Friday, June 30, 2006

Six weeks

I spent some time with a counselor yesterday. The same one who helped me work through some issues before my last IVF cycle. She tells me the grieving process typically takes 6 weeks. I'm penciling it into my day planner as we speak.

The first week is all about tears, grimy sweatpants, junk food and daytime TV. Check. By the second week you think you're doing better but you're really not. That makes you prone to unexpected bouts of anger and tears. Sounds about right, and explains why my reaction to J asking me for the tenth time in as many minutes, "Do you need anything?" was for me to hiss through clenched teeth, "I need you to Stop. Asking. Me That."

Each week after that reportedly gets a little bit better. At six weeks you're starting to feel like yourself, or if not yourself exactly, a new revised you who knows you had a miscarriage, but doesn't break down in tears every time you're reminded of it. The counselor suggested that I shouldn't have too many expectations of myself during this time and that we not make any decisions until those six weeks are up.

(Of course, we are already starting to make some decisions. I'm a girl who needs a plan. But more on that in a future post.)

But, this six weeks thing? It's liberating. Basically it's a six-week license to act crazy and unpredictable. Want to have ice cream and Cheetos for dinner? No problem, you're in your six weeks. Give the hairy eyeball to the very pregnant, very perky sales clerk at your favorite boutique? Completely acceptable. Go ape-shit and throw toilet paper in the aisles of Costco after seeing one too many toddler? More power to you.

I can't say I'm happy about being in the middle of my six weeks, but with a license to be crazy, it's starting to look a bit more promising.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Where everybody knows your name

I went to our local mega-drugstore last night to pick up a prescription for better-than-Tylenol pain killers. When I walked up to the counter, the pharmacist said, "Oh, Sube, right?" She knew my name. It is not a good sign when the pharmacist at the mega-drugstore knows your name.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Still here

I find the pain comes in waves.

Physically, I feel worse than I did in the days after the D&C. A constant cramping punctuated by sharp pains that shoot through my abdomen. Tylenol helps, but not enough. Emotionally it's much the same -- a constant malaise spiked with periods of intense sadness. No amount of Tylenol is going to help that. I hear both my physical and emotional symptoms are normal, but very little feels normal these days.

This evening I found out that a friend is pregnant with her second. She's 41 and conceived naturally. Naturally. At 41. I'm 35 and am stuck in this hell. As if I wasn't already swimming in a pool of self-pity, now I'm positively drowning in the stuff.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

In the insult to injury category

J and I left the clinic after the D&C on Tuesday and walked back to our car to find a $35 parking ticket on our windshield. Lovely. We drove home and hunkered down to be alone with our sorrow and our pain killers. When we awoke in the morning, we discovered that our car, which only hours before had been nestled safely at the curb in front of our house, had been stolen. Yes, stolen.

So now we owe a $35 parking fine on a car we no longer own. Brilliant.

*Updated: Because things are getting have gotten pretty maudlin around here, I should point out that J and I find some humor in this whole car thing. The kind of humor you find in situations that are simply too absurd to take seriously. So, it's okay to laugh along with us. J and I could certainly use it after the week we've had.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Empty

I had an ultrasound before my D&C yesterday. Knowing what we were going to see didn't make it any easier. Somehow we still had the tiniest shred of hope. But there was no heartbeat. There was no hope.

The D&C went fine. I begged the anesthesiologist to put me out at the earliest possible moment. He obliged. And now that it's over, I just feel empty.

I will write more later, but for now a million thanks for all your support.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Fortifying

On Saturday J and I drove to a park along the coast about 1-1/2 hours north of Seattle. It's a place that has special meaning to us. Many years ago J almost proposed to me there, until I unwittingly foiled his plan (a story for another day). On Saturday we sat by the shore and looked at Puget Sound laid out before us. We hoped to be fortified by the salt air, the warm rocks and the sound of the waves. To some degree I suppose we were, at least for a while. But there is just so much to heal. It seems even an ocean isn't vast enough.

I have been blown away by the outpouring of support from all of you. While it helps to know I am not alone in this, it grieves me beyond words that so many of you know this pain personally. I wish none of us did.

The D&C is scheduled for tomorrow.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Heartbreak

The wait for yesterday's 7-week scan was eternal. But as we reached the end of it, J and I were feeling pretty confident. The nausea, the bloating, the food aversions had all convinced us that we would get good news. I had even begun to think ahead -- not far ahead, but ahead. I thought about telling extended family when we saw them in July. I thought about announcing my pregnancy to my co-workers once I made it through the first trimester. I thought about my belly starting to grow.

"I should see a heartbeat right here," Dr. Gentle said pointing at the screen. We all concentrated on the spot searching for a flicker, a sign. There was nothing, nothing but a small, soft, gray outline. Dr. Gentle moved the wand around to take measurements, quietly calling out numbers and codes to the nurse taking notes at the computer. I kept waiting for him to say something encouraging, something hopeful. But the tears had already begun to slip from my eyes, down over my cheeks and into my ears. Dr. Gentle came back to the spot where we should have seen our baby's heart. He held it there for a few seconds as we all looked some more. "I'm so sorry, Sube," he said. He pulled the wand out, and just like that it was over.

I sobbed. J sobbed. Dr. Gentle left us alone for a while as we tried to comprehend. When he came back, he explained our options. There were three: we could let nature take it's course, we could induce with drugs, or we could have a D&C.

J and I have opted for the D&C to be scheduled for Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. I wanted this option mostly because it means I won't be awake. I won't be awake when this most precious of things leaves my body. I don't want to be awake. I don't want to be awake for a very long time.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

No heartbeat

I don't think there's any more to say. It's over.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Taking the easy route

I like to think I've been brave through this whole process, that I've done things I never thought I could. That I've pushed myself. But today I confess to taking the easy route. J is traveling for work, which left me alone to do my progesterone injection. Now, I know some of you very brave ladies give yourself these shots, and I suppose I could have done the same. I suppose I could have stood in front of a mirror, contorted my body to reach the intended spot on my butt, not passed out at the sight of that looooong needle, and then plunged away. But I didn't. Instead I scurried off to the clinic (mercifully only 15 minutes away) and had them do it.

Did I feel like a wimp? Yes. At first. But then I decided it's like my eyebrows. I could take the time to learn to pluck them carefully so they don't end up looking like bizarre matchsticks stuck to my forehead. But why bother when there's a skilled waxer just minutes away? Why not leave it to the professionals? Because if I can make my eyebrows look like matchsticks, who knows what I might have done to my butt.

Ultrasound is tomorrow afternoon. I'm feeling queasy. Not sure if that's a symptom of pregnancy or a symptom of anxiety.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Delusions of serenity

I always told myself that if I made it this far, I'd be happy. I had read about other women who spent the first weeks of their pregnancy worrying and fretting about what might go wrong. That was never going to be me, I said. I would never allow anxiety to snuff out the joy of being pregnant. I would be blissful and serene, happy to have made it this far. And if things went wrong, well, I had no control over that. I would simply enjoy it while it lasted.

What a load of crap.

The truth is I might be able to enjoy being pregnant if I had some evidence that I still am. At 6w4d I don't feel much different than I did three months ago when I was decidedly not pregnant. I drove by the clinic the other day and it took all my strength not to run in, shove my bare elbow in their faces and demand that blood be taken. I wouldn't have even complained if they gave me the crappy phlebotomist. Just to have some evidence. Some proof that life is still there.

Sigh. My ultrasound is on Thursday. I will (in theory) be exactly 7 weeks.

In other news, I'm back from my time away. It was a nice distraction, although the actual travel portions were a bit grueling (flights delayed by multiple hours each way). I'm slowly getting caught up on all your blogs.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Forever and a day

J and I are flying to the east coast tonight to check in on our other budding project, so I'll likely be quiet for the next week or so. My ultrasound isn't until June 15th, so there's not much happening around here anyway until then. Not much, that is, except anxiety, anxiety, and more anxiety.

My heart goes out to Thalia. We all work so hard to get here. If life were fair, we'd have an easy road once we made it. Of course, if life were fair, none of us would have to deal with infertility in the first place, so I guess that answers that question.

As you may have guessed, the euphoria of the first few days has worn off. In its place is a sort of anxious melancholy (is that even possible?). I'm sure the hug I'll get from Mom when I step off the plane tomorrow morning (red eye, ugh) will help. But what would help more is for June 15th to hurry up and get here. It feels like forever and a day away.