Thursday, August 28, 2014

Some Good News

I missed a phone call last night, and when I listened to the message, it was my new OB Dr. G. The message said he saw me on his calendar for next month, and he wanted to chat. He had called around 5:30 p.m., but I didn't see the message until closer to 6, and figured he would have left the office already and I'd call him in the morning.

He called back around 6:30 p.m.. He explained that this was his cell phone number, and he wanted me to have it. If I called his office, the receptionists and nurses probably wouldn't let me talk to him, but I could always call or text his cell phone and he promised he would get back to me. Um...this is NOT how my experience with any medical professionals from my clinic has ever gone! He was trying to make things EASY for me! I think this man is angel.

He went over basic questions, like why I ended up choosing him. I explained and once I gave him my maiden name, he put it together who I really am and became even more excited about having me as a patient.

Also, he wants me to come into his office as soon as possible to chat about things. We'd keep the exam appointment for Sept. 17, but that was too long of a wait for me to not do anything. He wants to go over what I should and should not be doing, as well as plans for the birth and just generally getting to know each other and figuring out the dynamics of our doctor-patient relationship. Whaa??? He respects my ideas and opinions? Is this normal?

He also wanted to schedule an ultrasound. It's elective, and totally up to me, but he encourages his patients to do it so they can closely pinpoint a due date, and see how things are progressing. He wants to do it next week, since I'll be around 7 weeks, and he said that would be plenty far along to determine a due date from the scan. And then he ever so delicately explained to me what a transvaginal ultrasound is. But he assured me it would be only me and a female, highly-trained technician alone in the dark room with the screen. She's the absolute best around and makes all of her patients feel comfortable, even though the idea of an internal ultrasound is a little uncomfortable and unpleasant. (I'm sure he was remembering me as an awkward, virgin teenager who definitely would have had some objections to being probed.) I'll admit, if I hadn't been reading infertility blogs, the idea of sticking a condom on a penis-shaped camera and shoving it inside of me would have me raising my eyebrows. But since many of you have had these exams multiple times per cycle, I can probably handle it. And dammit, I wanna see if there's actually a baby (or you know, shadowy peanut) growing inside of me. Bring on the dildo cam!

So I'm seeing Dr. G. tomorrow, and then he'll schedule the ultrasound next week. It's like I'm really pregnant! And I'm also terrified of having this ultrasound done and there being nothing there. Or something, but it's not alive. I can't decide if it's better or worse that I'm actually going to get things confirmed. If I waited until Sept. 17, I could at least continue pretending I'm pregnant for another few weeks. Instead, I could find out next week that it's all over.

I'm trying not to be pessimistic about this, I promise. I'm trying to accept consistent nausea as a good sign. I'm trying to appreciate the fact I can't even open my fridge because the smell of some homemade cucumber salsa (yep, just gagged thinking about it) Bobby brought home from someone at work makes my stomach turn inside out. That I'm going to bed at 8:30 every night and can still barely keep my eyes open at work. I'm not bleeding, I don't even need a bra my boobs are so darn perky, and if I stop sipping Ginger Ale at 6 minute intervals, I'm going to throw up all over my desk.

Holy balls, you guys, I think I'm pregnant.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Non-Update

For all of you eagerly awaiting to find out what's happening with my "pregnancy," here is your update: nothing. Nothing is happening.

Well, that's not exactly true, but let's back up.

I've lamented the sad state of my local clinic before here many times, but here's a refresher: it sucks. The problem is, there is only one local choice of clinic/hospital. I live 50 miles from any major city...and not 50 miles of interstate highway, suburbs, and lovely driving. 50 miles of cornfields, farms, small towns, and more cornfields. This clinic is basically my only option.

So...I called and told the first lady who answered that I had just gotten a positive pregnancy test. As it was my first, I wasn't sure who to call or what to do exactly...could she help me? I know I sounded ignorant on the phone, I didn't really care. I was ignorant. I asked if I needed a blood test. She said it would depend on my doctor. Some wanted confirmation, some accepted a positive home test as enough. She then asked who my primary was. I told her Dr. V. She took a few moments and told me, "Oh, Dr. V. doesn't do OB care anymore." I knew this when I called, but part of me thought Dr. V. might want to see me anyway--since she knew I'd been trying for two years. I thought she might do the initial visit and maybe recommend an OB. She was out that day anyway, so the lady on the phone told me she'd leave a message with her office and they'd call tomorrow. Okay, that was fine. I could wait one more day.

Dr. V's nurse called the next day (thankfully, she's always been super nice even when I've been super dumb), and she was actually helpful. Though she did confirm that since Dr. V doesn't do OB, she didn't need to see me. She told me I would need to meet with a lady who I think is some sort of CNP, who does new pregnancy consults, and then I would choose an OB and meet with them the same day. She gave me the names of a couple OBs she knew personally and liked, and transferred me to someone else.

I literally had to choose an OB in the time that I was on hold. More on who/how I chose later. Although obviously, if possible, my absolute first choice would be Jane.

I again repeated everything to this new receptionist. I had a positive pregnancy test. I needed to meet with special CNP lady. I needed to choose an OB. This receptionist was pretty helpful in scheduling, as she worked out a date with the CNP and my newly chosen OB that were within an hour of each other, so I could get everything done in half a day, instead of missing more work. I thanked her, and we hung up.

I go in Sept. 17.

And then I replayed it all in my head. No one told me what I'm supposed to do in the meantime. No one actually confirmed that I was pregnant. What if I made up the positive test? What if I was an idiot and couldn't even read a pregnancy test (I'm feeling a little better about this since I have the approval of a dozen internet strangers who are much more knowledgeable than myself)? No one told me to start taking prenatal vitamins (I also feel pretty well-covered in this area, as I've been taking them for the last 2.5 years, but they didn't know that)...shouldn't someone have maybe mentioned that to me? Or do people just assume everyone googles? No one told me to not drink alcohol or cut back on caffeine or quit smoking. Some of this stuff is pretty important to tell a pregnant lady early on! Yes, I'm fairly responsible and can figure most of this out, but they don't know that! I'm pretty sure that the CNP lady is going to go over all of this at my appointment with her, but by the time my appointment comes around, I'll be something like 9-10 weeks (maybe? I don't even know how to count this. No one told me!). They didn't even ask the first day of my last period, so the OB isn't going to know how far along I am when I show up that day. They really didn't ask me anything.

So, I don't know anything more. I won't know anything more, including the results of a blood test or a professional pee test, until Sept. 17. DO YOU EVEN REALIZE HOW FAR AWAY THAT IS!? It's like two, back-to-back two-week waits!

Let's move on, I'm beginning to raise my blood pressure to dangerous levels.

Let's start with choosing an OB. As I mentioned, I did this in about 12 seconds while on hold. Basically, Dr. V's nurse read off a bunch of names of both actual OBGYNs and family medicine doctors who also do OB and are taking new patients.

I was pleased when she read a particular name--let's call him Dr. G--as in the past I kinda wanted him as an OB (if it ever came to that). He's my dad's doctor. He's delivered babies in my town for many years, including half of the girls on my current volleyball team. He used to go to my church. My sister dated his son, who also dated my best friend Emma (yeah, he was a player...but hot). Also, Dr. G was Emma's doctor growing up (which was SUPER WEIRD for her while she was dating his son). I used to go to a Bible study at his house when I was in high school. He was always super nice to me and gave me great advice. Dr. G. was the first person outside of my family to push me to go to school for writing. He was a great mentor in some times when I was seriously struggling.

For most of my life I assumed I'd want a female OB. I've always had a female GP that has done my breast exams and pap smears, and I always wanted it that way. I was really shy and super self-conscious as a kid, and I would have cried to have a strange man touching me when I was a pre-teen. It was a given that I would have a female doctor. But all of my friends have had male OBs, and they've never mentioned any issues. At first, I thought having Dr. G would be really weird. I know him in real life...I'm not sure I want someone I know in real life looking at my vag all the time. Like, shouldn't I keep my real life and my doctor life separate? But, then I thought of one of the moms of two of my volleyball girls (twins) who had Dr. G. She always talked about how attentive he was, how he gave her his home number and encouraged her to call with anything, how he took extra special care of them because he also knew them in real life. Maybe that's totally unprofessional or abusing the system, but let's face it: I'm not smart. I need all the extra help I can get. So I chose Dr. G.

A few more things that are new...I guess I'm still pregnant because I haven't gotten my period yet. And my boobs? I used be a smallish C. Now I'm a solid D. And I'm pretty sure they're made of granite. I pee about 17 times a day, and I'm starving all. the. time. But everything makes me feel sick. Except for waffles. I know I need to eat protein, but the only thing I've managed to not feel super sick after eating in the last week has been Cheerios and waffles. Can I just eat breakfast all the time?

I'm also nauseated. Not like throw-up nauseated, more like seasick. I haven't thrown up yet (yet!), I just feel queasy constantly. And "morning sickness" hasn't really taken the traditional route. It's not only in the morning, it's all the time. And it's not vomit, it's poop. All. The. Time. Didn't want to know that? Sorry, me neither.

I feel you, Chris Traeger.
So...this is not how I thought pregnancy would look. Mostly, it feels like I have the flu. Or food poisoning. Thankfully, my job is somewhat flexible and I was able to work from home for a few hours this morning (let's not tell my clients I was actually working while sitting in an empty bathtub holding my laptop, just in case there was an emergency). But I definitely can't work from home every morning without a valid reason. And I'm still several weeks before feeling comfortable enough to tell my boss. There's also my volleyball team. They must think I've just gotten lazy this season, since I haven't been diving or going as hard when I play with them. I'll need to tell them eventually, but only once I'm ready for the whole world to know, since we all know how well high school girls can keep secrets. There's also my family and friends.

It's all very overwhelming, and none of it would feel real at all, except for you, blog friends. You are the only people that know. So thanks for validating my constant pooping as something other than IBS.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I'm That Girl

You know those people who like to tell infertiles to “just relax” or “go on vacation” or “just adopt—then you’ll get pregnant for sure”? Of course you know them. I know them too. They’re dicks. I mean, even a generally nice person’s rating automatically goes up from “not very douchey” right past “guys named Chad” to “Donald Trump” on the douchebag scale.

But dammit if they weren't right. 

Two weeks ago I put away the OPKs. I said, “Screw it! I’m going on vacation!” and then I did. We had a wonderfully enjoyable anniversary weekend and I even refused to prop my hips up after sex. We rolled over, cleaned up, and ate a sandwich like normal couples. When we got home from vacation, Bobby and I had a long talk about a adoption. We committed that if I wasn’t pregnant by the end of December 2014, we’d fill out the paperwork in January. 

Like clockwork, on CD30 I started spotting. It was (if you are squeamish, please look away, this is about to be the grossest thing I’ve ever typed - skip the rest of this paragraph) brown, and a tiny bit pinkish, but it wasn’t really “spotting.” It was mucousy. And slimy. And it was really only on the toilet paper—not...falling out of me. And after a day or two it wasn’t even brown any more. It was more green. I was pretty sure there was actual snot coming out of my vagina. 

Bobby’s parents were staying at our house, and I had already started volleyball preseason with horrible two-a-day practices (what kind of crazy coach has 6:00 a.m. practices!? Me, I guess). I didn’t really have time to worry about why my period was so wonky. I knew it would start eventually. It always does. Until it didn’t. 

My cycles are normally on the longer side, but I thought this time it might shift, since I ovulated somewhere around CD19. So when I hit CD33, and the spotting had nearly disappeared, I was confused. 

I’m not a POASer. Not at all. In fact, I don’t even keep pregnancy tests in the house. But...I was heading to evening volleyball practice, and I knew I was running drills where I would be scrimmaging with the girls. Should I play? Should I dive? It was only a few minutes before practice, and I didn’t have a pregnancy test. So I peed on an OPK, since I’ve read that they can also work as a HPT in a pinch. It was super positive. Very dark double lines. But then I noticed more brownish spotting on the toilet paper. Duped again. I was sure my period would start any minute, possibly even at practice, since I was starting to notice some crampy twinges in my stomach. I went and played volleyball.

The cramps stayed, but they weren’t ever as painful as menstrual cramps. Just very mild stretching. My period never showed up, and my temps never dropped. 

I know I’m burying the lead here, but I still don’t know what to think. And I don't want to step on toes or hurt feelings. I know how much it sucks to read these kinds of posts. Believe me, I know. I realize that by doing this I'm automatically bumping my douchebag status up to at least "guys named Chad." And the fact that this probably happened while I was relaxing on vacation might just lift me to the level of "calling people 'Champ'" or "hanging truck nuts."

But there I was yesterday afternoon, after finally making a trip to the store to pick up a real, live pregnancy test. I stared at those two pink lines longer than I’ve ever stared at two lines before. And that’s actually impressive for me, as I’m a graphic designer, and I spend a huge majority of my days staring at lines. 

The second line was definitely fainter than the first, but it was there. But it was so faint... That circle of thought went around my mind a million times. There’s a second line...I’m pregnant. It’s so faint...maybe it’s not real. Any second line is a positive...but why is it so light!?

I frantically drove to a nearby Walgreens with the intention of getting a digital test and some sort of “World’s Greatest Dad” mug for Bobby. I stared at the pregnancy test aisle for five straight minutes before running back out of the store empty handed. This was the most pregnant I’d ever been. I wanted to enjoy it for the day. I was terrified of seeing “Not Pregnant” so blatantly. (I realize now, the Walgreens' employees probably thought I was shoplifting. Oops.)

Telling Bobby didn’t pan out in any romantic, exciting, picturesque way I’d imagined. I left the test on the bathroom counter for him when he got home from work, hoping he’d find it. He didn’t go into the bathroom. So when he came back out to the living room after changing clothes, I eventually told him I got him something and left it in the bathroom. He paused Sportscenter, sighed, and went to find out what it was. 

He was in there a long time. I guess I was imagining him running out to the living room and scooping me up in his arms for a slow-motion, spin-in-circles celebration of happy squeals and tears. Instead, he came back with a confused look on his face. 

“Why are you telling me you’re not pregnant?”

“What? It’s positive.”

“There’s no second line.” 

“You don’t see a second line?” Great...this again. Maybe I am crazy.

“Yeah...but it’s so much lighter.”

“I know.”

“Why is it so much lighter?”

“I don’t know.” 

I then explained the concept of pregnancy tests to him, and how they were different from OPKs. How the second line could be lighter, and that still meant positive. I even made him read the instructions. But I was secretly wondering all the same things he was. 

“What are you saying?” he finally asked. 

I think he wanted me to actually say the words: “We’re having a baby!” or “You’re going to be a dad!” or even “I’m pregnant!” You know, things normal people say.

I didn’t. I just said, “I don’t know. This isn’t how I thought this would go.”

We lay on our bed together for a while and talked. He never reached “excitement.” More like anxious, yet slightly pleased with the idea. Of course, he would say he was being realistic. Over and over, he worried about getting too excited or attached. I hate so much what infertility has done to us. We can’t even be excited about our first ever positive pregnancy test because we’re both waiting for it to be taken away at any moment. 

I decided to test again this morning, maybe undiluted urine would give me a confident positive. It didn’t. It was exactly the same faint second line (but thank God for that faint little line!). I realize it’s much too early to be announcing this anywhere, but holy balls I don’t even know what to do. I’m telling all of you because I need you (also, you don’t actually know me, so screw being too early). And I will definitely need you if this all falls apart and it was nothing more than a shadow. Or a chemical. Or a miscarriage.

I realize it could be light because my period is technically only a few days late, based on my long cycles. However, I'm also something like 16-17dpo. So, you know, WTF?

So now what? Call a doctor (or maybe a psychiatrist)? Take a digital? What do normal people do when they think they’re pregnant?

What do you think about my sad little second line?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Checking In

Well, friends, a few of you have shown some concern in my absence these last few weeks. I didn't mean to leave you all hanging. I just sort of...left. I stepped back, I talked to several people about foster care licensure in my county, I spent some time fortifying my heart with the plan to live childfree.

I don't know why exactly, it just sort of crept over me, this intense feeling of I don't want to do this anymore. "This" being "trying to get pregnant."

The last time I wrote, I detailed my plan of starting Vitex and B6. The day I wrote, I said I didn't think it was working, because it was something like Cycle Day 22, and I thought I was still a few days away from a positive OPK. Somewhat surprisingly, I got a positive that night. Which meant in one month of taking Vitex, my ovulation moved up two days (baby steps, right?). I was hoping that meant I had been cured. Surely something had worked, and now I would get pregnant that month! It didn't happen, and don't call me Shirley.

My period arrived on schedule, though it was barely a blip on my radar. I was crazy busy, in the middle of an intense new workout schedule I was excited about, and planning for vacation. At least the new medication regimen had done something...it could only get better, right?

Fast forward to this month. Bobby and I are leaving tomorrow morning for our anniversary vacation in Duluth, and then we'll join my family at the cabin later in the week. And wouldn't you know it, our anniversary excursion is falling right in Cycle Day 21-24...ovulation time. It's like a SIGN from GOD, amirite? I was going to be one of those MILLIONS of couples that just went on vacation to get pregnant!

I hadn't been using OPKs as early this cycle, I figured it was a waste to start testing on day 15, when I wasn't getting even close to positive until sometime in the mid-20s. So I started testing yesterday, on CD19. Cue my complete shock when it was positive. Or at least really freaking close. Since I normally test early, I can see the tests gradually get darker and know for sure when the positive hits. Well...yesterday's sure looked positive. The test line was at least as dark as the control, but it was a little spotty at the top. I didn't have anything to compare it to, so we did the responsible thing and had lots of sex.

I tested again today, and it was negative. Test line completely faded. So the surge, whether it was just one day (yesterday), or yesterday was the tail end of an earlier surge, I'll never know. We'll still have tons of sex this weekend (because, you know, hotel sex=best kind), but it won't be obligatory. I'm either ovulating now, or it's already passed and we missed it. I'm trying not to think about it (because then I'll be on vacation, not even thinking about it, and we'll get pregnant! It's like a freaking fairy tale!)

As soon as we get back from vacation, I start coaching preseason volleyball, plus I'm hosting my in-laws for a week. This two-week wait will be the fasted yet (or the most torturingly slow) because I'll be so busy and preoccupied with so many other things.

I took a hiatus from blogging both because I was busy and because I was sad. I was seriously considering giving up on the whole trying to conceive world, and I couldn't handle spending so much time thinking about and worrying about infertility. I needed some time away. While Bobby talked me out of getting my tubes tied (or at least starting birth control again), I sort of gave up hope that getting pregnant was ever going to happen for us. And if I wasn't trying anymore, I didn't see the point in blogging--especially since every time I checked in, I got ever more sad.

So many of my blogging friends have confirmed pregnancies in the last few months, and it felt like real life all over again. Everyone was getting pregnant except for me. I'm so overjoyed for these women because they have worked so hard to get to this place and they deserve this so much. I absolutely hoped for this very outcome for every single one of them, and I know they will all be fantastic mothers. But that doesn't make it easier for me to still be stuck waiting.

I do have a lot more to write about, and I do hope to catch up on reading your blogs during vacation. Bobby and I had a fantastic conversation in the car today, and I need to process it in writing. There are also things I've been looking into that I could use advice and opinions on. Some day I'll get my life together and get back to writing.

Thank you to everyone who worried about me and wished me well. You are all wonderful, and I feel so lucky to have this community. I feel honored that you would care about a virtual stranger enough to check in on me occasionally. I'll try not to leave you so abruptly again with no explanation.