Saturday, December 27, 2008


We're off to Yosemite! I'll have to do without my weekly scan, but I think it will be worth it...

I still don't feel much of anything, physically. Maybe a little teeny bit of stomach blah, definitely more tired than usual (but also busier than usual). Somehow, I look four months pregnant already. And, somehow, it doesn't help - I just feel awkward and lumpy.

So, I'll be the slow lumpy one on the snowshoes. Or maybe just the lumpy one by the fire with a big fat book! 2008 has been fraught with hope and change in so many ways for me - I am looking forward to a year which holds so many happy new possibilities! A truly Happy New Year, this time. And I wish the same for all of you.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Labs and Other Tests

Luckily, I've managed to get an ultrasound once a week so far - this one with my regular OB, who called me on Sunday after she got my message so we could schedule an appointment as soon as possible. She completely understands the IVF-pregnancy panic, so I'll get to see her more often at first. Between her office and the last few visits to my RE, I'll be able to stay on the weekly u/s until the nuchal translucency scan!

The only bad news is that my thyroid levels are off - and the nurse who left the message didn't even tell me in which direction. And googling anything like this just leads to disaster - the first three things I read were dire reports of lost motor skills and lowered IQ. I am (for now) assuming that my levels can't be too bad since the nurse said they just want to retest in a few weeks and it should be fine...


Meanwhile, maybe I shouldn't worry too much about lowered IQ. Since my daughter is so unhappy at school, we began to wonder if it wasn't more than just feeling alone and disregarded that was the problem. Because she'll be in the sixth grade next year, we have a lot of options as far as school choice - there are so many charters, magnets, private schools and permit-entry public middle schools that start in sixth that we thought it would be good to look into moving her early.

As we researched, we found out that most of the charters and magnets are LA Unified schools, and since we don't live in LA proper she can't even apply to those. There are some state charters open to anyone, and we found one we like. It is on a lottery system, though, so you have to just cross your fingers and hope to get in. The other options are magnet-charters that she may be able to get into at the discretion of the district at the start of the school year (depending on enrollment) - yikes! The local middle school seems mostly fine - not much gang activity, good music program, great theater program. But there are no gifted classes. Since my kid's whole problem is that she has a hard time really finding friends who have "interesting things to talk about and are really smart and funny" I am not sure about the no-gifted program arrangement. I'm sure those kids can somehow find each other, but at her current school finding those kids isn't the problem - the fact that they're not in the same class is what really ruins it.

All of that is a long backstory to this: we are looking at private schools. Which means that we have had to study for the ISEE (a sort of mini-SAT) which is required for the admissions process. And she has been IQ tested, the results of which were unattainable. Yep - the modern IQ test apparently doesn't go high enough to measure my kid's IQ. Which just serves to infuriate me even more when her current school says that they feel gifted is an arbitrary designation, and it doesn't really have any bearing on the classroom situation.

Anyway, I always knew my daughter was bright. But she is not one of those kids who knows everything there is to know about micro-organisms or Greek mythology or whatever. I knew that she was happier when she was in class with her three friends who are also really bright, but I hadn't fully put it together that it isn't just social. She just misses having someone to talk to about whatever they are doing in class. I thought it was more about having a friend to chat with in the "in-between" times, but maybe I was missing the bigger picture.

I think that the ISEE prep is actually great - it's more homework than she gets from school, and she seems to love it. I've also been carving up my work schedule into little ribbons of time just so I can manage ultrasound appointments and playdates with the kids she likes, and it does seem to be making a big difference. She has two semi-friends in her class, but doesn't want to see them outside of school. (She has known them for years and always liked them peripherally, but the few playdates us moms arranged were never really great for any of them.) So, I just make sure to have as many kids over as she wants, lots of sleepovers and lots of cookie-baking.

Anyway, that's my long update on my daughter - private school interviews in January, charter lottery in April, magnet-charter maybes in late August, if we can hold out that long. All I know is, any school is probably better than one that thinks gifted (and, by the way, I hate the word gifted - there should be some better term that denotes specifically cognitive/associative/comprehensive agility) kids don't need any specific consideration at all.

Friday, December 12, 2008

July 20th

I had another ultrasound yesterday, and the RE told me I could stop worrying about an early miscarriage. He hastily added that there are no guarantees, etc., etc. - but of the few things they look for (heartbeat, growth, condition of yolk sack, no hemorrhaging behind the placenta) all are just fine.

I could see the head vs. body differentiation, and even a little twisty movement and head bopping. Of course, on the little picture it all just looks like a blob, but I swear I saw that blob shrug, as if to say "It is what it is, lady. Just chill." So, okay, I get the message.

Here's the blob, with the head at the top, in profile. The round thing by its (eventual) feet is the yolk sac.

I did go on a drawstring-pants shopping spree, and also got some drapey tops. One of my best friends is getting married Christmas Eve, so I have to find some kind of fancy loose outfit. And I'm thinking of actually telling her that I'm pregnant, instead of making up some kind of reason for not drinking the champagne. How's that for throwing caution to the wind?

Meanwhile, I made my first OB appointment. My RE likes to have an overlap of care, just a week or two. Then, the nuchal translucency scan in the first week of January. Suddenly, it all seems real. It's impossible to remain detached and neutral through all of this, anyway. I can't be invested enough to eat really well and avoid all the bad things and generally try to be a good pregnant lady while also trying not to get too invested in the pregnancy. I am just not that psychologically complicated.

I think the real story now is all about being pregnant and old. I know that over women over 40 may have increased risks for growth problems, preterm labor, preeclampsia, high blood pressure & gestational diabetes. But I'm just not up for worrying about all that too much. It's not that I'm putting my head in the sand - I'll make sure to exercise (at least a little bit) and have any weird symptom checked immediately - but somehow making it past your own personal infertility hurdles is exhausting enough. Fretting about hypothetical problems is just too much - I'll cross those bridges when and if I come to them.

Of course, I'll still be nervous for the nuchal scan, the triple screen, the big anatomy ultrasound. But it seems somehow like normal-person worry, not desperate-infertile-worry-which-
mourns-the-wretched-injustice-of-it-all. I might even buy a bib or something, if it's on sale. (Although I do have pre-planned escape routes for any early purchases - pregnant sister, pregnant cousin, pregnant dear friend. One boy, one set of boy-girl twins, one unknown. I figure I can re-gift pretty much anything.)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Stomach Problems

I am possibly feeling the teensiest bit of nausea, which I am taking as a good sign. Although maybe I just ate something funny, because one day of stomach weirdness could be anything, really.

Mostly my stomach feels bad because it is uncomfortably squeezed into my pants. As anyone who has gone through a medicated cycle can tell you, there is some kind of bloat that has nothing to do with anything that may or may not be growing inside you. The bloat is some kind of fat-collecting, fluid-retaining, muscle-slackening deterioration that makes fitted pants a very unfortunate fashion choice. I can only imagine what might happen in back-to-back cycles, but maybe there is some kind of bloat threshold.

Part of it is the lack of vigorous exercise, because of course the hormones make you feel terrible and then the taking-it-easy is such a good excuse to skip the gym. Plus, the steroid I'm still taking does tend to cause puffiness. I know I need to get myself back into some kind of regimen. But I think the IVF bloat, added to the fact that I am not some young thing at this point, means that I am just not going to be swanning around in cigarette pants and a halter anytime soon. (Which is fine, because honestly, I don't swan much anyway...)

Floppy pants are not really a problem - I'm happy to need them, happy to be in this situation at all. But it's funny how many little things are different with a pregnancy after infertility. There's just a lingering sense of doubt and failure that's hard to shake, a habit of not expecting too much. I keep thinking it will ease up as time goes by, but maybe I haven't given it enough time.

I did, however, order two pairs of fancy stretchy pants and one of those wrap-around sweater contraptions. I may look like I'm getting fat, but at least I'll be able to bend over.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Thanks to Nikki for the lovely compliment of this award! It is especially pertinent to me because of the tiny houses in the picture - since I am a landscape architect, I am more or less always thinking about houses (unless I am thinking about getting pregnant...)

In the tradition of passing it on to two more blogs, I can only say that I am not somebody who reads a jillion blogs - I really love all the ones that I keep in my reader. But there is a special place in my heart for the stories of my fellow 40 +ers, so I will pass this on to Sky and Egged. Along with my continued best wishes, of course.


Anyway, today I started allowing myself to think I might actually be pregnant. Just briefly. I am not ordering any crib sheets for a long while, but I may buy another pair of stretchy pants this weekend.

Other than that, I haven't really thought about anything like when to tell and what to worry about. For me, the heartbeat has been such the focus of my anxiety that anything past that is uncharted territory. I guess I should concentrate on the normal things like eating well and getting some kind of exercise, but it seems so odd to stop worrying about death and start thinking about calcium deficiency.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Alive and Well

By which I mean myself, and one little embryo.

We saw a good heartbeat, about 149 bpm. The little blob is one centimeter long, which is exactly on target for 7w2d. I am so relieved I don't even know what else to write. I'm sure I'll have nine hundred other things to add to this later (when I'm not at work, for example), but for now I will just say that I am extremely relieved and full of gratitude and hope.