Wednesday, April 28, 2010

An Embarrassment of Riches

This will be the title of a book I'm writing, hopefully. Because really. This is ridiculous.

You each, you women, have warmed my heart and made me overflow with gratitude with your donations. I just . . . you are not the ones I meant to donate to the cause enfant, but you did, and I'm pretty sure you are not wealthy and I'm pretty sure you have bills just like me, and I've never even met you in person. And yet. . . .

and yet and yet and yet, you clicked that button and gave a substantial amount of money to me, a virtual friend.

And you know what it has taught me? That even if Brody never has a brother or a sister, he will have a family of his heart, as I do here. What wondrous women you all are. How can I be alone when I have all of you? Thank you thank you thank you.

Now for the rest of it.

April 30 - intake appointment at the ob/gyn. But NO ULTRASOUND.

May 4 - next ultrasound.

May 11 -  we leave for France.

This was the thought flow in my head yesterday:

I need another check NOW, NOW, NOW! How can I get it? How can I get it? What could I tell them? I called and she said I couldn't absolutely couldn't get an ultrasound on Friday. WTF? What do I do? What can I do to make them give me an ultrasound? I don't think there's a heartbeat anymore. I want to know now if there's no heartbeat. What can I do? What can I do? I should just assume there is no heartbeat. We'll find that out on Tuesday, May 4. . . . ok ok ok ok. . . . I have no time at work to schedule a D&C between May 4 and the day we leave, May 11. Hmmm. . . . ok ok, think think think.....If I stop the progesterone May 4, I'll probably start miscarrying on May 7, oh lovely, just in time for Mother's Day and my mom's visit, but I'd rather have a natural miscarriage rather than a D&C, because I don't want to have general anesthetic. Well, if I miscarry in France, that will ruin the vacation. But last time it just hurt really bad during two nights, then it was fine. I'll be fine. Should we cancel the trip? This is crazy to go when I'm miscarrying isnt' it? Ah, jeez, on that long flight while miscarrying? Shit shit shit. I need another check now now NOW.

And then .. . . . my head imploded a little bit. And then this was my thought flow:

What the hell are you thinking, Chris? My God, I am having the same control issues I’ve always had. I don't even know if there's still a heartbeat or not and I am planning how and where to miscarry? That's sick. But I don't "feel" pregnant. But I didn't "feel" pregnant last Tuesday either. It's like I haven't learned anything in the years between 2004 and 2010. Life happens. Death happens. Miscarriages happen. I control zero of it. I cannot bend a doctor's office scheduler to my will. They aren't going to give me an ultrasound til the 4th. It's a week. If the worst has happened, so be it. I will be okay. WE will be okay. No matter what, I have Jeremy and Brody, and my friends, and our family, and we are blessed in ways uncountable. We'll be alright, and we will have the trip of our lives in two weeks no matter what. No.Matter.What.

So that's where I am right now.

I'm just so tired of trying to control this. It feels like trying to climb a 100 foot high wall with only my fingernails. I'm tired of living in an angst-filled limbo. I'm tired of worrying, and wondering, and waiting and worrying. I'm tired of putting my life on hold and becoming obsessed with trying to do something that isn't my job to do.

Just like it's not my job to figure out whether another ash cloud will prevent us from going to, or returning from, France, it is also not my job to obsessively fixate on whether there is still a heartbeat. There was last week. Since then, I've done all that is within my power to keep her in there, and I will continue to do all within my power to keep her healthy. Shots, meds, tests.... but I am going to stop trying to unsuccessfully do the other stuff.

I'm done. I'm giving it up. I hope.

It is maddening, madness, trying to control what I really cannot. What I'm not supposed to control. I control when I take these meds and how often I shower. I control what speed my car goes; I control what clothes Brody wears.

I'm not supposed to control miscarriages and volcanos. I'm supposed to hope, and to pray, for the best outcome.

When I think about the things in my daily life that seep into me and make me anxious, it is the things I cannot control. Other people's opinions, whether Brody's kidney will keep functioning, whether he will have good friends in school, what the judge will rule, what the jury will say, what the clients will think, what the doctor will say, what the genetics will be, what the review will say, what the witness will testify. . . .

I think it's healthy to hope for outcomes, but why do I spend my energy on worrying about them? What the hell is that about? What purpose does it serve? None.

So I'm done. Or I hope I'm done.

I give up.

I have no idea how these next two weeks before our trip will go. (Duh, you say. But to me, it’s a revelation). But whatever happens, I will be okay. I have Jeremy and Brody and friends. . . I have friends on facebook that I’ve known for decades that have posted the nicest messages to me. I have you, I have my sisters, and my mom. And whatever happens, it is an adventure. Perhaps one I do not want to experience, but one I am determined will teach me things I need to know.

The man who said this is probably a bit of a charlatan. But I like the quote anyway. “Control is never achieved when sought after directly. It is the surprising outcome of letting go.”

Here’s hoping.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Numbers and number$ and the voices on my shoulder

Never let it be said I don't know my own body.

After seeing the heartbeat, I was coherent enough to request a progesterone check.

"Well, the baby looks great so we don't normally do that. If there's a heartbeat, it means the progesterone is good! But, given your history, we'll do it."

Progesterone returned: 9.9 (It should be in the 20s).

I never get to say "I told you so" to doctors, even well-meaning ones. Instead, I completely broke down in public. My friend Angie says that it seems like maybe I was due for one of those.

The doctor immediately prescribed 100mg progesterone, 3x a day.

I called Dr. Beer's office in California. Since it has been more than a year, they can only call in a month's supply of my previous medications (the ones I was on with Brody) and within a month I have to send them more blood work.

Cost of medications for one month (with my insurance):
Dexamethasone (steroid to depress my immune response to pregnancy): 4.00
Progesterone: 180.00
Lovenox (twice daily injections into my stomach to thin my blood because of my genetic predisposition to clotting): 250.00 (cheaper than it was in 2006, when it was $356/month; it's $1600/month without insurance)
Folgard: 10.00
Monthly meds: $444.00

Now for the labs. About half of the labs I can get covered: the ANA reflex to titer, the TSH, the chem panel, homocystine levels.

As for the other ones - natural killer assay, leukocyte antibody detection panel, antiphospholipid panel, human T-reg, anti-DNA/histone panel, and Factor XIII gene polymorphism - there is only ONE lab in the US that does the labs they need: and it is not inside my insurance coverage area. In other words, we pay for them: Cost for the initial testing?


And I think they will require monitoring blood work, of at least a few labs, every month (with Brody, it was about $350 each month for testing).

I do not know what to do. I know what I want to do, but we do not have that much money available. One little voice says "Just go natural. It's worked so far, so let this pregnancy be natural."

The other voice says "Isn't your baby worth a few thousand dollars? What kind of mother are you, anyway?"

If the meds are not needed, they are not harmful. If they are needed, and I don't have them, the pregnancy will end.

If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them.

If you are a wealthy person, with money to spare, I'm swallowing my pride and putting this here.

It's not tax deductible, but it would go to a good cause. And if the pregnancy ends before I need these labs, I will return the money to you. I feel sick doing this, but for now, it's the only idea I have.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is this growth? Or narcissism?

In a state of elation and confusion, I posted not only yesterday's post, but a status update on facebook.

Worlds colliding a little bit.

My husband was a bit shocked that I did. "Aren't you waiting the 3 months?" Apparently not. A friend who has known me for over 30 years was also surprised I posted a blog about the pregnancy. 

They have good reason for shock. In 2004, I didn't even tell my sisters about my miscarriages. Or most of my friends. Eventually I did. It was after the third one. We were supposed to go to a family reunion out of state. We were going to be the only couple without children. I told my husband that there was no way I could face them and just to tell them everything. I didn't care anymore. I needed to escape.

Now, five years later, I'm writing about this pregnancy on the internet. Repeatedly. And I know a lot of people I have lunch with read this blog. Why this change?

Before this latest happening, a few months ago I was talking with a friend who is also going through fertility issues. She talked about not understanding why she was so reticent to talk to others about what she was going through. She really struggled with why she could not talk about it, and after much soul-searching, she concluded that it was because she felt shame.

Shame about infertility. Shame about miscarriages.

I still remember it because, I think, I felt the same shame.

The definition: painful emotion caused by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace.

Yes, yes, yes and yes.


Intellectually I know I "shouldn't" feel shame. In my heart, I don't want to feel shame, and I don't want others going through something similar to feel it either. But I  think I still might feel that way. A little bit, at least. Every thought that if it wasn't for me, Brody would have a sibling already, and Jeremy would have more children....I think those thoughts are based in shame.

And I think to try to decrease that feeling, I'm writing about it. A lot.

I hope this isn't narcissism, though. Definition: Person full of egoism and pride; One who shows extreme love and admiration for oneself. Dear God, I do not want to be that person.

Also,  I think it's time I was honest. For a long while I was different versions of myself with different people, and my whole real self with just a few. I think I should be my whole real self wherever, and whenever, I want to be. And my whole real self is pregnant, with a pretty high risk of miscarriage. Why not be that person? Granted, I don't reveal that to most of the people I work with, or strangers on the street.

I know a lot of you, I know everyone on facebook. Why not tell?

And let's face it, if this pregnancy ends, I'm going to need . . . . something, and probably in the form of some kind of support.

If I had appendicitis or broke my leg, I'd tell. So why not this? This which is more important than most anything, and has the potential to affect me for the rest of my life. . .

For the record, though, I feel incredibly off-balance trying to be my whole real self with every set of friends and acquaintances.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010



That's what I said when I saw the heartbeat.

I told the ultrasound tech, the nurses, everyone except the valet parker. I said, "I've had five miscarriages, I've done no treatment for this, this pregnancy is a surprise." In my head I was figuring out which day would be best for the D&C with my work schedule.

Then that fuzzy, grainy image came up on the screen, and for the first time in 6 pregnancies, I saw it immediately. It's that feisty, adamant flicker.

"Well," the tech said, "your little pumpkin has a heartbeat."

She measured the length and the rest of whatever measurements they do, and it came up as 6 wks, 5 days. I said, "But it's not measuring right." She looked and said, "No, your LMP puts you at 7wks, 4 days; there isn't even a week of discrepancy. This is fine." She sounded completely confident. Huh.

I feel fuzzy headed. Like I just inhaled laughing gas. But I'm not laughing or crying. I just keep saying Huh. I said that like 10 times in a conversation with Angie.

We talked to the nurse, and did the bloodwork.

Is it my cocktail of Excedrin and Diet Pepsi? Is that what I needed all along? Huh.

I'm not on the blood thinners, steroids, progesterone or IVIG I was on before. And we didn't do the lymphocyte immune therapy before conception.

And yet, a heartbeat. Huh.

It's good news. As far as I'm concerned, a heartbeat is a miracle. Each little heartbeat is a miracle. And as my friend Cathy, veteran of several miscarriages with a few miracle children herself, said, "Until it's not, it is."

Thank you thank you thank you for your texts, emails, comments here .. . . . I felt so surrounded by goodness going into the doctor's office today.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tuesday, 930am

No change. As in, nothing is happening.

I don't feel pregnant. Or hopeful.

On the other hand, I have no miscarriage symptoms.

My third miscarriage, I made it this far. We saw a heartbeat. Believed we were in the clear. Went back for a routine ultrasound. No more heartbeat.

There is something to be said for miscarrying before there's a heartbeat.

Now it's Sunday night and I don't know what to hope for; could this be the fluke? The miracle?

I just can't believe my efficient and talented body wouldn't have miscarried a pregnancy if it ended at 5 or 6 weeks.

I'm 8 weeks.

I called the doc. Tuesday, 930am is the viability ultrasound.

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, April 12, 2010

See spot run

I'm not better, I'm not worse. Despite cramping most of Friday, and an hour or so of what comes after cramping, nothing.


Not spotting. Nothing heavier. Nothing.

No other symptoms of either miscarriage or pregnancy.

So I wait. If I'm going to lose it, I wish for it to happen sooner rather than later.

And tonight we are going to the Shrine in Denver for Family Night. We are the Shrine Family - I have to speak for a few minutes after the dinner about what Shriner's has meant to us.

Not an emotional day or anything like that.

Friday, April 9, 2010


I'm traveling for work.

Specifically, I drove 5 hours yesterday to stay at a hotel and today I'm taking the deposition of a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit. After the deposition concludes today, I drive 5 hours home.

I joked to a friend yesterday that I was sure the miscarriage would start in earnest during this trip. Since the plaintiff's dep is the most important.

Guess what I woke up to?

It's not a joke today.

I suppose the bright side is that I'm so concerned with getting through the dep and drive home that I'm not completely falling apart. I'm also very hopeful that I can get to a store before the dep starts and get the requisite supplies.

Official stats (in honor of the Colorado Rockies' opening day):

17 days late

7 weeks gestation

7th pregnancy

6th miscarriage

Brody really is a bona fide, undeniable, genuine miracle. I cannot wait to hold him tonight.

-- Post From My iPhone

Location:Grand Junction, Colorado

Monday, April 5, 2010


I started this post out by apologizing for upsetting you. If I did, with that last post.

Then I stopped myself. I'm always saying to friends that they are entitled to their feelings. That's really annoying, I think. So fine, I'm not sorry about that last post.

The night I wrote it, and the night after that, were bad nights.

I spent Friday with Brody.

I feel better now.

Some symptoms of pregnancy have waned. And symptoms of miscarriage have started.

I'm not happy.

But I am better than I was.

It lightened me to write it all down.

And then I spoke with my sisters and brother over the weekend, and went to a friend's house for dinner, and talked with other friends, and read your comments.

It helped. We didn't talk about it, I don't know if they read the post, but it helped to see and talk with loved ones. Thank you.

Jeremy told me to remember how lucky we were to have Brody. I told him I wanted this baby, too. Then he said to remember all the good things we have. I told him that I was entitled to be sad. He had no response to that, and then he agreed.

I felt validated by him, and understood. It helps.

The Easter bunny left 6 water guns of varying sizes. Brody got the biggest one, which was bigger than half his body. I rationalized the purchase because (a) Brody already knows what guns are and (b) pulling the trigger is occupational therapy for his hands. (If you need to rationalize anything, email me; I will come up with a good reason for whatever you want to do).

It's Sunday morning. Brody is naked, naturally; Jeremy shirtless, me in my nightshirt. And the water fight began, inside (Brody refused to get dressed to go outside). By the time we were done, the kitchen, living room, stairs and bathroom floors were wet, and my stomach hurt from laughing so much and squealing. It was a take no prisoners-every person for himself water fight, and it was the best Easter morning I've had in a long time. Brody is ruthless.

I don't understand how a water fight helps, but it does.

Brody with his cousins on Easter Sunday:

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I wonder if I will post this post.

If I do post this, and you see me in "real life," I'd prefer it if you didn't mention that you read this. We'll just pretend together that you did not.

I thought I had learned to stop thinking in ifs.

I thought I had gained this wisdom, this ability to analyze, to see things a certain way.....

I thought I was brave.

If I had never had my miscarriages, I would not have known Brody.

If I had stopped at two miscarriages, I would have a daughter today.

I am 39 years old.

I became pregnant the first month we tried, every single time.

If I was smarter, I would have heeded that experience.

I am late.

Just a week.

But I know. Women like me know.

And I know it will end, like all the others did, except for one.

If I was wiser, I would hope and be grateful for this.

Even for this short time.

I have had 5 miscarriages in my life, 4 before Brody and 1 after.

If I was someone else, my husband would be overjoyed that we were expecting.

Instead, we wait quietly. He doesn't know what to say and I don't know what I want to hear.

It wasn't until tonight, in the quiet of the house, with both boys asleep....

Before I had Brody, I didn't realize what was ending, each time that it ended, I mean. I knew it was an end, and that I wouldn't know her laugh, or his eyes.

But tonight, I thought of Brody. And I thought, if I was someone else, I would be carrying his brother or his sister. And we would be a family of four. Instead....

I heard a story of a woman recently who tried for 10 years to get pregnant. Then she adopted a beautiful baby girl. And then she got pregnant about a year later. And do you know what happened? She miscarried. After seeing the heartbeat.

It is a persistent question, for women like us.  Why? Why.

Why is it some women get pregnant so easily and have easy pregnancies? Why is it some women get pregnant easily and can't make it past 7 weeks? Why is it some women never even get pregnant, but would be such amazing mothers? Why does a woman who can't get pregnant for 10 years, with IVF, suddenly get pregnant, only to miscarry?

What is the point?

Why is it that just when I am healed, the old wound is reopened, and suddenly it's 2004 all over again?

I've already apologized.

The treatment I would need needed to start a few months ago. And it would cost about $6500.

If I was coherent, I would recognize the difference between what I can control and what I cannot and make peace with it.

If I was wise, I would stop asking why.

If I could keep you, my sweet little one, I would.