Upon leaving my RE's office with a diagnosis of an impending miscarriage, I notified my colleagues who are in the know. "Was it an official sonogram?" asked my Lead Physician, as she offered to order one for me. Not necessary, I replied; but I did have intentions to obtain a second opinion. The moment the clock struck five on Friday afternoon, the office staff filed out of the building like rats fleeing a sinking ship, leaving me with access to repeat my own ultrasound. Despite the orientation challenges when scanning yourself, the resolution and detail is much clearer on our machine than the one in my RE's office. I identified the fetal pole and measured it to be 0.48 cm, which corresponded to 6 weeks and 1 day -nearly two weeks behind. The faint flicker of cardiac activity was still present. Two weeks ago, such a sight would have produced emotional tears of joy. Now I resented the presence of the heartbeat.
My heart wanted to hold onto hope, but my head is much wiser. I'm thankful for my ten plus years of clinical experience. I've never seen a good outcome from a situation like this. An embryo that is measuring two weeks behind will not produce a healthy baby. Seriously, how could I even calculate a due date based on this delayed growth? If the heartbeat didn't stop by my next ultrasound on Monday, it would likely stop within the following week. It would be the right decision to proceed with my MUA, and not just because I already submitted a PTO request and my afternoon schedule was cleared. It just seemed that fate was adding one more cruel twist, requiring us to end the pregnancy when our little embryo was making such a valiant effort to survive. I spoke with my Lead Physician, who went through a similar situation when her baby was found to have a low heart rate. "Waiting those two weeks until the heart finally stopped was much harder than I ever imagined" she shared with me. "It was such a relief when I could finally proceed with my D+C". I discussed the situation with Husband, who was in agreement that we didn't need to wait for the inevitable. Come Monday, it'll be alright. Come Monday, my life starts again.
I went to the pharmacy to pick up the pre-meds that my RE ordered for me. I also needed to get a heating pad. When we moved three and a half years ago, I thought I uncovered not one, but two heating pads in our linen closet. Now that I needed it, I couldn't find one. I also realised that I needed some non-tampon sanitary protection. As I quickly mastered the skill of using tampons, I never had any pads beyond what was provided in my Growing Up and Liking it! menarche starter kit (if you're in my age group, you know you had one too...) I just remembered that pads were large and bulky and it felt like you had a Buick between your legs. My how things have changed in 25 years! Now pads are much thinner, but they have wings and they are both wider and longer. So now the wings pool blood onto your inner thighs and the longer pads ride up your butt? I fail to see how any of this is an improvement. More so, what is with the names? 'Always: Radiant Infinity' -what the fuck? Dressing it up with a distinguishing title doesn't grant any dignity to your product. After studying the selection for more than fifteen minutes, I was finally ready to make my purchase. Just to complete this Are you there God, It's me Margaret moment; there was a rather attractive guy standing behind me buying cough syrup. I'm sure he took note of the products in my basket (Prescriptions for Doxycycline, Norco and Ativan, CVS brand heating pad and Kotex super absorbent pads) and wondered what hot plans I had for the weekend.
Once again, we were back in my RE's office for the third consecutive week. He measured the fetal pole at 0.46 cm. "I can't see any cardiac activity." he announced. "Can you?" He turned the screen toward me. I hadn't told him about my findings on Friday. This time I couldn't appreciate any flicker of light. "I can't either" I replied. Privately, I was exhaling with a sigh of relief. The absence of cardiac activity was actually welcoming. It represented the first time in this entire IVF cycle that a situation was straight forward. We would proceed with the MUA and send the products off for chromosomal testing.
Alas, after being reluctant to admit that I was pregnant, and being technically not pregnant, while pregnant for over a week; I am officially not pregnant. Although I didn't have any side effects from any of my meds, after injecting, inserting and ingesting exogenous hormones for the past two month, I'm happy to have a break from these drugs. I moved all my luteal phase supplies into storage and dug up my Clearblue fertility monitor and ovulation predictor kits. I was about to make arrangements to give those away, as I figured I was at least past that phase of this process. Sigh. Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in!
Lastly, I gathered our fertilisation report, embryo and ultrasound photos and my pregnancy test and placed them into a memory box. I can now literally close the book on this pregnancy and start moving forward.