Monday, October 30, 2006

Pregnant, Delicately So

The home pregnancy test whispered to me this morning. Yes, it actually whispered. After collecting my sample, and having the willpower to not look at the test stick for the requisite three minutes, I returned to the bathroom, and from the door, saw only one big fat pink line. Clearly not pregnant.

My heart sank.

Until the stick whispered to me. "Take a closer look."

And there it was. A very faint second line. My husband confirmed, because that's what husbands do, I guess. (Well, that and suggest that maybe he send some more troops "in there" for reinforcement. Ah...no.)

A very faint positive. I am not well-versed enough to know how a HPT should look after ovulating maybe thirteen days ago, maybe eleven. Right there you see the problem: not really knowing when ovulation took place. How about this: I am at cycle day 24, I believe. That seems pretty early. But, with a consistently short cycle, do you go by ovulation or cycle day?

No, I believe what you do is get in the shower and turn on the radio and decide that whatever song comes on first is the predictor for this pregnancy.

"Hanging by a moment," by Lifehouse.

No shit.

I have been on speed dial/redial to my RE's office like I am trying to win a trip to Cabo from WHPT 102.1 FM. So far, I have not been caller 102. No answer/call service or busy signal.

The faintness of the second line has me worried, as that is how (chemical) pregnancy #3 started out. But, what will I do about it anyway (as if that method of thinking helps, at all)?

I hope it sticks. The problem with the last 11 months is that my experiences have robbed me of vision, of imagination. I now instinctively compare this result with a previous crappy result, rather than beginning the dream of another baby. It's not really self-preservation, as I am quite happy to build my hopes up when given the chance. It's just that now, I look back, instead of forward.

So, I'm going to try my hand at being the lucky caller, one (or a hundred) more time(s). They'll take blood. I'll wait. I'll worry. You'll ply me with positive stories that began this way. And life will march on.

Hey, at least I'm out of the vacuum. It was dark in there.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Tomorrow, we ride...

...er, test, that is. My husband and I agreed that tomorrow would be better because although he'll have to go to work (as opposed to golf, today), he'll be available by phone should I need it. That was his suggestion, mind you, and who am I to argue with unexpected displays of thoughfulness?

Here's what has been on my mind for the past few days, as I have mulled over the upcoming test with mixed emotions:

Since I began trying to have a baby, back in 2002, I have only had two negative responses on a HPT. Maybe one, and I'm just multiplying it for dramatic effect. But, you have to admit, that is pretty low, what with four pregnancies and one actual baby to show for it. My deeper meaning here is that I have always had an intuition about being pregnant before it was borne out by modern medicine. Either I was five weeks past my last period (when that's how casual the timetable was), or the runny nose had started, or some mild bloating. Something always gave me up to myself.

But I have never before been on progesterone, and I can't quite say that I see a remarkable difference in myself since beginning the twice daily regimen. However, anything that might seem like a simple pregnancy symptom is crowded out of the spotlight by that gentle reminder that progesterone itself can give you pregnancy symptoms. And on top of that, from what I understand, even being two weeks past ovulation might not count for much if the progesterone is preventing the onset of a period.

So, for the first time in my life, I have absolutely no clue whether I am pregnant or being medicinally teased. It is a strange feeling. I will not be testing tomorrow because of my overwhelming certainty that I am, or even due to my inability to stop myself from finding out the harsh truth (hoping against hope that instead I have accomplished the near-impossible).

I will be testing tomorrow because it is time to test. So, I will be surprised no matter what the result, because I have no real instinct on this one. Yes, I believe I have accomplished the near-impossible (ie become pregnant), but that is just my hubris talking. Because I am making that assumption in a vacuum.

So this is what it looks like inside a vacuum...

Friday, October 27, 2006

No News Is…

Well, in this case, no news is just that. No news.

I have not peed on a stick.

I was going to yesterday, but when I got up to go to the gym at half-past a monkey’s ass, I was so out of it that I actually forgot. So, it must not be the all-consuming thought that one might expect.

But, seriously, I had been planning to do it today. And then a funny thing happened. I grew up.

Let me explain, because the last thing I want is for anyone reading this to think that peeing on a stick at any point during one’s cycle is NOT a grown up thing to do. I just mean that, for reasons I shall heretofore elucidate, it was not the right thing for me to do. And I made a grown-up decision to protect my mental health, which is very, very, very (italics in case you didn’t get it) unlike me.

So, to back up a bit, my business has been taking some right turns lately (vs. wrong turns) and I found myself spending a good deal of free time (free time! What a concept! By this I mean time that my husband was home, or my daughter was napping or was at school.) preparing samples for a potential customer who’s opening up an independent meal-assembly store and another retailer who just placed a rather large order with me. Granted, a rather large order is (in this case) over $100 worth of product, but it still has me working feverishly, because my free time, as described above, yields about 2 hours a day if I’m lucky. (And, not to cry in my detergent but, I still tend to the laundry, make the meals, do the grocery shopping, etc. So, life can feel hectic, even if the anxiety is my own making.)

Now, the samples are done and going out my door this afternoon (phew), leaving me a whole week to complete the large order. And with a rainy weekend scheduled, I should be able to crank most of it out while my husband is not golfing (read: Saturday). However, I have found myself with a lot of anxiety about getting it done, along with living my life in a normal way and not forgetting the school fundraiser and the school book order that was due yesterday and…life marches on, right?

Well, when I thought about adding a possible BFP (or for that matter BFN, which might not even be the real answer yet) into the mix, I knew it was too much.

If I do get two lines, my RE will demand I rush in for a blood test and possible wanding (if I’m lucky right?). Consider, he has two offices. One is thirty minutes away. One is across the street. He is only in the office across the street on Mondays. So, I have decided to wait. At least until Sunday. (I know, I know, you were thinking Monday. But a girl’s got to have a little fun.) However, now that I think of it, my husband (let’s call him Tiger, since he likes to…) will be golfing on Sunday, most likely at half-past a monkey’s ass also, I probably won’t test then either. Which brings me back to Monday. About 11 or 12 days past ovulation. I think.

I just needed to take some time to clear my plate before adding another heap of anxiety. The simple fact that I’m not even going to test for a few days takes a weight off of my shoulders.

Because as we all know, that second line changes everything.


**The only concrete symptom I might claim as belonging to pregnancy and not progesterone is an unexplainable runny nose, which comes and goes. Common for me during early pregnancy, with all the fluid levels increasing. This is a shamefully weak symptom, but I’ve never been on progesterone before so I can’t really say there’s much else that would stand out. No migraine, yet (which would signal spot’s arrival in a day or two). However, maybe progesterone has chased away PMS for now, too. Any words of wisdom on what to expect with progesterone would be helpful. For instance, it does delay your period, right? So, I wouldn’t get it anyway, until I went off progesterone? Correct me, please. Also, any advice on the acute dizziness I felt the other night after taking the prog.? I was trying to prepare food in my kitchen and all the twisting and turning to get ingredients nearly flattened me.

Thanks for your help.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Inside the 2WW

I try to write. I think of things to write, while I am lying in bed. I create witty and engaging phrasing in my head as I wait to pick my daughter up from school. And then, when faced with some time alone, I do not write.

It was easier, or maybe more interesting to me, or both, to write when I was consumed by grief and impatience, lo those short months ago. The drama was boiling at the surface of my being. Every thing I saw and heard hinted of my losses, from cleaning my closets and finding a maternity shirt given by a friend just before the last loss, to the premier epidose of Gilmore Girls, where Lane, newly married and returned from a Montezuma's Revenge all-inclusive honeymoon discovers it's not a Mexican parasite making her gag after all. It's an unplanned pregnancy! Diagnosed a week after she had sex! for the first and only time in her life! Et tu, Roray?

So, no surprise that I find lots of ironies in my waiting. This is the same time of year (perhaps, even, the same week) that I became pregnant with my first loss, last year. The three of us flew to my parents' for Thanksgiving and I let my then two-year-old try her hand at spilling the beans, but when no one could understand her, I blabbed the news. My brother got weepy. I got weepy.

This year, while making our reservations for the same trip, the airline offered flight insurance for $24 a ticket. I thought back ruefully to the trip I'd had to reschedule this past summer due to impending loss number three. I thought, wouldn't that have been nice, rather than spending $100 per ticket to re-book. In my haste, it never occured to me to buy the insurance for this trip. So, I've decided that come hell or high blood pressure, I'm getting on that goddamn plane and I'll miscarry all the way to Michigan if I have to. That'll show them!

Maturity. It's really overrated.

So, I'm taking my progesterone, when I remember. It's a bit tougher than I imagined when I demanded to have it prescribed. And I cannot get over how expensive prenatals are (chewable, anyway, because yes, Dr. Pepper, I am some kind of wuss) and that my insurance will not cover them. Give me a flaccid penis, though, and I could probably write a scrip myself on a swatch of orange construction paper that didn't require even a co-pay. Of course, if I had a flaccid penis, my RE would have a much trickier patient on his hands.

Lots of twinges in places that cause suspicion. Still working out, though I've relegated myself to the recumbent bike for the remainder of the week, so as not to jar an embryo, zygote or whatever from its delicate implantation maneuvres. Because, you know, my preferred form of exercise is nothing short of bare-handed street fighting. But that just wouldn't do during the two week wait.

Trying not to jinx myself, but bought the HPT nonetheless. Hey, I was in CVS, on a rare solo trip and figured it was better to get it all done in one fell swoop. Even if it does mean that I will not be getting pregnant this cycle. Making the most of my limited solo time is so much more important than provoking silly superstitions.

Last weekend at a bonzai (read: kick-ass, over the top) wedding reception , I was seated at a table with not one, but two extremely pregnant women. These kinds of things don't actually bother me, even less so for the following reasons:

1) The preggo seated immediately to my left (my husband's boss, so to speak) went to my RE to get pregnant. She ended up giving me some interesting dirt on him as well as insight on my upcoming (now passed) post-coital test, much to her husband's discomfort. Obviously the husband didn't read the RE/patient relationship disclosure which necessitates that all women who go through any form of IF fess up to one another in minute detail after sharing the proverbial handshake.

2) The preggo on the opposite side of the table (who revealed that she had recently accepted a somewhat innapropriate hug from Gene Simmons of KISS; she's somewhat crazy that way) is pregnant for the second time after losing a baby last year around this time. A four-week-old baby, to a rare lung disorder that had gone undiagnosed. I had wept for her as though I knew her when I heard that she lost her daughter, so to see her pregnant again, and hopefully healing, was nothing short of miraculous.

And that's the news from the Internet Mom front. I'll keep you posted on my 2ww, probably Friday when I pee on a stick, if I can deny myself that particular pleasure for that long.

Friday, October 20, 2006

And counting...

If my uterus is to be trusted, I have already ovulated.

Fascinating, aren’t I?

I went in for my follow-up and had both arms stuck because apparently my veins are the size of embroidery floss. The RE (of whom I am growing ever more fond) again let me write in my diagnosis codes, causing me to wonder if I will be receiving a significant discount on his services.

The cold hard truth is, I am in the 2WW. When I first started blogging, 2WW appeared to mean Second World War. Oh, and the MTHFR mutation—or whatever the correct acronym is—always makes me think of "motherfucker." Which, as I understand it, might not be a bad way of looking at it.

How many minutes did I just waste with that digression? One? Two, tops? Okay, well, obviously inane typing is not going to do the trick. I’ll have to think of something else. How about a yard sale? Tomorrow morning? Great. I’m in.

Seriously, though, everything seems on the up and up, except for the "schmutz" in my uterus. Yes, that is what my RE called it today. Schmutz.

How to proceed?

Do I actually hope I’m pregnant, knowing that the schmutz will be hanging over my head? More correctly, in the way of implantation? Or do I hope that we lose out this cycle, so Dr. Pepper can have a look-see at my garden box. The thing that really pisses me off (today, that is) is that the schmutz has been there the whole time. So, if I’ve already been waiting, why couldn’t we have checked it out during that wait? If I go through with a hysteroscopy now, I may (or may not—hey, a bright side!) have to wait another cycle before trying. Again.

I know, there are those of you out there (my mother included) who will find this whole rant to smack of impatience. Some of you might even think it would be great to be in my shoes. But, I can’t help it. Time slipping away makes me feel desperate, despite my noble attempts to shrug it off. Maybe even more than that, I really can’t stand the ambivalence of not knowing whether I should be hoping for a pregnancy or not. To come all this way and not even be certain of that. That sucks.

On the bright side, the impatient babbling and finding petty (or not so petty) things over which to fret has already blown another…73 seconds. And counting.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

More of the same

I think I am the kind of person who can rejoice in the small things. A red cardinal flying by the window on a snowy day. An empty parking spot with an overfed meter. Really good lobster bisque.

My appointment with my RE was filled with small things in which I can rejoice.

My uterine lining is 8 mm (or a little more).

While no dominant follicle was detected, a few follicles in each ovary seemed to be milling around, getting the nerve up to rupture ("Me first!" "No, me first!" "Girls and boys, no pushing and shoving.").

I scored very well on the post-coital test (oooh, I just love acing tests) and even got the chance to see the slide of my husband's swimmers in action. (Frankly, that part was...incredible. Reassuring to say the least and made me smile like a dope.)

During the consult with my RE (after these diagnostics were completed) he let me write out my own diagnosis codes. That is to say, he has a broken right arm and I offered to take notes on our conversation as it was clear that he was struggling to do so. Yes, nerd that I am, I found this to be a small thing that was fun. Certainly a bonding moment with this guy, and (I believe) a nod to my intellect. (I'll take them any way they come, even if I have to imagine them.)

Would I be ungrateful to throw a tiny "but..." in the mix?

The ultrasound also showed a "white area" in my uterus, something that was there upon inital u/s during my last pregnancy. My RE explained that it is probably something left over from a previous pregnancy (take your pick, I guess), and it causes minor concern because it could interfere with implantation. Or not.

So there it is.

If I am not pregnant this cycle, he suggested a--say it with me now--hysteroscopy. Goddamnit. It would serve to determine if the "white area" is indeed scar tissue and if so, how close to the surface of my uterus it is. If it is on the surface (thus giving rise to worries about implantation) he would remove said "white area" during the procedure.

My RE did assure me that his feeling about any such "white area" is that it would cause infertility outright, rather than becoming a factor in miscarriage. And also, any connection to problems later in pregnancy due to poor implantation (growth problems) is tenuous (his word). So while he was giving due consideration to the possibilities inherent in what is (or isn't) in my uterus, he didn't really seem all that concerned by it. I guess that's nice.

Still and all, I feel like I am somewhat back where I was when I went to see him in June and was already on my way to a failed pregnancy. He saw the same area in the u/s back then, and I was already pg. I lost that pregnancy, and there was nothing to do about it. He did stress that the last loss was most likely chromosomal, due to the presence of an overlarge yolk sac, so that this "area" probably didn't play into the loss.

I know that I want to be healthy and going through a hysteroscopy is probably wise. The kind of thing you force yourself to do, even though being a gambling person might cause you to avoid it in the hopes that everything will be just fine. But, that gambling mindset runs contrary to why I'm seeing the RE in the first place. So, I will go through with it if I have to, but it just strikes me as awfully similar in nature to the D&E that I have spent the last three months trying to get over. I know it's different, but hey, even being back in the same u/s room where we first saw a heartbeat for the last one made me more than a little melancholy.

I will try to focus on the small, good things, because to do otherwise would be ungrateful. I would just like for once to come out of my RE's office and have nothing to worry about.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. I just slay me.


Update: While consulting with my RE today, I asked him what I should expect this go-round, in terms of office visits. My concern was that with the last pregnancy, I was asked to come in for bloodwork, ultrasounds, etc...upwards of every five days. I explained that this was somewhat stressful with a baby at home to find a place for everytime I came in (for three hours at a stretch). He said that since my visits would be mostly for monitoring, not treatment, that I should bring it up with him again when the time came (during pregnancy) and we would arrange a more suitable schedule.

Fast forward to a message I received late this afternoon from the nurse who did my pc test. "Hi Casey, it's S at Dr. Pepper's office. I have your bloodwork and the doctor's not sure when you're going to ovulate or if you already did. So he doesn't want you to take any meds (ie progesterone) and he wants you to come in this Friday for another ultrasound and bloodwork."

Well. At least they respected my desire to not come in every five days, right?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

So, are you trying?

How many times have you been asked that question?

Really? That's all?

Because, think about it. I bet you've been asked that question without even knowing you've been asked that question.

Last week, I brought my daughter to the local pizza joint for the wrap-up meeting for our town's street festival. My daughter has attended every meeting I've been to because it's the only way I can go. So, the volunteers all know her. One of the women there was having a conversation with my kid while I was involved in another discussion.

(Let me preface all of this by saying, this woman, over the last seven months, has told me several times "You should have another one." Meaning baby, I assume, not miscarriage, because of course, SHE DOESN'T KNOW ABOUT THE MISCARRIAGES. She thinks my daughter is a trip, and presumably feels entitled to tell me whatever she wants about child bearing because she only has one daughter who is now a teenager and turning on her.

But I digress.)

This woman, at the meeting, looked across the table at me and said (in reference to my three-year-old's ramblings that I hadn't heard, but knew well enough) "Is she telling tales? Or does she know something?"

And there was that look on the woman's face...bemused...smug...I'm not sure. The "Oh-my-goodness-you-took-my-advice-and-are-knocked-up-and-I-wheedled-it-out-of-your-three-year-old" look.

Lately, it is my daughter's wildest dream that she become the proud owner of a baby sister named Mike. It's a long story involving good friends of ours who just had baby number three (the oldest is not yet three) and the husband's name is...you guessed it. Somehow all of these facts got jumbled in my daughter's head like numbered balls in a bingo cage, and now she wants a sister Mike. I think it's rather funny.

I had to disappoint the woman at the meeting by rolling my eyes and assuring her, "No, she's telling tales."

But in the meantime, another woman, who comports herself as God's gift to etiquette, asked in a sickly-sweet tone, "Oh, are you thinking of adding to your family?" Saying it as if the deceptive phrasing made an erstwhile "So, are you trying?" perfectly acceptable to ask.

I was so shocked by the question, I couldn't even think to answer, "Well, not here, but if you're that interested, why don't you come over tonight and watch while my husband bangs me?!"

Instead I stammered (and I do mean stammered), "Well, I guess so, I mean eventually."

Unless I have my pants at my ankles and am going at it on the checkered oilcloth at the pizza joint, my new response to these questions will be: WHO THE FUCK'S BUSINESS IS IT IF I AM TRYING TO HAVE ANOTHER BABY?

Because "So, are you trying?" is disguised in: "You should have another." and "Are you thinking of adding to your family?" and "Do you want more?" and "How old are you?" and "How's your husband's sperm count?" (okay, that last one hasn't been an issue...yet.) It is really everywhere, and so insidious that I find myself answering the question when really I don't know the answer and certainly don't want to share the answers I do have. Not when I have the answers shaken out of me. In my heart I want another baby, but what if I couldn't afford it, or couldn't biologically have another, or my husband decided he doesn't want anymore, or...

My procreative habits are not up for discussion or vote or comment. Except, of course, between me and my husband. And my RE. Oh, and of course, my daughter, who demands to help us go to the store and pick up her baby sister.

I have to remember that when I feel my life is no one else's business, I have the right to say so.

Wish me luck!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Looking for my Yang

It has been nearly three months since my last miscarriage. When I was standing nearer to that time of my life, and I was told to wait two cycles before trying again, the wait seemed interminable.

Now I am on the other side of the wait, with an extra cycle's worth thrown in for good measure. My numbers look good (strange kind of lottery, isn't it?) and my attitude is even better (than the numbers or than it used to be, I can't say for sure). But reflecting on my behavior over the last three months,--hell, let's make it the whole year--I am realizing that I tend to lose myself very easily to whatever drama presents itself.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I could barely get myself out of the house for all my Internet surfing. "due date." "morning sickness." "forceps." Anything and everything having to do with pregnancy, I googled. I googled so much my husband thought about enrolling me in googler's anonymous. I was obsessed. (In fact, I continued this pattern at the beginning of each of my subsequent pregnancies. Pulled out "Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy" or some other tome on pregnancy as soon as the stick had two lines, only to abashedly hide it away a few weeks later when things went to hell in a handbasket.) Perhaps a kind way of looking at these tendencies is to say that I jump in with both feet.

I realize that I have played out my SIF in much the same way. Lots of time on the Internet. Lots of time reading. Blogging or commenting or both at the same time. Lots of decisions made with the rationalization "I could be pregnant by then," or "I just had a D&E." After my third loss, I made a Fat as Fuck plan which required me to eat everything in sight--oh yes, including things I didn't really like--as though to stick it to the fertility gods who have taken so much from me. I let my business come to a standstill, telling myself that I would pick it up again in the fall, when my daughter was in school.

This fall I finally joined a gym--something I had avoided all spring, knowing that I would soon become pregnant and have to forfeit the joiner fee. However, now I am using exercise as the antedote to infertility. I have tried the not working out and my pregnancies failed. I figure, either exercise is going to be the magic bullet this time, or my RE is going to fall in love with me and my new hardbody (shut up).

And then there is that lingering possibility of a move to a new state. As of this post, we are no closer to moving than when I first wrote about this, but the thought of moving has taken up significant real estate in my brain. I have put off expanding my business and seeking out new clients because, horror, we might move. And I would have to disappoint my new clients!

I am the first to admit that my reluctance to move forward in many areas fits nicely with my desire to avoid rejection and discomfort, from both a business perspective and a lifestyle angle. But the truth is, when I put my daily living on hold, I become unhappy. It doesn't feel good to be stagnant.

So, on the other side of the waiting, I am looking out on an uncertain future. Yes, I believe I want another baby. Yes, the waiting has, in retrospect, been good for me. Calming. But it has also been an excuse to sit on my hands and, well, wait. What I want is to not lose myself to the journey of having another child, because it's only one of many journeys that I am on. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a sister, an entrepreneur, a writer. It seems that balance is crucial to wearing so many hats.

(But I do hear that all those squats will prepare me for the rigors of delivery.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Tickets to the Gun Show

I had a very busy weekend, from which I am still recovering. My town held a street festival with artisans and craftsmen, food booths, kids activities, a silent auction, live music and seminars throughout the day. I helped plan it. I also had a booth. Since my business is a food business, it was a lot of work to get my product ready to sell on Sunday, plus keep up with the volunteer aspect of it. Sunday turned out to be a gorgeous day, with huge crowds and I sold out. So I've got that going for me. I am totally proud to have been a part of the event on both sides of the coin.

Tonight there was a wrap up meeting to discuss all feedback on the event. Something came to my attention that has been bothering me since.

One of the seminars, I guess you'd call it, was a demonstration by these guys who re-enact battles from the Revolution. Full get-up, wig, muskets, the whole she-bang. Well, part of their demonstration was a children's musket drill. That's right, they had children handling guns. I believe they were working guns.

So, the organizers of the event got an email from a disappointed spectator, saying that the sight of children with guns in their hands, so soon after the violence in Lancaster County (close by our town) was appalling and ruined an otherwise enjoyable day for them.

I understand the sentiment, and frankly I wholeheartedly agree with it.

However, this email started a few discussions about the appropriateness of this particular demonstration at our event. Most of the people who aren't bothered by guns got very reactive. You know, the attitude that we spend too much of our time cow-towing to liberals who want everything to be so P.C. Screw them was their vote.

But, in the larger scheme of things, we are planning this event to bring the community together. Yes, some families have no problem with guns. However, I don't think those families will plan a day around how they can next get their child's hand around a pistol. On the flip side, though, families who are uncomfortable with guns will not attend an event that they believe will have a gun demonstration. If we are in the businesss of bringing the most people we can to this event, then why even consider staging something that is clearly controversial and alarming to some?

It is an interesting question, isn't it? Because the people who got riled up about the sentiment voiced in the email reacted blindly, instead of really considering what the ultimate goal was. Yes, it's a free country, but that doesn't mean we should let our emotions (or overreactions) about any situation outweigh the right decision.

Furthermore, visitors to the event had no choice about whether to see children firing guns or not. I think if it's remotely controversial, that shouldn't happen. It's not like the t.v., where the parents could turn the channel if something objectionable came on. There's too much is going on at an event like this, and the crowds are too great to just turn around. Let's put our political agendas, or our "don't fence me in" attitudes, away for the moment and focus on how the greater good can be served by children firing guns at a public event.

It can't. So let's skip it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ladies, call your bookies!

I am back in the game.

As of Friday, when spot came begging at the side door (rather, front door), I am officially back on the baby-making trail.

Sigh.

What the hell does this mean? It means my period, the one I've been instructed to wait for, has arrived. Harkening the commencement of office visit after ultrasound after bloodwork.

I was freaked out on Friday when I spoke to my RE. He's a nice man, in possession of knowledge and scientific equipment that is very important to me. Yet, he makes jokes at which I cannot seem to laugh.

me: You told me to check in when my next period started...

RE: ...and it started today?

me: Well, I'm spotting, and last night I had the cramps as well as a migraine two nights ago...

RE: Ah, yes, all those lovely things. You know, I think I missed out not being born a woman. You really have all the fun.

(awkward pause)

me: Yeah, but you have to deal with the whole thinning hair and smaller brain thing.

So we talked, at length, again, about what has or has not gone wrong for me and what to expect. I pressed him on when, exactly, he would consider sending us for genetic testing. His response was that while the textbook answer is after three miscarriages, he rarely follows those guidelines. Reason? Well, there's no treatment for it and it doesn't change anything. So, I said, you just keep trying to overcome the chromosome problem, if there is one? Exactly, he said.

But, in thinking about it, I am somewhat incensed by his casualness. I mean, what if I don't want to keep trying? What if I want to avoid the pain of repeated losses by, say, using donor eggs or adopting? Neither of them simple solutions, nor a guarantee against pain or loss, but options for someone facing a huge genetic hurdle, nonetheless.

He said that if I bring it up again at my next appointment he would refer me for testing. Not that I want it. I just think his reasoning is faulty. The question is, will I be so bold as to say this to a man in the midst of a post-coital test sample collection? Oh, by the way, yes, he did tell me to have sex the night before my appointment next Wednesday. I was not sure how to take that particular directive. Except to say that now you can be pretty sure what I'll be doing next Tuesday evening.

So don't call.

Friday, October 06, 2006

When did schools become targets?

Yesterday was the only day I took my daughter to school this week, as she was sick on Tuesday. I had to go back to school after dropping her off to deliver the show-and-tell item we had forgotten. The doors were locked.

Huh.

The secretary was right there to let me in, and I went to my daughter's class without thinking about it.

A few minutes later, in the foyer, I was handing in my tuition check and the UPS man came to the front door. He nearly threw out his shoulder trying to open the locked door.

The director of the school let him in and explained that having the front doors locked was now part of the school's policy. "It's the day," she said, meaning the age we live in.

I finally got it. We live about forty miles away from Lancaster, PA, where those five innocent girls were massacred. The director and I spoke of the tragedy and she said, "If those babies could be hurt..." and her voice trailed off. I didn't need her to finish the thought. I had spent the week thinking the same thing. If such devastation and evil could find the Amish community, we are all prey.

Speaking with the director had a profound effect on me, and I realized only later that is was her description of the girls as "babies." These girls are someone's babies. It highlighted the particular horror of the act. Who kills babies?

In the past few days there has been a fervor over the funerals for these children. Some hate group that affiliate themselves with God had planned to stage a protest during the services, to make a statement about our governor. This group doesn't really offer religion; more like sanctioned terrorism. No different than the Taliban or Al Qaeda or Neo-Naziism. It occurs to me as I think about these types of fanatics or zealots, whether they are Christian based, Muslim, Nazi, whatever, that they don't want the rest of us to worship their god and their laws. They want us to worship them. They want us to fear them. They want to pass judgement and rule our lives. They are playing at being God.

The "Christian" hate group never showed up, after much publicity, but you know who did? The Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club. They arrived to offer the families of the dead girls some protection, peace and dignity as they buried their daughters.

Thank god for the Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What I have learned...

...from washing my car with my daughter:

1) she will try to drink from the nozzle whether it is set to "Full," "Shower," "Center," etc.;

2) getting a face full from point blank range is not nearly as upsetting to her as feared by her mother;

3) do not busy her with the task of spraying one side of the car while working on the other. It will not go in my favor;

4) watching her maneuvre the business end of a hose/nozzle is invariably more entertaining than having a clean car;

5) washing my car makes absolutely no difference to its appearance;

6) letting her "accidentally" spray me with the hose is more fun than staying dry, especially when she instructs "come closer. No, closer!" and purposefully directs me with her hands as to where to stand.

If only every twenty-minute activity were as fulfilling as washing my car (or not, as the case may be) .

Knowing Right from Wrong

After careful consideration, it seems that my last post about inappropriate thoughts as I head into babymaking round number five has at its root something more frightening than whether my schedule can handle another child.

I am worried about failing again.

As soon as the RE gives us the go ahead, I will be doing my very best to get pregnant. You don't want the sordid details (unless you pay $9.95 a month to subscribe to this blog, in which case you do) of how it's all going to go down (and believe me, there will be none of that), but I am confident that we will succeed. After all, we have in at least four other instances, become pregnant without any intervention and within a few months of trying. This go round will include a tidy window (courtesy of an u/s or two) into my uterus to make sure all is in tip-top shape, that my lining looks thick like Challah french toast and to predict when I will O. Ovulate, that is, because I don't think the RE really wants to see my "O face." (Bear in mind, he did not pay $9.95.)

Joking aside, it's the details that wear on my small mind. Yes, I believe I'll get pregnant somewhat easily; truth be told if it's not the first month, I'm one of those petulant women who will take it personally and kick a lot of trash cans. It's not that I'm stupid or ungrateful, I just can't stand the waiting. More to the point, I really don't handle not being in control very well.

Which leads me back to the small details. When we do, universe willing, concieve...what then? What if the ovum that receives the honor of being Casey's Next Lucky Break is the first egg that shoots down my fallopian tubes--because I am too eager to get started--but after a night of wild drinking on the egg's part, it's a bit the worse for wear, like the last three? What if it is really the second egg that I should be shooting for, no pun intended?

And, for Pete's sake, how am I supposed to know one from the other?

I have trusted my body to do what it is supposed to do (extremist thinking in these parts, I know) and each time in the last year, we have failed, my body and me. (Unless you count miscarriage as a success! because your body is doing what it is supposed to do! and all that insulting crap.) I used to be laid back about physical things and have confidence in my body. That attitude has netted me squat.

The anxiety in my head gets a little muddy and crazed from this point on (okay, more muddy and crazed), so I will spare you any further meanderings. Suffice it to say that I worry about doing this wrong again. I have no control over something that might end up devastating me, and yet I am so willing, nay eager, to go through with it. Again.

Perhaps I am not as hopeful a person as I would like to think. And so, to go into this with nothing but hope in my soul (soap in your hole and all that) seems unnatural and fraudulent to me. Perhaps, to appease some gods I don't admit to worshipping, I feel it would be unseemly to go into this without the fear and genuflecting.

Strange, though, that I would choose to fear something that is neither within my power to change nor absolutely destined to go badly. Despite the lessons of the last three failures, perhaps my memory of my body doing it the right way or the feeling of my daughter's sleepwarm breath on my cheek is enough to overcome the fear at least one more time.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Jackass 2; let's review

Yes, I saw Jackass 2 this weekend. Yes, I laughed. But I paid $9.50 to get in (okay, my husband did) and I paid $6.00 an hour for a picked-from-the-crazy-tree babysitter (cheap, I know, but not if the kid is duct taped to the chair when I get home), so I was looking for the funny.

Here’s what to expect if you go:

Lots of testicles (some fake, many not)
A few penises (some human, some horse)
Much bathroom humor (very literal take on that)
A surplus of vomit
Adequate amounts of blood
Plenty of Dave England whimpering
Scant Johnny Knoxville (for my $9.50)

It was not the non-stop laughfest that I was expecting and could easily wait for home viewing.

*********************

Speaking of being a jackass (which I am about to do), last night while trying to fall asleep, I had a panic attack about—of all things—when my next baby will be born.

I went to sleep with a splitting headache. I use that term only because my husband claims to have seen part of my brain emerging from the lower part of my skull, from whence most of the pain was coming.

It is a surefire sign that my hormones are enjoying the downhill rush after a steady and slow climb click, click, click to the top of the rickety roller coaster wheeee!! So, trying to scramble out of their way and find some comfortable position to doze, my brain fell upon the notion that if I get pregnant right away did she just really say that? my summer will be ruined.

Okay, not ruined. Not while I’m awake and thinking about it. But when my head, even in a balanced and painfree state, hits the pillow, I start worrying about the most peculiar and inappropriate things. Is it a defect in me that I can simultaneously worry that I won’t get pregnant right away and also that when I do get pregnant right away it’s going to send my summer into upheaval?

Perhaps the larger question is, how can I use this, ahem, talent for the betterment of society?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Jackass

For those of you keeping track, here is an example of why I am occasionally tempted to kick my wonderful husband to the curb.

Next weekend, our small town is putting on a street festival (artisans, craftsmen, moonbounce, food court, etc.) Not only have I been organizing the food vendors for the event, but I am also going to have my own booth, for my business. Which means I should be preparing as we speak.

Recently, my husband decided that he needed one more day of golf before the snow started to fall. (Yes, where we live it is also early October, in case you are as confused by his urgency as I.) He chose next weekend. The day before the festival, when I really need to be focusing on getting things together.

Not a big problem--other than the usual issue of his golf extending my work week by one day--as long as he helped me out this past weekend by giving me time to prepare without the little one tugging on my apron strings.

Sunday morning when I reminded him that I still needed time, he replied "What do you mean? I gave you all of yesterday (Saturday) morning."

That's right. Of the 30-34 hours that I am awake in a given weekend, my husband saw fit to allot a grand total of 3 1/2 hours to my absolute discretion.

Thanks. A lot.

And now for more hijinx...

...I can still count on one hand the number of times we have used a non-family babysitter in our daughter's three years with us. Saturday night I went to pick up a new babysitter, recommended to us by a friend of a friend (who is apparently very picky) so that we could go see a movie.

I brought my daughter, so as to make an adventure out of the whole "Daddy and Mommy are going somewhere without you, but we're hoping pizza and a 15-year-old girl will fill the emptiness in your heart" thing. I should have known I would pay for that.

My daughter insisted on going to the front door to get the babysitter with me. On the front porch of the babysitter's house, indoor furniture was arranged as though awaiting a yard sale. Not quite trashy looking, but definitely out of place and a bit piled up.

My first glimpse of the b.s. (babysitter) indicated that she was still in her soccer uniform. Turns out, she was expecting me an hour later. That made my teeth hurt, especially when I had spoken to her a few times about when we would be needing her. But, she was ready to go, so it didn't really hold us up.

As we chatted at her front door, her dog and her father came out to check us out. Her father offered a handshake. The dog just sniffed and barked. My daughter wanted to pet the pooch, and with the b.s.'s go-ahead, I put her down and we all pet the dog.

That's when Pop-Pop showed up. The b.s.'s grandfather. He came out of the house to check us out, too. So now, it's getting pretty crowded on a small front porch already littered with couches and kitchen tables. There was no where to move.

As the old man (and I say this with some hesitation, because he might have been all of sixty?) neared, I was thinking that he could be one of those sweet, old Italian grandfathers who doesn't speak a whole lot of English, hence the loud talking on the part of my b.s. He had about five days' worth of white stubble across his chin, a missing bicuspid or two, and, as I would soon learn, vacant blue eyes. But he seemed to want to join in all the fun, and the b.s. made an effort to include him, yelling "Pop Pop, this is the family I'm going to babysit for."

Turns out he wasn't deaf; he was just hard-of-thinking.

What transpired is hard to describe, because it was surreal to me. He kept trying to touch my daughter. As she stood nearly between my legs, with nowhere else to go, he chucked her under her chin. I quickly scooped her up in my arms, and bent backwards, without being obvious, over a kitchen table as he started to sing a song that uses her name. She and I were trying to play along, but then he'd go and try to touch her again. Tickle her belly or some such nonsense.

God bless the 15 -year-old b.s., as she made a great effort to grab his hands whenever he went for my girl. Then, he came closer still and started clapping his hands in my daughter's face, instructing her to do so as well. The babysitter said, "Oh, this is his game...Pop Pop I think she's shy. She's too shy."

I reiterated the comment, "Yeah, she's being shy."

Without taking his crazy, vacant eyes off of my daughter, he said in a tone that resembled a threat, "She's not going to be shy with me."

OKAY. THAT'S IT.

My daughter curled into me, probably at my prompting, and he kept trying to touch her (unbelievably, so did the father at some point during all this) and I said (with a smile on my face, no less). "No thank you. NOTHANKYOU!" I made a further excuse (now I'm making excuses?) of needing to get her into her car seat.

And that is when, finally, he moved on.

The b.s.'s father watched the whole fucking thing go down. And me, with an idiot smile plastered on my face.

Lest you think I was in the clear, it got a little bumpy before my daughter and I (and the b.s.) finally made our escape. The b.s. went inside to get shoes and I told the father (and the looming Paulie Walnuts) that we'd have her back by 9:30 or 10:00 as the movie was at 7:30.

And the father says, "What movie are you going to see?"

Um...

crickets...

"Jackass?"

No kidding, I answered in the form of a question.

He made offended and asked me what kind of movie was that? And the twelve year old in me started to explain about MTV and these guys who do stunts and it's all very funny and the father sat there and actually claimed to have never heard of it.

Bullshit.

I think I was still explaining my choice of movie as I was getting into my car and backing out.

And this is why I want to divorce myself, some days.

On the bright side, the b.s. got in and apologized about her Pop Pop and how much he likes to touch and he usually visits on Sundays but her parents were going to be gone on Sunday so he's visiting today because he lives in the next town over but tonight her mom was at church, do you know the one I'm talking about it's just down the road...

Seriously, I thought I had just picked up Kelly from "The Office."

And when I dropped her off at the end of the evening, she wished me a very happy "What's that Jewish holiday on Monday?"

"Uh, Yom Kippur?"

Big smile, "Oh yeah. That's it! Bye."

Not only am I not Jewish, but I really don't think that Yom Kippur is one of those holidays that is as festive as say, Passover. Or Bay of Pigs Day.

Oy.