Fear

July 27, 2013 § 26 Comments

I’m sitting at the train station waiting for Amtrak to let me board, and my hands are visibly shaking.

After that first weekend and all of the betas, a sense of peace settled in for the week. For five days, I felt mostly excitement and, well, joy. I had symptoms – insatiable thirst, peeing ALL the time, cramping – I knew weren’t fabricated. I was experiencing bouts of mild nausea, especially when I was hungry. Yesterday, the nausea was there all day and I was like YES. The anxiety was there, too, but it had very much taken a back seat. It was being overpowered. And well.

Then today. I feel completely normal and not at all pregnant. The sore boobs remain, but are less hurty. Everything else is gone. And the fear has a pretty tight grip on me. In a couple of hours, I get to spend one night with my best childhood friend, who I get to see only once every 2 years or so, and I’ve been fighting off tears all day.

Today is torture. Why can’t I conjure up some of that psychosomatic shit right now? I’d gladly welcome even the fake stuff.

Edited to add: After going back through and reading this post, I’m annoyed with myself for being so totally and completely doomandgloom. So I’ll add a bit of humor from my week. Last night, I put my progesterone supplement in my mouth and ‘supposited’ my prenatal vitamin. No joke. Better? I thought so.

Happy and sad tears and scared tears and just tears

July 24, 2013 § 42 Comments

I owe you guys a little bit of an update, I think.

First, again, I think I a-little-bit love each and every one of you. Thank you for your support. It has been mind-blowing.

Today (like yesterday and the day before and the 5 days before that), I am barely pregnant. 4 weeks and 5 days pregnant, to be exact. This week has gone by incredibly slowly, and I can’t imagine that the next two will be any quicker.

I feel like I need to fill in the last week, so here it is. This will be wordy and manic, for sure. But I really need to be dissertating right now, so I’m going to leave grammar and proper paragraph formation to the real writers out there.

The day I found out that first beta was positive was absolutely surreal. I was home by myself when I heard the news. The nurse called at 10 AM, which is EARLY (usually they call around noon), so I wondered briefly if something good might be up. Why would they rush to deliver bad news? But no, of course not, Lentil. Don’t be silly. This cycle is a bust. You are doing IVF in September. All she said was, “Lentil, is it a good time to talk?” And you guys. I knew then. Because I could hear the excitement in her voice. And then she said, “Good. Because I have some wonderful news for you.” I think I might have yelped. And then cried a little. And then told her (nonsensically, I believe, as I was not in any state to be storytelling) about the avocado allergy and the vomiting at work. And then I had to KEEP being home by myself for the rest of the day. I was super antsy couldntsitstill so I went out. I decided on a whim that I did not want to tell Artsy Engineer about the positive beta until he got home and I could do it in person. I knew he had meetings all day and it just didn’t seem like an option to tell him in between meetings when the excitement might have to be cut short. It was a weird decision and not at all like me. I hate big to-do’s. I hate surprises. But in that moment, it just seemed like the only decision.

So I lied. I sent him a text that the beta was negative. It was cruel. I’m not sure what I was thinking.

Anyway. Antsy. I went out. And I went to Target to buy some pregnancy tests, because dear GOD I had been waiting so long to see that second line. The manager checked me out when I was making my purchases. She was a woman about my age. Probably 8 months pregnant. And she said, “make sure you don’t throw away the instructions, because there are always dollar off coupons on them for another set of tests.” And my infertile radar was like, she’s one of us. And so I said, “thanks! It looks like you’ve probably used these once or twice.” And. Get this. Right there while she was checking me out, with a line of people behind me, she confirmed my suspicion. She said that she used them A LOT. That it took her three years. And that the month before she conceived, she was told she would never have children. That she needed to have to have a hysterectomy. She wished me luck and told me to maintain hope. It was incredible. Here I was, one hour pregnant, and my first ever random real life infertile meeting happens. And it was a wonderfully uplifting story. I floated out the door. And I went home and took that pregnancy test and, at 12 days past ovulation, that sucker was darker than the control line. UNREAL. Is this really happening? And to me?!

Then, I went to Pea in the Pod (what the hell was I thinking?!) and bought a onesie (and got a free baby bottle.. so weird! for me?) and to Barnes and Noble and bought a baby name book and to the market and bought a jellybean assortment. And I came home and made a babyarrangement on the table. I was going to present to Artsy Engineer our pregnancy.

And then he hit infertility rock bottom. He called on the way home and just let loose with the itsnotfair’s and the screweveryoneelse’s and the curse words and the tears. And I felt like a monster. But I was sooo close to being able to tell him in person, so all I could do was say, uh huh; I know, baby; it’s not fair over and over again.

Then he got home and saw the baby stuff and he cried. And cried. He was elated, of course. But somewhere in the crying was a pathetic sounding “why did you do that to me?”

I still feel horribly guilty about it.

The next few days were very difficult. I felt a few hours of relief after the second beta came back well, but it didn’t last long. And on top of intense fear of miscarriage, I was also dealing with another thing.

I’ve been lucky enough to go to grad school in the city near where my parents live. And I’ve loved being close to them. We see them once or twice in a two week period. They live out in the country in this beautiful old farmhouse that was built in the 1800s. There is an enormous garden, and wildlife, and a skyfull of stars. To say that this home has been a safe haven for me over the past 5 years is to put it mildly. This has been my refuge. My warm place. My place of peace.

I’ve known for a year that they were moving this weekend. They got jobs at the university in their own hometown, where my grandparents and many aunts and uncles still live. At a topnotch university. Six hours away. My dad actually moved in November and would come back every other weekend to be with my mom.

But the time had come. And this past weekend just so happened to be the last weekend that we would get to spend in the house. They actually drive away with the moving truck today.

I cried all weekend. I cried when we pulled up the winding and tree-lined driveway. I cried when I ate my last dinner at the kitchen table. I cried when I saw the stars out there for the last time. I cried over breakfast on Sunday morning. And I sobbed when we pulled away on Sunday afternoon.

But that is that, I guess. I buried the house. I will probably be grieving it for awhile. Just, dearlord, don’t give me two things to grieve.

Beta on Sunday was 569. 41 hour doubling time. So far, it looks like we’re progressing as we should be. But, obviously, it’s still so so early. Part of me wants to scold myself for making purchases. For getting amped up about having a small living thing in my uterus. What if I jinxed it? But that’s a crock of shit and we all know it. If this thing is going to stop growing, it’s going to do so regardless of whether or not I’ve let myself get excited about it.

And over the last day or two, I have. I have allowed some happy thoughts in. I even went to the library and picked up a pregnancy book (or three), so I could read about what’s happening in my body. And I can’t withhold this excitement from Artsy Engineer, either. It wouldn’t be fair. On Monday, he downloaded the What to Expect app on his phone while at work, apparently, and I got the following text while I was breaking between patients:

Hey you. Guess what. The baby is as big as an orange seed and it has these two tubes which will fuse together soon to become the two main chambers of the heart. Then the brain and spinal cord get sucked up into the baby next week. Cooooool.

And my heart melted.

My next milestone is getting through this weekend. I started bleeding at 5 weeks last time. There is lots of checking for blood. And yesterday I had a bunch of period-like cramping, which sucked because what does it mean? Luckily, I will be going to Chicago this weekend to see my childhood BFF, who is there for a work trip. Hopefully that will provide a little bit of a distraction.

No more betas, though. My first ultrasound is scheduled for 6w4d. 9 am. Tuesday, August 6th. 14 days away (counting today because I still have to make it through today). I think the next two weeks are going to take years.

Beta #2

July 19, 2013 § 25 Comments

First of all, I have no words for the gratitude I feel for each of you for sharing my excitement with me. Bottom of my heart kind of thing. I’m in awe.

I’ll cut the crap this time. No fancy lead ins. Build ups. Truthfully, I’m just too tired for that.

Beta this morning was 247. That’s a doubling time of 35 hours. So far, this little cell ball is still with is.

To tell you guys the truth, I’ve been a disaster. My anxiety has been through the roof. I’m horribly irritable, which no one actually gets to see except my sweet husband, thank god. Tonight, hours after hearing this great news about the beta, I’m back at it. I just straight sobbed into Artsy Engineer’s shoulder for 20 minutes. This is exactly where I have wanted to be for the last 18 months. But it feels so vulnerable. Now I actually have something to lose.

Psychosomatization imagination: The last beta before IVF

July 17, 2013 § 59 Comments

I cracked myself up yesterday.

But in order for the story to make sense, I have to push the start back to Sunday night.

So, we’re vegetarians. And I’m really cognizant of maintaining a balanced diet, so I eat all of the foods vegetarians are supposed to eat to ensure that they get enough protein, iron, healthy fats, etc. One would think that would include avocados, right? Because all vegetarians eat avocados. But not this one. I’ve always hated the things, and I was never really sure why until the last year or so. It’s not the taste or the texture. Those are fine. But over the last year, I’ve gotten a little queasy every time that I eat them. I think I have some sort of weirdie sensitivity to them. But I keep trying to eat them, because I know they’re good for me. And because the queasy is pretty minimal and it only seems to happen about 50% of the time. So, Sunday night, I make some summer rolls with lentils, beets, carrots, and avocado. I make this killer peanut ginger dipping sauce to go along with them. In total, I consume about a quarter of an avocado. And I proceed to throw up all night.

But by Monday I was fine. So fine, in fact, that I went to the gym after work where I swam and took a thirty minute abs class. Not things you do when you feel even a little bit sick.

And now here is the actual story. (Sorry I’ve just bored you guys with a too long paragraph on my relationship with avocados.)

Of course, over the last couple of days, I’ve been wishing that the nausea would return so I could attribute it to something other than a food allergy (or whatever it is). Then yesterday I was sitting in a lunch meeting while a postdoc was going through a mock oral exam. I finished my lunch and everything was good, and then all of the sudden, I thought, ‘Hang on. Do I feel sick? I wish I felt sick. Maybe I DO feel sick.’ And then all of the sudden whatever I was feeling got immediately and significantly worse and I felt like I was going to throw up.

I didn’t want to get up and leave the room, though, because it was kind of a stressful situation for the person being ‘tested,’ and I’m at the bottom of the totem pole there and didn’t want to be a distraction, so I just tried to focus my attention away from my stomach and on a point on the table in front of me. It was taking A LOT of active effort. I started sweating. I could see my hands start shaking. Deargodpleasedontpuke in front of all of these people.

I lasted about 20 minutes until I couldn’t take it anymore. I was afraid if I didn’t leave immediately, very bad things might happen, because the only thing worse than disturbing your superiors by leaving the room during a mock exam is to vomit all over the conference table in front of them, right?

Anyway. I left the room, threw up my lunch in the bathroom, and then went back in. The nausea continued to a much lesser degree for about another 30 minutes or so. Within 10 minutes of starting to work with my next patient, I felt completely fine. I’d forgotten all about it. And when I was done, I was hungry again. So I went and bought and wolfed another lunch.

And, y’all. Last night, as I recounted this story to the The Artsy Engineer, I was able to laugh and shake my head at myself and my superholyshit active imagination. I told him that I couldn’t believe that I was able to WILL myself sick. And okay. Maybe it wasn’t all wishful thinking. Maybe I was still not 100% back from the avocado situation, and a little bit of imagination took me over the edge. I told him that only I would have psychosomatic morning sickness. For an hour. So embarrassing.

And, man. I was dreading today. Today is beta day. And beta days are always bad.

I went first thing this morning for the blood draw. And then I went to the coffee shop, because today is a dissertation writing day. But then the bathroom at the coffee shop was out of order and I had to pee and there were nowhere else open for me to go, so I came home. I set up my work area, put on my head phones. And my phone rang.

Beta was 96.9

I’m pregnant.

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