Two weeks after the embryo transfer, a pregnancy test was ordered. Not an at-home, pee wand thing, but a blood test peformed at a lab. After that we'd know if Jeanne was pregnant; if Oingo and/or Boingo had implanted, "taken", done their thing. Lin and I went back and forth about whether we planned say we were "pregnant". Initally we came down on the side of... no, that's dumb, we're not and it's silly to say so. But between us, it often came out as, "After we're pregnant..." or "When we get pregnant..." so the linguistics were in flux. At any rate, we'd been so encouraged by our doctor's description of our situation as basically ideal that we welcomed this test as a fait accompli, a confirmation of what we already knew to be true.
On the day Jeanne got the test, I was on the east end of Long Island working, so Lin and I crafted a plan beforehand for how I'd get the results. We decided that after Lin got the call from the nurse, he'd send me a text saying, "I know - call now." We may not have been in the same place, but a phone call was better than SMS. We're modern, but that seemed a bridge too impersonal.
Only, I was impatient and couldn't wait and called Lin around 3pm, the time we were meant to have word by. He sounded weird. My heart sunk. I was upset. What?!!! What could it be?? If it's negative I can take it just tell me for the love of god. As the saying goes, you can't be half-pregnant, so lay it on me. Or wait. Shit. You can???
Jeanne's result was technically a positive, Lin told me. But only barely. Her hCG level, the pregnancy hormone, was at 47. Anything above zero is pregnant, by the book, but they want the number to be a minimum of 100, and it is commonly a whole lot more than that after two weeks. I was stunned stiff for a second. Why didn't anyone tell us that there was a "maybe you're pregnant" option! I was steeled for the bad and ready for the good -- I'd been saying there were likely to be tears either way -- but when the "big news" was that we'd have to wait three more days for Jeanne to take another test, I was caught unawares and came down hard.
Waiting is the essential characteristic of the IVF process. You wait from the first moment; for appointments, for getting matched with a surrogate(s), for money to accrue and be disbursed, for screenings to be hurdled through, for contracts to be drafted and signed... To this point, we felt like we'd put in our waiting time, and it was bratty, but this wasn't supposed to be going down this way. And three days alone wasn't so huge a deal, but her number was super low, and maybe something was really wrong. When I called the nurse coordinator, terms like "chemical pregnancy" and "ectopic pregnancy" were mentioned. I longed for a talisman against these nasties. All we could really do though was wait and wonder and occasionally perseverate on the odds of the many of possible negative outcomes against the one single positive outcome. We were told that on Monday we should look for an hCG level that had at least doubled, which would be a sign of a developing pregnancy.
On that Monday afternoon I'd just pulled into the gravely parking lot of a makeshift Whole Foods on Route 27 when Lin called. The results were in. The new number was...210. The number had quadrupled!!! This was cause for relief!! The embryos or at least an embryo seemed to have implanted. Maybe it implanted late, who knows, and that was why the number was initially so low. We had no idea what was going on in there, but I was just happy that the number went up, and by a factor of four. This was good! There would be a 3rd test in three more days to check her number again, but time went by much more quickly and with a lot less agita.
851! On Thursday we found out that the number had quadrupled again! This was very good news indeed, Things were solidifying, taking root, growing; it was clear. We told a few people, family and daily-contact friends, and accepted their well-wishes with mostly open arms. It was still a very early pregnancy, and all sorts of things could happen, but with each passing day the woods were further behind us.
The next step...Monday, July 23rd, 2012, a week from yesterday, we went to a hospital in central Connecticut and met Jeanne for the first ultrasound. This is the appointment where you can see the rudiments of the circulatory system (a beating heart-like thing!) the placenta, the fetal pole, all the miraculous stagecraft of reproduction. We got into the car and headed northeast. The car almost drove itself by this point...