Sunday, December 30, 2007
It's sad to me that tomorrow is New Year's Eve and I have no real plans other than not drinking on the off chance I might be pregnant or might have a chance of becoming pregnant in the coming days. It seemed as though no one we knew had plans, so I think my brother and SIL and a few other friends may be coming to our place and then heading to the city to see fireworks at midnight. I wish we had a child (or that I was still pregnant) so we would have an excuse for having such a lame NYE. Maybe next year.
Friday, December 28, 2007
- Charges against a shocked Pennsylvania woman who placed her miscarried fetus in her freezer while she sought guidance as to what to do have been dropped. Perhaps there are details that have been omitted from this article, but I have to ask: what the f*ck is wrong with that DA, bringing charges against this poor woman in the first place? I suspect this will be one of those stories that bothers me for weeks after reading it. (And I may have to start a "What-the-f*ck-is-wrong-with-people story of the week" feature.)
- Another story of a miscarrying woman not receiving appropriate treatment at a New South Wales, Australia hospital. Apparently, the fetus had died a month earlier, but the woman was twice told that the bleeding she was experiencing was normal. The hospital disputes her account. Lest anyone think this is an Australian issue, it happened in Canada too.
- Following up on the story of the British woman who miscarried while suffering work-related stress: The woman was ten weeks pregnant at the time of the loss -- the first article had its information mixed up. This article reports that a tribunal found in her favor, which may result in a significant judgment. The tribunal's findings were on her claims of indirect sex discrimination and unfair dismissal based upon the employer's refusal to grant her request for a modified work schedule. She dropped her charges that the employer's behavior had contributed to her miscarriage.
- As if experiencing miscarriage didn't suck enough in and of itself, the physical effects may be longer term. According to this article, a recent study (looking at old data) has shown that a miscarriage or abortion increases a woman's risk of premature delivery and low birth weight in subsequent pregnancies. The risk increases with the number of prior miscarriages or abortions. But the data being looked at is quite old, as far as medical science is concerned -- from the late 1950s and early 1960s. Given that the link is hypothesized to be a result of scar tissue and infection in the cervix and uterus, the advancement in medical science in the intervening 40+ years could minimize or eliminate this connection in the modern era. More coverage here and here. (This article and this one fail to mention the fact that the data is not current.)
I am also wondering if it is perhaps time to replace my thermometer. This is where I fess up to having used a regular digital thermometer rather than a BBT since I started charting. Since my charts had looked pretty much as expected, I didn't give a lot of thought to it. Now that they seem odd to me, I'm wondering if I should go get a BBT. Also, today, my temp was more than half a degree higher after I got out of bed and walked ten feet to the bathroom (I don't normally check twice; I was trying to test the thermometer), which seems like a big shift without much movement. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
Finally, in case I decide to make the purchase, can anyone recommend a good BBT (and tell me where to buy it, if you know -- our local pharmacy doesn't carry them)? The features I'm looking for are: (1) backlit, at least when turned on, as it is dark still when I temp; (2) doesn't beep constantly -- ideally, beeps once to let me know it's on and beeps a second time when done (my current one beeps every few seconds to let me know it's working, which drives me (and P) nuts); (3) saves the most recent temp, in case I fall back asleep before checking the reading and need to use the recall function to learn what it was. My current regular thermometer does 1 and 3, but not 2. It is sensitive to a tenth of a degree, and it seems that people's BBTs are sensitive to the hundredth, though I'm not sure I really care about that. Much thanks in advance for any advice.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
(As an aside, my mom is gay. This isn't news to me, nor does it have any bearing on the challenging relationship I have with her (most/all of which derives directly or indirectly from the aforementioned drinking problem), but it's probably news to all of you and knowing that will make the relationships between people easier to understand. My step-mom is married to my mom. My step-family is my step-mom's family.)
Ever since P and I got together, we have celebrated Christmas jointly. Before P, my brother and I would go to my dad's on the 23rd for "family Christmas" -- my mom left us on Christmas Eve, and for the next few years this was our way of reclaiming the holiday, or, more accurately, wallowing in self-pity and watching old slides and videos to remind us how much happier we used to be. On the 24th, we'd all go visit my dad's father and sister, staying there through the 25th. My mom didn't get us until the 26th, which was punishment for breaking up the family on Christmas. (Believe it or not, I used to be far more bitter about this.)
When P came on the scene, we had to add time for his family, so he and I would leave my father's family on the morning of the 25th, driving three hours home, then spend an hour or two celebrating Christmas just the two of us, finally heading to his family's for Christmas dinner. At this point, my brother decided to end the decade-log embargo and started leaving when we did and going to my mother's for Christmas day. This got him favorite child status, which he pretty much enjoyed anyway. This also began the tradition of the Christmas of two moms. Every year, he would be there on Christmas day, and every year he was punished for it.
Every year, our mom (and sometimes our step-mom too) would get rip-roaring drunk, and frequently she would make a scene to end all scenes (she does this somewhat often -- the time P and I had to carry her out of a restaurant half-conscious, we actually got a card apologizing). When the next day rolled around, she was so
This year, my brother and his wife decided that for their first Christmas, they wanted to be alone on Christmas day. (Truth be told, his marriage was a good excuse to do what he has wanted to do for 20 years -- neither of us had woken up on Christmas morning in our own bed since 1987, and I still haven't.) So he and my SIL joined us for the 26th. The big question was whether we would get bad mom or good mom, or if we would somehow get both. We placed bets among the four of us, but no one was sure whether accurately guessing bad mom could really be called winning. Happily, we got good mom. She ruined one surprise my stepmom explicitly asked her halfway through the ruining of not to ruin , and she complained loudly and rudely that she had no grandchildren and didn't know when she would get any (and, bless her heart, my stepmom told her to shut up and mind her business -- I have never loved her so much), but she was generally non-awful, and she didn't make any scenes. The worst moment was when my stepmom accidentally knocked a full glass of red wine onto the floor and onto a variety of , shattering glass and wine across the floor, and my mother for some reason cried out in pain, despite having no reason to have experienced any. It felt like a normal person's Christmas.
So I hereby promise that if and when I find myself blessed with children of my own, I will never do anything that will make it seem appropriate and worthwhile to place wagers on whether I will scream, cry, or pass out at Christmas dinner.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
- Apparently it isn't just those of us who have experienced it who fear we are to blame. According to this article, a recent study has shown that some women believe that women who miscarry or have bad pregnancy outcomes are to blame for what happened. Like the doctors conducting the research, I feared that women who had experienced poor pregnancy outcomes would be more likely to blame themselves, but the research didn't bear that out. (Apparently, doctors are doing a decent job of providing fact-based explanations (or explaining that there may be no explanation) for adverse pregnancy outcomes to those who experience them.) Instead, the less educated a woman was, the more likely she was to blame the mother and believe in myths, like that being exposed to something frightening could cause a poor outcome. Interesting stuff.
- Historically, women with epilepsy being treated with AEDs were thought to be at greater risk of miscarrying. According to this article, recent research has shown that women on newer AEDs have a lower risk of miscarriage than those on older AEDs. If you are being treated for epilepsy and plan to become pregnant, discuss your medication with your doctor, as there may be ways to reduced your risk. (Though, obviously, also be sure to discuss the risks inherent in changing medication if your epilepsy is currently being effectively controlled by the medication you are on.)
- This woman's story of an undiagnosed molar pregnancy was harrowing. She had miscarried at ten weeks, had what sounded like the British equivalent of a D&E, then, two months later, found herself expelling a significant amount of additional tissue. The D&E hadn't gotten all the molar cells, so they continued to grow.
- More news regarding the Wisconsin man accused of causing his mistress's miscarriage: The preliminary hearing has been postponed, as he is out on bail. Furthermore, he happarently as a history of abusing the victim -- to the point that she took out a restraining order.
- I had hoped that story was an aberration, but apparently it's not, as a man in Virginia was sentenced to five years in jail after confessing to having caused his girlfriend's miscarriage in a similar fashion. Similarly, a man in the UK has also been charged in a similar offense and recently changed his not guilty plea. And this Canadian man kicked a woman causing her to miscarry twins, though much of the story beyond that point is unclear. What the f*ck is wrong with people?
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Yesterday, while Christmas shopping, I allowed myself to slow down in the children's section at Macy's, looking at tiny outfits that for the first time in a while didn't make me want to erupt in tears. I picked up an especially cute one and asked whether we could dress our kid in it one day. As usual, he ignored me. For once, I called him on it. Evidently, being excited seems too much like July to him, and leaves him feeling way too vulnerable. The thought of putting himself out there and getting hurt again is excruciating. So he has remained guarded, figuring if he doesn't care it won't hurt as much if we don't get pregnant, or if we do and miscarry again.
Somehow it didn't occur to me that we were actually in the exact same place -- because I definitely feel the same way, and it has made it hard for me to get excited again too. I think not talking about it has made it worse for both of us. And I think it's made it really hard for me to get beyond the sadness, because it's the only thing I've been allowing myself to feel. Not being vulnerable to avoid getting hurt has just left me living with and dwelling in the hurt I already feel, and that really sucks. I suspect it sucks for him too. So we decided to commit to moving past the pain, to embracing the excitement and concomitant vulnerability. And I actually feel a bit better.
Admittedly, we started this process last month in Vienna when we bought our pig clock to put in the room-that-shall-not-be-named-that-is now-a-storage-room, but I think we both felt burned again when that cycle was a bust and went back to the way we had been, which, at least for me, was a major setback. I'm hoping we'll be able to keep it going for a bit longer this time. At least now it seems like we can talk about it.
Friday, December 14, 2007
I have always been more of a thinker than a feeler, more comfortable analyzing than emoting or even just being.* Sadness and anger (and loneliness, I suppose, though that may be a subset of sadness) have always been the emotions I have felt (or at least remembered) most strongly. And I have always known this about myself. But I think back to August, and I know that I can feel joy. I hope joy comes back. Please come back.
* Please keep this in mind when reading my last two posts, ye who might be concerned that my desire for kids is somehow less than or detached, as I might be were I to read my posts without knowing a fuller version of me -- it's really not that at all. Also keep in mind that my relationship with my own mother is complicated and often disastrous, which makes the word motherhood itself very, very frightening to me.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
So, we had this conversation and concluded that you worked hard in high school in order to get into a good college, and worked hard in college to get into a good grad school, and worked hard in grad school to get a good job. And when you got a good job, you worked hard for a lot of years so you could get promoted to a better job, which continued until you retired. And then you could do what you really wanted, since you never really did before. During the work years, when you felt like your growth was stagnating, you had kids, which got the next generation started along the same path, evaluating their accomplishments against the standards you set for yourself. And when they hit that point you hit, where they no longer felt satisfied at their own accomplishments, they had kids, and you went through the same cycle as a grandparent. Somehow I recall that this whole thing involved the segmenting of lives into 9 year chunks, though that part of our conversation eludes me now. And it's decidedly possible we were drinking at the time.
At 16 or so, when we had this conversation, I concluded that there was no way this was really what it was all about, that I was just a kid, experiencing some form of teenage angst and that it would, in fact, with time, pass. The problem is that I'm 30, and while the angst is gone, the underlying question still occasionally creeps back up, mainly during those times I let my head dominate my heart, allowing intellect to rule over emotion. So I will toss the question to you. Why do you do it? What's the source of your sense of purpose? What gets you out of bed in the morning? I have my own thoughts and motivations in my own life, but am curious about yours.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I have always gotten a sick enjoyment from a good dystopian novel or short story. I think on some level I enjoy that horrible internal discomfort such a book brings up. So, I found this book quite fascinating. Like many others, I find it hard to really see it happening here, though the frog in a slowly warming pot comparison is apt, and it's hard to say how any of us would really respond to gradual change, or when we would finally decide to draw the line, especially when those with whom we disagree control the police, the army, and the guns.
As a side note, one of the weirdest parts of this book for me was my immediate recognition of the setting. The minute Offred and Ofglen walked outside and Offred described their walk, I knew where they were, since I lived there myself. At first I thought I was just being self-centered, but it turned out it really was Cambridge.
On to the questions:
2. People very often cope with death or uncomfortable situations by resorting to euphemisms. In The Handmaid's Tale, Atwood quite deliberately chooses instead to refer to infants with disabilities, or infants that have died, through the use of a dysphemism (an unpleasant or derogatory word or expression substituted for a pleasant or inoffensive one) - "shredder." How did this term affect you? Did you even take note of it? Why might Atwood have chosen such a word? How does it reflect or not reflect the contemporary discourse around pregnancy loss, still birth, and infant death as you may have experienced it?
Yeah, I took note of it. I have had difficulty myself with finding the right language to express my feelings, as sometimes it seems like none of the words I know really express the depth and breadth of the actual emotions I feel. There are times when I am overwhelmed with sadness, and in those moments I tend to use gentle euphemisms, or vague expressions that say little at all. In those moments, I went through a rough period, where things didn't go the way I planned. But other times, I am angry, pissed off, bitter, and in those moments the dysphemisms pop out, or, more often, I use the blunt, frank, real words I know. Those are the moments when my baby died. The reality is, I had a miscarriage never really seems right to me. Because to the extent people talk about miscarriage, which isn't really much at all, they tend to minimize it, and my feelings have been anything but minimal.
4. On p. 73, Atwood writes, "Each month I watch for blood, fearfully, for when it comes it means failure. I have failed once again to fulfill the expectations of others, which have become my own." Do you believe the narrator wants a child because she knows not having a child will literally be her death, or do you believe the narrator mourns her lack of fertility because she misses her daughter, having a child, being a mother? Becoming pregnant is the only way to get that back--even just for 9 months.
As for Offred, I suspect her desire for a child stems from a number of sources -- her desire for literal self-preservation, her missing her daughter, her desire for something that feels somehow normal. In a world in which everything is new and bad, there is something safe about the familiar.
11. On pg. 112, during the birth day while Ofwarren is in labor, Offred is thinking about the baby that is about to be born. At this time she also talks about the unborn babies and the fact that they had no way of telling until birth what type of baby would be born. She states: There's no telling. They could tell once, with machines, but that is now outlawed. What would be the point of knowing, anyway? You can't have them taken out; whatever it is must be carried to term. While reading this, I found myself thinking back to my first pregnancy where I wound up with conjoined twins. Then and even now, I wonder if I would've been better off not knowing. I miscarried, so I did not have to make a choice, but in light of that, ignorance may very well have been bliss. How do you feel about the abundance of technology when it comes to reproduction and pregnancy? Do you think that sometimes not knowing so much can be a good thing?
My doctor told me that if/when I am fortunate enough to find myself pregnant again, she wants me to come in right away to have bloodwork done and regular scans. I'm giving some serious thought to declining. I am not sure if it'll do any good. If things are good, it's no real reassurance. Last time, bloodwork would likely have shown things were moving along just fine. And if things aren't good, there isn't really anything that can be done to change it. I'll just know sooner that I have to live in limbo, waiting to bleed, like back in September. So I definitely get the sentiment that maybe it's better not to know.
Monday, December 10, 2007
- Australian doctor pioneering new testing for women dealing with recurrent miscarriage and unexplained infertility. By identifying high levels of a harmful type of "killer cell," he has been able to develop drug treatments to keep the levels under control, resulting in successful pregnancies.
- Smoking while pregnant increases the risk of miscarriage (and of birth defects), and West Virginia is doing something about it -- the state plans to begin with a seven month blitz of ads; if that doesn't work, they may introduce legislation. Apparently, more than 27% of pregnant West Virginians smoked last year. Has anyone seen the ads? I am not sold on the efficacy of any such legislation? What do you think?
- Cambodian woman suffers stress-induced stillbirth while in police custody. The articles all call it a miscarriage, but she was seven months pregnant, which I would think would render it a stillbirth.
- British woman miscarries while suffering work-related stress. It's hard to figure out what happened from the story, so I'll just post the article. Here, the woman appears to have been full-term (since November is referred to as the month after the baby was due, and the stress seems to have occurred in late October, with the loss coming on Halloween).
- Man who impregnated mistress accused of inducing miscarriage by slipping her RU-486. This story is disturbing on a lot of levels. Additional coverage here and here.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
At that time, P and I were engaged but not yet married. Two of our other friends had been married for a few years. And we were at the wedding of other friends. And the friend with a child had already said she wanted a second relatively soon so they wouldn't be too far apart in age.
Fast forward three years. The friends who were first to marry have a two year old and are thinking about trying for a second. The friend with the unplanned first is pregnant with a planned second, due the week I was. Another couple who got married this summer is trying now. And two other couples have gotten married this year and may start trying soon. And I am sitting here, bleeding. Hoping to be the next next.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
To be fair, I never had a good feeling about this month, so I suppose it's not that shocking. The months I felt/feel positively about were July, when we got pregnant, October, when we were on hold, and February, which feels far away. All of Ps relatives, including P, have April birthdays, making July feel promising, and my family is full of Novembers, hence the February. Plus, my mother walked out on us on Christmas Eve when I was growing up, and that's around when I'm due to ovulate this month, and her birthday is the weekend I'm due to ovulate in January, so neither of those months gives me a good feeling, but I'm hoping it's wrong.
That said, I am feeling much better today, as the hormonal insanity that always hits me right before my period has eased up a bit, leaving me with just actual sadness, no longer enhanced by hormones (and the stomach bug I was dealing with all week and hoping was early morning sickness).
I'm now trying to think on the bright side:
- As a fabulous side effect of the hideous depression that took over my life, I gained quite a lot of weight this fall (I refuse to get on a scale, but I have been reduced to 4 pairs of work pants that fit for a while now). I now have another month to try to take some of it off without having to worry about eating for two.
- I can drink at the Pats game on Sunday and at the parties we have tonight and next Saturday. Next Saturday is our friends' annual holiday party, which is always a lot of fun, and they brew their own beer, so it's a lot better than getting psyched to drink PBR.
- I'm going to have runny eggs for breakfast. With coffee. Sweetened with Equal. And I'm gonna chase it with a Diet Coke.
- I won't be having a baby the week of my 3rd anniversary, so we can keep that week special, just for us. And I won't be 9 months pregnant in August (though I'm still hoping to be 8 months pregnant in August!).
Friday, December 7, 2007
Even though my temperature is still up thie morning, I am sitting here now, waiting for the inevitable. And it feels like late August/early September again, where every twinge, every tickle, every feeling of moisture in my nether-regions seems a harbinger of what I know is to come. And, again, every trip to the bathroom is accompanied by a compulsory check of the toilet paper, looking for the smear of brown or red, this time not marking death but merely the passage of time, the natural cycling of my body. But I am experiencing it as gut-wrenching nonetheless, each moment feeling like a reverberation of a moment past, bringing me back, making it hard to remember that it is now December, the leaves have fallen, and there is snow on the ground.
I am back to the days of sitting in my office with the door closed, sobbing uncontrollably, only this time I am humiliated, since there is no real reason to be doing this other than the echo of that other time when things went so horribly wrong. That time I spent waiting to bleed.
*I have no idea why I went to the holiday party -- I knew that too was a bad idea, but I went anyway and only narrowly avoided being the girl who cried at the holiday party. The minute I walked through the door at home, I collapsed in Ps arms, bawling like a baby, unable to tell him why, since I was ashamed to admit I had bought and taken that digital test at work like a person with no impulse control whatsoever.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Because I am in fact losing it, I went to CVS today in the middle of the afternoon to buy a better (read: more expensive) HPT. It is sitting in my desk drawer, taunting me. I like that if you're pregnant, it says "Pregnant," but fear having to face the reality that it might in fact quite explicitly declare me "Not Pregnant." Now I'm trying to figure out how long I have to wait to get to the afternoon equivalent of FMU, which is, obviously, a ridiculous question.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Said son is now almost ten months old, but in my mind he is still seven months old, as that was how old he was when it started being too painful to visit, or even to take that route to the bathroom. I wonder what milestones he has reached in that time. Or what anyone on that hall has been up to for the past few months.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
I think we finally figured it out. When we're home, he hangs out at home during the day by himself when we're at work, and I suspect he spends much of that time snoozing. At night, he hangs out with us, plays, and eventually goes back to sleep. When he's at my MILs, he spends the day hanging out with her husband, who really likes playing with him (or at least pretends to). At night, like when he's at home, he hangs out and plays. But when he tries to go to sleep, he spends much of the night hiding from the cats, two of whom love to torment him. By the time he gets home, he's way behind on sleep. Poor Buddy!
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
It was quite awesome. And the food was great. I should do that more.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
This morning, I recorded my temp, and Fertility Friend decided I ovulated on Saturday, making today 3dpo. Hope is a crazy thing.
(This is my first attempt at mobile blogging via Blackberry -- our hotel's "Internet access in every room" is a phone line, and Czech dial-up is a bit beyond me. Apologies for any issues -- I'll fix when I get online again.)
Monday, November 26, 2007
I saw a stroller this morning outside a shop, then heard a baby crying. I finally realized someone had left their infant outside, alone, while they shopped. It broke my heart.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Two recent stories in Indian newspapers have identified factors that contribute to miscarriage:
- A Wisconsin researcher has identified a bacteria that causes both heart disease and miscarriage
- And, shock of shocks, smoking can lead to miscarriage, though the mechanism is interesting -- apparently, smoking can lead to an increased risk of false positives on screening tests, resulting in an increased number of unnecessary amnios.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Family learns they miscarried, then learns it was one of four, and now have triplets
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
We did decide to have a quickie in this morning to get one last shot in before we leave for Europe tonight. Poor P -- that was a lot of pressure, as my dad was scheduled to arrive in 20 minutes :)
I'm going to attempt to post from overseas, but they may be short (and supplemented when we get home).
Hope everyone has a great week!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
- Preseed: P and I decided to give it a try this month. The packaging says to "apply 10-15 minutes before intercourse" in order "not to interfere with sponteneity" (okay, I don't have the packaging in front of me, but it's something like that). Applying 10-15 minutes in advance seemed to do more to interfere with sponteneity than grabbing midstream. Any advice on usage? I'm still not entirely sold on it anyway -- I don't think I suffer so much from a lack of CM as a lack of arousal fluid, generally, and it is really a substitute for the former rather than the latter, according to the package insert. Do you use it?
- Preseed and odor: Following an evening of preseed usage, I feel like my lady parts smell like my dorm room my freshman year of college, back when I had a sex addict for a roommate. Is this normal?
- Tipped uterus and optimal post-coital position: Everything I have read says that folks with normal uteri should lie on their backs with hips propped for 10-30 minutes, while those with tipped utes (like me) should lie on their stomachs, some suggesting doing so with hips propped. I seem to have some trouble visualizing what all is going on in there and therefore don't understand the mechanics of why this is the case. Anyone able to explain this?
- Sperm lifespan: If sperm live for up to 5 days, and you have sex five days in a row, is all the sperm just hanging out in there? Does the quality degrade over time (i.e. is there a chance that a crappy 5 day old swimmer will be the victor in the race to fertilize, creating a less awesome zygote than the 1 day old swimmers he somehow beat out who are also kicking around in there)?
- Sex timing (or: are we doing it too often or not enough): Based on my BBT and the fact that it didn't dip today (which it did last month on the day I o'd, in a rather pronounced way), I probably am not o'ing today, which means I likely will do so tomorrow. If we do the deed tonight, should we bother doing so again tomorrow morning? We won't be able to tomorrow night, as we'll be on a plane, so this may be our last shot. (I suggested renewing our membership in the Mile High Club, but P declared that no child of his would be conceived in an airplane bathroom. ;) )
- Temping: Will I get thrown off the plane and/or arrested if I try to use a digital thermometer that beeps constantly to take my BBT on an airplane? I just keep thinking about this girl.
On an unrelated note: In case anyone wants to know a little more about my feelings about my career, read this blog post: Why You Shouldn't Go To Law School -- kinda wish I read this 6 years ago, as much of it rang true for me. The added thing he fails to mention: cognitive dissonance -- I am not the only lawyer who has convinced him-/herself that s/he enjoys the practice of law in order to explain the numbers of hours s/he spends doing it.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Today's news items:
- Research on alcohol and pregnancy: According to the headline of this article, studies suggest that individual episodes of binge drinking may not lead to an increased risk of miscarriage, pregnancy complications, or birth defects. What the authors of the study (which appears to have been a metaanalysis of the data from prior research, which I assume was descriptive rather than randomized and scientific) actually seem to be saying is that there is insufficient data to say for certain that infrequent binge drinking by pregnant women causes adverse effects. I suspect this is in part due to the nature of any studies like these -- you can't randomly assign people to the group that must binge drink, so you extrapolate from descriptive data, but it's hard to remove all the noise (i.e. all the confounding variables). My read of the bottom line was not that women should feel free to binge drink during pregnancy but rather that a woman should not freak out immediately if she learns she is pregnant shortly after having a wild night. The study was also reported on in the UK, and comments to that article were of the if-you-can't-live-without-alcohol-for-9-months-then-you-shouldn't-be-a-parent variety, which doesn't do much for the woman who finds herself in the "oh crap" position, nor does it assuage her guilt if she subsequently miscarries.
- On a semi-related note: This op-ed considers a proposed Human Life Amendment in Colorado, opining that if, under such an amendment, abortion is murder, miscarriage would be manslaughter (and therefore arguing that the amendment should be rejected, regardless of one's views re abortion). The logic is that manslaughter is the unintentional taking of a life, and, under the amendment, a fertilized egg is a life. If a woman gets pregnant knowing she is at an increased risk of miscarrying (and thereby causing the death of another person) due to, for example, an auto-immune disorder or a history of recurrent miscarriage, and subsequently miscarries, she becomes akin to a person who drives drunk, knowing they are at increased risk of ending the life of another. (The analogy is the op-ed writer's; I would probably have chosen an epileptic whose seizures are incompletely controlled by medication but who drives anyway as the comparator rather than the drunk driver, as the drunk driver chose both to drink and to drive, while the driving epileptic and the pregnant miscarrier made no choice resulting in an increased risk of harm to others from a common activity. Even still, the comparison is rather inapt -- the person who dies at the hands of a driving epiletic who suffers a seizure existed prior to the driver's decision to drive; the person who dies as a result of miscarriage did not exist prior to the parents' decision to conceive him, which is the same behavior that resulted in his death.) It's an interesting (and decidedly disturbing) logic. I initially rejected it as cockamamie, but I'm not really sure it's that farfetched.
The itinerary: We leave Thanksgiving night for Vienna, arriving Friday early afternoon. We are in Vienna for a couple of days, then head to the Czech Republic. We will be a couple of days in Cesky Krumlov and a couple of days in Prague. We then head to Budapest. A couple of days later, we head back to Vienna and fly home. The whole trip will be 9/10 days (depending on whether you start counting when we leave home or when we get there).
We are renting a car and driving across a number of borders. I've only done one border crossing on land in Europe, and it sucked -- I am hoping this will be different (the last time I was crossing between Turkey and Greece by bus, and there were a couple of people aboard who were not permitted to cross the border, so every other person aboard had to wait at the border with their luggage while the bus drove them back into Turkey -- I am hoping it won't be like that!). The whole trip already feels rushed, and we haven't left yet. We wanted to try to see a lot of different places, but I think we're going to kick ourselves for having too little time in any one. We can always go back to anywhere we feel shortchanged, I suppose.
Anyone out there traveled to any of these places? Any recommendations?
Also, what am I supposed to do re temping while on an overnight flight? Fertility Friend says that your first day after changing time zones may have a wacky temp but that this won't make a difference unless it's right when you ovulate. I am supposed to ovulate tomorrow or Thursday. So not only will I have the time change affecting my temps, I'm going to be sleeping fitfully and uncomfortably, if at all, on a plane and waking at some unknown hour, which I can only imagine will have a major effect on my temp. Ugh.
Monday, November 19, 2007
- An inquiry has been opened in Sydney, Australia, following the story of a woman who miscarried at 14 weeks in the toilet of a hospital ER after waiting more than an hour for care. Other news outlets have reported that at least one other woman had a similar experience. The story is pretty terrible, and the response of the hospital nursing staff sounds dismissive at best.
- A woman is suing Walgreens for failure to properly supervise its pharmacy employees, saying that she miscarried after (and as a result of) being given chemotherapy drugs instead of prenatal vitamins by the pharmacy. My heart really goes out to this woman. The situation sucks -- sucks generally, and sucks that much more if it was preventable and brought about by someone else's lack of attention. That kind of carelessness, with such tragic results, is reprehensible. That said, proving causation (i.e. that the drug was the sole cause of the miscarriage) will be challenging, likely requiring, among other things, a pathology report on the fetus to show that cellular division and growth were inhibited and that there were no chromosomal problems that could have contributed to the miscarriage. I'm also curious as to what she was given at the pharmacy -- were the package insert and labeling those for the prenatals or for the chemo? If the former, that's really f*cked up. If the latter, she's going to be asked how she didn't notice during the month she took them that she was taking something different from what she was prescribed with what I can only imagine is a package insert filled with warnings. Putting myself in her shoes, on the one hand, I generally read the materials I get with a prescription; on the other, for something as routine as prenatal vitamins, I can easily imagine not bothering. Either way, I hope that she is finding some peace amidst the tragedy of miscarrying and the chaos of litigation.
- And in celebrity news, in this month's Marie Claire, Nicole Kidman reveals that, at 23, early in her marriage to Tom Cruise, she had an ectopic pregnancy, prompting she and Cruise to adopt their two children. In addition, late in their marriage (shortly before he filed for divorce), she suffered a miscarriage. She said this to correct reports stemming from an earlier article in Vanity Fair that she had lost one baby during her pregnancy with Cruise, and that this loss was a miscarriage early in their marriage.
I am a huge Pats fan, as is P. We get to as many games as we can each season, which gets increasingly difficult with each successive year of success. This year, we went to the pre-season game against the Giants in August. That was the the day after the first ultrasound, the one showing something was wrong with the baby's heart and it was probably going to die. We also went to the home opener against the Chargers in September. That was the same week as the second ultrasound, the one showing the baby had died, and only two days after the D&E.
The 9th will be CD32. I will probably test at some point during the preceding week, depending on when I ovulate. I am thinking it will be a BFN, in part because a 2007 Pats game wouldn't be a 2007 Pats game if we didn't get bad reproductive news the week of the game.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I'm not sure if I want to, though. I hate having blood drawn and am having trouble seeing an upside at this particular moment in time. Last time around, I doubt bloodwork would have shown any signs of a problem. An early ultrasound may have shown something going awry earlier, but we still would have had to wait it out, praying and trying to remain hopeful while we waited for the heart to stop beating. And it's not like seeing nothing obviously wrong in the early stages is really going to give me any great confidence in having a good outcome. So, is earlier knowledge that something is wrong something good? Because it's the only upside I see right now.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
For no special reason, P:
- Suggested a date
- Suggested the place
Friday, November 16, 2007
This time, I'm just not there. I'm no longer wallowing, and I have finally stopped with my incessant sob-fest, but I can't seem to make the transition from no-longer-depressed to whatever it is I was before. And I'm not sure what to make of that.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
On that note, though, what does it really mean to "say one nice thing" to someone? Is it only paying someone a compliment, or is it broader than that? If the latter, what does it encompass? I'm a little horrified to admit that I don't know.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
When P and I first started to try, I too checked out various message boards, and I too was put off by the acronyms. It all seemed foreign to me, and I hoped I wouldn't be around long enough to have learn the lingo. And I wasn't, then. But then things went awry, and I had time to kill, and all of a sudden charting BBT and keeping close track of my ovulation date seem purposeful and wholly necessary.
I know that I am likely to ovulate next Wednesday or Thursday. In fact, I knew that weeks ago when we booked our vacation to eastern Europe, leaving Thanksgiving night. We have plans to have a quickie Thanksgiving morning, before anyone shows up at our house, just to get in that one last shot. I am nervous about taking my BBT on Friday morning, since I will be sleeping (and therefore waking up) on the plane, at some hour that is not at all close to when I normally take my BBT. How will I know for sure I O'd? When did being certain of that start to matter? Crazy.
PS C is pregnant -- about 5 weeks. She and her husband are in the midst of a sh*tty 2WW -- waiting to find out if the baby has implanted on a uterine wall and therefore has a chance or on the septum and therefore doesn't. Keep her in your thoughts.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I originally made my list by category, but it felt restrictive and I wasn't sure that I knew the difference between two of the categories, so I mashed it them all together (challenge for the bored, or myself at a later date: see if you can identify where the sections break and what the sections were). Technically, I made and started the list yesterday, so I'm using yesterday as the start date, but I was still refining it this morning (and reserve the right to continue to refine it as time goes on).
The Mission: Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.
The Criteria: Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).
Why 1001 Days? Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple goals such as New Year's resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.
Some common goal setting tips:
- Be decisive. Know exactly what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it.
- Stay Focused. Any goal requires sustained focus from beginning to end. Constantly evaluate your progress.
- Welcome Failure. Frequently, very little is learned from a venture that did not experience failure in some form. Failure presents the opportunity to learn and makes the success more worthy.
- Write down your goals. It clarifies your thinking and reinforces your commitment.
- Keep your goals in sight. Review them frequently, and ensure that they are always at the forefront of your thinking.
End date: Mon Aug 09 2010
Last updated: Wed Aug 05 2009 (day 633, week 91, month 21)
- Learn to play four chords on the guitar (0/4)
- Learn to play 3 songs on the guitar (0/3)
- Blog daily for one month three times (60/90)
- Write one poem per week for 2 months (0/9)
- Knit a sweater (0/1)
- Knit/crochet a blanket (0/1)
- Try one new recipe each week for 2 months (0/9)
- Change sheets every week for 2 months (0/9)
- Learn to sew (0/1)
- Write a letter of substance every three months (0/11)
- Go to a hockey game (0/1)
- Go to a college sporting event (0/1)
- Hang one thing in each room, minus kitchen and baths (6/8)
- Ask for someone's advice and take it (0/1)
- Attend one BSO concert (0/1)
Attend one Pops concert (1/1)
- Teach dog one new trick (0/1)
Have a baby (1/1)
- Brew beer (0/1)
- Try geocaching (0/1)
- Continue 2007 resolution to start and finish one book per month (9/33)
- Read 15 fiction books (11/15)
- Read 10 nonfiction books (4/10)
- Read 10 books from one of the Modern Library's best books lists (1/10)
- Visit the Royall House (0/1)
- Visit a Family History Center (0/1)
- Attend one Alumni College lecture each year (0/3)
- Attend one CLE or Bar Association program every quarter (2/11)
- Blog personal career evaluation once every six months (what I've learned, what I want to learn, thoughts on where I'm headed) (1/6)
Get a compost bin and start composting (1/1)
- Plant an herb garden (0/1)
- Plant a vegetable garden (0/1)
- Finish planting flower beds (0/1)
- Fence yard (0/1)
Clean out and paint small room (aka the-room-that-shall-not-be-named-but-is-currently-storage) (2/2) Create eating plan for family room (1/1)
- Organize files and update annually (0/3)
- Catalogue books owned (0/1)
- Organize genealogical research and update annually (0/3)
- Buy or make curtains for master bedroom (0/1)
- Buy or make better window treatments for family room, living room, dining room (0/3)
- Identify and get involved with a volunteer project (0/1)
Get on a committee or involved with a group at church (1/1) -- elected to 3 year Vestry term on 1/27/08
- Knit a scarf, hat and gloves to give away (0/1)
- Buy extra food at grocery store for Food Sunday 6 times (3/6)
- Do a river, town or neighborhood clean up (0/1)
- Participate in Walk for Hunger every year (2/3)
- Do 150 hours of pro bono work (90/150)
- Do 75 hours of community service (0/75)
- Read a chapter from the Bible outside church once per week (40/143)
- Pray daily for one month three times (0/90)
- Go camping 3 times (0/3)
- Hike 2 new trails (0/2)
- Visit 4 of the national parks (0/4)
- Visit 4 new states (0/4)
- Take one good photo each day for a month three times (0/90)
- See 15 wonders I haven't seen before from Top 1000 Wonders list (8/15)
- See 10 movies I have not seen before from the AFI top 100 movies list (0/10)
- Take an art class -- photography or oil painting or something else entirely (0/1)
- Visit 2 continents other than N. America or Europe (0/2)
- Visit 8 countries I have not previously visited (3/8)
- Wedding scrapbook (0/1)
- Add one thing to list of things that make me happy daily (63/1001)
- Say or do one nice thing to/for someone else daily (105/1001)
- Make a calendar from photos taken (0/1)
Visit the art gallery in town (1/1)
- Feed someone's expired meter 5x (2/5)
- Perform 5 other random acts of kindness (2/5)
Pay off private student loan
- Pay off home equity line
Accrue three months salary in brokerage account Save for and buy a new car for P
- Save for each vacation before planning it (3/3)
- Consolidate all finances
- Bring lunch 1x/week (28/143)
- Write a will (and make sure P does too) (0/1)
- Donate to charity or free-cycle 100 items (43/100)
- Email one friend I've lost touch with 30 times (4/30)
- Reply to each email received the day it was received for 2 weeks (0/14)
- Call one friend I don't talk to regularly per month (2/33)
- Send thank you notes for every gift received
Send Christmas cards at least one year (1/1)
- Go on one date with P each month (11/33)
- Take one dance lesson with P (0/1)
- Get dog's nails cut 16+ times (7/16)
Drink 80+ ounces of water daily Take vitamins every day<>
- Perform 30 minutes of cardio, 4x/week (62/572)
- Average one yoga session per week (13/143)
- Average two 30-minute strength training sessions per week (28/286)
- Try one new class at gym 9 times (2/9)
- Play tennis (0/1)
- Swim laps once per week for 2 months twice (0/18)
- Walk dog every day for 2 weeks twice (14/28)
- Run every other day for one month three times (0/45)
- Take one martial arts class (0/1)
- Visit the dentist 6 times (2/6)
Try cottage cheese, brussel sprouts, and one other food I'm afraid to try
- Finish walking every street in my city (0/1)
- Create new list
Monday, November 12, 2007
Because I seem to be taking up more and more space these days, I have decided to follow Ms. Infertile's lead and join dmarie's 30 Day Get Healthy Challenge.
My firm goals for the next 30 days:
- Run every other day, as weather permits (I am too uncoordinated to run on a treadmill)
- Drink 80+ ounces of water each day (I used to do this but have fallen off the wagon lately)
- Continue to strength train 2x/week
- Get to a yoga class 1+x/wk
- Floss daily
My looser goal:
- Eat less junk -- try to eat more whole foods and less processed crap
My Real Age came back at only 27.2, which is great since I'm actually 30.4. I exercise and eat enough good stuff (which is mainly what it measures and why my real age is good); I just have been adding too much crap on top lately -- evidently, I still eat mindlessly when depressed. Not cool.
In addition to suggesting some of the above, Real Age also wants me to buy a bigger car. When I need a bigger car, I'll buy one. Until then, my ten year old compact car serves me just fine.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
I have always thought I was a terrible baker. This dates to when, five or six years ago, knowing my love of such desserts, a colleague gave me a recipe for a molten chocolate cake, and I decided to try the recipe that year for Valentine's Day. It was so terrible, P wouldn't even eat it to humor me. It tasted like something burnt, then stuck to the bottom of a radiator and left to gather dust and a metallic aftertaste. I have no idea where I went wrong.
I have been trying to become a better baker over the past few weeks. Since mid-October, I made a pie, far too many oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and a pumpkin coffee cake (which came out far too dry -- I may try it again soon). Tonight I tried that molten chocolate cake recipe again, making four little cakes. And they came out awesome. The top was just crisp enough, cracked with a yummy, chocolaty goo oozing out from within. P ate it with gusto, and without pity.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Personality type: Lame
You're always worrying about your weight. That's because you're fat. You're constantly whining about problems that are your own fault. You are a total pain in the ass.
Friday, November 9, 2007
I guess this explains my paranoia leading into my annual review yesterday.
I can't even describe the slowness with which the first month post-miscarriage seemed to pass. The second month flew by -- it feels like yesterday that I got my period again.
Well, it's CD1. Let the fun begin.
I couldn't stop crying. The nurse asked why I was crying, was I in pain? The question seemed absurd to me -- why the hell do you think I'm crying? You're doping me up because my baby died but won't leave so you need to suction it out of me. Wouldn't you cry? I mumbled something about being sad.
The doctor wasn't someone I had met before. He seemed callous to me, talking at micromachine man speed with what seemed to be a smirk on his face though I'm sure I was just being overly sensitive. I realize he does tons of these (200 a year, he said -- and only 3% have complications, he said, though neither fact was much comfort to me), so it may be easier for him if he distances himself from the emotional pain of it, but it's not a situation I find myself in every day, and I could use a bit more gentleness as far as bedside manner is concerned.
Once they concluded that I was sufficiently hydrated and sufficiently drugged, they had me wheel myself into the procedure room. Another girl wheeled past me, and I recognized the expression on her face -- vacant, worn and spent, raw, red and pasty. I wanted to say something to her but there really isn't anything to say that can't be conveyed without words.
I was conscious throughout the procedure but don't remember much. P said I babbled a bit. I remember when it was over, before I went into the recovery room, telling P I wanted a tattoo of Roo with angel wings and the EDD. It now seems rather ridiculous.
In the recovery room, I ate peanut butter crackers and drank juice. I felt extremely hungry and extremely empty. When we left, I closed my eyes, scared we would see pregnant people coming out of the Obstetrics ward, placed, of course, right next to Surgical Procedures. Totally awesome. We stopped for ice cream on the way home, and I got my favorite sundae (chocolate ice cream, peanut butter sauce, whipped cream and nuts). P had to go back to work that afternoon. So I made a grilled cheese and sat on the couch, mindlessly watching tv.
And sometimes I feel like that's where I've been ever since. I go to work, I go to church, I see friends, I even went to a Pats game, but a part of me seems always to be on that couch, staring blankly at the tv. Thankfully, I think I am snapping out of it.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
When looking transvaginally, she seemed concerned, but I had no idea what to be looking for to guess at the cause of concern. She asked me again how far along I was. Those who have been through this before know that is never a good question to hear when you have that wand all up in your business. I should have been 7.5 weeks, but she said she could only see a sac, and it was measuring at 6.5 weeks. She said she was worried, but again noted the low quality of the machine and her lack of expertise and told us she was going to call the radiologist and see if they could see us right away. I sat there and bawled. P just held me. Eventually the midwife came back, telling us to head to the radiologist across town, but to stop on the way out to have the bloodwork done that we had discussed when we still thought I was pregnant, "but we'll cancel some of the screenings, since we don't think there's a viable pregnancy anymore. At least you know you can get pregnant." Bitch.
As I quickly realized was going to be a common occurrence in this world, when we got checked in at the radiology lab, the woman behind the desk commented on my last name, asked if I was related to my mother in law. They used to work together in labor and delivery. Awesome. I had to tell her not to say anything, since my MIL doesn't know anything -- that we were trying, were successful, or were potentially having a miscarriage. Oh.
The waiting room was full of pregnant people, and I found myself extremely resentful, passing judgment on all of them -- they looked too young, too clueless, too anything to get to be pregnant when I might not. I was glad they called us back quickly before I lost it. The tech again started with an abdominal ultrasound but quickly switched to the vaginal. I still didn't really know what to look for, but knew I saw something that looked like a rice krispie with a white flicker. The tech said absolutely nothing. After a while of manipulating the wand, changing the area of focus, blowing the view up, and doing it all again, she said she was going to get the doctor, which is also always a bad sign. But I knew I had seen that flicker.
The doctor came in and we went through the same routine again -- manipulate, center, zoom, repeat. Finally he said, "well, that there is the sac, that is the baby, and that is the heartbeat." The expression on his face, though, made clear that he still had bad news to come. "The heartbeat is irregular. Watch." We saw it beat steadily for a few seconds, then seem to stop, then beat steadily again. I kept thinking, maybe it's just the angle, or something is in the way, or maybe he just sucks at his job -- how the hell does he know? "The heart also seems to be in the wrong place, but anatomy at this stage can be tough to see and interpret." And, it was measuring small -- 6.5 weeks instead of 7.5.
Our rice krispie was small but alive, but, he told us, there was very little chance that this would be a viable pregnancy and, even if it was, there was a good chance the baby would have severe medical problems. He said we should pray for the best but prepare for the worst. We would continue to monitor the situation, but we should expect to miscarry in the next week or so and should come back in a week or ten days for a follow up if it hadn't happened. The doctor kept touching my arm, trying to be caring and empathetic, but it was creepy -- he still had his hand on the fricking wand, still inside me. I couldn't cry in front of him.
P and I were supposed to be leaving on vacation two days later. The u/s doc thought we should go anyway, if we thought it would help and were feeling up to it. Whatever was going to happen was going to happen, and it would be depressing to waste a vacation sitting home waiting to miscarry. The midwife thought we should cancel. She seemed certain that I would need to go to the hospital in the coming days, and I didn't know where the nearest hospital was in relation to our destination (our cottage in Ontario). She thought it was too secluded, too remote, and we should postpone. The whole thought was incredibly depressing, and I wasn't sure how much fun vacation was going to be, but really couldn't handle the thought of cancelling for the exact reason the u/s doc said -- a vacation wasted waiting for death was too crappy to imagine.
On Friday morning, P and I got in the car with the dog to make the ten hour drive to the cottage. Per the midwife's orders, before we left we went online to research hospitals in the area and called to confirm that they had an emergency obstetrics unit. We were sure to drive by the closest one on the way up. Every twinge I felt I was sure was a cramp and marked the beginning of the end. Every time I went to the bathroom, I was sure I would look down and see that telltale smear of blood on the tissue. I had a meltdown at the beer store on our first full day -- all of a sudden, I was struck by the absurdity of me, standing there while P picked out beer for himself, not drinking because I was still pregnant, even though I was waiting to miscarry our dying baby. I prayed a lot that week, not that God would save the baby but that He would give me the strength to deal with the loss. I wanted to feel hopeful but felt extraordinarily defeated. As I feared, it was tough to enjoy being there.
But I read a lot, sat out on the dock, went swimming, went for walks. And, as the week went on, I started to have a little hope, a recurring daydreamy fantasy that the doctor was wrong, that the baby was fine. Maybe we were that small percentage with whom he sees what he saw but who go on to have viable pregnancies, ideally without severe medical issues. He had said to expect to miscarry within the week, but nothing was happening. Though the weather outside got stormy, hope began to slowly emerge in me, like the sun burning away a thick fog.
We got home on Sunday the 9th and had the follow-up ultrasound appointment the next day. We had a different doctor, different from the one we had the first time and in a different room with a different tech, and again with the LMP question over and over. And again with the abdominal and the switch to the vaginal. This time, right away I knew it wasn't good. The sac looked bigger but the rice krispie didn't, and the flicker was gone. This doctor was all business and bluntly delivered the news that there was no heartbeat and that, while the sac was the right size, the baby was still too small; while it had grown, it hadn't grown enough. I am sure he said other things, but I don't really remember them. I just remember bawling, trying to cover my face, wishing I could sink into the chair and just disappear.
I was supposed to be going to a friend's baby shower in the office that afternoon but didn't really think that was the best idea, so I went home. I think I cycled through all the stages of grief simultaneously over and over in the car on the way home, with a lot of time spent then and in the coming weeks vascillating between extreme anger and sadness, often colliding and leaving me extraordinarily bitter. When we got home, I informed the dog he was going to be an only child for a while longer. I cried a lot while P and I sat staring vacantly at the TV.
My doctor called that evening. I found the call very comforting -- unlike the midwife, who seemed to begin every sentence with "at least," the doctor seemed to recognize that wasn't what I wanted to hear. We talked about grief and we discussed the options -- wait and hope to miscarry naturally, go the medical route, taking medication and hoping it induces a miscarriage, or go the surgical route. She took the time to explain them to me and didn't push too hard for any one choice, giving pros and cons of each and asking me to call when we had decided what we wanted to do.
I did some research online and decided on the surgical route but I couldn't bring myself to call her to tell her. I must have been in the denial stage of grief at that point, because I kept convincing myself that if I waited a miracle would happen. No miracle happened. We met with the doctor in person on Wednesday and scheduled the D&E for Friday, September 14.