Freaking Out

October 12, 2011

I’m pregnant. I know I’m supposed to be happy about that. But the truth is… I’m terrified. I’m terrified I’ve got another ectopic. And all the things that people normally say to calm fears just don’t apply.

“Are you bleeding? No? Then everything is probably fine. Don’t worry!”

Yep, heard that last time. Still ended up in the hospital. Still lost twins.

“Cramping is totally normal. As long as it’s not concentrated on one side.”

Well… some cramping IS normal. Other cramping is not. Sometimes it can be really difficult to tell the difference. Again, I heard that last time. And they were wrong.

“Oh, your betas are fine. A little lower than average but still in the normal range.”

Yeah. I know. But it’s just not comforting anymore. Again, my betas were normal last time.

After having gone through what I went through last time… I know that disaster can strike with very little, almost NO, warning. It can strike with no bleeding, normal betas and a few cramps. (not to freak out everyone else)

During the past couple of weeks I’ve tried to be realistic. I didn’t get an early BFP so I thought I was out of the game. Late implanters often miscarry early. The odds were not in my favor. So far so good on that front. The lines continue to darken. I think maybe I won’t miscarry before 6 weeks.

But now I’m reliving the horror of last year in my head. Perhaps I have a little PTSD.

I have an ultrasound and another beta (at a new lab) tomorrow. I’m told that the odds of seeing anything (sac/pole) on an ultrasound before beta = 1000-1500 are pretty low. My beta should be somewhere around 600 tomorrow. So I’m trying to prepare myself for not really knowing anything after tomorrow’s appointment. If we don’t see anything it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ectopic again. It just means MORE WAITING. I’m just trying to be realistic by not expecting to see anything. You can’t be disappointed if you set the bar really low.

But in the meantime… I’m cramping every night and I wake up every other night with a pounding headache. None of it feels “normal.” But then I have no basis for comparison. If it is normal I’ll gladly put up with it. The pain is not “severe” – I’m not doubled over and I can still walk. But it’s bad enough that I want to curl up and disappear. This is definitely not the “mild cramping” that Dr. Google tells me about. And it’s the reason my RE is gambling with me on the early ultrasound.

I guess I’ve just lost the hope that all this will bring me a baby in 9 months. And that’s what it’s all about.

My apologies to anyone who might think I’m ungrateful for being pregnant. I know a lot of people never get to this stage and would kill to be here (I know, I was one of those people). But I’ve been here before and not only did it not end well it was pretty much a nightmare and the absolute WORST experience of my life. Having my doctor tell me that my uterus could rupture at any moment and cause me to bleed out and potentially die is just not something I want to hear again. And the fear of having to relive that is… crippling.

On a positive note, at least I have some recourse other than the ER if things go wrong. Before I got an appointment I was kind of worrying about this little Underdog actually killing me. Literally. Since there were so few symptoms last time it wouldn’t have been caught without an ultrasound. So at least I have that in place now.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Baby steps. Fingers crossed and all that. #HopeTrain

Limbo Limbo

October 8, 2011

So… last week I was completely resigned to not being pregnant. I was dealing with it, accepting it. Planning a night of drinking away my sorrows. And then I had to eat my words when I PAOS’d and got a late BFP. But I was still worried because I know the statistics on late implantation. The miscarriage rate is 55-85%.

Then it took 36 HOURS to get the results of my first beta. I expected it to be a bit low but I was really hoping for >100. No such luck. It was 63 (14dpt3dt). The doc took the standard line of one number doesn’t mean anything let’s wait to see if it rises appropriately. I’ll go for another beta on Monday.

In the meantime I had started to hope again. I had symptoms. I felt pregnant. But now… not so much. The nausea is abating. And that feeling of fullness is dissipating. But more importantly, the lines are not getting darker on the sticks. I’ve had lots of cramping (not severe but not light either and fairly constant). I’ve been getting these horrible headaches (one even woke me up the other night). I’m on TP watch ever since I saw a tinge of brown (at least it was brown and not red). I’m putting myself on bed rest. Well… sofa rest. At this point what will happen will happen. There’s nothing I can rally do. But sofa rest is something I CAN do and it can’t hurt. So there it is.

I am dubbing this little one “Underdog” for the moment. You may all root for him/her. That’s what you do for the underdog so please do. But I’ve lost hope again. And this roller coaster is killing me.

Beta #2 Results Are In

September 1, 2010

And… the results are in. 172. Not quite doubled from 90 but really really close (and technically not a full 48 hours between the two). They want me to go in for a 3rd test on Friday just to be safe.

I was so optimistic yesterday since I think my levels have been doubling properly up until now. So I figured they would continue to do so. And then last night I had a dream that I was bleeding. The dream never got to the point that I was definitively miscarrying – just bleeding. Or at least that’s all I remembered this morning. But since I had a dream about a BFP last week and it came true I guess I’ve developed a little pregnancy superstition. I awoke this morning checking for nausea, sore boobs and exhaustion. And itchiness (no one ever mentioned that one to me before but Dr. Google has confirmed it). All still there but somewhat lessened. But most of those symptoms could also be caused by the Estrogen patches and Progesterone in oil shots I’m still on. On the other hand I didn’t make it through a whole day of work yesterday either – I left early again for a nap. So how bad could it be?

I started to feel a little more confident after I walked 2 blocks to Whole Foods to get a sandwich for lunch today. On the way back I was really woozy. Clearly I didn’t eat enough breakfast. And clearly I’m still pregnant.

I have no idea if it’s pregnancy or just some fluke but apparently my veins now roll. I used to be the easiest stick. I was a phlebotomist’s dream. Somehow, practically overnight, I’ve turned into a phlebotomist’s nightmare. That prominent vein that they love so much is still there, beckoning them, “Choose me. I’m Easy.” But then they have to dig around for a minute or two to actually get the needle in. On Monday she gave up and drew blood from my other arm. I had a different nurse today and she had the same problem but managed to make it work.

Again Right Guy will not have a phone or be on email most of today. So I’ll have to text page him the results. But this time I’ll spell it out: one hundred seventy-two. And he told me to include a 🙂 or a 😦 so he could get the gist if the number didn’t come through properly.

Official BFP

August 31, 2010

It’s official. My bloodwork shows a beta HCG level of 90. That’s a solid number for a singleton (although it doesn’t rule out twins) at 14dpo / 11dpt3dt. Now we just have to wait and see if it increases appropriately. I think it will. Based on when I got the first faint positive and the sensitivity of that test I thought my beta would be at around 80 yesterday – and I was thankfully right.

Let the waiting continue!

I have so many cliches swimming around in my head right now. “Take one day at a time.” And in the immortal words of Renee Zellweger (a.k.a. Gina) in Empire Records, “Don’t screw it up.”

And I’ve already had one minor screw up. Unfortunately I think I gave Right Guy a mini heart attack yesterday when I shared the news. He’s difficult to get a hold of – I can’t really just pick up the phone and call him – so after I sent him an email with all the details I also sent him a quick text page that just said “beta HCG = 90”. What he received was “beta HCG 0”. Being a Dude he only admitted to being confused by it and not upset. But I’m sure he was upset. Hopefully I can avoid that with tomorrow’s number.

Tom Petty is such a sage. I think I could write my whole life using Tom Petty song titles (and I wouldn’t be the first). And he’s even got a new album out now with more titles to use. But that would be another post. Right now, he confirms what I already know – The Waiting… is the Hardest Part. And he gives me strength – I Won’t Back Down. Not yet anyway.

I learned something recently. Some fertiles CAN understand what I’m going through. Sort of. It’s not the same but some DO understand the WAIT.

I recently went to meet a friend’s new baby. At 2 weeks old this kid already had a Twitter account. So I’ve been nervous about how I’ll handle this friendship now that they have a baby – and one who tweets no less. It’s difficult to escape this kid. It has been since the beginning. They announced their pregnancy the same week I got bloodwork back indicating there was a problem. It was incredibly difficult to go through the process of getting my diagnosis while watching her belly grow. I’m actually better friends with the father than the mother so I just sort of avoided her for awhile. So anyway, for numerous reasons I was a bit nervous to go meet this tiny one month old baby and hang out with just her Mom.

But she was the sweetest thing and my heart just melted. She slept in my arms for an hour while her Mom and I chatted. We chatted about their new family, we chatted about my condition and my plans to move with Right Guy. I explained that it is sometimes still difficult for me to deal with pregnant women and babies (I had previously explained to her why I had been avoiding her). She said she kind of understood that. Wait. What?! No, she didn’t have any trouble conceiving. But, like many women, she was ready to do this baby thing before her husband was. I recall this scenario well from my own marriage years ago. So she waited for him to be ready. And she watched her friends one by one get pregnant. And he vacillated. Yeah, I’m ready. No, wait I’m not. And she waited. And during one of those brief periods where he said he was ready but before he changed his mind is when it happened.

I really don’t think it was THAT long a wait. But we all know that doesn’t matter. The 2 week wait can seem interminable. My current wait, 4-6 weeks, for the cyst to go away has now become excruciating. But it was nice to know that a fertile woman could still ‘get it.’ At least on some level. She has her baby now so she can only imagine what it feels like for me. But she’s felt part of it. And that makes me feel a little less awkward around her.

Thinking about all this also brings up the fact that I have essentially been waiting for my baby for 10 years. 10 years ago last week I got married. And soon afterwards I was ready. And like my friend, the husband wasn’t. So I waited. And waited. Until he said he was ready. 8 years ago I first started trying. And I ended up with horrible endometriosis pain and he ended up in Afghanistan. And that was more or less the end of that. My body didn’t cooperate with me and he ended up leaving me for his high school sweetheart and going to Iraq (some more Tom Petty songs come to mind here). There were probably only 3-5 months of actual trying – more if you count the months we were waiting for me to ovulate after coming off the Lupron. But there were only 3-5 months where there was both egg and sperm hanging out in the same place at roughly the same time. But it’s been 10 years since I first felt that pang of longing for a little one.

Over the years I’ve tweaked my plan on how to become a mother. I was so devastated after my divorce that I knew I wouldn’t be in a place to have a real relationship with any man for quite awhile. And I was right. Nor was I fit, or financially capable, to mother anyone then. I had finally gotten to that place, however, but couldn’t find him. I tried. Hard. Every week I would regale my friends with my latest Bad First Date story. It wasn’t hard to find a date online but finding anyone worth a second date was impossible. So I thought, “I’ll just adopt on my own once I get set up financially.” I had actually started researching the various options. And then I met Right Guy (not online but IRL!). And I allowed myself to hope again for my own baby. What a mistake that was. It seems almost cruel to let me have that year of hope and then yank it back. Actually… there is no almost about it – it’s just plain cruel.

Anyway, my long-winded point here is that the Wait is very hard. Whether it’s two weeks or ten years, sometimes they feel the same. Maybe it would be better if you already knew the outcome and were just waiting for it to happen. But waiting usually implies some element of the unknown. And I know that I have a lot more of it to do. Even if I manage to get pregnant soon and carry to term I’ll still end up waiting again for a second child (likely through adoption) down the road. Geez. I just want my family already – it’s been 10 freaking years. I guess I just suck at waiting. Although, in my defense, is anyone good at it? I suppose if it can act as a bridge between us infertiles and some of the fertile ladies out there then it serves a good purpose.

But I still have one question: Are We There Yet?