Saturday, January 26, 2013

my body is a deceitful bastard, part 2 or here today, gone tomorrow

Let’s just cut to the chase: it’s over[1]. I played with fire and I got burned. On Friday I went in for my second blood draw, to see whether the pregnancy was progressing normally. The hope was that my HCG level would have doubled (or, because I’m an overachiever, tripled), signifying that it was viable (at least for now).

On Wednesday, my number was a moderate, but perfectly respectable, 65.8. By Friday? 69. To say it wasn’t living up to it’s potential would be one way of interpreting things.

The nurse broke the news kindly: I’m sorry. This is what we call a biochemical pregnancy. An early loss. A miscarriage.[2]

Then I cried through my mouth said some things amidst the tears – which must have been nonsense because she offered to call me back after I took a minute to, ahem, get my act together. But, bless her heart, I made her suffer, asking, essentially, the same question in eleventy bazillion different ways: isn’t there any way this could be a viable pregnancy?

‘Fraid not. But she did have one exciting alternative: I could have an ectopic pregnancy. Because I’m a sadist they need to make sure I don’t, I get to return on Monday for another blood draw (my veins, and patience, are wearing thin).

When I got home from work, C and I shed some pretty solid tears. It’s funny (but maybe not in a “ha ha” way), but I actually think I was more prepared than he was. Among many others, one of C’s best qualities is his optimism – he doesn’t like to dwell in the negative, meanwhile I buy up all the real estate in glass-half-empty-land and hunker down for the winter. And now that I’ve fallen into the vortex of infertility blogging, I’ve been exposed to most of the oh-my-god-the-shit-has-really-hit-the-fan-now pregnancy terror.

Still. While more prepared than C, I do have my moments. To say this has been A Complete MindFuck devastating would be reasonably accurate. Am I, objectively speaking, happy that his happened now, rather than after hearing a heartbeat? Absolutely. Do I realize that this is exceedingly common and not necessarily an indication that I will be forever barren? Sure, intermittently, at least.

And while I have scoured every corner of the oracle, all-knowing interwebs seeking anything (no, really, anything) to the contrary, I know intellectually that there are no miracles here – that this round is over.

Divine, internet sages tell me that early miscarriages happen generally for the same reason the much later, oh-dear-god-so-much-more-emotionally-difficult-ones happen – chromosomal abnormalities in the developing cluster of cells.[3] But there could be other, somewhat more harrowing reasons (which C is researching in his professional, peer-reviewed doctor way while I direct my queries to Ask Jeeves.) Anyway, more on that later.

This weekend I will be grief eating cookies under the covers while watching Girls dusting off my boots and preparing to get back on the proverbial horse.

[1] Oh dear readers – all six of you – I’m so sorry I took you on this journey so slowly. Thanks for sticking with it. 
[2] A chemical or biochemical pregnancy basically means that an early miscarriage occurred at the time when the only indicia of pregnancy was a home pregnancy test or HCG test. The thing is, women who are not extravagantly monitored by round the clock blood draws would probably just assume a late period with extra cramping. But not me. I got to feel the euphoria for just under 72 glorious hours. *dramatic sigh*
[3] It’s weird to say “baby.” It just is. Maybe it’s because I’m rabidly pro-choice, or maybe it’s a measure of self-conscious self-protection. On the other hand, I guess I could use the ultra clinical “products of conception.” 


  1. So sorry to hear this. I just went through the exact same thing in December. It's the crappiest thing in the world, to almost have it all. It's taken me a while to recover but we are finally getting ready to start the next round of Clomid. Take care of yourself! Hugs to you.

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss. Miscarriage sucks at any stage so allow yourself to mourn. I got so sick of doctors telling me I didn't miscarry, but simply had a chemical pregnancy. The fact is that there was a life growing inside of me and it died. Medical classification doesn't change that.

    I know that there is no "good news" here, but feel optimistic that you only needed clomid to get pregnant. There is probably good news coming to you. Hopeful that it comes soon!

  3. *big hugs*Sarah! I'm so very sorry for your loss.

  4. sending hugs and love and good energy and virtual cookies and treats your way.

  5. thanks everyone - really appreciate all the kind words and virtual hugs! now if only those virtual cookies were edible... Anyway, back tomorrow for another blood draw. is it an ectopic? blighted ovum? regular old chemical pregnancy? I'm hoping for door number 3!

  6. Wow, I took a few days off from the blogging world and I return to find all of this. What an awful emotional whirlwind. How are you doing today? Are you taking care of yourself? I am so sorry this is happening. What an awful way to get so excited and so crushed so quickly.

    Be nice to yourself and keep us posted on the results.

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    1. Hello,
      I'm a friend of a friend who shared your blog with me because I'm going through something similar and have been doubting my normalcy (who wishes for HCGs to be 0?? and who doesn't know how to answer the question "are you pregnant?").

      My first and only pregnancy, after quite a lengthy process of trying, required termination due to it being ectopic. I received methotrexate on January 1 (aka yes, I spent New Years Eve in the emergency room) and have been "hoping" for a speedy return from HCG levels over 3,000 to return to 0.

      I got a flu shot in the middle of January. The nurse asked me, "are you pregnant?". Well, yes, but no... I had to think about why she was asking me; it will harm the baby if you're pregnant, so no - guess not. Well that sucked.

      I decided to skip the process of determining whether my tube is blocked/kinked (I have one ovary to start with ) because I'm just ready to do this thing. So, my next step is IVF. But, my doctor won't even refer me to the IVF doctor until my HCG is 0. WHY MUST HE CONTROL THIS?? I know from hours of reading and picking people's brains that there are PLENTY of steps I can take between now and actually doing any of the process to prepare for egg retrieval. What a mind F.

      Oh also awesome, using contraception right now. I want to be pregnant, so using contraception seems, well, dumb. But if I end up pregnant again (not that it's even scientifically possible right now, I don't think), I could have this whole lame process to start over. Yeah, using condoms with my husband, that seems normal in my head... not. Ugh.

      Anyways, not to totally post my own thoughts/ramblings on your blog, but I wanted to say thank you. I don't feel so crazy when I see that other people have similar thoughts/feelings that feel totally bizarre in my own being.

      Take care. I hope your next steps are proceeding well. I haven't quite caught up to present in your postings, but I was relating to this section so figured I would respond here and then move forward to the present time.

    2. So, so sorry for all that you've been through - sounds hellish and a hell of a way to start the new year. I finally got my HCG to zero last week after a torturous journey which felt more like a cruel joke. (and my husband didn't find it that funny when I would laugh maniacally and say I couldn't do x, y, z chore because I was still just a tiny bit pregnant - I figured I should milk it?). Anyway, the irony of birth control cannot be exaggerated so I totally feel you there. I sure hope 2013 is a better year for us both and so glad I can make you feel at least a little less crazy. It can be hard to feel anything but crazy in this process. Be kind to yourself and fingers crossed...

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  9. Hi Hi. Sob. The nomenclature on this is so weird and challenging, isn't it? Sigh. I'm really sorry this happened to you. Given that I'm in the same boat, I'm not sure I want to know any of the more harrowing reasons, should your husband's research have turned up any (any up? I card read GOOD). Hoping with you that this current IUI cycle is the ticket.