Today we went back for our second ultrasound. I'm 6w4d, so I knew they were expecting to see a heartbeat. I'm not going to lie; I was nervous. I'd been Googling things like "high hCG no heartbeat" because I was convinced we weren't going to see one. This is me, I kept thinking. Of course it won't work out.
Okay, so that makes me sound insufferable. And I'm sorry for that. It's just - and I'm sure a lot of you reading this can relate - when it comes to my fertility, nothing has ever worked out the way it was supposed to. Like, ever.
So, yeah, I was nervous. Mr. Hope was, too. This is like the perpetual state in which we live these days. It ranges anywhere from mild twitchiness to deep-seated panic. It's awesome (not).
When K, the u/s tech came into the room, she said, "Oh, you're nervous, aren't you?" Normally I would've made a joke. This time I didn't. I just said yes. She asked me if I was bleeding. I told her about the brown spotting, said I knew that was normal, and then added, "You know what we've been through."
"Yes," she said. "I do."
She got right down to it. And there it was: the blinking light of a heartbeat. Too small for the machine to measure, but K assured me it was strong.
"I've been doing this for years," she said. "I'd tell you if it was slow. I wouldn't want to give you false hope. That is a strong heartbeat. Things are looking good."
I cried on the table.
Mr. Hope kept saying, "I can't believe it looks like a jellybean! It really is a jellybean!" It's true. The "gorgeously sized" gestational sac is shaped like a freaking jellybean.
The Physician's Assistant, Smiles Jr., was the one who called it gorgeously sized, after I mentioned how that was one of the markers last time around. I have to say, I like Smiles Jr. She knows I'm a freak but she doesn't make fun of me or dismiss me or anything. She's very patient. She's learned from Dr. Smiles. He's kind of like that, too.
But anyway, before we saw Smiles Jr., K left the exam room and I got up, shaking, and sobbed into Mr. Hope's shoulder. I don't think I realized how scared I was until that point. I sincerely was expecting bad news.
So then I got dressed and we went into another little waiting room. There are like three on the physician side. All were filled, but we snagged seats in the one you usually sit in before you get your u/s done. A woman and her mother came in. The women was blond and looked younger than me. She was also really upset. She got called back for a scan and didn't understand why. When she came back, she was saying all of this stuff to her mom about how she should've canceled this cycle and why is this happening to her and she really wants to use intralipids next time and she hopes they'll let her.
I knew she'd just had a miscarriage. I could just tell. And her mother, while trying to be well-meaning, kept saying all of the wrong things. It made me itchy. I felt so horrible for her. I wanted to say, "It gets better, I swear."
Instead, I went to the bathroom and when I got back, I dragged Mr. Hope to the third waiting room, the one that had been too full before. "That was so sad," he whispered to me, once we got there.
"I know," I said. "I'm sorry, I just couldn't sit there. It was too hard."
Finally, we saw Smiles Jr. She gleefully told us that with today's heartbeat our risk of miscarriage dropped to 5%. She told me that they weren't going to give me my hCG results any more, because they were so high last time that now they really only needed to pay attention to the u/s. (For the record, I knew it needed to be between 65,187 and 130,390, though the odds of a 48-hour doubling time with a number this high is unrealistic.) They'd only call if there was a problem.
Guess what? The office is now closed and I didn't get a call. So, yay!
I asked Smiles Jr. why I haven't had really bad nausea. I know a lot of women who are currently pregnant or were recently pregnant, and they ALL have horrible nausea. Is it because I tend to have lower estrogen? Or what?
Smiles Jr. said it had nothing to do with my E2 and that it was more likely to be caused by hCG. Some women just don't get sick, she told me. You should be thankful. It's really awful when it happens. She also said that sickness isn't correlated to how healthy or unhealthy a pregnancy is. "I've seen women miscarry and stay sick as dogs because of the amount of hCG in their system," she said.
I've had fleeting nausea, but honestly, it mostly feels like hunger. Like when you haven't eaten in too long and you feel sort of queasy and sick, and then you eat and an hour later you feel better. That's what I get. I even have that right now, as I type this. It's been about four hours since I had lunch so that makes sense. But thus far I haven't felt so sick that I couldn't eat anything. I tend to be a grazer anyway, and eat a lot of protein and healthy fat (like avocado), so maybe my diet itself is helping the nausea?
Of course, on the way to checking out and making our next appointment, I bumped into Dr. Colleague, the one who did my final egg retrieval and helped me through my miscarriage. She asked how I was doing and I told her we were six and a half weeks. "You don't look six and a half weeks," she said. When I made a puzzled face (because really, who shows this early?), she explained, "Usually you're green around the face at that time."
I thought Smiles Jr. was going to deck her. After all, she'd JUST gotten me calmed down.
But it was okay. I am okay. I made my next appointment and we drove home. I updated everyone who needed updating. And then I did a little bit of work, made a quick trip to the grocery store, and then passed out on the couch for a much-needed nap.
So, there you have it. Still pregnant, and it looks like this one might stick around for a while.