Just Write

[Oops – this was supposed to publish Saturday, but apparently I saved it as a draft instead…still not gonna proofread, though, so let me know if anything is particularly unintelligible, please and thank you.]

Yet again it’s been ages since I sat in front of a new post screen to write anything other than a letter to Ike; unfortunately, what brings me back again fits my past pattern pretty well. As much as part of me would prefer to let it all go unwritten, the rest of me knows better – this infertility bullshit, my own experiences with RPL, is what prompted me to start writing so many years ago (I think my first post was almost eight years ago, but verifying that can wait for now), so it would be incomplete at best and dishonest at worst to gloss over or omit my latest round, complete with a brand-new-to-me variation: ectopic (probably, anyway?). I am in the car, just starting a long ride home after a week’s vacation, so this is sure to be poorly organized and probably a less than complete account of the whole mess, but my intention is to JUST WRITE.

So much of this pattern is ridiculously predictable for me at this point: not trying/not preventing. At my last annual appointment with my OB, I asked whether I should presume that I would need the same elaborate pharmaceutical cocktail if/when we wanted to try again. He basically said it was up to me, that sometimes it is possible that a successful pregnancy can in some way reset things, so if we wanted to try without all the meds first, feel free. I wouldn’t say I felt very free about it, but I was both hopeful and skeptical that it could be so simple a second time around. Way too scared to actually TRY, as usual, but willing enough to be semi-oblivious and know conceiving was at least possible, timing-wise, especially as it happened mid-Aprilish. Come the beginning of May, I was suspicious, hopeful, terrified to actually test. I was probably four or five days late when I finally did, on a Saturday morning. Clear positive, no squinting required.

Next part of the pattern: the end begins pretty much before the pee’s even dry on the stick. I’d tried to go on about my day as usual, pretending hoping to be self-convincing that it’ll all be fine, so it’s fine, JUST BE FINE. Mike and I even had a conversation about age gaps and another crib versus not converting Ike’s to a toddler bed (not that he ever slept in it, frankly). Stuff we never even pretend to think about for the most part, let alone talk hopefully about. I dared to be pleased that this was the next to last cycle that would have allowed me to escape the AMA label.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Mike got ready and left for work, Ike woke up and we took our time getting ready for a story-time event at the library, stopping first to meet a friend at a local garden center to pick up tomato and pepper plants. I made it through the stories at the library, but as I was chatting with a few other moms afterward, I had the feeling that I ought to hit the restroom and either confirm my fear or calm my paranoia, hoping for the latter…but finding evidence of the former, of course. Of fucking course. Nothing emergency-level, but clearly more than spotting.

We leave. I ought to have taken Ike home for lunch and a nap, but Mike is still at work and I really don’t want to be alone with my thoughts, so we go to my friend’s house to pick up the plants she hauled for us, and end up just staying for the afternoon. Ike skips his nap in favor of way too much Daniel Tiger and Super Why on Netflix; I send my OB an email to request an order for a Monday beta and crack a beer. That sounds foolish, I know, because it could have just been “normal” bleeding, right? Except, you know, the pattern.

On Monday my beta is 100 even. Two days later (they wanted to wait a week but I said please, no, this is not my first – nor third for, that matter – rodeo) it was down to 63. Seems like a(nother) simple chemical. I go ahead and make a follow-up appointment with my OB. Clearly I may as well go ahead and collect all the prescriptions, then take my time filling them and deciding when to actually put them to use. I am thinking I should try to enjoy the summer and maybe we’ll go for it in the fall, or even wait until winter depending how antsy and anxious (the pattern) I feel. One week later my beta’s down to 17. Seems like a nice steady drop, and the bleeding has already stopped; per the pattern I’ve had pretty minimal pain. Nobody called or emailed me to say they’d ordered another test, and I didn’t assume they had*, my f/u appointment scheduled – meaning I didn’t have another beta drawn for…almost three weeks? Shit. At my appointment I asked all my questions about whether it was worth repeating any blood work (for causes, hoping we might see a reason to eliminate even one of the meds I took for my pregnancy with Ike – not likely); he wrote me scripts for met, clo.mid, pred.nisone, and a folate complex for MTHFR, formulated at a compounding pharmacy (not sure if that test result can vary much over time or not, but I was negative a few years ago); he also ordered a test to check my vitamin D levels, and oh yeah, let’s go ahead and check beta hCG one last time…since that order’s still in the system and all.

So, that was dumb, too. It was back up to 65, and then two days later only down to 52. Because it was so early on, my levels had never been anywhere near high enough for an ultrasound to be of any use, my OB was thinking ectopic. Methotrexate for me. Whee. I will save my rant on the logistics of that whole fucking fiasco for next time. Three days after the shots my beta was 7, and on Ike’s birthday it was < 5.

I am going to call that the end for now, lest I wear out my thumbs or find some reason not to post this at all. It’s a timeline of sorts, at least. I’ll try to come back and rant/reason again soon. I hope this finds anyone still reading well.

* NOT per the pattern

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A day late and way more than a dollar short….

Yesterday I was featured on PAIL’s Monday Shapshot.  Here are a couple more photos I took during the same banana breakfast on Saturday morning:

photo (7)

 

 

 

 

 

photo (8)

So that was a fun look back at what was a pretty nice weekend.  This week’s pretty much turned to crap already, frankly.  This morning as I was driving down the highway to drop Ike off at my parents’ house before work, a little star in my windshield that we had “repaired” a while ago decided it was high time to get crackin’.  Literally.  Not sure how well you can see it here, but it split almost all the way across, near the bottom of the windshield.

photo (9)

Was actually kind of cool to see happen, but it would have been a lot cooler if I didn’t have to pay to have it replaced.  I’d even settle for the middle-of-the-road-cool of having a clue as to how I’m going to pay to have it replaced. Terrible timing, as all unforeseen financial obligations are, I suppose. Motherfucking MEH.  I had really been hoping to purchase the digital files, or at the very least a few more nice, larger prints from Ike’s six month photo session, but it looks like I can pretty much kiss that idea goodbye.  Breaks my heart a little bit, but clearly having a structurally sound windshield on the car in which he’s most often transported is more important.

I would really like to get back to actually writing more often here.  Too many months have gone by in which I’ve barely posted anything beyond my letter to Baby Ike, and while I’m still amazed that I even get to do such a thing, I can do better.  I hope, anyway.  I don’t know if it’s some seasonal affective-type stuff, and hopefully not delayed PPD, but I am feeling not so chipper lately.  Not that chipper is a word I’d actually use to describe myself even in the best of moods, but you know what I mean, I’m sure.   I probably just need more sleep (and to write a post about that, at some point, too). Thankfully, PAIL also has the perfect meme to get me going again, at least with posting SOMETHING, if not actual writing – I have 20 questions to answer, hopefully tonight.  Please feel free to harass me if you don’t see them, along with answers, posted soon!

Newtown

It’s now Sunday evening Monday morning, and I’m still having a hard time grasping what happened in Connecticut on Friday.  I saw some headlines via Facebook on Friday morning shortly before we headed into our lunchtime holiday party, and remained fairly glued to my phone throughout, hoping that the initially reported numbers of dead children would be some kind of mathematical fuckup, a false accounting, anything that would make that final number go down, not up by one or two more in the end.  I tried to not think about it and participate in the silly reindeer games during the party, but laughing and enjoying myself felt so horribly wrong.  I desperately wanted to just get up, walk out to the parking lot, and drive to my mom’s house and hold Ike. When I got there a few hours later, she hadn’t even heard the news yet.  I didn’t want to tell her.

I have tried to avoid the news, at least televised – I definitely do not want to see small children trying to explain what they had seen.  I don’t have anything brilliantly insightful to say about it.  It’s horrifying. No explanation could possibly be satisfying.  I don’t know that there is anything we can do to truly prevent all recurrences, but I also don’t think that we should live in fear of something you can never see coming anyway.  I am just trying to enjoy my child, every second that I have the opportunity.  I don’t know what else I can do, other than hold on tight, and still know that I’ll have to let go at times as well.  I am thankful that Ike is still way too young to need an explanation from us.  How can you explain the incomprehensible?

I have seen references a hundred times this weekend – look for the helpers.  There are bad people that do bad things, but most people are helpers.  Thanks, Mister Rogers, for helping us remember that.

Now that we can all breathe again….

Managed to not lose the sticker included with my absentee ballot. WINNING.

I used to write a fair amount about politics, back in the day.  Then, for a long time, I really did not care much.  I was way too preoccupied with anxiety and depression over not knowing whether we’d ever get to bring home a baby, and trying not to acknowledge even to myself that I WANTED to bring home a baby someday.  So it waxes and wanes, my political fervor, I suppose.  But I wanted to quickly touch on one aspect that ties into this blog – the title.  My blogger blog went through several different names, but nothing ever really seemed to click and feel just right.  So for a long while, it was titled simply ‘Undecided,’ and it stayed that way for what felt like an eternity, as I sunk deeper and deeper into apathy, not really caring about much other than making it back to my couch at the end of the day to stare at the TV and try to not think about the subject that was all I could ever really think about.  Then came the 2008 election season, and along with it, Ms. Sarah Palin.  I am about as liberal/libertarian as they come, I think, but I must circle back around and offer sincere gratitude to John McCain for choosing her as his running mate, because it PISSED ME OFF how pandering and condescending and frankly just ignorant the whole thing was.  It made me realize, OH!  I CAN HAZ FEELINGS!  ABOUT STUFF! IN THE WORLD!  And I began to care again, to be less stuck in my head, in the never-ending internal dialogue that I rarely dared to even voice aloud.  Granted, this was all after my very first miscarriage, and I had varying reactions after each subsequent one, but during that campaign I decided that ‘Undecided’ was the very last thing that my blog should be named.  Still lacking any creativity or willingness to commit to tying any one specific word or phrase to my own life’s chronicles (what can I say, I hate to be defined.  Too constricting.), I simply changed it to ‘Not Undecided.’  It stayed that way long enough that I eventually started seeing the phrase turn up in my keywords/search terms, so I figured it had better stay that way, so that anyone looking for it without a bookmark could find it again. And so here we are.

(I never did change the url to reflect the title, though.  I have often thought that it should be ‘hard to MAKE a human,’ rather than ‘hard to be human,’ but again, I kind of like the built-in history reflection, even if I’m the only one who can recognize it.)

So, while I am not Obama’s biggest fan (looooooong way to go on civil liberties, civil rights, drug policy, the whole not killing innocent people thing, etc., etc.), I am deeply, deeply relieved to not be entering a Mittens presidency, for I firmly believe that it would be a far scarier thing than what we have now, which I will continue to critique (though not always here, I’m sure).  Shudder.  I think that’s all I need to say about that.

(Except also, YAY for the huge advances made in the Senate and House races, as well as ballot initiatives for marriage equality and legalization.  YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!)

Helpless

The nurse from the GI clinic called a little while ago with results from yesterday’s blood draw (which I had neglected to write about here).  She said that his AST and ALT levels are still elevated (145 and 40, respectively).  The AST does seem to be going up, but the ALT seems to be going down, according to the numbers she gave me yesterday when she said we had to go for another draw:  AST/ALT 101/81 on 8/24, and 116/64 on 9/6.  Not that this means anything to me, other than that we all still know nothing.  They are referring us to a liver specialist in Cincinnati (!!).  We have to do another bout with formula, 72 hours this time, and then redraw blood again.

I’m stumped.  Clearly, if he really has an issue that needs addressing, yes, by all means, let’s address it.  I don’t want to miss something that would lead to…what, liver failure?  Jesus.  But he’s still gaining weight and growing, generally happy, and does not seem ill to me.  The only thing that is not textbook normal is some green poop and maybe some excess gas (and these AST & ALT levels, I suppose).  I didn’t even think to ask while I had the nurse on the phone if I should bother continuing with the dairy and soy elimination or if these tests instead indicate something physiological that my diet won’t affect.  I called back and left a message, but I’m guessing I won’t hear until tomorrow or maybe even Friday.  They even said that the referrals aren’t quick, so it may be weeks before we see the specialist.  Does that speak to the assumed urgency?  If it’s not urgent, then what the fuck is the point of all this?  Mike asked an interesting question – how would all of this be handled if we were uninsured?  I hate to think they’re just bilking Anthem, but hell if I really know what’s going on.  It’s almost a moot point.  I can’t NOT continue on with their recommendations, right?  I want to say that I don’t know how many more times I can hold my squirming, screaming child as they draw blood, but if I decline….what, they call Children Services on me?  I think I will have to just feel like an asshole no matter what I do.

This is wearing on me.  I can’t concentrate here at work.  I just want to go pick him up and hold him.  I’m so afraid they will tell me I have to stop breastfeeding, but I can’t understand how that would help.  What the fucking fuck?!?!!

I think I’m going to take the following two citations when we go to see the specialist – I don’t know if they are completely applicable, but I can’t help but feel like they’re trying to compare his bloodwork to a standard set by formula-fed babies.  I want to call bullshit, but I don’t know if I ‘d sleep any easier if I did.

Does breast feeding influence liver biochemistry?
Differences in serum biochemistry between breast-fed and formula-fed infants.

Any medical-background geeks out there who feel comfortable either reassuring me or encouraging me to push for more urgent investigation?  I am still so torn between not-gonna-worry-about-it and OMGCAN’TSTOPWORRYING.

Sad

Tomorrow will be my last half day at work. Somehow it’s more upsetting than starting back after being off for nine and a half weeks was. I don’t want to, I wish I didn’t have to. It’s only one full day this week, Friday, and then we’ll have the weekend together, but I can’t wrap my mind around how I’ll get through five full days next week. I know it’s sort of selfish; it’s not as though I’m really worried about how Ike will do with my mom, because they have a great time together. I am still grateful to have the privilege of this heartache, but it aches all the same.

Forgetting and Remembering

I forgot the adapters for the breastmilk bags at home when I packed up my pump parts this morning.  Going to be a fun exercise in coordination pumping here at work in a couple of hours.

I forgot the stool sample cards by the changing table when I grabbed an extra fuzzy blanket out of Ike’s nursery to take to my mom’s this morning.  Good thing she has no qualms about saving a dirty diaper for me, should he produce one while he’s with her.

I forgot to grab the apples out of the refrigerator to bring to work this morning.  I’m hungry, and not well prepared to undertake the recommended elimination of soy from my diet, in addition to dairy.  After five plus weeks, I’m just about used to not having all the delicious, creamy, milk-derived foodstuffs anymore, but removing soy from the already small mix feels like an even bigger mountain to climb.  I don’t resent doing it, but….fuck, I’m  just HUNGRY.  I had potato chips for dinner last night.  Far from showering myself in dark leafy greens.  It’s been more about bacon (pop your popcorn in the grease – do it, it will make you feel good!) and those damn kettle cooked potato chips than anything remotely actually healthy.  I need to make a trip to the local organic grocery store (no Whole Paycheck in our vicinity) and find some rice and/or almond milk and some dried beans and chickpeas and some tahini and christ on a soy and dairy free cracker some good, fresh stuff I can and might actually want to eat.  I’m dumbfounded to somehow, despite the crap I’ve been eating, already be within five or so pounds of my prepregnancy weight.  Bacon and potato chips can’t be given credit for that.  I think I have to credit stress and rarely having time to eat.  Not the healthy way I envisioned getting to this point.

***

I remember that this is all still far superior and easier to undertake and afford than choosing to give him some crazily expensive soy and dairy free formula.

I remember that the helpless feeling of holding him as he screamed while they took blood from his arm will stay with me far longer than it did with him.  He’s already forgotten, I hope, and I hope it won’t need to be repeated.  At least the actual venipuncture (the teeny tiny tourniquet alone will break your heart) means they didn’t have to squeeze a heel or finger stick wound until they collected enough to fill the half dozen (at least?  I couldn’t bear to count) vials.

I remember that, as difficult as this all may seem right now, it’s still likely nothing other than prolonged breastmilk jaundice-related weirdness exacerbated by a dairy or soy (or other?) sensitivity or Rh factor incompatibility. We are only pursuing the additional testing to rule out things that could be serious.  Just being in a children’s hospital makes it obvious that we are damned lucky.  Things could be so much worse, and they are, for so many kids and their families.

I remember that I’m extraordinarily lucky to even have this baby to worry over.