Archive for August, 2010

Life After Miscarriage: On Progesterone and Off My Rocker

I’ve been taking my progesterone pills for a week now. My face looks like a war zone, my bowels are in distress, and I’m pretty sure that a nitroglycerin plant could explode just outside my bedroom and I wouldn’t notice. I have a window of about 45 minutes between taking the pill and entering into a coma. On the plus side, I’m getting some great sleep.

Waking up the next day is a bit of a challenge and I think the extra hormones are eating brain cells because I left the pill bottle in my gym bag and left the gym bag in my car. If you want to know what I found when I opened the bottle that night, put a few jellybeans in the microwave for thirty seconds.

The next day, I sheepishly showed the pharmacist my ‘whoops.’ Her eyes popped out of her head and she said, “Wow. Oh. Hmmm.” Thanks lady. Yeah. I know I’m supposed to keep the pills in a cool dark place.

I watched her put the melted, rubbery yellow hunk in the palm of her hand and take it to the back to find out if they could replace the prescription with the ‘damaged’ feature of my insurance plan. You would have though she was carrying a tiny rhinoceros in the palm of her hand by the reactions of the staff in the back. Through the glass, I saw raised eyebrows and confused faces. Seriously guys. I can’t be the first person to have done this.  I’ve been really careful with my replacement pills, especially since I had to pay full price for half the pills.

I have three more days with this round. Then we wait for the magic to happen. Supposedly, my body will recognize the rapid decline in the hormone and Aunt Flo will show up. From there, we wait until cycle day 21. On that day, I run to the doctor without passing go and get my blood drawn. The results will tell us whether I am ovulating.

If I am, then I’ll continue taking the progesterone and hope that our routine — I mean our every-other -day romantic rendezvous’, result in a pregnancy.  If I’m not ovulating, then we have to make a decision about whether to start a course of egg-releasing pills.

Thanks a lot body. This is so much fun.

Top 10 Tips on Running Errands (with a baby)

On The Brady Bunch, Carol never had to do anything without help.  Alice did the shopping with her, cooked dinner with her, and made herself the butt of a lot of the jokes (supposedly so Carol never looked dumb).  In the real world, you’re probably going to do most of these things on your own (though hopefully with help from hubby?)  The cupboards may be stocked with goodies, the pantry may be filled with treats, but it seems like there are always errands to be run.  And guess what?  You don’t have to do them alone.  Now you get to do them with a heavy, irritable, impatient infant.  Here are 10 survival techniques to get you through what used to be an easy trip to the supermarket:

  1. Feed your little one before leaving the house.  An obvious one, we’re sure, but an easy-to-forget-until-the-last-minute detail.
  2. Have a checklist of baby traveling needs (i.e. pacifier, diapers, etc).  This list will either be mental or physical, depending on your propensity for anal-retentive behavior.
  3. If driving, pack stroller and/or hammock, satchel, papoose, or other means of transport.  If walking, put baby in one of the aforementioned devices.
  4. Don’t forget the diapers and wipes.  Again, don’t forget diapers and wipes.  A yucky tushy will cause a very yucky outing.  (Oh, and don’t forget the diapers and wipes!)
  5. Pack an extra ensemble (no, not for you) for the peeing, pooping, spitting up, and drooling tot.
  6. Have your shopping list, itinerary, and traveling route prepared.  You don’t want this taking any longer than it needs to.  Plus your baby brain hasn’t been remembering things too well recently, now has it?
  7. Have your distraction device handy – toy, music-maker, white noise machine, etc. You can only “Shhhh” so much into the car seat behind you, before accidentally running over someone’s Dachshund (a guilt-ridden and costly mistake).
  8. Bring your hands-free device.  If baby sleeps through any of this trip, it may be your one chance to catch up with a friend all day.
  9. Make your first stop one through the drive-thru Starbucks.  A venti beverage of your choice will certainly put a little kick in your step (unless, of course, you’re refraining from caffeine while nursing, in which case, get something huge and herbal)
  10. Meditate.  Before leaving the house, don’t forget to meditate.  This will not be a walk in the park (no matter how many times you’ve thought that “this time it will be different!”)

Life After Miscarriage: Time for an intervention

“We need to get you pregnant.” That’s how my doctor opened our last appointment. She knocked on the door, sat down across from the examining table, put her hands on her knees, leaned forward and said “I can help with that.”

So there I was, sitting with a paper gown around my naked lower half and thinking, ‘Woah. What just happened here?’

Yes, I do want to get pregnant…but how about a little “Hi, how are you? How have you been sleeping? How are your emotions?” My desire for emotional coddling was quickly overridden by the straight-forward approach though. After all, the whole reason I was at the doctor, was to find out what’s going on with my body and to figure out how to correct it as quickly as possible.

After recapping every blow-by-heartbreaking blow, including the fact that I was now on cycle day 44 with no sign of what I’m now calling ‘the second coming,’ the doctor and I agreed that there were at least a few things we could do right away.

First item on the agenda: blood work. “I’m going to test your thyroid function and your prolactin — both hormones can interfere with your body enough to stop menstruation.”

Second: Prometrium, a progesterone pill. “You’re going to take two a day for 10 days. Then you’ll get your period.”

Third: Cycle Day 21 blood work. “Come back on day 21 of your cycle. We’re going to test your progesterone to see if you’re ovulating.”

“And if I’m not ovulating?” I asked.  “I can give you something to help with that as long as you’re OK with a slightly increased risk of having twins,” she replied with a smile on her face.

So that’s the action plan. I’m still waiting on results of the initial blood work (much like I’m still waiting on my second post-miscarriage period) but I did pick up my prescription for the progesterone supplement. I don’t know when I’m going to start taking it though. I’m going overseas for the next week and I don’t want to be on hormone pills while I’m in a different country. The last thing I need now is to find myself hospitalized while traveling. No–that wouldn’t be good. So I think I’ll wait until I return. What’s one more week in the grand scheme of things?

Sex After Baby

Vaginal or c-section, sex after a baby will be different.  The doctor won’t let you have sex for 6-8 weeks after your baby’s birth, so you don’t have to think about it immediately anyway.  But when you do, it may be easier (or more difficult) than you imagined.

Your physical discomfort from your vaginal delivery may make it hurt for some time.  The achy-ness of your c-section incision may also be a physical hindrance.  What else?  Your boobs used to be just for fun – now they have a (very un-sexual) job.  Your baby is sleeping in the crib right next to you.  Your baby is crying in the crib right next to you.  When your partner talks dirty and says, “I want to *&^% you on the beach”, you think, “But who will take care of the baby??”  You may also have left over consequences of having a baby, like your hemorrhoids, vaginal discharge, and your hair is falling out.  These things make you feel terribly un-sexy.

And you’re so tired!  You’re so tired that the last thing you want to do is slip into sexy lingerie (like your husband asked you to) and act like you’re young and frisky again.   You may just have to go easy on yourself.  Maybe you won’t have sex for another month.  Or another month after that!  This won’t mean that your relationship has fallen in the pooper.  It means that you have other priorities (but you still love one another) and you’re tired (but you still love one another) and you’re thinking about the baby (but you still love one another) and you just want to go to bed.

And if you want to take a whack at it, remember these important things:

  1. Lube
  2. Patience
  3. Don’t wake the baby

Am I in Labor?

How will you know you’re in labor?  Much like life, labor isn’t usually what it looks like in the movies.  You already have plenty on you mind, and now you have to wait around, often beginning a whole two weeks before your due date, wondering, “Am I in labor??”

Here are things that may happen leading up to you going into labor:

  • Dilation (opening of the cervix)
  • Effacement (ripening of the cervix)
  • Bloody show (loss of mucous plug)
  • Nesting (suddenly wanting to paint the nursery)
  • You water breaks (rupture of membranes)
  • Contractions

In the movies, a woman will be walking through a department store, when suddenly a gallon of water falls from somewhere up her skirt, and onto the floor.  This is certainly not common.  For most of us boring folk, we first noticed we were in labor when we had contractions.  The confusing thing is, though, that you’ve probably been having contractions on and off for a while, so how do you know this is it?  Here are questions you can ask yourself:

  • Are the contractions regular?
  • Do they start to last longer, get stronger and closer together?
  • Does walking make them stronger?
  • Do they continue, despite moving or changing positions?
  • Did they start in the lower back and move to the front of your abdomen?

If you answered yes, then you’re in labor, friend.  If you answered no, then go take a walk through a department store and see if you can make a splash.

Life After Miscarriage: One Step Forward and Two Steps Back

For as many steps as I’ve taken toward moving on, there are still days where I feel like I’m caught in quicksand.

No matter how much I work, or how many weekend trips I plan, or how many runs I do in the morning, no matter how much I fill my day planner, I cannot escape the miscarriage. I’ve tried my best to fill my life with work, and friends, and church, and books, and magazines, and exercise. I’ve tried not to leave any room for grief. But somehow, it keeps finding its way in.

If I’m quiet for one moment, I slip into a daydream where I imagine myself six months pregnant or decorating a nursery.  I catch myself imagining my husband rolling over in the morning and kissing my big belly, whispering to our son or daughter.

I fall into pockets of sadness in the mundane moments of my life – just today, in the simplest act of wiping down the sink after rinsing dishes.  I had to turn away from my husband because I didn’t want him to see the tears in my eyes.  I know he could sense something was wrong but there’s nothing I can say that will help him, or anyone understand.