Last week I had my first ultrasound just after 8 weeks. I was terrified. While I hadn’t had any cramping or bleeding, I simply couldn’t let myself off the hook. I mean, women have missed miscarriages right?! Oh and if you are wondering, a missed miscarriage is when the baby stops growing but you don’t know it because you didn’t bleed or cramp. Since old habits die hard, I googled all the symptoms of missed miscarriages, like any good infertility patient. Apparently, it might be a missed miscarriage if all of your pregnancy symptoms completely stop. Or you can still have all of your symptoms and still find out that you’ve had a missed miscarriage. Just lovely. My symptoms had decreased, but I guess it could happen either way.
So with trepidation, I went to my clinic and my husband met me there. I swear it was like I was approaching the stage for a big presentation or race. All eyes were on me. As I walked down the hall, every staff person stopped and smiled at me reassuringly, wishing me luck, but it almost looked like they were nervous too. My clinic is relatively small, I think, with only 2 RE’s and everyone discusses the cases together. Each nurse or tech has been involved with me multiple times over the past 5 rounds of IVF, 2 FETs, 3 ERAs, and lots of tests and procedures. They’ve all had a hand in my reproduction. Strange, but also oddly heart warming.
My RE did my ultrasound and right away he found one tiny baby. He quickly assured me that the baby was measuring right on time and had a heart beat. Relief flooded me. The nurse handed me tissue for my tears. Then my RE measured the heart rate and it was right on target at 155. More relief.
After we were done, each and every staff person, from my RE to the receptionist at the front desk, came and hugged me. There were cheers and tears. It had been a long road. And the caring support felt great.
So here we are. Pregnant with a singleton and off to a good start. But still I think about the worse case. Infertility seems to wire us to think this way, and it’s something I try to let go of. Still, I had heard from the grapevine that once you confirm a healthy heart beat in the ultrasound, the risk of miscarriage drops to 5%. I asked my RE to verify if that’s true. He said that at this point, 8 weeks, the risk drops to 10%, then once you still find that things are going well at 10 weeks the risk drops to 5%, then gets even lower at the end of the first trimester. So I guess I have a 90% comfort level right now. I was hoping to be 95% confident, and yes that extra 5% seems like a big deal.
When the anxiety comes up, I logically remind myself that my chances for a successful pregnancy are great. Sometimes I mindfully let the negative thoughts float past me. Acknowledging them, but simply letting them float by without judgment. Most of the time I can do this. My husband said he wished he could spray me with a “dumb spray”. I know it sounds bad, but his heart is in the right place. He wishes he could take the fear away and turn me into one of those blissfully naive women who don’t worry about early pregnancy and can enjoy it. He knows the toll infertility has had on me, and how hard it can be to let the fears go and celebrate the moment.
I think it gets a tiny bit easier each day. This time around I’m more prepared for how this works. I’m grateful to be pregnant after IVF and I’m trying my best to enjoy the moment. I still don’t feel particularly connected to this baby, as I have this lingering notion in my mind that my pregnancy isn’t secure until after the first trimester. I know that horrible losses occur after the first trimester, but I’m not allowing myself to go there.
I have a book called, “Spiritual Pregnancy” that interestingly was written by an couple who both happen to be OBGYNs. I find this book unique in that it is written from a spiritual perspective, but authored by MDs. Not to say that MDs can’t be spiritual, but it’s not often what you find in sterile, clinical settings. The book contains lots of meditative practices and journaling ideas for connecting with your growing baby, yoga poses to support the different stages of pregnancy, info on baby’s growth, as well as many other topics to support connection and a mindful pregnancy and birth. I think anyone who has a spiritual pull, regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof, could enjoy this book. I started reading the beginning section for the first trimester, but I find myself not really engaging in reading much while I wait for the second trimester. I guess I’m still afraid to connect with the baby in case something goes wrong. I suppose I have some reading to do.