Monday, March 31, 2008

Not again . . .

OK, so I've been feeling anxious again. This is so not fun. I was trying to describe to Mr. X what it feels like. I feel like an exposed nerve. Every thought, feeling, and sensation is just exaggerated and raw. I try to avoid bumping up against any thought that might cause pain. And then my mind conspires against me, too. I'll start to calm myself down about one fear that has fixated my thoughts, and my mind goes searching for loopholes. If it doesn't find any loopholes that let it keep worrying (and, sometimes, even if it does), then it starts searching for something else to worry about.

Unfortunately, Mr. X is on a business trip. I'm really trying hard to fight the anxiety, but it's so much harder when I'm alone. I had the worst time sleeping last night, with terrible dreams when I did sleep.

What stinks is that I feel better when I'm with people, but I get really down on myself, feeling guilty and thinking I'm a bad person, and then I feel ashamed to even call my friends. No fun! I felt much better once I was dressed and got in the car to drive to work. That kept me focused. I'm feeling not too bad now. Mr. X talked me down a bit this evening, figuring out worst-case scenarios for the things I was worried about, and telling me that he would take care of me no matter what happened. So that made me feel better. I've started to be able to put aside the worries, because I really had blown them all out of proportion.

And here's the other thing: I looked at my chart, and I felt anxious up until peak+1, and now I started feeling anxious again two days before my period should start. When I looked at the hormone graphs, it looks like the anxiety stopped when my progesterone should be rising, and it started again when the progesterone should drop off again. I'm definitely going to tell the nurse about this when I call in for my cycle review!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hooray for hCG

OK, now that I've posted my belated Easter post, here's what's new. I'm on Peak+7 today, which means I get my third hCG injection. Mr. X started doing them for me this cycle, which I love. I was willing to do it myself (heck, I did it for a year and a half), but after giving me progesterone injections with a BIG needle, he wanted to practice with the little hCG needles in preparation for the next time he needs to give me the big injections. He had offered to give me the hCG injections before, but knowing how much he hates needles, and, with my doctor's comment that I could do this myself, and Mr. X's travel schedule for work, I figured I should suck it up and do it myself. But now I'm happy to let him take over. The anxiety was waning even before the first shot, but I'm really feeling pretty good now. I had a blood draw this morning, so here's hoping for a good progesterone level this time!

So, I finally went to confession on Holy Saturday. It really was a great experience. I went to the pastor for the first time, and he was so sweet to me. I talked about my guilt over the miscarriage, and he was very comforting. Then, this morning, I drove across town for a mass that I saw advertised. It was for "babies in heaven." Perfect!, I thought.

Not so much, as it turned out. Now, don't get me wrong, it was a fine mass, and the priest gave a very impassioned homily. But it turns out that the priest was really preaching a pro-life mass, and the musicians were singing a mass for the Feast of the Annunciation. So, expecting that this was more of a memorial-type mass to acknowledge all sorts of baby loss, it wasn't really what I thought it would be. The homily was all about abortion, with just one mention of babies who might be in heaven "for some other reason." The music was all related to the Annunciation. So, I decided that I could still pray for the babies in heaven I particularly wanted to pray for--our own, and the babies friends in real life and online have lost. I was a little disappointed that the mass wasn't as I thought it would be, but I think I might talk to the director of the grief ministry at my church about putting together a mass for people who are grieving the loss of a baby. I think it would be nice if there was something like that, even if there's only one mass in town, once a year. So, we'll see . . .

Christ is risen!

Well, yes, it is two days past Easter, but I can still say that! :)

I sang for the Easter Vigil and Easter morning mass. I really love the Easter Vigil. It was my first at my new parish, and it was very nice. Not that big a turnout, and I actually stayed at the back of the crowd in the vestibule instead of going all the way outside to see the fire (it was darn cold!), but it's always a beautiful mass. I love seeing the baptisms and the new members enter the church. One year, there was a little boy who took "Elmo" as his confirmation name. It was adorable. And I guess there is a St. Elmo, after all.

I hope you all had a fantastic Easter!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

On two unrelated topics . . .

Remember how we had new carpet installed in November? Well, Wonderdog threw up on it yesterday. I gave her water as soon as I woke up, she lapped it up as fast as she could, and then she ran into the bedroom and threw up. I guess the kitchen floor and the old living room carpet just didn't make appealing targets. All I can say is hooray for stain-resistant carpet! I spent a ridiculous amount of time cleaning it up and trying to make sure I rinsed out all the soap, so I think we're good. As I told Mr. X, when we have kids running around, the carpet will be subjected to all sorts of bodily fluids. He said no--we'll cover the entire house in vinyl. :)

And, speaking of kids running around (nice segue, huh?), congratulations to Jen on her pregnancy!! What fabulous news!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Love the Lovely Hormones

So, I've been gone for a bit here, due to a combination of busy-ness and anxiety. I've been feeling extremely anxious for the last few days--trouble sleeping, crying, general panic, that whole thing. It hasn't happened in a really long time. So I decided to figure out when it last happened. The last time was about a year and a half ago . . .

A couple of weeks before I started hCG injections.

I've had them every cycle for the last year and a half, until this past December. Then I had three big progesterone injections (actually, the dosage was high enough to require two injections for each dose) between the positive pregnancy test and the bad-news pregnancy test. I haven't had any hormone treatment for a little over two months. I had a peak+7 test for progesterone and estradiol a couple of weeks ago, and both were pretty darn low. My progesterone level was the same as it was in the cycle before starting the hCG.

It actually made things easier when I figured that out. I'm a few days away from my first hCG injection, and I figure that getting my hormones sorted out will help.

And Jen tagged me! Yay! I plan to take her up on it as soon as I'm feeling better about myself . . . which should be soon! I'm feeling much better tonight.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Not much new

Not much new around here. I've been really tired. Work has been so intense for so long that I think I'm finally burned out! Fortunately, I have some down time now, so I'm planning to get some exercise, get lots of sleep, and do all of that healthy stuff (like starting to take the prenatal vitamins again).

Mr. X bravely confronted our dripping faucet and replaced the valve. I'm always amazed at how he knows how to fix these things. And we didn't have to pay a plumber! Yay!

I'm on the antibiotics again to treat the brown bleeding (the protocol is 21 days, then the first 10 days of the next 6 or so cycles), and it does bad things to me. To be fair, it does good things, too, but it messes with my digestive system and leaves a horrible taste in my mouth. And I still have pain in my thigh from my last progesterone shot--on January 8th! We think it irritated a nerve, because at first I had pain from the injection site to my lower thigh, in a curved line. Now, there's just one spot on my thigh that hurts, but, really, two months later? I just hope it goes away sometime (preferably before the next time I need progesterone shots!).

So, hmm. Pretty dull post there, but that's the update!

Friday, March 7, 2008


I talked to the nurse today--she's so nice, thank God! She said that the low progesterone was due to my progesterone level dropping too quickly, rather than to not ovulating. I did some research using the all-knowing Dr. G.oogle (ha!) and what I found indicates that anything above 2.5 (on some sites) or 5 (on other sites) is taken to be evidence of ovulation. So, I'm less worried about that! Thank you for the support, too! It's really nice to know I'm not alone!

When I had short luteal phases before, my hormone profile showed that my progesterone (and estradiol, for that matter) increased to just about average levels by Peak +7 (which is why the low Peak +7 level surprised me), and then crashed too quickly after that. I was diagnosed with late luteal phase defect. I always assumed that it was due to the PCOS, but I'm not sure if that's an accurate assumption.

So, I'm back on hCG injections--not a big surprise there--and need to wait another cycle to watch the levels improve. Argh! I mean, yes, I know that it's best to make sure everything's working before attempting another pregnancy, but it's so hard to be patient!

I called the pharmacy, and they have one vial left, which they're saving for me! If you use hCG, check on your refills! I've been off of it since December, so I might be finding out about this late, but apparently there are shortages right now . . . So, thank you God, I'm heading to the pharmacy before the end of the day to pick mine up, even though I won't start injections for a couple of weeks.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

CD 1? Seriously?

Well, I guess that it's a good thing I thought about that whole "moving forward" thing yesterday, because today my new cycle started. I called for my cycle review, and it turns out that my progesterone (at Peak + 7) was 7. 7! And I had an 8-day luteal phase. Bummer. Of course, this cycle I had no hCG injections, and my luteal phases were short (but only rarely as short as 8 days) before the injections--which I started about a year and a half ago! I hope that when I talk to the nurse tomorrow, she'll be able to tell me a bit more about what's going on (I was too swamped at work to think of questions to ask when I talked to her today). But I'm worried that the low progesterone and short cycle mean that (a) the PCOS is still just as bad as it was before the surgery, and/or (b) I didn't ovulate. I'm probably more worried about ovulation, since that was one problem I thought I didn't have! And I'm probably reading way too much into just one cycle--especially the first cycle after a miscarriage. So, I guess I'll wait and see what I can find out tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Some more thoughts

At mass this past weekend, I was really struck by the gospel reading. It was the story of Jesus and the man born blind. This is how it started:

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him,
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered,
“Neither he nor his parents sinned;
it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him."
(John 9:1-4)

And then, of course, Jesus heals the man.

The reading made me think of the way a lot of us who are infertile blame ourselves or feel like God is punishing us or that He doesn't think we'll be good parents. It seems natural to wonder why this is happening--is it something I did? Am I not a good enough person?

Lifehopes recently addressed this same issue on her blog after hearing a friend speak in those terms, and when I read her post, this reading is the one that came to mind for me. Hearing the gospel on Sunday just underlined for me that, not only is God not punishing me, but if I let Him, He can use this experience to reveal His works in ways that I can't imagine. Suffering can be redemptive.

I wrote a post that I probably won't ever publish on this blog about guilt. It listed all of the things I felt guilty about in losing the baby. My husband has been really good about telling me not to be so hard on myself (I showed him the post I wrote, and he was horrified at how harsh it was). My doctor told me, too, that I did everything right. The thing I feel most guilty about is that I didn't keep the little bit of tissue there was. I was really uncertain, I was told that I wouldn't find any tissue because it was so early, and so I didn't keep it to bring to the doctor. That's the one thing I really beat myself up about, even though I know I wouldn't criticize another person who did the same thing. So, I think I need to go to a good priest for confession--that should help me to deal with the guilt in a constructive way.

It's been an odd Lent for me. I've been a slacker, that's for sure. I haven't really given anything up or done anything special. I even completely spaced out and ate meat for lunch on two Fridays! But it's felt appropriate to be dealing with the grief over the miscarriage during Lent. I know that a new cycle will be starting soon, and we'll be back under treatment again. I'd like to do a couple of things for closure: go to confession, and then go with my husband to pray and light a candle for the baby. Not that I won't still think about it, but this is the way I'd like to move forward.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


We went out last night! Not that we never go out, but we got dressed up and made reservations and everything!

The reason for the big night was that I found out on Thursday that my promotion is going to come through! I've been working my tail off for the last five years for this. And for the last two years, it's been really extreme nose-to-the-grindstone sort of work to make sure I was in good shape at this point. This is huge! It will make an enormous difference in my stress level (since I've been thinking about it for five years). I wasn't expecting to hear about it for a while, so I hadn't even had time to get worried about it. It actually crossed my mind last week, but I was able to put the thought aside, thinking I would have several more weeks to start worrying!

We were both too exhausted on Thursday for a proper celebration, but Mr. X did bring home some baklava. (Mmm, baklava.) On Friday, he brought me roses, a balloon, and a card. Yesterday, we went out to a really nice steakhouse and had steak (with bleu cheese--yum), with saganaki for an appetizer, creme brulee for dessert, and nice red wine. We went all out!

So, yay! The good news really hasn't sunk in yet, and it won't take effect for a while, but it's so nice to be on this side of the whole thing!

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