Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hey Beta, Beta, Beta!

[The title is a baseball reference - a lighthearted insider joke for our U.S.-based readers as baseball season starts next month.]

Between Geoff and I both putting in some long work days and the less-than-inspiring news we received from Dr. Yash last Saturday, we haven't been all that motivated to write an update. However, knowing that we have many rooting for us and wanting to answer the surplus of emails asking when we are blogging next, I'm here to share an update for all inquiring minds.

As of March 3rd our beta number was 774 and our next increase - early last week- was 1626.  We were scheduled to speak with Dr. Yash again this past Saturday and, as is now the custom, we called promptly at 7am that morning (5:30pm Saturday night her time). R's numbers increased again, but only by roughly 300 or so. Now, to some, this is great because her beta number increased, but - yes, there is a “but” folks - after three or four days, we (both us and the doctors) had hoped it would be higher, certainly over 2,000. As you can imagine, I instantly panicked and have continued to conjure up the worst scenarios imaginable. Possibly in an effort to make light of the situation, Dr. Yash mentioned that perhaps they tested her too soon so not to conclude anything until the next test. Easy to say but only increasing by 300 just doesn't seem good. We are trying to remain positive but all that really means is ignoring the pessimism and ensuring the passage of time between now and our talk with Dr. Yash this coming Saturday will seem like an eternity. We reached out to the doctors on Tuesday to ask if R is spotting or if she has any cramping – you know, potential symptoms of miscarriage - and we were told "she is doing good". That’s certainly a good start so we’ll just try out best to stay optimistic and hope for booming beta numbers this weekend. (We’re starting to question the value of getting these weekly numbers. Either our carrier’s pregnant or she’s not; what’s the benefit of getting weekly numbers other than to spook the intended parents? It’s not like your average pregnancy is tested this often. Chances are, beta numbers just jump around. Or so we hope!) I’m now dreaming of beta numbers and, until the next test, I have a feeling they'll continue to drift in and out. We’re hoping for a beta that puts 2,000 to shame. Bring it on!

We recently ventured to the bookstore with the hopes of finding a book or two to show us what's happening to the baby and to R each week. Books for intended parents working with a gestational carrier just don’t exist. [Insert note to self here to write a book specifically for IPs going though this process] There are, of course, 1,000+ pregnancy books for couples experiencing pregnancy directly, some extremely graphic with things I do not want or need to know. Long story very short, we left with nothing that night and continue to search for a book that's right for us. Any suggestions, please share! Geoff and I did learn through our own research that whenever doctors calculate the number of weeks into a pregnancy, they count from the date of a woman's last menstruation and not from the date of fertilization. This works out to a two week difference. What does that mean for us? It means that as far as the doctors, books, etc. are concerned, we are actually eight weeks pregnant and not six weeks as we originally thought. However, our expected due date remains the same – 38 weeks after fertilization or 40 weeks after the last menstruation. That’s October 27th for us. The fall has never seemed so beautiful.


  1. Beta numbers can be all over the place. I keep records of the betas at our forum and they really only mean you are pregnant or not pregnant. Try to not worry. If you were in USA doing this you'd only have one beta test and perhaps a repeat if something indicated a problem. More importantly you should have had a heartbeat scan by now, at six weeks (from first date of lmp). That should show you number of gestational sacs and a yolk sac and fetal pole, plus a heartbeat (though not all hbs show up at 6 weeks). Have you had that done? i don't understand the need for all these beta tests, it's uncommon to have so many.

    If you go to amazon you'll find a bunch of books about surrogacy. They're all written by Americans and relate to American surrogacy, but there's a lot of good information in them, and some great stories from the IPs point-of-view. I'd send you mine but they're packed in a box somewhere.

    We do need a book written about gestational surrogacy for Indian surrogacy parents.

  2. Someone on a surrogacy forums recommended:

    Mommies, Daddies, Donors, Surrogates: Answering Tough Questions and Building Strong Families
    by Diane Ehrensaft

    I don't have a personal review but, I found it on ebay for $12 and ordered it.

    Good luck with the waiting's the VERY VERY worst part of this process.

    I agree with Amani that you should have a transvaginal scan to confirm milestones at this point. Maybe your clinic follows a different protocol, but it couldn't hurt to ask them to do this. Best wishes.

  3. Well, remember my daughter I told you about with a beta of 20.2? Guess when she was born? Oct 27th! Surely, it is a sign!


  4. Like others, I would have expected you would have had an ultrasound scan by now -- certainly by 8 weeks or even 6 weeks if that is the correct time. If it's really weighing on you as it has been, don't wait until the "next Saturday." The docs are used to getting anxious calls from IPs on issues like this -- don't be worried about sticking to your custom!

    The waiting game... sorry to say, but the 2ww is just the start of many waits like this. It is very hard, there is no point in sugar-coating it since you are already experiencing this. All I can counsel is all the waiting (and anxiety that goes with it) is so very worth it in the end!

  5. I don't know why they haven't done another scan by now. It seems strange to me that they keep testing the betas.

    Please do something about this, as i know how horrible beta hell is and the sooner you can get out of it the better for both of you.

    Good luck - I'll be tihnking of you.


  6. Just like Jackie said, betas are only one thing to look out for. Our first was 66...Once you have that ultrasound you can set your mind at ease. I agree that I would be phoning prior to Saturday and asking when this is scheduled guys. The docs will help you out here. Don't put yourselves through any unnecessary stress!

  7. Batter up!! So glad to see a post from you. I can't wait to hear the next results. I think it will work out. Beta numbers are crazy!! However, I think it would decrease if things weren't progressing. I am rooting for you as you know. Amani is right. Here in the US we would only have one beta and they would send us on our way. We are very fortunate that SI does do lots of testing. I know it is stressful and you can't think about anything else. I won't tell you not to worry because that is crazy talk. Our first beta was 36 then jumped to 76 and from there kepy climbing.

    The books are pointless. It is so hard to reference your situation based on the books. Things just don't add up. The timelines are off and the test are hard to to figure out. I will be touching base with you via phone soon.

    Keep me posted!!

    Sending lots of love to you both!!


    PS: How about them Sox? Ok, Just kidding. You know I dont know anything about sports. :)

  8. Hoping the best for you guys!

  9. You both should check out "A Child is Born" by Lennart Nilsson. Is starts even before conception. Real life pictures all the way through pregnancy. Hope all is well. Take care. Sending lots of love!

    Kristine Kraigen Vondrell