12.26.2008

Can't Shake It

Still waiting on the cycle. And feeling uber-moody.

Last night, I cried while standing at the program at the temple Visitor's Center. I had just silently wished "Heavenly Father, I'd like a baby to bring here next year" and my eyes filled with tears.

Strange Christmas.

It was a good day. I giggled and laughed. But I spent a lot of time trying to control my anger, frustration, and hurt feelings over things that I'd normally be able to rationalize about and/or shake off.

Not so today. In fact, it's 2:47 the morning after Christmas and I'm still awake because M "ignored" me much of the day and because I'm hurt over my mom talking to my brother on the phone. What the . . . ?

At this point I'm hoping this cycle busts soon or I don't know what'll happen over at my place. Straight jacket, anyone?

~Nichole

12.16.2008

Anxious (and a Little Hormonal)

All of the sudden, the dawning of the Return of My Cycle is making me anxious. Like "now the pressure's on" and "are you sure you're ready to do this again so soon" kind of anxious. It's bound to happen in the next week or two, and the whole "trying" part a week or two after that. Ugh. I'm not ready.

Then G, a co-worker and kindred spirit who started on the very same day as me, came in to my office. When I told someone at work about my miscarriage, they mentioned G and his wife to me, saying they just had a miscarriage. I didn't realize it was a second-trimester miscarriage, that they lost their son at 20 weeks gestation and that this was their first pregnancy and child ~ nor that it happened on Thanksgiving Day.

I kept it together for the 30 minutes I was talking with him about it - all except for my right eye, which kept betraying my inner sadness for them, and which I tried to wipe as surreptitiously as possible while he was candidly talking with me about this experience and how they plan to try again in 6 months.

The moment he left my office, I burst into tears and said a prayer for them. I can't imagine the heartache his poor wife is feeling right now, and the similar heartache he feels but suppresses so that he can be strong for her.

I e-mailed my friend H, vowing to try one more time and turn to adoption if it doesn't work out. She relayed what she's seen happen with her newest niece and reassured me that the miracle of having your own child trumps the problems and encouraged me to stick it out.

I continued reading my "Coming to Term" book tonight. I also talked with M about my anxieties about trying again. And I toss out there, just to see how it sounds and feels, "I'll try it once more. OK, maybe two more times. But if something goes wrong on the next go around, the one after that may have to wait for a while."

Even though the entire topic is plaguing my thoughts today, mostly I'm just tired of thinking about it.

~Nichole

12.14.2008

Cherub Cheeks and Watchful Eyes

Last night at a family party, in the absence of the attention-grabbing gift exchange, I gave in to my fascination and held the babies. I figured instead of admiring from afar and feeling sad, which is what has been happening on Sundays, I'd just jump in the ring, fill up my arms with the family's newest little ones and see where that took me. Plus, my cousins make some dang cute babies!

It was fun. It's been a long time since I've held a baby - since my youngest nephew was a baby, in fact, and now he's 2 (and living in TX). And so goes my mom's lament: she has no young grandbabies to hold and be fun with. They're all "too cool" to hang with grandma now.

After holding one cousin's 11-month old cutie, I picked up another cousin's 2-month old babe (so cute!) and held onto him a while. Then, I asked M if he'd like to hold him. If my family was surprised I was paying so much attention to the babies, they were likely flabbergasted that M held this one!

Later in the car, M told me my mom kept giving him The Eye. Apparently she was looking back and forth between him and me, no doubt hoping she'll have a new grandchild (or two) to fill her arms by this time next year. Aye, there's the rub in telling your baby-hungry mom you've had a miscarriage, especially when you vowed to keep the fact that you're trying a Big Secret from her. Now she's on high alert and full-scale Baby Watch has begun.

I can't really blame her though. My husband looks fabulous with a baby in his arms. And given the track record of good-looking babies in both of our families, ours will no doubt be gorgeous. No wonder she's so excited!

P.S. Turns out the baby's diaper leaked and each of us had a good-sized puddle of baby pee that soaked through our jeans. . . neither of us minded much. That's a good sign, right?

~Nichole

12.13.2008

An Admission and a Dance

Tomorrow marks one month since my D&E. As I talked on the phone with my pregnant friend C yesterday - right before I went into the library and checked out "Coming to Term: Uncovering the Truth about Miscarriage" - and she asked me how I am doing, I responded in a genuinely chipper tone that "I'm fine! I have my moments, but I'm good!"

I relayed to her my tough Sunday last week, but admitted that "I think we're ready to try again as soon as my cycle returns." The doubt that surrounds that readiness is starting to lessen, and so I can, with increasing confidence, make that statement. C was the first person I said it to, and as the words came out of my mouth, I realized they were mostly true.

I decided to come home and try them out on M. I told him I had talked with C and that we are planning to get together for dinner after the holidays. Then I told him how she expressed her concern for me and I told her I think we're ready to try again as soon as my cycle returns.

For me it was a "ta-dahhhhh!" moment, the kind that comes with bright eyes and outstretched hands and expectant confidence.

For him, it was like "yeah. . . . ", complete with a quiet retreat, a stepping inward to go off on his own and think it through.

Then again, yesterday was his last day of work due to a lay off, so maybe he's thinking it's not such a great idea right now. That's a man.

And me, I'm thinking he's bound to get a job in the next 10 months or so, so why not? That's a woman.

And thus we dance.

~Nichole

12.11.2008

Crying it Out

Sunday was a tough day, all over again.

I saw the newest baby in the ward, all wrapped up like the burrito baby of my dreams. Later, in Relief Society, she was all unwrapped and I got a good look at her. She's beautiful.

And something about that room full of all those women (in a special meeting with Young Women's and Primary leaders), and something about the red and green tablecloth, and something about the Christus on the table, and something about that baby all wrapped in fluffy pink. . . I stared at that Christus and wondered "Christ is said to have experienced every human experience possible. Did he know what it felt like to have a miscarriage even though he was a man?"

Something about all that combined against me, took hold of me, and the tears started to fall. Uncontrollably so. To the point I decided I had to rush to the bathroom before the dam broke open and the floods came. I fumbled past my fellow ward members in a haze, offering a weak smile and bumping into doorways and walls in my haste to get to a safe, isolated bathroom stall.

Once there, I grabbed at the toilet paper to wipe my already wet eyes. Then I cried quietly for a few moments. And prayed that I could get over my funk and be happy at church.

As a group of primary girls came in with their teacher, I composed myself as much as I could as quickly as I could and returned back to my own class with a puffy, red, cry face.

And as I sat down I knew, I just knew, that Christ knows exactly what I'm going through. And I felt better.

~Nichole

12.05.2008

It Takes Days

I woke up yesterday morning having had the strangest dream.

I dreamt I was pregnant and went into labor and drove myself to the midwife's house to have the baby.

The midwife and her husband were in a little bit of an argument.

My dream labor and delivery was essentially a non-event.

I had the baby, with my husband nowhere to be found (?), then packed myself and the babe up (I'm not sure she was dressed - and yes, it was a "she") and left.

As I got out to my car, which, unlike real life, was an SUV, I looked down and noticed my new baby wasn't like a real-life newborn baby.

She was more like a TV or movie baby - nice and chunky and rounded out like a 3 month old.

And she had a full head of downy, red hair. And fair skin.

!?!?!?!

Then, I discovered I'm probably ovulating

which means my cycle will soon return

and I've decided my body is sending me messages in secret code.

Now that I've had time to think it over

and over and over and over

I realize that the baby girl in my dream

looked just like me when I was about 4 or 6 months old.

I'm not quite sure what that means. . .

~Nichole

12.01.2008

Mixed

I had my follow up today with Dr. M. Not a fun thing to walk into the OB/GYN's office and be surrounded by pregnant ladies when you've just miscarried. Not fun at all. Especially when one of those ladies, when asked how she's doing today, says "I'm still pregnant" like that should say it all, and I think to myself "Feel lucky you can say those words. There are some of us who can't."

I waited for the doc in the "second room" for 30 minutes, alternately switching between an article in "Parents" magazine about how not to yell at your kids and one in "Budget Travel" magazine about house swapping. I realize my reading choices epitomize the fact that I have each of my feet in two different worlds right now.

In the intervening time before "my turn", through the walls I heard Dr. M conversing with a patient on my left and the swish-a-swish-a-swish of a baby's heartbeat on my right. That was also not fun. A little hard, in fact.

Dr. M finally came to see me and we chatted about my recovery and my future plans for trying or not (I voted for "trying"). Turns out, he'll want to see me very early on again next time. I immediately thought "oh. more waiting and seeing". It also turns out that my antibody screen for Rh sensitivity came back negative. That's right! He screened me without my even having to ask.

He said "come see me the next time the stick turns blue. Happy trying!" Gotta love Dr. M! But I am grateful I don't have to go back there again any time soon.

As to the trying part, I'm hopeful. I'm also very glad to be waiting it out through one normal cycle. Kind of takes the pressure off. Plus, I'm just not ready. Yet.

I must admit, I get a bit catty toward pregnant women (and that one pregnant man out there) who get pregnant without even trying (or after having lived as a man for years) and seemingly take it for granted that everything goes off without a hitch. I'm having a bit of a problem with that right now, really.

M came home and reported that he was sad today "just for a little bit" because someone at work announced they're pregnant and that the baby's healthy, yadda yadda yadda. I told him about the swishy heartbeat. We spent a few moments being sad together, but as we always do, ended it on a positive note. "It will be OK."

~Nichole

11.26.2008

A Reason to Everything

Sitting in church on Sunday, there were babies in front of us then babies in back of us. M leaned over and whispered to tell me how he loves those tiny grunting sounds babies make. I never knew that. It was a tough day for both of us.

I cried off and on for about an hour at work today. For every reason and for no reason. I cried when looking at the calendar and wondering when my cycle will return. I cried when plotting M's school schedule for the next year. I cried because the mountain was so beautiful and the sky was so blue and the air was so clear in the post-rain, start-of-winter afternoon that found its way to my city.

But in these last few days, particularly Sunday, it occurred to me that perhaps the reason we've experienced this loss (and it's feeling like a loss now if it didn't before) was so that we could both be "fully converted" to parenthood and that for some reason we need to really want it before it happens. I have no idea why. But that's what I've been thinking. . .

~Nichole

11.23.2008

Rocking the Emotional Boat

So. That "matter-of-fact" thing is not working so well seeing how I cried in the shower yesterday as I contemplated that number, that age: 33.

Last night, we looked at M's old mission pics. There were some in there from his family of his newest niece at the time. She was such a cute baby! I stared at her picture and realized I've never imagined what our kids will look like. I now imagine that they might look something like her. As I think about this today, I cry.

Today, I find myself crying looking at the picture on page 86 of my conference Ensign. It shows three Ukranian men, holding babies, smiling, and standing in front of a picture depicting the Savior at the First Resurrection. I cry because I'm happy. The world has changed and the role of fatherhood has been redefined. Men today are more involved and more loving fathers than ever before.

The Spirit teaches me today that our eternal identities are gender based: man or woman - and that by vestage of that identity, we also are eternally fathers and mothers.

Seeing those men, those priesthood holders, standing there with their children in their arms and the Savior behind them - there's this abiding sense in me that that's just the way it should be. And I cry.

~Nichole

11.22.2008

In which we try to be. . . matter-of-fact

M continues to say I don't like to think about it. It makes me sad. It makes my head hurt. I continue to feel strangely detached.

Now that the head cold is clearing, I'm realizing it's not the head cold keeping me in a foggy separation from what's happened.

I told M last night that I feel protected. I told Heavenly Father on that day of Bad News (10/28) that I couldn't do a failed pregnancy all by myself. And He listened. And my recovery has been marvelous. Seriously - nothing to report. And emotionally, I'm completely intact.

M admitted he feels protected, too. But he's still a little sad. And I understand. I really do. I've been through it before. But it's really strange to not be going through it again, and to not be going through it with him this time. I think he thinks he has to be strong for me. Or maybe that he can't be all that sad if I'm not all that sad. 'Cause the mom's supposed to be the emotional wreck, right?

We talk about timing. We talk about how we wanted a summer baby. We talk about how summer 2009 has passed for us in those terms, and now we're on to at least a year from now. We'll have been married 10 years by then. We'll be 33! I wasn't anticipating being that age when I had my first child! That makes me sad. (with tears and everything).

We talk in vague generalities about when we'll try again. I've proclaimed that we'll wait for my cycle to return, then "we'll see how I feel". He's good with that.

For now, our talk is all business. Practical. Logical. Cold, hard math. It's really all either of us can manage. And we end these business meetings with a hearty "I love you". So, that's something.

~Nichole

11.19.2008

So far, so good

No major meltdowns. We're getting back to normal here following our travels and my head cold. Not so much following the miscarriage. We're taking it one day at a time. And not really talking much about it.

Last Saturday I visited with my family. Once again, huge relief that they all knew and I didn't have to go around explaining much of anything. T offered to be my surrogate. M gave us a card that made M tear up a little. And Mom just gave us extra hugs.

I realized today that I thought my peeing-on-a-stick days were over for a while. But now I've got to get some more. Uggghhh.

Plus, I have some dandy questions for my doc when I see him in a few weeks. Like "can you please test my blood for Rh antibodies?" and "while you're at it, can you please order a blood test for my hub?" and "how soon are you going to want to see me if/when I get pregnant again?"

Mostly, I'm still tired. Unbelievably so. It's such an accomplishment just to be keeping pace with feeding dogs, doing dishes, making dinner, and keeping up with the laundry. Nevermind that my house is in disarray and in terrible need of a good scrub, and that suitcases and other such travel paraphernalia are still lying about.

So far, no reportable emotional episodes. (That's a good thing.) Mostly just the realization that I'm 32. I have a great life. I have a fantastic husband and a wonderful family. And I've just had a miscarriage. Followed by a D&E, some cramping, some weakness - but I've pretty blessed healthwise overall.

~Nichole

11.16.2008

The Papa

The D&E (I was suctioned, not scraped) was accomplished without much ado. I've recovered relatively well - better than expected, really - but too much activity brings on cramping. So, I rest so as not to make my body mad.

It was nice to be around my family last night. To feel their love and concern. I told them M needs more hugs than I do. He's sad.

I told him yesterday that my belly's already flatter. He said "don't say that! That makes me sad!" My sister gave us a card, which made him a little sad too.

Then last night, he laid his hand on my stomach and said "I feel like the emperor penguin who's lost my egg!" Poor guy!So far, I'm doing OK emotionally and physically. I f/u with my doc in 2 weeks. Right now, my major concerns are how my body's going to take the hormone plummet, how long it's going to take for my cycle to return, and whether we'll be ready to stand back up and try this all over again.

~Nichole

11.13.2008

Breaking News

I've sent out more "broadcasts" today - by e-mail, voicemail, text message and phone calls - than I've ever done in one day.

Letting everyone know the news. Even those who didn't know the original news. That's my modus operandi, I suppose. Better tell it all at once than piecemeal - kind of like ripping a bandaid off. Plus, I have a penchant for forgetting who I tell what to and if I left someone out of the D&C loop that was in the "I'm pregnant" loop, that just might get too uncomfortable.

Weird?

I don't know.

But the mental checklist of "did I get everyone I originally told" is not a fun one to keep.

I have to say I really like my doc this time around. He's so calm, and patient and thorough. And I like that I see him every time I come into his office, and that when I call for test results, he picks up the phone and talks to me, and he explains procedures thoroughly. And he's patient when I whip out my handwritten list of questions to ask him. Novel medical concepts, I'm sure - but with my last doctor, those duties were relegated to the nurse practitioner. Not my idea of good bedside manner by a long shot.

So, tomorrow's the surgery. I'm a little worried about my ability to recover. You know, since I have a freakin' head cold and my throat's currently feeling like the early stages of a fiery, can't-swallow-without-pain strep throat. What the. . . !? I thought I was getting better!

So far, I'm still being shielded from the reality of all this by the fogginess of a stuffed up sinus-head. I don't know for how long that will be the case, particularly once the hormones begin their hasty decline. But M's parents came by and after a prayer and a blessing, I'm feeling comforted. Very much so.

It also comforts me to know that my family knows. I told Mom and T today. Their concern was like a balm to me. And the fact that T is medically trained such that all I had to do was say "D&C" and she said "Oh, I'm so sorry!" - no further explanation needed - it was so nice, given that I'd been explaining it all day and that gets a little old for someone who doesn't like to tell such things about herself.

I can honestly say I'm not excited for the days and weeks to come. Right now I'm just looking forward to some restful sleep. I'm exhausted!

~Nichole

11.12.2008

Pressurized Cabin

I awoke this morning with gastrointestinal issues. It started last night, actually. Having just gone through the process (several times during 3 flights) of holding my nose and holding my breath in order to get my ears to pop - stupid head cold! - I imagined that the stomach issues were just this pregnancy's way of righting itself. That the jagged oval of a gestational sac was popping itself out to a nice, round circle.

The imaging tech today, after ensuring me she could not give me any results, asked me leading questions. "Are you bleeding or spotting?" "What were your most recent numbers?" "Are they going to take your quant again?"

I still had hope.

By 2:45 in the afternoon, I could wait no longer. I rang up the doc's office and Dr. M got on the phone. He said today's images confirmed what he thought yesterday. The pregnancy is non-viable. My options: wait for a miscarriage (7 to 21 days, followed by 3-5 days of heavy bleeding, and possibly needing a D&C anyway) or get a D&C (as soon as Friday afternoon).

I go in tomorrow to ask him all my questions and find out more about each option.

M got the news by phone again. Poor guy.

Today, during one of my frequent bathroom breaks, I bumped one of my still-tender boobs and realized I'll miss being pregnant.

But I'm grateful I had more time this time to be pregnant. To experience it. And that everything made it to the right place this time, which gives me a certain measure of hope for the future.

Maybe this head cold and its achey pressure aren't so stupid after all. It's dulling much of this experience for me because I just don't have the wherewithall to deal with it right now. That will be saved for another day I'm sure.

~Nichole

11.11.2008

Two Trees and a Sweater

We were so busy with traveling, and I had sort of resolved myself for the worst and put it out of my mind, that I actually forgot I was pregnant the first few days of our vacation.

Then, I remembered and it kept revealing itself to me over and over again the way it does when you first find out you're pregnant.

I was prepared with pads like the doc suggested, but never needed them. "No cramping, no bleeding?" "No. No cramping, no bleeding. Just spotting."

We were in Malta and I saw this little handmade sweater. I was tempted to buy it. I showed it to M and he wanted to buy it. I was hesitant. (I'm superstitious that way - for instance, I did NOT want my nails painted red when I got the pedi because I didn't want red to remind me of the possibility of miscarriage. . . )

We bought the sweater anyway. Last night, after we got home, I was drinking some water and looked over to see that sweater draped over the back of the couch - like a beacon.

I've been nervous over today's doc appointment for the last 3 or 4 days. It's an exercise in faith. I have lots of hope - but really began to question the amount of faith I have that things will be OK. I don't have the answer. But I trust my Heavenly Father. So, I guess that's the faith part.

I was waiting in the ultrasound room and was anxious followed by calm, then anxious again. There are two paintings there - both of trees. One has 2 trees, and in the distance, 3. I thought about how M and I are like the two trees, looking off into the distance and hoping to become 3 trees. Three trees.

Chatted it up with the doc, then the moment of truth: the u/s. At first, I saw nothing. Then, black space. Weirdly shaped. Not a good sign, apparently. He also couldn't see "cardiac activity" (aka heartbeat) and isn't sure if the movement of blood we saw is evidence of heartbeat related stuff, or just blood flow.

The combination of these things, along with a drop in progesterone, don't bode well. He's 99% sure it's nonviable, but is sending me for a second opinion ultrasound tomorrow. Then, we'll go from there. He reassured me it wasn't because of the traveling and may not be related to fertility issues. It's just a crapshoot.

It's hard to break news like that to M over the phone. But, with the craziness of our schedules because of time off and such, it's my only choice. Plus, I'm a pragmatist that way I guess.

I'm still hopeful.

I get home and see that sweater and say out loud "little boy or little girl, we're ready for you whenever you want to come. and whenever Heavenly Father is ready to send you - because he'll take care of all of us."

He loves all his trees like that you know.

~Nichole

10.28.2008

No Idea

I've been kind of an emotional wreck today. And even that would be an understatement. It's almost impossible to have faith and to have fear at the same time. It's been a struggle all day and I've tottered between the two.

I've felt depressed today. I've felt a drop off of pregnancy symptoms today. The words "miscarriage is imminent" have gone through my head more than once today.

Finally, I broke down walking out of Wal-Mart after running an errand. I got to my car and cried. Then bucked up and decided to call my doc. The girl on the phone called me "sweetie". I don't know if my voice was just thick with tears, or if she just knew I needed it today, but it was nice. She put me on hold to pull my quant results. My doc picked me up from hold and said that my hcg was 1293 - climbing, but not fast enough. My progesterone was only 7 - a drop of over half "which is a little concerning".

He asked me to come in for a Rhogam shot. I didn't hesitate. Been there, done that once before. Because I have the best boss ever, I already had the afternoon off. I came home from Wal-Mart, laid face down on my bed and cried hard (yep I remember this from last time) for a good 10 minutes. This after having called M and barely being able to force out the words "I'm going to the doctor for a shot" between periods of silence when I was trying to compose myself so I didn't sound like a slobbering, sobbing, incoherent mess over the phone.

After I cried, I washed all my makeup off, changed my clothes, and headed to the doc. I was surprisingly calm. Which doesn't surprise me. (I've been praying all day.) I even joked with M-A about her shot-giving abilities. She said she was "awesome" and I concurred.

Then I went for a late lunch and a pedicure. Just what a girl needs when her body threatens to betray her: pamper the body and ignore the bloaty, full, crampy feeling in the low abdomen and the achy cramps in the low back.

Guess I'll be packing those pads after all. Which sucks, but God has me in His hand and I know I'll be OK.

~Nichole

Thick Thick Thick

I went to the doc yesterday and had another ultrasound. They could not see a gestational sac. Although he didn't say, it might still be early yet.

My uterus is "very thick". In fact, doc said some of his infertility patients would kill to have half my thickness. I take my victories where I can.

What he also said was to pack some "mondo pads" for my trip just in case and intimated that maybe just being prepared would ward off a miscarriage.

In a word, its a crap shoot. He can't do anything but wait and see. I can't do anything but wait and see. And pray. I also received a blessing last night.

And when I woke up in the wee hours of the morning, my mind raced with the worst possibilities and scenarios of the phone call about my quant results when they call me with them. I forced those scenarios from my mind and forced myself to consider happier possibilities - like my numbers going up (my hcg being 6,000 - no! 10,000 - and my progesterone 25) and being able to see this burrito baby when I get back at 7 weeks.

*crossing fingers*

And trying not to be too tired after my rough night.

~Nichole

10.24.2008

The Daddy Conversion

So, here's how a man gets converted to daddyhood.

You unceremoniously announce you're pregnant. Then, later, you ask him what he thinks of it all.

He says how he's scared of how he's going to do it all - school, work, church, home - but that he's also pretty excited because he'll be able to take "my daughter with me on hikes, and talk to her, and teach her how to fish." (He's convinced it's a girl.)

Then, last night, after the lights are out and you're going to bed, he leans over and says to your stomach "Hello Baby! Can you hear me?" You say "It doesn't have ears yet!" He says "yes it does!" and then directs back to the stomach and says "I love you!"

And that's how it happens.

~Nichole

10.23.2008

Happy to Feel Crappy

When my boobs ache, I'm glad. When I'm so tired I can't see straight, I'm glad. When I'm dizzy and lightheaded, I'm glad. Even when I wake up to pee 2 times per night (yes me, the girl who loves uninterrupted sleep or sohelpme I will cut you), I'm glad.

Because it means another day of being pregnant.

Tomorrow will be 5 weeks.

I walk around saying to myself "I'm pregnant!" and not because I'm trying to convince myself - just because I'm happy about it.

And we've told actual people too (like 3). Which is different for us.

But I'm still waaaayyy cautious. I haven't gone running all week because I don't want to risk it. I'm spotting and just in case, I don't want to make my body upset so that it does something unthinkable without my permission.

I've come to realize that many women do not worry about pregnancy loss the way I do.

I never realized before how my previous loss really affected me.

I'm happy, but cautiously so. Monday's doc appointment will hopefully bring the final breath of fresh air that I'm hoping for. Hopefully those hcg and progesterone numbers will be climbing as they should.

And hopefully I won't be sicker than a dog on our vacation-slash-early-10 year anniversary celebration. I don't think I'll be glad if that happens. (Yeah, and even though we planned this, I don't think I thought it all the way through when I was planning the vacation!)

~Nichole

10.21.2008

Rare breed

Typical signs of pregnancy I've had so far: sore boobs, wacko gastrointestinal issues (lack of appetite/constipation/the opposite of constipation), dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue, headaches, backaches, frequent urination. . .

Signs of pregnancy I've had that make me a bit of an anomaly: implantation bleeding, implantation cramping, curious weight loss (just like my mom), positive hpt the day before my missed period

That is all. . .

~Nichole

Sigh of Relief

I laid awake last night having difficulty sleeping. I was praying. A lot. I told Heavenly Father that all I want for my birthday is a healthy pregnancy, how I think we're ready, but that I'll accept whatever He has for me.

Then I got up to pee 2 times during the night.

So, this morning was a slow one. On the way in to work, I decided to check and see if my doc's office had called yet. Yep, a voice message.

I called back and M-A told me the sweetest words I may have ever heard: "we got your results back and there is a very low probablility of an ectopic pregnancy. your progesterone was 16.5!"

Phew!

I mean, officially, my doc's words "we'll just take things one day at a time" are still ringing in my head, especially since I'm only 4 weeks and 4 days along.

But, hey - at least it's not ectopic. Prayer answered. I see my doc on my b-day and I'm thinking I'm going to get exactly what I'm wishing for. . .

~Nichole

10.20.2008

Kind of officially Official (Sort of)

On Thursday, I went walking with L, who's also "trying" and had a vision of the two of us with rotund pregnant bellies.

Friday morning brought a negative home pregnancy test.

Saturday, M had his hand on my belly and asked if his baby was in there.

On Sunday, I was feeling dizzy (which happened on and off all last week, and which I attributed to sinus yuckiness) and had a yucky stomach. I got through my lesson without having to sit down and without falling over.

Last night I went to bed debating with myself when to take (another) hpt. This morning I woke up with visions of babies and having had a dream of myself rocking a sleepy toddler on my lap, his/her front to my front, legs wrapped around my waist.

Deciding that was a decent sign, I took a digital ept test. It said "pregnant". I went in and announced to M, who was in the shower, that "my eggo is preggo". He said "Congratulations! Are you happy?" I said "Nervous. I'm going to call the doctor today."

I went to the doc. I'm only 4 weeks, 3 days - waaaayy too early to see anything even by transvaginal ultrasound. They took blood and put in a "stat" order. I freaked them out by telling them I'll be out of the country from the 29th to the 10th. That's prime ectopic trouble time, and we're all trying to confirm whether I'll have that issue with this pregnancy or not.

So. I'm cautiously optimistic. Dr. M said that if my progesterone is high ("like about 12"), he feels I'll be OK. I felt like a ball of nerves before my visit, and calm afterward - even though I knew nothing more than I did walking in there. Oh, except I have fluid around both of my ovaries "which isn't necessarily bad news". That's all I could have hoped for at this point I suppose.

I call tomorrow for the quant results. I looked in my journal where I taped in my handwritten notes from last time. At 6 weeks, my hcg was 3,300 and my progesterone was only 5. Not good numbers. This time I'm hoping that hcg is getting up there and that the prog is "about a 12".

In the meantime, I'll be waiting and crossing my fingers until I see him again next Monday. And hoping my uterus score isn't a big fat "zero" this time.

In the meantime, I'm exhausted! But I won't let myself sit for long enough to fall asleep. I get up and move every time I feel sleepy.

~Nichole

10.13.2008

Oh, and P.S.

. . . I got an e-mail from my "recruit" the other day. My friend who got married this past April and with whom I had joked about recruiting to be pregnant with me at the same time. . . she started without me! She's already 9 (going on 10 now) weeks along. Yea C!

I'm totally happy for her! But if I'm not in that way soon, we won't be on mat leave together!

~Nichole

Waiting for the bottom to drop

It's about the time in my cycle when I start my pre-period spotting. I've been waiting for it to start as a sign - one way or the other - of whether or not I'm pregnant. So, today, this morning to be exact, I had some spotting.

But then, I have to remind myself that last time I had a whole period and was still pregnant. Ectopically (tubally) so, but still.

Ah well. Whether yes or no, I'll be trying to keep calm until this weekend, which is the earliest I can (or should) reasonably take a test. Last night I fell asleep with visions of babies (twins!) dancing in my head, so don't count on the calmly waiting part. . .

~Nichole

10.12.2008

Here's your sign(s)

Strange lower abdominal cramping a little too early? Check!

Low back pain? Check!

Strange bowel issues? Check!

Of course, these all might just be side effects of an oncoming menstrual cycle-slash-stupid sickness my body is battling with not getting right now. . .

Time, of course, will always tell. I just wish he weren't so slow at it!

~Nichole

10.07.2008

Because you're dying to know. . .

. . . I'm not pregnant yet. "Duh!" you say. "It's way too early!" you say. Ummmm, yeah. I know. It's just that. . . did you know a woman's "fertile window" can be all over the place? Can open and close at different times in each cycle? Can be from, like, Day 7 to after the beginning of her next cycle?

Ummmm, what?!

Yeah.

Apparently. Because that's what I've been reading all over the web today.

Stupid web. Stop being so smarty-pantsed! You're starting to freak me out!

~Nichole

10.06.2008

Whatchamacallit

So, after some initial confusion that went something like this:

M: (continues to contracept)
N: (is confused because of previous conversations - see previous post)
M: (totally oblivious)
N: You confuse me (just so we're clear).

The next morning:
M: (coming home from a church meeting and hugs me to soften the fact that I'm grouchy from all the confusion) So when are we going to start a family?
N: (?????) When you stop confusing me!
M: What?
N: You confuse me with all your "family" talk but then you're up to your old tricks. I'm confused.
M: (obviously equally confused) But we said October and it's only the end of September.
N: (dawns on me he has no idea about how ovulation works and has not, in fact, been tracking cycles for the past year like I have). OK. This is how it works. It's either now. Or early November.
M: OK. Now.

Yeah. After all that, "we're trying".

I said those words out loud to another human being for the first time last night. It was weird. But also kind of cathartic. I wanted to tell H when I saw her on Saturday, but it never came up. And I half want to tell B on one of our many phone chats, but how do you say something like that over the phone? And I've vowed to keep that secret from my family - vowed not to myself or to M, but to my mom (yes I am that cruel) because she kept asking.

Instead, the first person I uttered that confession to was L, a friend from my ward and the wife of M's former first counselor. She and her hub are also "trying" - so in the event we both end up preggo, we'll be on this road together. So, I figured she was a good choice for a confidant.

I have the typical "trying" worries: what if it doesn't happen the first time, what if I have an ectopic again, what if I miscarry, what if I get dog sick, what if I'm a total pregnancy wimp. . . you know - all those.

I had a lot more to say, but now I can't remember.

~Nichole

9.24.2008

And So it Begins

So last night, M sat next to me after dinner and asked "so when do you want to start"?

I played it coy and said "start what?"

He said "start trying" (which I already knew).

So we talked about it. We talked about timing and what it would mean this month, next month, the month after that. He said he's worried about the economy. I said the economy and having a baby are not related. Not really. The economy's going to be the economy no matter if we start now or in a few months.

Later I said, "if you want to wait a few months. . . " He cut across my words and said "I don't want to wait a few months."

So, I guess this is it. We're going to jump off the cliff, hand in hand. Let's hope we land softly (or at least in a soft place).

~Nichole

9.15.2008

Sunday morning

We've had a lot of conversations lately. All more positive than the "restaurant scene" I last posted about. (Well except that one where my husband quizzed me about my current weight and said "I thought you wanted to get down to 150?" You bet I had a ready answer for that one that went something like "I don't see you out there doing it with me! It's hard work! So until that happens, leave it be!")

But mostly positive. Yeah.

Like yesterday morning when he was coming from the bathroom to get dressed for his meeting and I was just waking up. I rolled over and said "hi" and he said "so, you really wanna have my babies?" And I said "well, yeah. they'll be really cute like you and we'll love them and they'll love us. and they'll take care of us when we're old. so yeah."

He says "we'd better have at least 3 to maximize our chances that they'll stick around to take care of us." (He read this in some textbook or magazine article, I'm sure of it.)

~Nichole

8.30.2008

Say WHAT!?

Not that he hasn't said it before, but M was going on about it more last night. In front of friends. So it was more worrisome than normal.

He was going on and on about how pregnant women are "unsexy" and "unattractive". I asked him when on earth these sentiments started. "Oh, forever" he says. Deep-seated. Great!

I asked him why they're just now coming up regularly in conversation. "Because we're getting closer to that." Great!

"But don't worry. You'll be fine!"

Great!

~Nichole

8.21.2008

Blah and Missing

So. Yesterday I was sick - still am - but we had to go to Waldemart for butt paper. So, I'm drudging through the store and we pass the "baby" section. And I feel myself listlessly submit myself to that section and all it entails. And then, as quickly as that happened, I found myself wondering what the crap just happened. Ultimately, I determined that I was run down by this stupid sickness and that it was an indifferent sort of acceptance, a tired acknowledgement.

And yet. . .

And yet, there are moments that skulk up on me - like it did today - when I have a sneaking suspicion that we are missing out on the amazing sublimity that comes with being parents. I can't quite put words on it. It's the sense that we're living an incomplete life. We're perfectly, if ignorantly, happy. We feel complete. But there's this missing element. The elephant in the room everyone else has already seemed to acknowledge, give a name, and make the honorary family pet.

Somedays we can't imagine our life with kids. The mundanity, stress, and demand of it scares us. REALLY scares us. That whole going from a couple to a family thing is a little unnerving. Like leaving your best friend to go study abroad. Or leaving for a mission. You'll come back to normal life eventually, but it will never ever be the same. No matter how much you hope. And in the meantime, you will miss it. Even as you eventually leave it all behind. And ultimately forget about it. After all, what else is nostalgia for?

I worry that we'll either hate it or love it. I'm betting on the love it one, which worries me almost as much as the "hate it" option, because I tend to second-guess myself - and if I love it I know I'll wonder why we waited so long. And then, I'll have to remind myself - like I have with SO many other things in my life - that I made this important decision a matter of prayer. That I prayed about it. That it wasn't just me. That this Big Decision involves the agency and choice of at least two other human beings - my husband and an imagined child.

Realizing this will help me have peace. That we did it when we believed it was best for us. And when we were supposed to.

~Nichole

8.13.2008

Things that Make You Go Hmmmmmm

I've been off the prenatals for over a week now. Even after cutting them in half, the unpleasant side effect of constipation was too much for me to handle. Especially when trying to lose weight!

M came home yesterday, full of stories of women at work trying to get pregnant and having multiple miscarriages and how he heard on the radio that Robitussin loosens the mucous membranes in the body (especially the ones important for fertility) and how this doc said a little Robitussin can improve fertility.

I talked briefly about how I hope I will be OK and not have to go through another ectopic pregnancy, and how I hope it happens quickly when we start to try.

He said "are you kidding!? I have super sperm!" and then proceeded to take a quick, verbal inventory of his own health and eating habits.

Needless to say, I sat there kind of shocked. This is honestly, without a doubt, the most open conversation he's ever had with me about conception/fertility/etc.

I said "Wow! You must really want to get me pregnant!" Probably not the best response (gauging by his "eh. . . " that followed), but I was too much in shock to be eloquent or even pull out an "awwww" or two.

Plus, sometimes I fear my tendency to overreact to his openness on the subject will scare him away.

Like when he approached me about a month ago and said "if that's going to be the baby's room (referring to the room next door to the office in which I was sitting at the time), I want to have that picture of the jungle animals on the wall." To which I responded, "Oh, OK. You mean the one we saw at the swap meet?" and followed it quickly with "awwww. I love you!"

His response? "That's just because I'm talking about having a stupid kid!" Crush! Bang! Boom! It felt like he had just handed me flowers, but before I could take them, he threw them on the ground and stomped all over them. I told him as much. It SO didn't faze him.

SO, last night's conversation was. . . very very surprising. Hence, my underreaction. I was trying to play it cool.

Whether or not I succeeded, only time will tell. For sure.

~Nichole

8.02.2008

I've Been Thinking. . .

I started this blog as a fun way to track my eventual pregnancy. Because I'm cool (and a little OCD) like that.

Right now, we're still in the "thinking" stages. Yes, I know that's not "how it works" but I'm a creature of habit and my husband practically grows roots where he's planted, so movement in any direction often takes us a while.

I had an unplanned pregnancy in January of 2007. At the time, I was overweight, undernourished, in a life fog, and lost in my own self. Honestly, the "unplanned" part of this pregnancy really got to me the most. Given that I'm such a "planner" it really threw me off and I was disappointed. But, within days I had adapted to the idea and was ready for it. So, to find out a week later that the pregnancy was ectopic and not viable was very very hard.

Right now I secretly fear a couple of things: that it'll happen again, that I won't get pregnant on the first or second shot (after having it happen on the first shot the last time), or that I'll miscarry. But mostly, I think the whole experience was just a swift kick in the rear for me to get on the right track, get myself ready and set out toward convincing my hub. Meanwhile, I have been reading an exhaustive amount of stuff related to all things pregnancy since that time (because I'm OCD like that!).

So. As of today, I've been taking folic acid every day for over a year. This week I started taking prenatal vitamins (in halves) every day. And a few months ago I began a "fitness routine" which consists of me "running" (jogging) and this past week I ramped it up to 5 times a week.

I have the mutually (?) agreed upon dangling carrot of October keeping me going. (Well, for me it's a dangling carrot. For him, I think it's more like a guillotine.)

I'm hoping to lose about 20 more pounds before then and to start things off really healthy this time.


~Nichole

5.18.2008

Cycle Schmycle (or Let Me Count the Days)

I do not know what compels me to write about this today. The only other place I have gone to work through this crazy story is the quiet recesses of my journal. That and prayer.

I think I write it here, today, because I'm very very tired of thinking about it. Of having it spin about my brain, manifesting itself in odd little ways, like in the books I choose to read and in the shows I choose to watch. And if I'm not looking for it, it pops up in the unlikeliest of places (like in the book I'm reading now). And if I am looking for it, it eludes me. Like I said: very very tired.

It's been 16 months since the day I took that test to put my mind at ease, to dispel the niggling notion, the sneaking suspicion, the absolute fear - once and for all - that I might be pregnant. Rather than a dismissal, I got a confirmation. Right there in black and white. That was on a Monday.

I will not get into the gory details. Mostly because I just don't have the heart for it, even after all this time.

By Friday, I was warned that something might be wrong. I also found that I had changed. Dramatically. We had not planned, nor were did we have reason to expect this pregnancy. But it changed me. Within a week's time. Less, actually. I began rooting for it to succeed, in spite of the warnings, in spite of the doctorly advice and medical caution, in spite of the slippery slope it threatened to send our carefully planned life down. In less than a week's time, I went from being a woman to being a mother. I had redrawn the map of our future, and grafted that baby into it.

The next Monday, after the warned-of danger had failed to materialize over the weekend, I got an ultrasound. The tech translated the grainy visual for me: "empty". Right there in black and white. The pregnancy, wherever it was, never arrived at it's appointed place. They called it "not viable".

Tuesday afternoon, I got a shot in my butt. It made me sick. Body and soul. The following Monday the bleeding started. Drawing all the blood away from my heart and my brain. I muddled through the subsequent food cravings and aversions, the nausea, and weekly blood draws.

My doctor said I probably wouldn't have another ectopic pregnancy on the next try, but if I did, she'd force me to have an HSG test. That's what she said. She'd force me. But only after I went through it all over again.

I found another doctor and visited him this past January. He said "knowledge is power" and that he'd really like me to have the test just so we know. Turns out my health insurance won't cover any fertility treatment. I argued with the doc's office and my insurance provider that, technically, it's not fertility I'm concerned with.

What I'm concerned with is knowledge. Knowing. When I explained this, the doc's office really got it, I think they really did, but they couldn't do anything, and so half-heartedly agreed, at my request, to code it creatively so that it might, just maybe, fly under the radar of those insurance harpies, all the while warning me insurance still might not cover it. It's $600.

I canceled the test. We're not there yet anyway. Not in that place to be concerned about fertility. I'm in the junction that proceeds that place, where only vague curiosities abound. Hub is a few miles back.

And while half of me feels like all will be OK whenever we are in that place of really wanting to know, whenever we arrive there together, I also feel a little reckless. Like I should want to know about my fertility bad enough to come up with the cash. Or at least not let the question of money dissuade me so easily.

But mostly, I just feel really really tired of thinking about it. Of tracking my cycle, this monthly numbers obsession that began in the wake of post-ectopic heartache and uncertainty. Of wondering when, how, if it will happen. Whenever we're ready. And once we get to that place, if more heartache will ensue. The deepest depths. Body and soul.

So, I've recently resigned the subject to its former place: somewhere officially off my radar. But visions of that re-charted future are in everything I do. I cannot escape them. I am not the person I have been. And as much as I try to return to her, she does not exist. Instead, that mother pops up in dreams. In the early hours of Mother's Day morning. I wake up, the dream at the forefront of my bleary mind, suddently remembering what day it is and the first words out of my mouth are "ah crap"!

And I'm tired.

~Nichole

"May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world." -Ray Bradbury