Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Look away from the train wreck..

Michelle Duggar is Pregnant with Baby Number Seventeen! - Associated Content

It seems the Duggars are putting their family size into the hands of God.
They searched the scriptures and found that God says, :"Lo, children are an
heritage of the Lord: & the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are
in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that
hath his quiver full of them" (Psalms 127:3-5)

I don't buy into the whole quiverful thing. Not saying it's wrong. Just saying I better be one hell of a shot 'cause my quiver's not gonna have enough arrows that I can miss a lot... and I'm not that coordinated reproductively or otherwise.

But that's not what I'm here to write about.

I want to write about birth control. So the whole Duggar quote seems only appropriate.. after all, what goes together better than Duggars and birth control?

I like the idea of leaving my birth control up to God.. and not just 'cause I'm too lazy to remember to take a pill every day*. True, the whole "let go and let God" mentality doesn't entirely square with the concept of assisted reproduction, but hey - even the Big Guy gets busy sometimes. I prefer to think of it as "God helps those who helps themselves".

Totally veering off track here. Again.

Back to birth control.

I'm at a loss about this, and I'll need to have a definite answer in less than a year. Since I suck at big decisions, I'm thinking ahead now.

I always figured the nature of our fertility kind of relieved us from ever needing to worry about birth control.. but now I'm not so sure.

I intend to breastfeed RiceCake. (hear me out, it's pertinent)

I will not even attempt to get pregnant without metformin, nor will I risk a met-free 'oops'. Can you really call it an oops if it's unprotected and relying-on-PCOS to keep me infertile sex?

I am not comfortable taking metformin while breastfeeding a small baby.

Therefore, I need some birth control.

I'm considering 'natural family planning'. In general, it wouldn't be effective for us, what with my wonky and irregular cycles, and our total lack of self-control, but we tried using NFP to time our intercourse to GET pregnant for a couple of years, and it worked pretty well at keeping me unpregnant, so maybe there's hope.

OK, maybe not- I am very serious about not taking the chance of pregnancy with uncontrolled PCOS.

So I need something. The easiest, and most obvious don't-muck-around-with-chemicals birth control is out. Latex allergy and all that. By 'all that' I mean spermicide allergy, too.

I'm scared to death of the potential for damage from an IUD, and depo is just evil-evil-evil.

So I'm just not sure. I know that initially we'll be using deployment as birth control, and after that I can probably squeeze a out few more months of lactational amenorrhea, but I'll be needing something. Maybe even before that. Have I mentioned I'm paranoid about PCOS and pregnancy? Yeah, maybe once or twice.

This whole birth control thing, it's just such a new concept to me... I went off the Pill nearly 10 years ago. It didn't take long to figure out that I probably wouldn't need it again to keep my quiver only half-full. Or a quarter-full.

I always said the perk of IF was that I didn't need to deal with birth control.. but now I'm thinking my particular flavor of IF means I don't even get that one, tiny perk. At least til Rice is of an age where I'm comfortable with the thought of taking met while breastfeeding, I just can't chance it.

It's a weird position to be in.

.. and I'm studiously avoiding posting what's really on my mind - ultrasound tomorrow.

* honestly in my younger days I had so many days where I forgot my Pill, I should have considered the whole infertility thing..

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Not fair.

My mom called me last night. I had a bad feeling when the phone rang, and I was right.

My cousin, who was 11 weeks pregnant, has lost her baby. I hate that phrase, it sounds like she's just misplaced it, but I guess it's easier to say than saying her baby died. She's going in for her D&C today.

I'm so sad for her. This was her first pregnancy, and they were all so excited.

I was really hoping that someone in our family would have an easy time of building their family, and I was just sure it would be her. I guess that wasn't meant to be.

There are four girls in this generation of my family. All four of us have lost a baby now. Out of nine pregnancies, there are four children. Five if things go well with RiceCake.

I know that miscarriage is common, and not necessarily indicative of a problem.. but consider that of the four babies lost, only two were miscarriages. The other two were second-trimester or later: one struggled for a week before her tiny body gave out after a premature birth prompted by pre-eclampsia, the other lived a short fifteen minutes after an early delivery due to an abruption.

We don't have good luck with bringing babies into this world, and that's scary. It is a constant reminder to me that there is no 'safe' time. When everyone else I know relaxed after the first trimester was past, I just kept praying to make it through the next two safely.

There's just something about my generation in my family.

Our mothers managed six babies in six pregnancies. We are struggling to hold on to a 50% success rate.

.. and trying to deal with the heartbreak of the 50% that didn't make it.

I know I'm taking this much harder than I would have if I hadn't been in that position a year ago... but dammit, I don't want anyone I love to have to go through this. It's just not fair.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A year ago today, I found out I was pregnant.

Weird that that should be on my mind so much today. I passed what would have been my due date for that baby with less of a blip on my radar than this... and I was still waiting to get pregnant then.

I'm not sad, exactly, it's just heavy on my mind.

... and the fact that today I felt one of RiceCake's strongest kicks, the very first one I've ever felt from the outside, seems like a good sign. It was the reassurance I needed to feel, and brought things full circle, from the child I lost, to the one I'm now carrying. A reminder to look ahead more than I'm looking back.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

So I'm stil here.

I've decided I'm staying.. even if my presence in the blogosphere does nothing but give me an outlet for irrational fears, that's reason enough for me to be here...

Couple things happened this week - for one, I passed my (early) gest diabetes test. Beautifully. I celebrated by symbolically kicking the "Gestational Diabetes And You!!" pamphlet the oh-so-helpful nutritionist had given me, and by baking some brownies. Real honest-to-goodness white flour and sugar brownies. Hot damn, they were good.

I'm not totally abandoning my low-carbness, but it feels oh-so-good to not feel guilty if I want a sandwich on pasty white bread instead of whole-grain wheat... 'cause let's face it, even if the whole grain is better with tuna salad, it bites in grilled cheese.

So that's a yay.

And then yesterday, I had another day where RiceCake stopped moving in the evening. She's usually pretty typical with her movements - an hour or so of the fetal jitterbug and then a few hours of nothing. Really predictable hours too. I get the first dance lesson shortly after getting up, a second somewhere around lunchtime, and finally, the late-evening waltz.

Even though I know that it's early enough that lack of movement probably means that I'm just not feeling the movement going on, it still freaked me out. Natch.

So I pull out the doppler and notice that the little thumpthumpthump sounds more like thump-thump-thump. Subtle, but slower. Now, I don't have a doppler that will actually calculate the beats per minute* so I'm trying to add in my head, and I come up with a number that's in the normal range. Ahh... reassurance? Uhh... no. It's normal, but significantly slower than what I've come to expect.

Fine, I won't panic, I'll just go to sleep and check it in the morning.

Still slower.

Dr Google advises me that slowing heart rate is not good... in labor. And that resting heart rate is lower than running heart rate. Oh, and in case I didn't know it, fetal heart rate slows significantly after the 6-week mark. (I think it was 6 weeks, don't quote me on that, and if you got here by a search for "slowed fetal heart rate 6 weeks" definitely don't use me as a knowledgable source)

Google had nothing about second-trimester heart rate. Nothing.

So I eat breakfast and check again, and lo and behold, we're back to thumpthumpthump.

Holy jeez - did I just freak out about a fetal nap??

I think there's a reason G is such a light sleeper. I'm a fetus-poker. In other words, when G was 3/4 baked or so, any time he didn't move often enough, I'd poke him. Poor kid came into the world squalling and sleep-deprived, and he's made me pay for it ever since.

I promised myself I wouldn't do that to Rice. But I think we can all see where this is headed.

*small piece of advice: If you're getting a doppler, spring for the extra $$ to get one that will calculate bpm. If you are fortunate enough to have a friend that says 'hey, I have a doppler, do you want to borrow it while you're pregnant?', do what I did, and be grateful to have anything.. but if you're actually paying for one, that extra reassurance may just be worth it.

~ ~ ~

Totally unrelated, but this morning, blogger cornered me and strongarmed me into switching to the new style. A change I have been resisting for a long, long time. I am hoping this will not be a major change. I do not like change.

Damn you blogger.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I think I've hit that point where most post-IF bloggers reach a wall.

You know the question... should I still be here?

I'm struggling because I feel like I'm an IF fraud. It's hard to cling to the roots of IF-blogging when I'm not cycling, and I'm not going through the highs and lows related to that. In fact, I'm hesitant to even comment on other blogs because, well, sure I've been there, but I'm not there now. If I'm feeling optimistic in my comments, I don't want to seem like I'm looking at reproduction through the rose-colored glasses of my own success... or worse yet, inadvertently saying something hurtful in a comment, not by virtue of what I said, but because of the position I'm sitting in when I say it.

So... where to go now?

I don't want to be a pregnancy blog because, well, round ligament pain and pregnancy paranoia isn't the most interesting thing to blog about.. and however excited I get about comments, the main fact is, I blog for myself. Besides, the last 16 weeks have been blessedly uneventful (except for the dire scenarios that have existed only in my head). Hard to come up with a topic to discuss when the most exciting thing I can think of is whether or not my pants still fit.

I still feel different from most pregnant women. But I feel different from how I felt just a few short months ago, also. Not in a smug Ha! I've made it out the other side* kind of way, but just different.

Truth be told, I've always felt different. There was a time before G when I felt certifiably Infertile. Until he was conceived. Naturally. After that, all bets were off - after all, I had a child with no help from anyone outside my marriage.

That begs the question - can you be truly infertile if all you need is a few years? I mean, technically, yes. If you go by the clinical definition. But inside, I felt like I'd be successful again, even if it took another few years. When I proved that one right, I felt like we'd figured out what the deal was - we didn't need drugs, we just needed two years, give or take. We saw an RE after the miscarriage not because we thought it was our only option for conception (regardless of what my OB said), but because we thought it would help speed up the process. I was tired, too tired to wait another two years.

So what category do I fall in, knowing that in all likelihood, it's just a matter of time before all the bits fall into place?

I had an interesting exchange with a friend earlier in the week about the difference between someone who was 'struggling' with IF, and someone who merely 'needs help' to conceive. In my not-so-humble opinion, you "need help" if you are unable to conceive on your own, but know that using [insert random fertility drug or treatment here] will reliably allow you to conceive and carry a baby in a relatively short time. "Struggling" is the term I'd use for someone who doesn't have that certainty. Who can try a dozen different drugs & techniques and only maybe find some success.

I don't know where I fall on that scale. I'm somewhere in between. I'm not so arrogant that I believe that letrozole was my wonderdrug, the 'cure' I'd been searching for, just because it worked the first try. I went through several failed IUI's that should have worked, if all I needed was a little assist in the ovulation department, or a little help for the swimmers.

Fact is, we don't have any major fertility problems. We have immature & funky swimmers who tend to fall on the lazy side.. and a slightly stubborn case of PCOS... neither of which would be as big of a problem without the other... but they're not insurmountable obstacles.

It took six months with an RE. Six months. Seems pitifully short, doesn't it? At the time, it seemed like a very long six months, but honestly, it's the shortest amount of time I've ever spent 'trying'. Hell, six months is in the average fertile range.

Only I'm pretty sure I wouldn't throw myself into the average fertile category.

I just don't feel like I belong in the hardcore category either.

So I'm floating out here in limbo. It's making it hard for me to continue with my blogging because I don't know who I am, reproductively speaking. I don't know that I have a contribution to the community, and I don't know if I'm past the point where it helps me to work through things by blogging.

*snort. as if. I'm not even halfway to the other side.