It’s My Birfday!

Well, it was my birthday today (Dec 16th, I know that wordpress is going to post this as the 17th but here in the the USA, Central Standard Time, it’s still December 16th–my birthday).

I haven’t written in the last few days–because I’ve just felt inexplicably awful and I had nothing to say except “Help”. I had begun to wonder if I would ever feel good again. Everything made me cry–I would get a lump in my throat and just burst out in tears, and the tears would quickly fade but then I would be left feeling exhausted, confused, and unrelieved. Everybody seemed to hate me–I interpreted everyone’s actions/inactions in the worst possible way (example: my friend didn’t text me to confirm dinner plans in the afternoon on Saturday so I assumed he had found something better to do (because I am SUCH a boring loser) and then he texted me around 6pm and asked where we should go–I had agonized over nothing). I have been consumed by anxiety and depression in a way I haven’t been since I started medication 7 years ago. And I was SO stressed thinking “My depression and anxiety is going to RUIN all the potential of IUI #2”, but I couldn’t make it stop. This feeling of desperation about screwing up IUI #2 was the worst. It’s worse at night (dark, cold, lonely) and I found myself awake until 3am every. night. this. week. It didn’t seem to matter how many “warm fuzzy” Hallmark Christmas movies I watched, I couldn’t shake my misery.

Until Today. I stayed up late last night tidying my house because I wanted to wake up and not be irritated by all the stuff on my “to do” list that still wasn’t done and then having to look at my house in disarray. So I fixed everything before bed. And I woke up excited to go see my friend (the acupuncturist) Star to begin treatment this morning. I brought her a cute little treat bag of chocolate dipped oreos that I had sprinkled with crushed candy cane (as I’ve previously suggested (click here) it’s always good form to bring treats). I felt relaxed the moment I walked in the door and saw Star’s smiling face. Star took time to thoroughly go over my medical history, and then she began treatment with an interesting technique. I don’t know what it’s called, but she had me hold up my right arm in front of me, and she asked my body (not me, my body) a series of questions about what is bothering it (spleen? stomach? kidney?) and when my arm would ‘give’ when she pushed she would consider it an answer from my body–my body said my kidneys and stomach are weak/having issues. Then Star had me hold up my hand and asked my body if events in my life had caused my weaknesses, and at what age these occurred. My body replied that I had traumatic events at ages 12 and 22, which I can only assume were related to my very piss poor body image/disordered eating–at those ages I literally hated my body and wanted only to be thin, and not just thin but pin-thin (which is not even a possibility for me, I know, because I eventually did become very successful at my eating disorder and started under-eating/over-exercising and even at 10% body fat the smallest I got was a size 4/6). So, I told Star what had happened at those ages, and then she tapped down my spin and pushed those things out of my body–I felt a physical release. Next, I laid down on the table and Star placed the acupuncture needles at various points (not the first time I’ve had acu) and told me to relax and call for her if I needed her. The needle that was placed to detoxify my kidneys kept falling out–which intones that I am overwhelmed with impurities. Toward the end I could feel the toxins begin to release into my blood stream and I became quite uncomfortable. But when I sat up after the treatment, I KNEW that good things were happening–I knew I was in the right place and that Star was the right person to help me on my journey to a baby. I appreciated that she focused on my fertility too! She gave me suggestions for books and supplements, but without any pressure. I have smiled all day–genuinely smiled. And laughed. This huge tension/stress knot in my left shoulder has all but disappeared and she didn’t even touch it. I feel lighter and more energized. It’s ah-maz-ing. I just wish she took insurance! But she’s worth every penny.

I had a good rest of my day too, gluten-free pizza for dinner with my family and gluten-free cupcakes made for me by my sister. Lots of well-wishes and happy birthdays on facebook. And a lovely little card from one of my IF/RPL soul sisters, as well as a book of fertility philosophy from yet another IF/RPL soul sister arrived in the mail 🙂  I feel so loved and nurtured, like I was falling through the sky but I’ve now landed on a cloud. I feel like, no matter what happens with IUI #2, I think I will be ok (but I’ve only just begun the hormones so no promises).

I have to give a shout-out to Mr. MLACS as well, because he’s been a complete gem. While he can’t be here in the flesh to comfort me, he has made himself very accessible across the miles and has answered every phone call and listened patiently to every meltdown. He has not allowed me to worry about finances. He had a lovely orchid plant sent to surprise me the other day (I love Orchids)! He’s giddy about Christmas and has been shopping online and loads of boxes have been arriving from Amazon.com, mostly wrapped, mostly gifts for me. And my most favorite thing: it’s a birthday tradition for me to go to the Nutcracker ballet for my birthday, and he bought us tickets and we’re going to see a performance on Friday in the city (where I have to pick him up from the airport). I love having something to look forward to!

In closing…as I was cleaning/organizing my house today, I found a “rainbow maker” that my Dad gave me a couple months ago when we first moved here. I LOVE prisms, those crystals that project rainbows onto the wall, and the one my Dad gave me has a little solar panel that projects the light onto the prism…I hung it in my bedroom window. I sighed wistfully and hoped that this means I’ll be holding my rainbow this coming year. And I didn’t even cry. XO

CD1

Yep. I got the call from Dr. Angel that my beta was negative and stimultaneously felt the unmistakeable pain of AF making her appearance a day early. It’s actually a blessing in disguise to be moving on from grieving to hoping so seamlessly. Also, that would partially explain why I was so morose yesterday–PMS. But y’all really showed up for me yesterday and I truly felt embraced and comforted by your kindness, warmth, and tenderness–I really felt our kindredness and unity and it gave me strength when I was weak. You are such amazing women and I’m privileged to know you–I don’t need to know your names, addresses, or occupations–I know the best part of you already–your brave hearts. Bless you all. XO

The Hardest Thing I Ever Did…

I just wasn’t ready to write about this before now…I’m f*ing bawling and I haven’t even started…

Ok, so on February 4, 2013 I woke up and took a perfunctory HPT and almost died when I saw two lines. Totally unexpected. I was totally terrified because my Ulcerative Colitis was ‘flaring’ and my doctors had cautioned me time and again to “Be sure my disease is under control BEFORE I get pregnant because it will most likely become worse in pregnancy”. I thought my body was smart enough to know better than to get pregnant when I’m already bleeding (from my anus). I also thought that I wouldn’t get pregnant since we’d only had sex ONE time all month (due to my health issues). I told Mr. MLACS not to get excited because I was worried this wouldn’t work out. I felt sick–I was freezing cold and exhausted and fuzzy-brained and my colon was bleeding (I later found out I was suffering the symptoms of hypothyroid in addition to my UC). So of course, he went out and told EVERYBODY at his work. I was apprehensive but decided to treat the pregnancy as though everything was going to be fine.

For Valentines Day, Mr. MLACS gave me a gift certificate to a pregnancy spa for a prenatal massage, along with several sessions of prenatal yoga. I went to one session with a friend who was 32 weeks along at the time, and the yoga instructor looked appalled when I told her I was only 6 weeks along–she acted like I was crazy for coming to the prenatal class. I understood after I took the class, because it was so easy that a brisk walk would’ve been more useful to me. But I got the distinct feeling the yoga instructor was also intoning that I should be concerned about miscarriage and that it was too early to embrace my pregnancy. After I had my miscarriage at 7w2d, I understood…

So, hopefully you’ve read the story about my friend, Dee (click ‘Dee’ to read) becoming pregnant quite soon after my miscarriage. It hurt. We both lived in the Southwest and met because our husbands work for the same company and were working on a project together–we were both strangers in a strange land. But though I trusted her, she was hard to get close to. We were talking every day and then after my miscarriage I hardly talked to her and never saw her…only later I found out it was because she was in the first weeks of her pregnancy. Then a couple of times she went home to visit her family in the East Coast and didn’t call or text me at all while she was gone (for a month each time), even though I tried to keep contact with her. I knew I wasn’t being rejected, but still, how could we go from talking every day to no talking for a month? Anyhow, I sucked it up and would hang out with her and her pregnant belly. I felt sorry for her puking ALL DAY (Hyperemesis Gravidarum) EVERY DAY through her second trimester. I offered to keep her son (who I adored) when she went to prenatal appointments. I went shopping for baby clothes with her. I didn’t stop her when she gushed about all the great stuff she scored at the baby swap meet, or her nursery theme. And to her credit, she listened to me lament my health issues and talk about trying to conceive–she encouraged me.

I felt like maybe I should give Dee my prenatal massage gift certificate…but then I thought “No, Mr. MLACS wanted me to have it” and “I should be pregnant before we move so then I can use it”. I mean…I got pregnant by dumb luck once, so, it should be easy, right?

I did not get my second BFP until the end of July. The line was veeeery faint, and I was cautiously optimistic, and I thought “Statistically this pregnancy should work, odds are in my favor”…but alas, my beta was 5…how the hell did I even see a line? FRER’s are amazing, IMO. I started my period right on time, but it was THE most painful period I’ve ever had, worse than my first miscarriage, so I call my “Chemical Pregnancy” a Miscarriage…Also, I went to see my RE for a scan before starting Clomid …he saw a sac in my uterus…I wish he had never told me that he saw something. I had already been reading IF blogs because my friend Steph Mignon writes one. Also, Steph had just done her first IUI and fallen pregnant! I KNEW, that we could not possibly be so fortunate as to enjoy our pregnancies together. My life is full of hubris. The blogs I read told of nothing but heartache and failure (although almost all of the bloggers I started reading 9 months ago are pregnant now). I realized that my journey to motherhood was not “normal”, and I was (as per usual) in the minority statistic of women who struggle to conceive and carry a baby. My head hung low and my heart was broken–I felt broken.

I now had to come to terms that we wouldn’t be conceiving before we left…well I’ll just say it..Las Vegas. I had purchased a little onsie on Freemont Street that says “I’m What Happened In Vegas!” as a gesture of optimism that we would conceive while living in Vegas and I imagined holding it across my pregnant belly in our pregnancy announcement (this was before I started resenting pregnancy announcements). I realized that I would not need that prenatal massage gift certificate…THAT broke my heart…remembering how excited Mr. MLACS was when he brought it home to me…how he’d kissed my belly and rubbed my feet and told everyone in his path that he was going to be a daddy…I had been clutching that gift certificate with the belief that it was meant for me and my rainbow, but I was moving 1,482 miles away with no prospect of a rainbow…

And of course I knew, that the only right thing to do was to give it to Dee, because she was 7 months pregnant and also moving across the country WITH a potty training toddler…she deserved it. But GOD was it hard…I was jealous of her…then I felt guilty…but it’s SO unfair…what if I just threw the gift certificate away, as a symbol of throwing my dreams away…giving Dee the gift certificate felt like I was handing her MY dream…and wasn’t she already beyond blessed???

I was with Dee in the car one day and she mentioned getting a prenatal massage…and I took a deep breath…and I said “Well, you know Mr. MLACS gave me a gift certificate….and I’m not going to use it…and I wanted to get you something anyways…so I’d like to give it to you as my gift.” And I was so awkward and heavy with my words…Dee urged me that I could still use the massage even though I’m not pregnant, but I said no, that I was already getting a massage somewhere else and I wanted her to enjoy it. And I got out of her car. And I walked in my house. And I fell to my knees on my kitchen floor sobbing so hard no sound would come out. And I couldn’t stop crying for hours. And I talked to my dear departed Mother, and I talked to God, and I hugged my cat, and Mr. MLACS came home to find me crumpled on the couch.

Giving Dee that gift certificate was the hardest thing I ever did, and I’ve done A LOT of hard sh*t. I’m pretty hardcore actually.

There are two good things that came of this experience:

1. Making this sacrifice made me feel like I have good character.

2. I did something nice for my friend Dee, and even though I didn’t tell her how I felt, she knew it pained me and I know she appreciated that I gave it from my heart.

And now, at 7:30am EST on December 5th, 2013, her daughter will enter the world via C-section. And I’m happy for Dee. But it brought up this story, which I had meant to tell you about already but just never found the strength until now.

XO

 

Into The Great Wide Open

“Into the great wide open
Under them skies of blue
Out in the great wide open
A rebel without a clue”

These are lyrics from the song “Into The Great Wide Open” by Tom Petty.

I just went to lunch with a group of 5 girlfriends, 3 of whom I know well and 2 of which I feel comfortable enough to have ‘girl talk’ with. One of them is 6 months pregnant, and another one had her 4 month old son with her–he’s adorable and I enjoyed holding him and playing with him. But as we all sat down, the conversation began with everybody gushing over the pregnant one, talking about their own prior pregnancies, and then…talking about who plans to have a baby next. Only ONE of them knows my story, as she and I are very close and I’ve told her about the shots in my ass this week. I was quiet for a few minutes, but finally I just blurted out “Well we are trying to have a baby–and by trying I mean TRYING HARD–and I’ve had two losses already this year.” Let me tell you, that if you want a group of gossiping women to STFU real quick, tell them that. They all looked at me, especially the pregnant one, and I could tell they felt bad. The pregnant one and the one with the 4 month old both offered that they had endured recent miscarriages before their recent successful pregnancies. I hope I don’t regret saying something to them. But you know, I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t. I want people to know about infertility and miscarriage. I want people to understand. I want to be able to talk about my loss at the same table with people celebrating pregnancy/children, without feeling like we are on two different sides of the fence. I think it’s possible, but we (Infertility and RPL sufferers) cannot expect to cross that bridge unless we build it ourselves. So I’m over here with my bricks and my mortar….beginning to come “out of the closet” and into the great wide open with my infertility and health struggles…Don’t get me wrong I’m not ready to stand up with a bullhorn or see myself on a billboard but telling a group of women is a start, right?

In other news, the f*ing copious amounts of gel that Dr. Angel uses on the dildocam, combined with the whacky hormones seems to be giving me a yeast infection. Gross much?! It’s not bothersome (itchy or smelly) but it is visible, so before we began our daily probing, I mentioned warned Dr. Angel of my situation and asked him if this might be common during infertility treatments and monitoring and if it was necessary to treat it. His answers were: YES it’s common, particularly because the hormones I’ve been taking can change the PH of the vagina. And NO, I don’t need to treat it at this time. Icky, but manageable.

Next, he said my follies appeared “squished”, because they are getting bigger. However, neither of the follies on my left side measured much bigger than yesterday, which makes me want to double my dose of Bravelle, but Dr. Angel thinks they are fine and the measurements are ‘off’ because the follies are smooshed–which I could see that, because whereas they were previously spherical in shape, they had become more oblong. My uterine lining is at about ‘6’. The cyst on the right side has continued to shrink, which of course is a good thing. Speaking of good things…

I get to pick up Mr. MLACS from the airport tomorrow!!! I’m so excited to see him! But I have SO MUCH I want to finish around the house before he arrives! Before he left I told him that the reason I hadn’t been unpacking and organizing is because he was in the way–which was quite true–but he’s been gone for 3 weeks. Of course in my defense, one of those weeks was spent working and worrying at the new job. Then this week has been all about the dildocam and other facets of our IUI cycle. But honestly, I have procrastinated. XO

 

Please Don’t Leave Me…

Well hello ladies, hope you’ve all enjoyed your weekend (I know some of you haven’t, I read your blogs, and if you had a crappy weekend then that sucks and I’m sorry).

I miss Mr. MLACS waaaaay more than I thought I would. I’m going to try not to whine about it too much, because this is something I’m just going to have to get used to–we’re planning for him to continue this job with this schedule for at least 13 more months (gone 1/2 the month). It will really set us up financially. But in the meantime, I got a job! Yep, sure did. I will be doing clerical work (check-in, check-out) in a busy medical office. And the cool thing, is that I only work 3 days a week but it’s full time so I get benefits–the secondary insurance should cover all my co-pays (of course, I’ll have to look into that before I enroll, because if it’s crappy insurance I may be better off not enrolling). I don’t start until December though, which leaves me with a lot of time to miss Mr. MLACS in November.

So it’s just me and the cat. And I’m trying to corral my girlfriends to hang out with me–even bribing them with food if they’ll come over for dinner. It worked: I have dinner dates for Mon/Tues/Thur this week. Good thing they’ll accept food as a bribe, since Mr. MLACS doesn’t get paid until December (no paycheck for November and he didn’t work in October while waiting for his stupid HR to get his visa approved) and we are briggity-broke until the December paycheck. Oh, and we might have just squeaked by, until the IRS seized my husband’s account, saying he owed 2009 and 2010 taxes. I don’t know if what they did is even legal, but luckily my husband’s accountants are all over it and got most of it straightened out–except the IRS is haggling over $1700 and won’t release that money yet (the accountants showed them the records that Mr. MLACS paid but the IRS says they can’t find their record of it! This is SO unfair!) This is money we were counting on to pay our bills!

But what is life without some sort of drama??? And life has blessed me, because I never have to self-create my problems (don’t you hate people that have so few problems they have to conjure drama in order to have something to b*tch about? So mundane!) Well life just hands drama/problems to me, so I never have to work myself into a frenzy over nothing, oh no, there’s always something legit for me to freak out about. Always a hot potato for me to juggle. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if everything just got easy all of a sudden. Seriously, “easy” just isn’t meant for me, and I accept that. But I don’t have to like it.

You may or may not give a crap about any of the above, but I’ll include this update on my procreational efforts: I might be pregnant. Or I might not. I have no f*ing clue. I had sex EOD a week before ovulation, then 2 days in a row (day before and day of positive OPK), and then I had sex EOD until Mr. MLACS took off. And so I’m sure there were like 600 million sperm there (given that Mr. MLACS is an overachiever) and I’m confident that they met the egg–I have not doubt. But we all know, that a fertilized egg doesn’t equal a pregnancy. And really, I’m not feeling a sense of urgency to be pregnant this month, since we’re calling it a “break” cycle (unmedicated). This month, I’m actually more afraid of being pregnant–the fear of losing it, rather than the fear of disappointment from a negative HPT. Every month is different, and last month I felt the opposite (desperate for pregnancy, less concerned about RPL). I don’t bother symptom-spotting anymore since I started taking the progesterone supplements and they give me ALL the symptoms.

Also, I’m feeling quite invested in the IF/RPL community and I’m nervous that I’ll become pregnant and become irrelevant, or rather, I will only be relevant to IF’ers who are now pregnant. I promise two things if I am pregnant: 1. I will still write regularly, and it won’t just be about pregnancy and expectant mother stuff. 2. I will not talk about the magic of an ultrasound, or any unicorn and rainbows crap–I will be living in fear and guilt and I will tell you all about it. My husband will be gone half the time. I will still have to have to take 20 pills a day, including several Class B drugs (guilt, oh so much guilt). I’ll be trying to hide all of this from the doctors I work for. I’m sure people will say all sorts of belligerent sh*t to me. I won’t post ‘bump’ pics or tell you ‘baby is the size of a prune’. Promise. Please don’t leave me (if I get pregnant before you). Please, I’m begging you. And I promise I will be there for you, too, no matter what. I will celebrate your good times and I will cry (I sincerely cry when I read your sad posts) when bad things happen and I will (I do) feel as though they’re happening to me too. *sniffle* Love you guys. Mean it.

Everybody’s Pregnant But Me (and you)

When I first found out I was pregnant for the first time in February, I didn’t keep it a big secret, for a couple of reasons. First of all, Mr. MLACS was SO excited that he told everyone at work. Second, I didn’t realize how common miscarriage is. Third, I am so blatantly honest about things in my life that I figured I’m not the kind of person to keep secrets. So at 5w5d I invited two of the wives of my husband’s coworkers over to our neighborhood park to play, so the wives could meet each other and introduce their small children to each other–we are not military, but the company moves us a lot and none of us live near our families so we tend to flock together. One of the wives, we’ll call her Dee, is my friend. The other wife, we’ll call her Meme, is not my friend. I told them about my pregnancy and they both talked about their pregnancies and expressed their uncertainties about having another child. I felt like I was finally “one of them”, you know, a SAHM, instead of just a (mediocre) housewife. I would have a new way to bond with other women and make friends, through my pregnancy and then through play dates, soccer games, PTA meetings…I loved feeling part of “The Mommy Club”.
Two days before I had my miscarriage, the hubs came home and announced that Meme is pregnant with their third child! Just a couple weeks behind me! I was slightly irritated for no particular reason. Then I had my miscarriage at 7w2d. I didn’t really mind that Meme was preggo, because I had already decided I didn’t like her and now I had an excuse not to ask her to hang out–I’m sure she just assumed I was devastated that I lost my baby and she was pregnant–so I left it at that.
For whatever reason, I didn’t hear from Dee very much for awhile, and I sensed some apprehension from her in our conversations. I didn’t read much into it. I had offered many times to babysit her 2yr old son if she needed or wanted me to. Finally she took me up on my offer. She said she had to go to the OBGYN and I didn’t even ask why…but after I got to the apartment she was just acting weird–nervous. And I began to suspect but I didn’t ask. My heart sank as the thought crept in, that Dee had been avoiding me for weeks because she was pregnant and didn’t want to tell me? That hurt my feelings. My suspicion was confirmed when Dee walked in the door after her OBGYN appointment, holding the very same prenatal goodie bag they had given me a couple months ago. I said “So you ARE pregnant! I thought you might be” and she blushed and said “Yeah, I am”. I felt a little betrayed…and how strange that two women who had lukewarm feelings about having more children became pregnant almost instantly right after I announced my pregnancy? From what other IF bloggers have written, it seems to be part of the curse of IF…everybody will be pregnant but you, and probably announce their pregnancy either during or right after your miscarriage, while you still have a maxi pad strapped to you.
Now Meme and Dee are getting ready to have their babies…my EDD for my first miscarriage is October 12, 2013. Even today I had coffee with Dee and since we are both moving soon and she is in the 28th week of her second (and final) pregnancy, she gifted me two pregnancy books as a well-intentioned parting gift–encouraging me that I will “need them soon!” I used to think that bloggers who “woes me” about the passing of their due dates were being a touch melodramatic. But now as my own due date approaches, and I’ve lived through 2 miscarriages and several more pregnancy announcements…I am going to be quite inconsolable on October 12th. I dread it, actually.
On the bright side, me, kitty, and the hubs will just be getting settled in our new place, and we will be living in my hometown where I have friends who will not constantly remind me that I am not pregnant–there’s my silver lining.