Symptom Spotting

Today I have my check up with my doctor to see if I’m cleared to rejoin society. Needless to say, I’m anxious. Not only is my baby extravaganza this weekend and I’d like to go to it, but I would really say good bye to this whole pre-term labor panic.  Just a few more weeks and I could get down to regular old “I’m going to have a baby” panic.

Of course, there is nothing better for an anxious mama than to lie around all day, alone with nothing but her thoughts. If it hadn’t been for this weekend’s pre-term labor scare, I would chalk most of this up to pregnancy just being weird. Instead, I sit here trying to read the tea leaves of my body. I’ve found guessing if you’re in labor is a lot like trying to guess if you’re pregnant. Ah, those heady TWW days… When indigestion is mistaken for implantation cramps, and hormonal fluctuations had more to do with PMS than anything else.

So far I’ve freaked out over back pain, abdominal pain, and contractions.

So far I seem to have back pain because I’ve been sitting in bed or on the couch for over a week, and contractions that appear to be Braxton Hicks.

The abdominal pain is the one that has me scratching my head. Once I determined it was just gas. Yes, a nice fart releases a lot of tension. I also wonder if this is just more round ligament pain– it feels a lot like pain I had earlier in my pregnancy when my belly was starting to grow. And I have a sneaking suspicion Chick had a growth spurt in the last few days- I can tell because my skin feels tight and my belly feels heavier.

Or I’m going into labor. Again.

This is maddening.

I head to my appointment in just 2 hours. There is no way I could have a baby in 2 hours, is there?

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Signs Your Baby May Be Eating Your Brain

Forget All the ThingsBefore I was pregnant, I heard about this thing called “Pregnancy Brain.” Basically, you get pregnant and become an idiot. Though I didn’t think it was implausible, I also didn’t quite believe it. Stretch marks, I get. Nausea? Fine. (Well, not fine, but at least understandable.) But how in the name of the Holy Roman Empire can the fact that you are having a baby affect your memory or common sense?

I’m here to set the record straight. It’s real. It’s really, really real.

So far here are some things I’m chalking up to Pregnancy Brain:

  • I threw trash (think gum wrappers and receipts) into the sink, and could not understand what was wrong with that. At all.
  • It took me 45 minutes to make a meal that normally takes me 20 because I couldn’t find anything in my own kitchen. Where’s the pasta strainer? No, really… where in the hell is the pasta strainer?!What things
  • I tried to pay for something in the grocery store with my subway card. Repeatedly.
  • Conversely, I also tried to use my credit card to get on the bus.
  • I had dinner with someone I’ve known for 2 years, sat across the table from him, and couldn’t remember his name for about 15 minutes. I know I know this guy… Eddie? Aaron?
  • I washed my hair with shower gel.
  • I’ve bought at least two packages for Chick (clothes, bedding, etc.) and not remembered until they’ve arrived at my house. Even then, I’m genuinely surprised by what I purchased or why. (Thankfully, Pregnancy Brain has left my excellent taste intact.)
  • It took me 10 minutes to get out of a parking garage because I missed the exit. Twice. It was like Groundhog Day only trapped in concrete.
  • I ran a stop sign whilst doing Kegels. True story.

I’ve also heard this doesn’t really ever get better. Once out to the womb, these darling little cherubs continue to wreak havoc on … well, everything. Now I seem to have forgotten why this whole having a baby thing was such a hot idea…

Oh, The Crying You Will Do

When I was in college, I took an intensive Italian class. I love learning languages. It’s like instant gratification learning. “Cane” means dog! “Biblioteca” means library! I knoooow things! Even counting feels like some new and exotic adventure, “Uno, Due, Tre..”

I’m actually quite good at this stage of languages. But when it comes to more complex communication, particularly conjugating verbs, I start to fall down. I am okay with this. My italian professor, a one Bar-bar-AH Spin-eh-li, was not.

I had been her star pupil up until this point. She loved my pronunciation, my excitement, my easy grasp of vocabulary. Our first quiz on past tense, and I began my rapid decent. She passed out the results from the exam and asked me to stay behind to talk.

Ah, Ostrich, mia bella regatza. You are my favorite student. But– how to say this– when I correct your quiz, I cry.

She proceeded to ask me if there were problems at home, and if my boyfriend was hitting me. (I could not make this up if I tried.)

I’ve told this story so many times, for varying reasons. 1) She is one of the most memorable professors I’ve ever had, and this is her crowning moment. 2) I use it as a way to demonstrate I’m okay with my own failures and imperfections. I have been so bad at something, I literally brought someone to tears. And I think it is hi-larious.

The phrase “When I XXX, I cry.” has now become part of my vernacular, and most people who know me know why. Now I that I am pumped with baby hormones, I have cause to use this more often than I care to. From this weekend alone:

  • When I watch The Snowman, I cry.
  • When I talk about names for my future children, I cry.
  • When I read “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Longfellow, I cry.
  • When I mop the kitchen floor, I cry.
  • When I listen to a podcast about the history of “Good King Wenceslas”, I cry.

Seriously, how do people get through an entire pregnancy without losing their sanity?

This is Not My Beautiful House

A week after my positive test, you’d think it would have sunk in that I am “with child.”

Nope.

Granted, my body is absolutely on board with baby. I’m officially curvy, folks. Though I have always had a bit of a booty, it is usually masked by my strong-ass runner’s legs. A month of no running, my muscles have receded and now it’s just a whole lotta butt. My boobs have also gotten bigger, and feel totally out of control. I have to wear a bra now because otherwise I have no idea what they will get up to. When I get out of the shower, I don’t really recognize this body.

Other symptoms include constipation (woohoo!), frequent peeing, odd intermittent cramping, and what I’m calling Midnight Sickness. I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night nauseous… and with the overwhelming urge to pee. Obviously.

Yesterday, I was sitting in my boss’s office talking about generic work stuff. A colleague came in talking about some project, blah, blah, blah… I tuned them out and zoned ahead at a map of the world tacked up on the wall. Whilst staring at Russia, it hit me. Holy shit. There are cells multiplying in my uterus RIGHT NOW. Then back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Later that day, Mr. Ostrich and I were in the kitchen and he brought up the idea of visiting with his cousins the week after Christmas. The trouble is that there will be a ton of drinking and outdoor winter sports, both of which strike me as a bad idea at this stage in my pregnancy. I said I didn’t really want to go, and he asked “Why? We’re telling everyone by Christmas. They’ll know, so you’ll be fine.”

Enter the waterworks. I don’t want to tell anyone. Yet. Or ever, if we’re being honest about it. I’m still not sure this is real, so setting some hard deadline feels so wrong. I need time to let all this become real. And then I want time to enjoy this period for myself, without all the weird expectations that will inevitably follow when our families “know.” So how about 19 years from now? Does that sound reasonable to everyone?

Sometimes my brain leaps forward- to a baby shower, maternity leave, or daycare. Though I recognize on some level that those things will all likely happen one day, I don’t associate them with my life. Like when you when you see someone with an expensive car or a beautiful house. Nice, but clearly not for me.

Then there are those fleeting moments when I think to that picture of the four cell embryo that was transferred weeks back. It’s working so hard right now to turn into something bright and vibrant and entirely new.

And I think “Shit, how am I here?”

The Countdown Begins

Two more days until I test. Which means two more days to desperately try to interpret my symptoms. An exercise in futility if ever there was one.

So far my boobs hurt, my skin is oily, and my endometriosis is “tickling” though not actually painful. This is more or less what happens before my period. The new addition is a low level headache, but after some hardcore Googling I know this is a side effect of the estrogen patch I’m on.

I waver between two extremes.

Misery! Because this means I’m not pregnant, and will die childless and alone.

or

Exhaustion! Because this means nothing at all, and I’m working myself up for no reason.

After a little hemming and hawing I decided not to POAS. It has never been in my repertoire, in part because I liked the idea that nature gave me a built-in pregnancy test (i.e. my period.) It helped me stay connected to my body, and honestly was starting to feel like the last “natural” part of this process. Of course, IVF really throws any illusion of “nature” out the window. Who am I kidding?

I’ve been having really strange dreams lately. The first one was just me getting my period. I could see the blood making beautiful and intricate designs in the toilet bowl. (TMI, but this is an infertility blog.) The second dream was actually a little funny. I was being chewed out by a nurse for having a miscarriage because I had an orgasm. (They make this big deal about how you’re not allowed any sexy fun time after IVF, so this isn’t completely out of left field.) Obviously, my unconscious is anxious.

Is it weird that I’m actually dreading my test a little bit? I’ve liked spending the last two-ish weeks dwelling in possibility. It was nice, even if it was unknown. But in just a few days, I’ll know what’s actually been going on done there.

Mr. O has decided to take the day off. At first I thought this was crazy, but I can imagine that he’ll be just as apprehensive as I am. And his isn’t the kind of job where you can run into the bathroom for a good cry. I’m going to work from home in the afternoon while I wait for the call. I think it will be good to be distracted by work for most of the day, but be in a safe place when I find out for sure.

We’ve decided to make reservations at a restaurant that night. Either we’ll be celebrating, or we’ll be consoling ourselves with excellent food. Even if this cycle doesn’t work out, I like the idea of having a plan and sticking to it. Life goes on, damnit. And that includes dinner reservations.

This is one angsty ostrich, signing off…

Quelle Surprise!

CD1.  You know how I know? I got my period.

I did not, however, get any of the usual accompanying PMS drama. Okay, some sore boobs, but that was it. I was genuinely surprised when I got my period this morning because my body usually makes much ado about the situation. Nausea, acne, crying, tons of painful cramping… this month, I literally did not feel this coming. It is also a few days early, which I’m a wee bit happy about. I’m that much closer to my next cycle when I start IVF.

Is this what it is like to be a normal person? To function like an actual human for the last 1.5 weeks of my cycle?! Sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found you!

Ridiculousness aside, is it possible that my polyps were the culprits of my PMS? Is that crazy? Seriously, any ladies out there who had polyps– did you notice any difference in your period post op?

Planning, Schmanning

Ah, July 4th. A weekend to celebrate our grand nation with hot dogs, fireworks, and beer.

Or in my case, with failed OPK and awkward sex in a cousin’s cabin.

God Bless, ‘Murica.

Months ago, Mr. Ostrich’s cousins invited us to spend the 4th weekend in their cabin on the lake. It is just down the street from his uncle’s cabin, so it was a mini-family reunion. Never ones to pass up on a free trip out of the city, we said yes. Then checked the calendar, only to realize all this was happening at the very tail end of my fertile week.

NBD, right? On Clomid, I ovulate like clockwork on Thursday and we’re leaving Thursday afternoon, so I can stop obsessively testing and just relax.

Not quite, friends. Since I’ve upped my dosage on Clomid, my ovulation is delayed a day. So I peed on a stick Thursday morning, only to be greeted by an empty smilie face. “Okay. No problem. I’ll just bring all my gear with me to a cabin in the woods, and we’ll take care of business.”

Not quite, friends. I wake up that first morning, pee on a stick, only to have an OPK error. No idea why, just lots of blinky error symbols. As you all know, you have to hold your pee for 4 hours until the next test. And according to that day’s schedule, that would put us squarely at Uncle’s house which was filled to capacity with aunts, other uncles, cousins, and skads of small children.

Not exactly OPK friendly, eh?

So I decided “Fuck it.” You see, I’m just about fed up with all the monitoring and planning. So this month, we’re sorta winging it. I was having weird cramping any way, so I probably did ovulate that Friday.

Later that evening, we had sex in the basement of the cabin (where our room was.) It was the weirdest experience. On a futon, behind I KID YOU NOT a beaded bamboo curtain. Hellooooo, College! If only there was a doorknob to hang a sock on…

A few things to note from this cycle (mostly for myself, not you kids):

1) Since doubling my Clomid dosage, I’m ovulating a day later. My ovulation cramps are also very different. Before (even on the lower dosage) I could tell almost to the hour when I had ovulated. I would feel cramping in one ovary or the other, then a whole lotta OUCH. Said ovary would be sore for a few days afterwards, and that would be that. Now, my ovulation cramping is more like a generalized, primal aching. It lasts for hours leading up to and afterwards. Before my body practically screamed that it was ovulating. Now, it’s sort of a low, guttural moan.

2) My ovulation-related nausea is baaaaack! Also like clockwork, I’d get really nauseous the day before, during and a little bit after ovulation. I’m not entirely pleased with by its return, but maybe that means the Synthroid is working because my hormones are leveling out. That is wild and crazy speculation, mind you.

In unrelated news, I’m back on a plane next week to visit the family. My mother’s condition isn’t improving, though thankfully it is not declining either. I’m a little less apprehensive about this trip than in the past. No idea why. There are no real indications that my family with be any less insane than usual.

To be honest, I think I’m tapped on being sad. I just can’t seem to muster the energy to be upset about anything. I can’t even talk to my dad anymore because I can’t be sad with him. Like I literally cannot get myself to feel that particular emotion anymore.

I don’t know that this is a good thing. It’s just a thing. Maybe I’ve maxed out on grief with all that’s been going on. If you are exposed to it enough, can you build up an immunity to sadness?