Nope – not ‘pregnant until proven otherwise.’ Now, I’m ‘just pregnant.’
It worked. Up to this point, our IVF was a success. I’m officially pregnant.
We got the news last Thursday. As I mentioned, we are on vacation, and we knew that we would get the results while away. This was definitely a blessing. We had J’s parents with us in the High Country in North Carolina, and there was definitely enough to keep me distracted. I did pretty well not symptom-spotting (I knew my body was all jacked up from meds anyway), but I was a little concerned about any kind of activity: “Am I exerting myself too much on this hike? Am I sweating too much? Is the gravel on the bike trail jostling me too much?” I tried to eat all of the good fertility foods like dark greens, pineapple, avocado, peanut-butter, oatmeal, and Brazilian nuts (which I couldn’t find anywhere, but ended up finding them in a spinning rack of snacks in no-name town gas station food mart. Go figure.)
My nerves really started kicking in on Wednesday night, knowing that the next day, the verdict would be in.
I tossed and turned most of the night, and once I did finally doze off, J. woke me up with a kiss: “OK. Time to get up now. Big day today.”
The process was fairly easy; we opted to go to the outpatient lab at Ashe Memorial Hospital, as they could deliver same-day results for the beta test; the hormone tests would take longer, but that was okay; my doctor was keeping me on progesterone and estradiol as a precaution until I got home.
The lab tech told me that she couldn’t call me with the results, but they would fax them immediately to my doctor, who would call me. I was good with that; good or bad news, I would rather hear it from them.
After we left, J. asked me if I wanted to take a home-pregnancy test – just so
I wouldn’t be tortured wouldn’t torture him all day. I opted not to- too much fuzziness for false positives or negatives – and really, I just wanted to get the news from the doctor.
In the meantime, I was trying to steel-up and get myself in a strong state-of-mind, whatever the news. I reminded myself of the last few blog-posts I wrote, about trials making faith stronger, not weaker. About how the ones who hope in the Lord get stronger, mounting up above troubles with wings like eagles. I knew if I got bad news, it would be hard. Disappointing. Sad. But I really wanted to purpose to be strong, whatever happened.
Strong like an eagle. An eagle rises above the storm. A person whose hope is in the Lord can be strong in a storm and rise higher.
Well, I didn’t have wait too long. By about noon, as I was sitting out on the porch, the phone rang. I didn’t even have time to contemplate whether I should let it go to voice-mail or answer. Instinctively, I picked up.
“Hi Katherine, we have your results….”
“It’s positive! Congratulations!”
The nurse went on to tell me that my number was 182; they were looking for anything above a 5, so that was good! (This was Day 14 after egg-retrieval, the equivalent of Day 28 of a regular cycle). They wanted another blood test in 2 days, which was fine, since I had the script for that anyway. Again, she congratulated me, told me to start my Lovenox injections, and I would check in after the next test.
J. was listening to the whole conversation, so he knew the good news. Immediately, he hugged me, and we prayed a prayer of thanksgiving. As this was happening, we saw an eagle drop down and fly over the river that was across the street from us. I knew God was present.
My second blood test was Saturday. By this time, we were in Tennessee with J’s parents, and I had to go to a different hospital. This didn’t go as smoothly. First, there was poor old Betty, who got stuck on the computer in a patient chart with the same name and couldn’t get out. We would have been waiting a long time for either, A. – Betty to figure it out (wasn’t happening), or B. – for the Help Desk to answer her plea. As nothing moves quickly in the South and my NY impatience was beginning to get the better of me, dear, sweet, competent Shelly came to the rescue and took care of us.
Then we had a second issue. The diagnosis on my script was coming up invalid, and they couldn’t do the bloodwork without it. You’re kidding, right? Not to be put off or discouraged, I asked if she could call my doctor, and yes, she could if they were open. Thankfully, I knew they were, and the rest was taken care of pretty quickly, and I was out of there, blood drawn and all, in about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, we were leaving J’s parents and heading to Gatlinburg for week #2 of our vacation. I called my doctor’s office around 1 p.m. to see if they had gotten results. They hadn’t. They were closing around 2:30, and if they got the results before then, they would call.
I was going to just let it go, but J. urged me to call the hospital to follow-up. Well, good thing I did. The lab tech tried to tell me they couldn’t fax the results to my doctor, and I would have to go through medical records. I knew that couldn’t be right. I explained my situation, that my script was from NY and that the doctor wrote the fax number on it specifically to get the results ASAP.
Turns out, at this hospital, the blood was drawn in the ER and then sent down to the lab. The lab didn’t have my actual script with the fax #; all they had was the lab order in the computer. Once the lab tech confirmed what I told her, she faxed the results right away.
At 2:27, just minutes before the office closed and while J. was in Food City, they called. Beta number had gone up to 468. According to my research, levels are supposed to double every 48 hours, and mine doubled in 1.5 days, so I was in good shape. The next agenda-item to come is a sonogram when I get home. I figure I will be between 5 -6 weeks by then.
So. First. Huge sigh of relief. I know we have such a long way to go, but I am going to celebrate each hurdle we cross. At least one of our embryos stuck. Victory #1.
My beta levels were moving in the right direction. Victory #2. I have to be grateful along the way, no matter what happens.
I am also grateful that we can spend the rest of our vacation with relative peace-of-mind and optimism, instead of needing to console ourselves over another loss.
As for how I’m feeling? Physically, I’m good. I’m trying not to symptom-spot too much. I feel a little tightness and twingy cramps, which I know from my last pregnancies – all normal. I actually felt nauseated 2 night ago and again this morning (not sure if this morning was because I took my vitamins on an empty stomach, though).
As for how I’m feeling emotionally, I am definitely glad I am away and out of my regular environment. Lots of distractions. Of course, fear is always looming at the door, but I am choosing not to acknowledge it. I feel more optimistic about this than my other pregnancies, and I feel this is different in a few ways:
*With my past 2, I spotted with implantation bleeding. I know that is normal and nothing to worry about, but I lost both of those. I didn’t spot with this one.
*I didn’t get BFPs on my home-pregnancy tests until after my period was due – anywhere from 4-6 days later. To me, that says I implanted late. This time, from what I can tell, likely I implanted earlier.
*I’m not sure why I miscarried the last two times – whether it was from my blood issue or if the embryos were abnormal or something else. If it was from my blood issue, I’ve been on baby aspirin for a while and now I’m on Lovenox — so that addresses that. If it was due to an embryo issue, while I know that there are no guarantees with the ones that were transferred, I feel like the best sperm and the best eggs were chosen, and the best embryos were transferred and placed in the ideal location of the uterus. All of those increase our odds, in my opinion.
At this point, if I’m worrying, I’m just borrowing it. To my knowledge, at this very early stage, there is nothing concrete to worry about, only ‘what-ifs.’ And, I am refusing to go there. There will be plenty of time for that if the time comes. I will definitely be holding my breath at my sonogram next week (out of all my pregnancy sonograms, from both pregnancies, every single one except the 5-week sonogram for pregnancy #2 was bad news and more bad news.) I might really need to draw on that eagle-strength in the days to come, but for today, we are pregnant.
We have a long road to go still, very true. But today, things are as good as we could have prayed for, and we are enjoying the happiness of it. It’s been a long, long time since we have felt joy about anything fertility/pregnancy related. Even if it is short-lived, we have this week to enjoy it and dream a little.
So, until then, we’ll have fun knowing that we are back at our honeymoon spot, but this time, pregnant. We’ll have fun wondering if there are twins in there. We’ll have fun imagining that this pregnancy might really be it.
And, Lord-willing, it will be.
(PS – Real-life friends: Shhhhh!!! ;) )
[Photo Credit: Public Domain Images]