Confessional Fridays: I don’t wanna (the completed version)

Turns out I posted some unfinished version of this many hours ago. I have no idea what version that was. OOPS! Anyway, in case you get my posts via reader, here it is again, in it’s completed form:

I wrote that title and then I navigated away from the page. I came back and re-read what I had written and I laughed. I could write on numerous topics for that title. Here are just some of the posts that could follow the title of “I don’t wanna…”

… clean my house.

…. go to work.

… eat my veggies (more on this soon).

… grade papers.

… do my taxes.

… ever swipe my VISA at Babies R Us again.

… be a responsible spender.

The list goes on and on. In fact, the topic of this post might seem a little strange, surprising even. Because what I don’t wanna do is, take birth control.

Queue the snorts, muffled laughter and/or down right hysterics. Take birth control? you might think. I’m my own, unintended birth control, I WISH I had to TAKE something to not get pregnant, but I can do that all by my lonesome.

I get it. I really do.

I guess now would be the appropriate time to offer some back story. In the interest of keeping this brief I will use bullet points.

– Amenorreha from 18-26. Take BCP every couple of years to jump start menstruation but it never sticks.

– Meet Mi.Vida and take BCP for 2.5 years while we’re together.

– Me: VERY eager to start a family with Mi.Vida when we realize we’re in it for the long haul. Mi.Vida: not so much; the opposite, in fact. It takes us a while to come to an understanding.

– I start acupuncture/TCM diet/Chinese herbs before we start in an attempt to keep menstruating once I’m off the pill.

– Queue TTC with BBT charting, OPK sticks and timed intercourse.

– In the space of about a year we have one ectopic pregnancy and then quickly become pregnant with our daughter.

So back to birth control. Basically, I hate taking the pill. Of course it’s annoying to have to take it every day at the same time of day. And every three months I have to remember to order it before I run out. I also don’t like putting synthetic hormones in my body, altering the way it works. But my biggest complaint with BCP is that it decimates my libido.

And that is the other confession for my post. Some (most?) of the time, “I don’t wanna” also applies to sex. But it’s not really that I don’t want to have sex, it more like I don’t really care if we do. I know that sounds horrible to say, but it’s the truth. Well, not the whole truth. I mean, I do want to have sex because I feel great after we do it and I KNOW it makes our relationship better, deeper, closer. And it’s not like I don’t like to have sex, because I do. And once I get into it, I’m into it and I enjoy it very much. But before I’m in the throes of it, almost always I could take it or leave it, in equal measure. I just don’t have that drive inside of me. And I think it’s because of the pill, because I felt this way long before having my daughter.

Lately I’ve been needling Mi.Vida about not wanting to take the pill but I’ve never asked us to really look into possible alternatives. Last night and this morning we got into a little tiff about it. Today I sent Mi.Vida the following in an email:

Recently, since I’ve been trying hard to make “our time” a more important and integral part of our relationship, I wonder again if the pill has something to do with my decreased libido… Sometimes, when I feel so much pressure to make sure our sex life is healthy and thriving I can’t help but feel resentful that I’m taking something that could potentially make it harder for me to do that.

So that is where I’m coming from. I feel really stuck in the middle. On the one hand I know it’s the optimal form of birth control for us, on the other hand I think it might be making it difficult for me to be an enthusiastic participant in our sex life, which is also really important to our relationship. The fact that this is something that physically alters the workings of my body doesn’t help much.

When I say optimal, what I mean is most effective with the least amount of hassle. My go-to family planning alternative is charting to avoid (or whatever it’s called in Taking Charge of Your Fertility). Mi.Vida’s is condoms. Neither of us feels very enthusiastically about each other’s alternative (and Mi.Vida doesn’t feel very enthusiastically about his own, quite frankly).

Mi.Vida is very adamant about family planning. He does NOT want us to have a child before we’re “ready”. I’m not so worried about it, I think it would be kind of fun to just get pregnant while we’re really not trying. A part of me even thinks it’s silly to worry about it when so many months of perfectly timed intercourse with semen-friendly Pre-Seed yielded nothing. Mi.Vida could not disagree more. I know his is the responsible way to approach things but it’s just not what I feel in my heart. My take is that we’re in the “family planning” part of our lives, for me an unplanned BFP would be the best kind of surprise. For Mi.Vida it would just be unplanned, and possibly burdensome.

So that is where we are right now. I’ve decided I’ll look more into tempting to avoid and present my case to him when I’m ready. In the meantime, I’m renewing my prescription today or tomorrow for another three months of the pill. I guess I’m fine with whatever we decide as long as we’ve explored all our options.

In the meantime, can anyone recommend some effective aphrodisiacs?

And for all of you who are here for ICLW – welcome (and sorry for the sex talk)!


Tragedy and Triumph

There has been a lot going on in the blog-o-sphere lately. Or at least, a lot going on in my personal blog-o-sphere. Some people have gotten BFPs, others got them and lost them, and others lost pregnancies much later than is ever expected. All of these ups and downs have hit me hard, very hard. The reality is they have had a profound effect on me, especially the loses.

This past week, Noelle from The Desire of my Heart has been waiting for her second miscarriage to happen naturally. She got her BFP on the due date of her first loss and hoped for the best, even though her depression and anxiety made that difficult at times. I met Noelle on the FertilityFriend TTC After Loss board this summer and have felt especially close to her as we both suffer from depression and anxiety and were profoundly affected by the losses of our first pregnancies. Noelle has been a huge help to me as I navigate the waters of anxiety and SSRI-use during pregnancy. I was so happy for her BFP and so brokenhearted when she started getting the cramps that last time signaled a miscarriage. I know she will have a very hard time going back to work this week, especially as she waits for her miscarriage to be over, or has to make the decision on how she will end it, if need be. My heart breaks for her and I know there are no words I can say to make it better.

I also read about a fellow blogger’s loss of her identical twin boys at 19 weeks. I had not been reading this person’s blog but when I heard about her loss I went over and read many months worth of postings. My heart aches for her loss in ways I can’t say. She found out her babies no longer had a heartbeat at her 2nd trimester ultrasound, when she was supposed to find out what she was having, not that their life was over before it had begun. She delivered her babies this weekend and I can’t imagine the pain she and her family are suffering. I’ve cried hard for her loss, and I don’t even know her. It has affected me very deeply. Being 17 weeks and eagerly awaiting my own 2nd trimester ultrasound, I feel her loss very intensely. It’s hard to explain the impact it’s had on me to my “real-life” friends and family, but it definitely has me sad and upset.

I also feel deep sadness for Jo at MoJo Working, who lost her first pregnancy after seven years of trying. I can’t imagine the strength and resolve it would take to try for that long and then loss your first little one. It’s just so unfair. There is so much hurt and pain and suffering in the IF world, sometimes I don’t know how to process it all.

And then today, Al at Mission Motherhood (formerly A Baby for Al?) fears she is miscarrying after so many, many months of trying. I don’t know what to say on her blog.

But there have been good things as well. Eileen at We Got Hitched… just got a BFP after three loss last year. This time she’s trying a new IVF protocol with a new doctor and feels very positive that this pregnancy will not end prematurely. I have so much hope for her and so desperately want her to have the happy and healthy nine months she, and everyone else, deserves.

Also, Peanut Noodle’s pregnancy is progressing well as she checks off the milestones on her list. She’s had three betas and is awaiting her first ultrasound. She says she won’t start doing cartwheels until she gets her CVS results in mid-February but so far things look okay. I’m so hoping that this is the sticky bean she’s been waiting for.

And of course, I’ve had such fun reading of Sharon’s little miracle Ava Grace. After seven years and seven losses, “Sausage” came into her life quickly and unexpectedly. Sharon has taught me a lot about hope, healing and the power of love. I’ve been so touched by her story and so elated that she’s finally getting the happy ending she’s waited so, so long for. Her posts make me smile from a place deep, down inside. Sharon just had her baby shower, something she never thought she’d ever experience. I’m so happy for her and the miracle that has found it’s way into her life. I thank her for sharing it with all of us.

All of these stories of hope, happiness, disillusionment and despair have been occupying my mind of late, along with the countless stories of people who are struggling just to start a new year with the uncertainty of infertility looming so large. I don’t know why some of us (like me) are lucky enough to get what they’ve wanted for so long, while others are left to struggle for months and years, through tragedy with little triumph. I’ve watched (and am watching) people struggle with their faith in God and the universe. I’ve experienced people’s hope and their desolation. I never thought these women would mean so much to me, or that their stories would touch my heart so deeply. Right now I can tell they are causing me an anxiety I would not experience without them, but I can’t stop reading about their lives because they also give me a community where I feel welcome and understood, where I feel like I have something to offer, even if it is only support in the form of a comment here or there.

I hope all my fellow bloggers out there get the happy endings they so deserve. Please know that my heart goes out to each and every one of you.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – I got through the first week of school after break. It was tough, but I made it through. Now on to week two.

Assurance Sooner

Yesterday, for the first time during this pregnancy, I felt good. I felt really good. That beta number was so different from my last pregnancy’s beta number that I was sure it meant something different for this time around. I know I can still lose this pregnancy, but as long as it’s not to an ectopic, I think I’ll be okay.

And I’ll know for sure whether or not it’s ectopic sooner that I thought. Dr. Google has informed me that the gestational sac should be visible with a beta hCG number of 6,500. My numbers should be that high soon and by some miracle, my OB-BYN heeded my pleas and made me an appointment (with her!) for a quick ultrasound tomorrow. So tomorrow, around 2:50pm I should know for sure if I’m having another ectopic. That is one week and one day quicker that I thought I’d know. Now I’m even more excited that I pushed for the beta. This experience is definitely teaching me nothing about being patient and just waiting things out.

So if today’s beta number is double Monday’s number, we should be able to see the gestational sac tomorrow. In case things don’t look good, I have therapy a few hours later and I can easily cancel my trip to LA this weekend to recover physically and emotionally. I feel pretty good about things at this point.

I’m pretty sure I’ll still have my prenatal visit at 6 weeks, and Dr. Google says that they should be able to see a heartbeat by then. I’m going to confirm with my OBGYN about that because I really don’t want to go in unless they are sure they will be able to see a heartbeat. My guess is with numbers this high, they will at 6 weeks, but if there is any doubt, I may push it back.

I guess after I find out that it’s not ectopic I have to let myself calm down and enjoy the ride. No more daily emails to my OB and no information requests from Dr. Google. I need to just get a book I trust and stick with that, because internet searches can reveal scary stuff, and I don’t want to surround myself with any unnecessary anxiety.

Thank you all for your kind words of support and encouragement this past week. I can’t tell you what they mean to me. I promise you’ll all be the first to know when I receive any information.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – Yesterday we had a big storm in Northern California. I casually mentioned in the staff room that I needed new tires and low and behold, today there are two tire coupons in my box. I love my staff. Oh and did I mention I have an ultrasound scheduled for tomorrow! Whoo hoo!

My First Beta (and some mega cute meow)

I got my first beta test results today. The NP who ordered them for me was adamant: she wasn’t going to call me with either until I’d had both, because one number “means nothing.” Well I see your point, but my intention is to compare it with my last pregnancy, thank you very much. And I don’t care if you can argue all day about it not meaning anything when compared to my last pregnancy, because I need to know SOMETHING! So I called some unsuspecting Kaiser representative and she told me what it was. And it was…

(…drum roll please….)


This number makes me happy. This number gives me hope. I was at 19DPO yesterday when I got my blood drawn. Last time I got my blood drawn at 18DPO and it was 100. At 22DPO it was 400. So it was doubling at the time, but those numbers are MUCH lower than a 19DPO of 3170. I repeated it three times on the phone, the last time clarifying three thousands, one hundred seventy? When I was sure I wasn’t messing up the order of the numbers, and she confirmed the result, I was elated. Oh unsuspecting Kaiser representative… you made my day.

Anyway, I know it doesn’t really mean anything. I know you can have very high betas and still have an ectopic. But I also know that last time I had much lower numbers than this time and it gives me hope that this time will be different. That at least this time it won’t be in my tube. Oh, please, please let it not be in my tube! I really feel good about that number. For the first time since I got my BFP last week, I feel truly positive. I’m so glad I pushed for the beta test. So glad.

Anyway, that is all I really have to report today. I got my first beta and it makes me hopeful. That is fine for one day. I think I’ll post some cute pictures of Squeaks, since this post is a little on the light side. She’s much more fun to look at than I am to read anyway.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – Blaine Ray, the man who created TPRS (the method I use to teach Spanish) came to teach two of my classes today. My kids were great and he was very impressed with our social contract, good news and hand shaking at the door. It made me feel really nice to have a teacher who doesn’t know me tell me I’m doing an amazing job. Thanks Blaine Ray!

On high alert

AF is due today. I dropped one of those cheapy strips into my highly concentrated mourning urine today and watched yet another line appear. I am fairly sure I’m still pregnant and yet I’m on high alert. Every time I feel anything down there, I want to rush to the bathroom. So far it’s been totally clear, not a hint of any kind of color, not even the dreaded red. The reality is I’m not really scared to get my period today. I’m a little crampy, but nothing distressing. It comes and it goes, but mostly it goes and it’s never very bad. And yet I’m still going to the bathroom more times than is necessary, immediately checking my pantyliner for signs of my worst nightmare.

Actually, having a miscarriage is not my worst nightmare. My worst nightmare is another ectopic. I know that 85 – 09% of people who’ve had one ectopic go on to have a regular uterine pregnancy afterwards. But once you’ve been on the shit side of 1%, statistics cease to bring you comfort. I mean, if only 1% of pregnancies are ectopic, and I had one of them, there seems to be no reason to assume I’m not in the 10-15% of people who have a second. If I have a second ectopic pregnancy, I have a 50% chance of having a third. Many people go straight to IVF if that is the case, and I don’t think Mi.Vida and I can afford that yet. So another ectopic would be truly devastating. Not only would I lose another baby, but I’d lose any hope I had left.

My OB-GYN finally emailed me back today. Evidently she is not having me come in for any beta’s at all. I’m very surprised. I remember talk after talk at the ED and my follow-up visit about how I’d have to come in immediately for betas so they could closely monitor my next pregnancy. Now I’m pregnant and they don’t want me to come in at all. Does this mean there is less risk than before? Do they assume they’ll see it coming when I start spotting and cramping early, like last time?

I don’t know how I feel about this. I was anxious to get a beta test. I hoped the number would some how bring me hope, like it would be significantly higher than last time, and that would be a sign. But the reality is, beta levels didn’t detect my ectopic until I was already in the hospital, bleeding and having bad cramps and abdominal pain. So really, betas won’t tell me anything before it happens, and they will cause a ton of anxiety as I wait for each result (how can they possibly need 24 hours to process those things!?) So I suppose it is a good thing, that I should be relieved. And part of me is. The part of me that wants so badly to let go. The part of me that is trying to learn from this, to build skills in acceptance and letting go, that part of me is grateful for the opportunity to not monitor things so closely. That part of me hopes not having to get betas drawn every three days is a gift that I will appreciate. Of course, the part of me that is terrified, that is looking desperately for some kind of sign, for some assurance… That part of me feels like the six week mark could not be farther away and I need something to let me know things are okay, in the meantime.

I do have an early pre-natal visit scheduled for my 6 week mark. If I make it that far, I’ll be going to see a heartbeat which hopefully is both there, and in the right place. I hope so badly that I make it to that appointment. I hope so badly that I get to lay terrified on the table, hoping to see a definitive sign that my baby is growing healthily, and in the right place. I want that more than anything.

Buddhism teaches that our suffering stems from attachment. If you are suffering greatly, than you are greatly attached. That is true. I am greatly attached. I’m intensely attached to my desire to have a child. I want it more than anything. The idea that I could be this much closer, only to have it taken away again, is heartbreaking. Just writing about the possibility makes me cry.

When I start to feel like I’m spiraling out of control, imagining all the things that could go wrong, Mi.Vida reminds me that there is nothing I can do. There is nothing I can do to make it better, or change the outcome. That fact is so hard to accept, it makes me feel so hopeless. But if I can really embrace it, that truth will set me free. I want so badly to be free. And the thing is I can be, if I just find the strength inside to free myself.

Skewed interpretation

I guess it’s this way for all pregnancy loss survivors, but these BFPs have me nervous. Terrified is a better word, actually. Instead of celebrating, I’m preparing myself for the worst. Instead of elation, I’m filled with trepidation. Instead of scanning What to Expect When You’re Expecting I just dusted off Thich Nhat Hanh’s No Death, No Fear. I’m actually looking ahead on my calendar to see where I’ll be in 2 weeks when I’ll be dealing with the ectopic (if I have one again). I’m actually planning easy lessons with lots of group work all next week in case I start spotting and become a basket case. This is how I deal with pregnancy. This is how I handle the good news.

I know I can’t focus on everything that could go wrong. I know I should just enjoy being pregnant while I am. It’s just so hard. I don’t want naiveté to be my weakness. I don’t want to be devastated because I didn’t see it coming. But the reality is, I’ll be devastated whether I see it coming or not. I’ll be devastated when I see red on my toilet paper, whether I’m thinking about it every time I go to the bathroom or it catches me unawares. I guess I should try to enjoy it. I just don’t know how.

I keep reminding myself that people have healthy babies. I have to remind myself of this. People. Have. Healthy. Babies. I say it like that in my mind, each word it’s own statement. People have healthy babies all the time. They have healthy babies before miscarriages and after them. They have healthy babies before ectopics and after them. People do have healthy babies. I need to remind myself of this because I forget. I read so many blogs and message board posts by the people for whom that is not the case, I forget about the thousands for whom this is the case, because they aren’t online blogging about they’re healthy babies. They aren’t blogging about it because they don’t even realize how good they have it. And if they are blogging about it, because they had it hard before, I haven’t been following their blogs because they made me depressed dwelling over what I didn’t have. So I keep reminding myself that women have healthy babies and one day it might happen to me. And who knows, maybe this time will be that “one day”…

BUENAS NOTICIAS – I co-hosted the first meeting of JBUGs (Just Between Us Girls) today during lunch. Mostly 5th and 6th grade girls showed up. We talked about the distortion of women in billboards, commercials and movies. We watched the Dove clip of the time lapse of a photo shoot and had a great talk about ways we could feel better about ourselves without looking like the women we see every day, all around. It was a great lunch and I’m so happy I’m taking the time to participate in this group. I know I’m going to learn a lot from these girls.

I can’t believe I’m typing this…

…but I got two positives today (on my cheapy strips), and it’s only DPO12.

When I used these strips during my last pregnancy I didn’t see a line two days after my period was due and I’d gotten clear BFP’s on other brands. So I really can’t believe this. I wasn’t totally sure this morning, but I held my pee all day and tested again and there it was, very clear. It’s not really dark, but definitely not a figment of my imagination (I got two unbiased opinions from close friends at work). I can’t believe it.

I’m remaining very tentative. As I had an ectopic before, I’m considered high risk to have one again and am on an “ectopic watch list.” That means I’ll be going to get my first beta very soon, maybe even today, and that I’ll continue to get them to make sure that they don’t do anything (like flatline or go down) that would indicate another ectopic. I’m honestly not even very happy, just very scared. I really don’t want to have another ectopic (if I do I’m at 50% chance of having a third) and even if I don’t have that, I could easily miscarry, like so many women before me. But I guess I have to get pregnant to see what happens next, and I suppose I’m glad that I’m on the journey to somewhere, even if I’m not sure where that is yet. It’s better than standing still, like I was doing before.

Wish me luck people. I’m going to need it.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – Did I mention I got a BFP on DPO12?!?!?!?!?!?!?