Last week, following two rounds of blood work that indicated that it was theoretically possible to see evidence of pregnancy on an ultrasound, I went in, had the scan, and couldn’t see a fetus. Gestational sac was there and intact, but nothing inside.
This was not cause for despair or panic, just yet: it would have been right around the border of two to three weeks since conception, and there are far more gray areas than black-and-white areas around diagnosis, dating, etc., at that point. This is one of those circumstances where advanced technology has actually caused me more stress than it might otherwise have done: twenty years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to get a positive pregnancy test so early, and so any suspicions I had would have had to wait a bit longer, anyway. Now, I can learn some things early, but not everything. A little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing.
“Get another ultrasound in one to two weeks,” was the doctor’s response, “and in the meantime, take all of the normal pregnancy-related precautions.” So I scheduled an appointment for today, Thursday, and avoided deli meat and more than once-weekly servings of tuna and heavy doses of caffeine, and so on.
Those first few days were easy. Once I settled from the initial, “Oh, crap, I bet something’s wrong,” I realized, no need to panic yet. Of course I would have rather just seen a fetus on the first ultrasound, but it really was very early days, yet. I took a home pregnancy test on July 29, prior to a doctor’s appointment; I didn’t think I was pregnant, but they always ask, and my cycles have been screwy enough that the only way I could offer a decent answer was to test first. It was negative, and then one week later I was feeling tired and nauseous and just plain suspicious, and sure enough, two pink lines. That means I was really only a tiny bit pregnant… regardless of hCG levels, I couldn’t have been more than 5 weeks from theoretical “last menstrual period” (which, I have absolutely no idea – I stopped the Clomid in April and immediately stopped keeping track of that sort of thing), and so I was able to reassure myself that there was no reason to believe anything was wrong. Act like everything’s fine until you have reason to do otherwise, right?
Right. And so when Willem asked if I could change the follow-up ultrasound from Thursday to Friday, I agreed, sure, no problem. It worked better with his schedule, as he is currently engaged in one last sprint to get his dissertation proposal in before the start of the semester, and one more day just meant I would be that much more likely to see stuff on the little ultrasound TV. I wandered along through heavy morning sickness and intense, unpredictable fatigue, and various other symptoms that were all just as reassuring as they were off-putting, and felt fine.
But as the day creeps closer, my anxiety level creeps up. I am pregnant right now, no question. Twenty-four hours from now, I might not be anymore. Instead of thinking about very small knitting projects, I might be thinking about whether to just outwait the miscarriage or to have a procedure to hurry things along.
So we wait. And I keep reminding myself that this was all a surprise, and if it doesn’t work out, then I have, at the very least, proven that I can get pregnant again. And that we won’t have to move again next summer. And that I already have plans to be in Martha’s Vineyard for the weekend, and there is very little in this world that is more healing to me than a very long, solitary walk on the beach.
But, if it’s all the same to you, I would really prefer not to mess up Gretchen’s vacation by needing that solitary time, you know?
Instead, we wait some more. One more day.