Thursday, December 18, 2014

the waiting game.

We had our first ultrasound yesterday, at 5w3d. The tech pointed out the one lone black dot on the screen. She said, "I can see the gestational sac and yolk sac, so you have everything you need there." She told us that she didn't see the second, but that they're so small at this stage, we might see the second next week. Her gut, though, told her this was it.

I almost cried when she said she could see the yolk sac. I knew that's what we were looking for. So that was a relief.

Turns out our RE is in a different office on Wednesdays, so we had to see another one in the practice. I'd never met with this doctor before, though I'd heard Dr. Smiles make a couple of disparaging remarks about him. Anyway, Mr. Hope named him Dr. Eyeore because he was all, "Because of your age, your chance of miscarriage is 25 percent right out the gate. I'd say you're in the high teens now. After we see the heartbeat, it goes down to 12 percent, and then keeps going down after that. We'll know more next week. Don't get too excited and don't tell anybody. But I'm liking what I see; we're off to a good start."

So my enthusiasm was tempered even before we left the office. I was feeling all sorts of things I couldn't even begin to process. Relief that there was a yolk sac. Sadness that only one embryo made it and, because of course I assumed it was the donors', loss. This was our last chance at a biological child, after all.

But also I had this niggling feeling something wasn't quite right. I'd had it for a few days, when the control line on the FRER I took at 18dp5dt wasn't significantly lighter than the one I'd taken two days prior. Shouldn't the test line be way darker by now? Shouldn't it be stealing dye from the control line like crazy?

And then there was Mr. Hope. We'd talked about him not going to the first ultrasound, because it was really just going to be a dot on the screen. The heartbeat ultrasound was the one he really needed to be there for. He was fine with this, and then all of a sudden he changed his mind. This was Tuesday. He rearranged his work schedule and insisted on being there Wednesday morning. I felt this cold dread, like why had he suddenly changed his mind? Why was it suddenly so dire to him that he be there? Did he know that we were going to get bad news? Did he just have a feeling?

But it turned out that his old boss, whom he had told we were pregnant, goaded him into it. "You don't want to miss the first ultrasound," she told him. "You'll regret it and Mrs. Agony will kill you."

(For the record, I wouldn't have. It's just a black dot, is all.)

I'd asked the nurse what time the physician's side called with blood results. She said between 2 and 3. When 3:30 rolled around and I still hadn't heard anything, I started to get nervous. They save the bad news calls for the end of the day.

At 3:40, I dialed in. The woman who answered the phone was all, "We don't call you with the results every time, but let me check." She put me on hold. When she came back on the line, she told me that my hCG was a whopping 1,461.

"Uh, that's low, right?" I asked.

"Hold on," she said. "Let me page a nurse."

I immediately brought up a doubling calculator on my laptop and typed the numbers in. The doubling time was alarming: 110.23 hours. At this stage, I should be closer to 72 max.

I felt like I was going to start crying.

After a while, the nurse who drew my blood this morning got on the phone. She's a sweet old lady but seems a little touched - she smiles a lot but her eyes look a little vacant. She said, "We didn't forget about you!" and then proceeded to read me all of the numbers. Turns out my progesterone dropped from 19 to 16.7, too. I'd thought the 19 was a little low because the night before hadn't been a PIO night. But I'd had PIO on Tuesday night, in addition to the suppository.

Nurse Special told me that Dr. Eyeore wanted me to increase the PIO to 1.5 cc every other night. When I'd asked about the drop, she said, "As long as it's over 15, you're fine."

I asked about the low hCG.

"It's a little low," she agreed. "But Dr. Eyeore says we need to see where you are next week."

This answer wasn't good enough for me. I asked Nurse Special if I could speak to a doctor. She put me on hold for a while I tried desperately not to lose my shit.

When she came back on, she told me that Dr. Eyeore was gone for the day so she had Dr. Smiles paged. He was upset that I'd scheduled an appointment on a day he wasn't in the office. For the record: I didn't even KNOW this until I got there; I'd spent most of my time with the IVF nurses, not my RE. He told Nurse Special to tell me to ONLY schedule appointments on the days that he's in the office, further underscoring my feeling that there is no love lost between him and Dr. Eyeore.

He also told Nurse Special to tell me that he's seen low betas take off, and not to worry - it's still early. He did want me to move my second ultrasound up from Tuesday to Monday, though. Oh, and he wanted me to keep the PIO at 1 cc but take it every night.

None of this comforted me. Not one bit.

I started crying even before I hung up the phone. Because I don't care what Dr. Smiles or Dr. Eyeore or anyone else said: I knew then that I would lose this baby.

So then I had to go back and start telling everyone I'd sent the ultrasound picture to that they shouldn't get too excited - that things didn't look good.

It's amazing how much slower response times are when you share not-so-great news.

I cried on and off the rest of the afternoon. Gumbo was texting me and telling me to have faith and to talk to my body and tell the little bugger to hold on. I felt kind of silly, so I picked up a picture book to read out loud. Mr. Hope and I had done this once before. I chose Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, as it seemed appropriate.

I started bawling almost immediately, and cried as I read the entire thing. Then I cried some more.

Since it was Wednesday, I had therapy with Chance at 6:30. I cried on the ride over. I cried in his office. I told him it was my fault. That my body was toxic because I ate cookies from the BFF's and my marathon baking session. I ate cookies, I told him, and I killed the baby. This was on me. I cried so hard on when I tried to drive home that I had to pull over because I couldn't even see the road.

I know how crazy that sounds. I am not a crazy person. But I just couldn't wrap my brain around it. I still can't. How did I go from such a strong first beta to this? What went wrong? Why?

I missed my mom. Even as I missed her I couldn't entirely figure out why I wanted her so badly, because even though my mom was great in a crisis, this wasn't the kind of crisis she excelled at. In fact, she'd probably have made things way worse. It would've been like the time she told me it was "a scientific fact" that if you wanted a baby too badly, you couldn't get pregnant. "It's a scientific fact," she repeated angrily, like, duh.

One of the first things my mom said to me after I got married was, "Now go make me a grandbaby." And when she died, I felt so horribly guilty that I couldn't give her one. When I got pregnant, I felt so sad that my mom wasn't here - that she would never get to know the grandbaby she wanted so badly.

Now, this.

Most of the women in my super-secret Facebook support group are women of faith. There are a lot of requests for prayers and a lot of prayers going up, and sometimes those prayers are left right in the comments themselves. One of the first women to respond to my update said, "I hate to say it, but it is in God's hands, so you have to believe that the right thing will happen."

I hate when people tell me things that like. I never, ever belittle anyone's faith or religion; in fact, I envy people who have that kind of faith, because I'm sure my life would be easier if I shared their beliefs.

But I also find it really kind of disrespectful when people impose their beliefs on me, even if it's inadvertent. It's one thing for someone to tell you they're saying a prayer for you - I find that sweet, actually - but it's another for someone to tell you that this bad thing is happening because it's part of God's plan. I just can't imagine that God is that big of an asshole.

I went to bed really early last night. This morning, I dutifully POAS. The control line was darker than my previous test and the test line was lighter.

So I'm guessing it's only a matter of time before I start bleeding.

I'm going to ask Posh Clinic if I can come in for a blood test tomorrow instead of waiting until Monday, because if the number is dropping as quickly as I'm expecting it to then at least I'll have the weekend to start grieving. And if the number's still going up, then it will give me the tiniest bit of hope.

I'll take any hope I can get right about now.


  1. What a roller coaster!
    Our gut feelings are usually right. But there are times when they are not. Had some crazy not doubling betas myself and no one (including myself) believed that I am going to get our son out of it!
    Aren't betas slowing down after they reach 1000?

    1. They do. But since they didn't do a second beta I don't know when they slowed down. All I know is that they didn't even increase by a full 1,000 in a week. That doesn't seem to bode well for this pregnancy.

  2. I'd get your beta rechecked soon and as long as it's going up try not to worry until next U/s. It goes up so much more slowly the higher it gets.

    Fingers crossed!

    1. I asked the nurse if I could get it checked again on Friday and she fought me on it. Like, actively fought me on it. She kept saying, "We won't know anything for certain until the next ultrasound on Monday." I told her that I understood that and I'd still come back on Monday, but I wanted to know my blood levels before then. Her argument was that I'd worry myself sick (her words). Oh, like I'm not already doing that? I finally capitulated. I didn't have any fight left in me. So, Monday it is.

    2. Ugh sorry. Stupid nurse. I mean she's right that the ultrasound would be definitive, but c'mon, it's a long time to wait.

      I hope the time goes quickly friend...

  3. Waiting and not knowing sucks. But low and slow betas don't always mean miscarriage. Something I read on a blog somewhere once that has worked to keep me calm when I start to get panicky that something is wrong- I tell myself "Today I am pregnant." It seemed strange at first, but I really think it has helped me, especially through the spotting and cramping earlier.

    My fingers are crossed for you.

    1. I started doing that, actually. And I'm trying not to freak out too much because I'm not cramping and bleeding and most of the miscarriage stories I've read start with that. Although I've also read a lot about people who had low and slow betas who see strong heartbeats and then lose the baby at 9, 10, 11, 12 weeks. This, I think, is my fear. But I keep telling Nugget to hang on and be strong. Guess we'll know more tomorrow...