Category Archives: 2.0 Pregnancy

How do you measure a year in the life?

Yesterday was a year since it happened.

I didn’t realize it until the late afternoon, when E. and I were walking to swimming and he was telling me about the Valentine’s Day breakfast he was going to make, and I suddenly remembered where I had been the day before Valentine’s Day last year.

I was sad, for a moment. But it passed.

I am healing.

I will measure this year in love, not loss.

Breakfast, made by E.

Breakfast, made by E.

 

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Filed under 2.0 Pregnancy, Grief, Loss, Three's Company

2014: A year of endings

Today I submitted the final version of my dissertation.

My university no longer requires hard copies, so it was a relatively simple matter of uploading the PDF and filling out a few extra details. It was made a little more interesting by the fact I realized late on Sunday night that today was the very LAST day on which I could submit the dissertation without having to wait until January and register for another term (even though the university doesn’t shut for Christmas until the 24th). So that led to rather a lot of e-mails between myself, my supervisor and the chair of the examination committee, and then a lot more e-mails between myself and the graduate program assistant. But it all worked out in the end- the link came through this morning as promised and it took me less than ten minutes after I’d started the process (including a couple of minutes spent waiting for my computer to load the 398 page PDF so I could just double check it was the right version).

Anyway, I am, for all intents and purposes, done my PhD. Convocation still lies ahead, and I may well have to dress up in robes and prance across a stage (even though I would rather take the degree in absentia) because it would be good for my program to have tangible proof that PhDs are finishing. We’ll see. But the PhD was finished in 2014. That’s how it will be counted.

Two other things ended in 2014.

My second, and last, pregnancy.

And my hopes for a second child.

We had our follow up appointment with our fertility specialist last week. Q. was able to go as well because my sister was in town (not the one who lives in the same city- she was overseas- but the other one) and kindly agreed to look after E.

It was uninspiring.

I wasn’t surprised by this.

I had taken the time to type up all of the details of our two IVF cycles (culled from this blog): # eggs retrieved, # mature, # fertilized, maturation rate, attrition rate, etc. It made things much easier when it became obvious that he hadn’t reviewed our chart in any way before meeting with us.

He was 90 minutes late. This was apparently due to a crisis in the OR, but the man always runs 90 minutes late so I can’t see why they bothered to give us an explanation. It meant we had to endure a very long and awkward conversation with my favourite ultrasound tech who must now hold a managerial position in the clinic. She spent much of it trying to convince us to change our minds.

Both she and Dr. L. told us that it will be difficult when E. gets older and starts asking why everyone around him has a brother or sister. They told us that we won’t be around one day and it will be better for E. not to be alone.

This was, frankly, insulting. I can’t believe that anyone would come to that clinic having decided to end treatments and yet somehow have failed to consider the repercussions of such a decision.

Dr. L. really, really didn’t want to let us go. He started making suggestions: a short-protocol IVF. Putting back three embryos.

I don’t want to have to selectively reduce.

When I got home I did a bunch of Googling and discovered my gut feeling was right- short-protocol IVFs are NOT good protocol for PCOS patients. We need long and slow to get good eggs.

I think he just suggested it because it would be ‘easier’ on us- less time at the clinic. I don’t think he really thought about whether it would be the right thing for my particular set of issues.

He danced around the subject whenever Q. tried to ask him a question about success rates and numbers. I wish my sister could have come with us as she is better at hard questions and would probably have been able to better pin him down.

I came out of the appointment conflicted, but I wasn’t once the dust had settled and I had some time to think.

I just don’t trust my f/s enough to do another cycle. I’m tired of the chaos of my clinic. I’m tired of his perpetual lateness. IF we went back, I would ask to transfer to another doctor, who is always on time and who always remembers me when he sees me. But we’re not even likely to do that.

I know what we will not do, under any circumstances, in building our family.

We will not move to another clinic and start over again. That ship has sailed.

We will not adopt.

We will not use donor eggs.

We will not use a surrogate.

We would probably do another IVF cycle, with the other doctor, if E. were still two, or if our insurance covered procedures and not just medications, or if our province actually funded IVF like they have been suggesting they will, eventually.

There are circumstances under which I can see us trying again.

But those circumstances don’t reflect our lives as they exist today.

And so 2014 is likely to be embedded in my memory as the year in which things ended.

Some good.

Some bad.

But all of them over.

I hope it lets 2015 be a fresh start.

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Filed under 2.0 Pregnancy, Grief, Life after the PhD, Lonely Onlies?, Loss, PhD, Second Thoughts, Siblings, Three's Company

Not a birth day, after all

We wish you were here.

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Filed under 2.0 Pregnancy, Grief, Loss

Adjustment

My ravens are less noisy now.

They don’t shout at me quite so often.

I don’t catch them speaking through my mouth as frequently.

They’re still perched there, black, hunched, brooding.

But they’ve had to be quiet. It was too exhausting otherwise.

Most days now, I am ok.

Most days I do not cry.

Most days I do not think about what might have been.

But when the reminders come, the pain resurfaces.

We had lunch with friends while we were in Oz. They have a daughter a year younger than E. They’re due again in September.

They’re due when we should have been.

The woman on my birth club, the only one of the three of us who didn’t lose her September baby, posted a selfie the other day. She was giant and glowing.

I logged out and remembered why I had stayed away from the birth club for so long.

I feel like I am ok, like I am coming to terms with things, like I am moving towards a place of acceptance of the fact that E. will, in all likelihood, be an only child.

And then I am forced to remember that it could have been otherwise, and I am reminded that, deep down, I’m not ok at all.

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Filed under 2.0 Pregnancy, Anxiety Overload, Grief, Loss, Second Thoughts, Siblings

Beating wings

I have ravens on my shoulders.

Thought. Memory.

Those are ravens from another time. They belong to a god, not to me.

Anger. Anxiety.

These are mine, now.

My constant companions.

Whatever I meet in my life, whenever something asks me to take notice, while I am hesitating, gauging my response, deciding how to engage, one of them croaks a reply, breaking the silence, claiming the moment. There is no room, it seems, for me to respond.

I realize during a short car ride that E. has grown again and that now there is no longer an inch of shell above his head. We have to turn his carseat around.

Anxiety.

E. is full of pent-up energy after another cold day spent largely inside. He is running laps of our upstairs hallway, wants me to count off every one, negotiates to an agreed upon conclusion then refuses to stop. I need him to go to bed and he is not listening.

Anger.

E. is coming down the stairs, as he does multiple times a day, always safely, always holding on to the bannister, and I cannot shake the feeling that he will slip, stumble, tumble head first down all fourteen of them to the unforgiving hardwood floor below.

Anxiety.

Q. is sick, really sick, with real flu, not a Man Cold, as sick as I have ever seen him in the eleven and a half years our lives have been intertwined. He can barely stand up. The household still needs to function.

Anger.

E. is sleeping late, as he is wont to do now that he no longer naps. 8:30 a.m. comes and then passes. We have nowhere to go; there is no need to rush. But he is sleeping so quietly and I didn’t check on him last night before I went to bed, and I have never been quite able to reconcile this child’s new sleeping habits with his old ways where he would wake at the slightest hint of sound.

Anxiety.

The woman on my birth club is fifteen weeks now. I should be too.

Anger.

I have a deadline for my dissertation again. It is important.

Anxiety.

That one says more than the other. It is larger, more demanding, harder to shut away. Anger is more prone to unexpected outbursts, croaks responses that lack proportion. Anxiety is softer but more insidious. It has spent more time with me.

They both catch me off guard. They will be silent and then, suddenly, before I can take another breath, one or the other will be giving voice, bright black eyes missing nothing, claws digging into my skin.

Occasionally they fall quiet, when the outer world does not require a response.

I am getting better at shying away from things, at keeping them silent. When I end up in conversation, exposed, I stutter now, stumble over my words. I am no longer sure of how to move within a world where everyone else appears to be whole.

It is still hard to keep them silent. I often can’t see them waking up.

My shoulders sneak up when I am not paying attention, trapping tension in my back and my neck. When I realize what is happening, I take deep breaths. I force them back down.

It’s never enough to shake the ravens free.

They are heavy. My entire body bows under their weight.

I would like to be free of them.

I just can’t seem to figure out how to make them leave.

 

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Filed under 2.0 Pregnancy, Anxiety Overload, Grief, Loss, My addled brain

Other thoughts

Thank you for all of your comments on my post from last night.  It is deeply helpful to know that I am not alone. For the same reason, I don’t think I can quit my birth club, even though I agree that perhaps it would be helpful to do so in the short-term. They are my friends. They sent us food and gave us a ridiculously large gift-card to Costco and found an Italian coin with Ceres on it and sent it with a card with a quotation from the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. They are good, kind women. It is not their fault some of them are pregnant. It is not their fault I am not.

***

The last time I was in at the clinic, when I wanted them to make sure there hadn’t been anything left behind,  I looked through my chart.

Of the two embryos they transferred, one was a 2BC (1AA being my clinic’s highest grade) and the other was still a morula but obviously so close to being a blast they knew it would make it (I can’t read the embryologist’s writing well enough to decipher the exact term he used).

The frozen one is a 1BB.

It’s a better quality embryo than either of the two we transferred.

I suppose that’s something.

***

I realized a little while ago that I’m not sure I made them monitor my thyroid during the FETs last fall.

Post-birth control, absolutely. During the IVF, for sure.

But I don’t know that I did anything during the FETs. FETs when I was taking six Estrace a day. Estrace that would throw out the thyroid.

Fuck.

I might have sabotaged those FETs.

Some days I really wish I could 100% trust that my f/s and my endocrinologist would stay on top of things.

That’s just not the way it is.

***

Something really weird happened at my endocrinologist appointment. I’ve been going there for six years now. He gets one of his medical student assistants to take my pulse, check my blood pressure, weigh me, and write down my medications at every visit. I have always weighed about four pounds more on his scale than I have at home.

I weighed myself at home the morning of the appointment. The result wasn’t pretty

At the appointment, his scale showed me as weighing six pounds LESS than I did on my scale at home.

According to his scale, I’ve lost two pounds since the last time I was in, when I was five weeks pregnant.

According to my scale, I’ve gained seven pounds in that time.

Given his scale is one of those giant ones with the weights and the sliding bar, I’m inclined to think that my scale is the problem. Which would be nice, obviously, but I just don’t feel that light, especially when I’m trying to do up my work pants after I’ve washed them.

***

We have more grandparents visiting us this weekend, and Q. came back from his conference in Europe very ill, and I am just feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything right now and would love a weekend where I could sit in my pjs and read and hide and just decompress.

Oh wait. I have a toddler. I don’t have those weekends anymore.

Anyway, I am not good with Male Illness because I do not have enough sympathy. I do not disagree that Q. is really unwell. I just don’t cope well with the moping. So I was getting grumpy because I was stressed about my class today and I’d cleaned the whole house yesterday and now I was going to have to do the grocery shopping too and do all the cooking this weekend when we had guests over, and then I took a moment and remembered that for some women, probably a lot of women, this is their NORMAL life. Their husbands don’t cook, or clean, or do grocery shopping.  So I tried to stop being a grumple, but I couldn’t stop feeling like my head was going to explode with anxiety. I felt jittery, buggy, like I was souped up on caffeine or had eaten too much sugar.

And then I realized that my thyroid has probably gone into hyper-territory since I’m still on the same dose I was on six weeks ago, when I was pregnant and it was starting to drift into hypo-territory again. It’s two pills higher than my normal dose. Stands to reason my body would start to want a more normal dose right around now. I have a prescription for the new dose and will get it filled this weekend. That will hopefully help me calm down.

***

The spotting appears to have stopped.

I haven’t started the birth control pills yet, because I had to get through my endocrinologist’s appointment first, as it would have wrecked the blood tests if I’d started the pill a week before. But it appears that maybe, just maybe, my body has finally decided to be done with it all. It stopped on Tuesday, so this is the longest it’s gone thus far without starting again.

I’ll start the pill this weekend too. We’ve adjusted my thyroid so it should stay in line even on the pill.

My f/s gave me a prescription that will let me stay on the pill until we get back from Oz in mid-July, at which point we might do that last FET depending on the status of my dissertation.

I think I might just stay on the pill.

We’re not going to get pregnant on our own. Not ever.

And maybe a few months on the pill will help sort out my face.

***

Things are getting sorted with E.’s new room. We have the duvet cover (which is a much brighter true red than it appears on the website- it looks almost wine-coloured to me on the computer), and I’ve picked the fabric for curtains (my Mum is going to make them for me, and I’ve decided I don’t care how much it costs, I’m getting the fabric shipped over from the U.K. which may well be the only place I can find it). We have most of the furniture. I’m still undecided on paint. I need some time to go and get some samples and paint a few test patches on the walls to really see what looks best. I’m getting the mattress from one of two places and just need to figure out which one will be the best deal (as one will require a car rental to go and get it).

The downside to all of this organizing is I can’t spend hours trolling Etsy and Pinterest anymore, and I think that’s one reason I’m clenching my jaw so tightly it’s sore pretty much all the time. I need another distraction. Organizing the house is only getting me so far- I’ve already done my clothes, the linen closet, the cupboards and drawers in the basement, and my books. There’s still a lot more I could do, but I can only stand to do it in short bursts of frenzied activity.

I’m a little afraid of how empty I’m going to feel inside when we get E.’s room set up in April.

 

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Filed under 2.0 FET #2, 2.0 FET#1, 2.0 Pregnancy, Anxiety Overload, E.- the third year, Grief, Loss, Mirror, Mirror (Body Image), Second Thoughts, Thyroid

Where I should have been

It’s been a month.

I hadn’t realized that, hadn’t realized just how much time had passed or what day it was today, until I was on my May 2011 birth club and the daily good thing thread turned into a pregnancy update thread and the woman who is due a day after I was posted a happy update with a belly shot announcing that she was at 14 weeks and into the second trimester.

I couldn’t breathe for a moment.

And then I thought about fourteen weeks versus ten weeks, and then I looked at a calendar, and then I realized that it was exactly a month.

I’m supposed to be prepping for a class I have to teach tomorrow, but instead I’m on here, trying to write things out so I can stop crying and concentrate on the rest of my life.

I’m not ok.

I’m so far from ok I can’t even begin to express it.

Most days I probably look ok to other people.

Some days I even feel like I’m ok.

Those are the days where I’ve managed to bury it so deep I don’t even think about it, when I keep myself so busy with teaching and the dissertation and home stuff and E.’s new room that I don’t give it any space in which it can come out.

The day after it happened, Q. gave me a card for Valentine’s Day. In it he wrote that while it wouldn’t be my happiest Valentine’s Day ever, it would be a better day than yesterday, and each day after that would get a bit better.

Grief isn’t linear like that.

I have mostly ok days.

And then I have days like today where something ambushes me and I can think about is I should have been at fourteen weeks, I should have been posting belly pics too.

I should be happy.

The birth club is a near-constant reminder of what could-have-been. One of them is due at the time I would have been if the first FET had worked. Another is due when I should have been if the second FET had worked. But the one who is due the same week that I was is by far the worst. She’s a walking reminder of what I thought I was going to have.

***

I think I need to break up with my endocrinologist. I’ve written on here before about how he is the rudest man on the planet (but apparently didn’t tag those posts with my ‘thyroid’ category because now I can’t easily find them). I’ve put up with his total lack of bedside manner, including the time, less than three months after E. was born, when he made me cry, because he is a good doctor. But I’m convinced there has to be another option out there. I live in a big city. He can’t be the only endocrinologist. And the appointment I had with him this week, where he AGAIN didn’t remember that E. was an IVF baby or that I am the reason we need IVF (and not my husband), where no one had written down on my chart that I’d lost the baby when I’d called them, so I had to tell the doctor who works with him, and then had to tell him when it became clear the other doctor hadn’t bothered to mention it, where he turned to the other doctor and said, “Well, it’s only the first miscarriage, so I don’t think we need to do anything too drastic”, and where the ONLY thing he said to me about the miscarriage, as he turned to leave, was “Better luck next time”, really should be the final straw. Surely there is another doctor out there who can monitor my thyroid while still treating me like a human being.

***

E., at lunch, out of nowhere: “Tell me again, Mummy, why there will be no baby in September.”
I tell him, the same thing I always tell him, that sometimes we think there is going to be a baby, but there isn’t. That babies are very small at first and have to grow and grow and grow before they can come out, and that sometimes this doesn’t happen.
E.: “I’m sad.”
Me: “About the baby, E.?”
E.: “Yes. The baby won’t grow and come out. It won’t get a name. I think it should have a name.”
We’ve never talked about the baby not having a name with him.
Me: “What do you want to call the baby, E.?”
E.: “Lobster lobster!”

***

I’m reading Lauren Sandler’s One and Only, a book about only children.

A month ago I was reading Siblings Without Rivalry.

That about sums it up.

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Filed under 2.0 Pregnancy, Friends, Grief, Loss, Thyroid