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July 2005
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August 2005

Quick! You Tell Me

Alas, no Miracles or even miracles over here today. I guess I must have been nurturing a tiny flicker of insane hope all this time because when the ultrasound was so conclusively blah I instantly became very very sleepy. This must be my defense mechanism. When in doubt, like a marmot, doze.

But we don't have time for my personal revelations. I need your assistance, instanter. We need to decide whether or not to travel tomorrow and I could use some anecdotal ectopic evidence to sway the vote one way or the other. I will accept: your own ectopic experience or that of a close friend/relative/co-worker. Or something you saw one time in medical school. Or a program you watched half of on the Discovery Channel, I guess. It doesn't matter. Just gimme something to work with here!

This is the dillio - the gestational sac grew about two days since last Friday. However, there is still nothing obvious inside it. No fetal pole, no gestational sac, no debris. So they are not able to say no, absolutely not, no, it is not ectopic. But I have had no pain, bleeding or spotting of any kind. I should be about 7.5 weeks and there is nothing to be seen outside the uterus either. I am waiting for today's hcg level; I will post it when I get it.

My OB said that they feel it is most likely not ectopic. However, she said that the safest course of action would be to stay home and come back next week for another ultrasound. She said she would be happy to write a medical order for me, or not. It is up to me.

So I am doing what I always do and I am handing it over to you.

Do ectopics ever just spring out of nowhere and cause mayhem with no prior symptoms? Should we stay home?

PS I would rather just stay home but I feel incredibly guilty about this fact (we have not been out to see my brother in five years AND my mom is flying out too) and am afraid my disinclination to travel is coloring my decision-making ability.      


Doesn't Deserve A Title

When I let too many days go by without writing here I start to suffer from performance anxiety when I finally show up again. I feel like I should have been using the time off to come up with something really good- something so funny it will make your monitor shake or so moving that half the keys on your keyboard will melt in sympathy.

Heh.

Um.

Look, if I twist this piece of aluminum foil like so, and then around again, and then pinch it here and here... a swan!

Nothing, absolutely nothing, is happening down under (hmmm- a new euphemism for my reproductive orgams? Australia?) although I will be leaving in twenty minutes for another ultrasound. We are supposed to go to Seattle tomorrow but my OB said I am not going anywhere until we have some clue as to what is going on with me. And mine. Thus, the repeat ultrasound. Also, I have no lists made, no clean clothes to pack and nothing to put in a backpack to keep Patrick occupied on the plane should we travel. I will worry about that this afternoon though. I am cool like that. I take long'ish airplane trips with three-year-olds with nothing but a light laugh and a box of raisins. Really.

However, right now I am busy mulling over the medical situation. As usual I have over-thought the possible ultrasound outcomes and am still not sure what we need to/want to see. I mean, yes, certainly, the Hail-Mary-Come-From-Behind-5.5-Week-Sac-With-Fetal-Pole would be splendid, but failing an out-and-out capital M Miracle, what will enable me to get on the airplane without whispering to the stewardess ("Hi. If I start screaming and the center aisle floods with blood like Amityville, would you ask the captain to fly me to Johns Hopkins?")

Beats me. And as Steve would point out (because he is loathsome), it doesn't matter what I WANT to see, my inclinations will not change anything so what is the point in fretting over it?

Later. Details. More aluminum origami. Also, perhaps, photos. It will be my version of a Clip Show.


Shimmy Shimmy Pow

Hooray! Huzzah! Zippideeday!

We are mostly certain that the pregnancy is in the uterus. I say "mostly" because she was not able to absolutely, categorically identify anything in the sac she found (one that was most definitely not visible on Monday, near the top, measuring 4.5 weeks or so) but she was pretty sure there is the beginnings of a yolk sac in there. Also there was nothing visible outside the uterus and none of the fluid or anything that generally accompanies an ecoptic.

So we have moved the ectopic threat level down from orange to bluish-mauve and I clicked my heels as I sang my way back to my car. I cannot think of the last time I had an ultrasound I enjoyed so much.

In sum: yay!

I mean, not to horrify you but did you know that most early ectopics are treated with methotrexate and that a methotrexate injection means that one cannot drink any alcohol at all for a whole month afterwards? Julie told me this as I was walking out the door to my appointment and I almost spilled my drink in my consternation. The olives went everywhere. I am not generally an overly spiritual person but I cannot help but think that it was this vital piece of information, combined with the vibrations from your most excellent chanting, that finally prised the embryo from its fearsome hiding place and shook it into the uterus. I dodged a serious bullet here, people. I am still clammy from the scare.

Oh and please don't ask me what the ultrasound means beyond the fact that it is probably not ectopic. I have no idea what it means. None. I tried googling "hcg after ivf with pgd not remotely doubling but now sort of doubling two weeks later probably not ectopic but pregnancy measuring two no i am not kidding two full weeks behind." Google had no idea either, but thought it sounded weird and obviously doomed. I can only concur. 


If This Keeps Up I Might Be Nominated For The Homecoming Court

Hey! Hi! Hello!

I know my silence has probably seemed brooding but actually I have been busy dispatching actual, corporeal social obligations. Every millenia or so the planets align for a microsecond in such a way as to bring my popularity to dizzying heights and apparently this is My Week. I have had TWO lunch engagements, a shopping excursion and a dinner/movie invite in the past three days alone. And just for me. None of this bring the child/ we would love to see Steve nonsense.

So I lunched, and then lunched and helped a woman who I am shamelessly courting get her almost-four-week-old-twin-girls to nap and today went shopping for stock pots with a neighbor (well, I needed an enormous stock pot, she was my sidekick) and finally took a raincheck on the movie.

Patrick peed in his underpants four times today and the last time I went to put on a replacement pair he said, "We need to talk." I said, "Um, ok" and he said, "ZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA!" really, really fast. I said, "Patrick, my love, that is marvelous and we are very very proud of you but would you mind pulling your pants down before you pee and, dare we hope, could you maybe then scoot on over to the potty first?" To which Patrick replied, "OK. Also, 10987654321!"    

On the bright side we were attempting the potty thing in order to allow him to go to preschool and he is a veritable camel outside the house. He is 100% accident-free no matter what the duration or distance, just so long as we are not home. Home, he feels, is where you go whenever and wherever you feel you need to go. Which I guess is true. IF HOME IS A BARN.

I got a blood draw break for a few days and only went back today for the followup. My hcg level is now 1486, so probably/almost high enough to see something by ultrasound if there is anything to see tomorrow. I have one scheduled for 1pm and, in case you were wondering, what we are rooting for is to see that misshapen, never-going-to-be-a-baby sac squarely in the uterus. It is a simple wish but it comes from the heart.

As always I prefer to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and not mess with Mr. In-Between. By which I mean: Steve has a balanced translocation. We have known this for six years. I have already lost eight pregnancies, one even after IVF with PGD. The odds are not in our favor as we try to have a second child. We know this. Actually we do not just know this, we believe it. We accept it. And we try anyway because it is worth it to us and because we have decided that we will only try for as long as we can be happy while we are doing so. And I don't just mean happy when things are hopeful, I mean happy today, right now, when I either have an ectopic or a pending miscarriage. It is sad, it is disappointing but we, Steve and I, are fine. We have lovely lives. Yes, we would like more than anything to share those lives with another person. Hell, we would love to share it with two or three more. But we are no longer grieving our inability to have children with ease. We are just living and soldiering on. And, to the best of our abilities, we are doing so with all of the joy at our disposal. Which is all we can do.

Ultrasound tomorrow. Repeat after me: in the uterus, in the uterus....


Monday Monday

Well the ultrasound was pretty conclusive... it's not twins.

[Wait for the laughter to die down}

The ultrasound tech was unable to find anything definitive in the uterus. She was also unable to find anything anywhere else either, although I am not sure what she expected to see. Has google taught us nothing? Embryos lodged outside of the uterus (you are staying where? oh my DEAR! that's practically in the country!) can rarely be visualized until they are big enough to, say, drive. Or explode. Until they are T-H-I-S big. Before that, who knows.

She eventually found a little dark something roundish near the cervix that she measured (I am assuming for lack of anything else to do- hey, it was my nickel and I obviously wanted her to DO something) and it weighed in at 4 weeks and a day. She acknowledged that it could be an itty-bitty gestational sac (with its bags packed, all ready to go) or maybe just some fluid (wine, if I had to guess.)

Then she handed me my underpants, the other nice lady drew some blood and they mutually promised me that my doctor would call me later (she was out delivering a baby, naturally.)

In the due course of time I heard from both my local OB and my RE at Shhhhhhhhh grove. My OB told me that today's hcg level was 771 (NOW it decides to double almost appropriately, HA!) and she talked about ectopic management. She said that she would like to repeat the ultrasound in a week, but if the RE's office would prefer that I am seen sooner they are fine with that too. She said that they are here to support me and I confess I got a little weepy. I have had a few crappy doctors in the past and I must say that regardless of the circumstances it is delightful to be working with someone who is as smart and accessible and compassionate as she is.

Anyway, the RE called and I was unable to find any of the cordless phones anywhere in the house as they rang and rang and finally went to voicemail. It was rather similar to some dreams I have had, although my teeth were not falling out. The voicemail said that the hcg level was 771 and it was lower than they would like to see at this stage (am I the only person who finds this funny?) He went on to say that he would like to talk to me about the ultrasound findings. Then he hung up, leaving no number, the sneaky little minx.

So I have no idea what they think I should do. I will find out tomorrow, I suppose.

I am reluctantly compelled to admit that the probability of an ectopic pregnancy seems more, um, probable. Which means that the likelihood of Sputnik hitting me on the head has increased exponentially as well. You might want to stand over................................... there.

In my next life I hope I manage to come back as a cockroach. i rather fancy myself as archy.


Monday

I am pleasantly optimistic that today's ultrasound will show a small-for-dates, faltering pregnancy in utero as opposed to merely hinting at a perfectly sized, killer ectopic lurking somewhere in my dark recesses. I admit, though, that the scientific reasoning behind my optimism is specious; to wit, it is not possible that I could be that unlucky and yet have lived thirty-three years without being hit by a meteor. Not even a meterorite. Nine genetically abnormal pregnancies (give or take, let's say five and throw in a few blighted ovums and/or run-of-the-mill chemicals for good measure) I can believe. I can even embrace this theory, as it is a well known fact that we are a veritable Freak Factory over here and what's another chromosomal whoopsie, PGD notwithstanding? But eight and an ectopic? No. I won't believe it. Besides, no spotting. No pain, tenderness, or discomfort during sex or kickboxing. The smart money says the embryo is where it should be but with x's for eyes... Mesdames et messieurs, faites vos jeux!   

There you have it, the Power of Positive Thinking in action. I will, naturally, come back and tell you all about it.


Put A Fork In Me

Today's beta was 294.

Sooooooooooooooooooooooo, the good doctors delivered a nice long speech on the warning signs for an ectopic and requested that we try an ultrasound and blood draw on Monday. They also said that I can stop the meds, which was nice to hear because I, uh, stopped almost a week ago.

Not sure what else to add right now. I am fine, still disappointed that this went badly and now leery that every twinge is the beginning of an unprecendented explosion in my nethers, but fine. Once upon a time we were told that we might have difficulties having children. Another miscarriage or two and I just might have to believe them. Ho ho ho. I kill me.

So, how are you?


The Little Beta That Could

My father-in-law is arriving any second now but I promised I would tell you what the latest hcg level is and my promise is a sacred, unbreakable vow (I mean, unless I meet another internet I like better in which case, you know, sorry, and it was fun and all, but you knew we were never all that serious to begin with.)

...................226

To recap:

12dp5dt (17dpo) - 52

14dp5dt (19dpo) - 64

17dp5dt (22dpo) - 132

19dp5dt (24dpo) - 226

Yessir, we are setting the world a'fire.

Personally I continue to think this entire dealie is totally, utterly, irrevocably hopeless. Or "fucked" as we like to say here in the forest.

Back later. Kisses.


I Bought A Few Things And Actually I Do Feel Better

Oh, I am so sorry. I was not hiding from you after depressing beta results, I swear it.

Don't get me wrong, the latest beta numbers are depressing (132- so, that is what? doubling but in 3 days and a laughably low level for this many days past transfer anyway? something grim) but I was actually quite busy last night and today due to a spurt of shameless consumerism, largely related to Patrick's new bed. Also, my father-in-law is coming tomorrow and the house is a disaster and we needed cheeses. And a shower curtain for the new bathroom. Some wastepaper baskets. A duvet cover. A sofa, two chairs, and a bench for the living room. Pillowcases to match the duvet. And a rug, of course, our rug guy finally found us a living room rug we love. And one for the dining room as well. But, apart from that, the shopping frenzy was really all about the child.

We have decided to ease Patrick into a bed after three happy years in his crib because.... um, to be honest I have no idea why. He likes his crib. He is safe in there. He is almost too big for it (hey! did I tell you that Patrick has suddenly grown to the 90th percentile for height? I feel this somehow validates my theory that I am actually much much taller than I have appeared to be and am understandably thrilled) but he is not yet. So what's with the bed? I dunno, frankly. But we bought it [new purchase] and it was delivered this morning and it looks adorable in his room. What with the little alphabet sheets [new purchase, internet] and the wee alphabet pillow [new purchase, internet] and the alphabet quilt [new purchase, looooooong drive]- just darling.

Aesthetics aside, the trial run at naptime went thusly:

1:02 - Finish reading last story. Give Patrick the option of sleeping in his new bed or his crib. Patrick opts for the new bed.

1:03 - Leave Patrick with his head resting on his pillow, eyes squeezed shut, two hands meekly folded across Bear's middle. Feel suspicious.

1:04 through 1:06 - Linger outside of his bedroom but hear nothing and go back downstairs.

1:09 - Get shock of a fucking lifetime as I turn from unloading the dishwasher and discover Patrick an inch away from me. "Hello," he says brightly, "You got up."

1:10 - Deposit Patrick back into his new bed. Explain, again, that he must stay in bed and it is time to go to sleep now.

1:16 - Walk by Steve's office with laundry basket and discover Patrick and Steve companionably side-by-side on the couch in there. Explain to Packy that he must. stay. in. his. room. Explain to Steve that if he is not part of the solution he is part of the problem. Remove child. 

1:22 - Patrick opens door to the bathroom where I though I might, possibly, be able to pee in private for about half a second.

1:23 through 2:12 - Mostly a blur punctuated with Patrick popping from the most unlikely places like some sort of hobgoblin and scaring the spleen out of me.

2:13 - Patrick re-discovers joys of sleeping in his crib.

Tomorrow, of course, is another day. I suppose it will eventually sort itself out, right? Speaking of tomorrow I will be going for super-exciting blood draw number four in the morning. I WILL post the results as soon as I get them. I wish I had given you my guess as to what Monday's beta would be before they called last night because then I could have awed you all with my uncanny ability to interpret the darkness of home pregnancy test lines. I estimated a beta hcg of 138, I will have you know.

Ummmmmm, tomorrow's will be... not sure yet. Just shy of two hundred perhaps?   


La La La La

Hi!

I am running out of material over here, I'm afraid. Or rather, I am running out of new ways to approach the same damn thing over and over and over and... well, you know. So, um, have I tried the "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the weekend" approach yet? Oh. Right. I remember now. How about "Do you want to hear what I bought to make myself feel marginally better"? Really? That too?

Do you want to watch me do tricks with string? Shall I recite "The Highwayman"? I have been thinking about taking up painting, largely because I need one (a painting that is) and I just haven't found anything that spoke to me. Oh! No! That is not true, either. I just saw a fabulous sketch-on-board that Annigoni did for his Margot Fonteyne portrait and it most certainly spoke to me. What it said, however, was "Steal me" because regrettably it is hanging in the dining room of neighbors. Anyway, failing a foray into art theft I was thinking why not just paint my own? My mother pointed out that I have never displayed even a modicum of artistic talent. In fact, she noted, I can barely dress myself, but I think I was just thwarted creatively as a child. I believe that all I need are a set of paints, a few linen canvases, some good brushes and a studio and I will be good to go. I will be the tenth muse lately sprung up in suburbia.

I am still waiting for today's blood test results. I am not sure why I am even interested since I am certain the hcg has gone up again and I know I am still screwed and yet I keep carrying the phone from room to room with me. Bizarre.

Steve enjoyed his xbox party very mucho and I guess they are all going to form a Cub Scout troop together or something. The Margarita Neighbor... well, let me give you a hypothetical here. What would you make of the following sentences, presented back-to-back: "I consider myself fairly conservative" and "I mean, we don't recycle." Is recycling a cornerstone of the Liberal Agenda? Is the wily-nily mixing of reusable materials with unsalvagable garbage part of Compassionate Conservativism? I guess I could maybe understand "I consider myself fairly conservative" partnered with "We do not grow our own hemp" but... help me out here my little Bushites and/or Kerryvores. Isn't this a WEIRD thing to say? I mean, hypothetically. Also, TWICE?

Still no call. I could call them but I hate to seem needy.