Gravida 2, Para 0

Super-Secret Post
Pertaining to Month 27 (which wasn’t over yet)

More terrible news, this time far less expected.

When last we left off, we were waiting for my next cycle to start so we could dive into the world of IVF.

It’s an annoying truth that sometimes I can’t be sure of my cycle start until a day or two later, which isn’t all that abnormal, if I understand correctly. There can be a… pause… which lets me know I shouldn’t actually start counting from that day. Although in retrospect, maybe the only really big mixups are when I have chemical pregnancies, and the rest of the time the spottiness tells me I shouldn’t start counting. Anyway…

Usually, this is fine; I can edit the cycle info I put into my app. But when I need to call during business hours on Day 1 to make an appointment for treatment, there’s a chance I’ll get it wrong.

In this case, I was as certain as I can ever be, and I called it in on a Monday. The nurse arranged an appointment for Wednesday at which point I would pay the fee for the procedure upfront and get started with IVF.

On the morning of day 2, I started thinking that I might have miscalled my Day 1. In the afternoon, I bought a pregnancy test. It turns out that this eventuality was not, erm, impossible; my school semester started January 13th which left a big open week between the holidays and classes, only one day of which was taken up with a ski trip.

Before they closed, I asked the clinic what I should do about my Day 3 morning ultrasound considering my cycle’s pause and the clinic said I should keep the appointment.

The morning of day 3 I still had reason to take a test.


There it was: our fluke, our one in 28 chance. On a completely natural cycle, we’d beaten odds so low that IVF was prescribed. As a student of mathematics, I didn’t think this meant our low odds were wrong or that this meant we never needed treatment again. If you pick a card at random and then reshuffle the deck over and over again, it’s not shocking if you draw the exact card you were hoping for on average 1 time in 52. If you have sperm and eggs each month, it’s not shocking that over enough trials they could find each other. It doesn’t change the odds if you find your card the second draw, and it didn’t change our long-term prognosis even if, short-term, we might have just saved ourselves a healthy stack of cash.

I went to the appointment and told the receptionist about the test. She checked with the technician and sent me straight to bloodwork.

I couldn’t keep my expectations low. It was hard to sit still for the blooddraw, and I couldn’t do fuck all else until the nurse called me back later that morning.

“It’s lower than we’d like,” she started, but when I heard the number, I forgot the first part. My hCG was in the low thirties after my first bloodtest; the last pregnancy had never made it that far, going 13, 26, 4. Low thirties sounded awesome! It was a natural cycle fluke! The nurse only sounded cautious, not worried! Everything will be fine!

I had been planning to send my mom and one friend a play-by-play of IVF, and instead kept them in this new loop, having enough sense to call myself “a little bit pregnant” to other people even though I was SOOOOOO pregnant to myself.

I felt pregnant. I was starving the entire time and my boobs got so huge I had to dig up old bras from my days on the pill (saved for this exact reason). I printed out my pregnancy calendar to make summer plans around my trimesters and started moisturizing my belly with vitamin E cream. This was it!!!

My hCG doubled to 74.9 in two days, as expected. The clinic was concerned about my low progesterone, however, and put me on supplements, something I would later learn is controversial since a healthy blastocyst should be creating all the progesterone it needs; if it doesn’t, then supplements might only serve to extend what is just going to miscarry anyway.

Two days after that, 112 was not double 74.9. They weren’t giving up yet, but the tone of voice over the phone had changed dramatically. I stopped worrying about where I should look for a midwife (considering our planned move halfway through this pregnancy) and started worrying about going through another loss while I was in a play and working on 4 classes.

Two days later, 146 meant it was done. I had to stop the progesterone, and two days later the hCG finally fell. It was now done and gone.

Luckily, I was able to miscarry all by myself without surgery or medication (oh, the lengths to find silver linings). And luckily, the clinic hadn’t taken my thousands of dollars yet (other clinics collect on Day 1). And luckily, it wasn’t during the run of the play I was in. But it was during dress rehearsal when I was curled on the floor of the dressing room in a ball in agony 10 minutes before needing to go on stage. A second full dose of ibuprofen got me through that scene, and I only blabbed to two additional people with the terrible news (sharing, in this case, is not caring).

After the uncontrollable crying was over, the sting still lasted as real, tangible consequences for months: since my hCG wasn’t low enough to start IVF the cycle immediately following the pregnancy, we’d have to wait for the next cycle. But the offset due to the pregnancy lengthening my cycle and the lack of cycle following it added up to no complete cycle left before my work placement started.

We thought over postponing my work placement to July/August so I could work on IVF at the clinic where everything was ready. The only reason we didn’t do it was by checking if we could get started in Ottawa immediately; an email exchange confirmed that since we had our testing out of the way, that would indeed be the case.

The final setback prediction: at least 5 months. In reality, it was 9. Spoilers: we’ll be starting IVF in Ottawa the week of the due date of that pregnancy.

So we took another break from interventions, and to a certain extent, from trying at all. The thought of going through the emotions again, or throwing off our plans again (ruining my work placement or our move) was way beyond what I could handle. Plus, it was unclear to me whether or not two chemical pregnancies might be indicative of another problem (spoiler: probably not, but maybe the known problem is bad enough).

The expression “Well, maybe this just isn’t meant to be” has unfortunately already been spoken. Remember, if you tell someone something often enough, they might just begin to believe you.

I should make one of those sarcastic Bingo cards for a future post.

One Response to Gravida 2, Para 0

  1. Pingback: The things you never get back | Exactly as Planned

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