Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Sad Night in the Blogosphere

Some of the best blogging I've read, like other literature, deals in some way with personal pain. A lot of us are good at calling up all manner of tools to deal with the pain -- snark, sarcasm, slapstick humor -- and sometimes a good laugh as we type helps us keep it all in perspective. A few years ago I joined the blogger community to find a way to channel all the fear, hope, anger, sadness, blood, sweat and tears I was dealing with while going through infertility. I found a ready-made community of amazing women willing to come along with me for the ride.

I've been following some of your blogs for that long now, and maybe it's crazy, but I feel like I know some of you personally. I get a little palpitation when I open my reader knowing someone's pregnancy news could be there waiting for me. I ooh and ahh over your baby pics. And I shake my fist and cry when I read your bad news.

I was dismayed tonight to learn about Jen's (Maybe if you Just Relax) loss. I'm shaken about it, as if a personal friend had called me to share this news. Maybe it's because she's so vibrant, so full of wit and zany humor, but I find myself stunned, more than anything, that this tragic thing happened to her.

I just wanted to send my best thoughts out to her and to everyone experiencing loss in any way.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

C'est Difficile

I don't want to blog about this.

I really don't.

I actually want someone to tell me it's a bad dream and wake me up and take me out to pancakes. It's embarrassing and I just want to deny it's happening.

But it sucks and it's happening to me and what else is this blog for?

So. Where to begin.

I just typed the long version of the story out and then realized that a) it's boring and b) it's not funny yet, because I'm still in hell over it. So here is the short version. I took an antibiotic shortly before Thanksgiving, for something that seemed to warrant it, according to the prescribing doctor, but in retrospect probably could have been handled with something topical or the passage of time. In my defense, he had me convinced with the threat of it spreading to the baby.

That antibiotic gave me an allergic reaction -- the first of my life from a medication. And then? It made me have to go to the bathroom. A lot. Those following along at home will remember this fun episode I had post-D&C two years ago. Having lived to tell about that, I thought, well, this sucks, but I'm sure it will just go away on its own as it did before. Wrong.

Turns out, what they say about antibiotics wiping out good bacteria in your gut and allowing bad things to breed is 100% accurate. I could send you pictures, but trust me you don't want them. That damn antibiotic gave me a GI infection called c difficile, which like its name suggests, is a big, giant pain in the ass. Literally.

And unfortunately, I didn't respond well to the first course of antibiotics that they, ironically, give you to treat it. I found that out on Christmas Eve. Repeat: I had to bring a stool sample to the hospital. On Christmas Eve.

So I'm on a different, stronger antibiotic now. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't more than a little freaked out by this whole thing.

Here's a tip. If you get something like c difficile -- which I hope you don't (one reason I am typing all of this is to hopefully prevent someone else from going through this) -- don't google it. Okay? Because you will see something that you really wish you hadn't, and that will be hard to get out of your head.

I have been told by some very knowledgeable people that this is going to go away, it just can take time to clear your system. I am trying to be patient. Am trying to stop feeling cursed. Am hoping that in a couple of weeks, this will be cured, the boot will be off my broken foot, I'll have a clean uterus and I can finally, finally start getting myself feeling pre-fertility treatment healthy and fit again.

Stories about someone you know (apparently this is becoming more and more common) who had this and kicked it after a couple of antibiotic rounds, no problem, are most welcome. Stories about your great aunt sally who spent five months in the ICU because of it will be considered a call to war.

Oh, other than obsessing over the battle inside me right now between good and bad bacteria, I spent a good amount of time today trying to figure out what new insurance policy to pick as of next week (all of which suck to varying degrees when it comes to IVF). I've been trying to reach the insurance coordinator in my RE's office for weeks about this and haven't gotten a response. Turns out today was her last day, so that explains why she's basically told me to suck it. So I tried speaking with a nurse to get the answer to my question, which is a basic one (how are the IVF tests, procedures, etc. billed, which seems to determine coverage). Couldn't get a straight answer.

Then I asked this nurse if she'd heard about my having the infection (because I had discussed it with another nurse and my RE). I guess I was probably looking for another "oh, that's too bad, but don't worry, my sister just had it and she's fine now" story. Instead I got an offhand question about whether I was better yet, then she quickly moved on to asking about how my Christmas was.

Well, as I just suggested, I spent a good deal of time pooping on Christmas. So actually? It was not the ideal first-Christmas-with-baby holiday I thought it would be.

I didn't say this. I told her H enjoyed it (which he did), and left it at that.

He did enjoy it. A lot. I wish I could say the same about myself. Because feeling sorry for yourself on Christmas? Is one of the saddest ways to be.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Pox upon Your House

I'm waiting for the locusts next. My house has been hit -- hard -- by multiple bugs of the viral sort. The bugs are breeding new bugs. It's not pretty.

I'm sick, and poor H has been struck, at ten-and-a-half months, with his first-ever bona fide illness beyond the occasional day-long sniffle. I don't know what planet I was living on, but I basically thought he would never get sick because, well, he hadn't ever gotten sick. I thought maybe the betamethasone shots he got in utero had given him a superhuman immune system. Magical thinking, anyone?

But of course it hit him (I mean, he sits there with other kids and licks already-licked toys -- this is not complex science) at the end of this week, coming on slowly with more frequent, messier dirty diapers and a horrendous diaper rash that had him writhing in pain on the changing table any time we dared put him down there. Some Triple Paste, per the smart recommendation of a friend, and some prescription anti-fungal cream at least has this under control.

By Tuesday afternoon, the poor boy was harboring a seal in his throat with a hacking cough and a fever, so back to the pedi's office we went. He's been running an on-again, off-again fever and had bad congestion and coughing ever since. And he just looks up at me with these sad, vacant eyes. Why don't they put a warning label about this in pregnancy and parenting books?

The pedi's office, enjoying -- I am sure -- the daily phone call (wish I were kidding) from yours truly providing a play-by-play on H's developing symptoms, has assured me that this is a garden-variety bug or set of bugs that will clear his system soon enough. But I, ever the paranoid, ever the neurotic, ever the over-thinking mom, am wringing my hands and wishing I could kiss it all away for my little boy.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Much Ado

Just back from the dreaded hysteroscopy. A lot of bark and just a little bite. Much less scar tissue this time -- my RE was pleasantly surprised by what she saw -- which made the pain far less intense. Of course there are still some adhesions remaining (though the uterus is not sealed shut entirely -- take that, crazy progesterone dreams), so I'm OR bound once again. I opted to wait until after the holidays. Because seriously, I need a little Christmas -- especially H's first outside the womb -- without an obstetric or gynecological emergency.

What was a little more interesting was the brief conversation I had with my doctor after the procedure. I asked whether it was crazy to pursue another pregnancy given the complication of the scar tissue and what she'd said around my last surgery about increased risk for placenta problems following a bout with Asherman's. She definitely does not think it's crazy, but she did calculate my risk of placenta accreta at about 5-10%. The treatment for this condition is often hysterectomy during c-section. So 5-10%? Is a pause-and-take-notice kind of calculation.

She also dropped these word bombs: gestational carrier. Now I've been through a lot of gynecological mumbo-jumbo and had a lot of surprising, and often unpleasant, word combos tossed at me over the past several years. Polycystic ovaries. Fetal demise. Placenta previa. So I've learned to be on the lookout for terms that might be heaved my way in advance. But this term caught me off guard today. It's one I've never considered.

Another person could carry a baby for me. She could do the work of growing my little (genetically ours) human while I exercise, drink wine and coffee, and generally go about my days without worrying about every little thing I do. Even better and more importantly, she could relieve the fear of something going seriously wrong with my body -- something that could necessitate the removal of a major organ.

It's got me scratching my head a bit, and wondering how much it would bother me to have another woman linked to my child in that way. But it's something to consider.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Send Me a Bullet to Bite on

Office hysteroscopy tomorrow. The follow-up from my surgery in October, to see the extent of the uterine adhesions remaining.

Of all the poking, prodding and procedures, this one is, by far, the worst for me. Because when you actually have scar tissue in there, that hysteroscope trying to get through it feels just like an instrument trying to get through scar tissue. Which is to say, it hurts like hell. I'd rather have a week of pitocin-induced contractions than this procedure again tomorrow -- no joke. They tell you to take 2-3 Advil prior to coming in, which IS a joke. I've half seriously thought of carrying something with me that I can bite on while it's happening.

Any other advice for dealing with the pain?

Oh, and while I was on progesterone the other week -- because I always have vivid, messed up dreams while on it -- I dreamed that my uterus was glued shut entirely by one huge adhesion.

I hope my clearly disturbed subconscious is wrong.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Ten-Month Funk

I need a good talking to. Somebody snap me out of this.

H is ten months old today. And instead of celebrating the fact that we've made it through most of his first year without breaking him or (hopefully) causing him any long-term damage, I'm sitting here bawling.

He seems so big all of a sudden. He's moving around so much more independently, and I suspect his first solo steps are just around the corner. He recognizes words. He's losing that little baby look. And he actually pushes me away sometimes when I try to kiss him or comfort him after he's bumped his head.

Of course -- of course -- I want him to grow and become more independent. That's the whole point, right? I get it. But there is something so deeply sad about watching these baby days wane right in front of me.

I've loved this time. I wish I could go back and do it again -- yes, all of it. The newborn nights that seemed to never end. The marathon feedings, the days of no showers. The very real trepidation about leaving the house alone with this tiny being who, I was sure, could break if I made the wrong move. I'd take it all just to remember what it felt like to hold him when he was that tiny.

I know I'm being dramatic. I know he's only 10 months old, still just a baby, and when he's four, five or 15 I'm going to look back on this post and think how ridiculous I was, and wish I could go back to this very moment.

I guess part of this is just knowing that this could be it. I've been so insanely happy taking care of this baby and I know I could be saying goodbye to this time with no hope of experiencing it again.

Sometimes I wonder whether wanting another baby is about wanting to relive H's pregnancy and infancy, to go back and right the things I did wrong. To enjoy it more. To let it really soak in.

Either way, I now understand that the angst of secondary infertility is very real. I would not have said this in the midst of the struggle to conceive H. They already had a baby, I would have said, so they don't understand what it feels like to want one.

But I get it now: We know what it's like. And we know what we'll be missing if we can't have it again.

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