Thursday, December 31, 2015

caution to the wind, etc. etc.

Yeah, so on a whim, and because I am all out of fucks to give, I took a pack of clomid this cycle.  Just 50mg.  I am still waiting to ovulate, and not even sure that I will, because I could land in the 25% of women for whom it causes annovulatory cycles, but whatever. 

My beautiful daughter turns seven soon and like every mother, I think, I spent too many of her infant days in a daze of my own.  She will likely be the only child I mother, and I have long accepted that I am lucky to have her in my life.  I think that since Celine's passing, I have done a better job of being truly present in her life.

As for writing this post on NYE, well, my hopes for 2016 are probably much like some of yours.  Drop a few pounds.  Inhale less coffee.  A personal wish for a D&C-free year would be lovely, and if the past few months are any indication, maybe that wish will be granted.  So therefore, it seems odd I know, to down my stash of fertility drugs.  And down them I will, I have two more packs to go, and will likely jack up the dose to 100mg next month.  But then I think I will feel done.  Here's hoping. 

Catch you all next year.

Friday, December 18, 2015



That's the word that my therapist kept returning to throughout our hour together.

For nearly four years I have been so focused on controlling this outcome, and being angry about my lack of control.  And now that I am emerging from this battle I have waged against my own body, I am even more angry at the time I have lost.  And being a control freak on all accounts (I'll go ahead and own that description), it's no wonder.

I think back to other periods of my life that caused me to break down.... throughout my years at school (up to law school) when I had problems with standardized tests because I have a weird cognitive disability... when I was a muscular, less-than-willowy dancer and didn't get cast in the parts I wanted..... when I fought with my parents because I couldn't make them see the world through my eyes....

The common link in all of these things is the lack of control I had.  In each of these examples I contorted myself backwards and forwards to change the outcome, to try move the world around me by sheer brute force of will.

Anyone who knows me personally can tell you that when I fight, I fight hard. 

But that's why I cry so soften these days.  And that's why I have fallen into this deep depression spanning oh so many years.  And because I have spent so much actual time pregnant (past 8 months notwithstanding), it's been even more impossible to climb out of this trench.

You know, lately, I've been so angry at not falling pregnant as easily as I used to, but in fact it could be a blessing in disguise.  I mean, fuck, there is no reason for me to expect any outcome from a pregnancy than another miscarriage (or worse).  To find myself dug into an even deeper hole.

I need my life back.  I need to re-engage with my old friends (though I was instructed to be a little less harsh on myself for being so MIA - this is, according to my therapist, the response of anyone dealing with trauma).  I need to accept that I have no control over this facet of my life.

Can I still be a little angry about that?  Sure, a little anger is okay because what has happened to me has been profoundly unfair.  But lots of people are dealt all kinds of hands that are profoundly unfair. Including many of the people who read this blog.... so go ahead, be angry with me!  We have earned it.

It has been and will continue to be a complete, unsolvable mystery, why these are the experiences I have lived.  I cannot control them.  I am waving the white flag on RPL and infertility. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

an experiment

There's a woman I work with who I consider my spirit animal -  and my ersatz therapist here at my office.  I can't say exactly how old she is (maybe 68?) but she is close to retirement (though she's been saying that since I started working with her four years ago).  She has dedicated her life to improving the working conditions and lives of thousands of people in our city.  She's funny as hell and often pretty cynical.  We get along swimmingly despite the fact that I know for a fact she wanted nothing to do with me when she first met me.  In her words, I "schooled her" on forming snap judgments about people.  Anyways....

She is ridiculously jolly during the holidays, which would appear to go against the grain of her personality.  But as she recently told me "I just had a battery of tests and I am definitely healthy and will stick around for at least the next few weeks - I take nothing for granted."  She recently gave this sort of Holiday Season pep-talk at a staff meeting, instructing us to be thankful for what we have, given the struggles of so many.  She's adopting a very poor family she met recently and not just for Christmas, because she could figuratively "smell the poverty" on that beautiful child's mother.  In light of our vast riches, we are supposed to plaster a smile on our faces and suck it up (her words, by the way).

Of course, I was having NONE. OF. IT.

She knows my story.  She is one of the few people who knew about Celine.  She knows about all of them, and the meaning behind every ring on my right hand.

So I paid her a visit after that staff meeting, and because we love each other, I told her in my usual turn colorful turn of phrase exactly what I thought of her instruction for jolliness.  About how it was asking a lot of people to force cheer.  About how much of a struggle it is to sit with grief that is unacknowledged, in my case for babies who are nameless who no one mourns.

"When have I not acknowledged your grief," she said gently (after informing me that I happen to look pretty ugly when I cry).  "I mourned with you and I know the grief doesn't go away.  You're not alone."

Well, uhhhhh.....ok.

I won't go into the details of the rest of this chat, but here's where I'm at:  I'm gonna take on an experiment.

I am going to try to approach this season the way I used to, before my life took a dramatic turn into sadness city.  I know, I'm a little late on this, as Hanukkah has just ended (don't worry, I still went through the motions for Niblet), but there's still room for some wide-eyed wonder with oncoming Solstice and Christmas celebrations. 

I'll be honest with you: Thinking about how I am not pregnant  right now - roughly eight months since my last D&C  - wasn't helping matters this morning on my drive to the office.  Even though we haven't been trying hard, the fact is that being brutally honest with myself.... I wanted to be pregnant by now.  So the second I felt the tears well up I switched the radio station to NPR and actively listened to stories about carnage in Afghanistan.  Look, I am not proud of my need to feel better about my own life by comparing it to the misery of others.... but this is the only tool I have in my kit right now.

I don't want any reader to think that I am in any way instructing them to put a smile on their face this season.  I am certainly not suggesting that anyone who is dealing with the hell of infertility or RPL or a TFMR just "be thankful for what they have."  Gah, it's nauseating when you hear it from others and I will never say it to you.  I PROMISE WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING, I will never say that to you.

But in my case- and narcissist I am -I have been exactly HERE - IN THIS SPOT - for three and a half years straight.  That's a tremendous amount of time to carry anger and bitterness.  And it's just not working for me anymore.  As my dear friend at work aptly noted, I'm an ugly crier. And I've said it before on this blog, but I am so angry.  And so sad.  Like, a lot of the time, more time than I care to admit (so much so, that I am afraid to calculate the actual hours in the day that I exist in this state of being).

The anger and sadness have also had the unfortunate effect of leaving me failing to maintain important friendships.  Like, I feel like I don't even have the words to pick up the phone and talk with a few key people in my life (my two best friends who happen to live out of state pop to mind).  And THAT makes me feel so additionally shitty.  RPL and Grief have stolen my former life from under me.  I have to take it back and that starts with reaching out to a few people who have given me so much of their love in my life.  And say I am sorry for being so MIA.  And promise that I am here for them. I want to be back.

So I am going to embark on this experiment.  I don't know what to call it.  "Positive thinking" sounds trite. Blech actually.  Maybe it's just pushing my little demons away for a bit?  Seeing what it's like to actively try to live without them on a more regular basis?  I can shake them when I am exercising or in ballet class.  My goal is to shake them off when I am not immersed in music, sweating.  How to do this, I'm not sure.  I guess I have something to discuss in therapy this week.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Dreams. Ick.

I tend to have vivid, violent dreams in early early pregnancy.  Like, featuring zombies, and dead people on buses, and other things that cause me to wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night.

I am fairly certain I won't be pregnant this month because my dreams, well, they're just weird and whacked out. Two nights ago I was hooking up with a man who was not my husband (if you're reading this honeybear*, I promise I was grossed out). 

Last night I dreamed that I was visiting my original OB for a new pregnancy.  The one who delivered Niblet (or partially delivered Niblet, because labor was taking too long and her shift ended.  Don't ask).  The same woman who oversaw my partial molar pregnancy and performed the D&C that sealed my cervix shut and then refused to believe that I could have Asherman's.  (Thanks Dr. J!)

In the dream, I was begging to get in for monitoring because of my miscarriage history, but then the scene changed and I was at the hospital lobby where I delivered Niblet, but it was hosting some sort of flea-market/bazaar, and I lost my purse there with all of my belongings and starting crying, bawling.  And I tried to explain to a women at a cash register that I was having a miscarriage and needed my purse because it had my ID and credit card and insurance cards, and she laughed at me, and then I pointed to my hand and showed her my rings and she laughed at me some more and with a huge grin told me that I should stop getting pregnant because all of my babies die.

Aaaaaand SCENE.

 So, Dr Freud, what the hell is my subconscious telling me?

I am thinking that if I ever get knocked up again I should avoid my old OB's office like the plague.  And this was something weighing on my mind recently, because a few friends are newly pregnant and I have had a passing thought or two of "where the hell would I go if I were knocked up?"

And then of course the usual "why do I even imagine myself pregnant when the outcome is sure to be the same?" cracks into my subconscious as well.

While this dream was awful and nerve-wracking, it doesn't fall into the pattern of dreams that I usually have when I am carrying a fertilized egg.

* = not an actual term of endearment used with my husband

Friday, December 4, 2015

A Baby

Recall my amazing Pregnant Best Friend At Work (PBFAW)?  I may have noted somewhere that she had her baby, about six weeks ago, so she's just back to being my best friend at work.  Who may not return from her maternity leave, burnt out on our office's brand of mission that is relentless on your personal life, particularly when attempting to mother an infant.... Anyways, today I paid her a long-overdue visit.  With a grocery bag of food in tow I knocked on the door, and it opened to my gorgeous friend holding in her arms the most. beautiful. baby. ever.  (And I say this as a parent who fully believes we are probably losing out on some big bucks by refusing to exploit Niblet's looks for cash). 

So I spent the good portion of my afternoon holding and trying to soothe a crying, gassy, uncomfortable baby who wanted none. of. it.  All so that her mama could eat some pie (yes, I am a good friend) and deal with an insurance benefits snafu that is typical of our employer (snafu is an understatement, they accidentally dropped her from our insurance plan).

A few hours later I left her house in a strange state of mind.  Lighter, because seriously, I just want to eat all of the yummy babies, and I truly love my friend and felt good about doing her a good one.  And happy that I wasn't triggered by the afternoon, that I could in earnest change a diaper and a onesie without bursting into tears.  But with the lingering sadness that obviously comes from wanting to hold one of my own for so many years. 

Baby S and I had our picture taken and I texted it to husband.  Who marveled at those cheeks and eyes. 

If only you could turn off the longing with a switch, right?

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Holidays have a way of packing a wallop don't they? This time last year I was recovering from the single most traumatic experience of my life.  And a year later I am two steps forward, three steps back all over again.

I just got back from my parent's house in NYC.  The trip was great and Niblet, as always, enjoyed the energy of the city.  That's my girl.

My parents, who I have occasionally written about, continue to rock.  Don't get me wrong:  they are exhaustingly cynical and misanthropic.  They view the world through gray colored glasses really.  I am used to them, but they are tough for my husband to take in incrimements of more than three consecutive days.

But they are doting grandparents to Niblet.  And in my personal dictionary, if I look up the word SUPPORT, I promise their picture would be there for illustration.  One of the things I love about my parents is that they don't try to sugarcoat the hell and back I have been through.  They don't talk a lot about my losses, mostly because it's not a topic we bring up around Niblet.  But I've had one on one chats over the past years with both my mom and my dad about my experiences.  About therapy and about acupuncture and about vitamins and supplements.  About trying to move on with my sanity.  And it's in these talks that my parents' cynicism and anger is actually helpful.  Because with them, there is no expectation for me to move on.  Quite the contrary, I should be pissed off at this hand of mourning that I have been dealt.  "You should be angry and sad and grieve Justonemore," my mother frequently reminds me.

On the other end of the holiday spectrum, I have to steel myself for Christmas, with in-laws who persist in rambling at the dinner table about all the blessings.  As if I am not keenly and painfully aware of them.  In-laws who have never once asked how I felt after any of the losses that they knew about.  Look, this isn't uncommon, and I am not trying to grab any sympathy.  At the end of the day my in-laws are fundamentally decent people, but they are incredibly tone deaf when it comes to sensitivity and emotions.  My in-laws actually require a trip to my therapist to pregame a plan of action on Christmas Day.  The best part of the plan usually involves hiding in the bathroom.

Here's what's most notable though after spending the past four days with my mom and dad:  I walk away with hope.  I don't know if it's Trying-to-conceive sustaining hope.  I don't think it is.  We're still approaching life with the expectation that Niblet will be our one and only child.

But sitting as a passenger on the turnpike this afternoon, I had the strangest sensation.  It was like there was a voice whispering to me.  And if I were to transcribe the whispered words, they would sound something like this:

I don't expect to ever get pregnant with, carry to term, and take home a healthy baby.... But if I found myself pregnant again..... maybe there could be a teensie, tiny, slight chance that it was a genetically normal pregnancy?  Obviously not a big chance, I mean, come on, face reality, based on my past odds, I would say any pregnancy of mine is doomed before it starts.  But.... maybe the chaos overlords of the universe would determine that it was my time.  Maybe I would get one lucky roll of the dice. Bad things happen to generally decent people every day.  I can be angry, and cynical, and generally believe the bottom will drop from my life, but I can still hope a little, right?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

the road not taken twice

So recall that I am fairly certain that I had a stupid annovulatory cycle last month, so taking matters into my own hands I tried using vitex (chasteberry) this last one.  The good news is that I am certain I ovulated on CD 14 on the nose, and my period started exactly 14 days later, on CD 28.  The bad news is that this period is weak.  Light but crampy and virtually over, today on day 3.  According to Dr. Google this points to an estrogen deficiency as women approach menopause.

Ok, so you all know I am "only" 41 - elderly in fertility years, but still not a deal breaker for many many women who would like a baby.  And if you saw me you'd probably have the same WTF reaction of a few others out there, who blithely assume I am a spring chicken in my thirties.

But at the end of the day, I think I am approaching menopause.  And yes, while perimenopause is less a hard date than a length of time, I think I can safely say that I am deep in the midst of that length of time.

Aside from the fact that I have been dealing with this bullshit for almost four years now, comes the stark reality that time really is about to run out for me.  I have now gone six consecutive cycles of ttc without a pregnancy.  And as I approach the self-imposed end-date of this madness (which was heartily endorsed by my therapist), I have to decide how I want to end this run.

The question of the day: Do I take my unused packs of clomid?  Ehhh, Not sure.  On the one hand I have nothing to lose.  On the other hand, I am worried about fucking up the already delicate balance of my hormones, which are clearly on the fritz right now.

There's also the fact that I went down this road before.  As a matter of fact, I got pregnant on my third clomid cycle (with an IUI).  I also miscarried.  I also found myself with a dangerously high FSH when I emerged from it.  While my then-RE said that one had nothing to do with other, I am not so sure.

Interestingly, my acupuncturist doesn't view taking the clomid as a bad idea.  Lots of AMA+DOR women use clomid on mini-IVF cycles.... but not a whole lot of them are walking around with five rings on their middle finger representing lost babies. 

While in theory I am not opposed to exploding my ovaries to increase my chances of pregnancy, a tiny little part of my brain is screaming  "Stop that madness.  YOU HAVE DONE THIS BEFORE."  It's a little nagging voice that lives in the wisdom of my experience and and for some reason it's telling me this could do more harm than good.

I am a strategist in my day job.  People pay me first to research things and then to use that research to come to a conclusion on what steps to take next.

I'll admit it now:  I was completely stumped on this one... that is, until my pathetic period a day ago.  My lining is thin.  Clomid is well known (over time at least) to have a bad effect on the uterine lining, thinning it, actually.

Bam.  There's my answer.  My disappointingly thin lining means that clomid is a non-starter.  At least this month.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Blood and stuff

So check this out, I am pre-diabetic.  Can you believe it, Dr. Cuddles was right all along so many moons ago that I was developing insulin resistance.  Crazy, right?  I've said it before, I am pretty fit.  I don't look like someone headed towards Type 2 Diabetes. I eat my greens, stay away from sodas and juices, and try not to mainline the cookies and donuts.  I don't drink, barely a glass of wine a week.  But apparently this isn't enough to carry on as a lifestyle because my hemoglobin numbers came back troubling.

Sigh.  They just opened an "artisinal donut" shop near my house and on a day off I partook in my first  - and now last - chocolate creme filled moment of ecstacy.  So much for life's tiny pleasures.

The trickier one for me is bread. I have done a pretty good job of curbing the pastas and potatoes.  But being of French extraction, I splurge on piece of baguette with cheese, or a croissant, on a weekly basis. I live near an amazing french bakey and I sometimes feel like it's my mothership.  Meme Celine, my paternal grandmother, introduced me to the joys of pain au chocolat,  or a breakfast of just some bread and a slice of brie.  Curbing this weekly indulgence will feel like a true sacrifice.  My Dad, who just shared that he has also had similar hemoglobin numbers, advised that I turn my weekly treat into a monthly one.  We'll see how that goes.

And don't get me started on my husband, who drinks like ten beers over the course of a weekend, could easily stand to drop a ton of weight, and still has pristine sugar numbers. 

On the other hand, my Vitamin D levels are now normal and the 5000 IU/day appears to be doing the trick.

I also appear to have ovulated at the right time, just a few hours shy of CD 14 in the middle of the night, so the vitex could be working too.

If I get a normal period this month I will call it a success. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Talking it forward

Friday afternoon (CD 32) after feeling really broken, I started to see red blood.  it materialized into a short little period, but it was better than nothing and I don't think I need to fly to Boston to have my cervix poked at with sharp little scissors. Hallelujah.  I ordered some vitex to see if I can't try to re-regulate my cycle a little, here goes nothing.

So I was recently wondering if maybe I didn't need to see a therapist anymore.  I have survived the past year with most of my sanity intact.  Well, we spent the weekend with some really nice friends and I realized that I really have a lot of anger to work through and have to talk it out with someone neutral.

Long story short, my friends recently purchased a new house.  Let's just say they are well off.  But we learned there was a lot of financial drama leading to the purchase of their new home.  Now some of it was legitimately stressful, involving threats from contractors to put a lien on their old home, financing difficulties, all of the day to day business in life that can truly bring you down.  But going beyond the issue that these are pretty first-world problems, the whole time they are relaying this story to me and my husband, and using terms like "devastating" and "stressful" and "worst experience of my life," I am trying to nod my head slowly and emphatically, but really I'm thinking "Jesus, get a real problem.  You are living in a house that cost nearly nine-hundred-thousand dollars.  Want to experience devastation?  Try growing a baby in my uterus a few times"  And then I felt guilty about even thinking such ugliness, because if I am being honest, my husband and I have provided a comfortable (though not nearly as lavish) existence for Niblet, all while I advocate for people with some really fucked up financial problems, like "Do I pay the electric bill or do I buy food for my kids?" kind of problems..... So who am I to even have such obnoxious thoughts.

All of this long-winded diatribe goes to say is that I am carrying so. much. anger.  It's really dangerous territory to walk around feeling like your shitty experiences entitle you to more stress and anger than other people's shitty experiences.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Waiting and angry

My period is late and I am most definitely not pregnant. How many times I have I posted this?  What the fuck kind of life is this?

You know, I was noting to a dear friend that I used to be much much funnier on this blog.  Sure, I was discussing topics ranging from the horrible to the miserable, but could pull it off on the page with darkly comic flair.

Well, sorry if I am unintentionally conjuring up images from the movie Office Space, but I have lost my flair.  Maybe the gravity of endless dead babies sucked it out of me.  Why is this my life?  Why can't I just get a period on time and not worry that I have to fly to Boston for a really fucking painful hysteroscopy?  Why is everyone on facebook posting pictures of their babies or hugely pregnant bellies?  I've been in the thick of this hell for nearly four years, you would think that I would be hardened to it but I am not.

There's a new boss at my office, I'm talking the big boss, our President.  She runs the entire region.  She chain smokes like a chimney.  She has one teen-aged daughter to whom she is a doting mother, but makes her staff constantly listen to how she sacrificed a great deal of her personal life for her work (in social justice-y, mission-driven work, you actually often hear comments like this).  She's made public pronouncements about women having babies "too old to have fun with them" and while I respect her tenacity professionally, personally I try to avoid her like the plague.  I ran into her outside our building (smoking) and not thinking, I had clasped my side because well, my ovary was throbbing and this is the pain I deal with regularly now, and she asked if I was ok.
"I'll be fine."
"Do you need to see a doctor?"
"Nah, I'll be ok.  I've seen a lot of doctors."
"What's wrong with you?"
"I have a chronic health condition.  There's not much they can do."

And there you have it folks.  That's is the best I can do.  Five miscarriages, four D&Cs, three hysteroscopies and a bajillion ultrasounds, and I was able to cut her off at the chase and end the third-degree with the phrase chronic health condition.  BAM.

Brilliant or pathetic, I'm not sure which.  

Friday, October 16, 2015

My Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

 Image result for pregnancy and infant loss day 2015

Let's see, I awoke on the 15th in another City and State, because I was attending a staff conference in NY.

What I thought the day might hold:
 - Quiet introspection in my hotel room about my babies - so many babies - especially Celine.  Maybe I would grab a cup of coffee and sit and watch people go by, before my 9:30 meeting.

How my day unfolded:
 - At 8am I was brushing my teeth and one of my stacking rings fell down the hotel bathroom drain.  I frantically called the concierge, ugly crying, bawling.  Ten minutes later I opened the door to a Dominican maintenance dude who was out of his emotional depth and definitely not prepared to see such a hot sad blubbering mess wailing about a lost ring and dead baby.  Thankfully he took the pipe apart, cleaned the tiny band with a face towel and handed it to me.  And got a $20 bill for his efforts that he reluctantly accepted.

What I hoped the day might hold:
 - Maybe I would feel some signs of pregnancy.  Some sign of hope for something to rise from the ashes of this deep deep despair.

How the day actually unfolded:
 - Despite my best efforts, I symptom spotted all day. Not a twinge of a feeling.  Tested BFN last night (and again this morning).  I am anywhere from 9 to 12 dpo?  Either way, my fantasy of waking up tomorrow, on the anniversary of Celine's termination, with a new pregnancy is pretty much relegated to fantasy.

Friday, October 9, 2015

what will be blah blah blah

This cycle was so wonky I could be 5 dpo, I could be 2 dpo, perhaps I never ovulated at all.  Who the hell knows.

All I do know is that I am out of town for a good chunk of next week.  And the one-year anniversary of when I said goodbye to Celine falls on next Saturday, the 17th.  I am still trying to figure out what I can possibly due to memorialize her 

I'll be mourning my little girl and peeing on sticks in desperate futility.  Joy.

On other fronts, I found this fantastic piece written by an RPL warrior.  I LOVE how she grapples with the word hope.  It's like she's been sitting in on my conversations with my therapist for the past few months. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

personal vent

Can I just say that I am in the weirdest cycle ever?  Maybe because he knows we're winding down our efforts, husband is being very umm, attentive and making sure we do everything we can to catch that egg.  So I am trying to help the poor guy out.  I get the sense from him that he really wants our last ditch efforts in baby-making to work.  It's interesting, because on so many of the Over-40 boards, I read about ambivalence from spouses on having another baby.  Not in my house.  The words "Did we miss the window?" were spoken more than a few times in the past week.

I am on Day 16.  I thought I ovulated a few days ago, so if I did I would be around 3DPO.  But now my left ovary is all twinge-y and in pain, and I am wondering, did I actually ovulate?  Do I have a cyst?  Maybe my sad little ovaries just broken?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Timelines. They feel good.

So as always, my therapist was a great sounding board.  And here's where I am at:

I am going to continue NTNP for the next few cycles, three to be specific.  We'll just keep doing what we're doing.

If I am not pregnant by January, I will do a cycle with the leftover clomid I've stored in my house.  I have two packs, so I can do a clomid cycle in January and one in February.  Both would be un-monitored and well, kinda rogue.  I have used clomid before, never had any serious side effects or complaints.  I even had a pregnancy off of one of those cycles.

I turn 42 in March.  If I'm not pregnant by then, well, I have had a good run.

Now, I don't want to be misunderstood.  I'm not going on birth control or getting my tubes tied.  We would never put my husband through a surgery.  And since we actually like each other a whole lot, we'd likely still have plenty of sex during my fertile week.

But as of now, when I hit 42, I'm off the boards. No babycenter. Not even lurking. No more following other women's fertility struggles on a semi-regular basis.  Maintain my friendships with many individual woman I have had the luck to develop friendships with over the years?  Absolutely.  BUT, no more living vicariously through the miracle story of strangers on the interwebs who beat their crappy RPL/Asherman's/AMA odds.  The days of daydreaming - of imagining myself as someone who could one day provide a success story  - are over. 

I'll also cut out some - though not all - of my supplements.  I'm a mthfr-ing mutant after all.

Could I find myself pregnant after 42?  Well of course I could. I don't look at 42 as particularly old.  Fuck, I still pass for 35.  And I certainly don't feel any baggage about a geriatric pregnancy (were two words ever more awful when placed side-by-side?)

But can I take another 4 years of this?  Hell. No. 

This feels right.  For me, for my marriage, and for sweet Niblet.  My miraculous mini-me.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Just a little wednesday hope for y'alls

Ok, so many of you know I generally only lurk once in a while on the recurrent miscarriage support board on babycenter.  Mostly because the vast majority of the women who were on the board when I first joined eons ago, in 2012(!), have gone on to have healthy babies. I pretty much lost many of my friends there.  The women on there are today are supportive and great, but I. just. can't.  I generally feel like I have nothing to offer them in the way of hopeful words.

Well, today I hopped on a thread, and someone posted this very short video.  It's a doozy, click the link below.  Seriously, WATCH IT.

Are your tears dried yet?

The backstory was given by someone on the board who actually knows her:  Apparently she had just found out as well and was shocked. She went to her doctor to find out why she was retaining fluid because she had swollen feet/ankles. After giving up on a baby for over 5 years, pregnancy was the farthest thing from her mind, and besides, she was now in her very early 40s.  Oh, and the big softie in the video is a correctional officer, when he's opening the oven he is seeing her ultrasound pics.

Monday, September 28, 2015

"Now I'm getting depressed"

I was reading the paper, my husband was sitting on the couch, and of course I went on a rant about the Republican Primaries.  They are a huge trigger.  Maybe four years ago I could view this insanity as entertainment, the glib lies about Planned Parenthood, the determination to discount basic science.... but it's no longer politics, it's personal now.  A sizable portion of the continental US believes that I have committed an act of murder. For context a sizable portion of the continental US also believes that a Muslim shouldn't be president, our polar ice caps aren't melting and our resources would be best spent building walls along the Canadian border.

But all of this rant is really about Celine.  My baby girl, who I loved and lost close to a year ago.  And how isolated I am in missing her.  Because my husband can't - won't - listen to me talk about her.  Because when I do try to talk about her, he says,  "Now I'm getting depressed."  To which I said, "Now you know what I walk around with on a daily basis.  Because not a single day goes by that I am not depressed...that I am not sad.  This is what I live with."

I don't want to give a wrong impression.  He is amazing and loving and wonderful and to use the cliche, he is my rock.   But being the only actively depressed person in a household can get really old.

I could use some good news.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Yoga fail.

So I walk into my Sunday morning yoga class and there's a sub, and she's really nice.  And while everyone is setting up their mats, she is in this conversation with another woman in the class, who is a middle-aged, sharp looking, gray-haired woman with a new agey vibe that I have seen before.  I've noted new-age lady before actually because she is serious business in her yoga practice, rocking the headstands and such, while I am shaking away in warrior lunges.  Anyways, nice yoga sub starts talking about poverty and schools and public health, and how poverty truly is an indicator for health outcomes, and I'm all internally thinking "well, yeah, this is what I do for a living" and then she mentions the absurdity that our country is in a debate over the funding of Planned Parenthood.  And how they provide so much good to women who are most vulnerable, and need cancer screenings and birth control and mammograms.  And how only 3% of their services are even related to abortion.  And then the older new-agey lady says, "Well it's an awful 3%."

Well.  Fuck.  Right there goes my ability to let go and my ability to focus on taking a goddamn yoga class to build strength and relax and do everything related to my physical and emotional health.

I powered through it.  I held onto the shakiest of crow poses for a split second.  I stretched far, I attempted every difficult balance.  But today the practice was a mess.  My mind couldn't be controlled, not through the most intentional of breathing.  Fuck me.

When we came to shavasana, the final resting post, I was spent, but not in the usual way.  I could feel my face crumble, I could feel the tears burning through my closed eyelids.

When it was over, I thanked the sub for her class.  And made a friendly suggestion.  Trying to hold back tears I explained that I first wanted her to know that I personally agreed with every one of her comments about public health issues.  But that once she mentioned Planned Parenthood, and once I had to listen to another person comment negatively about it, that was it, I couldn't hold on to my practice.  She silently took in what I said, then said I was right, and that she now really understood that chit chat before class should be more mindful.

But then I went further, explaining (rambling really) in a whisper, "That 3% you mentioned,  that that other woman commented on, well, I am that 3%.  My baby was going to be very very sick, and to spare her pain I made the choice to terminate a pregnancy in the second trimester.  And it was an awful situation to be in.  And for so many women in my position, Planned Parenthood is the only option for care.  And to hear another woman's judgment about the awful 3% was awful in itself....I guess maybe as a helpful suggestion, maybe it makes sense to try not to discuss divisive political issues right before the start of a yoga class.  Sometimes the political is personal.  Sometimes your students may be triggered."

We talked some more.  The sub was very kind, and felt very bad, which was not my intention at all.  But at least I know that from here on in she will work hard to create a truly safe space prior to class.  Or at least not talk about abortion clinics.

You know, I really don't want to be this special snowflake who needs such a delicate touch.  I don't like being this person who bursts into tears in a yoga class for fuck's sake.  And maybe my whole premise is entirely wrong, and it's a ridiculous expectation to ask that someone not talk "politics" before a yoga class.  But man, what was ordinarily an empowering, nurturing experience was really turned on its head this morning.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

stress bad.

So it's been another month and I am going to bet a million dollars I am not pregnant again.  This is the fifth cycle in a row.  What's changed?  When did I become infertile, or at least, less than super-fertile?  Well, there's always the possibility that my eggs are really acting like 41 year old eggs, for one.

But I am also stressed out.  REALLY stressed out.  Much moreso than usual.  Work has been insane, I haven't been able to get home until well after 8pm for the last three nights.  I have been traveling all over creation for my job, trying to put out our organization's equivalent of fires.  I have started taking melatonin to address the inability to fall asleep once Niblet is tucked in because when I finally crawl into bed I am exhausted, but too wired and jacked up to sleep.

So, me being me, it's time to have an action plan.  Baby or not, I can't live this way:
1. Eat better.  Fried foods bad.  Seriously, this is tough to do when you're on the road as much as I have been, but my diet has completely fallen off the wagon.Throw in fertility foods to fool myself into thinking I am being proactive.  I am adding the wheatgrass shots back in.  I'll snack on almonds.  I'll cut back on the dairy and gluten.  Whatever, it can't hurt.
2. Sleep better. Melatonin good.
3. Yoga.  I could always commit to breaking this out again.
4. Dance good.

I always read these anecdotes of the women who gave up their stressful careers and found themselves pregnant/found the time to accommodate IVF cycles/created new and wonderful spaces for a baby to enter their lives.  Well, look, that's just not possible for me.  I love what I do, I fight for poor workers and someone pays me relatively well for it.  I am also very good at it.  I also, like, need to pay our bills, so it's not gonna happen.

The saddest fucking part of it all is that one of the reasons I took this job was because they offered six months of maternity leave.  Gah.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

All that's lost

This weekend we spent some time with some friends of my husband's that we hadn't seen in over 2 years.

Our friends with the shy toddler suddenly had a shy five year old who became Niblet's bestie in the course of a few hours.

Our two friends, the brothers/musicians (whose band we traveled to see) who appeared at the bar - one with an extra baby in tow, the other now single after a relationship ended with a long-time girlfriend.

Another friend who quit her job, became a free lancer who works from home, and then dropped forty pounds, rendering her virtually unrecognizable at first glance.

"I'm so sorry," I said to my husband with tears in my eyes.
"Sorry for what?"
"Sorry that my body kept losing your babies.  And sorry that because of it you lost so much time with your friends in the past three years."

Hugs and assurances that I was not only irrational, but deeply wrong, ensued.  And I know that none of this is my fault.

But having that rational understanding that life throws you lemons doesn't change the gravity of the loss.  And the keen awareness that somehow, the world has continued to turn while you're living in an endless loop.

Our lives have been upended by recurrent pregnancy loss. All of the beach vacations, yoga classes, dance therapy, talk therapy, aromatherapy, acupuncture and massage in the world doesn't change that.

Monday, August 31, 2015


That was a false alarm.

We just took another set of images.  Apparently my breast wasn't stretched thinly enough on the initial scan, resulting in a fold that resembled a questionable mass on one of the images.  "Stretch away" I told the radiologist.

I physically feel like I am a million years old.  In the span of 72 hours, I went from thinking:

1.  Everything could be fine, this is probably a false alarm, to
2. I am going to lose my final months of ttc because I will need biopsies and scans and perhaps radiation, to
3. Maybe the universe took away my babies because somehow it knew that I would develop breast cancer, to,
4.  Am I going to die in my forties?

I am still trying to bring myself down from the stress.  My husband just divulged that he was "fucking scared out of his mind" - so I guess that even despite my PTSD (I had to visit the same hospital as two of my D&Cs, including my TFMR), I'm not alone in having my mind go to dangerous dark corners.

I want to thank anyone out there who sent me positive energy.   Every bit helps.

Onwards.  After I learn to breathe again. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

the weight of the world

Ever feel like maybe the universe IS trying to crush you?  I know that I suffer from the effects of anxiety and trauma, I get that my heart will forever race when I enter the walls of a medical office.  I have been working to accept this as my normal for some time now.

Yesterday I got a terrible call.  Fucked up in every way.  My annual mammogram screen was abnormal.

Let me back up.... I went to get this mammogram because insurance covers it (thanks ACA).  A lot of literature is out there that says if you're in your forties, you are possibly better served going every other year because of the rate of false positives.  Nevertheless, I received a couple of reminder letters in the mail.  I happened to not be pregnant.  Sure, go get it over with.

My follow-up ultrasound is monday afternoon.  Could it be a false positive?  Sure.  There's anywhere between a 45 and 60 percent false positive rate in women my age.  I have really dense breasts.  My mom does too.  We don't have a family history of early breast cancer in our family.  Due to some stuff with an estranged family member that I will leave off this blog, I did happen to be tested for BRCA.  And I am not a carrier.  My mammogram reading could look different from the baseline one I had done at 40 because, well, you know, two fucking pregnancies.  I could go in and not even need a biopsy.

On the other hand, I could be really unlucky.  Because you know, it's me.  I could actually need a biopsy and then have to wait even longer in this state of being.  Fuck, I could be walking around with goddamn cancer right now.

In any event I am sort of angry.  Unfocused.  Tense.

Angry and tense by the way does wonders for my weight.  I get beautifully slim when I get stressed out.

And then there's the baby shower I am attending in a few hours.  You read that right.  PBFAW's baby shower.  I am one of the only people from our office invited, it's sort of a special thing.

I spend hours ruminating over whether my ttc days are going to end, how they're going to end.  On what terms.  Ha.  A fucking cancer diagnosis could well be how they end.

Risk of women to experience three or more consecutive miscarriages - 1:100
Risk of women to experience a partial molar pregnancy - 1:1,500
Risk of babies to develop a giant omphalocele - 1:5,000 to 1:10,000
Risk of woman to experience all three of the above scenarios, with a side order of Asherman's Syndome:  Fuck My Life.

With all of that, I should now note that there is this:
Risk of women at 40 to be diagnosed with breast cancer -1:68.  Which I realize is just under 1.5%.

1.5% is a pretty meaningless number, catch my drift?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Moving on from the chair

So, I was in a rough state last week. 

PBFAW was going to take a giant rocker-glider chair out of my cramped little office. it's a chair I got when Niblet was a tiny Nibble, a jaguar of rockers, a sturdy Dutalier that even my giant husband could sit in that I found on Craigslist for $300 bucks (trust me a few years ago this was a steal).  Well, I was excited to find it a new home until I learned PBFAW wouldn't take it because her husband didn't want it.  The inability to remove this chair and what it represents in my life, along with a series of negative pregnancy tests with phantom pregnancy symptoms set me on the brink of a nervous breakdown.  Was it the uphosltery?  Fine, so this upholstery might scream grandma gingham to you.  But you know what this upholstery screams to me?  FREE CHAIR!

I was a mess.  Jittery.  Constantly on the verge of tears.  Depressed. Bleak.  Stressed about returning to work after a two week vacation.  But slowly and steadily, I moved on.  With a lot of help.

First, I met a dear friend for lunch who has been through the gates of hell and back and emerged from the ashes 21 weeks pregnant.  (She also didn't want the chair).

Then, I visited my acupuncturist.  With some needles and a little aromatherapy, I went from saying a tearful goodbye to my fertility, to believing that anything is possible.  An hour later my period came in with a bang, in a good way for an Asherman's patient.  

So today I am CD 2.  Feeling good.  Anything is possible. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Old habits die hard.

Man, hormones are a bitch.  On my ride home from a lovely beach vacation characterized by food, zumba classes to work off the food, and endless days on the sand, I felt nauseous.  I wanted to throw up.  I was 6DPO.  Fuck.  Who the hell takes a pregnancy test at 6dpo?  Anything that implants that early could be ectopic.  Who tests I ask?  THIS idiot (who bought a 50 pack of wondfos ages ago).

So I got home and tested.  And then tested again at 7, 8, 9, and 10dpo.  Today, at 11dpo I can assure you, I am not pregnant.   I am however, angry.  Angry at myself for falling back into this trap.  August was my fourth consecutive cycle of sort of trying/not trying hard to get pregnant after my last miscarriage.  Why am I so angry?  I am 41.  I went through an 8 month stretch of BFNs when I was 39.  Who knows.  Maybe this is it. Maybe I am on the fast train to infertility.  Maybe this is my wake-up call?

For all of these years I have been hesitant to put a date or time stamp to ends this madness, but maybe I need one.

OK universe, here goes:  I turn 42 in March.  I think it ends then.  Yeah, March sounds good.

Yes, there are plenty of 42 (not to mention 43 and beyond) year olds who end up knocked up with healthy babies.  Hell, I know a few of them right now, one is even 30 weeks along.

But March of 2016 will also mark the FOUR year anniversary of this madness.  My first pregnancy that ended in loss began in April of 2012.  I started ttc the month I turned 38, in March of that year.

Four years sounds like a nice clean number.  It's been a long run.  Maybe in March I will wake up and say, "No!  I need more time!"  Maybe I won't.  But right now, setting a firm end date feels healthy. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Let's not mince words

I had an abortion.

In telling Celine's story on this blog, I have avoided the word.  "We had to say goodbye."  "I spared her suffering."  "She is gone."

True as all of these statements are, I see now - so starkly- how crucial it is that I speak with unflinching honesty. 

If I lived in another state, maybe just a few states south or west... well, in my second trimester at 14 weeks pregnant, there's a good chance that I would have been sent to a Planned Parenthood clinic.  I could well have been asked to fill out a form to donate her tissue to science.  And use that form to try to find some glimmer of purpose in the hell of our experience.  Western doctors have largely failed me in my quest to control my fertility.... but western medicine diagnosed my daughter, and western medical research could potentially unlock the answers necessary to protect other babies from her fate.

My personal abortion story is marked by questions, and handwringing and agony.  The nights leading up to my decision to have an abortion were sleepless nights.  I laid awake, my head aching with unanswerable questions as tears flowed down my face.

Would she suffer?  Would she be in pain?  Would her infancy be spent on a morphine drip?  Would she survive?  If she survived, would she be able to eat?  Would she be able to breathe?  Would her heart work?  Would she need open heart surgery?  Would she ever make it home?  What if she died?  What if she died in pain?  Would we end up in medical bankruptcy? Would we lose our house?  If we couldn't pay our mortgage, where would we live?  What would Niblet's life look like?  Who would watch Niblet?  Who would help her with her homework?  How exactly does one parent their healthy child when their infant is hooked up to a NICU ventilator?  Who would pick her up from school? Would we have to move and change school districts?  Would my marriage survive?  Would my husband have to quit his job?  Would I have to quit my job?  Would Niblet have to watch her sister in pain?

The list is endless.  Just conjuring it up, takes me to a place and time that I do not like to visit often.  My heart is racing now, a vestige of PTSD.

I think I have made it abundantly clear that my decision was not made lightly. 

And yet, with a racing heart full of grief, I have no regrets. 

None.  We made the best decision we could, in the worst circumstances imaginable.  My husband and I hugged our daughter tight and silently vowed to appreciate every fucking day we get on this earth to breathe the same air as her. 

Anonymous as I am out here in the ether, I have many readers.  From around the world.  Some, in my shoes, might make the same choice I did.  Others might not.  Some might view my decision as mercy.  Others might view it as murder.  Some might breathe a sigh of relief when they realize that I have survived this nightmare, because they see that they too will survive.  Others might pray for my soul.

Without going to deep into the wonky facts (i.e., that only 3% of the work done by Planned Parenthood are abortions, and that due to the Hyde Amendment none of those abortions receive a dime of taxpayer federal funding), I think about the women who walk into those clinics for abortions.  Those women carry their own thoughts.  They may or may not have endured the sleepless nights I described.  Maybe their thoughts raced with the devastation of a poor prenatal diagnosis.  Maybe they didn't. 

It doesn't matter.  It is not for me to judge.  It is not for any of us to judge what thoughts swirl through the head of a woman who has to cross the threshold of a clinic through the shouts of protestors.  At 8 weeks.  Or 14.  Or 24.

Family planning is under attack.  Private medical decisions are under attack.  Women  - our bodies, our lives - are under attack.

My baby's name was Celine.  I thought the universe was finally granting me a pass to bring her to me after years of losses and surgeries.   But as deeply as I longed for her, I couldn't bring her into this world.  I chose to put the dice down, I just couldn't roll them on her life.  I chose my own grief instead.  I chose an abortion.

I think of her.  I miss her.  She would be nearly four months old right now.  But I have no regrets.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


My therapist was really helpful today. I went in with jumbled thoughts.  Pregnant women surrounding me.  Baby showers.  Newborn cousins.  Triggers everywhere.

I have been afraid the last few weeks, very afraid.

Afraid of waking up one day and finding myself pregnant.  And then afraid that I will dare to dream that I can actually carry a pregnancy to term, and end 40 weeks or so later, with a healthy baby in my arms.

I recently found a photo album in a photo account that I hadn't seen in years.  An album titled, "35 Weeks Pregnant."

The pictures brought tears to my eyes.  First of all, I was hot.  No seriously, I am not one to think highly of my looks (most of the time I will grant that I am cute and I clean up well).  But whoa, I was one gorgeous pregnant woman.

There aren't enough words to express how lucky I am to trudge this road with a miracle child at my side.  With that, I will confess that mourning my babies has been deeply connected to mourning my pregnancies.  Never making it to that big, beautiful 35 weeks that I carried once.  After all, since Niblet, I have never made it past 14 weeks.

And the joy I associate with my one successful pregnancy, well, this is a feeling that I will never experience again.  Because even if the stars align and the one in a million lottery winner for an AMA "habitual aborter" like myself strikes the jackpot, pregnancy can NEVER be beautiful.  Pregnancy is now sheer terror. I have to reconcile myself to that fact.  If I find myself with child, I have to reconcile myself to the fact that I am entering into a state of being that is my personal definition of hell.  Anxiety.  Fear.  And please trust me on this, it's not irrational fear.  With the number of D&Cs and surgeries I have had, even if I made through a clear genetic screen and past random birth defects, I am a prime candidate for Incompetent Cervix.

"Am I crazy?" I asked my therapist?  Am I quite literally insane to dream of myself at 35 weeks, imagining myself beautiful and glowing and ready to mother an infant again?

No, she said.  She went on to explain that my active imagination is my brain's connecting line to hope.  And maintaining hope isn't unhealthy.  Hope sustains us.

Hope gives us the ability to face another day.

Everybody Hurts

When your day is long
And the night, the night is yours alone
When you're sure you've had enough
Of this life, well hang on

Don't let yourself go
'Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes

Sometimes everything is wrong
Now it's time to sing along
When your day is night alone (Hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go (Hold on)
If you think you've had too much
Of this life, well hang on

Everybody hurts
Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts
Don't throw your hand, oh no

Don't throw your hand
If you feel like you're alone
No, no, no, you are not alone

If you're on your own in this life
The days and nights are long
When you think you've had too much of this life to hang on

Well, everybody hurts sometimes
Everybody cries
Everybody hurts sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes

So hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on
Everybody hurts

REM - Writer(s): Bill Berry, Michael Stipe, Michael Mills, Peter Buck

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Outed. And If....

So I have a friend here on my side of the office building who is strictly gluten free as a result of suffering from Celiac's disease.  We talk a lot about food - I'm not Gluten Free, but avoiding Folic Acid as I do, I can somewhat relate to her frustrations with the industrial food chain.  Well, last week we were in a conversation with another friend here, about doctors, and how fucking useless they are.  And I outed myself.

You read that right.  Without going into many of the gory details, I explained that I had lost five babies since coming to work here, babies that were lost during our specific highlights of social justice campaigns we run.  I noted for example, that a group picture sitting on a bookshelf behind us, taken at a fancy office party celebrating a victory, actually features me 11 weeks pregnant.

I think I was mostly stunned at how stunned they were.  I am not sure why, but I always assumed more people knew.  Granted, these chicks happen to be younger, and have never been pregnant, but I guess I always imagine that everyone else's spidey-sense when it comes to pregnancy is as attuned as mine is.  I've been schooled now.  No justonemore, you really aren't a walking freak.  It really is a hidden pain, and you have hidden it well.

(Conversations are often a two-way street, by the way.  I learned that one of these women suffers from epilepsy- all to show that I'm not alone, our hidden lives are truly hidden).

But even with my comfort with these friends, I have a game plan if I find myself knocked up again.  (Notice I used IF - my period is arriving today, I haven't been knocked up in three cycles.  Maybe this is the end?)

The main feature of the plan is to hide.  And that means not confiding in anyone here.  Not PBFAW.  Not the lovely ladies who now know my sad history.  Not even L, the incredible woman who saved my life when I needed her most.  

When (ok, fine, IF) I lose another pregnancy, I know from experience I have people to turn to, and that is a huge consolation.  But having been down this road before, I think I need to live the potential stress of a potential future pregnancy in complete and total real life isolation. I think that the only way I can make another pregnancy work at all is to keep it from work.  Entirely.

On a related note, I am training a new policy analyst we hired.  She is nice, and she is also an AMA mother to a young daughter.  And we attended a conference a few weeks ago, shared a room, and I couldn't help but notice one of her pill cases.  Which greatly resembled mine. And there was a large pill in there that sure as fuck looked like a fish oil capsule.  Sigh.  When I interviewed her I got the sense that she might have been seeking a job change for the same reasons I sought my own job change nearly four year years ago.... So, yeah, I am also steeling myself for the possibility of working side by side with another woman seeking to get knocked up in a few months.

Nothing but fun times ahead.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Looking at the calendar

So I am 11DPO and going to throw out that I am likely not pregnant this month.  Like, I am about 95% sure.  This is the third cycle since my miscarriage that I have officially been NTNP - which in my world looks a lot like having a fair amount sex around ovulation and then calling it a day.

Would I love to be pregnant?  Of course.  When you spend a fair amount of your life pregnant, and you're 41 and find yourself not pregnant after a few months of unprotected sex, you start wondering, am I veering towards age-related infertility?  Is this the harbinger of the real end of the road? Which is rationally speaking insane and ridiculous, in part because I only have something like a 2% shot of even achieving a pregnancy in any given cycle, but there you have it.  Yes, this whole fucking experience and the thoughts that permeate your brain along with it are insane and just slightly ridiculous.

But all of that aside.....the calendar is working in my favor this month.  A July pregnancy would have created an estimated due date perilously close to Celine's.  A July pregnancy would likely wreak havoc on my August beach vacation.  Mind fuck city.  I would be due for viability scans at the same time I should be lounging on the sand without a care in the world.

Also, there's this:  As much as I expect every pregnancy to, well, fail..... I can't help but wonder "what if it didn't?"  What if I went walking through the woods one day and happened upon a magical unicorn, and somehow I carried this one to term?  Well, that's an interesting scenario as well.  Because my maternity leave would run out when I would be expected to return to work during a hugely busy season at my office - I'm talking 60 hour work weeks including weekends.

So that was a long winded post to say, I am not knocked up.  And while that forces me to stare my own mortality in the face, it's probably for the best.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Board hiatus

The newest member of my family entered the world safely this weekend.  So huzzah for that.  If I could only find the fortitude to go through the baby section to buy a gift.  I know I will do it eventually, but man, does the tactile sensation of holding infant clothing STILL fucking set me off like a waterworks.

On other fronts, I think I need to stop visiting the baby center boards.  I have mostly gone to participate on a few TFMR forums, which have been incredibly helpful.  But watching the women I shared this awful experience - one by one - find their way out of the hellhole they were in with healthy pregnancies is starting to depress me.  And the fact that I am getting depressed is making me feel terribly guilty, because I should be thrilled for them, so what am I, some sort of sociopath?

I feel sort of wandering and homeless.  Aside from a few voices in the wilderness who have also been dealt this insanely whammo hand of Asherman's Syndrome, RPL and a side of TFMR, all while AMA, it's hard for me to participate in many of the threads.  I feel like recounting my sad tale to a bunch of women ttc isn't instructive for anyone, expect to say, wow, some people can really be on the fucked up end of statistics!  But you probably won't be!  I hope not!

I was also here - at this exact place a year ago.

Take a look at that linked post.  I'm living a time warp!

So at the end of the day it's the same Rx that I have to move forward with with a few new add-ons.  Joy in Niblet.  Better eating.  Better health.  Feeling good.  Dance.  Sun.  Swimming.  Therapy.  A fuck ton of vitamins.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Planning your day

My cousin is pregnant with her second baby, a boy.  She is being induced tomorrow.  I know this because of the evil that is called facebook.

I love my cousin.  She is my only cousin actually (as opposed to Husband, who has six first cousins). We are both only children.  We always lived on opposite sides of the country, but from childhood on, when we do see each other, time is pretty meaningless. Make no mistake, we couldn't be more different and our lives look completely alien to the other, but we have a really special bond.

She has my wit.  A very dry sense of humor, self-deprecating, cynical.  We come from a long line of Jewish dinner-table comedians, and we both married men of WASPier persuasions who probably found us exotic.

I last visited her with Niblet after my third miscarriage, the natural one.  It was the one that I prayed and prayed would happen before I got on a plane.

She knows about the first three losses.  "I can't believe this, can't doctors do anything to help you?" she naively asked. I told her what happened, we were sitting by a pool in the sunshine.

I never shared my further traumas with her.  We like each other on facebook and occassionally email, but face to face has always been our best bet for communicating (ahhh, we used to write quaint lengthy letters to each other, those were the days).

Her 18 month old daughter's middle name is also Celine, named after our Parisian grandmother.  I always wonder if she would take offense that I also used the name in more tragic circumstances.  But then I think of her....She's pretty chill, and would likely understand.  Translated from the french, Celine does invoke the heavens after all.

She looks wonderful too, radiant.  She has presented a facebook profile of calm about the pregnancy.  A joking picture of his nursery, noting that she only completed three weeks ago.  Lots of funny posts about stuffing herself with  ice cream and pancakes.  She is one 37 year old mama who clearly hasn't had to worry about things like gestational diabetes.

The boy she plans to deliver tomorrow was an oops.  I learned this too, on facebook. She had no intention of mothering two children under two.  A part of me is thrilled that she got the healthy baby out before any potential AMA related issues could ensue.  Because if I had her in front of me, and she was not pregnant, I would have warned her not to wait.  Not to press her luck.  I waited until I turned 38, and look where it got me.

A part of me is insanely jealous. 

Tomorrow, I will go on facebook to make sure that she has safely brought her boy into the world, and then I will comment on her facebook page welcoming him to he family. 

And then I will need to cry.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Working on the anger

The sadness can be heavy.  It sneaks up on me at unexpected times.  It reminds me of my cat Princess, who somehow ends up under my feet when I am standing in the kitchen doing dishes, or walking up the stairs, and I'm all "Fuck, Princess, how did you get there?"  And I am sometimes startled by the sadness, but I can regain my footing, and relatively quickly at that.  Are there days when I need to bask in it a little longer?  When my brain isn't as quick on the draw to pull out of it with a joke, or a smile, or a recognition of something deeply good?  Sure.  That's why I am hooked on the exercise - the natural high I get moving through space to music acts as a pretty good counter to the sad.

But the anger, well, the anger is a whole lot different.  Because the anger feels like a beast that is living inside of you and it is always hungry.  And it will eat anything.

See that lady standing by the bus stop yelling at her two-year old.  Hear about a doctor, maybe an OB, who may be spreading misinformation about RPL?   Have a person make an innocuous comment about your daughter being an only child, and have to clench your fists behind your back to hide the rage?

It doesn't help that I am sort of professionally angry.  I mean, my career is intrinsically linked to being angry about economic injustice.  More than a few people have commented that my "passion"  - which I think is rooted in anger  - makes me very good at my job.

But the other thing that makes me good at my job is my undying hope.  I talk a lot about hope on this blog.  Having it.  Losing it.  Defining it.

We all know what this little guy has said (and fine, I will out myself as a total geek):

At the risk of angering the Star Wars fans out there, I have mixed feelings about this quote.  I mean, sure it's classic Tao.  And  fear can be a terrible force.

But I also think to deny the fear is to deny humanity.  If I break it down, YES, ABSOLUTELY I am afraid of what the future holds. Is it another miscarriage?  Am I going to have another experience that chips away at my sanity?  When someone makes a comment with a negative connotation about my daughter having no siblings, and I clench my fists, is it because at my core, I am deeply afraid that by not giving her the life I thought I would give her, her future has been compromised?  Or that her childhood memories will hold so many unanswered questions about why Mommy got so weird every few months?

And when I take even another step back, I am fairly certain that the anger I feel for the medical establishment is detached from fear.  I mean, doctor after doctor has offered me a plate of disappointment.  And being on the wrong side of statistics with "struck by lightening" scenarios over and over and over and over again, well, as they say, "it is what it is."    Personally, I am pissed off about it.

Yeah, I'm furious.

And if I am honest, I am not at a place right now where I can overcome it.

We're all works in progress, right?

Friday, July 3, 2015


So yeah, I took another ballet class and came home and was all "why the hell did I stop doing this?"

Friends, my therapy is ballet.  I know, weird, but having practiced it for my entire life, it is actually a meditative activity for me.  The muscle memory, the music, the strength, the stretching, the balance, the disciplined moving through space .... dancers out there will get what I'm saying.  And I am back with a teacher who worked with me for many of my adult years, who gets my body and makes corrections just right (she happened to be the sad sack who had to schlep me to an ER a few years ago when my calf muscle snapped while doing jumps, but that's another story....)

OK, this isn't the blog about creaky-kneed middle-aged ballerinas, so I will make my point.

Everyone and their brother out there instructs you to find your joy.  But those are just words, and I know that they are meaningless when you are not getting pregnant after god knows how long, or coming off a failed ART cycle, or mourning another lost baby.

So here's your homework assignment: You have to identify what. those. words. mean.

Clearly my escape  - my crack really - is ballet.  The zumba classes are a hell of a lot of fun, keep my heart healthy, and allow me to fit into my clothes (sort of).  They also get me to smile and shake my ass with the women in my office whose company I actually enjoy.  Communal ass shaking after a long day at the office is a good thing.  But it's nothing compared to the brand of release I get doing something that I have loved to do since the age of 6.

Your crack will be something else.  It may be yoga (which I will admit is SO NOT my crack).  It may be gardening.  Knitting.  Hiking.  Running.  Drawing.  Organizing your closet.  I have no idea what your crack is, but I assure you, there is something out there that puts you in a frame of mine that leaves you peaceful and fulfilled and yes, joyous when you're done.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Angry Day

Snippet of conversation prior to the start of a meeting with the heads of my organization, in a seemingly innocuous conversation about cats:

VP:  You only have one cat?
Me:  Yes.
VP:  You only have one child too, right?
Me:  I have exactly one child and one cat.
VP: You need to have another child.
Me:  Silence.   Maybe Princess would like a friend.

Yeah, I had no idea that I needed another child. If that's the case, we're in a lot of trouble, and thanks VP for the helpful life tip. This must be why you make the big bucks.

People, y'all better hide from me.  I am internalizing a lot of angst and anger today, and there's a good chance I will spontaneously combust on your ass.  

Monday, June 29, 2015

Not with a bang, but a whimper, continued

Last week I had to attend a work-related social event.  There were quite a few young babies there, in a addition to PBFAW and another pregnant co-worker, one I don't know well who is due a month ahead of PBFAW.

"I bet you want another, any plans to have another Niblet?" said a colleague with a sly sort of smile, as I held a particularly juicy 10 month old.

I just shook my head negative, and tried to disappear.... And was frankly a little surprised, because I suspect this childless colleague is in the midst of her own war with infertility and probably hears some god-awful version of "where are your babies?" on a daily basis.  But she is a prickly sort of chick, so I don't see any great heart-to-heart in our future.

You know, a year ago when people asked "will you have another?"  I would say, "I don't know/we'll see/time will tell"....or something along those lines.  A response that purposefully left the door open.

Lately, I find it too painful to leave the answer so vague and up to the fates, and frankly, dishonest (because people around here tend to assume I am much younger than I am).  I need to cut people off at the pass, just like I need to wind down my own expectations, and cut myself off at the pass.

Because I can't go on like this for another three years. 

The hope isn't dead - hell, I've just popped my usual cocktail of vitamins and supplements - but it's fading quickly.  I think that three years and five losses, on top of my age, has just made this mountain seem so.... insurmountable.  Niblet was a tiny nibble when we started down this path.  Barely three.  Now she is a walking, talking, reading, dancing six-year old who will enter the first grade.  There are moments where I see her future face (she looks so much like me and my Mom), and I stop and realize that my days of mothering a baby are over. 

No, I'm not completely giving up. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I have seen many amazing stories of women bearing healthy children in their forties after years of struggle.

But I can't live each day with the expectation that I will be one of them.  No matter how hard I try (and believe me, I try), I can't visualize myself happily and healthily pregnant with any good outcome.  Hell, I can't even visualize myself pregnant right now without going into a cold sweat. I am guessing that repeated trauma will do that to a gal.

When I was pregnant with Celine, in the wake of a great Panorama screen and in the throes of morning sickness that were deja vu to my pregnancy with Niblet, I heard an inner voice telling me "she might be the one, she might be the baby I hold." I told a few people I was pregnant.  I bought a maternity dress on sale at Target.  I began to imagine my home office as a nursery.  This was all just a week before our lives would crash before us.

You can see why I have some trust issues with my inner voice.  She's clearly fucking useless. Or at the very least, untrustworthy.

Yay for therapy.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Get the show on the road

I'm 11-ish DPO and most definitely not pregnant.  I will not lie to my readers.  All of my talk of NTNP aside,when I visited my acupuncturist yesterday it occurred to me that I was falling into a very old habit of expecting myself to be pregnant.  I looked at the calendar and realized that I had my last D&C in April.  My first period afterwards arrived in early May, so my first cycle where I even began to think about pregnancy was in May.  So, I've gone two cycles since a verrrrrrry looooooong miscarriage without a pregnancy. Seeing as according to the statistics recited to me by some former docs I have a roughly 2% chance of falling pregnant in any given cycle, this shouldn't be much of a surprise, right?  Maybe because I have spent roughly a third of the last three years with HCG coursing through my veins, I feel a little weird when I am not just a little bit pregnant.

Lemons to lemonade, friends.  If I want to really focus on getting fit(ter), there's no time like the present. 

Back to ballet tonight!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Hot Summer Blahs

I wish I had something profound or insightful to share these days.  I certainly have nothing newsworthy.  It's 600 degrees outside. I am back on the wagon trying to get my diet back in order (because bathing suits).  I am peeing on sticks because that's what I do, and they're negative (I'm somewhere around 9dpo for anyone wondering).  I don't feel like I am pregnant, which usually means I'm not.  This would be the last month I could conceive if I wanted to give birth before I turned 42.  Think of that for a moment.  The years are creeping up on me fast.

Sunday I swam laps at the pool.  Tonight I am teaching a zumba class at the office.  Tomorrow I see my acupuncturist.  Thursday I do something that I haven't done in a little over a year:  I am taking a ballet class.  Wish me luck, I am so out of shape for ballet purposes it isn't even funny....

Maybe this is my version of a midlife crisis.  But all of this is better than picking up cigarettes and a gin and tonic habit, right?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Not with a bang but a whimper

It's really fucking hot out there.

Summer is here.  Niblet graduated from kindergarten.  I have lost a few pounds and gained a few pounds, all in the last month.  Niblet had an ear infection, I am fighting a sinus infection.  Work stress is at an all time high right now, and I am pulling all-nighters to get my act together.  I took some Robitussin DM last night and all I can say is whoa, I feel high and loopy even a full day later.

And I am about to ovulate.  Husband and I have done our parts to ensure that we didn't miss my fertile period... but... my heart isn't in it.  I just don't expect anything positive to come of it.

Maybe it's healthier this way.  Maybe this is how you let go of a dream, not with a grand proclamation and sweeping theatrical arm gestures, but slowly, quietly, you begin to just accept. Deep in your bones. The yearning is there - the yearning never leaves - but you find grace in the gifts you have been given, and inch by inch let go of a drive that has consumed you.

Three years.  I have been on this god-awful roller-coaster for three years.

Five rings on my hand.

I am tired.  Maybe I am speaking out of exhaustion right now (I'm talking to you Robitussin DM).... 

It's not that I don't believe it's possible.  Strangely, after everything I have been through, I actually do.  A 43 year old friend just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl after three losses.  Other stories of hope loom out there, it's like they poke their heads in on me from time to time to remind me that anything is possible.

But this goal I have been working towards, to slowly but surely accept that my fertility story won't end on a joyous note of miracles, well... this goal post is more visible each day.  I think that in the wake of saying goodbye to Celine, I was so driven by this need to rewrite the ending.  The universe hit me with a series of astoundingly awful blows, and I was all, fuck off universe I am going to keep rising up again like a Phoenix and show the world what can be achieved with nothing but grit and perseverance.

But perseverance has a limit.  And all the perseverance can't stop my body from aging.  I'm fit, I'm healthy, man, I am downright youthful.  The narcissist in me posts the occasional selfie on facebook and revels in the comments about how I never seem to age.  But I am aging.  For whatever reason, (and frankly, I think there is no reason), I was dealt a hand of recurrent loss in my thirties that I couldn't shake, and I have carried this hand into my forties.

If I didn't have Niblet I think I might fight harder... NO,  I know I would fight harder.  I would pursue IVF and stim my ovaries to kingdom come in order to have a shot at motherhood.   I would sink every penny I have into donor eggs if necessary.  But this is money we really don't have.  And the battle scars of IVF are not the tale my body is supposed to tell.  And being completely, brutally honest: I just don't have that kind of fight in me.  

Saturday, June 6, 2015

head space

I have been crazy busy this week - attending an industry conference, presenting and then participating at a second conference, working long hours to reform a ridiculously fucked up healthcare program in a state that shall remain unnamed.... all of this, one would think, would serve to get my mind off of da babies.

Yeah, not so much.

People asked to see pictures of Niblet, which I am always too happy to show.  She is ridonkulously cute.  And yes, cliches be damned, really growing up way too fast.  My heart hurts at the thought of her being the only child I ever mother.

Then on facebook land, not one but two women in my demographic are pregnant.  One, a graduate from my high school class, the other, a slightly older woman I have known for years.  I am thrilled for them both.  Both are experiencing the joys of a first pregnancy.  Both are naively posting ultrasound pictures on their pages.  Thankfully, neither can comprehend the terror of wondering if your pregnancy will last another day even when you've entered the second trimester.  Neither knows the lingo of every fucked up thing that can go wrong when you are carrying a baby - from PPROM to Pre-E, Incompetent Cervix to cord mishaps to TFMR.  When you've lost a baby (or more than one) pregnancy itself becomes a minefield that requires many many therapy sessions.

This week I am trying to let go.  I got a basically normal period.  While I am for all intents and purposes, "still fertile" I am working double-time to imagine my life as is.  Our little family of Husband, Niblet and Princess.  It will never feel complete, Celine certainly looms large in my mind quite frequently.... but I have lately wondered how I would (will?) handle the stress of another pregnancy if I made it to a heartbeat.  What would every day be like when you expect it to be your baby's last?  How does one function in a state of limbo?  The week between when I received Celine's diagnosis and we finally decided to spare her suffering was the worst week of my life.  No, for reals.  Walking around as mother and mourner, is a state of being that I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy.

Do I really want to go there again?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Not this time

I am fairly certain that I am not pregnant this month.  Technically I am about 4 days away from my period being due, but you have to trust me on this, I'm not feeling it.  When I said this to my husband he told me he was sorry, and I could see the disappointment on his face.  I am honestly okay.

First off, based on what the REs say, I have what, a 2% chance of finding myself knocked up each month?  So while I always live with the expectation of pregnancy and miscarriage, the fact is that a BFN for a 41 year old after one cycle of "not really trying" is more normal than not.

I think I am also giving my sad little reproductive system a high five for not allow my body to fertilize and implant a crappy egg that will only result in a miscarriage.  Because to be honest, that's sort of new for me.  The theory of "superfertility" is bandied about quite a bit on the RPL boards, and there's some good rationale behind the notion that we who suffer from recurrent losses have uteri (?) that will grow just about anything.  It's not a comforting thought.

So, this is the first month in many many moons that I am all but certain that I am not pregnant.  (Can I add that if I add up all of my pregnancies, I have either been pregnant or in the process of miscarrying for roughly FIFTY WEEKS in the past three years?  Think about THAT:  A YEAR'S WORTH OF WALKING AROUND PREGNANT without ever taking home a living baby).  With the state of not being pregnant, I can to stick with my diet, and work out, and try to feel physically at peace.

You know, it would be a novel concept, if I hadn't been here roughly this time last year.

Last April I miscarried.  By July, after being given the talk of doom by some awful doctors, I said fuck it.  I drank wheat grass and downed supplements.  I practiced yoga and taught a fuck-ton of zumba classes.  I looked fit and kind of great.

And found myself pregnant with Celine in my third cycle after my miscarriage.

I would be lying if I didn't wonder, can history repeat itself?