Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I occasionally dip into a pregnancy message board these days (though I really feel comfortable only on IF boards), and I have noticed that people are always asking how they can prevent stretch marks - like whether certain creams work, whether diet makes a difference, etc. I consulted What to Expect When You're Expecting on this topic, and it says that it's either genetics or the result of being well hydrated and having a good diet.

In my opinion, this is a load of hooey - I think it's all genetics. And I will tell you why - I am the best hydrated person I know, and I already have a shitload of stretch marks. I have them on my hips. I have them on my arms. I have them on my inner thighs and my buttocks and my boobs and my biceps. I may have them in places that I can't see. My body looks like a bobcat swiped it in multiple locations decades ago. In reality, they were all the result of a rather drastic growth spurt (seven inches of height in five months) when I was in the 12/13 age range. I remember noticing them in my mid-teens and asking my doctor, and he advised me of the proper terminology.

So if I am lucky enough to continue with this pregnancy until the end, then I know I will have a few more to add to the collection. (After all, I need some for my stomach.) For those of you who might be incredibly worried about this (oh, wait - only a fertile would worry about something like this), I am here to tell you that they do fade away to silvery streaks that are barely noticeable. And you could always claim you got them while wrestling a hungry bobcat away from a freshly born litter of puppies.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Backlog (or: the TMI post)

You don't realize it yet, but the title of this post is a revolting pun.

Yes, I'm here to talk about constipation. Now, I should lead off by saying that, in my normal life, I am blessed with regularity. Enviable regularity. Regularity on long trips across time zones, regularity whether I'm eating All Bran or baguettes and cheese, regularity that comes from having just the right amount of a nervous stomach. I have no problem shitting in the woods or in the stall of a busy restroom at work; it takes no time at all. Usually, I can just think about taking a crap, and that's enough to make it happen.

I realize that this is the digestive equivalent of "My husband just has to look at me and I get pregnant." And having had several friends who suffered from major intestinal slowdowns, I realize that I have been lucky to be such an insouciant crapper.

Clearly, I knew that women are often afflicted with constipation when they're pregnant. And I read the "side effects" on the Z0fran insert (as well as many comments on hyperemesis message boards) and saw that constipation is the most commonly cited one. But I also kind of thought, (a) this won't happen to me, at least not to that extent, since shitting is one of my core competencies and (b) even if it does happen, how bad can it be?

You see, I thought of constipation as maybe feeling pretty stopped up and bloated - not a pleasant state, but one that would be relieved from time to time by a stool softener or twenty. You know, you'd clear out the pipes, then maybe experience some issues again, etc. - it'd end up as a sort of cycle.

Ahem. What I did not realize is that constipation makes it almost impossible to shit, even when you feel the urge to, and that this state is incredibly painful. I can't tell you how much time I am now spending on the toilet, straining with all my might to emit one tiny lump of coal. I only take shits at home now, since I often have to yell out in the manner of Martina Hingis. And I think the main consequence of my efforts is going to be hemorrhoids and varicose veins in my ass.

This, by the way, is on two Co*lace a day. At the recommendation of Beth and one of my online buddies, I called my clinic to ask for Mira.lax. The nurse said she had to ask the doctor, and, as luck would have it, she asked the one doctor (out of seven) with whom I have had a bad experience. He said no to the Mira.lax. Instead, the nurse said he suggested drinking more water or taking Meta.mucil. When I stopped laughing hysterically, I asked whether there was anything else I could do. She suggested high-fiber cereal. Once I again regained my composure, I pressed further. Finally, they gave me permission to use Dulco.lax suppositories, which I plan to attempt later today. I'm hoping this can clear things out and give the Co.lace more of a shot at working.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


This week has been a bad week so far, nausea-wise. I am spontaneously gagging for no apparent reason. Makes meetings at the office interesting. In other news, my stomach is starting to pooch out a bit - the boozy-sorority-girl look, as Jane has called it. It may be due to my massive intestinal backup, but at least it feels like progress.

Speaking of pooches, here's a photo of my dog. Isn't he the cutest? (Other than your dogs, I mean?)

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I've noticed lately that I seem to be in the minority among IFers on something - namely, disclosure to one's family about the details of IF treatments and (for the fortunate) pregnancy. Other people seem to involve their parents much earlier.

Now, we don't live in the same city as any of our parents. And our parents are WASPy - oh, very, very, WASPy. To give you an idea of how WASPy, my mother was visiting us in the spring and revealed in passing that she had just found a huge lump in her breast. She prefaced this revelation by saying, "I wouldn't even trouble you with this, but since I'm here...." (Her treatment, in case you're wondering, has gone well so far.)

My parents would never in a million years have asked us about our plans to have children or pressured us to do so, even though I'm sure they were dying to know (and my mother treats her cousins' grandchildren like her own). They learned about the basic infertility stuff when I was forced to disclose my laparoscopy to them because they were visiting for Thanksgiving a few days later and I wasn't sure how I'd be feeling. I probably would have told them about it anyway since it involved general anesthesia and that seems to kick the whole thing up a level in terms of gravity.

I didn't tell them anything about my first IVF because I didn't want to be beholden to reveal every occurrence. Also, my mother tends to tell everyone everything. For example, after I had my laparoscopy, I was visiting my parents for Christmas. My mother was throwing a birthday party for one of her friends, and this friend (whom I adore, but still) said, in front of the entire party, "So, they fixed you all up in there?" or something to that effect. Now, this friend's daughter did a bunch of IVFs and has two kids now, so I should have deduced that if I were hearing all the details about this woman's IVFs, then my mother was probably sharing all kinds of details in return.

My brother spilled the beans to our parents about IVF#2 because it affected some family travel plans. I confirmed that we had done one IVF and would be doing another, but I was intentionally vague on the details. And they've never asked. And my mother was undergoing chemo, surgery, etc., so it was easy to avoid this topic, although we did have one amusing conversation in which we compared assvice offered up to cancer patients and infertility patients.

So now, here I am, slogging through the first trimester, the end of which isn't too far off, and my parents have no idea. (My brother is in the know, however.) I'm trying to figure out when to tell them. After the next ultrasound? Or do I just wait to spring it on them dramatically in person at Thanksgiving?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Small favors

So I went to pick up a month's worth of Z0fran at Wa7green's today. That's 90 pills, which should have equaled about $1800. I was prepared to hand over my credit card with steely resolve and sign the slip without really looking. But lo and behold - my total was something like $67. Apparently, my insurance has either decided to start picking up the Z0fran tab, or I reached some out-of-pocket maximum, or there was some major billing error. Whatever it was, I'll take it.

Cheap Zofran! Wooooooooo!

I looked more closely at my prescription printouts, and I realized I actually paid ZERO dollars for the Z0fran (which, according to the slip, should have been $3800+, so I guess my insurance was already partially covering it, even before now). The $67 I paid was for my PIO and needles. The PIO will get reimbursed, too.

I am so grateful I have good health insurance. I can't even imagine having to pay everything out of pocket - I think I'd get a heart condition just from the stress of it all, which would be counterproductive.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The upside of hyperemesis

Nausea is a very consuming, focusing state. It totally sucks. But it is also useful in that I find myself being a lower-maintenance patient than I might be otherwise. My next ultrasound is 11/2, and that's okay with me - no begging for ultrasounds here. I spend no time agonizing about whether I am still pregnant or if everything is okay - I just don't have the energy to worry. I try to get through each day, and each week, and as I tick off another week here (I'm now nine weeks along, seven real weeks), it feels like an accomplishment, if one with no real outward manifestations yet.

I find myself hanging onto weird, irrational hopes. Like, HCG levels peak between eight and ten weeks, so maybe this is the worst it'll be? (Of course, hyperemesis sufferers don't seem subject to the same rules of thumb as your average pregnant woman - just look at what poor Beth has been through. Also, it's unclear whether HCG is really the reason behind hyperemesis.) And when another week passes and I still feel like ass - well, I have always shown a remarkable ability to come up with some other delusion to grasp onto.

I've stopped losing weight. I haven't gained any weight, but I'm glad to have stopped the slide. I go through phases where I can keep down a certain food or beverage for a couple of days, and then it repels me. Right now, I have been able to slurp some Od.walla Mango Tan.go each morning and have nibbled on a fresh gingerbread cookie from time to time as I go about my business in the office. I've had some success with Boy.lan's seltzer water, which is the only water I've been able to get down at all since all this crap* began. might as well be camel piss! I am on a strict schedule of Z0fran at 8am, 4pm, and midnight. I take Uni.som and B6 at night and crunch down one Flinst0nes chewable vitamin a day - I had forgotten how delicious they are. I'm serious. If they made a spree-like candy that tasted like Flintst0nes, I'd have a mouth full of cavities.

My husband and I were supposed to go to a wedding in Santa Barbara next weekend. We met at a wedding in Santa Barbara, so this trip would have been fun. I am definitely not going now (the idea of a plane ride - vomitous), and I have asked him to stay home, too, since it would be his third weekend in a row away. I hate that I am so needy and lame right now.

* Please note very few actual craps have occurred in recent memory.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Unfortunate reality

As you may recall, a few weeks ago I dreamed that my REs found my blog, and their feelings were hurt. The situation was so uncomfortable that I felt embarrassed and ashamed for a solid minute after I woke up. At last, I realized it was a dream, and the relief that washed over me was like, um, the warm and therapeutic waters of a geothermal pool. (We went here over the summer.)

Well, this unfortunate occurrence actually happened to Thalia. And she's decided to go dark for a while. I am sure I speak for many when I say that this is a huge loss to the blogosphere.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Good days and bad days

On Friday, I managed to stay at work for five hours, which was pretty awesome. I felt really quite good for most of those hours, too, and I kind of thought maybe I'd hit upon a system that would work for me and that I could make most days like Friday.

Well, Saturday, Sunday, and today haven't been quite so good. I've felt on the verge of vomiting frequently, although I've managed to keep my juice and snacks down. Showering is very nausea-inducing for some reason. Sleep is interrupted and filled with bizarre dreams, but that may happen to everyone.

I've been trying to detect other symptoms so that I can finally feel pregnant instead of just sick. But my boobs haven't done much, my stomach is more or less where it was before, and while I am constipated, that may be more from the Z0fran than from the pregnancy. I'm sure most people don't really feel pregnant by this point, but I'm sort of desperately hoping to feel that way soon so that I can at least get some mental enjoyment out of this state that I'd shed so many tears desiring.

On an unrelated note, one of my young cousins was killed in a car crash near the university where she was a freshman this weekend. The same thing had happened to another cousin of mine (same university, also when he was a freshman) years ago. It is so devastating - I can't even imagine what her siblings and parents are going through right now. I hope I can schlep my sorry ass onto a plane this weekend for the services.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Today, we went to see the perinatologist. He was quite jovial. As our appointment wrapped up, we were chitchatting about higher-order multiples. My husband asked him what the most he'd ever seen was. He said the most embryos he'd ever seen in one of his own patients was ten, and the most he ever saw, period, occurred when he was in training, and some poor woman had nineteen embryos gestating away. Both had occurred from ovulation induction (ie, stimulation drugs, but not IVF). Presumably, there was some irresponsible medical advice given out, since someone with that many follicles should obviously not be doing an IUI or even doing it the old-fashioned way. Or maybe the patient threw caution to the wind - with a vengeance.

Nineteen! Shit.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Then and now

A little before-and-after for you - before HG, after (well, during) HG:

Worked out 5-7x a week
Took multivitamin, extra folic acid, and fish oil daily
Ate mostly organic diet with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins
Guzzled at least three liters of water daily
Sipped antioxidant-rich wine nightly
Wrote fiction two hours each morning
Worked a respectable workday at fulfilling job
Walked, cuddled with, and generally showered dog with affection
Cleaned house occasionally
Left house frequently
Showered regularly
Enjoyed regularity of digestive tract

Eschew vitamins because of possible nauseous characteristics
Reluctantly sip diluted apple juice, lemonade, Sierra M!st; despite feeling incredibly thirsty, find self unable to gulp any liquids without feeling immediately seasick (and water - forget it!)
Avoid dog because of intensity of his aroma (thanks to new bionic nose)
Scrape by at job, avoiding queries as to nature of illness
Strain, strain, strain to emit one tiny turd each morning (thanks, Z0fran!)
Lie down immediately after eating in hopes of averting vomiting and retaining nutrition
Shower when forced to by husband (or own pungence)
Lie on couch so much that left hip is sore from facing television
Sleep on back to keep food inside and otherwise violate every paragraph of What to Expect When You're Expecting
Notice large collections of dog hair stampeding through living room; sigh disconsolately
Spend hours ruminating over what you might possibly be able to keep down; ponder whether XYZ food will be regrettable on the way back up; upon reaching a decision, issue proclamation to husband to get it NOW (said in Jack Bauer voice)
Go to great lengths to avoid refrigerator (oh, the smell! bleahhhhhhhhhhhh)
Fart frequently, but still only a small fraction of the frequency of husband; berate husband for said farts, reminding him of bionic nose and intense nausea
Find yourself hostage to the clock and when you can take the next pill
Spend 21 1/2 hours a day inside house
Burst into tears; bemoan fate; feel stupid

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Well, I still feel like shit. I realize that this blog is just one long complaint these days, so I'll try to keep the keening to a minimum.

I had an ultrasound last week when I was admitted to the hospital, and there were indeed two sacs in there. They both had heartbeats, but one had a much lower heartbeat that wasn't quite where they wanted it to be. The other one had a good heartbeat, and I am thankful for that. I'm assuming that the second one may not be lodging for long, and that is okay by me. I feel so weak all the time.

There are going to be some hard decisions about work for me, I think. If I quit my job (which I really like), I will lose not only my salary, but, more critically, my amazing health insurance. So I am trying to figure out some way to keep working, but do a lot more from home. I don't want to go into too many identifying details, but it is safe to say that this will be difficult, especially if the HG continues for a long time. We are seeing a high-risk maternal-fetal medicine doctor this week or next to discuss my situation.

I keep losing weight. My weight has been more or less constant my entire adult life - 125 lbs, give or take a few - and now I find myself well below that. I'm on Zofran around the clock, which is expensive, but I guess the upside is that I'm sure not spending any money on food, entertainment, or bigger clothes.

My husband has been wonderful. I can tell he's worried. He's also supposed to be out of town the next three weekends in a row, and I'm not sure I can handle being alone all that time. Our poor dog doesn't know what to make of me these days - I think he's a little afraid of me now since I no longer go on walks and spend most of my time immobile on the couch.