Friday, November 21, 2014

plugging away

"The people I see who keep plugging away, who just keep trying despite the roadblocks and setbacks and the pain, those are the patients of mine who take home babies."

Words of my therapist.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fuck (western) Doctors

"My visit to Dr. H was uninspiring," I wailed to my acupuncturist.  I described how, while she is a very nice doctor in the world of doctors, she too could only offer me donor eggs as a next step to consider.

I also note how no one is taking my MTHFR concerns seriously, which my acupuncturist is astounded by.  "I haven't done enough research on it, but you have a mutation that causes a folate deficiency, and your last loss was much like a neural tube defect, which is absolutely linked to folate deficiency."

We talked in more detail about all of my supplements, all of which are geared towards the health of my eggs.  My last egg was healthy, maybe there's another good one in the waiting.  The list currently includes:
  • Co-q 10 (600-800 mg) or Ubiquinol (400mg), depending on what I have in the house
  • DHEA (75mg)
  • Vitamin D (4,000 IU + what's in my prenatal)
  • Prenatals - with at least 800mg of folate, ideally 1 gram
  • L-Methyl 5 Folate - currently 2grams, going up to 3
  • PQQ - 20 mg
  • Daily serving of wheatgrass
She thought the list was good, though suggested throwing in Royal Jelly.  Why the fuck not. 

"Oh, and I've been spotting for three days, and it's really getting to me," I continued.  "I know, I know, it's totally normal to not have a regular period after a D&E, but still, I would like something in my body to work right now."

So she proceeded to needle me up along my endocrine system, turned off the lights, and shut the door.

Forty-five minutes later the door opens, the lights go on.  I feel great.  I am realizing that I tend to feel really good  - particularly when I am not in a doctors office.

"How is your daughter doing?" she asked.  "Really well, amazingly well.  She loves her school.  She's a fun kid when she's not pretending to be a Disney Princess," I say with a mock feminist grimace.  "Though I guess it's understandable, she does look like a Disney Princess."

"Does she look like you or your husband?"

"Actually, it's a funny thing...." And I show her some pictures of Niblet on my phone.  And my husband, the source of her blond hair.  We stare at the phone in awe and marvel at the wonder of nature.  Niblet is just so freaking cool.

"You know, I think I'm getting my period.... like right now," I say. "that was some fast work!"

As l leave, I realize I'm not ready for donor eggs, even if I could afford them.

Monday, November 17, 2014

When hope is just a word

Random snippets of some moments during a hellish morning post-op appointment with Dr. H, my OB.

(She hands me a form from the lab that performed the micro array, confirming my girl had no chromosomal abnormalities):
Me:   I don't know what to do with this information, how to process it.  I have seen some websites say that her birth defect was a 1:10,000 random occurrence. 
Dr. H:  It's like you were struck by lightening.
Me:  That's what they told me after my partial molar pregnancy. 

Dr. H:  Do you want to try to get pregnant again?
Me:  I suppose.  I've been pregnant four times in two years.  I guess with my history I would expect to be pregnant again, just not with a healthy baby.
Dr. H:  If you can stand the emotional trauma of it, there's no reason not to keep trying.  You can still have hope.
Me:  Dr H, have you ever had a patient with a history like mine who ever successfully carried a healthy baby to term?
Dr. H:  It's hard to say, all cases are so individual.  I did have a patient with High FSH at age 38, who moved on to Donor Eggs and had a healthy baby.
Me:  Did she ever get pregnant on her own?
Dr. H:  No, I don't think she ever did....  Are donor eggs something you would consider?
Me:  Without a lottery win, no.  And at age 38 my FSH was 3.  At 39 it was 8.  And I still miscarried both years.  And I keep getting pregnant.

My frustration must have been palpable, I know.  Her office gets points for whisking me to the exam room quickly, without having to stare at shiny happy pregnant women in the waiting room.  The doctor herself got some points for accommodating my request to shove a pippelle up my cervix to ensure there was no scar tissue.

But she lost a point for wishing me luck with a final handshake. It was an awkward moment, maybe I am just used to hugs, like the huge warm one my acupuncturist gave me.  I was going to deduct another one for offering me the word "hope" without anything meaningful to back it up, but that seemed unfair.  It's not her fault there is nothing to back it up.

Monday, November 10, 2014

broken or not

One of the things that I can't seem to impress upon people close to me is that this latest loss has me feeling fundamentally different.  I feel broken.  It's hard to describe.... I get through a day with few crying jags.  I laugh.  I eat.  I put my make-up on and try to look nice.  Maybe I do such a good job of it that I fool some people into thinking that I am living in the moment. And I fool those others - the ones who know me - into believing that the days that have passed have healed me. 

But that would be a lie, a grand illusion.  I'm not healed.  And as much as time heals all wounds, there hasn't been enough fucking time.  My grief over her is carried with me, like I am wearing a locket.  Sometimes I can feel it, tactile, as if I were fumbling with the clasp to open it up and look at her.  The pangs hit me at odd moments.  On a conference call.  When I stare into Niblet's eyes, and wonder what her sister would have looked like.

She had a sister.

But my last weekend was also marked with some of those fleeting moments that gave me the hope to keep on hoping that maybe - just maybe - I will walk out of this experience a functional human being.  Someone not permanently broken.
Like, I survived the moment where a stranger at a dinner outing asked me if I ever planned on having another child or was it just my 5 year old.  I calmly (I hope) responded "not sure" and proceeded to pick up the giant glass of red wine that was sitting next to my plate.  Which I hoped was some sort of universal symbol of "don't fucking press me on this question," and apparently worked on the nice lady, who pressed no further.

Niblet herself contributed to the calm this weekend, as only Niblet can do.  An old friend of my husband's came to dinner with her boyfriend, and Niblet decided it was an opportune time to display her considerable charms and intelligence to them. The visit resulted in strange, double-edged swords sorts of feelings that night.... On the one hand I felt this gushing and ego-maniacal surge, a sad surge, because,  "wow, we did such a great job with this kid, wouldn't we be wonderful trying our hand at it again?"  On the other hand, I felt a sense of calm,stemming I guess, from a deep feeling in my gut that Niblet would survive just fine in life as an only child.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


As much as I like my therapist, I do feel like sometimes we are speaking in different languages.

"Oh, so you believe you will be pregnant again?" she said, almost joyfully, last night.
"Of course," I respond.  "I have little evidence to show that I won't be pregnant again. I just have very little reason to believe it will ever result in a healthy baby."

This conversation, which I feel like we've had a few times already, is why I am constantly asking her whether there's something inherently unhealthy about my drive to try again.

She keeps assuring me that I am merely trying to rewrite the ending to this chapter in my life.  And that doing so isn't crazy at all.

And I keep wondering how many more losses it will take for me to accept my tiny family of three.


I am not someone enamored by the current zombie-zeitgeist. But honestly if someone asked how I am right now, I could only really point to zombie imagery.  I mean, I get through the day, in a lumbering, shambling sort of way. Often with a smile or a laugh thrown in.  But I am going through the motions.

Routine helps.

According to my therapist, my desire to get back on the reproduction horse isn't compulsive behavior.  Well, that's helpful.  Who knew, apparently I am not only a fighter, I am an optimist (ahhh, if only my husband was in the room when she said that). 

I have been back at work for a little under two weeks and somehow it feels like months.  I am depleted (another pronouncement of my therapist).  The universe continues to fuck with me in a myriad of ways I won't detail here, I'll just say that I sprained an ankle and am trying to prepare for the possibility of a financial crisis in my household.  Fun times ahead.  Can I go back to sleep now?

Speaking of sleep, I apparently need more of it.  On the advice of my therapist I ordered some mediation cds, and let's just say I suck at meditation.  I completely fell asleep during my last attempt.  I found myself snoring, so I wasn't in a particularly "mindful" state. 

And yet, my routine has been re-normalized in a way that's comforting to me because it feels proactive.  Supplements, wheatgrass juice, visits to my acupuncturist (who pulled some miracle treatment on my ankle the other day, and I will only use one word to describe it:  "Bleeding" - yes, as in we're in the year 1540).

I have gained four pounds since my D&E, enough to scare me back into motion.  The problem is, I can't return to my old dance studio yet to teach zumba classes.  The space itself  is a giant trigger for me, I began a new round of weekend classes when I last learned I was pregnant over the summer.  One of my students knew I was pregnant.  I can't even look in the studio mirror without imagining how far along I would be now (17 weeks) or how my tiny bump might appear now ("hey everyone, look how pregnant I am").

What to do.  Well, I can't lie around and complain anymore, so hopefully I can resume teaching a class or two at my office.  The very stressed out women I work with could use a little release, maybe I can help them.  Maybe we can help each other.  It takes a village, y'all.