Category Archives: Gratitude

Today I Fit into a Real Shirt!

…And ran errands, and wore my very own normal kind of bra, and took the stairs!   I even am going to try to co-walk the monster puppy with Hubs this evening because it’s Meatball’s first birthday.

I can’t even tell you how grateful I am for these little things and beginning to feel like a normal person again.  I was able to button up one of my real shirts today which is major progress from having to wear Hubs’ big t-shirts to my big t-shirts, to now a normal shirt.  Also, I have knees again.  Ankles and back, not so much, but I’ll take what I can get for now.

I had an appointment with the RE this morning to check in and am down lots of pounds, with ten more to go.  Word on the street is that I may not lose all of it since my ovaries are still enlarged, my uterus is growing, and hormones are a-raging, but I am happy if I weigh whatever as long as this belly goes down a bit and I don’t have to keep explaining why I look so very pregnant at a mere 5 1/2 weeks.  I also would love to have the luxury of being able to wait through the first trimester to share my pregnancy with patients and everyone else.  So much is taken from you with infertility, that would be a treat.

Also my Beta this morning was 4970 so I am happy about that.

It’s a good day to wear real clothes and a good day to celebrate our sweet Meatball.

Meatball is going to be a big brother and he is happy about it.

Meatball is going to be a big brother and he is happy about it. We both fit into real shirts today…mine was about this tight, too.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Today I Did My Hair

What a couple of weeks it has been.  I feel like I am living in bizarro-land.  There has been so much happening but I have not had the capacity to write the past several days.

In short, I was in the hospital two days getting two Albumin transfusions and left Sunday feeling a bit better and better able to eat and drink on my own, my Albumin (protein) levels just below normal range but high enough to give my doctor satisfaction.  By Monday I was again very full in the abdomen and still fighting the nausea and pain.  I also awoke that morning with some new symptoms, in particular swelling in other areas of my body.  I went in to my RE in hopes of another tap but the ultrasound indicated that a tap actually would not be able to drain much fluid because the fluid had now begun to spread throughout my body — stage two of OHSS.

Over the course of the next four days I gained 15+ pounds of fluid throughout my body, putting the total fluid weight gain at 25 pounds in about a week.  My clothes do not fit, fluid on my spine makes it painful to rest on my back, my feet and toes are swollen to the point of numbness and tingling, and all of that adds up to a good bit of difficulty walking and getting around.  The rest of the week involved more IV fluids at my RE’s office, an ER visit to ensure I didn’t have a blood clot because of asymmetrical swelling in my legs, and, finally, an appointment with my RE on Friday where we finally saw my kidney function improving.

While those symptoms I just mentioned are still true today, I also am beginning to notice some improvements.  Late last week I began peeing normally (sorry if too much information), indicating that new fluids entering my body were being processed by my kidneys.  Now it is a matter of the fluids stored up from the past two weeks getting pushed to them and peed out — that’s right, we’re looking at peeing out 25 pounds worth of fluids over the next week.  This process, thankfully, has already begun and I’m down about 4-5 pounds.

Let me be clear about this: I do not care about the weight.  What I care about is the extreme discomfort and how I can’t get around so well.  Percocet and anti-nausea meds have been my friend the past week and are helping to relieve enough of the pain to be able to eat and get up and around for a bit at a time.

Perhaps more importantly, let me be clear about this: I am so grateful for this pregnancy and I am not complaining in that regard.  I am so so grateful.  And this pregnancy, to potentially have a baby at the end of this, is worth every ounce of discomfort.

Last Sunday when we were discharged my RE’s partner, who was on call and making rounds, let me know that OHSS typically lasts nine days in women who are not pregnant and 21 days in women who are.  At that point, about 11 days in, I could not imagine being able to tolerate another ten but getting these slowly-increasing Betas certainly has pushed me on and makes it all worth the while.  In fact, my RE told me about my first Beta on the Thursday before we were supposed to find out.  She called to let me know some of my other, worrisome numbers and to have me come in for fluids, labs, etc. but then said she also had good news, that she had run an HCG the day before (1 week post transfer) and my Beta was 51.  I of course was shocked but this news buoyed me, helped me to push through the pain, to continue to force feed and hydrate myself despite feeling as though there was zero room for anything else in this body, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was an intentional move on her part.

I can’t imagine going through this process of OHSS and not being pregnant, my heart goes out so deeply for women who do.  Staying on the OB mother/baby floor last weekend, I could only imagine how cruel it would be to be there, not pregnant, hearing the cries of the babies and in such pain.

My betas have continued to rise, but not at normal rates due to the OHSS.  My doctor told me this from the beginning, not to expect the doubling every other day that we typically see, because blood levels in a woman with OHSS are so skewed because of the enormous amounts of fluid in her body.  So after the initial sneaky Beta of 51, my second was drawn in the hospital at 1 in the morning and my RE texted me the result at 3 a.m. — 86.  Still pregnant.  So very early still, but pregnant.  That was when I first began to believe and let it sink in.  Last Wednesday it registered at 581 and Friday at 1315, it actually did double in that two-day period.

I am doing a lot of hanging on and a lot of waiting — what we infertiles do best.  With OHSS it is a game of waiting it out and of symptom management.  Today is day 21 of this, but as my doctor has reiterated I don’t know how many times, we never can know how long someone’s body is really going to take to get through it.  The trick now is for the effect of my Albumin levels, hopefully continuing to rise because of now being able to eat, to overcome the effect of the HCG, hopefully continuing to rise because of the growing pregnancy.  My dear mother-in-law who is a dietician has me on a high protein diet and I am trying to waste no bite on anything that does not contain protein.  Save the fried pickles and pretzels outing that Hubs and Jess took me out to over the weekend which involved airlifting me into the restaurant.

This morning as Hubs went to church I watched a streaming Easter service online and wept thinking about God’s salvation and taking a broken, messy situation and redeeming it, breathing new life into it.  His goodness to us to make us beautiful again, his goodness to me to allow me to be pregnant.  I showered and put on a dress I could zip half-way (yay for Anthropologie baggy styles) and actually did my hair and make-up.  I took a few minutes to put a tablecloth and the china out on the table for Jess and Hubs and my Easter lunch, and those little things felt like big accomplishments.

So today, much like my body is requiring me to do, my mind and heart move slowly, one foot in front of the other.  So grateful for each increasing Beta, celebrating each pound peed out!, beginning to let myself dream a little about baby names and nursery colors, and holding my breath until that ultrasound next Monday and looking for our little heartbeat.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today I Am Grateful

Today I am officially, legitimately pregnant. It is crazy to write those words. I am so very grateful.

I write this morning from my phone in my hospital bed so I’ll keep it super brief. They decided yesterday, after another tap (1950 mL), to admit me so I could get some protein transfusions (Albumin) and continued IV fluids. This will help replace what has been lost through the leaky vessels and taps and hopefully point us in the direction of the OHSS resolving. We’re thinking I likely will go home later today. I’m definitely feeling a ton better than yesterday morning when I was gigantic in the abdomen and couldn’t keep any food/fluids down.

It is wild to be on the OB floor and being asked how far along we are and when we’re due; I had to ask my RE last night when she came for rounds! By the way the answer is 4 weeks and a day, and the latter is, appropriately, around Thanksgiving.

So yes, very grateful — an understatement.

Today I’m Rich

“And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” -Rev. 21:3

This verse is giving me great comfort today, as I’ve realized lately that much of my questioning and struggle boil down to the question, is God good?  Scripture says it outright countless times, yet I still find it hard to believe.  Believe at a heart level.  I question how a God who is sovereign and good could allow the kinds of suffering that I see and that I experience myself.  My own suffering pales in comparison to some of the horrors occurring in others’ lives and around the world.  How do sin and the fact that we live in a fallen, broken time and place factor in?  It feels easier to swallow that sin and brokenness are the default for now but that Jesus is entering into it and redeeming it all even now.  It somehow feels more compassionate — but perhaps just easier to swallow — that this suffering isn’t what the Lord wills, that He wants something different for us, wants us to not have to anguish for the past two years, wants our bodies to be working, wants us to be parents already, wants to take away the pain, is crying with us and wants to wipe our tears.  Can He be as good and as compassionate if He is willing this suffering and this situation for us?  For others around the world?

Not easy questions, not ones I am really trying to answer here.  And maybe it doesn’t even matter.  If I play with the ideas in my mind, I tend to think so — think in my head — but in my limited human-ness it seems to break down somewhere, leaving me wondering about a sadistic god who would will such pain for greater good.  I hate to even write the words.  Could there be a greater good?

For the longest time that has felt impossible and at the very least, trite.  But I dare say I’m beginning to experience some of it.  See it, taste it.  Taste and see that the Lord is good.

I’m coming out the other side.  It sounds crazy to say when we haven’t even started IVF yet, we haven’t a clue what the outcome will be.  I’m feeling more like myself again, only a more mature, seasoned version.  A little deeper, a little more dimensional.

My friend Katherine, someone I’ve grown closer to only through this time of suffering, is one of those people who just gets it.  I can pick up with her and instantly feel understood, not to mention less like a crazy person.  Katherine wrote me after our final IUI attempt failed and I asked her if I could share it here on my blog.  It is just too beautiful to keep to myself and I hope some other infertiles can find it useful.  Her words encouraged me greatly at that time and continue to as I’m beginning to experience some of what she talked about.  (As an aside, her email is also a perfect example of how to be an amazing friend to an infertile.  I keep it in my inbox and about five other cards in my journal, all containing priceless words my amazing friends have sent me the past year.)

Hey –
Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that we’re thinking about you guys.  [My husband] told me that you came in for prayer about next steps, which was sad news (since I was a little behind on the blog and hadn’t heard about this month yet) and also so encouraging that you guys are doing things like getting prayed for.  I can think of about 1000 times we should have done that but it never occurred to us.

I am so sad to hear that your little one did not arrive this last month.  We really mourn with you, my friend.  Such an exhausting and grueling process. It’s very exciting news that you’re moving forward with IVF, though.  On to a new adventure.  🙂  I know it may not feel like it, but you are in the thick of something big in your life.  If you were to graph your growth over time (the inside kind, of course), it is taking a steep upward turn these days while you gain a treasure-trove of experience, wisdom, future empathy for other women going this path, and all sorts of other things that you might not have wanted, but are getting nonetheless.  Count on it – if you hang in, you will get your baby one day – and unlike all those other lamos who got pregnant on the first try, you’ll have that treasure trove to go with it.

Needless to say, I hope and pray that you have both of those things very soon.  🙂  We’d love to see you guys sometime soon.  We can talk and lament over this stuff, or just ponder the final scene of DA.  Either is fine.  🙂

How beautiful is that?  (And great that she deeply empathizes, mourns with us, has faith for us, and relates to the feeling that super-fertile people are lamos. 🙂 )  I replied to her that I would hang on to this image because, at that moment and for a long time before, I was not feeling an ounce of growth or feeling God’s nearness.

I am beginning to get a very real sense of this treasure trove, though; I think that day is coming.  I’m increasingly aware of a feeling that I’ve gained something the past two years.  In a time that has felt so dry and agonizing and empty.  I think that depth and dimension are exactly what she was talking about.  Maybe He can use this — whether He willed it or not — maybe this treasure trove is worth the suffering, and that He, in fact, in all His goodness helped me in the suffering and brought and is bringing this treasure into fruition without an ounce of my own effort.  I never thought I would say that and really mean it — not as a defense against my pain and confusion — but I don’t think I imagined what and how good the treasure could be.

We still await a child.  We still do not know how or when the Lord will bring him or her to us.  We wait and we wait.  We wait and are in anguish and are comforted.  We wait uncertain and fearful and aware that He desires to wipe away our every tear.  We wait, praying He continues to build that treasure trove, praying that above all on the other side the treasure is good and that we will know and taste His goodness.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today I Cried Watching the DNC

If this blog would have been going three months ago, I would have had a post entitled “Today We Bought A Puppy.”  This was something we had talked about doing for a couple years but had continued to put off, thinking we could get pregnant any day and if we did then we would essentially have two infants at the same time.  Everyone warns you how much work puppies are.  But I continued to find myself feeling like there were just so many “no’s” and so much emptiness, I realized I wanted something living and breathing and life-giving in our house.

Worn down by the occasional “I just need a baby something” spoken to Hubs, we broke down and bought a puppy.  A really freaking adorable puppy.  And it really hasn’t been all that hard.  I’m so glad we did it for a million reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I feel so much love for our fluff muppet that I can’t imagine what we’ll one day feel for a child.  I fully acknowledge that he is not a child, but that he is my stand-in child for now, and I don’t feel a bit bad about it.  One thing we say in my line of work is that knowing why you’re doing what you do is most of the battle.

Another of the top reasons it was the best idea ever to add this supposed stress in an already stressful time is that our puppy is really hilarious to watch.  So tonight I had the night to myself at home (missed you, honey, but ahhhhhh) and I was enjoying a quiet evening of cleaning up, doing dishes, etc..  Per my puppy training books I had switched out Muppet’s toys for his other set, much like my sister does with her kiddos, and I observed from the kitchen as he pulled them out, one by one.  Playing with them, squeaking them, attacking err jumping on them, putting them back in his toy bin (sometimes), picking another.  It was such a joy to watch him delight in them, and I was filled with gratitude.  For this moment and for him and for the joy itself.

So all of that to say: one) pet therapy was a totally legit idea and it’s working, and two) I hypothesize that it primed me for the rest of the evening.  I’m sitting there watching the speeches, Muppet is providing his commentary on the Montana governor’s strange regional proverbs, and before you know it in walks Hubs to find me crying on the sofa watching the DNC.

Maybe it was the sweet first generation college student from Miami, or maybe it was the estrogen patches.  Okay, it likely was 90% estrogen patches.  But it also was the lightness and thankfulness and hope I was feeling.  Not about our nation’s future or any politician’s promises, but the myriad ways I’ve felt supported and loved and cared for over these several months.

Like my church handling Mother’s Day so sensitively.  My coworker Laura’s note on my desk yesterday reminding me I was one week down and one to go.  Being able to be open with our friends about how we’re really doing, the emails that continually fill my inbox saying they are thinking of me, notes of Scripture reminding me that God delights in being good to us.  My boss and other colleague’s excitement about our IUI and support of me adjusting my schedule as I need to.  Seeing little financial things work out without me doing a thing.  Reading through the Psalms and feeling like God is speaking directly to me.  Hearing my husband and the muppet playing in the other room and laughing (well at least one of them).

So today these are happy tears, thanks in part to the extra estrogen that’s a-flowing.  Today I am grateful.

2017 Lenten Readings

West End Presbyterian Church

sweetbeetcityfarm

An urban farm in Durham

exploring the (in)fertility journey day-to-day

Maberry Miscellanea

exploring the (in)fertility journey day-to-day

From A to Pink | A Blog by Katharine Scrivener

The life of a 30-something writer, cystic fibrosis patient + advocate, with a penchant for hoarding books.

The Infertility Voice™

An Online Hub for the Infertility Community — by the Infertility Community

Childless in Paris

struggling with infertility while dealing with the Frenchies...

Barren & Unemployed

Slightly Dramatic, Completely Honest, One Woman's Journey with Infertility

IVF male

IVF from the male POV

anemptywomb

A great WordPress.com site

whatisarutabaga.com/

My journey to more conscious eating.

All These Things

exploring the (in)fertility journey day-to-day

Something Out of Nothing

From 0 sperm to a family of three

Tales of a Twin Mombie

Because when you're a parent, there's always a story to tell.

Risa Kerslake Writes

Formerly Who Shot Down My Stork?

acupofbliss

Reflections on lattes, life, and love

hopefulandhungry

The road to conceiving a baby....enjoying food and life along the way

Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day

%d bloggers like this: