Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dreams are just dreams...

BUT...I had one last night in which I started bleeding profusely. You know, from my lady region. I'm guessing this is just a symptom of the fact that I am preparing myself for bad news on Tuesday. It's happened to so many of you, why not me? Am I a special princess or something? Okay...I totally am a special princess, at it happens, but bad things happen even to special princesses. Like that one time my favorite pony got eviscerated by a dragon--there were charred pony guts everywhere. Huge bummer.

Anyway, here's what I'm hoping for this weekend.
1. That Bun Bun grows and thrives, that I experience no evidence to the contrary.
2. That my fucking cold goes away and I get some motherfucking sleep.
3. That all of you get pregnant. Yeah, even you, JB, and even those of you who are already pregnant. I don't want to hear your complaints. Just do as you're told.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Last night I was bragging to Mr. Bunny about the fact that I get to experience the miracle of life growing within my body.* He said, Yeah, well, you're merely a vessel for my seed.

I love that man.

If Bun Bun is alive and well at next week's ultrasound, I'll see if Mr. Bunny is okay with me telling a few friends. (Weirdly, neither of us is particularly interested in telling our families!) Part of me is really looking forward to telling BFB. Part of me doesn't want to. Maybe I'm afraid she won't understand that my pregnancy, should it continue, is not going to be like hers, all carefree and shit. That what I've been through--minor as it is compared to many of your journeys--is not going to be erased just because I get to move forward. Or maybe I just don't want to hear all her assvice. Whatever. I'll cross that bridge if I'm lucky enough to come to it.

*You know, today, at far as I can tell.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Grey days are still grey days

I know some of you feel that any sign of complainy-like-behavior from a Miraculously Pregnant One is an insult to those still striving, plus an invitation to the fates to kill the Pregnant One's baby, and perhaps all babies everywhere. I hear ya, I really do. However, I wonder if we don't do each other a disservice by putting a brave face on this experience. I hope I can express some things that are not exactly rainbows and puppies without filling your hearts with hate. Perhaps if I enclose them in a impenetrable wall of gratitude, the babies of the world will be safe. {I'm so grateful to be pregnant} Today is a grey and rainy day. I just slogged through the rain to a meeting that no-one told me wasn't taking place anymore. The thought of teaching a roomful of listless disease vectors who don't want to be there any more than I do just makes me want to cry. I haven't slept well in a million years, and am utterly useless. I don't like vomiting (I've started vomiting) and perpetual nausea. (I keep thinking, I'll never drink again!, then remembering I'm not hungover!) My cold won't go away. My house is a mess because I'm too feeble to pick up, and my husband is too lazy and oblivious to take over my duties. {I'm so grateful to be pregnant}

I'm not looking for sympathy or anything, just telling it like it is. Plus, it's been a long time since that ultrasound, and it becomes difficult to imagine Bun Bun is still in there. I'm not exactly worried, just incapable of really believing in a good outcome.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chapter 12

When I was finishing my PhD, I got this book called The Academic Job Search Handbook. I skimmed the whole thing, then read the first couple chapters on preparing your materials and so forth. I figured I'd never get past those chapters. (In fact, the first time I opened it, I happened to find myself in the section entitled handling negative feedback, and I expected to spend most of my time right there.) But then I got interviews! So I read the chapter on interviews. And then I got an offer! So I read the chapter on offers! And next year I may get to read the section on changing jobs after you don't get tenure!

When I became officially infertile, I got Mel's Book. I skimmed the whole thing, then read the first couple chapters on being diagnosed and the section on IUI and so forth. I figured when the time came, I'd read the section on IVF. And perhaps later the chapter on adoption and the one on living child-free. Unlike the job search book, I expected to have need of most of the sometimes grim territory Mel's book covers. Except for chapter 12, the chapter on pregnancy. But after my third beta, I had the amazing experience of skipping ahead to that chapter. (And it genuinely felt like skipping ahead, like I might get to read some fun stuff now, but I'll for sure have to come back and read the chapters on pregnancy loss, IVF, etc...There might be a quiz, you know.) As with the rest of the book, there is some sound advice to be had. The part that struck me the most was this. Mel says that while it's normal to feel a crapload (paraphrasing...) of anxiety, you don't want to look back after your pregnancy and think If I'd known it was going to work out fine I'd have spent more time enjoying the experience. And that while it's normal to feel deeply reluctant to believe it might work out, if you lose your baby, it won't be the happy memories that hurt you, it will be the loss itself.

I don't know if the latter is true. It seems like those of you who have had losses suffer extra when you think about those happy moments. So maybe she's full of shit. But her general suggestion is to live your life as though you're going to have a healthy baby. It seems like a reasonable approach to take, and I might try it.

Meanwhile, can I just note how totally bizarre it is to have people giving me advice on something pregnancy-related? Really, really, really weird. And, today: no bleeding, no cramping, no reason to think Bun Bun is dead. Long may it remain thus.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nature, your plan does not make sense

Since Monday, nausea has coated my entire day like a greasy film. Thus far it's just resulted in some regular gagging, but no actual vomiting. (I did steal some air sickness bags on my recent trip and have one with me at all times in case I need to puke in class. Oh, and this morning I also woke up with a cold. There's a constant trickle of snot down the back of my throat (YUMMY! Custard, anyone?) which has increased the retching to every five minutes or so. Hrraaccck!) The only thing that keeps the nausea even remotely at bay is eating something every few minutes, but eating is not what you want to do when you're constantly gagging. I'll force some raisins between my clamped-together jaws and every fiber of my being will scream out, WHAT ARE YOU DOING, INSANE LADY? DO NOT PUT THAT IN HERE! On the one hand, this is clearly a crazy arrangement. On the other hand, it's par for the course given how utterly bizarre the whole conception and gestation business is.

Am I complaining? Of course not--I'd do anything for Bun Bun, including purchasing a product called Queasy Drops. I have no pride. How could I, locked in my office, gagging over my trash can?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Another romatic vision dashed

So when you finally get pregnant after not-really-that-long-when-you-are-able-to-have-some-perspective-on-the-whole-thing, you get to experience things you've read about and dreamed about so wistfully. Like telling your partner about a positive test. As you know, that was not the romantic vision that I'd anticipated, and I don't care. But one of the next thrilling events is supposed to be telling your loved ones, right? You think about who you'll tell first and how excited they'll be and blah blah blah.

Well, I blew it. You see, I had coffee with the Lady Professors. I'm fond of the Lady Professors, and we're close enough that they know about my struggles, but we're completely not Real Friends. We're Close Work Friends: you know a lot about each other, but don't really want to take things to the next level. Before going to meet them I told myself, Bunny, you're going to want to tell, but you mustn't. And I tried to keep the conversation away from myself, but LP1 starting really pressing about my reproductive plans. And before I was able to stop myself, out came the truth. On the one hand, no big deal. I'd want them to know if I had a miscarriage, so it's not that I'm worried about telling them so early. On the other hand, why does a random group of women know this amazing secret?

(In case it's not obvious, you guys are not a random group of women. Your my Special Secret Anonymous Friends! Even though that sounds like I'm touching you in your private place and trying to convince you not to tell your parents.)

Also, I can't tell Mr. Bunny I spilled the beans. He's enjoying the just-between-us nature of the situation and would feel betrayed. So I feel like a terrible lying traitor, too. This is probably coming off all waaah, poor me, I told the wrong people about my pregnancy! I DO realize this is not a genuine problem. I guess I'm just eternally surprised that Life ≠ Imagination.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I haz two hearts

With the aid of modern medicine, Mr. Bunny and I made an embryo with a heart. Bun Bun (that's our embryo's name, and he's male for the sake of simplicity) is measuring 6w6d, right on target. I actually forgot what his heart rate was, as I was too busy being amazed. I've never felt anything quite like I did when I heard that sound. I've read so many of your descriptions of that moment, and I've certainly imagined it, but it defies all expectation.

I'd like to blather on about how badly I want this experience for those of you still waiting, how desperately I want Bun Bun to grow and thrive, how pleased with himself my RE was...but I have a shit ton of grading and class prep to do before I'm off to teach. So for the moment... me = dumbfounded.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Talk = OVAH

Me = still alive. I didn't even get pelted with rotten fruit. In fact, some famous people were complimentary! I'm going to focus on that and ignore the inner voice reminding me that there were things I could have done better...

So now there's just Tuesday morning to worry about. Mr. Bunny had a dream in which we had a real live baby. He was holding it. I'm a little jealous, but also kinda glad not to have anything quite so real in my head.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I wish it were next week

I vacillate between thinking my talk is perfectly fine (maybe not the amazing piece o' genius I dreamed it would be when I was first invited to give it, but probably not the worst talk anyone in the audience will have ever heard--possibly not even the worst talk at the conference, though that's a bit cocky) and being convinced it's a shameful piece of shit that will make everyone avoid eye contact with me for the rest of my short and painful career.

I vacillate between thinking the embryo can't possibly die and thinking it can't possibly live. I remind myself that I'm not bleeding or cramping, and myself reminds me that I don't feel any symptoms other than the eternally sore rack.

I just want it to be next week. But then I think about the fact that next week may rank quite high on the list of worst weeks of my life...and I crawl under my desk. Literally. It's very cozy down there.  But then I have to come out to grade stupid papers.

Meanwhile, I was telling Mr. Bunny that you guys had totally reassured me about flying, but that I was still worried about being trapped in some crappy middle seat and having to climb over a stranger in order to walk around. It turns out Mr. Bunny had secretly used his frequent flyer miles to upgrade us to first class! He was planning to surprise me, but figured now was the time for the surprise. He wanted me to be as comfortable as possible during this trying time. It made me feel really loved and cared for.

Friday, September 10, 2010

We talked about a moment in hypothetical future in which our fetus is alive!

As I said yesterday, thus far the talk in our house has been all I hope this ultrasound reveals a live fetus! BUT...yesterday Mr. Bunny asked when you can find out the sex of your fetus, and he was so endearing about it (prefaced with a hundred caveats about how we're not there yet, and it's too soon to talk about this stuff and etc., etc.) that instead of agreeing that it is indeed waaaay too early to talk about such things and scowling at him, I told him the answer. Then he asked me if I wanted to know, should we get to that point. Years ago this topic came up and I'm pretty sure he said he'd want to find out, whereas I like the mystery, so any time I've allowed myself to contemplate the idea, I wondered how we'd handle it. Turns out he wants to do whatever I want to do. Sweet. Problem solved. I said, It's one of natures best surprises, why find out early? He said, It's got to be one or the other so it's not that big of a surprise. Then I delivered a lecture on intersexuality. That ought to shut him up for a while.

Still, this was a big moment for us, and I hope we are not punished for daring to think beyond the 21st.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The optimistic husband

I've mentioned before that Mr. Bunny is an optimist. What with my considerably more cautious attitude, this is making for some interesting attempts to talk about ye olde embryo. I mean, mainly we're both too scared to mention anything beyond the ultrasound, and you can only have so many conversations that go, I hope our baby doesn't die! I also hope that! But when we do discuss the topic, he keeps saying things that make me want to reply with a depressing piece of information. (E.g., Him: That third beta is so great! In My Head: Yes, but plenty of people have rising betas and then miscarry.) Thus far, I've been biting my tongue. I figure if he can be happy, why get in his way? But I do worry that he won't be prepared if things go south. And, selfishly, that he won't be ready to support ME. Or maybe that he'll be all we got pregnant once, we can do it again! while I'm being all I can't fathom living. A good solution would be for me to not miscarry, huh?

I'm partly sorry my clinic doesn't scan for a gestational sac--it would be cool to have a little more information sooner rather than later. On the other hand, I'm grateful that, God willing, I'll get to go to this conference and take my Big Career Step in a state of ignorance. Because trying to put on a brave show of professionalism while utterly devastated...well, many of you know all too well how undesirable that is.

Speaking of which, I leave on Tuesday. The google embargo is still in place, so I can't research the dangers of flying early in pregnancy. Can you guys reassure me that it will be fine? I asked Nurse Idiot and she said it wasn't an issue, but with a particular note of uncertainty in her voice that I have learned means, I don't know what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tips from someone who is definitely going to stay pregnant and have a healthy baby for sure, no doubt about it.

Now that I am an authority on how to get pregnant (Universe, that's a JOKE. Please don't kill my embryo just because I still have a sense of humor!), I thought you might like to know how I achieved this miracle. Of course we can't know for sure, but I'd say there were multiple factors leading up to the (temporary, one-day-at-a-timey, please let this not endy) success of my fifth IUI:

1. Red Raspberry for Fertility jelly doughnuts.
2. Being inseminated on four year wedding anniversary.
3. Having oppressive Best Friend with Baby move away. (I mean, seriously, I got pregnant on the first cycle after she left town.)
4. Following clinic instructions regarding alcohol, exercise, and caffeine.
5. Random chance.
6. Having three large meatballs removed from my abdomen.

And here's the approximate contribution of each factor.

So while most of you can't arrange to have 2, 3 or 6 come to pass, 1 is under your control, my friends. (And not to worry, I asked my RE and he says you can adapt the recipe to a gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, sugar free diet without the treatment losing any of its efficacy.)

As for how to STAY pregnant...I'm still conducting research. But I hope--with every fiber of my being--to have some data to share in a few months.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

News Flash: Data suggest embryo still alive

Beta hCG at 19dpIUI = 1416. Seven week ultrasound booked for September 20th. I kinda want to puke with relief and anxiety and hope and dread and...but I have to go teach two back-to-back classes.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The availability heuristic

I'm in the office because I promised myself I would finish my talk for the California conference today. And I did! Yay ME! Now I just have to grade a few more of these craptastic papers (Sample: But, as time went on and great minds became exposed to head injuries as well as the effects of said injuries on a person’s personality and a person’s ability to function the thought that the brain and the mind are closely related to each other began to surface. The problems with that sentence, they are many.) and I can go home and watch more terrible movies.

But it seems that finishing the talk has created a little empty space that is now filling up with worries. It may also be the case that three days without speaking to another human being (except the grocery store clerk who sold me toilet paper) is taking a toll on my ability to stay chill.

I'm not freaking out. I'm still doing the one day at a time thing, but there's a growing sense of unease. And it's all thanks to the stupid availability heuristic. This is a basic bias in human thinking, and describes the fact that people think things are more probable as a function of how many examples they can bring too mind. It also captures the fact that simply thinking of an outcome makes us believe that outcome to be more likely. So this fucks me in two ways. I can bring to mind a great many examples of cases where rising betas were followed by miscarriage. I can bring to mind very few examples where rising betas were followed by healthy pregnancies. Second, because of the former and because of my own chemical pregnancy, I can vividly imagine the outcome where this pregnancy doesn't survive. But for whatever reason, I can't really imagine an outcome wherein I get a baby out of this. When I try to, my brain is like, WOOOOAAAH NELLY! Let's not go there. Let's just focus on this step. So does this mean I should go home and imagine a healthy pregnancy and a fat baby bunny as many times as I can to make that notion more available? I dunno, that just seems so reckless.

If you've got any words of comfort, let's have 'em. And please let this whole discussion not be moot after tomorrow's beta.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Two weeks down, thirteen to go

Of my SEMESTER. You probably thought I was talking about babies. As if. I have a rich and fascinating life that does not revolve around babies.

That was a joke, in case my deadpan humor did not translate. Anyway, I'm starting to get into the rhythm of my semester. Both my classes seem to have a reasonable dynamic, and although I'm still very nervous about standing up there in my large class, I thought the worst was over. But last night I had another classic anxiety dream in which I couldn't get some piece of classroom technology to work, and was getting increasingly freaked out. And then I had an orgasm in my sleep. Because it turns out I have a fetish for being terrified in front of a lecture hall full of undergraduates. So of course it woke me up, and I was like AAAHHH! There's something IN that uterus! It shouldn't be contracting! AAAH! What have I done! But it wasn't my fault! I didn't mean to! I've made a pact with myself not to google /pubmed anything baby related. I know there's a world of fear out there, and I've got enough of my own without going looking. But if anyone happens to know of studies indicating that sleep orgasms in week four have no detrimental effects on an embryo, feel free to hook me up.*

This is going to be a bit of a mélange of a post.

Ever since That Fateful Tuesday, I've been waking up around 3am. It's like I was instantly conditioned to think that waking up at 3 results in wonderful things. So my brain is like WHAT WILL TODAY BRING! A PONY? But all it brings is a trip to the bathroom and a day of exhaustion, because of course I can't fall asleep again for an hour, and then I wake up at six. And today I officially switched to decaf. I know there's caffeine in decaf coffee. In fact, I'm counting on that small amount to stave off a withdrawal headache. I'll keep you posted on this exciting detail.

Finally, I meant to mention in the list of things I've learned since Tuesday that I am finally convinced a girl can be pregnant without feeling anything different from any other cycle. I had pretty much come to believe it after repeatedly reading posts where a woman was like I'm definitely getting my period tomorrow and then, the next day, OMG I'm pregnant! But I tell you, everything was exactly the same as always, down to the very specific cramps I get right before I'm due. So I'm now a True Believer in the doctrine of If You Feel Exactly Like Always, That Don't Mean Shit. (Though this obviously only applies to people who have not been pregnant before.)

Anyway, I'm looking forward to several days of being able to assume I have an embryo in my uterus, barring evidence to the contrary (e.g., geysers of blood), and of fun stuff like walking to the store to buy toilet paper.

*HA! I happen to know that there are no such studies, due to exhaustive research on everything related to implantation.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Science says: still pregnant

Beta hCG at 15dpiui = 227.

Wow. I'm flooded with relief. And I was able to talk to Mr. Bunny before he got on his plane. (DUDE! I just realized I totally should have had the airport paging system make the announcement! Mr. Bunny, Mr. Bunny. Second beta was 227. Please pick up the white courtesy phone.)

I'm going to see if I can get some work done now (i.e, watch movie trailers on the internet) but since I will be aaaaalll alone aaaaallll weekend, I expect I'll discover I have lots to say later.

Beta #3 on Tuesday.


When it became evident that Mr. Bunny and I were going to get married some day, I made sure he understood that I didn't want an engagement ring. Don't get me wrong, I think the symbolism is lovely, but something about it just isn't ME. At the time, I wore two rings I'd been wearing since I was sixteen, both purchased from a jewelry table on Telegraph Avenue when I first moved to Berkeley. I didn't want to replace either of them unless it was with a wedding ring. So when he did propose, Mr. Bunny got me a necklace instead. It's a silver acorn, and you can see the vague idea of it in my wedding photo. I wore it to my first beta blood draw and I'm wearing it today.

It's not that I believe it has any power to protect me. Shit, if that were the case...I'd rent it out to all of you, and become a BAJILLIONAIRE. No, I guess touching it reminds me that we will survive if today's news is bad. It seems impossible right now. But I've seen with my own eyes that women can survive this not working out. Thank you for the courage you've shown me. I know you didn't do it for my benefit, but it benefits me anyway.

Meanwhile, this time they've got the right fucking phone number, so I may actually find out by 1pm. AND, today's phlebotomist was not the normal mean lady (because lord knows what you need when being stuck with needles is a lady who's like PUT YOUR ARM HERE! HOLD THIS! SNARL! YOU INTERRUPTED ME WHEN I WAS SHOPPING FOR SHOES ONLINE, IN THIS HORRIBLE LITTLE HOLE THEY PUT ME IN, AND I RETALIATE FOR THIS AWFUL HOLE BY HAVING LOADS OF STUFF ABOUT JESUS AND GOING TO HEAVEN ALL OVER MY WALLS! which is not to say I object to Jesus or going to heaven in principle, but it just makes the experience feel a little...judgey), but instead an awesome young guy with a bleached afro mohawk, who was chatty and told me all about how he hates having blood drawn. So that was nice.

On the side of bad, Mr. Bunny had to leave town again today. His father decided to spend his retirement driving around the national parks in an RV, and thinks it's a good idea to have people visit him and camp out in the RV, and Mr. Bunny's turn has come. (I happen to think asking people to visit you in the most inconvenient places and ways imaginable is selfish, which is why I refused to go along, and thank god I did.) So it's South Dakota for Mr. Bunny. I'll text him the news, and we're going to try to squeeze a phone call in between his layover in Minneapolis and my department meeting. God, it's absurd.

This is one MANIC post, isn't it? It's just 'cause I'm scared.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

While we wait some more...

I'm taking today as a day of rest...from worrying. In part because you guys totally set my mind at ease regarding this first number (you utterly rock!), in part because I want to squeeze as much joy from this experience as I can, given how tenuous it is. So I'm doing my best not to think ahead, either by imagining the best or by imagining the worst. Which is not to say I don't do both, but I try to quiet those thoughts.

Meanwhile, I've been ruminating on the following since Tuesday morning.

1. I was amazed at how posting that positive test made me feel instantly like a horrible pariah in blogolandytown. I wish one person's happiness didn't exacerbate another person's sadness, but I know (from personal experience) that it can, if only for a moment. If you feel left behind and like your turn will never come, all I can really say is that I felt the same way on Monday. And that I might be back in the trenches with you on Friday.

2. I'd noticed that women who had a positive often started posting only short, informative updates. I was like don't they want to share every last nuance of their feelings? Now I know that (1) above might be part of it--a fear of positing things that will be like stabby stabs in the hearts of those you've come to love. And there's the fear that speaking of IT will cause IT to evaporate. Also, most of those women probably have lives. NOT ME, man!

3. On a related note, I'd wondered why few women ever tell the story of sharing the result with their partners. Now I think it might be because of the stabby stabs. Or it might feel like a private moment to some women, or a moment that is difficult to capture, or a moment that involves URINE so is not all that pretty....

But I want to tell. So if you're not up for being stabbed in the heart, stop here and go look at this adorable shrew.

Telling Mr. Bunny. You know, I've fantasized about the experience of telling my husband I was pregnant more times than...than there are numbers for. (To find out how I had a chemical pregnancy without having this experience, go here.) It's a fantasy that always brought tears to my eyes. I would come out of the bathroom and show him the positive test. He'd leap up and enfold me in a loving embrace. We'd weep. I sure would, anyway. Unicorns would leap through misty rainbows all over the place. Kittens made of solid gold would rain from the sky. Something like that. The reality was totally unromantic: Awake at 3am while husband is out of town. Take test. See faint line. Absorb implications. E-mail photo of positive test to husband with explanation of what he's looking at and instructions to call. Wait...Wait... At 7, text husband: WAKE UP! CHECK YOUR E-MAIL! Husband calls. Have silly, incoherent conversation with husband, who is sitting on a bench across from a Dunkin' Donuts, several states away, trying to hear me over the noise of passing cars. No golden kittens, no misty rainbows. But somehow perfectly perfect for us. I guess joy can make anything pretty.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Science says I'm pregnant

Or recently was pregnant. Science can't distinguish between the two. Beta hCG at 13dpIUI is 87.

Nurse Idiot (I feel bad for calling her that, since she did get me pregnant, but it's her NAME. Also, she copied my cell phone number down wrong, which is why I got to spend an extra four hours waiting--thank god I stopped by the clinic on my way home.) says this is a little low, but that we're not going to worry. Yeah right. You can't say a little low and not going to worry. You have to pick one. And 87 is really far from infinity. So I'm scared. Too scared to google. And I beg you not to give me any false hope. If this is low, don't hide it from me with cheery comments that are all like you have a million babies in there and everything is awesome!

Beta #2 is Friday. Thank you all so much for your selfless kindness, for the generosity of your support, and for waiting with me.

While we wait...

Beta results around 1pm today. I can't believe I'm here. I never in a million years thought I would be.

So here's something to pass the time until I get that fateful call. One of the topics I teach on is neuroscience. Yesterday in class we talked about different regions in the brain. While most people have fairly similar neural organization, my brain happens to be unique. See Figure 1.

The organization of Bunny's brain

Please let this beta be positive. Please let it be really high. Like...infinity.