Sunday, October 10, 2010

Testing, Testing, 1..2..3

A big update:

After the transfer, I asked the doctor how soon I could start doing pregnancy tests at home and she responded that I should wait until the morning of my first beta test.  A beta test is a blood test to see how much HCG (a hormone that indicates pregnancy) is in your body.  My first beta test was scheduled for October 6th, which meant I was supposed to wait ten days to do a test.

So, four days after the transfer, I took a home pregnancy test.  Patience when I'm looking forward to something has never been my strong suit.  The test was faintly positive.  From my obsessive internet research, I had learned that a positive home test could be caused by the trigger shot I had taken on September 19th.  The trigger shot can cause a positive pregnancy test up to 14 days after you take it, and I was only 11 days past the trigger shot. That said, most people on the online forums said that the trigger shot is out of your system after 10 days, so I really wasn't sure whether the positive test was a lingering trigger shot or a real positive.

Only way to find out - test again!  I tested the morning of the 5th day after the transfer and got another positive, but this one was even more faint.  Again, there were two ways to interpret that.  Either that meant the trigger shot was still causing the positive but going down and almost out of my system, or it was simply another positive test.  Pretty much anyone will tell you that even a faint positive is a positive, so it was possible that it was positive on both day 4 and day 5.  Well, all day I kept wondering, so the evening of day 5 - yup - I took another test.  This one was also positive, but it was about the same color as the day 4 test.  I was starting to think I was really pregnant, and I was starting to think it was twins, because that's awfully early to start testing positive.

I took day 6 off from testing, but then tested on day 7,8,9, and 10.  I continued to get positive results.  I even switched to the digitals for the last few tests just so I could see the word "Pregnant" in bold letters.  Finally October 6th rolled around and I went in for my first beta test.

The appointment took no time at all.  I was there just long enough for them to take one vial of blood.  I told the tech that I thought it had worked, and she had responded in a non-committal fashion, making me think that a lot of women must say that and then turn out to be incorrect.

After the test, I went off to work.  By 10:45, my curiosity was getting the better of me, so I called and left a voicemail for the IVF coordinator to find out whether she had the results.  She called back a bit later and I was so excited when I saw "Unknown" pop up on my phone - that's always the clinic!

I could tell right away that the news was good just by the tone of her voice.  I thought she would sound all serious if it was bad news, but she sounded pretty chipper.  Sure enough, she said, "I have great news!  Your test results came back very high - your level was 526.4!  Either you have an EXTREMELY healthy pregnancy or you've got twins in there!"

Okay, backing up:  there's a wide variety of numbers thrown around online about what is considered to be a positive number for pregnancy.  From what I can tell, typically 30-50 is the minimum to be considered officially pregnant (although some people start out lower and then it grows and they are really pregnant).  I think that around 150 is "average" for a singleton pregnancy. 562 is pretty darn high.  However, what they're really looking for is an increase in HCG in your bloodstream.  Therefore, they test you three times to see if the number is doubling every 24-36 hours.

So.  We started at 526.  Two days later I went in for my second beta test.  This one came back at 1518.  My HCG not only doubled, it had almost tripled.  "It is very likely it's twins." said the coordinator.

Today I went in for the third and final beta test.  This one came in at 4389 - again, coming close to tripling.

We're scheduled for our first ultrasound on the 22nd, and that will be what confirms whether or not there are actually two in there, but we are pretty convinced that we got a buy-one-get-one special.

To be honest, we really didn't think IVF would work the first time around.  We thought we'd have to do at least one frozen embryo transfer or even a full second round of IVF.  Therefore, it is pretty much a shock that it worked and an even bigger shock that it's probably twins.  On the one hand, I feel really overwhelmed about the idea of having two infants at once.  On the other, I feel really guilty about feeling overwhelmed and think I should just be grateful to be pregnant at all.

As with everything else in this process, I've been really open about the status of everything with friends and family.  I know that it's early and that we could very likely lose one or both of them, but I would rather spend the entire time being happy and excited than being worried.  If I lose either one I'll be sad one way or the other, so I might as well enjoy the time I do have.  Plus, a friend of Mark's pointed out that if you keep a pregnancy a secret and something bad happens, there's no one there to lean on because no one knows it was even happening.

For now, we are cautiously optimistic, and I am frantically researching everything I can about twins!