St. Francis walks into a bar with a turtle & an Italian kid…

My mother in law says that if you have a bad dream, you need to tell people about it—that way it won’t come true.

That said, I had a dream last night that I miscarried. Without getting too detailed, the miscarriage revealed that I was never pregnant with a real baby, but was in fact carrying a small statue of St. Francis, a ceramic turtle, and a little figurine of an Italian boy.

As ridiculous as I know this dream is in the light of day, it didn’t seem so ridiculous at 4 o’clock this morning and I woke up really feeling that loss. Not the greatest way to start the day.

Fortunately, we get to see our little monster again tomorrow afternoon when I meet with my OB for the first time. I’m half excited and half terrified. I keep wondering why on earth we decided to tell everyone so soon and wishing we’d waited—but I know why we told when we did, and we had good reasons. I just need to work on keeping things in perspective. Losing one baby does not automatically mean losing both. The odds are in our favor on this one.

Cross your fingers for us that we get to end 2014 on a happy note tomorrow and that we won’t find St. Francis or any of his friends hanging out anywhere near my uterus.

Merry Christmas

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This was the announcement we posted this morning. (With real names, of course.)  Merry Christmas, blog world. Thank you for all of your support. You made this journey so much more than it would have been otherwise.

Dear Santa: Send Pants

There are no comfortable pants on the planet. Not a single pair. I am destined to be miserable and/or naked for the next 7 months.

Mind you, I haven’t exactly looked for comfortable pants, unless you count inside my closet as I was having a dress-pants-related meltdown before work this morning. Eventually, the only “solution” to my problem (that I could see through my hormonal fog) was to take a pair of scissors and hack at one of my waistbands. And you know what? Despite my ruined pants, I am still sitting here tugging at my waist and wishing desperately for my flannel pajama bottoms. My problem solving skills are clearly less than stellar no matter what my resume says.

Why did everything have to get too tight the week of Christmas? Does the universe not understand that the mall is the last place on earth I need to be this week? I have two malls within lunch break distance of my office, and there are traffic cops directing miles of traffic outside of both of them right now. I’m not sure I could get close even if I wanted to.

I did try Old Navy last week. I waited in line for 30 minutes to purchase one pair of black maternity pants that are the world’s most effective lint magnet. If you noticed that your entire house became void of lint last week, you have me to thank. Your lint is now taking up residence on my black pants. Those things are awful. Even so, I would have worn them this morning out of sheer desperation, but we were away all weekend and they never got washed. Other than that, all Old Navy had to offer were light, breezy maxi skirts. Did Old Navy forget to send their maternity people the memo that IT IS WINTER? I’m sure I will be living in maxi skirts come spring/summer, but right now I just want to be warm and breeze-less, thankyouverymuch.

I also purchased a couple of maternity bands online, but they are too big for me.

If you’re keeping score, that means it’s Maternity Clothes 2, Molly 0. Maybe no one will notice if I wear sweatpants to Christmas dinner.

180

Thanks to the increased nausea, I really haven’t been too worried about today’s ultrasound… Until about 2:30 this morning, when I woke up and convinced myself that it was going to be a repeat of last week and Christmas would be ruined and I would never ever recover.

Cut to 9:30 this morning, as I was sitting with a paper gown draped over my bare lower half while my upper half was on the verge of throwing up. It wasn’t clear whether it was just the usual nausea or nerves. Most likely both. Lately I get extra pukey anytime my body gets tense—be it nerves or just because I’m cold.

Finally, we got to hear what I’ve been waiting for all week. A beautiful heartbeat. Suddenly, it felt like I could breathe again for the first time in days. I exhaled so heavily that my doctor even said, “You can breathe now.”

I am 9 weeks 5 days today and our little holiday miracle was measuring exactly 10 weeks with a galloping heart rate of 180.

9w5d

We had a sort of soft graduation from the clinic. I still have one more round of blood work to complete just after New Year’s before we are officially done, but this was our last real visit with my RE. I honestly had a hard time letting go of her when I hugged her goodbye. We have been through so much with her since January. Walking away from her felt like letting go of my (really expensive) security blanket.  I wish I could keep her forever.

Speaking of blankets, as we were paying the billing ladies on our way out, we had some confusion. Our total is usually 4-something for the ultrasound and blood tests, but today, they wanted $600. When we asked why, they said that the nurse had circled that the ultrasound was for two babies, which they charge extra for. My RE did stop to check on B and make sure everything still looked as it should (considering), so I told them OK and they went ahead and processed our payment. Then they said that since we’re “graduating” they have a little gift for us, and pulled out two little bags with two little baby blankets. One of them said, “When the babies are born, there’s a little card in there to fill out and mail back to us.”

Umm. Cue the awkwardness.

When we explained that we had actually lost one of the babies last week, they just about fell over apologizing to us. Suddenly, we were lost in a blur of voided credit card transactions, apologies, and promises that they would, “have a talk with that nurse.” They charged us for a normal ultrasound and sent us on our way with more apologies and well wishes. We were really okay with it all. Misunderstandings do happen, and it wasn’t the end of the world. It was just really awkward. I have a hard enough time telling myself that we lost a baby—and it’s only been a week.  It’s still pretty hard to say out loud.

In the end, Catch and I walked out together, holding on to each other and our ultrasound pictures. She asked me if I’m okay, and I told her that I’m happy, but that I also feel like I’m going to cry and throw up. Something tells me she’s going to have to get used to that combination.

All the Fun of Mexico, Minus the Vacation and the Tequila

Pregnancy is so bizarre. Three hours ago, I was sitting at my desk with tears in my eyes clutching my trash can and pleading with my body not to be sick while my cheeks quivered and the room spun in circles. An hour later, I was eating every last drop of a steak quesadilla with spicy salsa. Now, I am hoping upon hope that I do not live to regret that stupid quesadilla that I absolutely had to have rightthatverysecond.

Yesterday, I battled Nausea (it’s a monster and I’m capitalizing it because monster names are proper nouns) all day (and night) except for the point when I spotted a bag of peach gummy candy while shopping on my lunch break and could not stop eating it. I ate the entire bag, minus two… because that somehow makes it better, right? It’s like subconsciously, I thought I would save face if I could at least say that I didn’t eat the entire bag, but really? I pretty much did.  And then it was right back to Nausea for the rest of the day/night.

That said, I guess it’s pretty obvious that “morning” sickness has made a comeback despite my regular worship of Unisom and B6 supplements. This leads me to believe that my brief reprieve from Nausea was actually the result of decreasing HCG after we lost B and not a result of the drugs. Sorry Unisom/B6—I know I told my RE last week that you were a miracle, but that was before Nausea came back with a vengeance on Thursday and everything started to make sense.

I spent part of the morning reviewing charts of HCG levels with Dr. Google. Our research has shown that both Nausea and HCG seem to peak around week 9 and then slowly taper off from there. All of my eggs are in that one VERY hopeful basket, so please do not attempt to invalidate my research by telling me that you are 39.5 weeks pregnant and still feel like you’re lost at sea on a catamaran in a monsoon with a hangover. And in case you’re wondering, I have been lost at sea on a catamaran in a monsoon with a hangover* (ok, not LOST, but there was zero visibility) and it feels exactly like early pregnancy–terrifying, nauseating, and totally out of control. If this is as bad as it’s going to get and it doesn’t stay this bad for too long, I will live. If it’s going to get worse than today, I would like to be knocked unconscious until it gets better—because if you have ever thrown up while snorkeling because you were seasick and hung over* (don’t be ashamed—you’re not alone) you know what this feels like, and it is AWFUL.

*Someday, remind me to tell you all about that fantastic memorable family trip to Mexico.

Balance(ish)

I want to thank you for your beautiful comments on my last post. I truly apologize for not responding to all of you. I’ve been having a really hard time going back to that post, and I just don’t think I can read all of your words again right now. Please just know that Catch and I both read every comment, and we are so grateful for your support.

I think I’ve been managing my feelings pretty well—especially considering the hormonal overload. I do have a couple of triggers that make everything worse if I think about them.

  • Vanishing Twin. Words cannot describe how much I hate this terminology. It truly makes me sad and angry. Baby B is not a rabbit that some magician disappeared into a top hat. Baby B did not vanish. Baby B died. There is no nice way of saying it. One day, our baby had a beating heart, and the next day she didn’t. I saw our baby clear as day on the ultrasound, so don’t talk to me about vanishing anything. I am still carrying Baby B weeks after her death, and even if I wasn’t, you cannot tell me that ANY baby whose heartbeat you have seen and heard could ever just “vanish.” The medical community needs to give that one some thought.
  • Most miscarriage results in ultimately experiencing a physical loss. Whether it’s natural, surgical, or induced with drugs, somehow, that baby is removed from your body and there is some finality to that. I know this is going to sound so crude, but it’s really upsetting me that I am carrying our dead baby with me everywhere I go—and have been for weeks. I can’t wrap my head around that. It’s surreal. My uterus is an embryo coffin. It’s like something you’d read in a disturbing collection of short stories. This is what nightmares are made of, and I am so, so ready to wake up.

If I try not to allow myself to visit either of these topics, I can almost pretend that everything is okay. The world does continue to turn, after all.

Speaking of the world turning, on Saturday morning we woke up in the most comfortable bed in the world at the Four Seasons. (Long story, but it was work related.) While we waited for room service to deliver breakfast (!), we spent a good bit of time cuddled up in that fluffy bed celebrating that Baby A has reached the 9 week mark and has officially graduated from embryo to fetus. Pretty fantastic if you ask me.

I am beyond lucky that my little silver lining is so freaking shiny.

As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be

I am usually pretty good with words, but I am struggling to write this. Maybe because putting it out there for everyone to read makes it that much more real.

We lost one of the babies.

Baby A is beautiful and healthy and measuring 8 weeks 5 days with a strong heartbeat of 173 beats per minute.

Baby B stopped growing sometime late in week 6 and there is no longer a heartbeat.

I feel so many things right now. Heartbroken for the little life we lost. Grateful, relieved, and terrified for the one we still have. Foolish for yesterday’s misplaced faith that we would escape this unscathed.

I spent so many weeks waiting for the rug to be pulled out from beneath us. It’s par for the course that the moment I started to get excited that it’s all really happening, the universe took it upon itself to remind me who is in charge. I’m so sorry, universe—how could I have forgotten? Could you really think of no better way to make your point?

It’s like our acceptance letter to this amazing, magical world has been revoked, and it hurts so much. At the same time, I feel like I’m not allowed to hurt because we still have one. I know how incredibly blessed we are to still have so much even after we have lost its equal.

How do you celebrate one life and mourn the loss of another simultaneously? I guess we’re in the process of finding out.

Strange Things are Happening

After a stop at the fertility pharmacy after work yesterday for what I hope will be my last refill of estrace, I trudged through the front door at home and immediately spied a package on the coffee table courtesy of UPS. It was a Nordstrom box, and it contained our first ever baby purchase.

There was very little fanfare as I tore open the box and removed two (!) matching little pairs of red Converse All Stars. I’m not sure what I expected. Maybe for the ground to open up beneath my feet, or for the package to burst into flames. Or maybe I thought a gremlin would emerge from the box and question my pregnancy credentials. But nothing happened. Tiny shoes were ogled, and then they were placed back inside their tiny shoe boxes and set aside. It was almost like the purchase of tiny shoes is a normal thing.

There’s a story behind the selection of the little shoes. Our wedding party all changed into red Converse after our ceremony. We have some fantastic photos in our red shoes, and I love how even in the candid shots there is almost always a pair of red sneakers hiding somewhere in the photo. Fast forward 6-ish years, and I wore my red Converse to every IVF/FET procedure. Catch also wore hers the day of our embryo transfer. They are lucky shoes. It seemed only fitting that our babies should have a pair, as well.

red shoes

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I don’t exactly hide on my blog, but I blocked out my face because my eyes are closed and I have a stupid look on my face. 🙂 This was NOT a professional shot!

Naturally, we are going to use the tiny red shoes in our announcement photo, which is really the only reason why I bought them already. I see my RE for an ultrasound tomorrow and if all is still well with our little duo, we will make the news public around Christmas. I’ll be between 10 and 11 weeks then, and given how tight my pants are this week and how hard it is to suck in my stomach in the late afternoon, I have a feeling I’m not going to be able to keep this a secret for too many more weeks anyway. It seems that maybe it’s a bit easier for women with singletons to hide it until the 13 week mark. I cannot very well show up for Christmas dinner in a sweatshirt, so we may as well let the cat out of the bag.

All that aside, today (in a parallel universe, I’m sure) I had my intake appointment with an OB nurse and scheduled my first OB appointment and ultrasound for New Year’s Eve. I’m going for all of the fun lab tests after work today. Since I have only had this (Kaiser HMO) insurance since August, I didn’t already have an OB/Gyn with them and I had to pick someone pretty randomly. I guess I did my research well because the one I chose is apparently quite popular, and the nurse said she is an amazing doctor. Personally, I think compliments from nurses speak volumes about doctors, so I’m really hopeful that this will be a good fit.

Cross your fingers that our little Reese’s Pieces knock tomorrow’s ultrasound out of the park!

8 Weeks Tomorrow

I’m really struggling with finding my place right now. I don’t feel like I belong in Club Pregnancy, and I also feel like a bit of a fraud hanging out in Club Infertility. I’m not really sure where that leaves me. All I know is that I’m just going to keep writing my blog the way I always have. Everything is changing—and fast—but I am still just me.

That said, I bought a pregnancy book specific to multiples because most of the usual pregnancy book suspects gloss over multiples with a single page about how you’ll see your doctor more often. My book arrived a couple of days ago and every time I see the cover from across the room I have a mini panic attack. I read a few pages of the introduction last night, and it’s really not sinking in that this book is not leisure reading for the sake of curiosity. This book is my life for the next 30-ish weeks. Multiples! Me! How did this happen? (Don’t answer that.)

Side note: I was on a multiples message board asking for book recommendations, and many people recommended this particular book, When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads. One woman said that when she was pregnant with her twins and feeling exceptionally lousy, she would read some of the things that pertain to quads and it would instantly make her feel better. I like her perspective.

Also on the multiples front, I have some advice to offer: When you find out you are pregnant with twins, refrain from googling twin pregnancy belly shots. Some of them seriously defy gravity. Like there is no way that woman should be standing upright. She should have fallen over onto her face. It’s terrifying.

I’m still feeling pretty lousy overall. It’s mostly the nausea that’s setting me back. I’m two days into the Unisom + B6 trick though, and it does seem like it’s helping. It’s not perfect, but it’s a little bit better. Yesterday afternoon was rough, but I recovered by dinner time and only felt really sick again at bedtime when I got cold. So far, today hasn’t been too bad. It sure beats the constant misery of the last week.

Almost as bad as the nausea is the injection site(s) of the progesterone in oil. On Wednesday, I had to stop in to have my nurse take a look at it because I had a swollen lump on my back the size of my fist that felt like a thousand burning needles were trying to burst forth from it. Unfortunately, I’ve been informed that this reaction is par for the course after 3 weeks of daily injections, and that I have at least another couple of weeks to go. I walked out of the office, sat in my car and cried. Today, the lump is smaller, and the pain is a bit less, but I’m also dealing with numbness and itching. I have said it a thousand times, but I don’t think I truly believed it until now: PROGESTERONE IS EVIL.

I know that 75% of you reading this are probably cursing me for freaking out about twins and complaining about nausea, and I am truly sorry. It’s not that I am not beyond grateful to be here right now. I am. I may not be able to wrap my head around it just yet, but I know the excitement is coming. I do not take one moment of this pregnancy for granted. I’m just working through an entirely new set of fears, and it’s caught me pretty off guard. My head needs some time to catch up with my heart, because my heart is totally enamored with these two little parasitic monsters.

The All-Carb, No Exercise Diet Plan

I have a fantastic new diet plan that allows you to exist almost solely on carbs and still lose weight! It’s called “morning” sickness, and so far it’s helped me lose 3 pounds in 10 days. I can’t even remember the last time I ate a vegetable. Fun.

I am also having a ridiculously hard time drinking enough water every day. If I drink more than a few little sips at a time, it feels like it’s just sitting there swooshing around in my stomach and the nausea increases tenfold. I don’t think I’ve managed 8 cups a day once since the morning sickness kicked in. Normally, I have no trouble with water (or veggies) so this is all new territory for me. Fortunately, I’m not throwing up—it’s just nausea. Horrible, miserable, all day nausea.

I have to go in for a progesterone test tomorrow, so I will discuss with my nurse then. In the meantime, hit me with your best advice. Have you tried the Unisom/B6 thing? Did it work for you? How much of each were/are you taking?

I am also open for ideas on how to market my fantastic new diet plan. Infomercial, maybe? “For the bargain price of just $29.99 (plus shipping and handling) we’ll send you your very own starter loaf of white bread! BUT WAIT! Order in the next ten minutes and we’ll DOUBLE your loaf of bread PLUS throw in a box of ramen noodles! (Just pay separate shipping and handling.) Don’t delay—call now!