This past weekend, I flew to Southern California for a Continuing Medical Education Conference. While I was in the queue for Security, I noticed they were sending everyone through their Porno Scanner (term adopted from Keith Obermann). Paranoia began to creep in. The rational side of my brain knows these scanning machines are safe for pregnant women. Although I can argue that when TSA makes that claim, they are referring to normal women carrying a healthy pregnancy. I have a delicate little embryo who is already measuring four days behind. I felt that I couldn't expose myself to something that could pose the slightest risk; even while I was acknowledging how absurd I was being. I started planning a little speech. I would tell the TSA agent that I'm finally pregnant after two years and multiple fertility treatments, so forgive me for not taking any chances.
I placed my items on the conveyor belt and walked over to the TSA agent, ready to deliver my spiel. Then I froze.
"I'd like to opt out of the scanning." was all I could get out.
"Well, you do know that it's totally safe. It just uses sound waves similar to your cell phone." The agent informed me.
Or like an ultrasound...I thought to myself. "Mmm-hmm" I nodded.
"And you'll have to wait a few minutes as I need to call a female officer for your pat down..."
"That's fine." I quietly replied.
As I waited for the female officer to feel me up (which is actually the most action I've seen in a while...) I thought about what transpired. I couldn't even say the words, 'I'm pregnant' out loud. I couldn't say it to someone as inconsequential as a random TSA agent. Until I know this is a viable pregnancy, I don't feel I'm entitled to use that description. I'm still just a hopeful wannabe mother. Also ridiculous, I feel a bit superstitious; as the moment I acknowledge the pregnancy, it will all be taken away from me. Continuing with my previous baseball analogy, it's reminiscent of how no one in the bullpen or dugout will mention the words 'perfect" and 'game' when a single pitcher has consecutively retired every batter he (or she) has faced. Except our situation has been anything but perfect, and this isn't a game.
It all felt eerily familiar to be back in my RE's office on a late Monday afternoon. It was at that moment, I realised I was here exactly a year ago. The third Monday in December. Looking at my ultrasound and recognising that things didn't look right. The once hard to identify yolk sac was now prominent and suspiciously large. The fetal pole still only measured 3 mm, exactly the same as last week. There was no growth and no progression. It was as if my uterus was frozen in time like Miss Havisham's house. There was a faint, slow flicker of cardiac activity, but it was too feeble to bother calculating a rate. "This is really disappointing." my RE expressed, seeming a bit deflated himself.
We're now 0 for 2. Well, technically 2 and 0. I'm a Gravida -2 Para -0. A two time loss-er. Apparently, I suck at being pregnant. Six weeks appears to be a major stumbling block. Last time my uterus rejected the contents at six weeks and this time around the growth stopped at six weeks. Some people get pregnant twice and have two kids; Co-worker's SIL has been pregnant twice and will have four kids as both were twin pregnancies. I've been pregnant twice and have nothing to show for it. Except a new diagnosis. I can now add Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) to my resume.
My RE wants me to come back in a week. He'll perform a final scan to confirm (just in case my embryo wakes up and realises, 'Oh shit! I forgot to grow! Let's make up for lost time!') and then will proceed with an MUA (Manual Uterine Aspiration). We'll send the products for chromosomal microarray testing. Remember when I was considering PGD testing, as I didn't want to discover a trisomy on a pathology report after a miscarriage? Now I'm hoping for that scenario. There will be more questions generated if the results indicate this would have been a euploid fetus. My RE and I discussed ordering the RPL lab work to determine if I might consider aspirin or Lovenox for a potential future pregnancy. I haven't asked for his thoughts, but I'm already planning to go gluten free, should there be a next time.
In the most twisted, fucked up way, I feel validated. The annoying Little Miss Know-It-All inside my head is proclaiming, 'I was right!' I knew there was a reason to be cautious and guarded. I knew better than to get my hopes raised. I knew it was a good call not to tell my dentist that I was pregnant a few weeks ago, as I have a follow up appointment tomorrow. Co-worker tried to encourage me to be more positive, but I defended that I wasn't being negative, but being realistic. Even after learning about the pregnancy, I still felt it was a long shot. I never let the pregnancy news settle, so this development is passing right through me. Maybe some day I'll get around to processing it all.
As we arrived home, Husband picked up the post. We only received one Christmas card and it had Myrtle's return address. Once again, without fail, the cosmic connections align so that images of the gorgeous little Myrtle show up on the coat tails of my disappointing news. I admit that I'll sometimes take a little creative license to tweak some details for more concise story telling; but this one my friends, I promise I cannot make this up. Additionally, I learned that my friend in Maryland (the one with one ovary who wished me a 'two-for-one' with my first IVF cycle) is pregnant. When I visited her this summer, she informed me that they wanted to become pregnant by the end of the year. I relented, just accept that she is going to be pregnant before you...She's due on 5 June. I can already hear the annoying Little Miss Know-It-All declaring 'I was right!'