Sunday, November 29, 2009

Is That Really News?

I cannot seem to go to a news website today without hearing about Tiger Woods, his accident, and speculation as to what really caused the accident. And guess what? I. Don't. Care.

I mean I like Tiger Woods and all and I'm glad he's not seriousy injured but if he and his wife are having a difficult time in their marriage, does the rest of the world need to know? They're trying to be private (from what I can tell) but that's just unacceptable for some people. Here's a news flash nosy people: They are real human beings and marriage--I don't care who you are or how much money you have--is not easy. Furthermore, I would imagine that Tiger's fame is probably more of a hinderance to a healthy marriage rather than a help.

I've never been so thankful that TOIAW and I don't have hundreds of millions of dollars and that neither of us are famous!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It was bound to happen eventually

It finally happened. I’ve had my miscarriage/ectopic meltdown. I’d like to think it’s tapering off but it’s too soon to tell. The day began innocently enough with me checking my email and finding a sweet note from a dear friend which brought tears to my eyes but that’s nothing new. I knew there was something out of whack when I read the next email about the engagement of a couple we met in D.C. It was a sweet story and all but I couldn’t imagine why I was crying and then, suddenly, I thought back to our engagement and all the pain we’ve had in the short time since. Of course there have been happy times also and the one that immediately popped into my head was Flippy’s (Sarah’s name in utero) first high-resolution ultrasound…one year ago today. I honestly had not thought about it until that very moment but somehow, buried deep in my heart and mind the information was stored. And at that point, all bets were off. Oh my word, how did my life turn out like this? It wasn’t supposed to be like this!

Earlier today I decided to call the IVF clinic here and fill them in on what’s going on with me. Big mistake as I clearly should have done this on one of the previous two days when I was more emotionally stable because it appears as if our timeline is in jeopardy. This wouldn’t be a huge deal if I didn’t already have tickets. Obviously we knew when we purchased the tickets that it was risky but I assumed the only risk would be having the procedure not work. Having to alter the timeline wasn’t really on my radar. So now I’m eagerly awaiting Cycle Day 1 and unless it comes very early, I will be substantially delayed due to our trip to the US for the holidays. There’s no way to know right now what the alternate timeline might be and that frustrates me also. It goes without saying there were plenty of tears after that phone call. Why, oh WHY did this have to happen?! Seriously, I was rolling with it, taking it all in stride, and then this?!

Tomorrow we’re celebrating Thanksgiving with a huge group of people and I really wish we had declined the offer. I don’t want to go. I asked what I could bring and was told wine. We very rarely drink and haven’t purchased one drop of liquor here so that works out well for us. Also, I’m pretty sure they will be serving stuffing as opposed to cornbread dressing and that makes me want to puke in my mouth a little. I’ve considered bringing some cornbread dressing but I don’t know if that would be rude since I was assigned the booze. I also want to make a pecan pie because, for me, it’s just not Thanksgiving without those two items. Honestly, it’s not about pie or dressing, it’s about the fact that I don’t want to be around a bunch of people who I know feel pity for me when they don’t have a clue what our year has really been like.

Well, let me end on a more positive note. I am recovering very nicely and have no pain whatsoever. I was able to walk around Vienna and we had a great time. The Lipizanner’s were nothing short of amazing! Thanks, Gwen J

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I'm feeling better now but I had a small set back yesteray in the form of a fever. I kept trying to tell the nurses I wasn't feeling well and that I thought I had a fever but they told me it just seemed high because it was taken from my ear and that shows higher temps. After three hours of rising temps and coaxing from TOIAW (he stepped out for few hours and wouldn't you know that's when I started feeling bad), they listened to me and I got some antibiotics. Still, it continued to rise and peaked at a little above 102F. It took most of the night for it to get down to normal but it finally did and I was able to take a shower which also greatly improved my mood!

Also, we reached an agreement with the insurance company, the doctors, and TOIAW's bosses that has us leaving on Sunday. A friend of TOIAW's was able to make arrangements for us to stay at an embassy-owned apartment which is awesome because 1) it's not expensive as the hotel, 2) there's a washer and dryer, 3) we won't have to eat out every meal, and 4) they have wi-fi access! TOIAW has slept in my room in a chair for two nights so I'm glad he'll get a proper night's rest tonight. He could have stayed in a hotel close to the hospital but he wasn't comfortable leaving me alone.

So, thanks to the advice of a dear friend, we are going to see the Lipizzaner stallions Saturday but I think tomorrow and Friday will be all about taking it easy. Another thing I hope to do is eat a decent meal. I've been nauseous since yesterday but I'm beginning to think it's just because I'm so hungry.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Can I Go Home Now?

The surgery went well yesterday. It was short and the doctor did not have to remove any of my tube. Also, they didn't put in a drain which was the very worst part about the surgery to remove my previous ectopic. So, anyway, I'm ready to blow this popsicle stand. I mean maybe not today but soon. The doctor who did my surgery said I could leave Thursday but the doctor who is managing my case said they prefer to do a one-week check-up before releasing me to fly....NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

That means I would be in the hotel with nothing to do because TOIAW cannot stay past Thursday unless it's a true life or death matter and, with any luck, it won't be. Additionally, I only have one more book, one magazine (but it is Economist so it will take a while to read), precious few clothes, and no computer after TOIAW leaves. I've been up and walking every hour--though not long or far--to impress the staff with my fitness. Unlike Germany, they have freely offered painkillers but I haven't needed it although I'm sure I'll get some tonight. I'm not just saying I feel good, I do. Not great, mind you, but good considering the circumstances.

Other than being concerned about being able to fly back to the Mystery Country, I'm also concerned about the timeline for our donor egg IVF cycle. I'm just going to put that out of my mind for now, though. Maybe the doctors there will allow this surgery to qualify the hysteroscopy I need. An organized person would have spent yesterday afternoon researching this topic rather than trying to figure it out after the fact. Oh well.

Thanks again for all the kind words of support! It's now time for me to eat my post-surgery day meal of mashed potatoes and carrots.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gruss Gott

Just a short update from Vienna...yes, we're still here. Everything was looking good yesterday; so good in fact that I was discharged and we walked around the city a bit enjoying the sunshine (a very special treat for us!) and Starbucks (oh, how I have missed you, Grande Chai Tea Latte). This morning we had to come in for a quick check to get my labs from yesterday and we would be on our way. I had a good feeling about it since they didn't call us and tell us there was anything alarming in the results. Ummmm, that's because they didn't have them. She called while we were in her office and I heard the incredulousness in her voice when she repeated my hCG number to the person on the other end of the line. My German isn't good but I know my numbers: 58. Which is up from 39 the day before which was up from 36 the day before that and down from 60 the day before that. Ugh. It's kind of a long story but I had asked why the number would go from 60 to 36 in less than 24 hours and stable--or perhaps even up--in 36 hours but the doctor just dismissed it as being different labs but I was never too sure.

I had suspected an ectopic pregnancy from the time my period was late but people kind of look at you funny if you say you think you're experiencing an ectopic pregnancy when you don't even have a positive pregnancy test. Even when numerous doctors (both here and in the MC) told me my numbers were too low for an ectopic, I knew. Of course, I hoped I was wrong but deep down I knew I wasn't. Walking into the hospital today I just knew. Listen to your bodies, Ladies! Listen and take charge of your own healthcare. Don't depend on anyone else to advocate for you; you must be your own advocate because no one knows you like you know you. Enough of my PSA...

My surgery is scheduled for 6 pm Central European time and hopefully I will be able to get up and around tomorrow. Not sure when I will blog again but I'm almost finished with the book I brought so it will probably be sooner rather than later.

P.S. After being in a private hospital, I may be ruined to ever be anywhere else.

Friday, November 13, 2009

...And Away We Go

Today was another long day. I went into the clinic for blood work. The people here are terrible at finding my veins. To be fair, I've had problems with this my entire life but it's worse here than anywhere else (in D.C. this summer they were the best ever; in and out in less than two minutes and usually far less). Combined with the fact I'm not eating or drinking much, it's a disaster. After the blood draw I went to the clinic's cafe for a snack because I was starving. I ate but as I sat there waiting for TOIAW to finish, I began feeling worse and worse. I needed some air so I walked to the front and sat down while he ordered a cab. About two minutes later I told him to cancel the cab and get me a wheelchair. Fortunately they didn't seem to have any available because when I stood up to get to the stretcher they brought, I went down for the count. This, of course, resulted in me being admitted until they had the results of my labs. By the grace of God, I had a private room (I didn't the day before but that's a story for another day).

I had a repeat ultrasound that showed no change so I was left to sleep...and then my phone rang. I don't understand all the details, but there is a company who is contracted by my insurance to monitor the health situations of those people who are in locations they deem to be lacking in a Western standard of care. Apparently they decided yesterday that I should leave and go to Vienna and seek care there. We were supposed to leave at 8 this morning only no one told us. They were a bit frantic when they reached us. I was very confused. They continued to insist we leave ASAP but I was hesitant. Even when we found out my hormone levels are decreasing making an ectopic pregnancy unlikely, they still persisted. Eventually we decided that if something were to happen and I required emergency evacuation, the fact that I refused the treatment they recommended would not look so good for me...and we don't have an extra $75k to pay for an air ambulance. So tomorrow we're off to Austria. It sounds terribly exciting to be jetting to Vienna for the weekdend...unless you know the whole story. Honestly, I do still have some odd abdominal pain and it will be nice to get a second opinion. The thing is 1) there is nothing that indicates I should be having this pain and 2) yesterday the radiologist confirmed he saw something in my right tube, he just doesn't know what it is. Of course, there is no way to know what it is without surgery and right now my labs and physical symptoms don't warrant that. So we'll see; it won't hurt to get someone else's opinion.

Sorry to write yet another sleep-deprived post. I'm so exhausted. Thanks again for your prayers, comments, emails, and words of encouragement. I'm really doing okay emotionally. I haven't yet thought of the miscarriage in terms of life and loss although right now, as I look at Sarah's urn and the sweet angel figurine that sits beside her, I know those feelings will come eventually.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Still Don't Know Much

This morning I went to the clinic where I had an ultrasound that showed nothing in my uterus. I suspected as much considering the very heavy period I had last week. This is how I knew it was a miscarriage and not a normal pregnancy. Also, I had horrible cramps and although I was pretty sure I was experiencing an early miscarriage, I just didn't see the point in confirming it. So much for that plan.

Bloodwork confirmed that I am pregnanct but we have to wait until tomorrow to see what my hormone levels are doing; rising is bad and will result in exploratory surgery while falling levels are good and I will most likely have my hysteroscopy Saturday as scheduled.

TOIAW made it home so he will accomany me tomorrow and we will--hopefully--have more answers. I have a lot of stories to tell about my experience but I am so tired I cannot keep my eyes open. Thank you so much for all the support, sweet comments, and especially prayers.

I will write tomorrow if I'm home...oh, how I pray I will be home tomorrow and NOT in the hospital recovering from surgery!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Scratching My Head

Maybe after I write this it will seem real to me because right now it doesn't.

Two weeks ago I was waiting for my period and hoping it didn't start too soon because I needed to have a hysteroscopy and it can only be done on certain days of your cycle and I was traveling blah, blah, blah. So I waited and waited and started to wonder and had some odd symptoms and blew it off an enjoyed my trip. Last week I was actually starting to think I was having a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. In fact, I recall telling TOIAW I felt there was a 50% chance I was having either a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. On Thursday I had horrible cramping and pretty much made up my mind it was an early miscarriage but for sanity's sake I had no desire to confirm that.

I continued to have an irregular (for me) period but things seemed to be getting back to normal except for some abdominal pain and spotting. Tonight, however, I felt very dizzy and light-headed and I decided I would go to the clinic tomorrow and find out once and for all. I then got up to get a drink and was so dizzy I sat down on the bed and then I had a eureka moment where I remembered I had two pregnancy tests. I could take one, see the 'not pregnant' and chalk it up to the Ambien I took so I would sleep. Great idea except the "not" part of the screen never showed up. Nor did it on the next test I took 30 seconds after I got the result of the first one.

Are you kidding me?!

Naturally I was concerned so I called TOIAW (it actually took me several tries to get in touch with him as he is traveling in another country) who recommended I call the embassy doctor. Blah, blah, blah, I went in and the two VERY KIND doctors--one local national and an American PA--decided I'm not in danger tonight meaning I don't need to be airlifted out of the country and can wait and get an exam tomorrow.

Emotionally I'm more annoyed than anything. I know it's a miscarriage (at best) and it just frustrates me. It also brings back some unpleasant memories and emotions. Ugh. It's just not very convenient and there will undoubtedly be hormones involved at some point and it just stinks. Not now but I know eventually it will.

And I can't help but scratch my head and ask, "Why?" I mean is this really necessary?

So I guess I'll update tomorrow and then in 2-3 day increments as my hCG dies a slow death...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Rest of the Story

Well the housekeeper is here so I’m hiding in my room. Somehow this isn’t what I envisioned. I mean it’s great to have her here and have everything completely organized and clean but it pretty much leaves me with nothing to do but work on TOIAW’s applications (which I should be doing anyway). She’s making me dinner tonight—vegetable soup with chicken—and Friday she bought something she described as “big chicken” which I think means turkey. I keep thinking I should be more nervous than I am.

Okay, you’re never going to believe this but while I was writing the above paragraph a guy came to “fix” our satellite. [I used quotes because I have very little confidence he will be able to do anything of significance. He couldn’t even find our apartment and it’s not at all difficult. The housekeeper used the universal ‘he’s crazy’ sign when she got off the phone with him after giving him directions (which consisted of her sticking her head out the window and yelling at him).] So when he arrived the two of them started jabbering away but neither speaks English. I was desperate so I did the unthinkable: I called my in-laws and asked them to translate. They actually seemed—hold onto your hats—HAPPY to speak with me. Shocking, I know. I couldn’t believe it either. I have strict instructions to call them back as soon as Dude is done running his diagnostics which, according to my FIL, will take half an hour. He keeps making loud sighing noises so I guess we have a tough case. Then again, I would be making loud sighing noises if I were working on it because those things confuse me as well which is probably why I’m not a repairman.

Now, onto the update I promised you yesterday. You’re probably on the edge of your seats. So, TOIAW obviously had a huge argument. It involved me not wanting him to call his brother right before bed because he always talks about my SIL’s pregnancy and since evenings are my worst time of the day I asked if he could wait until the next day. Then it—the argument, that is—morphed into something completely different about my mourning and how I need to stop thinking about Sarah so much (as if it’s a choice?!) and blah, blah, blah. The next day I thought it might be better but it wasn’t. After he came back from his morning meetings I told him I was making an appointment with a counselor and he could go with me if he wanted and he did. The military has a really great program now where a counselor goes to a base and stays for 6 weeks or so. They do not keep any records and it’s completely anonymous. We didn’t care about those things but they are nice for many people. What I did like about her is she isn’t affiliated with the military in any way; she’s just a marriage and family counselor from California who is spending 6 weeks in the Bavarian Alps helping people and doesn’t have an agenda to push. Not that there aren’t excellent counselors associate with the military but, I don’t know, I feel like we have non-military related issues so she was a good fit for us. It was VERY helpful; we both talked and we both listened and we got some excellent feedback. When we left I couldn’t believe we had been there for 2.5 hours! And now we’re both allowed to grieve however and whenever we want. Of course there was far more than that discussed but that’s the gist of it. I never would have thought TOIAW would be open to counseling but he was and he really opened up and that helped me to understand where he’s coming from.

No one said marriage was easy. At least no one who has ever been married.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Locked Up

So I'm back in the MC now, TOIAW is traveling, most things are closed/canceled due to an H1N1 scare, our internet connection is not at all reliable or consistent, and I haven't slept more than 2 hours a night in the past 2 nights because I have a hard time sleeping when I'm alone SO--second time I used that word in this "sentence"--I locked myself in our bedroom which also serves as our safe room as it has two deadbolts and a peep hole. Perhaps this way I won't be awakened by every sound? Perhaps? Please say you think it will work...

I'm not scared to go out and I feel very safe and comfortable in our apartment and in the city, I just can't sleep when I'm alone. I hate it! I know I would feel better if the dogs were here but still that wouldn't help very much. It would, however, give me something to do which would be nice. Well, now tomorrow I am going to check the mail and the housekeeper (seriously, I cannot keep referring to her as the House Manager) is coming in the afternoon so that pretty much qualifies as a big day if you compare it to yesterday and today. Oh, and I'm having a hysteroscopy on Saturday so don't think I'm just sitting around reading books and watching DVDs on my computer because TOIAW blew out our stereo/DVD player by forgetting to plug it into a transformer. No way, not me...I am living it up and don't you forget it.

Okay, so tomorrow--if I have an internet connection--I'm going to tell you what happened on that really bad day I wrote about in my previous post. It's actually not that sad and it has a happy ending. Oops, I hope that doesn't ruin the suspense for you...

I have one more thing to say, though. Since our satellite works about as well as our internet, I can only watch news channels albeit from several different regions and countries. I watched a riveting piece entitled "I Knew Khomeni" (or something close to that) today in which his granddaughter talked about how fun he was when he was with his grandchildren. Uh, right, dude looked like he could let loose and play and mean game of Skip-Bo. Anyway, I've heard quite a bit about this story. There are so many things I could say about this but I'll be nice and offer them this advice: You might want to rethink the ol' "we were on vacation in Iraq and accidentally crossed the border into your country, Iran, and we're sorry" because do you have any idea how stupid that sounds? Not that I believe they were spying--mostly because they went to Berkley so it just doesn't make sense that they would work for the goverment--but this is a ridiculous defense. Also? I'm more than a little tired of hearing their families talk about how they're "all alone." What do they think the State department is? A concierge rescue service for stupid people who get way too close to the borders of countries who display hostility towards the US and our allies? Anway, I wish them no harm and do hope they are released soon...and I also hope they have to reimburse the government for what I am sure is a considerable amount of time spent on their situation.