Tuesday, December 27, 2011

As Crafty as I Wanna Be

I am not a big crafter, so making gifts for anyone on my Christmas list was a big accomplishment. After several tries, I made this subway art poster for Shawn. It's a favorite Avett Brothers lyric and, obviously, our last name. It's a 12 x 18 print and looks pretty cool.

I also made 12 x 18 prints for my brothers and their wives. For their posters, I used their old addresses. It took a lot of playing with and no fewer than 3 failed attempts, but I think that all the posters turned out pretty well. And it was fun to give a personalized piece of art to people for Christmas. The printing was inexpensive at Meijer and using coupons, I was able to get fairly nice frames from Michaels.

If you want to make your own, I followed this tutorial from I Am Momma. I did use her printing method the first time but had limited success using the engineer's blueprint so I ended up printing a plain old poster and using a frame. It's a different look, but still nice, I think.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I'm Better, Really

Hormones can really upend your life. I am FINALLY feeling mostly back to normal after the longest miscarriage experience ever.

It wasn't until my acupuncturist told me that, in fact, bleeding for 21 days is NOT normal that I went back to the doctor. I am really trying my hardest to live in a let-things-take-their-course way, especially when it comes to my reproductive health. Sometimes, though, it's good to have someone give you a nudge in the right direction when things are a bit off balance.

After a call to my doc's office to fill them in on what had been going on, they wanted me to come in right away for an ultrasound. The last time I had an ultrasound, there was a gorgeous little girl dancing around on the screen. This one was way less fun.

If I hadn't been crying, I might have thought it was pretty cool to see my lady parts on TV like that. My uterus was empty, which was sad, but also very good. Any remaining tissue would have had to been removed surgically, through a D&C. The tech pointed out my uterine scar from my c-section (grrrr), and the remaining corpus luteum (egg casing) from the miscarriage still on my ovary. The corpus luteum should go away on its own without intervention.

I also had my blood drawn by the sweetest nurse ever, who I cried upon relentlessly. She even showed me out the back door when I told her I didn't want to walk out through the waiting room. Bless her.

The results of the blood test showed that my hcg (the pregnancy hormone) level was still elevated which is probably part of the reason why I still felt pretty far gone. With time, probably more time than I'd like to give it, that will zero out and I'll go back to being a normal (?) woman.

I am glad to have the worst of this shit behind me. There were several days during late November and early December when I thought I might have slipped into the realm of clinical depression. The overwhelming feeling of hopelessness was unlike anything I've experienced and I talked to Shawn twice about the possibility of needing some professional help. Very scary and, I do believe, a clinically real hormone driven phenomenon. Surely the loss of the pregnancy was the catalyst for my blues, but I think the fact that my hormones had been whacked out coupled with dealing with continued bleeding kept me spiraling downward.

I am excited/terrified to try again to conceive. I am finally feeling back to normal and I kind of just want to drink wine and coffee and not worry that it might be hindering my reproductive ability. But I also really, really want to be with a baby again. So, I dunno. I guess I will try to trust my body on this one. After all, it kind of screwed things up last time, so it owes me one.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Carrying On

Since my public has been hounding me to return to the blog, here I am. Sorry, Jen.

I have not felt like writing much for awhile. I started this space to chronicle Violet's life and my entry into motherhood. Lately, I haven't had much to say about motherhood.

And I haven't had much to say about motherhood because I'm infertile.

I really hate that word. I didn't want to read it anywhere let alone write in on the blog that was created to capture my life as a mother. And it still seems like the wrong word for me, because--hello--Violet.

But, look it up and you will see that, regardless of previous children, a couple is considered infertile after 12 months of unprotected, well-timed intercourse that does not result in a live birth.

We are wrapping up month 15.

The first 6 months were almost fun since I knew at any moment I'd see two lines on a test and we'd get ready to do this awesome parenthood trip again. And two lines did appear. Violet and I made a save the date card and she told her Daddy on June 7th that I "had a baby in my tummy."

Things got markedly less fun when I started bleeding in June shortly after the two lines appeared. I got the gift of my first miscarriage on June 9th, my 33rd birthday. And then I started to worry.

I got really serious about making this happen. I knew the 12 month mark was coming and I since I knew we weren't infertile--hello, Violet--I knew we'd have conceived by then.

But 12 months came and there was no baby. We went on to the next step and had some preliminary tests run because, as the nurse at my ob-gyn's office was nice enough to point out ON my birthday WHILE I was having a miscarriage, I am closer to 35 than I am to 25.

The tests were normal. My hormone levels, my thyroid, anything that could be measured through a blood test was normal. I asked Shawn to be tested, too, and, because he is a sweet man and because he also wants more kids he agreed. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the doctor described his results as "perfect."

With the affordable testing done and no infertility coverage on our insurance, I decided to forgo the more invasive and expensive testing and went the natural route instead. In October, I started seeing an acupuncturist and taking Chinese herbs to help my get pregnant. Three cycles is how long I'd give it, I decided, before going forward with more exhaustive Western medical testing. Along with the herbs and acupuncture, I did fertility yoga, cut out coffee, didn't drink, and generally lived each day as a meditation on getting pregnant.

The good news is, I became pregnant on the first cycle. The bad news is, this pregnancy also ended in miscarriage. With the exception of losing my Dad, this miscarriage has been the most emotionally taxing time of my life.

I thought I lost the pregnancy very early, grieved, then realized I was still pregnant. I prepared for the worst and hoped for the best--an exhausting state in which to live--for several days until it definitively ended. The blood work showed poor progesterone levels, but whether that was the cause of the miscarriage or one of its effects is unknown.

It's been 12 days since the miscarriage began and it still isn't over. I feel like I am supposed to have moved on from this already, but my body hasn't even done that yet.

I'd like to carry on, enjoy the holidays, enjoy being Violet's Mommy again. I am feeling intermittently better but, by and large, still kind of like a basketcase.

***The other sucky thing about secondary infertility is that the pain it causes feels somehow a result of greediness. I AM lucky, blessed, amazingly wowed everyday by the one daughter I have. If anything, Violet makes me hyper-aware of how incredibly precious the gift of motherhood is.

I know there are people out there, some dear friends and family, who have gone through this taxing journey of trying to conceive that are not lucky enough to end a shitty day with a snuggle from their kid. I am not trying to compare my pain with theirs--it all sucks. I do feel like I understand infertility in a whole new way in light of the last year and that can only make me a better, more compassionate person.