Saturday, June 30, 2007

Keeping the faith

I had to work all day today and it was difficult at times. My mind kept drifting back to the pregnancy, worrying about whether or not we'll see a precious heartbeat on Sunday (as IF the worrying will change the outcome) - it's akin to being jealous of B's ex... they had a relationship, at one time he loved her, it's over... why in the hell should it bother me NOW? Yet, at times, it does. Strange...

One of my co-workers cautioned me not to get too upset if we don't see a heartbeat on Sunday. She said that her first ultrasound (which was vaginal) was at 9w5d and they saw 2 sacs but no heartbeat. They didn't seem to be too upset about it - didn't run any blood work or anything. Just told her to come back in a couple of weeks. Why is it that doctors seem to assume that "natural" pregnancies will proceed unhindered and IVF pregnancies will end in miscarriage. I wonder if the stress of all the testing and monitoring that they do has anything to do with the increased rate of miscarriage. That's something to consider, huh?

B's niece called tonight with comforting words. Apparently B had called her to tell her about the current drama. She told me not to put too much stock in the numbers and just wait for the u/s. She thinks that they just do too much and it stresses everyone out. True that!

R sent me an email to tell me that she had not been having any twinges or cramping, no bleeding or unusual symptoms. Just like before, she says that she "still feels pregnant", which of course she is. Despite the hormonal supplementation, if she has miscarried, she should have some bleeding, discharge, clots, SOMETHING. So far... nothing. So far, so good. Today she says she had some "reassuring nausea". Who would have thought that nausea could be reassuring??

Friday, June 29, 2007

It's over -

The beta is declining again... R had an ultrasound tech take a look last night - they measured the fetal pole at 6 weeks, 2 days, which was the date of our initial drop in the beta levels. R is going up to NCCRM to have a final ultrasound "just to be sure" but we've accepted that we're done with this round.

B and I have discussed this, and we've decided to try again. R has to have a full miscarriage or possibly a D&E, then we have to skip one period before we can cycle again. We're hoping for a September transfer, possibly October...

Current theory is that if we don't get pregnant by the end of the year, then we will be stopping... we really want this baby, but B is concerned about his age. He doesn't want to be too old to enjoy the child, and I understand that. He's given me a 6 month extension on his original "deadline", and I've agreed that we won't go beyond that.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I tried to remain positive at the end of last week - I just "knew" that we'd see that beautiful heartbeat on the ultrasound Sunday and then all would be well. At least, that's what I was praying for. We were lying in bed on Saturday night, watching something on TV, and B started asking me about names. For about 40 minutes, we tossed names around - and finally ended up with one of each - now it's "set in stone" according to B - there's no changing our minds now that we've decided. Yeah... right.

Sunday morning, R, B and I sat in the waiting room for 45 LONG minutes before they called us back. At one point B made the observation that he "didn't see why they bothered to even make appointments" since they don't seem to be able to stick to them. Finally Dr. M came in to do the u/s. The gestational sac was visible, as was the yolk sac, but there was no fetal pole and no heartbeat. R said that the yolk sac looked a bit smaller to her on Sunday than it had the previous Tuesday when they did the impromptu u/s at work. Also, she said that a fetal pole was visible on Tuesday, but Dr. M couldn't find one on Sunday. He finally told us that it appeared that the gestational sac was trying to involute - the walls were beginning to dip in - they weren't all nice and rounded/smooth. "I'm sorry," he said, "it's just not a viable pregnancy." R asked if it wouldn't be worth repeating the u/s in 4-5 days just to be sure. He said that would be fine... "It certainly won't hurt." But he didn't want to give us any false hope. I mentioned that we had skipped Friday's beta, and asked if we should do one today since the number should be falling - that might give us some "closure" on this attempt. He thought that was a good idea.

Dr. M left the room and R and I began to cry. B opened the door and saw the 2 of us, hugging and crying. He didn't have to ask what we had been told. B and I stood in the hall while R got dressed; we were going to wait for her to have her blood drawn then walk out with her. She got into a verbal match with the nurse - apparently the nurse was unable to hit a vein and R asked her to stop b/c it was painful - I guess the nurse didn't feel like withdrawing the needle - the first thing I heard R say was "You are NOT going to tell me what you're going to do to me." and it all went down hill from there. We finally left with the receptionist promising to have the order called into the lab in Winston so R could have blood drawn Monday morning.

I had to pull myself together in the time it took to get home from Cary. The boys still don't know about our attempts to have this baby, and they wouldn't understand why I was sad - so I wiped my eyes and put on a happy face as we got packed up to go to Jekyll Island. They were GREAT in the car until we got about an hour out and then they began fighting. I thought, at one point, that I might come unglued, but we managed to calm them down and made it in one piece.

On Monday, I took the boys off the island to go to McDonalds in Brunswick, and our coordinator called me with R's beta results. 2007! WTF!!! I fully expected a number well under 500 - I was thinking that it would be no more than 350, given the half life of HCG. I just don't know what to think now. She said that Dr. M wants to repeat the u/s in a week. He doesn't really know what's going on either. I called R and she was equally stunned. B, on the other hand, says that he "knew" this wasn't over yet. I had gotten an email from K on Sunday telling me that she had done some divination prior to ritual on Saturday night and the message received was "the baby is fine; will be born healthy". B says that R and I are "fucking everything up" with our doubts and negativity. Guess that's the damned scientist in me!

B wanted me to ask R if she would have a beta drawn on Thursday or Friday just so we could see what it was doing. His prediction is that it will be between 3700 and 4000. God, I pray that he's right! I'm trying SO hard to believe and be positive, but I guess I just know a little too much for my own good. My fear now is a blighted ovum - though I've not heard of a case where the beta drops then begins to rise again. Of course, it's possible that we will go on and have a healthy baby as well. The repeat u/s is on Monday. I'm just praying that something is visible then. I have to work and don't know if I'll be able to get off or not... I'm not sure if I can stand another u/s of an empty sac where our baby should be growing. But, I hate to send R on her own... I'll have to see if I can rearrange my schedule.

I'm emotionally exhausted. Poor R is about to lose her mind. She feels that she has failed us, that we gave her a life to protect and nourish and she has failed to do so. I don't blame her in the least for this, if we do lose the baby. B and I talked this weekend - I was crying and finally said, "Everything will NOT be alright" since he's always telling me that it will. He thought about it for a bit and then told me, if we could swing it financially (which I assured him we can), then we can try once more, if that's necessary. I don't want it to be necessary. I want this baby to be alright. I do believe that we're meant to have a child - she's just being extremely difficult and troublesome already!!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A weird sense of peace...

I felt fine yesterday and today about the pregnancy. Now, thinking about Sunday makes my chest tighten and my stomach roll; God only knows what condition I'll be in by the time I get up to NCCRM on Sunday morning!!

R is feeling fine. She's had no cramping or bleeding thus far, and still has that "reassuring nausea" so that's good. She said tonight that she was thinking perhaps the 3rd embryo had been floating around in there as well - either as a "chemical' pregnancy or a blighted ovum... who knows. At any rate, something like that could certainly give us the results that we've gotten so far. R has started calling the baby "troublemaker" and I guess that will be her moniker from here on out. If she continues to be such a pill, this pregnancy will age poor R immeasurably. It may be both her first and LAST surrogacy!! I never did do things the straightforward and simple way!!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Stop the ride... I wanna get off!!

R called me this morning to tell me that she sneaked a quickie u/s last night at work. They saw a single sac and fetal pole, and it's not ectopic (whew!!). They couldn't pick up a heartbeat, but she said that the OB doing the scan wasn't familiar with the antiquated machine that they were using and if we had a late implanter, then she's not even 6 weeks along and there's only a 60% chance that they'd be able to pick up a heartbeat anyway. So that was GOOD news.

Then, this afternoon, our coordinator at NCCRM called to tell me that R's beta was 1413 - that's down from Monday's number... they want to repeat again on Friday. I was heartbroken when I got the call, and of course the bad things always seem to happen when I'm separated from my husband. He's in Kentucky until Saturday!!

I talked to R briefly and she kept apologizing, as if she's done something wrong. We all know that, if something bad has happened, it's my chromosomes. But, she feels so compelled to have this baby - the stress must be damn near debilitating at times for her! She called me back later in the afternoon to ask what I thought about NOT repeating the blood work on Friday and just waiting for the u/s on Sunday. Her theory was that is was not going to make a difference to the immediate treatment plan - e.g. she's going to continue meds until we have a more compelling case that things have gone south - and the beta numbers are just making us all batty. I agreed with her, and called and left our coordinator a message to that effect. We'll have the u/s on Sunday and if they don't see a heartbeat, then we'll have another beta done to see where we stand. If the beta has dropped significantly, then we'll have to accept that we've lost the baby. If it has NOT dropped, or has risen, then we will repeat the u/s in a week.

I feel like I'm on a freakin' emotional roller coaster, and I've had enough. The stress is making me sick, literally and figuratively. B, in his usual fashion, says not to worry. "It's not over" he says... have faith. I'm trying desperately to do so. I think that, as a society, we're so over done with technology, you know? If R were pregnant with her own child, she would have peed on a stick and gotten a BFP, then nothing until she went to her first OB appointment 6 weeks later. Unless she started her period during that time, she wouldn't know what the damn beta number was doing!! Sometimes I think that all of this advancement in technology is more of a curse than a blessing.

I made tea for the "boys" and offered them strawberries and incense; I did a bit of meditating as well, sending growing and loving energy to our little bean, urging her to sit tight for the next 7+ months. B called Ladda and asked her to talk to the monks on our behalf. We've done all we can do. It's in God's hands now...

Monday, June 18, 2007

I'm finally beginning to feel "normal"

about this pregnancy! Our beta today was 1568!!! How awesome is that? For some reason, however, they want to repeat the damn thing on Wednesday! Poor R is running out of veins. She says that her veins aren't the best anyway, and they have to stick her 2 or 3 times each time they take a sample. She's been having blood drawn every other day for the last 2 weeks and now they want to do it AGAIN! We were really thinking that today would be the last time, especially if (1) the number was good (which is it) and (2) the number was over 1500 (which, again, it is) - so neither of us really understand WHY we're repeating on Wednesday and all the nurses at NCCRM can tell us is "the doctor wants to repeat the beta test."

Our first ultrasound is scheduled for Friday morning. B is leaving for Kentucky tomorrow and won't be home until late on Saturday, so he's going to miss seeing his baby's first heartbeat. He wants me to bring home a picture for him, though. Of course, I was planning on getting a pic anyway!

So, for some reason, now that we've exceeded the 1000 mark with our beta, this suddenly feels "real" to me - I know that seems silly, but that's the way it is. I can't wait to see that little flicker that is my baby's heartbeat! What I wouldn't give to see 2 of them! But, I don't guess that's realistic at this point - one will do just fine!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Yesterday morning was supposed to be our last beta -

but they're doing another one on Monday. Yesterday's number was 802 - not quite doubled in 48 hours, but the docs at NCCRM seemed fine with that increase - the doubling time was 57 hours and anything less than 72 is considered "normal." The nurse told R that they were happy with the number but want to repeat "one more time" on Monday. We're pushing for an ultrasound on Friday morning, and they want the beta to be at 1500 or higher - guess that's why we're doing more testing. I feel bad for poor R - she's got to feel like a pin cushion by now.... and it seems that the lab she's been going to has incompetent phlebotamists, just like those new girls at NCCRM.

I had to take First Born to Salem College to drop him off for Governor's School today - and since I was in Winston, R and I got together at the mall for a little while to hang out and chat. We wandered into the Motherhood store and she picked up a belly band (it's this kind of interim solution - it's a stretchy, knit band that goes at the top of your pants to cover up your undone button!! It's meant to "bridge" that time between regular clothes and maternity wear.) and some support hose to wear at work. I paid for them, despite her protestations, because I feel like this is our baby, and those are my bills - she said, "Well, we'll just deduct that from the maternity clothing allowance...." She's such an angel. I can't wait until I can buy her some maternity clothing!! This thing is meant to be - she's too perfect and everything is just going along without a hitch - our life is GREAT!!

B has now decided that he wants a daughter (though I tried to explain to him that that issue was decided at conception) - we were at his BF's daughter's wedding yesterday and he turned to me and said, "I'll stick around long enough to walk our little girl down the aisle" to which I replied "You'll have to live a long time, because I'm not going to allow her to get married until she's 30!" He said he wants a girl because "little girls love their daddies" and he can call her "princess" and "sweet pea", but the only thing you can call a boys is "knucklehead." He's such a trip. God, I'm in love with my husband!! Guess that's a good thing, huh?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The trend continues

Our beta today was 453!! It doubled again, thank God!! I was on pins and needles until I got the call around 4:30. I knew that R had gone in for her blood draw about 7:30am, so the fact that we didn't receive an early call was a little bit of a consolation for me... they seem to call right away when the news is bad. Eman said they want to do one more beta on Saturday, then (as long as everything is still moving along on track), we'll be looking at an ultrasound next week! I can hardly wait to see our baby's heartbeat and just confirm that he/she is hanging in there.

We are so terribly blessed and I am eternally grateful for everyone who has had a hand in this. It's just absolutely amazing.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Things are looking up!

OMG, the beta today was 230!! Our doubling time has gone from 222 hrs to 120 hrs to 37 hrs! Much, much better!! I can hardly wait to see what the number will be when they repeat the test on Thursday! If it's over 500, then there's a good chance that we're past the worst of the worry. They want to do an ultrasound as soon as we get a beta that's over 1000. Hopefully that will be next week!

I am so grateful for all of the prayers and positive energy that have come our way. I do believe that's what has kept our baby going. He must be a tough little bean... he's still hanging in. I can't wait to meet him next year!!

I am so ticked off right now!!

So, today I returned the other nurses's call. She had called me on the 8th and left a message for me to call her back. Apparently she wanted to discuss our beta results. Today the bitch actually said, "don't get excited" because our numbers weren't rising the way they expected them to; she told me that "it's probably going to be a chemical or ectopic pregnancy" so I should be prepared for that. She also said that she would be "very surprised if the numbers start to double again". I'm praying for 200 tomorrow. Completely aside from the fact that I desperately want our baby, I would just LOVE to toss that up in her face... "here's your chemical pregnancy, bitch."

B was ticked off when I told him about it. He fully intends to write a letter to Dr. T and complain about her attitude and the information that she's conveying. He's mad that she took it upon herself to tell R that "it's probably ectopic and you're going to have to have surgery" when she didn't know that anything was wrong at all. He said that the stress that she induced was the worst thing for our baby and convincing R that she was going to lose the baby is the surest way for her to lose it.

R and S were pissed as well - we all need to bitch about this. NCCRM has a great success rate - one of the best in the country - but they're staff leaves a LOT to be desired on many fronts! You would think that they could be more selective or careful with their training. I've not had the same problem with other nurses, but this particular one seems almost to delight in delivering bad news... that's just sad.

Monday, June 11, 2007

An improvement...

R's beta today was 95, which is definitely more of an increase. I realize that it doesn't mean that everything is alright, but it does give us some options. According to the nurse, it could be (1) an abnormal embryo that will eventually fizzle out, (2) an ectopic pregnancy or (3) multiple late implanters that have self-reduced, leaving a single embryo still developing. The beta is being repeated on Tuesday, and we'll see what the numbers say then. At least there's some hope - the docs are keeping R on her meds, so obviously they don't believe it's hopeless. To date, she has no negative symptoms - no bleeding, no pain, etc. We've talked a lot lately - trying to reassure each other that things are still alright. The other nurse was so cold when she gave R the results on Friday that it really upset her - which was NOT good for our baby. It really pisses me off that she could be so uncaring. I would think that wouldn't be the case when you work with people who have had ongoing fertility issues.

Friday, June 8, 2007

My heart hurts right now

R had another beta today and it was only 72 - that's only a 10 point rise in 48 hours. That's not good. She was crying when she left the message - I've been crying since. B says that I shouldn't freak out until I'm sure that there's something to freak out over. They're retesting Sunday morning - if she lost the baby, or it was a "chemical" pregnancy, the number should start to drop. I don't want to lose our baby. I'm so sad right now and I'm all by myself here. I'm going to try to come home tomorrow after graduation. I don't want to stay here another night. I wish B were here with me - I need him here with me.

Monday, June 4, 2007

R sent me a pic of a digital pregnancy test today - and there was the single most beautiful word in my world right now... "PREGNANT"

I forwarded a copy to B so that he can look at it from time to time until we have something more exciting like an u/s picture.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

OMG! This is the BEST day ever!!

The phone rang shortly after 0700 and I figured it was B, checking to see if I was back from the APFT and to see how I had fared. It was R instead. She stumbled for a sec when I answered the way you do when you are expecting to get a recording - she said, "I'm guessing you haven't checked your email this morning yet." Nope, I told her I had just taken my PT test and was studying for the mid-term while I cooled off. She told me that she had sent me a picture, I (stupidly - but I'm claiming heat confusion!) asked "A picture of what?" She countered with "What do you think?" "You got a positive this morning?!" Yessireebob.... she damn sure did!!! She was on her way to the lab to have a beta drawn (though the results won't be in until Monday morning), but wanted to at least leave me a message. I was SO excited... I kept saying, "OMG! I can't believe it." She was rather giggly too. So, she got to the lab and had to go in, and I immediately called B. He had been up earlier and had gone back to sleep - apparently I woke him up 'cause he sounded drowsy. I told him all about the AP test, stalling for just a minute, then I couldn't stand it and I told him that R had called this morning. He told me that he had forgotten to ask me last night but was wondering if I had heard from her. I told him that she had gotten a BFP today. I could hear him smiling... he told me that he had been lighting double incense and giving "the boys" grape juice and candy. Ladda had gone by the temple yesterday and given the monks an offering on our behalf. His brother had been lighting incense and offering his "boys" sweets and tea for us as well. And today - WE'RE POSITIVE!!

Now, I know that this isn't a "for sure" thing at this point, but it just feels right. It's always felt like this was meant to be - it has just come together so smoothly and beautifully - from finding R, to having enough money when we needed it so that this has not yet been much of a financial strain on us, I was worried about what to do with "left over" embryos, and that decision was taken out of my hands as well. This is just what was meant to be. Just like B always says that we were meant to be together.

B sent me an email today, after we talked. The subject line read "Thank you" - the message brought tears to my eyes. It read simply "Thank you for giving me this--God is smiling on us. It made me cry this morning. I love you!"

These last couple of days, when I've thought about the possibility that this transfer didn't work, and the fact that I have no embryos in cryo to try again... what has hurt my feelings the most is being unable to give Bill a child. I had decided that, if we were unsuccessful this time, I was going to try to talk him into one more chance - we'll take the money my grandmother is giving us and that will be more than enough to fun another stim/retrieval/transfer attempt. At least one more try... now it seems that may not be necessary!

I know that the next several weeks will be iffy.... that if R is indeed pregnant, there is a chance that she may miscarry. I also "know" that this won't happen - that we are truly being blessed for whatever reason, and I am so incredibly grateful and happy that this is happening. I feel like smiling, laughing, crying... all at the same time. We have an "official" beta scheduled for next Thursday; R should have Saturday's results on Monday - the number should have more than tripled between the 2 tests. That will, for me, be the real indicator as to whether this is really happening or not. We have a lot of people working on our side... there is positive energy coming from all directions - B has a way of getting what he wants, as do I - and we're going to have this baby.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

POAS may not be the best idea at this point...

R called last night - it was nice to talk to her. Poor girl is so disappointed to keep getting negative tests. I did a little "research" on the internet before she called, and the basics of the information that I found say that pregnancy can be confirmed via blood test as early as 11 days after conception and by urine test as early as 13-14 days after conception. Well, at best, we're 11 days today - and I really think that we'd be a little behind that anyway, but maybe not... "conception" (fertilization) did occur 11 days ago, but implantation may have been delayed a day or two because of the transfer. Whether that makes a difference or not, I don't know. But, as I said - AT BEST, we're 11 days today. If she were TTC for herself, she would be waiting until the day before she was due to start, or the day she was due, before she tested - and that would be Sunday or Monday. I told her that it would be ok to get a quantitative assessment - if it's negative, we're going to have to face it sooner or later, right? Delaying it won't make it not so. She said that she'll go on Saturday if the lab is open; otherwise she'll go on Monday. We leave for the field on Monday - so I may not be able to find out until Thursday night. On the one hand, if I have to deal with the reality of a negative, it might be nice to get the news when I don't have the time to dwell on it. On the other hand, there are warrior tasks that I have to accomplish and be tested on, so bad news may be a distraction. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.