The wait that is. And the pregnancy. Our scan today showed no heartbeat. We have a DNC scheduled for Monday. There is relief in knowing, despite the devastation of what is now known.
Ok ladies, I need some guidance from those wiser and more experienced than myself. Today we saw a fetal pole measuring 2mm and we could see a heartbeat, although it was not strong enough to hear. This is progress from last week and it is progress that is consistent given what was seen a week ago. However, baby is measuring about ten days behind… The doctor suggested that perhaps we had delayed implantation. But, could delayed implantation account for a 10 day delay? It seems a lot to me?
The positives from today are that there is a fetal pole as well as evidence of cardiac activity. The negatives are that it is not as strong as it should be for my dates, although this might be somewhat explained by delayed implantation. So confused. Any thoughts from you guys?
Back again for another scan next Friday… The waiting game continues.
I thought that finally getting those two pink lines would be wonderful and glorious and would erase all the heartache and trauma of infertility… I thought that the wait would be over and that the celebrations would begin. How terribly, horribly naive of me. Whilst getting two pink lines for most ‘normal’ women is indeed a happy day, cause for celebration and fantasies of baby cuddles and occupied nurseries, for me it just meant the start of a whole new level of anxiety and stress. I can honestly say that the last three weeks have been the most awful of my life (and I am not free of previous adversity) as we have limped from one beta test and ultrasound to another, each time hoping and praying for clarity and each time encountering ambiguity and uncertainty, being told each time to wait… Time will tell. Tomorrow we will finally find out whether or not we have a viable pregnancy on our hands… I am horribly anxious but also desperate to know. Whatever the outcome. I’ve said it before, for me, knowing is better than not knowing.
My ‘normal’ friends and family have been surprised by our pregnancy journey, specifically the beta testing and monitoring. For them, a positive pregnancy test was confirmed with a blood test and a first ultrasound was booked… No second betas or obsessing about doubling times. They were gloriously naive and therefore able to assume that all was well. Had they gone to their first scans and been met with bad news, the heartache would have begun. They all knew about the 25% chance of miscarriage but because nothing had ever gone wrong before, they did not operate from a negative framework and were able to live in a state of optimism regarding their pregnancies. Not so for me or the other women experiencing infertility. The close monitoring as well as some of my infertility-induced behaviors (obsessive googling and a tendency towards pessimism), have resulted in an early pregnancy fraught with overwhelming anxiety.
I personally, have come to believe that beta testing should be banned. I know this is a strong statement and many will disagree with me, but in my opinion the anxiety it causes is not sufficiently outweighed by the knowledge gained. Because there is not a lot of knowledge gained, especially when you fall into the rather large grey area that we have fallen into. If your beta tests are very low and then drop, you are almost certain to miscarry… But knowing this doesn’t prevent a miscarriage, it just prepares you for it… So what’s the point? Why not live in blissful ignorance until things go wrong? Slow rising beta levels can indicate a blighted ovum or an ectopic pregnancy. They can also suggest a vanishing twin. But, there are also many, many stories about slow rising beta levels and perfectly healthy pregnancies and it is commonly acknowledged that there is a large variation in what is considered normal. Low rising beta levels can result in miscarriage but normal beta levels can also result in miscarriage… So again, what is the point? Why not just wait until the first scan to see whether or not there is anything in the uterus and whether or not there is a fetal pole and heartbeat? In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, it would still be early enough in the pregnancy to do whatever needs to be done without risk to the mother. In the case of a blighted ovum there is nothing to be done anyway, so again… What’s the point? If beta testing resulted in definite answers, I would be 100% behind it. But it doesn’t.
As I’ve said, knowing is better than not knowing, even if the outcome is a bad one. However, over the last three weeks we have ‘known’ very little and have been met with ambiguity, which has caused extremely high levels of anxiety. Added to this is the helplessness… We have known that something could be wrong, probably is wrong, but we haven’t known WHAT. Even had we known WHAT was wrong, there has been absolutely nothing we could do to prevent it from happening. All we have been able to do is WAIT.
Our first scan was meant to be today but because we have been monitored we were told to pop in tomorrow morning rather than have an official appointment. This suits me fine as we do not pay for the monitoring appointments but would pay for an official appointment. When I try to imagine that we hadn’t beta tested and hadn’t known anything was wrong we would have pitched up today and been told one of three things… You have an ectopic pregnancy and require medication or surgery to remove it; you have a blighted ovum and can induce a miscarriage, have a dnc or wait to miscarry naturally; you have a perfectly normal pregnancy… Congratulations. Whilst the first two options would have been shocking and heartbreaking, at the very least we would not have lived in anxious limbo for the previous three weeks and as I said, nothing would have changed the outcome.
Unfortunately what is known cannot be unknown and so now that I know that beta levels should double every 48 hours it is highly unlikely that I won’t beta test in our next pregnancy. That blissful, naive ignorance is no longer an option for us. I can only hope that they double normally and that there is some level of comfort derived from that. And over and above that, I hope with all of my heart and soul that I am one of those very lucky women who have slow rising beta levels and that this is OUR normal, healthy pregnancy. I pray that tomorrow we see a fetal pole and heartbeat and that our little bean defies the doctors original 1% odds.
We’ve just had our monitoring scan and it is no longer complete doom and gloom. He can now see a gestational sac and a yolk sac inside. This means it is growing and there is a fetus (as opposed to a blighted ovum, which is what he said it almost certainly was). He can also now completely rule out an ectopic. The next thing he is looking for is a heartbeat, which apparently it is too early to see anyway. We go back next week Friday for a scan and if no heartbeat is present then we would have cause for concern. But for today, it is looking normal. We don’t even know what to think or how to feel. We had given up completely and I even have been drinking some wine based on his 1% chance. I told him this and he said not to worry at all. He did want to see me every Monday and Friday but is now skipping Monday and just scanning again next week Friday. He won’t even give us a statistic today because he says it will just be guessing. If the waiting doesn’t kill me (and therefore the fetus) it seems there is now an outside chance that this pregnancy could be viable. Wtf!!!
That’s our chances of this being a viable pregnancy after having a scan done today. Our fourth beta was 1009. A gestational sac in the uterus could be seen on the ultrasound, but only just. There is still a chance that it could float into the Fallopian tubes and I’m to go back on Monday to monitor that this doesn’t happen. If it does, I will have laperascopic surgery to remove it. I have been told to stop all meds and that the best possible outcome is that I miscarry naturally. Personally, I’m not holding onto that 1% hope as I won’t allow my heart to be any further shattered. It’s a bust, it’s over. We have to grieve and move on. I’m not sure how yet… But I do have some ideas which I will explore next week. For now, I’m going to cry, probably quite a lot, and I’m also going to be really, really mad.
754 today. Still going up but definitely not doubling every 48 hours. After extensive googling the general consensus is that it should double every 48 to 72 hours… But my doc seems to be going by 48 hours. So I’d like to know which one it is?? 48 or 72… Because therein lies the difference between a complete freak out or, well, not!
Beta no 2 is 503, 4 days after the first beta of 154. This is the response from my doc when I emailed him to say I was concerned it was a bit low:
“Thank you for the feedback. That is correct. It has not doubled as it would be in 85% of cases. However, it has gone up by more than 60% and that is what we shall focus on now. There is unfortunately not anything we can do about this other than to wait and see where it takes us. We shall be monitoring it closely and I would like you to please repeat it in 48 hours from this morning. Hang in there – we shall take this one day at a time and remain ‘cautiously’ optimistic until proven otherwise”
I could literally be sick with anxiety. Any thoughts from the ladies who’ve been through this??