is use to me doing all this as well. But sometimes, just sometimes, I want to be cared for and protected. I think I realized this when my parents and BF were such a great help when I was on bed rest...and I was open to their help (albeit a little "discussion"). When my dear husband and I get into this discussion (which, by the way, is the one we have been having over and over for the last 11 years without much progress...our broken record "discussion"), his response is always "but you are so strong, capable, and independent, I thought you would be insulted if I did so and so for you.". Sometimes I feel that I could tell him that I was going to South America on a safari through the Amazon right now, 9 weeks pregnant, and his response would be "have fun - I know you'll be safe and make good choices". Meant to be a compliment, I know, but then why does it invoke rage in me? I guess it is because it makes me feel even more alone than I already physically am a lot of the time. And now, with a bun in the oven, feeling alone is a scary emotion.

So what brought this need to vent on? Making my husband lunch yesterday after working in the garden, then we went out to dinner last night (my arrangements and suggestion), then I made breakfast for him this morning. Oh then, he makes lunch for himself today without asking me if he can get me anything. And finally, we were suppose to do something fun today - something where I could get out of the house a little after the days of bed rest. I backed off and gave him the reins to let him come up with something and make it happen. Nothing happened. This post is about the only thing that happened today.

Ok, enough. Damn hormones.

Monday, May 11, 2009

87 - Good News



After a weekend of bed rest, things are looking up. I can't believe the above pictures - clearly looking like a baby. How did that flashing dot turn into this? Blows my mind away. Even comparing the pictures from one week ago to today's pic...

Baby now measures 9w0d (after measuring 7w3d at the same office one week ago) with a strong heartbeat and...movement! It was great to see the little miracle wiggling. It looked happy. I don't know how else to say it, but when I saw the screen, the first thing that came to my mind was "that's a happy baby".

And here's the craziest thing - no obvious large subchorionic hematoma. Actually, our ob couldn't find anything remarkable (except the baby, of course!). I didn't have any more spotting all weekend until last night at my night endometrin insert...then there it was - a dash a red blood on the tip. I'm not saying that there wasn't a hematoma when I went to the ER, but I wonder if some of the spotting could also be cervical due to being on these inserts three times a day for the past 8 weeks. The ob said "who knows" and advised me to stay on moderate rest (no lifting, exercising, etc.) until the next appointment in 2 weeks. Gladly. I am so grateful that I do not have any obligations right now (school's out)...I can't imagine dealing with all these ups and downs with any added stress. Plus, I find that it has given me the time to do a little daydreaming - which I am starting to value so much.

Thank you so much for all your continued support!

Friday, May 8, 2009

86 - SCH, of course.

Subchorionic Hematoma. Buh-Bye St. Thomas. Hello SERIOUS bedrest until Monday morning when I have another appointment with my ob/gyn. I spent about 6 hours in the ER yesterday. Baby is fine. Baby is great, actually. Measured 8w4d (after measuring 7w3d on Monday). Heartbeat was 147. I got to hear it for the first time. But I have a "large" subchorionic hematoma which caused me to bleed yesterday - hence the trip to the ER. My ob/gyn was quite concerned by the size and recommended "serious bed rest" until Monday. Dr. S at CCRM sounded like he had more experience with these.

Shit. Seriously? Haven't I had my share of ups and downs in the pregnancy so far? How am I feeling? PISSED OFF.

Alex was on his way to Venice when this happened. I called him at 3:30AM this morning and had him get on the next plane home. He's home now.

My BF and her son, Aaron (coolcapcutie.blogspot.com) met me at the ER, thank goodness. Aaron was such a great distraction. He even got a little ride in my bed as they wheeled me to the ultrasound. She also came by this morning with some beautiful tulips, a Hollywood smut magazine, and a nice meal for Alex and I. Then my parents were here the rest of the day, pampering me and stocking my fridge. I felt very cared for by all.

Any experience with SCHs?

BTW - they drew my HCG yesterday. 95,000. I know this is meaningless without a follow-up (which we will do on Monday), but it was so surreal to see that number since we were at 190 at our last beta.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

85 - Lots of good pics...


Yesterday was our second ultrasound - first ultrasound measured 5w6d; this one measured 7w3d (+-5d), so we are on track for growth and the heartbeat was "normal"...although I couldn't pin her down to a number. Still shocked. Still can't wrap my head around how my crazy numbers turned into this beating heart. Just so you all don't think I'm an eternal pessimist, our CC.RM nurse said that she hadn't seen numbers like ours turn into a heartbeat in the 20+ years she has worked in the field. We're thrilled, and after yesterday, my guard has come down more. Really, at this point, is there any other option?

Alex and I are going on vacation next week. Our friends that we stayed with in Colorado have rented a beautiful house in St. Thomas and have invited us to join them. Although I won't be enjoying foo-foo drinks on the beach, I am looking forward to a week of staring at the ocean and day-dreaming about the future. This is the pool at the house they've rented. We can't wait!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

84 - Life in numbers...

That is what life in the world of infertility is - even post positive pregnancy. Up until Monday I was getting my blood drawn every other day in an attempt to wean me off the meds. No weaning now until after our second ultrasound on Monday. My progesterone looks fine (I'm on the supps. and they are pleased with anything over 6), but as you can see, my estrogen is all over the place. They finally gave up on the weaning and gave me the week off from blood draws. For the first time since mid March, I can enjoy a week without numbers.

Estradiol and Progesterone (* indicate no reading)

1300 11
550 17
1100 15
1600 *
450 *
850 18

I know estrogen numbers are lower with frozen embryo transfers, and I always keep in mind what Phoebe says about how it is more important what is in the uterus than what is in the blood stream (very helpful, Phoebe), but does anyone have any additional insight about the estradiol? I really don't understand its role.

I feel stupid. I really thought that I would either not get pregnant from this frozen embryo transfer or get pregnant and that would be it - a "normal" pregnancy to just sit back and enjoy. Bahahaha! I am not complaining - I am so grateful we have gotten as far as we have, but this is so far from a normal, naturally conceived pregnancy.

For those of you who don't know about frozen embryo transfers (and for those who do, please correct me if I'm wrong) - my body was basically "shut down"(via birth control pills) and then restarted (via artificial hormones) prior to transferring the embryos. In a natural pregnancy, your body is already producing progesterone and estrogen from your natural cycle. But since I didn't have a natural cycle, these artificial hormones are all my body has until the placenta kicks in (I think between 9-12 weeks). Hence, the close, obsessive monitoring.

Monday we'll have some more news with the ultrasound - here's hoping for a heartbeat and good growth...and 7 more months without so many numbers!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

83 - Bright spots that come and go...

Last Wednesday, after our yet-another confusing report of good progesterone and low estrogen, I was talking to my mentor at the university about this pregnancy. She knows the details. She knows the crazy number game we've been playing. After this last conversation she placed her hands on my shoulders and said "Christina, this pregnancy doesn't surprise me in the slightest. You do everything your own way. You are never in the "normal" range in anything you do - be it on the good side of normal or the bad side. Why would the pregnancy be any different?".

Yesterday, I realized how right she was as I stared at the ultrasound screen and saw bright spots come and go from our peppercorn within that little black sac.

We saw a strong heartbeat and the measurement was good - a few days behind, but right on target if this was a late implanter. I know we are not out of the woods, but for the first time since this started I accepted the "congratulations" as we checked out of our ob/gyn's office without rolling my eyes and making a sarcastic comment to Alex.

We are in shock. I was going to recap the beta numbers, but instead I am just going to post our first ultrasound pic this afternoon. We are not going to look back on this. As of now, we are just any other pregnancy with a heartbeat. I really expected to see an ectopic or an empty sac or a sac with a fetal pole and no heartbeat, but not this. What was my profound reaction to this little miracle? I just kept saying "Holy shit!" over and over as I stared at the screen. Classy.

I'll post the pic this afternoon. Thank you all for keeping some hope about this when I had absolutely none.

Next - another ultrasound in two weeks and weening off the drugs.

4/20/2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

82 - Of course. Can anything be perfect?

This was Alex's text response from Istanbul late last night after I sent him the following message:

"good and bad. Progest up, estrogen down."

My progesterone is right on target, but my estrogen plummeted - so much so that they have added an additional estrace pill at night. I asked the nurse if this was unusual - to see one up and the other down - she said somewhat. She also said that even though my estrogen is still above what they would like to see at this point, she added the extra estrace because she doesn't want to take any chances with this "crazy situation".

That is what this is labeled - a "crazy situation". Yup - that's about right.

Here is the crazy thing - we closed this up on Friday, April 3rd when we got the news of our low, non-doubling second beta number. I was thrilled at the clarity we experienced that day, and saw it as something special. Not that we didn't grieve - we did. But it felt like we had been doing all our grieving over the past 7 months since our fresh cycle. We had always said all along that we weren't cycling again - that we would go straight into adoption...but we were also open to changing that decision. We knew that we would only know the answer if this FET cycle failed. To us, it failed on April 3rd. And everything became clear that afternoon. That afternoon, we knew how close we got - this was our first ivf cycle, we got blasts that both made it through the thaw, and I got pregnant, be it a chemical or not. The chance of this working at some point is probably pretty high. We know that. And even with that knowledge, there is not a ounce of us the wants to give this another go.

I finally have the courage to say this - we don't want a biological child bad enough to do this again. That afternoon, it became clear - although we were sad, it felt like everything was falling into place as it should...we were meant to adopt. I fell in love a little more with my husband....I know a lot of guys often aren't into adoption and kind of see it as a "last option" - but not my husband. He's excited about it. He doesn't have any hang ups about it. I really see this as special, and I'm grateful.

I hauled out all the info we had collected throughout the fall. We had narrowed down the agency we wanted to work with, and I found myself getting excited and feeling almost "privileged" about our path in life.

And then our "crazy situation" happened that following Monday. My beta started doubling normally. Before we started infertility treatments, I had fantasized about how I would feel if I became pregnant...it would be this utopia-type feeling and all would be right with the world....at least my world. I think it is the combination of our rough start and our surprisingly peaceful closure - but I will tell you that what I am feeling right now is far from utopia. It is more like "please just let this not be an ectopic"...I'm in denial that there is a chance that this is viable.

The whole situation brought to light something I've been working on in terms of personal growth. Give me lemons and I will make lemonade - and pretty quickly. My coping skills in bad situations are above average. It's not that I am detached and don't feel - I feel deeply - but I am usually able to work through those feelings and function in a healthy way - thanks to years of hard work in therapy.

But give me lemonade?

I freak out. I want to immediately pour it down the sink. Give me my lemons back. I know what to do with those. The lemons will keep me busy - they will allow me create something out of nothing. But to sit here and enjoy a glass of lemonade? Even a little? It puts me far out of my comfort zone.

And here we sit with our small glass of lemonade - I'm still pregnant, even if it is a "crazy situation" with lots of risks. My goal in the days between now and the ultrasound is to allow myself to drink a little - even if they are only tiny, cautious sips.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

81 - Looks like an ultrasound?

Beta #4: 190

CCRM likes to see at least an increase of 66% in 48 hours. This was a 68% increase in 24 hours. Again, WTF.

Estrogen: 1311
Prog. : 12 (they said anything above 6 if using the supp.)

No more Hcg tests...an estrogen/prog. test next week. Then perhaps an ultrasound on April 21st? They sent me the script. And gave me a due date of December 9th. BaaaaHahaha...those CCRM folks sure have a sick sense of humor...

My nurse sounded shocked and confused. Me too.

I'm sorry I'm such a slacker on the comments the last couple of days...I hope to catch up tomorrow morning. Thank you so much for the support.

Question: And I truly want honest answers: Has anyone had an ectopic with doubling and more than doubling numbers? Right now, that's my biggest concern. I may push for more Hcg testing...

Monday, April 6, 2009

80 - WTF...

So when the nurse called today I said, "please put me out of my misery", meaning "tell me my number is like 5 or something so I can stop the meds and call the adoption agency". Nope. Of course not. Apparently, I can't even fail something in an easy, straightforward manner.

Beta #3: 114

Exactly where is should be if it has been doubling since Friday, but still low for what it should be today overall.

I'm headed to the pharmacy now for more meds. F' me. There is no joy in this. Most women would be excited to some extent to get this news. It doubled perfectly. But no - not us IFers. We know too much. So here we sit - waiting for the bomb to drop...fighting hope from creeping in.

I have to retest again tomorrow. And then probably again the next day.

It's a hard spot - I'm "pregnant", but in no way do I think of myself as such. I think now I would only ever consider myself pregnant at 36 weeks, in the hospital having contractions. Not only does infertility f'up most other parts of your life, but it sucks a lot of the joy out of a possible pregnancy.


Sorry about dropping the f'bomb so much. This is a very confusing emotion I am dealing with right now.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

79- Self-imposed closure...

Apparently the universe decided that we "needed" beta hell and most likely a chemical/ectopic pregnancy.

Beta #1: 28
Beta #2: 38
Beta #3: Monday - yes, that's right. CC.RM has requested that I stay on the meds until Monday and restest. Do they think I live in a cave? I know statistically what these numbers mean, but I think this is just their policy until the beta starts going down.

In our minds, this is obviously a BFN. Closure - we've decided that without the help from CC.RM. Game over. We ain't playin' again.

I'm surprised by how I feel today (I can't say the same for the last couple). Somewhat content. Ready to move on and plan the summer and beyond. I think because I realize that where we are today is exactly where I expected to be...I never had a ton of hope about this cycle. That changed a little when we saw the embryo hatching, but if I am really true to myself, there wasn't much hope prior to that time. We really thought of going through this FET as "checking the box" so that we could start the adoption process. And here we sit - box checked. In the last few days we have been forced again to really evaluate what we did this all for - for us, being parents has been about 90% of the reason and there are many amazing ways to be parents.

There was a little "hiccup" (for lack of a better word) in the middle of all this, even before the 29 beta. I started testing positive on those EVIL sticks 3 days prior to the beta. Whenever I heard people call them evil, I always thought they were evil because of false negatives. Well, folks, I am an example of a false positive. I mean, I know that technically if the HCG in your blood is above 5 or so, you are "pregnant"...but not really....not until that beta doubles. I'm not trying to put a dark cloud over anyone's positive pee stick, but I now understand why they say "DON'T TEST!" with IVF.

I've read that over 80% of women in child-bearing years will experience a chemical pregnancy, but a vast majority will never know about it. They will just get their period a day or two late and it might be a little heavy - that lovely ignorant bliss that we IFer's don't have the luxury of experiencing. For us, that "ignorant bliss" is replaced by fortunes spent in pee sticks, several days of being poked, and hours sitting by the phone waiting to hear that "magic number".

Gosh - I feel like I have so much to write - next steps, big summer travel plans, how lucky I feel to be married to my husband right now (you notice how I say "right now"...I am very aware of the nature of marriage ;-)) - but I'll save it for another post. I know this is a lot to digest considering our somewhat secretive nature about it all.

ADDITION: I guess I can now mention that I had the chance to meet Phoebe from Tales of the Phoenix while out in Colorado...it was so great to meet a fellow blogger in real life. As you may know, our FETs were one day apart. It was a such a comfort for me to have a cycle bud. Hey - brainstorm - clinics should really arrange "cycle buddies". Wouldn't that be great? Anyway, I had hoped we would be on the same side of the fence...we are...just the WRONG side :-(.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

78 - No title

I love coming up with titles to blog posts...witty ones - it is one of my favorite parts of this creative outlet. But as I thought about what I was going to write today, no title developed. I don't know why, and I didn't have the energy to sit here all day.

So we will know soon - if this FET was successful or not. This has caused me to think about our infertility journey...even more deeply than I have in the past. I'd like to think it will be over soon - either way. But I know that is far from true. The struggles of the last 4 years will always be a part of me, of us. Here are some things about it that will stick regardless of the outcome....

-I've met some incredible women through this blog world....INCREDIBLE. Women of such strength, courage, and brilliance. Role models. Women I want to be like when I grow up. Women who are awesome mothers - regardless if their children are in the flesh and blood or if their children are invisible (like in Davs post). They have taught me so many different things - to have the courage to be vulnerable and honest and to put it "out there" so that others won't feel alone...they've inspired me to want to cook more :-)...they've made me laugh...they've made me feel "normal" (if there is such a thing) in a situation that can make you feel so alienated. They've truly been my strength in so many cases. I will forever be grateful for the women in the blogs. I would totally want you all as IRL friends!

-Infertility has a very unique sort of pain that is hard to understand unless you have gone through it...or have gone through something that no matter how hard you work, no matter how much research you do, no matter how much money you spend, no matter how "good" you are, you have relatively no impact on the outcome. Until infertility, I hadn't been through something like that. I believed all my limitations were choices. If I wanted something, I either worked my ass off and got it or decided that I wanted to spend my energy elsewhere. I had never been in a situation where I couldn't work my ass off to "get it"...whatever "it" was. I've been humbled. And through it all I have developed a deep empathy and understanding for those in situations where they are limited by something...where they can't just work their asses off to fix it....where they truly have to make their peace with their fate because the options have run out. It's an understanding that is difficult to get at a heart level unless you have direct experience. I feel so much more for the mentally and physically disabled...for those in nursing homes without family...for that kid who lives in the slums of India and must take care of his siblings. Not that infertility compares to any of those cases directly, but the feeling of being trapped is universal. I get sad more since the infertility...I probably always will. I use to think it was infertility directly that caused the sadness, but looking back, I realize that I think I have just developed a level of empathy that didn't exist until this journey. And I don't really view that as a bad thing...I'm learning that the more you open yourself to understanding others' pain, the more you are also open to experiencing their joy.

-My husband and I are stronger than ever. We're not perfect, we struggle, but we are strong. Somehow we have managed to convert a situation that often rips marriages apart into something that strengthened us. Actually, and this is totally honest, some of our best times together have been while we've been going through treatments. I know that many of you have experienced the same...it is something to be grateful for. And when children do make it into our home (biological or adopted...or both), I know that we will be stronger parents as a result of our struggles along this journey.

-Frankly, infertility sucks. Big time. I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy. It is not the path I would have chosen, and even given the above statements, I am not going to say "I'm so grateful it worked out this way"....whatever "this way" ends up being. Truthfully, I would much rather forgone all the personal growth and wisdom, and have spent the $30,000 elsewhere and have gotten knocked up after a night of fabulous sex with my husband. But for some reason that song keeps running through my head...."You can't always get what you want. You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might find...you get what you need"...

I plan on catching up on all my blog buds tonight and tomorrow...I'm sorry for the neglect, but I know you can all relate. Sometimes energy is just sucked up trying to make it through a day...regardless of what kind of day it is.

Friday, March 13, 2009

77 - Risky honesty

So this is a risky post, but I'm going to do it anyway. It is how I've felt since my last post.

About a week ago, at my therapy session, I had a HUGE breakthrough. For the last year and a half, there has been some major angst between my therapist and I. She says that I am one of her most stubborn, controlling clients. I agree, completely. I've yelled. I've hung up on her. I've refused to talk in sessions when she was pissing me off. Yes, yes, all behavior quite becoming of a 34 year old :-). Last session she expressed concern that maybe our relationship was over. She thought there was a chance she was doing more harm than good at this point, and that although she really cared about me, it is her job as a therapist to HELP me. I lost it. LOST IT. I'm talking sobbing, shaking, head in my hands, unable to speak. Neither of us said anything for about 15 minutes. I won't go into details, but through this somewhat extreme expression of emotion, the air was cleared, and our relationship has since returned to what it was in the good ole' days - where she constantly challenges my personal growth as human being, and I accept the challenge and work my ass off.

In that moment of sobbing, one thing came out of my mouth - "Why doesn't anything ever work out for me?". The thing is, infertility didn't even cross my mind when I made that comment. Life's been hard. There has been some really bad shit. I won't go into details - I mostly keep it to myself (with the exception of my therapist, husband, and a few IRL friends). Nothing comes easy. I feel like I constantly fight demons. And in that moment with my therapist, all the exhaustion and pain of all of it came out. And I realized that infertility was actually just a very small slice of my trials and tribulations.

I also realized that I am maxed out with the trauma..at least the self-inducing kind. For me, the shots, the blood work, the speculum, the emotional heartache of the infertility procedures is trauma. I can't keep doing it - not even for the possibility of a child. And in no way does that mean I want children any less. If this FET is unsuccessful, we will pursue adoption...but I think our decisions for that will be more based on the "path of least resistance"...if there is such a thing in the adoption process - I realize there may not be.

Here's the thing - I have felt AWESOME this past week. The best I have felt in two years. I literally lost 2 lbs out of the blue - so symbolic of the emotional weight that was lifted. My energy level has been through the roof. It feels like good things have been falling out of the sky and landing right in front of me.

So we leave for Colorado to "pick up the kids" soon. Of course, this week, that was the topic in therapy. When my therapist asked me how I was feeling about it, I tried to dig very deep for the true answer. Here's where I may lose some of you...what came out of my mouth was "I don't care. I don't care what happens. And I know that doesn't sound right, but I can't figure out any other words to use to describe how I'm feeling.". She smiled big and said, "I think what you mean is that you are ready to give up control.". Yes, that's it! It doesn't mean that I won't be thrilled if we get pregnant, and it doesn't mean that I won't be devastated if we don't. It just means that I really get, at a heart level, that it is completely out of my hands. What a relief. I'm so grateful that this moment happened when it did - the timing couldn't have been better.

So my prep for this FET has been so different than our fresh cycle. I was obsessed with my diet with the fresh cycle. Obsessed. It was a full-time job for the three months prior. I was obsessed with everything - all the "dos" and "don'ts" I had read about. But this time, I mean, I'm not abusing myself or anything, but I'm so much more relaxed. Although I have been generally good about the caffeine thing, yesterday, as I was prancing around Target (yes, ladies, with completed lipstick :-)), I even got myself a small diet pepsi - I wanted one so badly. It was great. I enjoyed it immensely because I know that my one small diet pepsi is not going to make the difference in whether or not we get pregnant. This week, I've finally really understood at a heart level that I'm not that powerful - what a relief!

Friday, March 6, 2009

76 - My first "official" blog awards


Thank you to Phoebe at Tales of the Phoenix for my first blog award! I'm a little stressed about the "one word" limitation :-), but here's my best shot...

To claim this most prestigious of prizes you have to answer a meme of sorts, this one with one word answers. You also have to pass it along to SEVEN other bloggers. And so:

1. Where is your cell phone? downstairs
2. Where is your significant other? Istanbul
3. Your hair color? blond
4. Your mother? pretty
5. Your father? sober (great job, dad! Sorry, I HAD to add that little note)
6. Your favorite thing? connection
7. Your dream last night? sad
8. Your dream/goal? contentment
9. The room you're in? nursery ;-)
10. Your hobby? blogging
11. Your fear? isolation
12. Where do you want to be in six years? wiser
13. Where were you last night? sushi
14. What you're not? big-breasted
15. One of your wish list items? sunshine
16. Where you grew up? Michigan
17. The last thing you did? commented
18. What are you wearing? pajamas
19. Your T.V.? flat
20. Your pet? awesome
21. Your computer? on
22. Your mood? ever-changing
23. Missing someone? Sam & Aaron (ok, no way I could just say one)
24. Your car? Jetta
25. Something you're not wearing? bra
26. Favorite store? Whole Foods
27. Your Summer? hopeful
28. Love someone? Alex
29. Your favorite color? red
30. When is the last time you laughed? yesterday
31. Last time you cried? yesterday

I believe that most on my blog roll have received this award at some point...what can I say - I'm a "quality" kind of gal :-). If you haven't, consider yourself tagged by me...and consider it "official" :-).

Also, thank you to Onwardandsideways for my official "Honest Scrap" award, although I took it upon my self to accept Davs at Planet Davila open invitation. I know I could do another list of ten different honest things, but I think I would be venturing into TMI territory then :-).

Again, I think most of you have participated in this one...if not, please do. It's fun...I think for both the reader and the blogger.

Have a good weekend everyone! I plan to be absent from the blog world this weekend in an attempt to catch up on some school stuff. I don't have that shut-off thing where I can say "enough is enough" and get back to work, so I have to avoid blog land all together. I get reading and hours and hours and hours go by. Seductive stuff, isn't it?

Hey - I can't get Onwardandsideways or Planet Davila to hyperlink..any ideas?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

75 - 10 honest things about myself

So I saw this on Davs blog. Fun. Here are 10 honest things about myself.

1) I am a "regular" at a donut/deli shop down the street from our house called Dimo's. On my worst days (and even on some of my good days) I walk in at about 6:30AM and ask for my "usual". Here is the honest part - my "usual" is a buttermilk donut (usually still warm I must add) and a small diet pepsi. I do it 1-2 times a week. Yes, girls, I did give this up about 2-3 months prior to cycling last summer and have recently given it up as we prepare for our upcoming FET...but it was hard. They put crack in their buttermilks.

2) About our upcoming FET...yes, it's true. We are heading back to Colorado in the near future. Alex and I have decided to keep the specifics (including the specific date of it) on the DL. We decided that we want to tell our IRL people about the success/failure on our terms, in our own time.

3) I really, really struggle with being vulnerable...except when I write. I will pour my heart out on paper, but ask me to share that depth in a one-on-one conversation and I often freeze and become stone cold - somewhat robotic. I rarely cry in front of people. My closest friends, friends I've known for 25+ years would probably say that they can count the times they've seen me cry on one hand. Sadly, my husband would probably say the same thing. Yet I'm deeply sensitive and empathetic...I just hold it all in and let it out in private. This is honest - and something I would really like try to change in myself.

4) The reason I didn't become a professional pilot is because I couldn't learn how to solely trust my instruments in the airplane. I got my private pilot's license with no problems, but I struggled tremendously with the instrument training - no visual reference to the outside...you must trust that your instruments are correct and keeping you from colliding into the ground. I couldn't do it. This really is a commentary about my general trust in the world. Thank goodness I was able to be honest with myself. Failure to be honest with myself in this case could have killed me...literally.

5) I love hymns. LOVE THEM! That's right folks - this free thinkin', spiritually confused, somewhat-pagan loves good ole' traditional hymns. Blessed Assurance, Crown Him with Many Crowns, Amazing Grace, Great is Thy Faithfulness...all of them. In fact, in the spirit of finding relaxation techniques for our upcoming FET, I went into a Christian bookstore today and bought a CD of hymns. Where does this love come from you may ask? I was a church pianist/organist for about 7 years...another honest tidbit.

6) This aviation lifestyle is hard - really hard. The divorce rate in aviation (in situations where one person flys) is about 85%...add the layer of infertility struggles and, statistically, Alex and I have about a 5% - 10% chance of making it for the long haul. But we're doing it (approaching 11 years in marriage), and I'm proud of us...honestly, though, we are doing it because we WORK OUR ASSES OFF at it. It is not an easy road and we do not have a perfect marriage...thank goodness we are both willing to work our asses off.

7) Speaking of that...here's something totally honest. I DO feel like a glamorous, jet-setter when I travel with Alex. Especially when I get first class and he comes back on his break, all spiffed up in his pilot uniform, and I lean over and whisper in his ear, "Is there a Mrs. Pilot, Mr. Pilot?"...and then we giggle and all the surrounding passengers look at us. Sometimes, I feel like I'm on a movie set. Honestly, it is a ton of fun.

8) Sometimes I go to bed without brushing my teeth. I don't know why. I've talked about it in therapy before - she says it is because I don't do well with self-care. I say it's because I get lazy at night. Who knows - but I do know it's gross. My mouth feels really disgusting in the morning.

9) There are only a very select few who are above my dog, Kharma, in the friendship chain. Sorry, it's true. I love her so much. When I cry, she lays on my lap or licks my tears. When I'm happy, she totally picks up on it and wants to play with me. She never asks me about the infertility stuff. We cuddle a lot. Honestly, some of my most favorite moments is when she is laying on my chest and I listen to her breath....ummm, do you think it's time for a baby? :-)

10) I don't think I have ever experienced the feeling of boredom - ever...since I came out of the womb. I don't allow it. If I feel that I am approaching boredom, I get a ton of projects/adventures going and make my life very complicated. Sometimes this is done out of my healthy, tenacious need for growth, other times it is done out of my unhealthy quest for chaos. Either way, I am confident that, if lucky enough to be given the opportunity, I will look back on my life and say "Wow - that was a full and very interesting journey.". However, I'm not so sure I will be able to say that I was "content". Honestly, I think I'll take "very interesting" over "content"....even though ,someday, I would like to have them both.

So that's the truth - the honest truth. Anyone else up for the challenge? I must say, it was fun and introspective.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

74 - Profound experience

You all remember the "infertility" lecture day I had in my theory class last fall? Although that particular class was quite painful, the professor was one of those people I instantly connected with and knew early on that somehow, regardless of our paths, we would remain in contact. I'm guessing she is in her mid 50s? She's brilliant, graceful, strong, and compassionate...traits I admire so much. She is one of those people that I think of when I think about what I want to be like and where I want to be about 20 years from now. She's been a therapist for a very long time and has also taught part-time. In the classroom, she exhibits the perfect balance of compassion and boundaries. I can only imagine her techniques are the same in therapy. My PhD application that would lead towards a full-time teaching position at the university is due, and although I'm leaning towards that path, I'm still gathering information about my decision to abandon the therapist idea (for now, of course...I'm always one for leaving ALL my options open:-)) and teach full-time. That's one of the many things IVF has instilled in me (for better or for worse) - before making a decision, gather and analyze information until all sources have been exhausted.

I contacted this prof and asked if we could meet so that I could ask her some questions about both professions. She was more than willing, and we met for lunch today. After the lecture last fall, I told her about my infertility. So today, while discussing balancing career with family, she asked about how the family part was going...fair enough. I brought it up. I told her that we were getting ready to head back to Colorado soon...which led to a discussion about the shots. I told her that even the baby ones were difficult for me sometimes, not because of the pain, but because of the psychology of giving myself a shot. She looked me dead in the eyes, her eyes full of compassion, and said, "My husband gave me mine.". I cannot describe the emotion I experienced when she said that, when we connected in that moment.

She had talked about her son frequently in class, using examples when we talked about the stages of development, etc.. I know he is a teenager. I know from her stories that not only do I admire her professionally, but also her mothering skills (at least the ones she shared in class). After that precious pause, I asked "so that's how you got your son?". "No - he's adopted. The IVF didn't work.". I always assumed he was their biological son when she would talk about him in class. She then shared their trials and tribulations about the process - how she reached the point of being content with their golden retrievers...and then, the situation with her son came out of the blue (I'll spare the details). They adopted him when he was three. She said that the pain of the process went away once he was in their home.

I thanked her for sharing her story with me - with tears in my eyes.

It truly was the first time in a year and a half that I haven't felt alone. And I mean that with no disrespect to all the support I've had throughout the infertility crap from my friends and family...but this connection I made with her was different. She's the only person I know who has been through it and is completely on the other side.....healed in a deep way. And happy. And brilliant. And graceful. And continuing to make such a huge impact on those who come across her path.

We did talk about career choices. She stayed neutral, for the most part. The conversation ended with her telling me that she also felt a strong connection while I was in her class. And then she gave me the biggest compliment I've received in awhile...she said that she has some students she can't really see as therapists and some students she can see as fellow therapists, but very rarely does she come across students whom not only does she see as therapists, but therapists she would choose to work closely with. She said she thought I was the latter. And regardless of what career choice I make, I'll remember how I felt when she said that.

So I came home to news - a friend is pregnant, possibly another friend has decided to try again. Yes, we do live in a fertile world. But the connection gave me a boost of strength. I said "congrats" and meant it...I know there is happiness on the other side of this...I saw it sitting across from me at that little Italian restaurant.

73 - A *Berry* nice surprise

I opened my mailbox today to find a nice package from my niece, J, and my nephew-in-law, E...a Strawberry Shortcake DVD package complete with a play jeweled crown. First, let's clarify - my niece and nephew-in-law are in their mid-20's. My sister (my niece's mother) is 17 years older than I am (my brother is 14 years older). Yes, yes...I was a true "oops" when my mom had me at the ripe "old" age (back then) of 36. Maybe "oopses" are in my genes? I can only hope. Anyway, bottom line is that my nieces and nephews are much more like cousins.

So, I loved the surprise! I was obsessed with Strawberry Shortcake as a child - obsessed. For a good three years in the late 70's-early 80's, those dolls were my life. I believed they had souls. Strawberry Shortcake herself - what a great role model to look up to...she was kind, fun, totally not frumpy, smelled like strawberries, and had a whole posse of friends that smelled great and whom all had very colorful pets. I so wanted to be her. In case you forgot...

Above - The late 70's - early 80's version


The modern, liberated, free-from-hose Strawberry Shortcake

Personally, I think she had more style in the 80's, but didn't we all...didn't we all :-).

So thank you again J and E! I think what really made my day about it is that you knew I would totally get a kick out of it. You know the goofy, silly, child-like side of me...the side I struggle to keep alive these days. I totally plan on putting on that crown, popping a bowl of popcorn and watching "A Berry Blossom Festival" :-).

Monday, February 16, 2009

72 - Joy in a piece of candy

First of all - awwww, you guys are very sweet and did help me get out of my frumpy mood. Lost in Space (Brenda, right?), what's a MAC store? I'm assuming you didn't mean the fun place where you purchase laptops, iphones, and ipods? Perhaps my rock is a little wider and heavier than your's :-).

So Alex and I had a big, over-the-top Valentine's night...and for good reason. We most often spend this holiday apart in different countries, so to know he was going to be home and plan an evening in advance was quite a treat. He made reservations at this restaurant on top of the RenCen in Detroit. It was on the 72nd floor and is apparently the second highest restaurant in the US. The food was good, typical high-end chophouse stuff, and the view was great. Poor Detroit, definitely a city that struggles (even more so in this economy), but at night, with all the lights, it's just another beautiful city.

We got all dressed up. That day I had to get some shoes to go with the dress I was wearing. As I was shoe shopping, the mantra of "I am not frumpy. I am not frumpy." ran through my head. The following shoe selection was the result. Can you believe it? I have never worn 3 inch heels in my life, and, let me tell you, it was quite a sight to see me attempt to walk in them. But then, miraculously, after a half bottle of wine, I was a heel-walkin' superstar...you would have thought that I trained on a runway :-).

Alex got me a cute little black number and a small box of chocolates. And that's about where the evening ended. I was plugged up with disgusting volumes of snot, and Alex, although he wasn't feeling bad, had residual intestinal issues from Africa. SUPER HOT AND SEXY! :-) We both popped the appropriate pills and headed to bed.

The small box of chocolates he gave me got me thinking...the littlest gestures do that sometimes. Back around the holidays, I was walking at the mall (yes, for exercise, NOW try to tell me I'm not frumpy :-)). As I turned a corner, I noticed three mentally-challenged, middle-aged adults in wheelchairs letting out these squeals of joy...I mean, it was a level of joy that I may have only been able to match by receiving a BFP the day of our beta. Seriously. I was so intrigued by this that I hid off to the side and observed - I was a cross between a stalker and a scientist conducting a sociology experiment :-). Come to find out, their caretakers had just informed them that they would be heading over to the candy store and that each one of them would be allowed to pick out a piece of candy. Joy! Joy! Joy! I got a little closer and quietly watched the whole thing. The candy selection process, their reactions as the cashier handed them their selected piece, their savoring of every last morsel, unaware of anyone around them. These folks were truly living in the moment. They knew how to really savor the small things in life. They had a piece of wisdom that I have somehow lost along the way, and I observed them with envy.

As I opened the box of four little chocolates on Valentine's Day, I thought about what if that was it...what if there was no over-the-top dinner, no sexy little black thing, no Alex at home to celebrate with...and, in the long-term, no children to come home to after our night out. Would I still be able to experience an abundance of joy as I savored a single piece of that chocolate? I would like to think that I could say "of course!", but I really don't know the answer. I get into these ruts of thinking the only true joy will be the joy we will experience when there is a child in our home...and in the meantime, I lose so many opportunities to savor all the little pieces of decadent chocolate that come into my life.

So I think of those three middle-aged adults at the mall often. Their squeals are imprinted in my head. And I think "if they can find that level of joy in something as simple as a piece of candy, so can I". They have been the greatest teachers I've had in a long time.

Friday, February 13, 2009

71 - Lessons in make-up application


Lesson #1: When you line your lips in the bathroom, but your actual lipstick is in the car, REMEMBER TO APPLY YOUR ACTUAL LIPSTICK BEFORE SPENDING 45 MINUTES IN TARGET PRANCING AROUND WITH BIG, UNFILLED CLOWN LIPS.

So, last week after the nightmare, I started thinking a lot about how I view myself and how that may effect this irrational feeling about my health. I view myself as frumpy. This was somewhat confirmed when I went with Alex on a trip and was hanging out with the flight attendants. One of them commented - "We knew the moment we saw you that you weren't the typical pilot's wife. They're mostly trophy wives. We knew you would be much more intelligent and down-to-earth.". Of course my overactive mind immediately read between the lines and interpreted their meant-to-be-a-compliment as "you're frumpy". And it is true - I spend no time or money on hair, make-up, nails, etc. If I do, I buy the absolute cheapest products, and I usually have no idea how to use them. So after the dream last week, I decided that I would spend an evening at one of those make-up counters and learn a few things.

It was great fun! She recommended using multiple eye colors AND an eyeliner. Whoa - a little over stimulating for a virgin-like make-up person, but I tried to pay attention and vowed that regardless of how I was feeling on a particular day, I would keep this routine up for a week. She also recommended lip liner in ADDITION to my regular lipstick...now this was getting complicated, but I sat strong and held tight to my vow.

So, I have kept up the routine since that counter appointment...and I must admit that I do like what I see a little more when I look in the mirror. Yesterday, I went through the whole routine in my bathroom, lip liner and everything, but then realized that I had left my actual lipstick in the car. Not a big deal - I would just put it on when I got in the car. Never happened. I stopped by Target before teaching (thank goodness!) and, sure enough, pranced around that baby-lovin' store for a good 45 minutes with big clown lips that looked very similar to the ones in the above picture. It was true divine intervention that caused me to look at myself one last time before heading into the classroom a hour or so later. You know, people were looking at me a lot in Target, but I just thought that they were looking at my new, beautiful eyes :-).

Ah well - the whole thing made me and the multiple people I told, laugh.

Today, Alex and I have no obligations. We are going to go around to some home-type stores and find some cheap stuff to give our place a little uplift in the midst of this long winter...things like a new shower curtain, dish towels - stuff like that. And then probably out to lunch. I love days like this. Hopefully, he will tell me if I forget and have big clown lips again :-).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

70 - Nightmare

First of all, you may notice that a recent post has been deleted. Thank you, feedjit, for the heads up :-).

So I had this dream last week that turned into a complete nightmare. It was a dream that started out as a day of complete self-indulgence and self-care. Good, right? It was good until the end when I got in the shower and looked down only to see grotesque, potato-like tumors hanging off my body. Yikes! My heart was beating so fast when I woke up.

I happened to have an appointment with my therapist last week and, of course, this dream-turned-nightmare was the topic. I truly expected her reaction to be "So, you've finally had the "day-of-indulgence-transformed-into-grotesque-tumors" dream". Instead, she looked at me wide-eyed and said "Christina, I have to tell you that this is a very abnormal dream and is an indication of some serious and deep issues". She then proceeded to tell me that the first thing I should do is thank my body for allowing me to have such a dream. WTF? Thank my body for that nightmare? That nightmare practically sent me into cardiac arrest. This is not what I meant by a "lighter" 2009.

But then after some thought, I understood what she meant and here's why - I have always felt that, for whatever reason, I have a very unhealthy mind/body connection. I have always had this looming feeling that something is really off about my body, yet outwardly I show no signs of being "unhealthy". Knock on wood, but it's not unusual for me to go a full year without having a cold. I get my yearly check-ups and, so far, nothing has come up. So because there aren't outwardly symptoms, I've discredited the power of this looming "feeling" by not putting any energy into figuring it out. To me, this dream is sort of a wake-up call that those feelings require attention. I know, I know...infertility has the power to mess with us in this way...but this feeling has existed long before the trials and tribulations of infertility. Perhaps that is part of the untangling process...figuring out the exact moment that these feelings of unhealth started.

I've been thinking of acupuncture on and off for a bit, and this dream has prompted me to take action. Tomorrow I am going to make an appointment. A girl in my social work class gave me a recommendation. Did I mention that she had been TTC for 1 1/2 years and got preggo about a month after she began acupuncture treatments? Just a BTW - obviously this has no influence on me using her recommendation :-).

As a side note - things have been so busy lately. One of the professors in my department is sick, and I have taken over his classes for the next 4 weeks (maybe more) which means that I am a "full-time" prof for the time being. I love it! Last week, I actually felt energized at the end of my days, as if I was getting more energy back from teaching than I was investing into it.

Another side note - I took a long walk yesterday- it was a balmy 37 degress. It really felt balmy. Our Mt. Everest piles of snow reduced to smaller rolling hills, and I heard birds chirping! Birds chirping! It was a beautiful sound and inspired me to want to put up a ticker...a "countdown to bright red geraniums in my window boxes" ticker. I think I'll work on that as a distraction from getting down to some serious course prep :-).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

69 - Unstuck

First of all, no response from Stupid Adoption Lady. That's ok - I didn't need one. I just hope she thinks a little bit more before she speaks when she conducts future consultations.



Alex just returned last night from a trip to Cairo. I was reminded of the trip we took to Egypt in 2005 (the above pic). It was amazing and thought-provoking. We stayed in Cairo for a few days, going to Giza and some other local sites. Then we took a trip up the Nile (ending back in Cairo), visiting all the temples and tombs along the way. I'll never forget a pivotal moment in my life that happened while I was standing in a tomb, looking at this mummified body before me. The air was stale, and the walls were covered with carvings that would put most modern day artists to shame. The Egyptian laying before me believed that as long as he mummified his body, he would one day return to that same body and then continue to live on Earth for eternity. He also believed that the complex carvings on the wall of food, weapons, and servants would actually come to life, so to speak, when he returned to his mummified body so that he would be taken care of. He believed the pyramid structure would serve a purpose in assisting his ascent into the heavens and his return to Earth. His entire life was dedicated to these beliefs and a majority of his time on Earth was spent in preparation...at the expense of others, I might add (slaves were used to build most of the pyramids, that is if you don't believe the opposing theory that aliens constructed them :-)). His investment in his beliefs well outdid any dedication to a belief system we see in modern day. Guess what? As of 4,000-5,000 years later, that Egyptian was incorrect. His mummified body and the carvings remain (not to say he can't return in a different way :-)).

It was at this pivotal moment that I vowed to never be stuck in my beliefs. I vowed that when I started to find myself getting "solid" in my way of thinking, I would think of that Egyptian, put the warning flags up and expose myself to a different way. Hence, my most recent relationship with Rev. B, whom I just call B. I mentioned him in an earlier post. We meet for an hour or so every couple of months and have a discussion. I mainly express my angst with organized religion and the idea of a monotheistic diety, and he listens a lot, sometimes nodding in agreement, sometimes speaking up in an attempt to "unstick" me. It is the perfect balance of philosophical banter and free therapy - for us both. I get the feeling that although B has very much outwardly defined his beliefs through his role as a reverend, he doesn't like to be stuck either.

In our latest discussion, we talked about people who reached their full potential during this lifetime on Earth. These people truly became "fully human" we decided - people like Jesus and Ghandi, for example. We then continued to try to define what we meant by "fully human". In the end, we decided that to be fully human was to be able to take the struggles you are facing and use them to manifest compassion and wisdom within yourself and others. We agreed that being "fully human" had nothing to do with the specifics of their struggles, as many struggles are beyond conscious control, and that those who achieved it defined themselves by this compassion and wisdom they manifested through the process; not by the struggles they faced.

Wow - what a great thing to strive for...and challenging! I've been testing it out this week, changing my mantra whenever I find that I'm defining myself by my particular struggle (which I do often). I've also changed my blog list title to "My wise and beautiful blog friends". I share a current (or for some, past) struggle of infertility with most of the listed bloggers. I very much admire your strength and ability to share your humanness so openly. And as I continue to follow your blogs and write my own, I see our wisdom and compassion for ourselves and others grow. I wanted to formally identify you by your beauty and wisdom...infertility is just the particular struggle we have in common as we strive to become fully human.

Thanks B for unsticking me...for a little bit, at least. I'll be back :-).

And yes, I do realize that although I stated that this blog would be about life in general, the last two posts have been about adoption and infertility. What can I say? That's life through my lens right now :-).

Monday, January 26, 2009

67 - Yo dawg, that was just alright for me...


These are the words I have been hearing lately from Randy Jackson as I rock out Beyonce's "Crazy in Love", Kelly's "Since U've Been Gone", and Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer". Yes, folks, it's true. I now have American Idol Encore 2 for our PS3 (thanks to DH). And I will admit to you all that I have spent about 7 hours in the last three days pretending that I am a rock star and an R&B deva. It has been so much fun...just what the doctor ordered. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who needs a break from their real world.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the other black man in my life these days...Billy Blanks. I have been working out with Billy and his Tae Bo moves pretty religiously for the past couple of weeks.

These two gentlemen have provided me with ways to calm my mind down. Usually, my mind goes a mile a minute all the time...here's a sample minute...

"What would Freud think about that? Is there a God? Why can't I fit into any traditional religion? Why do I care? What am I making for dinner? I should try something new. I need to challenge myself. Wow, the world is so big and I am so small. Why does this matter? Why does anything matter? Where's our baby? I hope Alex doesn't get bit by a bug in Africa. I can't wait to see what Obama does for our country. What's for dinner again?...blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda."

Constant.

But when I'm rockin' out Beyonce or "double timing" it with Billy, my mind quiets. And thanks me for giving it a rest.