The War

Inside me, there is a war being waged. And it’s not just a war between all the medications I am on. Seriously, there are 22 daily pills and one daily injection all vying for territory in my bloodstream.

No, the war inside me is a nasty, vicious one with no clear victor in sight and no way of knowing when it will end. It is the war between hope and doubt.

Those two are always duking it out.

Hope makes me think that the months and months of waiting to try again, of doctors visits and medicines and needles and ultrasounds and diet changes and acupuncture have made a difference and that this month, things will be different. Then doubt creeps in to tell me I’m getting all hoped up for nothing. Babies won’t grow in this body.

Hope makes me think that one little twinge holds all the answers. Doubt tells me it’s the broccoli I had at lunch.

Hope tells me to eat pineapple this week for implantation. Then doubt reminds me I’m so freaking far beyond getting help from a piece of fruit.

Doubt makes me think my body will never have the ability to do what it is supposed to do. Then hope swoops in and lets me believe that maybe just maybe the universe will cut us just one tiny little 9-month break.

Stupid hope and awful doubt.

Hope keeps me eager. Doubt keeps me safe. And I don’t know which one is worse.

Such is the hell of yet another two-week wait.

I’d have written this sooner, but I had a needle in my arm/stomach/hand

I have this secret writer’s fantasy where I’m at a dinner party, and the woman sitting across from me is some giant publishing mogul, but I don’t know that because we’re too busy talking about how fascinatingly witty I am, when she tells me she wants to pay me a lot of money to write a book. And I say “Wow, what a coincidence, I already have it started.” And then I hand her a manuscript that just happens to be in my purse, and she leaves immediately so that she can meet with some other giant publishing mogul to talk about how wonderful I am. And somewhere in there I am also two inches taller and eating chocolate cake.

But since there’s just a tiny chance things might not go down like that, I figure I need a backup writer’s fantasy. And in the last few weeks it’s become increasingly clear what that backup writer’s fantasy should be: My phone rings and it’s some textbook company asking me to write a book about needles. And I say, “Well it just so happens that I have a lot of experience with needles.” And it would be true because, seriously, these last three weeks have been a blur of needles #ThingsHeroineAddictsSay.

Okay, so I don’t really know anything useful about needles. But this is all to say that I’ve been a bad bad blogger lately because I’ve had a lot of stuff happening, most of which involves needles.

Three weeks ago we learned that magically, my insurance provider would agree to pay for the majority of my IVIG treatments. I was still not 100% clear on what IVIG was, but I knew Dr. Kwak-Kim said I needed it in order to carry a pregnancy and that it was off-the-charts expensive and that most insurance companies refuse to cover it, so I was like “get that IV into my arm right now.”

Dr. Kwak-Kim requires that all her patients’ first doses are given in her office. This is mostly because a large percentage of people have a serious allergic reaction. And strangely enough, that didn’t sway me away from wanting the IV in my arm, stat. So we flew back to Chicago for the infusion.

By the time we got there, I had learned up on IVIG enough to be mildly freaked out by it but not enough to not want it. Despite my nerves and me being convinced that my body is cursed to all things babymaking, it all went incredibly well. The infusion lasted about three hours and I got to sit in the most comfortable chair I’ve ever seen inside a doctor’s office. Seriously, I want to live in that chair.

I’ll be continuing the infusions every other week until our still-unconceived baby is born. But thankfully the infusions will be with a home infusion nurse in our family room. And damn, I am already missing that chair.

While we were in Chicago, Dr. Kwak-Kim’s nurse practitioners did a few more tests, adjusted some of the dosages on the many medications I am on, and gave us the green light to start the babymaking this month. Which is huge news because it means we can finally have sex without me having to yell “pull out” in as sexy a tone as I can muster. And also, it means we could maybe, possibly get pregnant.

Which brings me to my next needle adventure. Daily subcutaneous Lovenox injections. Which is a fancy way of saying that I am shooting up in my stomach with blood thinners once a day.

Last night marked my sixth injection. And my husband and I are starting to get our injection routine down. After dinner I make a joke about needing to shoot up. He gets the ice and the cotton balls, I get the pre-filled syringe and the alcohol wipes. We sit on the floor and examine my belly for a single square inch that isn’t already bruised (which is getting harder and harder to find with each injection). Then I ice the chosen location while he takes the cap off the needle and I pretend to ice some more because I need more time to mentally psych myself up for this.

Finally I take the syringe from him and I aim it toward the magic, non-bruised spot on my belly. I try really hard to just jab it in there, but, like a 6-year-old getting ready to jump off the high-board at the pool, I totally lose my nerve halfway there, and I end up only lightly grazing my top layer of skin. My husband yells that I am going to hurt myself more this way and to just jab it in there already. Which gives me just the right amount of internal anger I need to get a good stab going.

Once the needle is really in, I push down on the plunger and feel the grossest, stingiest, weirdest feeling ever as the medicine goes in. Then I pull the needle out, exclaim that that was the worst one yet, ice the injection spot, and make my husband put everything away and get me something to drink. I now have carte blanche to be a bitch for the rest of the night. At some point in the future I will need to increase the injections to twice a day, which gives me an excuse to be a bitch whenever. Right honey?

And now, because of all of this, I have a backup to my backup writer’s fantasy: An epic baby book. A baby book unlike any baby book that’s ever been created before. Sure, it’ll have the classic first ultrasound pic and the screaming, crying, right-out-of-the-womb pic. But those will be on the last page. Leading up to them will be every syringe, every IV bag, and a photo of every bruise on my belly. It’ll be a real, legendary kindergarten show-and-tell piece. The title: I did this for you, baby.