Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Post

OK, I'm sick of seeing that same post at the top of my blog! I've been trying to write something over the last few days, but I'm never sure what to say. I think the miscarriage is just about over now. It's been a rough week. I'm doing much better than I was. I had about four days of cramps--Tuesday was the hardest because I forgot to bring my ibuprofen to work, and no one else had any! We got a very nice sympathy card from the PPVI, signed by everyone, which was very touching. Emotionally, I'm doing better, too. I was terribly sad and also had a few mini-anxiety attacks (not full-blown, but not fun, either), but my mood is much better now than it was a few days ago. I'll write something "deeper" sometime soon, but just thought I'd update for now!

And thank you for the prayers and wonderful comments--they are a great comfort!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Feelings . . . wo wo wo feelings

It's been a rough week. My emotions have been all over the place! I've been having trouble concentrating, sleeping too much or not able to sleep, crying at the drop of a hat, and feeling guilty about not feeling awful every minute. It's a frustrating place to be. I have to thank Katie for commenting--her description of the frustrations of an impending miscarriage really hit home for me. I was just so excited, thinking about having a baby in September. Now, not only will there not be a baby in September, but my body needs a chance to heal, so the nurse I spoke with said we'll need to take a break for one complete cycle after the miscarriage (so--I didn't get this at first--miscarriage, then a first period, then a complete cycle, then start treatment again). So I feel like we're losing a baby and losing time as well.

And in the meantime, the thought that I am carrying a dead baby has been really hard to take. I feel like I still shouldn't do anything that I wouldn't do if the baby were alive and growing, so I've been hesitant to do things like eat lunchmeat. Which just seems plain silly, but it feels like the baby's still there, so I need to be careful. I wish that the whole thing were over, but then I'm scared of the pain and possible complications (I'm especially scared that I might end up needing a D&C) and then I feel guilty about wishing it were over, too. Hmm . . . might hormones have anything to do with this bizarre collection of thoughts?

It was kind of a rough day today. I couldn't sleep last night (since the spotting had started, I was getting nervous), I was late to cantor this morning (not "late" as in mass had started but "late" as in 10 minutes after I was supposed to be there), and then I was just off--forgot that I was supposed to pick one of the songs, had never received the right setting of the psalm, etc. The music went OK, but I felt bad about it. Then I got pulled over. The state trooper said I didn't stop at a stop sign (Mr. X was driving behind me and said that he saw my brake lights, so maybe it was only a rolling stop, but come on!). Then, when I went for my license, registration, and proof of insurance, I didn't have my new insurance card on me--just the expired one (I am insured, honest!). I decided to just tell her. Hey, I figured, if she felt like giving me a break, great, and if not, then I wouldn't feel any worse for having told her. So I said, "I'm having a terrible day. I'm having a miscarriage." She said she was sorry and that she'd give me a break on the stop sign, but couldn't on the proof of insurance. I said that I understood. But when she came back to the car, she just gave me a warning and let me go. I was so relieved. Then I felt guilty for having told her, but, you know, it was true, and sometimes a person just needs a break. And it was really compassionate of her to do that.

I said I'd write about the prognosis/instructions, so if you don't want details, go ahead and skip this! These are the instructions I received: Wait two weeks for a natural miscarriage. If it hasn't happened naturally after two weeks, schedule D&C. First signs of miscarriage will be cramping and spotting, which could last from 1-2 hours to 2-3 days. Bleeding will become heavy, possibly with clots and tissue (my doctor said no tissue in my case). Bleeding will decrease to moderate/light, then light/very light. Bleeding will last about 10 days. Call the doctor in case of fever, foul odor, constant pain, or continued heavy bleeding.

And--maybe the most important part--the nurse said to call if I feel depressed, because they can prescribe progesterone for that. I know that PPVI has had incredible success in treating post-partum depression with progesterone (as in 95% of women respond positively to the treatment, with some women feeling relief within hours). So, if you're reading this and know anyone with post-partum depression or depression after a miscarriage, please pass on the information! I think it's only normal that I feel the way I do right now, but if I'm not feeling more normal sometime soon, I may call about it. Since I tend to be prone to anxiety anyway, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that I might need this.

So, I've had a day and a half of spotting now, and (thank you, God!) very little cramping. I haven't needed any ibuprofen yet, though I'm thinking I might be getting there now. Tomorrow I technically have the day off, but I scheduled a bunch of meetings. I'm wishing I could stay home and relax (translation: lie in bed), but Mr. X has to work, and I'd probably just mope around feeling sorry for myself . . . which is probably not the best thing I can do for myself right now. Distraction seems to be the key. :) And, speaking of distractions, I think I will go and find something for us to eat for a late dinner . . .

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Waiting Again

Thank you all for the comments and support. It really means a lot to me! Being able to write about this and to see that other people care has made a huge difference.

I went in and had another blood draw yesterday. The hCG level dropped from 906 on Monday to 780 on Wednesday. So, that confirms that Monday's result wasn't just a lab error and that the hCG is continuing to drop. I got a lot more information about what I can expect, which was helpful. I might post some of those details later, just figuring that I would have liked to be able to find that online myself, so maybe someone else will find it helpful.

Right now, I'm just hoping and praying that the miscarriage will start and end soon, and that there won't be any complications.

On a more positive note, I had a voice lesson and a rehearsal yesterday. Thank God I can sing! Really, being able to do something physical and fun that uses my brain in ways other than brooding is a huge blessing. And my voice teacher was really nice when I told her, of course. I also got a very sweet e-mail back from the costumer for the opera, which was comforting and also made me less embarrassed about having told her about it.

So, I'll blog more about the prognosis for the next few weeks and months and more about fun things, too. For now, though, I should finish my lunch and get back to work.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bad News

I thought something was weird when I woke up this morning. I realized that I had slept soundly--I hadn't woken up even once to go to the bathroom. This was my morning for progesterone injections, and I lay on my stomach for 20 minutes while Mr. X took care of those. When Mr. X. left for work and I rolled over to go back to sleep for a while, it occurred to me that my breasts weren't sore.

I woke up again to hear my cell phone ringing. I jumped out of bed, because my doctor's assistant said she'd be calling me today with yesterday's HCG results. But it wasn't the assistant. It was the doctor. With bad news.

It turns out that my HCG level dropped from 1320 last Thursday to 900-something yesterday. I'm going to have a miscarriage. I felt lightheaded and started to see stars.

I give my doctor a lot of credit for calling me himself. He was really very kind about the whole thing. I have to go in tomorrow for another test, and they'll keep monitoring the levels until the HCG is gone. And now I just wait for the bleeding to start.

I didn't want to tell anyone until my husband had heard, so when I didn't get him on the phone, I text messaged him to call me. He managed to get away and call me while I was drying my hair, and I told him. Then I called my mom and the PPVI Institute.

I pulled myself together for work, where I was heading to a meeting with my two closest coworkers. The meeting was for fall planning, so yesterday, I told one of them that I'd most likely be on parental leave in the fall (and swore her to secrecy), and I was planning to catch the other one before the meeting to tell her. Fortunately, I caught the colleague I told yesterday before the meeting so I could tell her. I plodded through the rest of the day, and now I'm home.

My parents sent flowers. I e-mailed the costumer for the opera--I'm so embarrassed now that I told her! To get an almost complete stranger's phone call announcing a pregnancy, followed by a miscarriage announcement the next day, is a lot to take. I just couldn't face calling her again, and I figured an e-mail doesn't pressure her as much to respond in the moment. And I called my best friend, too. So, now the only person left to tell is my voice teacher, and I'll see her tomorrow.

It's not fun to technically still be pregnant and know it will all end any time now.

I really don't feel like cooking any of the good healthy-pregnancy foods I bought at the grocery store this weekend for dinner tonight. I'm thinking pizza and ice cream.

I'm trying not to drive myself crazy by thinking about what I might have done wrong. The bottom line is that I'm not in control. And, really, thank God I'm not. And I know that some good things will come of this--for one thing, we know conception is possible, and that had never happened before. I hear (don't know how true it is) that chances of another pregnancy soon after a miscarriage are good because your body is ready for it. And it will certainly give me more humility (because of the reminder that I'm not in charge) and empathy. But right now, I'm just really sad.

Friday, January 11, 2008

So far so good

I got my second HCG test results today, and it was 1320--so, according to betabase, the doubling time is 66.61 hours. That's sounding good, thank God!

Mr. X learned how to give me progesterone injections today, and my doctor's assistant (who is also great) gave me a flu shot, too. That makes my right arm the only appendage without a band-aid.

And, in other news, I am completely unable to concentrate on anything else. :)

Last night, I was totally exhausted after being awake for only twelve hours. And, as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was wide awake again. I listened to Mr. X snore (in a cute way, of course) and Wonderdog bark in her sleep, wondering why I was the only one still awake. Weird.

I set up an appointment for an ultrasound, but the earliest appointment I could get that we could both make it to isn't for two weeks. (I asked Mr. X if he wanted to come, and he said "What, our kid's first picture? Why would I want to be there?" So, silly question.) My doctor and the HCG results have me calmer about the ectopic question, so I think I'm good with waiting for two weeks. And now that allyouwhohope sent me a link to a good St. Gianna novena (thank you!), I've got more praying to do in the meantime! And then there's catching up on work, and learning my music, and reading those pregnancy books (though they keep scaring me, so I have to put them down!), and figuring out how to eat more (OK, the eating more part isn't the problem, it's the grocery shopping and cooking parts) and healthier food . . . so, I guess I've got my work cut out for me!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

First Appointment

Wow, thank you for all the kind comments! I had my first OB appointment today. It feels so weird to say that! I'm still going to the same doctor (he's in family practice), but I had the whole physical and everything. I didn't think they'd want me to come in quite so soon, but they said it's never too early, so I jumped at the chance to ask all of the questions that have me freaking out while I'm trying to sleep!

The main fear that I have (at the moment!) is ectopic pregnancy. I know, I know, it's supposed to be really rare, but four of my good friends have had at least one. Since I took the letrozole to stimulate ovulation in this cycle, I had ovulation pain for about 6 days, and I keep panicking about the little twinges I'm feeling in the vicinity of my ovaries. Fortunately, my doctor said that it was normal, and that the signs to watch for are bleeding and pain that is continuous and worsening. But--and this is what I love about my doctor (did I mention that I love my doctor? I did? Only 100 times?)--he didn't make little of my concerns. He offered to do HCG tests today and Monday just to make sure things are looking good, and gave me a referral to have an ultrasound next week! In general, though, he said everything looks good. Hooray!

So, I need to call and cancel an audition I have scheduled for Saturday. It's for a musical that closes at the end of June, and something tells me they aren't looking for someone who will (God willing) be 6 1/2 months pregnant on closing night!

I am going to be singing in an opera this winter, though, and it sounds like I'll have to call the costumer and tell her! I'm a little leery of telling them so soon, but I had my costume fitting already, and I have to wear a corset (!) and other tight-fitting clothes. I was thinking I might be able to get away without saying anything, but given what the doctor said about expected weight gain, I'd better tell. The added bonus is that I'll have a little extra breathing room in the costume!

I have to say, on another subject, that the costume fitting was so cool! I've never had such a professional fitting before. They measured everything. Unfortunately for the costumers, some of those measurements are soon to become obsolete! And they dressed and undressed me for each costume, which was kind of fun and made me feel a little bit like a doll. I'm more used to the "take this stack into the dressing room with the other 8 girls, and tell me which one fits each of you" method. I'm really excited about the whole thing.

Anyway, I'm doing some reading on all kinds of pregnancy stuff. I told my best friend and asked her to recommend some books, and she said to get What to Expect When You're Expecting and also something lighter and more conversational. In the last 2 1/2 years, I've deliberately avoided reading anything about pregnancy (except for blogs, of course :-> ), so I have some catching up to do! And I found some good prayers to St. Gerard (thanks, Arwen, for the links!). So, I'm working on keeping the anxiety at bay!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


2 1/2 years

1 1/2 years of Creighton Model/NaPro Technology
2 surgeries
65 HCG injections
Countless vitamins, antibiotics, and doses of T3
1 dose of letrozole

And 1 positive result!

It feels very surreal. I got the phone call from the doctor's office this morning while I was in the shower, so I heard the news with shampoo still in my hair. Because of the HCG injections, they wanted a level of at least 50 in the HCG test to consider the test positive--and mine was 624 at peak + 18!

I ended up telling Mr. X by text message. I called his cell, but he was in a meeting, so he texted me, and I replied--then he snuck out and called me!

I went directly to the doctor's office for my first progesterone injections. I heard they were painful, and that's no lie. Mr. X is going to come with me later this week for the next one, so he'll be giving me the shots from now on. I hate needles, but I've gritted my teeth and given myself 65 injections of HCG. I love that now Mr. X will be giving the injections instead of me--and in the behind, so I won't have to see them going in! The progesterone injections are part of a NaproTechnology protocol intended to reduce the chances of miscarriage as well as a lot of other risks. Mr. X and I were joking the other day that we should save all of the syringes in a sharps container and take them out for key moments of parental discipline/guilt induction ("I stuck myself this many times for you!"). I'll have progesterone injections twice a week, at least for the first trimester. And they'll do an ultrasound at 6.5 to 8 weeks to make sure things are looking OK. So, if anyone knows any novenas to St. Gianna or St. Gerard, please pass them along!

We were listening to the classical channel the other day, and a beautiful setting of the Magnificat (can't remember which) came on. Mr. X and I were talking about it, so I pulled out my bible to read the full text. The Magnificat was the Blessed Virgin Mary's song of praise during her visitation to Elizabeth, and this verse has been in my head ever since I read it again the other day:

"He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name" (Luke 1:49)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Waiting . . .

Well, I calmed down. And I didn't cry at the doctor's office, either. :) I actually love my doctor's office. Today, there was a little nativity scene on the counter with a crayoned sign (made, I assume, by one of the doctor's kids) below it saying "Pray the Rosary daily." I love that it doesn't feel cold and sterile (sterile in atmosphere, that is--it is clean!).

But the results won't be back until tomorrow--or maybe the next day! Must distract myself.


So . . . I'm leaving in half an hour to go to my doctor's office. For a pregnancy test. I'm so nervous!!! I'm at peak+18 today (meaning an 18-day luteal phase). My first diagnosis was late luteal phase deficiency, so I never have a long luteal phase. Because I take HCG injections (last one was on peak+9), the nurse told me on Friday not to take a home pregnancy test if I didn't get my period over the weekend. She said it would always be positive, and I don't think I could take a false positive!

So, instead, I spent the weekend obsessing about it! OK, not really. We went to a movie, went to mass, got a lot of things done around the house, but every little twinge had me overanalyzing everything (was that a cramp? is my period starting? do I just have to go to the bathroom?). And I looked at my charts a million times. I figured this out: I've had 14 cycles with HCG injections post-peak in which all the injections were done on time (there have been three more with something off in the timing). Of those, I've had a 13-day luteal phase 10 times, a 12-day luteal phase 3 times, and one 14-day luteal phase. Statistically speaking, something's definitely going on! But my progesterone was high at peak+7 (not the highest it's ever been, but still high), and I don't know too much about whether femara has any effects on luteal phase length. I'm actually shaking, and I'm afraid I might cry at the blood draw! Fortunately, I'm going to my regular doctor's office, and I really like him and his staff, so I know they'll be kind. So, I'm going to try to calm down and get ready to go!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A 70-pound Dog Sitting on My Head . . .

. . . is not an experience I wish to repeat. Oh my, Christmas was interesting this year!

I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted! In the meantime, things have been interesting.

This year, Christmas involved a loooong drive. But Mr. X had a business trip the week before Christmas . . . which meant that it involved a long drive for me. With Wonderdog. Mr. X flew in to meet us for the big family Christmas celebration, and then all three of us had a looooong drive back.

So, I spent the day of my departure frantically finishing up work, packing, and Christmas shopping. It was almost 10pm when Wonderdog and I were all loaded up in the car and ready to go. I wanted to make it just a few hours so that I'd be able to finish the rest of the drive in one day. The weather looked good for the next day, and I didn't want to wait another day and risk bad weather.

So, the drive began uneventfully. The skies were clear, the roads were dry, and we crossed the state line and arrived at our motel for the night at 1am. We've stayed at this place several times. They're dog-friendly, and the owners are very nice. So, I brought in the luggage we needed for the night, walked Wonderdog around the parking lot, and then we were in for the night. I put out her food and water, laid out her blanket, and brushed and petted her. Then I settled down in bed to read and go to sleep.

I turned the light off and heard Wonderdog panting and pacing around the room. After about 10 minutes, I felt the bed move, and looked up to see the dog standing over me on the bed. Hmmm. We're not dog-in-the-bed people. I know many lovely people who are (some siblings included), but we're just not. On occasion, though, when she's really freaked out in a strange place, we let her on the bed.

So, I figured--OK, I have a king-sized bed to myself, Wonderdog can have Mr. X's side of the bed, and we'll both get some sleep. But she didn't settle down. She paced, panted, tried to make herself a little nest on the bed, got up, walked in circles, lay down . . . I tried turning on the fan to create some white noise and petting her to calm her down, but it didn't seem to work. I was lying there with my eyes closed, when I felt something on my head. I thought maybe she'd leaned on me or put her chin on my head . . . but then I reached up and felt her tail. My 70-pound dog was sitting on my head. Then, she slid off and sat right next to my head. Then she walked around, panting, and then she did it again . . . and again . . . and again. I pushed her off, of course, but I couldn't help laughing at the absurdity of the whole thing. I think she was just using her front paws to bunch up the blankets into a little nest for herself as close to me as possible, so she kept backing closer and closer to me until she actually sat on my head.

Finally, it occurred to me that the D.o.g W.h.i.s.p.e.r.e.r (whose show I've seen maybe three times) says that you shouldn't give attention to an anxious dog because it just reinforces the anxiety. So, I tried not paying attention to her. After about half an hour, she got down off the bed and was quiet. I finally fell asleep after 3am, looking forward to a 12-hour drive in the morning.

At 5am, Wonderdog woke me up. She wanted out. Great. So, I took her out into the (DARK, CREEPY) parking lot. We came back in, and it all started again. By 6am, after she sat on my head for the 10th time, I was pretty desperate. I jumped up and said "That's it! You're going to the car!" because, of course, the dog can understand every word I say. We got into the car, she hopped into her bed in the backseat, and then she looked at me, pretending to be all innocent. Seriously, she hopped in the car and was immediately calm. I started the car to warm it up. I figured that, if I could warm the car up, maybe I could sleep in the hotel room and come out every 45 minutes to check on Wonderdog, re-warm the car, make sure the air was circulating, and all that. So, it wasn't the best plan . . . it was 6am, for heaven's sake! We sat in the car for a few minutes, with the heat running but making no impact on the icy interior. Then, in desperation, I remembered that the b.enadryl we give Wonderdog for her allergies makes her drowsy. So, I drove to the convenience store down the block, bought some b.enadryl, drove back to the hotel, grabbed a slice of bread from the CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST THAT WAS NOW OPEN IN SPITE OF MY 1 1/2 HOURS OF SLEEP, and gave Wonderdog a single pill. I don't think it did anything.

It was now 6:30. We went back inside, bringing her bed from the backseat, and she climbed into it and let me sleep . . . for three hours, at which point my sister called, waking both of us up for the day. Once we were on the road, I called Mr. X, who reminded me to be careful and to remember that I could always spend a second night on the road if I got sleepy. I told him "there is NO WAY I am spending another night on in a hotel with this dog!"

Thus began our Christmas odyssey, which ended with an evil combination of stomach flu and truck stops on the way home. I think that will be my last word on the subject of the drive home. But Christmas itself was lovely. :->

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