Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Intralipid Infusions

Every time I flip through photo album on my phone I see a picture of my very first intralipid infusion.  I originally took it so I could show you guys what it was all about and write a post about it… but I never did.  So here it is, 6 ½ months late!

Over the course of the last 6 months I’ve had 11 infusions.  They became pretty normal for me, every two weeks on Wednesday afternoon at 4 pm I’d head over to the hospital, biweekly until 24 weeks.  I got to know my nurses all really well because I saw them so often.  I got to a point where I had a “favorite” vein for my IV to go in and all the nurses knew me by name and asked if I was ready for my dose of “frosting” (if you look in the picture you’ll see why we call it frosting, it’s a thick white solution.)

The infusions themselves are pretty easy.  They put in an IV and hook up a bag of 20% intralipid solution in 80% saline.  The medicine gets run through a pumping machine which sends it out at the right rate. 

Once I got past the initial jitters of getting an IV things got pretty routine.  I’d come in, say hi to everyone, hang my left arm over the side of the chair in an attempt to get my “favorite” vein looking good, they’d hook me up, and there I sat for the next two hours.  As long as we could get the IV in my hand or forearm then the next two hours flew by because I had the use of both of my arms.  If we had to put the IV in my elbow the next two hours were always very long and boring because I had to stay pretty still so the pump didn’t see too much back pressure and stall out.

I had to have the infusions for two reasons; I have elevated natural killer cells caused by either autoimmune implantation disfunction, alloimmune implantation disfunction or both.  Since I’ve never had a miscarriage most likely my natural killer cells are activated from an autoimmune reaction, but we also know that Blue and I have a partial match in our immune systems that makes it hard for an embryo to implant.  If you want a slightly better description, read this post I wrote about it.

For any of you who’ve been diagnosed with activated natural killer cells, or suspect that might be the problem, don’t stress about these, they’re easy and relatively cheap.  I would recommend that anyone who has endo and has had IVF failures look into getting tested, it’s usually covered by insurance and if it isn’t they give you a huge discount.  Dr. Sher believes 30% of women with endometriosis have this, and if they have a family history of thyroid disease or any other autoimmune disease they are much more likely to have it.  If you want to read up more on the science behind them check out Dr. Sher's website.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Yesterday I was struggling with the idea of blogging at all, especially in the world of ALI (adoption, loss and infertility) and writing about my life with out offending anyone.  Today I feel great, partly because of the incredibly sweet comments I got yesterday and partly because I happened upon the most perfect of posts this morning. 

Apparently I’m not the only PIF (pregnant after infertility) blogger who is feeling torn!  Elphaba has put together a blogroll for PIFs, much like Mel's blogroll for IFs.  She’s calling it P.A.I.L (parenting/pregnant after infertility & loss). 


I’m so glad someone finally put together a group where we can feel supported in both our pregnancies/parenting and in our histories of infertility/loss.  It really is a unique situation to be in, but it turns out, not as unique when you find a whole list of bloggers in your same shoes.

I really feel like this will allow me to feel free to blog about not only the facts but also the feelings (good and bad) that come along with pregnancy and eventually parenting after infertility.  The truth is sometimes its not all sunshine and lollipops and it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who feels that way.

**on a side note, I think it’s a little funny that adding my name to a list has given me such a sense of freedom, but I guess we all just strive to belong somewhere?.... **

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Blog Sabbatical

You might have noticed I took a blog sabbatical.  I thought about blogging a lot, I did read the occasional blog just to make sure you guys were all right, but for the most part I needed a break.

You may remember this post I wrote two weeks ago, it’s the reason behind my need for a blogging break.  It was a bit of a controversial post… not my usual style.  I love a good debate in real life but my natural medium is face to face discussions, explaining myself on the spot so there is no confusion about what I mean.  I’m not a writer; I’m not good at getting my thoughts out in written word.

I hate when what I’m trying to say is misinterpreted, it makes me anxious.  This is why I love a good debate, face to face.  You get to talk things out and give people a chance to explain themselves on the spot, no time for brooding over what you thought they were tying to say.  This beautiful back and forth doesn’t happen when blogging.  People interpret (or misinterpret what you wrote and then give a quick reply that they don’t expect a response to.  Commenters can hide behind anonymity which allows them to be harsher than they would in real life and stops you from truly responding, because if they don’t check back for your response they’ll never hear your reply.

Because S.I.F. linked to my post, and she is much more popular in the blog-o-sphere than I am, I got about 20 times more hits than a normal post.  Along with those views came many visitors and commenters that are not infertile, which is something I haven’t experienced before.  I have no problem with a varied audience, but it was a strange experience to have such a deluge of differing opinions come out, and especially a lot of strongly worded ones. 

For the first time I felt like I couldn’t defend myself and what I had been trying to say.  Then I got even more mad when I realized I shouldn’t have to defend myself on my own blog, I have a right to my opinions and I write an anonymous infertility blog for a reason.  The only person in my real life other than S.I.F. who knows my blog exists is my husband Blue.  I write this blog so I can get these thoughts out and heard by people who understand. 

I have ENOUGH fertile people to debate with in real life, I really have no desire to do that here, in my safe place, where I can be so easily misunderstood. 

I’ve been so frustrated by all of this that I haven’t written a blog post in two weeks, I even thought about going private, which goes against everything I believe about blogging.  I hope I don’t offend anyone here, but I hate it when blogs I love go private.  I still try and keep up with your posts, but it’s hard, your posts don’t show up in my reader and it just seems to go against the whole point I see in blogging, which is linking people together through common interest. 

But I finally understand why people do it, going private seems to be a necessary step for freedom of speech once you get to a certain number of readers.  Going private allows you to say what you’re feeling with out worrying about negative comments bringing you down.  I’ve brooded over this for days but I can’t do it, I just can’t go private. 

I’m on the fence about just stopping blogging all together.  I can’t imagine leaving this community that has provided me with so much support but I can’t help but feel like now that I’m pregnant I have to be even more gaurded with my thoughts so I don’t offend people who are still struggling.

My final conclusion is to keep trying for a few more weeks.  I’ll write the posts that I’ve wanted to write in the last few weeks and I’ll write them how I would in my perfect blog world where everyone is supportive.  If the answer is still frustration and disappointment then I’ll say good bye.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My motivation for yesterday's post...

I think my words might have come out wrong yesterday…

I said what I was trying to say but maybe my motivation for saying it wasn’t clear…

For the record, S.I.F. has been one of the most supportive people in my life since the day I met her.  She’s an incredible friend and will be an important part of Marek’s life.

I want to make it clear that in no way was I implying that she thought I didn’t deserve to be pregnant.  Her blog post was about her feelings regarding IVF in HER future, not mine, not anyone else’s. 

I was mad and hurt when I first read her post but after a lot of thought and consideration realized those emotions weren’t fair.  It wasn’t her intention to judge me, I was putting that judgement on myself.  She said “IVF is going too far for me” I heard “IVF was going too far for you.”  I had long since moved past being mad at her when I wrote that post yesterday.  I wrote it about what her post helped me realize, not to defend myself to her.

I’ve struggled this pregnancy with feeling like my body was failing me, I’ve struggled with wondering if I really did go too far.  That’s why her post hit me so hard, because I wasn’t sure how I felt about it all yet.

Reading her post helped me realize all the things I said yesterday.  I didn’t say them to defend my choices to S.I.F. she’s never questioned my choices.  I said them because I realized that for 3 years I’ve carried a huge self-imposed burden of self loathing that I shouldn’t have to carry and that I wouldn’t carry if I was fertile.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Do my complications mean I had no business getting pregnant...?

I’ve been questioning this for a long time, maybe even since that first realization that getting pregnant wasn’t going to be so easy for me.  I’ve been questioning it even harder every time something tough has come up in this pregnancy, which I’ll admit has been often.  I’ve never written a post on it because I didn’t know how I felt, not until I read this post by S.I.F. 

Now most of you know she is my friend in real life, and I will be honest here and say that her post has probably shaken our friendship a little, but I don’t feel like it’s broken it.  She wrote the post about her self and her future and we’ve touched on this subject in real life, but it was hard not to read between the lines and see that the outcome she fears is the reality I’m in.  It’s funny, in a way, that I didn’t know how I felt about the whole subject until I felt like I needed to defend how I felt. 

Truthfully, reading her post hurt and infuriated me.  I mulled over the post for days with a sick feeling in my stomach and then a light blub went off, I am totally confident in my choices, I would do it all over again.  So, like a wounded Mama bear, I feel like I need to stand up for the existence of Marek and my choices to bring him into this world, here is my attempt.

The ability for humans to get and stay pregnant is a miracle.  The more you know about the intricacies of the process the more you realize that it is incredible anyone gets or stays pregnant.  There is no such thing as getting pregnant because you deserve it, if that were the case we would have all been pregnant long ago.  People get pregnant when an amazing number of biological factors all align, people who have infertility just have a hard time making one or more of those factors get in line with the rest. 

Thankfully, the science exists to help those missing pieces fit, for me that was IVF and there were a lot of pieces: endometriosis, sluggish tubes, diminished ovarian reserve, thin uterine lining, autoimmune issues, and alloimmune issues.

Does having more than one issue affecting my fertility make me less deserving of a pregnancy?  I don’t think so.  It was more to go up against but it was worth it.  Just because I had problems didn’t mean I deserved a pregnancy any less than my super fertile sister or friends did. 

S.I.F. talks a lot about the use of progesterone in IF pregnancies, I think I struggled with this topic as much as any other in her post.  Does taking a supplemental dose of a hormone that our bodies are not producing yet mean that we are risking our children’s health?  I believe that if it did it wouldn’t be prescribed.  I would like to see the statistics of pregnancies resulting in birth defects and the proof that progesterone supplementation was the cause.  If we read and took to heart the warnings on every medicine we ever took we’d never take another medication.  Just because it’s listed as a potential worst case scenario doesn’t mean that it’s a credible threat, if that were the case IVF wouldn’t have been around for the last 30 years.

I’m a big supporter of doing your own research and being an advocate for yourself with your doctors, but at some point you also need to trust your doctors.  You know your body, but they know the science and they have the historical evidence.

Now on to pregnancy complications, of which I’ve had many: blood clotting disorder, placenta previa, and irritable uterus, just to name a few.

If a fertile woman has pregnancy complications does it make her question why her body is failing her?  Probably. 

Does it make her question if she is any less deserving of that child?  No. 

Why do we, as infertiles, expect more of our bodies and question if we are deserving just because something isn’t going perfectly?  Life isn’t perfect so why do we put so much more pressure on ourselves and our bodies to give us that unachievable perfection? 

A lot of women have pregnancy complications.  For example my sister, who got pregnant her first month trying found out, by chance, at 32 weeks that she was 3 cm dilated.  She spent 4 weeks on bed rest, then, in 1 week walking around, dilated to 7 cm and delivered at 37 weeks.  She never once questioned if that meant she wasn’t supposed to take her child home, she never once thought maybe she wasn’t supposed to get pregnant in the first place.  Another friend had a placental abruption at 26 weeks and now has a healthy 3 year old.  Do you think those thoughts went through her mind?  Nope, she was just concerned for the health of her child and did what the doctors told her she must to keep her and her baby alive.

Somehow going through IF makes us question everything our bodies do.  It makes us stop trusting ourselves and our doctors, it convinces us that anything bad that happens is our fault because we tempted fate by forcing pregnancies that never should have been.

Fuck-that.  Our pregnancies should have been.  If anyone has a pregnancy that should never have been it’s the crack addict or alcholic who’s choices before and during her pregnancy make it so.  None of the shit we go through is by choice.  We were all forced into the positions we’re in and deserve these pregnancies as much as any other mother out there and we’ll be better mothers for it.

So lets unite ladies, lets stop letting one bad hand we’ve been dealt define our sense of self worth. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I survived the stomach flu, talk about brutal...

The whole premature labor scare mixed with the drugs for it resulted in stomach ulcers.  Stomach ulcers are super duper painful when your stomach is empty so the combination of throwing up and not eating for 36 hours was especially not fun.

I think the most stressful part about the stomach flu was being dehydrated.  I got lectured at the hospital and by my doc about how dehydration is bad and causes your uterus to contract so I was worried the whole time about the stomach flu causing bad contractions again.  Luckily I only had one bad bout of them that only lasted an hour.  My OB said that was actually very good considering how dehydrated the stomach flu makes you. 

Now for the great news…  I think my luck might be turning…  I was finally tested for something I DON’T have, gestational diabetes!  Go me!

Also yesterday successfully marked 26 weeks!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I think the scale lied

Remember this post, the one where I told you my doc lectured me on weight gain?  That was at my 23 week appointment. 

At 23 weeks and 6 days I went to the ER and I weighed 10 pounds less on their scale.  I figured that might have been a fluke since it was a different scale and it was the morning so I decided my docs scale was probably right.

When I went in for my 25 week post bed rest check up I weighed 12 lbs less on the exact same scale at the exact same time of day.

This means one of two things, I magically lost a lot of weight in 2 weeks, or I didn’t gain any weight in 7 weeks.  Either scenario makes me very happy.  

It confirms that I’m not going crazy and seeing some other skinny person in the mirror.  It also makes me realize I shouldn’t be afraid of the scale, I should have been weighing myself at home from the start so that it was consistent and so I didn’t stress myself out over one bogus weigh in.

Looking at total weight numbers I am 34 pounds heavier than my ideal weight, but I didn’t start this pregnancy at my ideal weight, I started a good 15 pounds of IVF meds and depression heavier.

*Also for the record I think at least 10 of those pounds are in my freakishly gigantic boobs.*

Now, for your viewing pleasure, picture proof that I haven’t really lost 12 lbs in the last two weeks.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

An Update on my Irritable Uterus

My official diagnosis: Irritable Uterus.

I always knew my lady parts sucked but this one just makes me laugh.  I seriously chuckled for about an hour after we left the doctors office yesterday.  It basically means my uterus doesn’t like having a baby in there and is going to resist stretching out by contracting a lot. 

These little “irritability” contractions are OK as long as they don’t get rhythmic.  If I start having them I’m supposed to lie down and measure them to make sure they aren’t a minute long, 5 minutes apart, and lasting more than 1 hour.  If they are, back to the hospital we go.

For now I’m allowed to go back to work (since I have a cushy desk job.)  I’m back to my placenta previa restrictions so, no sexy time and no lifting more than a milk carton.  I have no complaints about these restrictions now!  Everything that has happened has scared me straight, I will be a good girl and follow all rules necessary to keep little man in there as long as possible.

I will be going in for weekly appointments from now on and they will be doing cervical checks each time to make sure its staying long and closed.  I think going in weekly will help my anxiety a lot because its scary knowing I’m supposed to expect a lot of contractions but need to make the call myself if they are too close together.

My current medicine regimen is as follows: boat loads of antibiotics (because it will take another few days until my bacteria cultures come back), and a smooth muscle relaxer that will help make my cranky uterus happier.

I have one med still up in the air, my OB and the perinatologist would like me to start weekly large doses of intramuscular progesterone.  This treatment is usually reserved for second pregnancies in women who have had previous preemies, so technically I’m not eligible.  My doc is working with my insurance to see if they’ll pay even though I haven’t had a preemie yet since both she and the peri think it will prolong his time in my angry uterus.

I’m not going to Dr. this.  I’ve been warned that the side effects of the progesterone are tough, also that there are some dangers to taking it, but if both of my docs think it is necessary I know that I need to trust their judgment.  I pay them to be the expert and not every link on is to the words of an OB with 20 years of experience.