We went for an early ultrasound today, when I should have been 6w1d or 6w2d according to my ovulation date (or 7w based on the date of my last period). The only thing there was an empty gestational sac measuring 4w3d.
The ultrasound tech and doctor were bending over backwards trying to reassure me that it’s very common to get dates wrong in early pregnancy, but I’m quite certain of the dates (I mean, I had a positive home pregnancy test two weeks ago — it’s basically impossible that I’m only 4w now!). There’s just no way this pregnancy is viable. I also had an inkling, since yesterday (Mother’s Day in the US, no less) I had just a bit of mucus tinged with dark brown flecks that looked ominous. That quick conception was just too good to be true.
I’ve got a lot of mixed feelings swirling around in my head right now. I’m sad, obviously. This was a much-wanted pregnancy. It was a little quicker than we were expecting, but we were delighted that we were able to conceive so easily and looking forward to the prospect of a little sibling for S. Honestly, I also felt like I might have dodged a bullet — if everything had gone smoothly, it might well have been the end of my reproductive phase of life, which it now looks like is going to drag on even longer with a bit more heartbreak. I am so done with this phase of life… except that I’m not, because we really want another baby.
On the other hand, there are some silver linings. The timing of this pregnancy was messing with my tenure clock, and now the odds are that I’ll be able to stick to my original clock, which would be nice. Also, two under two was a little bit daunting, and now we’ll have a little more time to enjoy our amazing little guy on his own, and he’ll be a little bit bigger and more independent before (hopefully) a future sibling disrupts his universe. I know these things. They are not really all that comforting, though. I wanted that baby. A lot.
The big question now is, what next? Given how undeveloped the pregnancy is, why is my body still holding onto it? The doctor drew some blood to check my HCG levels and told me to come back in a week, so there are no immediate plans to intervene (although she did say she’d call later today to discuss the outcome of the blood test). I hate the waiting game more than anything. I think that if nothing happens in the next week, I’ll start to ask for medical management with misoprostol. I just don’t want this to drag on forever — I want it to be over with so that we can move on with our lives, and hopefully with another healthy pregnancy.
In a way, I’m also kind of uneasy about what it means that we conceived so quickly. Does it mean that the RE won’t want to move forward with the plan we developed before I got pregnant this time? Possibly not, since I’ve still been having irregular periods since my son was born, and I still have the abnormal HSG — those two things have not changed, although at least now we do have the good indication that my right fallopian tube is still functional after the birth of my son. I can’t help but be certain that the quick conception was a fluke, and that we’re in for a long haul with conceiving another viable pregnancy.
I guess the other silver lining is that I’m handling this a whole heck of a lot better (at least so far, about three hours after getting the news) than I handled the news of our daughter’s loss at 18 weeks. For one thing, it’s a lot less unexpected — having no heartbeat on an otherwise totally uneventful pregnancy at 18 weeks was like getting hit by a truck. At least this time around we knew the probability of bad news was significant. With early miscarriage rates around 20%, and this being my third pregnancy… well, it was not exactly an improbable outcome.
For another thing… we’ve been in worse places before. Once you’ve handled second trimester loss, first trimester loss seems somehow more bearable. That’s not to say that first trimester loss isn’t devastating for many families — of course, it is. My heart breaks for the stories I read here about first trimester loss — multiple losses, no living children… it’s devastating. You can’t measure or weigh grief. Our grief this time is just a little more muted, by two things: the loss of our out daughter “broke us in,” in a way — I just don’t expect good news when I’m pregnant anymore, so this bad news was a little easier to take because of our experience with bad news in the past. And, the other half of the muted grief is that we have a beautiful, wonderful, amazing little boy at home who means the world to me and whose snuggles take the edge off of the loss of his nebulous, but no less longed-for, sibling. Plus, he gives me hope that I might someday be able to carry another pregnancy to term. This time, the statistics make sense. If we have another early loss in the future, I actually suspect it’ll be a whole lot harder to handle. Right now we’re at one full-term baby for three pregnancies. If it becomes one full-term baby for four pregnancies, I’ll start to wonder again what more might be wrong with me that makes my uterus a place where babies go to die. I also hope we’re not playing “collect them all” with pregnancy outcomes — so far, we’ve had one first trimester loss (still in progress), one second trimester loss, and one full-term healthy baby. The other outcomes don’t look particularly appealing, so I hope we’ll be able to take a pass on those!
Well, anyway, wish me luck that this doesn’t drag out too long and that we’re able to move on and conceive again soon.