Thursday, 20 March 2014

Doctor hunting

CCRM asked for me to find an OB, and have my first ultrasound with them after March 27th.

Some people, fertiles and infertles  have everything mapped out about their pregnancies and babies before they arrive.  We could never bring ourselves to do this.  It wasn't something that brought us hope, but rather highlighted our infertility.

So, even when CCRM suggested I look for an OBGYN when we started our last cycle, I didn't.  I figured worst case scenario, that I could go to my last OBGYN, even though I haven't been there since I was 28 years old.

I remember my last visit to that doctor vividly.  He told me that my FSH test was normal (later I learned it was meaningless because I wasn't instructed to have it on day 3).  He explained D's sperm analysis, and in a low, hushed tone, mentioned the word "STERILE" and wrote it down on the page in caps.  I don't feel like revisiting those memories any more than the million times I've already have.   However, I did daydream about telling him that after 6 years, since I last saw him, guess what? This is a DE baby with D's sperm!

I asked my friend, a local maternity ward nurse, who she would recommend?  She told me that she wouldn't choose my last OB.   She instead suggested two others.  One was female, the other was male.  Recommendations being equal, I decided to go for the female.

I needed a referral from my family doctor to see the new OB.  His secretary told me that I'd need to come in for an appointment to get a referral.  I suggested that he might make an exception for me, explained a little bit of the situation and she said he'd call me back after reviewing.   Later that day, he called to offer his congratulations and we had a discussion about why I was looking to go to that doctor in particular.

He suggested that I go to the local high risk OB instead.  This surprised me.  I think the blood thinners I'm on and my family history of stroke make him nervous.  It felt a little like over-kill to me, but I figured I would go with it.  I thought, a more highly trained doctor isn't be a bad thing, right?   I figured if Dr. Highrisk didn't want me as a patient, that I could get him to refer me to the other less specialized female doctor that I wanted.

Dr. Highrisk is the only one of his kind in the city I live in.  He's a busy guy.  His receptionist is a busy gal.  And from what I can gather, they don't answer the phone very often.  When you get voicemail, it instructs you to not leave more than one message a day.  Every day that was ticking by, waiting for my call back, was stressing me out more, knowing that my ultrasound appointment time was getting farther and farther out in the future.

Wondering if there is a heartbeat, or anything going on in that ute of mine is driving me crazy.   Over and over I can't help but having flashes of when we had the twins, all of the excitement and then things crashing down,  when we realized we were staring at two very empty sacs.   This week, D called that that experience "the worst horror of his life".  In part because of the situation I'm sure, and in part because of how badly I crumbled after.

I wondering how this ultrasound is going to be? What kind of day are we going to have that day?  With only one embie in there, I'm reminded that there's one shot, once chance at a heart beat.  Knowing that when we get our ultrasound that we'll be 7 weeks along and it will not be too early to see the heart beat if there is one.

I tell myself, as some others in my life do "You got what you wanted, a BFP! This is real! Now be happy! Be excited!  Enjoy the moment!" But that's just not how I'm feeling.  I can't decide if it is infertility that has done this to me, or is it my now my personality after being in the trenches for so long? I never used to be a negative Nelly.  But I didn't know just how ugly the world could get then either.  It frustrates me and saddens me deeply.

Anyways, back to the doctor stuff.  Yesterday, after talking it over with D, I decided to physically go to Dr. Highrisk's office at the hospital.  I was going to say that I was in the area, and that I just wanted to check in...blah, blah, blah.   If I needed to encourage the secretary to give me an earlier ultrasound appointment than what she first offered, I planned what I would say.  Trying to find the right words for a likely desensitized secretary to feel empathy towards us could be difficult.  I settled on something simple.  "We've had six years of infertility and early losses, is there any way he could squeeze us in sooner?".  I hoped it would do the trick.

When I got there, the front desk of the hospital didn't want to let me in without an appointment.  This was probably heightened because the hospital is under an influenza advisory.   I told the receptionist that it was complicated, that I had a referral to be there, but I couldn't get in touch with them.  They let me in.

When I made it to the doctor's office, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  The receptionist was as sweet as can be.  Her name is Joy.  She was one of those people whose name matched her personality so well.  She was tremendously helpful.  She said she remembered my name, but couldn't find my referral in her big stack of papers.  After searching for a few minutes while apologizing, she found it.  It was missing information, so she had set it aside.  It turned out to be information that would not have been known by my family doctor, and would have taken some time for them to complete.  I was able to provide the information, and fill in some of the blanks.  Phew! for this reason alone, I was glad I went in.

After consulting with the doctor briefly, Joy said he wanted to draw a beta and he could meet with me that day, if I could wait.

So, I had my beta drawn.   I later learned that Joy wanted me to see the doctor so he could prescribe some progesterone support, because of my early losses.  I told her that I was on hormones, that I was being monitored.  We decided that it would be best for the doctor to see the results of the beta (she told me they wanted it over 5000), and then go from there.   She would call me with the next steps.

Once at home, D and I did some figuring on the beta.  I've been trying not to stress about the beta. CCRM has only checked my beta twice.  When I asked my nurse why, and she said that unless it's being done every 48 hours, that it doesn't show anything meaningful.  That it doesn't show the health of a pregnancy.  My local clinic checked betas much more often.  I liked that better.

It didn't seem like 5000 would be possible with the numbers that I've had, even with some generous math.   I wondered if 5000 was some important threshold to be at when you're 5 weeks along.  Was it some deal breaker kind of number?  I've never researched these things very much.  With the embryo donor twins, my betas were sky high.  When I miscarried the embryo from our genetic material, the numbers were strikingly low.

Joy called me later that day, and asked me to come in again on Friday for blood work?  She said my beta was around 2900, and the doctor wouldn't schedule an ultrasound until it reached 5000.

We had a little sigh of relief that something is still going on in there.

Friday's beta will be another piece of the puzzle.  Maybe it will put us at ease, just a little more?

I wish I could just pack up my anxiety away for a little while....okay, forever! Scram, Anxiety! Don't come back! And take your stupid friend Depression with you!

I dream of the day where we see a little heart beat flickering on the monitor.   To see what we've never seen before, and maybe to feel a way that we haven't felt in a long way too.


  1. Interesting. I've never heard of the 5,000 marker either... I checked the American OBGYN Assoc page and it said 18-7,300 was normal for five weeks. Ahhhh so unhelpful. Hoping for a great beta on Friday and a wonderful report from Dr. Highrisk!

    1. I've been doing some reading and I think that some doctors believe that they won't be able to see a sac until a hcg of a minimum amount. But... I didn't find much to support that idea. I may ask when I finally get to see the doctor if I remember and have the time.

  2. I don't know too much about the betas because my clinic only does one beta test unless the numbers aren't great (which is what happened during our chemical pregnancy). When we had our FET and the nurse called with the beta and said I wouldn't be having another, I was surprised. But she said since my beta was high enough (at 456), they didn't need to do any further testing and that all I would need now was my ultrasound at 8 weeks. I don't know if that worry will ever go away. My worry was so intense during the first trimester. I think it had a lot to do being an infertile and waiting so long to be pregnant. I look back on my blog posts and I wrote a lot about fear and worry. I seemed to carry those two feelings with me everywhere. I still worry, I worry by nature, it's who I am, but I am trusting this pregnancy with God. I'll continue to pray for your pregnancy and for your beautiful baby.

    1. Thank you so much for the prayers. And for knowing that I'm not the only worrier....

  3. Hoping that everything falls into place. I know the anxiety can be a killer! Just keep taking deep breaths and go day by day.

  4. Here is a link to the hcg calculator if you are interested. You can see how long it takes for your levels to double etc.

    1. Thanks, been following all of your beta testing on your blog! You are the queen tester!

  5. If I could only fast forward these first few weeks for you, I totally would. The new doctor sounds awesome and I'm so glad that you decided to stop by. Hoping for over 5000 tomorrow so you can finally get that ultrasound scheduled. xoxo

  6. I know it's not for everyone but I'm not going to allow myself to know beta numbers, fetal measurements, crown-to-rump lengths---it does nothing but drive me absolutely bananas. Instead I am telling myself that I am in charge of this situation, and the doctors and nurses and their instruments are there as only kind helpers, but what they do and record has nothing to do with me and my babies. I tell myself: "This is my time" over and over. I don't know exactly how I got to this point but I think it has something to do with literally having tried every other way of being and none of them have worked out well for me. If you can't believe the words "this is my time," fake it til you make it, if that's at all possible. Just remember: you've got nothing to lose by trying to believe. It really doesn't soften the blow to not believe (or at least not in my experience, it doesn't). Just putting this out there in case it is at all helpful. I so empathize with you, as am at the very very beginning, when things always go well for me, and I know that the next weeks are a long road I've been down 6 times before...xoxo ~theunexpectedtrip

    1. I've been following you closely too and hope this is your time. I admire your no numbers approach this time!

  7. Well here's hoping your numbers are over 5000 tomorrow so you can schedule that appt and see your little one!! Good Luck

  8. I'm glad the receptionist was so kind. It does make all the difference when we're already stressed out and worried...
    Thinking of you, and hoping for a wonderful ultrasound.


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