On the 23rd, I went in for bloodwork and another scan. While we were unable to find anything other than a tiny fluid collection, my hcg level did do it's doubling thing up to 535. My RE called to say that I had a choice to make. It was probably too soon to be seeing anything on ultrasound but, with an embryo that's been out of the freezer this long, it probably isn't viable anyway. I can choose to take the methotrexate shot to terminate or wait it out a few more days. With doubling numbers, I don't know how anyone could decide to terminate. So I chose to wait.
We went back in three days later on the the 26th for more bloodwork and scanning. To our surprise, we were able to see that the tiny fluid collection had grown to 3.3 mm. There was no sign of a yolk sac yet, but I was starting to have a little bit of hope for this embie. This was the first time in 26 days that we'd been able to really get an eyeball on this little one. And more good news came that my hcg doubled again to 1,080. You would think it would be reason to celebrate, right? Nope.
When my nurse called later that afternoon, she instructed me to stop all medications. She said that, with no yolk sac, this embryo could not survive. I heard what she was saying... all the instructions... all the meds to discontinue... the next hcg check where we'll hope for declining numbers. I heard it, but I was repeating "no, no, no, no" in my head while she was talking. I told her I respectfully decline to accept their medical advice. I could not stop my medication without waiting to see what happened to this little blob we'd been watching. She confirmed with the doctor that they would give me two more days. Two measly days for this embie to get its shit together and start looking like it's going to make it. Straighten up and fly right.
Here is where things got really difficult. My husband wanted me to stop everything. He felt like we had been through enough. I was torturing myself by continuing this madness. He said he was sick of stabbing me with needles for the past 3 years. He was done with all the tears, all the waiting, all the devastation. He wanted to stop, close this chapter of our lives, and put this whole mess behind us. And he was right. He was 100% right. But I saw it from a different angle.
When my nurse had called earlier that day, she referred to this embie as a "fluid collection." They were calling this a chemical pregnancy--not able to be seen on ultrasound. And for some reason, that really bothered the hell out of me. I knew this blob was my embie... I knew it wasn't just fluid. I wanted that confirmation. I wanted to be able to say that we saw it... it grew...we watched it grow more... it was real. How ridiculous does it sound to say it out loud? But I felt like this was the only time I would have with my embryo, and I wasn't going to give it up. I know it's not going to make it, but it's mine, and I want to see it again. My husband agreed we would wait the extra two days.
I went back in on the 28th, a Sunday. The little sac grew from 3.3 mm to just over 5 mm. However, we were still unable to see any sign of a yolk sac. The doctor spent a solid 15-20 minutes of working with the ultrasound machine, adjusting all the controls, working different angles, trying anything to get the best picture possible. He even had me switch rooms to try again on a machine that was slightly newer/more sensitive. But nothing. He said that he wanted to be 150% sure that there was no sign of anything developing inside the sac, and he was confident there was not. He also spent some time checking my tubes/ovaries/cervix again and still couldn't find anything of concern outside of my uterus. So he felt I would be okay to try to miscarry naturally. I thanked him when he was leaving for looking extra hard for me. I could tell he was a little emotional about it too. I wasn't just another patient to him that day.
That afternoon they called to say that my hcg rose from 1080 to 1690 in 48 hours. So they wanted me to stop all meds and come back in two days for another u/s to be sure nothing appeared in my tubes. The nurse, not my usual nurse, said this growing spot "could still just be a fluid pocket" and not my embryo, which really had me about ready to lose all self-control. I know it's not fluid. And I think it degrades everything I've been through to tell me that this is fluid. But I felt confident at this point that stopping was the right choice.
Yesterday I had another ultrasound, which confirmed for me once and for all that this was our embryo. The doctor, as soon as he picked up our blob on the screen, said this is definitely the embryo. He said the shape had filled out, it had continued to grow, and it was clear that our embryo was not a fluid pocket. I knew that there was no chance for survival of this little bugger, but I felt this moment of joy to know that I was looking at our embryo. I was right. I knew it. I told them so.
Later that day, my nurse called to report that my hcg had increased to over 1800. Because the numbers were still climbing, they scheduled me for a D&C. I'll go in for that next week, although I have started bleeding. Hopefully, I won't need the procedure.
July has quite possibly been the most difficult month of my life. We transferred this embryo on June 30th, and every minute of this month has been part of some sick roller coaster ride. But it was also a crash course in strength, patience, and persistence. I'm proud that we made it this far, and I'm SO proud that it made our little family stronger instead of tearing us apart. We're not sure what will happen for us next, but man, we put up one hell of a fight.