It was the first time visiting Posh Clinic's sister location. When we arrived I had to go to the bathroom, because this pregnancy peeing thing is no joke. There, on both sides of the hallway, were these gigantic paintings of sunflowers.
I don't write a lot about my mom, but I will say that sunflowers were her thing. After she died, I started seeing sunflowers in random places, often when I was thinking about her or missing her something fierce. When I saw those sunflowers in the hallway, I thought, "Everything's going to be okay." And then immediately wanted to beat myself in the head, because every time I think something like that I'm sure it's me just tempting fate or whatever.
We waited a long time for the ultrasound, and by the time we went back I felt like I had to pee again. But I was already undressed. The tech came in, inserted the probe thing, and declared my bladder too full. So, pants came back on and I went for a second pee. See what I mean? Pregnancy peeing is seriously no joke.
Finally, the scan.
There she was, noticeably bigger. There she was, with a heart beating strong.
Nugget had grown to 7.3 mm. The tech said she should've been 8 mm but she'd grown appropriately since my last visit so she wasn't concerned. The sac was a little small, she noted. The machine registered Nugget's FHR as 144 bpm, which is up from the 119 it was last week.
I didn't cry during this scan, though I grinned like an idiot when the tech pointed out the flash that was Nugget's heart. I still haven't gotten to listen to the heartbeat, but this was the first time I could see it clear as day.
Back to the waiting room until we could see Dr. Colleague. Of all the doctors in the practice, she is definitely the warmest and fuzziest. She's also quite animated. We decided we liked her a lot. She remembered that she did my retrieval and was all handshakes and happy talk.
"The baby's grown beautifully," she told us. "The heart rate is gorgeous."
But what about those pesky hCG levels?
She said, "We shouldn't be seeing what we're seeing [on the ultrasound] with numbers like these, but we are. So we don't care about the numbers anymore."
She said, "We know what hCG is supposed to do, but most women aren't getting their levels checked every four days. So what do we know, really?"
She said, "I don't want to get your hopes up, When I see numbers like these it usually means miscarriage."
But she also told us about a patient she had in her previous practice that had numbers like mine, where the hCG was super low and slow and never doubled properly. That patient begged her to schedule a D&E, because clearly the baby wasn't going to make it. Dr. Colleague told her they couldn't do that as long as the heart was beating.
That heart never stopped beating, and she went on to deliver a healthy baby.
"You could be our - I don't want to say one in a million, more like one in a hundred thousand. You could be that one in a hundred thousand who defies all odds."
She told us we didn't have to come back for a week. She said, "I'm sure these ultrasounds every four days aren't doing anything to help your anxiety level."
So we go back next Tuesday. I'm pregnant for at least another week.
We left in two very different places, me and Mr. Hope. I felt lighter, less burdened. Nugget was alive! Nugget's heart was beating stronger! Nugget's stubborn, just like her mama.
Mr. Hope, on the other hand, seemed lower, more burdened. "Talk to me," I said. "What are you thinking?"
He shrugged. "That was good news, I guess."
Talk about a role reversal!
It's like Mr. Hope landed where I've been, in the painful limbo where you just want to know: is the baby going to live or is the baby going to die? For whatever reason, I'm getting more comfortable with the uncertainty, while he's growing less comfortable with it.
I updated the people who needed to be updated. People aren't even sure what to say anymore. They tell me they're "cautiously optimistic" or that they're holding their breath or saying prayers. It's nice and yet at the same time I feel horrible that I've dragged them into this limbo with us. Quirky's response was the best: "Geez!!! I guess there's still a chance?!?"
Yesterday I was exhausted - I've been SO tired lately - but late afternoon I went into the kitchen to cook. I queued up some Taylor Swift (because obviously I'm turning into a 12-year-old girl) and then proceeded to dance my ass off as I made gumbo.
Like I said: lighter than I've felt in weeks.
Speaking of, I dropped 6.2 lbs. of water weight in the past two days. I'm only a few pounds up from where I was pre-Christmas. I've upped my protein and veg intake and have been guzzling water like a boss. I've read that sometimes the sac can read smaller if the mother is dehydrated, and I know my water intake hasn't been great the past week. Yesterday I had about 140 oz. of pure water, plus 16 oz. of milk, 20 oz. of decaf coffee, and 12 oz. of rooibos tea. So, yeah. DEFINITELY pumping my system full of liquids!