the zero trimester

mindfulness meditation only works when you remember to use it. to pause whenever you feel your body’s systems start to rev up and remember to really think about what’s going on, to breathe deeply, and to face what is happening with an open mind.

 i have been trying these last few days, i really have. i was disappointed at the negative test but relieved to start cramping. i was pleased at the idea of an endometrial lining that had never seen 2007. but underneath all that, i kept hoping, as many of us do despite ourselves, that the test was wrong. so i wasn’t really calm, or mindful. i had hopes. i had hopes that felt close to expectations. and we all know how bad that can be.

two days after stopping prometrium, when i still hadn’t started bleeding, i started doing a wee bit of research about progesterone withdrawal bleeds. my memory (never that great to start with) was that it took at least a day and maybe three, but not really any more that that. dr. google neither confirmed nor denied, but i read enough to know that i could be expected to wait 7-10 days before really worrying (whatever “really worrying” actually means). so i was ready to wait. and to calm the hell down revisit my mindfulness.

s asked about the cramps, which had stopped, and about any spotting, which i would have normally expected but which hadn’t started. he asked whether i should test again. i reminded him that dr h (the doc who brought us m) usually asked me to wait 5 days between tests. s thought maybe three days was a good window. i was happy to hear somebody besides me say that; i always feel such a fool when i keep testing and the results are the same.

i was prepared for it to be negative. so when, bleary-eyed and half-awake i peered at the stick and saw what i thought was a shadow of a first line, my heart leapt. and then the strong second line came. and then i couldn’t see the shadow of the first line. i turned the stick to catch different light and screwed my eyes up real tight but nope: no first line.

i tossed the stick in the trash and went back to bed.

a few hours later s asked whether i’d tested. yes, i told him. it was still negative. ok, he said. and he left to buy coffee.

i got up and grabbed m and the dogs to go for a walk. on my way downstairs i saw the pee stick, half-sticking out of the bathroom garbage. i always feel self-conscious about those damn things sitting around — what if my mil drops by?! — so i grabbed it, lifted the trash lid to re-deposit it, and gave it a closer look.

two lines.

it’s hard not to worry that the first line is too faint. that it appeared later than the 3-minute window (which i DEFINITELY did not wait for) as the result of some chemical reaction that has nothing to do with my body’s production of hgc. that i quit taking progesterone for three days and so have doomed the pregnancy. or that some piece of 2007 is still lurking in my body and is out to get to me.

but still: two lines.

happy day!

it’s time for something a little lighter: e.e. cummings’s “maggie and molly and milly and may.” i love his playfulness with language.

maggie and molly and milly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles, and

milly discovered a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and

may came home with a huge round stone
as small as the world and as big as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

i mean, they suck, but at least they are definitive.

big leap of faith there, ‘eh? they so often don’t mean what you think or want, or they mean exactly what they mean but at the wrong heartbreaking time. but this time i’m taking it on faith that they mean i didn’t test too early and i’m really not pregnant.

not where i want to be, but since i can’t be where i want, i’ll accept where i am.

and a huge shout out to my readers — i was very touched to see my blog hits spike on the day i reported the test results. my busiest day ever! you’re the best.

just one thin line. no september baby for us.

i’m so torn about this. september due dates have historically been good luck for us — m was due on labor day, and came of her own accord a week early. i’ve had seven due dates in seven different months, but only the september date brought us a baby.

even trying not to be superstitious, i have to say i’m disappointed.

so we talked this morning about what this means. we had decided earlier to test late enough in my cycle that, were the test negative, i could stop the prometrium and get on with the bleeding. i think both of us, though, were secretly assuming hoping that the test would be positive and the prometrium would be a moot point.

but now that it’s not, we (of course) have to revisit the game plan. is it worth waiting to see? testing again in a few days? maybe we tested too early after all? (i had 2 negative tests before a positive one with m, and even 1 negative test before a positive one with ruby.)

but s made the sanest of all possible points: we need to feel calm about this, and feeling calm does not include wishful thinking and casting about trying to make things different. so no more prometrium. if i am pregnant and it’s a viable pregnancy, this won’t matter. if i’m not, i’ll get to CD1 that much sooner.

and i realized that’s ok. all that really means is that i’ll finish cleaning out 2007, and can start fresh (endometrium and all) with 2008. which can only be good.

so the zero trimester continues. i’ll try not to celebrate by drinking too much wine.

with all the brouhaha surrounding the 10th anniversary of blogging i heard a funny exchange as part of a news piece:

reporter: well, give us a sample of a blog entry.

interviewee: here is someone’s. she begins, “i still don’t know what i’m doing new year’s eve. i might [insert boring activity here] or i might [insert other boring activity here.]”

reporter, laughing: you mean, she’s blogging to tell people she doesn’t know what she’s going to do?

interviewee: yeah, that’s part of the appeal of blogging. people think of blogs as conversations.

i had never really “got” the personal meta-commentary of bloggerdom. you know, the post that begins “sorry posting has been so light this last week” kinda thing. the blog quoted above is a variation of that: “i don’t really know what to say but i like to post and i like communicating with my readers” and maybe even “i don’t want people to quit reading my blog just because i’m not posting anything.” but i have come to like those kinds of posts in the last few months, especially as i’ve become attached to a few people’s lives and progress reports. and the news story crystallized for me a part of blogging i hadn’t really embraced before: it’s ok just to chat.

so in that spirit, here is my non-post.

i have nothing to report, except that s is still counting down days (usually under his breath but still loudly enough that i can hear him), which i find super endearing. i offered to test early if that would make him feel better, but good sport that he is, he felt we should stick to the original game plan.

on the positive side, my breasts are starting to ache and i’m verging on bitchy. (how close i come to that verge depends on just how stupid you are being when you talk to me.  so…further from the verge at home, very close to the verge at work.) i am not spotting, which i would expect about now, a few days before i’m due to gush. when m jumps on me in bed in the mornings my uterus is tender.

big mitigating factor: i’ve been supplementing with prometrium, which could easily be responsible for all of the above.

we’ll know tomorrow. 

i found this essay browsing NPR’s “This I Believe” and had one of those moments when i thought “man, why didn’t I think of that?” family as a verb. to family.

we familied over the turn to the new year with friends (a, j1, j2) who now live nearby. before we moved to our new home/city/state in may, these friends were an 8-10 hour drive away through some dull country. now they’re 90 minutes up a major highway. we drove up on new year’s eve for a wintry dinner of risotto and wine, watched tv through the obligatory midnight hour (and oh, how my heart sank for poor dick clark), ate 12 grapes each, one to signify each month of 2008 (i wanted to be like the italians and shove as many grapes in my mouth as possible, but the family (a noun) opted for the more delicate spanish mode and i’m not one to make waves) and stayed through the new year’s celebratory meal of hoppin’ john, when we were joined by our other dear friend p and p’s new friend c.

given this wealth of food and friendship, we familied well. in fact, we familied better, and more happily, and with more verve and style and with less exhaustion and tension than i could ever dream of doing with any of my blood relatives. j1 laid a beautiful table featuring a crushed orange velvet tablecloth from denmark. a fed us with absolutely brilliant food, and put up with us while we all drank. we took a brisk walk in the bitter cold just as snow was starting to fall, and came home to warm with up french-press coffees. we stuffed our gullets with lovely homemade chocolates, a holiday gift to j1 from an old college friend. i learned that i really like c and now can genuinely hope that c and p will be happy together. i told p some things i wasn’t sure i could, i listened to j1 tell me about some problems she’s facing this coming term (that’s school, not pregnancy), i admired j2’s new thomas the tank jammies, i watched m toddle around and befriend befamily absolutely everyone with equal enthusiasm, and i listened to a & s talk about music and smoking and “taboo food” in northern england.

the group of us celebrating together is a subset of a larger group that vacations together usually once–sometimes twice–a year, and has done so for eleven years. we have long described ourselves as a family of choice, since many of us (especially the women) have major issues with our families of origin. but to family: to family by choice. i like that.

every holiday season i buy a few new ornaments — usually but not always during the massive sales that start december 26. but in december 2005 i paid full price (a whopping $5) for a capital letter “e,” which s and i hung together in earl’s memory.


it didn’t occur to me this year until almost christmas day to go back to restoration hardware (so much for living green and shopping locally) to see if they had letters again. they did! and m and i picked out a nice capital letter “r.”


instead of a tree — which was far more than i could wrap my arms around, what with falling needles and months of vacuuming and a very toddly toddler (made more so by the fluid in her ears, a special gift from her sinus infection) — we hung garland over the arch between our living room and dining room. we hung ornaments on the garland, and found that we even started to feel festive, not to mention relieved that the fragiles were out of reach of the grasping, smashing fingers of a 16-month old. we hung the r and the e first.

it turned out to be an ok christmas after all.


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