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:

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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.

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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!

Stuffs

Health stuff:  I took Ike for the ultrasound of his noggin this morning. Of course it will be a few days before the radiologist reads the images and gets the information back to the pediatrician’s office, so we don’t really know anything yet, other than that he is still the offspring of a big-headed father, so I am not too nervous about that.  Just glad that his fontanel is still open enough that they could do an ultrasound and not have to knock him out for an MRI.  Still no word from the hepatologist’s office in Cincinnati about the latest round of bloodwork. Not sure if I should call them and ask, or assume they just wanted it as a new baseline and I’ll hear from them after we repeat it next month.  Again, not too nervous about it since the doctor was so reassuring.

Halloween stuff:  Our Beggar’s Night (do they still call it that, or is it back to Trick or Treat?) was postponed due to the icky weather, so we’ll be dressing Ike up to hand out candy on Saturday instead of last night.  We did go to a friend’s kids Halloween party on Friday, but it was so warm in the house that he only had his Tigger outfit on for a few minutes.  Didn’t even get a picture, so we’ll have to try that and the panda outfit both on Saturday.  He’ll surely drool and/or spit up at least enough to justify that wardrobe change.

Mike and I did go to an adults’ party on Saturday.  He recycled his Dick Cheney mask from several years ago, and I cobbled together a Toddlers & Tiaras costume using my sister’s tutu from the box of old dance recital costumes in my parents’ basement, the tiara from my bachelorette party, pigtails, excessive (for me) eye makeup and one of Ike’s future sippy cups.  Plus my I FUCK LIKE A GIRL t-shirt because, well, seems legit, right?

There was beer, and plenty of it:

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I’ve misplaced my sippy cup, but I think I like this better!

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Aren’t we cute?

Supply stuff:  have been having a fairly significant dip in my pumping output, and have been trying many things to get back on track. Thankfully Ike has only had to have one or less partial bottles of formula on really low days to tide him over.  I hate that he’s had any, but it’s not enough to diminish the benefits of breastmilk, I’m sure.  I ended up breaking down and buying a new pump.  The one my friend loaned me had already been through three babies, so I think I was lucky to have gotten as far as I did with it.  The new one is helping, though I’m still not ending up with much of a surplus every day.  I think it’s partially hormonal (maybe my period is about to come back? Eeeeeeeek!), and partially stress-related, and was exacerbated at first by a failing pump.  I started calcium/magnesium supplements, which I should have done while I was off dairy anyway, have been trying to add an extra pumping session at work whenever I can, and am drinking Mother’s Milk tea like a fiend until my fenugreek and blessed thistle arrive via Amazon.  Hoping I’ll be able to ramp back up to get a few extra bottles in the fridge again on a regular basis.  They never hang around long enough to be worth putting into the freezer anymore, so I just try to rotate FIFO at my parents’ house, and anything left on a Friday, of which there was almost none last Friday, can come home for the weekend, letting Mike take an overnight shift on occasion.

Development stuff:  my mom said that Ike’s been showing off a new consonant, and it’s M!  He’s been saying MEH, which cracks me up, because…that’s so my kid.  Not that I really think he means it like I would like to interpret it, but funny all the same.

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So perhaps there’s a chance that Mama will end up being his first word after all.  I haven’t yet actually heard him say this myself, but I can’t imagine that my mom would tell tall tales.  She also noted that he enjoyed seeing his first snowflakes yesterday.  They usually walk her dog every morning, but since it was so miserable outside they just took her out in the yard instead of taking the stroller around the block. A few flakes fell on his face and he smiled.  Hopefully we won’t have a totally snow-free winter like we did last year, and he’ll be able to really enjoy some snow as he gets bigger over the next several months.

That’s all for now, I suppose.  Oh!  Tonight I get to go meet and visit with my friend’s sister’s newborn baby girl.  I think she’s only threeish weeks old, and I cannot wait.  I have a total newborn addiction anymore.  So grateful to be able to enjoy things like this now.  There was a time not so very long ago when I would never consider doing such a thing, because it would just have made me too jealous and upset.  Yet now I’m excited and looking forward to hearing her birth story and passing on some cloth diaper geekery (and supplies).  Fun!

Hope you’re all faring well if you were in or near Sandy’s path.

Digestive Drama, Continued

Ike’s repeat LFT still showed some elevated levels (AST & ALT above high normal, and bilirubin still slightly high), so this afternoon we are off to Cincinnati to see the hepatologist.  Boo.  I really hope they do not want to do anything more invasive than blood tests.  The finger sticks are hard enough to take; I don’t know how I’d handle anything more involved, honestly.  But of course I want to get this settled and figured out, if at all possible.  Will be asking about my diet, too.  Part of me wouldn’t hesitate at all if they said to go ahead and eliminate gluten and corn, too (or anything else), and part of me is dying for them to say, go ahead and eat dairy and soy again if you like.  Mike had to use a Groupon for Jet’s pizza before it expired last night, and I very nearly actually cried when I saw the boxes in the kitchen.

His four-month checkup at the regular pediatrician’s office went fairly well on Friday, though.  The vaccinations again seemed to make him sleepy for a day and a half or so, but he seems to generally take them well enough.  No fever that I noticed or that seemed to bother him, so that’s good.  He’s near the middle of the pack in height and weight, but his head circumference is nearly off the chart, so they want to order – get this – an ultrasound, to make sure that there is no fluid where there shouldn’t be any, or anything else of concern.  I am tempted to bring Mike into the office so they can see that it’s likely just familial big-headedness.  I don’t really know the scale for hat sizes, but Mike says he wears a seven and a half fitted hat, which I guess is big?  I again don’t feel like I can refuse the recommendation, like we should do it just to rule out anything of actual concern, but JESUS.  Enough with the ultrasounds already.  Given that he was scanned weekly from a six weeks’ gestation embryo through the first trimester, plus an NT scan, plus growth scans and plus BPPs, then the abdominal ultrasound, there better not be research coming out in the next few years that’ll show any real risk from the procedures.  Eek.

This also surely means that we’ll be meeting our ridiculous health insurance deductible again this year.  Perhaps I should make an appointment with a dermatologist, for shits and giggles.  And maybe Mike could get the MRI for his hip that had been recommended but declined due to cost a while back.  Le sigh.

Wish us luck, if you can, and I will try to update again this afternoon or this evening.

Actually happy during stomach minutes

Four Months

Reprieve

The GI clinic left me a message earlier today saying that Ike’s blood test from Saturday looked better.  So that’s good!  They said to continue breastfeeding (phew), which we of course had already done.  Or, rather, he had at least started getting breastmilk via bottle again.  I am finding it hard to get into a rhythm with pumping and matching it to his feeding patterns and timing it all right.  Seems like half the time, even when we are together, I end up pumping because he just had a bottle (granted, it’s great to occasionally get longer stretches of uninterrupted sleep), or he ends up having a bottle because I just pumped.  Chicken and egg, I guess.  I am basically still letting him tell us when he’s hungry (and sleepy, for that matter).  I think it’s less stressful for all of us to not try to get him to stick to a real schedule yet (I’m not really a scheduleish person, so that helps, I’m sure).  Luckily, he most often sleeps through the night, so naps and feedings and snacks can still be random and on-demand, at least for a little while longer.  What’s going to be weird is that his daytime schedule will basically end up being set by my mom.  Since he’ll be with her five days out of seven, whatever works for her is what will be best.  On one hand that’s nice; I don’t have to worry about figuring it out myself, but on the other hand…it kinda sucks.  I wish I had the option of being the one to have to figure it out.  Le sigh.  I was actually sort of happy at the dumb mistake I made this morning: when dropping Ike off at my mom’s, I forgot to unload the stroller out of the back of my car.  They use it every morning to take the dog for a walk (um, that’s a weird sentence construction…the baby goes in the stroller, not the dog), so when I took an early lunch to bring it back to them I got to feed him.  Or, at least top him off (he’d just had a bottle, natch).  So nice to get that midday bonus cuddle and nurse him into his nap. Very much did not want to come back to work after that.  Le double sigh.

Anyway, yes.  Improvement is good.  We have to retest again in three weeks.  I’m still playing phone tag with the nurse to find out if we need to make an appointment with the hepatologist in Cincinnati.  I’m hoping not, but that may depend on the retest in three weeks.  Er – they just called back.  Yes, will depend on the retest numbers, but in the meantime we are supposed to keep our follow-up appointment with the NP next Monday.  I’m not sure how that will go, but I suppose it’s good to get another weight check at least. He’s getting so stinking big!  I would think that would be the best indicator of a properly functioning digestive system, but if we need to step it up with the hepatologist, the GI says it would be to rule out any infectious or inflammatory processes or problems with his bile ducts.  That’s all well and good, I suppose.  I would just like to minimize those awful blood draws and not get any more invasive, pleeeeeeease.  The bills are now rolling in, too, and that’s certainly not fun.  I haven’t even looked at them, honestly, but there have been plenty of envelopes in the mailbox.  Our only hope is that maybe being a children’s hospital they will be accommodating of our brokeness and let us set up a payment plan.  Otherwise, we are going to be fucked. Stupid high-deductible health insurance.  Better than nothing, probably, but it sure doesn’t feel like it when you’re beyond covered preventive care.

Whatever.  We’ll survive, one way or another.  I guess if we end up eating beans and rice for the short or long term, at least there’s neither dairy nor soy in that!  I am leaning toward believing that neither of those is the issue, but I’m loathe to move on to gluten or corn at this point.  What will be left?  Ah, yes – bacon and potatoes!  Or at least potatoes.  I hear that this summer’s drought may bring us a bacon shortage. Egads.

In cuter news, my friend is now fairly obsessed with photography and keeps adding to her stash of gear. This equals ridiculously cute photos of Ike, and plenty of them!  Will share lots once I get them, but in the meantime enjoy this little bit of nonsense:

Hope your week is off to a good start.  If not, I recommend a mustachioed nap – it works wonders around here.

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.

Three Months

Dear Baby Ike,

Today you are three months old, and I miss you like crazy!  I know you will be having a great time with Grandma every weekday while I go to work, but I must admit that I am quite jealous of all that daytime playtime.  I hate to think of missing out on all those smiles and giggles.  Definitely don’t deprive Grandma of any, but please save some for me every day, okay?  

Last night was your first time with a not-technically-family “babysitter.”  Your “Aunt” Jen came over to play with you and take care of you for a couple of hours while Mama and Daddy went out for some sushi to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  She also brought her fancy camera and played a little dress-up, so there will be lots of cute photos to come.  You did a great job of giving her a little taste of motherhood – in the space of two short hours you spit up on her, and let loose that giant poop you’d been holding onto all day. Heehee.  I also had forgotten to take the travel disk out of the bottle we had in the fridge for you, so she had to figure that out on the fly while you cried a bit.  She definitely didn’t miss out on any of the important tasks and challenges of your care and feeding – way to not make it too easy for her!  She did an excellent job, though, and we’re so lucky to have her so close by and so willing and excited to hang out with you whenever she can.  She always tells me how in love with you she is – she has been spoiling you since you were just a tiny fetus!  You guys will have all sorts of weird inside jokes as you grow up, I just know it (there is already something about being too evolved to eat bananas that cracks me up, and if you end up liking pickles it will be all her fault!).  I really look forward to seeing you build fun and funny relationships with all the people in our lives that love you so.  We have several very interesting characters in our little circle; I’m sure it’s true what they say about it taking a village to raise a child, and we certainly are lucky to have such wonderful and hilarious people in your village.

The past month has flown by; I can’t believe we are already halfway to the half-year mark!  The last three months have been the best of my life, even if they have been some of the hardest as well.  You make everything that seems difficult so very worth it, without even having to try.  I’m so happy to be your mama. Daddy and I love you to pieces; thank you for being exactly who you are (not that you could try to do otherwise yet) – I hope we can always help you do just that, and give you the tools to be as happy being you as being your parents has made us.

Love,
Mama