Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Big day!

Today was rather an eventful day for us! To start, I woke up at 7 -- a full hour before my alarm was scheduled -- and could not get back to sleep. When you learn that I have slept through incipient tornadoes (I remember just murmuring sleepily, "Wake me when the tornado actually gets here,") perhaps you'll understand the depth of my anxiety about the day. I went in at 10:30 and had blood drawn for my second beta. Then I went about my business -- going to the vet to get Ringer's lactate for my CRF cat, Georgina, amongst other things -- and when I got home about noon, I discovered, once again, that the little men seemed to be hard at work and I was exhausted. Back to bed, and then up in time to receive the clinic's scheduled call at 2.

The nurse's voice seemed a little dispirited. Oh God -- was she working up to bad news? But then -- "You're pregnant," she said.

I breathed out a huge sigh. I don't remember what I said. But whatever it was, was a prayer of thanks.

Then she said, "You're really pregnant."

Eh? What was that?

It turned out that my beta for Monday was 1182, and the beta for today, Wednesday, read "1500+." Fifteen hundred plus? What was that supposed to mean? And why wasn't it doubled from Monday like a good beta should be?

It turns out, the nice nurse explained, that their machine only goes to 1500. So anything over that read "1500+." So as they say in the Tour de France, I was "haute categorie." Out of category. More mountainously pregnant than their crappy machine could measure.

To which I was thinking (though not saying, since I still have to maintain a working relationship with these people), "You know, for thirteen thousand per try, I really expect a leettle more information than 'haute categorie.'"

So what did all this mean? we quizzed the nurse. She explained that it probably meant multiples. As in twins. Or triplets.


Well, it was too early to tell. And besides -- she relented a bit -- we had to remember that our first beta should really have been taken on Saturday, which meant that since half of 1182 was in the five hundred-ish category, and that is where they usually see twins, we were probably looking at twins, not triplets. Plus, we had to remember that just because there were twins now, didn't mean that was what we would actually get in the long run.

She was right, of course, and I had already discussed this with D. Twins have a way of mysteriously falling off along the way during pregnancy, just disappearing between one ultrasound and the next. That, coupled with the high miscarriage rate for my "advanced maternal age" of 44, means that starting out with twins was really more along the lines of insurance that we would get one baby at the end. Or as the English say so callously, "The heir and the spare."

When we got off the phone, I was elated, but I noticed that D. was subdued. When I asked him what was wrong, he looked at me and simply said, "Twins?"

At which point we discussed the whole concept of odds all over again, and calmed him down a bit. I think.

But when we called up D's sister (who is no stranger to the IVF world herself, being now in the midst of #5), she sensibly pointed out that we really should have those HCG numbers from the beta. Though they were probably already too high to indicate an ectopic, it would still be a weight off my mind to know that the numbers were doubling properly. At which point I remembered my primary care provider, Kaiser, and happily realized that now that I was officially preggo, they had to take care of me! (Having sluffed off all responsibility for the IVF's, they should step up to the plate now, I reasoned.)

Then followed a round of phone calls to various departments (par for the course with Kaiser). At last it was determined that I could come in this evening to the East Building lab to get my blood drawn, and then my OB/GYN would write up an order tomorrow for a new round of betas. Probably.

Off I went, a good twenty minute drive each way -- though that was actually a GOOD time -- the downtown area here has recently been plunged into the maelstrom of Improvement. Which of course means that traffic is backed up all day long, and it takes an hour to get where it used to take only 20 minutes. Which is why I thought running up there in the evening was such a good idea, since that meant I could avoid the hideous downtown traffic.

But even after I got home, our Big Day wasn't over! D. and I sat down to begin watching an old episode of Northern Exposure (being recent converts to Netflix), and suddenly realized ...

... that the couch was moving ....
... and, by golly, so was the whole house.

Oh, my! Such excitement we had for a few minutes! I'm from Texas, where we have tornadoes aplenty, but rarely a quake, so I'm still not really used to them. This one had a slow, ponderous roll to it that made me think it might be only the start of bigger things, but it lasted for maybe 4 or 5 seconds and then subsided. Not even long enough for our cats to get worked up, though we hopped up immediately and started looking upward to see if we were in immediate danger of getting conked in the head by anything. But nothing was out of place except us. Just a little something to perk us up a bit. (I looked it up online and found that the quake was a 4.4, had originated near Glen Ellen, and that we were a mere 13 miles from the epicenter. I just love the Internet, don't you?)

So that was our Big Day (though I am leaving out the description of our new neighbor's ENORMOUS dog, Otis, who interrupted our dinner on our back porch). I think I have to go to bed now. I can't take any more excitement.


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