Monday, July 26, 2010

And The Beat Goes On

Last Monday's blood test showed R's beta increased to 8,619. More importantly, however, was Thursday's ultrasound because it confirmed cardiac activity. Just in case I wasn't clear enough - a heart beat has been detected!!!

In this ultrasound, two gestation sacs were actually seen. The larger sac was everything you'd expect from a normal, healthy, 6 week - three day old embryo - fetal pole, yolk sac AND cardiac activity. The other gestation sac was empty, earning the medical term "invisible twin" or "disappearing twin". As you can imagine, this was sad news to receive in that Geoff and I were really hoping for twins, but we remain positive because we have a little one who's fighting and has a heartbeat fluttering right this very minute!

Next ultrasound on Thursday, July 29th.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Making it Count

Everybody's got their coping mechanisms. Now that Shannon and I are back in the swing of things, trying once again to wrap our heads around the fact that thousands of miles away, in the belly of a virtual stranger, grows the hint of an idea of a family - well, if that isn't a time to cope, I don't know what is. My preferred method is to do poor man's research - Google and Wikipedia - in order to snow myself into believing I understand everything that's going on.

Here's an example of the mess I get myself into.

How long has R been pregnant? Simple enough, right? It's helpful to know this information over the short run as we use that length to determine if the beta numbers are within normal limits. For example, see here. In the long run one uses it to estimate the delivery date. Turns out the answer's not so simple for those of us going through multiple rounds of IVF.

First of all, measurement of pregnancy length (aka gestational age) begins on the date of the carrier's last menstrual period (the LMP). The reasoning is that with natural conception there is no way of knowing when conception actually occurred - all the woman knows is the date of her LMP. We were told R's LMP was June 7. (There's a fact one doesn't typically know about an acquaintance.) This means we've been pregnant 43 days.

Here's the problem. This entire pregnancy length calculation is an estimate based on the assumption that conception occurred two weeks after LMP. If doctors know the exact date of conception then one no longer needs the LMP date. Instead, one measures the length of time from conception (called gestational period) and then adds two weeks to get the length of pregnancy.

We know our conception date. Sort of. The actual marriage of egg and sperm occurred back in February. After two days of wedded bliss, our two unused embryos were put on ice and then thawed four months later for our second attempt. The thawing occurred on June 24 and, a few hours later, on June 25, these two potential lucky ones were implanted. So take your pick. Assume conception happened on either June 25 or (two pre-thaw days earlier) June 23, then backtrack two weeks. This gets us to being either 39 days or 41 days pregnant.

So we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that we're either 39, 41 or 43 days pregnant. :-)

(Why haven't we just asked the doctors, you're wondering. Well it turns out the Drs. have acknowledged that the gestational age listed on R's blood reports are wrong. We haven't received a straight answer so - coping mechanism to the rescue!)

Thanks for hanging in there. And my apologies because this is probably a waste of time. Using these hCG charts is a feel good exercise when the betas are high and a feel bad exercise when betas are low. As we've discussed in earlier entries, the range of "normal" measurements is absolutely huge. So huge that you typically can't even use these numbers to determine if more than one embryo is growing. What matters is how fast the beta count grows from one test to the next. This early on in the pregnancy, we're looking for doubling every two to three days. (So far, so good!)

For what it's worth, we'll be using the length calculated from R's LMP. As of Wednesday, July 20 we're at 43 days, or 6 weeks and 1 day. I think. Let me check those numbers again.....

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bull Market

I am not going to lie - even with our beta levels increasing as they have, the days in between updates are torture. I did not sleep a wink last night, slept with my phone on the pillow next to my ear and with a laptop next to the bed. I'm losing it! Today's good news shows the stock continues to rise....R's beta level is now 2,190!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Good Morning

It must be a great day when you wake up to results from the latest blood tests and R's beta level more than tripled to 747.37! Another step in the right direction!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pay No Attention

Beta was 237 on July 9. Or as Shannon told her mom over the phone, "In two days the beta's gone from 94.48 to 236.71!" :-)

We've been down Optimism Road once before so that's enough said for now. For what it's worth - yes, it's possible to swing between, "It might be twins!" and "This is too good - it can't stay this good..." in a matter of seconds.

More after we've received the next round of results - hopefully early in the week.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New Beginnings

Countless people have been checking in, praying, sending good wishes and generally offering whatever help they can to make this next attempt of ours a successful one. Well so far so good because we're happy to report that R is pregnant! We received the call late last night from Drs. Sudhir and Yash - R's beta level was a smile-making 94.48 on Day 12. Anything greater than 25 is a positive result so there's no doubt about this one. (As you may remember, our beta results at this time during our first attempt was a sad 18. This is an uplifting change!) We're hoping two time's the charm without forgetting the lesson from our previous experience, that these big numbers are important but not guarantees.

Our next blood test is scheduled for tomorrow (Friday) and we'll have those results on Saturday.