First Beta Day

Well, I promised to share the good and the bad with you, and today we got a little bit of both.

Last Monday – on the day of the solar eclipse here in North America –  I had my fresh embryo transfer. One of my wife’s seven viable  fertilized embryos was transferred from her to me (well, after spending a few days in a lab dish, but you get the picture). That evening felt surreal and I felt less pregnant than I did before the transfer. Does that even make sense?

The day felt like a dream and I felt like there was no possible way that a living thing – however microscopic – could be floating around in my uterus looking to find a home. The next day I started to have very light cramps – lighter than period cramps, and I began furiously googling implantation symptoms in an effort to see if what I was feeling was good or bad. Google. Is. The. Devil.

This site says cramps are good. That site says cramps are bad. The other site says that cramps don’t mean anything. For every piece of information, you can find something completely opposite that is good for you, and bad for you. I need to stop. But…I didn’t (and haven’t yet).

So I felt the light cramps for 2-3 days, and by Friday my wife and I were pretty much bursting with anticipation as I finally gave in to the idea that I could be pregnant (most sites said cramps = good), and I also started getting EXTREMELY tired mid-day, which also appeared to have been a good sign. So I ordered a pack of First Response Pregnancy tests from Amazon (those seemed to be the brand used most in the forums I’ve been following) and was satisfied by the fact that they’d arrive on Saturday afternoon for my first possible test on Saturday evening or Sunday morning.

Friday night – when I got home from work – I learned that my wife made a Walmart run and had picked up TWO boxes of tests so that we had enough to last us from that night, until the morning of the beta test. No pressure or anything.

So that night, we  ripped one open – not expecting much – and although the test was clearly negative, if we squinted really hard we saw a VERY faint line that was almost too faded to see. So we developed the tiniest bit of hope that evening, and agreed to not think too much about it. Saturday and Sunday morning progressed similarly. Barely visible lines, but enough to make us feel like we were crazy or had some kind of x-ray vision. Then, Sunday night, I tested again (I didn’t tell my wife when I took the test initially as we weren’t planning on another until the following morning, but I just had a feeling that something would be different…) and the line that existed if we scrunched our eyes really hard became a faint line – visible at a distance. I ran out to show her and she looked puzzled for a moment.We looked at each other and at the test several times, before hugging and agreeing that I was probably – in fact – pregnant.

We tested again on Monday and Tuesday mornings – much of the same. Faint line – but visible from a distance (which the box said was “pregnant”). On Monday evening we threw in a Clear Blue Digital test which came up as “Not Pregnant” (though we learned that it was looking for a minimum HCG level of 50, and we agreed that it was possible that mine was existent but not quite at 50, yet.)

Today, I elected not to test in the morning as I had my 7am blood draw and I knew I’d get the results by early afternoon so I didn’t want to waste a test. I agonized all day – waiting on the call. At one point, I scrolled back in my phone’s history to see what times I got all of my other nurse calls to see if I could better estimate when she’d call today. I know. I’m obsessed. She finally called me right around 2:15, and her flat voice immediately made me uneasy. “So, your test is positive,” she started, “but your HCG level is only 21, which is low. Doctor wants you to continue taking your 3mg of estrogen, asprin, prenatal vitamin, and progesterone shots and come back in for follow up bloodwork next Tuesday.” Um…lady: do you know its FREAKING WEDNESDAY?!? You literally just told me I’m kind of sort of pregnant but I will need to wait ANOTHER week to find out if it’s going to last more than another couple of days. AGHHH!!!

So I asked her what her thoughts were on the low number and she explained to me that everyone is different and a high number could still result in a miscarriage and a low number could result in a viable pregnancy, but that the rates of growth of that number over the next few days will tell a much clearer picture of what things will look like moving forward. In addition, I have been having moderate period-like cramps for the past few days (stronger than the initial cramps I had last week). Unlike my period cramps, though, they are spread out. They last for a few seconds each, then subside (opposed to period cramps which – for me – start light and then progress into this monster of a pain that takes a death grip on my abdomen and makes me sometimes wish I was a guy). They’ve been infrequent enough that I haven’t felt the need to take any kind of pain reliever (or – Tylenol, I guess as that’s all I was advised that I can take at the moment).

We only told three people who are close to us about this process, and we decided together to only fill one (my best friend) in on the results of the beta test today for various reasons. I was thinking all morning of how I could tell her that she’s going to be an aunt again, and how we could tell our families in a few weeks (we decided not to wait until the end of the first trimester as we feel as though we need the support, but that we do want to wait until we have a completely green light and perhaps an early blobby ultrasound picture to share), and after the call I just felt super defeated. I know that this number is not the end of the world, and that the doubling rate by the time of the next appointment is the more important thing, but I felt like my strengthening hope that I had become home to a living thing who was the perfect mix of my wife and I was whittled down to the tiniest thread – a thread that could break with one false move, bad meal, late pill, or bumpy car ride. I know that’s ridiculous – I know that isn’t how this all works, but its how I feel at the moment.

Then I feel like a jerk because there are people (like our amazing friends) who haven’t gotten THIS far. Who long for a good follicle count, appropriately thickened uterline lining or solid estrogen level to even get them to a retrieval or transfer.

I know we are blessed. I know this is good (or at least – not the end). But I am terrified. And I spent the better portion of this afternoon crying at my desk I know I need to snap out of it – enjoy what is, acknowledge that what is yet to come is yet to come regardless of what I think or feel right now, and that we will celebrate if it is good, rally if it is bad (after a little wallowing, perhaps), and we’ll march on, because that’s what you do, right?

So I LOVE Enya (my wife jokingly calls her music “devil worshiping music” because of all the chanting, but I think most of her stuff is amazing). Lately, I’ve been stuck on this song that makes me feel a little bit hopeful, and a little bit peaceful. It’s called “The Humming”. It’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea – I know – and its one of a ton of different music that I listen to, but it makes me feel calm. It goes,

And all the light, will be, will be
And all the future prophecy
And all the waves, the sea, the sea
And on the road are you and me
And all the winds are like a kiss
And all the years are nemesis
And all the moments fall in mist
And all is dust, remember this
The first part is my favorite. “And all the light will be and all the future prophecy.” Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. And I think we play a certain role in helping it to unfold, but the rest is up to someone or something else. God, the Universe, fate….might as well enjoy it and bask in the light.
In the meantime, I came home from work to a vase of fresh flowers, a vanilla cream donut (my absolute favorite treat ever) and a bottle of alcohol-less wine, because my wife – who has every right ti feel as bummed as I do – is literally a saint. She is a constant source of positivity in the most challenging moments of our lives. I cannot imagine this journey with anyone else.
Fingers (and toes) crossed and good energy/thoughts/prayers for good beta numbers on Tuesday. This weekend we’ll be putting some good back out there with some volunteering at a Ronald McDonald House making breakfast for the families of kids who are receiving treatment at a local hospital. If the good doesn’t make it back around to us, maybe it will catch up with some of you as I am hoping for good news for you all! ❤
(p.s. THANK YOU for all of your positive thoughts and well wishes so far. I promise I will respond to them all this week. But every single one is amazing and your support also helps the highest highs of this process seem even more joyful and the lowest lows more bearable.)

3 thoughts on “First Beta Day

  1. Oh my goodness, the highs and lows that come with this journey. I’ve been praying that you all would receive your positive and will continue to pray that your numbers double and progress as they should. I’m so sorry that you have to wait nearly a week before you find out! My partner loves Enya as well; she finds her music calming.
    Continued positivity coming your way!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Google is the devil, lol 😂 My advice is to just enjoy the next few days, do things you like with who you love and even though it’s hard, try to keep your mind busy on other things. A long wait, but when we found out it was positive (without the sticks, but blood draw), all I could think of is, was it when we went to walk in the park? Was it when we had our romantic dinner? Was it when I stuffed my face with ice cream? Was it when we laid in bed together watching that hysterical movie? 🙂 in fact, we got the call while we were on the couch cuddling watching another movie lol

    Liked by 1 person

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