Friday, August 11, 2006

Numbers game

I'm a bit behind the times, partly because I've always been lazy about writing (which is odd, for an activity I enjoy so much once I'm doing it) and partly because my energy level seems to be completely random. For instance, I was so zonked this afternoon that I forgot to put the potato salad in the fridge for a good hour after I brought it home from the store. (I think it's okay; it still felt cool to the touch. Sort of.) Then I conked out for a solid hour after dinner, waking only when my darling husband offered to watch a movie with me (which I cannot resist, being a complete Movie Junkie). Now that it's pushing eleven, I'm wide awake and rarin' to go! Real predictable energy levels.

In any case, I wanted to catch up my vast reading audience (hah!) on my latest set of numbers, though they're actually from last week. You make recall that my Slightly Pricey Clinic (which is, however, not as pricey as the ones in San Francisco) has a HCG-counting machine that tops out at 1500, rendering it useless for overachievers like me. So that evening I trotted down to Kaiser and had another one done, and repeated it two days later. The first beta was 2815, and the second one was 4555. That's not a double, but the Kaiser people assured me (and the SPC people echoed it) that a 60 percent rate of increase is just fine, and that seems to be what I have.

Or had. Have. Had. Who knows? Not me! The problem with being ostensibly pregnant (especially after wrestling with infertility, and reading waaaaaaay too much on the subject to ever be blase' about pregnancy again) is that you are aware you could be un-pregnant at any moment. That chemical pregnancy left a scar on me, I'll tell ya, and it's not a physical one. I know, down deep in my bones, that this wonderful thing that I am cherishing so much already could just be taken away from me at any moment. That's not a comfortable feeling. And it won't be mollified until August 17, when I get my first ultrasound.

But in a way (a perverse way that allows me to get something out of the $13K we spent on the first attempt), I'm almost glad the first attempt did not succeed. I am, in many ways, a lazy person. But I've usually had success in almost anything I really set my mind to, and had it easily. I won academic awards right and left in school, usually ones I didn't have to apply for (since that would have meant some actual effort on my part). I remember the first Speech tournament I went to in high school ... I had somehow gotten involved in Poetry Reading as my event (no, I'm not making this up; who could make up Poetry Reading as an event?), and at my very first tournament, I won third place over a number of more experienced readers, including the previous year's state champion. Just a few years ago, I placed in a prestigious writing contest, even though I'd only been writing fiction for a couple of years at that point, and beat out many more experienced writers who had been entering the contest for years.

So I've developed a bad mental habit of just expecting success any time I put out my pinkie to get it. And with our first round of IVF, I was determined to beat the statistics and "get it right" the first time. I went on a self-improvement blitz to maximize my chances. I took both yoga and a relaxation class, since I had read that achieving the "relaxation response" every day was important for fertility. I walked every single day. I had massages (me, who had never had one in her life!). I chirpily kept a "positive mental outlook." I was determined, I tell ya, determined.

And we know how that came out. Nada. It was humbling, and I do mean that. It reminded me that "worth" has NOTHING to do with this journey. This is not a matter of the deserving getting babies and the undeserving not. I cannot force the Universe to cough up a kid for me, just because I somehow deserve one. The best I can do is humbly apply myself, wait, and hope.

This time around, the yoga and massages went out the window. I just didn't have the patience for them. I did decide to apply "humor therapy" (which I'll cover in a future post) by watching a funny movie or standup comedy almost every day, mostly to keep my spirits up. And although I had not planned it, I found myself praying a lot. Not so much that it would work, as that I would be able to humbly and graciously accept the outcome, and find some sort of path forward from there.

So this time, it caught. At least for now. But I am well aware that it didn't have to be that way, that we could have had a repeat of last time, and it would have said nothing about my worth, either good or bad. And I am excrutiatingly aware of my tenuous hold on this particular happiness. And it makes me ... appreciative. Which is not a bad thing to be.

(P.S. Thanks to sharp-eyed Victoria for catching my typos!)


Blogger chris said...

Just read your blog. Good luck. Your numbers are really high. BTW, I used to live in Bodega Bay when I was a kid.

Wishing you the best on Thursday!

And yes, I'm an insomniac--my son woke up coughing and now I can't go back to sleep.

1:36 AM  
Blogger lil Johnny said...

My mom say's she doesn't want any more kids after having me.

12:22 AM  

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