We were pregnant! So, what is the next step in the IVF world?
A beta. Oh, God how I despise that word. Anyone who has conceived through a form of assisted reproduction most likely does too.
What is a beta? A beta is the blood test you get to confirm your pregnancy. Now, most women who get pregnant naturally don’t ever worry about a beta after it is positive, let alone the “quantitative status” of one. They just get the confirmation from the blood test, “Yep! You are pregnant!”
Women who undergo IVF have the pleasure (HA!) of undergoing serial (yes, like a serial killer) beta tests if they receive a positive on their first beta. The beta doesn’t just give a positive to the fertility doctor, it gives the exact amount of HCG, the pregnancy hormone, in the woman’s system. This amount needs to (basically) double every 48 hours in early pregnancy in order for the pregnancy to be considered a viable one.
As you can see, the couple who has just dealt with months or years of trying to conceive, who finally does conceive, STILL has yet another worry even after a positive test. No, they cannot just enjoy the fact that they are finally pregnant.
I must say that I think not dealing with serial betas is something many pregnant couples take for granted. I don’t think their actions are intentional at all, I think it’s simply because they don’t know any better. Lucky them.
So, back to our story. After knowing I “felt” pregnant at dinner 6 days post transfer, I still waited a few days to test at home. BFP!!! In the fertility world, this is short for Big Fat POSITIVE!!! Might I add, it was a faint positive. Oh, the feelings we experienced. We had taken so many tests and waited outside that bathroom door. We had looked so many times over the years to only see negatives. I honestly began to think we would never see a positive together. But this day was different. Today we were pregnant! We smiled and laughed and acted crazy. We didn’t cry like a lot of infertiles say they do.
An hour later, we had already went out and bought a digital test since the lined test was faint. We wanted to be absolutely sure. POSITIVE again!!! I couldn’t help but send a picture of the positive tests to my mom. She called crying tears of joy. My aunt, cousin, and brother were all there, screaming & shouting. We were on speakerphone & it was hard to even hear what everyone was saying. All I knew is we were all so happy in that moment. I will always remember it.
The happiness continued. I had my first “beta” done at the doctor’s office and confirmed the pregnancy on the spot (she would call with the beta later that day). Our due date was set for December 24, 2014. Yep, Christmas Eve!! Anyone who knows me, knows that Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year so this couldn’t have seemed more right.
When the nurse called with the 1st beta number that afternoon it was 60. “Hmmm…is 60 a low beta?” I questioned (we had IVF friends who had betas & their numbers seemed much higher, even on the first beta). “No, as long as it doubles next time, no worries!” was her response. I took another lined pregnancy test to be sure, still positive, but faint. At the time, I didn’t think much of it. I was only a little over 4 weeks along-hell, most people don’t even know they are pregnant yet.
My 2nd beta was set for 3 days later because it happened to be a Friday when I got the first one done. So, we enjoyed Easter Sunday on the beach with our family-my hubs & I, my immediate family, my aunt, uncle, cousins, their husbands, and kids. We took pictures, received cards, books, and a few baby presents congratulating us on our journey and our future baby.
Monday morning I got up at 5:30 am in order to get my beta drawn before I had to be at work at 8:30. They said they would call me later that afternoon with the number. I got a few hugs from the staff and again, everyone was thrilled. The doctor called this time instead of the nurse, thankfully right after all of my students left for the day. Then she said, “Can you talk? Are you sitting down?” My heart sank. My beta had dropped to 30.
She informed me that the pregnancy would not continue, to stop taking all of my medications, and to have my beta checked again in a few days to make sure it was headed back to 0. 0, that’s what I felt like…a BIG FAT 0.
I walked out of my classroom to my car like a zombie. I couldn’t speak. And this was only the beginning.