acceptable.

I saw the dentist this morning for a cleaning, and it was brutal. Scraping, poking, some weird little tool that made an awful high pitched noise and hurt like hell. I didn’t know what to say to them — I was 7 weeks pregnant when I made this appointment so no, I am not still pregnant from then but I am pregnant again but probably miscarrying but I still want to take precautions? Can we do that? They looked at me, wanting to be sensitive but not knowing what the fuck I was talking about. Well, um, congratulations? ventured the hygienist. No!! I snapped at her. They all stared at me. Oh, the awkwardness of RPL! What are your plans for the summer? the dentist asked perkily.

The Baby Factory wouldn’t give Geoff the beta number from Friday until the doctor looks it over. It is, as recounted by Geoff, “an acceptable rise”. WTF? Acceptable isn’t good enough. I was worrying my ass off while getting my teeth scraped into submission. I did at one point have to get up to pee and Geoff gave me a thumbs up from the lobby. I assumed that was a good sign but, oh, Geoff cannot be relied upon to interpret what they’re saying! I’m hoping they didn’t actually use the term “acceptable”.

You’re on vaginal restriction, he informed me proudly as we exited the dentist’s office.

Oh, you mean like pelvic rest? I asked him. He shrugged. Apparently, the bleeding may be from the 7 day Monistat I finished at some point that I can no longer remember. In the past couple days. I was also on baby aspirin, which can cause bleeding, and we’ve been sexually active. I guess all hope’s not lost, am I indulging in fantasy? I guess I just can’t use my vagina and I have to wait for them to call.

I guess I should add, my teeth are fine. At some point I need a filling. But no worries on that front.

I’ll update here when I find out what’s next.

*********

I am staring at my phone, determined to stay awake although I am so so sleepy. I’ve allowed myself a Diet Coke to help keep my eyes open. I figure it’s good that I’m still sleepy, and bleeding has slowed to barely nothing. I’m still on edge, on a razor thin edge, and waiting to hear from The Baby Factory.

The Diet Coke is cold and tastes so good right now — the past week, I’ve been dying of thirst. I’m relieved that the dental appointment went smoothly. It really is a weird little dentist’s office, with a playground for squirrels assembled in the wooded area behind it, so that while they are torturing you, you can watch the fattest squirrels ever frolic and go up and down ramps to swinging trays of nuts and seeds. It’s essential that you use a sonic toothbrush, the dentist had informed me as I departed, handing me a free manual toothbrush. My gums still hurt like hell, probably not from the instruments they torment you with but rather the overly dramatic flossing they performed at the end. That shit hurt like hell. My gums feel extra sensitive, which I also assume is good. They did warn me that sometimes pregnant women develop sores on their gums that sometimes have to be removed after the pregnancy resolves. Fantastic.

I’ve been clinging to a shred of hope since Geoff’s thumbs up from the waiting room. I long for my anxiety meds but I feel kind of okay?

**********

It’s 2.12pm and they usually call around 2.30. I don’t actually bite my nails, but I could chew my arm off at this precise moment. If Friday’s beta is a number I can live with, I’ll be happy. Acceptable? Wtf acceptable?

Yesterday, I mentioned I was reading Madeleine L’Engle. It’s the third book in what I thought was a trilogy. A friend informed me it was a quartet, but when I looked at the Kindle store it said it was a quintet. The fifth book is titled An Acceptable Time. I remarked that it seemed boring. Because I’m fucking bipolar, I want extremes! Fuck acceptable. I want dizzying highs and soul-crushing lows, both in literature and life. Acceptable, in terms of RPL, sounds like I’ll be stuck in limbo for a bit .

My little cat pads out from the bedroom and hops into my lap. Always here for me, I’m never alone here. I wish Geoff was with me. The clock is ticking.

********

See, my fear is the old doubling-in-48-72-hours thing. In my experience, betas that don’t double in 48 hours lead to pregnancies that don’t progress. But everywhere are claims that it’s okay if they double in up to 72. I just haven’t observed that to hold true.

Acceptable, to me, will be >3422. If they’re using different parameters, I will not be happy.

Also, these numbers are higher than other numbers I’ve received. I know that at some point, doubling slows but I don’t know if that applies to me. I don’t trust the Interwebs to tell me like it is as it’s full of unicorns. Anyone?

I feel about to break. Why won’t they call?

*********

Friday’s beta was more than 3600. They won’t tell me the precise number. Whatever, I consider that acceptable. Progesterone “just fine”. No number given. Wtf but, hoo boy.

Repeat draw tomorrow. We are still in the game.

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bleeding

I am bleeding. There’s nothing to be done. I have been so sleepy and I didn’t get my usual tingly uterus feeling that usually precedes a miscarriage, so I really thought I’d be okay for at least a little while. The word devastating has lost all meaning.

I’m so fucking tired of this.

********

I feel resigned to whatever’s going to happen. If Friday’s beta has dropped, I’ll have an answer relatively soon. Having some light cramping, which I assume is bad and the bleeding continues, light to moderate flow. I’m sure it will pick up. I know early bleeding can be normal, but for each of my losses there are thousands of women who’ve faced the same scenario and it’s worked out fine for — it just never works out for me. I just don’t want a long drawn out and expensive process, so in the morning I’ll go to that stupid dentist appointment because it took three months to get that appointment, and Geoff will call The Baby Factory.

I don’t really feel very well at all. I hope I also don’t get bad news at the dentist but I’m not feeling very lucky. But despite the shitshow that’s descended upon me so quickly, I can’t say all my hope is gone and that is so fucking dangerous.

jangle-y

Last night’s dosage drop of my mood stabilizer has left me with racing thoughts and almost unbearable anxiety. See, I’m tapering off one drug (Trileptal), and simultaneously titrating up on another one called Lamictal. Now, Lamictal has some nasty side effects if you go up too quickly and I have to start at 25 mg, increasing by 25 mg every ten fucking days, which is a snail’s pace even for what it is. Therapeutic dosage will hopefully be around 200 mg, which is the highest dosage considered safe for pregnancy. I am not confident that will be enough for me, as when I took Lamictal prior, I was on 300 mg. I don’t know if this pregnancy will last long enough for me to get to 200 mg.

But then again, all if this could be anxiety about my beta results and my *gulp* dentist appointment early tomorrow morning. Two sources of potential bad news. See, after my tfmr, I had a slew of dental issues stemming from the fact of my being so old, the methods of orthodontics used on me during my youth have since been debunked. This, in combination with my unfortunately fucked up jawbone, resulted in a botched oral surgery from which I have yet to fully recover. That’s just a summary — the whole story is so boring that I’ve probably droned on about it for far too long already. Suffice it to say, I have been left traumatized by dentists and I have to deal with one tomorrow while I wait for my beta results.

Maybe I’m slightly hypomanic? Everything seems speeded up. Last time wasn’t like this. Shit. You’re crazy, the chorus sings. And I will be, if I stop sleeping. I worry about the night, and suddenly am exhausted. Tired is good, I tell myself. My nerves still feel all zappy and jangle-y.

And part of me is struck by beauty in chaos, and part of me doesn’t think I should keep going, and my insides are turned mushy and my stomach grumbles and my chest heaves — I am desperate for rest and I keep pushing it further and further away…

a delicate tilting planet.

I am five weeks today. Everything is so fragile, so very fragile. My beta and progesterone results are out there somewhere, floating in the aether. A potentially devastating bit of data in the LabCorp computer system, waiting to be reviewed by my trusted but elusive doctor. But I am calm; it’s a peaceful morning, perhaps one of my last as I continue weaning myself off medications.

I’ve indulged in daydreams. Earlier in the morning, I had a random thought of Madeleine L’Engle’s young adult book A Swiftly Tilting Planet, a book I read many times when I was a girl. I can barely remember the plotline, so on a whim I purchased it to read on Kindle. First page shows some of the Murry kids, all grown up — and Meg is pregnant, pregnant enough for her brother, who became a doctor, to hear a heartbeat through a stethoscope.

I wonder if I’ll ever be that pregnant. My mind spins just thinking of it; an invisible crowd laughs and sneers.

I’m drowsy and the sky is grey, signalling more of the interminable Western Washington rainfall. The weight I’ve put on while taking Femara, together with early pregnancy bloat, has resulted in a big, almost-empty belly protruding from my once slender figure. I feel like a whale at five fucking weeks.

The house is chilly so I wrap my wool blanket around me, resting my head on my pillow. I think of my last nine week miscarriage; my doctor rubbing my feet as a dead baby glowed on the ultrasound screen. I know you still feel pregnant, she said to me. She peered at my facial expression. No, I’m sorry, she said softly, still rubbing my feet as she scrutinized my face, you knew. And I did know.

I wonder if I could survive that again. And, if I did survive, would I be able to do it again. And again. Or not. Maybe this is my last chance. And it’s so fucking fragile…

*********

Swiftly Tilting, interestingly enough, features a unicorn. Apparently I’ve spent too much time lately thinking about pregnancy and unicorns.

another beta draw

Quandary! I did have a beta and progesterone drawn today, so back to being nervous. The clinic has been calling me with results the next day. The phlebotomist, who I know I’ve spoken poorly of, has said if I call the lab around five, she’d be able to tell me the results. Now, I don’t like being sneaky and dishonest, so hence I’m in a pickle. On one hand, I really want to know. On the other, ihhhhh! I don’t want to jeopardize the phlebotomist’s job and go behind my doctor’s back…

Now that I type it out, I realize I can’t call. No way. But she said she’d try to call me. Hmmmm. I also want to have a good weekend and bad news late on a Friday sounds terrible. Ughhh.

Since I’m a recovering alcoholic and addict, I have to lead a stupid honest life. No fun, but essential. Sigh.

*********

I continue to obsess about the phlebotomist quandary. I mean, obviously this woman has boundary issues, and may not be the most reliable person on the planet. I sort of resent that she brought it up at all. I could be enjoying the day, still high off Wednesday’s beta knowing I was safe from horrible news until Monday. Now, if she doesn’t call, I’m going to assume it’s bad news. And I don’t think I have it in me to call her. This is fucking bullshit! Why didn’t I nix the idea from the get-go? I’m angry at myself for getting in this situation in the first place, and I feel like shit. Obviously, I need to work on my sanctimonious attitude and stop thinking of myself as a person with strong values and an iota of common sense.

*********

I am wracked with nervous energy, jittery and easily distracted. Will the phlebotomist call? Should I answer if she does? 3.12pm and I’m assuming the worst. Why am I such an idiot?

*********

It’s 5pm. No call from The phlebotomist and I can’t justify calling her. I guess I’ll have my results Monday, and I deserve all the anxiety I brought upon myself. Fuck me, can I hit me? Lunacy.

…aflutter, beta in

I’m finally up, after forgetting I was supposed to be nervous about the clinic hopefully calling with my second beta results. I’ve remembered now, and have commenced the typical Kathleen-freakout. When will they call? Was Tuesday just a fluke that they got back to me in the expected timeframe?

My med changes have been rocky, but I slept pretty well and will probably spend the day dozing off. I’m just so tired, which I guess is good? I know with Molly, I snoozed peacefully through the entire first trimester. My eyelids are heavy even though I slept through the night.

I can’t wait until the weekend so I get some decent time with Geoff.

********

I’m a wreck. It’s 1.38pm — last time they called around 2.30, if I remember correctly. I am shaking, I forgot my 11am Geodon. No bueno.

*******

2.13pm. If I don’t hear by 3, I’m making Geoff call. It’s a hot day, but I’m shivering under my wool blanket. I’d be on the phone myself, but again, I cannot alienate this clinic.

What’s wrong with them? I know I’m whining and being a baby, but I have a severe anxiety disorder and am doing the best I can, as I’ve gone off my anxiety meds…

And they called. Beta 1711, doubling time 37.47 hours.

*******

My OB says my numbers are high enough that I don’t need more betas. I’m cool with that. I get progesterone drawn tomorrow, and I’m a bit irked they couldn’t have tested that at the same time. But I can finally breathe. I guess I’m not too worried about progesterone, because it’s usually okay.

I will try not to worry about what will come next and enjoy this day, this weekend. I know from experience that the reassurance of a good beta result is short-lived. The holy terror of ultrasounds looms before me, but that’s not today and I will try to have a good time with my loving husband.

more waiting

I’m sitting here twiddling my thumbs and waiting for the lab to open at eight. My second beta draw is this morning, but I don’t expect to hear results until tomorrow. My nerves are ratcheting up now that I’ve started my medication switch. I’m awfully tired. This is getting awfully tiresome.

*********

Beta drawn, the wait begins.

*********

So, to the uninitiated, a beta result of 704 yesterday means we will be looking for today’s draw, 48 hours later, to double to 1408 or more. I’ve heard that once beta numbers reach over 1000, the doubling rate may slow down but I’m not sure if that’s true and it’s never happened to me. Some people say that doubling may occur in 72 hours, but I don’t fool myself. If a beta doesn’t double in 48, chances are the pregnancy won’t progress. I have seen exceptions, but they are few and far between and usually the doubling time was really close to 48 hours rather than 72.

I probably won’t hear back until tomorrow and I’ll be a nervous wreck until then. But sort of not. I’ve done this five times already, and usually waltz through my betas but lose the baby anyway.

I usually just expect everything to be the same as always.

*********

I’m willing to concede to the notion that my boobs don’t hurt because I am significantly fatter than I have been in a long time — thanks, Femara! I continue to eat like a bird, but my appetite will increase when I taper off the Trileptal. I am totally willing to sacrifice my skinny body if it brings me closer to having a baby, but if I don’t succeed I will not be happy with feeling as big as I do.

*****

I feel horrible. I switched my Trileptal for a teeny tiny Lamictal this morning and my nerves are crackling, my mood depressed. I feel agitated, can’t sit still. I don’t know how much more pharmaceutical torment I can take in the pursuit of having a family. I refuse to even call my psychiatrist, she won’t know what to do. I’m upset, because I’ve been relatively stable these past months and this seems like such a backslide. Hopefully it’s just some sort of withdrawal that will go away with time rather than a case of me just being like this when I’m not on it.

And there’s still the question of why do I want to keep putting myself through this. I remember well the year and a half I couldn’t conceive, and every time I have a loss I feel there’s a good chance I’ll never get pregnant again. So I choose to switch meds when I’m pregnant as opposed to spending indefinite amounts of time on meds that don’t work.

If I ever do have a baby, it will apparently be after nothing less than going through utter hell.

I squirm and shake on the couch, wishing I could go out and walk some of this agitation off. The stupid refrigerator repair guy is coming at some point though, so I need to stick around here and deal with him. I desperately need to wash my hair. Irritability sets in. I remember I just increased my dose of Paxil as well — probably hasn’t kicked in yet, but maybe it will help.

********

Geoff and I at the lab earlier…

I am so fucking nervous. 1408 sounds like such a huge number to hope for. I hate waiting for them to call, I wish they would send the result through the portal so I could be mentally prepared.

Sigh. How many times can I do this without going crazy? The med adjustments. The waiting, the not knowing.

This is a list of my current ailments. Or it’s supposed to be. “Amenorrhea” and “elevated serum hCG” are from my second miscarriage, when I failed an in-office urine pregnancy test but received a beta result of 546. They wouldn’t believe I was pregnant. “Atypical bipolar” is what they wrote when they had never heard of schizoaffective disorder. Yes, at one point I had a blighted ovum; I hope this pregnancy doesn’t result in the same. Yes, they call me “elderly” at 39. They also say I have a “mental disorder affecting pregnancy”, which I rankle at — I can, actually, take care of myself. Two missed miscarriages. The final one is “recurrent pregnancy loss with current pregnancy”. The summation of my current situation; how long will it last?

Reading this in my portal sinks me into depression. I wonder what a normal person’s list would look like? I would guess it would be shorter.

The afternoon sun streaming in through the back windows reveals a sophisticated pattern of cobwebs over the walls and ceiling. I haven’t been the greatest housewife lately. I wish I had someone to talk with; my friends are, I’m sure, busy with their children and not even thinking about me. I have told no one about this pregnancy, and stopped Geoff from doing the same (although he wanted to tell Don).

God, save me from this awful bitterness. I just want to rest.

disappointment? beta results in.

Well, my HPT lines aren’t getting any darker. That was fun while it lasted, I suppose.

*******

Am I psyching myself out? My anxiety is growing — I hate how The Baby Factory takes so long to get me results because if things are progressing, I have to make nervewracking medication changes. So there’s a reason for my persistent nagging, I’m not just this strange woman.

Wondfos (bottom two are today’s, next two up yesterday’s, etc.) maybe getting darker? I hate that they’re always so blotchy. FRER is the same, 48 hours apart.

If I were dealing with a friend with these lines, I’d probably counsel her to not give up hope, but this is so hard. I’m going to stop testing, but I’m not sure when I’ll be allowed to get another beta (and I’ll ask for progesterone).

I am reeling. I need my Restoril (nope!). I need…a long nap.

********

I usually don’t keep testing this long, but it takes them so fucking long to get my beta results back. I keep imagining them, busy with the real pregnant women. I sip my coconut water, I listen to old riot grrrl music, but there’s just not enough to distract me. My little cat buries his face in the blankets next to me, snoozing peacefully. I think I’ll join him.

********

I hover around my phone on the coffee table, waiting for a call from The Baby Factory. It’s useless, I know, they will likely take much longer to get me my results. If I get a decent number, I will start tapering off my beloved Trileptal and titrating up on the dreaded Lamictal (both are mood stabilizers). It will take an awful long time to reach a therapeutic dose of Lamictal, as I start with an itty bitty 25 mg pill and go up 25 mg every ten days until I get to a maximum of 200mg. Until then, I am screwed. I am terrified to go through this again — Trileptal helps me sleep, and sleep is valuable when I’m so anxious. And I won’t put myself through this for a chemical pregnancy. I already dropped my temazepam, as benzodiazepines cause all sorts of problems (birth defects, addiction in baby), but I’m on a very low dose and haven’t had any discontinuation symptoms yet.

Why is this so complicated? Trileptal has not been studied for use during pregnancy; my psychiatric obstetrician says there’s just been a couple of animal studies with limited results. That’s too big a risk, in my eyes — I’m certainly not going to be a guinea pig. It’s also an older drug, not prescribed often, and they probably will never do more research. Never mind that it’s the best med for keeping my moods stable and doesn’t have undesirable side effects. Ugh.

Anyway, The Baby Factory can suck it. And yeah, I have one FRER left that I’ll use the day after tomorrow, but I’m done peeing on sticks as it’s causing too much alarm. And my poor body is so confused — in my last four cycles, I’ve had bfps for three of them. All on Femara, which has left me fifteen lbs heavier even though it hard for me to finish even a cup of yogurt or a peanut butter sandwich. I think this infection in my ladybits is a bacterial infection, as the Monistat seems to be doing no good (they do not treat BV in the first trimester, if this progresses I have to live with itching and burning until 14 weeks). And my boobs are still not sore at all.

I wish they’d call! I’m going bats.

*******

If we don’t have results by 3pm PT, we will call the clinic. I’m trying so hard not to harass them, knowing I have no other options if I misbehave at another OB clinic.

********

Holy fuck, my beta came back at 704 at 16dpo. Repeat draw tomorrow. I will not pee on more sticks, but I gotta make the med switch.

Why the fuck don’t my boobs hurt?

********

Scruffy is here, looking dapper in a vest, wearing a monocle just because. He’s in a salty mood, and I’m the one he’s decided to fuck with. Go away, I say to him. Ninety-eight percent chance of miscarriage for a forty year old woman with three or more chromosomal losses, I remind him. He laughs at me, because that’s what he does.

My little cat crawls up to lean against my chest. I remember how exhilarating early pregnancy can be, how thrilling it is to get good test results. I’m apparently addicted to it.

And then I remember Molly. That heartbreak. Those horrible months after losing her. Even how strangely blissful it was to carry her when I knew she was dying. I knew I wouldn’t miscarry her. I knew I was going to have to face hell.

Why the fuck didn’t I give up then?

I’m terrified of switching meds. Sleep is a wonderful thing, and I know it’s healthier to get enough sleep. I guess I could start doing guided meditations again. The thought makes me shiver. I should be used to not sleeping, but these past five cycles have been so wonderful in terms of sleeping through the night. I hate Lamictal, just hate it. Safety first, I guess.

beta hell, round whatever

I’m exhausted, totally wiped out. I remember being this tired when I was pregnant with Molly, falling asleep at restaurants, struggling to stay awake and deal with obligations. I had my first beta drawn this morning and I’m too tired to be anxious about it. Didn’t help that my little cat knocked over the trashcan in the middle of the night; I woke up suddenly, hyperaware of what the crashing noise signified and Geoff and I got up for a little while before going back to sleep.

The sun has come out onto a lovely spring scene in the Pacific Northwest. The trees are flowering and we’re expecting temperatures in the 70s this week. Yesterday, we went to see Don and I felt almost giddy, the way I do when Scruffy”s awake and sober. Don is slipping quickly into dementia but he still kissed my hand and said I should have waited for him. A silly gesture from an old man, I know, but when Don says that kind of thing I always smile and blush.

Now I wait for results. The nosy phlebotomist thought we were still testing out my last miscarriage and her jaw dropped when I told her no, this is another pregnancy. Yeah, lady, I was as surprised as well — apparently letrozole is extremely effective for me. I wish she’d mind her own business, but at the same time I kind of appreciate having one woman that I can talk to face-to-face about my various failed pregnancies, even just once in awhile for five minutes or so. I haven’t had anyone else to even mention it to other than doctors and nurses that may possibly drop bad news on me at any moment.

They didn’t draw progesterone and I sort of don’t care.

********

Daydreams when Scruffy is around are fraught with danger, but I’m indulging anyway. And I’m sure it will all shatter in a few days to a few weeks, and I want to enjoy it while it lasts even if it makes the pain greater.

I never dream of holding a living, breathing infant — I think that will break me. I dream small, like about making it past nine weeks again. That’s the happiest thing I can imagine. Sometimes I take big risks and fantasize about passing NIPT. I really can’t picture it though. Would I tell my mom & dad if I found out baby was likely chromosomally normal? That sends shivers down my spine. An impossible scenario to fathom.

I keep looking at my positive tests getting darker and smiling. Don’t get too excited, don’t you dare hope. A BFP means nothing to me, certainly not a healthy baby. But I lose control. I start hoping. With the sunshine and delicious sleepiness…it’s impossible not to.

Endless torture, RPL is.

*********

I really hope I get my beta results tomorrow. I fucking hate The Baby Factory. I guess normal women just assume their betas are going to be good? I think even if I was a normal woman, I’d want them back a little quicker. But who knows what normal women think about. Out here on the fringes, I at least want bad news sooner rather thank later.

But part of me doesn’t want the call. I want to remain in this bliss dreamland I’ve inadvertently created today as I lay on the couch trying to doze (unsuccessfully, as my little cat kept waking me).

terrified

I’m exhausted; that’s good. My boobs still aren’t as sore as they usually are; that’s bad. I don’t know WTF to think right now. FRER got darker in 48 hours, Wondfo looks the same as yesterday, but the line came out blotchy, as Wondfo lines are wont to do. This might not be a chemical? It might last a little longer, which would mean trying to miscarry naturally or with Cytotec, because I do not want a third D&C. I also do not want an ectopic. So many horrible things to consider. A third miscarriage in four months. How does one cope with that?

Why can’t I celebrate like a woman without RPL? I’m not sure how I’ll get through beta hell, with my slow as molasses test result returns. I hate The Baby Factory. Hate, hate, hate.

Scruffy has come waltzing in, all swanky with a gleaming rainbow mane and hooves shining gold. I notice the knifepoint of his single golden horn and know he’s capable of stabbing me in the back as he’s done so many times before. The rollercoaster cart is going up up up, but I know from hard experience to anticipate the terrible drop.

So I’m laying on the couch, I just saw my lucky squirrel and fed him a couple of peanuts, and have started tapering off my Restoril. The sun is out but I am shivering with nervous energy. I wonder if I can keep going; I think I can, but what’s the price (both literally and figuratively)?

In other news, I am fourteen years sober today. Is sobriety worth it? Sometimes I’m really not sure…

********

I have commenced freaking the fuck out about my beta tomorrow, and the ensuing ridiculously long wait to get results back. I will beg and plead for two repeat betas 48 hours apart, but I’m not sure my doctor will accommodate. But does it even matter? Aside from last month’s chemical pregnancy, I usually have fantastic betas, even on my blighted ovum miscarriage. I feel vaguely nauseous thinking about it. With all those beautiful numbers, I had the sore boobs so it’s possible my body has found a new way to torment me.

These worries flit rapidly through my head. I just don’t know where this pregnancy is going or how long it’s going to take. I dread the OB and lab bills that will be showing up soon, the temazepam withdrawals that should start kicking in soon. We’ll go see Don this afternoon, and hopefully that will keep my mind off of things. I’m so very sleepy…

******

Celebrating…Geoff got me flowers for my 14th year!