Monday, April 18, 2005

Back on track

I am unutterably relieved to post that today's beta went up to 596, from 223 three days ago. IVFer's HCG calculator tells me this is a doubling time of about 50 hours, with the goal being 48 hours. Good enough for government work.

The nurse had no explanation for Friday's way-too-low number. Me, I am leaning toward the idea of a very early "vanishing twin," since we put back two good-quality embryos. Which is sad. I did so want twins, and to me these embryos are babies, at least once they are inside me and growing. There is sorrow in losing one. But I'm grateful that the number went up so well. Hopefully, this means that the remaining embryo is healthy. The overall number is still a bit low for 19 days post-retrieval, but the range for normal betas is very broad, and possibly I had a late implantation.

So I'm still in the game, and just barely sane. My husband just got home and gave me a big hug (he had called on his cell phone after work to get the results, so he already had the good news). He said to me, "So, have you learned a lesson about being more optimistic?"

Given what he's put up with in the past few days, I resisted the urge pinch him very hard. Let's just say that we had a bad weekend at our house. Without my usual therapy for misery--antidepressants, knocked back with a nice glass of crisp, white wine--I was reduced to chocolate cookies and sleeping as much as possible. But I still found a few hours to cry, whine, and act generally morose.

So, I didn't pinch him, or stick my tongue out at him. But I did give him a beady-eyed glare. "No, I haven't. I've had too much bad stuff happen to me with pregnancies." He had the grace to shut up.

So, the next milestone will be my first ultrasound on April 29th, at 6 weeks, 2 days. It's going to be a long wait!

A heartfelt "thank you" to all who posted such sweet, supportive comments. I read them yesterday, and they meant the world.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Slow-rising beta

I had my second serum beta HCG test today. It has risen to 223, from 156 on Wednesday. This is not the doubling that is expected for a healthy pregnancy, and so they will check the bloodwork again on Monday. But it does not look positive. This didn't even happen until much later in my earlier pregnancies.

I find myself amazingly shocked. Somewhere inside me I had this core of confidence that with a healthy young woman's egg to work with, I would have a baby. I know in my head all the statistics and I guess I should have been more cautious in my emotional investment. I find myself wondering morbidly whether this has happened to me because of my emotional issues; how I continue to have issues and thoughts about donor egg, even now. Is this a punishment?

I guess you never realize how much you loved and wanted something until it's taken away.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Beta plus!

This morning as planned, I used my last HPT and got an instant, but faint, line. It was darker than the preceding tests, but worried me a bit for its lightness. (OK, the prevailing wisdom says that HPTs are only good for 'yes' or 'no' answers...and there's all that stuff I've spouted myself to other worried women about urine concentration, yadda yadda, but what do we infertility patients do best? We worry!)

I decided to call my RE's office and see if I could get my beta HCG blood test done earlier than Friday. I figured they would say no...but to my amazement, the nurse said, "You got a plus HPT? Why don't you come in right now!"

So away I went at lunchtime, and they just called me with the results: 156. Which, the nurse said, is a very good number for a test done two days early. (For those in the know about such things -- which includes, what, everyone who is kind enough to read my blog? -- I'm at 11 days post 3-day transfer, 14 days post retrieval.) I'll go back in on Friday for the regularly scheduled test, to see whether the number doubles appropriately, and then it's another dread two-week wait before the first ultrasound.

So. Here I am at the finish / starting line...and I must share that the happiness I feel, while genuine, is bittersweet. Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my first miscarriage. I know that I have to let go of the past...let go of that child...and welcome the one I'm carrying now. I can do that.

But just today, at this crossroads, I'm thinking not just of the children ahead of me but of those I've lost. I love you all, my little ones.

Monday, April 11, 2005

And again with the line

This morning's test required no squinting, no waiting, no tilting, and no special lighting. It's a faint but definite line and has even acquired a bit of pink color. Still far lighter than the control line, but I'm confident I've got something going on. My nausea and breast soreness are getting worse...I mean, better, since these are good signs. DH gave me a big hug last night and I yelped, "Ouch!!!"

I have one last HPT in my arsenal, which I will use on Wednesday. Unless, of course, I prove to be as spineless as I have so far, and I go out and buy more. I'm glad these things are legal and don't make you gain weight, because they're like crack to we poor infertiles.

My serum beta HCG test is Friday. It's gonna be a loooooong week.

One thing I am realizing, as I run this race: In a sense, I will never cross the finish line. If I get a positive beta on Friday, it is simply the starting line of the next contest, waiting to see if the beta doubles appropriately. If the first ultrasound is normal. If the heartbeat is seen, and is fast enough. If the old-lady tests come back normal. And so on, until birth, and later. I can fast forward, in my thoughts, to that day when my little one climbs on the schoolbus, taking my heart with her out into the world. It is a sobering thought.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Phantom line

How do I torture myself? Let me count the ways.

I really must buy stock in the company that manufactures First Response Early Result pregnancy tests, because I'd pay my own dividend. The loud pink box blares: "Results 5 days early!" Hmm. Five days, seven days, what's the difference? And, my transfer was in the morning, so really, we're talking six-and-a-half days.

So I dithered, all the time knowing that because I'd bought the darned things, I was going to do one, even though I was only 7 days post 3-day transfer (7dp3dt). And of course, after the deed was done, I didn't see anything except the one lonely, dark pink line. Disappointed but embarrassed that I'd been so weak, I got my husband to stab me with the progesterone-in-oil (PIO) shot, and then went to bed. (Strangely, a negative HPT makes those shots hurt like a bitch.)

And then this morning, just to torture myself further, I carried the stick to the window and looked at it in bright daylight. On one of my pregnancies, I put myself through this same thing, and after a couple hours' wait, a very faint line did show up (although that was at 9dp3dt). So, this time, just maybe...

And lo! In the bright morning light, at a certain angle, I could make out a very faint line. A wishing-hard, phantom line. For all I know, the laser-like intensity of my gaze etched the line onto the test strip.

But I'll take my good cheer where I find it. Today I'm happy; today I'm willing to attribute my faint nausea, extremely sore breasts, and vivid dreams to pregnancy and not to a surfeit of progesterone. Only five days to wait until my beta HCG blood test tells me whether my confidence is justified.

And of course, those HPTs come in packs of two.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Transfer day

I'm pregnant.

Or at least, I like to think of myself that way, after a transfer. Inside me are two 8-celled embryos, one Grade 1 and one Grade 2 (just a bit of fragmentation). These were the "beauty pageant queens," as the RE put it. He said things look very good with my uterine lining, and there's every reason to hope for a good result. My beta HCG pregnancy test will be on April 15.

We also had 8 other embryos that looked healthy, to freeze for future frozen transfer cycles if we need them. That is a comfort, in case neither of these embryos sticks. The other three embryos were not dividing correctly, and the doctor advised that we discard them. We agreed, not without unease.

But that is a sorrow for another day. For today, I'm going to take it easy, and enjoy this feeling. Let the worry begin tomorrow. The feeling that time is crawling on its hands and knees. The gnawing ache that after all I've done, it may not be enough.

For today, I'm pregnant.