Friday, November 30, 2007

A month of music- Day 1: Nekromantix

I have no idea why, but I'm going to put up a lot of music/videos for a bit. I guess I just feel like giving you all a little more of a clue of who I am, as defined by my music. ;-) So, even though it's not officially December yet, I'm going to get started on my personal countdown for the month. Seeing as I've been listening to an older Nekromantix's cd lately, it's only appropriate that they're the first ones out of the gate.

Although I very much like "Gargoyles over Copenhagen", I think my fav from this cd is "Nice Day for a Resurrection". Unfortunately, I can't find a decent quality of that for your listening pleasure. So you get "Gargoyles" today, which is still a damn fine (& fun) bit o' psychobilly. Did I mention that I can't sleep at night?

Thoughts about pregnancy and IF

About a year ago on one of the message boards, there was a discussion amongst us IF girls about the proper pregnancy etiquette for those who made it over to the other side. Most people agreed that IF'ers who got pregnant shouldn't complain or fuss about pregnancy symptoms, and should be grateful for everything they were getting to go through; after all, there were so many who'd give anything to go through it, right?

I was not in agreement with the group. If I were in school, the note to my Mum would have read, "Does not play well with others." I believed that if I ever got pregnant, I would have every right in the world to complain about morning sickness or backaches. Just because I was a foot soldier in the Infertility War didn't mean I'd given up my rights as a prospective pregnant woman! Don't get me wrong; I think it's all about appropriate venues. I mean, I wouldn't go into a chat room full of women TTC and bitch. But in a pregnancy room, or on my own blog? It's going to happen, so be warned.

Even if I'm only pregnant for another 2 seconds, I want to remember all the things I felt, and one of the ways I do that is by writing about them on my blog. That said, here's my take on the early days of my pregnancy; your mileage may vary.

* "Tender breasts" is a lie. It would be more appropriate to say that my tits hurt from armpit to center chest. There is an overall soreness that seems to reach the height of pain at the nipples; if I touch the damn things, I will wince and/or whimper. And let's not forget the random, shooting, tingling pains that just scatter over your boobs with no warning. I am pretty much wearing some kind of bra almost 24 hours a day.

*Cramps: It's true what "they" say about cramps that feel just like PMS, when you're really pregnant. I swear to you all, that I just knew I was about to get my period. It felt exactly the same as period cramps until about 20 dpo. Then, for me at least, the cramps changed into something else.

*Fatigue: I have never felt this tired in all my life. Seriously. I knew fatigue was part of pregnancy, but I honestly thought it kicked in later. If I close my eyes for more than 3-5 seconds, I will fall asleep. I'm not kidding. It feels like that drugged & drowsy sensation you get when you have a cold, and you take a big dose of NyQuil-- sleepy, yet vaguely ill, and there seems to be a slightly unrealistic haze over the entire world. Except I feel like this all the time.

*Sleep: I didn't sleep for the first few nights after I found out I was pregnant, at least not more than 2-3 hours at a time. At first I thought it was just being scared and worried; then I figured it was just my body working out the nicotine; it's no easy thing to drop a 19-year smoking addiction cold-turkey! And it was probably mostly the nicotine, because after about three nights, I started sleeping better.

But I still wake up at least once a night, usually around 4am, and for no reason at all. Nope, don't have to pee; just waking up and staying awake for about an hour before I can go back to sleep. It's the most ironic thing, that I've never been so sleepy & tired in my life, and yet can't sleep well at night.

*Spotting, cramping, and other Bad Things: It doesn't matter how many years I've read about & researched early pregnancy, or how many times I've reassured other people that spotting/cramping is common, or how many people I know who've had it and everything was just fine. When you're the one pregnant, and you begin to spot and have different sorts of cramps, you will panic. You will be afraid. And nothing anyone tells you will change that, no matter how much you respect them or their knowledge or their experience (that is, unless they're wearing a white coat, and even that's not 100%). I finally get it.

*Smoking: If anyone is TTC and hasn't managed to quit smoking yet, I strongly urge you to do it now, before you get pregnant. Go through your cravings and insane moments before it counts for so much. It's a lot easier than I thought it would be, but it's still so incredibly hard. I know this will sound weird, but the thing that's helping me the most is keeping cigarettes around.

The pack that I was smoking before I peed on the pregnancy test has about 6-7 cigarettes in it. I've been carrying that partial pack, along with my favorite black-matte Zippo, around with me. Every single day, everywhere I go. See, my mind is kinda perverse in that, if I had no cigarettes, I'd want them even more, and would probably run off and buy a pack. And if I went and bought a pack, I can guarantee you I'd give in and smoke one (at least, until it made me gag).

But if I have them, there's no feeling of being deprived "just because I've run out". So I know at all times that I have them, and I could smoke if I had a weak moment and gave in. And just knowing that they are available makes me aware that every time I have that craving, I have to make the conscious choice not to touch them, not to give in. So far, so good. But I know I'm human, and I'll have to keep making that choice

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Today's beta (22 dpo)

Today's beta was 2,553 (up from 1,321 a couple of days ago). I am happy. And I guess even more importantly, my RE is happy right now. The weird ovary-ish/side area pains have gone away for now, and there's been no more spotting.

My first ultrasound is next Tuesday. I have to say, that is one huge advantage to going to a fertility specialist if you do happen to get pregnant: you don't have to wait until you're 18-20 weeks along to get an u/s! They start coming early, which is comforting if you've had issues.

I'm starting to get excited now, even though I know it's still early days yet. The idea that I can at least see the sac in five days is just so cool.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Beta from yesterday (20dpo)

Last night I started having wicked cramps and pains on my right side, and woke up this morning to some slight spotting. Once I talked to my nurse, I wasn't too surprised that there was some spotting action going on, seeing as my progesterone yesterday (which was 20 dpo) was only 9.27. I was immediately put on the waxy vajayjay P4 bullets of death. Well, okay, not "of death" perhaps, but certainly "of panty staining".

Despite what you might think at times of my writing, I assure you that I can be verbally eloquent at times. Due to my ability to vividly describe how the pain I'm having now is different from the pain I've had over the last week, my nurse is cautiously giving me the ectopic speech. Just in case. So we can watch.

So where are we now? Ah, yes: low progesterone, punani suppositories, and a mention of ectopic pregnancy. On the good side, my hCG level was 1,321 at 20dpo. I go back tomorrow for another draw (5w1d / 22 dpo), and will get my results tomorrow afternoon, probably around 3 or 4 pm.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Positive hpt on 11/23 at 16dpo!

There's all kinds of stuff I need to write about this, but here's the simple skinny: I am most likely pregnant, and I am happy.

I got a positive home pregnancy test last Friday, and have been processing this massive information for the last 4 days since then. I'm finally able to write about what's been happening in my head. It isn't all pretty, and parts of it will severely piss off most TTCers. You've been warned.

Thanksgiving/Thursday: I'm in throes of what feels like PMS- cramps, sore boobs, slightly cranky. Expecting my period any second. Feeling a little depressed, since this was most likely going to be my last cycle TTC, and I could tell my period was coming. I'd decided a long time ago to stop at the end of 2007, and well, it was about that time.

In what was probably self-defense thing, I'd been convincing myself for several weeks that I not only could have a happy life without children, but that I would now PREFER not to have children. So it was just fine with me that my period was coming. This whole TTC journey was about to be over, and I could move on with the rest of my life.

Friday: My basal temperature is still pretty high, and I didn't have my period. I decided to take a hpt for shits and giggles. It was actually positive. I was completely numb and unbelieving. I couldn't believe that on a completely natural cycle, I was seeing a positive hpt. That, just when I'd decided to be happy about being childless, I was seeing a positive hpt. Numb and mostly speechless for the day.

However, just in case this is all real and not just a dream, I did what I always said I'd do: as soon as I saw the positive hpt, I put down my cigarettes. I can choose to smoke and harm myself, but it's not fair to make that choice for someone who can't speak up for themselves!

Saturday & Sunday: I spent hours weighing the pros and cons, and examining how I honestly felt. At this point, if a pregnancy is confirmed by my doc, I am not sure what I will do. The numbness has worn away, and I am now simply panicked and paranoid. Probably didn't help that I'd now been nicotine-free for 24-48 hours, and was more than likely suffering from some withdrawal issues. I am a serious smoker at more than a pack a day. I say "am" instead of "was" because I believe that I will always be a smoker, even if I don't smoke for ten years. It'll always be there. I have never, ever, been this freaked out in all my life. Never.

Monday: I have now recovered my right mind, and know that I will have my child if I am pregnant. Am totally aghast that any other alternative ever crossed my mind, even in the midst of the largest panic attack of my life. But I know that I am human, and I've learned to forgive myself for bad thoughts. It's harder to forgive bad deeds, but I'm not so catholic that I'm going to continually bash myself for thoughts.

Tuesday: I've just gotten home from getting blood draw to check my hCG beta level, but won't know the results until tomorrow. NOW I know that you have to be at the lab before 9am to get your results the same day.

I drove home smiling and happy, full of joy that I am PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise). I'm still scared, because the rest of my life is a bit shit right now, but I'll work it out. With some elbow grease, help from loved ones, and perhaps a miracle or two, I think everything will be okay.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Another random day

I'm feeling very random this morning, and have no coherent theme. Sorry.

-I can't believe that my friend Lila is so far along in her pregnancy. I swear it seems like yesterday that we sat out on her balcony with her husband, and looked at positive pee tests. Now she's 30w, and her baby shower is tomorrow. Wow.

-Yesterday I was thinking about one of my favorite authors, Robert Jordan (James Oliver Rigney, Jr.). First I was just thinking that it was neat that his real last name is the same as one of my best friends, whose family name was O'Rigney before their arrival at Ellis Island. They were from around Tipperary, I believe. Then I had a flash of thought that shamed me as soon as it went through my head. I had the very selfish thought that I was kinda pissed that he'd died before finishing the series I've been reading for over half my life, that he croaked with one freakin' book left to go. Then I realized that to his family and friends, he was more than just an author; he was someone's husband, someone's best friend, and they'd lost him. My "grief" over a book was nothing in comparison to a man's life. I felt very small in that moment.

-Cartoons on non-cable TV channels pretty much suck. I remember being really excited every autumn because all the new cartoon shows would be starting, just like prime-time TV. Now, everything is on kids-specific channels, and I really think the kids today are missing out. I didn't even have to look at the clock to know when 11am arrived, because cartoons would end, and wrestling would come on, which my grandmother loved. Then after wrastlin', westerns and kung-fu movies started coming on at noon, which was my signal that it was time to head outside and make mud pies near the hydrangea bushes, play in the vegetable garden, pretend to be Princess Leia, and climb anything that I'd been told not to climb. Ahh, good times!

-I am DYING to take my goddaughter Chava to the cinema to see "Enchanted" next week, but am worried that she might be too little to handle a movie in a theater. She's about 2.5, which I know is kinda on the cusp for a trip to the movies. But I'm hoping that they have a "kids" showing early in the morning, which just might work for her. If anyone has any tips for taking little ones to the movies, I love to hear them!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pride & (job) Prejudice

Time is such a strange thing, especially when you're unemployed. Regular schedules don't really mean anything, when you have nothing you absolutely have to do, nowhere you have to be. Sure, I want to email and fax resumes at a nice early hour so I look industrious. But it doesn't matter if I do it at 8, 9, or 10am; no one is making me punch a clock when I hit "Send" or tracking what time I go off to Kin.kos.

Some days I start off at 8am, while others start at 10am. Some nights I go to bed at a "nice girl" time of midnight, while others I might be up until 4am. If it weren't for the five TV shows I'm addicted to (Scrubs, Family Guy, The Simpsons, Heroes, & My Name is Chuck), I might not pay much attention to time at all.

I guess it's really the whole feeling like an aimless loser that gets to me. It was different when I was younger. Back then, I wasn't worried about bills, because as long as I had 1,286 roommates, my expenses weren't that high. I mean, I could get by on $10,000/year back then. Ahhh, the memories of youthful ignorance!

Now, though, I've gotten used to being the provider. My mum and I both carry our own weight, but I'm used to being the one who brings home the bacon; now, I'm only bringing generic Bac-O-Bits. So not only my bank account is suffering, but also my pride.

And my pride is the very thing I'm going to have to ditch by the roadside. I'm going to have to stop being so choosy about what I apply for, and just get a job. Period. It's just so hard, to know that I have the education, skills and experience for a really good job... but that I'm going to have to settle for a crappy job. Maybe even a (gasp!) retail job, which I'd sworn I'd never do again, once I made it past the youthful mall-job days. Don't get me wrong: I don't think there's anything wrong with working in a shop. It's just that I did it for a long time way back when, and it was something I never regretting leaving. I can't believe that I might have to consider retail as an option to replenishing my bank account.

God, being a grown-up sucks sometimes.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Fast times in the slow south

I was out running errands a while ago, and as I was driving home there was quite a spectacle in the oncoming traffic. There were 4-5 big tour buses, accompanied by about a half-dozen motorcycle cops. I wondered who in the hell could it be, driving through this town with an entourage like that? I mean, I don't keep up with sports, so it could have been some team. I can't think of any major concert that just happened/is about to happen, so I don't think it was a rock star rolling through. The only thing I could think of was maybe it's connected to a movie production, since for some strange reason people are filming a lot of movies here lately.

"Hello Mr... Bubba, is it? Can we rent out your farm for a month? We're shooting a movie, and your cotton fields are just FABulous."

Bubba spits out an almost-solid stream of brown 'bakky juice, dribbles of which enrich the already-brown crusty patches on his beard, before asking, "Whut kinda movie? And are you a man or a woman, with them purty, shiny fingernails?"

"Uh, it's a horror movie, where giant boll weevils decimate a town before the good-hearted, but misunderstood, high-school misfit saves the day. And I'm a man, by the way."

Flashback: I once saw a car get repossessed, and it really does happen as quickly as the TV shows say. One moment I was getting in my car to do some silly errand, and watched as a small tow-truck backed up to a car. It was blocking my favorite exit from the parking lot, so I had to go around the back lot to get to the other exit. By the time I got to the street, no more than 3-4 minutes later, the tow-truck was zooming down the road with the car. Now, mind you, I wasn't 100% sure it was a repo, but I knew the car wasn't disabled and I could tell something was weird from the way the tower acted. So following an insane urge, I mentally dropped my errands and took off after the tow truck. I probably followed them for about 15 minutes, cell phone ready, until they got to the part of town where the car-graveyards are. That's when I figured I'd wasted enough gas and time, and it was more than likely a repo.

Fast forward: Today I felt the same crazy urge, except this time it was pure curiosity. I really wanted to know what was up with the tour buses. I very nearly turned into the closest place-- a Wendy's-- so I could turn around and follow them, but I managed to fight the urge. Not because I'm so mature or anything, but because once I saw the Wendy's I really wanted a frostie.

I'm about 2dpo today, so officially (if I really stretch my imagination) premenstrual. And nothing stands between pseudo-PMSing me and pseudo-chocolate, not even the possibility of chasing down elusive celebrities.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Maybe people aren't so bad after all

Every now and then, I am pleasantly surprised by my fellow man. It doesn't happen often, but it seems to be just often enough to keep me from becoming totally jaded.

A couple of hours ago, a motorcycle policeman who was sitting at a red light was hit by a car. The crash launched the officer into the air, he hit the ground on his back, and his motorcycle landed on top of him. The perps (I've seen way too many episodes of CSI: Insert Your City Here) sped away from the scene.

But here's where it gets better: several people who were at the scene followed the perps in their own cars, a chase that went across the city. And of course, this being the tech age and all, they were on their cell phones as they pursued, talking to police dispatchers and giving them details, descriptions, and directions... while driving like bats out of hell after the perps until the cops were able to take over the chase. That really makes me feel warm inside.

Sure, maybe those folks were just adrenaline junkies, out for a thrill. Or maybe they were publicity-seekers who hoped to get their faces on the news and their names in the paper. But me, well, I'd rather think that they were just good-ole boys (and gals) who saw something bad happen, and wanted to make sure that the a-holes were caught. That someone needed help, and without thinking, they did what they thought was necessary, regardless of the possibility of harm to themselves.

Sometimes, just sometimes, my faith in humanity is given a restorative booster shot.

*ETA: They got the three guys who were in the car, and the officer is in non-critical condition at the moment.

Selective Reduction

Yeah, I know: that's an explosive subject line, ain't it? Well, I've been thinking a lot about it lately. For those of you who aren't entrenched in the world of TTC, selective reduction is an intentional reduction in the number of fetuses a woman carries in a multiple-fetus pregnancy. Most especially, in a pregnancy with high-order multiples (HOM), generally regarded as triplets or more.

When you've been TTC a long time, you're just about willing to try anything that might help you conceive. And drugs can help by causing more follicles to grow. More follicles= more eggs= more chances that at least one of them will fertilize, implant, and become your baby. But I really think that there are too many women blithely going through cycles with too many follicles. IVF is different; with IVF, the number of embryos transferred into the uterus can be controlled. But when you're growing a lot of follicles for an IUI or timed intercourse cycle, there is no control, other than having "excess" follicles aspirated or choosing to do SR if needed.

The thing that scares me is how many women say they "just couldn't" do SR, yet they go on with their cycles with large numbers of follicles. Yeah, and nine months later, you'll see a human interest piece on the news about a set of quintuplets born. And on the other hand, there are a lot of women who still don't get pregnant, regardless of the 5 follicles they had plumped and ready to go. There are just no guarantees, and that's the problem. I just don't understand how some people can be so blase about the chances of, and risks of, a HOM pregnancy.

It's kinda like a teenager having sex without a condom: sure, you might get pregnant, but there's a higher chance that you won't. Buuut... if you DO get pregnant, then you have to make really hard choices. Do you keep the child? Put her up for adoption? Have an abortion? All tough decisions, and all with their own consequences.

And don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that I think that all HOM pregnancies should be reduced, or that every cycle with multiple follicles should be cancelled. I'm just saying that I think that women need to take the possibility of multiples more seriously, and be aware that no matter if 40 women told you it didn't happen to them, that it could happen for you. And that if it does, you're either going to have to abort one or more of your babies, or toughen up and be prepared to raise more than one.

I just want people on infertility boards to stop trying to be cheerleaders all the time, and to sometimes, just sometimes, give the tough love that's needed in certain situations.