Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Bizarre World of the OB's Office

First of all, thank you all for your comments on my super-long, somewhat maudlin, melodramatic previous post. Some posts cause "posting regret" afterwards, and I worried about that one. As always, you all provided me with wonderful empathy and support.

We had our first OB appointment on Monday, and what a strange experience that was. Husband and I felt like that episode of Grey's Anatomy in which Christina discovered the heaven-like dermatology floor. After the tense, worried, unsmiling atomosphere of RE offices over the years, we didn't know what to think to be in a doctor's office where people were (mostly, usually) happy to be there and smiling. Husband said he needed a drink afterwards because he was so stressed out and unused to such a happy atmosphere LOL. We met with the nurse first, and it was amusing as she tried to figure out how to approach the patient history. She finally asked both F and I to answer each question since a certain answer from either of us might be important.

The actual doctor visit was ok. She couldn't find the baby's heartbeat with the Doppler, which coworkers had thankfully warned me would likely happen at least once early on. That meant we got another ultrasound! We were able to see the baby swim from one side to the other and move around. The baby's legs seemed incredibly long. It has morphed from an alien to something resembling Anne Rice's Taltos in the Mayfair Witches series. However, we have our own name for it :-) The doctor was a bit terse, but thankfully after our experience with our last RE (AKA Dr. Sticks-Foot-In-Mouth), we could handle it. Distressingly, the clinic had NOT sent F's records over despite her having signed the release form. I'm not surprised, though. Front office organization was not one of the clinic's strong points. My only concern about the records is that they seem reluctant to use the due date we gave them (June 3) because they typically date from transfer not retrieval and want to see the u/s reports. I'm sure it will all be worked out.

We also ran into people we know in the waiting room. They are casual friends from Husband's high school days. They were at our wedding, but we're Christmas card friends mainly. Anyway, they are 8 weeks with baby #2...and #3. Yes, twins (likely naturally). That was a bit of a slap in the face. I still can't encounter twins without feeling a pang for our vanished twin. I hadn't expected to encounter anyone we knew, so I was caught off guard. I figured that I couldn't pretend to be there for a routine gyn visit with Husband there, so we told them our news, and to their credit, they didn't bat an eye when we mentioned surrogacy. It's not that I don't think people will say awful things, but I expect a few double takes. Or maybe I shouldn't? Anyway, it was a good practice. Maybe it was serendipity after my friend worries of the last week. She and I have been emailing a bit since, and it feels pretty natural.

Because I am who I am, I have a new worry: the quad screen. We will have that test at our next appointment in December, and I am petrified. I know that the odds are very good that everything will be fine, but suddenly, that test is all I can think about. And it's a month away. Ugh. I'm trying to talk myself down, but it's not working so far. I think my anxiety is exacerbated by this being the last major work week of the semester as well as sinus issues. I'm feeling tired and not entirely well. We decided not to have the first trimester screening, and now I wonder if that was smart. However, Husband and I had a good talk about it tonight, and I'm hoping that our talk has helped me to push my anxiety about that test from the front burner on high to the back burner on a low simmer.

My next project will be trying not to hyperventilate when I talk to my mother and she blithely talks about baby stuff. I kid you not. The past two times I've talked to her, she has chatted about cribs and happy baby stuff, and I've felt a full blown panic attack threatening. I think she gets to me because she glosses over my worries and fears like they are nothing, which is one reason why I withdrew from her over the past 3 years. I didn't and still don't need platitudes.

Book sale was wonderful: 59 books for $32. Can't beat that! I even bought two books to read to the baby. We're going to make a podcast for F to use. I also ventured to the parenting section and didn't freak out. It's interesting to me to plot our fertility journey with the book sale over the years: November 2005: I whispered to K that we were trying. She was somewhat dismayed thinking that I wouldn't be able to enjoy our upcoming sloshy trip to Biltmore. Ha ha. November 2006: Friend J is pg after 1 cycle of Clomid and I have a painful endometrioma after 5 Clomid and one injectable cycle. I shyly and painfully pick out a baby book for J at the book sale. November 2007: I attend the book sale on Friday night with pg K and return to the book sale alone on Saturday. I glance at the parenting section and wonder if 2008 will be different. We meet F and her husband in person for the first time that afternoon and like them a lot.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. We are 13 weeks today, and I am trying very, very, very hard to count my blessings because I have so much for which to be thankful. Eat and drink lots! I know I will be :-)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Strange Week

It has been a rather strange week. I started the week sort of dreading it because I had a ton of meetings and appointments and wanted to hole up in my office instead. Plus, my parents were coming in this weekend, and I knew that I wouldn't be able to rest until Sunday. Almost immediately on Monday, meetings and plans started getting cancelled or rescheduled, leaving me with an almost free week. Then my mother announced that they couldn't come after all this weekend because my stepfather has to work, and when I emailed my friend K to tell her that our plans to attend the county library book sale had just become a lot freer, she told me that she forgot the date and scheduled her daughter's dedication for this weekend. It was like dominoes falling. Suddenly, I am free! Husband and I have the entire weekend to ourselves, and I can come and go as I please to the book sale.

Oh, two of the appointments that were scheduled were our OB appointments. F had a flat tire on Tuesday that prevented her from being able to make the nurse's appointment, and the practice requires you see the nurse before the OB, so both appointments had to be rescheduled for next Monday. Oh well. We'll be almost 13 weeks then, and at least I'll be able to go into Thanksgiving having had another u/s that week.

Honestly, while I am perfectly happy to be able to go to the book sale on my own terms, I'm a little disappointed in K. We have been going to the library book sale together for years. We make an event out of it, always going on the Saturday of the sale because paperbacks are 50 cents and having a wine lunch afterwards with Husband. Last year she couldn't go because she was pg and attended a day-long baby care class instead. We went to the sale on the Friday instead and had only about 2 hours together, and I returned by myself the next day. This year, even though we had talked about it already, she forgot the date and booked it.

I'm telling myself that things are different now that she has a baby and apparently motherhood has increased her inherent flakiness, but to me it's just another sign that maybe I should just give up and back off. I mentioned that we would have to do something in December and that Husband would love to hear from her husband G and she replied that G would love to swap work war stories with Husband. Yeah, like anything will be planned. Correction: If we plan it, it is the only way it will happen. But I want to leave it up to her and I know we won't hear from them because Husband and I always had to plan everything. I'm just trying to understand what's going on in her head; it appears that there is a blank spot where we are concerned.

I know I keep rehashing the friend situation to the point where you are all probably extremely tired of it, but I've been doing a lot of thinking about it. I mentioned my bitterness about my friends and their continuing complete lack of response to us to my therapist about 2 weeks ago, and she gave me permission to find new friends and write off the "friends" I have, accepting that maybe the friendships have run their course and that Husband and I deserve better. It was helpful of her to say that because I had begun to wonder what it was about me and Husband that friends seemed to drop us so easily. We're up to 3 sets of friends who have been able to write us off. I don't think we are awful people or unworthy of friendship, but it makes you wonder. So, I'm going to try to stop emailing K. I hope I'm not painting this picture of me as desperate and constantly emailing her. I've been updating her on our doctor appointments, but really, it's more out of loneliness than anything else. Other than family, with whom I'm not all that close, I don't have anyone else to talk to. But she's giving me nothing in return. Clearly, she's not very interested or able to be interested and involved right now. Better to accept that and move on instead of being hurt constantly. And it's not like I think she's giving me the friend version of "[S]He's Just Not That Into you"; she honestly is flaky and fairly self-involved. But I've been there for her, and she hasn't for me. Time to move on.

Who are these people who are able to have and keep lots of friends? I'm on Facebook, and that's what I wonder as I watch other people. I'm not innocent here. I have former close friends--definite kindred spirits--from whom I've drifted away, so I need to take a look at myself too. I think a big issue is that I've always been someone who has a few close friends instead of many friends. And now that's bitten me. I think a lot about this now that we are sort of ready to emerge from our shells and re-engage. Just where do you find friends? I have good candidates, but I've held back from them b/c they had kids and it was too painful to take it all the way. I'd been hesitant for a while to engage with RL IFers through Resolve because they often move on, and you never knew how long the comfort level will be there. I think that the situation will fix itself somewhat once the baby arrives and we are able to go to playgroups and such things. After Intending to Be Parents mentioned that she is member of a pregnancy after reproductive technology group, I checked and there doesn't seem to be one in my area. I don't know what I'm looking for. I miss the friends I had in high school. I miss the few close friends I made in college (of which K was one). I could try to reconnect with them, but their lives have unfolded so differently. Mostly I just wonder how I got here, alone. And what blame should I take for that?

I apologize for the length of this post. I'm just feeling a little alone and lost with the holidays approaching. I expected to feel different this year. I do, but some of the same hurts are still there. It's like throwing a party to which no one comes. But I have to remember that I have changed. The last few years have changed me...think cocoons and chrysalis and butterflies and that sort of metaphor. Only I don't feel as much like a butterfly as Kafka's cockroach.

My therapist also suggested I resume my anxiety medication. After this LONG, rambling, inchoate post, think that's a good idea? :-)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A bit of a milestone

Fingers crossed that we won't have more severe weather today. My weather radio woke me up at 2:30 this morning with news that my county was under a tornado warning. I was horribly afraid of tornadoes and storms as a child, so it is a testament to how much progress I have made that I didn't immediately flee to the closet! Thankfully for us (though not to the people in the storm's path), the storm was to the south of us and no danger to us.

We had our 3rd u/s at the clinic on Friday, and after waiting for almost 2 hours we finally got to see how much progress our wiggler has made. He was measuring 11w1d and we were 11w2d. I was amazed at how much like a baby he looked. He was asleep but soon woke up and started moving around. Happily, we have now been released to the OB, and we have our first OB appointment next Thursday. After that appointment, I will officially be in u/s withdrawal!

I discovered this week that one of my coworkers is going through IF. I had a feeling about her, and when she mentioned that she had a lot of appointments lately, I told her that I thought we should talk sometime. She came to me later that day, and we exchanged war stories. She and her husband have been trying for 4 years with a miscarriage along the way and were planning to have egg retrieval for her first IVF cycle on Friday (this was Wednesday). She is cycling at Wake Forest University, which is around 2.5 hours from her home. I hugged her and wished her luck, and then sadly, she came to me later that day and told me that her cycle had been converted to an IUI because she had started to ovulate. As you can imagine, she was devastated. I felt so bad for her. All that prep. All that expense. The hours spent commuting to Winston-Salem. She said, "It's ok" and I vehemently replied, "it's NOT ok. This sucks, and I am so sorry you have to go through it." I've always been a believer in acknowledging what you feel and accepting the bad stuff because often, you are the only one who will. I just felt so bad for her.

It was also a little weird for me because it was my first occasion as "the other." I know that realizing that you have moved to have a different category and that others may find your altered status hurtful is one of the cliche posts in IF land. It's just taken me a little longer to get there because we are doing surrogacy. Yes, so far we have been successful. But since I am not the one throwing up or dealing with all-over fatigue, it's been easy at times to forget that we have achieved some level of success or that others would consider us to have moved on. I suddenly understand how easy it is to appear to forget from where you came...I almost offered to show her our u/s pic for heaven's sake (during our first conversation, not the second after she had found out that her cycle was being converted--even I'm not that insensitive)! I still feel like I am straddling two worlds. Do I keep my "street cred" since I am not actually physically pg or have I moved on as well? How have others handled this? I guess I feel like my reactions are lagging behind our new reality.

And, if you could, please keep my friend L in your thoughts. I met L while we were cycling at the same clinic and through some mutual Resolve friends last year. We fought in the IF trench together. L was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and had surgery on Monday. Her diagnosis was like a kick in the gut and a reminder of how unfair life is that this wonderful person and her family should have to deal with cancer on top of the everything else. L is a great, generous person and a reader of my blog, and I want her to know that I am sending her all the strength and positive thoughts I can. I am so angry this is happening to her but in awe of her spirit and strength in dealing with this situation.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Everything is Fine!

Happy Monday! I apologize for the delay in updating. I kept hoping that Husband would hook up the scanner (a feat beyond me though I work as a web developer) so we could scan the u/s pics and I could create a page for them on the blog and post about everything at the same time, etc. Unfortunately, he did not get to it over the weekend.

Anyway, you can say that you told me so :-) The u/s was fine! Actually it was great! The baby was measuring 9w6d (we were 10w2d) and was moving like crazy. I was amazed at how much movement there was! And I could see the heartbeat so clearly. What a relief! The RE wants to see us one more time this Friday, but he assured us that it was only to check on the vanishing twin and that everything with the baby looks great. He also told us we could make the first OB appointment, so F is going to do that today. It was wonderful being able to leave an appointment feeling relieved and excited. I'm sure I'll start to feel anxious again as Friday approaches, but I won't dread it like I did last Friday's appointment. Whew!

In non-baby news, I cannot WAIT for this semester to be over. I am taking two classes which is always a bit much in the fall semester, and they are awful. I signed up for 2 knowing that if things went badly with our cycle, they would help pass the time. Plus, taking two leaves me with only 12 hours left in my graduate program. What I didn't count on was how tired I am. I have taken 15 hours of classes this year plus working full time plus cycling. I am exhausted! And unfortunately, one of the classes for this semester has been really, really bad b/c it was the first time the professor had taught it online and it is all group work with a difficult, nay impossible final project. I meet with my groups twice a week for the class and spend most of the weekends doing work. I'm so ready for it to be over. Only a few more weeks. That's what I keep telling myself.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pins and Needles and Family Surprises

I intended to post earlier this week, but it has been a really busy week. That hasn't been a completely bad thing, though. You can probably guess that I'm pretty anxious for our second u/s tomorrow. I keep telling myself that it will more than likely be fine--no reason to think otherwise (well, other than our twin of course)--but my overactive imagination keeps exploring all the dark possibilities. No matter what, hopefully I will be alert enough to ask some of the questions we want to ask. I was as dumbfounded at our first u/s as I was at my first few monitoring appointments when I wasn't responding but couldn't think of my questions until later. And they don't volunteer information easily at my clinic; you usually have to ask and re-ask. I have to work late tonight due to a big migration, and I'm coming in a for a couple of hours tomorrow to make sure everything is working correctly, but after I leave for our appointment, I'm not returning for the day. Our appointment is at 10:20 and afterwards we will go to lunch with F.

I had some interesting, rather shocking news last week. I mentioned back in August or September that I found out my youngest cousin was starting down the IF path. Well, this cousin, L, called me last Wednesday to congratulate me on seeing the h/b at our first u/s. I thought it was really sweet of her and asked her how she was. She asked if I had talked to my mother and at that moment I knew: she is pregnant. And she is. She's about 4 weeks ahead of us. She had asked the family not to tell me until we knew what was going on with our situation. It was very sweet of her to be so considerate of me but somewhat annoying at the same time since no IFer wants to be the last to know and realize that everyone in her family has been conspiring to keep it from her. I talked to my mother, and it turns out that L has a thyroid condition that wasn't diagnosed until she was already pregnant and that she should have been on medication before she became pregnant. Apparently, there is a chance she could still miscarry.

I have a LOT of conflicting feelings about L's news. I'm happy for her truly. I hope her thyroid causes her no more trouble, and I'm glad she didn't have to venture down the IF path. But I'm kind of pissed at my family and at my mother. So my mother's sisters can keep their children's secrets but my mother can't keep mine? Granted, I never explicitly asked her to keep our news a secret at any point (mainly because I knew it would be futile), but it would have been nice. And it's rather infuriating that my mother can keep other peoples' secrets. Argh. However, in some twisted way, I think my mother's heart was in the right place (for once) and she was trying to be considerate of me (for once). She had no compunction about passing along other people's pregnancy news in the past.

I confess that I felt a huge knot in my stomach when L told me. You see, I have 3 cousins. Between now and next June, there is the possibility of 4 new babies in our family. That's wonderful, you might say. What a blessing! Except that I suddenly feel performance anxiety. Four! Can all 4 really happen? Who is the weak link in that chain? I feel like we are (because I always feel like I am the worst and lowest) though realistically one could argue it's my cousin L. Plus, the cousin who is due any day is on child #2. My other two cousins are siblings, so their mother will have two grandbabies. So that's 2 grandchildren for each aunt. And I just hope I can make my mother a grandmother of 1. I know it's not a competition and what will happen will happen. After my conversation with L, I felt like everything was doomed. Hopefully my thoughts are going to dark places for nothing.

I decided that I need to focus on the here and now. I look at our u/s pictures daily and send all the love I can to my wiggleworm. Hopefully we'll have beautiful pictures of an even bigger wiggleworm tomorrow.