I went to a lunch with a new friend I met through my old, in-person Resolve support group. Fig is another DOR gal - actually, she may have POF (Premature Ovarian Failure) - and she and her husband have been using donor eggs. Sadly, their second cycle ended in a second miscarriage. We sat in a restaurant and talked for more than three hours. It's amazing how the pain of infertility and loss brings so many incredible people into your life.
That night brought 20 rounds of arguments with two pharmacies trying to get a refill on my PIO (long story, not worth the effort to recount). The highlight of this was me getting hysterical on the phone with my husband and saying over and over, "I did everything right and it still didn't make a difference. Nothing I do matters." This in reference to getting the prescription refilled...but not really. Of course.
The next day was holiday prep craziness. We do Christmas Eve at the BFF's house. I wasn't making all that much but I was so behind in everything - cleaning, decorating, present-wrapping, cooking, baking. We had to be there at 6:30. Mr. Hope was supposed to work until 3 but after I had a meltdown he left at noon instead.
We busted ass all day with me in a foul, foul mood. I messed up one of the vegetable dishes I was supposed to bring to the BFF's gathering. I screwed up something else, too. I told her I was sending Mr. Hope with everything but I was going to stay home because I'm a miserable human being that no one wanted to be around. She talked me out of this plan (because, after all, she is my BFF for a reason). I ended up going and having a perfectly lovely time, even if I did feel a little disassociated from my body.
We got home later than expected and I had zero energy left. It was Christmas Eve and our tree still wasn't decorated. We were having dinner guests and nothing was done. But I was so tired.
We went to sleep.
The next day - Christmas - I got up and started working on my to-do list. It was long. There was cleaning that needed to be done. The house needed to be decorated. The tree needed to be fluffed. Mr. Hope insists on adding more lights to the pre-lighted tree, and that takes time. There were the ornaments. I had more presents to wrap.
Of course, this is the day that the morning sickness set in. Seriously. I was nauseated beyond belief and even vomited once. I felt lethargic. I kept having hot flashes. My boobs were on fire. I updated my super-secret FB support group and reported, "If this pregnancy is failing, my body hasn't gotten the memo yet."
I baked old-fashioned gingerbread and made two more vegetable dishes. Our guests were set to arrive at 4:30; I pushed it back to five. And even then, I was just starting to put ornaments on the tree when my stepfather arrived.
The nausea subsided. I ate some dinner. I ate some dessert. I enjoyed the company.
Fast forward until 10 or so, after the guests had left and we'd cleaned up the place a little. Finally, it's time to open our presents. Mr. Hope spoiled the hell out of me. Every gift he got landed exactly the way he intended - a first in our nearly decade-long relationship. He now knows me so well it's scary.
The one clunky note was when he opened a gift I'd originally purchased to be from Nugget. It was a children's book with special meaning. We were sad together for a minute.
The next day - yesterday - was our third ultrasound. We listened to the first episode of Serial on the drive to Posh Clinic. Mr. Hope was nervous. I wasn't. I woke up feeling not pregnant and was sure we'd see that Nugget was gone.
Like everything else about this pregnancy, I was dead wrong.
There was Nugget on the screen. Tracking slightly behind where she should be (she measured 4.7 mm when she should've been closer to 6 or 7) but with her heart still beating. Her fetal heart rate (FHR) was 119, on the low end of normal. It was the first time I could actually see Nugget on the monitor. I could even see the flickering heartbeat.
We saw Dr. Smiles. At first he said something about having a "gorgeous" something-or-other. I can't remember exactly but it confused me. Was it that he called the embryo gorgeous? The heartbeat? Did I mishear him entirely? Because the next thing I know, we were talking about how things don't look promising.
He said something about how he's seen women whose betas don't move for a week who go on to deliver healthy babies. Women whose babies crown rump length (CRL) doesn't budge for a week and who go on to deliver healthy babies.
"It doesn't look promising," he reiterated, "but you never know."
He told me he didn't want the nurses calling me with the hCG levels, since they didn't matter anymore. We'd go by the ultrasounds. We'd wait and see.
I asked him again if this had anything to do with me or my body. He said no. He said, "If you'd been hitting benchmarks all along and then the heart stopped suddenly, then I'd be more worried about you. But this is likely chromosomal." I asked him if they would do testing if I had to have a D&C. He said they would.
When we said goodbye, he said, "You need to know that I am 100% that this has nothing to do with you. Nothing you did caused this. I am 100% certain of that."
It was nice to hear, even if I'm struggling to believe it.
Dr. Smiles told us to come back on Tuesday for the fourth ultrasound, to see where things stand. He's on vacation next week so we're seeing Dr. Colleague, the one who did my retrieval. I'm glad it's her and not Dr. Eyeore.
We left. Mr. Hope said, "So, Nugget's still kicking it. That's...good."
The whole thing is so confusing. Like I said: three days prior, I was resigned to miscarry. I sent an email out to my support circle letting them know that this was the likely outcome. I told them that we would be okay. That Mr. Hope and I could start trying again a couple of months afterward.
But for whatever reason - whether it was being able to identify Nugget on the ultrasound, or the fact that I puked in a Wawa restroom a few hours later from the growing nausea, or just plain stupidity - I'm now starting to wonder what if.
What if we don't lose Nugget?
What if she catches up in growth? What if her heart grows stronger?
What if she defies all odds?
Even though the slowing growth was the first true sign that this baby isn't going to make it, I feel less certain of her inevitable demise than ever. I know it's magical thinking. I know this, and yet it doesn't stop me from the what ifs and maybes.
My boobs burn and ache. My stomach is roiling. My face is breaking out. I'm having trouble staying asleep again.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I will be 7 weeks tomorrow. That's more than half way through the first trimester.
Logically, I know it's more likely that we will lose Nugget than not. But my heart isn't operating on logic right now. An impending miscarriage doesn't feel real, not right this second. I would never admit this to Mr. Hope, who I think is waiting for a miracle. I don't want to feed his magical thinking any more than I do my own.
Nugget's heart still beats. There is nothing that we can or will do until that changes. If it changes.
One day at a time, right?