Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Repeat beta at 18 days after

I've come down with a cold, and so actually managed to sleep last night from sheer exhaustion and illness. Part of me thinks that's just funny. Anyway, I scraped myself out of bed this morning and headed to the RE's office for another follow-up beta. My result was an irritating 10.

Irritating because if even though I know it's a great number--down from 135 result from twelve days ago-- I really wanted it to be truly negative, in the range of 0-5. I know the hCG is almost completely gone, but it's just hanging on too long. I need the closure of a post-m/c period, and the longer it takes my hCG levels to drop, the longer it'll take for my period to come.

Because I'm a nerd, here's how my beta levels have dropped; ie, I've done the reverse of the usual doubling calculator, to see how quickly my numbers are halving.

1/12/08 beta= 3,535
1/18/08 beta= 135 (1.27 days half-life)
1/30/08 beta= 10 (3.19 half-life)

And now, I have to go to sleep, because the Ny.Quil is kicking in.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Doin' the Infertility Shuffle

I remember one episode of "Good Times" where Wilona was talking about how they were all doing the 'Harlem Shuffle': whenever you take a step forward, The Man knocks you two steps back. I laid in bed giggling maniacally last night (because I don't sleep anymore) about how that reminds me of infertility. And no, I have no idea why Wilona popped into my head. I've been suffering from some extreme insomnia for the last two weeks, and I just don't sleep much anymore, which leads to all kinds of weird thinking.

Anyway, infertility: it seems like every time you figure out a problem, it only leads to another problem. There never seems to be an end in sight, at least not a happy end where you get to take home a live, healthy baby. You add another drug, another test, another treatment, but each one discloses some new condition that has to be conquered.

Can't get pregnant? Let's check your hormone levels to see if you're ovulating. Nope, not ovulating, so take this clomid/femara. Okay, you're ovulating, but your progesterone is low & you're still not getting pregnant. Let's add progesterone shots/suppositories and check to see if your tubes are open. Yep, you have open tubes, so let's try some more clomid/femara, but this time we'll do an IUI (repeat 3-6 times). Not pregnant yet? We'll try some injectable drugs next... It goes on and on and on. And I didn't even get into the problems like endo, adhesions, premature ovarian failure, failure to respond, etc.

And of course, let's not forget the other end of the infertility spectrum: able to get pregnant, but unable to carry to term. Let's try: progesterone, aspirin, check for antibodies, etc. After going through miscarriage once, I truly cannot fathom how some women are able to go through this over and over, and not completely, permanently, lose their minds. The weaker sex? I think not.


So I mentioned I'm not sleeping lately. I think that's how my grief/depression is expressing itself, through insomnia. Between lying there in bed, feeling the mushiness in my belly where it had been firm to worrying about finances, sleep just doesn't have a chance.

There's only been one time in my life that emotional issues interfered with sleep, and that was when my mom nearly died after surgery due to a mistake made by the anesthesiologist. I was in bad enough shape that my doctor actually suggested, and prescribed, drugs to help me sleep. Drugs which I took once, discovered that I could barely wake up from them, and didn't take again.

I really want to sleep more than 3 hours a night. Thankfully, my cardiologist is amending my meds, and putting me back on BP drugs that bring me down a bit. They always made me sleepy/helped me sleep before, so I think that within a week or so, I'll actually know what sleep is again.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Introducing Miles

My newest nephew was born today! My friend Lila had a c-section this morning, and Miles Palani was born at 8:10am.

Miles weighed in at an impressive 8 lbs, 12 oz. and is 20.5 inches long. New mom and dad, you guys did good, and I'm wishing Lila a speedy recovery from her surgery.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The end of pregnancy(ies)

Earlier today I had the distinct sensation of an ovary twinge. My reaction was something along the lines of, "WTF?!?" I remembered that I had 1 lone $tree pregnancy test left in the house, so I decided to do a little recreational pissing to see what would turn up. My beta hCG five days ago was 135, so I was wondering how a hpt would look today. There is only the most vague suggestions of a line on the test, so I know my hCG level is really low. I don't go back for bloodwork until next week, so I figured playing the home version might be interesting. Every single pregnancy symptom I had is gone, so I know the level is tiny.

Anyway, I have no idea what was up with the random ovary twinge, but I still have some--even if only a little-- hCG, so I don't know what my body is going to do, or how long it's going to take to do it. I guess I just think it's too soon for my body to be going about "business as usual" so soon. I feel roughed up and delicate, so how can my body just go on like nothing is wrong, like nothing has happened?

At least the bleeding has stopped. Six days of bleeding, then 4-5 days of spotting, and I can finally go without extra pad-passengers in my panties.


My friend Lila's EDD is today. She called me earlier this evening, and I could immediately tell that something was wrong. She's in pain, and I think it's the beginning of labor. I didn't say it to her, because she was in a state, but I couldn't help but think it was funny that she started having pains on her EDD; sure, the baby ain't coming tonight, but it's still something that on her doctor-appointed date she starts a-hurtin'.

She's a stubborn Leo just like me, so she won't let me help her or comfort her. But I hope she doesn't let that stubbornness keep her from taking advantage of my offers to do... well, whatever she needs, even if it's just to drop off some bottled water or hold her hand. I'm both excited and worried, all at the same time. But her husband is a great guy, and I know they'll be okay as long as they don't panic. Right?

I just realized why this is so weird for me: this is the first friend I've been in contact with who has started labor completely naturally. Everyone else has had a planned induction, so it all started quite calmly and deliberately, sitting in a hospital bed. But this thing with Lila, this is Mother Nature waving her wand o' pain and getting things started unexpectedly. Intense.

Wacky birthday movie night

Today marks two months (by date) since I discovered I was pregnant. I can't believe it's only been 2 months, with everything that's happened. I feel like I've lived a year in the last two months. It's also been two months since I quit smoking. I've been so tempted to fall on my old comforting "friend", but I've managed to hold off so far, even with the social gathering that happened last weekend.

This past Saturday my friends hosted a "Wacky Movie Night" so I decided to get out of the house for my first real social outing post m/c. I was surprised when I got there, because other than the hosts, I only knew two people there. My social group has been very enclosed for years, so seeing new people is jolting. Not bad, just totally unexpected at a type of gathering that is usually the old gang. Can you guess what was one of the first things I saw? The hugely pregnant belly of one the women I didn't know. On the outside, I made nice, shook hands with Belly Girl and smiled, and all that jazz. On the inside, I was screaming and freaking out like Daffy Duck on smack.

I still don't completely get it. My friend Lila (more on her later!) is due any minute now, and her pregnant belly doesn't bother me in the slightest. But seeing this pregnant stranger? Oh. My. God. I made a crafty strategic move: I claimed a seat close to the TV, so that I wouldn't be able to actually see Belly Girl once everyone sat down. And whenever she walked by me to get to the kitchen, I suddenly took an extreme interest in the floor, the candy bowl on the table, my shoe, anything to avoid actually looking at her.

I know that Lila doesn't bother me because I know and love her, and she is one of my oldest friends. I cannot wait for her son to be born. I think her pregnant belly is a thing of beauty. But Belly Girl at movie night? Threw me for a loop. The best rationalization I've been able to come up with is that subconsciously I was considering my friends' house a "safe" zone for my first outing, but then my safety was gone as I was immediately faced with Belly Girl exactly one week after my miscarriage. I didn't like myself very much that night, but I did what I had to do to cope.

Somehow, though, I still did NOT smoke. Yay me!

Friday, January 18, 2008

F/u beta results

I went in this morning to get my beta checked, and the nurse called about a half-hour ago with my results. My beta is already down to 135. My beta went from 3,535 down to 135 in just six days. Since my level is going down very nicely, I go back in two weeks for another check.

My head is all over the place. Part of me feels like I can't give up now, that I have proof that my body can get pregnant; that I could still have a chance to try to have a child. Sure, it took about 70 years for me to get pregnant, but it happened, right? That means it could happen again if I don't give up out of despair.

Then there's the other part of me that thinks that I might lose my effing mind if this happened to me again, if I got pregnant and had another miscarriage. I already feel guilty for my theoretical-future-pregnancy, wherein I'm sure I will feel detached for most of the pregnancy, not allowing myself to bond out of a fear that it too will end prematurely.

If there's anything positive happening right this moment, it's that I've not taken solace in alcohol or smoking. I've neither gone on a bender, nor picked up the ciggy habit again. Although I'll admit, my stress levels right now make me really want to smoke. I think about smoking a lot. But I'm trying to keep it going, the whole not-smoking thing. I have a feeling I might relapse this weekend, which will be my first social gathering/outing with close friends. Keep your fingers crossed for me. It's really sad, that I can so easily, almost effortlessly, not-smoke for a baby's health, but have so much trouble not-smoking for my own health. I'm sure there's something deep there, but I don't really want to open up that barrel of trouble right now.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thank you

First of all I want to say thank you to all the lovely people, old friends and new, who came by to leave messages of comfort and understanding. I really appreciate the outpouring of virtual hugs and offers of virtual shoulders. I've just been taking it easy, and doing my best to follow a great piece of advice someone gave me: to be kind to myself.

On the TMI, physical front: I haven't had any cramps in over 24 hours, and my bleeding has slowed from a medium to a light flow.


A very special thank you to Mrs. K, my friend Lila's mom. (Sidebar: Yes, even though I'm nearly 40, I cannot bring myself to call friend's parents solely by their first names.) Lila and I have been friends for about 15 years or so, and her mom is just fantastic. Mrs. K, you rock, and I'm so glad that my "nephew" is going to have you for a grandma!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

1 day post m/c

My unborn baby died. That's the first time I've been able to express that without euphemisms. I still can't say it out loud, but I can type it. I don't know why I can't say it. I can say he's gone, I can say I miscarried, but I can't say he died.

I had great beta numbers. I'd seen a heartbeat. I'd seen the progress from a fetal pole to an identifiable human-like body. I saw that little body moving on a screen. This wasn't supposed to happen.

I wasn't supposed to pace the floor, breathing through cramps, for another 6 months. It wasn't time for me to have to reach between my legs and catch what came out of me. To have strawberry-sized clots coming out of my body, blood alternately gushing and dripping constantly like a leaky faucet. (Isn't it messed up, the way everything to do with pregnancy is compared to the size of fruit?) To get to have the maternity pads to soak up the blood.

I had my first "big-girl" ultrasound (abdominal rather than transvaginal) while they were checking to see if my uterus was retaining any products of conception. I almost asked the doctor if he thought Juniper had been crocheting in there or something, and had left behind a scarf. What an effed up term, "products of conception".

Although I'd already passed the "POC" before I had my u/s, it was clear that Juniper had already died long before even the spotting started. My beta was only 3,535, which is nowhere near the levels it should have been for me being 11w3d. Juniper had died sometime in the 3 weeks since my last u/s, and I'd been walking around with deadbaby inside me.

Except for a couple of incidents, I have been eerily (and I know unnaturally) calm. I know this for the coping mechanism that it is. When I'm ready to be able to grieve, I will. I just can't right now, I don't think I can handle it right this moment, while I'm still cramping and bleeding and wanting to just eat Raisin Bran.

And that's messed up, too. Every morning when I'd have my Raisin Bran, I'd pat the little firm place on my lower belly, and tell Juniper how Mommy was eating healthy just for him. And then I'd snort at myself for talking to a fetus who couldn't hear me yet. Eating Raisin Bran today just wasn't the same.

Because the remains of what had been inside my womb passed into my hands while I sat on a toilet in triage, and basically looked like a 3-4 inch, cylindrical mass of bloody grey and red tissue, I don't actually know what gender Juniper had been. I still feel like it was a boy, and had a name picked out for him: Samuel Alexander. I love those names, and now I can never use them. Even if I get pregnant again someday and have a boy, I feel like I already had a child who bore those names, as stupid as that might sound. When I wrote online, I called my baby Juniper; in the privacy of my home and in my thoughts, I called him Sam. So how could I have another Sam?

This entry is as disjointed as my thoughts. I guess that's appropriate.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The worst

As of the wee hours this morning, Juniper is no more. I'm exhausted and numb and going to bed.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Damned spot

There was bright red spotting this morning. I am quietly freaking out, although I'm trying to calm myself with the reminders that:

1) I do have a subchorionic hematoma. Just because I haven't spotted in the last 3-4 weeks, it hasn't disappeared yet. It could well be the source of the bleeding.

2) I had an internal exam two days ago, and did have slight brown spotting yesterday.

The problem, though, is convincing that little voice in my head to be quiet. The one that keeps reminding me that although I spotted before, it was never bright red. The good (?) news is that it is now brown, and that it really is spotting. As in, there's nothing on a pad, and it only shows up when wiping.

The word is that if I'm still spotting tomorrow I'm to go in.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Swollen crab claws, balloon feet, and hypertension

Last week, my OB changed my hypertension meds to kinder, gentler pregnancy safe meds. I questioned her at the time, making sure to point out that I have gnarly hypertension, and the normal happy-fun-time pregnancy drugs might not be enough to control it. She was confident that the new meds would be enough.

Three days later, on Saturday night, I began to have aching pains in both my arms, from shoulders to fingertips. It started out like the pain you get when you’ve helped a friend paint, that “I’ve really worked out and now I’m sore” kind of pain. By 3am, I was crawling out of my sleepless bed to go get some pregnancy-safe acetaminophen (the only drug I DIDN’T have on hand), hoping it would possibly ease the pain.

The pain came and went in waves, and I had to live on the couch. My arms hurt so bad that I had to keep them in curved positions, resting on a pillow across my belly. My fingers were curled up like little crab claws, and extending them or my arms sent fire racing through my arms. My fingernails hurt. I could barely eat because it hurt too much to use my hands and arms. The muscles hurt, the joints hurt, everything hurt.

Sunday morning I peeled myself off the couch to go pee, and realized that my feet were so swollen that my toes didn’t touch the ground as I walked. Now I realized that this was a blood pressure issue, and not just an over-exerted muscle group: I was retaining gonzo amounts of fluid. I broke down and took a percocet so I could try to sleep that night. I slept for about 3 hours before the pain woke me up again.

I called my OB’s office first thing Monday morning at 9am, talked to a nurse and explained the problem. Silly me, I actually thought I might get a swift response from the doctor. I called again at 1pm, reiterating the horrible pain and concerns about my blood pressure. Finally, at about 6pm, my OB called me back and told me to come in first thing in the morning. I ended up taking another percocet that night. Again, it worked for 3-4 hours before I was up again.

Long story short (yeah, I know, too late) my hypertension just can’t be controlled by the pussy meds they usually give pregnant women. My doc prescribed Lasix for 5 days to get rid of the excess fluid. Apparently, I do not tolerate one of the meds, and it was a main cause of the muscular and joint pain. It was deleted, and a Big Girl med was added to my regimen.

It’s been about 24 hours since the change in my meds, and it is amazing. I have about 85% of my mobility back (versus the 20% I had), and almost no pain at all. I’ve eaten a full meal, and actually have real clothes on today, even though it took a while. Something I really resent is that I barely had any feelings of sickness during this pregnancy, and now I’ve felt horrible nausea and the threat of vomiting during all this hoopla, and it hasn’t completely gone away.

My OB didn’t truly listen to my concerns about the medicine change. She did not contact my cardiologist to consult with him, even though I stressed and double-stressed the severity of my hypertension and that I even HAVE a cardiologist. I’m probably going to get a new doctor.

Anyway, that’s what’s been up with me. My hands hurt now. It’s taken me a couple of hours, including breaks, to get this typed up. Except for a brief foray last night to check on a friend, this is my first time online in almost 4 days. Enough.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

10 weeks today

Hi, my name is Kim, and I'm 10 weeks pregnant today. (Hi, Kim!) I have always been interested in pregnancy & childbirth, and actually considered becoming a midwife when I was younger. But even with all the books, films and websites I've devoured, there are some things that people just don't tell you. I never knew that:

  • By 4.5 w, my breasts would hurt enough that one night I seriously wondered if I could convince my doctor that I didn't need them (and would he please cut them off?). Books describe this as "breast tenderness" or "soreness". The books lie. Soreness is not the same as agonizing pain. Thankfully, though, the seriously horrible pain only lasted about a month. They're still tender (hah!), but not Freddie-Krueger-is-slashing-me painful.
  • By 7-8w, I would already have gone up a cup size. I guess that explains the tit agony, eh? And considering I was already a D cup, I'm really afraid to see what will happen as this pregnancy progresses.
  • Being out of breath was normal for early pregnancy. Everyone assumes that hugely pregnant women might have trouble breathing because they have a big ole baby taking up their whole torso, but it seriously freaked me out to find myself panting slightly after a bit of mild exercise in my 1st trimester.
  • My stomach would turn into an unstoppable machine so early. I'm not having morning sickness or anything like that, but I have the opposite problem: I seriously cannot stop eating and grazing and snacking. Luckily, even with all this extra eating, I've only gained 1.5 pounds. And I've been conscious of my eating, and trying to make good/better food choices. Oh, and because I'm drinking so much water, I don't eat as much at each "meal". But I know that I seriously need to get ultra-vigilant about my intake, and be careful. I'm already carrying enough extra weight to equal an anorexic teenager, and there's a history of diabetes in my family.
  • Relaxin production actually peaks in the first trimester, so it's not my imagination that my lower body feels weird and loose. I'm very aware of my pelvis and hips, as I have pins in both hips and a plate in one as a result of 4 adolescent surgeries. Anything different down there, especially anything that causes discomfort, and I notice it.
  • "Fatigue" could equal complete debilitating exhaustion. Where you must nap or kill. Have you noticed I talk about naps a lot? Those of you who call me on the phone, have you noticed that if you call between 1-3pm, there's a good chance I'm napping? That's when I hit the wall, so to speak.
I could probably think of more, but it's after 7pm and dinnertime, and my stomach demands to be filled again.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

It's Time for Timer: Hanker for a Hunk o' Cheese

This is for my girls, who went there with me last night.

Happy New Year's Naps!

Another new year, another month of accidentally writing the wrong date on everything until I remember that it's 2008 instead of 2007.

Last night was a wonderful low-key evening with friends. We hung out, talked a lot of schmack, cracked jokes, the usual. I stayed out way too late, dragging my tired self home at 1:30 am. No wonder it's only noon and I want a nap!

By the way, I think napping is wasted on the young. Little kids fight naps like crazy, as if they will DIE if they have to sleep and miss something. Meanwhile, moat adults I know would KILL to "have" to take a nap midday, everyday.

"Hey, Bob, can I get that report from you a little early? I have that meeting with Diamondcorp at 3, and I need to go over it before the presentation."

Bob winces and replies sheepishly, "Gosh, Joe, I'd love to have it for you early, but I need about another hour to finish it... and unfortunately, it's naptime."

Joe smacks himself on the forehead. "What was I thinking?!? Hey, do you mind if I stretch out on your loveseat? I don't really want to have to wait for an elevator to get back to my office for my nap."

Anyway, cracked-outness aside, I wish you all a very happy new year, filled with love and health.


Oh! Last but not least, a very special congratulations to Cali, who is pregnant after a very long, very trying journey to reach that point.