Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Friendship is an Incredible Thing

It’s easy to feel totally alone going through infertility, it’s easy to wallow in self pity and tell yourself no one understands.  The beauty of blogging is that you realize you're not alone (even if you occasionally forget.)  If I wanted to find another blog about an infertile engineer turned pregnant I could probably find it in about 30 seconds.  But blogging, for me, hasn’t been about finding 100 other bloggers just like me, it has been about making friendships and connections, and I’ve made one that I hope will last forever.

I came across S.I.F's blog when I first started blogging.  I realized she was also from Alaska so I emailed her and we talked back and forth a few times.  At the time she was really struggling after an unsuccessful FET but she still made the time to talk with me and support me.

Our few emails eventually turned into a hike, and that’s all it took, instant friendship.  The day we went hiking was the day before I started lupron for IVF1.0.  She helped me through the fear of what was to come and inspired me to stay hopeful.  Most of you know the story of IVF1.0, but if you don’t, here is how it started, and here is how it ended...

I don’t think I’ve ever been in a darker place than I was after IVF1.0.  I tried to stay positive, I objectively looked at the situation and pretended to be OK, but I wasn’t.  My family and other friends tried to be there for me but they didn’t know what to say.  S.I.F was there, always with the right words and a hug.

Prepping for IVF1.5 I was a mess again.  I wasn’t feeling hopeful, S.I.F held the hope for me, she stayed positive and about a week before I left she made me a mix tape (the ultimate sign of friendship!)  The CD was full of inspiring songs about how I was not in control and just needed to relax and live.  It was on repeat in my car for that whole week and when ever I was about to lose it I turned it on and relaxed.

My PP care package complete with 2 teen supernatural romances (which I've already finished...maybe I'm still 12?)

When I was diagnosed with placenta previa and told I could do nothing fun for the next 6 months she made me a basket full of things to keep me entertained.  She wrote a hilarious post about it here, but I’ll stick to the serious stuff… What an incredible friend. 

I hope that someday I’ll look back at my years of infertility and understand why they had to happen.  I think maybe one of the reasons is because otherwise I would never have met S.I.F…

Monday, November 28, 2011

Symptoms Series: Post 2, Morning Sickness

I’m pretty sure every infertile woman out there has at some point claimed that she would NEVER complain about morning sickness once she finally got pregnant.  I was definitely one of those women.

Here it is ladies… I hate to admit it…

I complained… I think I even cried…

Have you ever had the stomach flu or been so car sick or so hung over that you prayed you’d just wake up when it was over?  Have you ever felt so awful that you couldn’t get up off the couch, couldn’t stomach the thought of food?  Have you ever wished you could go to sleep for the next 2 months so you wouldn’t feel that way anymore?  I felt like that for 14 weeks.

I never actually threw up which made me feel even more pathetic for complaining.  I couldn’t stand the thought of food yet the Dexamethasone made me STARVING so I ate anything I could get down.  Instead of losing weight I gained 10, maybe even 15 pounds (I’m still too scared to step on the scale.)  With the exception of Mickey D’s bacon egg and cheese biscuits, I didn’t enjoy a single calorie of food I put in my mouth for 14 weeks and always felt terrible afterwards.

Every time I ate I felt like if I didn’t puke that food up I might die.  I seriously considered making myself throw up and even debated with Blue over whether or not that made me bulimic.  On top of feeling totally miserable, I also felt guilty because I vowed never to be “that girl.” 

I really wanted to be that infertile woman who appreciated every moment of her pregnancy but I am not her.  I am proud to say that I did most of my complaining to Blue.  I tried to keep it from everyone else but I was miserable and it is hard to keep quiet when you feel that bad.

Every day during those 14 weeks (after telling Blue I was pretty sure this would be our only biological child) I thanked God for this baby, for the medical advances that made it possible, for the opportunity to get pregnant at least once, for fulfilling my dreams even if they weren’t quite what I expected, but I sure as hell did not say thank you for morning sickness because it was awful. 

I recently figured out why women are even willing to carry a sibling, it’s because just after the misery of the first trimester comes the beauty of the second trimester.  That’s why I wrote this post now, I wanted to get it all out before I forgot just how bad it really was.  I’m now 16 weeks and can finally embrace the pregnancy, I don’t feel like hell, I can feel the life inside of me wiggling around… suddenly, like a light switch was flipped, it’s like the first 14 weeks never happened. 


Monday, November 21, 2011

Symptoms Series: Post 1, Overly Emotional

In the spirit of posting what ever I feel like, I think I’m going to do a series on symptoms of pregnancy and how they might differ for an infertile…

Here is my first: Pregnant ladies are overly emotional.

I have been tearing up a lot lately.  I know this is supposed to be a normal pregnancy symptom, crying at commercials and such.  Until Sunday I had only had the eyes welling up, glistening type tears, usually at the end of an episode of a reality TV show where a baby is born. 

Now to the weird part, I have yet to cry about our baby.  Almost every family member and friend who knew about our IF cried when they found out we were finally pregnant.  Not me.  Not Blue (though I’ve only seen him cry 2 times ever so it’s not like I was expecting tears from my rock of a hubby.) 

I cried when I found out about the blood clotting disorder, which is funny since now it’s the very least of our problems and more dangerous to treat it than to leave it be…  But I haven’t actually cried over the fact that I’m gestating a human.  I think about it a lot, why I’m not emotional about our baby… I think it’s because it’s too dangerous to let down that wall, because once I do it can’t be re-built.  It’s easier to focus on the facts, the diagnoses, and more than anything, it’s easier to just continue on with my self deprecating sense of humor and pretend that none of this is fazing me.

On Sunday I had my first all out pregnancy induced sob fest.  Blue and I went to church with our closest friends to watch their son’s baptism.  It was a beautiful service and so sweet to watch him glare at the pastor after he put water all over his head!  At the end of the service we were supposed to stick around and take pictures, so as the recessional hymn started up we were all going to go forward instead of back. 

That was a great plan until the hymn turned out to be ‘I’ll fly Away’. 

The last time I heard that song was at my Nanny’s (grandmother’s) funeral, and the time before was the last time I heard my Nanny speak.  I was sitting with her at the hospital in her last few days of life and her pastor came by to pray with her.  At the time she couldn’t say much but she asked him to sing her.  So the three of us sat there in the hospital and sang ‘I’ll fly away’ and ‘The Old Rugged Cross’.

I hadn’t thought about that day at all in the last two years, in fact if I’d heard ‘I’ll fly away’ six months ago it would have made me smile, instead I was over emotional and brought right back into that hospital room.  Had it just been Blue and I might have been able to drop a few silent happy tears, but instead I had to run so I could hide it from my best friend’s entire family, then make excuses for why I missed pictures.  EMBARASSING!

Maybe someday soon I’ll cry about our little one, I’ll be sure to let you guys know the day it happens.  A question for all you pregnant after IF girls, am I crazy?  Do you weep over the idea of your baby constantly?

Friday, November 18, 2011

I reclaim this blog as my own

I used to get really frustrated when infertile bloggers got pregnant and started a new blog.  It seemed like they were forgetting their past, moving on to a sunshine lollipops world where IF didn’t exist.  Now that I’m pregnant I understand why they do it.

Since I got pregnant I don’t feel like this blog is mine anymore, I don’t feel like I can share my honest thoughts.  I give obligatory updates but that’s all.  I still read everyone’s blogs and comment but I’ve lost the cathartic release of blogging for myself.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, time that were I still infertile, I would have spent writing about it, sorting through my thoughts with the keyboard.

The answer I’ve come to is that I’m worried I’ll hurt someone no matter what I write.  I’m worried that if I’m having a good day or post a belly shot that I’ll seem like I’m bragging.  I’m worried that if I’m having a bad day I’ll sound like an ungrateful bitch who has forgotten her past.

I’ve tried to put myself in your (my reader’s) shoes: what kind of posts would I rather read, happy posts or whiney posts?  The problem is that I’m thinking about what you might want to read, not what I need to write.

Did I start this blog to help other people or to help myself?  Probably a little of both, but at first I didn’t care who read it, I just needed to write.  I need to write again.

So here it is:  I reclaim this blog as my own.  I will write what is in my heart.  I won’t forget my past because IF is still a part of me and my future.  I won’t curb my thoughts because I’m afraid they’ll be taken wrong.  I’ll continue to read and support those of you still in the trenches and I’m always here if you have questions or need support.

I hope that none of my future posts offend anyone, I hope that you’ll understand that pregnancy and life after IF is still a rollercoaster and will always have its ups and downs.  I hope that my readers stick around, but I completely understand if you don’t want to or if it hurts too much, I’ve been there and I haven’t forgotten.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It’s going to be a long winter…

Today’s appointment with the OB went OK.  The bubble is doing well and we got to see it dance around on the screen.  We also got a quick shot of what she thinks was a sizable wiener, but just incase it was a glimpse of the umbilical chord we have to wait until the 20 week screen to know for sure.

Unfortunately I also got bad news…  I have complete placenta previa which means my placenta is completely covering my cervix.  On the ultrasound today we were hoping to see improvement from 2 weeks ago but instead saw the placenta extend out evenly on either side of the cervix.  There was some hope at the last US that the placenta might move but after today’s the OB said not to harbor any false hopes, it isn’t going to budge.

The rule from here on out is no fun; no exercise besides swimming and walking on a treadmill, no sexual activity of any kind (literally, not even touching the nipples…) The worst part?  These rules continue until 37 weeks.  That’s right, from 14 weeks to 37 weeks, which is 23 weeks (161 days) of no action.

Why 37 weeks you ask?  Because that is when I’ll go in to see the perinatologist for an amnio to check the baby’s lung function.  If all is good they’ll deliver the baby via C-section 2 days later.

Surprisingly the impending C-section doesn’t bother me at all, but that’s a story for another day…

One more interesting development is that I’m off the Lovenox.  It is now officially more dangerous for me to be on it than off it because of the previa. 

C’est la vie…

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hello 2nd Trimester, it's nice to see you!

I can’t believe I’m in the second trimester.  It’s nice to have positive news to share!  Also, my OB’s office called and my NT scan results look great!  I’m not sure what the actual result was, just that I shouldn’t worry, so I shan’t. 

Here I sit, a worry free Lindsey.

It’s amazing that my whole life until now, including 4 years of engineering school, Blue’s deployment and 2.5 years of infertility, hasn’t taught me that worrying will do me no good.  It took conquering IF, being pregnant and getting bad news multiple times to make me realize that worrying wasn’t doing me any good.  So now, when the bad news comes, I laugh and I am thankful that I defied the odds yet again, and when good news comes, I am even more thankful. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

I pick Infertility

I don’t remember who told me this story (maybe it’s an old proverb) but it goes something like this:  If we were all to write down our problems on a slip of paper and toss them on to a table, then rifle through and pick which problem to have, we would all pick back up our own problems because that’s what we know how to deal with.

I learned the truth of this lesson this weekend.

One of Blue’s good friends and his girlfriend ended up with a little surprise a few years back, they were excited about it and got married and have had a great time since.  They had a totally natural pregnancy with a home birth (for the record I’m not a big fan of this.)  Their little girl is 3 now and is so precious and such a joy to be around.  I have to admit I’ve spent quite a bit of time being jealous of them, wondering why that couldn’t have been us too?

Even lately, since I’ve been pregnant, I’ve wondered why I couldn’t have a perfect pregnancy like her?  She never had an US, ate organic the whole time, etc.  I’ve sat on my couch numerous times pouting, wondering why pregnancy wasn’t so perfect for me…

About 3 weeks ago the husband started feeling strange and having numbness in his legs.  They tried seeing a naturopath and doing heavy metals testing.  When none of the homeopathic remedies made a difference they went in for an MRI and just found out he has MS.  On top of that, they own their own chiropractic business and don’t have health insurance.

Now suddenly I don’t want to trade problems.

I just want to stay right here in my pregnant after IF life.

My heart is breaking for all of them, for how this will change the course of their lives.  I wish I could do anything to help, but for now I think the only thing I can do is give them time to process the diagnosis.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I have great news and not so great news

I’ll start with the not so great news: 

Have I mention that if they test me for it I’ll have it?  Please add placenta previa to the list.

As I understand it, placenta previa means that my placenta is covering my cervix.  They say it’s fairly common early on and often resolves its self before the baby is due.  If it doesn’t resolve its self it means C-section.  As for now it means pelvic rest and lifting no more than 10 lbs.

I actually laughed when the nurse called to tell me this yesterday.  If I’ve learned nothing else through the last almost 3 years of infertility, IVF and pregnancy, I’ve learned that you have NO control over anything and there is no point in worrying because it won’t change a thing.

Now for the great: 

I forgot to tell you I graduated!  Graduated from what you ask? 


My 12 week scan was all trans-abdominal!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

12 Weeks and NT Scan

I’m sorry I’ve been such a bad blogger lately.  I’ve even had a few people call/email me to make sure me and the baby were OK.  We’re great I promise!  Again, I’m sorry, I’ve just been busy and super tired and dressing my dog up as a turtle...

Doesn't he look so happy?  Only dog in the world who smiles when dressed up...
Yesterday we had our 12 week NT scan.  We won’t know the official results for another week but the measurements looked good.  We got a beautiful profile picture of our little one too!  Also, the ultrasound tech warned not to decorate the nursery on her prediction but she thinks it’s a boy and as of now her predictions have been 100% correct! 

I’m trying not to get too attached to the idea of a boy incase we find out 6 weeks from now that it’s a little girl in there!  Either way I’m excited, so our early guess of boy shouldn’t affect me too much.  I think Blue might be another story though… He’s scared to have a girl, probably because she’ll wrap him right around her tiny finger and he’ll be there for the rest of his life!

As of now I’m making some serious progresses in the pregnancy symptoms front.  Here they are in random order:
  • I cooked dinner (for the first time in almost 3 months!)
  • Dex's baby is shrinking and Blue’s baby is growing.
  • I’m not constantly hungry (since I dropped the dex and progesterone!)
  • Lovenox is cake!  Thanks again for the advice on how to make the injections not sting ladies!
  • I made it to the magical point where you’re supposed to stop worrying so much
  • I slept through the night with out getting up to pee last night (no illusions here, I realize this was a freak incident but it seemed worth including.)
  • I’m getting over the irrational fear that I’m “jinxing” my pregnancy every time I talk to someone about it.
  • I’m able to eat food besides boxed mac and cheese and pistachios

Now for the list of things I have not been able to make progress on but am confident I will remedy in the near future:
  • It makes me gag to open the fridge, it doesn’t smell to anyone but me though.
  • The only acceptable breakfast option is a bagel or instant oatmeal and even those don’t sit very well.
  • I am always tired.  I want to go to bed at 7 pm.  I hear mixed reviews on when this will end, but I think Blue will freak out if it doesn’t end soon.
  • Vegetables sound awful.