Friday, September 29, 2006

And they don't stop

It's well documented that if you are struggling with infertility, your world will instantly be filled with pregnant people. (For me, as I've mentioned here before, more than 25 friends, family members, and coworkers of mine got pregnant in the time we were trying.) The thing is, even if you do get pregnant yourself, it doesn't stop.

Right now, my work world is filled with pregnancies. Two other women in my department and two more on our floor are expecting, and in the last couple of months five of my, well, let's call them clients (even though that's not exactly what they are--but to be more precise might reveal what it is I do for a living), have told me they're pregnant too.

Even though I'm now nearly 20 weeks pregnant myself, and have been slowly easing into the reality of pregnancy, I still find it hard to fully identify with these women. Whenever a gaggle of three or more pregnant women (including me) accumulates in the bathroom at work (a frequent occurrence, as you might imagine), I can take the pregnancy chitchat for about a minute, then I start to feel uncomfortable with all that visible fecundity and I have to make an excuse and peel off. And each time a client has informed me that she, too, is pregnant, I've gotten that familiar sinking feeling for just an instant before I remember that I don't actually have to be jealous of her anymore.

(I don't tell all of them that I'm pregnant myself--I can get away with that because we deal with each other mostly by phone and email. I don't know why--I'm still oddly reluctant to broadcast far and wide that I'm pregnant. It still feels too tentative, even while I feel like I've been pregnant forever. There are still old friends--college roommates and the like, people I only usually speak to a couple times a year anyway--who don't know.)

I suppose that even after I have a real live baby of my own, I'll still be jealous, as Erin talked about in a comment on one of my previous posts.

I guess I can't help but think sometimes of how it would feel to be confronted by so many pregnant women in my daily work life if that Memorial Day weekend IUI hadn't worked. I was mildly hyperstimulated after the IUI and had cysts on my ovaries until I was at least 12 weeks pregnant, so I imagine I would have been benched for a month or so and might not have been able to cycle again until August. What if, I thought today as I chatted with a client about the day she found out she was pregnant ("it was unplanned! a complete surprise!") I was trying to have that conversation coming off another failed cycle, staring down the barrel of IVF? What if?

Edited to add: I know there are a lot of you out there who are dealing with precisely that kind of situation, and worse. I hope that previous paragraph didn't come across as condescending or anything. This is another one of those posts where you should feel free to tell me, "You're pregnant, shut up you lucky bitch."


Speaking of being hyperstimulated: For more than two weeks after my beta, I very anally measured my bloat several times a day (since I usually expanded by nightfall), in several locations (hip, waist, belly button, lower abdomen), to make sure that I was shrinking and so I'd be sure to catch any sudden, ER-requiring expansion. Once the bloat seemed to have subsided, I stopped measuring, but in the past month or so, I've measured my pregnant belly a few times, just out of curiosity. Only in the past week have those measurements surpassed the size of my Follistim-fueled belly bloat. So now you know: It's not just hyperbole; if you hyperstim you really will look five months pregnant.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


With all the bad news zinging around the blogosphere, I've been sort of laying low this week. But I wanted to check in and let you know that things are fine. I'll be 19 weeks tomorrow and Bat Boy is hanging in there. Tuesday's cervix check was uneventful. Cervix measured at 3.4 cm, though honestly, the way TheGoodDoc poked around and said, "I can never find your cervix!", who knows what she actually measured. I have my anatomy scan a week from Monday, and will get a proper cervical measurement there; meanwhile, the internal exam was normal (lucky me, I get an internal exam AND cootercam AND transabdominal scan every visit now) and contractions are still happening, but erratic.

Another reason I was laying low was that my husband and I were dealing with some emotional stuff this week. I won't bore you with all the backstory details, but basically, throughout this pregnancy, whenever I have expressed fear or uncertainty or feelings of inadequacy (about my body's inability to get the job done--but I don't have to explain that to you guys), my husband's response has been a loud, sometimes even angry insistence that everything will be fine and I need to chill out. Totally annoying and not at all comforting, and MY response to that has always been to try to hammer home to him just how risky this pregnancy might be (I say might because yes, it's possible I'll end up going to term) and how we do need to take all the bleeding/contractions/etc. seriously. So I criticize what I see as his insensitivity, while he criticizes what he sees as my inability to take joy in this pregnancy. It's been really fun, let me tell you.

Well, this week we finally had it out--productively, that is; we'd had it out before but not really gotten anywhere. And it turns out that his insistence that everything will be fine is a reaction to his own fears. He's just as terrified as I am (which means all my efforts to drive home OUR BABY COULD DIE were totally counterproductive), and that's why he gets upset when I put those fears into words. Meanwhile, I think he was finally able to see that I do take joy in this pregnancy, this baby, this person who I am sheltering for the next 21 (I hope!) weeks and the rest of my life. And that when I express my fears, it's not because I'm trying to freak him out more, it's just that I need him to hear me.

And it only took three tear-filled hours! Aren't relationships great?!?

There were a lot of things that finally precipitated the big showdown, but one thing was that last weekend, some friends of ours were getting rid of their daughter's crib (she graduated to a "big-girl bed"), and they offered it to us. So this crib (in pieces, and therefore not identifiably and aggressively a crib--but still, a crib) is sitting in the corner of our office/future home of Bat Boy, and we are both freaking out. I knew I was freaking out, but I didn't know my husband was also freaked out about the crib's presence until we had our big fight. And it was oddly comforting to know that he was scared, too. And: holy shit, we have a crib?!?!?

So, that's what's up with me. In other news, I'm trying to figure out what to do with all my vacation time when I have been forbidden to travel anywhere (even to visit my in-laws, a four-hour drive away) and can't run around the city or really do anything more strenuous than walk five blocks at a time. Because, of course, we didn't take any big vacations in the first half of the year because I was always cycling, and then we didn't take any big trips (other than a couple long weekends) all summer long because I was always bloated or bleeding or contracting, and now here we are.

P.S. This is my 100th post! Thanks for reading, y'all. If you read but don't normally comment, I'd love it if you delurked in honor of the occasion.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Go give some love to Thalia and Julia, who are both facing bad news this week.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dispatches from my uterus

Fun uterus-related facts:

• If I had ever doubted that I really do have a right unicornuate uterus, the doubts would be gone now. All the action between my navel and my hoo-ha is happening to the right of center. Twinges, cramps, contractions, round ligament pain, is-that-the-baby flutters, all of it. I'm even starting to look slightly lopsided--only unclothed, and I'm the only one who can tell, but still. Particularly when I have a contraction, and this hard round shape pushes up on the right side of my abdomen--freaky. Also freaky: Even when ye olde ute is not contracting, I can feel its distinctive shape just under the skin on the right side--but then I can poke a finger deep into the flesh on the left and not feel a thing. I hope I don't get too uneven as I get bigger--can you imagine?

• Speaking of contractions...yep, still having them. They seem to be a little less frequent, though--i.e. instead of having 3-4 an hour all day long, I'll have a burst of them first thing in the morning, then go a few hours with maybe one or two total, then a few here and there in the afternoon, and another burst of them late at night, when I'm tired. Saturday night I actually was having 5-6 an hour for about 2 hours, and was in tears trying to get them to calm down (and get myself to calm down). I really did not want to go to L&D, which at 11 pm on a Saturday night would have been the only option available. Isn't that stupid? What if I had really been having pre-term labor? (I finally went to bed and all was well in the morning.)

The contractions seem to be varying more in size and intensity, too--I won't bore you with the details, but it's leading me to believe that now some of the "contractions" are real contractions and others are the baby poking out at me in weird ways. I have to ask my doctor about that.

Two things seem to trigger the real contractions--changing position after a long time, like if I roll over in bed; and peeing, which of course I have to do all the time because (a) I am trying to stay hydrated to ward off contractions (ironic!) and (b) I have a 17.5 week fetus sitting on my bladder. Basically, my bladder and uterus are having fun annoying each other and I get to freak out about it.

• I haven't felt the baby yet. A couple gassy bubblings here and there, but I'm pretty positive it was actually gas. At my hospital ultrasound they said I have an anterior placenta, which from what I've read can sometimes make it harder to feel the baby's movements at first, so I'm not worried--it's early still anyway. With all the ultrasounds I've had so far, I know that Bat Boy is wiggling around like a champ in there. Besides, as I've said before, at this point I'm far more concerned with keeping Bat Boy inside as long as I can than with DBTs. (Of course, someone else has said it first and said it better.)

• I need to buy maternity clothes. I'm finally starting to show in clothes and the unzipped-jeans-with-Bella-Band combo is just not comfortable anymore. Of course, I can't actually go out to go shopping, what with my activity restrictions, so will have to do it online, which at least as the advantage of preventing inadvertent exposure to pregnant normals.

• I have become a belly-rubber. I'm sorry, girls. I don't do it to be obnoxious--I'm just constantly feeling for contractions, or if I'm having a contraction timing how long it lasts. But it looks obnoxious, I know, especially since there's not that much belly to rub yet.

• OB appointment for cervix check on Tuesday. Thank goodness. The reassurance from each appointment lasts about a week, and then I spend the rest of the time ramping up the anxiety until the next one. Wish I could have them every week instead of every two weeks, but I'll take what I can get.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Admin note

As you may have noticed, I've been updating my sidebar to add more UU/MA resources, including a list of blogs by other women with MAs. Let me know if you want to be included on that list, or if there are other MA bloggers I've missed--I know there are several bloggers with septate uteri (post surgical and not), for example, who I run across but don't read regularly.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five years ago today

Five years ago today, I was self-employed, working out of my cramped apartment--my "office" consisting of an egg-shaped iMac perched on a two-foot-wide table in a corner of my bedroom. I rolled out of bed around 8:30 and immediately headed for my computer, to check my email and finish up a project before having breakfast. My then-fiance had spent the night, and was still sleeping.

A little after 9, his mother called me. (She always knew where to find him.) "Turn on the TV," she said. "They're saying that a plane just hit the twin towers." I flipped on CNN, then roused my fiance--work forgotten, breakfast forgotten, everything forgotten but the images onscreen.

Like most of the rest of the world, we were glued to the TV for the next few hours, watching in horror as life as we knew it changed forever. Our immediate thoughts were for his roommate, who worked on the 92nd floor of Tower 2, and my roommate, who worked just down the street. We spent an agonizing day trying to track them down.

Finally, we heard from his roommate, who had been late for work that day, and came up the subway steps just in time to watch the second plane plunge into what was formerly his office. He wandered uptown in a daze, unable to get cell reception to let anyone know he was alive. Later, he learned that nearly everyone he had worked with had died.

Much later, we heard from my roommate, who had walked 50-plus blocks uptown, covered in ash, sobbing, to get to her best friend's office. The two of them fled to her friend's parents' house in Westchester--by train, of course, since there was no car traffic allowed on or off the island.

Sometime that afternoon, we walked over to a friend's apartment building, the highest in the neighborhood, and stood on the roof with some of his equally stunned neighbors, looking south to the giant plume of smoke and ash. Our friend had tried to donate blood, but was turned away--too many others having had the same thought.

The most striking thing that day, and the days that followed, was the silence. No planes overhead, except for the occasional fighter jet. Almost no traffic. Everyone I saw moved in a kind of hushed shock. Stores were closed.

The worst actually came days later, when it seemed every spare surface across the city was blanketed with "MISSING" flyers, smiling faces captured in happier moments--and knowing that behind each one was at least one broken heart. By then, the burning smell was everywhere.

We were extraordinarily lucky in that no one we knew was hurt, physically at least, that horrible day. But no one we knew was left unscarred.

Five years ago today, on a beautiful September morning, the world turned upside down. And nothing would ever be the same.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Back in the saddle

Yep, at Tuesday's appointment I managed to convince TheGoodDoc that I could go back to work fulltime. Initially she wanted me to do just 2 days a week in the office, but I pointed out that being at home on partial bed rest was not reducing the number of contractions at all--in fact, over the past week, the day that I had the MOST contractions was Saturday, when I spent the MOST time lying down. She was concerned that I have to walk about five blocks to get to the subway (we don't have a car and taking cabs to and from work every day would add up to $250+ a week), but I also told her that on Sunday, I cheated and walked about that distance to go out to brunch, and had no increase in contractions. Finally, I told her that after not leaving the house for almost a week, I was starting to have panic attacks. That did the trick.

(Of course, the past few days have been kicking my ass, and I'm starting to think that 2-day-a-week idea isn't such a bad thing after all. Last night I came home at 8 p.m.--took a cab home, even--and collapsed, exhausted, on the couch, where I promptly had three contractions in rapid succession. Once I calmed down, though, my uterus seemed to as well. Yes, 'tis true, "just relax" did work for something, I'm sorry to say.)

The other thing that convinced her it was OK was that my cervix remains long and closed, despite the ongoing party in my uterus. Initially, she measured it (on her crappy ultrasound machine) as 2.27 cm with funnelling, which freaked us both right the fuck out. (Quick tutorial for those without cervical issues: Average cervical length during pregnancy is between 3 and 5 cm. Anything under 2.5 cm is v. bad and, when measured between 14 and 20 weeks, is a risk factor for preterm labor. Funnelling is when the cervix begins to open up from the inside, and is v. v. bad.) So she got one of her partners, Dr. Efficient, to come in and redo the measurement to be sure. The two of them went to town with the cootercam, twisting and probing and poking most painfuly, until I longed for the masterful wandings of Dr. SF and colleagues. (Say what you might about the unpleasantness of transvaginal ultrasound, when an RE does 30-50 a day, he really knows how to slide that baby in.) Finally, they determined that I have a weird little divot or cul-de-sac or something in my uterine lining (perhaps because of my generally bizarre uterine anatomy), not far from the cervix, and that was what looked like funnelling to TheGoodDoc. When they located and measured my actual cervix, it was a comfortable 3.7 cm.

So to summarize: Back at work. Still having contractions. Trying to reduce stress. From now on I go back to the doctor every two weeks (instead of four) for cervical measurements and delightful internal exams (to see if the cervix is softening or dilating). Big anatomy scan and bonus cervical measurement at the hospital October 2.

The other big news is about my sex life. Or lack thereof. Before the contractions fun started, my husband and I had gotten into a rather tense discussion about whether or not we could/should have sex. I was still tentative after all the bleeding episodes, he was more optimistic. (Just to remind you: We have not had sex since the night of my trigger shot. Fifteen weeks ago.) So I asked TheGoodDoc about sex. She said that we could have sex, but he's not allowed to ejaculate inside me (because of the possibility that semen could bring on contractions) and I'm not allowed to orgasm. I mean really, then what's the point?!? I said as much, and she suggested helpfully, "Maybe you could do oral." Thanks. At any rate, the restrictions are in place until I reach the holy grail of 37 weeks (if I make it that far). My husband is thrilled.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

How I spent my summer vacation

(Warning: Don't scroll down if you're having a bad day.)

As summer winds down to its unofficial close this rainy Labor Day weekend, I find myself thinking about how quickly this summer has gone by. It always does--it's my favorite time of year, after all--but this year it seems especially cruel that summer is over, because I haven't enjoyed any of the traditional pleasures of the season.

The summer started off with a bang, with a Memorial Day weekend IUI. Followed almost immediately by nearly a month of unbelievable bloating. That was June. July was the month of spotting. And nausea. And bleeding. And more bleeding. As for August, who could forget this past week's fun with contractions?

I have not been to the beach one single time this whole summer. I have not taken any trips, except for a three-day business trip in June and a visit to the in-laws', which do not count. I haven't worn a skimpy sundress to a rooftop barbecue, gone jogging in the sultry summer twilight, or attended a concert in the park. I haven't had any occasions to slather sunscreen on my pale, hairy belly. I've eaten maybe four ears of fresh corn, boiled while still warm from the sun, and made exactly one batch of garlicky pesto. Not once have I sat at a sidewalk cafe, wearing big sunglasses and sipping a glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc, or a frosty margarita, or a fruit-filled sangria, or an icy Corona with the mouth-puckering tang of lime juice coating the mouth of the bottle...sorry, where was I?

So as far as summer fun, 2006 has pretty much been a bust. But would I do it all over again? Has my summer of bloating, bleeding, and bed rest been worth it?

Why, yes. Yes, I must say that it has.