I hope you will forgive me for the delay in posting and for keeping this a secret. While we've wanted to shout it from the rooftops for a while now, we also knew that we had to be patient. With so many previous losses, we just knew we couldn't announce a pregnancy on the interwebs without knowing for sure that it was really going to happen this time. What if we posted on the blog that we were preggers and then something awful happened? Given our history, we knew we couldn't post in real time. I'm going to use the next several posts to catch you up so please excuse the length of these posts. Brevity has never been my strong suit.
Something awful did happen early on in the pregnancy. At first, everything went really well. Ellen took that HPT on Wednesday, a couple of days before our beta. Though we were overjoyed, we also knew that the beta was more important that the HPT so we waited on pins and needles that Friday. Dr. Toledo called and shared the good news- she had a nice, strong beta of 119! Three days later her beta had risen to 452, which meant it more than doubled. Her final beta a few days later was 2249. We were relieved and excited that it was rising just as it should. Our first ultrasound was scheduled for the following week when she would be 6 weeks pregnant. If we were lucky, we would be able to hear the heartbeat as around six weeks is when the heart starts beating. As excited as I was for that first ultrasound, I was a little nervous that 6 weeks may be too early to see anything, and afraid I would just end up worrying if we didn't. Little did I know that my worries would grow even bigger.
On Wednesday, just two days shy of our first ultrasound, I was leaving a meeting and noticed that I had a missed call from Ellen's husband, Chris. I also had a text message that said "Kerri Ellen is on the way to the dr office. She was having some bleeding and cramping. She is seeing Dr. Best at 11". My heart sunk. I looked at my watch. It was 10:48.
I sat there, frozen. Not again. This can't be happening again. What do I do??? Ellen lived in McDonough, about 45 minutes away and because I didn't recognize the name of the doctor, I assumed she was heading to her own OB near her. I obviously couldn't make it there in time, and frankly, wasn't sure if I should go anyway. I have never felt so completely powerless. I knew that if Ellen had asked Chris to get in touch with me, it meant she wasn't up for speaking with me herself. I figured that she must be really upset and I felt awful for her. I didn't want to upset her more by showing up. And yet, this was my baby. I asked Chris (via text) if I should call/text her or just go through him and he replied that she was driving but she said I could text her. Then he texted that I could call him if I had any questions, so I did. It was during that phone call that I learned that she was heading to our fertility clinic, not her own OB. Chris said he was heading there too. The clinic was about 10 minutes from me. Once I realized that, I decided that I should go to the clinic. If it were bad news, I didn't want Ellen to have to be the one to tell me. I figured it would be easier on all of us if I heard it straight from the doctor. I texted and spoke with Jason, and we both decided that we needed to be there.
Driving to the clinic, I was a jumble of thoughts and emotions. I was no stranger to bleeding during pregnancy, as it had happened to me twice. My very first pregnancy I began bleeding around five weeks. The nurse told me bleeding was very common in early pregnancy but I could come in for an ultrasound for peace of mind. Though I was certain it was a miscarriage, the ultrasound showed that everything was fine. Sadly, a few weeks later I did end up miscarrying. My last pregnancy I began bleeding again, also around the 5 1/2 week mark. This time I was more informed and had several friends who told me the same thing had happened to them and it turned about to be an SCH or Sub-chorionic hemotoma. An SCH is a gathering of blood between the membranes of the placenta and the uterus (like a blood clot). Depending on the size, they can be concerning but most resolve themselves and though frightening, do not necessarily mean a miscarriage is imminent. I did have an SCH during my last pregnancy, and we were relieved to see that along with the heartbeat at my emergency ultrasound. Several days later, at my regularly six week ultrasound, the heartbeat had slowed down and we ultimately had yet another miscarriage. So while I knew this could be a fairly innocuous SCH, I did not have good experiences with bleeding in early pregnancy myself and was pretty upset.
On the ride over, I vacillated between telling myself everything was going to be okay, and telling myself that it was over. I told myself at least we had one more embryo, and then told myself that I couldn't possibly go through this again. I had all the usual range of emotions that I have when I think I am losing the pregnancy- fear, sadness, anger, defeat. And yet, I had a new emotion this time. I found myself concerned for Ellen's well-being. I was worried about how she was doing both physically and emotionally. I was almost more worried for her than I was for this baby that I feared we may be losing.
The ride to the clinic was pretty quick- I got there at about 11:15. As I was pulling into my parking spot I received my second favorite message from Chris:
I got there in time to meet with Dr. Best, the on-call doctor. She assured us that Ellen was measuring perfectly on time, 5w5d (5 weeks, 5 days). She said it looked liked there may be a tiny SCH which was likely the cause of the bleeding. Dr. Best said it was too early for the heartbeat but we could expect to see it at our next ultrasound, which she recommended would be in a weeks time. And she assured me that she would be managing my expectations if she thought that she needed to do so.
I left the clinic with my head spinning, relieved but still concerned. Ellen texted me later that day to let me know that she hadn't had any bleeding since she left the clinic. The next day, we had this text exchange:
While I was half-joking, I couldn't have been more pleased that she indulged me. For about a week, I regularly got text messages like this one:
Happy Friday indeed. Fridays mark the start of another week of pregnancy. This past Friday marked 13 weeks! We are finally out of the woods and out of the first trimester. Woo hoo! This is really happening folks! We are going to have a baby!
While I in no way would wish that scare on anyone, I do think it helped to give Ellen some insight into what pregnancy has been like for us. Ellen's previous pregnancies have all been a breeze- she didn't even have an ultrasound with her second two girls until 20 weeks. That's a far cry from the six ultrasounds that we have already had up to this point. With each ultrasound we gain more and more reassurance. On Friday, we had our last ultrasound for about seven weeks (gulp). I know it will be challenging to wait but also know this is what happens in normal pregnancies. And we finally have a normal(ish) pregnancy so I'm just going to try to stay busy, think positive and maybe, just maybe, start thinking about nurseries.