Beta #3

Waiting for Beta #3, I was a nervous wreck. Google of the Day turned into Google of the Hour. Four days (Sunday to Thursday) crawled by in slow motion. On Wednesday night, I cried to Joe, “It will be so sad if we make it this far just to have it not work now.” He said something reassuring. I worried some more. Sound familiar? Yep, pre-Beta #2 was like this, too… except by Beta #3, you’re a little more invested, so the waiting’s a little worse. You’ve shared your news with a few more people. You’ve maybe bought some baby announcement stuff on Etsy. You’re feeling your symptoms. By Beta #3, you’re 5 weeks pregnant!

So I went in for the blood draw. Again, I worked from home, so antsy for the ACRM phone call. Finally, Megan, my nurse, called. The way she started speaking had my stomach in knots. “I’m calling to go over the results of your third beta…” Oh geez. But then – she said, “Everything’s looking great, you’re at 8……..” I must have passed out temporarily, because I didn’t hear the rest of it. I had to ask her to start again, and tell me my previous betas so that I could compare. So they were:

10/21: 599
10/23: 1561 (two days later, more than doubled)
10/27: 8673 (four days later, more than quadrupled)

PHEW. I was in the Beta clear. Megan scheduled my FIRST ULTRASOUND!! for the following week, Thursday, November 3, with Dr. Fogle. I would be 6 weeks exactly.

So, here we are… in the middle of another unbearable waiting period. So nervous, and so excited to see our baby! I’m sending ALL the positive thoughts to my uterus. I’m trusting my body and trusting God.

Beta #2

Raise your hand if you thought you were done with IVF once your beta test came back positive. If you thought the egg retrieval to embryo transfer was the worst wait. If you thought the two week wait was the last misery.

***raises hand***

Yep, that was me. And no, definitely not. When Dr. Toner called on Friday with the BFP and positive beta, he asked me to come back two days later for a second check on my beta levels. Apparently, it’s supposed to double every 48 (or so) hours.

So on Friday, I tempered my happiness, knowing that Sunday’s beta test could dash our hopes of finally having a baby. I cried to Joe, “It would be so sad to come all this way… and have it not work out.” He said something reassuring (I’m sure). I worried some more.

On Sunday, I was back at ACRM for the beta blood draw. I met a good girlfriend of mine for brunch at Bistro Nikko and jewelry shopping at Solomon Brothers (Tacori Trunk Show!), which mildly suppressed my overwhelming anxiety. As we were perusing the earring selection, I felt that familiar buzz in my pocket. ACRM, on the phone. I picked it up and Sharika, one of the ladies that draws my blood each time, was on the other end.

“I’m calling to let you know your beta levels doubled as expected, from ……………” That’s all I heard, honestly. I was elated. So relieved. Sharika booked my next beta test for the following Thursday. I texted Joe a hundred happy emojis, and  went back to shopping with enthusiastic fervor.

 

Results

Friday, October 21st. This two week wait had been brutal. I went to the clinic in the morning for the HCG blood draw. I worked from home, canceled as many meetings as I could, and paced my house. I was a giant stress ball of anxiety.

At 1:40pm, my phone buzzed with an incoming call from ACRM. Shaking, I picked it up. It was Dr. Jim Toner. He said, “Well, I have great news. You’re pregnant!” I was floored, pretty much speechless. I managed to get out “Wow, that’s great!” (lame, I’m aware.) Dr. Toner explained that my (HCG) beta score was 600, so there wasn’t even a question about it – definitely pregnant. He congratulated me and asked me to come back on Sunday for my second beta.

I hung up. I put my head on my knees and cried, and thanked God. I was so so so grateful for good news. Everyone says IVF is really a 50-50 chance on average, and I didn’t dare believe we would be in the positive 50%. But the results said we were. Positive. POSITIVE!!!

GOTD: Beta to the MAX

Wow, that blog post title was an 80’s joke if there ever was one. 10/14 Google of the Day (GOTD) as follows:

“how did you get your beta test results ivf”

Today’s point of curiosity was that ultra-critical, ultra-binary moment: when you are, or you aren’t. Say you survive the 2WW (again), and it’s time for that beta blood test, and it’s a couple of hours later and the nurse has your results. How do you deal?!

I’m thinking back to my IUIs, and I recall the first and the last bad news phone call, but not the second, for some reason. Hmm.

IUI #1: I was working from my parents’ house; Joe and I were headed to Miami to see my sister for the weekend, and Katrina, my ACRM nurse, called to let me know the negative results. But the night before, I already felt Aunt Flo coming, so while it was upsetting, it wasn’t unexpected. I also knew that it sometimes took more than one try, so I felt okay about the fact that it was negative. (I mean, I still definitely cried while watching Hook in the basement.)

IUI #3: I was working from home, on a stupid training call about a stupid new tool. The nurse called me and I remember pacing my house, trying to get as far away as possible from the drone of the trainer’s voice, with the biggest pit in my stomach as I listened to the same news, for the third time. I think I sat on my stairs and cried. Pretty sure Aunt Flo came the following day.

Each time the nurse called with the news, I never considered alternatives to straight up picking up my phone and taking the call. But through Google, I found out a multitude of ways that this moment could play out:

  1. You hate hearing the bad news from a nurse. You’d rather hear it from “DH.” You ask the nurse to call DH instead, and he will give you any bad news in a better, gentler way.
  2. You don’t want to talk to a live person, and for them to hear you break down if it’s bad news. You ask the nurse to call you, and to leave a voicemail. You listen to it on your own, or you wait until you and DH are together in a safe place and listen then.
  3. You have a job where you physically can’t pick up the phone, or you don’t have a good place to sneak away for feelings. You ask the nurse to leave a voicemail, and listen to it at home.
  4. You want to film yourself and DH receiving the news. You ask the nurse to leave a VM, then listen to it at home, in front of the camera.
  5. You already know the answer, because you “tested out” your HCG trigger (so you know it’s not a false positive from the meds), and the nurse is just calling to confirm what you think you already know.
  6. You didn’t test HCG out, but you POAS (PdOAS? POASed? POAS’d?) the day of the beta test and you have an idea of what the verdict will be. But the clinical beta will double confirm your home test.

I learned about all of these options from a quick scan through one such forum. Honestly, I think it’s fantastic that women (and men) going through this HORRIBLE FUCKING TIME are figuring out ways to manage the anxiety and make these untenable situations as easy for them to deal with as possible.

But for me? I don’t know what I’ll do, come Oct 21. I know I don’t do home pregnancy tests. I didn’t even do them a lot when we were regularly TTC. As an overachiever and a pretty good test taker, I felt like the HPTs would lower my averages. I also figured, either I’ll have a period, or I won’t, and that will let me know what I need to know. And I was regular as clockwork, so being reliable helped, too. As far as the phone call goes? Will I change my ways and let the nurse leave a VM at the beep? Probably not. I’m too instant gratification for that. But at least I know I have the option, thanks to Google.