The first time I was pregnant, I spent most of the seven weeks I knew about the pregnancy mostly in a state of disbelief and fear punctuated by occasional moments of excitement and joy. The second time I was pregnant, I knew the moment I found out that my beta was 22 that the likelihood was that I would lose the pregnancy. I was bleeding, the number was low, and it took an agonizing four week wait after my beta to get the news that it was ectopic. During that time, I bounced back and forth between desperately praying for a miracle, wishing the blood and achy cramps would stop, and knowing somewhere deep in my body and mind that something was terribly wrong.
This time, I am watchful, superstitious, nervously peeking around the corners of the day instead of striding through it, tiptoeing to try to avoid being blindsided.
The future is opaque.
On one hand, surely this is the pregnancy that will work out. My betas are so much better this time. They have more than doubled each time: 63.4 the first at 10dp5dt, 204 the second on 12dp5dt, to 797 15dp5dt. There is no second gestational sac, no blighted ovum pushing up the HCG levels. Last time, I had the equivalent of a 14 dpo (11dp3dt) beta of 30 – with twins that developed to 5.5-6 weeks (1 blighted ovum, 1 baby with heartbeat, miscarried at 9 weeks). Even my supplemented progesterone was below 5 last time, occasioning the addition of PIO to the regimen at four weeks. We have a heartbeat and normal development at 6 weeks. My mother never had morning sickness with either of her successful pregnancies, hopefully this runs in the family. I’ve already had my bad luck.
Surely this is the pregnancy that will give us a take home baby.
And yet. There are the cold, dark tentacles that creep around the edges of my mind, the whispers into the silence when my guard is down, when I am trying to sleep, when I notice I still don’t have any morning sickness. We had a normal heartbeat the first time too. While my betas are better, they are still not high. I miscarried with no bleeding or outward sign the first time. There are no guarantees, no safe places.
I struggle with the words “I’m pregnant”. Just typing them here almost makes me scramble for the ‘delete’ key because I’m terrified that by saying it out loud, somehow it will make everything will evaporate again. I’ve had several conversations recently with people that followed these general lines:
Other person: How did your IVF cycle go?
Me: Actually, pretty good. My first beta HCG was positive and it has been rising the way the doctor was hoping.
Other person: So does that mean you’re pregnant?
As if by holding it all at arm’s length and hushed, I can avoid calling down misfortune.
I float, suspended in time. Sometimes my head feels as though it is above the surface. Other times, I find myself slipping down, the sensation of drowning overwhelming. Then a gasp of air, and I am suddenly all right again for that moment before sinking again. Some days I try to hoard joy, grasping with both hands to try to pull it to me, but the very act makes it slip away like a mist through my fingers.
Because there is nothing I can do that I am not already doing to get the outcome I want. There is nothing now that will change anything.