Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Laparoscopy next week

The midwife called me back last week, saying that she had heard that I had some “not so good” news. She was really kind and gentle, and she has me booked in for a laparoscopy next Monday. At first I was really frightened, but then I had a long talk with my husband and he was very pragmatic and thoughtful.

He said that if I was too worried about the procedure, then I should cancel it. If I thought that the benefits outweighed the risks, then I should go ahead but stop worrying. He also gently reminded me that the best possible outcome will result in childbirth, which is much more risky and more painful. And then it hardly gets easier after that.

So, I thought to myself, am I in, or am I out?

I’m in. Now I’m focussing on the short term and long term positives. A low fibre diet the week before means lots of rice bubbles, white bread, and peanut butter. After the surgery I get a week at home with the cats and a pile of DVDs. We also get an answer to the question of endometriosis. And then our first IUI in December.

Raising a child brings joy and delight, but it also involves dealing with crises, disappointments, and pain. It is messy and complicated and stressful. So I am viewing this process as an educational experience. I need to learn how to communicate my thoughts, fears, and needs. To avoid panic attacks, and to act calmly and rationally. To enjoy the delights of each day, and aim directly for happiness and not for proxies.

Monday, 7 September 2009


"How was your weekend?" my colleagues ask.
"Great!" I answer, thinking I had my first miscarriage.

I told myself that I would think in all the appropriate terms. Zygote, blastocyst, embryo. I know all the statistics. I know that I had a 20-50% chance that it would end too soon. I wouldn't skip ahead. I would take each day as it comes.

But as I felt those twinges inside me, I got attached far too quickly. I imagined being pregnant during the Winter holidays, and the baby being born in Spring. We would have our first child before I turned thirty.

I should be happy, that I know that we can now at least get pregnant, that somewhere inside me a sperm can meet an egg. Objective: fertilisation - achieved. This should be a good sign.

However, I can't help but feel a little empty.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Chemical pregnancy

I started bleeding today. Chemical pregnancy. Four weeks and six days since my last menstrual period. Twenty one days post ovulation.

We have a houseguest with us, so I must act normal inside the house. So this morning I sat out on the fire escape, freezing in my pyjamas, quietly sobbing while I watched the people down below. Then I logged onto Fertility Friend and ticked 'miscarriage', and was informed that my status had been changed from "pregnant" to "waiting for ovulation".

I don't know where we go from here. I would like to hope that it is a positive sign, that it means that at least one of my tubes is not blocked and the sperm can swim. But why has it taken us this long to even get to this point? Do I still need a laparoscopy? Do we move straight to IUI?

As I look down at all the blood, I can't help wondering where the little poppy seed is, and how it failed to find a foothold in the dark.


Friday: The midwife at my infertility clinic called me to schedule my laparoscopy. I told her that I had a positive pregnancy test, so I probably should cancel the appointment. She congratulated me, and I asked her to pass the news onto the professor.

Saturday: I went for a walk through the park in the sunshine. I felt happy and full of hope. My womb felt like it was tugging and stretching. As I fell asleep I had to sleep on my back, because my breasts were so sore.

Today: In the absence of a blood test, I took another pregnancy test. I was hoping that the line would be twice as dark as the one that I took 48 hours ago.

Instead, the line is fading, and my spotting is increasing. Things are not looking good for the little poppy seed.

Friday, 4 September 2009


Yesterday afternoon, I picked up a digital pregnancy test, or a "test de grossesse / zwangerschapstest"" as they are known here in Belgium. Sixteen euros. Sheesh. Luckily, instead of trying to fit "enciente/ pas enciente; zwanger / niet zwanger; gravid / ikke er gravid" into the tiny window, there is simply a plus or a minus. So I come home, and use the fancy test. The hour glass flashes, and I put it down to wait. Three minutes later, I return, and I think that I catch a glimpse of a minus sign. Yep, I think, that's more like it.

But then I pick it up, and this is what I see:

It still feels very academic to me. Like this stick that I'm holding is referring to someone else. I still don't feel any difference - just some very mild pre-period cramping.

Still, I know I have to tell my husband. Maybe that will make it real. I pop out to a local baby store. It takes me a long time to walk in. Once in, I feel as if everyone is looking at me. After a long deliberation, I pick up a cute bear onsie for newborns. It looks disturbingly large. I come home, wrap it up, write a note, and order pizza.

Over dinner, my husband tells me about his day. I am terrified of telling him. I still don't feel like it's true, and that I am jumping the gun or making it up. So I give him the gift, and a card that says "I am pregnant. I am due on the 9th of May, 2010. I love you". He looks at me with wonder and amazement, and pulls me over to the couch. "Wow", he says, as we touch noses. I can't stop holding the positive pregnancy test. It is the only evidence that anything is difference. We spend the rest of the evening discussing wills and life insurance and maternity leave and childcare. It still doesn't seem real.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Pale pink line

So, this cycle I ovulated sometime after cycle day 13. I had a positive luteinizing hormone rise at day 12, but no temperature rise until day 18. If I did ovulate at day 13, then today I am 18 days into my luteal phase. I took a pregnancy test 14 days past my LH surge, when my period was due, but it was completely negative, as usual. I also noticed I had some spotting and cramping, and thus had a few glasses of wine and a cup of coffee, and waited for my period to show up. Today, four days later, it still isn't here. My pregnancy tests will expire in two months, so I figured, why not use another one, even though my temperature is falling.

I remember reading that usually the second line shows up straight away. But mine, as usual, fades to white. I put it down, but then a few minutes pick it back up again. If I look very, very carefully, there appears to be an extremely faint second line. So faint, I must be hallucinating. I pull up the Fertility Friend gallery of very faint positive pregnancy tests, and they all look darker than mine. I pull it out again. It's more than a shadow than a line. The test strip cost a dollar from the internet, is over a year old, and has been shipped over two continents. It's probably not very accurate.

I have had no other signs. No nausea or sore breasts or anything. I feel completely normal.

If it is positive and I had a healthy pregnancy, I would give birth on the 9th of May 2010. That is far too soon and too real and too scary. My hands shake at the thought. It's all too soon. I'm not ready.

So I will test again this afternoon, and we shall see then. But I might pick up the strip and look at it again.