Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Now we might be getting somewhere.

Took a $tree last night with inadvertently very concentrated urine. Test line showed up immediately and quite dark, even for a $tree.

Took one this morning and the line was there, but it was a lot lighter than last night. Urine wasn't as dark as last night, but it stewed for longer, so I was somewhat surprised.

Took a FRER and . . . the test line didn't show up immediately, as it has been doing. A line did show up, but it's waaaaaaaay lighter than the lines have been this week. Like, faint positive light. Cramping increased overnight. Spotting didn't seem markedly different, though I did comment to DH yesterday that I felt a bit like a leaky faucet. There didn't seem to be much more fluid, but the feeling was there.

So perhaps this is it then. Perhaps it will drag on for awhile longer, but maybe not. I'm sort of hopeful we can reach a conclusion before too much of the New Year has passed anyway. We will be trying again, OPK's and all, if this would just end.

But no time for brooding! I have to go take my car to be checked out.


Edited to update.

Car is a-ok again, and not too soon, given that the inspection sticker expired today. I can't actually have it inspected until I get home again, but it's a good feeling anyhow. And honest mechanic to boot! Thanks, Mr. Mechanic! You rocked my world.

Unfortunately, the parts supplier to Mr. Mechanic did not rock my world. He needed two parts he did not have in stock, so he called his supplier. Only his supplier screwed up 3 times. Had to make a total of 4 trips out to him, each one requiring about 30 minutes to complete. Holy hell, it took forever. FOREVER. And it was freezing. My fingernails actually turned purple, I shit you not.

Fortunately, it was all fixed and I got more of my favorite Chinese food.

Unfortunately, after the nap I took, I feel seriously, seriously ill. Like I will vomit at any moment, even as I type this. It's very uncomfortable.

Other updates? Apparently, my mw sent a requisition for b/w in Monday, so I could have had it done then. But since no one informed me of this, Friday is the earliest it can happen. Given the above issues, I figure I'll wait until Friday to have it done. I did take another $tree test after we got back from the car thing and it was a darker positive than the FMU test. Go figure. I gave up trying to figure it out awhile ago. We'll see what morning brings, which is all I can do. I may toast in the New Year, but will not be indulging in more than that I think. I'm back to being afraid to take the blood test and afraid to hear the results, because I still secretly hope this is the little pregnancy that could and there is a little bean in there fighting hard and growing. Even as unlikely as that is, the truth is somewhat unwelcome. It seemed that spotting increased to a light flow today, but it is impossible to tell for certain; what I can say is that it was definitely brown.

At least the bruise from the last blood draw (8 days ago) is finally fading, thank God.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nothing to report, so Laser Tag report instead.

Well, still positive and no call back about blood work. So no news there. Spotting still very present, though brown today instead of red. I have no idea what it means.

So yesterday, I went and played Laser Tag. Not by choice, mind you. SIL is dating DH's best friend and BF is only in town briefly before he goes for a third tour in Iraq. So it was necessary to spend time with them. To my dismay, BIL and SIL that I don't care for where also invited. But hey, maybe we'd find common ground. Or something.

So, plans were not definite, but bowling and miniature golf were expected. Instead, Laser Tag became the game of the day. Now - no. Just, no. I don't need to explain. I suck at that shit. Running, aiming, dry ice fog? Kill me. I told my husband how me he so owed me for this, and went.

I will admit, as my fabulous Jen pointed out - I didn't have to talk to them if I was playing and I could legally shoot them. An excellent point, nevertheless, no. At first I had the perfect excuse. We had all parked far away, but all the women had stupidly brought our purses and there was nowhere to stow them. But before I could volunteer to sit out, tickets were purchased for us all. So I could not gracefully decline and decided to make the best of it. By which I mean, grab a corner and shoot anything that walked past me. It meant getting shot a lot, but hey, I wasn't soaked through with sweat when we were done and I found a corner out of the reach of the fog machine.

The problem was all the kids. There were some mean little bastards running around. Of course, I shot at all of them, so make of that what you will. It wasn't terrible. I shockingly didn't come in dead last. I ranked 17 of 24. Not bad, for standing right in the open.

We played a second round. It was fine. People were more competitive, myself included. I found a better corner that time. The group was big and everyone had played a round, so they nicely turned off the 5 second recharge after you were shot, so it was only 1 second. That made it more fun.

I found a spot with clear shots at the second level. People would stop because they thought they could shoot me, but I had clear shots at them too. I got hit a lot, but I also took out a ton of snipers. The kids were still milling around, and some douchbags were taking it way too seriously, but I just stood there. Did I mention I was wearing jeans that were too loose? It was so annoying, I had to keep pulling them up. Nevertheless, I still managed to climb up to 12 overall out of 29. Not too shabby for not moving at all.

Still - no thank you. I did get to shoot my husband 6 times. Which was fun. My two SILs came over in the first game and talked to me, and I just stood there nodding and shooting them. That was greatly amusing to me. They never even noticed. But I shot them each like 6 times.

I won't get into the family dinner after that, except to say no one warned me it was going to be the entire in-law clan for dinner. It was fine, as these things go, but given how little I get along with my in-laws in general, I was not happy to discover that we were essentially repeating Christmas dinner minus the presents. And still no wine to get me through, since I am still possible pregnant.

I fear that the redo of Christmas dinner yet to come (because my third BIL was not in town, but will be this weekend) will push me over the edge into full insanity. I may be reduced to pickling my maybe baby's brain out of sheer self-preservation.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Or not, whatevs.

Yeah. Test still positive - as positive as yesterday. Digital says Pregnant and it said it pretty quickly.

It took deep breaths through the beginning of a panic attack, but I called and requested more bloodwork. They should get back to me later. Joy.

I hate feeling this stupid and vulnerable. But there it is. I need to know. Bloodwork could help clear some things up. Needs to be done.

I am dreading it so much. I cannot tell you how much I fear this. It's just b/w. It doesn't change what is in my bloodstream or alter the course of this pregnancy, whenever it is fated to end. But it still terrifies me.

They should call back at some point to let me know what is happening.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

So yeah, maybe a light at the end of the tunnel.

Cramping yesterday, heavy full feeling, and a presentiment that I would start bleeding at any moment. Just like before your period, or at the fertile point in your cycle, when you rush to the bathroom thinking you need a tampon. With that came two tests that are distinctly lighter in color than previously, a possible sign of (finally) decreasing pregnancy hormone.

Well, this pregnancy never really had a chance. It implanted too late, and there was the period and the corpus luteum broke down too soon for it and there wasn't enough progesterone. If I'd been seeing an OB, if it hadn't been the holidays, I might have had my progesterone tested and maybe something could have helped, but I really don't think so - the levels were so low to begin with. Even if it had implanted sooner, I don't think it would have held.

I worry about repeat miscarriages, and I worry about what this might mean. Is there something wrong with me? With my eggs? I just think this was bad luck, but it's hard not to be concerned. Though, had I not tested that day, I'd never have known at all. So I must decide not to be concerned about it, you know? Easier said than done.

Of course, it's possible that that is a result of cold tests or some other thing, but I don't think so. It's possible that in three days I will still be getting positive tests, but I don't think so.

I'm ok with that. I just want the uncertainty to end. I have a strange feeling that I will get pregnant, with a healthy baby, soon, but we need to get this over with to move on. I don't know if it's the remnants of hope or the stirrings of faith - things I thought were dead and gone three days ago - but I have a certain peace right now.

Whatever happens, you know? It'll happen, and it will be ok in the end.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Interrupting the daily uncertainty for important information - WTF?

Yes, I would like to discuss the WTF-ness of some of my Christmas gifts.

Allow me to begin by saying clearly - I am grateful for the gifts I received. I am thankful that people took the time and effort and expense to get me anything, especially in this economy. It is generous of people (especially people like my in-laws who don't particularly like me) to give me a gift.

So, the following in all submitted in a spirit of gratitude. Just remember gratitude doesn't cover up utter confusion.

First, why did we receive three decorative crosses? Ok, well, one was from DH's parents, who have taken to giving those to all the kids each year. But two more? We believe in God, and in Christ, but we are not overly religious. We don't attend church regularly, we don't exhibit many signs of religiousity. We do have a couple of crosses up in our home. But three more? What the bloody hell? I'm just sort of at a loss as to why someone would be sitting around wondering what we would like and that is what they stumbled across, you know?

Second, who the fuck told my in-laws that I liked or did scrapbooking? Because I don't. At all. I think I once said to my husband that it looked interesting and neat. But that shit requires a ton of time, patience and materials that take up space. I already have 5 gazillion failed projects, you dig? Why I would take up another is beyond me. But somehow (dh cagily admits he may or may not have once mentioned that I was interested) they have decided that I am totally into scrapbooking, so most my gifts from my mother in law center around scrapbooking materials. It's just weird. And annoying, because I don't scrapbook. But I still have all this shit. Oh, and because my MIL is the queen of dollar store specials, it's mostly crap.

*Please note - I am well aware of the number of bargains and fine items that may be purchased at a dollar store. I myself am the proud owner of many a kitchen towel purchased for a mere dollar. But this is really crappy stuff that I probably wouldn't use even if I did scrapbook*

So yeah, I have all this shit and no idea what to do with it. Fortunately, we live far, far away, so I don't have to make scrapbooks to fake interest and use of this shit.

Third, matching pajama pants. I'm doubtful that my size (24-26) can be found in the stores in which my MIL shops. Even if they could . . . matching? For reals?

Fourth, a random gift from my brother. He works in chemical defense in the Army. I am the proud owner of a yellow teddy bear sporting a yellow t-shirt that says chemical defense. I was sort of appalled that I got the random ass teddy bear and my husband got the $50 dvd collection of the first season of Rome. I mean, disparity much? I felt way better when he explained it was infact for both of us and the Star Wars (doll!) figure was just for him. I dig Rome, so getting it is cool. Also - my brother attempted to wrap gifts in something other than the plastic store bags for the first time ever. Awesome. He wrote personalized message on copy paper and stapled it around the gifts. I got a mad lib about the awesome wrapping job, DH got a poem about gift wrapping. It was awesome. The best though, was the plain white envelope to my mother containing a gift card. DH made a crack about not accepting white envelopes from people who work in chemical defense and we all had a good laugh.

Fifth, from my dear husband. He actually did really well this year. But I had found two items of clothing I wanted at a particular store. I bought a pair of gray pants and there were brown pants I wanted as well on sale the day after Thanksgiving. Knowing he has difficulty shopping for me, I insisted he go back with my mother (who was going there anyway) and buy them on sale. Imagine my surprise when I opened up clothes that were completely different than what I'd pointed out as what I wanted. Grayish brown slacks . . . a black maternity shirt? . . . a pale pink maternity hoodie. . . ok, I kept the last one. I tried really hard to be enthusiastic, but instead, he just handed me the receipts in defeat. I bought a set of green sheets on sale instead. I'm enthused about those. I just don't understand why he bought those items unless he utterly forgot what I pointed out.

And finally, the best for last: From my dad.

Ah, a moment to explain about my dad and gifts. My dad does try sometimes, but usually doesn't nail it. For instance, a few years ago he asked what I wanted. I said a black wool peacoat. I told him where he could buy said coat in my size and on sale because I'd been planning on buying it myself (but didn't now). So I was unsurprised to get a big soft package in my lap on Christmas morning. I was, however, horrified to open up the package and not see my beautiful black coat. No, there was the most hideous garment I've seen (though the coat he randomly gave Jason this year is up there). It's a fleece. It's baby shit brown (which is to say, green-brown). It is simply frightening and awful. And he is so pleased with himself for this purchase. It is waterproof after all!

Last year he gave me a pair of sapphire and diamond earrings. Which was more expensive than strictly necessary, very nice because he was trying to match my wedding set of blue and white sapphires. The sapphires were even emerald cut to better match my square cut blue sapphires. I mean, a lot of thought went into it. I was so touched, I have tears in my eyes now thinking about it. It's a shame they are so freaking ugly. Because, dude, they are. Clunky, heavy, not a particularly pleasing pattern or anything. Nothing I would ever, ever wear. In fact, I frequently don't wear earrings, or if I do, they are simple gold balls or hoops that I leave in all the time. Which he would know if he talked more to me. Still, the thought that counts, right?

One final note about my dad's gifts before I tell you what this year is, because I'm fairly certain this year falls into that group. My dad is a well-known bargain hunter. He cannot turn down a good bargain. In fact, I've seen him buy something because it was too good to pass up, only to have no idea what to do with it. That is not to say he's an impulse shopper or anything - he's very careful with money. But it's how I have an extra set of daily use dishes and why my husband has three pocket knives. He tends to buy things and later think of how to distribute them instead of thinking of what a person needs or wants and buying for them.

So what did he get me? Luggage. A four piece luggage set. It's red, because I loved the red purse my step-mom got me last year. It has wheels. It's a name brand, pricey, and as they informed me a million times, has a 10-year warranty. The luggage is actually pretty nice.

I'm just baffled because I already have a perfectly nice luggage set. I've never expressed an interest in or desire for new luggage. I just . . . huh? That is kind of a lot of money to spend on something I don't need at all. I'd have been really happy with a $20 gift card to Border's, you know? I felt bad that all I gave him was mixed nuts, because I always give him mixed nuts and he said three times at Thanksgiving that we shouldn't get him anything. UGH. So I had to fake utter delight at this totally random gift while thinking "How the fuck am I supposed to fit this in the car with everything else?" I think my reaction underwhelmed him. But, uh, luggage? What?

So that was my Christmas. Random. But nice. A good time was had by all, and we had 4 lovely meals. And my BIL taught his 2 year old son to say "Merry Christmas, accident!" when his brother called to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Lovely, really.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hope is a sneaky little bitch.

And not just on Days of Our Lives. Actually, I don't even know if Hope is still on. Haven't watched in years. I was afraid that if I kept rolling my eyes back into my head so violently, I might injure myself.


Back to the other kind of hope, the kind I cursed and despised last night.

Yeah, it won't leave me alone.

I want to strangle it.

I keep thinking . . . ok, 35. That's too low. I get that. The hormone increases rapidly after implantation, I expected it to be over 50 and hoped for it to be near 100. That would have put my mind at ease, you know? But if it were 35, then why, a full 48 hours later, did I still test and get a clearly dark positive, again? HCG has a half life of 24-48 hours. If there is nothing there, then shouldn't the test have started to fade already?

It's three days post-draw. Levels should already be down to 17 or lower. Probably lower, because that is a very tiny amount of HCG.

Only, when I faced the inevitable and took another test, it wasn't faded. In fact, the test line began visibly forming before the dye hit the control line. Or - instantaneously. And the final result is very dark. As dark as the control line, or the next thing to it.

That, to me, means that the HCG is not decreasing. It is possible that it is not really increasing, or doubling at an appropriate rate either. I'm not getting my hopes up for a sticky, growing baby at this point. But it seems evident to me that I am still pregnant today.

So this is weird. My big worry is about an ectopic pregnancy. It needs to be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible, if that is what this is. If it's early enough, we can possibly have a shot that will stop growth and end the pregnancy and it will go away. At the least, we can have laproscopic surgery to remove the pregnancy without damaging the tube/ovary/whatever. So, that is out there.

Also - still spotting. Spotting had stopped - but now it's back. Not heavy, only when I wipe, but tan/brown/bit of pinky brown. But it's there. So maybe there was a sticky baby through the period that isn't making it now. Who the hell knows at this point?

But. . . there is still hope. Annoying, frustrating, angering as it is to me these days - it refuses to die. It continues to beat away in my chest, urging me on. It's the evil thing that led me to test in the first place, it's the thing that kept me testing, it's the thing that led me to the betas and led me to retest after reasonable expectation was gone. It makes it hurt more with each passing marker, but it's still there. I guess it's not reasonable to live without hope entirely, but I'm pretty leery of hoping for a miracle after all.

But I do still have a kernel of it in there somewhere, whispering not to hate God, not to give up now, not to let go now, that all will be well if I have faith.

I fear it is the devil, not the guardian angel whispering, but . . . I have some hope.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Betas not good. Bitterness abounds


Barely pregnant. Too low. Indicative of a chemical pregnancy. Tests should turn negative shortly. If not by Monday, I can have another draw just to be 100% sure there is no ectopic developing.

I got the news in the car. I parked it at the park I love to go to, the one I wanted to take our children to. I sat there in the car and sobbed and sobbed.

I feel devastated. Even though this was the likeliest outcome, even though I expected it. It's just so cruel. And on fucking Christmas Eve. So much for hope. So much for a miracle. Hope is nothing more than a meaner way to get kicked in the teeth.

I am not in the agony I was after losing Chickadee. I never knew that little one, never looked forward to its due date or wondered what it would look like. But I had stupidly (as stupidly as taking that first fucking test) allowed myself to believe I was pregnant and I had a chance.

I just want to scream and cry and kick something. That is compounded by the fact that I can do none of these things and instead have to go shower and wrap gifts and visit family who know none of this was occurring and pretend that I am in the Christmas spirit and happy. Difficult enough when I was merely exhausted and grumpy. Seems impossible to deal with, but I will.

And maybe tomorrow I will feel better about this, and we can think again about trying and not about how horribly abused I feel right now. I don't know if it is possible to hate God, but I know that if I think about it too much I will learn the answer to that question.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pregnant. For another day.

So says the digital. The tests were clearly positive this morning. So I called my mw. She was puzzled by my situation. She said what I already knew - that we would simply have to do a quantitative blood draw series to see where the levels are and whether or not they rise as they should.

The pregnancy hormone, HCG increases very rapidly in early pregnancy; doubling in quantity every 48-72 hours in 85% of normal pregnancies. Sometimes a 'slow-riser' will catch up, often it means the pregnancy isn't viable. Super high numbers can indicate multiples, while super low numbers can indicate a possible ectopic pregnancy. It will also tell you roughly when you can expect to see something via ultrasound.

So there is a range of beta numbers that can be found by day of ovulation, and you hope to be within normal ranges. But even that doesn't tell you much - whether or not it doubles on time is what you need to know.

So we did the first draw. I'm hoping for over 100. Average is 230-400. But then I'll have to have a second draw and that's the moment of truth.

The bleeding is down a light flow, or spotting, really. That is good news for me. As is a positive on a less sensitive digital. Yay! I'm really feeling hopeful now, but there is a long way ahead. First step is getting the numbers back. Then we wait. We hope they rise normally and that this is not an ectopic pregnancy. That's sort of my fear right now.

My midwife suggested that we were looking for something between 5,000 and 10,000. I have to assume she isn't clued in to just how early it is, though I tried to tell her. According to everything I've read online, that is way, way, way too high to expect. So I'm not going to freak out when it comes back much lower. As I said - I'm looking for over 100.

Should come back tomorrow afternoon.

It's a weird thing to have had a period and still be pregnant. I wouldn't believe it if it were not happening to me.

Monday, December 22, 2008

And here we go again.

I feel like I should apologize for the one-track direction and the utter rollercoaster of despair and hope this has been for 4 days (or, you know a week or so). But I won't, because I'm not forcing you to read. You clearly must be getting something out of this, yeah?

Anyhow, tested again tonight, expecting the seemingly inevitable faint line, since hcg would have 12 hours to dissipate.


Super dark line. Almost (but not quite) as dark as the control line. Formed in less than a minute (ie, nearly instantly). Is darker than last night's dark test.

The $tree is darker too.

So, I'm still pregnant. Until the next test, I am still pregnant.

I am not bleeding nearly as much. Good sign, that. I feel hopeful once again. Like, hey, we made it to 24 hours after the heaviest bleeding and I'm still getting positives - dark positives. Could it be more dye in this test? Sure.

Does it matter? Not at this moment, not to me. It's still positive. I thought it wouldn't be. I feel hopeful again.

I will take another test in the morning and we'll see what that test says. I am feeling mixed emotions. I'm tired and I'm sort of sick of this ride, but I remain really hopeful that things might yet be ok and my little guy might hang on. I hope. Even against my will, against my logic, I hope. I can feel it inside, deep down, and it begins to warm me up a little.

Rough morning.

This is hitting harder/hurting more than I expected.

I'll be ok. If nothing else, I'll be too distracted by the holidays to brood. It's mostly disappointing (even though we're not quite through yet, I can't have any more hope. It's exhausting and it makes things hurt more). Even if I know logically how things should end up, it hurts, you know?

I feel like a failure. I'm back to feeling down, and wondering if I've caused this somehow. I know logically, what the answer to that is. Emotionally, I feel to blame. I feel like a failure as a woman and as a wife and mother.

It's hard.

It's not helped by the fact that a gazillion other things have gone wrong this morning. It's not helped by the fact that thinking about everything that needs to be accomplished before 3:00 Christmas Eve is giving me a serious headache and fluttery feelings of stress overload and panic. I have not yet bought a single Christmas gift for my husband. Normally, I give thoughtful, well planned gifts. This year, I will be a fraud as a wife and grab some stuff. He'll probably get gift cards. And I can't even give him hope that we will ever be pregnant and carry a healthy baby. Instead, I can give him a chemical pregnancy and a miscarriage and a lot of doubt.

It's a bitter taste in my mouth right now.

I'm hopeful that things will turn around this afternoon. I have to play cheerful for our staff lunch, so I will, and hopefully playing so will make me feel more that way. I broke down and told one coworker about this situation because of the need to talk to someone about it in person (other than DH), but also in explanation of why we are backing out of going drinking tonight. I can't, in good conscience do it, because of the possibility, however remote at this point, that I might be pregnant. And there is too much to do. Always too much to do.

Bitter, stressed out, tired. And no rest in site. Things will cool off some after the 26th, but no rest for the weary and sad. No, I have to sleep either on the futon or floor for the next 10 or so days and the very thought makes me want to weep with vexation, because honestly? All I want is to waste the holiday break at my home, in my bed, with cable and internet and just be blissfully left alone to sleep and cry and recover from the last few months.


Lunch was loverly and I am stuffed to the gills with yummy expensive food. I feel like I could sleep for days. So freaking exhausted. Having to pee every hour hasn't helped. Bleeding is extremely slow now, just a shade above spotting really. I know there might still be some hope, but I'm trying to ignore it. I know, how cynical and pessimistic of me. But since I expect a lighter test tonight, it seems like the way to best prepare for what seems to be inevitable.

Bleeding has slowed, test still +.

Unfortunately, the trend is broken. This morning's test was not darker than yesterday evening's test; nor was it as dark.

It is positive, clearly positive, but looks like yesterday morning's test. I'm afraid that is a sign that the hcg is, in fact, dropping.


This is aggravating, and frustrating. Not having answers. The answers I appear to have are not the ones I want anymore. I had planned to call my mw today to request a beta, but now I'm hesitating. I don't even know what to say or how to explain this. 'Hi, I'm a giant idiot and took a bunch of pregnancy tests even though I had my period and they were positive and they are still positive only not as dark and I'm sure hcg is going away, but can I please leave work early when I am terribly swamped and come have my blood drawn? Even though I can't possibly have a second round done and I'm pretty sure that when I take a test tonight, the test will be even fainter and maybe negative?'


I really do feel like a moron, for testing at all and for having hope. I've known all along that a chemical pregnancy was the likeliest outcome, but I still gave myself hope that it might not turn out that way. Now that it looks more like it's happening after all (as bleeding has dramtically slowed, naturally), I feel sad and disappointed. Not overwhelmingly so, but I do feel it.


Sunday, December 21, 2008


My laptop just shocked.


It's grown quite chilly here, so we've got hot chocolate brewing and a fire lit and we are avoiding the remaining cleaning that needs to be done.

In the light of the fire, the garlands and the tree, I am sitting here, holding yet another test. Indeed, we stopped on the way home to purchase new FRER and new $tree. We got home and I immediately peed into a cup again. I'm getting quite good. I used this morning urine (which I had saved for this purpose) to take a $tree - hoping for a baseline standard with the new batch. It was a faint positive, fainter than yesterdays. The $tree I took with the new urine took awhile to develop, but did develop a clear pink line well within the limit and more clearly than the test with the morning urine.

Somewhere in this, I noted that the expiry on the newly purchased $tree was 01/10. This made me groan aloud. Dh asked what was wrong and I told him: these tests were controversy ridden, accused of giving out a lot of false positives. Or, the LAST thing we possibly needed.

So to clear the air, I did a new FRER. This time, the line again formed in a minute and it is dark. Not as dark as the control line, but exceedingly pink. Noticeably darker than the morning test.

OK, here is where we stand: Yet another positive test. Tests are getting consistently darker. While the level of dye and the amount or concentration of urine are the main keys in tests getting darker, increased HCG levels can cause it. You can't rely on that - it's not a quantitative test in that way. But it can be an indicator. The fact it's happening consistently is in our favor.

Of course, it takes some time for hcg to be produced in high enough levels to register in your blood stream, and this may be leftovers, and the baby may already be gone. It's likely the progesterone is not high enough, which is causing the period-like bleeding. And it could take some time to work its way our of my system. It'll continually decrease as it is excreted and not replaced by additional hcg and/or higher levels. That's why I am continuing to test - because I assume the tests will get lighter and more faint and finally be negative, indicating the chemical pregnancy is over.

I am genuinely surprised that the tests are darkening. It's actually causing me to be more hopeful, which, honestly, is not helpful. I can deal with a cp. I can really - I haven't had one second where I said "OMG, I'm pregnant again. We're going to have a baby again. We're going to be parents. It happened!" because it's been accompanied by threats from the beginning with the first positive test.

I am half-inclined to say 'I wish I'd never taken that stupid test' and I have to be clear I brought this on myself. Were it not for the stupid test, I'd be convinced I had my period - because it makes its presence felt with a need to change tampons every 4-5 hours (at least that's down from every 2-3). It's my own fault.

But in other ways I'd rather know. I'd rather know what is happening. But it's hard. And it's getting harder. In one sense, it's easier - hope continues to grow with each positive test. I have this idea, true or not, that if this little one can hang on until the bleeding slows, then it might be real and it might stick. But with growing hope, the acceptance of a chemical pregnancy grows harder. Even if that is the most realistic outcome, it is harder and harder to keep calm and keep level and controlled and not get my hopes way, way up.

It's just a tough place to be. I've held it together pretty well, but the continuing lack of answers is difficult.

Nothing has changed, really.

The bleeding is a lot heavier. Just like a normal period. Spotting to red spotting to light flow to heavy flow to medium to spotting (ok, well, the last parts haven't happened yet).

The pregnancy tests are darker and more clear. That is not a guarantee of more hcg (it can often be about a test having more dye, or the urine being more or less concentrated). However, it is frequently seen that in testing very early and continuing to test lines will get darker. Very sensitive tests can sometimes detect very, very low quantities of hcg and will give a more clear result when pregnancy is established the level of hcg higher and easier to detect.

I took 3 more tests yesterday, all positive. The faintest was in early afternoon, but the urine was pretty dilute. That was the questionable one. The one I took after my nap (when I finally needed a tampon) was a definite positive. The one I took at 1 am was the clearest yet, though still faint, and still needing strong light to determine the color of the second line.

I went to bed expecting that the pregnancy would be fading. I got up, having to change my tampon because I bled through it. That certainly didn't increase my hope.

When I got up for good, I peed in the cup, and it was yellow. Not as concentrated as I might hope, but I figured it would be negative anyway, so it didn't much matter. Heavy, heavy red bleeding at this point.

Only - it was far from negative. The test line formed in under a minute. It was light pink by 5 minutes. By 10 minutes, it was a clear positive - much sharper than yesterday morning's tests. It was clearly visible and clearly pink in natural light, even at arm's length (yesterday morning's tests weren't visible at arm length to put it in perspective, and yesterday evening's tests were visible, but you couldn't possible assign a color, you needed to see it more closely for that).

So, I remain in a standstill. There is not much to be done. I would like to have blood levels run, but since I'll be leaving again on Tuesday, and can't get them drawn before tomorrow, there doesn't seem much point, at least until I stop bleeding.

It's just bizarre. I am not generally a particularly calm, level person. I strive to be, and to get control of my emotions as quickly as I can, but I really have been pretty calm through this. I can't do anything but pray to change the outcome, and it is so completely out of my hands. Normally that would frustrate the hell out of me and make me angry, but I'm just waiting right now.

I get that this is likely to be a chemical pregnancy or early miscarriage. I don't want that to happen, but I'm actually pretty ok with that. I don't feel like (at this point) that the universe is punishing me - it just feels like bad luck.

But a piece of me is wildly hopeful, and that piece grows more hopeful as each test comes back positive. There are a lot of reasons for that, and if this holds out and this pregnancy sticks and becomes my Christmas miracle, despite all odds, then I will share it.

For now, I find myself engaged in a lot of silent pleas and prayers. I have stopped praying for God to save this baby and started praying for the best outcome, for His will to be done, and I hope for that to be this pregnancy sticking.

So there we are. Another day in limbo. Another round of pregnancy tests to buy. Just waiting.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The result? None.

So I spent some time googling last night.

Apparently, Target brand and their hideous untrustworthy blue dye are notorious for false positives. That was encouraging.

I woke up this morning, peed in the cup, and realized I had blood when I wiped. Reddish/brownish spotting. Not a flow, just spotting, but that is usually the end. I felt stupid for not checking that first, given that the whole thing was supposed to be an exercise in waiting and not wasting a test. But since I'd already opened it . . . well, I thought, good. I'll take it, get my negative, the circle will be complete and I'll be at peace finally. Thank God we have two chilled bottles of wine.

Took the test and not much happened. Took it into a lit area, and fuck me if there isn't something there. Something shadowy, and present. And yep, both with glasses on and off, there is a super faint line. Only because I've seen a few negatives in the last couple of days did it catch me. FRER has not given me an evap line ever.

Take that test and the cup of pee downstairs and decide to test this Target brand evap theory. It comes up quickly and much more clearly than last night. Stree does the same. I look for the box of 3 FRER I opened last night to take another - hoping for a more clear result either way.

Could not fine that damn box. Opened the other box. Took a test. Again, a visible line. FAINT. There. Couldn't even tell you the color in the mediocre bathroom light, but I can clearly see a line. Take it out to stronger light, it's very clear and lightly pink.


I've now got 5.5 positives. The positives from the tests from last night are much more clear today. What is funny is that the listed sensitivity of Target brand is 50 ml/IU. The listed sensitivity of FRER is 25 ml/IU, but it often tests much lower levels. Here the clear positive is on the Target brand.

So anyway - what does this mean?

No idea. Could be a chemical pregnancy, in which the embryo implants very briefly, but not well enough to produce the necessary hormones - so it doesn't stick. You bleed when you would normally expect your period, and were it not for super advanced testing technology, you would never ever know you were pregnant. It sort of sucks, but it was unlikely to 'stick' anyway. You move on to the next cycle.

Could be a late implanter. If that is the case, then there are two possible scenarios. One, I will continue to spot and bleed and it will stick, but it'll be seriously emotionally draining and I'll just have to have several blood tests to check for doubling betas. Which should be so easy to manouever at Christmas time while I'm out of town for 10 days.

Or the spotting could stop. Things could go right on ahead. Whether it's healthy or not or will stick or not to be determined.

I have no idea which way it will go.

It's driving me insane, the need to wait again. But truly? There is nothing more out of my control than this. It will stick or it won't. I will continue bleeding or I won't. Nothing I can do right now will alter this. So while it's frustrating, infuriating, upsetting - I feel pretty calm overall.

Just wait and see. And say a few prayers for me and for this little one if you would.

**** UPDATE ****

Spotting has increased to bright red and is much heavier. I also experienced some cramping. I feel like I'm getting my period, so I'm not terrifically optimistic. Nevertheless, there is still some hope; I know (like as in real life know) people who had heavy spotting and even full period-like bleeding who have gone on to have healthy pregnancies and babies. So I'm not totally giving up hope. I'm just waiting. I'll test again this afternoon or this evening. If it's negative, well, then we know. Chemical pregnancy. If it's not, well, it's more waiting after that. That hard part is going to be trying to not pee for a few hours. I am needing to pee a lot; probably not helped by the bleeding.

Also - just took another FRER. Results inconclusive at the 10 minute mark. Faint greyish line that came up within 5 minutes, visible is regular light to both of us, but not really pink. Urine was borderline; it was only held for about an hour and forty five minutes, but that was the longest I could hold it. I've peed 5 times today, and didn't have anything to drink until 10:30. Tell me that's normal! Anyhow, it was a waste of a test, I think. Can't call it a definite positive, because it's so faint and can't call it a negative because the line is there. It could mean hcg is already disappearing from my system. It could mean the hcg is so low and the urine was so diluted that we couldn't get a good result.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I have been debating about whether or not to post this here or not.

But I think I need to after all. If it comes to nothing, it's no worse than anything else, right? And I can look back and remember this as a cautionary tale, I suppose.

So, as I pointed out earlier, I was feeling pretty spectacularly depressed. I spent some time talking via email with my friend Mandi about how I was feeling and it really helped to dissipate some of the negative feeling (thanks, Mandi!).

I talked more with DH on the way home. I think all of that helped. But when I got home, I had to pee. I tossed it over in my mind and decided to take one more test. We bought extra FRER and a pack of Target brand yesterday, since I had used all the other FRER. I still had a couple of $tree tests around too. I decided to use those, since I figured we'd buy more over Christmas with easy access to one anyway.

Let me be clear. I was expecting a negative. I just felt like I wanted to come to terms with it and see it one more time. Maybe that is masochistic, I don't know. But it felt like resolution and acceptance.

I peed in the cup, did the test, set it down and deliberately left it in the bathroom (instead of staring at it for the entire 10 minute window, straining to see a second line). Hopped on the internet to check my email and promptly forgot about the test until I went to pee over two hours later.

Let's be explicitly clear for any readers that are not fanatic devotees of or peestick junkies like me - ANY test read after the 10 minute time limit (unless the limit is otherwise specified) is negative. The results are invalid. As I said to a poster on BOTB yesterday asking about a possible evap line - the test could grow legs and dance a jig whilst delivering a singing telegram announcing your newly pregnant state and it would STILL be negative, because the results are being read after the time limit. There are lots of scientific reasons and explanations for this, which can find at the aforementioned website if you are so inclined.

However, I looked at the test and there was a clear (though faint) second pink line.

A negative second pink line, of course, but I could not deny its existence, nor could DH when I showed the test to him.

My exact thoughts were:

"Oh, fuck. Oh, shit. Evap line. I've had evaps on Dollar Tree tests before, even colored evap lines. Only, that's more definite than the colored evap lines I've seen. Doesn't fucking matter, because it's invalid. Well, shit. What the fuck do I do now? Fuck fuck fuck. I have to take another fucking test. Because I need to know now. It'll be a clear negative. Then I can get back to screaming about the injustice of it all and how much my body hates me. Oh, gross, I forgot to throw the pee out. Well, at least I can do another test, right? Fuck."

Then I had to decide what test to take. Those thoughts went like this:

"Another $tree? That might risk another evap line like this. That would be dumb, idiot. I have two other brands. Only I don't want to waste another FRER. It might give me an answer - but itis going to be negative, so why bother with it? Just take the Target brand - that's why you got them anyway. Yeah. Then it'll be negative, and you can let this go."

So I pull it out, double check the directions on how long to stick it in the cup (it's different for each test). Take it out with me and watch it. At about 2 minutes I can see where the line should be. At 4 minutes I think I see a line. Only it's dark in my chair and I can't be sure, and the whole window is still kind of blue. At 8 minutes, it's still there. So I get up, head over to Jason and decent light, and yeah, I see it. At book distance, no twisting or turning. Faint. But there. I hand it to him, expecting him to tell me I'm imagining things. I don't say anything, just hand it to him and he immediately says "I see a line. But it's really light. Not sure what color it is."

-Sidebar: The color of the line is important in determining a faint positive from an evap line. If the line is gray rather than pink or blue, you can be pretty sure it's an evap. I have occasionally gotten colored evap lines that were proven to be evaps by my period showing up. But usually, a faint line that is visible at book distance, in normal light without squinting, twisting, or turning, and is the same color (in the time limit) is a positive.

So yeah. The line is still there, and as the remainder of the blue dye faded, it became apparent that it is a blue line. Very faint, but very there.

I do not know what this means. I mean, I know what a positive pregnancy test generally means. But in this particular instance . . . my temp dropped. It was an open circle, because I took it over an hour early because I had to be at work when I normally temp. Even if I adjust according to the standard formula - it's still a big drop. I have had spotting. Granted, it was very, very light brown and it stopped, but there is still light brown present. I wouldn't call it spotting at this moment, so much as stained cm. I don't feel like I have other symptoms of pregnancy (though I'm still gassy).

It is so hard not to take another test, but I don't want to deal with another negative right now (though that was indeed the original purpose of the tests). I don't want to deal with faint lines. I did do an OPK, but it was inconclusive. Darker than the last one I did, but not positive. Shrug.

It could be a chemical pregnancy and I will go on to have my period. It could be evap lines - yes, even on two different brands of tests. It could be that I am pregnant but I implanted later than I would have imagined or have slow developing HCG (which is a whole nother can of worms when it comes to miscarriage threats).

No way to know. So I'm trying to quickly learn this virtue that is not in my possession called patience. My feeling is this. I have 6 FRER tests. I don't want to waste one. If I want to test accurately, I have to hold my urine for 3-4 hours, without taking in a lot of fluid, so that it is nice and dilute. I'm not interested in that, and it would be late anyway when I could test. If I wait until morning, it will happen naturally, and also, that would be a full 14-16 hours for more HCG to develop and work it's way into my urine, and thus give me a more definitive test. Or, I will continue to spot or start full bleeding. My period is due anytime now.

So if I can hold out, I could potentially give myself an answer or save some grief.

This is torture. DH is trying hard to be supportive rather than smug, but he clearly wants to say "I told you so." Instead, he's settled for "I've said for three days, I'll believe you might be pregnant until your period shows up." It's sweet of him, really.

Someone is going to have a good laugh at all my emo bullshit if this turns out to be pregnancy. I of course won't be relaxed until I know what is going on more definitively. And until I know it's viable.



That's how I feel. Logical, reasonable or not, I feel like a giant failure.

Temp drop back to coverline and spotting today. Spotting went away again, but it's clear enough what is happening.

I want to shrug it off. I want to say it's fine. We gave it our best shot and had great timing, and that is all that is in our control. I want to look ahead to next cycle, and be positive about the good things here (and there are some, I'm sure).

Instead, I'm trying not to cry (it's a no crying day, orders of my friend Mandi), and trying not to feel like a massive failure as a wife, woman and mother.

It was disappointing and hard to not be pregnant after good timing before the miscarriage, but it's really hard now. I sobbed myself to sleep. I feel stupid talking about this, again, like a failure, because it seems so drama queeney.

But I'm being honest here, and my therapists have all told me it's far healthier to experience the emotions we feel and deal with them honestly and openly than hide them and bottle them up and wait for them to explode. So, I'm trying.

I just feel like I may never be a mother. And that fear grows for everyone with every passing cycle, I think. But it's greater when you could get pregnant and you couldn't keep it. Whether it's true or not (and 98% of the time, it's not), you feel like it is your fault. It is your body that is growing and maturing that egg and your body that is supposed to move it into the uterus and then nourish it and help it grow. It feels like your body betrays you when that doesn't happen.

I've heard well-meaning people say to someone after a m/c - 'Well at least you know you can get pregnant!' as if it is supposed to help. I've heard people say that to themselves, and I think it is comforting for some people. But for me - so what? So I got pregnant once. And it wasn't a healthy baby. How does that help me? What if I never get pregnant again and I blew our chance to have kids?

I feel like my body is to blame for the miscarriage and that my body is to blame for not getting pregnant again. And yes, logically I know how stupid that is.

Worse, is what I think next though. What if it's not my body? What if it's me? Because I'm not a very good person. What if it's my fault becuase I did this or didn't do that? What if it's my fault because I'm selfish and I don't volunteer? Or because I don't recycle?

I sometimes feel like God is punishing me. I cried last night that I think God hates me because I am such a bad person. It's like all of the fun of Catholic guilt with none of the relief of confession and absolution.

Do I, in more sane and less PMS-driven states, really believe that? I don't think I do. I mean, I don't believe it for other people - I don't believe that God is vengeful or angry in that way, and I do believe that God loves us all, as we are. But when I try to apply that to myself, I often do not believe it.

I just don't think of myself as a good person most of the time. I try. I know I could be better in a lot of ways. And so now pregnancy and trying to conceive has been pulled into this and it's awful. It's like one more masochistic way to hate myself.

I feel like it has to be my fault. My chart was so gorgeous, so beautiful. I had so many symptoms (and have been assured I didn't imagine them). I really felt like this cycle would be it. Now it's not and I feel like it's because of me.

It's a really shitty thing to feel and a really shitty place to be.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

On Teaching - by RML

"I shall not shock anyone, but merely subject myself to good-natured ridicule, if I profess myself inclined to the old way of thinking that the primary concern of teaching and teachers is the student.

While such an observation may seem elementary, it should be noted that for those who define the function of a university as the 'discovery, preservation and transmission of knowledge,' the role of the teaching (presumably the transmission of knowledge) is formulated in such a way as to avoid the mentioning of either the teacher or the student. Indeed, when confined to the transmission and preservation of knowledge alone, teaching would seem to be little more than the transmission of decaying sense, entombed in that graveyard of knowledge, the notes of the teacher's students.

Teaching necessarily involves the highest forms of discovery, the awakening of the students' minds and souls to the world of creativity and imagination. A good teacher challenges students to join in the continuous, meticulous and solitary questions of the mind. I myself prefer important questions partially answered to unimportant questions fully answered.

Who could doubt that those students were blessed who witnessed the phenomenal mind of Enrico Fermi as he unleashed the power of the universe on that cold, winter day under the bleachers of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago? There, with only the assistance of a slide rule and his hands, Fermi managed to do what it now takes two computers to replicate; to produce man's first nuclear reaction. There, a great teacher, who in the tongue of his native Italy and understood by hardly anyone present, managed to convey to his peers the deperate need to insert the carbon rods into the nuclear mass, thereby saving not only themselves, but the city of Chicago.

No doubt everyone remembers the teacher who most influenced his or her thoughts, person, and soul. No one is perhaps more aware of the best teachers than teachers themselves. That person who most influenced my own thinking was the Sage of Goose Creek, CSH of [edited]. That man did for me something that few teachers have ever done for a student. In a desperate effort to teach this kid from the wilds of Montana about the American Regime, CSH took me on a 15,000 mile, 5-year trip across America, where he introduced me to every site were an Indian had died, every sausage factory in America and even Alvin, Texas, home of Nolan Ryan.

Today I attempt to lead my students on such a journey of the mind. Some days are good; some days are not so good. But every day I remind myself that teaching is like missionary work, and that I am the messenger, not the message. I constantly strive to bring others to see the excitement, as well as the limits, offered by the life of the mind. I encourage all students to be bold in their thoughts, moderate in their actions and courageous in their pursuit of truth -- wherever it is and however it can be known.

As I now come to my own golden age, I often think of my own teacher. Of his incredible kindness, his depth of soul, and the power of his imagination. My real hope is that I, too, will be remembered by those who come after me with the same fondness.

This, then, is my philosophy of teaching: teachers love their own teachers, and they are loved in turn."

Eulogy of RML

(names have been omitted, not to deny credit where it is rightfully due, but for anonymity)

Farewell to Our Teacher and Friend
-eulogy given by TE at the funeral mass of RML.

"I begin with the salutation that Ross himself used most often: Salutem in Domine.

Our teacher and friend RML was well known and loved for many things: certainly for the clarity and sharpness of his intellect; for the generosity and gaiety of his spirit; for his defatigable dedication to his students.

In his early years, he was known for the briskness of his step across campus, such that admiring students hurried to keep up; throughout his years, we knew him for the garish colors and shocking patterns of his ties and suspenders.

But perhaps above all, our friend and brother Ross was known and loved for the quickness of his wit; for the merriment and laughter that he bestowed on any gathering, effortlessly, with grace, bite, and kindness. If his greeting was Saltuem in Domine, his farewell was Gaudeamus -- Rejoice! Take pleasure in life! Enjoy!

A spirit of hilaritas and felicitas -- that is what our friend gave us. That's what we gladly remember, what we shall sorely miss.

So it is not surprising that every one of Ross' students has some story to tell. One student received his first paper back from the 'Good Doctor,' only to read this commend: "Young man, if we are going to communicate, we are going to have to settle on a common language. I prefer English."

This morning, we have no difficulty finding a common language. And I am not speaking of English. What we hold in common -- what holds us in common -- is gratitude, respect and affection for Ross himself.

For you see, RML had an extraordinary capacity to dispose persons in a common direction, and to constitute community. The means by which he did so was conversation; for conversation, practiced with Ross' wit and generosity, binds persons together. It builds and manifests community.

Anyone who visited Ross in the hospital this past weekend, or anyone who saw him during the year of his illness, witnessed that community. Last evening and again this morning, that community gathered in abundance, present and palpable. Graybeards from the early 19070's are taking interest in current students; graduates from the 1980's are interatcing easily with [self described devotees of RML] from the 90's -- all of them, students, faculty, and alumni from four decades, immediately connecting, telling their own stories about their outrageous and beloved teacher and friend.

One such tells of the student who, having been late or absent from class a number of times in the semester, walked up to turn in her final exam. His back turned to her, the 'Good Doctor' was writing something on the board, as she said: "Dr. RML, you are a horrible teacher, and I want you to know that because of the way you teach, we haven't learned a single thing this semester." And without so much as turning around, Ross replied: "Yes, madam, and you are empirical proof of that."

Cicero helps us understand the charisma - the spirited gifts- of RML when he says, "The essence of friendship consists in the fact that many souls . . . become one."

The collegial community of friends that arose around RML owed much, of course, to his own altogether distinctive qualities: his personality was as winsome and energetic and engaging as one is ever apt to find. DL - Ross' close colleague of thirty-five years and a master teacher himself -- got it right when he told me earlier this week, "Every thing that Ross did had a little bit of magic about it. He was a chariot of fire, a visitor from another place, a gift of God."

Ross was our chariot of fire, our celebrity teacher, the one we showed off, the one whom we sent out to the community, the one in whose radiating light we liked to stand, as if to suggest, We are a bit like him ourselves. He was our high star, the one by whom we charted our course and calibrated our compass, pedagogically, intellectually and morally.

But not always politically. Ross was sometimes -- well, often -- heard to complain about the state of political affairs in the country he so dearly lvoed. He would snort, "In America, anything in permitted between and among consenting adults except the shooting of firecrackers."

Those of you who studied Greek philosophy with Ross certainly learned that we can measure every art, including the art of teaching, by its product. The monument to the artist is what he creates.

If we would see the monument to RML, we need only look around this morning at the community that he, as artist and midwife, brought into being.

Ross would of course want me to say that he had much help in his life and work, most notably that of his mother, N. "Big Momma," he sometimes called her. One needs only to meet N to see the source of many of her son's gifts. Over the years, literally thousands of students came to her house to see her son and eat her food. They also came for the beer.

Our friend Ross, of course, was a teacher of virtue, a philosopher, a lover of widom. But he was, as well, a lover of sights and sounds, and of all things beautiful. His offices at the University were appointed more stylishly than mine and other faculty's offices. And I have to say it: he was an impulsive shopper. Once he told me, "T, the only things I regreat are the things I didn't buy."

To be sure, not all students took to Ross -- some were unhappy because he wouldn't tell them what they should think. He wouldn't even tell them what he thought.

Other students were unhappy because Ross was irreverent. He said things that would get any other faculty member fired. He talked about cannibalism and goats, and you were never quite sure why. He certainly was a trickster. Some students, and probably one or two colleagues and an occasional dean, suspected him of being a diabolical Machiavel. This made him especially happy.

But in reality, the wellspring of Ross' irrepressibility, of his merriment and generosity, the ground bass of the songs he sang, was religious. To him, teaching itself was a religius vocation.

I am speaking of religious in the root sense of the word: re-ligio, a binding together again, as ligaments connect and bind. Ross was bound, first of all, to life itself; to reality and the structure of the real; but also to country, family, and friends -- and to the religious tradition that nurtured him from his mother's arms to his dying day.

The inclination of RML toward the religious is evident in words that he wrote several years ago to the parents of a student who had suddenly, and tragically, died. As was his custom when people were in trouble -- and Ross did such things an untold number of times over the years -- Ross reached out to those parents. He visited them in their home, attended the funeral service of their son, called them several times and wrote a note, a portion of which I, in closing, want to share with you. As is often the case with what a teacher says, these words of Ross return now to their source:

"How I wish that some faint words of mine could erase the sorrow in your hearts. All of us wish for a little more time to reflect and to love life. But God will never abandon those who love him."

"I am reminded of the immortal words of Catallus on the death of his own brother: Atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale -- and so for all eternity, brother, hail and farewell."

Fond memories - Requiem in pace, Professor.

I am already down and depressed, and for reasons too long to explain, my thoughts have turned to someone who has been gone for 2.5 years.


He was a professor at my college. I first encountered him in a required core course I took in my second year. I took him because his class fit my schedule and my best friend highly recommended him. It made no difference to me, as I had to take it from someone sometime.

Oh, if only I'd known what a profound influence he would have on my life, how he would shape me and mold me and believe in me; how much more I could have learned, how much more I could have done.

Instead, I was a typical college student, eager to do well, but less eager to expend too much effort in a course outside my field of interest, caught up in my own life and petty problems.

And still . . . he saw something. He was teacher, but he was also more to me. Mentor, friend, father. I do not know that I was special among his many students who could say similar things, except maybe in being female. I cannot claim that I was in the same place as others, but I know I was in a special place - I loved him and he loved me. He did so much for me as a student, as an intelligent person and as a person.

I wish I could express more about who he was and what he meant to me, share the outrageous stories about him. I miss him intensely at this moment, though I can hear his unique, precise voice in my head even now. Instead, I will post two things (which will be quite long, but which ought to be preserved). To break it up, I will do so in two additional posts.

He was an amazing man, and much like the Glorious Woman in CS Lewis' The Great Divorce, who had no children, yet every child she met she loved as her own - RML left behind him a large legacy of love that will impact this earth for years.

And from that comes our boy's name: Gabriel Ross.

Ross would not have liked us to name our child for him, though he'd be honored to be thought of. And the name Ross wasn't appropriate. But Gabriel - the messanger angel of light and hope, is. That is what Ross was. And so, we hope to have a child to name for him, for his love and his hope.

You are well-loved, Professor and greatly missed.

Feeling utterly grim and depressed.

The weather is awful outside. Warm, humid, wet, foggy, gray. You can't see much in front of you and everything is shrouded in an ugly, gauzey haze.

It feels appropriate.

Another negative test, another tiny temp drop, and even though there are so many statistics and symptoms to give me hope, I feel it in my gut. I am not pregnant.

This morning, as I showered after watching for a second line in vain, I thought, "That's ok." I talked to myself and pointed out all the reasons that is good. We have a lot of credit card debt and now another month to pay it off. I am still overweight and my eating of late hasn't been terrific. Another month after the holidays to get back on track, get back in routine and lose some more weight. Drinking a hot toddy on Christmas Eve, mimosas at Christmas breakfast, wine with Christmas dinner and the ability to toast in the New Year with Asti Spumunti rather than sparkling white grape juice. Not having to be a nervous wreck and keep it secret during the holidays with our families. Not having to tread down the path of pregnancy and miscarriage fears again soon.

I felt nearly positive. Disappointed, but calm.

And then we went outside and my carefully constructed illusion of bravery collapsed. I am feeling bitterly sad, and hopeless. I don't want to do this anymore. I don't have an off switch to stop obsessing about things. It is bearable for awhile, but then it's too much. The bleak prospect of many more, unknown quantity of months of this nonsense stretching in front me makes me want to curl up in a ball and sob.

I thought of how I should be 16 weeks pregnant today, looking forward to my big ultrasound, joking about the sex of the baby, and I feel so angry that that is gone. I feel so scared that I will never be there. I feel like this is all my fault and that I'm broken. I know how common miscarriage is, and I know how many women have miscarriages and healthy children, but I have no reassurance that I will ever be pregnant again or that baby will be healthy and now this beautifully timed cycle and lovely chart are going to waste.

I know I don't know that 100% for certain yet, but as I said. Deep down, I feel it. I feel that if I were going to get a positive, I would have by now. Even though 50% of women don't yet - I feel I should have.

I know I get depressed before my period comes. I expect that is the biggest contributer to this excessively emo post. But I feel so low right now, so tired and so hopeless. Like such a failure.

And I feel guilty. I feel guilty because I know how self-indulgent I am being. My friend just lost her baby. Another friend has a threatened miscarriage. A third friend is facing bed rest and pre-term labor, while another is coping with crippling morning sickness (and the threat of hyper-emesis gravidarum) and a high-energy toddler. I have a wonderful, supportive loving husband, my health, the ability to pay my bills and put food I like on the table. I have a good family and a secure job with room for growth and a lot of opportunities. I have love and friendship. And I'm complaining and depressed because I don't have the thing I want the most right now. And I feel guilty. But like I said previously - I do not have an off switch, and I don't know how to snap out of it or just cheer up.

I wish this day were over and this week were over. I wish I felt moved by the Christmas spirit. I wish I felt something other than a deep desire to sleep for days.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Uhm, is there something between creamy and watery?

Because I am having that in abundance.

Like, I thought my period had started. Only it was very, very wet white cm. Lots of it. And come to think of it, I've been having that the last three or four days (though not quite so much in abundance). I've had that before - not long before clearly (clear) watery cm or EWCM. Milky might be a good word for it, only that has connotations that I can't be down with.

Also? Very bad cramps. Now seem to be gone. But another reason I thought my period might be making an early appearance. BAD. Look, I don't normally have more than mild cramps and bloating during my period, and Advil is usually ok to cover that. These were reminiscent of the miso cramps. Ouch.

I felt very discouraged for awhile, but for the last hour, I've been focused on how badly I need to pee. Again. No coffee and only 1 glass of water today. Ree-dick-you-luss. But if I want to test tonight, I have to hold it and let it marinate. I may just give up on that idea though, cause seriously. Have to pee.

And? Nausea. Honest to goodness nausea came and played for about 30 minutes and then left again.

My body had BETTER NOT be fucking me over. Hear that, body? I'm watching you with the side-eye. If you are just screwing with me and not pregnant, I'll find ways to hurt you.

ETA: 96 pregnancy points. I so wish they meant something and weren't there mocking me, getting my hopes all up and shit.

Frequent Urination or All In My Head? You decide.

Ok. This is my usual count, non-pregnant:

-Mid-morning/Lunchtime at work
-Afternoon at work
-As soon as I get home

After that it varies by liquid consumption. Average liquid consumption for the above would be 40-80 oz of liquid (4 oz of juice, 16 oz latte, 40-60 oz of water. Usually around 40 these days)

Average of the past three or so days:

-Again in the morning, before I leave for work or within 20 minutes of arriving at work
-Afternoon around 2
-Immediately on arriving at home, having done the 'omg, I have to pee, I have to pee, I have to pee' routine for the last hour or so.

Average liquid consumption is actually less than reported above - I've only been drinking a single glass of water at lunch the past day or two in an effort to make holding my pee until I can get home (and subsequently test if I want to) easier to achieve, and to avoid inadvertently diluting the urine.

I am currently about to take the lunch pee break, which will be my fourth time peeing so far today.

Thrilled to know that are you? Good.

This isn't just in my head, is it? It is annoying. Extra annoying because it's been cold as fuck outside and guess what? I have to walk outside to get to the bathroom. So I've been dealing with the freeze to death or deal with heavy coat dilemma.

Not fun, people, not fun.

Next round? Feel my boobs. Are they heavier? Are they more tender? Are they sore? You be the judge! Oh, wait. . .

Temp dropped some this morning.

Down to 97.8.

So, still high, but a little disappointing. I was hoping it was going to stay really really high or go higher. Now I'm feeling a little down, wondering if this is the beginning of a drop in advance of my period showing up Friday or Saturday or if it will stay where it is or go up again.

Last time, I had a high (97.9) then a drop off (97.5) then a jump (98.1) and then a drop again (97.6) and then another jump back (98.1). So a .3 drop isn't as dramatic or bad. But it could go either way, so . . .

But. And yet. (as well as other ominous conjunctions)

Negative test last night. (* more on that in a moment) Negative test this morning. I could easily brush off negative test last night - it was only 9 dpo. But this morning is harder to do, if I'm being honest. I know that only 35% of tests are positive at 10 dpo with a sensitive test. But I got a + at 10 dpo last time. So not seeing that today, a little let down.

I'm trying to remember that I saw it with second morning urine and that it was faint (and got more clear as the day wore on). That the first really clear and indisputable line was 11 dpo. But since I didn't go back to bed for the extra hour and a half of sleep (because I wanted to test), I'm feeling pessimistic and grumpy.

Grump, grump, grump.

I'm trying hard to find positive things in the idea of not being pregnant this cycle, but they are superficial and I know the bottom line is I will felt let down and a little betrayed by my body for these awesome temps and things if there is no positive test at the end of this.

I'm debating now whether or not I want to try testing again tonight. If I do and it's still negative I think my mood will sour even more. But I don't know if I can hold out until tomorrow. . . Sigh. I should have stuck to my original promise to wait until the end of my lp to test, or not to temp in the lp. I don't like this up and down feeling attached to my temp. I go to bed feeling nervous and if I wake up at night I feel anxious that it will artificially inflate the temp. It is no good, though I've been comforted having that data and wishing I could compare it to non-pregnant charts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Feeling caught in a whirlwind.

What a crazy day.

One friend unexpectedly learns she is pregnant (and is local! and would be due 6 days ahead of me if this baby 'sticks' and if I am pregnant now).

Another friend suffers an early loss.

I am elated and heartbroken. I am thrilled and angry. I am apprehensive about my own situation of waiting, waiting, waiting and fear disappointment. It would be too perfect, wouldn't it? That thought is haunting me now. Immediately after a miscarriage, at the same time as one of my few local girlfriends? Where I was happy and excited earlier, that is now tempered with anxiety setting in - that this isn't real, that this is a fluke of the chart, that if it is real, it will not be a healthy, growing baby.

All I can do is hope and pray, and I find both of those difficult.

Besides, I do not need the prayers, really. My friends do. Say a little one for them - one for a baby that grows, and one for comfort and hope.


That is my highest recorded temp ever. Previously seen in my other pregnancy chart.

Things are looking up.

I caved when I saw it and tested this morning, and it was (of course) a BFN. I'm only 9 dpo!

But I feel really, really positive about this. So very, very hopeful. It continues to go up. And up and up!

I'm just in a really happy, upbeat, positive mood right now. I feel like the bfp is coming. Apart from the spectucular temperatures - the frequent need to pee, the fatigue, the gassiness, the breathlessness - all familiar. The boobs are aching in the growing way they were last time, not the generally sore way they are before a period. The cramps aren't general cramps like a fist grabbing me and squeezing - they are different. Hard to explain, actually, but I feel good and bubbly and hopeful.

I hope that I'm not setting myself up for disappointment, but really? This chart looks terrific.

In fact, here is a link. Vote on the pregnancy poll if you're bored.


Seriously. I have to pee again. 4th time this morning. What have I had to drink? Fair question - I had milk with my cereal and 4 oz of juice. I finished a grande hot chocolate w/ cinnamon dolce about 15 minutes ago (or- too soon to have to pee it out).

Also? Gassiness. GAH. Benefit of my own office? Can quietly and unassumingly pass gas and no one knows. Downside? If someone walks into a cloud of my noxious fumes, the source is obvious. BTW - there is no question that this might caused by chili. Yesterday, I questioned that. Today, not so much. Because I have not eaten any chili. Or anything but cereal. And Cap'n Crunch doesn't do that to me, kwim?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Something other than pregnancy/miscarriage/charting/etc.

So it's been brought to my attention that I am one-track and boooorrrrrrinnnnnnng.

Too right.

But that's because this blog mainly focuses on those things listed above. Other blogs focus on my (poor attempts at) writing and on the garden and the family and the pets.

But I can try to work more into this place, to make myself more interesting.

The trouble is - I'm just not that entertaining. Dh and I have friends - most of them are scattered to the four winds, and few of them are in Houston. We don't go out much, because we are comfortable at home. That's what we like to do - be at home, curled up with a book or the laptop, or the television remote or each other. I do other stuff, but little is of note.

Right now, I've got a writing project going. It's a fan-fiction, though I've got one idea for an actual story. I thought I would try refining my technique with someone else's characters (as I interpret them) first. I'd like to give it a go with a story in my head and see again what I need to work on if I'm going to try my own story. So far, I'm getting lots of great feeback about what I'm doing wrong. I read enough to see the error of my ways, but I'm not talented enough to fix the problems.

I have some new acrylics and some new canvasses, but I haven't felt the urge to pain in awhile. Maybe because I know how dismal my drawing is, and thus how flat and oddly shaped my painting is. But oh, it is fun to do. I do enjoy doing it - so I do still, when I get the urge. I will over Christmas.

I have two major knitting projects underway - the baby blanket I haven't touched since we lost Chickadee and the scarf I started immediately after because I desperately needed something to do with my hands, lest I go insane in the first couple of days. It's about a third done, and I bought more yarn, but I haven't really picked it up. Too busy screwing around online at night, I guess.

No new books, though I've spent time re-reading a good deal, and reading a good deal of fiction online (which is tedious due to the amatuer nature and lack of adequate grammar and spell check for much of it). I hope I can get something new for Christmas - I'm just not that into non-fiction at the moment.

I have a few needlework pieces in process - many of which have been in process for years now. An angel piece, the nursery wall letters, three fairy take pieces (Cinderella, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty), and the most complex piece - a 6 flower design. Gorgeous, but very intricate. Haven't actually touched it in a couple of years.

We've taken to clipping the dog by hand. It's not as neat or pretty as the groomer, but it works and damned if he doesn't look all right after all (mostly). Still need to get those damn nails clipped though - we suck at it. It's much less expensive that way too.

My favorite colors are blue and yellow. I love Classic Pooh - the stories and the drawings. I am a total Eeyore, and he's my favorite character. My fave book is Pride and Prejudice, and I love most anything with pretty old-fashioned dresses.

And it's cold outside, with this new information about yours truly, I am going home. Cheers, all.

I only need 16 more points to be pregnant!

Or, you know, an embryo and a positive pregnancy test. Whatevs.

But yes, I have acquired 84 pregnancy points! *curtsies and accepts applause*

And my temp today was a toasty 97.9 - which is exactly what it was at 8 dpo on my bfp cycle. I honestly, as into signs as I am right now, do not know what that means. Probably nothing, of course, but it is a pretty high for me, and is encouraging.

Again, I have trouble doing anything that doesn't involve staring soulfully into my chart's lines and dots and wishing I could get an answer already. I.Am.Obessed.


I am doing well otherwise. Soon as I have pictures, I will entertain you with the story of Christmas decorations at our house.

Meanwhile, I will continue willing my chart to reveal something, anything to me and think about testing, but resist - because srsly, it's 8 dpo. I will not be that girl. 9 dpo, on the other is a totally respectable ridiculously early testing date. . .

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fertility Friend = Chuckie Cheese for Women TTC (but without the pizza)

So it's like this.

You can get a special version of fertilityfriend called VIP if you opt to pay more for it; sort of like buying tokens for the rides/games at Chuckie Cheese (or at least how Chuckie Cheese used to be, I've gladly not stepped foot inside one in years).

VIP has some neat features to it, but it's not necessary. I bought a year subscription a little before we started TTC, and am still riding that out. Fun for me. The VIP features give you a fertility analysis based on your cervical fluid and position, your past cycle history, and your temps and opk's/monitors. It allows you to search specifically for charts like yours. I'm sure there is other stuff too that I'm missing. It also allows you access to their new and exciting Pregnancy Monitor!

The Pregnancy Monitor rates your sexual intercourse pattern and gives you odds of pregnancy based on that - low, good or high probability. I'm high this cycle, btw, as I was last cycle too. And brand spanking new - your estimated pregnancy points! On a scale of 0-100, they assign you points based on your post-ovulatory signs, symptoms and temperatures. The more frequently your signs are seen on pregnancy charts, the higher the points go.

So pregnancy points = the tickets you win when you play the games. Like Skeeball! I love Skeeball, btw. Been years, but oh, I used to rock Skeeball.

Anyhow, I'm currently clutching 68 tickets in my hot little hands. I am curious though - can I trade them in for a sticky pregnancy yet? Or do I need more than 75 tickets? Uhhhhh, I mean, points.

I am just sort of tickled by that. Especially because they don't mean anything. You can't trade them in like tickets and because early pregnancy symptoms are so often seen on non-pregnancy charts - it doesn't tell you anything. I mean, it's sort of neat, it maybe gives you a little hope (I'll admit to being kind of excited when it goes up), but honestly? What does it mean? Nada. It means you have sore boobs or gas or fatigue. Especially when you are talking about symptoms that occur before implantation could possibly have occurred, you know?

Just ridiculous, but I can go ahead and play with it to see if I get more or less points - that's how silly it is.

In other news, along the same lines - my symptoms. I wonder if they are in my head, precisely because I am having a bunch of weird little symptoms. Frequent need to pee, serious fatigue, increased appetite. My boobs aren't really achey or sore yet, but that was sort of true last time as well. It's hard not to think this is just progesterone induced things, since implantation would be maybe happening now-ish. But you know, it's not just in my head. DH and I spent all day together yesterday and said he agrees that I do need to pee more than usual, and that I am not drinking more than usual. He also agrees with my exhaustion continuing to be an issue. It's a relief to know I'm not just crazy, you know?

It doesn't help that my temperature is still going up. 97.8 today. I haven't seen 97.7 or 97.8 when I wasn't in a pregnancy chart. That thought sticks out in my mind, naturally. I am afraid to keep temping, lest this end in serious disappointment as the temp falls. I am afraid to stop temping, lest I go nuts with obsessions.

Still . . . I don't want to have too much hope. But Dh and I are both feeling optimistic. Fingers crossed, anyway. It's funny, I didn't think I would EVER want to test early, because I did not EVER want to see another positive test. But the old itch is back. It's difficult not to test today, even though there is no possible way for it to be positive. I still keep feeling that urge. Not testing tomorrow will be hard too.

I guess, if you are the praying type, pray for some peace for me. With whatever happens. I get nervous thinking about a positive, still, even though I really, really want one. I want to be ok if we don't get one. And of course, I want a healthy, sticky baby if we do. I know these things run through my mind nearly constantly right now.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Uh, obsess much?

Yes, yes I do.

I've now looked at my chart a good 12 times today.

As if it is somehow going to magically change itself and reveal the secrets of how to make the philosopher's stone or how to read the stars or how to give the perfect blow job while losing 20 pounds fast without missing your fave foods or exercising! Oh, wait, the last bit is Cosmo.

(sidenote for anyone visiting from botb - remember when it was revealed that Cosmo doubles as a medical journal? Good times, my friends, good times)

So, naturally nothing is changing, but I continue to stare at it. And compare it. And stare at it. And compare it to previous charts.

What can I tell you after exhautive research? My boobs usually start feeling tender and/or achey around 6 dpo. I do remember that during the pregnancy chart they felt different - not achey, just heavier, really. The ache came later. I can also tell you that I cramp early on, and I get gassier during the 2ww. My skin breaks out (but is really dry right now, and that can lead to oil).

And though I try to stop when I realize I'm doing it, the 2ww symptom overanalysis has begun as well. I have had to pee a lot more than usual today. And I was exhausted last night. Totally, thoroughly wiped out, nodding in my chair, blinking my eyes at 8:30. I bravely struggled until 9:00, but then gave up the ghost and went to sleep. And slept well, though it was dream filled.

The last time I felt like that, I was pregnant.

Oh, and I'm struggling to stay awake right now.

However, that can be attributed to the two holiday lunches I attended, I'm sure. And last night is probably attributible to the late nights of earlier in the week (though progesterone does make you tired, and that is present in the 2ww). I have no explanation for the bathroom trips. Truly.

But here I am, at 5 days past ovulation, analyzing. Looking at my loverly temp this morning (97.7, if you are curious) and sighing contentedly, as if it means anything. If there is a blastocyst (and there is about 80% chance there is not), then it won't implant for another 1-4 days. No implantation means any temp changes or symptoms are not linked to maybebaby.

And yet . . .

I feel hope. I can only hope that I don't feel tons of disappointment if this cycle doesn't work out.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Yesterday evening, as we stood outside and swirling, big, fluffy flakes of snow danced around us, I felt great. Happy, hopeful, positive, and peaceful. This felt like a sign. A sign that something good is about to happen.

I still felt that way this morning. And everyone agreed - there is something in the air. Naturally, my first thought is of pregnancy, but really, I don't think there is any sort of link. I just feel like something good is coming.

When I think about pregnancy though - I feel my heart start beating faster and I feel something that is between hope and panic. Ten minutes ago, I was thinking how peaceful and hopeful I feel about our chances this cycle. Last night I felt really, really good - probably linked with whatever excitement was in the air - but I really had this moment of 'oh, yes! this is it!' and further a moment of ' if this is it, I feel good about it. Not nervous. I feel like if this is it, this one is ok.'

Now? I feel discouraged and anxious and as if I'm boarding a roller coaster. I made the mistake of comparing charts and pregnancy signs. Even looking back at my pregnancy chart, as if there is some preset formula for how one feels in a pregnancy cycle. Sigh. It's not the same, and I feel downhearted. I so want to be pregnant right now, pregnant with Chickadee, or pregnant again. I want to be back in that hopeful place.

I wish last night's serenity and joy would fill me again. I need that hope back. I don't pray much anymore; I've been too angry. But I find myself repeating a litany in my head - and it's not just words, there is a yearning and a reaching out - a litany of "Please God, please God, let this be it. Let this be my sticky, healthy, growing baby. Please God, please God, let this be it." Over and over.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh, yeah. Ovulation, bitches!

I feel nearly giddy. My cervix was low, firm and closed and my temperature was a toasty 97.6. That put definite cross hairs on my chart, even if I put the first sketchy temp from Monday in. Wheeeee! I ovu-late-ed! I ovu-late-ed!

(yes, I'm doing the Conga in my head)

Anyhow, that means our timing was terrific, and I ovulated on the left side, which I superstitiously believe is somehow better. I know our odds are about 20% regardless, but man, I feel hopeful. I looked at similar charts in FF, including a special search for the first cycle after miscarriage, and 66% of those in the first cycle after m/c and using opks (with an intercourse pattern like mine) were pregnancy charts. That? makes me so hopeful, I can't explain.

And when you subtract 10-12 days of the bleeding/spotting (more than usual), I actually had a fairly standard cycle, which is something of a relief.

I dunno. I was feeling down and now I'm not really anymore. I had a strong feeling before that if this happened, it would be a boy. That feeling has morphed into I feel really good about our chances, both of a pregnancy and a 'sticky' baby that grows and is healthy.

Fingers crossed, anyway.

Oh, yeah. It's SNOWING.

As in white stuff falling gently from the sky?

And REAL snowflakes and flurries. Not just icy rain or sleet.

At my house. Only I'm at work.



Seriously. Three months after a hurricane hits my house, it is snowing!

How feraking cool is that?!

True Love Is . . .

When your husband turns on the Spurs/Mavs game you would normally be psyched to watch, and you sigh to yourself because you really aren't in the mood after a very high stress day, and he notices and asks what is wrong.

You explain that you don't really want to watch the game, but it's fine if he does since tv is all re-runs and the upstairs cable isn't so much with the working at all.

He promptly changes the channel and says he loves reruns of NCIS and was busy during this episode of The Mentalist, so he'd like to see the whole thing.

You explain that it's really ok if he watches the game, you're on the internet anyway. And it makes you a bad Spurs fan, so put the game on.

He promptly says he can live with a bad fan, which is better than a stressed out wife, and he'll catch the highlights later, and really, he loves NCIS reruns.

That? my friends, is true love and sacrifice. It was apparently a taut game that went to double OT and the Spurs eeked it out and he didn't watch a second, because I was feeling out of sorts and he knew a tight game would leave me angry. Love that man.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

*kicks chart*

Stupid chart.

(stupid body really, I guess)

97.1 this morning. Possibly high enough for dotted cross hairs if I get over 97.2 tomorrow, maybe even solid cross hairs if I have a higher rise.

But that would require that I ovulated and there doesn't seem to be enough supporting evidence of that. SO frustrating. I know things are wacky after a miscarriage. I know I've had anovulatory cycles before, even with tons of fertile cm and ovulatory pain (and subsequently had a follicular cyst on my left ovary for the next two cycles). But it seemed like everything was right on, and now the temps and cervical position aren't backing it up.

I really feel let down and bummed out.

It doesn't help that I asked DH yesterday what his prediction was, secretly expecting to be bouyed by a positive rah-rah speech. Instead, he cocked his head to the side, looked thoughtful, pursed his lips and ultimately shook his head. He said, "I'm not sure you've ovulated, and I don't think this is the cycle."

It's not as if his guess at (possibly) 1 dpo means anything, but it really sort of crushed my hope for this cycle. Lame, isn't it? And now the temps are stomping gleefully up and down over whatever small hope was left.

I just want to be pregnant again. I'm even moving past the point of fearing pregnancy again. I feel so disappointed that I may not have ovulated and all the sex wasn't for anything other than sex. And I feel so disappointed that I'm still not out of this cycle. I really wanted to be pregnant for the holidays . . . and I'm not at this point, and may not be.

It makes me sad.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I'd love to honey, but . . .


I FAIL at temp taking.

So the alarm goes off and dh is snoring away, completely oblivious. Now, he normally gets up, turns the evil alarm off (I have serious issues with this clock and try not to touch it during the week, lest I turn off the second alarm and wake up at 9:30 and freak out about how pissed my boss is going to be), and he sticks the thermometer in my mouth and I half-sleep through it. I consider it his staying active in our fertility quest (both ttc and tta). But this morning, he's sleeping through it and my anxiety is increasing, because I'm expecting a post-ovulatory temperature, and I don't want to falsely create that by rolling all the way over to the other side of the bed to get the thermometer. So I make loud moaney noises until DH wakes up and gets the thermometer.

He sticks it in my mouth and I promptly fall asleep again, to be startled awake by the damn thing beeping, and nearly falling out of my partially open mouth. It says 97.1.

Well, shit. 97.1 is not a post-O temp. Does this mean I've not ovulated after all? But the mouth was open, the thermometer was close to falling out. . . Shit. So I roll off my arm (it was starting to hurt) and immediately take it again. This time, mouth firmly closed, me firmly awake - 97.3, which is usually a post-O temp.

I go back to sleep. The full force of dilemma hits me now. It was a temp taken near the normal time (within 5 minutes of the normal time), and it was basically a waking temp. But you aren't supposed to take it over and over until you like the number you see. It's not a law of averages kind of thing.

In the end, I put the higher temp and a note on my chart. If it wasn't ovulation, then my temp will be in a pre-O range tomorrow, and no biggie.

However, I am impatient and don't want to wait until tomorrow, so I've been checking my other fertility signs, which has yielded nothing but confusion, so go me! I'm trying not to stress about it, but with mixed results. I mean, there is fluid, but how fertile? I think it's left-over sperm, and I don't have the wet, lube feeling of last week. Cervix is still really high - but feels firm. No more ovarian pain is a good sign, but ugh, crampiness blows.

So yeah, I'm debating whether or not to try and convince dh to have sex again or take a night off. Honestly - we've been having a lot of fun lately. The bedroom has been a place of creativity and a lovely expression of affection and love. But, uhm, we used to be once a week people. 10 times in 2 weeks is really sort of pushing it in my opinion. I think we could both use another break, though I hate to waste any possible fertile time. Ridiculous no?

I spent a lot of time looking at charts this weekend and the conclusion I reached? You can't control it. Great for someone who likes to control most of her universe, but it's true. I saw charts that were textbook perfect, excellent timing and no bfp. And I saw charts that had odd timing or just one possible instance of intercourse and + tests. I even saw one chart, that had there not been a + blood test, I would swear there was no ovulation. It was all over the place. So it'll happen or it won't. We're doing what we can to have sperm ready to meet the egg, but whether or not that helps is out of our control.

So . . . I'm thinking break tonight. After all, we still have another tree and half the house left to decorate. We did get the main tree up and it looks terrific. Then we got . . . um. . . occupied. The Spurs did uphold tradition though, wining in decisive fashion and yay! Keep going, guys!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Smiley faces, Christmas Trees, Spurs games and my husband.

First - Smiley Faces.

I've been using OPKs. I know, I'm a hypocrite. I've previously been wildly opposed to such measures, as expensive and unnecessary for someone who is charting. They can be one more stressor trying to intrepret them and they are not wholly accurate, in that you can have an LH surge (just as you can have ewcm and a high open cervix) and still not ovulate.

But my friend mentioned to me that with my long, long fertile phases they may help pinpoint when we really needed to have sex, so we could give ourselves a break. Before the BFP I was contemplating using them. I got pregnant, so it wasn't necessary, but I thought of it again for this cycle, since things could be so screwy after the miscarriage.

So I've tried them, but as I've mentioned earlier and before - I stuck with the pricey digital that gives you a smiley face when you have a positive.

Well, I used the last one last night - 7 negatives. Joy, that. So after debate, we bought some more, and some store brand to try as well. Got home tonight and took the first one . . . and it gave me an error. AUGH. Tried the store brand while I waited for the digital to clear to blow another stick. Now, I know they tell you not to try and read the sticks, but I do anyway. They've been getting darker. This one was DARK. So I had to do another. Store brand came up maybe positive, in that it was pretty dark and pretty close, but maybe not quite as dark as the other lines.

Then, glory of glories! SMILEY FACE! WOOOOO! That means we are going to have a lot of sex in the next 36 hours, possibly in the next 48 hours, in hopes of pregnancy. I'm stupid excited about seeing that.

Also, I have some fun new 'marital aids' as my DH calls them. Not sex toys - no batteries or bondage gear - just interesting flavored lubes or body paints or what have yous. A lot that we bought for our trip and are only just now getting to try. So far, we've liked everything and it has made sex a little spicier, or at least inspired us to get more creative, burst from the routine a bit.

Second - Christmas Trees, Spurs Games and DH

Fun times for me! I love Christmas and decorating for Christmas is one of my favorite things. I adore it and always want to make it fun.

DH on the other hand - Christmas can be a rough time for him. 4 years ago, he walked out on a ledge with the intention of jumping off it. He climbed out, leaned out and eventually made the brave decision to climb back, walk back and call me to tell me he wasn't ok and hadn't been for a long time. He got the help he needed (and is healthy and happy today), but a lot of that still hurts him a bit and the holidays can bring that out.

Add to that - DH hates decorating of any variety. He's happy enough to enjoy the results, but aesthetics are something he doesn't care about. Functionality - yes. Pretty - not if it means more effort on his part. He enjoyes Christmas decorations when they are up. But putting them up - he'd rather go for a colonoscopy, thanks.

Now, I would do much of it myself - but I can't. We have to put the tree on an end table to keep it away from the dog. In addition to a tree, we hang a lit garland (I want to get another for the dining room). Well - I can't do either of those things, because they are too high up. Even on the step stool. I can't reach. So of necessity, DH has to do it. I seriously reign in my perfectionist tendencies to help, but he gets frustrated at spending lots of time putting up something that is only going to come down again in a few weeks.

(Side bar - Last year, I offered to leave the tree up year round. He was all for it, until I pointed out that a year round tree meant we were also redecorating every month for whatever was up coming - blue and silver for winter in January, red and pink and white for Valentine's day, green for St. Patty'd day, pastels for spring, red and white and blue for Memorial Day, and so on. He turned positively green at the thought, lol)

But, today was sort of a rough day, and I let slip during Christmas shopping that I was seriously frustrated with his griping about something important to me. That I kept trying to make it fun and enjoyable and I didn't even want to do it this year, because I expected it to end in a fight or gritted teeth and I was sad, because it's one of my favorite things in the year. He apparently took that seriously and is trying hard to make this evening fun.

I love him SO much for that. For listening to me and what I was saying, for taking my feelings into account and making the effort. It's special to me that he loves me enough to do that.

How does any of this relate to the Spurs? Well, by sheer coincidence, in the previous years that we've decorated this house, there has happened to be a Spurs game on. So we watched as we hung ornaments and garlands. By further coincidence, it's happened to be a game against a lottery bound west coast team. And tonight? Spurs play the Warriors. Let's hope this new, odd tradition sees all the way through and we see another victory tonight.

Drunken sex (we bought two bottles to decorate with), positive opk sex, and Spurs victory sex (hopefully) with fun new things to be creative with - that definitely equals good sex. And would be awesome conception sex too, no?