Thursday, February 9, 2017

Abortion Week

Oh, hi!
 
Let's just skip over the part where I admonish myself for not writing in this space for an actual year. 
 
I'm--surprise!--25 weeks pregnant right now, which makes this "Abortion Week." At the same time a Senate Committee in PA just confirmed a bill to limit abortions after 20 weeks and ban the D&E procedure. There was ONE woman on that committee. There were no public hearings or even any input from the medical community. Then yesterday the full Senate voted to advance the bill to the state House. Thankfully, oh so thankfully, the governor has promised to veto.
My abortion started at 25 weeks, 3 days days with Blue. I think since I am now pregnant at a different time of year, I haven't made the week-by-week comparisons. Until this week. It has really hit me, and I've also been thinking about Chris quite a bit. The origin of these thoughts is that I wonder where are the men in the fight for reproductive rights? Chris so clearly benefited from the fact that I could get an abortion at 25 weeks (I think legally that counts as 23 weeks, FYI), but does he care that this right could very easily be limited in the near future? Or that other men and women haven't been able to make the choice that we did because there was no way they could possibly have afforded a $4,500 abortion? Or they didn't live close enough to a state where the abortion wasn't yet forbidden? What would have happened to them? What will happen to them?
About Chris. I want to forgive him. A few months ago, maybe the anniversary of Blue's death and birth, I felt like I could almost forgive him. Almost...but not quite. I wonder so many things. Mainly, if he doesn't have a living child now, does he think of himself as a dad? I am curious enough about the answer to this question that I consider reaching out to him. I haven't yet.

I have been thinking of testifying before a legislative body or a court in opposition to abortion restrictions. I would really love to be a witness for this cause. I tell my story out loud to myself sometimes on my long drive to work. I fought like hell to get someone aside form a genetic counselor to talk to us after we got Blue's diagnosis. I still find this baffling and infuriating. What the hell did a genetic counselor have to say at that point? Like, we're done with that part. A doctor did step into the meeting with the genetic counselor. I don't recall now if she was a respiratory therapist (actually, that is not a doctor), pulmonologist, or what. I'm not sure I ever knew. But I remember her. What she looked like. Where she sat in the room in relation to us. The expression on her face when Chris asked her, "Does it hurt?" A question I hadn't thought to ask. She leaned her head back a bit and closed her eyes, nodded up and down slightly as she said quietly, "I think so. Because you have to breathe. And when you can't breathe, it hurts." That was it for Chris. It was so cut and dried for him. Chris' feelings, after all, were possibly the least selfish of the two of us. So I think that maybe I could, maybe I can, forgive him. For everything that happened after that. For his different path through grief. For his not being able to help me, and even for his not wanting to.

It's been over five years now since Blue was here and then not here. My feelings about him have changed so much. I don't miss him so often anymore. I don't think about him every day. I don't imagine that he should be part of this family I have now. Though I guess I never did. But the grief--the abject pain of losing my first child--is unforgettable. It still hurts now to think about how much it hurt then. . . . Yeah. I think about that pain maybe more than I think of its reason. That part I never really expected.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Universe Mocks Me

******WARNING****** period talk below. blood. tampons. jelly blobs. etc.

You guys. As you are aware I have been trying to conceive. If you've really been following along, you know that I am technically always trying to conceive. It's now been 8 months of periods with no birth control, but no pregnancy. After having cycles of 25 or 26 days, then two in a row at 23 days, I had a 30-day cycle. I tried using OPKs starting as if on a 23-day cycle, but I didn't get a surge in the first week so I took another set for another week. I never actually detected a surge, though there were 2-3 tests in a row around Day 16 that had dark lines. I considered that maybe my sample was diluted because after 3 pregnancies I have a hard time holding my pee for 4 hours in a row. I was expecting another 30-day cycle.

So. On Day 23 I started spotting. Light pink after sex. Then brown spotting for 2 more days. I thought, hmm...implantation bleeding? I took a test on the morning of Day 27. Negative. OK, it was early. That was Sunday. We had plans for a day in NYC that obviously involved drinking because when you ditch your kids and go to NYC of course there is brunch and favorite wine bar in the old neighborhood, etc. Yay, drinking.* I decided to test again on Tuesday. I woke up around 5 am because LJ was whining, and got up to pee so I figured why not? By the time I got out of the bathroom he had gone back to sleep. I wanted to go back to sleep too, because negative. Around 7 I woke up to a warm, gushing feeling. Are you kidding me? This is not the first time this has happened! I even checked the TP at 5 am before testing because this has happened before. I'm getting my period on Day 29 and it's starting out strong. With clots. (But it's still brown.) I insert a super tampon thinking I will need it.

Around mid-day I decide I need to replace the tampon. I can barely get the thing out. Which is pretty amazing after 2 (full term) deliveries. Seriously, I had to do reverse Kegels to remove it. And it had a few brown spots on it. I put it back in. By evening I took it out and haven't bled since. That was yesterday.

What is going on???!!!??? I have been trying to read up and it seems maybe I DO have fibroids? Oh, the irony! I suppose maybe I will go back to the RE (with tail between legs). Saline sonogram--let's do this! Clearly something is not going right. We know it took me at least 4 cycles to start ovulating after I started getting my period again following breastfeeding, and maybe up to 6. Then I cycled short, then suddenly 30 days, and now, like, nothing. In the back of my mind I'm thinking maybe my tests are duds. I'm so silly. But they're made in China. I don't know. Maybe they are labeled wrong and are LH tests instead of HCG tests. I made an appointment with my OB in 2 weeks and will see what he days about everything. He's way more cool about things than the RE and I really prefer that angle. Another 2-week-wait.

*I just read that the CDC recommends no drinking at all for women who aren't on birth control. WTF? I know that if you think you might be pregnant, even if the test is negative, then it doesn't actually mean "yay, drinking," but after planning a day away for the first time in at least a year and a half, I was not about to forego a couple mimosas at brunch, followed by a few glasses of wine at dinner like 2 hours later, based on a negative pregnancy test! Also, the article I read about the CDC recommendation noted that most women don't know they're pregnant until 4-6 weeks. First of all, you're not even pregnant during the first 2 weeks. Then, for at least another week the embryo is not even attached to anything. There is no way that a few drinks can invade, like, every cell in your body, including the free-floating embryo. Related: not knowing you're pregnant until 6 weeks sounds like such a luxury.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Updates, Schmupdates

Yeah, it's been a while. I just read over the last few prior posts so I can cut to the chase:

1--I have a new job and I am sort of enjoying it. I'm not pissed all the time at how terrible my workplace is, like at my old job, because it's not terrible. I have an hour and ten commute (sometimes more, sometimes less) and I don't like that. But I get a telecommute day once per week where I go to the closest downtown and work in a nice office at my dad's company. My regular office is suburban and I like that for the free and convenient parking, and also the numerous running trails nearby, but I love being in an urban environment once in a while and going to Starbucks without even having to go outside! Also one of my favorites restaurants is in the first floor of the building, though I have yet to go since starting work there. I even get a free parking spot at a nearby garage. It's pretty sweet. So I guess that's my favorite part of the new job--working alone near my home. I should lower my expectations. I mean, I'm still a practicing lawyer.

2--I am not pregnant. I got further results from the RE and there's like, nothing wrong. Prolactin levels normal, estradiol normal, FSH on the high end of normal, and I supposedly ovulated in November at least, though I think the mid-luteal phase progesterone level was still low. I was cycling every 23 days for two months in a row. I decided against any interventions, even ovulation predictor kits, because I am an arrogant jerk. After having sex a bunch of days in a row, I'm pretty sure we took like a week off, then I got my period after 30 days. What a tease. Thought I could be pregnant; turns out I wasn't even having sex during my fertile days. I used OPKs this month and I'm not sure that I got a surge. The line was never as dark as the control line, though for 2-3 tests it was almost, and was definitely darker than other test days. if that was actually a surge and my sample was just diluted or something, then I am on track for another 30-day cycle. I understand it's possible to surge and then the egg does not get released. So I don't know what's going on, I only know I am or was having some sort of ovulatory dysfunction. I didn't want to pursue treatment with the RE because she insisted on doing a saline sonogram before discussing treatment. She told me at my first visit that I didn't have to do it if I didn't want to, but when I eventually declined, the nurse at the clinic told me to call back when I was ready to move forward. So here we are almost three months later, and I haven't done anything to try to get pregnant. I just don't understand why we are still looking for other things that could be wrong, when we know that I was not ovulating and did not have a regular cycle. And when that can be fixed with really simple stuff like Clomid. Like do you really need to check my uterus for fibroids when I'm not getting pregnant for lack of ovulation? I just thought it was an unnecessary intervention at this point. And by the way it costs $750 plus whatever facility charge from the hospital. And while my insurance covers treatment for diagnosing fertility issues, it has a $2000 deductible, and then won't cover any actual fertility treatments. If I WERE ovulating regularly, then I would be okay with checking for fibroids. And I don't know what the semen analysis costs anymore because I threw away the info sheet, but I'm pretty sure we don't need a $400 or whatever SA for my 31-year-old husband with zero health issues and who has impregnated me twice on like 3-4 tries. I feel like the clinic is just looking to make money and scare me into buying more interventions than I need. And by the way, I did want to move forward, that's why I squeezed my way into a canceled appointment in November, but I don't want to with this clinic. There are two other options in town. They all get bad reviews and good reviews. If I'm not pregnant this month I'm going to go back to my OB and try the less intense route. I just seriously don't need stress in another aspect of my life. All my test results were NORMAL. I have TIME. At least some. I hate you, RE. Well, that was not a brief update at all.

3-Been thinking of Blue a lot. I don't always feel sad when I think about him lately. I'm not having as many thoughts of the utter despair I felt when he died. Nevermind, I'm tearing up. I'm still sad.

4-One of my best friends from growing up sent me a text about 6 weeks ago that she got a job here and was moving back to our (crappy) home town. The recent communications before that made it sound like she and her husband were changing their minds. I was ecstatic! She has an almost 5- and almost 3-year-old and we'd been getting the kids together when she was visiting her parents. She gives me her son's hand me downs, some of which come from an older cousin who is also named Jed. OK, so, one week before she is to start the new job, in PA, her husband has a heart attack and dies. The worst news I've had in a long time. Like four years long time. It's awful. She actually started her job only a day or two late. She is living with her parents now. What else do you do? That's been sad, too, around here.

5-Farther down the scale of sadness, I am incredibly bummed that I am such an idiot and did not make an effort to go snowboarding last Sunday after we got 30" of snow in about 24 hours, ending at 9 pm Sat night, with skies clearing into a perfect sunny day. Perfect, epic blue bird. Granted my driveway was buried, but my street was plowed and what the heck was I thinking? Literally a once in a lifetime opportunity. And I was like, I can't go snowboarding, I have these kids. Um, that is what I have a husband for--to watch my kids on an epic powder day!!! I don't deserve to ride powder.

Alright...ciao for now!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Actually, I Can Imagine

I can't imagine. I've been thinking about this expression lately. About how it's not a terrible thing to say to a friend in a terrible situation, but how it's not great either. Anyone with any degree of empathy probably CAN imagine...they just don't want to.

It's the 3-year-old version of "I can't."

Put on your shoes. I can't.

Wash your hands before supper. I can't.

Imagine having to decide whether your baby should live or die and then get an abortion at 25 weeks, after you've physically felt the life within your baby and watched your belly grow for him. I can't.

I just can't bear to do that. But I did. I had to. I mean, I had to decide whether Blue would live or die. I know that I didn't have to choose the abortion. My dad told me afterwards that had I chosen to let Blue live, my sadness would only have been delayed. Protracted. I was going to watch him die. At some point. And to think of that is fucking misery. And so I can't imagine.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dead Orchids #Microblog Mondays

I'm not sure why I kept this dead orchid. I suppose I like the way the dried flowers hung on to the plant. My other orchids have wilted and drooped and fallen from their stems before they could dry and hold on. I bought this orchid the day I thought I miscarried LJ. I had taken an early pregnancy test and gotten a faint positive. Five days later I was bleeding a bit, right on what I had expected to be Day 1. I dragged myself to work, disappointed and sad, and bought this plant at a grocery store at lunch, hoping to cheer myself up. The bleeding did not continue throughout the day, so I took another test that night, and had a dark positive. Relief! Excitement! I had hoped for another boy. The orchid thrived in our apartment, but when we moved to the house it quickly faded. I blamed the damp conditions in the house (now fixed, thankfully). So, I guess the orchid reminds me of perseverance. The little baby that didn't die. The house that was fixed. And of course, my memory of Blue, that wilts and fades from time to time, but will never, ever die.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My Trip to the RE

It's almost Blue's due date but the date (November 19) doesn't seem to carry that much weight anymore. I mean, whenever I see the date written down, it slaps me in the face just a little, but I'm not afraid of it. It's just another day in the months that are heavy as the light wanes and I subconsciously if not consciously realize that my first born was supposed to be here but he's not.

I went to the RE today for an initial consult and had to talk a little bit about having the abortion, why we found out so late, which mutation for CF that I carry. I didn't get emotional. Later I wondered if the nurse thought that I hadn't really cared that much when it happened, either.

So...the RE. I thought I was just being proactive and trying to sort out what might be wrong for when I really want to get pregnant again, which is not now because I am starting the new job in two weeks. I guess when you go to the RE you have signed up for aggressive intervention though because she was like, "um, you're 38, there is no more waiting." She didn't really say that, but when I said that if she thought, for example, going on birth control for three months might sort out my problem...she shot that down super quick. My OB had suggested waiting another six months after the Low P test in August, which I thought was too conservative. Now I want to go back to him instead!

I will be getting lab work on Nov. 28 and again on Cycle Day 3. Once we have those results I guess there will be a more complete picture of my problem. She also said Mr. E will have to get a semen analysis prior to any treatment, and I guess there's nothing wrong with being comprehensive, but I just wanted some encouragement that, having had three prior pregnancies, maybe my odds were different than your ordinary 38-year-old's. I had an ultrasound and she saw 13 follicles. She said that anything over 12 is good. So like, what's the problem? Look, I know nothing, but I think I just need a trigger shot for ovulation and then everything will be good. If that is naive, fine, I would like to wallow in ignorance for at least a little while. Also, I doubt we can afford any expensive treatments. Years ago, before I even wanted to have kids, I remember reading about a women who had two children and who was going to great lengths to have a third. She was spending over $100,000 to try to achieve another pregnancy, and I remember thinking, "Lady, count your blessings. That is extreme for someone who has a family with two children in it." Am I going to be that lady now?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Somebody Turned 1 Today

It was me:




LJ is one! We had donuts and all the kids played in the yard. No one cried. It was awesome. There were two 9-year-olds who were very good sports about playing with all the younger kids and everyone got along. We did not have any activities or anything planned. We didn't even put a candle on LJ's donut and barely remembered to sing Happy Birthday. Poor, second child! I wanted to put up more photos but something is weird and I can't preview them first, so this is all I have the patience for.

LJ was an angel all day today as always. Sprout fell asleep in the car on the 6-minute drive we took to go take a hike (literally), so we will be up until 11:30 tonight. Good thing, I guess--did you hear there is a super blood moon tonight?

A quick update on everything:
1. I am still networking and such, as I have not even gotten any interviews lately. I realized that graduating law school into worst legal economy ever will haunt me for the duration of my career. There are over 100 applicants, according to the job boards, for many of the positions I consider. FML.

2. I peed on a stick on Day 28 in the middle of the night. My logic went something like this: "I've missed my period, as I was expecting to start on Day 25 or 26. I should test if I get up to pee in the middle of the night. Why am I getting up to pee in the middle of the night? I'm probably pregnant." Peed on stick at 3:08 a.m. Started period at 7:37 a.m. NOT pregnant, and wasted a test. I'm bummed, but not that bummed.

3. Sprout has been sporting a buzz cut for the past few weeks. He got lice. Then I got lice. Then Mr. E got lice. Gag. Sprout had long hair and I'm sad that we cut it all off, but then on Friday a kid had to get picked up from daycare again because he had lice again, so I guess I'm glad that Sprout will not be likely to get it again because if he does we will be able to catch it right away. Speaking of catching it right away...if your kid gets lice and you realize he may have had it for a while and that he was sleeping in your bed before you KNEW he had lice, you should probably not wait to start combing your hair. It wasn't THAT bad, but just don't.

4. Sprout used Blue's quilt the other night when we went to bed. It was really sweet, I told him it was his big brother's quilt and that I would tell him about him someday. He liked that the quilt was so colorful. I missed my oldest boy.

Gotta go. Time to check the moon.