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A broken compass.

7 Dec

When I moved to California 5 years ago, I did so primarily because my intuition told me to.  I knew absolutely no one in Sonoma County, I didn’t have a job or a place to stay, and I barely had any money.   And yet, because of a feeling in my gut, I hopped in the car and took a chance. Within three weeks of being here, a newly acquired friend asked me to go to a party with him.  Even though I didn’t feel like going, I decided to join him because something was pulling me there.  The second we opened the door, I spotted Tim.  2 years later, he became my husband.  My intuition was dead-on.

In therapy two nights ago, we discovered that one of the problems for me with my losses is that my intuition has been silenced.  When I think about my next pregnancy, my head is telling me it’s not going to work-out and that I have to start accepting the fact that I may not be a mother because my head is trying to protect my heart.  But when I try to listen to my intuition, I can’t hear a thing.  It’s telling me nothing.  Which means one of two things: 1) my intuition has been thwarted from all of the grief and pain and it just doesn’t have an answer for me, or 2) I’m too scared to listen.

We sat with the second option for a few moments.  As we sat in silence while I tried to listen, I still heard nothing.  But while my intuition was mute, my fear was screaming.  It appears I’m scared to death of finding out what it’s trying to tell me.  Which can only mean one thing: that it’s going to tell me what I don’t want to hear.  I can try to tell myself that my fear and my heart are confusing my intuition, but it has never failed me before.

Or has it?

Didn’t I believe whole-heartedly that my second pregnancy (and first planned) was it?  Isn’t that how it works?  Except I think in that case it was merely naivety.  Women who get pregnant stay pregnant, right?  No one miscarries!  My intuition didn’t know any better.

This brings me to a very good point that both my therapist and my husband brought to my attention: biology will always have the ability to overrule my gut.  Perhaps biology even trumps it all – no matter what I feel, it will always have the last say.  The bastard.

Perhaps this is something I can believe in while my intuition remains silenced.  That even though I can’t (or won’t) hear what it’s trying to tell me, that maybe this one I should just leave up to biology.  It’s just so difficult to turn my back on the compass that I’ve relied on my entire life, the one that brought me three thousand miles to my husband.  Navigating this newly-found landscape sometimes feels impossible without it.

Struggling with who I am now.

27 Jul

For me, one of the most frustrating parts of losing four babies and making it as far as I did with them, is the weight I’ve put on and then weeks later had to lose once they were gone. This last time has been the worst.  Not only have my boobs morphed permanently into something I’d rather not see, I’ve got this pudge all around that’s haunting me.  I know it’s partly my fault.  After each loss I tend to be not very nice to my body for a few weeks (or months), eating anything I want in defiance of another baby gone.  Following the previous three losses, I didn’t care so much how I looked because at that point, it was still worth it because the next time?  It was going to work.  What were a few pounds?  But this time, the hope I still had before isn’t there to mask what I see in the mirror.

I don’t feel good about myself, and I know a large part of it is the extreme disappointment I feel in my body.  I know I need to forgive myself, but it’s not easy when your entire life you assume that when the time comes to try for a baby, your body will do what it’s supposed to do.  It was easier to forgive myself after 1 or 2 – even 3 – but I’m having a much harder time this time around.  Now reality is hitting and it’s been really difficult for me to come to peace with that.  I know my family and friends want to see the old Courtney back, the one that laughs and smiles and jokes; but the truth is, after this last year and a half, I don’t know who this new Courtney is.  I know the old one is still in there, but she’s changed with each loss.  I’m not the same person I was two years ago, and it’s really challenging to figure out who I am now.  After 29 years of believing one thing, a few months is an awfully short time to switch gears.  I think so many people who haven’t gone through this don’t realize the transition that’s having to be made internally.  It’s monumental.

The worst part is my therapist has been gone at a workshop since right before I lost the baby.  The last time I saw her I was 8 weeks and 3 days pregnant, breaking down in fear that I was going to lose that one, too.  I miss my time with her.  She’s helped me tremendously throughout all of this, and I can see the difference in my mind without her.  She doesn’t come back for another month!  She did give me contact information for a colleague of hers that I could go see while she’s gone, but I don’t want to talk to someone new.  It takes me a while to feel comfortable with a therapist, I’d just be getting used to her by the time mine came back.  Plus, it’s nice to save the extra $180 a month I’m not spending on therapy.

I want to go back to the Courtney that liked who she was and felt comfortable in her skin.  I’m proud of making it through these past two years, but my pride stops there.  The way I feel about my body is effecting so much – my work, my marriage, my daily actions.  I don’t know how to get back to a place where I honor myself.  That’s what it’s all about, honoring what it has gone through for your dreams, appreciating what it’s done despite the losses.  I’m still breathing….perhaps I need to start there.

Growing cysts like a champ since 2010.

12 Apr

Turns out that cyst on my left ovary didn’t go away like I had previously thought.

Instead of going away, it grew to 4.25 cm and is now a hemorrhaging cyst on my left ovary.

So in other words: just another day for Courtney!

The good news is that there is still blood flow to the ovary – which means as of now, there’s no risk of torsion like I feared.  I just have to wait to see what my doctor wants to do, which will be either wait it out or surgery.  I’m fearing it will burst again before we even have a chance to decide.  That wouldn’t be all that bad in and of itself, I know I can handle the torture pain if it does, I’m just worried about excess scarring at this point.  After almost half a dozen of these, my ovary must be looking like a war zone by now.

Then, of course, there was this: as I was giving the technician my history, I mentioned that I’ve already had cysts during both my most recent pregnancies, she said, “Oh, well at least you have 2 cute babies to make up for it!”

Ouch.

I must be used to comments like these at this point because after the initial blow and my honest reveal of the truth, I quickly  transitioned back to talking about my cysts.  It helped that she was really helpful in describing things to me, something I don’t find common among technicians.  I just really wish they would include all of my history on the orders the doctors send in to avoid comments like that.

The best part of the visit was that I saw follicles of varying maturity on my right ovary!  I can’t tell you what a relief this is.  I really thought that my right ovary wasn’t functioning because of Ole’ Lefty stealing the show.  I’m on CD11, so it was perfect timing for follicles and I couldn’t have been happier to see them and know that at least that part of my body is functioning properly.

I’m really glad I went in to get checked out, even though it didn’t necessarily tell me anything I wasn’t already familiar with.  It was just such a different pain than the “normal” cysts pain that I usually experience, so I think I had the right to be weary.  I’m proud of myself for going, I usually wait these things out.  Maybe I’m turning a new proactive leaf.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, my uterus is still the most beautiful uterus in the whole wide world.  And the tech told me I got an A+ in water consumption.

It’s good to know I at least excel in something. I may not be any good at baby-making, but at least I can fill a bladder like nobody’s business.  Go me!

Where I ask you to be my Dr. Google.

11 Apr

For over a year now, since my February miscarriage, I’ve had painful ovarian cysts.  For a while there, it would hinder everything I did.  It felt as if someone was holding onto my ovary and wouldn’t let go as I walked away from them.

They went away for a while, but then came back again in full force.  I’ve had 5 bursts now…all on which I believe were on my left side.

You all know that last cycle, I had a 38-day-cycle, something that has never happened to me before.  I took about 5 pregnancy tests, so I wasn’t pregnant.  But I had a cyst, I could feel it.  As far as I know, it dissolved and didn’t burst because once I got my period, the pain went away.  I also had a cyst the cycle before.

Now, I have a new pain.  It’s different than my cyst pain because it’s lower.  It’s still on the left side, but it feels like it’s in a different location than my ovaries.  It’s been here for a few days now, ranging from annoying to almost gone to back with a vengeance.  So much so that I just called to make an appointment with radiology and I’m going in at 3:30.

I’m scared.  It’s a new pain that making my mind wander to not-so-pleasant diagnoses.  It’s pulsing, and I don’t like that one bit.

Has anyone had this?  I know I’m not explaining it very well, but I don’t even know how to describe it.  All I know is it’s lower than where my normal cyst pain is…but from what I can tell from anatomy charts, there’s not much directly below our ovaries but ligaments and bone.  And it’s not in my uterus.

I just don’t know how much more of this I can handle.  I want my body back.

 

Your liver has daddy issues.

9 Apr

Two months ago, I met with an acupuncturist for the first time in over a year.  The last time I saw one, it was for the cysts that appeared during my pregnancy in February of 2010.  After I miscarried, they left me with a severe amount of pain and the only thing western medicine wanted to do for me was put me on birth control.  Not exactly something I wanted to do considering we were trying to have a baby.  It worked.  The cysts started to go away and I got pregnant again a few months later.

Fast forward to this year and another miscarriage, and I felt the desire to go again.  I needed to know I was doing everything I could to prepare my body for another pregnancy and hopefully get the next one to stick.

Some friends of mine had been urging me to go to this particular acupuncturist for a while, so I finally made the call.  He happens to be in the same exact office as my therapist, so that makes it an building devoted just to my healing. I figured it was a sign.

The first time I saw him, it was the week of my due date and anniversary of my second miscarriage.  It was near impossible to control the tears, as I’m sure you can imagine.  But I felt like it was the perfect time to try and make a change.

After an initial conversation of my history and my reason for seeing him, I hopped up on the table.  While he felt my pulse, he explained to me what causes a miscarriage according to Chinese medicine.  He started by describing how they view each organ with it’s own personality, but each working towards the same goal of keeping the body alive.  Among them all, the liver is kind of the big shot.  The liver helps controls the blood supply and determines where is should flow, and it plays a key role in a pregnancy.  When a woman miscarries, it’s because the liver feels the pregnancy is compromising the blood supply to the rest of the organs and shuts the pregnancy down.  So in other words, it believes the pregnancy is threatening the health of the rest of the body, and it does something about it.

What a jerk!

He asked me a few more questions regarding my liver, trying to put the puzzle pieces together on why my liver would do that.  One of those questions was what my relationship with my dad is; because apparently, the liver is a good indication of how you feel about your father.  I am very lucky to have a  great dad that I have a wonderful relationship with, so for me, that wasn’t it.  But I did find that rather amusing that various relationships in your life take a toll on specific parts of your body.  (I wonder who is in charge of the reproductive system, because whoever that is, I need to mend that quickly.)

In essence, our goal will be to trick the liver into thinking that at around 8 weeks, that the pregnancy is actually beneficial to my body, rather than detrimental like it has thought in the past.

He had no idea what he had given me with this simple idea.  For over a year I had been angry at the fact that during my last pregnancy, I had spent so much time envisioning a healthy and inviting environment in my womb for my baby, and it did nothing.  I had honestly believed it would make a difference, only to be proven completely wrong.  What was the point then?  I had thought.  But now, if this were true, it all made sense.  I had done the right thing all along.  Maybe my positive thinking had given the baby a healthy place to grow, but that bully liver took over and stopped it.

I could finally let myself off the hook.

I realize to some, this may sound like a bunch of crap.  But I’m willing to believe him.  And there was something specific that really convinced me:

During each ultrasound in the past year, every technician or doctor has told me I have a great looking uterus.*  While my acupuncturist was doing his exam, he looked into my ear and said, “Well, your uterus looks great!”  Besides the fact he was looking in my ear and could see my uterus and that in itself is just crazy, that was all I needed to hear.  I could believe him.

There’s hope my uterus will allow a pregnancy to thrive.

I think he’s going to be able to help me.  I truly believe in his power.  And at this point, I’ll do anything.

Even if that means dressing head to toe in green (it’s the color of the liver) or calling my dad every day to tell him I love him, I’ll do it.  So far, Western medicine isn’t proving very much to me on its own.  I think I’ll trust the man that can see my uterus through my ear.

Hey there, Dad!  Why aren’t you looking awfully handsome today!  Have I told you how much I love you?

*Not quite sure what a great looking uterus entails…but I’m beginning to question if they’re all just judging the book by it’s cover.

 

 

Not quite what some of you had in mind.

6 Apr

Wow.  Feeling lonely on your blog?  Want to increase your views?  Apparently all you have to do is make a sex innuendo in your post title, and they’ll come flocking.

I feel like I should apologize to all the newcomers that came here for a little somethin’ somethin’ and all you got were baked goods and a reproductively-challenged married woman.  Talk about a turn-off.  Unless, of course, that’s  your thing.  If that’s the case, then welcome to heaven!

Some of the links that people came from to get here yesterday took what little innocence I had left.  And that was just the link I was seeing!  I hate to think what’s behind those clicks.  I’m blushing just thinking about it.

I do however find it very humorous that I then chose to post a picture that included a positive pregnancy test and that’s what they came to.  Ha!

In other less…ahem…exciting news, my doctor’s appointment on Monday went pretty well.  I ended up meeting with the midwife I had during my last pregnancy because my doctor was out of town and she scheduled me for an advanced ultrasound in a couple of weeks to see if we can check things out at their height.

She’s concerned blood might not be flowing to my ovaries properly, causing the cysts to hang-on instead of dissolve like they should. I also brought up the fact that they’re always on my left — a sign my right ovary may not be functioning properly and becoming a bit lazy in its old age.  Hopefully it will give us some answers as to why the cysts keeps lurking.

And now, since I can’t figure out where to go from here, how about a picture of the t-shirt I won?  It rules.

Thank you so much Emilie and Chris for hosting a giveaway that allowed me to win my very first contest ever!

I’ll take any chance I get to show my pride for my amazing home state, and the fact it’s cool is an added bonus.  I’m going to rock it every chance that I get.  Maybe even the luck it took to win it will spill over into the rest of my life.

Here’s hoping!

(If you love Maine as much as I do or just want a cool shirt, check out the rest of Chris’ Maine-inspired gear over at http://www.beermemaine.com/.)

(No, he didn’t pay me to say that, but I figure the least I can do is point people in his direction since he sent me a t-shirt for free!  Contest or no contest…that’s still awesome.)

An update of sorts.

1 Apr

But actually not an update at all because there’s still nothing to tell.

Day 38 and still no period.  Still not pregnant.  Stillnot.  functioning.

There are cramps…kind of.  And I’m pretty positive there are cysts because I can feel my sneezes in my ovaries (what, don’t you?).  I do have a doctor’s appointment scheduled for Monday, though.  So that pretty much guarantees that I’ll get my period later today or on Saturday.  I’m betting I’ll get it on Saturday, the moment I show up at the party, right as I meet the baby my child should have been twins with and see the woman who is pregnant even though she wasn’t even trying.  My body will choose to bleed (sorry Dad) the second I walk up to the both of them.  Like it was just waiting for that very moment to show.

Because the universe just loves to fuck with us, doesn’t it?

Can’t we get it to stop?

Haven’t I paid my dues already?

Shouldn’t it start picking on someone it’s own size?

Wait, that doesn’t sound like it would be good.  Scratch that, universe.   How about you just start being nice to me for once, okay?  Please?

I know it doesn’t sound it — but really, I am okay.  Just annoyed.  And frustrated.  And PMS-ing times a thousand for the period that will never come.

It’s like PMS on crack.  Only without the buzz.

It’s really fun!  Want to join me?