Friday, May 8, 2009

Rather Belated and Dramatic Update

I had planned to update my blog once a week or so, but I've definitely failed since the embryo transfer. Much has happened.

Three days after the transfer, I had severe pain when I woke up in the morning. I couldn't stand it so I called my doctor and they said to come into the office. I spent 1-2 hours there with a doctor who is a man of few words but a very kind person. After he pressed on my abdomen so much that I threw up on the floor (totally embarrassing -- they just weren't prepared for that, I guess), he did an ultrasound and consulted with my doctor, who was also in the office that day but tied up with other patients. They decided to send me to the ER, about a half mile away. Once there they gave me morphine and I had some relief from the pain. They thought that my ovary was twisting and cutting off the blood supply but when they sent me to radiology for ultrasounds to assess what was going on, everything was normal. (Other than the fact that my left ovary was the size of a grapefruit and normal is the size of an oyster.) They still admitted me. I was there for two nights because the pain reoccurred briefly the next day. I saw four doctors from my practice during that time, and it seemed everyone had a different theory about what might have happened. In addition to ovarian torsion, ovarian hyperstimulation and ruptured follicles were two other possibilities. All told, I missed four days of work because of this. (Not a good thing.) I kept my boss informed and on the day I missed an important meeting, I gave her permission to say that I had had an adverse reaction to some medication, which is a vague way to explain what truly happened. If I'd never taken the stimulation shots and meds, it never would've happened.

So I went back to work the next Monday, 9 days post transfer. My doctor wanted to see me for a follow up that Wednesday, so they scheduled the pregnancy test that day, too (one day earlier than it had previously been scheduled). I could not believe it, but it was POSITIVE!!!

However, there is a 35% chance of miscarriage for someone who's 38 years old. Based on the HCG level on 4/29, my doctor (who called me with the good news personally) said it's not likely to be twins, even though we transferred two embryos. I was only cautiously optimistic because of that 35% statistic and because the embryos were't the highest-quality embryos to begin with. I was also a little bit freaked out.

They want the HCG levels to double every 48 hours so they retested on 5/1 and it had more than doubled. Yahoo! That was last Friday. Over the weekend I began to really think about the reality of this. We told a few close friends and our moms.

They retested the HCG on Tuesday, so it should have doubled twice between Friday and Tuesday. Unfortunately, it had not, and the nurse who called to tell me this used the word "abnormal." She scheduled me to come back 48 hours later for another test, after which the PA called me and spoke in a "very concerned" voice. She said the embryo may not have the genetic capacity to survive. She also said they wanted me to come back today for another HCG and other labs that will help prep me for an injection that will dissolve the pregnancy without having to do a D and C. She also mentioned the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy. I asked if we can do an ultrasound to confirm there's nothing there before doing the injection and she said it is too early. I got a little testy at this moment and said, "Well I'm not taking that injection if I don't know for sure." We scheduled blood work for this morning along with a consult with one of the docs. My wonderful doc is on vacation this week!!

The doc we saw was great, though, and he answered all of my questions and my husband's questions. He scared me regarding the ectopic pregnancy possibility -- it's the leading cause of pregnancy-related death! He assured me we would do an ultrasound before we did the injection, so I was pleased that I didn't have to argue with him about that. SO this afternoon when we got the HCG report, it is increasing more now. After 24 hours, it has increased by half, which means it's on track to double by tomorrow! That's good news to me, but the PA is still very cautious and concerned. Meanwhile, around lunchtime today I had some really bad abdominal pains, my chest had a dull pain, my arms felt weird, my heart rate increased, and I just felt funny. Awful. My boss and my assistant ended up driving me home. That was embarrassing. But I just wasn't sure what was happening and I was pretty scared about hemorraging after the doctor's appointment this morning.

So now I'm going in the morning for yet another HCG and an ultrasound. I don't know if the u/s is for the pains or just because the HCG is doing better. I'm not sure. My husband and I actually heard different things this morning regarding a possible rise in HCG. I thought the doc said if the HCG rises today (and not astronomically) it's more likely to be an ectopic pregnancy. If it fell, it's more likely to be a regular old miscarriage. The doc said the incidence rate of an ectopic pregnancy after IVF is like 1%. I guess I may be very special. He also said he has seen numbers like this result in a healthy baby, but not often.

Emotionally, I kind of hit the wall Tuesday afternoon when the nurse used the word "abnormal." That was the first time I heard bad news and I pretty much fell apart. I left my office and went outside to sit in the fresh air for a bit and I called my best friend, who's had six miscarriages. I just wanted to leave work and go home and cry but she helped me decide to save the drama with my boss for another day (who knew it would be today?!). I am feeling kind of numb now. Before the levels increased nicely today, I'd pretty much resigned myself to the reality that Eenie isn't going to make it. That was an easier place to be, emotionally, than on the roller coaster of hope and reality. Several people are praying for us and at least one person has great confidence that Eenie will survive. This has sparked some interesting theological discussions between me and my husband. (We're both somewhat skeptical about such prayerful confidence -- I am especially that way.) His coworker's son, who is 11, prayed that the cells would grow so fast, it would be the fastest growing baby in the world. This was yesterday. Maybe Eenie's getting ready to take off, thanks to this little boy's prayer! Stranger things have happened.

That's enough for now. I'll try to do better about updating more frequently. Hope this is helping someone out there, if anyone is reading.