Friday 28 February 2014

"I am quite optimistic"

The quote in the subject line comes from Dr. Gnomish, who repeated that to me a few times during our appointment.

The news is - so far, so good.

The beta tests show my hcg rising. (My stomach agrees: insert mini-retch here).  If I remember correctly, Tuesday it was 16 000something; yesterday it was 21 0000something.  I had a fleeting notion that I should write down the exact beta numbers for future reporting, but between the fear of hearing bad news, and the desperate hope that maybe I wouldn't, and my wobbly stomach, I felt like I was only staying upright because I didn't know which way to fall.  Anyway, the point is: hcg is rising, and Dr. Gnomish says that is a very good sign.

Wednesday's ultrasound showed a gestational sac and yolk sac. No fetal pole was visible yet. However, the gestational sac had grown compared to the last scan, and Dr. Gnomish said again that was a good sign. A blighted ovum would not grow, he said. I go in for another scan next Thursday.

It make sense to me that this is still a very early pregnancy, because I know for sure (thanks to the Fertility Clinic's scans of my uncooperative ovaries) that I had nothing to get pregnant with prior to January 15th. So, conception happened sometime between middle and end of January, which is barely over a month ago.

The ultrasound also showed a subchorionic hemmorhage. That explains the bleeding that I have been having this week. It is not an immediate threat to the pregnancy, nor is it a sign of imminent miscarriage. Having an explanation makes me feel somewhat better, although I wish I didn't have any bleeding because it always makes me afraid. However, on the good side it has only been brown spotting this week and I would say in the last two days there is less of that.

So. Forward. Positive test results + absence of miscarriage symptoms = reason for optimism, according to Dr. Gnomish. So, I will try to be a bit optimistic.

I have done a lot of sleeping and reading this week and not much of anything else. Between the physical and emotional fatigue (hard to tell apart sometimes) I really had energy for nothing except preparing some simple snacks for myself and reading books. (I'm halfway through Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Somebody gave it to Mr. Turtle years ago and it's never been read, but it sure has come in useful this week.)  Going out to my appointments on my own felt like a heroic excursion into the wilderness.

I hope to return to the land of the living, i.e. work on Monday. There is no reason to suppose work would be bad for the pregnancy or me, assuming I can cope with it. I do think I will try to limit physical stain on myself though, for example by taking the bus instead of walking through the snow. At a time when I have a bit more strength and confidence in my physical self I can re-introduce bizarre activities like "exercise." It's still one day at a  time right now.

Thank you again for all your support. This past week has been one of the hardest of my adult life.

Monday 24 February 2014

The plan for the week

I followed up with my regular doctor (Dr. Gnomish) today. We went through all the details again, and he said that all things considered he can't give me any answers because he doesn't have the answers.

Here's the plan to find out answers.

1)I go back for betas on Tuesday, Thursday and Monday.

2)I go for another ultrasound on Wednesday. Dr. Gnomish seemed fairly confident that this scan would show either   evidence of ectopic pregnancy (the urgent care doc thought this was unlikely, but it can't be entirely ruled out yet), miscarriage, or a viable pregnancy. He also assured me that no, I do not need to drink 1 litre of water and hold it for two hours (not that I was bloody going to) which I was glad to hear.

3) I have a follow up with Dr. Gnomish on Friday. I am not sure how much I will know before then, based on the test results, but hopefully something. If my body hasn't given me a clear clue.

In the meantime I've taken a few days off work. I woke up feeling OK this morning. I'd eaten the night before, slept well, and I had some breakfast and lunch. Had a few waves of nausea but no vomiting (was throwing up early Sunday morning). I don't know if the nausea is pregnancy or stress related as stress kills my appetite and can make my stomach very sensitive.

I will probably take the whole week off work if I can. I feel weird taking so many days off as it really isn't like me. But I just don't know what's going to happen and while I'll probably be OK some of the time, I don't like the idea of having a crisis or meltdown at work.

It's a really strange feeling to feel fragile and uncertain about my body. I find myself staring at people and thinking: "I wish I had the confidence and energy to just do everything you are doing without even thinking about it." I'm sure I will feel that way again one way or another, but right now I'm in such a weird space. I get tired so easily and everything about myself feels so unfamiliar.

Physically I'm much the same. I continue to spot brown. It feels like a lot to me although on a pad it doesn't look like a lot. I also spend a lot of time lying around though (also unlike me) so it might just be coming out slowly. I keep waiting for something to signal the beginning of the end though; I can't help it.Sometimes I achieve acceptance and calm but it is short-lived, then I have to try for it all over again.

Sunday 23 February 2014

I guess I'm still pregnant (with a few updates)

My second beta came back at 11506. (from 7000 on Friday). The doctor said that was a good number as my doubling time is supposed to be 96 hours with a beta over 6000.

The doctor I saw today at Urgent care was very nice and managed to spend quite a bit of time with us, talked to me at length, really gave the impression he cared.

There is no guarantee everything is fine or will be fine - there's still that ambiguous U/S. But the doctor did not think it sounded like my body was trying to expel something. He said the bleeding has to be coming from between placenta and uterine wall but that the body is very resilient and will make new vascular connection.

Also when looked at rationally (very difficult to do) the bleeding has not been very heavy - certainly heavier than spotting, but not enough to soak a pad and it is not constant.  I admit to going into panic mode when I see the blood and assuming the worst.

So - everyone just says wait and see. Again, no guarantees but as of yet no need to assume it is over.

I could have blighted ovum - because I can still be pregnant and but have no embryo - and the worst part is it can continue like normal pregnancy for weeks and weeks. The awful ironic horridness of it. I know lots of people have lived through this but I feel like it could be the undoing of me. I have another U/S scheduled for Wednesday. I scheduled this one before the bleeding and everything that happened over the weekend. I'm not sure if I should go to it or not since it is just a few days after Saturday's, but I'm leaning toward going because who knows, maybe it can confirm what the other one didn't. Although I'm not drinking 1.5 litres of water again; I refuse to put myself through that again. They can use the damned dildo cam.

I am sorry if I've offended anyone by coming across as a drama queen - that is not my intention and the fear and grief I felt in the past few days, and could feel again are very real.  But if I did just call me an ass.

Another thing I've learned in the past few days: I can limit my happiness, but I can't limit my grief. Even before this weekend I didn't let myself feel unreserved happiness about this pregnancy. That doesn't make it the slightest bit easier now that it's threatened. The grief I feel when I fear it might have ended/be ending, is in no way equivalent to the cautious hope and happiness I allowed myself to feel. It comes like a tsunami that flings every defense and everything I thought I knew away like the rubbish it is. And I have to face it and know it for what it is because it is real.

At the same time in the next few days I suppose I will try to achieve some kind of normal - hard to imagine how that is possible. I do feel stronger today and like I can do something besides lie in bed. This could in part be because I ate a real meal last night for the first time since lunchtime on Friday. After we were done at the clinic I told Mr. Turtle I really wanted fried chicken so he indulged me and we ate greasy salty fatty delicious friend chicken in front of the TV.  It was the one moment of brightness in the past few days.

How do I go on not knowing if this pregnancy is real, or not, or going to make it, or not, and still be half normal? I don't know.

Saturday 22 February 2014

Letting go

I'm bleeding heavily now. I know this is the end of it. (Update: actually it wasn't....see here and here and here)

At the Urgent Care today, one of the nurses said I just have to trust my body. My body knows what to do. She is right; I just have to trust my body.

I don't want to think of anything. I just want Mr. Turtle to hold me and let the tears come when they have to.

Thank you for your support, and for sharing in those few days of happiness. I wish this wasn't so hard. For me, for everyone.

I'll update when I can.
With love, Turtle

The agony of waiting

Thank you for the comments in last entry. This is so terribly hard.

The ultrasound exam today found a "gestational complex" that they dated at about 6 weeks. However, they could not confirm the presence of an embryo. They didn't confirm there isn't one, either, but they couldn't see it. If there is no embryo, I have a blighted ovum and this pregnancy is not viable.

The beta that was drawn yesterday came back at 7000something, which is consistent with how far along this pregnancy is supposed to be. But it does not, on its own, confirm it is viable.

The doctor that I saw at Urgent Care today said I should come back tomorrow for the second beta, which should confirm if the pregnancy is viable or not, based on whether it doubles. I need to go at about 4pm, and should get the results at about 8 or 9pm, so I have another day of agony to look  forward to.

 I have had light brown spotting today, and now more red blood when I tried to go to the bathroom. My hope is fading.

It has been a difficult day. The lead up to the ultrasound was terrible; first I was in emotional anguish, and then because they planned to do an abdominal ultrasound, I had to drink 1.5 litres of water in half an hour and hold it for an hour. I am not good at holding it. I bawled in agony all the way to the clinic and nearly vomited several times.  And then the tech couldn't see anything with the abdominal ultrasound, so he just said to pee it all out because for the internal ultrasound you need an empty bladder.  Fuck! Of course that's not so easy either; I have to pee about 4 times to get rid of that amount of water.

The emotional anguish is the worst, but that experience sure didn't help.

This is so dreadful. The doctor I saw today was not exactly pessimistic; he said there was still a good chance this is a viable pregnancy. But I am so miserable it is hard to believe in a positive outcome.  I imagine tomorrow will go much like yesterday and today - lying down most of the time due to physical and emotional exhaustion, sleeping when I can, reading or surfing the web to try to distract my thoughts the rest of the time.

Friday 21 February 2014


Today at about 1:15pm, I went to the washroom at work, and saw a bright red streak on my pantyliner. When I dabbed with the TP, there was more.

I wanted to cry. I had no tears. So I screamed instead.

Screamed for about 30 minutes while bright blood dripped out of me. Enough to leave coin-sized dollops on  the TP. Sometimes it would come close to stopping, and then start again. Around 1:45, it stopped and I limped back to my classroom (students were gone home). I found my co-teacher and the tears.

I called Mr. Turtle, and then the Health information line.  The nurse calmed me a little, and said to see a doctor within 72 hours. So, Mr. Turtle and I went to the Urgent Care centre.

The examining doctor said the bleeding was definitely more than spotting, but was not considered heavy bleeding. I have not had any more bright red bleeding for a few hours. Some more blood came out when she did the exam, but it was brown. No clots, no cramps or pain. Well, no physical pain.

The doctor said that 25% of women have bleeding in first trimester. 50% of them go on to miscarry. She could not say which 50% I might be in.

They drew blood for a beta and blood typing.

I have an ultrasound scheduled for tomorrow. The requisition says "Possible Ectopic and Threatened Abortion."

I am trying to stay calm.  I know there are so many varieties of utter misery I could be experiencing right now. I'm trying not to look it in the face.

Any prayers. Or hope, Or anything. Or virtual kleenex for ugly cry.

Tuesday 18 February 2014

A few deep breaths, a few awful confessions, another day

Thank you so much for all the kind comments on my last entry. I love that you told me you are happy for me, because I still can't quite manage to be happy for myself.  But I am, I think, managing to keep the terror at bay.

My latest panic was over the fact I took 2 doses of Ad.vil in the last 24 hours. Dummy! The one time I didn't google obsessively. I did read the bottle first (nothing about pregnancy).  I have developed a somewhat nasty cold in the past 5 days. I took the first dose because I am in the habit of taking it for colds (it's one thing that actually helps me). The second time, several hours later at night, I took it because I woke up with dreadful sinus pain and that was what my fuzzy mind told me to do. But when I googled Ad.vil this evening, I learned it is "not recommended for pregnancy."  The risk during early pregnancy is very low, if indeed there is one. It was also a one off dose (not like I'm going to take it all the time). But it's still not recommended, and I wish I hadn't taken it. OK, universe, I promise, I won't touch any OTC medicines again with a ten foot pole. Please continue to give me a break here. Please.

I took another ClearBlue this morning, the one that calculates how many weeks.

So according to ClearBlue I've been pregnant for about 3 weeks. That fits with my calculations, and it did make me feel a little better for the moment because for the test to give me a 3 weeks+ time frame, the HcG levels must be rising appropriately. That seems kinda reassuring. On the other hand I wonder about what other dreadful things I've been doing in the past 3 weeks that a pregnant person shouldn't have been doing. (You know, all that time when I didn't have the nerve to TAKE THE TEST.) The occasional cup of coffee. A glass of wine on the odd evening (But not in the last 2 weeks!). Not being relaxed.

 But, um, in the big picture I think mostly I've done OK. I've taken my folic acid pretty religiously the past months. Also have been on low dose aspirin since the beginning of January (that was directed by the Fertility Clinic.) And I picked up some pre-natal vitamins today.


The Fertility Clinic called me back. As I suspected, they said "Congratulations" and to call my family doctor. Since they didn't actually get me pregnant, at least not in any pre-meditated fashion, I'm not under their care. Should we need them again (please not!) our referral stands for a year.

My appointment with my doctor is on Thursday. He will do a test to confirm the pregnancy, but from what the receptionist said, it's another pee test. Maybe he'll do a blood test too.  I'm OK with seeing my doctor instead of The Fertility Clinic, if only because he's a lot closer to my house. It's a major operation to get across the city to The Fertility Clinic. But I worry about not getting the same attention to detail from a regular doctor as from a fertility doctor. I want to be analyzed obsessively like the medical freak that I am! Or maybe I don't, I don't know. It would be nice to be reassured that I'm the most boring, ordinary pregnant person ever and will be that way for the next 9 months.


I found this website quite a while ago, and for a while it was my favourite reading during 2 week waits. Then, when the months of disappointment stretched on and turned into a double infertility diagnosis, I started avoiding it. I'm letting myself look at it again. It's amazing. It describes in detail and in pictures exactly what is going on at each stage of development.

Here is the first week of pregnancy.

Next, 1-2 weeks

According to ClearBlue and my own estimates, I should be somewhere around 2 - 3 weeks.  All that is hopefully going on inside me right now.

If I tune out everything and just pay attention to my body, I think things are going fine.

Any suggestions for what I should ask my doctor on Thursday?

Any advice for other things I should be doing (or not doing)? I know, no OTC medicines, I got it now!!!

OK. I ramble, I know. I don't know what else to do or say.


Love and best wishes to everyone.

Monday 17 February 2014

Lightning Strike

No, I haven't been actually struck by lightning.

But I might as well have been.  You may know where this is going. If you want to stop reading, please do. If you can stand to hold the hand of a girl who's got the shock of her life, oh God please do.

To be perfectly clear, here's my (abbreviated) history. Although there's far more mystery than clarity here, believe me.

This was supposed to be an IVF cycle.

Day 1 was December 31st, 2013. I went off the BCP about Day 2, I think.

Day 5 I started Suprefact.

Day 7 I started Gonal F, Menopur.

Day 13, first scan and blood test. No response. 2.5 mm lining. Two follicles, barely visible, 1.9mm.

Day 14, last shots of the fertility drugs.

Day 15, last Suprefact. Second scan shows no change. No estrogen was produced. Cycle cancelled. I went off all drugs.

Day 26 (11 days after cancellation.) I thought maybe I had signs of ovulation. So, well, we did our thing. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. (sorry about the melodrama).

And until about 15 minutes ago, I lived one weeks-long mindfuck. Which was sometimes enjoyable, sometimes not. I called the Donor Egg IVF coordinator a couple of weeks ago. I was ready to register for the program, but when our house was burgled we cancelled the credit cards. So, I put it off. Then The Period was a no-show. Put it off some more.

Then I just couldn't bear the thought of a BFN. But couldn't bring myself to register  for Donor Egg IVF without either a Period or a BFN.

Then finally I just couldn't bear the thought of continuing to live in this twilight zone.

So. Today. I found the courage. To test. With ClearBlue.

The plus sign popped up in no time. Thanks ClearBlue for not keeping me in suspense.

Oh My God.
OH MY FUCKING GOD. (That was said reverently, I assure those of you that are religious.)

I took the test, and the ClearBlue flyer to Mr. Turtle. "Tell me I'm not hallucinating."

Mr. Turtle stared, and assured me I wasn't.

Mr. Turtle is giggly and happy. I think. I'm so shocked I can't even take in his feelings right now.

I'm terrified.  Now that I've taken the test I don't know if I'm any better off than before. Before this afternoon I was just a bit weird. Now I'm so. freaking. terrified. And still weird, probably.

How the hell did that just happen? And what the hell do I do? I don't even know anymore.

If you got this far, thank you. Thank you for the lifeline back to reality.

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Not drowning, just waving.

I think.

Goal for the next few days: Gain some perspective.  I've been in kind of a distorted mental world lately, although it's OK; sometimes you need to turn things upside down, mix them up, pull them apart, and/or throw them up in the air and see where they land to figure them out.

The next few days are Teacher's Convention followed by a long weekend. Teacher's Convention is two days of speakers and workshops that we can choose from to learn and grow professionally and/or personally. I am looking forward to it. As usual I have not made any plans in advance of what speakers I will go see (I did note some possibilities this evening). I tend to skip the "famous people" and the crowd pleasers and go to sessions  that are a bit off the wall. I like to be challenged to perceive things differently. Or just rest my brain.

I'm also not planning on going to any sessions early in the morning. Self-care. I've been so tired lately. I'm starting to have a personal resentment against my alarm clock. I despise its beep.....beep....beep.....beep...beep..beep..beep..beep..beepbeepbeepbeepbeep sound. I am annoyed at it for interrupting my dreams even if they are annoying dreams.

What's new this convention is that myself and my colleague (who has also become a lovely supportive friend) are co-presenting a session. We are going to talk about making a plan for students with disruptive behaviours. Everything is ready  to go and I am excited. I hope we can help some people who are in challenging and stressful situations. I wanted to try some new things professionally this year without at the same time committing to anything high stress (cause dealing with infertility and treatments, duh!). This presentation is part of that plan.

Wishing health, peace and happiness to everyone wherever you are and whatever you are dealing with. Such a huge range of emotion on the Archipelago these days.  It reminds me that you just never know what hand life will deal you.

Saturday 1 February 2014

New day

January is my least favourite month of the year. I had hoped that perhaps January 2014 would be different. That it would be the month IVF worked. That it would be the month I stopped stressing over too many things. That I would look back on it as the time good things started happening. And many good things did happen. Taken altogether, I don't want to wish away any of my life; it's too precious.

Still, I'm hardly going to look back on the events of last month with fondness. Things could have gone differently, but they didn't, they went how they went.  And I won't pretend to be past it yet; I was doing pretty good with moving on from the failed IVF, but then the burglary happened and the feeling of fear and personal violation has made it harder to cope with the other challenges, too. Nothing has changed in the rational analysis of things; we have a path to walk and we are ready to walk it.  But in the past few days I've had a lot of emotions; my appetite has gone down, and I tire easily.  I think what I'm doing right is recognizing and asking for what I need, day to day, and also accepting that every day is different. Maybe I am upset one day for an hour, but the next day, the morning is great. And then in the afternoon things are hard again but I need something different from the previous day. So it goes.

Yesterday my co-teacher gave me a crocus, and a card where she wrote this poem:

"Be gone January 2014!
You cast cold, dark shadows into undeserving lives.
But after today, you are no more.
The sun's rays are gathering strength
Reaching into sorrowful corners
Lightening, brightening
Renewing with the warmth of love."