why are you here again?

29 Aug

It’s hard to remember exact details from the thick fog that followed.  What I won’t forget is the stone faced sonographer saying there was no heartbeat.  The way those words kicked up so much emotion so immediately, and brought on the fastest, most gut wrenching tears my husband and I had ever cried together.  The way we sobbed in front of this poor stranger, sobbed in the car, sobbed for days and weeks afterwards.

My body had failed me yet again, never letting on there was a problem with the pregnancy.  No bleeding, no spotting, no cramping, no cause for concern at all.  So, I opted for a d&c.  My obgyn booked the appointment for the following week, and I completely fell apart.  If there was no baby in our future, then I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore.  I wanted the whole experience over with as soon as possible.  I begged and pleaded until my obgyn agreed to schedule an appointment the following day with a different doctor.

I was sent for pre-surgical testing, a pre-surgical talk, and arrived at the hospital early the next morning.  It was a whirlwind of awfulness.  Sitting in the hospital in my huge oversized gown and robe, I cried endlessly as each and every doctor and nurse, assistant and receptionist asked the same series of hurtful and insensitive (albeit, medically pertinent) questions over and over again.  How did my parents pass away?  Was this my first pregnancy?  Was I trying long?  Why was I there again?  I sobbed quietly through my last conscious moments on the operating table as the doctors tried and failed several times to insert an IV with something to calm me.  Eventually they did, and I woke up as the nurses wheeled me into the recovery room.   My husband sat with me while I snacked on graham crackers and apple juice.  He took me home where I slept forever, nervous to wake up, nervous I might mistake it all for some horrible dream.

honor student embryo.

29 Aug

When we got pregnant after 10 months of ttc, every day felt like a milestone.  After my first blood test, we ruled out insanity.  After going through our first few boxes of pregnancy tests, we ruled out chemical pregnancy.  After our first sonogram, we ruled out blighted ovum.  We fawned over our blurry sono pictures and kept them with us at all times.  The nurses assured us that everything looked perfect and we carried on like proud parents of an honor student embryo.

My RE was monitoring us with weekly sonograms before turning us over to my obgyn.  Our second sonogram was scary.  The rookie sonographer blurted out that she wasn’t able to see anything.  My heart sank and I gripped my husband’s hand expecting the worst, but then she asked me to pee and made some adjustments to the sono machine and we finally saw our baby’s heartbeat. That sweet little gas lamp flickering in my belly made my eyes immediately well up with tears.  My husband handed me a tissue, and kissed my forehead with a giddy smile that I will never forget.

We heard the heartbeat at our next appointment, but our joy was short-lived.  The doctor expressed some concern about the baby measuring a little small and advised us to be cautiously optimistic.  The words fell out of his mouth in slow motion.  With an ovulation trigger and an IUI, there is zero chance our dates were off, a slight chance of late implantation, and a greater chance that something somewhere had gone wrong.  We spent the next week in a nervous emotional panic.

Our next sonogram went well and we allowed ourselves to breathe the smallest sigh of relief.  Our baby was still measuring on the small side, but had grown significantly since our last visit.  The heartbeat was stronger and faster, and we finally graduated from my RE who wished us luck and begged us to send photos.  I wished I had baked them cookies, but I never really expected this to be my last appointment.

the faint blue line.

29 Aug

Trying to sleep the night before taking a pregnancy test is like trying sleeping on Christmas eve.  You toss and turn all night long, checking the clock with an anxious belly.   I knew it’d be another negative and frankly, I just wanted to get it over with and go back to sleep.  At some point, pregnancy tests become less exciting and more like another chore.  After a while, you’re just going through the motions.  The last of my hopes had been dashed when period cramps set in the night before at 12dpo.  I was on borrowed time before the bleed.

So when I saw that faint blue line, my heart began to race and I struggled to catch my breath.  I felt like I was running an Olympic sprint, only I was standing completely still.  I pulled myself together, walked nervously back into the bedroom, turned on the light to wake my poor sleeping husband and said, as calmly as possible, “Um.. you may want to look at this.”  The cutesy brownie surprise I had perfectly planned for months flew out the window.  I needed someone to verify what I was seeing.

We sat and stared at that test for a good hour.  Was the blue dye really reliable?  Was the line dark enough to really be considered a line?  Was it a chemical pregnancy that would fade away in a day?

Soon, it was time for my husband to leave for work.  It being Saturday, I sat at home and made myself crazy all day long.  I googled the accuracy of blue dye tests and was horrified that even some ladies’ husbands were able to get a positive!  I phoned my husband at work in a panic and he agreed he’d pick up some digital tests on the way home, so we could confirm.

I peed on that stick and settled in for the grueling 2-3 minute wait, but “Pregnant” appeared within seconds, before I could even rest the test on the counter. I showed it to my husband and we stared at it, and hugged and kissed, and stared at it some more.  I carried it around the house all day long.  I took pictures of it.  I guarded it from soda spills.  It was our baby.  That one word changed everything.

down & out in chocolate city.

23 Aug

I forgot to mention one of the highlights of our honeymoon.  Our west coast road trip eventually landed us in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf.  Perusing the map, I noticed a little something called Ghirardelli Chocolate Square, or as I fondly nicknamed it, “Chocolate City.” Before heading to said city of deliciousness, my husband forced me to souvenir shop and eat an actual lunch.  I admit, the shopping part paid off as I stumbled upon a tree branch looking ring, coincidentally called the family tree ring that I have been fashionably and superstitiously sporting for good baby luck ever since.

Apparently there is a tour of the whole chocolate making process.  You can walk up a treacherous, god awful hill to the Ghirardelli factory to watch the action unfold.  I know I can’t expect to get to heaven without first climbing a ladder, but I was already exhausted and we nixed the tour and settled for a Ghirardelli sundae.  I will not even waste my words attempting to explain this magnificent beast to you.  All I will say is that the waffle cone bowl it arrived in had been dipped in Ghiradelli chocolate and then doused in Ghiradelli semi-sweet hot fudge.  I later found out you can order this hot fudge online, and I strongly suggest you do it.  Do it, now!

My husband and I don’t ever diet per say, but every now and again, we “try to be good”.  No binding contracts with steep cancellation fees, just less dining out and more walks in our neighborhood park.  Hey, we do what we can.  For the past few months, my husband had been obsessing over proper omega intake, while  I was trying to avoid carbs in hopes to shed a few “probable pcos” pounds.  I had good intentions, but all I could think of was brownies.

As a ttc incentive, I gave my husband a box of  Ghirardelli fudge brownie mix as part of his valentine’s day gift.  I told him we could indulge when we finally got pregnant.  It seemed like such a sweet, gooey, idea at the time.  It hearkened back to our honeymoon memories and promised a future full of baby and brownie goodness.  But as the months passed on, I came to hate those brownies  sitting smugly in our pantry.  They knew they’d never be eaten, and mocked us each and every single day as we reached for our bland oatmeal, bran cereal, and whole wheat pasta.

I had daydreamed daily of getting pregnant and announcing it to my husband, not with words, but with fudgey brownies.   He would come home from a long day at work, and smell brownies and think “Yum! Brownies! I’m a lucky guy!” Then the true meaning would sink in and he’d think , “Wait, OMG! Brownies!!!” But I knew in my heart, we would never ever get to eat them.

hsg, uti, iui, oh my!

22 Aug

The HSG left me sore and spotting for a day or so, but afterwards I was glad to have conquered it.  Until I realized it wasn’t done with me yet!  It left me a lovely UTI parting gift.  I returned to my RE where they confirmed in spite of the precautionary antibiotics I had taken to avoid infection before the HSG, I indeed had an infection.  They prescribed some pregnancy friendly antibiotics and asked to see me the next day for our next IUI because we had three “juicy” follicles!

After experimenting with different dosages of Clomid, I never had more than one ripe follie.  I also never had one that arrived even remotely on time.  They were always tardy little loners.  This time I had three, on time!  Although, my husband and I were slightly scared of multiples, no one at my RE’s office seemed to even acknowledge the risks, and so we forged ahead.

The second IUI is not such a cute story.  I was still achey from the HSG and the UTI.  I was sick of painful abrevations and did not want any foreign objects traveling south of my belly; not the magic sono wand, or silly straw catheter, or my actual husband for that matter.  Yet, in the name of cute babies, I endured all three.  The IUI was especially uncomfortable as the dr. couldn’t seem to find her way around my dark lady cave and kept poking the walls of my vagina.  And as I arched my aching back over the exam table’s not so lovely lady humps, my husband placed his hands on my lower belly and instructed his sperm where to go and to stay put and not be scared.

ink ray.

22 Aug

As I mentioned earlier, the infertile internet community has helped me endlessly.  However, there are times when I wish I would have cancelled all future appointments with Dr. Google and just backed away from the laptop.  Case in point, the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious hysterosalpinogram.

I had little idea what the actual process entailed.  All I knew was that my RE put it off for so long because it “could be unpleasant.”  Enough said.  Not interested.  But, when our first IUI failed, I finally obliged.

Even scheduling the thing was a pain in my vagina, as it must be scheduled after your period, but before you ovulate.  This might be a simple calculation for most women, but I have no clue when any of these events will take place and whether or not they’ll take place at all ever.  After frantically thumbing through my calendar and solving a few quadratic equations, the ice cold receptionist and I finally worked something out.

I had read online that some women were able to bring a friend or significant other with them for the procedure, and thank god because it was worse than giving childbirth in a pit of bubbling lava.  I was terrified for days leading up to the procedure, but comforted by the fact that my husband would be by my side.  No such luck.  They stopped him at the waiting room, and I faced the unknown alone.

I entered a freezing x-ray room and was asked to lie down on the slab of ice they refer to as the exam table.  An assistant takes this time to feed me lies about how the procedure is virtually painless in hopes of relaxing me.  What she doesn’t know is that in addition to following my RE’s instructions to take ibuprofen beforehand, I had also taken a pain killer (or two) that I happened to have lying around the house.  So I was pretttty relaxed already, enthralled by the kaleidoscope of flickering florescent lights above me (or were they fireflies?  Or paparazzi?  Am I still a VIP even though my first IUI failed?).  Ah… floaty thoughts.

The doctor arrived unfashionably late and fed me more lies before pushing ink through my fallopian tubes with the force of a hundred live squid gushing against my guts.  I cramped so hard, I broke into a cold sweat and began to feel faint.  I wanted to curl up in a fetal position and cry, but instead I had to twist and turn my body into various spastic contortions and then hold perfectly still on the unforgiving metal table, in all my graceful nakedness, so the doc could snag a good photo opp.  Just as I was about to beg for mercy, it was over.

Afterward, an assistant encouraged me to rest a while and sweetly brought me a cold rag for my head.  All I wanted to do was leave, but I knew my weak knees would fail me.  When I finally did get up, a rush of pumpkin colored ink flowed from me.  I cleaned myself up and walked out to the waiting room to meet my husband. He took one look at my clammy, pale skin, and elderly hunchback stance, and wisely offered to bring the car around.

In reality, the HSG was bad, but not nearly as bad as the internet hype led me to believe.  Plus, there was good news, my uterus appeared normal, and my tubes were a flowin’. High five!

hip as hell.

22 Aug

With maple syrup coursing through our veins, my husband and I waited very impatiently in the RE’s waiting room.  Luckily, we were called in right away.  There are four exam rooms complete with sono equipment and dim lighting in the office.   I am very familiar with each of these.  There are also two coveted VIP rooms, for IUI procedures.  I had drooled with envy over giddy couples leaving this room for months on end.  But now, we were finally VIPs too!  Our sudden RE celeb status felt less Beyonce and more Nicki Minaj, new but still hip as hell.

I lied down on the table, clutching my husband’s hand as his jaw dropped in disbelief when he saw the size of the catheter about to enter me.  Imagine an unfurled silly straw, here.  I expected pain or fireworks, or for balloons to rain down on us, I don’t know, but it was over in an instant.  I only knew it was over because my doctor rolled away on her wheely chair, snapped off her rubber gloves and announced that we were done.  She then asked me to stay lying down for ten minutes before leaving, but we were giddy and didn’t hear a thing she said.

I felt good, maybe slightly crampy, but then the unexpected back pain set in.  Sure, at first glance, the exam table complete with half-pint pillow and paper blanket look comfy enough, but in actuality, I would liken it to lying flat atop a camel’s humpback.  Time ticked along and I squirmed.  Did she say to wait ten minutes? Twenty?  An eternity?  My tailbone, spine, and I all voted ten.  My comfortably seated husband voted twenty.  We split the difference at fifteen, and we were on our way home where comfy pajamas and a day of rest awaited me.