Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sugar N Spice, Snips N Snails, and Raw Eggwhites

So, I'm a little bored. No new television tonight, no riveting story to read, no urge to write.

Boredom leads to random internet searches. A conversation about the Hadron Super Collider led to a sex joke, led to a different sex joke, led to a conversation about the difference between the sexes, led to a conversation about which sex we prefer for the next child (being optimistic as we always are at the beginning of a cycle), led to a random internet search for old wives tales about acheiving the sexed baby of your dreams.

In case you are wondering, and wish to leave nothing to chance, here is some of what I've found. I make no claims as to the accuracy of this information:

- Dairy products favor girls, meat products favor boys.
- Girls are conceived during the new moon, boys during the full moon (and werewolves in between, I guess . . .)
- Low pH favors girls, high pH favors boys.
- If you want to conceive a girl, consume artificial sweeteners.
- If you want to conceive a boy, eat lemons or limes.
- Don't drink coffee if you want a girl, eat salty foods for a boy.
- Drink green tea for a boy, peppermint tea for a girl.
- Take soy for a boy, vitex for a girl.
- Sex 2+ days before ovulation = girl, sex the day before and day of ovulation = boy
- Missionary = girl, doggie style = boy
- No orgasm if ttc girl, multiple orgasms (but only after sperm is deposited) if ttc boy.

So. . . cheers!

But those harmless sorts of things are (generally) as accurate as being able to determine the sex of a baby by how high or low or round or lumpy a mother is while carrying the baby.

What really captured my morbid curiousity was something I've seen before - extreme gender swaying. You are welcome to Google it if you are interested. I'll briefly say that I was really surprised to read more in depth about the lengths some women go to in order to conceive the preferred sex.

What was most surprising was the at home inseminations following ejaculation into a cup and manipulation of the ejaculate to attempt to get only the right kind of sperm.

I'm not necessarily judging it (ok, I totally am at least a little), but it kind of fascinates me. Because from my vantage point, I really, really can't understand it. I know I'm blinded by our fertility and pregnancy struggles, I know it. But it's hard for me to understand the mindset by which no baby is preferable to a baby of the wrong sex.

Because it's obvious to me, proud watcher of Sizing Up Sperm that I am, that many of these methods are disastrous for simple reproductive purposes. Sperm are fragile - they don't survive well or long outside ideal conditions. And most of the extreme methods of gender swaying are well outside ideal conditions. By which I mean, I'm sort of shocked to hear that any sperm survive to make it into the vag, let alone survive the hell that is the cervix.

From my perspective, I'm trying to cover all angles and ensure that ovulation is timely, the egg is good, and there is as much sperm as can be crammed in when the eggwhite cm shows up. Because everything I know about reproduction says that it's a crap shoot with low odds anyway, and the only way to maximize your odds of sperm and egg meeting period is by taking advantage of fertile fluid and providing a wealth of sperm. We are just so biologically wasteful naturally that I can't see how the swaying and massive reduction in numbers of sperm is in any way helpful to the goal of conception.

Of course, the problem is likely that I am focused on Conception-Full Stop. And they, for their own reasons which I will NOT judge at this time, are focused on Conception of (Fill-in-the-Blank-Sex).

There was a time, long ago, when I could sort of understand that. Not to the level of desperation that some of these women feel, but I got gender preferences. I wanted a girl. A boy would have been a little disappointing. And certainly, our boy was shocking. Gabe threw me for a loop, no question about it. But I came around to understand that his sex was an incidental to my child, not the important bit of him. And I came to understand that my expectations and hopes were framed by my wishes, not by my child. And I came to discover all the ways in which boys are awesome and I was excited to have a son. As I always knew I would be, eventually, even though I'd wanted a daughter first.

But now, bereft of son, no child on the horizon, I struggle to identify. I find I can't. In bitterness, I think what a luxury it might be to be so consumed with such an unimportant detail. In charity I think, I think that we all have desires and there are certainly plenty of people who would similiarly not understand our desire to continue to try for a biological child in a high risk pregnancy instead of beginning the adoption process. But mostly I think, huh. Yeah, that's not us. We are so far removed from that.

I can't even express a wish for a particular sex any longer. And not just because I'm desperate to be pregnant, period. That of course, is a piece of it. But the bigger parts? I know what I don't want about either sex. It's hard to find reasons to want either sex. So much is tied up in wanting what we've lost, getting the chance to fulfill the promised role of parents to a son. And yet, a daughter feels safer, opposite, fresh and new. Both feel, in a tiny dark corner that I rarely think of and rarely admit to, like a betrayal.

There are many ways in which I feel alien to the world of women trying to conceive and pregnant women. I know too much, and I can't unknow it. I've tried too long, and I'm over it. I've given birth and I've held death, and I'm a mother who has never been challenged by the day to day drudgery. The little things? They simply don't matter. Not anymore. The weighty and important is what captures my attention and I don't know how to make small talk that isn't stilted. I don't know how not to roll my eyes, or how not to shout out cautions to the women around me. This is yet another way.

It reminds me of a board on thebump I always gave the side-eye to - Parenting After A Loss. I believe it still exists in some incarnation. I never could quite understand it. I didn't believe that my parenting - the basics of parenting, or how I viewed parenting Before - would be altered by my previous miscarriages. Pregnancy yes, sure. Parenting? Eh. But now - having become a mother and mother my spirit-child - I get it. It is different.

Everything is different. Sometimes scarier. Sometimes more precious. This is no different. And yet, still, I try to understand, to put myself there, and I can't. I find myself scratching my head and being puzzled by this, because my own experience colors it so differently.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Well, that's something.

My period started right on time this morning. So, thanks for that universe! I would have been pretty unhappy having to wait around and wonder, so that thanks is sincere, not sarcastic.

(though I stand by a previous statement that we shouldn't get our periods while trying to conceive, because it's just mean. An extra kick in the crotch, if you will. I think we should get nice things. Like diamonds and perfume and flowers. So instead of 'Not only are you NOT pregnant, you've just ruined your favorite pair of underwear and will have to wonder all day if anyone can tell you've bled through!', you get the much nicer 'Well, you aren't pregnant. However, as compensation for this disappointment, please have a lovely pair of matched pearl drop earrings on the universe!' Far better, imo.)

For being crampy and irritated, and a basket case, as you'll soon see, I'm in a truly spectacular mood.

Again, that is sincere and not at all sarcastic.

It's a beautiful day, and this last week of my third decade on Earth promises to be a fantastically gorgeous one, at least weather-wise. Because March was so unseasonably cold, the azaleas are all in bloom now, and soon we'll do our patio planting and it will be lovely.

But aside from that (and the fact I slept well last night and thus did not start the week in a grumpy heap of tired), I am in a good mood.

I think it has to do with The Plan - which DH refers to as the Soy Plot. It's a long story involving Guy Fawkes, V for Vendetta, Sherlock Holmes, and a winding conversation.

Anyhow. Since the temp drop this weekend, we've been going back and forth over whether or not to try and conceive this cycle. Because, well, ovulation is suggested to occur around April 18. Guess what I was doing on April 18 last year? If you guessed that I was conceiving my son, you'd be right. If you can further guess about how that might make someone as paranoid, superstitious and neurotic as me a little crazy, hats off. But I don't think it's just me. DH was equally ambivalent to make the mindfuck of another pregnancy even more of a mindfuck by sticking the same fucking due date and timelines on it.

I mean, why make something that will already be hard even harder mentally and emotionally, right?

I know, I know. To some extene I'm doing some cart/horsing here. Obviously, the odds of pregnancy occuring this cycle are precisely the same as the odds of pregnancy occuring any given cycle. There is nothing about this particular cycle, outside of a potential coincidence of dates to make it any different, really. And yet . . . and yet . . . 21 weeks is hard enough, without 21 weeks falling on Gabriel's birth date.

I have a feeling about this cycle. A compulsion and simultaneous aversion. A feeling of importance, maybe, is the way to describe it. All in my head, I'm sure, and yet . . . there again.

So, as I said, we've been back and forthe and around and around. In the end, my husband argued that there was no reason to be superstitious and no good reason to put off a cycle. And I argued with myself and admitted that I can't not chart, and as I will be charting, I will never be able to not try. But we've both agreed that too much focus on the calendar may make us a little crazy.

And God knows that I am fucking tired of ttc at this point. I'm annoyed, I'm irritated that I'm still trying, I'm disappointed as fuck. . . and I kind of need a bit of a break. But I know I can't convince myself to waste a month at this point, so now what I have to do is make it as painless as possible.

Having reached these conclusions (for the most part - we still vascillate a bit), we developed The Soy Plot. It goes like this:

1. Take the soy isoflavones again. Ovulation was moved up by 3-6 days, apparently. That's great. Another day or two would be better. So. Let's try moving the pills back to cd3-7, hoping that moves it up a day or so. I'm currently toying with the idea of increasing the dosage by another pill, but haven't really decided either way. I may compromise by increasing the last three days.

2. Drink the green tea until ovulation again. Actually, this has more to do with enjoying a cuppa in the afternoon than anything, but I like the insurance against any fertile cm problems.

3. Same ole vitamin cocktail. For all the other stuff. No reason to quit.

4. Exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes 2-3 times a week. I don't want to set myself up for failure here. This is a reasonable goal, imo. 30 minutes 3-4 times a week, or everyday, while laudable, isn't necessarily practical.

5. Have regular sex. And by that I mean - not when the mood strikes, or I'll get anxious. Not based solely on the microscope findings or cm, or I'll be anxious about whether or not I'm reading the signs correctly. Instead, we're going to go with a more militant and far less romantic approach. Starting on cd8, we'll have sex for three nights and then take a night off. That pattern will continue until ovulation is confirmed.

This should remove the stress of timing sex, of too much sex (though we may be tired by the end anyhow), give both of us a break while hoping to keep sperm levels a little higher and sperm as fresh as possible. It won't much matter what the cervical position is or what my cervical fluid is like - we're just going to have sex on the schedule. We hope that this will provide the emotional break I need. I know rigorously scheduled and timed intercourse doesn't sound all that great, but I think we can find ways to keep it interesting, and the pressure already feels a bit lower.

Why three days instead of every other day or every two days? Basically because that was the pattern I felt gave us the greatest coverage and the most flexibility. We have no sperm issues, and so every other day isn't necessary. Every two days would probably be ok, but three sounded like an acheivable, comfortable number to both of us. And it guarantees that we will cover 4 out of 5 prime dates around ovulation, whenever it occurs.

So we'll give it a shot. We've only done that once before, and it wasn't really enjoyable, but to be fair - that cycle was anovulatory. So there never ended up being an end in sight. We won't go beyond 5 cycles of this pattern, so if I don't ovulate by my normal time frame (without soy), then we will let it go and take a break. But I see no reason that we won't ovulate, so . . .

That's the plan! And now, I'm going to go show . . . the plan . . . to someone else. (who gets that reference?!)

As for what you can do to be part of the plan - well, not much. Nor would you want to, I think. However, should you find yourself board, please venture forth to my fertility friend homepage and take the ovulation poll. In this case, you won't be reviewing the chart for ovulation so much as predicting on which day you think it likely to occur. As it is anonymous, there is no prize for being right, though if you'd like to leave a guess here as well, you can do so. And then feel good about yourself, I guess. . . Still no prizes. Just a little something for fun to be cheerful about while my uterus claws its bloody way out of my body. I also have plans to randomly change my ticker, just because I can. (look at me, drunk with power!) So, you know, who doesn't want to keep an eye out for that?!

I hope everyone enjoys as lovely a day as we have had here in your area of the world; as for me, I've got to go take a walk around my complex.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Well, then.

Temp dropped again this morning, so I don't think there is much doubt. Just to be certain, I took a test. The disgust of the test at being wasted in such a fashion was evident, and it clearly gave me the antropomorphic finger in the form of extra whiteness where the test line was. Yeah, fuck you too FR.


I am disappointed, naturally. Not as cross or upset as I was yesterday when I felt like it was the utter end. Just . . . resigned. We've had three cycles of active trying and four of excellent timing, and only a chemical pregnancy. I know quite well that that isn't so long and blah blah fishcakes.

But . . . but . . . I want my baby. Goddamnit. I want to be a mother in more than name. I want to be pregnant.

And I'm not.


Just as with the rest of life, there is nothing to do but sigh, shrug, maybe throw a fit and eat a Ding Dong (or two) and get on with it. We'll discuss whether or not we want to try next cycle given that if it were successful (stifle your laughter, please), the pregnancy would be on the same timeline as Gabriel's. I don't know that either of us are up for that.

And I need something else to focus on. So I guess it's back to weight loss. The weather is gorgeous, so I ought to start walking around the complex. Maybe losing some weight will make me feel better about myself. And beyond that, maybe it will aid the fertility. Worth a shot anyway.

So. . . yeah. Onwards through the slog. My period does not appear to be imminent (nor should it be - Monday is the due date), so I'll have some sex, enjoy the weekend, eat some Ding Dongs and get things lined up for next cycle (when I will also work on cutting back caffeine).

Friday, March 26, 2010

I never thought this would ever happen.

I'm taking Ochocinco's side here.

I am not a huge NFL fan, let alone a Bengals fan (go Texans). And I happen to think that Chad Johnson is a giant douche for legally changing his name to a bastardization of his number 85.

But I just found out via The Soup (love!) that Fox News took on Dancing With the Stars (which Chad Ochocinco is participating in this season and which I emphatically do not watch). And that stupid blonde woman talked about who all was on (newsflash: Pam Anderson played a lifeguard on tv. She wasn't actually a lifeguard. You're welcome in advance.) mentioned that 'Okochino' was on.

Aiyiyiyiyi, lady. Way to make yourself look educated and open. I hate you for making me give any ounce of favor to the name Ochocinco.

Report: Nothing

Wish I had some news for you, but alas.

Oh - here's something. My review went well. I fully meet expectations and everyone seems happy. Sweet relief that is over and done with. I hate reviews with a passion that approaches a level of loathing normally reserved for bell peppers. But having received a less-than-stellar review last year, it was pleasant to hear my hard work has been noticed and I am up to scratch.

Beyond that. . . I'm exhausted. Much as I would love to proclaim it a sign of pregnancy, I have to acknowledge that while I went to bed at an eminently reasonable hour, the cat wanted badly to eat my hair. At 1 am. At 2 am. At 3 am and 3:30 am . . . get the idea?

Temp isn't hot. Sigh.

I am crampy. And I don't mean a little bit. I mean, yee-ouch. They keep coming and going, and are more like AF cramps than not, but it's too early for this. At least, it better fucking be, because this is 8, 9, or at the very most 10 dpo. So no no no.

My boobs are crazy sore. SO not a fan. Before the pregnancies, that would be a good sign, as it normally tapered, rather than persisted. But I don't think that's still so. And it's annoying.

CM is never a reliable sign - earlier there was maybe some tannish color, but it's not a lot or consistent. At this point, it would normally start getting wetter/more watery pretty much either way. Ditto cervical position. It's all over the board and not reliable.

Nausea? Some. Meh.

I am having mood swings, which are rarely a good sign for pregnancy for me.

So . . . I guess I'd say I'm leaning towards no, after all. But it's still early days (again, it better fucking be), so . . . I guess we'll see. Shrug. Lots of shrugs.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lucky number 7

It's been seven months.

I'm still alive.

I marvel at that somewhat. There are still moments when I wish what I wished at the beginning, that the world would simply stop and acknowledge our loss. It seemed no less than Gabriel's due, no less than our due for such emptiness and pain in our lives.

I've re-read Elizabeth McCracken's book and she talks so eloquently about how one of the worst aspects is the lack of change in their (in our) lives. With most deaths, there is an aching void that used to be the person who died. There is a gap, and a painful alteration of our lives that we recognize as permanent. You'll never share lame stories from your childhood with your sibling again, you'll never smell that unique smell of lilacs and fresh bread that you knew was your grandmother, you'll never be able to do something with that person again.

In baby-loss, there is a void, and yet life continues on much as it was before, a mockery of your life before. You were making room for this new life, you had geared your anticipation to the changes of the new life, and suddenly there is no new life. You are the same as you were, and while there is a void and a gap, it's invisible and you simply live the parody of normalcy and rail against the cruel fates that you recognize this life and this life is not as it should have been.

I think that is one of the reasons that ttc again is so hard. It's yet another way in which this life is so alien. And for all the alien feeling, it's a sci-fi movie, because it's so perfectly rendered in its previous incarnation. There were two, there are two still.

The grief is always there, the grief and the guilt and the regrets and the pain. They wane, thankfully - for who could bear up under them in full force and not go as insane as Ophelia? I'm not sure whether the intensity really fades with that cure-all of Time, or whether we simply get accustomed to it and so it no longer feels as strongly as it did.

The longing is ever present. I wonder if there is a moment in which I do not miss my son. It's such a normal sensation that I am inclined to think I'd notice the feeling by its absence if such a moment ever presented itself.

And for all of that, we carry on and we are reasonably happy. Would that it were otherwise, but as it isn't, I guess we're becoming accomplished at making the best of what we have. Would that this picture of two would become three again, but there my hope falters. For all that I hope this cycle works, I have become so accustomed to this picture, I have a difficult time seeing anything different. I think if I did so once upon a time, it must have been a dream.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

'You and me goin' fishin' in the dark'

Ha. That was playing today on the way home and seemed appropriate (it's by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, if you've not got the reference).

Actually, I don't really feel much urge to visit the fishing hole at this point. 7 dpo (give or take. I could buy a cd21 ovulation, but not the cd22 crap FF is selling at the Advanced setting), so too early by a shot to test. Normally, I'm just really getting into stride with my over-analysis and symptom observation.

It's not that anything much has changed this cycle except that there isn't much to observe. A wee bit of nausea (just a whiff) if I get too hungry, but that's nothing. Cervix and cm are normal for me. My breasts seem less tender, if anything. My skin is completely horrid and I am unhappy about that, but moving on, the only thing at all unusual or weird is the cramping. I've had a fair amount today off and on. Twingey ovary feelings to AF-sorts of feelings. No idea what that means, beyond 'probably not much.'

Otherwise things are good. I felt like today wrapped up into a good day at work, and that I got a fair amount done (yay!). And things continue on in a positive way, I think. I have been terribly tired, and to that end, I've promised DH I would go to bed by 11 tonight, so this will be short.

Someone asked when I'll be testing. The answer is 'When I'm likely to get an answer that has hope of being accurate.' I usually give in by 9 or 10 dpo. I'm a little superstitious about it, actually. The only pregnancies that were at all normal or hopeful showed a clear positive by 10 dpo. The ectopic was 12 dpo and the chemical pregnancy was 13 dpo before a faint positive made its debut.

So a few more days at least. DH has threatened to hide the tests to prevent early testing, and he has a point. It's lost a lot of luster for me, but I still hope to know as early as possible to get the medical ball rolling. So, probably by the end of the week, though whether or not that will actually answer the question is a totally separate thing, as my period isn't due until Monday.

Overall, the peaceful feeling is mostly intact, but I am starting to wonder, and have some cracks. I feel myself tense up when the alarm goes off, knowing my temp will be revealed soon. I am just hopeful that it continues to rise. But if it doesn't, well, it doesn't. Not much to do but wait and see, and I (at least thus far) feel largely content to do so.

(Never mind the voice that sounds startlingly like Veruca Salt whining 'I want to know NOW. Never you mind that at all.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'm going to regret this.

Surely, I will. I'm tempting fate far too much by acknowledging this thought, let alone saying it loudly in public.

Nonetheless, I am trying not to give in to supersition. Because, really. I live with a black cat. I mean. . . how could saying anything actually alter anything now?

I feel really good about this cycle.

There, I've said. I have to admit, I checked over my shoulder for lightning.

There wasn't any.

(which isn't to say there won't be, she says, while biting at her nails and frowning)

I know it's too early. I know I haven't had many symptoms or much by way of unusual (save for some odd cramping that is probably in my head). I know it's beyond ridiculous to say it, but I really, really want to take a test. I actually feel like it could be positive.

That's how good I feel about this cycle. It's terribly unnatural and unnerving. The angst isn't here yet (surely it is coming). I am not agonizing over perceived symptoms or comparing old charts (which may be solely because this one is SO ludicrous). But it's also because I still feel some peace in my core. I feel like something might be happening, something good.

I hope. Gah, there it is again. Hope. I hope sincerely my peace and sanguity is not misplaced.

In other news: You know your dog is spoiled when your husband examines the old bra that you allow them to play tug of war with and suggests that you buy him a new one because this one is getting torn up. Sigh.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Feeling vaguely insulted.

My temp dropped this morning to 96.8. This is not terribly surprising because the outside temperature dropped yesterday to a shockingly low degree (overnight, it was mid-30's). I had a lovely lunch yesterday with another dead baby mama, and we sat near a door and talked for four hours (it flew by and boy were we shocked to see the time!). It was raining when we arrived, which continued the entire time, but the wind picked up and soon there was a brisk chill whenever the door was opened.

Nevertheless, we left the heat off and bundled up to ward the chill, which was fine, except I believe that to be the biggest culprit in the low temperature because anywhere that wasn't bundled under three blankets resulted in instant near-frostbite.

Still, it's not terribly attractive, it is quite irritating, and to top it off, I finally get my pregnancy points and I've got a mere 7. I've never started with less than 20 or so. I feel insulted, really. Just because my temp dropped when they think it should be going up?! Well.

I haven't any better idea what is going on. Given the amount of pain which accompanied ovulation, I am certain of the date and would have expected a higher temperature. Several higher temps. One of the ideas behind Clomid (and thus, to some degree, soy - and to a different degree from a different angle, b6) is stronger ovulation produces a better progesterone response. So far, there has been NO indication of that. If temps are to be believed, it's not even as usual. Hmph.

Nevertheless, I find myself not caring too much beyond mild interest. If conception happened, it's happened. The little blastocyst is beginning to implant or it's not. It exists or it doesn't. End of story. Somehow (for now -I'm sure the angst will return in a day or so) I am feeling far more relaxed and optimistic about this cycle than I quite think I have a right to do. I have no distinguishing or outstanding signs (for all that it is only 5 dpo), just some tender breasts that aren't quite at the full sore and aching stage and a touch of nausea more likely related to my eating habits. And fatigue, but that's hardly surprising.

Still, I hope. Dastardly, deceiving, foolish hope leads me on.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I'm a Rock Star.

At least according to my husband, who says:

Seriously. You have a lot of sex, every day, and toss back handfills of pills. Rockstar.

Can't argue with logic like that can you?

Of course, this is also the man who, in playing online games sans headset, wishes he could get a headset solely for the purpose of finding how long it would take to get thrown out of the game by singing show tunes non-stop.

Love. Him. To. Death.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Game is Afoot.

I hesitate to say it aloud, lest I jinx myself in the process, but I have reason to believe that ovulation did in fact occur yesterday, on cd 20. Which is not quite cd 18, the last day the soy was supposed to have caused ovulation, but is definitely two other things. One, it is well ahead of the usual ovulation. Two, it is within normal time-frames (10 to 21 days).

The temperature didn't go up as high as I would have liked, so I'm stuck waiting on tomorrow's temp. I hope it doesn't prove me a liar, but the ovarian pain which had been steadily growing worse (pressure, a swollen feeling, aching) over the previous day or so gave way to violently sharp pinching pains and then disappeared entirely. To be fair, I felt similar pains on the other side today, but either way, I think one (or both? Lord. No comment.) had to have been ovulation. It's startling how much more comfortable I am today than two nights ago. Other signs would seem to agree, as the cm started at ewcm today and is drying up and my cervix, which was high and open this morning is much lower and more closed this evening. And of course, a positive opk two days ago, with a negative yesterday and today.

So, one more night of sex (and I'd like to point out a new record which may well stand for years of 10 nights in a row), and then a blessed well-earned rest. I cannot express how frustrated I will be if ovulation has not occurred.

That aside, it's now time for my least favorite part of the cycle - the two week wait. And sadly, it may well be two weeks, since my luteal phase has been less than reliable lately and b6 can lengthen a luteal phase. This is the part that I should enjoy, because it's all entirely out of my hands at this point and has either happened or won't be happening. It's done now, the course, wherever it goes, is set. I won't know where it leads for another 10 days or so, and I despise that. I could reconcile myself to much, but I really loathe the guessing games I can't seem to avoid playing.

I'm feeling anxious and fragile right now. Filled with worry over whether or not we'll ever acheive pregnancy again and unable to get past all the obstacles to parenthood (of the living) that seem to be in our way. I was reduced to a hand on my abdomen today, begging and pleading for this to be it, for it to be real (like the Velveteen Rabbit, a voice asks with a sneer inside my head. The voice has no patience for romantic notions and foolish claptrap, I see). I want so badly to be pregnant again. To have something more than mist and air to hang my hope on.

Do you know that I looked at the cycle planner today on a whim? Can you imagine how my blood ran cold, despite the overheatedness of the room, when I saw that if I am not pregnant again and if I ovulate on a similar time-frame, that it will occur on the same fucking day as it occurred last year? That may be of limited significance until I tell you I ovulated on April 18 and Gabriel was conceived then. I have a hard enough time with the idea of the pregnancies being in similar timeframes, let along trying to comprehend being due on the same fucking day. Even if I know that I will deliver weeks early, it makes no difference to the state of mind.

For that reason alone, I am finding myself praying, reaching out in supplication and desperation and some anxiety and misery, for this cycle to work and remove that from possibility. For this to please, please work, and please God, let me be pregnant this time. Please, please, please. My nerves today feel so stretched and tense that I am uncertain how long this uncertainty and desire can continue.

Monday, March 15, 2010


I'm sitting upstairs in my bedroom, on my bed. Several books are open around me, and I am reading a story online, but my attention is diverted by the cat.

We've taken to calling him The Cat, the capitilizations implicit - an appellation frequently given to my old cat, Prince. Barnabas is playing with a mouse, a gray ribbed mouse made of courdoroy with a leather tail and embroidered eyes, stuffed with catnip. It is his favorite toy (well, that and the similarly fashioned blue mouse). Watching him is fascinating. He carries it in his mouth, lays it down, takes a step backwards and then pounces. He flings it up and about with his paws and twists and turns through the air to catch it. Eventually, he tires of his game and he flings himself dramatically onto his side for a rest.

Soon, he'll make a running leap for the bed, swipe at the laptop screen and make grab for my hair, which is dangling tantalizingly.

He's a funny kitty. Vocal, and demanding as his predecessor. Willful as all cats are, and as most cats are, infuriating, frustrating and heart-meltingly sweet and loving in turns. Quixotic and immeausrably mysterious, his yellow-green eyes sometimes stare at me with knowledge.

I have wondered aloud, once or twice, whether there is anything of my old cat returned in this kitten.

A dangerous thing to contemplate, but those eyes . . .

I wonder sometimes about Gabriel too. Whether his spirit will always be spirit or whether reincarnation is possible and a future pregnancy might be Gabriel returned. Dead baby mamas are of split minds on this idea, I'm no different.

I don't think I want Gabriel to return, because then he would cease to be Gabriel and become someone else - a Frederick or Oscar or Oliver or Noah, possibly even an Olivia, Vivienne or Madeline. And I think I would miss those touches of his presence that I feel now. And I don't want the dead child to overshadow the living, though he will, as all older siblings do; to some extent it is unavoidable. But in so much as it is possible, I prefer for identities to remain separate. I think it is easier for my sanity.

I know I've been aloof, superficial the past few days. Easier to concentrate on the task at hand that way, really. If I think too much, trying to conceive again becomes a frightening spectre, dark and looming. My boggart would be another dead child in my arms. But as I think this round is nearing an end, my thoughts are swirling again. I am thinking again, pondering again.

I still miss Gabe. Not as desperately as I did before. My world was shattered, and now I've eked out a tolerable existence. His loss is ever present, always acknowledged, as one who loses a limb simply gets on with it. It's becoming unremarkable, mundane, even. The strong emotions have faded, for a time. I've no doubt they will return - anger and frustration, futility and impotence, and the heart-rending sadness.

Life continues, and my life is not so bad. I do look at DH sometimes, and mourn the sadness that I find lurking in his face. His mentions of Gabriel are the same as his opinions - infrequently voiced, strongly and closely held to his heart, and capable of freezing me in my tracks. He hurts, separately. There is grief shared and grief kept private. We are the people who knew him best in the whole world, and only we can appreciate what we've lost. And yet, a mother's sorrow and a father's are necessarily different and have their own regrets.

I've been reading, which is not new. I'm always reading, sometimes two or three books at once. But this one, CS Lewis. A Grief Observed. I have long loved CS Lewis as a voice of unshakeable conviction and touching on truth. I may not always agree, but I always find wisdom, and comfort. This little booklet - it's scarcely long enough to be considered a real book - was snippets of his journal from the time of his wife's death, published under a pseudonym later. It is shattering to read my own grief more eloquently splayed out in words, and yet shattering in a good way. A way that strips down the individualities, breaks apart the loneliness and builds me back up into a better frame because here, here is someone who understands.

CS Lewis was angry with God as well. Furious, hurt, betrayed, bewildered. He, too. He, the atheist-cum-apologist, he too was rocked by the loss of his loved one. And that makes it a little more acceptable for me to feel that way. It makes it a little more comfortable to say aloud what I've avoided for too long. I am angry and know not what to think or believe. I don't choose to examine it closely now, but I am comforted to feel less alone.

Tonight, I am curled under my beloved fuzzy blankets, and I am waiting. I am hopeful. I am praying, almost against my will, for this to work, for this to be another pregnancy, another baby, but one we can bring home and raise and love. I am tense and worried at the same time. I wish I could be more open and share myself more honestly. I know I hide now, I am comfortable and do not wish to wade further into the murky waters of the world while I carry only failure with me. I get so tired of having to direct others and smooth the path so that others are comfortable with my grief and loss. Easier, really, to stay only among those who intuitively understand it and squeeze my hand in fellowship of loss.

I am not what I once was, and I wonder often if the change is really for the better. I can only hope. Hope Hope Hope. It always and forever returns to hope. Imbecilic, over-reaching, often disappointing, and yet so entirely necessary to get out of bed each morning. Hope leaves me feeling foolish, and yet I return for more and more, because what other choice is there? Despair? No other choice.

Barnabas has settled into a catnap on the back of the chair - the one Prince used to rest on. He has draped himself in the same way. His eyes look at me, knowingly, and he blinks and yawns and repositions himself again. And I return to my books and my story, and I continue to think, and to hope, and to wait, because there is little else to do.


do a little dance
make a little love
get down tonight

That is what I'll be doing. Actually, the first is already happening - it's the smiley face positive opk dance.


This is FUN, y'all!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sizing Up Sperm

Holy shit, I love this show. It's on National Geographic as I type. I sadly missed the introduction to the vagina and swimming through the cervix, but in recapping, the announcer just referred to it as the 'dark, twisted hell' ish environment of the cervix.



They have people representing the sperm.

This show is fantastic.

(and DH's sperm will shortly enact this journey, as it has become apparent I did not ovulate - the opk was the darkest yet. Go figure. Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow.)

The final race between the sperm came down to an adult Harry Potter and a woman who looked a lot like Blythe Danner.

Harry Potter won.

Just so you know.

I'm not sure I'll be able to have sex again without giggling.

Other quotes:

"If conception is warfare, then Emily's vagina is the sperm's D-Day."

"Timing is everything. Get there too early or too late, and you're doomed."

(btw, they have a bunch of people in a tube with rope lights to simulate sperm hanging out in the epididymus, including one woman crocheting, Harry Potter, an old man, Blythe Danner and a dude with a nose ring)

They just compared ejaculation to a one-way ticket to oblivion, and show the sperm-people sliding down a water slide to simulate ejaculation. This show rocks. How have I never seen it before?!

They compare fertile cm to a ladder - a life-saving ladder "stretching a mile into the sky" no less. Too bad it's leading them into the crushing torture of slow death in the cervix, which is like a "nightmarish urban environment." (insert evil laughter here)

To be fair though. . . 250,000,000 (on average) sperm start out in the ejaculate and most of them are dead within minutes of ejaculation. Only a few hundred will ever make it to the fallopian tube (and half of those will go the wrong way). It's amazing how wasteful our reproductive system is.

Oh, ffs.

Daylight Savings Time bit me in the ass.

Not just the lost hour, which I'm still grumpy about, but my smart clock and stupid self.

I went to bed late last night, and read for awhile. Knowing that I needed to turn out the lights by 2 am to get an accurate 5:30 am temp, I called DH to come tuck me in and distract the cat about 1:45.

It's about this time that I noticed especially sharp pinches in the ovary area. The opk's have continued negatie, though yesterday produced the darkest one yet. I didn't give it a whole lot of thought until the alarm went off and my temp came back higher than it has been in over a week. Then I thought, huh. Ovulation? Maybe, maybe. Then wrestled with Barnabas, who is trying to groom me and pulling on my hair in a really painful way, for three hours, before catching a good nap and getting up quite late.

And it wasn't until just now, when I noticed the computer clock and the anniversary clock were different that I realized today was Spring Forward day. Which led to the horror-filled realization that my clock, being a 'smart clock' which automatically adjusts to whatever time zone you are in and whatnot would have automatically changed over at 2 am. Which means, I didn't have enough sleep after all. And could explain why the stupid temp is so high.

Is it a big deal? Of course not. A single temp won't make a big difference. The temp tomorrow will be more telling - up or down - as will the other fertility signs (the cervix appears to be closing up shop. . .). But I'm still annoyed with myself.

Hence, the post.

The good news? Today is cd18 and I have reason to suspect that ovulation has occurred or will occur today. Which is good news, and a very promising sign in favor of soy. Here's hoping the temp increases tomorrow again.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Why spelling is important. . .

I love the internet. It offers so much for instant viewing and access. Need to know who was in a movie? IMDB! Need to find directions? Mapquest! Recommendation for Chinese take-out in your neighborhood? Yahoo!

But Google is my favorite. I can find so many wonderful things via Google . . .

and I can find a whole lot of crap.

The fact is, the internets are full of stupid people. Or people who make no efforts towards correct spelling and sentence structure and grammar usage. I'm not demanding perfection - Lord knows I have typos in my past and an insane urge to spell grammar with an 'e' - but don't people realize how difficult it makes it to read a written medium?

Moreover, are people unaware that incorrect spelling may not only make your intent unclear, but completely alter it because incorrect spelling can make whole new words?

For example, definitely is a word frequently misspelled. One of my favorite variations was in relation to ovulation. The author was trying to say she definitely ovulated. In fact, what she actually said was that she defiantly ovulated. To which I can only reply, you go girl. Own your reproductive functions!

But that is nothing on the variant I stumbled across this evening; this woman did not definitely ovulate or even defiantly ovulate. She deviantly ovulated. Which raises all sorts of intriguing questions. . .

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Well, there is one thing to be said for all this trying to conceive.

And that is that we've gotten a lot of practice.

And practice, as they say, makes perfect.

This is quite possibly some of the best sex we've ever had. I think it's because there is truth to the idea that quantity helps. Back towards the end of our first year of marriage and during much of the second year, we didn't have a lot of sex. And honestly, that ended up being a source of anxiety for both of us, because neither of us wanted to bring it up and get shot down and feel rejected. And it put pressure on the sex we did have to be really good, since we weren't having sex very much.

Now that we are having regular sex even more frequently, it takes the pressure off. We are more experienced than we were, we've been together long enough to know what works well and quickly (depending on mood and time of course), and we know there will be another chance tomorrow or the next day whilst we try to conceive. So if tonight is only ok, that's not a problem - we can make tomorrow spectacular.

And it certainly has made us more affectionate in other ways, and more comfortable with both suggesting sex and turning each other down.

Don't get me wrong, I've complained about the sex before, and I will again. The sheer volume can be tiresome and overwhelming and no one enjoys feeling like they are doing a duty - which is often how we feel by the end of a long stretch.

But overall, I do thinks this is one area of our lives where things have in fact gotten better for us. And that's something. Now if you'll excuse me, I may have to take up smoking simply because tonight was that good.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


1) I accomplished something at work that makes me enormously happy. It took the equivalent of 2 full business days (longer in broken up real time), but by God, I figured that fucking formula out AND how to do something my boss couldn't do. I am quite pleased with myself, even though I can't figure out a way to make the tedious cell population go any faster.

Please oh please oh please oh please let this stuff reflect positively in my review. I feel it hanging over me and while I know that my boss is pleased and even that my review last year wasn't even really bad (it was fairly mediocre, however), I'm so worried it won't be good this year. I'm not looking for (nor would I acheive) perfection, or even the highest level on the review. I'll be quite happy with 'Fully Meets Expectations' - that, at least, is where I would rank myself.

2) My new ttc toy (finally) arrived yesterday. (sidebar: When making spontaneous purchases from Ebay in a fit of ire, do be sure to check where an item ships from, as the free shipping may seem like a good deal until you belatedly realize it's shipped from Hong Kong and won't arrive for nearly 2 weeks). I bought a saliva microscope to act as a back-up for my other stuff.

You can read about how that works here. The pertinent information is that as ovulation approaches, your saliva (when dried and magnified) displays a crystalline pattern known as 'ferning' - at the most fertile, it appears in a pattern like fern leaves.

I have been concerned that by taking the soy and potentially moving up ovulation, I wouldn't know when it occurred and might miss peak opportunities for procreative sex. This is partially because of a shift in days, but mostly because I was unsure how my body might react (some women experience less cm, some more). I would have the opks, of course, but I was concerned because I have ovulated the same day as the positive opk, or the day after, and that doesn't necessarily make the best time for sex. The days before actually boost your chances by a small percentage.

Because estrogen is the hormone that causes the saliva changes (it changes the levels of sodium chloride, if you are interested), and estrogen peaks (shortly) before estrogen does, monitoring your saliva for ferning can give you a little better insight into your cycle and a little more warning. And should you not produce a great amount of cm, it can give you some guidance there as well.

So, I got it. Yay! And I figured out how to use it. Yay! And yesterday was a partial fern. And so it was this morning as well. And this evening? Full ferning! Yay! It was so pretty, like a snowflake.

3) and that brings me round to the soy update. My ovaries went from twingey for a few days to full out pain yesterday and today. Wheeee! They seem to be working! I can' really give you a dominant side, if I'm honest. Yesterday the pain was on the right, today the left. So we'll see.

I started noticing a small amount of ewcm yesterday, which has continued today. Cervix agrees, as well. So I'm hopeful, in combination with the microscope combination, that ovulation will occur the the next few days. The opk is actually still pretty faint, so I don't feel like it will be tomorrow or the next day, but if it's before next Wednesday, it will have been moved up into normal ranges. If it happens before then, well, fuck. That's just awesome.

4) My husband got an A on his first paper back in college. He was SO nervous about it I was concerned he was going to drop the class rather than finish the paper, but he DID finish and I was proud of him for that. It took guts. And to have done SO well, I could just burst with pride. He is taking a big risk and just doing so well (as I knew he would). And best of all, he seems happier. That is the most wonderful thing in all of this.

And that's all. It's dinner time and Tuesday, which means, in our home, eating in the living room while we watch NCIS, NCIS:Los Angeles and The Good Wife. Hamburgers tonight!

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Thoughtful Sort of Post

This weekend was fine. In some ways, better than expected.

We had lunch with a friend that I have not seen since before Gabe's birth, except very briefly in passing, though DH has seen him regularly. We'd had plans, but I couldn't go anywhere with all the bleeding, then he was gone, and well . . . I haven't really been up for company.

It was, however, good to see him and spend time with him, in the end. He seemed surprised by my bringing up Gabriel and it was somewhat awkward, but in the end, necessary. People need to understand what he meant to us and understand that he will be brought up in conversation. He took it in stride, which shouldn't surprise me and we had a really interesting conversation about religion (he is Jewish).

We also had a terribly interesting conversation about love and marriage, as I played the older sister card and inquired into his lovelife. We talked about that a bit and what he's looking for and why things aren't going the way he might have hoped and whether or not he wants to settle down, so on.

But what became fascinating was our discussion about our types. I said, and believe it whole-heartedly, that I am excessively lucky to have tumbled across paths with my husband by chance. Because were it not for him, I would have ended up in an unpleasant situation - loving someone who would always love themselves more. Being with someone who was terribly smart, but who needed someone to tell them just how smart they were all the time. My low self-esteem and what I thought I wanted (versus what I really needed) were such that I spent too much time on people who did challenge me mentally, but who were enormously self-centered in the end.

And really, I'm worth more than that; worth more than centering my life around another human's smugness, subverting my own opinions and desires in order to prop up theirs, letting them run roughshod over me because I would be too terrified of upsetting them if I stood up for myself. In short, a hair's breadth from emotionally abusive relationships all my life long, and pathetically grateful for it.

Were it not for my husband, I don't know that I could ever have realized that I really want partnership and love that is equal and based on mutual respect. I wouldn't have realized just how important silliness and laughter would be to me. I wouldn't have realized just how much friendship matters to a long-lasting relationship (more than romance, I can tell you).

I told our friend that I could see myself being with someone sharper (more like him, actually) now, but I wouldn't have made a good relationship with someone like him back then. It would have been dangerous for me, and I wouldn't have been really happy in the end.

And I doubt very much that most other men could have survived intact with me these months. I doubt very much that those others would have held me up and held no blame for me and not allowed me to blame myself.

I am blessed beyond measure to be my husband's wife. I know precisely how much when my husband brought it up again in the car and told me how bothered he was by my statement, because he knows it is true. And he's hurt to think about how miserable and lonely I would have been with one of those guys. He was really troubled by the thought.

I love him. So much more than can be expressed fully.

Friday, March 5, 2010

What's up with the soy?

Tena commented that she wasn't clear about why I am taking soy or what exactly I am doing. I actually don't know how specific I've been, though I've explained it elsewhere, so allow me to rectify that!

What I'm doing is taking soy isoflavones in an effort to induce an earlier ovulation.

Soy isoflavones are a phytoestrogen, and are chemically similar to, though weaker than, Clomid. When taken as one takes Clomid, soy isoflavones can work in the same way; which is to say, they bind weakly to the estrogen receptors, blocking estrogen, which fools your body into thinking you don't have enough estrogen. In turn, that propels the body to produce more FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) to produce follicles, which in turn produce estrogen. In women who don't ovulate or ovulate late, taking Clomid (or soy isoflavones) for a short time, early in the cycle, can move up ovulation and/or produce a better quality follicle. Additionally, the sharper peak of estrogen is thought to produce a stronger ovulatory response, and in turn, a stronger progesterone response (which is why Clomid is given to women with luteal phase defects who otherwise appear to ovulate on their own).

The concern with a late ovulation can be two-fold: one, that the oocyte is weak or fragile or otherwise impaired. Ideally, the hormones in the body work in harmony and prepare the ovum within an ideal time-frame. Studies have indicated that eggs that are late in 'hatching' can have weak shells (which could potentially allow more than one sperm inside, creating a trophoblastic or molar pregnancy) or more likely to degenerate before conception can be acheived or shortly after. There are linkages being made between late ovulations and higher miscarriage rates, later implantations (which also carry higher miscarriage rates) and blighted ovums. The theory goes that the cells are too weak to copy properly, resulting in early miscarriages.

The second concern is that the uterine lining may be of insufficient quality for implantation in women who ovulate late. This could be because the estrogen is too little to properly build it up during the follicular phase, or it could be a result of being built up for too long a period of time, making it inhospitable to a blastocyst that is attempting to implant.

So most RE's will work to correct an ovulation which occurs after 21 days in the cycle, and most often will do so by attempting to correct a hormonal imbalance (which is often considered the culprit in late ovulation).

Now my OB said, when I questioned her, that late ovulation is not a concern if you are getting pregnant. And truly, late ovulations occur regularly and women routinely produce pregnancies from them. Of the four pregnancies that were conceived while trying and charting, they were all conceived from ovulations occuring between cd23 and 26 - the exception being the ectopic pregnancy, which technically occurred on cd 35 - but within the same time from the cessation of bleeding, if that makes sense.

The RE who did my shg indicated that he would have a little more concern about the late ovulation if he were treating me, but would encourage weight loss before medication.

This is because fat tissue traps and stores excess estrogen. And certainly can be a reason for the long cycles - indeed, my cycles were a few days shorter when I weighed less. What could be happening is that there are lower levels of FSH being produced in my body, because there is a constant level of estrogen being perceived in the hormone loop. In turn, this drags out the follicular phase, because it takes longer for there to be sufficient FSH to develop a follicle and trigger the remaining hormones to act accordingly. It could also mean the eggs being produced are of less than stellar quality.

I am not ready to move on to trying more intense measures or medications. I don't think I need them yet; I am hopeful we can produce a viable pregnancy without them (not to mention, insurance doesn't cover them). Getting pregnant has thus far been less of a challenge than staying pregnant. But it doesn't escape my notice that only one of the pregnancies has been viable. Certainly, there are a number of factors involved and late ovulation may not be related at all - the RE seemed to think it was more likely due to MTHFR.

But, my feeling is that if I can fix it in some way, I should try. It at least gives me one more thing to have a measure of control over and takes the sting out of ttc again. I tried Vitex for several months, but it didn't do anything for me. It works on the pituitary gland to balance estrogen and progesterone levels, and helps reduce prolactin levels. I don't think those were the real issues, and that's why I don't think it did much for me.

Soy is something which is a little controversial. There aren't good studies, but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence. It's not something to do without some research, as there can be side effects to taking soy in this manner (see: my last post). But it also isn't likely to do harm (and the pharmacist did clear it to take with my prescription medication - never mix supplements and medications without guidance!!!), though there simply isn't enough good evidence to say for certain. In fact, too much soy - at least the processed versions we tend to eat here in the West as meat-replacements - has been shown to have a negative effect on fertility, because it is a phytoestrogen. In large quantities (unlike the small quantities taken for a limited time like Clomid), it acts as excess estrogen in the body, the effects of which I describe above. Additionally, there is some evidence that soy could also have an effect on the thyroid, so women with hypothyroid conditions are advised to avoid high quantities of soy.

However, there is a fair amount of anecdotal evidence about soy out there. Certainly, it has helped women regulate their cycles or bring back ovulation - it seems to have been particularly helpful for some women with PCOS who did not respond to Clomid. And it seems to have helped women with longer cycles, like me.

It should be taken like Clomid, for a 5 day period at the beginning of a cycle. The traditional days for Clomid (1-5, 3-7, 5-9) are generally treated the same way. The theory goes that if you want more follicles, you take it earlier, if you are trying for better follicles, you take it later. As with Clomid, women who respond tend to ovulate 5-10 days after the last dose. The dosing depends on several things, but 80 to 120 mg seems to be the norm for staring out. Most people advise not taking more than 200 mg, lest you verge into the territory of too much soy. I took 120 mg on cd 4-8. Not the typical Clomid days, but the best compromise I could muster when trying to decide between 3-7 and 5-9.

Side effects are supposed to be similar to Clomid - in other words, hot flashes, irritability, mood swings, headaches, excessive sweating. Many women prefer to take soy (and Clomid) at night to avoid the worst of the symptoms. I have certainly had headaches since the third day of taking it, but in fairness, I likewise have not slept at all well this week and it could be due to fatigue. A long nap today eased the worst of my headache. Other side effects are split - some women report less fertile cm, some more. As a precaution (and because I like it), I've returned to drinking green tea, in hopes that there won't be a noticeable decline in fertile cm.

As to whether or not it will work - who knows? I usually record the first ovulatory twinges around cd 8-10. In this case, I began recording them a couple of days ago. They are getting more noticeable and are occuring in both ovaries. They are sharper today than previously, but not yet painful. I feel a little hopeful because of this, but we shall see.

I feel the need to iterate caution when pursuing supplements and herbal remedies if one is interested in ttc. I do think there is a fine place for herbs, but I think you need to do research and not simply rely on the internet for guidance. First, understand the physiological processes and pinpoint what you perceive to be wrong (remembering that your perception may be wrong) and then explore what the herbs/supplements you are interested in actually do. How do they work? What effects do they have? What happens when they don't work? It's worth noting that Vitex and SI have both thrown off cycles by a great deal in some women. Understanding how it should work hopefully minimizes that. Additionally, it's a good idea to find an herbalist or a naturopath or expert in your area to go over dosages with you if you can, and to be sure you are buying quality items.

In other words, I don't encourage anyone to do this simply because I'm doing it or to consider anything without first doing thorough research on it. I think it can be tempting (if you are like me) to try messing about with things in an effort to bring an uncontrollable and frustrating process within our grasp, but messing with nature can have unintended and unpleasant consequences. I fully admit that I am nervous about this - moreso than I was with Vitex, which has millenia of history behind its use. Soy is relatively new, and while it's been popular among ttc circles for a few years now, there is less known about it. I know I will be upset with myself if I don't ovulate at least as normal, and that is a possibility. I would encourage anyone thinking about herbal supplements or alternative therapies to consider clearing them with your doctor. Most doctors don't believe in alternative therapies, or will tell you it's fine, but it's wise to be certain they don't specifically discourage them in your particular case (and if they do, to find out why specifically - sometimes, it really is just a good old-fashioned prejudice).

But I feel like this is one thing worth trying, at least once. So I have. I took the last dose this evening and now am in the waiting game. I do like the feeling that I am doing what I can to make things work out in the best possible way (which is why I take my other supplements - to address the other potential issues the RE and OB raised). If nothing else, it will make me more confident in pursuing treatments should we not be able to produce a viable pregnancy again on our own.

I hope that lays it all out. It's a bit late, so I apologize for rambling or lack of clarity.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Soy Joy

Or not.

I guess it's working? I say this because of the highly unusual hot flashes (I had never really experienced one before. How . . . odd that was. I feel fully comfortable saying I am not looking forward to menopause) and the horrifying headache I had overnight.

It was so bad I stayed home from work today. It would not surprise me if my boss thought I was playing hooky to be with DH on his birthday - except that DH went to work.

I still have residual pain, but at least I can open my eyes and walk around and am not overwhelmingly nauseated anymore.

Ovaries seem to be twinging more sharply, still feeling it on both sides - no dominant side yet (though the right one seems to be feeling more than the left. Funny how superstitious I am about them, given how all of my pregnancies have gone - three from the left ovary, one from the right - but the longest one was from the right, so I feel like I have better odds that way). CM is still creamy - or nothing unusual there, or in cervical position.

My opks arrived today, thank goodness, so I will start those as I normally do, around cd 8. I got a spectacular deal on these - about a $1 per opk, all digital. Woooo!

So . . . we'll start having sex soon, I suppose. In one sense I want to wait so we don't wear ourselves out or make it more of a chore, but I'm also really sort of nervous about how this will go if the soy works and ovulation moves up. Not knowing and feeling a little uncertain about relying on fertility signs (some people report side effects like less fertile cm, others report more), I don't want to miss the best dates.

At least the weekend is nearly upon us. More sleep. And in good news, along with the opks (albeit in a separate box) my new shoes arrived. Two new pairs of Crocs - one Lena, one Alice. Lena in black, Alice in red and oh my god, I am in love love love. I wear my Sassari's all the time and the Cyprus have been my favorite heels, but these are fantastic. Will certainly be ordering more. LOVE, I tell you.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Guilt: A study in ego.

First, the necessary (for me) update on soy: Tonight is day 4. Yesterday afternoon, I told Dh I didn't think the soy was going to do anything, and I hoped it didn't mess anything up. I wasn't having much by way of twinges or pain or any of the side effects I'd read mentioned. Spoke too soon, apparently. All throughout the evening, twinges along both ovaries (more on left), headache (may have been due to sheer fatigue) and last night - heat flashes. Fun. Still, fingers crossed.

Second, I need to go to the grocery store, because we have no food in our house. Nothing causes us to spend money so much as not having good, easily prepared food on hand. Good. Lord. Almighty. We've spent enough for 10 days of groceries on take-out and lunch at work and so on in the past three or four days. Not good!

Third, tomorrow is my husband's birthday, and though we don't exchange gifts usually and specifically said that we would just have a nice meal this year, I still feel bad about not having anything for him. Oops.

Which leads me nicely into the main topic: Guilt. And ego.

Because I've been tossing this around for a few days. I talked some about guilt with other ladies and a related discussion about forgiveness floated in about this time as well, and so I wanted to share my thoughts.

I carry around a lot of guilt for a lot of things, especially as it relates to Gabe. The intensity of the guilt at any given time depends very much on how emotional I am at that time. Logically, I know there is little I should have done differently and that I had good reasons for those things I could have done differently.

I'm a perfectionist. Or at least I have aspirations to be one. That's important, because I've always had a difficult time accepting when something I've contributed to has been less than perfect. It has taken real effort in the past not to get so caught up in the details that all the good things are not appreciated or enjoyed at all.

That relates to guilt, because for me, much of what I feel guilty about are not big things. It's things like not finishing the story I was reading out loud to Gabriel, or not kissing him enough. Or to give perspective, I'm not dealing with massive guilt over the crack I was smoking or the bungee jump I took (because I didn't do those things primarily, but also because there is nothing on a really large scale that I think I ought to have done differently given the information I had at the time). Certainly backwards looking has caused me to question a lot of things and has carried guilt into the past with it, but as someone wise pointed out - if you did the best you could given what you knew then, you have no real basis for guilt.

I agree with that, logically.

But guilt rarely has to do with logic. And on a visceral level, I have long felt that I ought not to have trusted the doctor when he said the bleeding was normal, I ought to have tried for a second opinion, I ought to have demanded an examination at the hospital, on and on. It all, underneath, boils down to - I ought to have known what was happening and either found a way to stop it or treated the pregnancy differently.

I would never, ever tell another woman in my shoes that. I would never believe it of another woman in similar circumstances. I would urge them to find compassion for themselves, talk about how we often beat ourselves up because we feel that as the mother, when our bodies fail, we should have known and prevented it. We should have done something. Easier to accept blame and punish yourself than to accept randomness in the world, I think.

But during our discussion about carrying grief on Glow, someone said something that stopped me cold in my tracks. They said (paraphrasing) that guilt was an exercise in ego. At first, I said 'Nuh-uh.' Then my mouth dropped open, I gaped like a fish and finally said, 'Oh. OH. Right.'

Because it's true. Taking on and carrying that much guilt over something that isn't my fault really is a self-aggrandizing gesture. In essence, I am saying that I had some sort of control over the situations that occurred, and that not only did I not prevent Gabe's death, I'm saying, by continuing to carry this around, that I could have stopped it and didn't.

And that's not true.

Moreover, by continually layering the guilt upon the guilt upon the guilt in my gut, I'm turning it back around to me. I'm saying that this is about me somehow . . . and it's not. This didn't happen as a punishment for something I did or didn't do, this isn't a divine retribution for sins of a past life, it's not about me at all. It's a random chance occurrence of a freak lightning storm of problems coming together that I personally had nothing to do with.

So why do I insist on continuing to build it up and carry it about?

Well, it's easier to be angry at something and angry at God or the universe isn't particularly profitable or sustainable. Self-loathing though - I've got that down pat. It's also easier to think that if it's my fault, then maybe there is some way in which I can figure it out and (what? repent of my sins, beg the universe, call in a favor, who knows) and stop it from happening again. There is, yet again, an illusion of control within the framework of guilt.

And God knows, I am a control-freak. And God knows, I am desperate for some insurance or promise or hope that it won't happen again. So I'm not surprised, on examination, to see why I can happily toss around so much guilt and loathing and anger and direct it to pour all out on me.

But I don't want it anymore. I want to find a way to set it aside. I want to let go of this load, because it's not fruitful. It doesn't make me feel better, or more reassured or happier; it only makes me feel impotent and scared and sad - all the things I feel anyway, but worse. It makes me see how selfish I can be, even in this, and just how far from a true understanding of humility I am.

Monday, March 1, 2010


So, I've had some ideas swirling about potential posts. Some really good stuff, if I do say so myself. You'll fairly well have to take my word, because instead of that, you're getting this. I'm simply too tired to be coherent and thoughtful as those lofty posts deserve.

So instead, a miscellany, beginning with elections:

(Stumped - get it? Like stump speech? Yeah? Well, fuck, come on, I've already warned you this is second class shit.)

Primary elections in Texas (and presumably elsewhere) are taking place next week.

I'm over them. Seriously, seriously over them. I used to be alllll about this shit and now I hear people talk and just roll my eyes. I plan to vote for Bill White for governor, full stop. He may be a Democrat - which will likely cost him the election right there, because so many Texans are a pack of knee-jerk-auto-pilot-Republican voting morons (nothing wrong with voting R - I've done it most of my life - I'm just sick nigh unto death with how things are proceeding here in the Lone Star state). But he's a good executive leader. He did very well for Houston and I was sorry to see him termed out. He had initially intended to run for Senate - as Kay Bailey had initially promised to resign her seat to pursue the election. Once she realized she might not win against Rick Perry (gag me), she decided to stay (her right), so Bill White is now running for governor.

Frankly, Kay Bailey would be fine with me if Bill won't win. Hell, bring Kinky back. I'll vote for him again. Just not Rick Perry, please God. He lies about state budget and revenue - believe me, the jobs being cut at my alma mater are because the state didn't have enough income and revenue to pay out what they promised. That is not economic growth for Texas, nitwit. Further, my proud state is the second worst in education. Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and both Dakotas beat us out. No offense meant to any citizens of these fine states, but we're the second largest in population. SOMETHING isn't working here (cough, standardized testing, particularly in inner-city schools with high immigrant populations, cough), and Rick Perry's claims that all is well work me into a choking fury.

FFS, Perry is the one who said seriously that Texas could secede from the Union and it'd work out. He thinks that we still have that legal right (er, we did, actually, as the only independent nation to join the States, it was part of our agreement. However, following that little altercation called 'The Civil War' that right was revoked). He thinks it's economically feasible.

I think he's a fucking idiot, the likes of which would indicate several villages are short.

So, er, I'm sick of hearing him talk. Not that Kay Bailey is much better. She's getting killed in the polls because she hasn't made the case that Rick Perry needs to go. And while her points are all pretty valid, she has been a big spender in Washington and Perry is killing her pointing that out. And it's the most depressing thing ever, because I loathe Rick Perry and he'll probably win because Kay Bailey's staff is stupid.


However, I have really come to enjoy the fantastic local judge commercial (but DON'T get me started about electing your judiciary for the love of God) that is an alert for Republican voters that the opposing candidate is really a liberal who is backed by trial lawyers and is responsible for suing corporations and KILLING jobs! Presumably also boils babies, but they don't get into it.

So I will be quite glad when all the overly blustering nonsense is done with because it's tiresome.

Also? Day 2 of soy. I actually have nothing further to report than that. Hope it works.