I had gotten married “late” at age 31 and assumed since it took a while to find my bashert that having children would come when we wanted it. When it didn’t come easily I immediately went for help.
After three failed “natural cycle IUIs” and two failed “hormone assisted” ones, I finally got a positive “Beta*” back. I was thrilled – YAY! Pregnant! They told me to come back in 2 days for a repeat. I came back and sat triumphantly in the phlebotomist’s chair while they took my blood. My nurse called hours later and took my high down a notch.
“The numbers are supposed to double, yours still rose, but not double. Come back tomorrow, sometimes it takes a little more than 48 hours.”
Still with hope, but more guarded, I pulled up my sleeve to reveal the “good vein” for blood draw. I gave my sample and I waited. The call came hours later, and the number rose by 3, the pregnancy was ending.
I had to come back the following week to make sure the number was headed to zero. So I did, and the number had risen a little. I asked “Does that mean the baby is fine since the number is now rising again?” No, it meant a special call from the doctor.
The doctor told me he was advising I come to get a shot of methotrexate. I had never heard of this before, but it alarmed my father. “Isn’t that a drug they use for CHEMOTHERAPY?” So I called the doctor back, he said that cancer grows like cells do in making babies in that it is the splitting of cells. This is a LOW DOSE and would wipe out the pregnancy, or what was left of it. My special instructions were to refrain from sex (or use a condom) for two months until the drug got out of my system. A pregnancy with this drug present in the body could be dangerous for a baby.
It was my third hormone assisted IUI which failed, so I asked if we were moving on to IVF. The doctor said “No, it worked, you got pregnant, but it didn’t stay. So we know you CAN get pregnant through IUI, so we wont jump to IVF yet.”
Dejected, my husband tried to get my mind out of failure. He suggested we take a trip since we wouldn’t have to plan our lives around early morning monitoring or shots. I needed a spiritual uplifting, so we decided on Israel. Eilat for our physical vacation, and visiting holy sites to help heal our spirits.
No one knew about this loss since it was so early on, but it had a huge impact on me. It taught me a valuable lesson in my managing expectations in ARTs. A positive “Beta” meant nothing. In order not to get emotionally hurt again, we would not get excited until our numbers would double, then we would be able to breathe.
Little did I know that level of expectation would change again as we continued down the road towards parenthood.
*”Beta” is the term used for blood test that measures your BetaHCG levels. Also known as Blood Pregnancy Test.