In the midst of uncertainty, sometimes the only life raft in the universe is having an answer. It's how we cope, right? When we know what's coming we can prepare ourselves for the future - good or bad.
The last few months have been an exercise in not having an answer. The only thing I had, the only thing I knew was the present. The words that kept me sane were this: "If grief is to come, you will find the time for it. For now find happiness. Today you are pregnant."
On January 29 we underwent another fertility cycle. About 5 days later, I shrieked with joy when I detected an ever-so-faint second line. By February 10, bloodwork confirmed that I was pregnant (and about 7 additional home pregnancy tests).
IT. WAS. HAPPENING. Another baby! Due in October! Visions of joint birthday parties and exactly two year apart babies filled my mind. It happened. It happened. It happened.
And then my follow-up bloodwork didn't do what it should. Instead of doubling, my HCG only rose about 25%. At that point, with that news, I fell apart. I went to the bad place. The best word, the truest word, was heartbroken. I physically felt like something within me shattered. I mourned the loss. I felt the deepest sense of loss imaginable.
But then, two days later, Valentine's Day, my HCG more than doubled. The nurse joked that I was overachieving. She said that "slow starts" happen. Babies can play catch up. If we weren't under fertility treatments and monitoring we wouldn't have any of this information and we'd still be celebrating without a worry. But in my heart, and my gut, I knew I couldn't celebrate. Not just yet.
Days after that we had an ultrasound. There was a little gestational sac. It was still early. The words I kept hearing were "cautiously optimistic". Every day there was a milestone (bloodwork, ultrasound) I sat. I was frozen. Paralyzed with fear. Sure, I can blame a horrible winter. But also, I was in crisis mode. Baby Fix-It and I didn't leave the house much because I couldn't function waiting for the phone to ring. After that first ultrasound the nurse confirmed that the gestational sac was in fact small, and my HCG wasn't doubling again. But hang in there! Once the sac is detected the bloodwork is less important.
And yet, somehow, magically, this baby was hanging on. 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks. We kept going. I started to tell myself that we had a little fighter in there who was going to overcome our initial worries. The small sac, a slow start, it could all be just fine. Week 6 we heard a heartbeat. The nurse showed so much excitement - we were only hoping to confirm a fetal pole and yolk sac. But instead a heartbeat! It was all supposed to be so magical. I started to believe that this could all be ok. I bought a remote for my camera. I decided I'd let myself start documenting the bump.
Week 7 the heartbeat was confirmed again. Chugging away at 148BPM. Baby Fix-Its was 147 at the same week. I exhaled. We were finally on the right track. The ultrasound tech noted that the sac was still small. It was "getting better", but still small.
I googled. I googled incessantly. A small gestational sac, within a certain range (I never knew our exact measurements) guarantees a miscarriage with 80% likelihood. The fetus rarely survives beyond weeks 8-10 as it runs out of room to grow. We were close. We were so close to getting over this hurdle. I read that hydration can help. The sac is essentially amniotic fluid. I began chugging over 100oz of water a day. I dreamed of ways we would share the news with family. We joked that this baby was a girl, already driving her mama crazy.
Finally, finally I was looking forward to an ultrasound. At 8 weeks and 4 days I was excited to see my hydration efforts finally tip the scales for this nail-biter pregnancy. It was the first appointment that I wasn't sick to my stomach. I was going to go in alone, but in a fateful scheduling shift Mr. Fix-It came to the appointment.
When the tech began the ultrasound I had a moment of pride. I could see that the sac had grown. That little peanut was less cramped. But the silence. The room was so silent it almost hurt. I finally found the courage to say, "Is something wrong?". With a wrinkled nose the tech said, "I can't find a heartbeat".
And that was it. Our answer.
I'll share more as I'm ready. This post got away from me a bit, but I'm so glad I was finally able to put words to the last two weeks...