Friday, July 31, 2009


We had a scare today. I started spotting.

When I saw it, I was immediately terrified. I thought - Oh God, here we go, I'll spot today and by the weekend I'll be miscarrying in the ER. I was filled with dread.

Luckily, we were able to reach the RE's office and he said I could come in immediately. He did yet another ultrasound, saw the heartbeat, and said everything looked "just great." He said many women have spotting in the first trimester and to try not to be too stressed. He said I'll read that 40% of women who have bleeding go on to miscarry but that he thinks that number is inflated by pregnancies in which the heartbeat hasn't yet been seen.

Then he said, "When did I last see you, Monday?" and I felt so sheepish and apologized profusely for coming in and getting another scan. He said, "No. It's OK. I completely understand. You can come in as many times as you want."

And I joked that I might as well move into the office.

He said, "No seriously. I really don't care. You can come in as much as you want. You don't even need to call. You know what days I'm here, so just come in if you need to. I'll see you, anytime." As we left, he said, "Take care of yourselves."

Oh, I seriously love this man. The next few weeks are looking to be about 8 years long. Here's hoping all three of us (Will, me, and Embryo) get through it sane and alive.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Meeting the new OB

Will and I met with the new high risk OB yesterday. I had read some mixed reviews about her bedside manner online and so was a little hesitant, but we really liked her in person. We found her to be warm and funny and uber capable and conscientious, which was great and exactly what we need.

The only awkward moment came when I was starting to give her my history and she asked, "Is this your first?"

And I stumbled around for a bit, unsure if she meant first pregnancy (no), or first child (hopefully, yes). So after hemming and hawing, finally, I said, "I have no children, but this is my fifth pregnancy." And then the awkward moment passed and we discussed what happened with the first four.

She had great questions throughout that made her seem really on the ball. She's the only clinician to inquire whether I had a staging laparotomy with my Hodgkin's diagnosis, for example. Good question. And the answer is luckily, no. But if I had, it would be important to know, because during that procedure they remove the spleen. So she got some extra points for asking.

She said a couple of times as we were discussing my history, "Well, we'll do an ultrasound in a minute and see if we've got a heartbeat," which was fine with me. I'm convinced several times a day that the baby has died. Will, however, thought this was a tad pessimistic. In my book, her cautiousness was justified, and made it even better when she did the ultrasound, pronounced everything perfect, and ultimately stated, "Things look promising. I'm feeling very hopeful about this pregnancy." Really, high risk OB? You're hopeful? Awesome! Especially since you weren't all fake hopeful from the beginning. Love it!

Basically, she said that she and we will just be holding our breaths for the next few weeks and that with every week that passes, my risk of miscarriage drops. She offered me ultrasounds every two weeks to help ease my anxiety. So between her and my RE, I'll be having an ultrasound every week until the CVS, which is scheduled for August 21. She predicts I'll start to feel a lot more confident after that. I hope so.

The only other complicting factor is my health history. The chemotherapy I took for the Hodgkin's can damage the heart muscle in ways that only become apparent during times when the body is stressed (like in, um, pregnancy). So she wants me to see a cardiologist for a baseline workup so that later we can make sure I'm not running into any trouble. Hey, no objections here! Better safe than sorry. I like that she doesn't assume everything will be fine and that she wants to check into things a little further. Since so far, nothing about pregnancy has gone fine, this makes me feel much more secure than a doctor who just issues a blanket, "Don't worry!"

We also asked her lots of questions about what labor and delivery would be like since she's a high risk doctor in an academic medical setting. I'm in this tricky situation of wanting (needing?) some extra monitoring up until the time of birth and then having fantasies of doulas and hypnobirthing and walking in labor and bouncing on birthing balls and delaying or possibly foregoing the epidural, etc. And I realize these two realities may be completely incompatible. Sort of the pregnancy/childbirth equivalent of having your cake and eating it too.

So we asked her about how things are likely to go should we get that far (certain that having the hubris to assume I'll ever get to a delivery room would doom the little embryo immediately. Ugh!). And she rolled with it. Was totally cool about it. And in fact, recommended some doulas and said we can try to avoid interventions like pitocin and AROM, and we'll figure the rest out as we go (Hep-Lock v. IV, continuous v. intermittent monitoring, etc.). Good enough by me for now.

So. Great to begin building a relationship with the new OB.

I actually felt very positive and excited yesterday after meeting her and seeing our Little One again. I realized yesterday as we were waiting, me sitting there and Will pacing around like a madman, that we've never had a good OB appointment before. The two times we've made it this far, the baby was pronounced dead on ultrasound. So this happy visit experience is completely novel to us. So strange to have a smiling doctor and leave the office with a free book and a handful of pamphlets and referrals, and a cool aluminum water bottle to boot.

I'm back to my fearful place today, which doesn't surprise me. These next couple weeks are going to be really tough for Will and me. We lost the first pregnancy after seeing a perfect heartbeat at 8 weeks 3 part of me is convinced that we can't make it past that date. I'm hoping to prove that part of myself wrong. Really, really hoping.


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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Never alone

One of the best parts of being pregnant is this sense that this little being goes with me everywhere I go.

S/he has already done quite a bit for an 8-week-old embryo. How many embryos get to defend a dissertation?? Not many, I'm guessing. And then, how many get to set foot (or, I guess, set limb bud?) in three new countries, not to mention another continent, all before losing their tail? This here is a very busy, well travelled little creature!

Seriously, it's been amazing to go through my days with this burgeoning sense that I am not alone, even when there is no other person around. It is lovely to have the Little One here inside me throughout the days. Right here, growing and heart beating inside of me.



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Monday, July 27, 2009

7 week ultrasound

Will and I went for the ultrasound this afternoon - we were soooo nervous!

So far, so good. It looks like there's a baby in there!

Embryo is measuring 7 weeks, 4 days. Heartbeat is 167 bpm.

We are beyond thrilled!!!! Still cautious as we've gotten to this point before, only to be terribly disappointed. But we are also filled with incredible hope.

The RE said, "See? You guys didn't really need me at all. Look what you've done all by yourselves!" Which was lovely.

We go for our first high risk OB appt on Wednesday. We told our RE we're afraid to leave him just yet because the last time we "graduated," we found out at the OB that the baby had died. And the unanesthetized D&C by a doctor we'd only just met was pretty traumatic.

The RE said we can stay on with him until we feel comfortable with the new doctor and that he's happy to do more ultrasounds to help us feel reassured. He just kept repeating, "Whatever you want. You can have whatever you want," with this big smile on his face. Thankfully, I think he understands our anxiety.

So we are elated!!! Still afraid to get too excited. But also completely beside ourselves with happiness!! OK, I'll admit it. Despite our better judgment, we are REALLY EXCITED!!!


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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Home again, home again!

We're back from a wonderful two week vacation. Part beach vacation, part urban adventure, part wilderness experience (sans malaria). All in all, very enjoyable! But it is good to be home, too.

I am still pregnant. It feels weird (and wonderful!) to type those words because everything still feels very tentative. I had hoped for some definite morning sickness to signal that the pregnancy is progressing well, but I haven't had much. Weird thing to wish for, I know, but it's true. The most "morning sickness" I've had is a couple of days of not much appetite and one day of gagging while brushing my teeth, but mostly nothing to write home about. The only "real" pregnancy symptoms have been the frequent urination and fatigue. My breasts are also slightly sore the past few days, but it's subtle.

Monday we'll go in for an ultrasound. By then I'll be 7 wks, 6 days, by my calculations, so there should definitely be a heartbeat. I feel like it could easily go either way (how else could I feel after four miscarriages, I guess?!), but of course, we would be thrilled to see a little heart beating!

The whole Ph.D. being over hasn't fully sunk in either. After six years of work, it's finally - and seemingly suddenly - done. There were a couple of wedding invitations and cards sitting in the mailbox awaiting our return addressed to Dr. Will and Dr. Mo - funny to see! It will be strange at the hospital to have people introduce me as Dr. and have patients call me that. It will be awhile until it feels like that title belongs to me.

So a lot still to digest on both personal and professional fronts. But all wonderful goodness. I'm one pretty lucky gal.

I see that much has happened in Blogland while we've been away - I look forward to catching up with everyone's news over the next few days! It's good to be home!


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Friday, July 10, 2009


Well...not really fishing, but you get the idea. We're off on our rejiggered, reconfigured, less-risky-but-still-fun trip! Fingers crossed that Mo is still pregnant by the time we get back! Two weeks of no ultrasounds, no beta levels, and no hospital visits for work or patienthood!!! What could be better, really?

Will and Mo

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Thursday, July 9, 2009


Oral defense of my dissertation is over.
I PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Happy happy joy joy happy happy joy!!!
I need a nap. Then off to celebrate.
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Last beta check

Before we left on vacation, we snuck in one last beta level. No plateau, and no drop. In fact, that's quite a fine looking line there! Despite all my fears, things continue to look good. So a little (temporary) sigh of relief over here.


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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

First ultrasound and talk with RE

First of all, thank you so much for your comments and thoughts. Those of you who chimed in about HCG levels were VERY helpful. Just knowing that you guys are out there and rooting for us means a great deal, to both of us. And I agree about the benefits of doing yoga and/or meditation. I unfortunately can't right now because I have a dissertation to defend, but it does sound like a great idea. I'm sure the upcoming defense has a lot to do with my sky-high stress levels.

We saw the RE and had an ultrasound. We're just barely at the five week mark, so it's super early.

We could see the gestational sac on the screen and the RE saw the yolk sac as well, which is great, and all one could hope to see at this stage of things.

We talked about the HCG numbers not rising so much since Saturday - he said not to put too much stock in them. Unless they plateau entirely or drop, we're ok, and ultrasound is the way to go from here on out.

So this was all a great relief.

But the funny thing is, part of me still feels that something is wrong. My body doesn't feel right to me (as though I would know what "right" feels like!) My nausea and fatigue have lessened and last night and through today, I started having moderate cramping that feels like my period is about to come. I mentioned this to the RE and he said all of this is normal. That it is too early to have reliable symptoms. Which reassured me a smidgen. But not really.

I'm beginning to accept that I just may not feel better for quite a while. That my anxiety may be one of the legacies of all of our losses. I hope that once the dissertation defense is done and we're off on our trip (to where? who knows!) that I can begin to surrender to the process of this pregnancy a little more. To know that we've done our part and all there is left to do is enjoy each step along the way. To be thrilled and grateful we are where we are.

For now, I am very glad we heard reassuring news today. But I also don't feel much better, which is a drag. It's like I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. And I suspect I will be for while to come.


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Monday, July 6, 2009

Ehhhhh....(with update)

So the latest beta is in. It doesn't look good if you look at the two-day rise. Overall, it looks fine (since last Tuesday). It even looks fine if you skip just the Saturday value, which was astronomically high, and go back to the Thursday value. But since Sunday, the beta rise has really slowed down and is doubling far less than every two days... I haven't heard from the RE's office yet to find out their take on this but will add an update when I hear.

Latest beta? 3,159. Which is not so great since July 4th beta was 2,413. Granted the July 4th beta was drawn in the late afternoon and this one was drawn in the early morning, but still...

15dpo: 188
17dpo: 585
19dpo: 2,413
21dpo: 3,159 (akkk!)

Will and I are are both feeling yechy about this and wracked with worry. The not knowing is so, so difficult. And I am finding it almost impossible to focus on preparing for my dissertation defense. Which really MUST happen, oh, in just a couple of days.

Needless to say, I am no longer worried about a molar pregnancy.

It would not be much of a consolation prize, but maybe we'll get to take that trip of a lifetime in a few days after all...


**Update** Nurse from RE's office called. She seemed to think all was well, until I pointed out that we only had a 31% increase since Saturday. Then she didn't know what to think and suggested an ultrasound.

Thanks for those who commented that beta rise slows as it gets higher. That was great to hear! (and I think you know more than the nurse I just spoke to!). We'll see RE tomorrow morning for a first ultrasound and talk to him about what all this means. In the meantime, I'll try to chill. I really appreciate your patience and comments!

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