31 May 2009


So I noticed that the dollar store was out of pregnancy tests -- but listen, if you go and do not see them, ask. Since the next store I went to also did not have them, and I overcame my introversion and asked and they fished them out from under the counter at the checkout.

Last night I used one, and

I think this is cause for celebration of a kind-- a YAY, next time we get a positive at least we will know what it is trying to tell us, but such a sad feeling too-- since, as we all know, I may never see that second line again. 

I've been charting my temperature and fertility friend says it thinks I ovulated right before I saw my D&C doctor last week, and we totally completely and wholly missed the window if that is true. So that feels pretty darn frustrating. I've been testing for LH for two weeks, twice a day for the past week, and have seen nothing more than the faintest of faint lines twice in that time, not even enough to say Here it comes! or There it goes! So I feel a little duped. But, as my wonderful sister says, sometimes it is not so clear-- sometimes bodies give mixed signals and maybe this cycle is not over in that particular way. But I kind of think it is. I will know for sure, of course, if my period shows up in a week and a half. 

I finally got some real sleep friday night, slept until 10 yesterday morning. I needed it. I've been dragging physically, but one of the most frustrating things is dragging mentally.  I've searching for words with exasperation-- Salvage-- see? A word I needed on friday just finally presented itself. Thank you vocabulary center, better late than never I suppose.

When I get under stress, real prolonged stress, I start to get more and more intermittent in my ability to retrieve words from deep inside my head. As my dear friend Tammy says, nouns are the first to go and she is right.  But then, I find it hard to get at any words that matter, nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs... I find myself using "thingy" as an all purpose replacement just so I do not just stand there in frustrated silence. In writing, I can pause and search my brain, and come up with suitable options, but in speaking, the silences are unbearable for me. They feel like they last forever.  So help me if the word "thingy" goes.  I'll be lost.

I took a hike yesterday afternoon-- not my usual time since the trail is always more crowded after early morning, but by then the grass was cut and errands had been run. And it was beautiful and difficult and I just let my brain do whatever the hell it wanted since these days any kind of zen moment of being in the now is really really fleeting. It was nice not to struggle (hmm maybe it was zen). 

I confess I tried to send some energy out into the ether, an invitation to reconnect with some sort of baby energy in the way that I had connected before. But I also know, if I look for a specific sensation, I might just miss the whole thing.  But I am feeling kind of lonely- like I am not sure what I am aiming for-- I mean I know what I am wanting, but it was easier to move toward a specific feeling like last time when I so surprisingly felt that thin thread of connection. 
But for now? Nothing. And I admit this is one of the hardest things.

29 May 2009

secret decoder ring

Hey Pa,

Because you asked:

The language we use to talk about IF (infertility), TTC (trying to conceive) and the treatments is like this secret code-- and so here is the brief secret decoder ring for my stuff-- not comprehensive at all-- just the stuff you are likely to hear from me.

cd1 or 2 or... : refers to cycle day (menstrual cycle day starting with day 1 which is real red blood, aren't you glad you asked?)

Some folks refer to their periods as AF, "aunt flow", but I cannot stand it. I just say I got my period.

2dpo...or 10dpo: number of days past ovulation... ovulation is the be all and end all of some types of cycles

IUI: intrauterine insemination-- good old artificial insemination, but up through the cervix and into the uterus. Timed with ovulation.

D&C-- or D&E-- the thing I just had done where they mechanically remove the contents of the uterus via the cervix-- in "C" (curettage) they scrape, in "E" (evacuation) they vacuum.

IVF: in vitro fertilization-- they take his stuff and my stuff and put in a petrie dish and pray.

So, you may ask yourself, how do they get my stuff?
ok, here's where things get interesting: in the first half of a cycle they try to make as many follicles as possible using stimulation drugs ("stim")-- follicles are little sacs in the ovaries that with luck, will contain eggs. The stim drugs are things like follistim (get it?) and menopur... sometimes they try to balance the GO GO GO drugs with some WAIT WAIT drugs so that ovulation does not just happen-- the WAIT WAIT drugs are called supression drugs or antagonists depending on which way they decide to go.

They monitor these little follicles with ultrasound (up the twozzle) and blood tests (looking at a hormone called estradiol, also known as E2)-- and they look for both # of follicles and their sizes and E2 numbers to assess how things are going and how long to stim. Different clinics have different criteria, but when things are ready, they "trigger" egg maturation with a trigger shot of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). And about 36 hours later if they left everything alone, some number of follicles would rupture, and fling an egg down a falliopian tube. In IVF, about 35 hours later, just before ovulation would occur, they go in and suck them out (no kidding, through the vaginal wall and via an ultrasound guided hollow needle/probe thingy)-- and put them in a petrie dish. Unless, of course, you are me and they go in and they suction nothing out and call it quits. They tell you how many eggs were retrieved that day.

OK then, so then they put his contribution in with mine and pray. Sometimes they do something called ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) where they take a sperm and inject it into the egg, sort of a forced date. The next day they call with the initial fertilization report--how many were mature, how many fertilized. And if all is well, there is something to put back a few days later at "transfer". (If there are more than you can use they freeze them).
Transfer just means they put some embryos back in, but the embryos then need to decide to implant (make a nice cozy home in the uterine lining). No one can make them implant.

Ok-- so far we have:

ER-- egg retrieval, that moment where they harvest eggs from those stimulated follicles
ET: embryo transfer, then they put some back 3 to 5 days later.

In the meantime, since the stim and multiple follicle process totally messes with inherent hormone balances, the woman person is usually on some sort of progesterone supplementation via suppositories or injection (progesterone in oil, also known as PIO). In an ordinary cycle, our bodies make enough so all is well, in an IVF cycle, all is crazy so it is necessary.

Once the ET (egg transfer) happens a new vernacular pops up-- folks refer to the number of days past their transfer like this:
3dp3dt -- 3 days past 3 day transfer (which is different than, say, 3dp5dt-- 3 days past 5 day transfer).

Since the ER day (retrieval) is reallly the "ovulation" day, add the first number and the second to get the number of days past "ovulation", so 3dp5dt is 3+ 5 = 8 so it is 8 days past mechanical ovulation...

And about 9 or 10 or 11 or 12 days after ovulation, one pees on a stick (POAS) to see if one is currently pregnant.


The other likely option is IUI (the artifical insemination option)-- this can be medicated (stim drugs like in IVF, trigger like in IVF, but insemination at 36 hours instead of egg retrieval ER), triggered (monitored and then a hCG shot and then IUI) , or just an IUI based on at-home hormone monitoring with ovulation predictor kits (OPK)-- in which two lines appear only when there is an LH surge (lutenizing hormone which indicates imminent ovulation), then IUI is done the next day.

If medications are used (and sometimes even if they are not) progesterone supplementation is used here too.

Other options?
Timed intercourse (sorry)-- use the OPK (ovulation predictor kit), look for the surge (lutenizing hormone surge indicating imminent ovulation), have sex, pray. At my age this is a fine idea, a nice end to a nice day, but is highly unlikely to result in a baby.

2ww: No matter what, the time between the act of egg retrieval, or IUI or timed intercourse and the time when one can reasonably expect to see a positive pregnancy test result is called the dreaded two week wait-- 2ww.

Other things we folks who are TTC do to amuse ourselves-- BBT, basal body temperature-- checking my temperature each morning with a special thermometer (with hundredths places)-- before I get up, before moving. Pre ovulation temps are low, post ovulation temps are higher, and would remain high in pregnancy. Drop just before period comes.

And then there is cervical mucus (CM). No kidding. It changes throughout the cycle but gets very eggwhite-like around ovulation to faciliate sperm swimming upstream... so we can get a sense of what is happening by paying attention to that too. But fertility medications often mess up temperature taking, and mess up mucus. So, sometimes this is futile.

The most likely scenarios for me since I responded so poorly to the stim medications, made only a few follicles, and had that empty egg retrieval-- we will probably do medicated (stim and triggered) IUIs-- and if enough follicles materialize we can convert to IVF. By far IVF has the highest rate of success, but clinics have a minimum amount of follicles they want to work with, since not all will result in an egg, not all eggs will be mature, and not all will fertilize, and then not all will make it to day 3 or 5.

And just because it is possible in the future- DE means donor eggs (doing IVF with eggs retrieved from a young and healthy egg donor), it can also mean donor embryos which means someone made more than they are going to use, they've been frozen, and are available for a FET (frozen embryo transfer).

Oh and the whole hCG thing I am dealing with now-- since I was pregnant, that little embryo created a whole shitload of hCG-- when one is first pregnant and pees on a stick, that stick is meant to sense the amount of hCG in the system caused by the embryo-- if you have two lines, you have hCG being created inside for some reason-- so, then they follow with a blood test to quantify that hCG-- called a beta test-- and that number, ideally, needs to double within each 72 hour period. It if is really low, and/or if it does not double well, it may mean that something started, but is not going to last. This used to be called a chemical pregnancy, but is now considered an early miscarriage.

hCG takes time to build up, and it takes time to come down.

So right now, I still have enough in my system to turn a pregnancy test pee stick "positive"-- but it is on its way down and soon be back down to normal for a non pregnant person, somewhere under 5.

So, there we have it.
ART (assisted reproductive technology) TLAs (two or three letter acronyms)-- WTF.

Love you,
your very own Kate

28 May 2009

ghosts walk

At 4am in late May the sky is only light enough to see the barest outline of trees, it is a deep dark gray with the heavy clouds of a rainy morning. It is still and quiet and I lie in bed and feel my breath move in and out of my body, feel the weight of the cat on my feet, feel the weight of my worries.

4am is a time when, as my friend Michael used to say, ghosts walk.

It is a time I often wake and find myself thinking in crazy foggy circles and ghosts walk through- the ghosts of past choices, decisions, situations, ideas, wishes, dreams... and ghosts of my current struggles, the ghosts of my future wishes, fears, worries and the things I want most of all that scare me too.

I am not quite as stuck as I sound, I am just in the back part of my spiral, the one where I circle back, reassess, and blunder about in regret. But I move through again, I always do. I move through and forward again and say hey! Look at me! Moving forward! And for a time I do. And then there is a pause at the apex, then a slow retreat that takes me not back to where I was exactly, but close enough to make me think I've gotten nowhere. Disintegration, reintegration. Sometimes these cycles are quiet. Sometimes they roar.

So damn I am tired today and heavy hearted and I just feel so off. Fitful sleep filled with dreams of seeking and losing, and misunderstandings and forgetting. In real life I feel that way too I guess. At least right now. Not so much with the forgetting, unless words count, names for things. As my dear friend Tammy says, nouns are the first to go.

This afternoon I see the D&C doc for a follow up, I leave in less than an hour for that. I am scared of course, hate the invasion of the rummage and search. I worry about whether I am ok. Hope my body is healing well (no more spotting, hurrah). Worry she will give me the results if any from the tests on the stuff they suctioned out. Am worried about the emotional toll of the return to that place where I saw the screen, learned the news, first confronted the fact of my loss. I am usually so glad I am associative. I love connections that skip and jump through my head when I think of things that remind me or lead me from this to that to this other thing over here. But this same gift of association screws me sometimes. It links THIS PLACE with THAT EVENT and only time and new associations will let me off the big emotional meat hook.

I just want everything to be ok and to be through this and healed in body and trying again (and succeeding please)-- but the emotional side, yeah, well... I want to have an open heart and not live in perpetual paralyzing joy stealing fear of never getting pregnant again, of this not working and if it does, all that can go wrong. But I do not know how to do this. Being this old does not give me the options I want. I want time. I do not have it. And that sucks rocks too.

Good news update: I am relieved as hell that is over with. I did not cry.
My hCG is 65, my body is healing very well, and all looks "normal"-- she says wait until a period before trying again since there may be inflammation from the D&C still, but I also heard her say "looks like preovulatory cervical mucus" and what the heck do I do with that? My TTC self knows one thing, my cautious scared of fucking up self knows another. Hello Dr. Google.

27 May 2009

pieces and parts

Heartbreaking news from Mo and Will-- gosh darn.
I hate the inherent unfairness of this. I've spewed about it in a few comments here and there so will not do it again here, except to say- I wish this were more simple. Any of it. All of it. I wish wishing were enough to make things possible. And for those of you who are pregnant after IF or just pregnant the good old fashioned way, please do not question whether you deserve it, or if you cheated somehow-- know how important it is for us to know it is possible. And how wonderful to celebrate when this all works!

Sending BIG Love to Joannah, who finds herself in a different sort of battle these days-- her beloved is in the midst of a serious health scare that is humbling on all fronts.

I want to send love to all of the partners in California who had the rug ripped out from under them yesterday- for the simple act of wanting to marry. I will never understand this, and please do not flame me. No argument will change my mind. I just want to say that Love should be celebrated, since if we all just lived more from a place of love and in support of love rather than hate or ignorance or fear, life would be better for all of us.

Speaking of love, I know I don't speak of him often since I feel his story is his to tell- but I want to send a shout out to my sweetie. He has a blog he is quiet about and only updates on occasion, but he wrote his own perspective of our loss last night. One of the most difficult things about the miscarriage is that we both fell apart. In so many couple situations when one partner is in crisis, the other can be there to support-- but in this? For the first while, we sort of collapsed inward in a heap. He has mourned with me and I am grateful. And he has become my rock and I am grateful.

And me, I just came back from an hCG draw. Three cheers to the doctor who side-stepped protocol in support of my highest and best (also known as the remnants of my frayed sanity) and who understood that I need to see numbers. I need data. I need evidence that things are ok.
Tomorrow I go to my post D&C checkup where I expect I will be thoroughly rummaged.

I ended up hiking again this weekend, Monday morning. Sans dog shit, sans mosquitoes. No trauma, just a hike that left my legs shaking.

I asked my darlin' if my belly was back to my pre-pregnancy normal since I simply cannot tell anymore and he said yes. So, there you go. At least something is. Blues nipping at my heels these days and my footing sure feels uncertain. Gray and rainy today which feels heavy and raw.
Oh wait, that's me.

24 May 2009

whip, thorn, sliver

Today I hiked for the first time since my pregnancy- last time the snow was knee-high in places, and today the blueberry bushes are all in bloom.  It was just a few months, but it feels like forever.

God it was hard hauling myself up that first uphill (it always is, it always kicks my ass). But today, heart pounding in my ears, I just hiked. I went farther than usual, turned because I did not want to be gone long enough to worry anyone, but I felt I could have just hiked and hiked and hiked. Mosquitoes are rampant right now, the black flies seem to have faded early (usually not until mid June but I am not complaining)-- but they did not bother me until I was on my way back down.

On my way down, I noticed a cairn had been vandalized into a firepit that was filled with broken beer bottles and a half melted styrofoam cooler,  so I fished out the cooler fragments to carry down with me.

Then the mosquitos found me.
And then I stepped in dog shit, and with the immense nooks and crannies in the soles of my hiking shoes, that means I was able to spread it onto my other shoe too before I noticed.
Then, as I walked the short walk back home, swarmed and smelling, I noticed a puddle of antifreeze on the road. So once home, I asked for help and we walked back with cat litter and a bag, something to scoop, and got up as much as we could.

But the walk was transcendent although I sucked at staying in the moment. My brain just pingponged around. But I noticed things- I heard the wood thrushes, and saw the blueberry bushes in bloom and the tiny starshaped wildflowers that grow so low to the ground. And I felt good. I really did. You know, until the firepit and the dog poop and the mosquitoes and the antifreeze.

I am not sure what to say today about my heart. Grief often brings up past grief and regrets, and suddenly I am facing old losses small and large, as if I have opened the well cover and "the stuff I don't want to deal with" is all right there, waiting, just where I left it. Heartaches, even ancient ones, seem to be stopping in. Visiting hours and all that. And the most frustrating thing is that there is nothing to DO to resolve them. People are lost, opportunities lost, moments lost. But I tell myself, a wild rich life is being lived anyway. By my heart, ahh my heart, knows how to hold grief and knows how to wield regret like a whip or a thorn or a sliver.

I peed on a stick (sundays, wednesdays), and the line is still as dark as it was on wednesday. Goddamn it.  I see the D&C doc on friday for the follow-up. I know I need to just ask for a blood test. I just don't want to have to. I want to ask for more than one day's worth of hCG levels. I want to ask for my prolactin level (I am still off the dostinex for my prolactinoma, and I do not want my level to rise to the point where it makes things impossible).  I think I will ask my RE's office for these. Yes, I decide, I will.

I am testing for LH each day and have not had even the faintest faint LH line since my one faint one. And my temperature is pre-ovulatorily low. It has just been over two weeks so I know this means nothing yet, but as I said, patience is not one of my virtues.

And I am realizing that I would have been at 11 weeks, nearly 12. Would have been. Nearly out of the woods. Yeah. I swear I can barely imagine that now.

One of the things I miss is the obsessive checking on each week's embryo development, you know the "your pregnancy at 6 weeks" (peeking ahead to 7).... seeing what was next for sprout, what was next for me. As a sciencey person, my complete lack of outside reading about this amazed me. I did not research pregnancy, bought or borrowed no books, was content with 2 paragraph summaries about heart chambers and fingers.

And now I can hardly believe I was even pregnant. It feels impossible and dreamlike. 

Last night it rained so hard it woke me up, even before the thunder and lightning-  I closed windows, staggering through the dark house, trying not to stumble over the cat. I lay in bed watching and listening, while my body tried to drag me back into sleep-- wait, I said, I am not done yet, but I watched the lightning though my eyelids, and listened to the rain and the wind and the thunder and fell back asleep faster than I wanted.

As Sprogblogger so wonderfully put it, in the "Three cheers for the “sometimes this works”" category of things to celebrate, let me be among the many to congratulate Mo and Will on their positive after IVF#5. Holy moly, with extra points for tenacity-- CONGRATULATIONS. Tomorrow they get an idea of how things are going with another blood test. I find I am praying to whatever gods might be listening: Please, just let this work.

23 May 2009


Thank you Jen Lemen for your beautiful artwork, your wonderful writing, and your big big heart.

22 May 2009

wisdom -1

So my wisdom tooth was taken out today- taking odd advantage of my non pregnant state to get it done and over with, 
and I have to say, I am a Big ole chicken about things like this. But today? Almost no anxiety- just wanted it done. And I have to say I wonder about the life I leading that something that would have had me in a blind crazed panic just does not even register on my life trauma Richter scale any more.

One less thing.

And me, now I have a gaping hole in my mouth with raw edges to keep my tongue occupied. 
And the bruise on the back of my hand in a new place, next to the bruise that just finished fading from the D&C. 

I've had the opportunity to read some blogs lately that deal directly head-on with the experience of miscarriage-- one a recent entry about a loss several years back-- and one written about a miscarriage back in 2006, but a really honest account of what not to say that nearly broke my heart. 

I admit I have not been seeking stories-- I have been googling pregnancy after miscarriage, hCG levels after D&C, I have not been looking for shared pain, or affirmation, or anything that brings me back to the realization of what happened. BUT. The universe is a strange place. 
It might not give me what I want, but sometimes it gives me exactly what I need to hear. I stumbled on one post, was given a gift of the other-- and I am so sad to read them but so glad I did. It is hard to explain what I mean, I guess. It sounds awful but it is affirming. Someone else said it, experienced it, felt it, and there is such relief in the "yeah, me too" feeling of it.

But oh how I fight against it. With busy-ness, with near amnesia of forward thinking and planning.

See, I am a coper. I cope. Once the worst part of initial grief has passed, I press on, I look forward, I want to be ok. And when grief surges, I feel cheated-- Hey! I was ok! I was all, look at me, I am COPING!  But yeah, coping and grieving can coexist. Coping does not mean grief is done having its way with me. Today marks 2 weeks since the D&C.  It feels like nearly a lifetime. But it isn't. We all know how long 2 weeks takes. It can be a blink or an eternity.

And now as I wait for my body to equilibrate, I wish I had a window into what is happening in there, will I ovulate this month, when might I bleed, can I get on with it or do I need to wait. Is my cervix closed. Am I beyond the threat of infection.  

Ahh patience. I suck at you.

21 May 2009


I peed on a stick and it was lighter and I felt my heart sink even as I was glad to see that what needs to be happening is happening--so afraid that once that line is gone I will never see it again. God this is a complex emotional quagmire.

I also started LH testing, and there was nothing at all yesterday, and the faintest of faint lines today- it is a whispering message from my body that perhaps my hormones are beginning to kick in again.

Still spotting, sometimes not much, sometimes too much, but nothing alarming. Just persistent. I am ready for it to be over.

Yesterday I saw someone whom I last saw when I was pregnant and I had quietly told her since she knew I was trying-- and her face lit up when she saw me and quickly asked how I was, and her face fell when I said not good. She knew right then. After a hug, and my saying those crazy words that make no sense to me about losing the baby a few weeks ago-- she told me stories of friends who've had miscarriages, and who went on to have beautiful healthy twins, and one who had a miscarriage and was not able to get pregnant again, and....

I think this particular loss is so intimate (they all are, I know, but this one seems more private than most) that folks carry stories with them, not sure how to process them, or who to talk to-- and then there's someone who understands! and there is a flood. Yes, it is hard, I said. Yes, I am so happy they had a successful pregnancy! (I truly am) and Oh how I ache for the person for whom that was their only experience of pregnancy (playing to one of my biggest fears).

I wonder if that is why this community is so precious, it keeps us from having to hold our stories. We can share them and hear back, Yes, you are hurting and Yes you are going to be ok in ways you cannot imagine right now. Yes this is shitty, but Yes good things can happen.

18 May 2009

ironies and intermittent wisdom

Today I have been thinking a lot about the ironies of this whole journey-- the wishing upon wish for the two lines to be there, holding breath, praying... then on this particular flip side, wishing upon wish for there to be just one line. No I did not pee on another stick. I know better. This will take days and weeks, so whole strings of days can pass in between-- so unlike pregnancy testing. It feels downright unnatural that I could/can wish so hard for something to be there, and the miraculous beginning it indicates... and then wish so hard for it to just be gone, so we can begin again.

Then there is the belly. I honored it tonight in yoga, dedicated my practice to it, sent healing energy to it during savasana. 

I prayed for pregnancy and tried hard to love the belly as it started to grow (I was having trouble loving it, in fact I was really uncomfortable with it and now I feel like an idiot), and now here it is, here it is still, and I am trying hard to love it as it is. And oh man, I am having a struggle. I know it will get better, but right now? Now it is just a reminder of what we lost. I am trying to look at it as a safe place, a nurturing place, a place of abundance and warmth and nourishment. But mostly, I am trying not to hate it and all that it represents.

I am slowly reading Tolle's "The Power of Now" and it is reminding me of how wise I used to be, of all the things I used to know, of the parts of me I used to trust.  It is an amazing reminder of how I get in my own way, create my own chaos, and the energy waste that comes from chasing myself in circles.

Ever have a sore tooth? And you stick your tongue on it over and over in some weird masochistic obsessive compulsive, still hurt? yup. how 'bout now? yup. And now? Yup. sort of way.

I do that with thoughts and feelings. In meditation I kept thinking of painful things, and kept reminding myself of the now. Right now I am healthy and getting healthier. I am bringing energy into my body. I am rebuilding. I am recentering. But my brain/body kept taking me back to the painful things. I went back and forth, back and forth, like waves curling over one another.

There are so many blogs that I follow and love, so many pregnancies I am celebrating, so many folks struggling to get their elusive positive whom I support with all my heart. Praying for their second lines, their burgeoning bellies.  But in spite of my desire to be able to be here for the folks I have bonded with, I admit that there are a few blogs I cannot visit. Dear Cady was just a few days ahead of me. I ask her to forgive me for not visiting anymore, it is just too painful-- not her success, but my "failure".

Still hurt? yup. how 'bout now?

17 May 2009


Hello again,
I am back from my journey and found that in the few days away, my body healed more than I had expected-- still spotting a little on some days, a lot on others, but the cramping intensity and frequency is way down -- now just momentary twinges and pinches, and my belly is no longer sore (thankfully). It is still bigger than it was and that still hurts my heart-- but I also know that I am still in the midst of hormonal soup, it has just been 10 days into this healing cycle.

I tested tonight, peed on a dollar store test strip and yes, hCG still registers in a definite second line. The second line is not as strong as the control, but it is not the ghost faint of early pregnancy either. So I will test again in a few days. I realized that with 5 $1 tests hanging out in my cupboard and more where they came from, I can test every few days and watch the line fade as I need to.

My soul and heart? Well, this sucks.
The quiet times of driving and of waking in the middle of the night are really tough, so my drive back today I played music LOUDLY and sang along to all I knew and I found that even then, since music is inherently evocative, sadness would seep (or rush) in. But it helped more than silence to circumvent the roar in my head.

With all of that, we have a plan. I will test until the line fades. I will do my 20 strip ovulation test kit and see if I ovulate this month (I will start friday I think-- 2 weeks past the D&C)... and if my body is up for it, if I am no longer sore at all, if I have an LH surge, we may just simply try.

Listen, I know conventional wisdom says wait 3 cycles. But I also know that is not necessarily based in my reality.

I am 42. I cannot wait for grief to fade. I do not have the relative luxury of that kind of time. It is just what truth is. I cannot waste a cycle if my body is ok. If it isn't, I have no problem waiting one cycle (one)- I trust my body in this way, I do. I trust it to tell me the truth about this, and I trust myself to listen.

When we found out our bad news that horrible day, we had driven separately-- I thought we would see a lovely little 9w embryo and would drive back to our workplaces happy and smiling. Instead we made our way home alone in our separate cars-- a long drive, nearly an hour-- but during that time through our shock and horror and new grief and gulping tears, we both decided in our hearts that we wanted to try again. That is what we want. So by the time we got home, and we fell onto the sofa to try to cope with the immensity of our changed situation-- we also talked and talked and talked about the future and what we hoped we could do-- and we both admitted we knew we wanted to try again as soon as we were able.

We see the RE in June, on the 8th. We will talk about what he might agree to do through his clinic--since as you may recall, he said he was done after our last IVF-IUI conversion. I want to talk about medicated IUIs that might be converted to IVF if enough follicles are ever on board.  And after that/along with that we will decide whether to take advantage of the CCRM option-- they have our records and are willing to schedule a free consult via phone (we live in a state where they cannot charge)...

But right now, it seems there is no harm in just trying when my body is willing. At least we know success is theoretically possible and that alone makes it worth a shot. And my heart tells me it is ok with that.

13 May 2009

just me

This morning when I woke up, I realized as I stayed very still that in that moment I felt remarkably normal. In that moment, my body felt like mine. No cramping or twinging or soreness or tenderness or heaviness. Just me.
I did not want to move, I just wanted to stay just.like.that all day long.

My hour of acupuncture last night was incredibly challenging. Lying there, head and heart roaring and a lump in my throat, I asked if he could use the "pith" point so I would not lie there torturing myself and he patted my shoulder and put in a crown point. For an hour I tried not trying but that did not work- my brain just brought me back to sad things and images and wishes and whatifs... Then I tried to bring my mind back to healing, over and over and over, like herding feral cats with ill intent (the cats, not the herding). I tried to open myself to rebalancing. Tried to relax. Sometimes when I am lying there, it feels I am holding myself up on my heels and the back of my head and it takes an inordinate amount of effort to let go.

yeah. that.

I am having a hard time not marking time-- a week ago today, or this would have been 10 weeks, or...
I am trying very hard to say this is day 6 of my in-between cycle. Somehow reframing this away from the pregnancy and on to the next step of rebuilding my body for whatever comes next.

I am off on business trip these next few days. Luckily it will be mixed in with sister love tonight and saturday night, and a fine dose of cousin love on friday night.
I will check in when I can.

12 May 2009

roaring and flailing

Wisdom tooth extraction scheduled: May 22nd
Follow up appointment with D&C doctor: May 28th
Follow up (shameless begging) with wonderful RE who was 'done' after last IVF failure: June 8th

My body feels pretty much like crap- lungs and neck are better from the breathing machine over-inflation, I am only spotting now, and not much of that at all (pantyshield level). But the cramping is persistent, and my whole middle begs for loose waist bands and gentle kindness. I cannot imagine poking it, or resting it on the sink edge, or sucking it in to hide the sad non-bump-bump. And if I walk much, the cramps are worse. It is SO HARD TO LISTEN TO MY BODY when it is telling me what I do not want to hear.

I am only a bare few days into this, I know. And healing takes time, I know. I do know.
I also know I am impatient to physically feel more like myself again in some way. Two weeks I tell myself, two weeks. Two weeks and then my body will be more healed. My chemistry should be re-equilibrating. This doc does not test for hCG but I am going to ask for that next week anyway. Next week and then the week after. Under these circumstances I want to see it become 0. I want to know we are clear to start again.

I woke this morning in the middle of a dream- of a wolf puppy that was going to be destroyed. I was carrying the puppy in my arms, knowing that this precious and wild creature was going to die for no good reason but other folk's fear and lack of knowledge. And I was crazy with grief at the thought of losing it and the waste of a beautiful life and something that I already loved so dearly.

Yeah, thanks subconscious for the artful subtlety.

I did receive the dreaded (but correctly anticipated) "oh honey, this is how nature takes care of its mistakes" comment today. Duly noted. Thanks so much. Bite me. Luckily I had imagined it would come, so my guard was up. And I let it wash by with a whoosh.

Ok, on the subject of my heart which I am somewhat avoiding- I am not sure what to say. I am trying to be gentle with it. It aches terribly. It makes sense that it is aching. I wanted this more than almost anything, and I still do.

Waking is the worst part, remembering.

11 May 2009


Yesterday I spent swallowing down advil and grief
cramps in waves and my body making sure I knew that my lawn mowing was off limits
and that horizontal was the orientation of choice
and that stillness was preferred

but see, I suck at this. I am better at warp speed, busy, moving, avoiding.
To stay still means to be with this. And this, This is more than I can handle.

Finally I fell asleep sometime late afternoon, and woke in the thick of sadness. And pressed my face against the chest of my sweetie and just sobbed. I hate it. Hate the sadness, hate more the reason for it. Hate the fact that there is nothing I can do about it, nothing I can take action against, nothing I can change by effort or knowledge.

And once again I am so thoroughly aware of the fact that this Science is not all that. It is also so much luck. Odds. Dice.

Damn it.

Yesterday I wrote of the hope for gentleness and acceptance. And what I meant was, I wish I could stop fighting against my own reality. This is my truth right now. It is. It also happens to suck. But acceptance does not mean a warm embrace. It means that the energy I am putting into fighting this and wishing it weren't so can maybe go elsewhere. A grand idea, an Ideal, but I am not done fighting this yet. I can tell.

I generally have two main modes of operation for things that scare me or that hurt: avoidance (my personal favorite), and finally, confrontation in spite of fear. I avoid until I can't, then I run at it yelling with my arms waving (sometimes just roaring and flailing).

In this case, what can I avoid? Grief comes anyway. As does the cramping reminder of changes deep inside. The fatigue of pregnancy has given way to the fatigue of sadness and body-hurt. There is no long term avoidance. I can stay busy, be "fine", act as if all is ok. But it does not change that it is not. The upwellings come, and I am nearly paralyzed with sadness, and then they go, and I am functional.

I know I need to wait. I suck at this part too. I am not patient. I am not that kind of resilient. I want to be fine. And I know I will approach that as time goes on, I know. I know my body will stop hurting and my early pregnant belly will recede, and somehow I will get my period and we can decide what the hell we are doing.

But my self? My kateness? Bruised almost beyond recognition, and I am SO PISSED OFF that my constant vigilance, my guard being up, my worry, could do nothing to cushion the blow. Of course not, I know. It couldn't. I know that too. And I also know I will do all of that wasted worry again should I be so lucky. I am sure I cannot help myself, especially not now.

I also realized, should I be so lucky, I will probably never look at the ultrasound monitor again before someone else tells me things are ok. I never want to see something that bad again.

So today, advil, stillness, focused attention on the work that piled up fast while I was gone.
There is momentary avoidance built in to this busy-ness, but then there it is, unavoidably, sitting with its dirty feet on my couch: hello grief. One sugar or two?

10 May 2009

sweeping out the house

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

From Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks

Trust me, I am not so evolved that I can even imagine welcoming them all in, never mind the laughing. I do not even think it is remotely possible, but I get it.

It is hard to imagine pain as opportunity and yet...  I know that sometimes, this turns out to be true. With loss sometimes comes the chance at a new beginning, a different beginning, a different and perhaps even better outcome. But Oh! how hard it is to remember this from the thick of it.

Today I am wishing on all of us gentleness and acceptance of where we are, and wishing us all "some new delight" after all of this darkness and all of these struggles. 

09 May 2009


I feel such immense gratitude to you amazing people.
Thank you to my internet friends who have asked for folks to come by to offer support- and to all of you I do not know who took the time to say hello and send you sweet wishes for healing- Thank you so.

I hate how many of you have suffered losses, and OH how I celebrate those of you for whom this whole crazy thing has somehow worked or is working. And how I love those stories most. It gives me such hope.

Yes, yesterday sucked ass. It just did. It started badly with a horrible time before I inserted the magical cervical opening drugs- feeling to the very core of my being that I was destroying something precious. And it took all I had to just do it anyway.

The morning passed with emotions coming and going, and cramping starting up slowly, slowly strengthening. But nothing awful or unbearable except the knowledge of what was happening, what had happened, what needed to happen that day.

The ride to the hospital. Opening the door to surgery. The waiting. God how hard. And then, finally they called my name. The weigh in, the questions, the gown, the clothes you put in a bag knowing you will not be the same person that you were next time you put them on, the net panties, the monster pad, the IV, the anesthesiologist, the wonderful doctor, the time passing so slowly...
finally it was time, and by then I just needed to have it over with.

And I had asked for the kind of anesthetic that would make sure I would not remember anything. And I don't. Except the crazy weird compound lights on the ceiling of the procedure room that reminded me of insect eyes, and the piles of stuff in there like a storage closet but bigger, then waking to intense cramps and the relative bliss of fentanyl. 
I slept in 5 minute intervals for a half hour, maybe more, and finally they let my darlin in to be with me. I cannot imagine his purgatory of waiting.

I got home last night and slept for over an hour, passed out on a book on the bed, not moving. Then I had some food, then slept again- got up 5 times in the night to pee (thanks to that amazing IV hydration I am sure).

Woke today not dreading the day- since the worst in some ways has happened. I did not find out today, I did not have to have a D&C today. Today I did not need to lose any dreams or have anything bad happen to my body. Today I just needed to make it through moment by moment. 

I called my mom and visited with her which was blissful. She is wonderful company to me always, and today was no different. We hugged, and even laughed some, and talked and talked and talked and had quiet thoughtful times. She said that when she was having kids, a doctor once told her that if a pregnancy was going to work, there was almost nothing you could reasonably do to mess it up. But if it wasn't going to work, there was nothing you could do to change that either.

I was afraid I would feel physically empty after the procedure, or when I woke today- but I just simply ended up feeling less full. A subtle but critical difference for me. The side that feels bad is really my heart. 

I know this will take time and have horrible fits and starts-- I really do. As I said, I am familiar with grief. We have met before. 
But what scares me most right now is that we may not be able to get pregnant again. And I can imagine myself drowning in that if I am not careful.

There are beautiful things happening right now- there are. The sound of rain hammering on the roof. The scent of lilacs that my mom gave me. Right now it is thundering the first thunder of the season, the low grumbling rolling kind, that moves in circles against the hills.

07 May 2009


Oh internet world and real life, thank you for your immense outpouring of kindness and support. I know that if love could heal all wounds, I would be whole.

After a night of hard window-pelting rain and very little sleep, I met with the doctor very early this morning for our pre-op discussion and examination. The D&C will be tomorrow afternoon. 

And I simply could not stop crying.

I am familiar with grief. I know how it moves in like heavy fog and swallows whole, and I know the teasing moments where it rests and light comes filtering in and it feels like maybe things will be ok, but they're not really ok, and in it comes again, resurgence, weight, unbelievable sadness.

And there are levels of grief here, for the pregnancy I thought was progressing (recent belly expansion and other symptoms I was told were just reactions to residual hormones), but mostly grief for the "baby", the potential person that I felt I was carrying.  And there is this other immense weight of knowing, at my age, that we may never get this far again.
Oh how I dread the feeling of empty that will come tomorrow after the procedure. 
I feel somehow as if as long as it is still inside me, I am still pregnant. Which I am not. And I have not been for a while. 

Through the tears of imagining LOSING the baby tomorrow, I have had to remind myself over and over and over that I already have. The baby is already lost. This little one only measured in the 6th week during yesterday's ultrasound. Meaning my miraculous ultrasound where we saw the heartbeat took place right before it stopped becoming.

But this is the horror too-  knowing I have been carrying a dead thing for more than 3 weeks, imagining it growing, healthy, alive. And I know it will be better for my body to let it go. 
So in some ways I want to just do this thing.

But I know tomorrow will just suck ass in every way- physically, emotionally, spiritually. I wish on myself a day that marches forward with quiet deliberateness, where things are orderly and get done as they need to, no drama, no surprises. 

I can say this: I know I hope to be pregnant again, for longer next time, say, a nice even 37 weeks...
but next time, I hope to revel more, to go ahead and wear those maternity pants, to go ahead and dream big, and touch my belly and wonder more and worry less because by worrying so much, and in not trusting or believing that it was truly happening, in some ways I missed it.
I am not sure it will ever happen again. But if it does, even though I may be skeptical and fearful and scared out of my wits that things will go wrong at any moment, I promise, in ways I was not able to this time, I will revel.

06 May 2009


it is
I am
we are...

I am broken.
Waiting to hear when they can schedule a D&C.

05 May 2009

one more day

This particular incarnation of the dreaded two week wait is almost over-- tomorrow we finally do the ultrasound. I am hoping it will be fine, show things just as they need to be. And that we will make it through the screening and testing lectures with our integrity intact.
So here we are, finally pregnant and unlikely to achieve this again, what the hell would we do with information that said we have a problem? I know what I would answer if I were doing this alone. But I cannot say it is the same answer for us. The US part of this changes everything.

So my belly has not continued its crazy expansion-- I swear I am doing this in fits and starts. The cramps are times of construction-- then there are times of peace. This weekend was a time to get bigger, now I am coasting for a moment. I am perfectly fine with that, it was pretty abrupt and I am not ready to be out at work. I work at a company of 9 people, mostly men, so it is not as if a body change would go unnoticed (hey everyone, kate has breasts!), and it is unlikely it would go unremarked. So far so good. If you don't touch my belly, I am still looking pretty much like me.

In an attempt to acknowledge that my body might actually have changed a little bit, I finally broke down and tried on some low waisted maternity jeans this morning that came in the mail yesterday. Surprisingly comfortable, and kind of a relief to be honest. My real life jeans are not tight at all, but where the waistband sits is just not that comfortable anymore, kind of a low grade irritant... so it was great to have a moment of ahhhhhh. But then of course I took them off, put on a pair of pants that fit fine (with some stretch thankfully)...and I tell myself it is because we have customers in today so it is not a jean day, but I know better.

Yesterday I finally told a few friends. One immediately shot back a note saying that it is customary to wait 12 weeks before sharing. Yes, yes, I know I know. But these folks are close to me and I was hoping to rustle up some of my real life people for little pieces of support and encouragement and maybe even some excitement since I seem to access that best vicariously. But that admonition kind of bit, a hand slap, and I felt embarrassed like I had broken protocol. As if somehow there were not enough to think about.

And I admit I feel some sort of broader shame/embarrassment/vulnerability I am wrestling with-- yesterday (yes, a big day) I went into a consignment shop specifically for kids and maternity clothes, and felt like an interloper. I felt like I was in a sex toy shop. Shy shy shy shy shy and not so certain I should really be there. It is NO surprise I am an on-line shopper for most things most of the time as I do not like the act of shopping in real life... but this new layer of whateveritwas, not helpful. NOT. Feels like shame. (WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK?)
I hope I can get over it and simply settle in.

03 May 2009

carbs and cream cheese

I so love Jen Gray's post (the link in my last entry) I almost don't want to add an entry---
but I will, of course.
My sister is visiting this weekend with her boys which is balm on so many levels, even though I am so tired I am more newt-like than spry.

My belly is feeling and looking thick and pouchy- I look bloated, and, as my sister said, like I've had a few extra cheesecakes. It is funny since my weight is the same.  The tiredness remains profound. The blue has been blessedly distant and dim. Cramps are common, especially at night....and the queasy puts in enough of an appearance to remind me that all is not as it was.  I hate the taste of water unless it is hot or warm. I am blissfully free of the debilitating "morning" sickness that so many people have, and I am so lucky. But I admit, I am having a hard time with food in general.

I think I might have already written about this-- I had some food sensitivity tests back in January-- and have been off of all wheat, eggs and dairy since then-- I already had food limitations after a lifetime of colitisy stuff and some limitations by choice from growing up on a farm. So these new limitations basically took away all I was used to eating- bread, cheese, pasta, eggs in various forms and combinations...

Of course I dropped  a quick 10 pounds and felt lighter (ok except for my new cheesecake belly) and miss those foods with a longing that can only be described as pathological.

But, I feel so much better- only one colitis attack since removing those new things from my diet- one. And that one was the day of my IUI where I felt nothing but distress and anxiety beyond what my body could handle. Otherwise- I have been so much better it is undeniable.

I am used to managing my colitis by food limiting based on testing and verification through elimination diets  (no onions, no broccoli, cabbage, corn, kale, or anything related. no beans of any kind except tofu (not edamame). no peanuts. no flax seeds). I had limits from my farm upbringing: no red meat, no pork. Nothing I would not be willing to kill (of course under duress).  And sadly I've never liked fish and seafood. Ok, except for lobster which I love but it is hardly a staple food. 

But even with all of those limitations, there were so many other things I loved so much I did not really miss the things I was avoiding and I avoided them for years and years with sufficient improvement to keep me avoiding them. But I still had colitis, often, sometimes very often, so I also took peppermint oil capsules which helped a lot, Inderal which helped with situational anxiety which sometimes helped my belly. But there was enough going on early this year-- colitis, infertility--to warrant retesting.

Since then it has been a challenging eating time between my previous limits and my new ones. I have found some substitutions- rice pasta for example. But oh I miss real pasta. I miss baked goods. And oh I miss cheese. Sadly, even soy cheese has casein in it (one of the milk proteins I am supposed to avoid). Gosh I miss pizza. 

Here is what I want- thick slices of homemade bread with blackberry jam, or a slab of cheddar cheese.  I want to eat a bagel with a block of cream cheese.  I miss toast enough to feel teary and nostalgic. Oh snickerdoodles.

In these past few weeks I have had a really hard time imagining what to eat. My interest in food has fallen off. But I promise am eating really really really well. I eat a lot of chicken. I eat a lot of rice. I have plenty of salady things. And have been eating fruit. But while I am eating well, I am not eating happily. My only cravings are for unsafe foods. 

I need to say I love food. LOVE it. I'm a food lover from way back. Food brings me pleasure and joy and it is the oddest thing to feel so meh about it. So Eh. So so whatty. Not so muchy. I am not used to food just being fuel.

In my natural state I am such a wheat-based carbivore. With a liberal sprinkling of sugar, butter and cheese. This new world is like being in salad-land, wondering how the hell I will curb my craving for cream cheese. But since my belly already looks like I've indulged in multiple cheesecakes, maybe it is better this way. Maybe it is better that these things are off my list. But gosh darn, how I miss them.