Sunday, December 18, 2011

Playing the Odds

In each Injectables cycle, there is a 25% chance of achieving pregnancy.

I've often thought about the moment when I'd get my first positive pregnancy test (BFP). I imagined lots of happy tears, Babycakes picking me up in a huge bear hug and dancing me around.

It was sort of like that.

The morning I was to get my blood test (14 days past ovulation- or "DPO"), I took a home pregnancy test, mostly so I could see the negative result and try to get out of giving blood. Imagine my surprise when I saw this:

                                Extremely light, but definitely there!! Kind of hard to see in this picture.

I had read enough to know there was no such thing as a false positive, no matter how light it was! I was literally shaking as I put on my makeup in record speed. I had never in my life been so excited to go give blood. I yelled out a quick "I think I saw something REALLY promising!" to BC as I ran out the door.

I went back to Snake Eyes' clinic, and she was no where to be seen! The lady who drew me was AMAZING and it hardly hurt at all. This was to be a good day! Babycakes was already calling me to find out what had happened that morning, and we both anxiously awaited the results call from the fertility clinic.

I went through my day in a numb, excited blur. I could hardly believe this might be IT! I flashed back to some of the suspicious signs I'd been having the last few days- the constant mild heat flashes, extreme constipation (sorry again-TMI!), bloody noses, and yes, even the insanely sore boobs. I went around the house all day with my phone glued to my side, not taking any other calls for fear the fertility clinic might call while I was on the line.

My friend who also works with this clinic told me I should be able to call in for blood test results myself anytime after 1:30. So with my heart racing, around 3pm I dialed in. And was transferred to MY nurse (oh promising!) whose voice intonation sounded good.

"Jules, how are you?"


"Well, you are definitely definitely pregnant."

Cue me silently mouthing Holy S***!!!!!! For the first time in my life, and after 2 1/2 years of trying, I was finally pregnant. Holy holy s***.

"Your HCG is at 28, which is a tad low. We want you to do another test in 2 days to see what your numbers look like then."

A tad low? What? I had just witnessed my friend go through a pretty rough experience (the one who got pregnant on her IVF cycle). She very sadly ended up with an ectopic pregnancy. She too had a low HCG number initially- but her number had been even higher than mine.

Looking for reassurance, I asked the nurse if she saw women with my kinds of numbers go on to have healthy pregnancies. She replied "I've seen it go both ways. I just want to prepare you." She explained that we wanted to see the HCG number at least double on my next test, showing there was growth occurring.

So there I was. The buoyant joy I felt earlier in the day took on a very guarded, heavy tone. Yes, I was pregnant. But my numbers weren't good. Of course I googled everything I could find on the subject, and it seemed like most women's first HCG counts were in the 100's. My nurse said they prefer to see them "at least 50" on an initial draw. And thus began a torturous waiting game.

When BC got home from work I told him the news that we were indeed pregnant, and he was SO excited! He did pick me up and swing me around (ouch- boobs!) and kissed me with so much sweet passion. It hurt my heart a bit seeing how genuinely overjoyed he was, knowing we were treading on some delicate ground.

We elected to tell a select few people about our news. It was a strange way to share, having to instantly insert the caveat "but our numbers are low so please send prayers and good energy our way." We decided to tell my parents, since we wanted them on board with the prayer chain, and they were OVER.THE.MOON. Saying this was the best Christmas news they could have hoped to receive!

The next morning (15 DPO) I took another home pregnancy test, and my line was darker than the day before! Super promising- as I knew that these tests measured HCG levels, so there must have been growth there! I spent the day talking and singing to that little Baby Bean, telling him/her that we absolutely wanted them to STAY and GROW! I barely slept that night with all the praying I was doing. I allowed myself to go through the day really believing this could happen. I dusted off the "What to Expect When You're Expecting Book" I'd hidden years before. I imagined the moment we'd get to tell BC's family at Christmas that another baby was on its way! His sisters' little one would have a cousin right around the same age!

Over the age of 35, it is believed that there is a 20% chance of miscarriage
 in the first 4 weeks of pregnancy.

On the morning of my next blood draw (16 DPO), I did 2 more home pregnancy tests to *hopefully* see that positive line getting even darker. It was hard to deny that on one test the line was lighter than yesterday, on another it was hardly there. My heart sank. More frantic googling ensued, and I found reassurance from ladies who noted that those tests can be extremely affected by how much water you've drank, the time of day you test, etc. I had to hold on to hope. Many ladies seemed to have had this happen and went on to have healthy pregnancies.

After the blood draw I had a Psychic Development class from 11-5 with a girlfriend of mine. During a break I saw that the fertility clinic had left a voicemail, and I thought my heart might beat out of my chest. I decided to wait until I got home to listen to the message with BC, b/c I knew if it was bad news there was NO way I could get through the rest of the class.

Because the nature of the class was training us to better hear our intuition, angels, guides, etc, I was "in the zone." And when I checked in with myself, asking if this pregnancy would continue, I immediately heard in my head "I'll be back" (and no, not in an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice).

My ego did NOT want to hear this! So I replied back with the thought "we want you to STAY with us! Please stay!" And then I heard "yes mama." Again, my ego wanted to believe this was the little one saying that YES he/she would stay, and that the whole "I'll be back" I heard initially was a fluke. I needed to believe that there was some free will involved, even with this little one.

After class I raced home and summoned BC to come listen to the voicemail with me. Very anticlimactic, since the nurse had left a message to page her for the news. More torturous waiting!

BC and I headed out to dinner and I again kept my phone glued to my side. It rang just as BC's wine & my water had arrived. I immediately did not like the intonation of this nurse, and for good reason. She said my blood test showed my HCG had actually gone down to 25, when what we were looking for was for it to at least double. Not good news at all. They wanted me to do one more blood test on CD 18 to confirm what they suspected, that this was not a viable pregnancy. I thought that was a pretty mean thing to layer onto the news- "oh, and we want you to give blood AGAIN just so we can tell you AGAIN this ain't gonna work. "

I had many questions.

Had she ever seen anyone with these results go on to have an HCG rise and a healthy pregnancy? 

Once. In her 19 years. She wanted us to prepare ourselves.

When would my body release the pregnancy (miscarry?)

The HCG has to get back down to zero, which can take anywhere from a week to a month.

Will my body resolve this on its own?

Maybe. If not there is a shot they can give to induce the release, otherwise surgery may be needed.

I then waved the waitress over and told her to bring me a glass of whatever wine BC was drinking. I flashed back to the little one saying "yes mama" to my wanting her to stay, and wondered if she had meant "yes mama, I do know that you want me to stay."

We were in public, and had to have our game faces on. We were so, so sad. And I was so, so mad that we had even shared this news with anyone. Because now we had to share the updated news, in essence re-living it over and over with each person we'd told. Lesson learned there, and now I totally get why people wait for that 12 week marker. It's a tough call, as we are pretty open, but man, it sucks to have to report to the troops that "oops, sorry. Just kidding about that whole baby coming on August 24th thing. Hope you didn't get your hopes up."

In the midst of our sadness, we tried to focus on the positive that would come out of this. We now knew we could get pregnant. We were grateful, if this was NOT to be a viable pregnancy, that it ended as early as it possibly could, and not many weeks further along. We were grateful to have been pregnant at all through the injectables, vs. having gotten a negative result. If my body now recognized how to do this, surely it could do it again. My tubes must work! Our 'stuff' works! And on the spiritual level, we now know without a shadow of a doubt that someone is coming. That I am no longer blocked. This little one was ready to come but for some reason the genetics weren't quite right this round.

It is also interesting to me how each of us needs to mourn and cope in different ways. For BC, it was meeting out guy friends for drinks, where he could just talk politics and lose himself in not thinking about the last few days for awhile. For me it was calling a girlfriend up and bawling my eyes out. Then calling my mom and bawling my eyes out. Then holding my kitties and bawling my eyes out. And upon BC returning home, holding him and bawling my eyes out once more.

Less than 5 percent of women have two consecutive miscarriages, and only 1 percent have three or more consecutive miscarriages. Miscarriage is usually a one-time occurrence. Most women who miscarry go on to have a healthy pregnancy.

Today? I do feel a sense of peace. I do feel so hopeful that if we did this once, we can do it again. Of course I am still super sad, but I am so hopeful that we WILL get pregnant again.

It is pretty brutal to have to wait for my body to let this go, and I am to stay on my progesterone until tomorrow's blood draw results, which are mostly to confirm what we already know is happening. My boobs are hurting less and less. The constipation has let up. It's amazing how quickly my body recognizes & adjusts to a pregnancy, only to immediately recognize the pregnancy isn't continuing.

I pray that my body does release soon (before we leave for Christmas), as apparently it comes as a really painful period with intense cramping & clotting. I suspect with that will come another big wave of grief. We'll see what Dr. Vaughn advises when I hopefully see him this week and get more information.

For now,  I am just so anxious to get back in the game and start trying again.


********Note: the politics of blogging this whole TTC stuff is complicated. Please note that you, dear blog readers, are in a special category of being pretty immediate witnesses to our journey. That being said, for those friends/family who read along, know that in "the real world" we would be notifying you of any positive news past the 12 week mark, so please don't feel saddened or offended that you did not get immediate calls with the last few days' roller coaster.  We appreciate your continued love, understanding, & support! *************


  1. I'm sorry and sad for you, my friend.

  2. A roller coaster, indeed! Heidi got me hooked on your blog. I am very impressed with your bravery! blatant honestly, spiritual nature, attention to detail, and sense of humor. God Love you, Jules. May 2012 bring you all that your heart desires.