Sixteen Going on Seventeen

This year was not my best. It was stressful, and disappointing, and scary and heartbreaking from time to time. But we laughed a lot, and had a lot of fun too (when I wasn’t sobbing).

It sort of reminds me of these photos, which are some of my favorites from this year. They look good, but really, each one was taken in the midst of a disaster.

In the first one, our trip to the train museum was a makeup trip from the week before when Gus threw up on everything (and everyone) in our car.

The second one was taken in the middle of a full-on meltdown/refusal to participate in a class I’d already paid for, and that – up until that very second – he used to love.

The third was taken after I spent the morning packing a cooler, and a beach bag, and slathering lotion on everyone, and hauling 25 pounds of stuff down to the beach, and 15 minutes later he was like, let’s go to the pool, I hate it here.

So I try to remember that sometimes annoying things happen, and you’ll be stressed and frustrated and tired, but something good can still come out of it. (At least as long as you’re willing to let your toddler wander fairly far away from you, and you happen to be holding a camera).

I hope that everyone has a happy(ier) and healthy(ier) 2017

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Next Steps

After our last (failed) IVF attempt, we’ve been talking about what our next steps are.

I’m definitely planning to try again, but the more I think about it, the more I’d like to take a few months off before starting again.

For starters, we’ve decided to have our remaining embryos genetically tested. While it doesn’t guarantee success, it certainly increases our odds (and the odds have not been in my favor). And despite the extra cost, the price is significantly less than it was four years ago when we started this process, so that was a pleasant surprise.

Then we have our annual family vacation coming up, and I would love to run, and jump and play in the ocean with Gus. I’d also like to take him on rides, and to splash parks, and eat (and drink) at all my favorite restaurants and bars.

After that, we have a destination wedding coming up in September, and making either 1) a long car ride, or 2) a plane ride with a toddler while pregnant and taking blood thinners was not something I was looking forward to. Now I just have to deal with the joys of toddler traveling, and I can drink away my feelings if that’s what it comes down to.

After THAT, my oldest, and dearest friend is getting married in the spring, and her bachelorette party is possibly happening in Vegas, in the fall, and now I can go and not be the sober party mom, and instead I’ll be the least drunk party mom. (Once the party mom, always the party mom.)

I don’t actually drink that much — despite my last three points being mostly alcohol related — I swear.

Our new house is pretty great, on the inside. But the outside? Needs some work. Like chopping down trees, and clearing overgrowth, and horrible gross outdoorsy-type work. Work I despise, but would like to do as cheaply as possible, and that means getting out there and doing most of it ourselves. I can’t really whack things with an axe on my best day, let alone when I’m super high-risk and pregnant.

And can we talk about Zika for a minute? Because it scares the bejesus out of me. I live in an area they’ve classified as low-risk, but those little bloodsuckers are nearby, and guess who has two thumbs and a giant reservoir in her back yard? This girl. So I’m ok with waiting for mosquito season to end.

And, maybe most importantly, I’m excited to spend a little more time with Gus —  just us. We’ve got a lot of things on the horizon for our little man in the next few months, and I had a lot of anxiety about how a new baby would change things for him.

We just started potty training. He’s starting preschool at the end of August. He’ll be a threenager, and probably transitioning to a big-boy bed in the fall. That’s not so much for you and me, but it’s a lot in a few months when you’re under the age of three. Add all that together, I’m ok with waiting a few more months.

Physically, waiting gives me more time to keep getting healthy. Selfishly, it lets me go on vacation and drink. Financially, it lets us save for the next cycle. And mentally, it’ll be nice to take a break from needles, and medicine reminders, and worrying about all the what ifs.

Relief

Today was my D&C.

My husband has a wonderful, and inappropriate, bedside manner. Like, after he used my purse to modestly cover my crotch while I was climbing onto a gurney in my assless gown, he only referred to my purse as my “goody bag.” He also said a lot of other things I shouldn’t repeat, and then called himself a “selfish Patch Adams.”

I’m sad, and tired, and sore. But I’m also relieved.

I’ll explain.

One of the cruel realities of a missed miscarriage, are on-going pregnancy symptoms. I’ve spent the last four days, nauseous, tired, short-of-breath, and achy (in addition to sad!) — only this time I knew it was all for nothing.

And I’m sure there are lots of experiences in life that cause as much anxiety as pregnancy after recurrent miscarriage does. But those things are probably like, oh I don’t know, being kidnapped. Or dangling over an Indiana Jones-esque pit of snakes. Or being repeatedly bumped by something you can’t see in the ocean. And then doing any of those things for 10 months straight.

I’ve spent the last 9+ weeks agonizing over every twinge, cramp, pull, and ache, and frantically checking every square of toilet paper for any signs of trouble. And then, God forbid!, there are actual signs of trouble, and the Prophet Of Doom takes over in your brain, and obviously everything is ruined!

It’s been a few hours, and my ever-present nausea? Is already gone. The aches and pains I’ve been dealing with? Well, they gave me Vicodin, so those are all better too.

I’d gladly deal with all this craziness, and more, if it meant we could undo what’s already been done, but since that’s not the case, I’m relieved to know 1) my body* and, 2) my mind** will get back to normal soon.

And by “normal,” obviously I mean *chubby, and **full of annoying children’s songs.

Square One

By now, you know I like to keep things light. I make jokes. I call myself chubby. I try to use what I call “grandma-esque” amounts of profanity (which translates to a few four-letter words here and there, that you’d probably throw around in front of your grandma and then hope she didn’t hear you).

So, I’m warning you now — I’m about to get deep, and a little depressing.

Last week I had another miscarriage. I was about six weeks pregnant this time, which was a week farther along than the time before. So, you know, at that rate I’ll have a baby in like 36 more pregnancies.

We’re frustrated, obviously, and scared. No one can tells us why this keeps happening. We knew going into everything that I have a clotting disorder which can cause issues during pregnancy — so I was already giving myself injections of blood thinner as soon as I found out I was pregnant. Now I have to regroup with the doctors we’re working with and come up with a new plan, because what we’ve been doing clearly isn’t cutting it.

I’m also really angry. I know everyone has their own struggles, and has to overcome obstacles to get the things they want. I was sort of hoping — for us, anyway — that all the time, money, shots and side effects, and medical intervention to get pregnant in the first place would have been enough already.

Having been pregnant, and then suddenly not anymore, twice now — I know that pregnancy will never, ever be an exciting thing for me. Sure, I get excited when we find out it worked! We’re pregnant! But then I think, “I wonder for how much longer.”

And that’s what I think every. single. day.

The first time, I had some warning. My blood tests and hormone levels weren’t doing what they were supposed to do. I knew it was coming, about a day in advance. So this time, I thought, “well, we’ll see how the blood work goes before we get too excited.” After three tests, with normal results I finally started to relax. I’d made it farther than last time. Things were moving in the right direction. And then, completely out of nowhere, it was all over.

So, what happens now?

Well, we run some more tests, and I convince some hematologists to pump my body full of blood thinner, as soon as there’s a chance there could be a bun in my oven. And obviously we’re trying again — we didn’t spend all that time, and money, and I haven’t given myself hundreds of shots to freeze a dozen (hopefully normal) embryos to just give up.

We know a lot of people who have suffered through multiple miscarriages and eventually ended up with healthy, beautiful children — we know it’s possible, and sometimes, well, shit happens. It’s a daunting thing, to try again after so much heartbreak and disappointment, but I have a wonderful husband, and we have the most supportive family and friends.

In the interim, I’ve resumed my love affair with caffeine, Coke Zero, and sushi. My three favorite silver linings.

Oh, and margaritas.

Also soft cheeses. Mmmmm.

Good News, Bad News

A week ago today, the doctor called and confirmed what I already suspected.

I was four weeks pregnant.

Unfortunately, was is the operative word — as I am not any more.

By the end of the week, hormone levels weren’t increasing like they should have been, and before I knew it, it was over.

Obviously, we are sad. What’s sadder than sad? Heartbroken? Yes. That’s what I was.

Talk about a 180. One day I’m spreading the good news to our family and closest friends, daydreaming about nursery furniture, and getting updates from BabyCenter. Maybe Baby was upgraded to Poppy, since the internet assured me that’s how big it was that week.

But four days later, it was just… over.

It’s just one of those things, apparently. It happens all the time. Nothing we could have done about it — it’s just natures way of dealing with something that wasn’t going to work out in the long run. Mike and I have friends and family who have been down this road before — and in the end they all had beautiful, happy, healthy babies. Sometimes it just takes a little longer than you thought. It’s not like it’s been easy so far, so I don’t know why I thought it would be any easier now.

And, as sad as I am, I’m still sort of thrilled I got pregnant in the first place. I’ve never managed to do that before.

At least that’s something. A step in the right direction, I guess.

And so we’ll try again — after a few vacations, that is, in July and August. I need some margaritas, a tan, and some ice cream. All those needles are going to have to wait, until I’m good and relaxed, and back under my own roof.

In the meantime, I guess I should paint all the things around the house that need painting. Eat some sushi. Drink some wine. Do all those delicious and toxic things pregnant people can’t get away with.

Because next time, it’s going to work.