Not Quite

Famous last words and all that… I did actually end up having to visit my allergist. Friday morning (my second-to-last day of antibiotics) I woke up with excruciating sinus pain and pressure. Not too much congestion, but my face hurt. I cried uncle (again!) and called up my allergist to beg and plead to be squeezed in for a sick visit. They cautioned me that I’d have to wait and I did indeed do that. A full hour after my appointment time, I finally saw her, but it was well worth the wait.

Basically, I (and the doctor on demand) did everything right, but my sinus infection turned into a chronic one. Essentially, think of the infection in my sinuses like an onion (ewe) that was so powerful and rapidly multiplying that the antibiotics were only able to clear the top layer while the underlying layers grew thicker. The antibiotics just couldn’t keep up. So, I got another round of antibiotics (a different type and a longer regimen) as well as 15 days worth of steroids to keep everything open and able to drain.

I think it’s going well! I’ve had a lot more drainage over the past 24 hours or so (ewe, again, I know). I’m just hoping to really kick this infection this time. One of my friends mentioned that this was the turning point for sinus surgery for her twenty years ago or so. She had a chronic sinus infection that two rounds of antibiotics couldn’t touch and voila! Bought herself a ticket for surgical correction. I… really don’t want that option. So cross your fingers for me!


In other news, we’ve had a fantastic weekend around here. The dumpling got a hair cut and behaved awesomely! I was super unsure of how it would go because he woke up from his nap in the WORST mood. An hour afterwards and he wasn’t any better but I had to just pack him up and take him. I spent the car ride listening to wails and formulating my apologies to the stylist. Then, miraculously, it went fine. He was even smiling by the end! And she used two types of clippers on him! Stupendous! Incredible!

We rode on that high all the way through Target while I picked up some supplies to make impromptu banana bread. I got so many compliments on him as he was an absolute charmer throughout the store: picking up items that had fallen off shelves, being so exuberantly excited that we were getting potatoes, chatting up the older couple in the checkout lane in front of us. Words other people used to describe my child while we were at Target: adorable, charming, the best personality. It was excursions like this that make parenting worthwhile. Then we came home and I made marbled banana bread (recipe courtesy of the genius Smitten Kitchen and yes it is delicious).

Today, we’ve had brunch and played at an indoor playground and watched Daniel and played with flashlights and firefighter hats and just generally had a really awesome time.


And now for a bit more personal news: I think I’m ovulating.

So here’s the thing. I was testing for ovulation regularly like two weeks ago, as you know. They got really close to positive and then just. Didn’t. LH levels dropped. Nada. I figured that I probably just didn’t ovulate. Not exactly suprrising to have an anovulatory cycle following a miscarriage, so I really didn’t think much of it. I saw my doctor on Friday for my Well Woman’s visit and we chatted about it. He said I could probably expect my period in 1-4 weeks, though I was secretly fairly confident I could expect it early next week.

Then, this morning, while we were at the indoor playground of all places I had to excuse myself to go check on things. I was sure my period had started, but instead I found… well… a lot of cervical fluid indicative of peak fertility. So I came home and took another test and it was overwhelmingly positive. I’m definitely ovulating.

So here’s the trouble. My OB/GYN advised that I should have a full menstrual cycle before trying to conceive. However, if we do that, we’ll only get one more chance to conceive before we have to wait (self-imposed because of our own reasons, but still). But, I also just finished talking about how I’m on an extended round of steroids (not advisable) and antibiotics (ok but not ideal) and then I’ll need decongestants (a definite no-go). All of these pros and cons and I’m totally undecided as to whether we should try for it this time.

If I could guarantee that we’d repeat our luck next time – that I would for-sure conceive – then I would wait. Might as well get my health back in order (though there’s obviously no guarantee that I wouldn’t get another sinus infection or need decongestants later in the season… I needed them for the entire month of May last year). But yeah, if I could guarantee we’d get pregnant next month, I’d hold off this month. I’d follow my OB/GYN’s directive, I’d finish up this round of medication. I’d wait. But, I can’t. I can’t guarantee that. And I don’t think I could stand it if we waited and then I didn’t get pregnant.

So… I guess I’m saying we’re trying again. Now. Cross your fingers for us!

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Line Eye

Info-mercial voice over:

Have you ever wanted to feel like you’re losing you sanity? Do YOU like questioning reality? Ever longed for feeling like a crazy person?

WELL I HAVE A NEW HOBBY FOR YOU!!


Seriously y’all, nothing makes me feel crazier than the amount of second-guessing I do when looking at my ovulation tests. You would think it would be easy. If the two lines are equal, it’s positive. If the test line is lighter than the control, it’s negative. Simple as that! But here’s a little glimpse of what I go through every morning:

One-one-thousand
Two-one-thousand
Three-one-thousand

Meticulously lays stick on flat surface, careful not to touch anything.

Starts three minute timer on phone.

[Goes about business, studiously ignoring the test, lest I bias the results by trying to interpret too early.]

Timer goes off.

Ok! Let’s take a look at those lines! Yesterday’s was negative. BUT. I think it was less negative than the day before. Maybe.

It’s positive! 

Maybe.

It’s actually kind of streak-y.

And the control line isn’t even the same darkness from top-to-bottom.

Maybe I should wait another minute or so.

After all, the window is 3-5 minutes.

It is really humid this morning. The test probably can’t dry adequately in three minutes.

However, if I look at this one at 5 minutes, I can’t really compare it to my results from yesterday because I looked at that one at 3 minutes.

Which would completely invalidate my comparison.

Probably.

Maybe I should take a second test. See if it’s less streak-y.

Ok nope, on second look this is negative too. But! I think it’s almost a positive.

Does that mean that tomorrow will be the day?!

[Pulls up photo from December’s positive ovulation test.]

Oh wait. Well this looks nothing like that.

Guess I’ll be waiting.


Honestly it’s enough to make me yearn for the empty circle/smiley face results of the expensive ovulation tests. But then my body laughs at me because – did you see the quantity? 10. I would have already gone through those, in just this month’s testing. And I haven’t ovulated yet. $25 literally down the drain. I’ll stick with my cheapies, thanks.

Waiting game

We’re in a holding pattern – the all familiar waiting game. To be fair to myself, it’s far too early to start worrying about the fact that I haven’t ovulated yet. I myself said, not four weeks ago, that my cycle is very irregular. So I’ll sit tight. And wait.

In the meantime, I have things to tell you! Random things! Hooray for you!


Every time I make the commute into downtown Dallas I am oh so glad that I only make the drive twice a week now. I truly feel that traffic has only gotten worse in the five years that we’ve lived in the ‘burbs. I talked about this subject with on of my partners just the other day, so I feel pretty confident that it’s not just me.

For instance, Monday morning was a drive like any other. No major accidents or unusual traffic jams and it still took me 50 minutes to drive from garage to garage. 50 minutes! When I think about what I could be doing in that 50 minutes, it drives me crazy. Then, on the same Monday, on my way home from exercise, I hit an accident. At 8pm at night traffic was less dense than daytime, but it still held me up an extra 5-10 minutes. I realize that I’m biased because I grew up in a town where you can literally get anywhere in 10 minutes or so, but DFW area traffic is insane.


My little dumpling is currently obsessed with throwing things up over his head to have them shower down (think leaves, woodchips, etc). It’s adorable. I should also probably be less inclined to brag over this, but he’s also obsessed with a specific episode of Dinosaur Train (the one with the allosaurus) and Daniel Tiger (the one with the leaf walk). He asks for them each time and it’s precious.


I was gathering up the recycling this morning. The first dump into the large bin is always quite loud, considering all of the cans and glass. It sometimes scares the dumpling, but this morning, after the din of of empty drink containers had subsided, he called out to me from the living room:

You ok mama?

Precious baby.


Our insurance claim work has finally been wrapped up. Hooray! We have a new roof, new gutters, a refinished garage ceiling (at least the corner), and a new window. I’m glad that it’s all done, as I kept having to adjust my schedule to accommodate the subcontractors. My hope for 2019 is that nothing major breaks this year. 2018 was a little expensive.


One way I can tell I’m getting older: my body hurts more. I used to be able to sit in any position – legs crossed, legs folded, split, practically upside-down – for any length of time and be truly comfortable. I could hold the dumpling in my lap indefinitely. I could sit on our hardwood floors without a care in the world. Now, at 31, I admit defeat. I’m finding that I become uncomfortable quickly. My legs fall asleep. The dumpling sits heavy on my leg and I can no longer accommodate him. Although it’s not a big deal, I’m truly disappointed to say goodbye to my previous flexibility in comfort.


And that’s it, I think. A round-up of random thoughts. Happy hump-day everyone!

All the cool kids are doing it

And that, my friends, is how I ended up at an axe-throwing parlor (??? is that what the cool kids are calling it???) on Friday evening. Our friend’s younger brother decided it would be an awesome spot for a birthday party, so off we went. I was pleasantly surprised with the outing. We had a lot of fun. I didn’t always manage to stick the axe, but the two times I did were a bulls-eye and just off-center. Go me!

Other than dipping our toes into axe throwing, we had a great weekend. My mom came into town, so we hung out with her. When we showed up at the dumpling’s daycare Friday afternoon with Grandma in tow, the little dude nearly lost his mind. Grandma’s here! Oh boy! I had to laugh the next morning when my mom could barely take a moment to herself without the dumpling calling out Grandma?! Where are you? You know what this meant right? It meant I could actually pee in peace. Oh sweet, sweet bliss.

We were completely lazy Sunday, I mean, almost pre-child levels of laziness. It was awesome. We watched Daniel and Dinosaurs and football and read books. I highly recommend you get yourself one of these lazy Sundays.


On a much less positive note, I went to have my blood drawn again today and realized that I would have been 6 weeks along tomorrow. Weird. I wonder when that will pass? When will I stop pausing on Tuesdays and wondering what symptoms I would have been experiencing or how my belly would have changed my then? And what’s going to happen when September 14, my due date, rolls around? I hope I’ll be ok. I try to be ok, but there’s not exactly a “normal” way to process all of this.

In the meantime, I’m just trying to find the things to enjoy. Sharing a bottle of champagne with my mom. The fact that this new class format is kicking my butt to teach right now and how much more challenging it would be if I were still pregnant. Little things like that help me keep a positive frame of mine.


To end on a funnier note: the dumpling pulled out a new trick this weekend. He’s recently acquired the verbal skills to protest diaper changes. When he has a dirty diaper and he knows it, he’ll say no wipes though, of course, we have to use wipes. He told me the other day that they’re cold, which I get. Probably also starting to dislike the invasion into his personal space, which I also get. Anyway, Saturday he did something different. I had him on his changing table and he laid there and said no wipes and then he busted out I sick! complete with the perfect amount of woe as he covered his eyes with his hands. I dutifully wrangled him took his temperature and offered some Tylenol. He seemed just a bit too pleased with the Tylenol is all I’m saying.

Intangible.

It turns out we didn’t have to wait that long.

The results from my labs came back yesterday afternoon. My hCG level was ridiculously low (4 mIU/mL*). Especially considering the strong initial positives I got, the level is low enough to indicate a miscarriage. I go back next Monday to have my labs redrawn. We want to make sure my hCG level drops completely.

And with that, my second pregnancy truly is over.

I have restrictions for the next month or so, to make sure my body heals properly. Since I was pregnant, my doctor wants to make sure my body returns to its pre-pregnant state. We have to put our attempts at conceiving on hold for a while, again to give my body time to heal.

We’re doing ok though, honestly. My doctor commented that we were in great spirits, considering. And we really are. In our minds, this is a good outcome. Clearly something happened during conception, be it chromosomal issues or a botched implantation. A clean miscarriage is a much better option than a complicated, risky pregnancy. It definitely throws a wrench into our timeline, but we’ll adapt.

*I can save you the googling. The typical hCG range for a women who is 5 weeks pregnant is 18 – 7,340 mIU/mL. It varies a lot due to late implantation, plus the fact that it doubles so quickly during early pregnancy. The pregnancy test I used can detect hCG of 25 mIU/mL. And remember, I got a glaringly obvious positive result the first time, implying I was well above the minimum of 25 mIU/mL when I tested the first time. I agree with my doctor’s conclusion. Even without another blood draw for a comparison point, it’s pretty clear that my levels are dropping.

No news

I really don’t have any further official news since Monday.

I started the progesterone Monday evening. The heavy bleeding subsided Tuesday morning, though I’m still having what I would consider heavy spotting. And I’ve done a whole lot of googling, from what little information I can glean from my patient portal. A whole lot of googling.

[And here is where I will put a pinpoint as a warning for all of those who are trying so hard to conceive or those of you experiencing loss or the tenderhearted among us because we are about to have a real tough conversation, you and I. Fair warning.]

The way I see it, I basically have three diagnoses on the table: (1) threatened miscarriage due to low progesterone, (2) threatened miscarriage due to chromosomal abnormalities, (3) subchorionic hematoma or SCH.

In the first case, low progesterone is the cause of the bleed and the pregnancy and baby are otherwise viable. I have already been prescribed a progesterone supplement and was shocked to see that it’s a three-month prescription. I suppose I would have to be on it for several weeks, until the placenta takes over production, though I would obviously need to clarify that with my doctor. Honestly, this is probably the “best” outcome though it seems somewhat unlikely given I’ve already carried a baby to full-term without the need of progesterone supplements.

In the second case, a miscarriage is the final result. This may take a while to play out, considering my bleeding has stopped at this point (so I’m definitely not actively miscarrying at this point in time). I’ve already had two ultrasounds and we’ve seen development between them. I could be experiencing a blighted ovum where there’s actually no baby to begin with. The baby could simply stop developing. My body could refuse to finish the job, so to speak. I’d need medical intervention at that point. Though it may take a while to unravel, I’d say that this is my second best diagnosis if only because it’s a clear-cut resolution and a clean slate.

In the third case, an SCH is the only complication of an otherwise viable pregnancy. This is where things get really complicated and unsure because the outcome depends largely on the size and placement of the SCH. Resources vary vastly in their prognosis and long-term outcome, though they unanimously say that many women with SCH’s go on to have healthy pregnancies. Some resources mention bed rest or activity limitations (for instance, no lifting anything over 10 pounds which would mean that I wouldn’t be able to lift the dumpling). No exercise. Some exercise. Pelvic rest, including no orgasms (which, dang, that would suck). But then again, other resources make it seem like a perfectly normal and simple complication. And I can’t find any information on whether these limitations are for the entire pregnancy or just while the SCH is actively bleeding. This will probably come off as callous, but I do not want this baby bad enough to not lift my preschooler or not teach my exercise class or not have sex for the next nine months. I am not that desperate.

And so, we’re just waiting to see what happens. I haven’t heard back from my doctor on the results of my labs from Monday (which is beginning to drive me bonkers). I keep thinking that the ultrasound on Tuesday will provide some answers until I remember that – through all of this activity – I will only be six weeks along. We may not even verify a heartbeat on Tuesday if only because it’s too early still. Gah!

Anyway, all of this… deluge of information is just my way of trying to wrap my brain around this. I truly thought I was having a miscarriage on Sunday and I have already grieved in a way. The idea that this pregnancy could continue just doesn’t compute. And when I think about trying to continue the pregnancy in face of dire statistics and heavy restrictions and poor fetal outcome…. well, I’d just rather not, thanks. But then, did I really just think that? And what if there’s never a definitive diagnosis, which is probably just as likely a scenario as any other. What then??

I have no idea.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Not quite over

Apparently, there’s a little more ambiguity to the tremendous amount of blood coming out of my nether-regions than I originally thought.

Oh I’m sorry, were you eating? My apologies.

I called my doctor today, honestly half expecting for them to tell me to stay home and rest and what-not. Self-care and all that. Instead, I got the red carpet treatment as appointments were shifted to accommodate me as early as possible. I had a wonderfully embarrassing moment once I arrived, which I’m sure you’ll all enjoy: I didn’t really know what to expect out of this appointment. I had stopped on the way to get some water, thinking they’d need me to pee in a cup (they didn’t). I was shown into the examination room and told to strip from the waist down in case my OB wanted to examine me (I hadn’t even thought about that). Since I was bleeding, they helpfully put what resembled a puppy pad on the table for me. I stripped down and hopped up on the table and waited for a minute or two before realizing… you know, I bet my cup would be in the way if he wants to examine me. I thought about going to the restroom for a minute, but spotted the sink in the exam room and hopped off the table to take my menstrual cup out right then. Of course – OF COURSE – my cup decides to hug my cervix as close as freaking possible and I was frantically groping at it, trying to pull it down within my grasp. That took up precious seconds that I didn’t have, apparently, as my OB knocked to enter the room while I was emptying my cup, clasping the pink paper sheet clumsily around my bare butt while trying to turn off the water and also get paper towels and also make this seem like the most natural thing in the world. Ahhh, such class and grace.

Anyway, I hastily wrapped my cup in a paper towel and hopped back up on the table. I’m 95% sure I didn’t flash him or anything, but then I remembered that he has seen inside my vagina. Hell, he’s seen inside my abdominal cavity…. I don’t think seeing my bare butt would phase him.

ANY-anyway, the appointment resulted in more questions than answers. I am definitely bleeding, a lot, but my cervix is closed. The ultrasound didn’t really show anything (no cute little blueberry) but that could just be because I’m still not quite even 5 weeks along. They drew blood for lab work and prescribed progesterone, just in case. My doctor let me go with instructions to call back if my bleeding gets heavier or hasn’t let up in a couple of days. We kept my original follow-up appointment on the books for next Tuesday, complete with an ultrasound.

And that’s where I am right now. Google University tells me that I’m experiencing a threatened miscarriage, where my body is basically deciding whether or not to miscarry. My cervix being closed is good news because once it opens, my body is truly miscarrying and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Crazily enough, about half of women who experience threatened miscarriages go on to have a perfectly healthy pregnancy. Which is a crazy thought, given the amount of bleeding I have right now. Luffy sort of thinks we should just wipe the slate clean now. I tend to agree. I mean, if my uterus is wishy-washy on the viability of the whole pregnancy now, perhaps we should just go with its gut and start over.

So yeah – we’ll see. I think I’m still going to miscarry. I’ve been having cramps, felt even through a double dose of Aleve. My doctor thought my bleeding would subside since he “wiped” most of it out of me this morning. I can assure you that it has not subsided. I haven’t taken my progesterone yet, so perhaps that will help. Only time will tell.