Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Home Stretch

Yesterday I actually enjoyed a meal for the first time since July 16th (officially the last day I didn’t feel sick).  Is it possible I’m on the mend…?  I woke up with energy, got a lot done, and although had a low-lying film of nausea much of the day, was able to function.  Feel the same today, which I hope will continue because I have a lot to do.  Lord let this be a sign that the first trimester nightmare is nearly over!!!

So the RE e-mailed me right away and said, of course, to stop at 10 weeks.  So I think I’ll make Thursday night my last night of suppositories.  What a fabulous moment that’s going to be!  No more greasy pantyliners, no more grease spots in the bed, no more being trapped in the bed lying down once it’s in (once I got up to get something to drink, sneezed, and the whole thing shot out of me in clumps…that was fun).  I also believe it will help some of these symptoms – especially the extreme fatigue – to not be od’ing on progesterone anymore.  Will be interesting to see what I feel like once I’ve had a day or two off.

Been looking back over the last few weeks and ruminating on the changing concerns.  For me weeks 4-6 were all about “don’t miscarry, don’t miscarry, don’t miscarry,” especially with the worry of my event being right in the middle.  Constant terror of spotting, which never happened this time.  Then after week 6 it was all about just making it to the ultrasound to make sure I wasn’t carrying around an empty sac (a huge, and irrational fear of mine).  Now I guess I would call this period, weeks 10-12, the Home Stretch.  Things can still go wrong, but the odds of that happening lessen every day, and to be honest I’m not too worried about it.  I mean, to lose the baby now at 10 weeks, after an ultrasound and a heartbeat, would be just a horrific tragedy.  I know it happens all the time, but I really don’t see that in the cards for me at this point.  The odds are against it.

Next is the NT screening, which I believe I have in about two weeks.  I also am not worried about this.  Blood draw and ultrasound.  I am looking forward to seeing the bean again, seeing how he’s grown, and hopefully seeing or hearing the heartbeat.  I decided to go ahead and do this first round of testing because it’s non-invasive and not risky to the baby.  I doubt I’ll continue no matter what the results…but I allow room to change my mind at any time.  The weird thing is the genetic counselor told me if the results are good, they never give you the results – they only call you if something’s wrong.  She said I can contact her directly and she can then try to get the results for me if I haven’t heard anything and am freaking out – seems like a pretty screwy system.  I mean, something that important, dealing with pregnant women who are always freaking out anyway, and they just leave you hanging?  I mean, what if they don’t give you the results because of a clerical error?  Like that time I waited over an hour for the Zofran and it had been ready for probably 45 minutes?  Something tells me if I don’t hear anything I’ll be calling the genetic counselor.

Had another in a series of “donor dreams” last night.  In this one I somehow knew the donor’s full name – it had been left out somewhere where I read it – and I was in a classroom and the teacher called out his name and I looked back and there he was!  He wasn’t at all how I thought he’d look – he was a big, muscular guy with a face like Oliver Reed, hyper-masculine and apelike.  He was also very popular with girls hanging all over him.  I forget if in the dream I approached him or not.  Can you imagine?  “Guess what, I’m a 39-year-old woman and I’m having your baby!”  This is why I never wanted to see pictures of the donors (yes, many have adult pictures as well as baby pictures).  I mean, we both live in LA, odds are we may actually run into each other at some point.  I prefer to be blissfully ignorant.  But I do find it interesting that I dream about him occasionally.  I think it’s just my body’s way of wanting to connect with the person who’s baby I’m carrying.  After all, this tiny thing that’s ruling my life right now is HALF HIM.

I spend a lot of time wondering what the kid is going to look like at various stages of his/her life, how many attributes will be mine and how many will be his.  Will I be looking into a mirror when I see this kid, or will I be looking at a stranger?  I feel like most people I look like a pretty equal combination of my mother and father – with probably a few great-grandparents thrown in.  Then there’s personality stuff.  The donor listed himself as “very calm”.  Does this mean the anxiety streak will finally be removed from our family line?  I sure hope so!  Then I think about my last boyfriend and his extreme childhood hyperactivity and ADD and think whew, dodged a bullet there.  SO glad I decided NOT to meld my genes with that person.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Survived! *barely*

Survived the weekend by the skin of my teeth!  And I do mean just barely – no, I didn’t have to run off and throw up in the middle of judging a long contest, nor did I throw up and have a panic attack on the airplane.  But both of these things were inches away from happening at all times.  To say the weekend was an ordeal would be an understatement. 

I arrived sick and weak and had to beg off half of the judging they had me doing, although I think I made it through three of the contests.  The next morning I could not drag my ass out of bed (I had this new cement-limb thing going on) AND was horribly nauseated so texted I’d have to miss the first two contests, but did the rest.  At this point I told the head judge/organizer that the reason I’m still sick is pregnancy, not some communicative disease (people get being sick to your stomach one day, but two + days and they start to worry).  She was of course nothing but helpful and sympathetic, and from that point on constantly asked if I was ok and if I needed anything, which was lovely.  There were MANY times while judging a particularly long contest that I was convinced I wasn’t going to make it – I found myself as each couple left the floor looking around for a good exit route or a garbage can to throw up in.  Horrible!

The singing wasn’t much better – it’s hard to take deep breaths, push out a long note, or really get into it, when every time you open your mouth you want to throw up.  I got through Saturday night ok, but Sunday I had to leave before the third set.  It was just torture and I couldn’t take it anymore. 

So, I think I can safely say so much for the Zofran.  Oh well, it doesn’t work for everybody.  I took it religiously the whole weekend but was horribly ill the entire time except for a brief respite Saturday night, which was great because I could finally eat real meals and socialize a little, which is important at these things, and I would have felt even worse if I avoided people the whole weekend.  So basically I did the best I could, and fulfilled *most* of my obligations.  But some of the time it just wasn’t physically possible.  Luckily big events like this are set up for emergencies, so they had plenty of people to fill in for me when I just wasn’t capable.

The flights were a nightmare of closed throats, panic, starvation and claustrophobia.  So glad I didn’t try to fly to Boston the weekend before – I think it would have been far worse than I ever imagined.  And SO glad I don’t have to step on an airplane again for a long, long time.  I’ve discovered first trimester + flying are not a good combination for me.

I did have some thoughts this weekend about when the baby is here – how the hell am I going to be able to do things like this?  I mean, you can’t leave a nursing infant with someone else for a weekend…can you?  I’m assuming you’re pretty much tied to the baby for at least the first year.  And I could say I’m taking the year off and not participate in any events…but this would be bad for the band, and bad for me as an event organizer, too.  I go back and forth about this constantly, and have since I came up with this idea last November.  I mean, I’m going to be home all day with the baby, alone.  The only time I’ll get time to myself is for the occasional adult function, or for a singing gig for a few hours once or twice a month.  So my time is my own, which is great.  But then there’s these traveling weekend gigs.  For something like this I believe I could have someone come with me and serve as nanny – people do this all the time.  But just the thought of it – working a nursing schedule around the insane, packed schedule these things always have; flying with the baby; what if the baby gets sick and can’t fly, etc etc.  And then I feel guilty because I start thinking of the baby as a hindrance and an inconvenience, and then I think how my mother always made me feel like this as a kid, and it just all swirls around into this big mess of guilt and fear and regret.  My friends tell me, “don’t worry, you’ll figure out a system that works,” and I know this is true.  But I will admit trying to figure out how to travel for work while nursing a small infant is a huge stumbling block for me. 

In other news, everything a-ok on the physical front – my clinic finally told me yesterday that they had spoken to the RE I saw that one time and he agreed to do an e-mail consult with me about stopping progesterone.  Of course it is a liability thing for them – they CAN tell me to just stop now as I close in on 10 weeks, but they can’t for liability reasons; it has to come from him.  I thought you needed an exam or something, but apparently not.  So my guess is he’ll tell me to just stop now or when the prescription runs out in a week.  Personally I feel like it’s time – I would just stop on my own, but it would feel better to hear it from a professional. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Here goes nothin'

So tomorrow I leave on my big cross country trip.  I feel sort of ok about it because today wasn’t too bad – I’m at about 70%.  Was able to go to the post office, grocery store, and drop the dog at the kennel, which is a big improvement over this time last week.  Is consistently taking the Zofran helping?  People have told me it has a cumulative effect, so maybe.  I’m *assuming* it can’t hurt, so I will continue to take it at least to get through the weekend. 

Now I have laundry and packing to do.  It seems so alien to put together outfits and select jewelry and hair do dads – what, makeup?  Earrings?  What is that?  All human dignity has disappeared around here in the face of constant crippling nausea.  Have barely used more than chapstick since my event in mid July.  It will be interesting to put on eye makeup, wear heels, and actually style my hair.  Seems like a lifetime ago I used to do things like that!

Survived the scary smells in the grocery store to come up with my weekend survival kit, which will consist of rice cakes, stone wheat crackers, cheese wedges, fig newtons, pears in syrup, yogurt, granola bars (the old school crunchy kind).  These things I can pretty much eat at any time with no ill effects.  All I can do is just take it day by day, try to keep a cap on my anxiety levels, and ask for help if I need it.  I have no problem telling the organizers I’m pregnant and may not be able to stay up until 2 AM judging contests – I’m sure they’ll understand.  So, the pulling of the pregnancy card begins!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nine weeks (well, tomorrow anyway)

So I tried the Zofran last night, as I started to get really nauseated around 9 PM.  Guess what?  It didn’t work AT ALL.  Was still extremely nauseated when I fell asleep from sheer exhaustion at 3 AM.  Which now has me nearly in a panic about how I’m going to handle this trans-continental trip coming up Friday…ugh.  Isn’t there any relief from this???

I’m having a new series of symptoms, too, which I have self-diagnosed as “too much progesterone”.  What research I’ve done shows that right around now the placenta should be taking over proper progesterone production, so between now and week 11 or so I shouldn’t need the progesterone suppositories anymore.  The last two-three days I have had terrible night sweats (the bed is positively soaked when I wake up now), and I have such extreme fatigue that I am just stumbling around the house, foggy brained and off kilter, which isn’t like me at all.  Yesterday when I got back from Kaiser I literally could not peel myself off the couch – and this is different from my usual “I’m just going to enjoy being lazy” thing; this was a real, I literally cannot get up kind of tired.  Is it possible I’m od’ing on progesterone?  Should I stop the suppositories now?  The screwed up thing is, nobody will answer this question.

Since I forgot to ask at my ultrasound appointment Monday, I e-mailed this question, and they told me they can’t tell me, I have to ask my RE (I don’t have an RE).  The “clinic” tells me to ask Kaiser, they can’t tell me.  You know what I think is going on here?  I think nobody wants to tell me when to stop the progesterone because they don’t want me to miscarry and sue them.  So here I am with a real medical problem, and nobody will help me because of litigation fears.  Doesn’t that sum up one of the main problems of healthcare in the US!

I’m not really sure what to do now.  The funny thing with Kaiser is I don’t have a doctor – I haven’t been assigned to anyone; the visits so far have consisted of random nurses who I will never see again.  I’m kind of adrift.  There is that RE I saw once for the Femara – and I’ll see him again if I absolutely have to – but to see him costs $350, and he may just randomly tell me, “uh….stop around ten weeks” which is sort of what I know anyway, so is it really worth $350 just to be told what Google can tell me?  Or do they monitor me first, take a level, to make sure it’s ok to stop?  I may call the clinic just to ask them this, even though they won’t tell me when to stop.  Maybe they can at least tell me if I’m supposed to be checked out first or if I should just stop when the prescription runs out.  Or do I wean off slowly instead of stopping abruptly…so many questions.  It sure would be nice if all along I had an RE that was my guy who would walk me through my whole pregnancy and hold my hand…but unfortunately it hasn’t gone that way for me.

In other news, I wrote my mother today.  She wrote back in a few minutes, very excited and happy.  There’s a part of me, and it’s not a small part, that thinks having a baby will heal our relationship.  But I am so afraid of her – she’s let me down so many times – that trust is going to be hard.  The good news is she’s in Brazil and isn’t coming to the US any time soon, so having a polite e-mail relationship is something I think I can handle. 

I can’t tell you how grateful I am that (other than this trip this weekend) I don’t have any obligations right now, and that it’s been a very mild summer here in SoCal.  If I were broiling with the heat and having to get up and get dressed and be out in the world, it would be SO hard.  Again, kudos to all the women who survived this kind of illness with far more on their plates than me, I don’t know how you do it!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ultrasound! the musical

I saw it!  I saw it!  Little heart fluttering away, measuring at exactly 8 weeks 3 days, which is close enough to the 8 weeks 4 days I estimate.  Amazing!  They didn’t do a test for heartbeat strength – something about the tool they would use introducing heat into the womb and they felt it was too risky this early – but I saw the heart beating, which is enough for me.

So, no hysterical pregnancy, no empty gestational sac, no blighted ovum, no molar pregnancy, no ectopic pregnancy, no missed miscarriage, no abnormalities.  As of today I can check those off of the list.  What a freakin’ relief!

For all the dark days I’ve had lately it sure is nice to have some good news.  I have to admit I went in pretty confident, though, and wasn’t that nervous.  There were no physical reasons to assume anything was wrong, and I figure when it comes to the nightmare scenarios (missed miscarriage, etc) you just have to cross your fingers and hope it doesn’t happen to you.  That’s the best you can do!

So now I’m going to forward this pic on to the family, and even tell my mother, since my uncle is itching to tell her and I figure there’s no real reason to wait.  I’m sure that will be a bit of a bittersweet exchange, after our history, but I know she’ll be happy and excited for me.  I do have faith in that.

Got a prescription for a generic form of Zofran.  Not feeling too terrible today so I may put off trying it until absolutely necessary – I’m nervous to take it, naturally, even though I’ve heard lots of personal stories about how it’s completely safe.  Good to know there is a chance I will be able to survive next weekend’s marathon contest judging/singing trip to DC, however, without dying of nausea!

And also I’d like to give a little follow up to my Facebook post – I think I must have come across angrier and more fearful than I really felt.  I know everyone’s going to be happy for me, I have no question about that.  I was just remarking on the fact that since I’m single and never expressed to anyone the desire to have children, that unless I sit everyone down individually and tell them the whole story, there are going to be a lot of questions and people aren’t going to know how to feel about it.  So a simple Facebook status update is just going to shock and confuse people in my situation; whereas if I were in a relationship nobody would think twice about it.  Just commenting on the difference there.  I do think if I decide to do an announcement on Facebook that it’s important to not be flippant and to be more emotional about it – mention this is something I’ve been trying to do for a while and that I’m very happy about it.  But I’m still on the fence about whether I want to announce it at all or just tell people in person where they can read my cues – the look on my face, the tone of my voice, etc – and then ask me whatever questions they have.  So I’m not angry at people nor am I full of fears…just trying to figure out the best way to handle this so I get the kind of reaction I want and not set myself up for a situation that will be less than satisfactory for me.  Ah, technology!  So great and yet such a double edged sword sometimes.