Actually, I’m not entirely sure I can adequately describe how upsetting today has been. Which I realize, as I write this, is a shitty way to begin a post on an infertility/ivf blog. So, before I go any further, let me assure you that I’m still pregnant. No miscarriage, no signs of impending miscarriage.
Except my RE called me up at 3 o’clock this afternoon to announce that if I got on the plane as scheduled tomorrow morning, I would be doing it against his professional wishes.
Um, what? Excuse me? Um, what’s going on? Happy doubling times on HCG, remember? I mean, the first doubling was closer to 72 hours than 48, but still, well within expected parameters, and today’s came in at 662 – almost perfectly doubled from 48 hours ago, and well within normal (almost damn near the perfect median as per the beta website I’ve been using – as well as every other website that Dr. Google’s directing me to. I’m not sure why the nurse even said it was a lower level than what they’d hoped to see – it’s pretty much exactly where I (& Dr. Google) expected to see it. I’m still not clear what’s up with that discrepancy. I’m afraid I was not entirely coherent during the entirety of this phone call.
But, when pressed, my RE gave me the standard disclaimer that while he couldn’t tell me what to do, going on a cruise ship far far away from good hospitals was not something he could recommend for me right now. Because I’m in early pregnancy, and because of my age and the IVF, at higher risk of an ectopic pregnancy. If one of my fallopian tubes were to rupture so far from medical help, it could be really, well, um, fatal.
Which sent me into a bit of a panic, actually. See, the thing is, one of my posse in high school got married right after graduation, had a couple of kids while the rest of us were away in college, and, about 7 weeks into her third pregnancy, at age 21, hemorrhaged to death on her own sofa. I know, I know, one in a million, but I knew that one. I knew her.
And on the other hand, realize that this is a trip that’s been planned for over a year. This is as close to a real vacation as the fiance and I have ever been able to take. And it’s to a place I’ve always wanted to visit, but even more important, it’s a chance to – I’ve been hoping – bond a bit with the step-daughters so that, perhaps, the arrival of their imminent youngest sibling won’t be so hard for them to stomach. Not to mention the fact that it’s, um, tomorrow. Tomorrow morning, to be exact.
(And, let me tell you, I’m wondering why my RE couldn’t have given me a bit more warning if he thought this was a possibility – I mean, I told him about these travel plans before we ever started this cycle. I insisted on an early beta because I wanted a few Hcg levels to compare before I left. Where has he been that this is news to him?)
So I spent the afternoon googling like the librarian that I am, pulling up research papers and statistics, and generally trying to figure out what the hell I should do.
The risk of my actions causing a miscarriage is low enough to be acceptable to me. Flying isn’t that big a deal, nor is the food safety an issue on cruise ships. A miscarriage itself, while horrible, is something I’ve endured before. It wouldn’t be fun, but neither would it – probably – be life-threatening. There’s not much I can do to avoid it, save to maintain the restrictions in place (Argh!), in hopes of avoiding any infection due to my artificially depressed immune system. (Damned prednisone.) Miscarriage isn’t really the issue. If it’s going to happen, it’s likely going to happen whether or not I stay or go. I’m very comfortable with that decision.
When I get right down to it, the only thing I actually have control over is where I will be, if my embryo has burrowed into the wrong bit of me, and there is going to be a problem. I can’t control the “if” on this one either – it’s where it should be or it’s not – but I can control the “where”.
My fiance would not be able to stay home with me – I’m not sure I would have let him anyway. But the thing is, I really don’t have anyone else here in the city. His whole extended family is going on this trip, and my family is on the other side of the country. I’ve not been here long enough to have made the kind of friends I’d need in a situation like this. So the choice that I boiled everything down to was: Worst case scenario, would I rather be far from medical help, yet surrounded by people who would make sure I got to help as quickly as possible, or would I rather be alone and risk bleeding to death on my own sofa unless I could stagger to a phone to dial 911?
Simplistic, I know, but that’s sort of what I had to bring it down to. There’s really not a good choice for me here.
There’s also a part of me – a superstitious part, I know – that says, “Live like you intend to go on living.” Meaning, don’t let fear rule your actions. And that same superstitious part says, “Expect things to go well and they will.” And the unspoken vice versa, of course.
So I’m going. To the Galapagos Islands. And I’m going to do my best not to let my fear rule me. Though I will continue to send little prayers to any deity listening that this won’t prove to be a tremendously stupid decision. Wouldn’t be my first, but it’d be a doozie.
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