So, as it turns out, my HCG levels that I had to have repeated yesterday actually increased. And in the back of my mind, I was fantasizing that there was a vanishing twin and perhaps maybe I had a viable pregnancy after all.
Today while I was at a meeting, I was called - repeatedly - by my doctor's office. Because I'd turned the volume down, I didn't even hear my phone ringing and was surprised to see that I had five new messages from the same number. All of the messages were tagged as urgent, with the request that I call the office as soon as possible. When I called back, they told me they wanted to see me immediately, but first, I needed to stop by the lab again.
My hopes soared while I imagined that all would be well. Surely, today's lab would just confirm that my numbers were on the rise again and then, I'd have an ultrasound and oh, what a wonderful and surprisingly fun blog post it will be to show the picture of one healthy baby!
When I arrived at the office, for the first time during this whole ordeal, I was seen by my OB that delivered Henry. His eyes were so kind when he came in to talk to me. He smiled as he said, "I've always had a suspicion that you weren't done. I've always suspected that you wanted to have another baby!" But then he dropped his voice and said, "But you understand that this pregnancy isn't viable. Right?"
Because I'd given myself an opportunity to dream that MAYBE they'd made a mistake, my hopes were instantly dashed. My eyes teared up as I nodded my head and said, "Yes. I know. But I've tried to block it out. I was really hoping you were wrong."
He did an ultrasound and then pulled up my lab results on the computer, while pointing out that because my HCG levels have 'plateaued' he is extremely concerned that this pregnancy is ectopic. He told me that at my stage, I am a very good candidate for methotrexate which is a drug that is frequently used to treat cancer. It stops cells from growing, which would effectively terminate the ectopic pregnancy, hopefully before the pregnancy advanced to the point that my fallopian tube would rupture.
As he stood up to fetch my most recent lab results, I asked how ectopic pregnancies "resolved" themselves in nature? I mean, in my case - where my HCG levels were so low - wouldn't this just absorb in to my body, or be shed during the next cycle? If there was some way to let "Mother Nature" take her course, I'd much prefer that route than anything invasive or highly medicated.
He told me that he wasn't willing to take the chance that this would just resolve because ectopic pregnancies could be fatal. He added that long ago, before ultrasounds existed to identify where the embryo had implanted, or methotrexate and surgical procedures existed to "remove" ectopic pregnancies, women would die.
We talked for a few more minutes about statistics and the chemical properties of methotrexate and what type of side effects I might experience. And then he closed the door behind him so I could sit and think about things while he called in the orders.
Mostly, I thought about how it would be less heart wrenching for me to die, than to kill my unborn. As such, it is very difficult for me to get my head around the notion of intentionally taking a drug that would kill off any fetal cells, hence triggering an abortion. Even though I really have no option in the matter because if this pregnancy is left untreated, I could die. Apparently, there's no way to extract a fallopian tube and let the baby continue to grow, outside of my body. Although it might not seem it, what with billions of people running all over the planet, fertility can be helluva complicated.
(At least it has been for me.)
An hour later, I very sadly received my two doses of neon yellow methotrexate via intramuscular injections in my hips. And now, I wait. Until something happens that the doctors have told me will most likely happen over the next few days and quite possibly might hurt a lot. I wait until Monday when I am back in the lab having more blood work completed. And again next Thursday for yet more blood work. And then two weeks from Thursday. Or maybe sooner, depending upon how quickly my HCG levels drop.
As I told my children tonight during dinner, there is a baby. But unfortunately, as it happens in approximately 2% of all pregnancies, our baby is in the wrong location. And sadly, jumping on one leg - as Elizabeth and Carolyn have both suggested - isn't enough to fix the situation.
(Cue even more tears. Goodness gracious, is there no end?)
In happier news, check out my awesome little boy...
I think he might have found his calling as "The Whale Whisperer."