Inferior Imitator

ep·i·gone n. A second-rate imitator or follower, especially of an artist or a philosopher.

Friday, April 11, 2014


I've come to accept that I don't live in a world where positive pregnancy tests mean you're going to have a baby. At least it was a new ending this time. Instead of "there's no heartbeat" we got "I can't find anything". A more sensitive ultrasound showed "something" in my fallopian tube. A week of slowly increasing betas, and a New Year's morning where I thought I was passing a kidney stone led to another ultrasound showing the "something" in my tube had grown to fill it. It had bled, but there was no active bleeding, so I took the option to take chemotherapy drugs to stop the growth of the "something", leaving surgery for backup.

My numbers decreased well over the next two weeks, but another Friday night and Saturday morning of pain sent me to the ER with internal bleeding. The "something" had increased in size due to the bleeding, and I was going to rupture. They did emergency surgery to remove the damaged tube and ovary. I'm a couple months out from surgery, and doing fine.

This one was the easiest, ever since I started crying in the exam room before the very first ultrasound. I didn't *know* something was wrong, but my body obviously knew it. Maybe it helps that the blastocyst never resolved itself into anything, and I didn't have to (get to) see that little shape on the screen, with a head and arms and legs that was supposed to be my baby. Maybe I was so caught up in the physical trauma that the emotional stuff took a backseat. Maybe I'm becoming desensitized to pregnancy loss.

My recurrent pregnancy loss panel didn't show anything aside from my progesterone problems, which we've already got under control. From everything I've read, having only one tube or ovary doesn't decrease your chances much, as the remaining parts just take over. My right ovary was less responsive to medication anyway, so taking it out of the rotation might actually be a good thing.

Since my tubes weren't blocked and ectopics aren't really caused by anything, it's still the "bad luck" diagnosis. I saw a reproductive endocrinologist at the University hospital for a second opinion, and that was a comfort. She confirmed we were on the right track, put me on some extra medication to be on the safe side, and I go back in six months if we're not pregnant or if we have another loss.

The due date for my second pregnancy passed without fanfare last month. All the women I know who got pregnant about the same time I did have now had their babies, so it's been pretty painful getting all that news. We're trying again, because it hurts more to not try than to try. In the meantime, we're trying not to live our lives on hold.

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Wednesday, August 07, 2013


I've been mostly silent for the reason you've been thinking, but not anymore. In some ways, it was better and in others it was worse. I was prepared this time. "No heartbeat" is less shocking the second time around. We did get to see it once, though. The first ultrasound was at seven weeks instead of nine, and I got to carry around those pictures of a living baby for four weeks afterwards, even though the baby passed not long after they were taken. I had surgery again, though they only used twilight sleep instead of general anesthesia, so recovery was much quicker.

We told people this time around...the ones I would want support from if we had another loss. I was glad to get that chance to share some happiness with the people we love, even if we had to take it away again. It was most difficult to take the joy away from my mom...she was so looking forward to two grandchildren waiting for her at the end of her bone marrow transplant, and now there will be just the one again.

The doctor promised some extra testing for recurrent miscarriages, so maybe I'll have some answers. It's still hard to know whether to hope for something wrong that can be fixed, or that it was just "bad luck" and not likely to happen again. It's at least less likely that it will take us another year and a half to get pregnant again.

I've gotten through it before so I know I can do it again. There's just no reason I should have to.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Worst. Business Trip. Ever.

This post is coming to you from O'Hare International Airport, where I'm waiting for my rescheduled flight home. I hate air travel, but it's a good thing I didn't drive...

It started out well. When I got to the airport, they were calling my name and I was like "oh, this isn't good", but they wanted to re-book me on a direct flight to Detroit, so they could cancel the flight to O'Hare due to weather. I got to leave a couple hours later, and got into Detroit an hour early, so I had time to check into my hotel before group dinner.

Monday morning I woke up with an irritated left eye...I figured I had something in it, so I washed it out with solution and tried to ignore it, but by noon it had gotten worse and started to ooze pus (EW!), so I figured I should see a doctor. The conference organizers were awesome. They found me an urgent care facility, drove me over, sat with me, and took me to get the prescription afterwards. The doctor was a cross between Dr. Brown and Hawkeye, which was as weird as it sounds, but I liked him. He didn't think it was pinkeye, just an infection, so prescribed a steroid/antibiotic combo. And NO CONTACTS.

I have the distinction of having the worst prescription in my doctor's office. One eye is around -12.8 and the other is around -13.1. I CAN'T SEE WITHOUT MY CONTACTS. I tried taking one lens out of my glasses and go with one contact, one glasses lens, but that was a spectacular failure. I'm almost sure that my brain would be able to process the difference eventually, but it was giving me a headache figuring it out. By that time, I had missed the campus tour and they were going to start dinner at the Big House, but I was exhausted and still leaking snot from my eye, so I stayed in my hotel room with a warm compress and slept. Very disappointing!

Today, I've been trying to make my way through major international airports with the eyesight of a mole. My first flight was delayed two hours. They promised me I'd make my connection, and I pleaded visual impairment to get them to send a cart for me so I didn't have to find my gate by myself. It didn't matter, because we landed about the same time my flight home took off, so I've got a three-hour layover in Chicago. I finished my knitting project in Detroit except for weaving in the ends - I left my darning needle in my suitcase, along with my backup project. Doh!

So I'm killing time with my laptop and my phone mobile hotspot. I'll get home sometime after midnight, and poor Joe will most likely have to go into work tomorrow morning after picking me up in the middle of the night. I've got a little more understanding boss, and I'll go in later tomorrow. I think I'm going to have to work abbreviated days anyway, as I'm not sure how long I can work at a computer in my glasses. This is sucking pretty badly as it is.

I'll take some of my time off and block the hats I've been working on, and you guys can have some pretty knitting to look at instead of my whining all the time.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day

Yesterday was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. The first thought that popped into my head was "My baby would be nine months old, and this should be my first Mother's Day." I got most of my crying out early, but my cousin Cassie got me going again completely inadvertently when she was giving me her kids' pictures, "You know, not everyone gets these. I think of you more like a sister, even though we don't talk too often. I trust you with my kids." It was just a really, really nice thing for her to say.

 Mom really liked what I did for her. Grandma had given out some of Great-Grandma Ketelsen's crochet work, and Mom had claimed a doily that said "Mother" on it, but was in rough shape. So I mended, cleaned, and framed it, and it turned out very pretty. I wish I would have had the chance to try to sun-bleach it and maybe some of the other stains might have lifted more, but she was alright with it the way it was.

I played quite a bit of catch with Hayden. He's started t-ball, and his first game is already this week. We're already coming back for his preschool graduation on Thursday. I asked him if he was practicing any songs for the ceremony, and he had no idea, but he thought awfully hard about it. I ordered a cookie cake, like I did seven (!) years ago for Calvin.

I'm ready to start making a push for more testing, to take the next step. We were all hoping for an easy fix, and that's not happening.

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Weight of the World

BUFFY : This was when I quit, Will.
WILLOW: You did?
BUFFY: Just for a second.

BUFFY: Nothing special about it. And then it hit me.
WILLOW: What hit you?
BUFFY: I can't beat Glory. Glory's going to win.
WILLOW: You can't know that.
BUFFY :  I didn't just know it. I felt it. Glory will beat me. And in that second of knowing it, Will...I wanted it to happen.
BUFFY: I wanted it over. This is ... all of this ... it's too much for me. I just wanted it over. If Glory wins ... then Dawn dies. And I would grieve. People would feel sorry for me. But it would be over. And I imagined what a relief it would be.

Buffy is my security blanket. When I need comfort, I watch Buffy. There's always something that Buffy has gone through that I can relate to my own life. Hers is invariably worse, and it makes me feel better.

I had this scene. Instead of re-shelving a book, it was carrying my tea back to my office. And I gave up. I imagined what a relief it would be to give up on having children, and not have to carry this weight on my shoulders anymore. I imagined my life without kids and I accepted it and I wanted it to happen. I would get to grieve only once, and then it would be over.

I haven't truly given up, of course. I'm still trying; I'm still hoping. But the idea is there and it pops in from time to time. It's not necessarily bad. It helps temper the hope so the fall of disappointment isn't too great. Maybe it's a step in the direction of acceptance. Maybe I just needed a moment of respite, to give me strength to keep on fighting.


Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Moving Right Along

My latest ultrasound showed the ovarian cyst is gone, so I'm onto another round of treatment. I'm trying a new drug - Femara - this time. It's not FDA approved for infertility (it's actually a drug used for treatment of breast cancer) but it does the same the same thing as Clomid, and has less risk of side effects like cysts. I didn't have any of the moodiness and nausea the Clomid gave me, so I like it already. As long as it produces results, of course.

Mom's transplant doctor is recommending that they plan the bone marrow transplant sooner rather than later. We found out last week that both her sister and her brother are matches, so that was a pretty incredible blessing. We were told that they wanted to see the cancerous cells in her bone marrow at less than 50%, but new thinking is that as long as an upcoming PET scan doesn't show cancerous cells in other parts of the body, they want to go ahead and do the transplant while she's healthy so she has a better chance of fighting back.

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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

I Know Something About Love

In the book I'm listening to on the way back and forth to work, there's a scene with a grown woman talking to a 10-year-old boy, in which the boys says, "I know about love" and the woman responds, "You don't know anything about love. You're only 10." My immediate response was that I would have asked, "What have you learned about love?"

I know a lot about being without love. I learned to live without it, and I think it makes me more appreciative that I have it now. I read an article that was a commentary on Ben Affleck's Oscar comment that marriage takes work. I do agree with him. I think love is a choice you make every day, and fortunately for me, Joe makes it easy to choose love. We've only been together for a couple years, but we've been through something that has torn other couples apart. It takes work, especially for someone who has been in the habit of hiding her feelings, but we do it. A small part of me is thankful that we have this extra time together to continue getting to know each other, how to relate to each other, before we add to our family.
But the other part of me needs to take the next step. It feels a lot like how it was before I met Joe: there was a hole in my life where he was supposed to be, and I struggled to fill it. I tried a lot of things, and most of those things were good for me and filled the space for a while. When he came into my life, I knew almost immediately he was what I was missing, and that's why we were engaged four months after we met. If I hadn't lived so long with the hole, I might not have known and I might not be as grateful for what we have now.

Now there's another hole I'm ready to fill, and most of the time it seems like I am in a holding pattern, trying to fill it with something until the right piece finally comes. I have a wonderful life and the last thing I want is to be ungrateful, so I guess what I want most is to be able to be content with the present until it changes.