Yesterday, Mr. O and I went in for our 6 week ultrasound. I’d been nearly convinced that I would get there, and they would tell me that there was, in fact, no baby inside. A Hot Wheels car? A Hershey’s Kiss? What about a Hermit crab? All these things seemed much more plausible.
So imagine my genuine surprise when the ultrasound tech found a tiny lima bean hanging out in my uterus. A tiny lima bean with a tiny flickering heartbeat. Fluttering like a small hummingbird. It was awesome.
Afterwards, we met with Dr. Petrel. She was her usual peppy, matter-of-fact self. According to how my little hummingbird is progressing, we have a due date of August 13th. It now feels real.
Mr. O and I sat in her office a little gobsmacked. I completely lost control of my brain. All the smart questions I wanted to ask about potential complications, medications I should be taking, physical activities I should be avoiding… GONE. I just stared ahead at her file cabinet.
In the meantime, Dr. Petrel went over the results of our IVF (besides the obvious successful implantation.) As you all know, I started out with 13 oocytes, 10 fertilized, and then only 3 made it to Day 3. We implanted one, and we have one leftover. That embryo is in excellent condition, we are told. It has a very high grading- it is practically a valedictorian. So if we want to do this again sometime, we have one lovely embryo for FET.
I could feel the conversation winding down, my opportunity to ask all my questions being gently ushered out the door. It’s like that moment in A Christmas Story, when Ralphie is losing out on his one chance with Santa. I was blowing it! Blowing it!
So I quickly spewed all my questions, in no particular order. And as always, Dr. Petrel gave me concise, articulate answers. Some highlights:
- We didn’t have a lot of embryos make it, which may have something to do with my egg quality. But it may not. In her eyes, getting pregnant is a little bit like the lottery. So many things have to go right, even if you’re starting off with quality ingredients.
- We basically got an entire years worth of trying out in one shot (12 months in a year, 13 oocytes.) Of those 13, 2 were viable. If we had waited another year of conceiving naturally (when I’d be 37) then egg quality would be of a bigger concern from her standpoint.
- I can exercise, but nothing crazy. Some light jogging is okay, and nothing that elevates my heart rate over 140. So no more half marathon training for me. The reason they want you to keep things light after IVF is because your ovaries are still very swollen, and there could be some twisting if you’re not careful. (Twisting ovaries. Ouch.)
- I can stop taking just about all my meds. My PCP before I moved to Dr. Finch had me on so many damn vitamins which I don’t need. (Given her lackadaisical attitude toward my care, I am not surprised.) I’m now just taking a prenatal vitamin and continued progesterone. No more estrogen patches, fish oil, or additional Folic Acid and vitamin D.
- We have another ultrasound in 2 weeks. At that point, we will be considered a “normal” pregnancy. Like this whole IVF thing never happened. I will part ways with my beloved Petrel and will need to find a regular ol’ OB/GYN.
Though still not elated (as I’ve expected myself to be this whole time,) I felt tons better after the appointment. I don’t want to count my ostriches before they hatch (HA!) but I started to feel like maybe this would work out. Maybe the hardest part would be over.
Remember: this is my life we’re talking about. There is no joy without pain, no sunshine without rain.
I get back to work, and actually work. Since I was not fixated on my fertility, I was able to get down to business. So many spreadsheets! There were even graphs and cogent conclusions based on said graphs! At around 4:45, I started to wind down when I got an email from my dad.
On Friday, my mom’s condition took a weird turn. Among a few complications, her heart has started to act “weird.” (Weird. It’s a medical term, I swear.) It will stop for a few seconds, then start up on its own. Her surgeon is recommending that we sign a DNR on her heart. And my dad wanted to talk about it with me and my siblings.
The sad poetry of all this isn’t lost on me. My mother’s heartbeat starts to give out on the day I learn I have two.