Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Disgusting Miracle

A couple of months ago, just after miscarriage #4, I found a miniature rat terrier in my front yard. The poor thing was obviously neglected, scrawny and crawling with fleas. She's also the sweetest little dog I've ever met. I tried to reunite her with her owners, but it seemed that nobody wanted dear, sweet Olive, so of course we ended up keeping her. She did her best to be my baby, always wanting to be held, fed, and cuddled. And she got fat. Really, really fat. And we realized, uh-oh, she's pregnant.

Fast forward to Sunday morning, when I was awakened at 4:30 by some odd grunting. Olive was on the floor looking up at me, and there was a purple sac on the carpet next to her. I was up in a flash, getting her settled on a pile of blankets and towles, and for the next four hours, we watched the alarming spectacle of birth.

Now, I've tended to romanticize the whole process of becoming a mother, like most people do about things they desperately want but can't have. I tend to forget the down side, the grossness and the pain, that comes even from a healthy, normal labor and delivery. Watching poor Olive straining and bleeding was difficult.

But now she has four tiny, squealing puppies (who I can't help but think of as babies), and she loves the shit out of those guys. All day long she lies curled around them, getting up only if it's urgent, like to go poop in the living room or to chase one of the cats for getting too close. I have to put her food dish under her face twice a day so she'll eat, because as soon as she hears them crying, she's right there, licking and nosing.

In my post-miscarriage distress I had forgotten that birth actually does happen, and that it's not supposed to be neat. Nature works in mysterious, gross ways. This didn't happen because Olive willed it, but because biology demanded it.

I can't wait to feel the way Olive feels, that mixture of protectiveness and tenderness toward somebody so tiny, so vulnerable. I think that makes it worth the pain and the shocking visceral experience of birth.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Bizarro Babies

One of my very close friends, Y, got pregnant about a week before I did. Due to a miscarriage in her past, she was apprehensive about her pregnancy, like I was about mine. We thought we'd go through it together; the worry, the milestones, our rapidly expanding bodies. Our kids would play together and be lifelong friends.

Stupid me. Of course I lost the pregnancy. I always lose the pregnancy. She, naturally, did not.

Don't get me wrong--I'm thrilled for her. But I'm equally sad for myself. Because now one of my very best friends is a tangible reminder of what I lost and how things ought to be, but aren't. I have to watch her belly bump poof out, hear her talk about cravings and strange emotions, see the hope and joy on her face when she talks about the future. She says things like, "Just wait until you get to 10 weeks. It feels so strange."

You know what? There is no ten weeks. I've been waiting to get past the first trimester for eighteen months now. I don't believe ten weeks is even possible for me. I have no evidence that it is, and plenty that points to the contrary.

So her baby will be another of what I call "Bizarro Babies", kids that have exactly the opposite of what mine do: life outside the womb.

The first Bizarro baby belongs to a friend of my best friend, who got pregnant just a couple of weeks before I did. Now she has a bouncing eight-month-old who I can't bear to look at. Then my sister-in-law got pregnant with her fifth(!) just as I got knocked up for the second time. Now she has a lively and cuddly six-month old, who was plunked into my arms the last time I visited. I didn't know it, but I was pregnant then, which must have been why it didn't kill me to look into his eyes.

The third one was a chemical pregnancy, there and gone before I even got used to the idea, so I was spared a Bizarro baby on that round, although Nicole Richie's pregnancy parallels that one.

And now the fourth and most painful, because I will love this baby just like I love my friend and her fiancee, who deserve to be parents as much as anybody in history ever has. Except for me, of course.

I just hope that Dr.K can help fix whatever is wrong with me, so that I'll be good and pregnant by the time Y is wheeled into the delivery room. Otherwise, I'll be the biggest downer the maternity ward has ever seen. And my infertility will have cost my dearly, by driving a wedge into one of my most enduring and rewarding friendships.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Horror

If my first pregnancy hadn't failed, I would have a bouncing eight-month-old baby to dress up in a ridiculous costume and hurriedly snap photos of before she tipped over. I'd hand out candy with her nestled in the crook of my arm and everyone who came to the door would go "Aww...".

But since that's not happening, at least not in this dimension, I'm not feeling Halloween this year. Not at all.

It's like I'm stuck in a time warp, and nothing significant has changed since last Halloween. Or the one before. Or the one before that. At least when I first moved into this neighborhood I believed that soon I would have my own children to add to the parade of Trick-or-Treaters. But now I'm unbelievably jealous of families, of ladies my age and younger who are inundated, overwhelmed with children. I can't handle a non-stop parade of the kind of cuteness that has been cruelly denied to me.

So we're turning off all the lights and going out for margaritas. The kids can just pass right on by for all I care. Someone else can ooh and ah over their costumes, and hand out the tooth-rotting treats they crave.

I quit.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The game plan

Earlier this month DH and I went to see an RE.

Not that Dr.G (my OBGYN) hasn't done everything he can. He had my arm poked and repoked so my blood could be thoroughly tested. He scheduled an hsg, during which my uterus was injected with radioactive dye and x-rayed. He had my DH's blood tested for genetic abnormalities. All normal.

So Dr.K, the RE, sat down with us and figured out a plan. He thinks it's a hormonal problem. We're going to wait until my next NP (normal period), then test my progesterone midway through my next cycle. After another NP, we'll start a round of Clomid. Then, after ovulation, I'll start a round of progesterone suppositories. If all goes well, I'll be pregnant by Christmas. And hopefully stay pregnant for a whole nine months this time.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Who are you and what are you doing here?

There's about a billion blogs out there about infertility. If you found this site at all and I'm not just talking to myself, you might be wondering what makes mine different.

Well, me, I guess. I've never done anything the normal way. I was born into a family of loons (no offense, guys), raised in a trailer park, and educated at the Down to Earth School in Silver City, New Mexico. I never went to prom, or took the SAT's, or had a sweet sixteen birthday party.

You might be saying, so what? Lots of people have skipped one or more rites of passage.

But eventually most people have kids. It's part of becoming a grownup. It's easy; all you have to do is have unprotected sex, right? That's what they tell us in middle school when they're trying to scare us into keeping our legs closed. You can get pregnant the very first time you have sex, if you're not careful.

So I was careful (mostly). Then, after years of a committed relationship to a good guy, I said goodbye to the pill forever. We got married last June and, as if to prove that the universe is an orderly and loving place, I got pregnant on our honeymoon. Everything was falling into place. After years of taking care of other people's children as a day care worker and later as a nanny, I was finally going to have one of my own. My kid was going to be special, too. Brilliant. And I'd be there every step of the way, guiding her with a wise and patient hand. We'd have fun. Life would be injected with energy and simple joy. I'd have something to do, someone to talk to who would love me with all her heart. I was convinced it was a girl. Her name would beNaomi.

My doctor didn't handle my first prenatal visit very well. She never came out and said the word "miscarriage". She made a bunch of cryptic comments and let my DH (dear husband, in infertility blog lingo) piece it together. That little curled-up person shape I could see on the ultrasound, monitor? Well, it was dead, and had been for a couple of weeks.

I don't need to tell you what the next few weeks were like. Surgery, a drug-induced fog, a lot of crying, hours and hours fantasizing. I read The Talisman cover to cover for like, the hundredth time. I stared at the bird cage. And I thought, I'll never get over this. This is the worst thing that will ever happen to me.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...stop me if you've heard this one. I miscarried again in November, at five weeks. Then had a chemical pregnancy (google it) in May. Then, just a few weeks ago, I had another miscarriage at three and a half weeks. That's four...should I keep going?

That's a rhetorical question. Of course I'll keep going, even if my hostile uterus chokes the life out of a dozen embryos. Hell, a hundred. Because I'm obsessed, and I won't stop putting myself through this hell until I hold a living, breathing, warm baby in my arms.

Or I'll go through a couple more rounds, with the help of an RE (again, google), realize yet again that I don't have the cojones to kill myself, give my poor body a rest, and start looking into foster care (we're way too poor for adoption). Guess we'll see what happens.