Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Perhaps because pregnant women are supposed to be warm all the time, but let me tell you, this one ain't. Obviously everything is going as it should in terms of the important aspects of gestation, but I do find it funny how many of the "typical" symptoms have not visited me. I am cold all the time. My skin has never been drier -- shea butter on the face every morning or the skin just peels away. And that business about your hair not falling out and then all coming loose after birth? I have very thick hair to begin with, but if it finds a way to fall out more than it is already, I will certainly be bald by the time The Bean sees me. (And yes, I will trade all that happily for the mildness of my morning sickness.)
I will also take it in happy trade for the nurse's call yesterday saying my glucose test results were normal, which saves me a fight with the doctors, since I had made my mind up firmly to refuse the three-hour test. It was just over 24 hours before I was recovered from the one-hour, by the way, with an additional 24 to get rid of the migraine it brought on. And meanwhile, I've been poking around the journal literature and have become increasingly convinced that nearly all of the GD paranoia is based on g-d horse shit. I won't bore you to death, but just for starters: in a study of outcomes for gestational diabetes patients and babies, wouldn't you suppose it a good idea to exclude women who had poorly-controlled diabetes BEFORE pregnancy? Of course not: that would exclude almost all of the scary outcomes, and then how will you get published?
Sugar is champing at the bit to do laundry, so I'd better get out of these very soft but somewhat whiffy pajamas. (Yes, Melody, they are pajamas. Garnet Hill German cotton flannel. Get yourself some; I promise you will not be sorry. This is my fifth set.) I will leave you with a picture of my rapidly expanding mid-section, circa 28 weeks, and a promise that I will be back to report on anything exciting that happens on Christmas day at Sugar's paternal grandmother's house, where we're not at all sure anyone has been told about the pregnancy. Last time I was there, one of Sugar's cousins refused to do anything but gape at me while I was talking to her (about such controversial topics as "your daughter is very cute"). This should be even more fun without alcohol.
P.S. Yes, I'm beyond pissed about the legal goings on of my home state. Guess it's off the list of "states I will allow us to live in prior to being absolutely certain we're done having/adopting children." Nice feeling to have about a place my family has lived for 250 years.
Friday, December 17, 2010
And then I would like to puke on him. And kick him for a bit.
Related: Should I really still feel like donkey shit, ten and a half hours after the test? Does this mean that my body is not, in fact, any good at processing glucose, that I will fail the test and be told to do the three-hour one? Because...no. Have no risk factors and no family history of diabetes. Am getting lots of scans of The Bean* anyway, because of the PAPP-A thing, so there will be plenty of chances to keep an eye on its growth and well-being.
Dammit, I was perfectly healthy** this morning, and then I went to the doctor and they made me sick as hell.
My apologies to any who are hurt by today's "pregnancy sucks" tone. Pregnancy -- at least this one -- does not suck. I am happy to be pregnant and enjoying it very much, I assure you. I do not enjoy being made to feel nauseated, faint, weak, disoriented, achy, and generally awful***, but pregnancy didn't do those things to me (at least not all at once).
*Including today! Everything fine! Pictures when one of us is well enough to scan them. Sugar remembers all kinds of cute things that are a bit of a blur to me, so maybe we should make her post about it, eh?
**If you don't count the heartburn and the rib thing, but let's not.
***And POSSIBLY a TINY bit emotionally overwrought.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Still feeling like I'm being stabbed and rather peeved at Dr. Russian for not really listening to me about it. She says it's a bruise (though how I am supposed to have hit the bottom of my ribs with anything, given the significant convexities surrounding that area, I've no idea) and to go easy on the meds. I say it's a torn muscle or pissed off cartilage and it hurts like heck. Since the treatment is the same for both theories -- wait, wish, and pray it gets better before the Bean can kick that high up -- I suppose it doesn't matter. I mostly have stayed off the percocet, but some nights (like last night, for instance), that's just not possible.
Ah, well. Dr. Russian is, after all, Russian. Disregard for non-lethal injury is as inevitable a part of her character as the praise she heaped upon me for eating meat. I will gladly accept her boredom with my ribs, given that she is similarly unbothered by my having already gained as much weight as the practice "wants" me to put on over the course of the entire pregnancy.
I'd be lying if I said the weight gain didn't bother me at all, but I'm doing my best not to worry about it. I don't think there's much I can do about it -- I'm hungry most of the time, and we eat pretty reasonable kinds of food. I guess I'm just one of those women who gains a lot in pregnancy. My weight has mostly been stable in adulthood, so I hope that losing it won't be too terrible.
At any rate, one member of the household seems pretty happy with the situation. (He's usually more of a boob-man, but those are getting pretty sizeable, too -- and don't think he doesn't cop a feel.)
Now that's my kind of Perfect Moment Monday.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Those are kitchn's ricotta pancakes, by the way, and quite tasty they were, too.
Hope you are keeping the fires alight -- and dry, fellow New Yorkers.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Item: I have become too lazy/dull/generally pathetic to participate in my own meme. Will this be in the DSM-5?
Item: You should check out (and submit to, in all senses of the word) starhillgirl's very fun new tumblr blog, Lunch. Make your lunch famous on the internet! I'm going to pull a fast one and call my Thanksgiving Sandwich entry my Come And Eat post for this time.
Item: I made half as much sweet potato pudding this year, since Sugar had requested a savory sweet potato dish. I should have made more pudding -- it was gone in a day, and I only got one sandwich out of it. The savory option is currently dying a quiet death in the back of the fridge.
Item: All that frantic eating seems to have led to another growth spurt. Internets, I am certifiably enormous. I am back to running into things every five minutes. I am in denial about the fact that turning sidewise to slip by objects or people has become comic in the extreme. (Imagine it -- I, not un-wide, approach a narrow passage. I pause, turn 90 degrees, thus rendering myself twice as wide, and proceed to shove my way through.) I would say picture to follow, but I think we can all agree that said picture is more likely to actually happen if I don't make any promises.
Item: While spending a very nice weekend with friends outside of Boston -- and the fact that I can call the weekend very nice, despite how much of it was spent dealing with a teething toddler, a sudden lack of heat and hot water, and an obstreperous landlord ought to give you some idea how wonderful these friends are -- I discovered that I could cleverly heft my (considerable) self out of their comfortable but very low armchair by pushing down on its arms and hovering my butt in the air such that my legs swung perfectly underneath me. I was very proud of being strong (and short) enough to manage the feat and performed it more than necessary.
Item: Pride ever goeth before costcochondritis, as it turns out.
Item: This is plenty bad, but how much worse it would be without Dr. Russian, who was on call last night when I left a tearful message with the answering service, after a day of increasing agony. "Take the percocet!" quoth she. Good doctor, that.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Besides sweet potatoes of one or more kinds, we'll have turkey (we are not vegetarians, only lesbians), cornbread and pecan dressing, biscuit, maybe some mashed potatoes (lest we die of carb deficiency at table), a few pies, a non-wheat dessert (the surprisingly lovely almond cake from IKEA? candied pecans and baked apples?) and whatever other oddments occur to me in the next 24 hours. (Gravy, ice cream for the pies, and other such condiments are implied, of course; and cheese, bread, nuts, and pear paste to build the appetite. Can't be too careful.)
The Dane-stralian family will be bringing green beans, cranberry sauce, and their very scrumptious nearly-3-year-old. I've been a boorish hostess and made it clear that no orange nonsense is welcome in cranberry sauce at my house, thank ye. Another friend is bringing a mushroom dish that apparently cooks for nine hours. I reckon we won't be TOO hungry after.
Meanwhile, what are YOU making (or eating) for Thanksgiving?
I thought perhaps it might be nice to play our old Come And Eat game this weekend, with posts about what you eat at Thanksgiving dinner or what you eat instead or what you do with the leftovers -- or what have you, my dear, benighted, unAmerican friends. (I admit that those of you with antipodean addresses are likely too high on the coming of spring to need a big feast to cheer you on, but the rest of y'all in northern climes must be dreading the dark, too. Nothing like a few thousand calories shoveled down in a single sitting to take the sting out of the coming of winter and/or prepare you for hibernation.)
So. Come And Eat, would you? Sign up below with the address of your food post, any time this weekend. Please paste the address of a particular post, not just your whole blog, so folks know where to comment.
Monday, November 22, 2010
I had my post-op consult today. No surprises - the surgeon wants me to see a neurologist before I go on birth control to make sure it's safe, since I had a few migraines with aura in 1999. She told me I had to wait yet another week before going back to my regular workout schedule (fml, I just shouldn't have asked). And she showed me pictures of my own internal organs. Weird.
Apparently, my left ovary was very big and angry. It spent a lot of time threatening to beat up the right ovary. Both of my ovaries were bigger than my uterus, which made the uterus kind of worried.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
No, no hormonal craziness at all, why do you ask?
Everything medical seems to be fine. I have passed my cervix checks; first growth scan (because of low PAPP-A at nuchal) is Tuesday. I met OB 4 of 4, the one with the scary, super-skinny picture, and she was fine. She did not yell at me for gaining so much weight, contrary to my expectation. (And boy howdy, I have gained some weight. I have now officially crossed into "I have never weighed this much" territory. Yikes.) I get tired more easily and walking is beginning to be strangely exhausting for someone whose life involves so much of it. Like walking in sand. I have discovered that wearing the good ol' Bella Band over my maternity pants is the secret to not having to yank them up every 3 steps, at least.
Must get back to
Here is a picture of my best pumpkin impression:
Friday, November 12, 2010
Then I had an ultrasound, the intent of which was to see if I still had a small polyp in my uterus, that turned up the fact that I had an 8 centimeter endometrioma on one ovary and a 4 centimeter one on the other (!). Faced with how huge 8 centimeters sounds and with the prospect of a more invasive surgery if I waited too long to have them out, I went in for a lap on Tuesday.
When the surgeon looked inside, she discovered some unexpected things. First, both my ovaries are sitting underneath my uterus. Second, the left ovary had become so enlarged that it was as big as the uterus. Third, there are adhesions from endometriosis everywhere in there. And finally, one of my tubes is blocked.
Wow. Ok. I don't feel good about this at all.
First, somehow I feel like I should have known there was something wrong in there. Maybe I could have done something earlier, if I hadn't been in denial, except I wasn't really in denial, since nothing really hurt. But still, how could I not know?
And proceeding from this somewhat irrational reaction, I feel like I've been running my life wrong. Or something. Should I have been more invested in being the one to get pregnant? Baby really wanted to be pregnant, and I didn't really feel strongly that I did want to, so it seemed totally right to have her go first, (or just to be the one to do it, if we only have one). But now it's looking like I won't have an easy time if I do want to get pregnant. Plus I'm older that Baby. But I was just going right along assuming I could get pregnant if someone put some sperm up there, like an idiot, so I had all the time in the world (or at least 6 or 7 years).
Not helping is the fact that my really nice and cheerful surgeon keeps asking me about when I want to get pregnant. I know she is happy she was able to preserve both of my ovaries and concerned that my sudden endometriosis seems severe, but, hello, we are expecting a baby in March. I'm not going to try to get pregnant right now, because that would be a nutty thing to do. I was lying in bed, addled from pain medicine, the day after the surgery, when my surgeon called to check on me. After ascertaining that I was recovering normally, she launched into a discussion of how I would probably have to do IVF. Ack! At least wait until I'm off the meds!
Baby has been a great a help through all this. The poor thing is exhausted from being pregnant and has also been doing everything for me for the past three days as I lie here and moan about how percocet gives me a raging headache and the urge to weep. I will be happy to be on my feet again, which right now feels like it won't be until the distant future, but will really probably be something like three more days. I've been a bit surprised at how this recovery is sucking, but I'm not sure why I didn't put together the fact that getting abdominal surgery = getting stabbed in the stomach. As Nick Swardson says - "no thank you to getting stabbed. I don't want any part of that process"
Now with working link to the funny! -- Ed.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Over the past few weeks, we’ve taken a crucial step in practicing belief that the lump in my belly will one day be a Real Live Baby TM: we’ve told lots and lots of people. We’ve told the friends we hang out with but don’t make the “we’d want you to know about a miscarriage anyway” list (GULP). We’ve told my boss I can’t teach in the spring (financial GULP). We’ve even told Facebook (high-school-frenemy GULP).
By and large, this has been great. Most people have said something nice, and no one’s been rude — one of the great things about being loudly gay is that the suckier-type people don’t want to be friends with you anyway. Excitement has come from unexpected quarters: Sugar was suddenly hugged by a moderately nerdy male colleague running for the train yesterday, and the father of our favorite toddler, who was luke-warm at best on the topic of reproduction prior to the arrival of his daughter, checks in on my health nearly as solicitously as my mother does.
Nearly everyone we tell in person immediately asks, “Do you know what you’re having?” which sounds like something a diner waitress would say.
I have an impulse to answer, “BLT, fries, and a coke, please; no mayo on the BLT,” but that would be unhelpful. Instead, I tell them, “I’m hoping for a puppy, but it’s looking more and more like a baby.”*
Partly Mostly, I answer that way because I’m a congenital smart-ass, and I’d hate for my friends to think pregnancy has changed me (though apparently they expect it to — a shockingly large number of them have not laughed, but rather stared at me as if I’ve lost my mind). Partly, though, it troubles me that even now, at whatever fruit-metaphor size it is this week, the bean is already supposed to be defined primarily by its sex.
Now I know, I know. I know it’s just small talk, that no one is saying our baby can’t wear a tutu while operating a steam shovel or be the butchest kid on the synchronized swimming team. I get it. It’s meant to be nice, a way of thinking of the baby as a real person. But though I’m pretty darn gender-conforming in lots of ways, I’m still not nuts about the whole business of tying personhood to sex.
Our anatomy scan is a week from today, and we haven't decided yet whether to find out the sex. Sweet Sonographer has promised she will not let me find out if I don't want to know, even through I'm on deck for lots of extra scans to look out for IUGR. So that means the decision really is up to us.
On the one hand, knowing would make it a little easier to buy/beg for clothes. It is remarkable how much is either pink or blue. I don't hold with the whole pink/blue thing -- both of those colors are a little blah -- but it sure is a lot of what's out there. And even though I grew up in the South, where pink is a normal color for men's shirts and even though I know that pink was the baby boy color in the nineteenth century (apparently because of its association with powerful red) and even though my dad does look very smart in a pink oxford, I'm not so sure I want people to think we're those lesbians, if you know what I mean.
And yet.... I have a strong feeling that once we know one way or the other, the follow-up to those diner-esque questions will be non-stop advice based on stereotypes or anecdotes of babies of whatever sex. Which sounds annoying. (Yes, we can use "Pregnant Women Are Smug"**-style evasion, but I don't think I could really keep that up. Sugar could.) Whether to circumcise isn't going to be a tough decision for us, and nothing else seems like something we really need to decide right away. We like the green IKEA crib. We can pick two names, as our parents did for us.
Yesterday (when I started writing this, for what it's worth), was National Coming Out Day. I don't remember to think about it every year, but it is a day I hold fond. In college, it was the day of my favorite party, after which everyone would stream out all over campus armed with sidewalk chalk. In the morning (and, with lucky lack of rain, well through fall break, when prospective students and parents often tour, heh), every sidewalk and pathway would be covered in explosions of support and affection, everything from "I love my gay roommate" and "I love my parents (even though they're straight)" to triumphant labia and, when Sugar was around at least, the sweetest love poems. It was late on the night of that party, my first year, that I first (tentatively, awkwardly) came out to a friend. These days, when it is so easy to forget how hard that was, it's a good reminder that there are plenty of people, especially teens, who need us to be loudly, gladly out, who need the reassurance that full, happy lives are not only possible but actually easier when we tell the truth about ourselves.
But even though being out is important and often a pleasure (see note about lack of sucky friends, for instance, plus the fact that, in my case, it means being able to marry Sugar), coming out is mostly scary. It's scary because it requires you to tell everyone in your life that you are not, in fact, the sum of the expectations and assumptions of your sex; you are yourself. It's amazing how difficult it can be to remind people of something that shouldn't be so hard to remember.
As you may have gathered from my earlier post, the bean has gotten big and strong enough that we can feel it now. And I mean "we." This has been so far an unusually physically non-mutual pregnancy -- not only didn't all those years of, erm, "trying on our own" work, not only didn't we do this at home with the baster, but Sugar wasn't even allowed in the room for the transfer. It's therefore even more magical that the first time I felt something I couldn't explain away as anything other than its beanship, Sugar was holding her hand on my belly and she felt it, too. The strongest movements don't feel to me like "flutters" or whatever else the book says. They feel like throbbing, like very strong blood. Like another heart, held in my belly.
For now, I like just feeling the bean move on its own, reminding me that it is its own person, even inside me. I'm not sure I'm ready to cover it up with all my expectations and fears about boys or girls. When*** it's out in the world, I will no doubt learn soon enough that it isn't every boy or every girl or even primarily a boy or a girl, just itself. While it's inside, not knowing seems to help.
*On balance, I’m glad it’s not a pony. Those hooves intimidate the hoohas rather a bit.
***Knock wood, knock wood.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Baby's last OB appointment went fine. Her one cervix is behaving well. Her other one, the sonographer thinks she found, probably, and is probably fine too.
The bean seems to have grown ears.
Our two year old friend is at the beach with us. Her mom is roasting ducks in the oven and making creme caramel. We will eat well tonight!
Two year old friend has been demanding, "Sugar take pictures of the beach NOW!" We actually went out to take pictures earlier and were surprised by a sudden storm-driven wave that engulfed us up to our waists.
The camera stayed dry.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
We had an exciting Monday! We went for the first ultrasound and saw a tiny pulsating 2 pixels on the screen (apparently a beating heart) and even heard the teeny tiny thing!
Here is our embryo, which, since it looks like a very small blob inside a slightly larger blob, looks like every other embryo, but hey, it's ours:
Friday, July 16, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Symptom watch includes mild (but not so mild that I wouldn't take an Advil under other circumstances) cramping, some fatigue, and -- I'm going to count this -- the biggest MFing cold sores I have had in easily 15 years. As in, where did the left side of my upper lip go? Yuck. Dr. Baby Factory says no taking anything, even L-Lysine. (Confession: I took some before I asked. I guess I'll not take any more. Probably.) Your miracle cures welcome.
I don't think I've ever managed to participate in Weeble's Perfect Moment Mondays, but Sunday had a couple of moments that bear recording, I think.
Here is Sugar, under the triumphal arch near our place:
My father is a pianist. He played Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Bach every night of my childhood. Some of my favorite baby pictures are with him at the keyboard, in a carrier on his back or pounding the keys beside him like a real hambone. He put neon green stickers on the ends of an octave's worth of keys to teach me their names; I don't remember ever not knowing. For reasons related to the crippling shyness that characterized my early childhood, I never took lessons, so while I can play a little, not much, really. (Let's not go any further down that road, lest the crying start.)
Even when we were first "dating" (misnomer for typically lesbian reasons), I was comforted to think that Sugar's ability to play represented a kind of redemption on that count, that there would, after all, be someone to play for our children.
Which brings me to this:
Sunday, July 4, 2010
We went to the clinic in our borrowed car and Baby got her blood drawn for the test. Then we proceeded to try to go to the beach at Robert Moses State Park, but first ended up shooting across the Queensboro bridge and not finding 495 at all. We eventually did get on the expressway and found the beach, but then we only had an hour before I had to go to my photo shoot.
The nurse had told Baby, "we'll call you in the afternoon, or maybe earlier." Turns out it was earlier because when we were once again on the road - I was actually navigating the roundabout when Baby noticed her missed calls - we had a message from the clinic.
"Should I check this?" she asked me.
"Yes!" I said. (Thinking: WTF, why would you wait even one second, like even to ask me that question?)
So she did, and then went through a whole series of facial expressions, from happiness to actual weeping, in about 7 seconds.
"Is it bad?" I asked.
"No! It's good!"
So, OMG BABY IS PREGNANT. For now. We realize that this is not the time to start telling the world (except for the internets, of course) but OMG! She has to go in for more tests next week, and in three weeks, an ultrasound to check for heart beat. HEART BEAT.
This does not feel completely real right now. But I'm sure it will soon.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I don't understand how that can be the case, when I'm sticking 200mg of progesterone up my hoo-has three times a day, but as it is exactly what happens three days before my period every month, I'm not exactly brimming over with happiness.
Beta is Saturday. Not planning to POAS before then, as the thought of having to go in for the test when I know it's negative seems exquisite torture.
Yes, I know I have quite a few embryos in the freezer, but if I can't get pregnant with that embryo, the one that looked like it belonged on a fertility factory website (and it did; the picture I put up here was fuzzy, but I saw it onscreen), and with my "beautiful" lining, then it's hard to feel terribly hopeful.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
As far as other ailments, I know Sugar told you I've been rather sick, but I want to make clear that pain and vomiting did at least happen on different days. The pain was very bad the day after retrieval -- probably because of all the endometriosis -- and then not. The nausea was bad around transfer (5 days post-ER), and I am convinced was a side effect of the progesterone. Now that my body's used to it, I'm fine. (The doctor tried to sell me on nausea as being because of the bloating, but I haven't felt sick when at my most bloated; when I felt nauseated was between the post-ER bloat and the real OHSS ballooning.)
I said before that your ER stories were all of so much help to me at my own retrieval, so I figured I'd better tell mine before it fades in the haze of the percocet-filled days that followed it. It's looooonnnggggg. I hope it will help someone later.
On the morning of retrieval, I was hungry and scared. My clinic says no food or drink at all after midnight the night before, and my procedure wasn't until midmorning. I have a touch of hypoglycemia, and that long without food leaves me a hot mess: shaky, frightened, easily confused, possessing the emotional self-control of a nap-less toddler. On the other hand, my ovaries felt so big and my back was so sore that if someone had handed me a grapefruit spoon, I might well have dug the eggs out myself. I was, shall we say, ready as I'd ever be.
We took a cab to the clinic, which was very empty because it was Saturday. After filling out payment contact forms for the anesthesiology department, we went up the the second floor of the clinic, where they have operating rooms. I really liked that I didn't have to go to a separate hospital. Not only was it less nerve-wracking to be in a familiar place -- a VERY familiar place, given how much monitoring I'd been having -- but it was also calm and uncrowded. Most of the nurses I saw that day I had met in the blood draw room at one point or other, which was comforting.
When we got to the second waiting room, there was one man by himself and one male/female couple. After a few minutes, the woman was called back. About ten minutes later, the nurse called her (presumed) husband back through a different door.
Wow, I thought, if he's already going to meet her in recovery, this really IS a quick procedure.
Very soon, a brusque nurse I hadn't met before called me back. "Okay, she'll come find you after she's done," she said to Sugar, prompting a freakout from me. The materials we'd been given all said that "depending on time and patient flow," she could meet me in recovery. Not anymore, the nurse said, new policy. I felt angry and even more scared. I would have been okay if I'd been expecting it, but I was in no state for surprises. I began to suspect that the nurse thought Sugar and I were just friends, that we weren't being treated like the het couple that had gone before us.
"What about that guy? How come he got to go, then?" I demanded. The nurse claimed no knowledge. I was rattled and pissed.
After that, I went to the locker room, where I exchanged my clothes for two nice, cloth gowns (one tied in back, one in front), little socks with rubber treads, and a shower cap that was extremely awkward for my long, heavy braid. The key was on a springy loop that I put on my left wrist. I then met the nurse in a tiny room with a table, where she took my pulse and BP (high for me -- "maybe you're a little nervous?" she said, rather kindly) and had me fill out more consent forms and so on. When we were done and the OR still wasn't ready, she totally redeemed herself in my eyes by fetching Sugar and letting us sit there together until it was time for me to go.
When they were ready, I walked with the nurse to the OR. The way there was through recovery, and I suddenly understood why Sugar couldn't meet me there -- there were just too many patients. The recovery area at the clinic is a series of curtained nooks (like you see in ERs sometimes) arranged around a nurses' station. Because some of the patients weren't conscious yet, all of the curtains were open. No partners were there, and I did understand that the nurse was right when she said that having partners come in had been a problem, since everyone was talking and people who were just coming to got confused. The atmosphere was very quiet and calm, even if it was still pretty weird to walk by the woman from the waiting room, out cold with her mouth wide open. She looked like a child or a rag doll.
The OR itself looked, well, like an OR. There was a table with white sheets and "stirrups" that were really just long things to put your calves in. I was standing in the big, open part of the room on the right hand side of the bed. To the left was lots of equipment. There were what seemed like a ton of people but was probably only 4 or so doctors and nurses bustling around. Everything was moving really fast. I got scared again.
"Hop up," they said, after having me take off one gown and "loosen" the other. (It turned out that by "loosen" they meant "completely untie." It would have saved some time and frustration on my part if they'd just said that. I felt like I was already supposed to know all this stuff, like in a weird dream.)
Hop up HOW? I thought. The bed was too high for me to get onto easily. They pressed something and it lowered down, I got on it, and everything started happening really fast. A man in green scrubs grabbed my left hand and pulled it out to the side, where there was a little table at a right angle to the bed. He started telling me to make a fist and so on, so he could start the IV. At the same time, a nurse I knew from the blood draw room was telling me to scoot down the table farther, so that my butt was at the edge of a hole in the bed that I could see because it was covered with a pad. Then she told me to put my legs up, then scoot more. Also at the same time, the anesthesiologist was asking me lots of questions about my history with IV anesthesia, my drug allergies, and so on. Only the anesthesiologist, on whom I have developed a bit of a crush, introduced himself.
At this point, I came a bit untethered. The man in scrubs -- who I recognized at some point as the surgeon, Dr. Saturday (and wouldn't it have been nice if he'd introduced himself?) -- put the IV in. It hurt like hell. In fact, it never stopped hurting for the rest of the day and I still have something of a bruise there, because it wasn't in right. I wish I had known that it wasn't supposed to be like that and that I should have asked him to do it again. (On the bright side, many people reported that the first stuff in the IV stings, and I barely felt that....) Everyone kept telling me to do things all at once. Someone put a BP cuff on my right arm, which inflated itself every minute or two. I started to cry, just a little.
"Oh, no! Don't cry!" said the sweet anesthesiologist, an Italian man of roughly my father's age. "Whenever I see a pretty lady cry, I start to cry too." I pulled myself together and explained that I was worried about the IV sedation, because when I had that for my wisdom teeth, I woke up in the middle and threw up for several days afterwards. He listened to that and to my saying I was going to need real pain medicine after, because tylenol doesn't do jack for me, and assured me that he would make sure everything was ok.
It was then that I really appreciated tbean's story, which scared the hell out of me when I first read it, such that I required much buoying from friends who'd done IVF themselves. As upset as I was at the time, my experience wasn't anything truly traumatic, but it helped during the worst part to remember what tbean had said about how this is surgery, no matter how much they act like it's just a "procedure." I looked up at the ceiling and told myself that everything that was happening was normal and how it was supposed to go, that these people were doing their jobs and that my job was to look at the ceiling, try not to think about how much my hand hurt, and trust that Dr. Italian would take care of me. The nurse tucked a white blanket around me so that my right hand was against my chest (nice touch), and the next thing I knew, I was in recovery.
My bed was facing the window, so I could see the green vacant lot next door and the bridge beyond. It was a sunny day, the view was pretty. I don't remember feeling anything but awake -- no groggy period or confusion. I knew where I was, why, and everything else. A nurse noticed I was awake and came over to check on me. She took care of me for the whole recovery period and was great in every way. She asked if I was in pain, and except for the &^$%ing IV, I mostly wasn't.
After a few minutes, I started to be. My belly was sore in the gas/endometriosis kind of way it had been that morning, my back was a little bit achey, as it had been for a week or more. My vaginal pain was very slight and never got bad, ever. Less pain than I have after a pap smear. I told the nurse and she said she would have the anesthesiologist see me as soon as he was out of the OR. That took 10-15 minutes, by which point my belly had started to be more of a problem.
Dr. Italian came out and gave the nurse something to put in my IV, and I started to feel better right away. He later gave her a syringe of the same something to give as an IM injection, which would last for the ride home.
I was my typically chatty self under the influence of drugs. I asked Dr. Italian to repeat his name a few more times. I ended up remembering it almost right. I told him, somewhat in awe, "I didn't wake up!"
"That's my job," he said.
The nurse brought me some apple juice and graham crackers, which were awesome. At some point, the nurse asked if anyone had told me how many eggs they got. She brought me a paper and pointed at the number 32. My eyes bugged out of my head.
I reminded her that I really needed a scrip for something that wasn't tylenol, and she had the fellow write for what turned out to be very necessary percocet. "Tylenol doesn't do anything," I said, "I might as well take water; it tastes better."
"That's my kind of lady!" said Dr. Italian, passing by.
A while later, she said it was time for me to try going to the bathroom, and helped me very slowly get up, carried my IV bag to the hook in the bathroom, and left me sitting there, with firm instructions not to try to stand if I felt weird.
So I sat there.
For a long time.
I had had two bags of IV fluid by that point, but nothing was happening. The nurse called to me that I should come out if it wasn't working. I was desperate not to stay longer than I had to, so I asked for an extra minute, turned on the sink, tried every mental trick I know, and peeds maybe 3 drops. When I wiped, I was shocked by how bloody the toilet paper was.
The nurse declared that even three drops counted, and I graduated to a recliner with the leg cushion out. Eventually I was allowed to sit up normally. Dr. Italian dropped by again and said "Good work, young lady," which I loved. (Seeing a theme? Why can't this man just be constantly passing through my life, praising me?) A while after that, she detached my IV from the cord (leaving it in my hand), and sent me to go put my real clothes back on. (I stopped to get a dreaded hospital pad from the bathroom, as I'd cleverly left the one I brought from home with Sugar.) Once in the locker room, I realized my fatal error: my key was attached to the wrist of my IV hand, which still hurt like hell. I had to gingerly stretch it over everything, which sucked. Nicole: put the dang thing on your right hand.
I returned to the chair, carrying my bra, because hell, no, it was not going back on. The nurse took out my IV, gave me my scrip, and sent me home with Sugar. As we left the 6th floor, I explained to Sugar my understanding why she couldn't be in recovery, but said I was still confused about where that first husband had gone.
"Dude. He went to give a sperm sample."
Oh. That's probably why the nurse didn't explain, huh? I hope the other waiting husband at least thought my outrage was funny.
We took a cab home, I retired to bed with my percocet, and everything was basically fine. I ate and drank normally. I peed. At some point, I stopped bleeding. The pain got bad the following day, probably as a combination of some OHSS and a lot of endo, but I don't think that's typical. In short (TOO LATE!), I was scared but nothing terrible happened. If I have to do this again, I don't think I'll be that upset.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I took the day off work to be able to go with Baby to all her various appointments - acupuncture, transfer, acupuncture, home - and in order to do so I told my office that she was having 'surgery.' Now they are all worried about her, and probably think she has cancer, since I was so unspecific. On Saturday she actually had surgery (egg retrieval) and I was all worried about her, but didn't manage to talk to anyone about that, since it was Saturday. Between Sunday and this morning she has been quite sick - in pain, vomiting, the works. But now this evening she seems a lot better, thank goodness.
So here was our day:
6 a.m. vomiting (Baby)
8:30 We take the train to midtown and go to Baby's acupuncturist's office there. Baby goes to lie down. I wander around in search of breakfast, saltines, and a seasickness bracelet for Baby. It is ridiculously hot outside.
10:30 We take a cab to the Kips Bay Baby Factory, where everyone is surprised that we are early. The nurse clearly thinks Baby has already had some Valium at home because she is moving so slowly and acting spacey, but we convince her that no, it's just the puking and the lack of sleep. The nurse gives Baby some Valium.
10:45 We are seated in front of this sign. I had not previously realized that the doctors here think of themselves as ganstas.
10:50 Dr. Thursday comes to talk to us. He is disorientingly jovial. Also he has tiny feet, which I find myself staring at. However, all the news he gives us is great. 26 of Baby's eggs fertilized, and 20 of those are still growing. There is a good looking blastocyst to transfer and there will be some to freeze, somewhere between 4 and 10. We won't find out how many they actually froze until tomorrow afternoon.
11:00 Baby and Dr. Thursday go into a Laurel and Hardy routine about left and right cervices. Dr. Thursday says Dr. Baby Factory told him to go in through the right cervix, but Baby says he must have meant Dr. Thursday's right, i.e. Baby's left, etc., etc. After a while Dr. Thursday agrees to poke around and not jab anything too hard until he figures it out.
11:35 Dr. Thursday breezes by me in the waiting room and says I can go back to the recovery room. He waves his arm around saying 'it's to the left.' I try the door he came out of, which is locked. I sneak through a different door and stick my head past the gansta sign into a completely empty hallway and shout. Eventually a nurse wanders by and directs me through two totally other doors to where Baby is lying down. She seems calm and happy and has this picture printed out and lying on her chest.
12:30 IT IS SO HOT OUTSIDE, WHY IS IT SO HOT?
1:00 We sweatily arrive at another office near the Baby Factory where Baby's acupuncturist also works. Baby goes to lie down and have needles stuck in her again. I read a trashy vampire novel.
2:00 Back on the train to Brooklyn.
3:00 Baby lies down in our blessedly air-conditioned apartment. Because there is no food in the house, I prepare for the trek through the blazing heat to the Food Coop.
4:00 (presumably Baby is still lying down) I search for popsicle molds (no dice) and stuff to make miso soup, which Baby has requested.
6:00 I make miso soup.
7:00 Baby and I eat the soup. Nobody vomits. Score!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The fact that I am aware that it's meaningless should indicate to you that I am off the percocet. After a fairly wretched Sunday and a somewhat rough Monday morning, my belly stopped aching and I didn't need it anymore. Acupuncture probably helped, too. I'm still somewhat bloated -- only up 2 lbs. from retrieval day but it's all in my suddenly barrel-shaped tummy -- and my back/hips/thighs hurt the way they have been ever since my ovaries got big, but nothing really excruciating. Walking sucks a bit because of the legs, but it's also 90+ degrees, humid, and smelly out, so staying in isn't such a problem. (Although I also think being sedentary is part of how my back got so bad....)
Saw Dr. BF today, who wanded and specul-ized both vaginae and declared me fit to fly without anesthesia. Yay! He thinks a tenaculum will be involved -- UNyay -- but it almost always is when my cervix needs crossing, so at least I'm pretty used to it. He didn't come right out and say it had been silly (lazy?) to suggest I needed to be knocked out, but he did say, again, that they really only use that for patients who can't stand a speculum at all. Here's an idea: maybe they could have left that decision to someone who's met me when conscious, not just gone by the word of Dr. Saturday. (And folks who can't stand a speculum and do IVF anyway? HATS OFF to you. You are at least eleventy-million times braver than I.)
It turns out Sugar can't be there anyway, because they just don't allow that. Poo. She'll come with me to the office, and I know the important part isn't whether she's physically with me for that particular 20 minutes but that she's with me in the ways that count throughout all this. I'm gonna stop before I make y'all yack on your keyboards, but the point is: my wife pretty much rocks.
So! We're on for a valium-inflected ET tomorrow. I asked how the ol' emby gang is doing, and while I didn't get numbers and letters (and frankly don't really want them at this stage in the game), Dr. BF says they're doing great, better than typical. Genuises, all, playing suzuki violin and writing plays, I'm sure. I really hope we'll have some to freeze, so that it doesn't feel like everything is hanging on this cycle.
Thanks for all your ET stories. I'll think of you in my valium haze, while trying to ignore the spikes in my cervix.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Let's start with good things:
- We now have two dozen fertilized eggs. Obviously 24 is too many to put back, but luckily vitrification and FET means we can have two, reasonable pregnancies of 12 each....
- The red gatorade isn't so bad if it's really cold.
- After no percocet overnight, I felt great this morning. Better than in a week, in fact.
- Stopping the percocet was stupid, stupid, stupid. Midmorning, I was suddenly in so much abdominal pain that I freaked out. Luckily, I did the responsible thing and called the Baby Factory. The doc on call there said she wasn't a bit surprised, given my age, battery-hen-style egg production, and extensive endometriosis. She told me to get back on the percocet and stay the heck in bed. Although it took several hours for the percocet to get back to its former level of effectiveness (because it always works better if you don't let the pain get away from you), I am basically okay now. I am also still in pajamas, which now have gatorade stains. Classy.
- Way too sick to go to acupuncture, even if I hadn't been forbidden to leave the bed.
- The nurse who called with the fert report announced that I would be having anesthesia for my ET, per the doctor who did the ER (Dr. Saturday, not Dr. Baby Factory), who never introduced himself in the OR and put my IV in badly so it hurt like hell the whole time.