Bionic Mamas

you're not losing a vagina, you're gaining a son


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If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

Anyway, that’s why I haven’t been posting.

Not much going on in baby-making land. Peeing on OPKs. Planning on an IUI this month, not feeling terribly optimistic about the whole thing. Wondering how long I should keep this up before admitting that it’s not going to happen short of IVF (if at all). Dr. Baby Factory says 1-4 more cycles, given the severity of my endometriosis.

(Dammit, why doesn’t spell check know “endometriosis”? Screw you, spell check.)

Speaking of endo, last week was a particularly unpleasant edition of GI/Endo Badness. At least I have visible wounds to show for it this time — after the first day stuck in bed groaning, I took a bunch of the painkillers I use for migraines. (They don’t make the GI pain go away, but they do make it seem like it’s happening to somebody else. Sometimes they let me sleep a little, too.) Then I decided I could go to the bathroom — a whopping 10 foot walk — by myself, which was fine until I was on the toilet and the visual world was replaced by thickening clouds of very coarse static. I’d never noticed how LOUD the bathroom lights were. It would have been okay if I’d had the sense to get off the toilet and onto the floor, as I had that afternoon when the same thing had happened — orthostatic hypotension is a common side effect of taking a handful of those little pills.

But lying on the bathroom floor sucks, I thought, if one can be said to “think” with so little blood in one’s brain. I bet I can make it back to bed if I run.

I am a genius.

I’m not sure if I did run, as the next thing I was aware of following a period of blackness was a lot of furniture hitting my face. Then Sugar was standing over me in the living room, saying she would help me to bed but that I needed to decide first whether I wanted my pants on or off, because halfway wasn’t working very well.

I am now the proud owner of a subtly glamorous black eye.

But you should see the bookcase.


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Updates of All Sorts

One of those dreadful bullet-blogs.

Exciting things afoot (asnatch?) over at Two Hot Mamas! Go give ’em some labor-love!

— Couple new things up on the Etsy site:
1. the aforementioned custom pet stamp by Bionic
2. a wickedly sweet/sweetly wicked skull pendant drawn and enameled by Sugar

— Tentatively good news on the job/insurance front. After some serious hustle on my part, enrollment in the my endangered class is one student shy of “off the radar” for cancellation. I’m hoping that means they’re likely to run it even if I don’t get another one by Thursday. I also have calls all over the place to see if I could get coverage by taking a Saturday kids’ class offered by the same department. I’d rather not have to, since my horrible commute becomes excruciating when it meets the reduced weekend bus service, but I’d also rather not lose my insurance.

— I’ve been peeing on sticks and so on, and we’ve decided we’ll climb back on the TTC horse this month, now that insurance looks less scary. Frankly, due date for a child conceived this time of year is still bad for us financially — fall is my higher-earning semester — but I’m not willing to insem only during the limited “good timing” months. Especially because…

— I’ve talked to Dr. Baby Factory about my endo questions. He says yes, the GI badness probably is endo, but that there’s not much to be done about it, as that location has particularly bad surgical outcomes. (Basically, the scar tissue from surgery between vag and rectum is likely to be much worse than any original adhesion. Cervix glued to rectum, that kind of thing.) He also said, “I hope I haven’t given you the impression that I think everything is fine with your chances of conception,” and brought up again the idea that going to IVF after 3-6 IUI attempts might be more cost-effective in our case. Sigh.

Okay, I know this is the part you really want updated:

Pee Stick Follies Update….I chickened out. I already know what happens to silica gel when it’s allowed to absorb liquid for a few hours. And if Sugar came home to find quivering chunks of pee-jello on the bathroom sink, you can bet I’d lose all rights to talk about how icky her neti pot is.

If it’s any consolation, I did have a hell of a time getting the packet out of the pee-cup neatly. In fact, such a thing proved impossible. Don’t tell Sugar.


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Last Night

I dreamed last night I was in my garden, in back of a house I don’t own. I was quite covered in dirt when I noticed a long curve of something coming up from my left hip. I pulled it up and, as I was surprised to discover, out of my groin, which hurt but also felt satisfying. “Ah,” I thought, “an old vein. Must have gone bad. Forgot I’m supposed to be pulling those out.” But when I shook the dirt off and looked again, it was a tough runner of grass, which had evidently grown into me and rooted.

All of which is to say that I woke up with cramps.

I don’t mean to complain about that. For one thing, I wasn’t thinking I might be pregnant this time, since I ovulated on the weekend of our wedding, which was beautiful timing for poetry but lousy for a trip to the Baby Factory, with all the scheduling and defrosting and spiking of my cervix that entails. For another, the cramps aren’t that bad. In fact, the five periods since my horrible HSG have been the five least painful I can remember. I used to spend three days or so every month nearly incapacitated, popping Aleve until my stomach hurt, often swearing, sometimes writhing, rarely passing out. Now the pain almost goes away with Advil. My theory is that much of my pain was because my cervices — despite having, in principle, twice the potential to admit blood — were so circuitous and given to clenching that the blood couldn’t get out, leaving my uterus Very.Angry. Now one entrance has been, to quote the note on my chart that I read over a nurse’s shoulder, “perforated,” and it’s not so dramatic. (Unfortunately, even that side is still tough for the catheter to negotiate, which is why the new note in my chart says I’m to have Valium the next time we try to knock me up*.)

At the HSG, Dr. Baby Factory told me that my tubes were open, though the cysts on my ovaries still left him calling my endometriosis “significant.” I could have surgery for it, if it was bothering me, or just try to get knocked up and hope for the best, if it wasn’t so bad. I am, as previously noted, generally opposed to knives wielded at my person, so I politely declined. And then my cramps all but stopped!

Except. Now that I’m keeping better track of my cycles, I’m wondering if this insane GI awfulness I’ve been having occasionally for the past few years isn’t secretly some kind of endo. It doesn’t happen every month or usually during my period, but it has happened the past two months, both times a few days before my period started. Remember when I thought I might have super-early morning sickness but them decided it was the stomach flu? That. It happened again this month, on Thanksgiving (so I couldn’t eat anything)**. Basically, what seems to happen is that my colon stops advancing (uh, TMI, sorry, but you are reading this because of my hoo-has, so only kind of sorry), I fill up with gas, and I lie on the floor writhing and screaming for 12-24 hours until things move along again. I went to the GI doc some time ago, pooped in lots of cups, and got told that probably I had injured myself getting food poisoning, that things were out of whack, that I should take pro-biotics and hope it got better, which it sort of seemed to, but only sort of. Now I’m wondering if the real issue could be that I have endometrial nodules on or near my bowel that get inflamed and mess everything up. I have a call in to Dr. Baby Factory to see what he thinks of this theory, but I know that the answer is likely to be that there’s no way to tell without surgery.

Did I mention how I don’t like the cutting? Oh, and how I’d like to get one with this TTC business already and stop having to hurry up and wait?

Did I also mention that the weather has turned cold? How about that this is my last night of 30, and that when my mother was my age, she was about 3 days from going into labor with me, after two endo surgeries and several more years of TTC?


*Which — and believe me, baby-watchers, I am as impatient about this as you — won’t be until mid-January, at the earliest. Not only am I most likely to ovulate on the day we set off on our annual Middle-Western Odyssey, making timing a clinic visit stressful, but I would also, on balance, like to be drinking at New Years and also not weeping over getting my period while snowed-in at Sugar’s parents’.

**but still had a nice time, because my super-awesome cousin was visiting. She was the most compassionate 18-year-old EVER about how sick I was, sadly because she was been so very much sicker with endo herself for the past couple years.


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Family Matters

Curiouser and curiouser. When I said that I figured my vag wasn’t all that weird after pap smears passed without comment, on the grounds it’s not the sort of thing people talk about, it turns out I was more right than I knew.

One of my many maternal aunts called me the other day. It seems that my mother had told her about my HSG but not the reasons for it. I came clean. She said “Yay!” about the baby-plans (especially nice since she’s the only one married to a bona fide conservative) and then casually mentioned that her uterus wasn’t normal. Wha??

I put Mom on the case, and it turns out that two of her sisters have “heart-shaped” — bicornate, I assume — utes (and children without surgery, I might add). Of the remaining four women in the sib-ship, three have had hysterectomies for endo. No telling what shape theirs were. Time to put in a call to maternal aunt number five….

Oh, did I mention that my father is a geneticist? I suppose I should call him and let him know that maybe there’s something to this heredity business, after all.


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At The Baby Factory

Last week, Sugar Mama and I made our way over to the Kips Bay Baby Mill…and I’m a little in love. Our doctor is The Right Sort. He listens well, seems genuinely interested to know us, and Sugar Mama was particularly impressed by how naturally he treated her as my partner, not just as a more-or-less invisible friend. (In fact, the more I think about Dr. Baby Factory, the less I like the gyn who couldn’t find my second hoo-ha.)

I was a little worried about the transvaginal ultrasound they do as a regular part of new patient intake, though it was inevitable that I would have one this month, since the gyn wanted one as follow-up on the ovarian cysts found on my MRI and I was glad enough not to have his hand on the dildocam, considering how uncomfortable I found his pelvic exam. Dr. Baby Factory was very gentle — even the double-pap (the first pap of the rest of my life…) wasn’t bad. Sugar Mama stayed with me the whole time, as did some new PhD who I took to be a med-student sort but turned out to have studied Zebra Fish embryology? (Why was he there? Oh well. It’s getting so I don’t care that much who sees my hoo-has.)

The bad news is that the cysts haven’t moved — or maybe that’s good news, since I was a little convinced I had the Big C — so I had another u/s this week. This one was with Dr. Demure, who managed the whole thing without even seeing my uncovered legs. He passed me the wand under the paper sheet and had me insert it, then daintily reached his hand underneath to maneuver it, eyes always on the u/s screen. It was a little reminiscent of the scene in Kandahar when the doctor can only advise female patients through a sheet, since he’s not allowed to see their bodies.

The other bad news doesn’t really count as a surprise: I, like every other woman in my family, have endometriosis. (Screw spell-check for not knowing that word, by the way.) I was hoping that if I just kept my complaints about my excruciating periods sub-medical, I avoid my fate, so chalk up another loss for magical thinking. Sigh. This will make conception harder, but I keep telling myself it’s not impossible. My mother has endo badly enough that she had a laparotomy years before I was born, after which the doctor said her ovaries so badly messed up from intrusions that “we scraped together all the ovarian tissue we could find and pushed it into a roughly ovarian shape”. And yet, here I sit.

So now it’s an HSG to discover how messy my tubes are. I am terrified at the thought of this — not only does the set-up sound bad (catheter through the cervix?? CLAMP if the cervix is shy????), but getting pumped full of X-rayable dye apparently hurts quite a bit if the tubes aren’t open. Plus, Sugar Mama will be out of town for the only day the procedure can be done this month, and I’m scheduled to teach that night. Friend With Baby will probably come with me. Apologies in advance for any infertiles in the Bad Place who have to see the cute baby, but I’ve decided I’m looking out for number one this time, and Friend With Baby is the best choice for company.

Enh, sorry for the lack of funny pictures. I’m not feeling it.