Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Sunday’s Dear Abby featured a question from a woman who had told an infertile friend to “just relax” and couldn’t understand why the friend was so upset when she was just trying to help. Abby, thank goodness, had the sense to explain the problem. Not as bluntly as I might have, of course, but with a decent dose of “How exactly do you think that helped your friend?” (Akeeyu has a much more detailed - and of course better - take on it here.)

This somewhat makes up for the “Tell Me About It/Carolyn Hax” column a couple of days ago where the happily-married mother of two (call her Friend A) vented about her bad day to a friend with a rocky marriage who has been trying to have kids (Friend B) and who then complained about being vented to. Carolyn agreed that it wasn’t reasonable for Friend B to have been so upset about the minor venting. What I wanted to know (and I sent a note to Carolyn on this point) was - what exactly did Friend A say in her venting? Because if she said “My kids are driving me nuts, you should be glad you don’t have any” or “You want kids? Take mine” then I think Friend B was entirely justified in being pissed off. Hell, I’m pissed on her behalf, and I don’t even know what happened. And even if that’s not what happened - does Friend A generally listen to and support Friend B or does she regularly complain about her fairly-decent life without offering any support to a friend in need? It’s just not as simple as it was portrayed is all I’m saying.

And then I thought I’d better go back to reading the comics instead, because clearly the advice columns were far too stressful.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Wavin’ babe

I don’t know if I should post warnings on every pregnancy-related post or what, so until I figure it out I’ll err on the side of caution and warn you that I’ll be talking about pregnancy and ultrasounds today. Feel free not to read if you don’t feel like it. Of course, that’s your right all the time. So, um, do what you need to do.

The perinatologist used the fancy ultrasound machine today. Setting aside the sheer wonder of an ultrasound during which I was fully clothed, the pleasure of the warmed goo, and the fact that this was the world’s fanciest machine, I’m left with the best part of all. One of the baby-blobs waved at us. Waved. And did a little squirmy thing.

Coolest. Thing. Ever.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hi! Welcome to Pregnancy

I told a colleague I was pregnant today, to explain why I’ve been, well, how I’ve been - a little bit fuzzy and incredibly tired. Lo and behold, she’s pregnant, too, and about as far along as I am (though she doesn’t know for sure). It was nice to share a little bit, but mostly I felt like our experiences were so incredibly different that we were talking about different things. They were trying for a month (granted, they didn’t expect to conceive that fast - they knew it might take some time and figured they’d get started now). She doesn’t know her due date yet. She hasn’t yet seen an OB/midwife (her first appointment is in a a week or two, which if she’s due when she thinks she is will put it at late in her 11th week, if not into her 12th). She’s not sure if she’ll get an ultrasound at that appointment (though she wants one just to be sure everything is as it should be). She doesn’t intimately know what a transvag ultrasound is, let alone that it can be used to see the heartbeat before it can be heard on the doppler. She’s already told a couple of people, including some friends, and her boss. Her husband told his boss, too. It’s all just so weird to me. See what I mean about normal pregnant women? It’s a completely different world for them.

On the positive side, I didn’t greet this news with quite the same pang of intense jealousy as I would have in the past. It helped a bit to be the knowledgable one, slightly further along (at least in my head) and more experienced. It wasn’t easy, exactly, but it didn’t sting as much as it would have before. It was one of those moments where I really thought I was pregnant.

I took that feeling and ran with it, all the way to the maternity clothing store. I have that one pair of jeans, but I only had a couple of shirts that sorta kinda covered the waistband, and I thought maybe it was time. The store was even more surreal. There were three women working there, and two looked like they were in high school. Not that high school women don’t get pregnant sometimes, but these women clearly didn’t have any firsthand knowledge. It was just weird. Also weird was the couple that came in looking for a gift or something? I mean, it wasn’t for her, and it wasn’t for him, so I guess it was for someone else. Hopefully someone actually pregnant, since this woman was like 12 (okay, probably 19) and a size 2. And she kept exclaiming over how cute the clothes were. Geez, either go get pregnant so you can buy them, or go away, please. The last nutty thing was that everytime anyone walked into the store, the staff would greet them with, “Hi! Welcome to Motherhood.” I’m not ready to be welcomed to motherhood just yet. I’m still getting settled in pregnancy.

P.S. to Kell - I can’t find your email address anywhere, but if you email me I’d be happy to share what I know about SoCal clinics. My email address is on the ‘about’ page.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Graduations and new beginnings

Sorry I’ve been so silent. This is not pregnant blogger syndrome, just me dealing with some major, non-medical life stuff. Details at the end. But anyway, here’s a really long post to make up for it!


I had my final ultrasound at the RE’s office last Friday - the twinkles actually had head-ish and body-ish blobs, which was really cool. After the scan, the nurses all gathered around with a “graduation certificate” and congratulated us. It was sweet, I guess. The three nurses who were most a part of my cycle were all there, which is rare (they seem not to overlap so much - one of them did most of my pre-cycle stuff, one was my primary nurse for retrieval and transfer, and one did most of my follow-up stuff) and it was really nice to see them all. The clinic has recently added a bunch of new nurses to handle the increasing patient load, so there were all of these new people, some of whom came and gave us hugs. I was very polite, but inside I was thinking, “Hi. Who are you and why are you hugging me?” And then, as a weird coincidence, one of my old REs (from two clinics ago) was there - she’s actually in a fellowship program, and that old office and this one are professionally affiliated, so I guess she’s doing a rotation at my clinic. It’s funny, because the day of my last visit at the Evil HMO clinic, the RE I saw before that (who supervised this RE fellow) was just starting there. I guess it’s a small world of REs around here. Weird.

So, Friday’s graduation was followed by our first appointment at the regular OB’s office on Monday. My primary OB (who was recommended by my RE, but whom I’ve never actually met) is actually a perinatologist (apparently, he has a “special interest” in twin pregnancies after IVF) but the initial appointment was with a nurse-midwife. I had a bunch of thoughts while I was there, but of course I was too busy filling out forms to jot them down, so we’ll see what I can reconstruct.

1. It was really weird to be around normal pregnant women (not that I know any of their histories, or anything, but they all looked so normal). Even now, I don’t really feel like I fit in somehow. Like I was an interloper. I’ve been in this office before, because Dr. Two-clinics-ago and the others (the ones who keep popping up other places) are based out of this office, but then I really knew the distinction - they’re all pregnant, and I’m not. (Yes, I know there are some women there just for routine well woman care. But really, mostly it’s cute pregnant bellies all over the place.) But even 9 weeks into this, I still felt like an outsider. Plus, so many of these women were adorably pregnant, and I just doubt that I will ever have that cute perky pregnant glow. J reassured me that of course I would, and I told him it would probably only last for a day or two, so he’d better take a picture.

2. I hate paperwork. There was so much of it that our appointment got cut short, and we’ll have to finish going over the second part of the form next time. Thankfully, next time is in 2 weeks, when we’ll also have an appointment with the peri. (I figure it’s about time we actually meet him!) And of course, I’ll be there again tomorrow so they can look at the TB test spot and give me a clean bill of health, because otherwise I won’t be allowed to deliver. Really, that’s what the NM said. Funny, huh.

3. I like midwives. She took time to listen. She laughed at our jokes. She answered questions. Instead of rushing things, she acknowledged that we wouldn’t get through everything, and made a follow-up appointment. All good. I’m sad, again, that I’ve risked out of using midwives for my primary prenatal care, but glad that I might see them for some of it anyway.

4. Apparently, despite the reading I’ve done which suggested vaginal delivery rates as high as a possible 50% of twin pregnancies (because 50% suddenly seems really high), I should pretty much resign myself to a c-section. There’s only one doctor (not mine) who can comfortably turn a breech baby, so if he’s on duty I can try and otherwise I can’t. Or something. I guess this gives me time to come to terms with the concept, but I had been holding out some hope that it wasn’t a done deal just yet, even though I knew it was more probable than not. And I really didn’t expect to hear it from the midwife, of all people. In a previous life, midwives would have been my first choice for care providers, and I think I’m mourning that loss just a bit too.

5. I am no longer on progesterone supplementation. Yay! My cooter is enjoying being left alone and not filled with gunk. (Hmm, that sounded nastier than necessary. Oh well, it was pretty nasty stuff.) Apparently, this means my body is producing it’s own progesterone, which seems like a very good thing.

6. We have to decide if we’re doing the Ultrascreen (blood test + NT ultrasound). I haven’t found a whole lot of information one way or another, and even though the CNM said it was fine for twins, I worry that there will be some sort of false positive reading because of the higher levels of HCG, or something. I don’t know why, though.


I bought a pair of jeans from the maternity section today. It was weird, and I’m not entirely ready to show publicly, but I’ve been wearing variations of the same outfit for a couple of weeks now and thought it was about time. So now I own one pair of really comfy jeans that actually fit. They still need to be hemmed, but for now I’ve just turned them to the right length and taped them up. Damn it feels good to wear jeans again.


In other news - and to explain why I’ve been a bad bad blogger - yesterday was a big deal exam based on those papers I’ve been writing forever... and I passed. It’s a graduation of another sort. Not that this actually means I’m done with my program, or anything, but it’s a big step forward. And a big relief, since after this there’s a bit more timing flexibility. Not that I want to be one of those people that’s ABD forever, but it’s a lot easier to take a leave of absence at this point. Which is good, because I’m pretty sure I’m going to need one.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Quick updates

Just popping in to join the chorus of congratulations on the arrival of Muddy’s gorgeous baby boy. He was born January 2, by c-section, at 36 weeks (after more than 3 months of bedrest) and is reportedly the cutest and biggest baby in the NICU (where he’s on a vent for some breathing difficulties). Muddy is dealing with some painful c-section aftermath, but is doing well. Updates to come as they’re available. And in the meantime, YAY!


The DC Infertiles Meetup was fab, as everyone else has already said. I don’t have much more to add, really, except to note how much I love being with a group of people that just get it - even if we didn’t all have all the intimate details about each others’ cooters, we still all understood the general picture. When else can I leave a bathroom stall (in the Capitol building, no less) and have bunches of people who will listen to me vent about progesterone suppositories (which are better than they were before, but still gross) - and join in! So, that’s that part.

The rest of the DC trip (with one notable, charming, lemon-drop-sharing exception) was fairly unexceptional, though not in a bad way. I actually like my in-laws most of the time, but I’m allergic to their house, and off my allergy meds, so my breathing suffered a bit. But telling them about the twinkles (we showed them the u/s picture) was pretty fun. And helped buffer my MIL’s stream of well-intentioned assvice. Plus, they’ve decontaminated another room in the house, so I got to hang out and be social while still mostly breathing. So yeah, I’d say that was pretty good all around. Plus, my BIL was quietly supportive and kind and helpful, which was especially sweet.


Food is generally not appetizing, and that is incredibly frustrating right now. Even if I’m not obsessing over Barbara Luke’s advice, it’s still problematic to be simultaneously hungry and repelled by food. And I’ve been to several grocery stores over the past couple of days in seach of food that appeals. I may have to start sampling the fast food options soon. I had McDonald’s chicken nuggets while we were in DC, and they were actually pretty satisfying. But that was then, so we’ll see.


I finished the crazy papers, but am now busily trying to wrap up a research prospectus, in which I propose a plan of action for the next couple of years. This is an exercise in fiction, since it’s too soon to announce any news, so I have to write the thing as if what I’ll be doing for the next 18 months or so is working on a dissertation. Ha! (The general idea at this point, of course, is that I’ll be, um, otherwise occupied. At least, that’s the plan.)