Monday, July 11, 2011

Where do I belong?

I'm having a bit of an identity crisis.

If you've been following my blog, you know the crazy story of how I wound up pregnant. In case you haven't, here's a brief summation:

I mentioned to my OB, Dr. A., that Mr. M. and I were thinking of starting a family in the near future. She decided to run some tests to see if my cancer treatment at the age of 17 (I am now almost 27) had affected my fertility. It had. My blood work came back showing high Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). Now I'm still not sure how it works, but basically the higher the number is, the more diminished your eggs are in quality and/or quantity. People with high FSH are often diagnosed with DOR (diminished ovarian reserves) or POF (premature ovarian failure). Dr. A. referred us straight to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) in the area who accepts high FSH patients. Many REs don't accept high FSH-ers because it lowers the success rates of their clinics. Yeah. It's that scary.

In the 2.5-month wait for my RE appointment, I dove headfirst into the world of infertility. Remember, this is all before we had even started trying to have kids. I bought five or six different books on infertility, went on the S.outh B.each diet because Dr. A. said it was great for fertility, started taking prenatal vitamins. I also ventured into the world of infertility blogs.

What I learned amazed, inspired and frightened me. I found so many women struggling with infertility, sometimes with multiple devastating diagnoses stacked up against them. I discovered Mo, a fellow Hodgkin's survivor who has suffered six, yes SIX miscarriages and more tests and treatments than I can imagine. With some help from her husband, Will, Mo has navigated infertility with a grace and hope that touched me deeply. I read her entire blog in one sitting, barely moving.

I read heartbreaking stories of unsuccessful treatments, the horror stories of injections and egg retrievals and two week waits. I read the devastating stories of loss and grief. And somehow, through it all, there was an undercurrent of hope, and strength. These women were not accepting their infertility. They were conquering it. They were fighting back and looking forward with hope.

I looked into my own future with dread - the injections, the disappointment, the astronomical costs when your insurance covers NOTHING to do with infertility. It scared me. I turned to the infertility community and found battle-scarred women who took pity on the new girl who (scoff) hadn't even TRIED yet and supported me with enthusiasm.

And then something extremely strange, and wonderful, happened.

I got pregnant.

Determined to make the most of the time before the RE appointment, I bought a basal body temperature thermometer and a ovulation predictor kit. Not even sure that I would ovulate at all due to my high FSH, I cautiously entered my first cycle of trying to conceive. The day I got my positive on the OPK I jumped up and down and screamed for joy. We, um, you know on the days we were supposed to, and then I waited for my "monthly curse" to start. I wasn't sure how long my cycle would be since it was my very first off of birth control pills.

I waited, took a pregnancy test. Negative.

Waited some more, another pregnancy test. Negative.

Still waiting, one more spur-of-the-moment pregnancy test.


So, I'm pregnant. It hasn't been easy, including a ruptured luteal sac that caused Dr. A. to describe the pregnancy as "iffy," endless days of gross progesterone suppositories, a trip to the ER due to bleeding, and more terror and stress than I have ever experienced.

I can't shake the feeling that this might be my ONLY chance, my one chance to have a child. And I really, really don't want it to go wrong.

So where do I belong? Not with the determined infertiles who have tried for years and spend thousands of dollars to get that one positive pregnancy test. And certainly not with the "smug fertiles" of the world who complain about being pregnant, gripe about their kids and just in general make infertile women want to punch them in the face.

Is there a separate category for me, like "Infertility-Sensitive Unexpectedly Fertile"? Or "Miraculously Fertile but Terrified"? Where do I belong?

I plan on "coming out" on F.acebook this weekend if all goes well at my appointment on Wednesday. I am trying to figure out how to announce it in a way that reminds people that is isn't always easy for everyone, and that not all pregnancies are simple and complication free, while still being joyful. Any thoughts?

One thing I DO know is how much I appreciate the support and encouragement from women to whom my miracle pregnancy must be a bitter pill for them so swallow. So thank you, ladies, for your kindness and patience with me during this time.

If you were wondering about the oncologist appointment, all went well and she doesn't appear to have any concerns related to my prior treatment. It was a stressful day but one I am glad to have behind me.

Regular OB appointment with Dr. A. this Wednesday. I am, of course, VERY anxious to hear the heartbeat again for reassurance. If all goes well on Wednesday, I will be OFFICIALLY in the second trimester and will breathe a very small and very cautious sigh of relief.

Hang in there, ladies.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Oncology Appointment Jitters

Tomorrow I meet with the oncologist. Just typing that gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

In case you're new to my blog - I had cancer when I was 17. My OB, Dr. A., thinks cancer is what caused my high FSH. She wants me to meet with an oncologist to discuss any possible risks or side effects that could be caused by my previous treatment, to do a health check and make sure things are good, and to advise us on things to watch for during this pregnancy.

I had been nine years since I went to my first oncology appointment and close to eight since I went to my last. I recognize how incredibly lucky I was in that my treatment was short, effective and (relatively) painless. But sitting in that office waiting room (which I have already done once in order to drop off paperwork) and watching a woman without a foot being wheeled in was bad. And watching a woman on an oxygen tank coming out to her car, sobbing and being consoled by her husband, was almost more than I can bear. Those are the realy faces of cancer. I in my good health feel like an impostor and an intruder. My heart aches for them. And I shudder to be back among their ranks, however briefly.

My first day back at work after the three day weekend did NOT start out well. We got in late last night so I was pretty exhausted. Then, as I was driving to work, my accelerator stopped working. Just like that. No acceleration. Then I noticed my power steering was gone. Thank God the brakes still worked. I coasted to a parking lot where I waited in the heat for FIFTY minutes for Mr. M. to come get me. He pulled up, looked under the hood, started the car worked perfectly. No problems. SERIOUSLY??!! So I drove on to work and will be running the car to the shop this evening just so they can check it out for me. The GREAT thing about being stranded was I found a very sweet lost dog and after some detective work and many phone calls (PLEASE put tags on your dogs, people) was able to reunite her with her tearfully grateful owner. So there's a positive thing that happened from a very negative situation.

In happier news, tomorrow I will be 13 weeks and let me just say HELL YEAH! Just one...more...week and I will be out of this seemingly never-ending first trimester. I have an OB appt. on the 14th, and hearing the heartbeat on the Doppler will be the best birthday present of all (I turn 27 on July 16). If all goes well, I will be "coming out" to everyone on my birthday. I will make the phone calls to my loved ones and friends first, and then probably post something on F.aceb.ook.

I've been one of the amazingly lucky ones who don't get morning sickness, but this past week I have noticed that my appetite is majorly decreased. If I don't eat often enough I will start to feel sick and food makes me feel better, but I'm just not getting hungry anymore. I can't eat as much as I used to and (horror of horror) even ice cream has been making my tummy upset! I have been trying really hard to be moderate in my eating so am curious to see what the scale will say at my OB appointment next Wednesday.

I have also been getting more heartburn/reflux type stuff going on. And pain in my tailbone when I sit, even on something really soft, for a long period of time (see: my job: every day). Cramps still come and go but are in general better.

I had a GREAT 4th of July weekend. My whole family was at Grandma's yesterday (it is rare that every single person shows up) and we had so much fun playing cards, eating LOTS of food and shooting fireworks off in the driveway.

We also spent time with Mr. M.'s family, which I will call "A Tale of Two 4 Year-Olds." Saturday we were at Mr. M.'s grandpa's with his mom, her sister and her family. Her sister has a 4 year-old boy, Z, who is THE cutest! He is polite, minds his parents, is full of energy and fun and is just a joy to be around. Sunday we were with Mr. M.'s dad's family and there was another 4 year-old, K. He was a total terror. Screaming, yelling, jumping on things, banging on things and some genius had decided it was a good idea to buy him a DRUM. Sheesh! I just found myself hoping that our little one, boy or girl, turns out like Z and not like K!

Whew that was a long post! I will write again after my oncologist appointment. TTFN!

Friday, July 1, 2011

12 weeks (with photos)

*Warning: This is a pregnancy-related post, so if you're feeling a bit sensitive about pregnancy you might want to avoid reading it. I never, ever want to cause pain to anyone.Don't forget - I was told I might never have kids naturally, so if anything take hope from my story!

Well, on Wednesday I reached the 12 week mark, and now I have less than two weeks before I am FINALLY out of this blasted first trimester!

I have been doing well (although I cringe to write that in case I jinx myself). Haven't had any bleeding or spotting for quite a while, and while I still have cramps, I have almost gotten used to them by now.

Since I haven't had any morning sickness (thank GOD for big mercies), I have also gained some poundage! When I first got my BFP, I was on Phase 1 of the S.outh B.each diet and I was down about ten pounds to 181. At the last doctor's appointment I was up to 188, so up seven pounds. That's not too worrisome to me, because my "normal" weight (as in, trying to be active and eat fairly well) is about 186. So I am only two pounds above what is "normal" for me. At least that's what I keep telling myself. ;)

In other news, my little bump is finally starting to show! At my 11 week appointment Dr. A. said she could feel my uterus starting to poke up a bit. I had to wait for the bloating from the blasted progesterone suppositories to go down, but finally on Wednesday at exactly 12 weeks I saw a little bit of a bump! What do you think, bump or bloat?

I'm still not sleeping very well. Not so much the having to get up to pee but this SUPER annoying ringing in my ears! It's really bad when my earplugs are in, but I have to put them in or else Mr. M. and the dogs keep me up all night with their snoring and whuffling. The good news is that I think I am finally starting to get some of that much longed-for energy that comes with the second trimester, so I'm not too exhausted.

Heading out of town this weekend for the 4th. Should be a good time even though I'll have to stay away from the beer.

Still waking up with thanks on my lips for making it to another day with this pregnancy. Keep praying for me!