Healing

So its come to my attention that I never updated about the ultrasound appointment I had last Monday.  I realized that I updated those I’m close to through a flurry of text messages and then nothing on the blog :(  In case you care, so this is to all one of you, the baby is doing well and according to my doctor, we have an overwhelming percentage of making it to birth now!  Great news to hear.  We got to hear and see the heartbeat, as well as learn that we will be having an ultrasound every month because our doctor does not use the doppler.  This is amazing, because we get to see the baby every month (even from the awkward neck screening angle that mom is given…I kept saying “Can you see him/her honey?  I can’t tell what we’re looking at”) but I do have two concerns: 1)  I don’t know if our plan to not find out the gender will work with such frequent visual examinations.  That’s all I’ll say about that for now.  and then 2) am I the only one that’s still a liiiittle bit concerned about the dangers of ultrasounds?  Especially this often?  If anyone has any references that would save me a few keystrokes.

So after the good news on Monday, it was for sure time to tell work.  That and the fact that my pants don’t button anymore.  That occupied pretty much every waking moment not at work I had with my husband to figure out exactly how to break the news to my bosses.  In person? Emails?  Phone calls?  I was so so nervous about their reaction (I am the only girl in the group, the youngest, found out I was pregnant right when I started working and to my knowledge, the first person ever pregnant in the group, ever) that I decided on emails to my simultaneous bosses, which at the last minute turned into me “getting some guts”, walking into the local manager’s office, and awkwardly spewing out that I was pregnant and that we had been unable to get pregnant for a while so this was really a miracle of sorts for us.  Awkwardness was then matched by my managers reaction because, well, he seemed caught off guard.  A few hours later I called the head manager and told him over the phone, and we had a good long talk about the deficiencies of progesterone in the woman’s cycle (how we got there is for another story).  Exciting, I know.  He, of course, also told me the lovely story of his sister who after dealing with secondary infertility for 4 years, discovered she was pregnant about 2 or 3 weeks after returned home from Asia with her beautiful adopted daughter.  Those stories don’t frustrate me nearly as much as they used to, perhaps because of my own situation now.  (Post to come on that one for sure – don’t worry, I will not tell you to relax and get pregnant).

After telling the bosses I felt so free.  Wish I could have done it sooner and not worried type of thing.  What’s done is done and there is a baby in there that I am beyond thrilled about, while I’ve had the job for a matter of weeks.  Perspective.  Some time after that I realized that this Monday was Halloween and I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to share with the in-laws at an aunt’s party that we were pregnant in a very cute way: through the Halloween costume.  If only I had realized it earlier so it could have been cute.  I went at the last minute as a pumpkin with a tiny pumpkin taped to my belly.  It was a fun way to tell his aunt’s family that we were pregnant.  Everyone else knew.  Plus we were the only ones dressed up, so after about 5 minutes it was just odd.  My husband didn’t really join in the “group outfit” and went as Gaddafi.

I admit, although many moons ago I may have, I have absolutely no desire to scream anywhere, let alone on Facebook that I’m pregnant.  I have a strong desire to tell everyone that has been praying for us we’re pregnant.  But as for random people, its just not there.  Maybe its a “half of you could have cared less that we were having trouble conceiving so why should I turn myself into an ultrasound picture to have your forced acknowledgement” bitter thing that I should let go of, but the other part is that I think Facebook is a very impersonal way to tell someone you’re pregnant.  I remember feeling the same way when I switched my status to “engaged”.  And I hated finding out that way from closer friends.  So, do unto others, right?

And as of today, the rest of our research group knows I’m pregnant too.  The cat is out.  Our secret is no longer a secret.  Our baby is being recognized by other people now, which makes the whole thing that much more real.  I for sure try to add in how long we waited for this little one whenever I tell people, if they don’t already know.  I don’t know why I do that.  To bust the myth that its always easy or an accident?   Sometimes people wait a long time to get pregnant and usually those people are quiet about it.  Its not that I think our baby is better or we’re more deserving because we had to wait, I also think I want people to understand why I’m hesitant.  Why I’m not shouting from the rooftops and wanting you to look at my belly.  Why I look a little odd and giggle when I tell you I’m pregnant, its still odd to hear those words myself.  For so long pregnancy has been a conflicting source of emotions, of pain.

And now this momma pumpkin is trying to heal.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to heal.

The first picture of “us”

I don’t know if foreshadowing is the right word, but I don’t know how else to describe it.  I haven’t told anyone else besides my husband this story so I don’t know if it will make sense but here it goes…

I want to write down all the reasons why it boogles my mind that I got pregnant the month I did.  You would think I would be used to it by now but at alllmost 12 weeks I’m still trying to comprehend it and not take any moment for granted.  Part of me feels like I was finally settling into being sub-fertile and I wrote many of the reasons that prove I was settling in was way back here, right around the time I wrote the first draft of this post.

But what really, really made me think I wasn’t pregnant was because Monday, my P+12, I took a pregnancy test.    And it was negative.  That’s pretty conclusive, right?  Negative test on a month you take HCG?  Only, I didn’t take it hoping it would be positive, I took it because I had a weird feeling.  My husband and I got into an argument that weekend, during which I realized in our quest to be a mother to imaginary children, I had been doing a pretty horrible job at my first responsibility, being a wife to a man here and now.  And so I realized what had to go.  We had had our surgery, which was our deal – fix the things that can be fixed no other way – but somewhere in there we started along the treatment path with the HCG, which I admitted made me more emotional and difficult than I already am, requiring so much out of the people closest to me.  So that’s what made me take a step back.  No more treatment, I said.

Only, there was still the issue of that month.  So that’s why I took a pregnancy test that month.  After deliberatly deciding and praying to God that this was not where we were supposed to be focused right now and that we needed to turn it back to the basics, I actually feared that I might be pregnant – because that would screw it up.

Yes, for the first month in 2 years, I decided that it was better if we weren’t pregnant.

A day after the fight I got that feeling…that what if I just prayed for the exact wrong thing and God’s messing with me and I’m actually pregnant feeling.  So on peak+12 I took that third pregnancy test, just to know it was negative and I could move on.  Of course the negative line showed up and I went about my day, not surprised at all.

Around that same time was the announcement of the perfectly planned pregnancy on Facebook, complete with a backlog of “belly pictures” dated from the beginning of the the pregnancy.  For some reason the thought occurred to me how much support those few pictures garnished, that she had such proof of her short time of ‘waiting’ and evidence of the changes she had been through.

So I threw myself a great big pity party of 1 and decided it would be a great idea to take a ‘belly picture’ of me, alone, with a flat belly and a caption of X weeks waiting and still exactly the same.  So I calculated it out and I came to the number 99.  99 weeks waiting was where I was at.  99 weeks of waiting and nothing.  I actually purposely waited a bit before executing the solo photoshoot because I realized that I was being snarky and probably idiotic in taking such a picture.  But after that negative test on P+12, the next day I thought what better time than now, right after doing some morning yoga.

But a strange thing happened and I guess this is why I’m bothering to share this story with you at all.  I took a series of pictures and something crazy happened on the second one:

I promise those are in order and not photoshopped.  I took the third one after I looked at the second and saw the bright light illuminating the background, despite doing nothing different.  I took it to see if it would happen again, if maybe something was wrong with the way I positioned the camera.  But no, it went back to exactly the same as it was before.  I’m pretty sure such a malfunction only happens like, 1 in 1000 shots, where the shutter closes too quickly or something.  But for it to happen at this exact moment?  When I positioned myself to stand alone under the “Michael <3’s Alison” sign for the ultimate pity shot?  When I was feeling as alone and isolated as possible, only to have the backlight illuminated so brightly and intensely that my first thought when looking at this picture was Dear God, how can I be so selfish to ignore you?  You make it so evident you’re here with me even in my most pitiful moment.

So, I decided not to post the pictures with my snarky post.  I realized that even if I think its just me and my husband trying alone and waiting without the acknowledgement of the world and friends, God would still be there with me.  That picture was my little miracle and proof that when He wants to, He’ll make Himself known. I don’t need to proclaim announcements on Facebook or be jealous of those that do…this is enough for me.

The picture developed a whole other meaning looking back after what I found out about a week later.   I can now look upon that picture as a miraculous picture as the first “belly shot” of me and my child, at only 2 or 3 days post-implantation.

99 weeks trying...unknowingly 3 weeks pregnant

My husband got chills when I told him this story after we found out we were pregnant.  I was almost too embarrassed to tell him let alone the whole internet how far my self pity had gone that week.  But, there it remains.  And I don’t think that because I went to the brink, I somehow “caused” this pregnancy.  It amazes me when people think they can cause or earn such good fortune and this is no different.  This was just a little moment where I feel that God literally reached out to me to make Himself visible at a time He knew I really needed it.  I can’t pretend to make sense of God’s plan and I feel to try to would be to belittle His omnipotence.

Still praying for those who’s reality is harder to ‘just accept’…God is with you even if there’s no proof in the moment.

The dream continues!!

So there really was a little baby in there today!!

We just had our appointment this afternoon and after a long chat with the doctor she finally started the ultrasound and BAM!  There popped up a little baby on the screen!  So crazy that every other time I’ve had one of those done everything looks so unidenifiable and “Oh yes, that’s the uterus, now we’re measuring the thickness.  Lets search for your ovary now…” But wow, I needed no one to show me where the baby was!  Baby was just chillin’ there, sitting pretty like he was ready for his first photo :)

And he took a good one!  He looked like a chunky little gummy bear.  I started to get worried because she was taking pictures but he wasn’t moving.  I said something and she turned on the sound and we heard the heart beat!  Super, super fast!  Like 176.  And he’s measuring at 9weeks, when really I’m something like 9weeks 3 days, so I guess that’s ok?  I’m just reading that from the picture, she didn’t actually say anything… But then he started wiggling his arms and kicked his little legs!  Crazy.

I started crying before the appointment even started.  And then when he popped up on the screen, I started crying again.  Such happy, happy tears.

And it was my swiss cheese ovary, ms. righty that made it happen.  Way to go girl.  Although I could have sworn it was the left ovary I felt the pain from last month.  Oh well, if there is one thing I realized, its that I know so little.

Oh yeah, and he’s totally a little moonhead :)

 

Oh yeah, after searching for bloggers’ progesterone levels after I wrote the last week and then proceeding to have my husband find me freaking out when my husband got home, I was officially banned from the blogs for the week so, yeah.  Now I’m back though :)

Disappearing symptoms

I’ve tried to keep quiet about my fears over here.  It was hard for me to read about people worrying about their pregnancies when for so long it seemed like they were worrying about not getting pregnant.  But, I guess I am the same.  Pregnancy brought up a huge range of emotions and concerns that have no outlet either.  Well, at least not when you just moved to a new area and your new doctor doesn’t realize you went through 2 years to get here and refuses to see you before 9 weeks.

I did just want to say that I was feeling nauseous last week and I was grateful, but also expected it to get worse.  This past Monday everything disappeared.  No more sore breasts, no more nausea, I’m just really hungry.  But I really feel great.  I don’t think that change was good.  And then today I hear from PPVI that my progesterone dropped to 18 (it was 24.6 or 26.4 before…I forgot where I wrote it down).  Apparently it can zigzag and according to the chart I’m still in Zone 2 at 8 weeks, but this test was taken on Saturday and I’ve since lost my symptoms.  I know its possible to not be sick during the first trimester, I just didn’t believe it.

I know there is nothing else I can do.  We are doing 200mL’s of progesterone 2x a week and I’m thanking God for every day with this little one who still seems like a dream.  We are giving it all we got and the rest is out of our hands.  Could you spare a few more prayers for us though?

And if you have any stories about nausea-free pregnancies that ended up OK, please share!

 

And if you want to comment on how lucky I am…please spare those until after the birth….thanks!

Understanding why

Its so much easier to stop asking why when you’re content with the answer.  But I keep asking myself WhyWhy now Why did I get pregnant this month and not any of the ones before?  But I realize for as much as I want to know and to understand, I’ll probably never have these answers.  Just as I never had the answer to my previous question, Why not?  Only thing is, this is a lot easier of an answer to live with than Why not?

But I guess just for a little exercise, I’ll throw some things out here.  There were so many reasons I shouldn’t have gotten pregnant.

I scheduled work to start after I got my period.

I scheduled to see my friend’s new baby for the few days before I was supposed to get my period.  I am strong, but I know my limits.

I had a negative pregnancy test on P+12. DESPITE being on HCG.

I had cramps.  My period was coming and it felt just like it felt when it was always coming.

I didn’t finish my HCG dose because I ran out.  When I talked to the pharmacy  I just said, screw it and had them send it but not rush it because surely I’d need it for next month or the one after.

We got in a huge discussion on Thursday (P+14?) about how I needed to go to this Christian support group I had found that met the following Tuesday (even though we had a conflict and it would take us over an hour to get there in the LA traffic) and even if all of them were doing IVF it would still mean more to me than sitting in my house by myself and not knowing anyone in real life going through the same thing because I was so lonely.  My husband was supportive and I was looking forward to going.

 

Of course, I guess there are a few things that make sense…

 

My husband had almost finished 3 months of Proxeed.

This was my third cycle after the surgery, 1st full cycle after we both finished the antibiotics. (Probably the most convincing reason)

I was super emotional on the day I should have gotten my period.  Usually this happens a week before, but the few days before I’m stable.  Was totally not stable that day.  I was acting like I was on HCG…hm…

Third month of my anti-inflammation diet.  (Less convinced this did it, although who knows.  I did cheat the day after I ovulated, had a pretzel, and texted my husband, “Im eating this pretzel because I want it.  If I don’t get pregnant because I ate a pretzel, I don’t deserve a baby.”  So, as if there was any doubt, I really don’t deserve this baby.)

My husband had been going to daily mass and told me over the summer he started praying specifically for a baby.  This was a change and something that we used to disagree on, i.e., can you ask God for something you want specifically or should you always just pray for acceptance of God’s will.

Prayer buddies, anyone?

 

So, I don’t know.  I wish I knew why.  Of course I wish I knew why.  The line that kept in my head is “God never gives us more than we can handle” and I feel like I got off easy.  Yes, I know I got off easy.  But I also feel like I was at the end of my rope in some ways.  The fact that we got pregnant makes me think, maybe I really was.  And that’s scary.   But who knows, if I would have gotten my period, I would had to have kept trucking along.  What other choice is there?

I wish I knew why so many women have to wait and wait despite wanting to be mothers all their life.  And I wish I knew why some women just decide one day to try for another and get pregnant immediately.  And most of all, I wish I knew why people who subsist on cereal and Dr. Pepper get pregnant right away while other eating organically and living super healthy don’t get pregnant ever.

I do know that one day this will all be revealed to us.  So I had better get good at waiting.  And keep praying for those whose time of waiting isn’t as exciting as this time of waiting.

Continuous disbelief

Thank you so, so much for all of your comments.  Your support for us on this journey has been astounding and although I know for many of you that announcement may have come with its own set of other reactions, I appreciate your kind words and thoughts in spite of that.  Your prayers mean to the world to me and as I have always been better about praying for other people, I continue to keep you all in my prayers as well.  Special thanks to my prayer buddy out there who must be working overtime…!!

It hasn’t gone away.  The disbelief.  Will it ever?  My prayers for myself are now to keep my baby safe and with us as long as possible and for me to never take this for granted.  This miracle.

I wasn’t able to do the blood draw the other day (long waits, work hours, and same clinic problems as last time – I didn’t realize that PPVI wanted to run it themselves) so I had to wait for today.  Only it wasn’t a blood draw, just another stick.  I found out through my new insurance I have to confirm the pregnancy before they’ll allow me to see a doctor anyway.  So I went in first thing in the morning and had to do another pregnancy test.  I was so excited and happy and the nurse was deadpan.

“If the pregnancy test says ‘yes’ is that good news?”

Yes, of course!  Wait, how else is that question answered? 

Immediately my heart sunk as I remembered in our insurance plan book we got this summer than said explicitly stated that abortions only require a co-pay of $15.  And then I thought of the search engine hits “why can’t I be infertile” that lead to this blog.  Yes, this is a very, very welcome miracle.  It breaks my heart that those other couples I saw in the waiting room might not have been so excited at the results of their test.

I finished the paperwork and like any good, fiesty PPVI patient I ran the meeting in order to figure out how I can still do my labs and  showed how informed I was (although when she asked me about where I wanted to deliver and I just blinked.  Birth?? I just want to get through the first trimester!  That probably made me look silly but seriously, I’m still trying to process what happened, lady!).

After finally realizing all it took to get her for us, at the end of the meeting she shook my hand, looked me in the eye and said “Congratulations”.  I teared up and ran out to compose myself.

But that was nothing compared to when I got down to my car and saw that they materials she gave me said things about “my baby” and its growth, etc.  My baby.  I lost it.  I was the weird girl crying tears of joy in the parking lot because it said my baby.

I wish that everyone could have tears of joy after seeing a pregnancy test.

I did nothing to deserve this miracle.  So many have suffered longer and better.  So, so, humbling.  Like I said, continuous disbelief.