Friday, March 11, 2011

I Want to Break Free: Tales from Bed Rest

Okay, folks, another medical post is ahead. So it contains, you know, medical information. Be warned!

Six days after my egg retrieval and three days after my embryo transfer, I landed at my doctor's office for an emergency visit. I'd been dealing with some side effects of my progesterone in oil shots on Sunday (day following my embryo transfer), but the on-call doctor had given us some instructions which appeared to have helped. On Monday I'd felt much better and gone to work for a full day.

On Tuesday, I woke up feeling fine, got dressed and headed off to work, where I had two cases in court. As I sat in the courtroom waiting for the judge to come out, I spoke with a few other attorneys on my cases. I could feel the beginnings of discomfort but thought nothing of it; however, by the time I was ready to stand up and leave the courtroom, I was in a tremendous amount of pain. So much so that I actually had to mentally and physically prepare myself to stand. I anticipated that standing would hurt terribly, but I didn't want to draw attention to myself by, for example, screaming in pain. After a few minutes of preparation, I managed to stand up, but the pain only continued to get worse. A coworker spotted me and asked if I was alright. At this point, I was imagining my death in Courtroom 1: it hurt to sit, it hurt to stand, it hurt to walk. Something was seriously wrong and I needed to get out of there immediately.

My coworker offered to stand in for me on my cases and I left the building. Once back at my office, I phoned my doctor who told me to come in right away. Another coworker agreed to drive me, but not before confiscating my heels and forcing me to put on her Birkenstock sandals. In the car I phoned Husband who agreed to meet us there.

The doctor ordered blood work, did an ultrasound and monitored my weight. I've gained nearly five pounds since the retrieval which is a tell-tale sign of ovarian hyperstimulation. The ultrasound confirmed that despite the gallons of Gatorade that I've consumed lately, the modified bed rest that I've been on for the last week, and the use of Lupron as opposed to HCG as my trigger medication, I had a slight case of hyperstimulation.

But why the pain? It turns out that I also had a ruptured ovarian cyst. As I understand it, when an egg is removed from a follicle, it creates a small cyst. Since I'd had 33 eggs removed, that meant I had 33 cysts floating around like little ticking time bombs. These cysts typically dissolve on their own, but since the lining becomes paper thin once an egg is removed, they can also rupture quite easily. This occurs spontaneously and is excruciatingly painful. According to my doctor, it can happen again and if the embryo transfer actually turns out to be successful (i.e. I'm pregnant), the pain will get worse before it gets better.

My doctor ordered a week of bed rest. He basically wants me to be completely sedentary until all the cysts dissolve on their own or else I run the risk of being stranded somewhere else suddenly in undying pain. I figured I'd chronicle my bed rest to (1) demonstrate that it is not as great as it sounded, (2) give other poor unfortunate souls who might find themselves on bed rest ideas on how to occupy themselves, and (3) have something to do while I was on bed rest other than staring mindlessly at the television all day.

Day One (half day): By the time we got home from the doctor's office and from picking up my medication...and about thirty gallons of Gatorade, it was after 1pm. Husband was home on this particular day which means he was enforcing a strict set of rules. He brought me my lunch and dinner on a tray, which is nice in theory, but eating in bed with a tray is really more of a romantic ideal than a practical reality. Particularly when one is attempting to eat soup which sloshes all over the place with every movement of the bed. The dogs were prohibited from being in the room with me since Izzy has a tendency to sit on my stomach, which Husband decided was likely the cause of my ailment necessitating the bed rest in the first place. Luckily by the evening, both Izzy and I had managed to convince him that she was completely capable of snuggling next to, rather than on top of, me.

When I was about ready to lose my mind, the television schedule came to the rescue: Classic Albums: A Night at the Opera followed by a five episode mini-marathon of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I emailed my mother and sister to let them know what was going on and instructed them to devise ways to entertain me over the next week. Five minutes later, they both called me. Hm, clearly they fail to understand that I'm on bed rest for a week, not for twenty minutes.

Day Two: Word of my bed rest traveled fast and I got no less than four phone calls to keep me entertained! Another friend happened to email me first thing in the morning so I relayed my plight and we emailed back and forth all day. Last year a coworker was on bed rest for three weeks after foot surgery and one day she was climbing the walls with boredom so she called me at the office.

Coworker: What's going on at the office?

Me: Not much...Hey, what's that noise?

Coworker: What noise?

Me: It's like music playing...I recognize it...Is that the theme song to Bonanza?

It turns out that in her boredom every day at 2pm she had taken to watching Bonanza. I tried to watch Bonanza but I hadn't been on bed rest long enough for that to be entertaining. It did amuse me greatly to call her at the office while the opening credits were rolling so she'd hear the music in the background.

I will say that on the day I returned to work (the following Tuesday), there was a Star Trek: The Next Generation marathon on SyFy. Seriously, I cannot stress the strength of character that it required for me to turn off the television and go to work that morning, since sadly at that point, I was feeling completely fine and had received clearance from the doctor to return to work. All I can say is, "Star Trek, where were you during the last five days when I was stuck with Bonanza?"

Day Three: Today I decided that daytime television was unwatchable so I decided to crack a book. You may recall that I read and reviewed the first book in Steig Larsson's trilogy, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, on vacation this summer. I never ended up reading the second two books since vacation ended. Well, bed rest isn't exactly vacation, but I was running out of options. I plowed through the second book The Girl Who Played With Fire in one day. It's definitely a fast read. However, because there weren't any characters that remind me of Roger Taylor, I don't have a book review for you. I'd heard that it was a fast read and it absolutely is. I started reading late in Day Two and finished on Day Three. I'd definitely recommend the series and currently have the hardcover version of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest sitting on my bedside table.

Day Four: I'm on the move! Today I had my follow-up doctor's appointment. Husband decided to work from home because he insisted on driving me. An ultrasound revealed that my ovaries were back down to a more manageable size and the blood had cleared out, confirming that I had, in fact, ruptured a cyst. My doctor cleared me to return to work on Monday if I made it through the weekend without issue and allowed me to travel to Boston to visit our good friends and their six week old baby! Things were definitely looking up and in recognition of the positive news from the doctor, Husband allowed me to have bed rest in the living room! That meant access to our DVR'd television shows so I got to enjoy some old Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes that I had taped and never watched. Yay!

But then I started thinking about what the doctor's report really meant. He had specifically told me on Tuesday, at my first appointment, that my ovarian hyperstimulation would get worse if I was pregnant. This is because the HCG hormone used to trigger ovulation, which agitates the ovarian hyperstimulation, is created naturally by the body when it's pregnant. So to hear on Friday that my ovaries were back down to normal size, made me worry that the IVF hadn't worked.

Husband said that we shouldn't read too much into the situation. Our doctor has always been candid, nearly to a fault, and he left the appointment saying, "Good luck on your pregnancy test next week." My history with him suggests that he would have said, "Well, this isn't going to happen," or something equally dismissive if he really had any idea what was going on so I had to trust that Husband was right when he said that it was too soon to tell and I shouldn't get disappointed.

Day Five: Travelling Bed Rest. My poor friend had high hopes that we'd be able to drive into Boston, walk around in the city, and actually give her a chance to get out of the house with her six week old. I delivered the bad news that I was only allowed to come if my bed rest continued and we basically just stared at the baby for the afternoon. She was disappointed but understood. When she suggested a lunch place down the street, she actually offered to drive me around the corner and drop me off. I convinced Husband that a 50 yard walk was probably fine and he agreed on the condition that since the restaurant was BYOB, I would BYOG (Bring Your Own Gatorade) so off he trotted to the corner store to pick up some more Gatorade.

Day Six: Today was technically supposed to be my last day of bed rest. I'd made the permanent move from the bedroom to the living room and was expecting visitors in the form of fellow princesses and mini-princesses that afternoon! Very exciting! Husband was off at a day long firm meeting so I had the house to myself and I discovered something amazing: Soapnet's Breakfast in Bed Sunday morning programming. Four back-to-back episodes of Beverly Hills 90210! Heaven! It's been so long that 90210 went off the air (more than ten years. Yikes!) that I forgot how absolutely ridiculous and completely addicting it can be! The morning flew by and before I knew it, princesses were arriving with minis in tow, along with delicious brownie cheesecake, frosted cupcakes, and How to Train Your Dragon. I can't say I totally followed the movie as while we attempted to watch it, mini princesses were running amok, stealing bites of brownie cheesecake, alternating between playing tug and fetch with Izzy, and trying to avoid being humped by Abbie. So as to not upset the children, we referred to the humping as hugging which lead to the funniest quote of the day, "She always hugs me from behind!" Oh Abbie, you stinker!

After my guests left, I started to feel pain which was disturbingly reminiscent of premenstrual cramps. Suddenly the thought of waiting another two days before I was allowed to take my pregnancy test was horrifying and I sat terrified for the rest of the evening that I was about to get my period.

Day Seven: This was Monday and supposedly the day I was authorized to return to work. However, the pain from the previous evening had morphed into something more reminiscent of the pain I experienced a week earlier which had set this whole bed rest business in motion...or rather, in bed. I had two matters scheduled in court that a co-worker agreed to cover and I called my doctor to inform them that I was taking another day of bed rest. I informed my nurse that I imagined that the pain was due to my ovaries becoming enlarged again due to the HCG my body was producing on account of my being pregnant. She didn't laugh at this suggestion so I decided that this was clearly what was happening!

On this day, I made an amazing discovery. It seems Wil Wheaton, the actor who played Wesley Crusher, on Star Trek: The Next Generation, has had quite a prominent online presence for many years. He has a Twitter account and a blog and in addition to acting, has become quite a prolific writer! I stumbled upon his blog which directed me to this webpage.

One of Wil's books was a retrospective about the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The book apparently contains humerous plot descriptions, commentary on the more corny elements of the show, and Wil's own memories from filming. Prior to the book's release, Wil decided to record podcasts discussing the first thirteen episodes. What!!?!??! 

Luckily Husband and I have recently caught up on many of the show's first season's episodes so they were fresh on my mind. And let me just say, Wil's podcasts are so funny! I think I listened to five or six on my last day of bed rest and I was so disappointed that he stopped after the thirteenth episode because I wanted to hear more! Definitely check it out!

On Tuesday, I finally returned to work. Physically, I felt fine, but emotionally, I was a bit of a wreck. On my lunch hour, I ended up crying in my office on the phone with Husband. The stress of waiting for Wednesday had finally gotten to me and unfortunately the odd pseudo-cramps continued to I was constantly in a state of fear that my period was imminent.

I hate to leave you with a cliffhanger again readers (although this time at least I realize I'm doing it!), but check back next Saturday to find out what happened when I went in for my pregnancy test. And while you wait, I promise I'll actually post some outfits to tide you all over since I've actually been wearing pants again now that I've broken free from bed rest! Hurray!


  1. OMG! Maybe all the cramping was implantation crampng!! I cannot wait until NEXT Saturday!! Please tell us the results!! All the best, Allison

  2. OK. First of all, you are hilarious. I laughed out loud too many times to even reference them here!

    Second of all, GAH THE SUSPENSE!!!! You are killing me, woman!!

    Third of all, Wil Wheaton! I just so happen to be an expert on Wil.... This link goes to a really funny The Bloggess post:

    And, also, did you know that the measurement term "1 Wheaton" equals 500,000 followers on Twitter, because he is a Twitter God apparently. (THAT I learned from Mental Floss.)

    GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!

  3. Oh girl, you've been through a rough few weeks, but hang in there! I appreciate your candidness in detailing your procedures and your reactions so we know more about what is going on. I can't believe you're going to keep us in suspense though - thanks to E! broadcasting SATC practically non-stop lately, I think Charlotte got her adopted Chinese baby faster, haha!

  4. NOT FAIR. I have been waiting all day to read about this and I have to wait more to find out if you are pregnant!? I have a good feeling about the next post. Just so you know, if you don't post the answer in the first sentence or the title I am scrolling all the way to the bottom until I find out. Your killing me!

  5. Okay, first of all, YAY for the "Night at the Opera" special - that was on TV???!!! It is one of my fave Queen DVD's, I have subjected my boyfriend to it many times (sadly, he just does not appreciate the genius)...
    Secondly; I seriously read this post AS SOON as I got home... and I can't believe there's another cliff hanger, but I hope the next post has some REALLY great news for you..
    Thirdly; should you have a son, would you name him Roger? Or would his middle name be Meddows?? Just curious. I very seriously would consider naming one of my future kids Freddie.
    Have a great weekend!!!

  6. Allison - Thanks! Sorry to keep everyone in suspense, but I decided at the beginning to space this out in real time and I had to wait 12 days after the transfer, so you all do too!

    Suz - Um you can always call me if you want an early scoop! LOL And that Wil Wheaton stuff is too funny! I had seen the collating photo and couldn't figure out what it was referring to! Hysterical!

    Lisa - Ha too funny about SATC! Sorry, but imagine the suspense for Husband and I! :)

    spiffy - Well I already started writing the next post and you're going to have to tolerate a bit of a build up, but I PROMISE the results will be there!

    Sarah - They show it on the VH1 Classic channel a lot, but they edit it down and cut out a few songs, which sucks. But it's still fun to watch. I love when Brian/Roger play the songs themselves! And I have actually proposed to Husband that we utilize the name Taylor somehow (since it can be a boy or a girl). He wasn't completely opposed but his father's wife already has a granddaughter named Taylor so it might be kind of weird if there are two Taylors running around. They live in FLorida though so the distance might swing things in my favor!

  7. Kathleen:

    a few comments:

    - I had an ovarian cyst that was 7X8cm. Yes, it was that big and I thought i was going to be found dead in my condo it was so horrible,so I can only imagine how you felt. Worst pain I ever had. Ovaries are the size of grapes so to hear mine was approaching a lemon was crazy.

    -Not sure if you watch Criminal MInds (big guilty, dark pleasure of mine- Yes I am twisted :D ) had an episode with Will Wheaton being the "unsub" or unknown subject/criminal. He was creepy scary. Very much a departure for the actor.

    -Bonanza is still on somewhere? I remember when it used to come on, I think Sunday nights. And I don't know how you managed to watch it. But that is what bed rest will reduce you too. :(

    -Love watching the Breakfast in Bed episodes of 90210 on Soap Network. I've seem them all several times, but it is funny to watch them again 10+ years later and think about what some of the actors are now up to. BTW: Luke Perry also played an "unsub" on Criminal Minds, who was a David Koresh type leader. Very against type. Don't know if you ever watched Dawson's Creek, but the Dawnson character also played an unsub on Criminal Minds and I can't watch those episodes it was so creepy and sick.

    Sorry for the long post, but I am also waiting to hear about your news! Again, big props to you for sharing this story with others who may be on the same journey and don't know what to expect, or have anyone to ask who has been through this process or are just afraid of sharing their journey to parenthood. You are brave!

  8. OMG Bronzi, that cyst sounds horrible! Luckily mine weren't anywhere near that big (that my doctor let on, at least), but you're right it was crazy painful! And I've never watched Criminal Minds, but I might need to track those episodes you mentioned down! I also hear that Wil has been on the Big Bang Theory which I've heard great things about. And YES BOnanza is still on: TVLAND, I think, but several times a day! Crazy!

  9. Oh, the CM episode with the Dawson's Creek guy was called Revelation); the one with Will Wheaton was in the episode called Paradise and Luke Perry was in the episode called Minimal Loss.

    I have to provide a warning that the shows can be very dark in nature.