Monday, December 31, 2007

Thank you. And I do mean YOU.

I was catching up on my Bloglines reading this morning, and had 6 or so posts to read. Some of them are from people who recently had babies (including a set of quads), and some are from people who are still in the trenches. Coincidentally, all of the posts today included pictures of the blogger and/or their babies. None of this is all that amazing, it's what happened next that shocked me. Megan strolled into the office to see what I was doing. As I clicked through the posts, she greeted each and every person -- including the quads -- by name. I knew that every time I visited a blog when she was around, she loved to look at the pictures and always asked me people's names. It just didn't dawn on me how many people she knows.

That's when it hit me. I don't even know most of these people. We've never met, and we never will. Yet I truly do feel like we are friends, and I genuinely care about them. I would think that it's some romantic version of "caring" about people that you can easily reserve for folks you'll never, ever meet. But since I've had the privledge of meeting over a dozen of the DC Metro ladies, I know that it's the case that I really do like them. There is something special about the IF bond, and I'm not sure I can put it into words. Even if I could, those words would never do justice to the richness that my blog friends have brought to my life.

Two years ago today, I was going in for my first D&C. One year ago today, I was still reeling from 4 pregnancy announcements (including my best friend), and a cancelled IVF cycle. I felt alone. Very, very alone. I have Kevin -- who is amazing and patient and tries so hard that he deserves a medal -- but that's different. I also have a wonderful, wonderful group of IRL friends who have worked hard to educate themselves and figure out the right way to be supportive through our IF journey. But that's different too. My sister has endured 3 IVFs and 2 miscarriages, but she is somewhat bitter about it, and I suspect that she's always thought we should stop this nonsense and move straight to adoption. So, as much as she did actually understand, her support was different as well (plus it was almost 10 years ago that she rode the IVF rollercoaster). The only person I had that truly, truly got what I was going through was Rho. And boy, did we lean on each other hard during our first few cycles. (Especially because her IVF cycle got cancelled last December shortly before mine did.) Without a shadow of a doubt, I would not have made it through this journey without her.

I remember like it was yesterday, when I wrote this in a previous post:

"It's amazing how this whole IF thing fucks with your mind. One minute, I am cool as a cucumber. Totally well-adjusted, cruising through each day with nary a worry in sight. Okay, that's a bit much, I don't know that I'd go quite that far. But suffice it to say that at those times, I'm not a ball of seething anger mixed with raw nerves topped with painful depression. Then, there are the other times. There are the bad days when I can't as much as take a single breath without lamenting my fertility woes, the wasted 4+ years trying to make babies, the angst-filled pregnancies that killed my babies, the hundreds of shots, the procedures, yada yada yada. More than anything, I get angry. But then the guilt (about the anger) takes over, and then I get sad, then I get gloomy, then . . . well, you know the drill.

Recently, I had a particularly happy spell. Two of my co-workers had babies (who have children under 2 at home already), my neighbor had a baby, my best friend is enormously pregnant, and there are what seems about 65 million IF bloggers who have managed to get knocked up in the past couple of months. Miraculously, I handled all of this well. I think I actually managed to half-smile at a couple of pregnant people in the mall recently.

Then, something happened. I don't know what it is. I think that part of it is the fact that I never really mourned the failure of our recent IVF. I was angry and shocked, but only cried twice (including that episode in Dr. Chat's office). For the past 2 days, I've been slipping back into my old, sad ways. Ugh. Luckily I've got loads of experience with this particular situation, so I know it's fleeting and will correct itself without any major event. Which is a good thing. But it still sucks. I'm sad, I'm angry, I'm feeling unfairly picked on, I'm confused, and mostly I'm just tired.

Tired of all of it. Tired of the waiting, tired of the failures, tired of the trying, tired of the drugs, tired of the bloodletting, tired of the dildocam, tired of the broken dreams, tired of pretending like I'm okay, tired of pretending like I've got hope, tired of actually having hope, tired of being jealous, tired of being angry at pregnant people. So damn tired. Mostly tired of trying. It feels like there is no end in sight.

This is ridiculous, there is an end in sight. We have a very clear game plan, and I'm 99% certain we'll have a child by the end of it (via donor eggs or adoption or kidnapping ... totally joking about that last one). It's just that when you're down in the pit, there isn't a lot of light and that makes the shadows under the bed really look like monsters. But they aren't monsters, they are dirty socks. And most of the time, dirty socks aren't that scary. Just dirty, and sometimes smelly.

I just want my life to begin again. It feels like I've been holding my breath for half a decade. I'm waaaaay beyond manipulating my plans around the possibility of being pregnant, that's not what I'm talking about. I think I'm just so very ready to find my old self again, to check the box on the family building nonsense, to begin LIVING.

Again, this is ridiculous. I am living. I have a great life. Shit, I'm not even sure what it is I'm trying to say here. I do know that just putting it down in print is already making me feel better. It's cathartic, really, sort of cleansing."

This year is different. This December 31st, I'm not checking in for another D&C. This year, I'm not crying that yet another year has passed with nothing to show for it except a big, fat helping of debt and sadness. This year, I have all of you.

It's amazing that after just 7 months of blogging (although I've been reading much longer), and almost 100 posts, I feel like I have known some of you for such a long, long time. I suppose this is what it feels like to have a support group. Whatever it is, I love it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not so dense that I don't realize this December 31st is also quite different because I've got Spidey on the way. But I genuinely feel that even if we hadn't been blessed with our little miracle (hey, the 7th time's the charm, right?), I would still be in a better place. Thanks to the magic of blogging and the support of our community.

I already wrote a gushy post about how much I love you guys, so I don't need to go into it all again. Just know that as I am counting my blessings, the IF blogging community -- and specifically every one of you who have ever showed me kindness or support or empathy -- are near the very top of my list. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Our "big" scan yesterday was blissfully uneventful. What a wonderful Christmas present!

As previously predicted, it does, in fact appear to be a boy. Once we get our scanner (joint Christmas present for/from me and Kevin) and get it hooked up, I'll scan in the pictures. (Not pictures of his family jewels, we didn't ask for any of them, just pictures of his face, hands, legs, etc.) The 3D ones are neato, even if Spidey does look quite alien-like.

Everything went well. All the organs are accounted for, measuring correctly, and in the appropriate place. We saw the 3rd joint on the pinky finger, saw the hands opening and closing, and saw a gorgeous 4 chamber heart. All fantastic signs that Spidey probably does not have Down.Syndrome. So we'll keep our fingers crossed.

Yesterday I was 18w1d and Spidey's measurements averaged out to 18w0d. All of the measurements (femur, humerus, head circumference, etc.) were between 17w6d and 18w1d. I think that partially it's because Spidey is cooperating and growing on track, but I also think that the tech who did the initial scan was great at her job. She took a lot of time to look at everything -- again and again and again -- and provided an endless running commentary explaining what she was looking at, and what she was looking for. We really appreciated that!

The biggest shock of the day was that the Perinatologist recommended that we don't do the AFP quad screen. We were totally set and prepared to get it done, but he basically talked us out of it. He spent a long time explaining exactly what it tests for, and then reviewed all of the results we have thus far (extensive anatomical scan, NT scan, NT bloodwork, etc.) and said that we wouldn't be testing for anything else we haven't already tested for. I have NEVER EVER been the one who was offered the "easy" road. I have never been the one who was told she didn't need extensive, exhaustive, invasive testing. We completely trust this Doctor, so we decided to take his advice. I was giddy at the prospect of avoiding an agonizing wait for yet more test results -- especially for a test that often gives false positive. So that too was a great early Christmas present.

As of today, I will start wearing maternity clothes full time. Thank goodness because squeezing my big self into my old clothes was getting pretty . . . um . . . comical. I also promised to get excited and attempt to be optimistic about this pregnancy. I truly will do my best. Luckily I feel him move every day, dozens of times a day, so that's reassuring. We told Megan that she is going to be a big sister and she was excited. She initially refused to accept that it was going to be a little brother, insisting that she would only like a sister. Eventually she came around and decided that having a brother would be okay -- only if we agreed to name him Scuttle. (For those of you who have the fortune to be blissfully unaware of the excruciating details of Disney movies, Scuttle is a seagull played by Buddy.Hackett in The.Little.Mermaid.) We avoided the discussion and decided to tackle that one later.

Christmas Day has been good so far. It's only 8:26am but we've already been up for over 2 hours, opened all the presents, and eaten breakfast. At the moment, Megan is running around in a Barbie wedding dress, wearing frog rain boots, and sporting 2 small baby dolls shoved down the front of her dress. I simply couldn't be more proud. :-) Best of all is that she's desperately lobbying for us to let her go outside so that she can dig in the yard for worms. She's trying to negotiate by asking for "just 2 worms" but we're not budging. She seriously is a trip, when she's not in the throes of a temper tantrum, screaming her head off acting like a raving lunatic, she is one of the funniest people I've ever known. If I can get the camera out of Kevin's grip, I'll upload a picture of her in the wedding/frog getup for you guys to enjoy.


Here they are:




















I've been praying for all of my blogland friends to get what their hearts desire. Especially to my friend who is in the 2ww after secret IVF #2, I hope you get amazing news very soon. Thank you also to all of the Braces Bunch gals who have sent cards. I love them! I have all of yours done, addressed, and labeled, but buried them under wrapping paper until I discovered them around midnight last night. Yikes! So they will go out tomorrow.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Do you love your scanner?

For Christmas, Kevin and I have decided to give each other a scanner. It will primarly be used for scanning in pictures (particularly old pictures, far pre-dating digital cameras) and other random pieces of paper such as recipes and whatnot.

Do you have a scanner that you use for pictures? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Please give me any feedback you've got so I know where to start my search.

Thanks!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hot Chocolate

I seriously need to post more. Previously, I was blaming my need to go to sleep at 9pm. Now, I've realized it has as much to do with the fact that I am so freakin' busy at work I don't even have time to eat or pee, much less keep up on my blogging. I'm seriously struggling to get my head above water on reading and commenting. Actually writing posts seems like such a luxury right now. And all because those bastards are making me WORK for my money.

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On to better topics...

For weeks, I have been meaning to encourage you to go buy one of JJ's holiday CDs. This woman has a voice like an angel. I'm not just saying it because she's one of my favorite blog buddies, and someone I've had the supreme pleasuring of meeting IRL. She is genuinely talented and you will. not. go. wrong. if you buy one of her CDs. I have the Phoenix Mix CD that she made for the Braces Bunch gals, wherein she sings 2 tracks. Then I brow-beat her into sending me her own CD that has not left my car since the moment I opened it. I listen to it each and every day. JJ -- you would die if you heard Megan singing your songs, it's the cutest thing. She does routinely ask me to turn it off so she can hear her nerve-grating Dora CD, but I typically refuse if I haven't had my JJ fix for the day. :-) So.... GO. NOW. Buy one of her CDs. You will kick yourself if you don't.

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I have lots more to say on various other topics, but the one that's stuck in my brain right now is how scared I am. I'm scared shitless that something is going to go wrong with this baby. I've started feeling him move (SO weird to call it a "him") and am starting to show. I've managed to avoid wearing maternity clothes -- at least at work -- and still haven't told too many people. But it is just so REAL. I was doing a decent job of sort of pretending like it wasn't such a big deal, and didn't talk about it too much.

But we just got back from Kevin's parents' house where we celebrated an early Christmas with his family. Don't get me wrong, we had a wonderful time. I'm truly blessed to have married into a family that I love so much (especially my MIL, if you can believe that). But our baby was a topic of conversion quite a lot. For some reason, it made me uncomfortable. I think I was uncomfortable with their confidence that we were actually going to end up with a live, take-home baby in May. I so desperately want to believe that this is true, but I'm scared. Just so scared.

I think I was the most freaked out when my MIL told me that my FIL crawled into bed last night and whispered to her, "Next year, I get to buy a fire truck!" You see, he has 3 granddaughters. He loves them desperately, is a very hands-on Grandpa, and will play Bar.bies or Polly.Pockets until the cows come home. But he was giddy like a little kid at the prospect of buying a fire truck for his grandson. Nevermind that this theoretical grandson would only be 7 months old next Christmas, that doesn't seem to matter too much to my FIL. Which is extra cute since he's usually so practical.

His family (Mom, Dad, 2 brothers and their wives) were all so happy, so excited, so confident. They must have hugged us and congratulated us half a dozen times. I know they mean it too since Kevin's younger brother & wife have 2 girls, but endured a heartbreaking miscarriage at 14 weeks between their two daughters. And Kevin's older brother & wife struggled for years to have children, but simply couldn't go on after a few failed IUIs. Now they invest all of their time and energy into their dogs. The whole family has supported us through all of our ups and downs to reach this miracle pregnancy and we are lucky for that. Their enthusiasm is genuine, and it takes my breath away.

But it still scares me to death. And it makes me sad. Why can't I be as happy as them? Why must I caveat all baby-related statements with "assuming all goes well" or "God willing"? These are rhetorical questions, we all know the deep layers of pain within that keep me from enjoying such blissful, carefree, innocent enthusiasm. We still haven't told Megan about the baby because I can't face the prospect of having to un-explain it.

I have vowed -- to myself and to Kevin -- that I will start telling people freely after our appointment on Christmas Eve. I need to know that all of the organs are there, that the systems are working properly, and that my body is doing what I so desperately pray every day it should do (successfully grow a baby and keep it in there). If we get the all-clear from that scan, then I think I'll be able to have a little more faith that this just might work out. Don't get me wrong, I would never be so cavalier or glib as to expect that something catastrophic couldn't still jump up and snatch it all away. But I think that I'll at least be able to accept it as a real possibility. That we might actually have a baby. After all these years, all these shots, all this money, all this heartache, all this praying. A baby. Man oh man, what a miracle and a blessing that would be.

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My last thought is about my friend C. You might remember her from this post. Her amnio is tomorrow. She won't get the results for 8 - 10 days, but please keep her in your thoughts and prayers as she makes it through the procedure.

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For anyone that noticed, the title of this post is "Hot Chocolate." There is absolutely no reason why. I just couldn't come up with a good title due to the varied nature of all the thoughts within, so I decided to simply pick something that I enjoy (yum!) and was eye-catching. I could have entitled it "Hot Sweaty Sex" but at this point I have absolutely no idea what that is. Poor me. Poor Kevin. Someday I'm sure we'll get our sex life back. In the meantime, I think I'll go make us some hot chocolate.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hugs and Prayers

Please go over and give Carlynn a hug. She just endured the unthinkable... Another premature birth at 20 weeks to a little girl.

My prayers are with her, her husband and that beautiful baby girl.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Belly Full 'O Cookies and IF Friends

Some of the DC Bloggers got together today for a cookie exchange. Man oh man was it yummy. Not a single cookie was anything remotely the same, we had a wonderful variety!

As sweet as the cookies was the delivery from LJ. She couldn't be here because she's traveling for work, so here is what she sent instead:

We missed you, LJ!

Now, on to the cookies... Here are 2 pictures of them. I only have 4 of the 6 recipes so I will butcher the names of the two I don't know for sure, but you'll get the point. Unfortunately, if you weren't able to attend, you can't appreciate how much these pictures don't do the cookies justice. They were all DELICIOUS!!


Left to right they are Butter Spritz Cookies (Shelby), Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies (Me), Mama's Oatmeal Lace Cookies (Sunny), and Apricot Florentines (Bean).


Here are some Almond Shortbread Cookies (Deanna) and no-bake Rice Krispie cookies with dried cherries (Meghan). These are the two I don't have recipes for, so I don't know the exact name but dang-dilly-dang-dong-ding were they delicious.

As always, the event itself and festivites contained therein were overshadowed by the good time we had just enjoying each other's company. We came up with a nice, long list of other activities we DC Stirrup Queens can do as a group to keep us busy since we get together monthly. Ideas for next month range from ice skating to a trip to Let's.Dish to a winery tour to pedicures. I'm on the hook for organizing next month's outing, so wish me luck!

Deanna was the new face in the crowd, and it was wonderful to have her join us. We hope to see you more!

Predictably, we spent most of the time laughing ourselves silly at Sunny's crazy stories and antics. Sunny, it is a damn shame that you haven't been blessed with the chance to procreate yet because we surely need more of you in this world.

Shelby was there, looking wonderful for 25 weeks pregnant. Yay!

Bean was there and in amazing spirits given the tragedy she's been enduring this last month. Bean, you are so strong and such an inspiration. I pray for you daily and hope the next cycle is the one for you.

Meghan was there, fresh off her POAS adventure yesterday. She didn't wave around a white stick full of this morning's fresh pee so I'm not sure if that means she decided against the devil stick this morning or if she just didn't want to share the results. She made us all jealous when she left to go have a big, homecooked Sunday meal at her parent's house.

We had a great time, plus shared lots of laughs and plenty of cookies. I am so grateful to have found this wonderful community online, but I'm estatic that I've been able to connect in person with so many truly amazing women that I genuinely like.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Cookies, Scans and Prayers

Geez, I really need to start posting more often. Now, my infrequent posts are not only way too long to be enjoyable, they simply aren't funny at all. That's just disappointing. I vow to work harder at posting more and cranking up the entertainment factor (or at least attempting to!).

In the meantime, here's what new with us:

1) COOKIES!

I am in the throes of preparing for the DC Metro bloggers Cookie Exchange! It's at my house tomorrow afternoon and I'm just giddy with excitement. Usually I'd be over the moon about the prospect of dozens of different cookies showing up at my house -- solely for my eating pleasure -- but I'm actually more jazzed up about getting to see my fellow local IFers. Woot!

2) NT Scan

The bloodwork from our NT scan finally came back. They said it would take 7 - 10 days. True to my (obsessive? annoying?) inquisitive nature, I started calling daily at the 7 day mark. There was a reason for my over-interest in getting the results, see item #4 below. Anyway, they finally came back on day 14 and the news was good. Here are the stats:

Downs:
Before the test, based on my age alone it was 1:111
After the test, it was 1:2,201

Trisomy 18 & 13:
Before the test, based on my age alone it was 1:201
After the test, it was 1:3,534

While we know that these numbers are just estimates, we are still encouraged by them. The genetic counselor felt the need to remind us that someone has to be the 1 on the left side of the odds. So we've vowed to beg and pray each day that we fall on the right side. This isn't quite the amazing 1 in 10,000 odds that Erin got for the WonderTwins, but we're happy with my dusty old ovaries nonetheless.

3) Latest sonogram

I had a regular OB appointment on Thursday. The fact that I'm still down 2 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight isn't really all that impressive since it's still a good 20 lbs more than I should weigh regardless. But I'm still considering it a small victory.

This visit was with my favorite OB/GYN. I just love him. He knows I'm an ultrasound junkie (or, as one of my favorite blog buddies likes to call me, a ScanWhore) so he automatically put me right into the exam room with the sonogram machine. After putting the goop on my belly . . . wait, let me digress here for a second. I think I might write an ode to the abdominal ultrasound. Not that I didn't grow fond of my thrice-weekly (or more) transvaginal probes, don't get me wrong. It's just that after years of getting the dildocam shoved up my girlie bits on an alarmingly regular basis, I forgot how nice it was to score a picture of my uterus or ovaries without feeling supremely violated. The impact that I feel this delightful little perk of IF treatments has had on my sex life is definitely the topic of another post. Suffice it to say that I don't consider this impact to be a positive one. Kevin would, no doubt agree, but he's too busy servicing himself in the shower at the moment...

So, back to the scan. He put the goop on and started searching around for the baby. I swear to you that I almost pass out waiting for something to be discernable. I hold my breath, time starts to slow, and seriously I start to get tunnel vision. I can actually hear my pulse in my ears, it's a very strange feeling. But I can't help myself, I'm always scared completely shitless that they'll find something horrible has happened. I can't function until we see a heartbeat.

The baby wasn't very cooperative, we couldn't get a good look at it's heart and all we could really see was a leg. And the leg was still. Not moving. I could feel myself starting to pant, on my way to hyperventilation. Suddenly, it moved! And not a little bit. It sort of freaked out. Like a bug was crawling up it's leg or it had the jimmies or something or a hornet flew into it's underwear. All 3 of us (me, Kevin and the Dr) laughed and said, "Whoa." Then, the baby turned a bit and WOW. The Dr and I both sort of gasped and said, "Oh!" There, clear as day, was a penis. No doubt about it. I can't believe that at just shy of 15 weeks it was so obvious. But it was.
The Dr moved the probe right away because he didn't know if we wanted to know the sex or not. So I said, "Dang, are we having a boy or what?!" And he said, "Do you want to know?" I said, "Duh, YEAH!" And he said, "Yes, you are. That was an incredibly clear picture, huh?" Meanwhile, Kevin hadn't seen what we saw and he was frantically scanning the screen for some visual confirmation that he'll hopefully get relief from all the estrogen in our house. He started practically squealing, "Wha? Wha? I didn't see it!! Lemme see it!!!!" I couldn't help but laugh, he was acting like a lunatic. So the Dr moved around a bit more and, although we never got the crystal-clear picture that we did the first time, we got plenty more views of what was clearly boy parts.

Eventually the Doctor kept moving the probe around and finally found the heart. And the brain. And whatever else it was that he was looking for. I was so stunned by the clear picture of my kid's package that I had difficulty concentrating on the rest of the scan. But it was pretty quick anyway.

I know that a lot of people say they don't care if they have a boy or a girl, they just want a healthy baby. We truly, truly, truly mean it. It's exciting that it's a boy (or at least appears to be), but we would have been equally as thrilled for a girl. It is a true, genuine miracle when any baby is conceived, and let alone actually forms into a healthy fetus. I don't take that for granted one single bit. So hopefully our upcoming scan on Christmas Eve will reassure us that all of the necessary organs and items are there. After that, I plan to start telling people at work.

#4 Prayers for my friend C

A good friend of mine is pregnant with her 2nd child. Despite the fact she got pregnant with her son the 2nd month of trying, and got pregnant with this baby on THE FIRST TRY, I still love her dearly. She is a week behind me, so it's been fun to experience it together.

Her NT scan didn't go that well. She had it done at 11 weeks (11w2d to be precise) and the baby wasn't very cooperative. It took them over 1.5 hours to get something resembling a decent picture of the nuchal fold, and when they did it was larger than they were hoping. At 11 weeks, they like to see a measurement below 2.0 and hers was 2.4. They told her to come back 2 days later in the hopes they would get a better picture.

Two days later she went back again and this time they got a good picture. Despite the fact that the measurement was better -- 2.1 this time -- they were still concerned. They told her to wait and see what the bloodwork revealed. Luckily she had this test done at the hospital where we work, and is friends with the Perinatologist, so they expedited her results.

A week later, she had her results. They weren't great. The Down's risk was good, but the Trisomy 18/13 risk was elevated. With someone her age, they like to see numbers around the 1:8,000 range. Hers was 1:197. Although a true "positive" result is actually 1:150 or less, they were concerned enough that they recommended she get a CVS. She agreed and scheduled the CVS for a week later (she had to wait for the Dr to come back from Thanksgiving vacation).

In the meantime, she went to her regular OB for her 12 week appt the day before Thanksgiving and was hit with another whammy. Her initial bloodwork revealed that she's positive for Kell. I thought I knew most of what there was to know about things-to-worry-about-in-pregnancy, but I'd never heard of this. It's similar to Rh in that there are antibodies and antigens and the wrong combination is bad for the baby. But, unlike Rh, there is no Rho.gam shot. The treatment is essentially tons of monitoring, possibly multiple amnios, and multiple in-utero blood transfusions. Astoundingly, this isn't related at all to the Trisomy 18/13 results. It's just 2 bad luck things at once.

To make it even more cruel, they drew her blood again at the OB's office and ran the test one more time. She had to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to get them, but this time, the results came back negative for Kell. Whew. Her OB said, "Don't worry about it, sorry for the false alarm!" So off she went the following Monday to get her CVS with the Perinatologist.

Once he heard she had tested positive for Kell, he refused to do the CVS. He explained that it's extremely rare to get a false positive and that he strongly suspected she was, in fact, Kell-positive. And if she is Kell-positive, then doing the CVS will cause her blood and the baby's blood to mix which is a bad thing. They drew more blood (she's giving the stuff up like an IFer at this point) and ran the test right away. Since she had the bloodwork done in the Lab within our hospital, we were able to look up the results in the system within a couple of hours. VERY much positive for Kell. The Perinatologist was right. The OB was wrong. And, apparently, the OB's lab simply performed the test wrong. Wrong. Holy shit is that scary.

Now she can't have the CVS and she instead has to wait to have an amnio. Fortunately, they are going to let her do it at 15 weeks so it is scheduled for a week from Monday (Dec 10th). Unfortunately, the results take 8 - 10 days to come back which is sheer torture. But at least she'll have a definitive answer on both the Kell situation and the Trisomy 18/13 situation.

There is so much more to the Kell puzzle than I can write here. If you are interested in knowing what we've learned, let me know in the comments and I'll contact you. Likewise, if you have experience with it and can share additional information, please let me know.

In the meantime, please pray for my friend C and her little baby. I hope that her NT scan scary numbers turn out to be just fine like my buddy CE, and that the baby turns out to be Kell-negative (which is still a possibility).

Thank you for making through this long post. I will post again on Monday with an update and pictures from the Cookie Exchange tomorrow. Yeah for cookies!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Longest Post Ever Typed

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. If you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you've had a good week. I've had a great holiday so far, despite the fact that my ENTIRE family is in town.

I can't even begin to describe the variations of crazy going on in my family. For kicks, I'll try to sum it up a little...

My Dad. He's great. He's not your typical Dad. He's not the type I'm ever going to call for advice or for money. He's not the type whose approval is so important to me that I'd lie awake wishing for it. He loves me unconditionally, is mostly a child himself still, and this is all fine with me. For the last 15 years, he has been known exclusively to all of the grandchildren as "Grandpa Goofy." He lives up to that name. When I was in high school, he used to take me and my friends out to Denny's or Friendly's and would always get us kicked out. He'd shove straws up his nose, or would "paint" on the plate glass windows with the squirt bottles of ketchup, or would make farm animal noises until the other diners complained. Perhaps in another post, I'll tell you of all the specific times he's embarrassed me so much I could crawl under a rock and die (and let me tell you, I am NOT easily embarrassed). But he's a ton of fun, he's a good person, and he loves his kids. He lives in Florida, so I usually only get to see him once a year.

My Dad's wife Pat. She's a bitch. She likes me, so I'm lucky to stay on her good side. But otherwise, she's a real bitch. I don't see her much, so it's not a big deal. They got married almost 21 years ago, so they're now approaching being married as long as my Mom and Dad were. At this point, we accept that she's sticking around for the long haul -- but that might not be so long since she's in her late 60's and smokes a couple of packs a day. It's not a real problem until she laughs hard and then she starts coughing. And coughing. And coughing. She doesn't usually stop until her eyes are watering and her face is a frightening shade of purple. She only eats red meat (pref. wrapped in bacon) and drinks copious amounts of liquor. Having said all of that, she'll probably outlive us all. My Dad is her 3rd husband. Go figure. Like my Dad, she has 4 kids (2 boys, 2 girls), but her 14 grandkids outnumber our 6 and they almost all live close by in Florida.

My Mom. She is crazy. Not a truly dangerous crazy, but most certainly crazy. She is still able to function and live on her own, but we all assume that at one point we'll have to seek help for her. She has a pretty bad memory, and tends to just make up the parts she can't recall. Then she SWEARS that it's true. Sometimes it's entertaining, but mostly it's disconcerting. She calls everyone she meets "Honey" or "Sweetie" (regardless of gender or age), assumes that everyone finds her charming and hilarious, and will talk to a complete stranger for an hour without blinking an eye. She is kind to a fault, and an incredible friend. She will dance in public, or sing at the top of her lungs and couldn't give a damn who doesn't like it. She once re-wired our entire house from gas to electric (washer, dryer, oven, stove, water heater, etc.) in a weekend, just by reading a book. Yet she can't spell about 50% of the words she writes/types correctly. Again, we don't have the classic Mother-Daughter relationship. She wouldn't judge me (although she does give some crazy-assed unsolicited advice), and I also don't work to seek her approval or pride in me. She says things like, "I don't know why you and your sister have so much trouble getting pregnant. Your father could look at me from across the room and I'd get knocked up" and doesn't understand how inappropriate that is. But she is who she is. In my finite wisdom over the years, I realized that my relationship would be better with her if I chose to focus on her good qualities instead of dwelling on all the ways she's crazy or weird or embarrassing. After getting divorced from my Dad, she married the oldest guy on the the planet named Pete. He was so damn nice. But older than dirt. And not rich at all. Just very sweet, and he loved my Mom a lot. She was his 3rd wife, and the first 2 died. Anyway, he died about 8 years ago at the ripe old age of 87 so he had a good life. I miss Pete. We used to call him Stinky Pete because . . . well, I probably shouldn't share that. My Mom lives in Indiana so I don't see her often and I only talk to her on the phone every other month or so.

My oldest brother Michael. He's a spaz. He's the most competitive person you will ever meet. When he plays games with my 3 year old daughter, he PLAYS TO WIN. He must always one-up everyone in the room. He's always got something bigger, better or faster. All things are described in terms of how much more amazing they are than whatever you have. It's actually pretty sad, but he's always been like this so we are used to it. He's got a son from his first marriage who is a 23 year old loser. My nephew is finally straightening himself out, so I shouldn't call him a loser but he's a nightmare. My brother also has a 9 year old daughter from his 2nd marriage. She's a lot like her Mom (which is NOT a good thing), but luckily she lives full time with my brother so the evil effects of her Mom are somewhat minimized. He's now married to his 3rd wife who is a gift from God. We have no idea what she is doing with our brother and we have repeatedly stated that if they break up, we are keeping her and getting rid of my brother. They live in Indiana so they are in charge of taking care of my Mom for now.

My sister Maria. She is wonderful. She is smart and beautiful and loving and a great sister and a great mother. Her husband is a piece of work, as he somewhere along the line (presumably in his childhood) had a giant stick shoved up his ass which never got removed. He's uptight and judgmental and doesn't suffer fools gladly. He's dangerously smart and really has no patience for anyone who acts stupid. Um, like my ENTIRE FAMILY. So it always makes for a good time to check him out when the clan is together. Anyway, my sister is great. We live about 30 minutes away from each other and unfortunately we are both very, very busy so we don't get together nearly as much as we'd like. I don't know that I'd consider her my "best friend" but she is my sister which is a whole different, better relationship. She and my BIL adopted 2 little girls from Russia (they are sisters) over 10 years ago. My nieces are amazing people, despite the fact that they are both now teenagers and mostly evil. After 3 IVFs and 2 miscarriages (1 at 6 weeks, 1 at 14 weeks), they moved on to adoption and are a wild success story. They also are the ONLY members of my entire family -- including aunts and uncles -- who have never been divorced.

My brother Kenny. He's a character. He's had careers as a chef, a tractor-trailer driver, and for the last 10 years, he's been steadily working his way up the technical chain at Intel as a chip engineer. Now he's a product manager for some of their new technology coming. He's incredibly smart, but he's also a train wreck of sorts. He and his 1st wife (who was a raging bitch) committed dozens of crimes (I guess one might call it a "crime spree") about 18 years ago and then disappeared -- with their 1 year old daughter -- for almost a year. He's since resurfaced, gotten divorced, gotten remarried (to a different woman who was his high school sweetheart, and is very nice, but is really very crazy too), gained sole custody of his daughter, gotten divorced from wife #2, and is now dating wife #2 again. My niece Tara is 19 and a sophmore in college and is astoundingly well-adjusted. My brother Kenny is mean and selfish and the biggest smart-aleck you've ever met. But he's a good Dad and a good brother. They live in Arizona so I don't get to see them much except when we all meet up in Vegas to gamble.

I've got a whole host of crazy cousins, Aunts and Uncles that would make your toes curl. But when we get together it's always a ton of fun. At Thanksgiving this year, it was my crazy Mom, my competitive brother Michael, his 23 year old son, his 9 year old daughter, (his 3rd wife couldn't make it because she's home with pneumonia -- or perhaps she's the only smart one), my wonderful sister, her pain in the ass husband, my 2 teenage nieces, my colorful brother Kenny, my amazingly almost-normal niece Tara, me, Kevin, Megan and our family friend Cyndy. We told many stories, laughed incredibly hard, and ate too much. We realized that the last time we all were together was at my wedding over 5 years ago. Although there were a few stupid or inappropriate comments made, all in all it was very pleasant.

Today we all went bowling (plus my Dad and my Aunt Rosemary joined us) and out for pizza to celebrate my niece's 9th birthday. It was a blast! Tomorrow everyone is coming over to my house for a fancy dinner that my brother Kenny (the ex-chef) is preparing. YUM!!

Although my family is wild, and loud, and embarrassing, and unconventional, I wouldn't trade them for the world. My husband and BIL are both sort of uptight and don't see the humor in most of my family's shenanigans, but they can kiss our asses. They knew what they were getting into before they married me and my sister, so they can suck it up. We have fun, we laugh, and we usually don't hurt anyone else in the process.

To say that I am thankful for my family, for the fact that we were all able to get together this year, and for how lucky we are to truly love each other, is an enormous understatement. I didn't mean to get all sappy on you guys, but after trash talking my relatives so thoroughly above, I had to end with some happy thoughts.

On a different note... I went shopping this morning. On black Friday. I have never done that before in my life. I was inspired by TeamWinks' enthusiasm and got bullied into it by my neighbor and good friend Lynn. It was actually a lot of fun. We got to Toys R Us at 6am (missing the rabid psychopaths that charged the doors at 5am), then went to KMart, Target, and Wal-Mart and were home before 10am. Most places were surprisingly well stocked and had plenty of employees there to help and work the registers. I can now check this off my list of things to do before I die.

Tonight, all the girls (my nieces, my sister, my Mom and I) went to the movies. We saw Enchanted. I laughed my ass off. I think I laughed sort of inappropriately hard at some stuff because Megan is so deeply entrenched in the Disney Princess phase right now that I can hardly breathe. So a well done, entertaining movie that spoofs the whole obnoxious Princess thing struck my funny bone in a particular way. I just loved it. Then we went to Johnny Rockets for dinner. When the waiters got up to sing and dance, my Mom got right up there with them. She made a total fool of herself, but she had a great time. My nieces tried to pretend like they didn't know her, but eventually ended up running out of the restaurant and part of the way down the mall once my sister and I started dancing (particularly since the waitstaff wasn't even dancing anymore). Ah, good times.

In pregnancy news, we finally told my family. We told my Mom, my Dad and my brothers the day before Thanksgiving via phone. While it would have been a real Hallmark moment to make a grand announcement over Thanksgiving dinner, it would also have been incredibly rude to my sister and BIL who are IF vets. Despite the fact that they are 10+ years on the other side of it and have 2 beautiful daughters (adopted) that complete their family, it's still not cool to make a huge production about a pregnancy announcement. Plus, I'm still a little leery of telling people anyway. Despite the fact that I'll be 14 weeks tomorrow, I still worry daily that something will go wrong. We haven't told Megan yet, or any of our friends (except the few that knew pretty early on) and I don't plan to tell anyone at work until sometime in January. Normally that wouldn't fly because I'll no doubt be showing by Christmastime, but I've got just over 2 weeks off at the end of the year, so I think I'll be able to keep it under wraps until after New Year's. Plus, by then, we'll have our 20 week ultrasound out of the way and hopefully we will be the proud owners of a healthy baby with intact, fully-formed internal organs. I think then I'll be a little more comfortable telling people. Maybe.

Good grief, this is the longest post ever typed. I guess that's what I get for not posting regularly anymore. I promise to do better. I still read faithfully every single day, and comment as much as time permits, but I just haven't made enough time to sit a type out posts on a regular basis. Not to mention, how many times do you want to hear me say, "I feel somewhat better, but I've got horrible heartburn and a raging headache." That's mostly what I have going on each day, and it's not exactly news-worthy, you know.

On a final note, I am OUT OF MY MIND EXCITED that the DC Metro bloggers will be getting together in a week for our cookie exchange! Wahoo!! I promise to post some pictures of all the treats -- too bad I don't have smell-o-vision to offer you because it's sure to be great.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Kitten or a Puppy

Today's appointment went well. I was a wreck leading up to it, scared shitless that something was wrong. I didn't eat lunch, I snapped at people at work, it was just ugly.

Luckily, my fears were unfounded. Spidey is doing fine in there. In fact, Spidey either got into the crack cocaine or is part Mexican Jumping Bean. It was so active that even the sonogram tech was laughing. This, of course, is scary to me since I already have an over-active child at home. These are good problems to have, don't get me wrong. I was just hoping for a laid back, mellow child this time.

I'm 12w1d, and Spidey was measuring 12w5d. The nuchal fold measurement was 1.5 and they like to see it under 3.0. So that's good news. All other things they look for (brain, spine, stomach, etc.) seemed to be what they were expecting. The heartbeat was 155bpm. Now we wait for the bloodwork results as we hold our breath.

There are no words that can express my relief at passing this milestone -- Milestone #27 of about 100 of them. We still have a long, long way to go, but I'm absolutely thrilled to be here right now.

Apparently it's somewhat of a game with them at this Doctor's office to try and guess the gender. The tech and the Doctor both made a guess, and it was the same verdict. Since they were nowhere near sure, we're not putting much stock in it. My 18 week appt (where we will check for all the organs and hopefully find out the gender for sure) is on Christmas Eve. Man, oh man, I hope nothing goes wrong or that will make for one shitty Christmas.

They asked me if we wanted a boy or a girl. I replied, "I honestly don't care. It could come out as a kitten or a puppy and I would be fine with that as long as it was healthy." They thought that was hilarious, but I was only barely kidding.

Now I have to wait a whole 18 days until my next OB appointment. I usually weasel my way into a sonogram, so we'll see how that goes. My friend at work offered to lend me her doppler and I might take her up on it, just to ease my continual fears. Of course she's only 16 weeks along so I'm not sure if she really wants to give it up now, or if she was just saying that today when I was muttering under my breath about the fear of another dead baby inside of me.

Talking like that freaks her out, and I wish I could filter it better, but I've seen too many tragedies at my own ultrasounds not to be constantly preparing for the worst. What's crazy is that she's the 40 year old who got pregnant on her first IUI (surely you remember me bitterly bitching about her before) so I'm not sure why she's so calm and nonplussed all the time. It baffles my mind. And it makes me sad that I've been so changed, so scarred by this entire babymaking process.

Thank you for all of your kind words and your prayers. They are working! Now go see Erin to wish her luck at her appointment on Wednesday. Yea for the Wonder Twins!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

With a little help from our friends - Updated

In an effort to distract myself from my current hobbies -- puking, posting about puking, and trying to pretend like I'm not completely freaked out about the possibility of them finding no heartbeat at Monday's upcoming nuchal translucency scan -- I'm going to let you know what's going on with my buddies.

Below is a partial listing of my friends in the IF blogsphere. I just didn't have the physical or mental stamina to include EVERYONE that I read, so please please please don't feel slighted or the least bit unloved if I didn't include you here. These are just some of the ladies who have noteworthy things going on and I wanted to encourage you to go visit someone new to offer whatever type of support you're up for giving.

I'm sorry to lead off with something so sad, but it would be a crime to bury this in the middle of the big list. There is absolutely nothing that I can say about the tragedy being experienced by Ann right now. Please go leave her a hug, a warm thought, or a prayer.

When I originally began this never-ending post, there was still time left to vote for Mel. However, now that I've finally finished my post which might contain the most links of all time, the polls have closed. With over 20% of the vote, she came in 2nd. It would have been a HUGE score for the IF community if she had won, but hopefully at least a few more people are now a bit more educated about our world. Mel, you already know I think you are the cat's pajamas!

TeamWinks has some great looking follies so she will trigger tomorrow and have her IUI on Friday. Go wish her lots of luck!

Farah is enjoying a smooth beginning (minus a doofus receptionist at her new OB's office) to her BFP! If you haven't yet gone over to congratulate her, now's a good time.

Artblog is almost halfway through her pregnancy, and since I think she's one of the sweetest people on Earth, I can't say congratulations to her enough.

Kate, who is 23 weeks pregnant, is having a tough time dealing with some aspects of her Mom's (and Dad's) behavior and could use a little support.

Lara is gearing up for another DE FET. Transfer should be in less than a week (if her lining cooperates) so go cheer her on!

LJ is still having some rough times (but some good ones too) after her recent IVF. I have had the distinct pleasure of getting to know her in real life and I think she's one of the most wonderful people I know, so please go give her a virtual hug.

Becks is on her way with IVF attempt #3. Go leave her some third-time's-the-charm vibes.

Tam recently learned the results of her FET but -- to drive us all completely insane -- she didn't post them before she went on vacation!!! Feel free to go over there (assuming you have the password) and stalk her like I do every day, looking for an update. Update: Unfortunately, it wasn't good news for Tam and Frank this time. This is just heartbreaking, so please go offer some support.

JJ is enduring a particularly painful AF right now could use a little sunshine. I just love her so please head over and say something nice.

Delenn is struggling with weight gain. At 15 weeks along, I don't think it's that bad but apparently her OB feels otherwise. Go tell her that she looks mah-velous.

Cibele just posted a cute little baby bump belly shot, so good ooh and aah over it.

Mands is going through a rough time right now, with dropping betas. Please go show her some love.

Erin, my true cyclesista, is shopping for a new home to raise the Wonder Twins when they arrive next year. They didn't get the house they were recently interested in, but will continue looking.

Gabby had a great 8.5 week ultrasound on Friday. Go look at the nifty sonogram pictures of her little gummy bear.

Kami is currently 9 weeks along after a DE cycle. She's another one of my favorite people in the whole blogsphere, so go over and say Hi.

Baby Step is in the middle of an IVF cycle and just had a bomb dropped on her by her husband. (He's not leaving her or anything, it's just that he's not all that supportive because he believes she brought all the IVF-cycle-nastiness on herself since -- unbeknownst to her -- he never wanted to do it anyway.) WTF? Go give her some support, please. Make sure she knows that she is NOT alone.

Imogen is in the 2WW following FET #3. Go wish her luck!

DMarie has started the 30 Day Get Healthy Challenge. Go cheer her on!! And while you are there, get your pomegranate thread Infertility Awareness bracelet while you are at it. Unfortunately the first 100 free ones are all gone, but you can still get one with a modest donation to a great cause.

Portia, my partner in the over-the-hill-ovary club, is gearing up for IVF/ICSI #4. Go send her lots of good vibes.

Changing Expectations is almost halfway through her pregnancy (17 weeks!) following a DE cycle. She's struggling with the reality of telling family and friends the news, so please go give my buddy some support.

Buggsmommy had her baby girl 2 months ago. Head over to check out some adorable Halloween pictures of Maggie and her brother Bugg.

Alexa, currently 12.5 weeks pregnant with twins after IVF, is experiencing horrible migraines. It's a damn shame, not only because it sucks so much for her, but because it's causing her always-outrageously-hilarious posts to be shorter than normal. Seriously, if you've never read her blog, go read as many entries as you possibly can right now. I guarantee you will laugh out loud.

Rachel is 6 days past dIUI #4. Go tell her jokes and anything else you can think of to distract her while she suffers through the hell of the 2ww. And, for the love of Pete, please PRAY that it has worked this time!

In and Out of Luck is almost 8 weeks pregnant following an IUI. Go celebrate with her!

Chris is trying to figure out what to do next following an unsuccessful IVF. Please go lend some support.

Grad3 is amazing. After 5 heartbreaking miscarriages, she is 14 weeks pregnant. Go be encouraged by her resilience.

Karen is doing a kick-ass job with her triplets now that they are home -- including breastfeeding! Go over and be impressed that she still actually finds the time to blog.

Sunny is planning another IUI in December. Go give her your own version of a pep rally. I have met her in real life and lemme tell you that I am crazy about her.

Rho, my IRL friend of many years, just learned that they will have IVF coverage in December. Wahoo! Go over and wish her luck on IVF #2 (or #3 if you count the frustrating cancelled one last year).

Lea Bee is in the 2ww following her 4th IUI. Go drop off some good luck to her.

Mary Ellen is 7 weeks pregnant with triplets!! following IVF #5. They have been through the ringer (including 3 dIUIs), so this is amazing, fantastical news that you can go share in.

Serenity is 18 weeks pregnant. After 2 IVFs and 3 FETs, it's thrilling that IVF #3 was the charm. Go check out her cute belly pic.

Samantha could use a hug. After 3 IVFs and 4 FETs, they are done with ART. While they struggle trying to determine what to do next, please go show her some love.

Kristen is finishing up another round of Clomid in preparation for her trigger shot. Go wish her luck!

Sticky Bun is 19 weeks pregnant with twins after IVF. Go celebrate!

Carlynn is 16 weeks pregnant after 6 IUIs, an IVF and 3 FETs. Passing the 19 week mark is important for her (based on prior circumstances), so go lend some support to carry her through.

Christina has been mulling over nearly every imaginable avenue for building her family (IVF, adoption, DE IVF). Go help her sort through the choices and emotions.

Amy is starting her Last Amy Egg Cycle. After 10 (is that the right number?) IUIs and an IVF, they are embarking on their final attempt IVF. Please go sprinkle babydust, leave flower petals, do a chicken dance, whatever you can think of in the hopes of helping this cycle work.

Bean could use some support. After 4 IVFs, she was surprised with a natural conception. At the moment, though, her betas aren't rising as they would like and she's feeling uncertain. Her first ultrasound is tomorrow. Please go give her a nice, warm hug.

I hope you find some time to visit at least a few of my friends above and lend your moral support. I pray for each and every one of you daily, I only hope you know how much you are cared for.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Rough

That's how things have been in our house lately. Let me explain...


Tuesday through Sunday of last week, Megan was sick. What started out as a cold turned into an ear infection, then a sore throat, then a cough, then croup. By Thursday, Kevin had a cold with a nasty sinus infection too. True to his wussy male nature, although Megan was at least 5 times sicker than Kevin, he acted about 10 times sicker than her.

On Friday night, Megan had a coughing fit in the middle of the night. It culminated in much throwing up (by her) into my cupped hands. (Don't ask.) Once I realized it was going to overflow the confines of my meager receptacles, I handily placed the puke in the middle of her bed (hey, she's got a waterproof mattress pad, it's all good) and took her to the bathroom. At this point, she had vomit all down the front of her pajamas, I had vomit all down the front of my pajamas, it was not pretty. I got her to hang her head over the toilet -- surely a strange concept to a 3 year old -- and puke in there some more.

Let me remind you that I'm pretty pukey myself these days still. I'm far better than I was 3 or 4 weeks ago, but it's still a dicey situation at times. Sooooo . . . this is how it went. Megan puked into the toilet. Leah puked into the toilet. Megan puked into the toilet. Leah puked into the toilet. It was quite the bonding experience. Luckily she was so engrossed in her own agony that I don't even think she noticed that I was puking alongside her.

We all got cleaned up and actually got a few hours of decent sleep that night. No more puking for either of us.

Until Monday. New scene: I'm at the airport. Currently I'm in Kansas.City until tomorrow (Wednesday) for work. In the 5 years I've worked at this company, I had to travel only 1 other time and I brought her with me. So this is sort of traumatic, being away from her for 3 days and 2 nights. It was good timing, however because I was out of my mind excited about the prospect of sleeping. By myself. In a big bed. For many hours on end. I was positively giddy about it. I was a little worried that I was going to come down with this nasty cold that everyone else in my family has, but I prayed for the best.

Anyway, I'm at the airport for my 1pm flight. I ate a quick lunch before leaving home so I didn't have to eat crappy airport food. As I was standing in line at the security checkpoint, I realized something smelled funny. I proceeded about my business, putting my laptop on the belt, taking off my shoes, etc. It was then that I realized the yucky smell was actually the man in front of me. Clearly he hadn't showered for days. He smelled riper than a banana in Hell. Like a total jackass, I didn't believe it could be a fellow human that smelled this badly, so I took a big whiff. Baaaad idea.

In a split second, I was puking. No, I'm not kidding. Right in the security line. Thankfully I was next to a stack of those gray containers that you use to put your personal belongings in which pass through the x-ray machine. So I ralphed into one of them. Nice. Even worse than that? Unbeknownst to me, I had a sympathy puker in line behind me. As soon as I started heaving, this lady behind me threw up as well. She was not so lucky, she didn't make it to the fancy gray containers. She puked right on the carpet. And her shoes.

I wish I could say I make this shit up, but I don't. After much profuse apologizing and an offer to even give the sympathy puker my shoes to wear, I staggered off to my gate. Where I enjoyed a 1 hour delay. Sweet. Luckily, I keep a travel toothbrush and toothpaste in my purse so after a trip to the ladies room, I was fresh as a daisy. More or less.

Can't get enough of puking stories? Well, read on. I swear I will post tomorrow with some other subject matter.

I made it here to Kansas.City just fine. A limo picked me and 2 other folks up from the airport to took us to the hotel. I checked into my uber fancy hotel room with my uber comfy bed and couldn't have been happier. There was a group dinner that evening, but I seriously considered just spending the night with a room service sandwich in the warm, loving embrace of this magical bedding. But, no, I am a team player. I went to dinner with the group.

It was a great dinner. Goat cheese, spinach and artichoke tart. Delicious house salad. Steak with mashed potatoes, asparagus and baby carrots. Then creme brulee for dessert. Aaaaah. I took great care to eat very, very small portions because otherwise it spells sure doom for my stomach. I still ate more than I normally would (these days), but definitely didn't go overboard.

We walked back to the hotel and I was feeling pretty good. Everyone else headed to the bar for some drinks, but that bed was calling sweetly to me, so I headed upstairs. As I was waiting for the elevator, I realized something was amiss. It felt like a tiny demon had jumped onto my torso and was wildly stabbing me in the gut with dozens of tiny daggers. I literally gasped out loud at the pain.

I thought, surely God wouldn't ruin my night of good sleep. I decided to pretend like this isn't happening and go upstairs. I will spare you the excruciating details of the rest of the night, but suffice it to say that I either had a wicked case of food poisoning or a nasty, nasty GI bug.

I managed to get exactly 2 hours and 10 minutes of sleep all night long. One full hour of that was spent on the deliciously cool marble of the bathroom floor. I puked so violently so many times that it was coming out of my nose. I had bowel pains so bad that I was honestly writhing around in my fancy, fluffy, useless bed begging no one in particular for mercy.

By the light of morning, I was fully cleaned out. Not a drop of food anywhere in my entire digestive tract. The straight hour of dry heaves ensured that, as did the potty time (picture the other bodily exit for food) which rivaled the ugliest horror flick you can imagine.

Out of the 50 or so of us at dinner last night, I did manage to find 2 other people who got sick as well. But since we all ate the same thing, I guess it wasn't food poisoning. Whatever it was, I wouldn't wish it on my worst, worst enemy in the Universe.

Today I was determined to eat. Not only did my stomach growl and echo like Luray.Caverns, this entire event is chocked full of delicious food. I ate ridiculously tiny portions, but did manage to get at least something down at each meal. Tonight's dinner was a full-on Kansas.City BBQ. I must have looked like a raving lunatic when I sat down at the table with my measely teaspoon or so of each type of food. But I don't care. Right now, I'm not puking and I'm not doubled over in pain. This is a small victory.

Once again, the bed is calling to me. I will go hopefully succumb to sweet, sweet sleep. Wish me luck, but most of all please wish me some digestive health. I'm tired of feeling like my insides have been cleaned out with battery acid and live maggots.

There is much going on in the blogsphere right now -- surprise BFPs, incredible sadness, and a need to vote for Mel. (She's pulled into 2nd place!) I will try to touch on those things tomorrow. Good night, sleep tight, and for the love of Pete, don't let the bed bugs bite.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Vote for Mel!

Our very own Mel was nominated for a weblog award and we need to help her out.

Please click on this link (http://2007.weblogawards.org/polls/best-medicalhealth-issues-blog-1.php) and vote for her.

You can vote once every 24 hours until November 8th. Go, go, go! Vote NOW! Please!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fortune Cookie

We got Chinese food for dinner last night. Here was my fortune:








Today, it came true. Maybe He hasn't given me everything I want along the way, but today I got what I wanted... a totally uneventful OB appointment.

I'm 10w3d and Spidey was measuring 10w3d. Whew! I got a nifty little picture of what's starting to actually resemble a miniature baby. You can discern the head, body, arms and legs. I don't have access to a scanner, so you'll have to use your imagination.

My blood pressure was high when they took it, and when they asked why I sort of half-screamed, "I'm nervous! I don't want this baby to be dead!" The nurse was like, "Um. Wow. Okay." She didn't say another thing to me, which was probably just as well because who knows what other stupidness would have come flying out of my piehole.

I got my favorite Doctor (he's been my GYN for 8 years, was my OB for Megan and did both of my D&Cs) and he was genuinely excited for us. He even started to explain to me that I could schedule my c-section for 39 weeks, blah, blah, blah. I told him to stop right there. I'm nowhere near ready to talk about that stuff, and I chastised him for trying to jinx everything. He just laughed at me and then gave me a big hug. I love him.

I did get gutsy and schedule my next 2 OB appts. Between the OB appts and the 2 appts with the high-risk doctor, I'm going to get sonograms every 2 weeks for the next couple of months. Wahoo!

Best of all . . . GOODBYE PROGESTERONE! No more estrogen, no more progesterone. I wish I could say I was sorry to see them go. But I'm just not.

Thank you a thousand times over again for all of your support and cheerleading. I wouldn't have made it this far with my sanity (semi-) intact without you guys.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

It Could Always be Worse

I've been a bad blogger. My head is so full of thoughts and posts, but I am doing a spectacularly shitty job of making the time to get them down on paper. Mostly, I blame my work for this. I used to have lots of downtime there, but now I'm completely swamped and they are making me actually WORK (gasp!) during the day. Just who do they think they are?

Also, I still feel like hammered crap most of the time. The SeaBands help, and it seems that acupuncture helped but I need to get back for another session. Most days, I'm hurtin'. I've managed to stay puke-free for over a week, but still feel wretched most of the time. I asked for Zofran but was told that it helps quell the vomiting, yet doesn't help much with the nausea. (Karen, is this true?) I'm 10 weeks today, so I'm hoping that this all eases up soon. If not, then I will just deal with it because, damnit, I paid $10K to feel this shitty so I'm not going to complain! I have my first OB appointment on Wednesday, so I'm going to ask about Zofran again or whatever else it is they recommend.

Now on to the reason for the title of this post. I had one of those days today where I felt sorry for myself. I kept it all to myself, didn't complain out loud, but still wallowed in pity for a while. I'm sick of feeling shitty, I'm mad that I had to work so. damn. hard. to get pregnant, I'm pissed that so many wonderful friends of mine (that's you guys) have to struggle so hard to have babies, I'm disgusted that I had to manipulate my body (not to mention my bank account) into doing what should just come naturally, etc. You know the rest.

So I was sitting here feeling sorry for myself when I read an email from the CEO at my job. To fill you in, I work in a hospital. An inner city hospital. A Catholic inner city hospital. This means that we not only get the scum of the Earth crossing through our doors (thanks, inner city) but we cannot turn anyone away for any reason (thanks, Catholic nuns). I don't mind it most days, it makes me feel like we are actually making a difference in people's lives. But it also sucks because I see lots of horrendous situations -- like every time I pass the nursery where volunteers spend hours rocking the crack babies because the mothers messed them up so bad and then abandoned them.

Anyway, back to the email from my CEO. It seems that on Friday, some loser in our city stabbed his ex-girlfriend to death. This morning, the police arrested him. Yay! But before they could get him to the station, he started complaining of chest pains. They brought him to our hospital and he ended up in a room on the 10th floor. After fighting with the police officer, the murderer broke the window in his room and jumped out. Yes, JUMPED OUT OF A 10th FLOOR WINDOW. Needless to say, he died.

This is why I say it could always be worse. I could have been the woman who was stabbed by this loser. I could have been the police officer who saw him jump out of the window. I could have been a pedestrian on the sidewalk that he almost landed on. I could have been the person in the Emergency Department who had to go retrieve him from the sidewalk. It goes on and on.

Instead, I was at home, in my flannel pajamas, feeling sorry for myself because I don't want to burp vomit into my mouth anymore. Given the choice, I'll take vomurp every day.

Monday, October 22, 2007

8 Things

Amy tagged me to come up with 8 things about myself. Here goes...

1) I can write backwards. It's pretty freaky. My cursive handwriting is actually better backward than it is forward. If I were to write something backwards on a piece of paper and you held it up to the light, you'd be able to read it with no problem. Also, I can write backwards with my left hand while simultaneously writing (the same thing) forward with my right. A sign of insanity? Surely.

2) I tried to convince my husband to change his last name when we got married. His last name is a lovely name, and it's fairly Irish which I really like. (My Mom is 100% Irish and my Dad is mostly German.) But I loved the name I had when we got married -- O'Hara. It just smacked of Irish. Sadly, Kevin said no way. Not because he's not a liberated guy or anything. Mostly because O'Hara was my first husband's last name. :-)

3) I know every word to every song on the entire Born.to.Run album by Bruce.Springsteen. I could probably sit down right now and write out, in correct order, the song list and then fill it out with all the words for each of them. This is because my sister, who is 6 years older than me, was obsessed with Bruce Springsteen and forced me to listen to him over and over and over again. Unbelievably, I'm also sad to say that I'm also somewhat of a Peter.Frampton and Blue.Oyster.Cult aficionado -- courtesy of my older brothers. As for me, I mostly like Country these days but also went through my Rock, Rap and Gospel phases.

4) I remember nearly every word to every song that my Mom sang me as a child. This comes in handy when trying to make up stuff to sing to Megan when she's in flip-out tantrum mode, but is also a curse because I get a form of children's song-Tourettes when someone else mentions anything related to one of them. I bust into a full rendition of these outrageously embarrassing songs and simply cannot stop. The worst part? I'm an incredibly bad singer. I mean really, really bad. I lip sync Happy Birthday at parties. But get me started on a children's song and I'm oblivious to my obvious dearth of talent.

5) I wanted to be an English teacher. I love writing (obviously, since most of my posts are waaaaaaay longer than they need to be) and have a knack for spelling and grammar. I'm far from perfect on that so don't hack up my grammatical skills, but I seem to have an innate sense for when to use who or whom, their or they're or there, stuff like that. Too bad I really like money, and don't want to worry about getting shot every day when I went to school -- these are major bummers about being a teacher. (Sorry Sunny, I promise that I don't mean to disrespect your admirable profession AT ALL!!)

6) Instead, I'm an IT dork. I was a computer programmer for a long time, then a database administrator, then lots of other stuff that's related which is boring to most people. Among other things, I was a Program Manager for a $200M Defense contract which was great but burned me out working 80+ hours a week for over three years straight. Then I worked at an Internet startup and got promoted to CIO before I quit and declared that Hell on Earth. Now, I work in the IT department of a Catholic hospital and I love it. I mean I really, really love it. I've been here for 5 years and I hope I'm here for a long time.

7) I met the President. Even though he's not my favorite one (by a long stretch, but this is no place for politics), I shook hands and spoke to George.W.Bush on the lawn of The.White.House. I have a lovely picture of him holding Megan when she was a couple of months old. He was genuinely excited to hold her (he asked, I didn't offer) and was very personable. As I said, I don't have any love lost for him in particular, but it is quite cool to have a picture of the current President holding your baby.

8) I hate elevators. I will ride them, it's not like I'm completely phobic or anything. It's just that I'm always irrationally afraid the cable is going to snap and I'm going to plummet to my death. I have many dreams of this happening (not the "to my death" part, of course) and never, ever enter an elevator without considering the possibility that this could happen. As much as this sucks, I'm glad I didn't get my sister's phobia... she's afraid of water towers. You know those big, giant tanks that hold a city's water supply? She's scared that they are all going to burst one day and flood the Earth. You would NEVER believe this if you knew her as she is amazingly smart and well-adjusted.

Hope you found them mildly amusing. Now I tag my buddies JJ, Portia, Erin, and TeamWinks. I'm sure these folks have already been tagged, but it's surely been a while so go ahead and play along anyway, okay? :-)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Spidey's Graduation

As shocked as I am to be typing this, I am also happy to say that our appointment went well this morning. I'm 8w4d and Spidey was measuring 9w1d (although the tech was pretty sloppy with the measurement, but I don't mind). Heartbeat was 173bpm which seems high to be, but they assured me that it was fine. (Will Google in a few minutes.)

Like everyone else, I'm scared to be in the world of regular people. Even more stupid since I was here once before with Megan. But this feels different. I feel like I'm made of spun glass -- on the inside and the outside. Hopefully, at some point, I'll stop feeling like the other shoe is about to drop, but there's no way that's going to happen this early in the game.

In the meantime, SeaBands, Zantac, ginger snaps and flat coke are at least making a small dent in the insansity going on in my digestive tract. It's awful. I'm going to see the acupuncturist today so hopefully she'll work some magic on me. NOT that I'm complaining...

Today is my sister's birthday, which is a nice date to share with Spidey's Graduation Day. I hope we have many, many more milestones and birthdays to share with my little Spidey from now on.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

This day, October 15th, was created to promote Support, Education and Awareness for grieving parents nationwide (and worldwide).

The official website can be found here. This is what it says:

Too many families grieve in silence, sometimes never coming to terms with their loss. Our goal is to help others relate to our loss, know what to say, do or not say, not do and to help families live with their loss, not "get over" their loss.

****************************************

We will light a candle tonight for the two babies that we lost.

My heart goes out to all my sistas, friends, and fellow stirrup queens who also lost babies. Hopefully they are all playing together happily in Heaven...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Artificial Uterine Fertilization

Has it seriously been a week since I've posted? I don't think I've gone this long without writing something since I started this blog. Amazingly, quite a few of you wonderful ladies have emailed me separately to make sure I'm still alive. I can't tell you how much it means to me that you care.

I want to make sure the following statement isn't misconstrued in any way at all as a complaint, but... I've been sick as a dog and damn tired too. What's most jacked up of all is that I honest-to-goodness have a smile on my face as it's hanging in the toilet violently refusing whatever it was I just shoved down my gullet. So no complaining here, just an excuse for my absence.

I have been working on another post about our personal definitions of Infertility, but I clearly can't figure out what the hell I want to say since I keep re-writing portions of it. Grrr. I'll probably just put it up here in a day or two and be done with it.

For my rant today, I'm choosing to bitch about a woman at Megan's school. She's a perfectly nice lady, but she's forced me to experience wave after wave of whacky emotion so now I don't like her anymore. Let me explain...

This woman is beautiful. Tall, thin, blonde and pretty. She's clearly well into her 40s (I suspect her late 40s) and looks great. The first time I had contact with her was in Chapel the first week of school. Megan is in Nursery School at an Episcopal Church where they go to Chapel every Wednesday morning, and I always go for the service. This woman was sitting in the row behind me, with the other Nursery School mothers, talking to a person sitting next to her. She pointed to the twin boys in Megan's class and explained that they were hers.

So we'll stop right there. I'm thinking, "Hmmm, in her 40s? Fraternal twins? Smells like IVF to me." I silently smile, feeling a warm kinship with this woman. It's slightly tainted, of course, because SHE clearly enjoyed a successful IVF cycle that resulted in babies, which I have not yet, but I digress.

Here I am, feeling all fuzzy about her, like we're sisters or something. She goes on to the others sitting near us, explaining that she's got two girls as well -- one is in 1st grade and one is in Pre-K. Now I'm feeling even more sappy toward this chick, trying to tally up all the IVF cycles she must have endured to get all these flippin' kids!

Then she says it . . . the sentence that makes my blood run cold. With a half-laugh, she said, "The twins were a COMPLETE SURPRISE." I swear to you that if I hadn't been in the House of the Lord, I would have turned around and spit on her. Who the F*CK is 40+ years old and gets SURPRISED by twins? Someone out there clearly really hates me to put these type of women in my path.

After that, the warm embers of sisterhood that I felt inside for her turned into white-hot, boiling jealousy and anger. I planned to shun her for the entire year. Unfortunately, that was not meant to be.

About a week later, we were all at a birthday party for one of the kids in the class. The woman was there chatting with some other parents. I was making myself very busy glaring at her and wishing that her hair would catch on fire or something.

Then, she says another crazy thing: "My husband and I got married late in life, so we had trouble having kids. Our first two are IVF babies. So imagine our surprise when I found out that I was pregnant -- with twins."

Okay, okay, okay. Now maybe I don't hate her as much. I can see where twins at that stage of the game would be a huge shock. I'm back to liking her, and probably even flashed her a sappy, knowing smile shortly thereafter (which she probably interpreted as me being a raving lunatic).

Let's recap: love her, hate her, love her again. I'm a total basketcase.

Fast forward to this week. I had drop off line duty on Wednesday. This means that I stand near the entrance of the school and let kids out of their cars. The Moms or Dads pull up, and I open the door then help the kids out and off to school. I love it since I'm such a crazy extrovert -- I get to grin like an idiot and shout "Good morning!!" to dozens of people before the clock has even struck 9am. That's my idea of a good time.

The woman pulls up (in her Mercedes SUV, thank you) and I let her kids out. I already recognize the twins from Megan's class, but I get to see the other 2 kids. When I comment on them, she explains that the older boy isn't actually hers but that she carpools with the neighbor. So I said, "Oh, where is your oldest, then?" She reminded me that 1st grade starts at 8:30am (Kindergarten and below starts at 9am) so that child is already in school. The she said, "That's amazing that you even remembered I had 2 older ones."

Little does this woman know that her childbearing life story has been a source of an emotional rollercoaster for me. I'm such a loser.

At pick up time, I was there early, so I was the first car in line. When I got out to move the cones so that we could pull around to pick our kids up, I noticed that she was in line behind me. She waved so I walked back to her car to chat. I explained that I remembered she had 2 older children because of what she said at the birthday party about the 2 IVF babies. I also said that the irony of her situation hadn't escaped me -- that, without knowing how many embryos she transferred each time, the possibility of multiples with IVF is high and she got a singleton each time. Only to naturally conceive twins. Ironic, huh?

I wish she had just said, "Yeah. We feel really blessed." But she didn't. Know what she said?

"Did I say IVF? I didn't mean IVF. I didn't do IVF. It was artificial insemin... um... uterine fertilizat... um... vitro... no... um..." I finally said, "IUI?" And she said, "Yes! That's it! IUI."

WHAT. THE. FUCK?

You can't even remember the name IUI when you have done more than one of them? Ridiculous. I was back to hating her. Of course it only got worse.

She said, "Emily, our oldest, was really quick. I got pregnant with her on the first try. I even had that vanishing twin thing. But then Courtney took forever. I had to do 5 IUIs before I got pregnant with her. If that one didn't work, we were going to have to try IVF and I really didn't want to do THAT." Imagine her making a face like she just bit into a rancid lemon.

Did I reach into her stupid Mercedes SUV, rip her out through the window opening, and beat her down right there in the school parking lot? No, I'm a bigger person than that. Ha! No, I'm not. I just don't want to get my kid kicked out of school for her jackass Mom fighting in the parking lot.

Instead, I said, "Well, it took a year and a half to conceive Megan. We did Clomid, HSGs, all sorts of other stuff. Then it took almost a year to conceive another, but I miscarried at 8 weeks. Then we did 4 IUIs and 3 IVFs. During that time, I had another miscarriage at 7 weeks. It's been a long, hard road." Oh, and P.S., I hate you.

She looked at me like I had 14 heads. But, I'll give her credit, she composed herself and said, "I'm really sorry you're having so much trouble. I hope it works out for you." Thankfully they motioned to us that we could start driving around to begin pick up, so I just walked back to my car.

Now I have no idea how I feel about her. It mostly pisses me off that she acted so coy and stupid about the IUI thing. That was just dumb. But, I have to hand it to her that she didn't say something outrageously stupid after hearing my sob story. She didn't say "just relax" or "it's God's plan" or "when you're ready, you'll have a baby" or "go see my doctor" or anything maddening like that. She said the right thing. So I guess I have to sort of like her now.

This is an unnecessarily long-winded story just to explain how I let my interactions with 1 person jack with my emotions. I am definitely looking forward to a day when I'm not so wrapped up and inexplicably invested in other people's fertility stories. It's draining.

For those of you on the other side of this raw, raw pain (who have either welcomed a child into your family via birth or adoption, or who have embraced a child-free life), I want to ask: Does it get better? Do you stop getting jealous and bitter about other people's successes? Or will this go on forever, like a tatoo that I never chose to put on my forehead, but seems to always be there?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Miracle

That's what we asked for, and that's what we got.

The shock still hasn't worn off, but I think I can pull it together enough to let you all know that somehow, magically, miraculously, in just 5 days we went from a big, gaping gestational sac with a virtually non-existant yolk sac to...

An embryo measuring 6w2d (I'm 6w3d) with a heartbeat of 116bpm!

I haven't yet googled if that's within range, but the Doc assured me it was. He tends to blow smoke up my ass (this is not my regular RE), so I won't believe him until I confirm it myself.

I'll tell you how it all unfolded in another post -- Kevin was amazingly calm and I was a stuttering fool. Good times. Right now I need to take a nap. :-) I'm tuckered out from all the extra stress I've been heaping on myself lately.

This is yet another in the dozens and dozens of milestones that still need to be reached. But it feels so good to be here that I'm determined to relax and enjoy it (at least for a full 24 hours if I can manage that).

I go back again on October 18th -- 2 weeks and 1 day away. It's like a lifetime, but my RE is out of town for the first part of that week and he specifically requested to be there at my next scan.

If I could make lacy, frilly, heart-laden cards for each and every one of you who commented and prayed for me, I would. And I would deliver each and every one of them personally with a giant, warm hug. I have no doubt that your many, many, many prayers and good wishes made a difference. I will never be able to thank you enough for your love and support.

Hang in there, Spidey!!

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Answer

I wish I knew how to get an answer to the question: "When will we have a baby?"

I'm not above buying a cheezy Magic 8 ball if someone tells me that it will do the trick. I'm completely ready to see a psychic, have my tarot cards read, get my star chart completed, anything.

The uncertainty is killing me. I just long for someone (or something) to tell me, "You will have a boy in October 2008. You will adopt him." Or any type of information like that. I guess I don't even really need to know the method by which we'll attain this new family member, but it would be helpful so I can stop futiley* barking up the wrong trees.

More immediately, I wish I knew the answer to what's going to happen at Wednesday's scan. I genuinely hope it isn't like the last miscarriage where it dragged on for weeks...

Scan #1: "Sorry, everything is too small and too slow, it's not going to make it. Come back for another scan in 5 days."

Scan #2, 5 days later: "Wait! There's a heartbeat! But, sorry, it's too slow. Probably not going to make it. Come back for another scan in 5 days."

Scan #3, 5 days later: "Hmmm, there's still a heartbeat, but it's still too slow and now it's irregular. Come back for another scan in 5 days."

Scan #4, 5 days later: "Sorry, the heartbeat is gone. When would you like to schedule the D&C?"

I had the sense all along during that pregnancy that it was doomed. However, that didn't make the reality of the excruciating waiting any easier to take.

I had very high hopes for this pregnancy, I really, really thought this was The One. It's looking pretty dismal, but I promise you that I'm not giving up hope yet. I'm too cried-out to cry anymore, so now I'm just sort of numb, waiting for Wednesday's news.

I can't thank you guys enough for the outpouring of support. So, so many of you have emailed me separately to offer wonderful things: food, chocolate, hugs, a visit, etc. I truly do feel loved and I have you to thank for it.

I apologize for not responding to any of those emails yet, I will. It's just that right now I've got nothing useful to say so it's best not to be said.

Sort of like when my boss (you remember her -- the 40 year old with high FSH who got pregnant from her first IUI) went ON and ON and ON and ON a few weeks ago about how great and amazing it was to see the heartbeat on the screen, blinking away so fast and so strong. I should have just nodded and walked away, but instead I muttered something about how the last two times I went to the doctor to see a heartbeat, all I saw was a dead baby. See, that's not very useful, so it's best left unsaid.

I know that I'm supposed to trust in God that He has a plan and that I am exactly where I am meant to be. But, and I hate to say this for fear of Him smiting me any further, but I think His plan SUCKS. Why does it have to include so much pain, so much misery, so much anxiety, so much bitterness, so much disappointment, so much self-loathing, so much heartbreak?

I have literally half a dozen other posts rattling around in my head, so I'll try to get them out soon since they all require input from you wonderful creatures in the IF blogsphere. Thank you a thousand times over for reading, listening, understanding and supporting.

* "Futiley" is a stupid sounding word, so I looked it up. It does exist, and this is actually how it's spelled. I've learned something new today, perhaps I should go home and call it a day.