The Baby Bean Blog

Thursday, December 30, 2004

My Breasts Are Huge

My kid might be many things, but hungry shouldn't be one of them. My breasts, which were a good size to begin with, look like they've just about doubled in size. Non-pregnant Oz was a very full B cup or a C cup depending on the brand. Well, the twins have firmly settled themselves into C status and I'm afraid they are teetering on a D cup. And I'm only seven weeks pregnant! Hopefully the expansion is settling down.

All the books say that breast tenderness is a sign of early pregnancy, and I mentioned experiencing it at 10dpo. It's a different sort of "tenderness" than that which normally preceeds my period. Premenstrual tenderness is sort of dull and diffused over a large portion of the breast. The "peculiar tenderness" I noted at 10dpo was much sharper and localized. Some women who have an especially bad case of this symptom describe it as the feeling of having glass in one's nipples. My experience is rarely that bad, but the girls do hurt. And now that I've seen how much they've grown, I understand why.

Since I've been experiencing this, I've been reading up on this symptom. I think I've got it pretty easy. Some women have written about going up three or four cup sizes. Another woman described her breasts as "atomic titties" and wrote that "the thought of anyone else touching my breasts, even gently, made me recoil in horror."

It's not all that bad for me. And luckily it's wintertime, so I'm wearing lots of layers, and I lean towards baggy clothes anyway, so no one has noticed. And honestly, I find the breast tenderness/pain somewhat reassuring. I don't have many symptoms of pregnancy--in particuliar, I'm not throwing up--so sometimes I get scared that something has gone wrong and maybe the baby is not growing anymore. I'm quite anxious for my next ultrasound on Monday where I will (hopefully) see that everything is just fine.

All that being said, I do still wish that my various animals would not so reliably, so unwittingly, seek out my breasts--and my nipples precisely--as a good place for a foothold when walking over me in bed.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Early Christmas Morning

I'm lying in bed, getting ready to watch a DVD that my partner gave me for Christmas. It's a really weird Christmas this year, for so many different reasons. First of all, my grandmother is not here, and I miss her so much. She put a certain energy out there, of sweetness and caring, of warmth and home. I wonder if I'll ever get that back.

Secondly, my partner is also not here. She's with her family in the Midwest. I'm flying out there today to join her, but by the time I see her, Christmas will more or less be over. I made this sacrifice--not being with her--in order to be with my family because of my grandmother's passing. I didn't realize how much of a sacrifice it was until last night as I sat around the house and just did not feel the Christmas spirit. I miss my grandma. And I miss my partner, too.

And lastly, there's my pregnancy, which no one knows about. I've been feeling a little more sick to my stomach lately and a little more tired, but neither my mother nor my grandfather seemed to notice. My mother bought my very, very, very favorite type of alcohol for Christmas dinner today. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to refuse it--especially since she got it with me in mind. I suppose I'll just say that my stomach is a little upset and I fear the alcohol might make me throw up. That's the best I've got right now.

It's not so hard to keep my pregnancy a secret here, at my mother's house, but I wonder if it won't be harder at my mother-in-law's house. My partner's sister is seven months pregnant, and as if that were not enough, one of her cousins is expected to show up, and she's three or four months pregnant. As the premiere activitiy for tomorrow is my sister-in-law's baby shower, baby talk will abound. There will also be alcohol there (perhaps yet again my favorite kind--I should never have made such a big deal about this beer!) and I'll have to get around that hurdle again. There's also a few recent issues with my partner's family that I haven't written about here, but I might in the future. So I'm not entirely looking forward to going there.

I'm so happy that I'm pregnant (and that I managed to jump onto someone's wireless network--wahoo!). I fear that Christmas might just suck from here on out if I wasn't. I don't particularly like my grandfather, and being here just the three of us--or even if my partner had been here--would just kind of suck. I always knew that I would be devastated when my grandmother died, but I had no idea how her death would affect so many different Christmas. I almost wonder if this isn't my worst Christmas.

So instead of thinking about this Christmas, I've started thinking about next Christmas. My baby will be four months old. Sure, she or he won't know that it's Christmas or what Christmas is, but I'm going to make her first Christmas a special one. I'm already thinking about all the traditions that my mother and I have let fall by the wayside now that I'm an adult. But next year, Santa's back!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Twiddling My Thumbs

It's a bit weird being pregnant. I spent a lot of time and a lot of energy trying to get pregnant. It really dictated my days. Two weeks out of four (more or less) I spent looking forward to the next attempt and getting myself ready. The other two weeks I spent anxiously waiting for the time to pass and watching carefully for any signs of pregnancy. There were doctor's appointments, and ovulation predictor kits, and temperature taking. All sorts of activities, all cycle long. And now...nothing.

I kind of feel I should be doing something....but there isn't anything to do except wait for the next 35 weeks to pass. Okay, that's not entirely true. I will have doctor's appointments. And I do have to take care of myself. But I feel like I'm in a kind of limbo where nothing is happening. It's still kind of hard to believe that I'm pregnant at all since I don't really have any symptoms (although those could still come).

Next on my agenda is an ultrasound on January 3rd where we should see the heartbeat. And on January 6th, we are going to check out a birth center to see if that's the place I want to get my prenatal care and have my baby. I guess once I make that decision, I'll feel more like I'm on some sort of path.

I think I'll also feel like this is more "real" once I start to tell people. No one knows that I am pregnant, so it's basically like I'm not.

I've got the holidays ahead of me, which should take up most of the time until January 3rd, especially since my partner's sister is coming to town on New Year's Eve and I'm working on New Year's Day. See? Before I know it, it will be January 3rd, and I'll get to see my little bean again. In the meantime, I just have to hope everything is going okay in there.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Week 5 Progress Report

You, my little bean, have been very busy, and what you have accomplished has been nothing short of a miracle considering that you have only been around for three weeks! According to traditional medicine, my pregnancy started when my last menstrual cycle started, so I think I'll start this post there as well.

People make a big deal about the amazing sperm race, and I have too. But there's also another race, another choosing process that begins beforehand, and that is for the lucky egg. The journey of the egg that helped create you began on November 11th. Many eggs volunteered themselves, but only the best one would beat out the others and get ovulated sixteen days later on November 26th, 2004, the day after Thanksgiving. That was the day that you were conceived, as tens of millions of sperm swam around looking for that egg. Eventually, a few hundred would find the egg, but only one would have the wherewithal to make it through the egg's shell and combine its 23 chromosomes with my egg's 23 chromosomes, and that combining looked something like this:

A fertilized egg (zygote) at high magnification. Male and female genetic material (DNA) is in the 2 pronuclei (circles) in the center.

From there, you divided into two cells.

Then four.

Then eight (only six cells can be seen from this angle).

Before becoming a "morula."

This is a compacting morula. There are many cells and the cell borders are becoming fuzzy as the embryo "compacts."

You kept dividing every 15 hours, becoming less and less solid and more filled with liquid until you became a blastocyst.

A high quality human blastocyst. The developing fetus itself is the area marked as "ICM" (inner cell mass). The blastocoel cavity in the center is marked as "C." The trophectoderm cells that will form the placenta surround the cavity - one is marked with a "T."

And all of that within 5-7 days!

But you weren't done. No, you are far from done. In the next fourteen days, you kept changing and evolving. Somewhere around the eighth day after conception, you were up to 100 cells, and you started to implant in my uterine lining. The outer wall of the blastocyst dug into my endometrium and started to receive nourishment from it, giving you the strength and energy to keep on your amazing journey. As soon as you set yourself in my lining, you let the rest of my body know you were there by releasing hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin), the pregnancy hormone. My body reacted and took steps to ensure that I would not get my period...and you started making me feel a little nauseous.

Just like you did about 40 hours after the sperm fertilized the egg, you, the blastocyst, again divide in two. The outer layer, the one attached to my uterine lining, will become the placenta and the umbilical cord. The inner layer will become you.

After that was done, the inner layer, you, divided into three "germ" layers. The outer layer, understandably, will become your skin and hair, as well as your brain and nervous system. The middle layer will become your kidneys, bones, blood vessels and muscles. The inner layer will become your digestional tract, liver, bladder, etc. And you've done all that in just two weeks!

This last week, you've started even more changes. You are no longer a ball of cells, but you've started to elongate. You've got a big head and a tail. You're focusing on developing your nervous system, concentrating on your brain and spinal cord. Your eyes and ears are coming along, and some of your internal organs are starting to develop, including the liver and kidneys. And your heart is also getting started...and even beginning to beat.

You, my baby, are amazing. I can't believe how hard you've been working! Right now, your placenta is still too small and underformed to provide you with the nourishment you need to keep going at such a manic pace, so I am trying to be good and eat all the right foods so that my endomitrium will provide you with everything you need. I can't believe how much you've accomplished, and I can't wait to meet you in 35 weeks!

  • (All of the pictures and the hyperlinked descriptions of the pictures are taken from the website of the Advanced Fertilty Center of Chicago, which specializes in in vitro fertilization.)

  • Also, I learned all the facts about the development of the embryo from The Pregnancy Bible. (Link in sidebar.)
  • Thursday, December 16, 2004

    Here's Looking at You, Kid

    This morning was my appointment with my RE. I'm just going to cut to the chase here: Everything looks great! I got to see my little tiny bean! And now you can, too:

    Yes, the baby is in that black splotch. And if you look at the top of the splotch, you can see some white dots. Those white dots represent the "yolk." Those white dots are actually going to become the baby! The fact that we can see the yolk already is good news. It means that my chances of miscarriage have dropped to 12%.

    I am now five weeks pregnant, and my baby has existed for 21 days. Confused? Well, for whatever reason, a pregnancy is counted from the first day of a woman's cycle, not when the baby is conceived. Go figure.

    In case you're curious, my hCG beta on Monday was 734, which is good, and my progesterone level was 9.53, which is not so good. Because of the low level of progesterone, my doctor has put me on a progesterone supplement called prometrium. It's not been fun so far, but obviously I'll do whatever I have to for my baby.

    I am so relieved that this pregnancy is not ectopic. And I just feel so much better having seen the little, bitty one in there, safe and secure, doing its thing. Contrary to what my doctor told me last weekend, now he feels confident enough not to see me until January 3rd. I'll be seven and a half weeks pregnant then, and we should be able to see the heartbeat via ultrasound. And then I'll be done with the RE and on to an OB/GYN.

    Just wanted to add that my bloodwork results for this morning's appointment are back, and my hCG levels have risen nicely to 3010, and my progesterone has also shown an improvement and is at 47. Good news all around.

    Wednesday, December 15, 2004

    Keeping It on the Down-Low

    While I was trying to conceive, I didn't tell anyone that we had started the process again. As I explained in this post way back in September, it seemed like telling people what was going on only increased my craziness during the two week wait. And I certainly didn't need any help with that! It was hard, but I managed to keep what was going on to myself. I've had to lie to my friends and my family again and again, and I hate to lie, but I did it for my own sanity, and I'm sure they'll understand when I finally do tell them.

    I'd decided that I wanted to keep my pregnancy a secret, as well, until I made it through my first trimester and the chances of miscarriage were minute. Dealing with a miscarriage would be devastating. Having to tell it again and again to everyone who knew I was pregnant would probably be more than I could handle. So I'm keeping this quiet, too. And it is hard. Much harder than keeping my efforts to conceive quiet.

    I really want to tell my mother. One of the first things she said to me after I told her that I was gay was, "I guess that means I won't have any grandchildren." She was so happy when I was trying to conceive last winter, and so disappointed each time it didn't work. If I told her that I was pregnant she would be estatic. With Christmas just around the corner, a very large part of me wants to take her aside on Christmas Day and share the news. But I would only be seven weeks pregnant, barely halfway through the first trimester. Instead, I hope to give her the news as a Valentine's Day present (my first trimester would be over on February 12).

    But every time I see one of my close friends, like Emily who I went to New York with on Monday, I just want to say, "I'm pregnant! I'm pregnant!" I have to find a way to keep it to myself. But for another eight weeks! Oh my. I've only known that I've been pregnant for five days, and I feel like it's been an eternity of keeping this to myself. Hopefully it will get easier with time.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2004

    Assuming All Goes Well

    There are two big pluses (besides the whole baby, family thing) that I am quite excited about:

    I'm Not Going to Get My Period
    I just can't believe it every time I go to the bathroom. It's like, really? No period? And it's not coming? Any men reading this just won't understand what I'm getting at here. Every month for the past seventeen years, my period has come, and it's been something I had to deal with for a week out of every month. What a hassle! And now, nothing. It's almost a different reality to be in. There's a great line from the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous where Edina is about to get a full body wrap, and the nurse asks her, "Have you recently had, or are you about to have, your period?" And Eddy looks confused and says, "Why, yes, both." That was my reality. Now I'm floating adrift in a non-period universe. Very strange indeed. And, pardon the corniness, absolutely fabulous.

    Now I Can Stay Fat
    In the book, The Kid, by sex advice columnist Dan Savage, Savage writes that the real reason that he wants to adopt a child is so that he can get fat. If you want to know the rational behind that, you'll have to read the book yourself. But nonetheless, I completely empathize with Danny-boy. As I've mentioned several times, keeping control of my weight while trying to conceive has been impossible for me. I've learned that I can do one thing or the other: I can maintain healthy eating habits and a healthy weight or I can try to conceive. I can't do both at the same time because each one maxes out my stress level. When I am eating healthy, that is my focus, and I don't have time for other things to obsess about. When I trade that obsession in for the obsession of trying to conceive, my ability to keep off the pounds falls to the wayside. But now, I'm pregnant! Who cares that I put on 15 pounds in the past three months?! Not me! And now that I am pregnant, my new obsession is being the best mommy I can be, and at this point, that means giving my baby the best nutrients possible. An example: whereas I used to drink anywhere from 5-10 servings of caffeine a day, since I found out I'm pregnant (a mere three days ago), I've cut back to one serving. I just don't want it if it could do something bad to my baby. Same goes for sugar, etc. I've stocked up the fridge with fruit, veggies, and dairy, and I'm back to concentrating on what I eat. But thank god I don't have to worry about trying to lose weight, or get all upset because of all the weight I've gained, or any of that nonsense. It's a real load off my mind.

    Monday, December 13, 2004

    The Post Where I Temper the Enthusiasm

    I wanted my first post announcing my pregnancy to just concentrate on that fact and my feelings of wonder, confusion and happiness. Unfortunately, there's another side to my feelings...and I would say to reality. The chance of miscarriage. It's higher than you might think. Depending on which stats you read, one out of five (20%) or one out of four (25%) of all pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first trimester. Now that I have what I want so badly, I'm scared to death of losing it.

    Because I got pregnant with the help of a reproductive endocrinologist (an RE)--those doctors that specialize in infertility--my pregnancy is automatically considered "high risk." Most people who come to see an RE have been trying to get pregnant through heterosexual intercourse for over a year without success. This has lead them to believe that there is something wrong with one or both partners. So they come to see a fertility doc, the RE, and he monitors them, oftentimes gives them drugs, and IUIs are followed by IVFs (in-vitro fertilization) until--hopefully--a pregnancy results. Because these people have fertility problems (otherwise they never would have gone to an RE), the pregnancy is considered at a higher risk for miscarriage.

    As for me, on the other hand, my problem and the source of my "infertility" was an unwillingness to play with boy parts. As far as I know, there is nothing wrong with my uterus, my uterine lining, or my eggs. If I had gotten pregnant via playing with boy parts, my pregnancy would not be considered high risk (although there would still be a 20%-25% chance of miscarriage). But my RE treats all patients the same, and because I am his patient, I'm getting the full treatment.

    This means that I am not "done with him" as I thought I might be. I went in today to get bloodwork drawn to confirm my pregnancy and to get an "hCG beta." I'm not sure what "beta" means, but what this number will tell me is how much of the pregnancy hormone (hCG) is in my system. I will go back to the RE on Thursday for another blood test. During the first trimester of a normal pregnancy, the "beta" number should double every 48-72 hours. So if my beta today comes back as, oh 150 mIU/ml, by Thursday it should be at least 300 mIU/ml. A beta that is slow to rise is indicative of a "weak" pregnancy or even an ectopic pregnancy.

    Ah, ectopic pregnancy. That is when the blastocyst implants somewhere other than the uterus. Most commonly, an ectopic pregnancy will occur in the fallopian tube (that thing that links the ovary to the uterus), although they can occur in the ovary itself or even in the abdominal cavity. On Thursday, my RE will also perform an ultrasound and hope to locate the gestational sac in my uterus. Its presense there would rule out ectopic pregnancy.

    And now I must confess that I am scared of having an ectopic pregnancy. I don't know why I've latched on to this irrational fear--and that's what it is as I don't have an personal of familial history of ectopic pregnancy--but I'm looking forward to confirmation that this pregnancy is not ectopic. However, doing an ultrasound at 20dpo (which will be where I'm at on Thursday) is very early and it's possible that the gestational sac might not be visible via ultrasound even if the pregnancy is normal.

    Assuming all goes well on Thursday, I will return to the doctor's office next Thursday for another ultrasound and then another the week after that. I can't remember which week it is, but one of those weeks the doctor will attempt to locate the baby's heartbeat. Once the heartbeat can be seen, the chances of miscarriage drop to 5%.

    For those of you who have been following any of my blogs, you know that I am a pessimistic person by nature. The fact that there's a 20-25% chance I could lose this pregnancy terrifies me. But I'm trying to look at it the other way: there's a 75-80% that I won't.

    Saturday, December 11, 2004

    I'm Pregnant!

    I'm making it official! I've now missed my period, and a home pregnancy test this morning came up positive fast and dark, dark, dark!

    I'm excited and happy...but I'm also in a daze. I've been trying for so long that finally getting pregnant is strange--and wonderful, of course! But I almost can't believe it. And I feel a little unsure about what to do next.

    I've called my fertility doctor. I think he'll want me to come in for a blood test to confirm, but then I'm done with him. His job was to get me pregnant: mission accomplished! After my blood test comes back, I'll have to find an OB/GYN. My partner and I talked about this stuff last year, but since I started trying to conceive again last September, we haven't been getting ahead of ourselves. I'm already taking prenatal vitamins--I've been taking them since I started ttc--so I'm okay there.

    There's a baby growing inside me. I just can't believe it. When I was trying to conceive last year, I would imagine a baby inside me, and I would feel all soft and tender and attached to it. But I wasn't pregnant, and all my feelings of attachment made it that much harder when my period arrived. So this fall, I haven't let myself think about it. But now there's something there.

    Thanks everyone who's offered words of support along the way, especially Fyse, Foxymama, and Kerrie. It's meant a lot to me. :) Now this blog will make the transition from being about getting pregnant to actually being pregnant!

    Friday, December 10, 2004

    14dpo: Stick, Baby, Stick

    I'm not feeling so much like the arrival of my period is eminent. My temp was back up at a sufficiently high number this morning, so I must admit that my hopes are way, way up that this is going to work out.

    On bulletin boards devoted to conception, people who have experienced chemical pregnancies and/or miscarriages hope that the baby will "stick" or they hope for a "sticky" baby. They are referring to the blastocyst's placement in the uterine lining. If it burrows in there well enough, it will receive nourishment and be able to shout out its presense to the rest of the body through the production of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), i.e. the pregnancy hormone. And if enough hCG is out there, the corpus luteum (which produces progesterone) will stay alive and keep producing progesterone, thereby keeping the uterine lining in place...and the baby in its place in the uterine lining.

    So that is what I hope for my very, very little one: Stick, baby. Stick.

    Thursday, December 09, 2004

    13dpo: Good News, Bad News

    So what's the good news?
    I tested positive with a home pregnancy test this morning around 4am.

    Holy shit, that's great news! Why don't you sound more excited?
    Re-read the title of this post.

    Bad news? What news could possibly dampen your good news?!
    I'm 90% sure my period is going to arrive anyway.

    Huh? But you're pregnant!
    I'm pregnant now. I doubt I'll be pregnant tomorrow....or Saturday at the latest. You see, there's this thing called "chemical pregnancy."

    What are you talking about?
    You see, they've made home pregnancy tests super sensitive, and what's happened is that a lot of women find out they're "pregnant" when they're not really pregnant.

    Have you been smoking crack? Being pregnant is like being dead. Either you are or you aren't!
    Okay, okay, you got me. That's true. Let me try again. Back before hpts were so sensitive, women never knew that the egg had been fertilized and then tried to implant if they got their period right on schedule. Actually, you used to not be able to even take an hpt before your period was late by one day. However, what happens (pretty frequently) is that, although the egg gets fertilized, it fails to implant properly, and although it sends out the pregnancy hormone--which the hpt picks up--it's not enough to prevent the arrival of menses. Some people consider these "pregnancies" to be terminated by a super early miscarriage (the arrival of menses). Others don't really count the "pregnancy" if menses is not late at all. At any rate, these "pregnancies" are called chemical pregnancies.

    Okay, I think I understand. But why do you think that's what's happening to you? You could be pregnant--really pregnant!
    It's possible, but my body is giving me strong signals that it is gearing up for the arrival of my period.

    What signals?
    I've gotten a little pre-period acne. And (how to put this delicately?) it seems like there's a little extra water in my colon. And the big signal is that my temp dropped this morning. Not all the way down to the low range, but it's dropped 4/10ths of a degree. That's a big drop.


    You might still be pregnant.
    I might be. Have to wait and see if my period arrives.

    More waiting?
    'Fraid so.

    Wednesday, December 08, 2004

    12dpo: Filling Up the Schedule

    Foxymama has been imploring me to relax in order to give things a better chance. I relaxed so much the last few days that I think I'm developing bed sores. And then I had a fight with my partner last night. She dropped quite a bombshell on me. So I was decidedly not relaxed all last night and I got about, oh, two hours of sleep.

    The fight is making me feel bad and pessimistic about things in general, so now I've got what I wanted! The glass is indeed half empty. Who am I kidding? I'm pregnant? Yeah right. Like I'm going to get the thing I desire most in the world.

    Alas, all of that was not supposed to be the subject of this post. The subject is my schedule. I had absolutely nothing to do the past couple of days, but I've pretty much booked up the next three days, including today. Today I'm having lunch with my mother, who's in Philly for a meeting, and then visiting a friend in the afternoon. Tomorrow, I'm going down to Delaware to visit my friend Beth-Marie...and do a little xmas shopping. And just last night I made plans with my friend Emily to go to New York with her on Friday. She tries to go to New York every year for xmas shopping, and as I had nothing to do, I invited myself along with her. And we're going to go ice-skating in central park! Sounds like fun. Tiring, but fun.

    Because I'm going to NYC on Friday, and because Friday is also the anticipated arrival date of my period, I am going to do something I haven't done yet this time around: I'm going to take a home pregnancy test on Friday morning (if my period has not arrived by the time I wake up). That way, I can know whether I need to pack some "supplies" for the day.

    Tuesday, December 07, 2004

    11dpo: Tug of War

    The little voice inside of my head is trying to calm down the little voice inside of my heart. Quite the battle is raging. This two week wait is far harder than the last two because this time I'm sure there's a real chance for success. I remember when I was trying to conceive last fall/winter. Two of those times, I timed it right. And I was so devastated when my period arrived. I remember waking up in the morning, seeing the evidence that I was not pregnant, and being so depressed that I just could not get out of bed. One morning, my partner even stayed home from work because she could see how upset I was. That's what I'm afraid of happening again if my hopes get up so high only to be dashed.

    My main counter-argument, my main reason for being pessimistic (which is what will save me if I'm not pregnant), is that I can't forget that I took Clomid this cycle. What I'm experiencing could very easily be side effects.

    We're getting down to the last few days here. 11dpo and 12dpo are the hardest. Once I get to 13dpo, the end is so near that the waiting is easier.

    Monday, December 06, 2004

    10dpo: Symptoms?

    My first inclination is not to write about the "symptoms" I may be experiencing. Why? Because I don't want to seem foolish at the end of the week if I get my period. But this blog is supposed to be about what's going on with me and this process, so if I omit what's happening then what's the point?

    So maybe I've had some symptoms. My stomach has been....unhappy. Not exactly nauseous. More like pre-nauseous. Kind of feels like there's some bile or something churning around in my tummy. Not enough to make me sick, but a presence, and an uncomfortable presence. As I've mentioned before, these could also be lingering Clomid side effects as well. The headaches I had the second week of my cycle seem to be back, and I'm sure they were Clomid related, so that is definitely a possibility.

    I haven't felt much going on in my lower stomach--the area where my uterus is. When I sit and think about it, I do feel something, but that leads me to believe it's just in my head.

    Last night, I started to feel a peculiar tenderness in my right breast. I don't know why the left one is being slighted.

    My temp is up nice and high. I really haven't discussed the whole tri-phasic temperature thing in depth. Maybe I will later. Anyway, my temperature chart isn't necessarily tri-phasic, but it might be. I need more time to ascertain that.

    All of this is making me pretty optimistic, and ironically, being optimistic fills me with dread. Why? Well, because the higher my hopes are, the farther I have to fall if I am not pregnant. I would much rather have almost no hope and then be pleasantly surprised.

    So here we are in the home stretch. Four more days, and I should know something. Five days at the latest. I need to find ways to keep myself busy, but this week is looming before me, pretty empty of activities. I'll have to start scheduling in some things.

    Friday, December 03, 2004

    7dpo: Another Day to Kill

    Luckily, I've got a pretty full schedule for today. I'm meeting with my advisor at school at 11am to talk about returning to the fold. This involves showering, driving to school (the University of Pennsylvania), meeting with said advisor, and then driving back. I might also get the oil in my fabulous new car changed, although that remains to be seen. Another possibility is meeting one of my friends, who works at Penn, for lunch after my appointment. So that's a large portion of the day gone right there. Tonight, the Bread Winner and I already have plans, so that's good. I might stay up past 10pm!

    This weekend will hopefully go by at a good pace. On Saturday, my mother is meeting us for lunch and to see Christmas with the Kranks. That's a lot of that day. Sundays are usually pretty good because I love football, and there are either shows about football or actual football on just about all day.

    The weekend also steps up the symptom watch. Starting around 8dpo-10dpo, the (hopefully) fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining, then the egg starts to send out hCG--the pregnancy hormone. So the trick for the weekend will be to try to find a way not to obsess about all this. And as I mentioned before, any "symptoms" could just be Clomid side effects.

    And that's what I've got ahead of me for the next few days....

    Thursday, December 02, 2004

    6dpo: 14 Christmas Eves in a Row

    Like most two week waits, this one is about killing time. I've made it to 6dpo, which is almost like 7dpo, which is the halfway point. Yippee! This week has gone pretty fast. Normally the first week isn't so bad anyway, but this first week has been crammed full of activities. With my mother-in-law visiting over Thanksgiving, I made it through IUI day and 1dpo pretty quickly and painlessly. What with all the socializing and very little sleep, Sunday after she left was also relatively fast--I took two separate naps. Then Monday I went to my grandfather's because I needed to drive my aunt back up to Philly to leave from the airport on Tuesday. So there went those two days. And yesterday was pretty painless. I did end up resolving some school issues. Now we're current with today, which I will be spending down in Delaware, so it will also pass at a nice pace.

    I've also noticed something else during the two week wait. I go to bed really early. Sure, I've dealt with bouts of depression where I slept and slept and slept. On first glance, it might seem like the same thing is happening here. But that's not the case. It's more like a kid who goes to bed at 7pm on Christmas Eve because he wants the day to be over already and the new day to arrive as quickly as possible. I went to my bedroom yesterday around 9pm, although I stayed up and read until about 10pm before going to sleep. Each night, I just find myself getting antsy. Is it too early to go to bed? Ah, screw it. If I'm sleeping, I'm not waiting.

    Sometimes I wonder if this isn't such a good thing. We're only given but so much time on earth. Should I spend my time waiting for it to be over? Wasting it with unconsciousness? Probably not. But at the same time, enduring it is torture. CAN'T IT BE CHRISTMAS ALREADY GODDAMMIT?

    Wednesday, December 01, 2004

    5dpo: More Details

    When I wrote about my IUI this time, I prefaced the description of events with "here are the series of events and the bare details," and then I proceeded to write possibly the longest post on the Baby Bean Blog ever. Nonetheless, I did leave out some details, mostly on technical mumbo-jumbo. Now's the time to talk about 1) Clomid's effectiveness 2) the state of my follicle and 3) my uterine lining.

    As you may remember from the beginning of this cycle, I took Clomid. The reason I took Clomid was to generate more than one egg. "More eggs, more chances." When I went in for my ultrasound on cd12, it showed two follicles: one at 12mm and one at 13mm. So it looked like the Clomid had done its job...more or less. I think the doctor was hoping for more follicles. I know I was. But I figured that two was better than one, so at least Clomid had worked to some extent.

    So I was disappointed when my ultrasound on cd16 (IUI day) showed only one follicle. As it turns out, Clomid had not done its job. I went through all those side effects and misery for nothing. I was less than pleased, but I was also more concerned--at the time--about having missed ovulation all together to shake my fist at the sky and hunt down the manufacturers of Clomid.

    Before moving on to my follicle, I'd like to wrap up the Clomid talk by stating that I will not be using it again (if I'm not pregnant and need to try again next cycle). I told my doctor. He said that it didn't seem like my body had responded to that level of Clomid (the lowest level) and that if we wanted to use it again, he'd up the dosage...and of course that would up the side effects. NO, THANK YOU. So if we need to try again, we'll go back to au natural. If that doesn't work after a few more tries, then I'll go to injectible hormones, which sound a lot scarier but don't have side effects. Anyway, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

    Now, my follicle. As I mentioned, it was only 13mm, and the shape indicated that it had already released the egg. Apparently, when it releases the egg, it immediately shrinks down to about 13mm. The egg is only the size of the period at the end of this sentence. So what's up with the follicle reaching 20mm? Isn't that huge to carry such a small item? Yes. And this is something I haven't researched, so I don't know what purpose is served by it getting so large, but I'll tell you that the follicle is filled with fluid. When the egg pops out, all of the fluid drains out, too. My doctor described it as a deflating balloon. The follicle is almost instantly reduced in size and then the follicle turns into the corpus luteum, which is what generates progesterone for the latter half of a woman's cycle.

    Now, my uterine lining. Something that is often seen in the uterus directly after ovulation is a "fluid sac" which, obviously, is the run-off fluid from the follicle popping out the egg. My ultrasound showed no fluid sac. Why? I couldn't tell you. Maybe it had happened too recently for the fluid sac to be there. Maybe I don't create a fluid sac. I don't know, and I've decided not to worry about it.

    One other thing that had not yet happened was that my uterine lining had not changed from the pre-ovulatory "triple-stripe" pattern. Here is an ultrasound that I found on the web illustrating this pattern. This uterine lining is at 12mm, whereas mine was (I think) 11.1mm:

    See that thing there in the middle? Almost looks like a mouth with two lips? That is what a normal, pre-ovulatory uterine-lining looks like, and that's what mine looks like, too. Oh, we're getting intimate now, aren't we?

    Anyway, post-ovulatory, the uterine lining becomes more homogenous and the three "layers" go away. The progesterone affects this change. My ultrasound did not show that change, which should mean that ovulation had so recently occurred that the change had not happened yet.

    And that's pretty much what I left out of the IUI post. See? I wasn't kidding when I said "bare details."