Wednesday, May 29, 2013

news round up, (almost) 11 weeks

Sometimes I see a news story and I think, gosh, if only I had a place where I could rant and rave about this idiocy, uninterrupted. If only I had a captive audience of 9 of my peers who might, just briefly, humor my grandstanding. BUT WAIT.

You guys, in this week’s infertility news round up[1], two things about which grandstanding may or may not be appropriate[2]:

(1) In case we needed further evidence that certain legislators, judges and jury members remain desperately in need of adult supervision, we got it. Mississippi’s state Supreme Court is currently hearing a case that could open the door to the prosecution of women who miscarry. The case involves a woman who delivered her still born daughter after using methamphetamine during pregnancy. Now, before we get our at home pregnancy tests in a knot, we can all agree that using drugs during pregnancy is a big no-no. We’ve all seen Breaking Bad or an episode of Intervention or, dear god, do I only get my substance abuse cues from television? Drugs are bad and meth is a particularly virulent and devastating drug at that. But[3] I hope (maybe?) we can also agree that putting mom in jail for this – or any other potentially-naughty-thing-she-did-while-pregnant-like-eating-soft-cheese-or-drinking-caffeine – really does nothing to protect or support families. And that’s where this case is going – prosecuting grieving women for miscarriage.

In any case, Mississippi is just following the leader – in 2009, Senator Mark Obenshain of Virginia proposed a bill that would require women who miscarry to INFORM THE POLICE. If no such report was made within 24 hours reasoned Obenshain, in this little gem of a proposal, the offending – and now grieving – woman, could spend up to one year in jail while writing out, 100 times, in cursive, I will never miscarry again. And as of this month, Obenshain has been rewarded for his foresight with a nomination for Attorney General. Way to go Virginia!

(2) Mark Bittman[4]. Seriously, he’s everywhere. I cannot peruse any source of print media without being confronted by Mark Bittman screaming VEGETARIAN BEFORE DINNER! at the top of his lungs. But now Mark has crossed a line. Now Mark is all up in my uterus telling me what’s what. Specifically, Mark has taken to the NY Times to tell me that I can’t be a little bit pregnant (among many other non-related items).

“Isn’t being a part-time vegan, the more strident demand, like being a little bit pregnant?”


Except that no. Actually, no, not at all. Actually, that doesn’t make any sense and you’re a dolt (who surely had NO intention of stepping into this conversation). Which is why I’m sending Mark a link to the witty, sardonic, cripplingly funny blog, A Little Pregnant. And why I would also like to ensure that Mark is privy to a grieving, righteous, ranting woman who, weeks after miscarrying, still cannot get her everloving beta down to zero. Any takers? GAH.

<done grandstanding; takes curtsy>
Meanwhile, back on the home front, I’m just holding my breath until my second ultrasound on Friday. But holding my breath doesn’t mean my subconscious isn’t a flurry with activity. This morning, at 3:54 am, I woke up with a start. I don’t know what the opposite of a nightmare is – dream seems so insufficient in this instance and is not cooperating with me (and as YeahScience beat me to mentioning, dream stories are THE WORST). Whatever it was, I was with our baby – I was taking him home from the hospital. His name was Ben[5]. He was swaddled. And I didn’t even care that they discharged me before showing me how to breastfeed[6] because he was mine and I got to take him home and he could barely open his eyes, just like a new puppy. And in that moment, wide awake early in the morning, needing to pee for the third time in approximately thirty minutes, it dawned on me that if Friday doesn’t go well, it is going to be really, really, hard.

[1] Of course, “this week” is wildly misleading because this is the first time I have ever referred to any kind of “round up”, news media or otherwise. Also, the news I’m sharing is more pregnancy/miscarriage related. So basically my statement is inaccurate on many fronts. But you read for the strikethroughs and links to 30 Rock youtube videos anyway, right?
[2] If you care to skip the “grandstanding” – and really who could blame you – feel free to scroll down for a minor pregnancy related update.
[3] So I’m also ignoring what I consider the proof problem – that is, whether the use of meth is actually the cause of the stillbirth. I have no idea. But the point is, I don’t care. Even if we assume that it is, I remain vehemently opposed to a law that punishes this mother instead of offering drug treatment, support, and counseling.
[4] Bet you didn’t see that one coming.
[5] I can tell you that because Ben is a great name but not one on, ahem, the list (we all have one, right?). In fact, it’s what my parents were going to name me had I been XY instead of XX.
[6] Which obviously confirmed that this was not reality – you know, the actual reality in which I would refuse to leave the hospital until someone showed me how to hook that little sucker onto my boob. Or at least tried.

Friday, May 24, 2013

eating like a teenage football player: 10 weeks

I no longer feel nauseated like all the time forever and ever, even while sleeping. Which can only mean one thing: baby has stopped growing/miscarriage is imminent/CATASTROPHE AND CAUSE FOR ALARM.

I’m trying not to be so catastrophic. So negative and diabolical. On one hand, I’m fairly certain that C has had it up to here with my negativity. He delights in checking each week to see what fruit-size our little zygote has matured into – 10 weeks is a prune[1] if you’re keeping score – and has recently initiated a renewed conversation about what middle name we might give a daughter.

Of course, not for nothing, I’m also trying to embrace this newest-flavor-of-nausea – only early in the morning and after dinner, usually with a side of WHAT IS THAT BAD TASTE IN MY MOUTH[2].

Less perma-nausea and my newfound interest in not-only-oatmeal-crackers-spaghetti is actually more accurately described as now-eating-like-a-teenage-football-player.

I’m ravenous. A 5 gajillion calorie scone just moments after consuming a full breakfast – two, please! 56 ounces of orange juice because water tastes-like-burning – you betcha! Working out has simply become “the-exceedingly-short-period-of-time-that-I-can-go-without-eating” and likely soon to become more of a complimentary activity.

But when I started to notice the-bump-that-wasn’t[3] and a couple extra pounds on the scale[4], I began to re-evaluate whether caving in to every godforsaken urge, interest and craving was really absolutely-necessary-for-the-continued-growth-and-development-of-my-prune. Which is obviously what I had been telling myself <justifiably consumes burrito the size of a football>.

Yes, I still have food aversions. Strong ones. Chocolate, garlic, onions, basil, seltzer[5] and most vegetables. I also have knock-down-drag-out-downright-crippling cravings. A couple weeks ago I tore through a disgusting vat[6] of mayonnaise laden potato salad. A few days ago I legitimately believed I might have an aneurysm without the immediate aid of pad thai (no tofu, hold the vegetables). Salivating would not be too strong a word here. Tonight I had a vision of pink Starbursts and made quick work of extracting the measly 4 in a single pack after gunning it to the closest CVS. But mostly, more than anything, I just feel hungry. A deep, insatiable, almost painful hunger.

But because pink Starbursts and pad thai are not exactly feasible as my daily diet – OR ARE THEY[7]? – I’ve tried to, ahem, reestablish my eating habits. I haven’t cooked anything in over a month and scurvy remains a threatening menace – not to mention that eating like an uninspired frat boy leaves me rather lethargic. So, I’ve made an active effort to gear myself up for healthier options – imagine an insipid cheerleader in the recesses of my brain chanting something along the lines of you-don’t-want-pizza -you-want-quinoa!

Instead of scones, I’m decisively plowing my way through bushels of fruit – I could have eaten six peaches this morning if given the chance. I even partially enjoyed – and partially force-fed myself – a kale smoothie yesterday, something I used to drink on the regular pre-this <motions to expanding gut>.

The point – which has clearly eluded me for several paragraphs now – is that either I am actually still pregnant – a possibility which is absolutely stupefying to contemplate – or I am so petrified by the prospect of miscarriage[8], that my emotional eating has reached heights heretofore unknown. I’m certainly hoping for the former, though unconvinced that it’s not the latter. In the meantime, I will continue doing what I do best: eating for six[9].

[1] Or slightly larger than a really big coat button.. Whatever. Eleven weeks is a lime. Limes also make me gag. Specifically, limes in fizzy water. See infra.
[2] The taste – Is it metallic? Just bad? – arrives like clockwork around 5pm, dissipates during dinner, and returns with a vengeance before bed. It’s… exciting!
[4] We don’t own a scale. But my gastroenterologist – who I visited on Wednesday – sure does. After noticing a small uptick in poundage, she offhandedly remarked, you know you really shouldn’t be gaining weight this early. After I removed my hands from around her neck, I found this refreshing take on pregnancy weight gain. Also, IT BEGINS. You know, the everyone-else-knows-what’s-best-judgy-mcjudgment-of-pregnant-ladies nine-month extravaganza.
[5] C has a “game” he plays where he mentions “fizzy water” and I gag. I contemplated throwing out our Soda Stream and saying that a fox made off with it during the night. We live on the second floor so it’s totally plausible. I’m still considering it.
[6] I’m telling you, it was a vat. Or a trough, even.
[7] That sounds like a challenge I want to sign up for. And a potentially accurate version of my high school diet.
[8] When oh when will the relentless negativity skepticism end? Not soon enough for C’s liking and though I try, probably not soon enough for anyone. I was actually emboldened in my doubt after having lunch recently with a friend who is now – post Clomid, IUI and IVF – the mother of adorable twins. She confided that she remained convinced of catastrophe until she was literally on bed rest, seven months in. Now that’s perseverance!
[9] For the record – and just so I don’t come off as a totally insufferable and greedy former infertile – as long as I get a healthy set of lungs and a diaper (i.e. baby) out of this whole thing, I’m willing to go Jessica Simpson – +60 lbs and what felt like a gestation of 13 years – and never look back. Really. Just as long as most of the weight is in my bra. (Kidding!).

Monday, May 20, 2013

zofran soap-box-ing

Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the Zofran[1].

Before I went on vacation, my OB prescribed me some just-in-case Zofran. A small bottle of tiny 4mg tablets. The anti-nausea wonder drug. Mommy’s little helper. No, I wasn’t throwing up. No, I don’t have what Kate Middleton had. But I AM A GIANT WIMP was existing in a kind of perma-nausea that made basic social interactions and eating anything outside the cracker-spaghetti-oatmeal foodgroup a difficult chore. Also, I’m a wimp. But I am a wimp with a strain of hippy-granola-anti-prescription-drug-ism. An intolerable hypocrite who has regularly relied on all kinds of terrifying prescription drugs to keep my Crohn’s disease in check. And, um, to like, get pregnant. Hello Clomid, my old friend…etc.

What I’m getting at – bare with me now, we’re going deep – YOU GUYS I WAS CONFLICTED.

<Let the insufferable navel gazing begin!>

I had set up some kind of bizarre and convoluted self-righteousness construct wherein nausea was my badge of first-trimester-honor, despite no one giving me a sticker for my incessant suffering[2] and everyone being sick of hearing about it. But in my head, taking Zofran was for wimps. Especially the non-throwing-up kind of wimp[3]. What’s more, taking Zofran would create unnecessary risks for the microscopic grain of rice[4] pulsing its little baby galoshes[5] inside of me[6]. Zofran was weakness/failure/selfishness/the-first-indication-of-poor-parenting-to-come/judgment-judgment-judgment!/recklessness and OHDEARLORDDOIREALLYNEEDTHISADDITIONALANXIETY?

On the other hand, there comes a moment when you are force-feeding yourself plain, cold, sticking-to-itself spaghetti out of a Tupperware in an airport lobby at 10 pm while gazing longingly at your sea bands, only able to respond to your husband’s sweet words of encouragement with a grunt – less of appreciation and much more of leave-me-alone-because-speaking-to-me-makes-me-want-to-vomit – that you begin to feel that there must be a better way.

Friday, May 17, 2013

back in business

And, we’re back on the air. Hi guys. I don’t quite know where to begin. It’s been a while since we last spoke. In fact, I’ve been unplugged from the blog-o-verse for two whole weeks. (Please forgive me while I try to catch up on all your posts).

Some things have changed: I mustered the appetite for fish tacos and vegan pizza! Some things have not: the nausea has returned, along with an unsettling predilection for absolutely disgusting food[1].

More on all that to come, plus some Zofran related soapbox-ing and a bit about the mom-a-fication[2] of my identity (we’re getting pretty post-modern around here). In the meantime, our trip to California was pretty fantastic. We hiked, we camped, we snorkeled. We spent a lot of time laughing with good friends. We collected seashells and stones along secluded beaches. One of us thought she might DIE, like ABSOLUTELY PERISH, on the never ending ferry ride from hell that even a doctor approved Dramamine plus sea bands could not vanquish. <collecting myself and returning to not the third person>. It was, in a word, perfect.

We started up in San Francisco and ventured out to Muir Woods, with an easy six miler down to Muir Beach.
The trail down to Muir Beach - about which there is nothing witty to say. We saw a class of five year olds let loose in their barefoot glory to dig and explore and cause trouble and our hearts kind of melted.

The next day we ventured to my new most favorite of spots – Point Reyes. More specifically, the remote Tomales Point Trail, reached after driving through rolling hills of organic dairy farms and pretty cows. The trail itself is all bluffs, views and tule elk.
Tule Elk not pictured. But, uh, Views! Bluffs! Oh my!

Friday, May 3, 2013

seventh week stretch

Just a note: this is, unabashedly, a post about pregnancy. Yes, it’s also about infertility and fear of loss and the anxiety, creeping like vines, up my back, and threatening to eat me whole, and also the moments of joy that punctuate, on occasion, that anxiety. I know there are intrepid readers who are still trying and if today is not a day you can muster the wherewithal to read about pregnancy – and not that I fault you, oh boy do I not fault you; I too had my days and may well again – then please, let me encourage you stop here and proceed to this very special video. You’re welcome.

You guys, why didn’t anyone prepare me? The first ultrasound is like… it’s like… tripping on acid in the middle of a rainbow. It’s bananas. Over breakfast this morning – plain oatmeal for her, greek yogurt, fruit and granola for him, becauseblandohsobland – C turned to me and stated plainly, we’re going to cry today. Hrmph! Speak for yourself buddy. Is what I was thinking. The truth is that I hadn’t really thought about how I would react today – my only thoughts had been about actually getting here. It was about this arbitrary milestone in a series of (seemingly arbitrary) milestones, each with their own baggage and expectation and apprehension and, fine, potential for ahem, joy. Of course, when C said we were going to cry, he meant for good – for seeing a yolk sac, for hearing a heartbeat, for acknowledging that holyshitthisisreallyhappening. So, readers on the edge of your seats, waiting with bated breath – we I transvaginal ultrasounded, we saw, we cried[1], we got a due date that wasn’t generated by web-bots, we brought home pictures. One heartbeat, strong and steady, sounding like galoshes in the spring rain. Baby galoshes.

It was incredible; it made it more real; it validated the persistent nausea and my absolutely disgusting diet of late. But <drumroll please> infertility changes you. So when we left the exam room and returned to the waiting area and C was joyously ogling our scroll of yolk-sac-headshots[2], I admonished him to put them away already – there were other women in the waiting room, other women who were there in year 4 of their baby-quest, other women who had recently miscarried, other women who might not share in our (seemingly) unfettered joy.

Infertility has changed the equation. It doesn’t mean today wasn’t amazing and it doesn’t mean I’m not happy – for the love of all things good I HUGGED, LIKE REALLY HUGGED the ultrasound tech, you know, the really enthusiastic one who sounds like her thickly accented Bahston drawl is being bled through a radiator. We told our parents and I sent a text to a couple close friends – something along the lines of “heartbeat/shit just got real[3].” But I am also cautious, remaining tempered and C-says-negative-but-I-say-objective. (Potato, Potahtoe, right?) It’s just that I don’t believe that nothing bad can happen to me; that loss can only happen to other women. I’m an only child – my mother miscarried, twice, at around 10 weeks, after having me. Boom. Another (arbitrary but not so arbitrary) milestone to contend with.

Speaking of arbitrary milestones, I ate a baked potato today, thus adding a COMPLETELY NEW food group to my exceptionally diverse and exciting diet. Huzzah!

p.s. We’re leaving tomorrow for about 12 days of vacation. Because, you know, hiking, camping and long stretches of travel by plane, car and boat seem especially appropriate at this juncture. Posting from the proverbial road may be sporadic. See you guys soon.

[1] Okay, mostly me. Because: obviously someone had to prove C right. Etc.
[2] Probably already a thing for crazy pregnant ladies. That or else I just struck gold.
[3] Because apparently that is the most effective shorthand way by which to both capture and convey my joy?