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July 2004
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August 2004

I'm OK

First of all, thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you for the messages and the posts and the emails. Thank you for the compassion that oozed out of my computer all weekend. I actually spent this weekend alone (I’ll get to that, although short version: Steve = Jerk), so your support meant even that much more. Here’s an Almond Joy for each of you, unless you don’t like coconut in which case I also have three different kinds of Kit-Kats (actually, seriously, does anyone want these white chocolate ones? They are disturbing,) Peppermint Patty Bites, Peanut M&Ms, and Hershey’s Miniatures. I have lingering morning sickness (why? WHY?) so the thought of wine nauseates me (where is Big Chief when I need him?) Chocolate, by default, has been the vice du choix around here.

So, the bad parts:

I was so nervous before she started the ultrasound that my legs were shaking. The nurse had trouble inserting the wand, so help me, as I was shimmying like an unbalanced washing machine. Hey! You know those beds that vibrate for a quarter? You know the kind of motels you can find those beds in? You know why people go there? Well, it was sort of like that but I am not in high school anymore and it wasn’t Fun.

Steve wasn’t there and I couldn’t see the screen, so I watched her face. I knew within half a second that there was no longer a heartbeat by the way her mouth tightened. She went to get another nurse who was “more used to this machine” and asked if I wanted to hold the wand while she stepped next door. I sure did! At least, for about half a minute, I was able to live my dream of giving myself the damn ultrasound. Have you ever waited and waited for the Big One and looked at the machine and thought, “I could take a quick peek right now. How do you fire this puppy up?”

The other nurse couldn’t find the heartbeat either but she kept saying that maybe she had the wrong angle. Nurse Original suggested about fifty times that she measure the embryo while Nurse Pinchhitter dithered. Finally she took measurements and we were a week short. She suggested a higher resolution ultrasound at the hospital and I shouted “Oh Dear God NO!” or something like that. Call a grape a grape here, people. Be brave, I can take it. But they kept spouting silly possibilities until ultimately I was the one to break it to them gently, “I’m sorry, but in the absence of expected growth and no visible heartbeat I think we can safely assert that this pregnancy is over.”

I went home and crawled into bed and cried under the covers for about an hour. Then, in no particular order: Patrick developed a high fever and vomited all over himself and the car; Steve left for the weekend; I woke up at 4am and started worrying about an escape route for Patrick if someone breached our surprisingly elaborate security system (inherited from the whacked-out paranoiacs who built this house- think gates and alarms and sensors EVERYWHERE like a Pink Panther movie- but actually kind of nice when Steve is away) and never slept again; Patrick was so overwhelmed by love for me as we cuddled and tickled in my bed that he brought the back of his head smashing down on my mouth and split my lip in four places; and the power went out. Which means we had no water and Patrick could not watch The Red Balloon.

Quel weekend.

I am embarrassed to tell you that Steve decided to keep his weekend plans, which involved an out-of-state tournament. One wants people to think that one has nice hair and a deevy husband but you would have to be a complete fucking moron to believe a deevy husband leaves his wife with a sick toddler and dead embryo. What can I say? Steve has many wonderful qualities but he also has some limitations, empathy being one of them. In addition he possesses a singularly rigid mind and has, ahem, trouble changing his plans. So let us all agree that I am not getting the support from my husband that one likes to see in the best marriages. And when I tell you that I kinda sorta retaliated in his absence by buying a new digital camera so expensive it should have come with a space shuttle attached feel free to click your tongues and pencil “Julia’s Marriage: ?” in your margins. Actually we’re cool, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.

So, overall, I am saddened. We really wanted this baby. I am frustrated by how random it all is. I am utterly at a loss as to what to do next. I mean next as in should I get a D&C and next as in should we try again unassisted or move to IVF or what? Steve set up an appointment to get his sperm tested so we can finally know what percentage is all fucked up. Steve guesses 78%, I am going with 88%. I think I am going to put up a poll on the side here somewhere so you guys can play along from home if you like.

So those are the bad parts from the past few days, but there are some good parts:

More than feeling sad I am feeling… combative. I am feeling empowered, like I would if I knew how to kickbox. I feel like someone just said, “You want another child? Well, HA! No way, never!” and I want to shout back, “Oh yeah? Just watch me!”

I can get through this. I WILL get through this. I am not going to be defeated or permanently deflated by the fact that we have been dealt a reproductive euchre hand of five 9s. I am going to keep trying to have a second child and I am going to be happy while I am doing it. Tra-la-la. So there, genetic mutation.


8

There was no heartbeat.

The embryo had only grown a week's worth and there was no heartbeat.

I am...

I don't know what I am.


Grab A Road Map - I Am All Over The Place Here

I left a message for my OB's assistant this morning asking that she get me in for an ultrasound today or tomorrow.

I don't know what happened. One minute I was the epitome of patience and resolve and the next I was asking Steve if he thought I should wait until Tuesday to get an ultrasound. Then I screamed at him and told him he was stupid (guess what he said? He said, "Yes, you should wait.") I spent last night googling the most ridiculous things, like "ultrasound 8w5d vs 9w2d." Surprisingly, Google sort of shrugged over that one and brought me half-heartedly to a couple of pages where women had written in to say, "No heartbeat at 9w2d. Also, baby measuring 6 weeks and blood is pouring out of my vagina. Should I be worried?" Um, yes.

[WHY isn't my OB calling back? It's been THREE hours. Gar.....]

I have no hard and fast rules about when other people should announce their pregnancies. This is in keeping with my over-arching belief that I should have no hard and fast rules about how other people should do anything.

Originally, Steve and I did not tell anyone we were trying and we did not mention the first pregnancy or miscarriage, despite the fact that his entire family was staying at our house when it happened. We only told people after the second miscarriage when we learned that Steve was a freaky freak and we were in for a hard time. Now when I get pregnant we tell my mom and my brother and Steve's immediate family. It's not so much sharing good news (although of course it is good news) as letting them know that we are about to have a stressful few months while we wait. They are all supportive, in their own ways, and I like having the support.

[WHOO-Hoo! Ultrasound scheduled for an hour and a half from now.]

Changing gears, again, jeez, I realized that I was putting off the ultrasound not out of a practical belief that we will get more information next week but out of fear. I'm scared. This is the big ultrasound. The one that usually goes wrong. I don't want bad news. I don't want to no longer be hopeful. So I was putting off the ultrasound because I was trying to delay feeling rotten. But that's not my way, not really. I am brave like a squirrel and I will face today's ultrasound with fortitude and a bag of Almond Joy.

Oh, man. I have to wait a whole hour and a half.

Quick, write me something to distract me.


Not Much

I am a little hopeful.

As I see it, feeling like death, all day every day, should mean something. Something other than that I am exceptionally tedious to be around.

I have even come up with a positive little mini-analysis:

Four of the pregnancies in which I did not have morning sickness failed, but only two of the pregnancies in which I had morning sickness went badly. Get it? Look at that! Doubling the odds of success, right there.

You can see why my stats professor in business school told me, with tears in his eyes, that it was a damned shame I didn't take up statistics as my vocation.

So I am timidly planning on still being pregnant by the time CVS rolls around in three weeks or so. We need to have firm dating before then (CVS is a genetic test that cannot be done before 10 weeks or after 12 weeks) so I am having yet another ultrasound done on Friday morning. We are right in the thick of my usual time for fetal demise so I am nervous about it. But hopeful, like I said.

Patrick has started saying "I wuv you, Mama/Dada/Nana/Bear" when prompted, so Steve is buying him a Ferrari. He asked for some sparkling water last night and then added a well-calculated "Deese?" (please, of course) causing Steve and me to practically break our legs flying downstairs to get him some sparkling water. "Would he prefer San Pellegrino? What time is it in Italy, damn it?"

He then capped the evening with a phone call to my mom that he began with a cheerful "Hi Nana!" followed up by a perfectly executed "I wuv you, Nana." He told her they would play with beads and playdough when she comes to visit on Thursday (hooray! my mommy is coming on Thursday!) and finally had a perfect dismount with "Bye-bye Nana" at the end. My mom confessed this morning that she was inspired by the phone call to get him just a few more presents. So you can see that we are all really working hard to insure that Patrick stays his sweet unspoiled self with virtue being its own reward.

In case you were wondering what happened to Baby No-Words, I should point out that you need to have a really good ear to understand any of this. Sparkling water is "hah-hing nahnah" and the difference between his words for three (hah) and four (hahn) is almost imperceptible. He can recognize each of the planets now (why not?) but I defy anyone to identify his word for Mercury as such. Still, we think he is amazing and I am hoping he might let me drive his car.


Highlights

Ultrasound (fweu-urh-hrrrl.)
Fetal pole (grrrrr-unnnhhh-krkkk.)
Heartbeat (blerrrr-pppppp.)

Sac big. Pole small. Measuring ability of tech questionable. Heartbeat slow (but appropriate.) Radiologist awful. Nausea never-ending.

Yay.

Gaaaaaaaaaaaa-rrrrrrrr-hummppphhhhhh.


I Vant To Be Alone

I hate to have to tell you guys this, since I know you really like Steve and all, but he was being a total dil-hole this weekend. His best friend was visiting and they were running around yukking it up and drinking seemingly unfathomable quantities of beer mixed with god only knows what else and playing cards until midnight and smoking cigars outside but I could still smell them. This behavior, in and of itself, would have been ok. Heavens knows I was young once and slumber parties rock but unfortunately Steve took it a step too far. He planned an overnight trip on Saturday to go look for owls (huh? yes, owls) in northern Minnesota. This had been agreed to ahead of time and although I probably would have prefered for him to stay closer to my deathbed of morning sickness there was an undeniable appeal to the fact that it got both him and his litle pal out of the house for a while. And I didn't have to feed them.

However, just as he was motoring around filling up his cooler with ice and soda and (presumably) more beer I was overcome by nausea and started vomiting in the kitchen sink. And Patrick chose that moment to grab my knees and pull HARD, wailing "Mama COME! Mama COME!" in an ascending scale of shriek. Steve scurried by, eyes averted, not once but THREE times without even so much as an "Are you ok? Can I get you something?" let alone a "Maybe we should stay home, my wilting flower, and tend to you in your time of need."

I was still throwing up as the sound of tires crunching gravel faded away.

I know! Totally! What a jerk.

I brought this up yesterday after his friend left and he was acceptably sheepish and apologetic. I think he was afraid that if he acknowledged I was unwell then he would have to offer to stay home. And he really wanted to see those owls. Fair enough. I don't think Lancelot would have behaved in the same way, but who knows?

After our little talk, though, he is a reformed character. The delicate sound of my ladylike "Hurk" brings him running from all over the house, clutching limeade and wet washcloths. At first I thought it was sweet but it is already driving me crazy.

"Don't touch me!" I keep screaming, protecting my head from his loving pats.

It sort of reminds me of the plants I have that die the moment I stop neglecting them. I have started leaving brochures around the house, lauding the merits of a Father-Son Around the World Cruise. Wouldn't that be lovely?


Dispatches From The Sink

I am going to make this quick because... bleh-ehwheh. Morning sickness sucks.

I saw my OB this morning. After providing a decorative centerpiece to the waiting room for an hour I got moved to an exam room for another 30 minutes. Then they transferred me to the ultrasound room. I wondered, mildly, if I was going to be playing musical rooms all day without ever seeing my doctor but he finally met me by the ol' black and white Zenith Sonogram2000.

He turned the side crank for a minute until a candle flickered on in the back and we got started. Gestational sac two is disappearing into the mists (bummer) but the gestational sac of interest was nice and clear. Inside was a beautifully proportioned yolk sac and nothing else that I could see. He zoomed around in there for quite a while trying to find some fetal heart tones.

"No fetal pole?" I asked sympathetically.
"Oh there is a pole there I could measure," he replied, "but I cannot find a heartbeat."

He seemed to think this was disappointing but actually I found it quite encouraging. Considering that three days ago the superfancy Firebolt ultrasound machine could not find a fetal pole I think we are heading in the right direction. Add to that the increasing need to vomit multiple times a day and I repeat - right direction. Whether everything goes straight to hell in a week or so, well that is incredibly likely but just this second I think things look fine. Positively rosy.

The spotting disappeared on Friday and I am not worried about it in the slightest. Between the vanishing twin and the aggressive ultrasound I think some spotting was in order, frankly.

The OB also said he was cool with the progesterone at 10.6. I mean, I should take the supplements but it wasn't an immediate harbinger of despair. I knew what he meant. It is low, obviously, but does not mean that I am miscarrying any minute.

Finally, he said we could wait and repeat the ultrasound or I could go to the hospital for a better one. I said Ohhhhhh, UMMMMMMMMMMMM, Welllllll, Urrrrr and then I made him schedule me for a 2:30 follow-up with the good machine.

On the drive home, though, I berated myself for this decision. If there is a heartbeat we know it only started in the past day or two. The heart rate will be really slow and they will say I should come back to see if things are developing. If there isn't a heartbeat then we know it still might start up in a day or so (I think I am 6 weeks tomorrow) and they will say I should come back to see if things might be developing. So I sucked it up and called the OB when I got home. I'll go in Thursday afternoon instead and we'll see what the deal is then. I know- THURSDAY!- way to really wait it out, Julia, but it was the best I could do.

I have other news but typing is making me motion sick. You know, I defy anyone to be all chirpy about morning sickness. I love being pregnant and I will keep doing this until we succeed but throwing up in your own sink over and over again is awful.

Over and out for now.