Sunday, December 30, 2007

Potatoes and Pee

I laugh, slightly liberated, as I even think to share this story in any public way. But really, it is just too funny to keep locked up.

So I had my septum removed about 6 weeks ago. At last check with my ol' friend the dildo cam, all looks good. We've been instructed to wait another cycle till we ttc. Fine, just fine. "WAIT" has become my middle name.

So this month we were officially "off" and is was the first time in months, I mean months, that our lives were uninterrupted by intrusions into my body. No D&E's, no surgeries, no miscarriages. As a result, we took liberties "enjoying" ourselves, ya know... together. We ended up, in the midst of our fun-fest, having a minor malfunction with our man-protection. {Ummmm, definitely not a true infertile if I still need the sheaths.} Anyhow, it was a minor incident and I didn't really think anything of it.

Earlier this week I started having some nausea and waking up at 4 am and not being able to get to sleep. It happened 4 times in a row. This was something I suffered from when I was pregnant before - sleeplessness + nausea. So while I was up on one of my 4 am jaunts to the world wide web, I took a look at the calendar. Turns out the "incident" happened a mere 3 - 4 days prior to ovulation. Opps. My RE might be ticked at me. I started to imagine how embarrassing that conversation would be. Me, apologizing to my RE for getting knocked up because my husband didn't wrap it up right. Fact is, the U is not ready for visitors yet. She still needs time to get all healed up.

So then obsession starts setting in. I started getting worried and super excited at the same time. I start doing stupid sh*t like googling "cond0m spillage," as if the internet were going to disclose whether or not I had gotten knocked up. It was pretty funny too because all of the websites were geared toward teenagers, so you got these really crazy forum questions that started with "My boyfriend" and ended with "on my leg?" Those were the days.

Then yesterday. Oh man, I had a MAJOR meld down in so many ways. First I tried to start working on job applications. That just got me thinking about how my life has been at a stand-still for the last year, and how can I apply for jobs when on paper I appear to have stopped living for the last 6 months. My failed attempts to start applications ended in a crying fit, with my dear J. attempting to console me. Then at about 6 pm I started to get the chills. The nasty 24 hour bug my family has been single-handedly distributing around south eastern pennsylvania had finally found me. By 9 pm I was in bed with a fever.

Even with the fever I was able to sleep ok, with the exception of J. sitting up, gasping and letting out a big yelp at about 3am. Strange. In the morning I woke up with a headache and still kind of sweating out the fever, but feeling on the upswing. While still in bed, I asked J. what that crazy dream was all about that made him scream in the middle of the night. He said, "Someone was strangling me." I said, " Really, who?" He hesitated and said, "It was you." I am not really sure what I am supposed to think about that, but ok. I had a dream that my students were jumping off a cliff and I didn't care. I also had lots of potatoes in my pockets. Ah, dreams - at least I will have something to talk to my new therapist about this week.

So the idea that I may have gotten knocked up was still nagging me, even though the nausea was nearly definitely related to the fact that I was fighting off that nasty stomach bug. Problem is, I am scheduled for an endometrial biopsy tomorrow and I am pretty sure that shouldn't be done while pregnant. Plus, I wanted to be able to drink heavily on New Years with a clean conscience. So I decided to run out and get a test while J. was on an errand. It was just be too foolish and neurotic to reveal to him. There are just some things about myself I prefer he would never know. One of those things happens to my love of peeing on sticks.

It is about a 10 minute walk to the drug store. On the way there I considered how foolish I was being. I envisioned one line. I wondered if it was actually possible for you to convince yourself that you were pregnant. It was busy at the store. I chose the more expensive tests that I had had early positives on before.

Here is where it gets good.
So it is mid-day and I am only on 11 dpo. Do I wait till morning? Hormone concentration will not be strong in the afternoon. It had been about 2 hours since my last trip to the girls room. Earlier this month I had a bad OPK test - a dud. So I decided to pee in a cup and dip the stick, so as not to waist the goods.

So I am on the can. I pee in the cup. I dip the stick. I deposit the cup and the stick on the radiator in front of me and reach for the TP. While reaching for the TP, I bump the cup and my remaining "products" fall to the floor !!! GROSS!!! Now I am laughing, almost hysterically at my foolish behavior. I am thinking I am pregnant when I am totally not - and I knew it. Here I am dropping cash of way too expensive tests. And now, dropping pee all over my bathroom floor??? I have gone overboard. But by going overboard I think I came back around full circle again. And somehow all those shinanigans made me feel better. I felt really ok when the test was negative. I really did. Because I am not ready yet, emotionally or physically. Because I would have felt absolutely terrible if I would have gotten pregnant and it would have ended in miscarriage. It would have been my fault for not being patient and giving my body time to heal. I also would have really struggled to explain this to my RE...

So now, for the first time in a long time, I feel kinda good. I feel like I have 6 weeks free. 6 weeks to get my shit back in order, to make some realistic plans. We'll try in February, like we said we would. And we'll just have to see how it goes from there.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

How do you begin to un-stall?

How do you begin to un-stall.
How do you start anything when everything stopped months ago.

There was so much more to me. I used to read theory, I used to write, I used to go to community meetings. I was an activist.

But now, I try to begin over and over again. I try to dust off my old teaching philosophy, so I might begin a new one and I just stare at it blankly. I read the first sentence and it means nothing to me. I used to think about education all of the time. I was consumed by it. Now I read the words I wrote and it seems like it was someone else all together who wrote it.

There are so many reasons.
*We bought this house. Rehabbing it started to eat away at our life.
*I started working as an adjunct. Battered and severely underpaid - it is hard to get excited about your job when you can't even make enough to pay back your student loans. As an adjunct you are a peripheral employee, with no tangible ties to the school other than walking through the doors a few times a week. You do not get the privilege of knowing other staff, of getting to know students long term, or of job stability.
*The students. East coast students are a totally different breed than the midwesterners I cut my teeth on. I have had some lovely students here - but none are as invested in their education as my kids in Illinois.
*The funk which is my {un}reproductive hell. It is the razor that made the first cut. As the months went by all of the thread around it just started to unravel, until there was this gaping hole where my life, my interests, my passions used to be. I need a patch.

I have none.
My mind is like gum that you have been chewing for too long. Not very elastic, not very tasty, and nearly impossible to revive.
I disappoint myself every day by not getting a damn thing done.
I do not even come close to resembling the person I was a year ago.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Post Xmas Round-up

*The aforementioned reunion was a minor disaster. I stayed home with an actual headache. J. stumbled in early, at midnight, and drunk as a skunk. The "buffet" never materialized but 2 Manhattans and 3 Jamesons did. He barfed all night and through the next day. Poor thing.
Post Xmas Round-up
Perhaps J. and I have become more grumpy, but it seems like each year christmas gets more and more sad and less and less fun. Now, for all you xmas crazies out there - calm down. I like to decorate my tree, hang my stockings and bake cookies. But the day and the eve are little more than torturous shuffles from one families dinner to the next. It is implied by both families that our absence would create a considerable tear in the familial fabric, but when we are actually there we feel lost and bored-- as though our presence is not needed at all. I think, in part, it is because we do not have children.

So we went to the in-laws on the Eve. We had a quiet day, a quite meal, a sedate round of present opening and a quiet game of cards. His family is so still some times I think I should take all of their pulses. There is the obligatory go around the dinner table to tell what we are thankful for. I am very, very, very nervous about these moments of sharing, so I just come up with something very superficial. If I really talked about my year, it would end with me breaking into tears. Instead, J.'s mother graciously mentioned our year of hardships, and herself, almost started to cry. I am more impressed by my MIL ever year. Even with our differences, she is so sensitive to me and J. I wish I had more to add to that - but that just about sums it up. We did open our own gifts from one another when we got home that night, and that was really fun. J. bought me a really cool necklace that I was eying up. I can't believe he remembered.

Christmas morning we got up early to head to my folks house. The festivities there are typically a veritable clusterf*ck - everything from screaming children, drunk uncles, huge rack of prime rib, fighting sisters and those who always hold up present opening by arriving at least an hour late. But this year, it was so different. Two years ago my dad had a blowout with his oldest sister. Their absence, and the absence of their children and grandchildren cut the attendance from near thirty, to about fifteen. So scale is the first big difference.

Then there is my oldest sister. Her second marriage, to the second a-hole she could find, ended a year ago. But not until after she had produced 3 pretty awesome little rug-rats. She and her brood moved in to my parents home and my sister, as per her habits, picked up with the next douche she could find - one of the dudes that had helped build my parents addition on their house. The guy is ok - but he is young, immature, not real interested in helping to raise my sisters kids, and smokes pot. {I smoked plenty o' reefer as a youngin-- and don't necessarily object to it. But my sister is 36 yo, a school teacher, and has three needy children. She also tends to pick up the habits of her lovers, for fun-- she likes to "become" them. This is not a habit I would like to see her get involved with in this point in her life. Hence, my frowning on it.}

My sisters [omni]presence in my mothers home makes me feel like a visitor in the very same house I grew up in-- a very strange sensation. For YEARS, I was the one who helped do all the x-mas cooking, I was the one who helped my mother slave over the pies and the shrimp and the cheese log. But the house is now partly my sisters house. And she has assumed the chores that I used to love to do with my mom. Additionally, my mother rarely calls for my help anymore-- I think because she perceives that I already have "enough" on my plate. But I want to help. Baking a pie with my mother would be the most normal thing I could possibly do.

So we arrive about 10 a.m.
Bad news. Both of my parents are in bed with a NASTY stomach virus that my sisters youngest dragged home from daycare. It has been clear-cutting through the whole family for a week and finally reached both mom and dad - simultaneously at about 4 am Christmas morning. So the parental buffer is gone. There is no one there to mediate all of our snide sibling behavior. It was awkward and weird and made me realize that with the exception of my nieces and nephews, in my parents absence, there would be very little reason for any of us to ever see each other again. It was a very sad christmas realization.

After my brothers family arrived at their usual 'one hour late' time, we opened presents. My sister passed out the gifts. The kids went wild. I got some nice new bras, that actually fit, and a crock pot that is fit for a family of 6, not 2. My sisters boyfriend gifted the kids with some inappropriately large gifts - like the HUGE air hockey table that will be a problem using in my parents already crowded house. It made me feel really icky and sad-- mostly because they have been so on again off again. Last time I saw my sister, about a month ago, they were off and she had joined match dot com. It is confusing for me to keep track of their status, I can not imagine how confusing it is for her children. Do big gifts mean big love? I just want her kids to have stability-- and she seems so incapable of delivering that.

My sister passed the gifts slowly, leaving her and her boyfriend piles to sit in the corner. After all present opening was done, they held up on their own and oozed all over each-other in their own little private ceremony. I was pretty ticked off with this, first because it was very exclusionary. But also, because the whole time, she totally ignored her kids, while they wanted to share with her all of their treasures. I just wish they would have thought to have there own time, perhaps last night, like J. and I did. They could have easily opened each others gifts before bed on Christmas eve. THIS round is for FAMILY. Not for lovers.

I could just go on and on and on. I could tell you about how my sister never really loved her second husband. I could tell you about how she got knocked up before they were married - on purpose because the VD she had gotten from her first husband had potential to effect her fertility. I could tell you about how "unnaturally" parenting comes to her. I could tell you haw she yells constantly and is one of the angriest people I know. I could tell you about how she seems to resent her children, most of all for being a "product" of their father, from whom she is now divorced. I could tell you about how she is fast to smack them. I could tell you about how she makes fun of her oldest in front of everyone-- her oldest who is the most troubled.

I could also tell you how my sister and I used to be great friends. How she helped support me in college. How generous she has been to me. I could tell you how amazingly wonderful her three children are. How M., the oldest, the tom-boy, is going to be an awesome skateboarder. How she is more physically capable than any kid I have ever seen. I could tell you how A., her second and an overachiever, is the fastest reader in the first grade-- how she is so far ahead that she gets to sit with and help out with the disabled kids in class. And she loves to do it! I could tell you about how little W., her youngest and a total brute, is on of the craziest 2 year olds I have ever known. He is a funny, smart, rough little guy who has that most expressive "Uh-Huh" I have ever heard. I love her and her kids so much. I just wish all of our adult bullshit didn't have to be so much in the way all of the time.

Christmas has come and gone.
Mom and dad successful transfered the plague to my poor husband-- who while out to dinner with an old friend last night was overcome by the chills and nausea.
I have miraculously escaped the plague. {knock on wood}
The best gift of all, my little, monster, man-kitty caught his first mouse of the winter season last night and did not even get blood all over the kitchen!! Way to go Bennie!! Keeping 1339 mouse-free since 2006! (See image of Killer below)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Rounding out the year, appearing as a lazy sac-o-shit

The people at tomorrows reunion, they are J.'s friends. Just like his architecty friends, this group from undergrad were never my friends. In undergrad they were all very exclusive -- and I was never "in" with them. So regardless of our circumstances, this reunion is never a fun affair. But this year, I enter with both irritation and fear-- fear that someone will dump the "your next" or "so when are you two going to get to it" on us.

I have been avoiding social gatherings for months for this very reason. Those statements/questions are like land mines and I have no idea how to avoid them, or how to respond to them. Hence the avoidance. I am totally unprepared to deal, especially with a groups of somewhat superficial friends that I only ever see once a year.

The caveat is the A. is REALLY pregnant. Frankly, I give her serious props for coming out. And we were never close, and they started their family years ago - so somehow, for some reason, I think I am ok to see her. I just know that her swollen belly will get people glancing in my direction, even if only long enough to wonder - "why haven't those two knocked some out yet?"

I have been considering my possible rebuttals to stupid comments/questions. What I would really like to do is be able to spazz out on someone and tell them how my body is a baby killer and how they should think twice when they start inquiring about peoples person shit. Ideally this would be someone that I already have some distain for, so I can feel at least a little good about myself afterwards. I was also thinking it would be cool to have a really witty rebuttal, but I am not witty. Pamela Jeane at Coming2Terms gives a great response. "My husband and I have evolved to perfection. Clearly your family tree needs some work!" But I would totally flub the delivery. More likely is that no one will say anything at all, and I will have to live inside of my dirty, dark, shameful, scary secret for another night. A lot of them live in LA + NYC, so mostly they will want to talk about themselves-- and as long as it saves me an uncomfortable moment-- that is ok with me.

It used to be that I could go to these things and I would feel great about myself. I would respond the the standard bevy of question with answers like: "I am finishing grad school" or "I was just awarded a show in Ireland" or "I am applying for tenure track jobs." But this year, the honest answer is something like: "I had two miserable miscarriages, a surgery to resect my uterine septum and all that has taking a pretty serious bite out of any plans that I ever had for myself. Our chance of having children is still somewhat dicey." WHO WANTS TO HEAR THAT AND WHO IS ACTUALLY PREPARED TO RESPOND IN ANY MEANINGFUL WAY? I know I wouldn't be able to respond to that if I was in their semi-friend shoes. So I have to suck it up and pretend like I was busy being lazy instead of getting violated by the dildo-cam and an acupuncturist on a pretty regular basis. Getting your junk in order is a full-time job. Between the scheduling and the inordinate amount of internet research required to advocate for yourself as a patient - I am not sure how I got anything done at all this year.

So basically, I got nothin'. I got no kid, no fabulous job, no exciting news of travels to far off places. Instead, I got a crash course in uterine anomalies and I got real used to having a magic wand jammed up my hoo-haa.

But no one knows that, or will know that. So I just look like a lazy sac-o-shit...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Self. Help.

I have failed yet again. This time to be diligent enough to hire a trained professional to help me manage my mental health. I tried, I really did. I called 2 different therapists repeatedly. Then I just kept playing phone tag with them and we both gave up. Fortunately, I have migrated from desperately sullen to flat and unmotivated. Not really a step up, but perhaps sideways-- and a bit less painful. It is as if nothing gets my goat (umm, except pregnant ladies.)

I have already decided that when I do finally carry a successful pregnancy I am making a screen print that just says "IF." And I will screen it on every shirt that I wear with a swollen belly. Fertiles will not get "it." And those who have struggles will. But then again, I am not really IF. I am an IF poser. I have no IF cred. Well, I did have 2 miscarriages - that has to count for something?

But back to my failed quest for help... I did find the self-help in the isle of my local used book store. I didn't crack one of the books open, rather, I spent about 20 minutes photographing all of the covers. There is a distinct aesthetic to self-help books that I think is really fascinating.
This is the book I was hoping to find, but alas, I fear it does not exist...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I am not Infertile enough

I didn't start seeing my RE till I was already 5 weeks pregnant. It had not been recommended that I even see an RE after my first loss, but I just didn't feel right. So I showed up for my first appointment feeling weird, like an intruder. When the nurse was doing my intake she exclaimed loudly in the hall, "She shouldn't even be here!"

Six months later, I just returned from the same office. The receptionist no longer needs me to check in. I remember on my first few visits how she knew all the women who came in, their names, their history, their cycle length. I was an outcast. I was pregnant. But then I lost it. And I started making the weekly visits. And the receptionist learned my face, my history, my cycle length.

My appointment today was an in-office hysteroscopy to take a look at my U. post-resection (I had a usterine septum, like a wall dividing my U. in two.) I sat in the waiting room feeling sick to my stomach, scared of what this appointment might reveal. Then, out of nowhere, I felt like a blanket was laid over me. I felt calmer. I breathed slow. I repeated in my head - "No matter what you find out today, you will be ok." And it was ok.

The camera slid into my murky womb, just 7 days past the start of my cycle. The site of the resection still appeared wounded, bruised. There was a rather large piece of white tissue dangling off the area. This was most likely what caused the bad ultrasound last week - the tissue was gathering clotted material around it. My RE spent some time nudging the tissue with the camera until she was able to knock it off. Not the most comfortable procedure, but glad to have it dislodged. The shape looked good. The two tunnels that used to lead to my tubes were gone and there was a wide expanse of space between. I feel hopeful.

We will be tracking my cycle this month for ovulation, progesterone levels and taking blood to test for any immunilogical issues. None of this was ever checked before because I arrived to my first appointment, like I said, 5 weeks pregnant.

So that is what I am saying. The wall is down. The standard tests are commencing. I am just waiting. Waiting to heal. Waiting for my husband to depart and return from his trip. Waiting for February, so we can begin again. I am not that infertile, I hope. I am in another kind of limbo - between the fertile and infertile worlds. Split down the middle like my uterus used to be.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Managing My Spoiled Identity

I have begun investigating pregnancy failure through reading. “Motherhood Lost: a feminist account of pregnancy loss in America” by Linda Layne has been a great resource. To name just a few subjects I am particularly drawn to: the umentionable or “culturally sanctioned non-existence” of pregnancy loss, the assumption of the “natural” process of pregnancy and birth, and how societies frame “womanhood” around reproduction (or production).

Layne speaks very directly to this notion of "spoiled identity." This term seems to so clearly sum up what I have been going through in the past year-- attempting, though often failing, to understand who I am if children are not part of my future. When your vision of yourself is so tightly wrapped around this one thing, who are you when that very thing starts to fail?

I would like to summarize some of the text's writing about the “fetal subject,” as I think it helps to frame an explanation of why women have such a profound sense of loss from miscarriage, no matter how early it occurs. The book looks specifically at new reproductive technologies that have developed in the last 25 years and how those technologies impact the construction of fetal personhood. The author summarizes that these technologies, that provide us with visual and aural experiences during pregnancy, have altered the way in which we think about, bond to and experience the embryo/fetus. Specifically, bonds begin earlier and earlier, and the assignment of personhood, by others and ourselves, on the embryo/fetus has shifted. Additionally, with the introduction of in vitro fertilization, social construction of the “baby” may even begin prior to implantation. We gather information about these liminal being throughout pregnancy. Each step takes us closer to, not the self of the embryo/fetus, but the “personhood” we construct – an image, an amniocentesis, hearing the heart, learning the sex. There certainly are unmediated experiences, in particular, movement of the fetus, but I just wanted to raise some of these questions about the fetal subject and our mediated experience. I think they shed light on how and why it is that woman are so deeply impacted by loss. A fetus or embryo represents not just a mere cluster of cells, but the beginnings of a life-long relationship with an individual we have yet to even know. With technology, we have access to detailed information about the progress of our unborn child, earlier and earlier-- making that unborn child "known" or "real" earlier and earlier in its development. {This is not a criticism, just an observation}

The text also acknowledges the interplay of the Judeo-Christian, American narrative of progress and (re)production - "the ethic of meritocracy." If you work hard enough, you can do anything! These normalized, idealized narratives, when applied to other goals are often valuable and even true. But when self-imposed upon the issue of fertility, the author refers to this as the "management of a spoiled identity." In many cases, working hard has nothing to do with carrying a successful pregnancy. So when we think about self, and identity, we must consider that some people are "naturally" incapable of fullfilling the one thing which is socially considered a "natural" characteristic of their gender. In some cases, woman can not give birth. And because of that natural fact, the sound of a fetal heartbeat, the sight of a swollen belly, is a mere reminder of the moment they learned of their own failure, again, through mediation (the absence of a heartbeat) or worse yet, through a catastrophic late term loss.

And last, a quote that speaks directly to the taboo that surround both loss and infertility, summing up why some days, I wish I had never told anyone but my husband of our problems:
“The liminality of women who do not complete wished-for pregnancies and superliminality of the dead embryos/fetuses they bear helps to explain why pregnancy loss is a tabooed subject in our society…. Taboo is defined as a “prohibition put upon certain people, things, or acts which make them untouchable, unmentionable, etc”…. Since the mid-1970’s, American women who experience pregnancy loss have found themselves at the nexus of two set of strong, opposing cultural forces. On the one hand, they are subject the taboo surrounding the dead fetuses, and the interdiction on death and any other unpleasant topic that challenges the myth of perpetual linear progress. On the other hand, women’s experience of pregnancy and pregnancy loss is influenced by the increasing prominence of the fetal subject in the public imagery in the last 25 years."

There is little that brings comfort after a pregnancy loss. It is unmentionable, unacknowledged, un-mourned, misunderstood, misconceived, brushed aside, real to you, but rarely to others. Peggy Orenstein's Essay "Mourning My Miscarriage" really helped me at a time when I could not understand most of what I was going through.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

6 months of forgetting

Memory triggers are a bitch. I hate that I am making a movie association here, but now I know where the idea for "Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind" came from. I want to forget the last 6 months, so I can walk in peace to work, so I can get off the train at 8th street, so I can concentrate on something other than this living nightmare. {My 6 months is a cakewalk compared to most, but it has been a shitty ride none-the-less.}

I teach mornings downtown two days a week. I love my walks to the train in my 'hood', then from the train to school through center city. I love the calmness as I leave my house, and the bustle as I arrive. But now my daily walk is peppered with memory triggers, past places of loss-related incidents. I am unfortunately habitual, so I fear there is little chance I will ever succeed at changing my pattern as a method to relieve me of these triggers. And if I can walk another route, what if that route gets dirtied up with a whole new set of loss-related incidents?

There is one place in particular that snags me every time, pulling me into my own shitty reality. It is a weird little corporate mini-park right across from where a skyscraper is being constructed. It is paved with rust colored stone and always uber-sanitized. At the end of the summer, or maybe it was just a fall day that was too hot, I talked on the phone with my pregnant friend L. there for hours. I tried over, and over and over to explain to her what I was going through. I hindsight, I have terrible feelings of resentment for what she said to me that day. It was an immensely complicated situation that caused the rift. She was unwilling to back away from her position, even though she knew her actions were causing J. and I great pain. In the end, she not only was incapable of understanding why I was in pain, but chose to reveal our very private situation to a colleague who I am have considerable dislike for.

So while I never cared for that place much to begin with, now it serves as a near daily trigger-- pulling back into my persistent and unrelenting pain.


AF came one day late and flowed like a bitch. Everything has calmed down a bit, with the exception of the fact that my period is single-handedly destroying the environment! I have been wearing pads (gack!) just to make sure there is nothing preventing the exodus of that (hopefully) nasty clot. Where is my hut when I need it?


Last night, over a beer, I asked J. if he wanted to "try" this month if we got the green light from the RE. He said, "Can I think about it?" I am guessing he is not ready. And that is ok. I need to learn patience.
I am signed up for am in office hysteroscopy on Tuesday to see see the results on my surgery... Headache, begin now.

Monday, December 3, 2007


Either the world is smaller than I ever imagined, or something terrible went on in the 18944 zipcode in the mid 70's. How could it be that I have an SU and one of my oldest friends, who I have known since I was 6, has an BU? And how is it we are just learning this about each other right now? This is a crazy world...

Yesterday I was looking for an email from my friend Jen. I searched her name in my email program and along with her emails, my old friend Nae-Nae's (what we called her when we were kids) popped up. I had not heard from Nae in a while. It had been even longer since we spoke - perhaps as long as 3 years. In our last conversation that I recall, I had phoned her to congratulate her on her pregnancy, which my mother had informed me of. I started to gush "Congrrrrr" and she stopped me. She was not pregnant any more. I didn't know what to say. I am sure I said I was sorry. But I can't remember what else.

So I stumbled upon her email address and remembered that my mother had said she recently gave birth. I thought about how long it had been since we had the brief conversation about her miscarriage, and that she had only recently had her son. I knew she had moved, her Husband had started a new carrier, so I thought it may be possible that they had just waited. But I wondered if perhaps she had never shared with me the extent of her experiences. There would not have been reason to. I was living pretty far away and we had not been close since we roomed together in the late 90's.

So I dropped her a line, wondering if a new mom had much time for emailing. I sent the brief "hello, are you there" note. She replied within 2 days (not to too shabby for a mommy with an infant). She told me about her son, going to school and a few other major events. I responded the same, but added in my story of miscarriage and my MA. I got the most ASTOUNDING response! ASTOUNDING.

Crazy girl, that Nae - she bypassed email altogether and just picked up the phone and called me!! Who does that? It is so awesome. She told me her story - here it is in the very, very condensed and probably somewhat inaccurate version... Nae has suffered 4 miscarriage in the last few years. The kicker, being told she has 2 uteri during an internal ultrasound. It all sounds so freaking familiar-- who trains these dumb-ass radiologists anyhow? Turns out, after the obligatory MA misdiagnosis, and many losses, she found out she has a BU with small septum. She finally found a great DR. who put her on baby aspirin and progesterone, got her pregnant, and kept her pregnant! YEAH NAE!!! The BU is not really suspected in the losses, but rather an autoimmune issue. She delivered her beautiful son via c-section 3 days past her due date with her little dude hanging out breech. Regardless, she gets it. I can't believe it! Someone I know gets it.

You rock, Nae! Your generosity and willingness to so quickly pick up the phone and share your experience with me is overwhelming. I am so sad you had to go through that, but am so grateful to know that someone else understands what I am going through. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

xoxo ~ megadeth

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Peek-a-boo period and a sad man friend.

Peek-a-boo period
My period is meant to arrive tomorrow had my body not been laproscopically and hysteroscopically invaded nearly three weeks ago. I have been having some pretty nasty cramping and a bit of spotting-- very unlike me. Hopefully the crimson tide will wash up a big, nasty clot, or whatever that mysterious black spot was on my ultrasound last week. I had the surgery at a teaching hospital. Perhaps it is a Junior Mint? (remember that Seinfeld episode?)

and a sad man-friend.
My very special man-friend arrived home from his re-union and said, "I am glad you didn't come along."

Normally, one would be alarmed by such a statement, but in this case he was glad I had the foresight not to submerse myself into the grad school pals reunion-- the one where our friends M & J are 6 months pregnant. Ugh, a whole weekend of non-stop baby-talk action and the occasional 'your next' glances. I would have never survived.

I had just started to be not hysterical about our first loss. It was fourth of July weekend. It was hot and we were plastering the hell out of the front room of our broke down house. The room looked like a block of swiss cheese, with a little lath thrown in. We foolishly thought we could get it patched, skimmed and primed by Sunday night. We were so wrong.

Plastering away. Did I mention it is friggin hot? It's mid-day. J.'s phone rings. A call from a good friend of his from grad school. The guy who I argue with all the time because although he acts like a nice guy, he is really a misogynist and treats his wife like a child, not a partner. She likes it. It is all pretty nauseating, but I tolerate it, because they are his friends. But they are not mine.

Small talk ensues. J. says, "What, like a bean, I don't get it? A peanut?" He is so clueless. YO, J. take off the blinders. That's cutsy lingo for baby. They are trying to tell you in some obligatory, 'my brain is turning to baby-mush' code that they are knocked up! Get with the program!

I start to hyperventilate, then run upstairs, embarrassed at how quickly and physically I react to the knife that was just jabbed, one more time, into my heart. I hide in our bathroom and almost pass out because I am crying so hard i can't even breath. Hiding is no use, our bathroom is as porous as the front room-- gaps in the drywall do not make good sound barriers.

This is my recount of M & J's pregnancy announcement. She was 6 weeks pregnant. I was 5 weeks past my first loss.

After the second miscarriage J. told this couple of our problems. J (the grad school dude) was kind and sad for us, and that was nice. They know what we have been through, but not in any detail, because my J. doesn't do detail. But no one else at the reunion this weekend knows that we are struggling with this. So I dodged a bullet by staying home this weekend-- knowing full well that they, in their absence from our dilemma and blurred by their pregnancy bliss, would not be able to refrain from drooling baby talk for the entire 36 hours. And that is just what happened. So J. came home feeling pretty sad.

J. deals with this far less. Feeling the sadness of our situation may very well be part of the many random thoughts he has from day to day. But he doesn't have to think of it every time he calls the Dr., every time my mom calls, every time he has a cramp, every time he goes to the bathroom, ever time he opens a browser window. He has the privilege of the slightest distance.

This weekend there was no distance for him. He was ambushed. Even though I never want him to feel pain, in a way, I am glad he went to the baby-talk weekend reunion. Because he knows better today, how I feel every day.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

How do you define infertility?

I can get pregnant.
In four months time I was twice pregnant.
But I lost them both.
And I still don't know if my U. will ever work well enough not to reject an embryo.

So if you are a woman who gets pregnant but can not carry that pregnancy to term, are you infertile?
Or are you just someone who suffers from Recurrent loss?

Are there rules to this?

Back to the business at hand - BU & SU Primer

I want this blog to tell my story, but also be a resource for those who may have just found out that they have a uterine anomaly, like a Septate or Bicornuate Uterus. So I will just take a minute to provide you with my knowledge -- which you should know is based on my own experience and research. I am not a Doctor, though sometimes I feel like I know more than one about my condition.
  • Bicornute (BU) and Septate Uteri (SU) can look nearly the same on the inside. The interior uterine cavity is divided in two by a kind of wall, which can be made of a vascular or non-vascular material. The wall can sometimes extend through the entire length of the cavity, bisecting it completely. Other times it may only partially divide the cavity.
  • Bicornuate and Septate Uteri look very different from the outside. A Septate uterus has a "normal" or domed FUNDUS (the fundus is the top of the uterus, opposite the cervix). A bicornuate uterus has a cleft fundus, following the contour or the interior. A bicornuate uterus looks heart-shaped both inside and out, while a septate uterus has a "normal" shape outside and a heart shape inside
  • Bicornuate Uteri are less common and have a relatively good reproductive track record. Issues range from breech positioning to incompetent cervix. I have read that 2nd trimester is the time to be most attentive, when the the fetuses weight is resting on the cervix, not the pelvis.
  • Septate Uteri and the most common MA and have one of the worst reproductive outcomes of the MA's, but if threated properly can become statistically normal in pregnancy outcomes. Treatment involves a Lap/Hyst - where a surgeon can physically see the outside of the uterus to ensure it is not cleft, while at the same time, cutting away the septum hysteroscopically. It is an out-patient procedure with about a week recovery time. Doctor's will give you the OK to TTC anywhere from 1-3 months post-op.
  • Bicornuate uteri are sometimes, but rarely operated on. This procedure is a major surgery.
  • Ultrasound is an exceptionally poor diagnostic tool for determining the difference between a Bicornuate and Septate Uterus.
  • MRI can be effective at diagnosing the difference.
  • Lap/Hyst is the only SURE way to know what you got.
  • A diagnosis of Bicornuate is the "catch-all". If you are told this is what you have via ultrasound, do not proceed with TTC. Make yourself an appointment with a reputable RE and request an MRI followed by a Lap/Hyst.
I had/have a uterine septum. I was told I was BU after a first trimester loss. Found out I was SU by MRI after second loss. Resected Nov. 14, 2007. Still waiting to find out if it was a success.

Please feel free to post comments to me if you are new to the whole MA thing and have questions. I know how scary and confusing it can be.