Monday, August 31, 2009

What's in a Name?

First, thank you all for your reassurances that my picture post didn't make you hate me, that it's okay to put up some photos and that this being my blog, I ought to post what I want. With respect to that last item, it's true, but what makes blogging so fulfilling for me is the connection, interaction and back-and-forth I have with you. I could "document" my days in a private diary, but I wouldn't have gained anything I that I have as a result of my connection with you all. I treasure what we have and I would not want to hurt that connection for anything. So, thank you.

Now then, a little issue seems to be presenting itself.

According to my nurse practitioner's first guess, the ancient Chinese gender test, and every other bit of folklore, I'm expecting a baby boy. I can visualize him, as a toddler, with his adorable hair parted on the side. I lick my fingers and smooth it down. He has an adorable little smiling face. Twinkly eyes. An untied shoelace. I love him.

But I don't know his name. And figuring it out seems to be presenting a wee problem.

My DH and I started tossing around names last weekend. I don't even know who started it. But there we were. I told him previously that I wanted a name that is normal. A nice, normal name that won't cause people to ask him, all his life long, "Huh? What's your name? How do you spell that?" But I don't want a top 10 name either. Although I absolutely love the name Jack, it's become too popular lately. I don't want him to be one of 6 Jack's in his little first grade class.

My husband, on the other hand, is hell bent on picking the most bizarre, grotesque names I could possibly think up. Now I'm not going to tell you what any of them are, because everyone likes and dislikes different names, and maybe these are names you would think are adorable. But for each of us, there are names that we just automatically associate with horrible traits. The list is different for each of us, but you know what I mean.

I happen to think the name Benjamin is sweet, and Ben suits a man quite well. But maybe you grew up with a horrible nose-picking bully named Benny, and so the thought of naming your beloved child Benjamin turns your stomach.

Or maybe you love the older names, like Edith and Matilda and Gertrude. Maybe not. Maybe you you associate them with wrinkled old women sporting white buns on their heads.

See what I mean?

So just think for a moment about the names you yourself associate with (1) wife beater, belly hanging out, cigar smoking, beer drinking red neck; (2) the kid who will surely get beat up on the playground for his name that rhymes with something disgusting; (3) Nerdy, ears sticking out, buck tooth poindexter; (4) someone who smells like rotten eggs; (5) serial murderers; (6) unpronounceable foreign names; (7) an 80 year old man with burly tufts of hair growing out of his get the idea. These are the names my DH is suggesting.

I finally said, "Are you screwing with me? You would not seriously name a child that?!" I told him that I'm getting one chance (I hope) in this life to name a child, and I want it to be a name I at least LIKE.

Meanwhile, he didn't care much for my choices either, for some reason I couldn't comprehend.

The ironic thing is that we discovered tons of girls names we can agree on. I'm starting to think we ought to start praying for a girl. Otherwise that sweet little boy with his hair parted on the side, with the smiling face and twinkly eyes might have to go quite a while without a name.


Oh crap. I hope I didn't hurt any one's feelings or make you cringe with my last post. I swear that belly ain't baby. I wish it were. It's gas and bloat and cookies. I'm pooping less than my 10 pound dog these days. Serious.

I know it can be hard to see a baby belly when you're not yet pregnant. Every day I still say to my DH, "I hope the baby is still in there" and of course the unspoken word is alive. I adore you all and would never want to make you feel bad.

I was just thinking that this is how I live now. It's in my face. It's with me everywhere I go. Trying to find something to wear. Figuring out which clothes I can't fit into anymore. Trying to do my hair to best hide the squirrely grays. It's in the mirror, it's there when I look down, it's my day and night.

I took that photo on the weekend. I would never wear such clingy clothes out of the house. During the week I wear baggy pants, baggy, untucked shirts and I bring a blazer or sweater to work (cold office). I generally look like a saggy baggy lady. Not fashionable at all. Rather frumpy, in fact.

Certainly none of this is horrible. I don't mean to sound like a whiner. I could be vomiting my face in a toilet half the day. And I'm not. Of course the changes I am experiencing are expected and part of the daily progress. But I notice them as a change in the way I see my evolving self. As I depart from being the person I was to becoming the person I will be during the next several months. Exciting. Scary. New. Someone I am not familiar with.

And for those of you just starting your cycle or planning to start it soon or in the future, I promise to be patient and kind to you when you are pregnant and you start complaining about your pants feeling tight.

Love you all.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Closer Scrutiny

This is the sequel to yesterday's post about gray hair and pudge. I thought I'd actually show you some pictures. What the heck.

As for the issue of hair dye, my OB told me after my second m/c that it is their belief that hair dye is safe during pregnancy because very little of the chemical is able to absorb into the scalp, and the dye that does absorb remains local (i.e., isn't circulated systemically throughout your body). But I know several IVF clinics tell you not to color your hair during the first trimester. My own clinic didn't say anything one way or the other, I just took it upon myself to quit coloring it. My understanding is that the fetus is most susceptible to toxins and other harm during the first trimester when every part of its body is forming. By the second tri, everything is pretty much in place and just needs to grow and finalize development. I'm not advising anyone to color their hair or not, and of course I would direct you to your own doc or RE for his/her input.

My hair has gotten long. The ends are so dry and full of split ends. Note that I cleverly included my temples in the photo, so you can see the wild gray hairs sproinging this way and that. Well, you can sort of see. Trust me, there are a lot more than you can see.

I haven't had a haircut or color since April. I used to color it regularly...trying to maintain the auburn color God (and my parents) gave me. Although it's impossible to actually get it to be my original color.

I'm thinking shoulder length, long layers and deep, rich, golden red for autumn. In the summer I like it to be a little lighter, blondish-red. And in the middle of winter, I try to go bright, Christmas red. What fun hair color is!

So here's the paunchy belly. At 10 weeks, with only one baby, I shouldn't be so round. Although you know me, I'm attributing much of it to constipation. But it could also be cookies, I suppose! :)

And how will I come out about the pregnancy to my co-workers? I have no idea. I can't think of a scenario that could possibly play out well. I guess I'm hoping to hide it for as long as I can (please, cool weather, come soon so that I can wear blazers and cardigans and bulky sweaters!) until there's no denying the truth. If anyone can think of a way that won't result in fanfare, questions or much attention, I'd love to hear it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Weirder and Weirder

You know I've only been at my new job for 3 weeks. At yesterday's out of town meeting, 5 or 6 people from my department attended. One of them, K, was a gal who I only met once before. She is quite pregnant. In fact, with her large belly, I was amazed and impressed at how focused she was on work. She's fairly tall, but quite thin, and so her belly was pure basketball.

Anyway, I don't really know her that well, but after yesterday's meeting ended, I wanted to ask her some questions. I didn't want to be intrusive or nosy, so I said, "K, would you mind if I asked when you are due?" She was quite happy to chat about it.

Her due date is October 4. Just over a month away. So I said something about being at this meeting, 2 hours from home, when she's due in just a month. She said, "Yeah, I know, I thought about that, but...." anyway, she came to the meeting.

Then I opened my big mouth and told her a story (really, it's not a horror story, it's more amusing) about my friend who was 8 hours out of town a month before she was due and ended up having the baby, while out of town, on Christmas Eve! Fortunately the baby, despite coming a month early, was perfectly fine (which I emphasized). It just was completely unexpected and her husband and in-laws had to run out shopping on Christmas Eve to buy a car seat and baby things!

K didn't seem fazed a bit, and said her family is having a get together for an 80 year old uncle in the middle of September, at a location 3 hours from home. She thought maybe that would be too far. I just gulped.

So this morning we had a telephone conference (we are located in different buildings) to debrief yesterday's meeting. I presumed K was on the line with everyone else. About 20 minutes into the call, the lead person said, "Oh, I'm going to have to cut this short....I just got a message that K is in the hospital. She's in labor!"

Yes, it's true. Her water broke at 2 am and she's going to have the baby. I said, "Thank God it didn't happen yesterday!" And I asked the person to please send K my good wishes for a safe arrival of her baby.


Later today I was at my desk and a woman I didn't know walked by. One of my female co-workers called out to the woman, "Wow, look at've gained weight!" Well, she said it good naturedly because as it turns out (of course) the woman is pregnant. Since they were right outside my office door (the thoroughfare) I could hear everything. The woman remarked joyfully how she is now 4 months pregnant and due in January.

I thought, wow, I'm due in March, and I haven't yet told a soul.

It's like I keep stumbling across these women. Weird.

Each time I go to the ladies' room at work, I look at myself in the full length mirror and wonder if I look paunchy. I do. The good thing is that since I've only worked there for 3 weeks, these people don't know what I really look like! To them, chubby, paunchy, gray-hair templed me is normal. So nobody questions it. A good thing, I guess. I think I look a fright!

Once I hit the second tri, I'm going for a fantastic hair cut and color. Won't they be surprised! And once I finally work into real maternity clothes, I hope to look like a beautiful pregnant lady, and no longer the gray haired paunchy woman!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Honey....would you mind?

First of all, today's out of town trip went just fine and I had no problems taking care of my progesterone needs. There were so many people there that no one much took notice of me leaving the room for 5 minutes.

Second of all, CRAP!!!....Cindyhoo is right!!!!....what have I been thinking???!! I wrote that I really wanted a chocolate bar and she said, "What are DH's for if not to go on midnight runs to soothe the pregnant wife's cravings??" I can't believe I have not yet thought to take advantage of this very time honored tradition! I mean, shit, I've suffered countless u/s wand probings, shots in the belly, shots in the ass, a bazillion progesterone suppositories up the hoo-hoo, and iron gut constipation. The least I can do is make him go out at 9:00 pm to get me a pint of my favorite ice cream. I mean, I've got to wield the power while I have it! And now I see that I've wasted the first 10 weeks of my powers! I'll have to figure a clever way to make up for the lost time. I'm thinking foot rubs.

September is next week! I love that autumn is coming. Cooler days, the smell of dry leaves, golden afternoon sunlight, crisp apples, butternut squash, chenille sweaters and hot cocoa. Well, it will still be a while until it's that cool here. But it's not too far off.

And now I'm going to inquire about that foot rub.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Short Update

Just a quick update post (it's late and I really want to stretch out on the couch).

Work has picked up nicely. I now have several cases to dive into, all interesting matters and I find the hours are ticking by. Yay! I mentioned something to my boss about not knowing what is expected of me, and she quickly assured me that I should be working with others on teams to learn the ropes. I am not expected to know the full job at this point and everyone needs time when they are new to get up to speed. Another yay for a supportive boss!

Tonight I wanted a chocolate bar. I really, really wanted one. My DH and I rummaged through the pantry because we both thought there had been a chocolate bar stashed away in there. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I think I "re-hid" it so that he wouldn't find it. Except now I can't remember where I put it! Serves me right!

Thursday I have to go with a small group of people from the office out of town to a presentation. We'll carpool 2 hours each way. The presentation will take up most of the work day. My only concern is that I have to finagle a way to take my progesterone suppositories around noon. I'm anticipating there will be distinct "breaks" during which we all get up...go to the bathroom....and stretch, before resuming. My procedure takes me a little time, unzipping my bag, opening the ziplock bags, fumbling to load the contraption... I know I'll find a way. I've just been obsessing about it. I can't wait till Friday is here.

Did I mention how badly I'd like to have a chocolate bar?

Monday, August 24, 2009


We still haven't told a soul (except one IRL friend of mine and all of you) about the pregnancy.

I am feeling more confident about its viability. The baby seems to be in there, growing and heart beating each time we look. To my knowledge I don't have any "carrying" problems, it was just a question of egg quality. My egg donor was a fabulous, youthful 21 at the time of retrieval. So pending disaster or something unexpected (which I know can still happen), everything should be okay.

And yet I have no urge to tell. Zero.

I feel like this is my and my DH's little secret. For now, we get to talk about it alone, think about it, make decisions, discuss plans, look at U/S images....without anyone knowing about it, bugging us about it or asking questions. Or glancing downward at my belly, checking to see if I have a bump yet. Ugh.

Once we tell, the flood - the tsunami - of unsolicited questions and suggestions will ensue. Of course none of this applies to you guys, with whom I am happy to share every detail and listen to your every bit of advice. I'm talking about people with whom I wouldn't care to share so much as an elevator ride. Nosy friends. Mere acquaintances. Bossy sister-in-laws.

I am not looking forward to it.

Do you get morning sickness?
I have a fabulous midwife I used whose number I'm happy to give you.
Will you breast feed? You should/shouldn't.
Are you terribly gassy?
Are you eating healthy? Tell me what you ate today.
How did you get pregnant?
You should look into home birthing.
Can I be there for the birth?
I want to be there for the birth.
How much weight have you gained so far?
Didn't you just start a new job? Do they know?
Does your doctor know how old you are?
I've heard cod liver oil helps with stretch marks.
Your boobs do look bigger, in fact.

Oh, brother. I am not terribly patient. I'm likely to attempt a smile, say "Excuse me" and walk away. For now though, I'm enjoying our last few weeks of secrecy. In a way, I'd love to not say anything to anyone until I show and they guess. That would be cruel to our family and friends, though, who I know will be genuinely happy for us.

Mean, selfish pregnant lady.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Coming Full Circle

I have not posted anything about my garden in a while. But I wanted you to know that we've had a mini-harvest!

In a way, I feel like the kindergartner proudly wearing his little paper mortarboard, graduating and receiving a tiny rolled up diploma that the teachers made. I mean, come on now, I've seen your blogs. You know who you are. You have enough produce to actually be able to can and store proceeds from your harvest! You are my idols, that's all I can say.

Nevertheless, I am proud. I purchased seed packets and I grew things! Sometimes success depends on how you choose to measure it.

So here's a photo of my colorful little mini-harvest:

The hip of my giant bell pepper is just starting to turn color.

And I must tell you, I never thought my cantaloupe was going to ripen. It hung there and hung there.

Yesterday evening I went out to check it, and it simply broke from the stem into my hand! It's done! I held it up to the sky, and in a deep voice, I announced: "I HAVE CREATED CANTALOUPE!"

This morning I cut it open and we ate it for breakfast. It was gone in 5 minutes flat. My husband said it's the best cantaloupe he's ever tasted. I agreed. We finished it, wiped the juice from our lips, sighed, and then I said, "Three and a half months of daily care to grow it....five minutes to eat it!"

Okay, now for the ugly side of things. Well, I started my new job which took away from my garden tending time. Things kind of slipped a bit here and there.

One of my potted tomatoes was not staked well enough and some of the branches bowed over and one actually broke. It looks a mess, but you know what? The fruit on those bowed and broken branches continues to grow! So, okay, it's not perfect but it still works!

And one tomato plant outgrew its cage and leaned itself right over onto the house. But that plant, and the one next to it never produced a single tomato. Don't know why. Their leaves were plenty happy to grow, but no fruit.

Next year, I hope to do better. This year I began without an inkling of knowledge and just sort of felt my way along. Next year I have bigger plans! Of course, by next spring I also hope to have a precious new baby snuggled in a sling against my chest, who will go outside with me, into the yard, and be with me as my garden is planted and grows.

Sort of like this year.

Kind of an ironic beauty, isn't it? Everything coming full circle like that.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Heartache, Happiness and Hell Raising

I have been out of the blog loop for a couple of days and have much to catch up on. But today, my heart, thoughts and prayers are with Fran and her husband Mike at Everyone else but me. Fran is having surgery today. They found that her 6 week pregnancy (baby was seen to have a heartbeat) is ectopic. My poor, darling Fran, who is such a gentle soul, is facing her second ectopic loss.

Why should some face devastation after devastation, while others have their wishes granted? How is this fair?

And at the moment, I'm in the second category. I feel a bit guilty. God knows better than anyone that I don't deserve gifts or miracles. Yet one good thing after another is happening right now. The rug could be pulled a minute or an hour from now, so I continue to hold my breath. But I am most grateful for each blessing, large or small. And at the same time, my heart aches for my dear friends who are now bearing the great weight of sadness.

I had my first OB appointment today. Among other things I had to fill out a health history. One of the questions was "Mother's occupation." I began to write "retired" because my Mom is retired. I got to the letter "i" and realized, oh, wait, I think they mean ME! I am the mother! Ha!

I met with a nurse practitioner who did my U/S. She was so sweet and patient and even made me a photo identifying the baby's parts.

Baby appears to be playing peek-a-boo, and at the moment looks like it will need orthotic braces on it's crooked little legs, but hey, that's my kid!

Then at one point she said, "Look, the baby is kicking its feet!" I said, "What?!" and turned to see better and she held the wand steady for quite a while so we could watch as the baby kicked and even raised it's tiny arm and waived!" Yup, I lost it. I started to cry. Just for a moment. Baby is measuring slight ahead at 10w1d.

Good, good baby!

So what else good is happening? Well, I engaged in battle with my old nemesis, the Outpatient Monitoring Clinic (OMC). Remember how awful they were to me? Downright mean at times. They did not consider me to be "their" patient since they were "only" performing monitoring services (U/Ss and b/w). As such, they refused to submit anything to my insurance, told me none of this was covered anyway because it was part of an IVF cycle, and required me to pay everything out of pocket at non-contracted rates. They refused to even negotiate the fee.

I took my paid invoices and submitted them to my insurance company. Why not? Who says nothing is covered? It can't hurt to try. The insurance wrote to me, saying that they required the doctor to sign the invoices. When I called the OMC to ask that a doctor sign the papers, I was essentially told that they would likely refuse my request because they did not consider me to be "their" patient and therefore required me to pay the higher rates. She further said that they would not communicate with my insurance company because if the insurance company determined that the services were covered, the OMC might be stuck in the position of having to pay back some of the money!

Can you believe the nerve??????!!!!

Oh yeah, I was all over that. I called the insurance company and several calls from them were made to the OMC. My understanding is that legally, they cannot refuse to submit a claim. Well, I think they felt the fire under their feet and finally caved and gave the insurance company confirmation of services provided to me.

The insurance company called me today and said the services provided by the OMC are covered! There is more work to do to straighten this mess out, but those of you who know me, know that I won't back down from a good fight with the OMC. I may actually end up getting a nice reimbursement. If I find out they were engaging in unethical billing practices, I will rush to report them to the licensing agency.

Other good news? I still feel good. I've gained only 2-3 pounds and although I am dead tired at the end of the day and have had a few days of uncomfortable constipation, overall I feel really good.

I am so, so grateful and humbled by these gifts.

Next on the schedule will be an NT scan in a couple of weeks as part of the various first trimester screenings.

And now I need to come visit all your blogs and catch up. Happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Not In the Groove Yet

You all had such terrific suggestions on telling my friend about the pregnancy. You've given me a lot to think about and several possibilities. No matter what I say to her, she will absolutely be gracious because that's how she is. I just wouldn't want to hurt her.

Now then, how about that new job?

Oh boy.

Well, I'm trying to get the hang of my new job. Except that I've had almost zero direction from anyone. I was assigned a few cases, one actual case file reached my desk...but no one's said what I should do other than become familiar with the cases.

Um. Okay.

So I read them. I did some legal and medical research on the relevant issues. I made some notes.

Finally today I spoke up. And when I asked, I was told that at the moment they didn't expect me to do anything but become familiar with the cases. No product is expected of me just now.

Okay. So I'm doing self-directed research. Which isn't the worst thing.

But it's not terribly engrossing, and I'm SO tired by 3 pm that my eyes itch and I want to take a 20 minute nap. I'm getting fidgety. My chair is not comfortable after sitting there hour after hour. My belly twinges and feels bloated sometimes and I wish I could lie down and rub it.

Yes, I miss being home. Today I actually unbuttoned my pants while sitting at my desk to ease my belly. Not that I'm showing, and I wear my regular clothes, but it just felt good to release it from the confines of my waistband! Sometimes my belly just feels....weird...and I can't get comfortable.

I also realized today that when I'm feeling bored or fidgety at work, I look for something to snack on. Dangerous! I don't want to gain a lot of unnecessary weight. I bring home made trail mix as a snack, but raisins and walnuts are highly caloric. Maybe I should just get up and go for a walk for 5 or 10 minutes.

I just wish I had something really engrossing to focus on so that the hours would pass more quickly. It sucks to look up at the clock and see that it's only 10 am.

I'm sure things will come together soon, and I don't mean to whine (I'm grateful to have a job at long last), I'm just having some "adjustment pains" I guess. Trying to find my rhythm in a new place with new people and new expectations.


Thanks for letting me vent.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Finding a Way

You've been there. I've been there.

Trying unsuccessfully to have a baby for the past 3 years, I've been in the position of having to hear others around me joyfully announce their pregnancies. Co-workers. Cousins. Friends. Friends of friends.

I know how those words feel like a punch in the stomach. I've read on blogs how such announcements have sometimes been made via email, as an "oh, by the way" comment. I remember my mother telling me last year when my cousin had given birth to her second child in April 2008. It was a girl, and my mother went on and on about how she did not like the name my cousin and her husband chose for the baby. On and on. Finally I just blurted out, "Who cares what the name is?! At least she has a baby!"

So now I'm 9 weeks. If everything continues to be okay, we'll probably start telling family and friends in the next 5 to 7 weeks. The question is, how best to tell someone who I know will be quietly crushed by the news?

I have a girlfriend whom I've known since we were 18. We went to college together. She lives on the east coast and I on the west. We've kept in touch by email and visits (although it's been several years since we've seen each other). Ever since college, she has longed to find her prince charming, get married and have a family. None of it has happened. I love her like a sister, but she has always had unrealistic expectations in her quest for a husband.

She literally wants a prince charming. Like in a mushy chick flick movie. A guy who is smart, handsome (very handsome), polite, doting, caring, adores her every move, is a great dresser, has a great career, likes her hobbies and who is simply nothing less than a perfect human being. Thus, she has never married (need I tell anyone out there that men are not story book perfect?, I didn't think so). It kills her that she's never been able to find Mr. Right and that as a result, she will likely never have a child (she's definitely a marriage before kids kind of gal).

How am I supposed to tell her I'm pregnant? I don't want to be insensitive. I don't want her to feel that punch in the stomach. Another person she knows, getting something she'll likely never have. I'll have to tell her in an email, but how best to go about it? I thought that maybe if I explain the difficulties we've had in getting here, she'll understand that it didn't just "happen" and that I have not had the perfect life where all good things seem to befall me. And even though I don't know when I might next see her, I don't want to not tell her because that would seem like I was intentionally keeping it from her and could potentially be more hurtful down the road.

I'd appreciate any suggesions you might have.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

8w4d U/S

I miss you all so much! I have been peeking in on blogs when I can, but have not had much of an opportunity to comment. I'm going to catch up tomorrow.

And I'm behind in responding to blog awards. I'm always flattered and honored, but then feel a bit overwhelmed at the subsequent obligations. I hope no one minds if I just say "thank you" and try to get to them another time. I adore you all anyway, and I hope you know that.

Now then. I had an U/S today.

My only concern this week (you won't believe it) is that I feel so good. Can everything be going okay if I feel this good? My nausea is so mild that if I don't think about it, I forget about it. I'm getting through my days without feeling too tired. My body feels good, almost no bloat. I feel so....normal. Weird.

So, feeling good was my complaint.

I had the same newbie doc as last week. Young, handsome, very very nice, but oh-so green. He had trouble getting the machine up and running. Then he forgot to switch off the light, so as he got started, wand in place, screen turned so I could see it, and searching around to find baby, I said, "Oh, can you turn the light off?" You know, it's just so much easier to see the screen in the dark. But I immediately realized he wouldn't be able to hold the wand and reach the light switch. He said, " you think you could reach down here and support the wand for moment?"

So, yes, I reached down and held the wand in it's place....and I must tell felt a bit naughty.

Anyway, we finally got under way. He showed me the heart beat first. Always the most important thing. Hello flickering light. So nice to see you! Again he had a bit of difficulty getting a really good view. Where is the crown and where is the rump?

At some point, he got a really great image. Oh my gosh, it looks like a baby! Well, sort of. The profile of a skull. A hand? Or is it a foot? But less drumstick and more baby, no doubt. He said, "This one's a keeper! I'll print two, one for you and one for us."

So here's the latest:

Now just in case you're having trouble making it out, here's an artist's rendition (mine) of what I see when I look at the U/S (I only see 3 limbs, so I can't tell if the far limb is a hand or foot):

The little white cheerio in the upper left is the remnant yolk sac. The doc said it will disappear soon as it integrates with....something.

Heartbeat is scuttling along at 170. Baby measured 9 weeks 0 days even though I'm technically only 8w4d.

After the appointment, we had a discussion about enrolling me as a regular OB patient. They will coordinate with the Clinic until I finish my medication regimen, but I am going to be a real OB patient starting next week. I actually teared up while standing at the counter, making the appointment. The girl said, "Congratulations" and I said, "It's a big step" as I wiped a tiny tear.

My husband is out of town on business until tomorrow, so he's excited to see the new picture.

I took my new U/S picture, the paperwork I need to fill out for next week's appointment, and went to work. I had plenty to smile about today.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My New Job

Day 2 at the new job. I think with a little time, I'll really enjoy working there. I'll be a lot better when I actually know every one's name (I'm always embarrassed when I don't know someone's name I was introduced to. Although meeting 25 people in 20 minutes is a bit overwhelming).

So, yes, I am now an attorney for the state of California. The general mission of our office is to ensure that HMOs licensed (or which are required to be licensed) in the state comply with applicable laws and regulations. For those who may not be familiar, HMOs are Health Maintenance Organizations, which are companies that offer certain health care insurance coverage for their members.

There are several code sections which regulate the way HMOs must operate. Licensing requirements. Grievance procedures. Appeals processes. Accessibility. All sorts of things. So, for example, if the HMO denies coverage for a procedure, the patient can file a grievance. If the patient is not satisfied with the HMOs response, the patient can file a complaint with us. If we examine the facts and the law and determine the HMO violated the law, we can impose penalties.

If I've lost anyone or put them to sleep, sorry! For me, what is exciting is that I will have the opportunity to make sure the HMOs don't wrongly deny people coverage for things they are entitled to. Keep those HMOs in line!

I went to my first meeting today, an "us against them" meeting. People from our department and people from the health plan. I came out of the meeting all fired up. My boss said she'll assign this one to me. It's something I can get behind and feel good about.

Oh, and no, they don't know I'm pregnant. Lots of time to go before I need to say anything. And time to make sure everything stays on course.

But it's good to be part of a team again.

Monday, August 10, 2009

First Day On the Job

Today was my first day of work. Here my take on things, in a nutshell:

My office:
Let's just say, it used to be a store room. Interior. No window. But hey, it's an office and not a cubicle.

The people:
Nice, nice and very nice. This is an important thing, wherever you work.

My day:
Paperwork and more paperwork. I am being inducted into the state, so there is a ten-foot pile of paperwork to complete. I must have typed my name, address and social security number 4,000 times today.

I packed enough food for 3 days. I wasn't sure how hungry I might be, and I'm used to grazing at home whenever I wanted. So I packed all kinds of food and snacks. Then they took me out to lunch. I'll have less to pack tomorrow.

Preparing and inserting progesterone suppositories in a cramped stall with 2 other women in the restroom at the same time was - nerve wracking. I hated it. I felt stressed and was afraid I'd drop them on the floor. Very, very awkward.

My new state ID:
I look drugged out. My eyes are half closed. My bangs are too long, need to be trimmed, and were dragging in my eyes. Perfectly terrible photo!

At the moment, it feels like it was a long day. I'm tired. But it really went quite well overall. I am used to lying down whenever I want. I thought, how will I be able to sit/stand for 8+ hours straight? But I did. And it was okay.

I guess I have to do it again tomorrow.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

How It Will Be

Spotting stopped. This is good. I am grateful.

My next U/S is Thursday. I'll be roughly 8w4d. If that one looks good, I think I'll be comfortable waiting 2 weeks to do another. Of course I say this now. We'll see what I say on Thursday.

What with having to start a new job this coming week, my DH reminded that despite all the frenzy that is about to take place, I must remember that the most important thing is take care of myself and this baby. Whatever the cost. He means I shouldn't allow myself to be too rushed, too stressed, or too overwhelmed as I adjust to the new job and new routine.

He's right, of course. And he knows me too well. That's me - getting all swept up in getting out the door on time, making it to appointments on time, getting to work on time, getting the dogs to daycare...rush, rush, rush. Pressuring myself to learn a new job and prove myself and impress everyone. Trying to run errands during the lunch hour and multi-tasking and doing all the things that we women tend to do.

I have to let the need to do all of that go. No pressure. Believe things will get done without my forcing them to happen sooner. Prioritizing and letting the little stuff go.

This is going to be a real test. But I intend to pass it with flying colors, because there is a little drumstick counting on me.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Spot Is Not a Dog

Stupid spotting. It's back.

I'm not having a melt down. I don't have any cramping. I'm lying on the couch. It's probably just the result of progesterone-lining irritation and maybe the fact that I did a lot of running around today. Simple overexertion.

Still, I could really do without seeing red. It's in no way encouraging. It's a reminder of what is at stake. It sobers me faster than seeing a cop in the rear view mirror.

Amazing that so many people are on this earth, isn't it? All of them came from some pregnant lady. Her belly swelled, all went well, she gave birth and she held a newborn infant. She named it and brought it home. And here they all are. It is just astonishing to think about.

So I'm going to lie here, watch TV, let my DH cook dinner and think about all those people.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The (Unemployment) Party is Over

Now I've done it. I went and got myself a job. I start on Monday. Monday! Remember the Prospective Employer? She called last week and said the waiting list of laid off attorneys has been cleared and she is now free to offer me the position.

I thought, yeah, yeah, I've heard something like this before. We'll see. Her assistant emailed me a contingent offer to which I responded with a contingent acceptance.

They're preparing my office. They gave me instructions about the parking garage. They quoted me a salary.

Oh boy, I think I'm actually going to have to go to work on Monday. How can this be?

Okay, I know you don't feel sorry for me. I know you've had to work right along, sneaking out to appointments and b/w draws. I know you've had to take phone calls at work you'd rather not take. You've been tired and cranky and over-worked and wanted to run screaming from your office at times. Trying to juggle work and all things IF/cycle related has been taxing. I know. I admire you, respect you and don't know how the hell you do it. And I don't expect you to sympathize with my having to get my tired butt off the couch and go to work.

But I want to whine for a minute anyway. Waaaaaah.

Who will lovingly tend my garden all day long? I won't be able to browse the internet and blog half the day. I will have to take the dogs to doggy daycare before work on the days neither my DH nor I are home. I am going to have to get up early. Early! I don't like early. Anything before 7:30 is still "last night" in my book. My life is about to become significantly more complicated.

Oh, I'm such a wimp. I didn't used to be a wimp. Being home has spoiled me - and I loved it. I was in such shock and was horrified when I learned I was being laid off. Looking back now, I truly believe it was the perfect answer to several prayers. I am grateful that I had this time and so many magical experiences. Each of them a gift.

I found our Clinic and was able to freely communicate with, and travel to, them. I found the blogsphere and all of you, my dear friends and sisters. I housebroke our dog who used to have accidents all the time. I planted a garden - for the first time ever! - and have been able to spend a lot of time watching it grow. I have been able to spend a lot more time with my DH, which has been so good for us. I got pregnant! And now I've found a job that I think will be much more fulfilling and worthy of my time and energy. The pay will be an enormous pay cut as compared to my job at the private firm, but I wouldn't trade any of the above for that six-figure salary. My life over the past 9 months has SO been worth the loss of that job.

Once I start the new job, I'll tell you more about it. For now, I have to think about what the heck I'm going to wear and go rooting through my closets! I haven't worn "real" clothes in a long, long time. I suppose shorts and t-shirts are still not appropriate office attire. Too bad.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Post U/S - All is Well

Baby is fine. Thank God.

Today I had a new doctor. Young. He has only been with the practice 2 weeks and came from Maryland. Super nice, very polite. But obviously new with the equipment and multi-tasking. As long as baby had a heartbeat, I didn't care. Which turned out to be a good thing.

He was quite chatty. I guess he thought he needed to get to know me a bit - or rather let me get to know him - before he did the deed. He worked the wand okay, but trying to coordinate managing the wand and using the U/S keyboard proved a bit challenging. He was apologetic and I reassured him that it was no big deal, I was fine and happy to lie there for the next month, watching my baby grow.

He found the heartbeat, and I saw it immediately, despite the fact that the image was going in and out. I got what I went there for. A nice, regular heartbeat. He fumbled a bit to get the doppler to measure the heartbeat. He got one reading at 160 and another reading at 147. Either way, okay.

But he could not get a crown-rump length. He tried and tried, turning the wand this way and that, focus in and focus out. The kid looked like an amoeba stuck to the top of it's sac. No discernible head or rump to be seen.

The doc actually left the room to go get another doc. The woman doc came in and she too had some difficulty. They said the baby is just in a weird orientation. I think it was doing a face plant in the sac wall. Finally they made some kind of measurement and, bingo, 7w4d - exactly where it should be.

Here is my silly little kiddo, trying to hide in the corner (actually, in this picture, it looks like a chicken drumstick!):

Keeping the Loose Screws Tightened

Did I ever mention how much I love you guys? Your comments mean so much to me and make such a difference in how I am able to face the day.

I don't know if I ever told you, but I have two sisters. One older and one younger. We live in three different states, in three different time zones. Growing up we fought and argued more than anything else. Now we're just sort of...distant. Cordial and formal.

Whenever I saw a TV show or movie showing sisters who were close, who shared secrets and giggles and clothes and were each other's best friends, I thought that would be so cool. To become adults who have fun at the holidays cooking in the kitchen together, visiting each other regularly and confiding problems, hopes and joys. It's something I never had.

And now I feel like I have a huge family of sisters. You all. It's such an amazing feeling and I know I am lucky to have found you (or, in some cases, to have had you find me).

So, la la la, I am just going along, happy with your reassurances. Happy that the Clinic hasn't called me to urgently modify some medication. And yes, you know what, I might just have toast with honey this morning! So strange because just yesterday I asked my DH, "Remember when I used to eat toast with honey for breakfast every morning?" No, of course he didn't remember. I love how the honey melts into the toast. I love how it's sweet and sticky. And honey is a superfood, in case you didn't know.

But I digress.

I have an U/S later this afternoon. The past couple of days I have felt different. Less nausea. Less bloat. Thinking, hm, maybe things have run off the track here. Then again, there is no reason things shouldn't be fine. Back and forth, back and forth.

So I've forced myself to imagine the scenario that I go for the U/S and there is no longer a heart beat. What will it look like? How will the words sound? What will it feel like to drive home afterward, knowing the pregnancy is a bust? I mean, I just have to put myself through the paces. Just in case. It's strangely reassuring because if there is bad news, it won't be a shock. I'll have already seen it, heard it, felt it.

How strange that we learn to buffer our hearts by piercing them ourselves.

Of course, I also know that the news could be good. The quiet, intellectual me is holding onto that thought, but keeping it tucked away so that the emotional me can't grab it and run down the street naked with it, cackling like a maniac.

Mad Hatter asked whether I plan to put a pregnancy widget on my sidebar. The answer is I'm really not comfortable doing it. Partly because I am not confident enough that the pregnancy is here to stay. It seems the widget could tempt fate to yank away what I have. Other reasons too. Maybe some later time. But I can't say for sure.

For now the insanity in my head is eerily quiet. The U/S is 4 hours away yet. And honey and toast awaits me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

And On It Goes

Lab results. We want them so desperately. Then we analyze and worry over them. It never ends.

My lab results from yesterday are back.

E2 = 908.

When you have ER, E2 will be this high and higher. But with an FET, the E2 should be lower. Prior to my transfer my E2 was 599 and they were happy with that. Should it be 900+ now? I don't know. My Clinic person is out of the office until tomorrow.

Beta = 75,638.

I know that betas stop doubling every 48 hours at some point. Dr. Google says that by the 7th to 8th week of pregnancy, it can take as long as 3.5 days for beta hcg to double. My doubling time is now 3.93 (almost FOUR) days. Is baby's growth/viability/life slowing?

Progesterone = 28.5

I guess this is fine. I think they were happy with 15 or greater. Don't know if this is a little too "great."

It's just one, long Worrycoaster ride. We're artificially trying to mimic the body's hormones during pregnancy. Trying to maintain that perfect balance until the pregnancy is far enough along to take over without supplementation.

I feel like I'm out there on the tight rope wire, taking one slow step at a time, hoping I don't fall. Everything hanging in the balance. And day after day, I'm just holding my breath, hoping for the best. Am I turning blue yet?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ups and Downs

A few ups and downs lately.

The biggest down is that my good friend emailed me that her husband's brain tumor has returned. The doctor said surgery is not an option this time. Her husband has only been home from the hospital for a month since being admitted with infection, spinal fractures and brain swelling. In the last 30 days he finally regained some strength, has had improved cognitive function, and even had the opportunity to throw out the first pitch for the home team at a local baseball game. Now they have to decide which medical treatment to go with. The past 8.5 months have been pure hell for them, and it's not over yet. I'm just so sad.

This one is an up and a down, rolled into one. That would be my nausea. Over the weekend it had a good grip on me. Not horrible, just constantly there. My best position was lying on my side on the couch. Can I just spend the next month that way? Today, though, I got up early and went to have b/w by 7am. No morning nausea, and minimal nausea this afternoon. Good thing or reason to worry? I'll just do both, thank you.

Another up is that I have an U/S on Wednesday. Hopefully it will stave off my fears for another week. I was going to wait to do my b/w while there for my appointment, but last night it occurred to me: when I had bleeding last week, the Clinic had me double my progesterone dose. Double! We don't even know what my level was at the time. What if the bleeding had nothing to do with the progesterone level? What if we are smoking that kid out in toxic levels of progesterone?! Yeah, that kept me awake for a while. Which is why I was at the lab by 7am this morning.

And, just taking note, when I have my U/S this week, the baby will be at the stage of growth where the baby stopped growing during my last pregnancy: 7w3d. So this is a big one for me. Of course every U/S is a big one, isn't it?

One final up - a garden update:

Cantaloupe nearly ready for picking! Peppers are huge (this is not the plant that the giant worm got to) but still not red! My tomatoes...I don't know...they just don't seem to want to turn red either. Not a one of them.