Thursday, September 30, 2010

The annoying innocence of youth

So I finally went to my GP's office today to see if this abhorrent sore throat and cough might respond to some antibiotics. My doctor was out (sick, of course) but her PA was available--young, sweet, earnest and, apparently, totally unfamiliar with the basics of human reproduction.

Let me back up for a second. This afternoon, I finally got my beta from Tuesday: 35. At something like 20 DPO. So, clearly and obviously not viable, as expected. End of story. When Perky PA asked me why I hadn't been taking anything stronger than Tylenol, I mentioned that I had been pregnant but that it was about to end. Clearly confused, she asked how I knew, so I mentioned the hCG number and the DPO and figured that would give her the full picture. Instead, she insisted, despite my repeated protestations, on prescribing only Class B antibiotics for the raging bronchial infection and strep-type throat hamburger that is nearly precluding me from swallowing. Because, she said, You never know!

Except, of course, that I do.

On a related note, she also found that I have a substantially enlarged thyroid, with a mass on the left side. (Just when I thought I had finally gotten to a nice thyroid stasis, with my alternating 100 and 88 mcgs and the noticeable reduction in anxiety once I was no longer overmedicated.) So I provided the vampires with a thick, syrupy vial of blood and am scheduled for a thyroid ultrasound tomorrow. I personally believe that the mass is related to whatever has attacked my lungs and throat, so I am not (yet) freaking out about the small chance that it's cancerous. And even if it is, my thyroid and I have never gotten along, so any surgeon is most welcome to it.
Oh, oh! I almost forgot: She said that with my thyroid fixed up, I probably wouldn't have any trouble getting pregnant in the future.
At 41.
With a nice long history of infertility.
Right there in my chart.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The one thing Google doesn't seem to know

How long should it be till I actually, you know, miscarry?

My OB was fairly insistent that I get a beta, which I did yesterday morning. (Ruling out ectopic, I guess?) It seems they don't run betas STAT when you're just there to confirm a failure, so I still (annoyingly) don't have results, but given the near-blankness of my final test on Sunday, I'm going to predict that the hCG was 25 or less. The control freak in me just wants to know when I should expect the bleeding and cramping and hormonal crash.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

On giving up, again

This pregnancy is most decidedly going nowhere. The tests--we're up to ten now--are getting ever fainter. Minor cramping has returned.

While this impending loss does hurt, it hurts in a very focused way: I am sad about losing this pregnancy, but it does not leave me mourning the loss of my dreams for the future, for the dream of what a life with three children could be. I spent last month processing that particuar grief, and hope hadn't entirely run away with me this time. I will be OK.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Come for the inappropriate hope, stay for the frustration

Like my late mother, I occasionally get obsessed with things. I get these odd yens to have lots and lots of something useless--20th-century American pottery, 1960s La Solana casserole dishes, Art Deco beaded purses. (Luckily not stray cats, as my mother did--thank you, Dad, for your allergies and obsessive-compulsive cleanliness.) I usually give in to those that are not too expensve and don't require much space, and eventually the intense drive wears off and I no longer feel compelled to check eBay six times a day, in dread of missing out.

And now that I have overcome my long aversion to them, I have a new obsession: pregnancy tests. Last night on the way home from work, I hungrily grabbed up five different brands before prudently putting back all but two.

True story: When I got home, before breaking into the good stuff, I thought I'd try that one in the cabinet with an expiration date of January 2006, and boy was I surprised when I was presented with two lovely blue lines...only to realize with a bit of a sickening sensation and extensive Googling, that it had been, in fact, an OPK. (One note on this subject: the OPK was not positive in the way an OPK should be positive for ovulation, but there were two solid lines--control was definitely darker. So, at least at very low levels, I can now say with some confidence that the pregnancy hormone does not trigger a positive OPK, if the OPK has been expired for the better part of five years. There. I've done my duty to science.)

So at bedtime, after uncomfortably holding my urine for a couple of hours, I was amazed and astounded to see a beautiful second line on one of those brand-new "six days before..." FREDs, one I could be highly confident was not an OPK. The test line was not as dark as control, but bright pink and visible across the room. Holy shit, I thought, I've been using sub-par tests! I must be waaay more pregnant than I thought! I stayed up till 2 a.m., high on optimism, reading reviews and reviewing pictures of other people's similar pee sticks.

Then I got up this morning, appropriately dehydrated, and tested again, visions of a super-solid, super-pink, 16-DPO-type test line forming in my head. It will be so pink!, I thought, "And so solid!" Then I actually looked at it, and...yeah. Not so pink. Not so solid. More like a pale, pee-bleached watercolor. So of course I immediately started searching the internet for pictures of super-pale FREDs at 16DPO that resulted in babies, and pictures of pregnancy test progressions that got paler and then darker again, instead of just trailing off to white. (An aside: My god, there are a lot of pictures of pee sticks on the internet. I didn't know this was the done thing.)

At this moment I have seven sticks of various hues, presented as carefully as my Rookwood pots, on my toilet where the light is good. Despite their generally faint lines and fainter plus signs looking back at me, I start jonesing for the next test, to add to the collection.

Friday, September 24, 2010

So much for my resolve

Pro: Test ever so slightly (read: almost indiscernibly) darker today.

Con: Intermittent cramps that feel very, very familiar.

I will admit here, publicly, that I caved this morning and looked up pregnancy test pictures. Most were disheartening--totally unambiguous lines at 15 DPO, nice progression from blank to blazing as the days wore on. A few, though, were like little worms of hope, wiggling their way through the jello-like walls of my realism: look, just the palest line 17 DPO, and she went on to have a baby!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Microscopically darker today, but still undetectable from five feet. So: not gone entirely, not solid enough to encourage any optimism, just visible enough to keep me from downing the thousand milligrams of Advil my tonsils are screaming for.

I have so far avoided trolling for hope on the internet. Hopefulness does not seem like something I should rationally cultivate in this situation. And, for the moment, I am mostly at peace with this loss presumptive, having grieved and let go with what felt like finality just last month. In a way, I don't feel like it's even me in this situation; it feels a little like I created those watery blue lines in my head, but even I couldn't really believe in them, so they faded.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A passing, bluish shadow

For the moment, I am pregnant. I gave up and got pregnant, just like fiction. But it seems pretty clear that it's not here to stay--maybe a few days, a week. The faintest line, only visible with effort, no darker today than yesterday. By now, what ought to be about 13DPO, that pale, pale line should be plain, were there a viable embryo, securely implanted.

Most likely, I would never have known if I didn't have the flu--my period would arrive a little late, I would never have tested, I would never even have considered the possibility. But what I told myself was a ridiculous excess of caution--and the thought that I would never need those damned tests anyway, so why save them?--led me to use one before popping a generous helping of ibuprofen and Sudafed. Better safe than sorry.

I watched the line form then fade until it was just a hint of a blue shadow, while the control line asserted its bright teal to the right. Incredulous, I asked Jeff to look. He saw it, too. And I told myself that perhaps I was overhydrated; perhaps I had gulped down too much water in the night. I'd lay off the liquids and perhaps the next morning I'd get a nice, clear line. I put the tablets back.

I've always been chicken about testing, preferring to let the arrival of my period answer the question. I've had these tests sitting in the cabniet for a year and a half--ever since my miscarriage last year--and only even considered using them once, last cycle, when my period arrived just as I was getting up to test. So now, my idle curiosity asks if this might have happened before, and if I'd known, would that would have weighed more toward the side of hope or resignation?

I guess I'll just wait it out. I can't face the inappropriate congratulations of the nurses at my OB's, handing over the lab slip for a beta that will come back infinitesimally low, then lower still two days from now. I don't really see the point. Instead, I'll gather up those two sticks, bury them in the trash and try not to imagine them darker. Then I'll probably dig them out again, freshly disappointed.