Monday, July 31, 2006

Home now

After I wrote that last post, I went and had lunch with a coworker--probably my closest friend at work--and finally confided in her the whole story (pregnant, problems, freaking, should I tell boss, etc.). She strongly encouraged me to go ahead and tell our boss right away and not wait another week--at the very least, I could work from home for a few days and they would be sympathetic to my situation and perhaps help ease up my workload a bit. I thought about it. Hard. Almost burst into tears several times in the middle of the company cafeteria.

Came back to my desk and read your comments, which almost made me cry again. The spotting had stopped, but based on your wise advice I decided to call my doctor anyway, just to be on the safe side.

Things moved very quickly after that.

When my doctor called me back, she asked a few questions about the spotting. Then she asked about my job. I told her I could work from home if I had to. "Okay," she said, "I want you to pack up everything and go home right now, and don't come back to the office until you have had no spotting for two weeks."


Two weeks?!? Her logic: I am not having a miscarriage (she said this with the utmost confidence), but every time I move around a lot I get red bleeding and I freak out. If I can work from home, it is better to do so and save myself the panic. I couldn't argue with that.

So I had to tell my boss, of course--actually my boss and my several supervisors, who as it happens I was supposed to be meeting with right at that moment. I was incoherent and teary and not at all the smooth, polished professional I had hoped to be when breaking this news, but they were totally understanding (if a bit stunned) and sympathetic. Then I grabbed a bunch of files and caught a cab home.

And here I am.

Dammit. Dammit. Dammit.

Spotting continued throughout the weekend, but thanks to my spending basically three days completely horizontal, it dwindled down to very light color and quantity and was almost completely gone this morning. However, now I am at work, and after walking to the subway, walking from the subway to work, and walking back and forth to the bathroom a couple of times, I am now spotting more heavily again, and it is once again red and not light brown. Dark red, and not tons of it, so less scary than the toiletful of bright red I had on Friday--but enough.

Fuck. FUCK.

I don't know what to do. Obviously I will attempt not to budge from my chair for the rest of the day (except to get lunch, and go to the bathroom, and attend a meeting...shit), but then what? I have a job that technically could be done from home, but no one at work knows I am pregnant and I have this superstition about telling them before I hit 12 weeks and see/hear the baby one more time (Monday). But of course I don't want to do anything to jeopardize this pregnancy and NOT make it to 12 weeks. Add to that the fact that the temperature is supposed to reach triple digits tomorrow and Wednesday. I will probably take a cab to and from work those days, which might help a little...

I feel like crying. I actually did break down and cry yesterday, on the phone with my mom. I just see all my friends, who got pregnant so easily and had easy pregnancies where they could exercise and eat without puking and stand up for more tahn five minutes without bleeding all over the place and walk down the street without passing out--hell, one friend of mine actually traveled around the world for three weeks in her second trimester--and it feels so damn unfair. (And compared to other IF chicks, I actually have it EASY.)

My doctor told me on Friday that I should call again if I have very heavy bleeding, comparable to the heaviest day of my period, for more than an hour. I know that the spotting I'm having now is probably nothing, that everything may very well be fine. But I am just so scared and I don't know what to do.

I have to stop now before I start crying at my desk.

Friday, July 28, 2006


First things first: Ultrasound showed baby, bobbing around, and heart pumping away. I'm still bleeding, but it's slowed down and is now dark brown instead of bright red.

I woke up this morning around 5 am with some cramps--nothing painful, but insistent. I'd already planned to stay home from work, so I forced myself to stay in bed for a few more hours, though I didn't sleep a wink. Finally, around 8, I got up and went to the bathroom. I was relieved to see that my pantyliner was clean--then I looked down and saw the toilet bowl filled with bright red. Wiped--more bright red.

Well then. I flushed, went into the living room, sat down on the couch, and burst into tears.

Strangely, I then became very calm. I knew my doctor's office wouldn't open for another hour, and I figured it wouldn't make any difference at this point to wait until then. So I woke my husband up and told him we'd probably need to go get this checked out. Then I ate a bowl of cereal, took a shower, dug out a maxipad from the nether reaches of my bathroom cabinet, and got dressed. Called in sick to work, turned on the TV, and waited until 9.

When I finally got through to the office, the receptionist asked me to describe the bleeding, then paged my doctor, who was on duty at the hospital today. She said I should come in to L&D and she'd examine me there.

Let me tell you--Labor & Delivery, not such a fun place to be when you're terrified of receiving bad news. Everyone there was super nice, at least. They got me checked in quickly, with minimal exposure to gigantically pregnant women, and ushered me into a curtained area in triage. While we were waiting for the doctor, we could hear, a few beds down, the loud rapid whooshing of another woman's fetal heart monitor. I just lay there, staring up at the fluorescent light, with that baby's heartbeat penetrating my brain like some prenatal tell-tale heart.

The exam seemed to take forever--my doctor had trouble getting the US machine set up and plugged in (she doesn't often do exams in L&D, she explained--"It's like cooking in someone else's kitchen!"), and then she took her sweet time getting to the main event. "There's your have a cyst on your right ovary...uh's so hard for me to see anything on this machine..." Finally, she found the fetus. Because the screen was so small and crappy, I couldn't see it, but my husband got up close--again, the machine was so crappy that the baby was just a blob, but a blob with a clearly beating heart. My doctor couldn't tell where the bleeding was coming from (I guess they don't have much call to use vaginal US on L&D, so that's why they have a machine from 1982?), but the nurse told me bleeding isn't uncommon at this stage, when the placenta is really digging in.

Got the usual proscriptions--no sex, no exercise--and definitely no flying, so no seeing my parents any time soon. My doctor (who is also Korean) made some Korean mother-in-law jokes to my husband, which got a smile out of him. Since things were quiet, she even showed us around the floor a little bit, taking us into one of the empty L&D rooms, which were, you know, institutional but fine.

So there it is. I'm spending the rest of the weekend on the couch, drinking lots of water to stave off cramps. I have my next prenatal appointment in 10 days, and hopefully things will stay calm from now on. I think I've had quite enough freaking out for a while. Thanks for the good wishes, it means so, so much to me to know you guys are out there pulling for me and this baby.

Freaking out

It did get worse. Heavier brown bleeding last night, and this morning, cramps and red blood. My husband just ran out to the ATM to get cash for a cab, and as soon as he gets back, we're going to the hospital. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Here we go again

Just before lunch, I went to the bathroom and noticed a tiny smudge of pale, pale, pale brown in my underwear. Huh, I thought. Okay, no need to panic. Went to lunch, came back, saw a teensy tiny bit more. Put in a panty liner and decided to keep an eye on it for a couple more hours. By 3 pm, another teensy tiny smudge had appeared, so I decided to call my doctor--who, apparently, is not in the office on Thursdays--to see what I should do.

I talked to one of my doctor's partners--not Dr. Awesome; let's call this one Dr. Efficient. (There's just the three of them, so I've now dealt with everyone who could end up in the delivery room with me.) She listened to my description of the spotting, asked if I was having any cramping, then said, "Well, to be honest, at this stage, if something bad is happening, there isn't anything we can do about it, and there isn't anything we can do to prevent it." Which I knew. She went on to give me all the reassuring numbers about how common it is to have spotting in the first trimester, most women go on to have perfectly healthy pregnancies, blah blah. Then said I should take it easy, and if it got any worse, or if it continued until tomorrow, I should call them first thing in the morning. My doctor will be spending the day covering Labor & Delivery, so I can go to the hospital and have an ultrasound done with her there.

So here I sit, trying to be as still as possible at my desk, trying not to fixate on every little twinge in my belly, thinking "Am I cramping now?"

Ironically, I spoke to my doctor yesterday, to get clearance from her to fly to Small Midwestern City in a few weeks to visit my parents. She okayed it, after asking if I'd had any more bleeding--if I had, she said, being on a plane could make it worse. Dr. Efficient said I could still go ahead and make my plans, since I have my 12 week appointment on August 7 and my doc will be able to check me out before I go. I have to admit that I have not been very enthusiastic about the idea of seeing my parents, and am now wondering just how desperate my body is not to make this trip, that it would create this scary situation just to get out of it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Decisions, decisions

So we decided not to do the first trimester screening (nuchal translucency scan plus hCG and PAPP-A bloodwork) after all.

Initially, I was pretty gung-ho about the screening. Extra monitoring! More information! Another ultrasound! How could I possibly say no?

Except...then I started to think about it. And realized that I want to avoid having an amnio or CVS unless absolutely necessary. (Basically--I don't want to anger the uterus. Not based on anything any doctor has recommended--just my own gut feeling.) And I did a little research, and learned that for the majority of women whose first-trimester screening results indicate that further testing is warranted, subsequent amniocentesis shows a normal pregnancy. And that the false-negative rate is also quite high.

So I realized that, if I refused to have an amnio, a positive screening result would only cause me (probably unnecessary) anxiety...and a negative result would be no guarantee of a "normal" baby. Finally, my risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome based on age (33 when the baby is due) is about 1 in 600, while the risk of miscarriage from amnio is about 1 in 200--and given that my miscarriage risk with UU is higher than average anyway, I just can't take the chance.

My husband didn't want to have the testing done at all. Again, as with the selective reduction discussion, we bump up against his Catholic schoolboy upbringing and his extreme discomfort with any path that could lead to termination. There were some very tense discussions in the electriclady household for a couple of days. Ultimately, my own uncertainty about the screening combined with my husband's adamant opposition combined to make the decision--well, not exactly clear, but less murky in one direction.

Here's where we get into some grey area. I would never be so arrogant as to say, "I would never terminate a pregnancy,"--I would hope that, in the worst case scenario, my husband and I would have the courage to make the right choice for our baby--and as I've said before, I'm pro-choice all the way. Yet I have to admit that I'm uncomfortable with the idea. (Not that anyone else is comfortable with it--you know what I mean.) Perhaps what I'm really afraid of is having to make the choice, and in my own cowardly way, by avoiding testing, I'm trying to avoid being presented with that choice.

If I'm being totally honest, I should also admit that had my husband been very strongly in favor of testing, it's possible I could have been convinced to have it done.

We won't get the triple/quad screen either, but we will have the standard Level II ultrasound at 18-20 weeks. I hope that the ultrasound will catch any major issues that we'd need to deal with prenatally or immediately at birth (heart problems, neural tube issues). Anything else--well, we'll deal with it when it comes.

(This is not meant to imply anything negative about those who choose differently from me--only to explain my own thought processes. No flames, please.)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Some things never change

A few days ago, my friend R., who's now about five or six months pregnant and whom I haven't seen in a couple months, sent me an e-mail with some recent belly shots. I clicked on the e-mail, thinking surely I would be able to handle it now, but was shocked by the anger and bile that rose up in me as soon as I saw the photo of her swelling belly. I have no rational reason to be jealous of her--I'm pregnant now too!--and yet the old bitterness is obviously still very much present, curled up inside me and waiting to strike. Will I ever be able to hear someone else's pregnancy announcement without feeling a pang of jealousy?

(Of course, if she had been infertile--and for all I know, maybe she was--I would have had no problem at all looking at her damn belly shots. Would have been delighted, in fact.)


Today I am officially ten weeks pregnant. It still feels a little unreal, partly because I still haven't told anyone at work. Originally I'd thought that if I could get away with it, I'd want to wait to tell my boss until the end of August, or at about 15 or 16 weeks. Then I thought, maybe 14 weeks is late enough. Now I'm so impatient, I'm tempted to do it at 12 weeks, after I have my next OB appointment and live-baby check. It's just so odd to have something so huge taking up so much of my brain, and yet spend 8-9 hours a day surrounded by people who have no idea.

Part of me wishes I could just fast-forward through the rest of this pregnancy and be in February, about to give birth. (It was never pregnancy I cared about so much as the baby at the end.) Then I realize that technically, the pregnancy is already one-quarter done, and I need to enjoy it while I can, as one wise woman reminded me.


I was reading ahead in my pregnancy book to the section on childbirth (see above re: impatience), and was amused to read, in the section on "secret worries you may have," the question, "Will I have to bare myself in front of a lot of strangers?" I thought about it a little and realized that in the past nine months alone, no fewer than twelve different doctors have seen my lady bits--not to mention at least as many nurses. So exposing myself to strangers will obviously not be one of my personal sources of childbirth-related anxiety.

On the same topic, I forgot to mention that at the emergency live-baby check a couple weeks ago, Dr. Awesome kept saying things like "Okay, I'm just going to insert my fingers, get ready--you're going to feel something now--here it comes..." and apologizing for the speculum being cold, and I finally had to tell her, "I've been through infertility treatment, so pretty much nothing you do down there is going to faze me."


Thanks for all your interesting comments on my last post--though y'all are so young, I feel like a crone! But that just proves my point, that infertility in younger women (and at 32, I still definitely qualify as young by RE standards) is way more complicated than the media makes it out to be--and that infertility itself, as we all know so well, is way more complicated than just "career bitch waits too long."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

How soon is too soon?

I forgot to mention that while I was waiting at the doctor's office the other day, I picked up someone's abandoned Wall Street Journal and read an article about how more and more younger women are going in for fertility treatments. (I'd link to the article directly, but I'm not a subscriber and so can't access it online.) There was the usual stuff about younger women being more aware of fertility issues, media panic about decreasing fertility, and an "exploding fertility industry," as well as the not-so-subtly-misogynistic bit about young women having watched 40-something women put off childbearing too long for the sake of their careers, don't want to make the same mistakes, blah blah blah.

(Can I just say, I have yet to meet this mythical too-focused-on-career-and-now-full-of-regret woman? I live in probably the career-woman capital of the world, and in all the time I've spent in RE waiting rooms over the past year, I'd say that most of the women I've seen look like they're around my age--early 30s. Even at Cornell, which is a lot of women's last stop on the ART train, 32 percent of fresh IVF cycles in 2003 were done by women under 35. Finally this is a gross generalization, but I'd say that of the women I've encountered online for whom age may be a factor in their IF, not one has said that she intentionally put off having kids until her 40s because of her career--it seems like the real issue was finding a partner they wanted to parent with. So can we please drop the whole "working women are destroying the children!" crap?)

Anyway, what struck me about this story was the lead anecdote, about a couple in their early 20s (I think she was 24) who sought treatment after TTC for just four months. She ultimately conceived with the help of Clomid. Now, far be it from me to dictate who "deserves" IF treatment or not--certainly there are infertile women of all ages, and perhaps this woman already knew she had an underlying health condition like PCOS or endo and was just being proactive (the story didn't say), but what OB or RE in their right minds gives Clomid to a 24-year-old who's only been TTC for four cycles? (I guess art does imitate life.)

I worry that women who jump the gun on seeking fertility treatment (again, far be it from me to define what that is--certainly, if you have a known health condition that might affect your fertility, there's probably no such thing as too soon, and if you're 25 and have been TTC for a year, you have just as much right to be taken seriously as infertile as a 35 year old) give the rest of us a bad name. It just feeds the assumptions of people like my coworker, who believes that a lot of women seek treatment unnecessarily and just need to be patient.

Then there was this recent study, which took two groups of women with unexplained infertility, one group receiving IUI plus ovarian stimulation, the other receiving no treatment at all. After six months, the researchers found that the ones who didn't undergo treatment were actually slightly more likely to achieve an ongoing pregnancy.

Again, I fear that this study will only give ammunition to the "Just relax!" crowd--when of course the key is that these were all women with unexplained infertility. I don't discount the very real pain of women who experience unexplained infertility, but a lot of the women in this study probably just fell into the statistical fraction of women who take a little longer to conceive naturally. I would hate for someone to see this study and think, "Maybe I just need to wait another year," and delay seeking treatment that they really do need.

Anyway, thinking about all this made me curious: How long did all of you TTC before seeking treatment? Were you actively TTC right away, or did you just stop using birth control for a while, then later started charting etc.? What other factors affected how long you waited? (For example, I already knew I had PCOS, so I actually consulted an RE before going off the pill, and I started charting right away to see if I was ovulating--but I didn't begin treatment until after nearly a year and a half, because I had no IF insurance coverage until then.) And how old were you when you got started? (I was 30.)

And if there's anyone reading who didn't have trouble conceiving, or who hasn't started TTC yet, how long do you think you would wait before seeking treatment?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Morning haiku

Man on the subway
Wearing far too much cologne
Sits so close--I retch

City streets so hot
Garbage, rotting, stinking smells
I want to go home

Monday, July 17, 2006

Well, that was fun, wasn't it?

Thanks for all the supportive comments re: last week's scare. To tell you the truth, I felt a little silly after I posted--was I just overreacting? But I'm glad I called the doctor's office, and glad I discovered that they really are responsive.

So here's a slightly more coherent account of what happened: I'd been having cramps all day. Well, truthfully, I've been having cramps for weeks--faint twinges and pulling sensations, which Dr. SF and my pregnancy book told me were just my uterus expanding and ligaments stretching, along with the occasional sharp cramp due to constipation, so I hadn't been too concerned about them. In fact, for a day or two after the shrinking baby scan, I was more concerned that I wasn't feeling any cramps. At all. So I was actually glad on Thursday, when the cramps came back full force. But these were more insistent than the ones I'd been having all along--not painful, but more present, more...crampy. Also, while the twinges and pulling were happening all over my pelvic area, these cramps were concentrated about halfway between my pubic bone and navel, just to the right of center--in other words, exactly where my uterus hangs out.

In the afternoon, I went to the bathroom, and that's when I saw it: a large spot of brown blood. Wiped: more blood. Stuffed a wad of toilet paper in my crotch, waddled back to my desk for a panty liner, then back to the bathroom. Still more blood. At this point I was almost in tears. Ran back to my desk, called my husband, called the doctor, posted here, ran to the doctor...and you know how the rest of it went.

I spent the rest of the day and all day Friday moving v e r y slowly and staying seated or lying down whenever I could. Spotting stopped by Thursday night, but I wasn't taking any chances. I took Dr. Awesome's instructions to take it easy very seriously and spent most of the weekend lying on the couch, reading and watching the beginning of World War 3 on CNN. Cramping eased up and is back to its usual twingey pulling business. I also determined that if I end up having to go on bed rest, I am screwed. I got so damned bored just spending two days off my feet--I didn't even enjoy reading, though that may be because the smell of my (old, yellowing, beloved) book made me feel sick. (Dude, this nausea stuff sucks.)


Is it terrible that when Dr. Awesome said "no sex," I was relieved? I actually haven't had sex since the night of my trigger shot, seven weeks ago, which, granted, while not a household record, is far from ideal. For three or four weeks after the IUI, I was way too bloated and tender and uncomfortable to even think about sex. In the past few weeks, even though I've been incredibly tired, I've actually been feeling extremely horny--having lots of crazy sex dreams, too, including ones in which I orgasm in my sleep--but have been terrified to actually have sex, even after I was given the OK by my OB. I guess I've been afraid that my wonky ute would use sex as an opportunity to buck free of this pregnancy.

I talked to a friend of mine, whose uterine septum was diagnosed halfway through her pregnancy. (She ended up delivering at 35 weeks and now has a healthy 4 year old.) She said her doctor told her that the contractions of orgasm most likely wouldn't kickstart preterm labor, but that if she would end up feeling guilty about it, it was up to her if she wanted to abstain. So she did, for the remainder of her pregnancy. "I just figured that there were so few things I could control, and this was one of them," she told me frankly.

She made me feel better about my fears, but still, I felt guilty about not wanting to have sex (well, okay, I wanted to--oh, did I want to--but I didn't want to, if you get my meaning) after it had been cleared by my OB. I felt like a bad wife, as retro as that sounds--and hell, I was being deprived too. So Dr. Awesome's no-sex edict (she didn't say for how long, BTW...) really was a relief. It wasn't my decision anymore, it was a medical directive.

However, I can't do anything about the orgasm dreams--had another one last night, and woke up in a panic that I'd dislodged the little bean in my sleep. Yes, that's right, I now get to feel guilty about what I do IN MY SLEEP.

Also, there is nothing like walking down a Big City street with a bad cell phone connection, yelling into your phone, "Can you hear me? Yes, she said no sex. NO SEX! HELLO? CAN YOU HEAR ME?!?"


Lots more to talk to you guys about (including: nausea, constant; braces, why I need them but won't be getting them; testing, prenatal; and the most horrible thing I've seen in a while) but I'll save it for later in the week.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Spotting ***UPDATED***

And cramping. I just left a message at my OB's office; she's out today so one of her partners will call me back. The blood is dark brown, so I know they will say not to worry about it. But I could use some good vibes. And a chant of "NBHHY. NBHHY" for good measure.

All looks okay. I officially love my OB's office. I was expecting to get a call saying, basically, spotting is normal and call us if anything interesting happens. But they called me right back and asked if I could come in, immediately. (Maybe it was because I kept saying, "Spotting. AND CRAMPING.") I grabbed my bag and ran out of the office without even telling anyone I was leaving. I am SO GLAD my OB is a block away from my office. I got there in about .675 seconds...then waited for 45 minutes for an ultrasound room to open up. I almost had a nervous breakdown in the waiting room. My OB's partner, who will henceforth be known as Dr. Awesome, did a pelvic exam ("looks like some brown discharge here"--uh, yeah, thanks) and then an ultrasound. She saw the heartbeat and said it looked good; I, as usual, couldn't really make it out (except for a brief flicker), but the kid seemed to be pointing its head at us so we couldn't get a really clear side view. Dr. Awesome also had me have blood drawn to check my progesterone levels, just in case. I'm to take it easy--no vigorous exercise or sex--not that I was doing any of that anyway.

Phew. And my new mantra, thanks to Pru, is NBHH.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Not sure

So. I just had my first prenatal appointment. And, well, I'm not quite sure how to feel about it.

For the most part, it went well. My OB seems to be the right balance of laid-back (to balance out my extreme neuroticism) and yet not dimissive of my concerns--she answered all of my questions seriously and carefully. I can eat pretty much whatever I want--she said she normally gives patients a big lecture about carbs and gaining too much weight, but because I'm already underweight, she's not worried about it. I don't need to be paranoid about listeria ("Just don't go to a bodega and order the ham that's been sitting there for two months") and can even feel free to eat sushi. She prefers not to perform episiotomies and is totally fine with my hiring a doula if I want.

Of course, my biggest concern is the whole UU thing. She said that while I do have a higher chance of preterm labor, it's also entirely possible that I'll have a completely normal pregnancy. In fact, if I make it to 37 weeks with no major problems, I can even deliver at the hospital's birthing center. At this point she is going to treat me like a normal patient (that means my next appointment isn't for FOUR MORE WEEKS! Aagh!) and then when I reach 24 weeks she will start watching more closely for UU-related problems. If needed, I'll be referred to a high-risk specialist, but not right now. Which...I guess I'm okay with. I suppose it's not a bad thing to be "normal," though I'm disappointed not to get the million billion extra ultrasounds I was hoping for (shut up, Robbie, I can hear you laughing). I will be going for a nuchal translucency scan in a few weeks--actually, she gave me a choice between the nuchal translucency scan at 11-13 weeks or AFP3/AFP4 screening at 15-16 weeks. Which took me about two seconds to decide--gee, would I prefer an earlier test that includes an ultrasound, or a later test that's bloodwork only? Huh, let me think.

Speaking of ultrasounds...this is the part I'm not sure about. According to today's scan, at 8w1d, the fetus measured 7w4d. It measured 7w6d just four days ago. I told my OB about the earlier scan, and asked if I should be worried, but she was not the slightest bit concerned. "There's a heartbeat, everything looks fine, don't worry," she said.

Now, the ultrasound machine at the OB's office did have considerably lower resolution than the one used for my last scan at the clinic. The image was quite blurry, so that could have affected the measurements. I did actually see the heartbeat this time. And the measurements are generally plus or minus a few days anyway, so it's possible that the growth is perfectly on track and the measurements are just wonky.

...Or maybe my baby is shrinking.

I really have no choice at this point but to trust that the person with the actual medical degree, who has delivered hundreds of babies, knows better than I do about this. But truthfully, I would almost rather have not had the scan today at all if it meant that I was going to get confusing information like this. I guess this is what I get for jumping the gun on scheduling my OB appointment--if I'd waited until after I was officially discharged from the clinic, I probably would have had this appointment next week or the week after, and the scans wouldn't have been so close together as to be confusing.

Sigh. Anyone have any charms against DBTs (dead baby thoughts)?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Obligatory "Where is this blog going?" post

You may have noticed that I've changed my tagline (up there) and profile (over there) to reflect my current status. And though I know it's de rigeur to feel awkward about BWP (that's Blogging While Pregnant, y'all), and of course I understand those who feel that way, truly, I have no intention of giving up blogging now that I'm the-P-word. I know that this blog may become an unsafe or even painful place for some of you, and I will completely understand if you feel you can't come here, miss you though I might. (Believe me, there have been times when certain links on my blogroll went unclicked for weeks, months at a time, because I just couldn't take reading about someone else's happiness.) But I have to keep writing--for a number of reasons.

First, the public-service reason. I feel like I'm striking out into uncharted waters here. I've only read one other blog that chronicled a UU pregnancy from start to take-home-baby finish--Miss W.'s, which featured a shortening cervix, months of bedrest, and preterm labor. (Wessel, whom I know we all still miss dearly, wrote about having a perfectly normal pregnancy with her UU, but years after the fact. BTW, did you know that if you go to Wessel's old address, it's now someone's dog training blog?!? The nerve!) I hope that this pregnancy will be somewhat less dramatic than Miss W.'s, but no matter how things turn out, maybe someone else out there will learn something from my experience. At least half of the search engine hits I get are from people looking for info on unicornuate uterus, and I know from experience that there isn't a whole lot of info out there.

Then there's the selfish reason. Again, uncharted waters--I really have no idea what's in store for me over the next 32 (please please please let it be 32) weeks. So far, things have been pretty textbook, and it could continue that way for the remainder of a completely uneventful pregnancy. But things could also all go to hell, in a wide variety of ways, and if they do, I will need you guys. Oh, how I will need you.

Just how much I need you, now and forever, was brought home to me by a fight I had last night with my husband. It all started when he confessed he'd told our neighbor about the pregnancy. Now, our neighbor is a very lovely elderly lady who I see in the laundry room or out in front of the building once a week or so, and we talk about our cats and stuff, but she is NOT someone we are close to in any way, nor is she AT ALL someone whom I would have wanted to know before the first trimester was over. My husband said he thought we were telling people after we heard a heartbeat, and in fairness to him, we never worked out a new telling-people plan after the first one fell to pieces. But the more I thought about it, the angrier I got at him--first, because some very close friends of ours still don't know, and he told our NEIGHBOR first? Then, I started picturing myself running into her after having a miscarriage, and her asking how the pregnancy was going, and me being absolutely destroyed.

Then it just dissolved into a huge sobbing fest with me wailing about how scared I was, and how I really don't trust my body to do this--and my husband becoming progressively more annoyed with me. Yes, annoyed! He said he was so excited about this pregnancy, and he didn't understand why I was so upset and not allowing myself to be happy--after all, look how easy it ended up being to get pregnant, why shouldn't the rest of it be too? (Yeah, you inject yourself in the belly until your ovaries grow to the size of avocados and then we'll talk about easy, buddy.) And I kept setting us up for disaster, and why couldn't I just enjoy the moment and stop reading all the horror stories and BE HAPPY? I said, I'm trying to be happy, I am happy, but it's not like there's a switch I can flip to instantly turn off the worry. This went on for a while, and at some point he said something to the effect of, "Well, if that's how you feel, I guess you're on your own then." And I said, "I guess I am." And I felt so unbelievably alone.

And that's why I need you guys.

(Lest you all think my dearly beloved is a complete asshole, I should tell you that we did make up, and apologies went all around, and we are okay now. He was the one who pointed out that we're both being faced with a huge change in our lives and our relationship, and it's bound to make us both a little crazy and say things we shouldn't from time to time.)

Thursday, July 06, 2006


This morning is cold and rainy and dismal. But I could not possibly be happier.

I was pretty anxious about today's ultrasound. I knew this was it--either we would see a heartbeat and things would be good, or we wouldn't and things would be very, very bad. I couldn't fall asleep last night and I tossed and turned for hours.

But as soon as the wand went in and Dr. SF zoomed in on the embryo/fetus/fetbryo (tm Julia), he said, "I see the heartbeat." Now, I will be honest with you all and admit that I myself did not see an actual flickering heartbeat, and when I asked my husband later, he admitted he didn't, either. (I did see a sort of blurriness in the middle of the fetbryo, that was all.) But Dr. SF turned on the sound and we heard the glorious whoosh whoosh whoosh and saw the sound waves like mountains across the screen, and yes, I teared up a little. 170 bpm.

When we zoomed in a little more, we could make out the head and the umbilical cord (I think). Baby is measuring 7w6d. Perfect perfect. I thought I was actually 7w4d today, counting from the date of my IUI, but Dr. SF said at this clinic they actually count the date of hCG trigger as 2w, so that would make me 7w6d. Whatever--I can't keep all the calculations straight. Either way, the measurement is beautiful.

Dr. SF also said I can stop taking the metformin. I'm a little nervous about that--since I haven't been on any progesterone supplementation, met has been my talisman throughout these early weeks. Also, I finally got back to pooping normally after weeks of crippling constipation, so I'm not sure how my system will respond. I might taper myself off it gradually. I asked if I should start taking it again if I want to TTC in the future, and Dr. SF said yes, whenever I'm done nursing, I can go back on it. He said to wait a few months to see if I ovulate on my own (ha!) and then come back if I don't.

So, I'm officially booted from the RE. First OB appointment is Monday. Yes, I tempted fate and made the appointment before I saw a heartbeat. I just couldn't stand the thought of having to wait two or three more weeks without any medical reassurance. Also, I expect she'll want to refer me to a high-risk specialist for extra monitoring, and I'd like to get that figured out as soon as possible.

After much agonizing and hand-wringing and lengthy consultation (translation: whining and obsessively detailed emails) with my husband (who was no help) and some very patient ladies, I decided to go back to the ob/gyn I was seeing before I got on the infertility rollercoaster. I had initially picked her because of her very patient-centered, low-intervention approach to childbirth, but because of the whole wonky uterus thing, I didn't think low-intervention was in the cards for me, and I wondered if I should just find an OB affiliated with the hospital nearest my apartment, which is known for its top NICU and high-risk-pregnancy program. But Dr. SF said that pretty much any hospital here in Big City would be good, and warned me that the high-risk group at this other hospital was so huge that I'd probably never see the same doctor twice. So I'm going back to my old ob/gyn, figuring that even if I end up having to have a scheduled C-section, a woman-centered, patient-empowering doctor is never a bad thing.


Quick symptom run-down before I go stare at the US picture some more: Bloating has gone way down, thank goodness. I still can't button most of my pants, but I no longer look pregnant, and I can no longer feel my right ovary when I lie down and run my hand over my abdomen, so that's a good thing. However, as the bloating has decreased, nausea has risen up to take its place. No vomiting--yet--just a constant low-level pukey feeling. If it never gets worse than this, I'll be fine. (But I'm not counting on it--my mom said when she was pregnant with me, her morning sickness kicked in after about two months. Assuming she's remembering correctly from 32 years ago.)

After Dr. SF left the exam room and while I was getting dressed, my husband kept staring at the screen, where the close-up of the fetbryo was frozen. "That's the head," he finally said, wonderingly. And then, affectionately, "My little alien baby."