Tuesday, May 29, 2007

28 days later

It's been four weeks. Incredibly, my period showed up today, almost right on time (usually I have 26-day cycles). I'm surprised only because I thought my body would take longer to kick back into gear. But no, we're back in business, earlier than I'd expected.

Here are a few random thoughts:

1. Overall, I recovered from the D&C very easily. However, my breasts were still really tender for five days afterward, and I didn't feel like myself (read: not pregnant) for about a week.
2. I read and intend to post a review of Rebecca Walker's new book Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence. The summary: this book annoyed me. More, hopefully, on that later.
3. I have a few new phrases in my vocabulary. They include, "my first miscarriage," "the second time I was pregnant," "my second D&C," and, my favorite, "I am down two pregnancies and three embryos."
4. Today in Whole Foods I really enjoyed pushing past an extremely fertile woman (two babies under the age of 2) in order to grab three boxes of tampons. Fun!
5. On the bright side, I have lately enjoyed tuna, tequila, and running. I have stopped taking all vitamins. I have painted my toenails with abandon, done a shoulder stand in yoga without caring, and bought clothes without worrying that soon, they may not fit.
6. On the less bright side, I have still not returned to my pre-pregnancy (#2) weight. As I was miscarrying I gained a few pounds, and I have not dropped them. (Lest you think I sound like Bridget Jones: years ago I lost nearly a third of my body weight, and it's important to me to maintain that loss. I do that by trying to vigorously police my weight and dieting when I exceed the maximum weight I can tolerate. I am still not skinny in the least, and as I've said in the past, I'm a girl who enjoys my chocolate cake.)

This has been a difficult and hectic month for me -- aside from the obvious, I've also been dealing with a now-somewhat-abated family health crisis. As a result, I haven't yet adequately mourned my embryos -- I'm sorry, I can't call them babies. Next week I should get the pathology results back from my doctor's office, and that should provide some closure. It seems the results could show a few things:

a) Down Syndrome. This is actually the best scenario, as it explains the cause of the miscarriage and doesn't indicate anything about the prognosis of future pregnancies, theoretically.
b) Genetic translocation. This would indicate something about either my or the donor's genes, in a more permanent way. Since the donor has a number of births, it would probably be me. So not good.
c) Nothing. If the pathology can't explain the miscarriage, that's bad. Either it could mean I have some kind of clotting disorder that prevents blood from getting to the embryo (diagnosed by blood tests, treated by injections that may not be proven to work). Or it could suggest I have a uterine malformation that could explain both the miscarriages and the infertility. (Treatment: surgery.)

Never have I hoped for Down Syndrome more.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

No longer pregnant

It's over. The D&C yesterday was a bit painful, but the pain was brief, and overall it was a piece of cake. (I was in and out of there in less than 45 minutes.) Unlike last time, every person in the office I saw offered their condolences. It's funny how much of a difference that makes.

I spent the remainder of the day on the couch, sleeping, watching quality TV like "Celebrity Fit Club," and eating won ton soup. I was pretty knocked out by the drug cocktail they gave me, but haven't had any pain. Today I'm back to normal.

This time was much less physically draining, but I don't know where I am emotionally. I'm still stunned that this happened again. When this first started happening last week, I thought, I have never been inclined to read a book like When Bad Things Happen to Good People until now. When I mentioned this to someone else, she said, "I just keep thinking of Job." The night before the D&C, I was up for a couple hours in the middle of the night, thinking, reading, and crying. I tried to re-read Job, though my attention span was a little lacking. He has everything -- kids, servants, land, etc. Then he loses it all, and asks God why. Eventually he gets everything back -- twice as much as he had before.

That first pregnancy felt like everything to me. I was so excited; I distinctly remember driving on the freeway being so thrilled with my secret. I was devastated when it ended. And the second pregnancy was really a savior: it came at a very dark moment as my hope was eroding. I was so confident it was going to work this time, especially given my HCG levels. I was superstitious about numbers, about the fact that it was my last IUI attempt before moving to IVF. It felt like everything had finally fallen into position.

So you'll forgive me for not sequestering myself in a corner this time, sobbing constantly. I've done that before. And I really don't know what to do with this experience. I don't think it was my fault; I don't feel there are any lessons to learn; I wouldn't have done anything differently. I am still in shock.

The doctor will analyze the pathology of the tissue she removed yesterday, and we'll get the results in about five weeks. If it's a common chromosomal abnormality, they don't worry too much, but if the tissue has a more unusual genetic variance or is genetically normal, then they'll want to test me for a bunch of other things.

In the meantime, I am taking a big fat break. Last time I miscarried I tried again as soon as I could, and I didn't stop for 12 consecutive cycles. I was a woman on a mission. Now I am really excited about having some serious time off -- time to sit in a hot tub and not worry that it's frying my eggs, time to drink whenever I want and not worry what half of my cycle I'm in, time to eat raw fish, go running, get back into shape, and travel. But most importantly, I am excited about getting back to my pre-TTC self. This process has been so hard on me. It's warped my priorities and made me a crazy person, and it's hurt my relationship. I'm ready to put the bun project aside for a while so I can get my life back.