Getting Weary from the Drawing Board

I’m supposed to have some more blood testing done later this cycle.  On CD3 I had FSH and estradiol levels checked.  Fortunately they came back just dandy – lo and behold my 35-1/2 year old advanced maternal age eggs are doing just fine.  Of course this does bust my hypothesis that my fibroid is caused by imbalanced estrogen levels.  Actually, one of the nurses said that the estrogen-fibroid connection is only relevant in post-menopausal women.  I haven’t done follow-up research to decide if I agree.

Anyway, the RE told me to buy an ovulation prediction kit (OPK) to determine when I would ovulate this cycle.  He didn’t trust me when I said that I *know* when I ovulate.  So, I spent the $24.00 on the cheapest OPKs I could find.  (By the way, Dollar Tree does not uniformly carry OPKs any more.  Drat!)  Let me just say that OPKs are the most stupidly designed hormone tests EVER.  When you test you will likely get 2 lines, but that doesn’t mean that the appropriate hormone (LH, I believe) has been detected.  Oh no.  You need 2 lines of equal strength or your line should be stronger than the test/constant line.  So, is it an equal line?  What if both lines are equally weak?  What if I *think* I’m seeing a strong and equal line but it’s not really accurate.  At the end of the day, I just ended up taking the stupid test so I could say I did it and then rely on my body’s very reliable signs to tell me that yes indeedy I did ovulate when I thought I did.

How am I so sure that I ovulated?  Well, without divulging too many gory details, here are some good ways to know: cervical os open, lots of egg-white-like cervical fluid, ovarian pain, elevated basal body temperature to name a few.  In my case, ovulation is starting to get a bit uncomfortable.  Am I really feeling new pain on the left or am I feeling pain there because I think I should be feeling pain there because I now know that there’s a fibroid there that the doctor has told me needs to be surgically removed?  I feel this discomfort every month.  Isn’t that a bit strange considering that we supposedly ovulate on alternating sides?

Anyway, I called to let the office know that I ovulated.  One of the doctor’s nurses called me back and gave me the good news about my FSH and estradiol levels.  She was far more informative than the other nurse I talked to last week about my test results.  However, she also wanted to talk to me about my x-ray.  Huh?

Evidently my doctor has been carrying around my chart with him.  My new medi friend says that it’s not unusual for a doctor to carry around patient files.  Ok.  Back to the story.  So, he has just recently looked at my HSG picture.  (He wasn’t the doctor that ordered or performed the HSG.  However, why was he looking at the film?  He supposedly had already looked at it and decided that I didn’t have a Mullerian Anomaly.)  What?  And she said that he’s going to want to do a sonohysterogram on CD6 next month.  What?  After the ultrasound he did at my appointment, he very confidently told me that the fibroid is definitely causing me problems; a sono was NOT necessary; get on the books for a myomectomy.

Why has his story changed?  Did he forget that he had already looked at the HSG?  Did he forget that he said a sono was no longer necessary?  Did he forget that he wanted to schedule me for surgery?  Or did he receive some input from one of his partners or the radiologist with regard to the HSG or recent ultrasound?  Is he confusing me with another patient?

Can I just say that I’m very frustrated and that my trust in this medical professional is waning?  Three different doctors; three different diagnoses; at least three different protocols.  It’d be nice for there to be some agreement with regard to a plan of action, particularly between my new OB and this RE.  Or do I need to go back to the drawing board?

Caution: You may not need a myomectomy

I just talked with my regular OB.  He was under the impress that I had a Mullerian Anomaly (such as a septate uterus) and a major contributor to my recurrent pregnancy loss.  I’ve seen a Reproductive Endocrinologist recently who came up with his own recommendation.  He suggested that my 1-1/2 inch fibroid was distorting my uterine cavity and causing the recurrent pregnancy loss.  He said that he would be “very concerned” about that fibroid.

I double-checked my obstetric records from my 2004 pregnancy.  The fibroid was discovered during a 10-11 week ultrasound (a first-time mom, I was nervous that the midwife didn’t find my baby’s heartbeat).  The fibroid was roughly 4.5 cm then and is therefore about the same size now.  However, I don’t believe it to be a cause of my recurrent losses.  Rather, it is a symptom.  It is a symptom of imbalanced hormones, usually too much estrogen.

Anyway, my OB’s nurse called me today to say that he (my OB) would NOT recommend a myomectomy for a non-symptomatic small fibroid.  I don’t bleed without stopping; I don’t have unmanageable pain.  Since I already have a cesarean scar, he sees no reason to add to that.  Phew!

So, if anyone tells you that you definitely need a myomectomy, please do seek other opinions.  Your uterus may just say “thank you.”  In my case, it should be thankful that I’m saving it from at least two more uterine surgeries.

Gardens, Boga, and Mental Health

A couple of weeks ago I decided to go see the psychologist again.  I was starting to flip out, mostly because my health insurance company was being stupidly noncompliant regarding my benefits.  My amazing chiropractor was the one to suggest that I talk to the psych again.  It was a good but tough session.  He told me that I need to schedule – as in write it in my calendar – self-care time.  “Why will that work?” I stubbornly asked.  “I can just decide NOT to do it like everything else I blow off on a daily basis.”  The difference, I discovered yesterday, is that instead of asking myself what I would like to do, I need to tell myself what I should do.  Aha!!  So, today I have my list and am already crossing things off.

This morning I attended a “boga” class.  The class combines ballet and yoga and really kicked my flabby ass.  I’m certain to be sore in the core, legs, and lower back.  I DID IT, DR. S!  I scheduled a class and DID IT!  The instructor told us to pick one thing to focus on during the class.  I chose RESTORATION.  In my mind that word combines healing, calm, energy, blood flow, breath.  So, perhaps I “killed” a few birds with that stone.  (Not such a great metaphor for yoga, but too bad.)

I have spent more time with family, more time outdoors, and more time in my garden recently.  I have avoided e-mail.  I haven’t been keeping up on my google alerts.  I haven’t been frequenting the blogs I normally read.  Instead, I am focusing on nature over technology, organic healing over technologically-reproduced grief, relationship over escape.

Next week I start on new paths of inquiry, both professionally and personally.  I’ll blog about it from my summer home, Denver.

April: Cesarean Awareness Month

Cesarean Awareness Month (CAM) is an internationally recognized awareness month which sheds light on the impact of cesarean surgery on mothers, babies, and families worldwide.  Cesarean birth is major abdominal surgery for women with serious health risks to weigh for both moms and babies.  Cesareans may be safer now than they ever have been, but this surgery is being conducted more frequently than is prudent or safe.  The acceptable rate established by the World Health Organization (WHO) is 10-15% – what is your community’s cesarean rate?

The blogosphere is atwitter about Cesarean Awareness Month.  Here are some posts I found today that deal directly with CAM:

  • Instinctual Birth’s post
  • No Womb Pod’s post
  • Strain Station’s post
  • Cesarean Awareness’s post
  • CT Birth Experience’s post
  • She Got Hips’s post
  • CT Doula’s post

If you have blogged about Cesarean Awareness Month and don’t appear on my list, please leave a comment so we can read your post.

To learn more about cesarean awareness, support, and education, visit the Internation Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) website and/or look for a chapter in your area.  Another great resource to consult when weighing the benefits and risks of intervention in chilbirth is Childbirth Connection.  Also, I recommend looking at and considering the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative.

How do you plan to honor Cesarean Awareness Month?  How can you let people know that natural birth is an important issue for you and for them?  I promise that there is some way, no matter how small it may seem, that you can have a positive impact on your birth community.  Even wearing a cesarean awareness ribbon several days this month will help.  If you need ideas, feel free to ask.

Finding a Voice Again

I am finding a voice – I don’t completely recognize it as my own, but perhaps I need to live with this voice a bit before it resonates authentically within me.  I shall sing again.

Thanks to Google Alerts I happened upon this homebirth post.  I made a comment which I am cross-posting here.  I am not posting it here because it sheds a new light on a circular issue but because I wrote it.  Me.  When I have had so little to say about childbirth since the loss of my 10 week pregnancy back in February.

So why then is there so much animosity against those who choose to homebirth. Why are they persecuted for their freedom of choice? I’m sure we all have our suspicions.

I think those people who are so vocal against homebirth are pretty clear about their reasons. The fear of poor outcomes for the BABY. It seems that the baby is worth more than the mother. Homebirth is a “selfish” choice, evidently, that only makes the mother feel good about herself. Homebirth is a “disaster” just begging to happen. @@

It is true that when a mother makes decisions with regard to HOW the baby will be birthed, the innocent baby is not in on the decision-making process. The “rights” of the baby only matter, so it seems, when there is a poor outcome (for the baby) outside of the hospital setting.

OBs are not used to seeing normal (as in natural) birth. They are not trained to assist natural birth. They are trained to intervene. They are trained for surgery. They are trained for catastrophe. They are trained to medically-manage outcomes not facilitate a physiologic time-proven natural process.

“Childish” Wisdom

The other day I was alone with my daughter and marveled over how “perfect” she is.  “I am so lucky to have you!” I proclaimed.  She replied, “but not lucky about our baby?”  I was shell-shocked.  How did she know to connect my thankfulness for having her with my regret in losing her siblings?  “Mommy, did our baby die in your tummy?”

Today I was telling her that we were about to go to her great grandfather’s funeral.  “Honey, our Dad-dad is in Heaven with God.  Dad-dad died.”  A few minutes later she asked, “Mommy, are you going to die?”  “Not for a long long time, sweetheart.”  And I kissed her forehead.  That seemed to satisfy her for the moment.

The wisdom of a three year old is awesome.