I Humbly Thank Thee

To whomever at the Ferrara Pan Candy Company in Chicago, Illinois, invented the LemonHead Candy:

I, and the 27 students who attended my class today, thank you for creating your tart, suck-your-cheeks-together-in-sour-agony candy. It tastes good, yes, but more importantly, it can instantly quell the urge to vomit. As a women who hates to vomit, especially in front of a live audience, your candy is a lifesaver (metaphorically speaking, of course — your candy is MUCH better than a piece of crappy Lifesaver candy). The 1 cm size is a little large and can make lecturing difficult, but than again so can puking in the trash can at the front of the auditorium. Also, my wee-beastie — the cause of all this gagging and retching — is a little over 1 cm so it is, at least this week, a humorous parallel.

Your candy is awesome. You are awesome for inventing this magical antiemetic. How did women survive pregnancy before 1962? I humbly thank thee.

Most respectfully,

MissedConceptions

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November 27, 2007. Pregnancy #3. 8 comments.

Mr. BeauJingo Hates the Pharmacist

Hi there, folks- this is MC’s husband writing because he needs to share something:

I hate the pharmacist, and he freakin’ knows it now.

MC called in the refill for her HCG prescription well in advance of my going to pick it up at 5:30 PM this evening. When I got there, I found out that (whoops!) they had not only failed to fill the Rx, but they failed to TELL US that they couldn’t fill it. They told me that not only had they not filled the prescription, but that they were unable to indicate what other pharmacy in the same chain DID have it within driving distance.

Here’s what I said to the pharmacist telling me he couldn’t help me:

Please forgive me in advance for my bluntness: My wife has suffered through TWO miscarriages, so I’m not going to mince words about my desire to prevent a third. My wife needs to inject that prescription tomorrow morning, so here is what will happen: I will quietly sit down over in those chairs while you take a few minutes to call around to other local pharmacies until you find the one that can fill this prescription tonight- because I am not @#$%ing going home to my wife without it.

He made some calls and sent me to a sibling corporate pharmacy across town.

Asshole.

November 26, 2007. Mr. MC. 6 comments.

Still Holding Onto the Other Shoe

I felt like crying even before she put the dildo-cam in, but everything is okay. In the words of the ultra-sound technician, everything is actually “perfect” for 7w4-6d.  The embryo grew exactly one week’s worth (it is now 1.3cm) and has a heart rate of about 176 (she had to manually count as the particular machine did not have the audio function), which is well within the normal range (120-185bpm). It also has “limb buds,” which I think sounds like a great name for a band (as does “dildo-cam” and “fetal heart rate”).

The also drew blood to check my thyroid levels.

Is it rude to fall asleep in your own lecture-based class?

Yes, I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop, but for now, and now is really all I can handle, it is still up in the air.

November 26, 2007. Pregnancy #3. 8 comments.

To Sleep … Perchance to Stave Off the Nausea

I had most of last week off of school. I had planned to get so much done, and instead all I did was sleep. I am going to get another thyroid level tomorrow, because this level of fatigue is scary. The upside is that when I lay perfectly still in bed, the nausea is under control. It is when I do something stupid, like get up and attempt to be productive, that it really hits.

I have ultrasound #2 tomorrow. I am scared, of course, but not terrified. Then I get terrified that I am not terrified, but I think it is mostly because I am just so darn tired and nauseous. Please, please, please still be alive and healthy. Pretty please?

I have Zofran (a “safe” antiemetic) left over from last pregnancy and I have decided to use it up. I still feel guilty for taking medicine while pregnant (on top of everything else I am taking as part of the “recurrent pregnancy loss protocol”) but this is really a quality of life thing. I am not actually vomiting: I walk around in that awful dry-heaving, hyper-salivating state most of the time. I am already at high risk for dehydration and under-nourishment with the colitis, so perhaps I should think of it as self-preservation instead of self-indulgence.

November 26, 2007. Pregnancy #3. 4 comments.

Comeuppance

Be careful what you wish for.

I felt my lack of symptoms with this pregnancy, especially nausea, might be ominous foreboading.

Yesterday, it kicked in. It is not fun.

Is pregnancy nausea the only time where you are simultaneously retching and starving?

November 21, 2007. Pregnancy #3. 6 comments.

R.I.P.: The Plan

I thought I would feel better today, emotionally speaking. Instead I feel, well . . . , worse. Yesterday’s scan was fantastic news, but it has made me feel even more vulnerable than I did before. I read in my Avoiding Miscarriage book that your odds of miscarriage go down significantly once a heartbeat is seen, but I don’t find statistics especially comforting these days. The odds of having two miscarriages in a row are not very high either and look how fan-fucking-tastic that worked out.

I have never made it this far in a pregnancy before: the first was a blighted ovum and the second had a non-viable heart-rate. Instead of making me feel more secure, yesterday’s scan made me feel more afraid, because now I feel like I have more to lose. I have read enough, perhaps too much, to know that this is not bad news, but we are far, far, far from being out of the metaphorical woods.

The Plan has come to its logical end. The pee sticks have reached their maximum darkness so continuing to test is useless. Just in case you were wondering what exactly $18 worth of Dollar Tree HPTS looked like all glued (yes, I had to glue them onto a piece of cardboard so my cat would stop knocking them over) neatly together, here you go:

the-plan.jpg

November 20, 2007. Miscarriage Links, Pregnancy #3. 6 comments.

Finally … Not Bad News

sixpointfiveweeks.jpgThere is a sac in my uterus.

Said sac has an embryo in it that dates to 6w6d (.91 mm), even though I am only 6w4d.

Said embryo in said sac has a heartbeat of about 130 bpm and we were actually able to hear it.

For now, this is a viable pregnancy. For now, everything is okay.

So please explain to me why I can’t stop crying?

November 19, 2007. Pregnancy #3. 19 comments.

Ralph

I woke up at 6AM this morning and ralphed.  And ralphed.  And ralphed.

Mr. MC suggested that it was perhaps an indication of good hormone levels?

I thought it was due to my anxiety attacks the night before.

I realized this morning that it was because I had woken up at 4AM and taken my prenatal vitamin with orange juice on an empty stomach.

November 18, 2007. Pregnancy #3. 5 comments.

End of the Line

I am slowly starting to freak out.  I am fighting it and doing a miserable job.

In both my previous pregnancies, I had way more nausea than this, even with the blighted ovum.  With pregnancy #2, when my hormone levels were normal even though the embryonic heart was not, I was puking by this point.

My boob are not as sore today.  The gagginess is not as severe.  I have very mild cramps on and off, but nothing very noteworthy.  The only “pregnant” symptoms I have are that I am utterly exhausted and feel like I am emotionally falling apart.

The Plan has ceased to be a source of comfort because I am not sure that the lines are still getting darker.  Granted, I am 30-31dpo (6w2-3d), and pregnancy tests, much like Niobe suggested, may have a maximum darkness.  I just can’t tell anymore.

My 6.5 week ultrasound is 37.5 hours away.  Everytime I think about it, all the blood runs out of my head and I feel faint with dread.

I feel like I have managed to hold it together for over two weeks, and now I am entitled to completely lose my shit.

So please excuse me while I go completely lose my shit.

November 17, 2007. Pregnancy #3. 4 comments.

Adult Child of Crazy People

My mom called me at 9:00AM on the one day this week I can sleep in.

She is leaving my father. I am not sure that she has told him yet. I thought this would have happened when I was much, much younger, but she stayed for another 15+ years.

She does not know about this pregnancy, because the last two times she became more of a stress than a comfort. I elected not to tell her this time until I at least reach the second trimester.

She also wanted to know if she could move to the city where I live.

Usually, all this would really stress me out. Instead, I am actively letting it roll off of my back. I have bigger things to worry about right now. I also refuse to take sides.

Instead of worrying about the breakup of my parent’s thirty-five year marriage, I am trying to find the pee-stick I misplaced this morning so I can analyze it as part of The Plan. It sounds like avoidance; it is really compartmentalization.

November 16, 2007. Other Sucky Things. 6 comments.

Busy as a (Gaggy) Bee

I intentionally booked all my appointments and meetings for this week. First, being this busy helps to take my mind off of the ultrasound next Monday. Second, if I get bad news at the ultrasound, I can fall apart and not have to reschedule anything.

I know. I am such a freaking optimist.

After two miscarriages, the best I can do is realist. Things might be fine but they might not, so it is best to just try and take things as they come.

It is amazing to walk around campus and realize that everyone I see, even if their mothers were not wanded, was at some point a healthy first-trimester pregnancy. They had a head, a body, and a strong heart. They grew and developed and grew and developed and were born. This process is such a normal thing — every child or adult you see is a testament to its success — but it feels like it is continually out of my grasp. I have never had a “good” ultrasound. I had an early ultrasound after I started spotting in pregnancy #2 to ensure that the sac was in the uterus. I also had a 5 and something-week ultrasound with pregnancy #2 that showed a sac and yolk sac, but it was too early to see anything else. Those were the “okay” ones; every other ultrasound I have had either showed an empty sac at 10+ weeks or an embryo with a very slow, non-viable heart rate. I think realistic is pretty good, all things considered.

My boobs are still killing me, the gaggyness is getting more pronounced, and if I don’t eat or if I smell something funny, I get hit with nausea. The Plan is still working, even though I freaked out this morning when the test line was a wee bit lighter than yesterday. I forgot, however, that I got up and peed in the middle of the night; when I took another one this afternoon, it was back to being very dark. How can a 6-week pregnant uterus make you have to pee so much? It must be the hormones more than the physical weight, right?

On a totally non-related note, I heard a rumor that tonight is the last “Office” recorded before the writers’ strike. (Sniffle)

November 15, 2007. Miscarriage #1, Miscarriage #2, Pregnancy #3. 4 comments.

Holy Crap — On Network TV?!?

Does anyone watch Brothers & Sisters? The show is usually okay, and is at least a pleasant way to pass time on a Sunday night. So far, and the show is only in its second season, they have dealt with infant loss, postpartum depression and, this past week (4 November episode), first-trimester miscarriage.

Someone got a positive pregnancy test on TV and then had a miscarriage?!? They even did a scene where “Kitty Walker” (Calista Flockhardt) goes in to get her first ultrasound and they see the sac, but not heartbeat — they even use the term “missed miscarriage” ON NETWORK TV. Then her charatcer has to have a D&C and lays in her bed afterwards feeling “crampy.” I am very impressed with the writers. Appalled that I had to be reminded of ultra-sounds with bad outcomes tonight when I watched the TVoed episode, but impressed that they decided to tackle such an uncomfortable subject.

Episode Guide

November 12, 2007. Miscarriage Links. 2 comments.

Poop

My colitis is flaring. For real. I just took my Prednisone and I am not happy. Prednisone is actually recommended for some cases of recurrent miscarriage and is not really an issue in the first trimester (use in the third trimester can result in the birth of a Baby Huey), so there is no risk to the pregnancy. Still, I hate the stuff. It gives me insomnia, makes me puff up like Violet Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (without, unfortunately, her lovely shade of blue), completely destroys my metabolism, and then makes me constantly hungry, especially for eggs. It has saved my life many times over, however, so I really should stop complaining. I will, I promise, just as soon as I finish this two-week taper of the blessed stuff.

If you have colitis, you get these fantastic odds regarding pregnancy: 1/3 women will go into remission, 1/3 women will have a flare, and 1/3 of women will remain unchanged. The statistics do not help much, do they? In fact, why not just say “We have no clue what will happen?” That would be more satisfying for me, at least.

Both of my previous pregnancies threw me right into a state of complete remission. It was awesome, right up until the miscarriage/hemorrhage/complete emotional meltdown part. I arrogantly thought that this pregnancy would do the same thing for my colitis. It has not. Perhaps this is a good thing as I am all in favor of everything with this pregnancy being radically different from the last two.

The Plan is working quite well. The little sticks are getting darker every day, and now the test line is even darker than the control line. I only have two tests left and one week until my ultrasound, so it is back to the Dollar Tree I go. (I tried to go to a different store but the ghetto Dollar Store ran out of pregnancy tests —!?!?) For the sake of not introducing another variable into my experiment, I feel obliged to stick to the same brand.

November 12, 2007. Colitis is Fun (Not), Pregnancy #3. 7 comments.

Super-Bad (or Why I Will Never Be a Rogue Foreign Spy)

My next appointment at the RE’s office is not until Monday, 19 November — two weeks from today. I don’t know how I am going to make it. As much as the betas stressed me out, at least I had some clue what was going on in my body. Now, I just wait. This is the time that everything went down the crapper in the last two pregnancies, so this is an especially tortuous wait for the 6.5 week ultrasound.

So I came up with The Plan.

I would buy a ton of inexpensive pregnancy tests and I would take one every day, noting how long it had been since my latest HCG shot. If the lines get darker between the day I take the shot and the subsequent days later (I take the shot every 3.5 days), it means that the HCG levels in my body were going up as the HCG from the shot would be slowly leaving my system. Yes, it is in the words of Mr. MC a “crude, analog method,” but barring access to a lab, this will have to do.

The first trick was to buy lots of inexpensive pregnancy tests. Admittedly, going to the Dollar Tree and buying twelve pregnancy tests at a time is kind of a weird thing to do on a Saturday afternoon. These are an essential part of The Plan, however, so off I went. I also threw in a gift bag (so as not to look too suspicious) and stood in the very long check-out line. When I finally got to the cashier, she scans about 4 tests and then asks (loudly, I might add) “So, you just want to be sure, huh?” Now, two thoughts entered my mind. The first was to quietly mention that I am pregnant, hopped up on all kinds of hormones, and in a very bad mood; I would then bitch-slap her into next week. The second was to inform her that I had just had another miscarriage and was waiting for my HCG to return to zero; I would then start to cry (which I could do on cue given all the hormones) and thank her for reminding me that I had lost yet another baby. What I actually said was “You have no idea.” Ms. Sassy-Cashier then said (loudly, again) “Ohhhhhhh, I can use my imagination.” She was almost done scanning them, so I just smiled and told her I was using them to monitor hormone levels. I so should have gone for the bitch-slapping option.

When one decides on The Plan, one needs to put it into action as soon as possible.

I sat in my car, emptied the contents of one of the boxes into my purse, and then realized that these pregnancy tests are cartridges that come with little droppers. They do not, however, come with a cup or anything in which to deposit your precious data-filled urine. That is when I remember an essential detail: the Barnes and Noble next door had a Starbucks and they have a table where they leave out pitchers of water and little plastic cups. Score!

When one is actually in the Starbucks at Barnes and Noble, the key is to look nonchalant as you saunter up to the counter and discreetly take a plastic cup. I put a little bit of water in mine and swirled it around a little, so no one would suspect what I was really going to do with it. I stealthily made my way to the restrooms, only to discover a “NOT IN SERVICE” sign on the women’s restroom. “NOT IN SERVICE?” This was so not part of The Plan. Thankfully, a little man popped his head out of the supply closet and asked me if it was an “emergency.” Hmmm. Is peeing in a Starbuck’s cup and then taking a pregnancy test when you already know you are pregnant just to try and monitor your hormone levels via the darkness and thickness of the lines on a one-dollar pregnancy test really an emergency? “Yes,” I said, “it really is an emergency.”

. . . . .

That was Saturday. It is now Friday and I am happy to report that The Plan has been a success. I can see a rise in my HCG after the shot, but the lines are continuing to get darker, even after the HCG in the shot has been metabolized. Most importantly, it makes me feel better. Two weeks is a long time to go without any data, and this is helping me stay sane until the 6.5 week ultrasound.

Even better, I almost threw-up when taking my pills this morning. I am not actively nauseous, but my gag-reflex is in overdrive.

November 9, 2007. Pregnancy #3. 13 comments.

Counter-Intuitive (Updated)

I gave myself 2,500 IU of HCG on Wednesday at about 10AM. I went in for my repeat beta today and asked the nurse who drew my blood how exactly they “recalibrate” the test results to account for the shot. She said that after two days, it doesn’t really impact HCG blood levels that much. She said that it is counter-intuitive that you could shoot yourself up with something and that it would not skew quantitative levels drawn only two days later, but that is indeed the case.

Huh?

Dr. Google has said that if you get an HCG shot, you should not take a pregnancy test for several days as the HCG stays in your system. I think the dosage is higher for trigger shots, but this makes no sense, unless HCG has a very short half-life.

My HCG level was 60 on Wednesday so to at least double, it should be about 120ish today. How can injecting 2500IU of HCG not impact such a small number?

This is making my head ache.

The same nurse told me with a big smile to call back at 11AM for the results. Yeah, because calling promptly at 11AM has gone so fan-fucking-tastic the last two times. I will dutifully call back, however, in the off-chance they have it run this time. They are also running my TSH levels (thyroid-stimulating-hormone) levels to see if the bone-crushing fatigue is a pregnancy thing or a thyroid thing.

I peed on the last two sticks I had, an HPT and an OPK. Both were dark, dark positive. I still think it is the HCG shot, but I am going to trust Dr. SBS’s office on this.

Tonight I am going to eat delicious French food with out bestest friends here and then on Sunday I am going to the 1st annual Pepito-birthday celebration. Pepito and I, as luck would have it, share the same birthday, making us both passionate and stubborn Scorpios.

Update:

I called at 11:07, and although I was on hold for several (well, 9) minutes, they did actually have my results back.

HCG: 191 (“more than doubled” from 60 on Wednesday, even allowing for some residual HCG from the shot on that same day)

Progesterone: 27

TSH: 1.42

I scheduled my 6-week ultrasound on 19 November. Until then, I am to do follow the RPL protocols and stop peeing on sticks (not really — I am going to the Dollar Tree later this afternoon!).

Phew.

The fatigue is all pregnancy, so I am off to take another nap with my dog, who is even more adorable when he is not puking.

November 2, 2007. Pregnancy #3. 14 comments.

Happy Birthday to Me

The relief over yesterday’s more-than-doubling beta was great for about two hours. Then the fear/anxiety/worry crept back in.

Per Dr. SBS’s orders, I did the HCG shot yesterday. I can no longer pee on sticks to see that my levels are going up because the HCG will skew everything. I find this reality very scary as I feel someone has taken my safety harness away.

I am, however, utterly exhausted. I even skipped the class I am auditing today because I was afraid I might fall asleep in another professor’s class. Mr. MC was up all night taking care of our sick dog, so it was not a very restful night for anyone. Or perhaps it is due to the HCG shot and progesterone supplements?

Oh, and I am 33 today. Not quite yet in my RE’s ever ominous “over -35” category, but old enough to alarm him. I am a little pregnant, completely exhausted, and I am going to take a nap with a dog who will hopefully not throw up on the bed. Happy birthday to me.

November 1, 2007. Pregnancy #3. 7 comments.