Sunday, August 21, 2011

I Believe in Miracles

This past two weeks (has it really only been two weeks???) have been incredible. Incredibly stressful, incredibly amazing, and just an incredible rollercoaster of emotions. It has been a test of patience and the ability to keep on going when everything is just varying degrees of uncertainty.

The biggest shakedown to our confidence in this somewhat volatile pregnancy was Monday's test results. We had enjoyed two bloodtests that were super encouraging--after our dismal 12 we doubled to 26 and then tripled to 74, indicating a good growth rate if not stellar numbers for the timeframe. For Monday, which was 5 days after our thrilling 74, we were expecting a number in the realm of 300-400. I was secretly hoping for closer to 600 (thinking if it tripled again it would be 225 on Friday and then around 600ish on Sunday, so that was reasonable). Our call came late despite my getting to the blood lab before 8:00 to get there in time for the early courier. We were already on our way to a business trip that Bryce had to go to in Massachusetts, a business trip that I tagged along on so that I didn't have to give myself the horrid 1.5 inch butt shot of progesterone. If it was bad news, it would be bad news received on the interstate, and no turning back possible. We got the call, and it wasn't bad news--it just wasn't good news. The number had gone up, but to 148. Double, which would have been good if it was 48 or even 72 hours. But it wasn't. It was 120 hours. We were stunned--the numbers were still going up, so we were encouraged by that, but it was a pretty drastic slowdown. All we could think sitting in that silent car zooming down 90 was, "Is this the beginning of the end?" It was terrible. We wanted to celebrate that we were still pregnant but we just had this specter of impending doom shadowing our joy. We decided that it was time to talk to the doctor about what was going on.

I had been procrastinating on the subject of talking to the doctor about this whole low-numbers but still-rising numbers business, because I already have a pretty good idea what the possibilities are for the bad in this situation, but I really only want to focus on the good. No matter how statistically unlikely that is. If I talked to the doctor, then we would have cold hard medical facts thrown our way and we probably wouldn't like what we heard. But, with the slowdown in numbers facing us, I was ready to try to get some medical idea of what was going on. Unfortunately, we connected with our wonderful doctor when I was alone in the hotel room and my husband was at his meeting. It was a good conversation--everyone is rooting for the underdog here, but the reasons for the low numbers were disheartening. It could be an ectopic pregnancy. This one I reject, because I have no symptoms (no spotting at all, no localized sharp pain on one side, no shoulder pain), and the likelihood of ectopic (tubal) pregnancy with IVF is very low. That embryo would have to be super confused to travel up a tube when it is so expertly placed in the uterus during transfer. But ectopic pregnancy is my personal nightmare, my irrational fear. It's life threatening left unchecked and the only turnout is termination of the pregnancy. It basically gets treated like a tumor, because it is (it's a growth in an area that is not appropriate. Left alone, it causes rupture and internal bleeding and possibly death). The other option was an abnormally developing fetus/embryo that is attached, but missing some vital programming. When it gets to the point in development when it needs that programming, it will exit my womb in a devastating miscarriage. The low numbers certainly don't indicate health, but the rises don't indicate an end. The third option is a miracle fetus. One that is at the very bottom end of the bell curve for HCG beta numbers, one that is behind the developmental milestones at the beginning, but one that ultimately ends in a healthy baby. I think our odds of this are only slightly better than an ectopic. Our doctor wanted to give us all of the options, and let us know that we don't have to feel like all hope is lost, we just have to be prepared for the statistical likelihood that this pregnancy won't continue at some point.

That was a lot to take. The best thing that I took from that was that if our numbers went up at all on Friday's beta (my fifth), I would get an ultrasound early next week. Which sounded exciting. We wouldn't expect to see a heartbeat (I'd be only 6 weeks, and while that's possible in a robust early pregnancy, it's highly unlikely with our slowpoke development), and it's possible we wouldn't even see what you would normally see at 6 weeks. But as long as we saw something in the uterus we would be ok. I held on to this information, because I so wanted to make it to an ultrasound. I am holding on tight to the miracle baby theory. We were a little subdued, but we decided to believe that our numbers would go up, and to not forecast a number because we were so wrong the last time and that was disappointing. Maybe if we hadn't been expecting a certain number we could have more confidently celebrated a rise of any kind. So we headed into Friday with a little trepidation but believing in our intuition that this baby is special. This baby is a fighter. This baby is going to make it.

Friday's test came and... 488! Our numbers went up beautifully. We are still low, as at this point most people are well into the thousands, but we are at a much better place. We get our ultrasound this upcoming week! We get to be fully six weeks pregnant. If it was normal, I'd have a lentil bean in there. I have no clue what's actually in there, I just hope that it is viable. There is no guarantee for what we will see on the ultrasound screen, and that scares the bejeezus out of me. We could see the highly unlikely tubal pregnancy. We could see a sac that is empty. Or we could see a little smudge, indicating implantation, and have to wait another week for a re-do and hope we can see something more promising then. In any case, we get to see something. I have faith in this miracle baby--I have faith that there will be SOMETHING visible on that screen. It may not give us total peace of mind--I think it's likely we'll have to repeat it several times before it all looks good. I think there's a bit of catch-up that needs to happen. But I believe that it's possible. I believe in this amazing miracle. Like I told the nurse who called with our results on Friday, this is further than we've ever been. We hold out hope for the best possible outcome, but this pregnancy is nothing short of a miracle. It doesn't make it less difficult that we are being strung along something awful and thrown tiny beautiful crumbs at each test date, but it fills us with such hope and joy to be on this leg of the journey at all.

This is my first ever positive pee stick that I took in the hotel room as a big F you to our crappy news --                                      it's a huge milestone for us, no matter what happens!


  1. Jess-
    I'm praying that you have a miracle baby in there! You deserve this!!
    I've been waiting for your updates and happy to see this one.. the numbers may be low, but you are pregnant!

    Thanks for your info on the meditation CD's. I have thought about getting them, but can't put out the extra money for that right now... so I try to do my own meditations....sometimes i'm able to and other times I'm not.

    Thinking of you!

  2. Congrats!!!!! Very happy for you, I hope you have a happy and healthy journey, I will keep my fingers crossed for you!