Freaking out

Endo called last night to talk about the glucose tolerance test. He’s viewing it as a failed spectacularly and wants me on insulin (AND diet and exercise changes). And is retiring. Commence freak-out. I barely slept all night. I’m not sure who I was more worried for – baby or me.

Frantic calling around the local hospital clinics this morning gave me one last minute appointment with a different doctor at the original clinic tomorrow and one at the hospital near my work in a month.

Personally I think the glucose tolerance test is faulty because by the end of the test I was shivering and by the evening, I had a fever of 100F. (Doctor noted it as ‘mild cold’. Sigh. I apparently didn’t make myself clear). Plus my random glucose was only a tad above normal. Well, it gives me comfort to think of it as being mild diabetes rather than wildly out of control diabetes.

The whole thing is so depressing and I’m still struggling not to break down about it. (Breaking down is only making my cough worse). If I go onto insulin, we’re back at daily injections. Not to mention finger pricks to constantly monitor sugar. Oh and did I mention that they put you on a strict diet. It’s even more depressing when I consider that my diet is already reasonably healthy.

5 more months. That’s what I’ve been telling myself. I just need to get us through 5 months.


Still sick.. and just a not-good health day

I’m still sick. Fever’s gone but I’m left with this bizarre (and disgusting) lingering congestion where I throw up phlegm (and whatever I’ve recently eaten) every few hours. As best as I can figure, it’s a post nasal mucus drip with really thick mucous that isn’t really thinning out. And I’m tired because.. well, not like I’m eating a whole lot of food. I think I lost 3 lbs in the last week. And I do need to get back to work instead of working from home and I have no idea how to do that when I spontaneously throw up.

And, I got the results of my glucose tolerance test. Which was really bad. Fasting was 91. That’s ok so far. Then 1hr, 2hr and 3hr were 220, 206 and 170. Which are really really not good. Then again, my fever started the evening of the test so who knows how much everything was affected. But mostly I feel like sobbing. I’m so tired. I’m not getting enough work done. My brain feels fried. I feel like hell. And I’m really really tempted to quit my job so I can sleep in peace. And now I’m terrified of things like pre-eclampsia. I’m terrified for my health. And baby’s health. And feeling like I’m already failing my baby.

I don’t get it, people who are so unhealthy somehow get pregnant and have a baby with ease. Meanwhile, I feel like I’m hitting one more hurdle after another.

I’m trying to control my anxiety by thinking of it in small actionable steps that I can take. My diet is already fairly optimized for low sugar (barring this last week when I have been relying on gingerale, saltines and graham crackers). But there are a few more optimizations that I can do. I really really need to get back to exercising regularly which I haven’t been for one reason or the other (taking it easy post-transfer, then morning sickness and inability to do more than bare functioning, then deadline and lack of time for anything more than bare functioning, and now sick). And it’s good that I know these things early so I can address it.

Those thoughts are sorta helping. Mostly I’m a nervous wreck now with a backlog of work from when I was sick.

Update: Doctor thinks it was the flu. Bleh.


Ugh. Really hoping I don’t have the flu. Typical cough/cold/fever symptoms since yesterday. Ended up taking a day off to just sleep and watch tv. Though I still have a call I need to dial in for.

I think part of it is all the stress and lack of sleep finally caught up with me. Typically after a deadline, I can take a week or so to decompress/catch up on sleep. But postdoc-life (especially one split between labs) apparently doesn’t give me that chance. Any wonder I’m so pissed off at the co-first author who clearly didn’t lose any sleep over the deadline?

The glucose tolerance test definitely made things worse. By the time I got home from the test, I was shivering. And threw up when I tried to eat. Man, it really is a stress test for your body. So much so that I think if I have to do it again, I’d refuse and do at-home tracking instead.

Chugging along

Nothing really new with the pregnancy. Tbh, it’s rather boring right now (which is a good thing I know). We had the nuchal tranlucency scan which was normal. And nothing scheduled for a whole month after that. That’s one of the things I’m finding the strangest – after months and months of such regularly check-ups and tests, meeting the doctor only once a month is a change of pace.

Work is insanely hectic right now. Had a paper deadline yesterday so mostly just trying to recover after that. Really annoyed with various author politics involved. And tired – I’ve been working basically 14+ hr days, 7 days a week for the last several weeks. And got pissed at co-author when he skived off when sick. And on weekends. Ok, I get that you’re sick and need rest. But why are you expecting first author status when you’ve contributed almost nothing to the writing? Also frankly, if I can work all those hours when pregnant and nauseous, you can put in weekend time. Clearly I have unresolved feelings about all this.

Pregnancy has not helped. I’m back to somewhat normal appetite but still weird cravings. Or rather weird anti-cravings. Sleep’s been the hardest hit. I wake up every night sometime between 2 and 4am and usually can’t go back to sleep for a while after that. And it’s really started to affect my overall energy level. I suppose that the body’s way of acclimating you to crazy sleep hours with a newborn? Also, given said 14 hr days, I haven’t had time to nap much to make up for that, even on weekends. Oh and a ton of family drama thrown in that I don’t want to deal with right now but we really need to address it soon.

Update: Sigh, so much for uneventful. Had a checkup with my endo today. I thought it would just be check in on thyroid and adjust synthroid doses. But nooo… he’s worried about diabetes. So off I go for a glucose tolerance test. And if I fail that (which he’s pretty sure I will), then nutritionist and daily blood monitoring. You know, I’m not even sure there’s much I could have done about it. My hba1c has been the same for .. like 4 years. Borderline pre-diabetic but not yet crossing the line. And apparently that’s enough to trigger a barrage of tests early on.

Markets and plunges

So yes the stock market went down. Nothing funny about that but some of the reactions/articles are. Me, I found this hilarious. Why you might ask? Well, I consider myself a millennial, though on the older side. Seeing this dip as a harsh lesson. HAH! It’s so laughable.

To date me, I graduated in 2008. Why does that year sound familiar? Oh yes, that was the last recession. I had just started a job in the financial industry. Week #3 of my first ever full time job and.. Fannie and Freddie went down and Lehman went down and I forget the order of events. The guy in the next desk had started with me and we used to take out bets on whether the Dow would lose more or less than 500 each day. Callous? Perhaps but at the time, we were just terrified of losing our jobs and then who would hire us without any work experience. And having just started, its not like we had any work to do and more experienced colleagues were too busy fighting fires to even figure out what tasks to give us. In retrospect, I’m kinda of curious what fires were being fought. I was reasonably far from any actual trading or money so what would have been that urgent?

Unsurprisingly a huge chunk of my friends and I quit the industry within a couple of years. We saw the worst of it long before the best ever came on the scene.

It’s funny where infertility rears its head (and occasionally protects you). Frankly we don’t have a lot of savings – one of the many negative side effects of a PhD and low income postdocs. What we do have, I pulled into cash years ago for potential wedding which we ended up not using. And soon after that, we were in the IF trenches. So I did a really stupid thing financially and left it in liquid cash. In retrospect it was doubly stupid because we knew health insurance would cover treatments. But there were always surprise expenses and me as the super anxious risk-averse person wasn’t comfortable with it being illiquid. Plus, I always felt that deadline of 4 retrievals and you’re out over my head. (Hubby’s financial decision making is usually just keep expenses below income, save a little and that’s it. A house, investing and all are completely off his radar. Come to think of his brother is crap with money too. While their dad is fantastic. Clearly there are lessons to be learnt here about what not to teach our kid.)

But on the upside this means, I can watch whatever has been going on this week with no skin in the game. Hubby’s job isn’t reliant on the stock market. For the next year or two, neither is mine. We do have some exposure but that’s in 401(k)’s that I’m not worried about for another 30 years or so. Frankly Congress+Senate+Presidential elections are way more panic-inducing because that’s where we do have skin in the game. Just takes a few people to muck up NSF/NIH budgets and *poof* already competitive grants get ridiculously so.

Told the bosses

I probably jumped the gun and told them early but it was starting to stress me out so I decided to tell them both last week. It went well (surprisingly?). Mostly I wasn’t sure how to gauge their reactions since I’ve only been here 6 months.

PI#1 (has kids of his own and is part of a high-power couple i.e. both have intense jobs): hi-fived me with a ‘yay, both postdocs are pregnant’. (The other new postdoc in the lab is also expecting and is a few months ahead of me.) Largely he seemed happy, and it feels like there’s some relatively standard path that people take. Announced the other girl’s pregnancy in the lab meeting. He had asked if I wanted to announce (I didn’t yet). And so gave a strange addendum to her announcement about “well, this is all we know, maybe someone else is expecting”.

PI#2 (no kids afaik): ‘congrats! umm, you’re happy about it, right?’ Was also pretty much ok and fine with being flexible with however I opt to take the leave. There’s only going to be one deadline issue (as of now) but it shouldn’t be a big deal to do the handoffs before then.

So HUGE relief on multiple counts — 1) I wasn’t 100% positive my contract would be renewed (I was like 95% sure but still) and 2) they’re not going to be evil about it. I suppose a lot of it is that academia is very much a long game and a couple of months doesn’t make all that much difference in the long run.

Other things pregnancy wise seem to be going well. At the 12week point, my nausea suddenly went down. It’s still there but now it’s closer to my usual eating cycles (rather than my eat 10+x a day in order to survive). Still can’t tolerate a whole bunch of foods/smells. And I’ve been gaining weight — up 7 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight. And clothes are starting to get a wee bit tight. I’m hoping my winter coat will last another month. And I’m starting to shop for basics like leggings. No bump yet. Or rather, all my stomach pudge is there and there might be a bump somewhere under all that so who knows.

Also, I’m officially off all meds – last dose of PIO was last week! Well, as long as baby is ok, that’s a yay!

Link Love

I really loved Lauren’s post because it reminded me that not everyone understands grief and loss and that we don’t really have control on how people react. Some of those lessons I’ve learnt the hard way – to listen to my gut about sharing, to cut off friendships which are more hurtful than not, to embrace the friendships that become even closer.

This came on the heels of my reading a few rather callous articles including this advice column (my own fault but what really bothered me were the reader comments).

Today, the NYT had a beautiful article about a stage IV cancer patient. So much of what she says can be applied to almost any hardship and grief in life (including infertility). What helps isn’t a list of ‘have you tried X?’ or ‘at least you don’t have Y?’ What helps is just an expression of love and support and being there. And acknowledging that this is a shitty situation.

Week 12

It’s a boy!

We know the gender super early because we did the NIPT testing (everything’s normal thank God!). I was rather shocked and I have no idea why. I think I was expecting a girl because IVF overselects for girls (just a tad). And.. idk, intuition? Which is clearly very accurate.

For some reason, the thought of raising a boy is freaking me out — I know nothing of little boys (or of bigger ones). Perhaps I was imagining raising a feminist daughter and now I have to rethink how to teach those lessons for a son. And how my whole planned geeky, nerdy exposure will translate for a different gender. Not that I’m changing anything – I fully intend to buy my period table wooden building blocks! Does it actually change how I was intending to parent? – no not really. At the end of the day, I’d want to raise my child to be curious and thoughtful and aware of social impact, regardless of gender.

And I think about all the boys around me – my nephew who’s super sharp and lovable, my friends’ kids who I adore.

I think I also worry about family influences which would possibly be stronger for a boy than a girl. For instance, Hubby is very into sports (sometimes I wonder about how sports-hating me ended up with sports-loving him). Nothing wrong with that but it’s narrow exposure compared to sports AND other forms of physical activity like dance or yoga. Or I worry about bro-in-law (who I don’t really get along with for reasons too long to get into) making bombastic statements which this child will take to heart as the norm which go against everything I’ve ever believed in. Perhaps this is all worry about whether I’ll have enough in common with the child. Though I don’t know why I thought that a girl would be protective against any of this.

I’m definitely overthinking this – I’m thinking of 5/10/20 years out and trying to imagine an adult male when really it’s about a tiny itty bitty ones for a long time. At any rate, all of these are issues borne of my own anxieties and I recognize that none are actually real issues. Just thoughts that I have rambling around as I think about what the next year will bring.


This week has been a week of spending way too much time on things that.. are probably not worth the time. Like all of Friday, I got sucked into a hole of working through the mess of EHR data for a project. To be fair, it was necessary but it’s frustrating how much human error there is in what I used to think was clean data. And then I went down this wiki rabbit hole of history of hiv/aids -> hiv/aids activism -> opportunistic infections -> causes of cancers -> oncoviruses -> ivf history -> religious views on birth control/assisted reproduction/abortion -> philosophical arguments for/against abortion. Actually that was fun – I haven’t done something like that in a long time and it gave me some high level overviews of topics that are useful for me. Though I’m still looking for a nice graphic (or animation) showing the spread of hiv/aids over time and space.

Somehow in random explorations, I found this hilarious blog called ‘STFU, Parents’. Well, I thought it was hilarious but Hubby mostly thought I was crazy when I kept breaking out in giggles. Most of the hilarity comes from people really oversharing their lives in public (or at last semi-public) forums. And a fair bit of “I am now an MD” “Just wait till you have a baby, so much better”-type posts.

(It also made me realize that I totally overshare on this blog. But, I suppose there are differences – posting on FB to all my friends and acquaintances is substantially different from posting on a blog where only a few people who opt to follow it see the oversharing.)

On a more serious note, it has made me realize how much more accepting the IF blogging community is than the general world. Everyone has their own paths and their own challenges in life but there’s never a sense of “my life is harder than yours” or that the only way to be busy/fulfilled/useful is if you have a child. It does worry me to think about being tossed into this judgemental community in a few months though I have a handful of friends who are (so far) less judgemental.

I’d like to think that this is one positive thing that I’ve gotten from the last several years – there is not really one sole path to happiness or fulfillment. That and life throws a lot of stuff at you and sometimes all you can do is just grit your teeth and survive.


10.x weeks

Today was an exciting checkup. Baby looks like an actual baby. There are hands! And feet! And what we thought were enormous alien eyes which turned out to be the brain ventricles. And we could even tell when its jaw was open! Does it even have skin now? I have no idea what to expect.

And we saw baby move! That was the coolest thing ever! I didn’t even know they move at this stage. The doctor asked me to cough, baby ignored it all and continued sleeping. Eventually baby woke up and started wiggling around. Doctor: “lazy baby!” Heh. Maybe this means baby will sleep decently.

I have so many questions! Do they have eyes? Do they open them? What does that mean in-utero? Apparently they do open their mouth and swallow amniotic fluid. But it’s all ok? Do they hit themselves when they wiggle around? (According to the doctor they’re too weak to hurt themselves.) So contrary to my usual self, I’ve been not googling/readying up about anything. Honestly, everything I read is terrifying and doesn’t help me with being better prepared. So mostly I just ask what are the bad things I should look out for (sudden really bad pain; lots of bleeding) and go along with the journey for the rest of it.

I can’t believe that less than two months ago, this moving fussing little thing (4 whole cm big!) was a 100-cell blob.