It’s been a while since I posted last, and there’s one person who is to blame: MY HUSBAND.
I was about to post something awesome last week when he asked me not to post anything because he wanted to put some “breaking news” on his blog first. I deleted my in-progress post, so my sweetheart could have a turn. But then I posted a status on Facebook:
“It’s impossible to work with Peanut pictures on my desk! Ahhhhhh!”
Apparently when he asked me not to “post,” he meant not to post to Facebook either. Oops. Now I’ve gone and stolen his thunder, so he said I can post to my heart’s content. 😀
Last time I gave an update, I’d had two blood tests (betas) with discouraging results. The first, on Monday before Christmas, was 13 (the target was 10 to 750) and the docs were not sure I would stay pregnant. The second test, Wednesday, needed to be higher than 22.1 for them to rest easy, but it was just 21.
The upside: the number was still going in the right direction. But it wasn’t high enough, which signified that I was probably going to miscarry. Then Nurse Bitch chimed in and told me I was unlikely to stay pregnant, and to go ahead and snort some meth. (Okay that’s an exaggeration, but not by much.)
My friend Christa, who’s been on this merry-go-round many times, said not to listen to that horrible woman. The nature of assisted reproduction is this: you never know, and you must stay positive until you do.
Friday morning I scheduled a third beta, on Christa’s recommendation. “You have a long holiday weekend ahead of you. Stressing out isn’t good for Mom or Baby, and you deserve to know what’s happening. Tell them you want a third beta on Friday,” she advised. So I did.
(Have I mentioned that Christa’s awesome?)
I missed the call with my third beta results. We were packing the car to head to my parents’ for Christmas and I nervously listened to the message. The doctors wanted the number for this third beta to be 36 or higher. But mine was only….
Yup. You read that right. Seventy-five. 21, my previous beta, multiplied by 3.57. More than double the “target” beta of 36.
Basically, I friggin’ rocked it.
The nurse on my voicemail said they’d see me back in 7 days for an ultrasound, to see if all the pieces were in place. We giddily departed for our long weekend, more relaxed and knowing that little Peanut was hanging in there.
The following Thursday was Ultrasound Day. I went by myself, because the hubby was out of town, but I didn’t expect much momentous to happen. I had my favorite ultrasound tech, Tara, and when I got on the table, she leaned in and wrapped her arms around my knee. “Okay, sweetheart, here’s what we want to see today. A little black dot, and if we’re lucky, a donut inside it. That’s all we need to see today, okay? And if we see that, we’re going to be happy, okay? Are you ready?”
I suddenly got very nervous.
She stepped to the side, fiddling with knobs and buttons on the ultrasound, but kept one hand on my knee, a concerned sort of “I’m right here” gesture that I suddenly really appreciated. She’d just started the ultrasound when I saw the first grainy picture pop up on the screen.
There it was. A little black dot.
Her hold on my knee tightened and turned into a full-arm grip. “Oh, my god, look! There it is! Ahhhhh, I’ve got goosebumps all over my unshaven legs!” she exclaimed.
And then I went and burst into tears. It was a totally unexpected flood of emotion, but a great feeling. My little Peanut was in there, growing like crazy, fighting low betas and bitchy nurses on her mission to survive.
Tara took a few pictures of Peanut for me to take with me. One showed the white halo around the embryo that signified hormone levels were on track and everything was tightly bound together. The white donut inside the black dot is the yolk sac, which nourishes the embryo until the placenta takes over. And after Tara zoomed way-way-way in, we could see a little white dot that was probably the beginnings of a fetal pole (the long strand of cells that becomes Peanut’s brain, spine, and backbone).
She explained that I’d bought myself another ultrasound, since no heartbeat was detectable yet. Knowing that the baby was the size of a poppy seed, I asked when the heartbeat would start. She grimaced and looked at me carefully — “Just two or three days from now.” It blew my mind — something the size of a poppyseed would have a beating heart in 48 hours. Wild.
I met with the doctor afterward, and he explained that in 20% of cases, the quantitative HCG (a.k.a. ‘the betas’) just don’t double normally. I guess I could have expected that. This baby is half me, half my husband… she’s going to turn up her nose at ‘normal’ and go straight to ‘exceptional.’
As of today, I am 6 weeks and 2 days along (they count from your last period; the day you conceive you’re actually 2 weeks along already). My boobs hurt a little, I’m hungrier than normal, and I take more naps. I’m still getting shots of progesterone every night, and taking estrogen 3 times a day to keep Peanut on the right track.
But if I didn’t know I was pregnant, I wouldn’t know I was pregnant. I feel normal, for the most part, and I’m thankful, but I wish there was some sign. Maybe a little dot next to your belly button: purple for pregnant, green for not pregnant. Easy! I just want to be sure Peanut is still hanging in there. She’s got 6 more weeks to go until we cross the 12-week mark, when the chance of miscarriage is just 2%.
Next up: Peanut’s next photo shoot is on Monday, January 9. We’ll be able to see the heartbeat this time, provided there is one (pleasepleaseplease!), and if the heart rate is over 100, I’ll graduate from Infertility to regular O.B. care.
And then we’ll have a whole new bucket of worries to freak out about. 😉