04/16/2003

Enough already

This morning I left a message for the nurse, just a progress report to let them know how I was doing: slight fever, very painful abdomen, burning when I urinate. I guess those are alarming symptoms, because the nurse called back shortly thereafter and asked that I go in that afternoon. Paul drove, and I kept up a monotonous whine as he hit every bump in the road.

I'm lovable these days.

Now, this particular nurse is very good at her job. She did not say, "My God, which rock did you crawl out from under?" She didn't even say, "You don't look so good." She said, "I'm glad we asked you to come in, because you don't look like you feel very well." May I introduce Sherlock Holmes, R.N.? Wonder what tipped her off. My unwashed hair? My red-rimmed eyes? My hollow, crazed look? The fact that I needed to be flanked on either side as I lurched down the hall to the exam room, unable to straighten up?

I then had a short visit with the doctor, who looked me over briefly, examined my nails and my skin tone, and opined that I'd had some internal hemorrhaging, but that it had stopped. Then he gently prodded my belly to see just how tender it was.

I surprised myself by bursting into tears on the table.

I mean, it hurt, but not that much.

I've simply had enough. I've been hurting for days, feeling entirely abused by the universe. I'd been completely unprepared for the pain, and don't feel that I was properly medicated for it. This was just one more indignity, one more poke, one more vigorous jack-booted kick while I was down, and I lost it for a minute.

That's what it's like. Physically, I'm holding my own; though sore and tired, I'm definitely on the mend. Emotionally, I am 100% tender, well-marbled belly. Enough with the goddamn poking.

07:47 PM in Notes from astride the stirrups, Welcome to the bad place. Population: You | Permalink | Comments (2)

04/17/2003

Only slightly pregnant today

Got the news that my hCG is down to 67. At this rate I'll be totally not pregnant in no time!

I'm already feeling very, very different. My breasts stopped being sore overnight, and the strange pervasive smell of cigarette smoke has dissipated. I assume the radiant glow and mother-of-Christ halo I've been sporting have vanished as well.

I am turning a corner, I think, at last.

01:50 PM in Notes from astride the stirrups | Permalink | Comments (0)

04/18/2003

A woman of leisure

Today I felt well enough to do a few things. Now I'm exhausted. I'm embarrassed to admit how little I actually did: folded a couple of loads of laundry, unloaded the dishwasher, and helped a bit with dinner.

That is all. I guess it's enough.

I'm still working the Tylenol pretty heavily, but I haven't been taking the ones with codeine. Junkie that I am, I'm hoarding them for times of greater need...like, say, if I ever get accidentally decapitated and need something to take the edge off.

12:58 AM in Notes from astride the stirrups | Permalink | Comments (0)

04/24/2003

Cue the banjos

I'm on vacation, but I've been instructed to have bloodwork weekly, no matter what, until my hCG level has fallen to zero. Since this little Southern town barely has electricity, I dare not hope for state-of-the-art medical technology. I'll settle for hoping the good people at the hospital have discovered the merits of, you know, clean needles, antiseptic, and boiling water.

I bet they still give you a leather strap to bite down on when they amputate your leg after it's turned black and gangrenous. I bet they put a knife under the bed to cut the pain.

I do not feel pregnant in the least, and I'm fully expecting to have bottomed out by now. I still have twinges now and then in my right tube. It's an odd thing to know exactly where my Fallopian tubes are. Two months ago I couldn't have found them without calling AAA for roadside assistance.

01:12 PM in Notes from astride the stirrups | Permalink | Comments (2)

04/25/2003

Four point fucking three

hCG's at 4.3. I can't even zero out properly. How boring is that?

I'm tempted to blame the hospital, but I must grudgingly concede that they probably knew what they were doing. I was there for thirty whole minutes and I didn't catch even a little dysentery.

02:53 AM in Notes from astride the stirrups | Permalink | Comments (0)

05/03/2003

Party on, Julie

"You're off the hook," said the nurse on the phone. My hCG level is at zero at last.

To celebrate the end of the adventure, I:

  • Ate spinach
  • Drank vodka
  • Had sex

Now let us never speak of this again.

02:13 PM in Notes from astride the stirrups | Permalink | Comments (1)

05/10/2003

Tired of hearing about my pelvis? Join the club.

I've been having pain in my lower left side for about two weeks now — I'm pretty sure it's my ovary, since my intestines are behaving impeccably as usual and I don't recall storing any other organs in the vicinity. It hurts when I bear down or bend; sometimes the jolt of my footsteps as I walk can set it off, too.

My ectopic was on the opposite side, so we can rule out lingering irritation from that, I think. My doctor optimistically suggests that it's just ovulation starting up again. I'd like to believe that, though it seems strange that the pain would have lasted so long. My fear is that the endometrioma on that ovary is planning a bloody coup. I have radioed for help from neighboring countries and will hole up in my bunker until reinforcements arrive.

01:40 PM in Notes from astride the stirrups | Permalink | Comments (2)

05/13/2003

For my next trick...

Okay, at this point all we're waiting for is the resumption of my normal cycle so that we can subvert it entirely. Once my period begins, I'll go on birth control pills to regulate my cycle — trust me, the irony of this is lost on no one who's been through infertility treatment, so don't even bother mentioning it. After a few weeks of pills, we're off to the races, beating my system into submission with Lupron, then whipping it into a frenzy with Repronex and Follistim shortly thereafter.

This is the first time in my life I've eagerly awaited the arrival of my period. The true indication of how much I want a child is the fact that I'm willing to endure several periods without ibuprofen.

02:48 AM in Notes from astride the stirrups | Permalink | Comments (2)

05/18/2003

Stuck pig

My period arrived Thursday night with its usual bloody fanfare. Now the worst of the cramps seem to be over. I can't decide whether they're not as intense as usual, or whether I'm so happy to be back to normal that my brain won't allow me any reason to complain.

Not that that stops me, but there you go.

Birth control pills start today.

12:43 PM in Notes from astride the stirrups | Permalink | Comments (0)

05/22/2003

Wide, pink, moderately coated

Today I had my first appointment with the acupuncturist. Now, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about acupuncture. I don't doubt there's a lot Western medicine doesn't know, or ignores on purpose; I'm just not convinced the Chinese have it figured out, either. But I also think there has to be something there, and I don't think I have to be a devout disciple for it to help me. In short, I don't have to believe in it if it believes in me. Can't hurt, could help.

The acupuncturist himself inspired a fair amount of confidence. The office was clean and bright, instead of clouded with the herby funk I'd expected, and nothing about him screamed "smelly hippie." We talked for several minutes about my medical history, my answers to the intake questionnaire, and my goals for treatment. (Long-term: healthy pregnancy. Short-term: resisting the impulse to play with the needles when he left the room.)

He made a lot of notes and looked at my tongue ("wide, pink, moderately coated"). Then he gave a very thorough explanation of what I could expect as the needles were inserted. Then I hopped up on the table for the stickin'.

Sure enough, the "fish biting a line" sensation was pronounced when he stuck me (ears, wrists, calves, and ankles, for those of you playing the home game). It was a strange feeling but not especially unpleasant.

Once I was stuck, I was left to lie on the table for half an hour. I felt a very unusual sensation: my limbs felt very heavy and almost useless. I had no interest in moving at all, which is rare for me — I tend to be quite restless. My mind was clear, but my body went into this remarkable state of relaxation.

I plan to go back throughout my cycle. Aside from the possibility that it could help enhance our chances for success, I really enjoyed that state of heavy physical relaxation. At this point, anything that helps me relax is fine by me. Besides, my qi/blood deficiency is in dire need of attention, to say nothing of my appalling and acute kidney/yang deficiency.

11:57 PM in Notes from astride the stirrups | Permalink | Comments (1)