How many transvaginal ultrasounds have I had over the last two years? So many that if I had a dollar for every transvaginal ultrasound, I’d probably have enough to cover the out-of-pocket costs for one of them. Which is a commentary both on the state of my reproductive organs and the US medical system. But I digress. The dildo cam is a regular visitor of my vagina. And I’m so used to assuming the position for its entrance that I’m surprised that my body doesn’t naturally fall into the legs-in-the-stirrups position when I sleep.

But last week, at 7 weeks pregnant, I had a transvaginal ultrasound like no other. As soon as it went into place, we saw a tiny little blob with a perfect flickering heartbeat. The dildo cam has never revealed anything like that before. Then we heard the heartbeat. 132 bpm. Which the doctor said was very good – but, of course, that didn’t stop me from google-checking him afterward. Turns out, he was right. My husband and I just stared at the screen. And then, as quick as the dildo cam went in, it was out.

Wait! I wanted to scream. Give us a second here! The doctor was just so quick and nonchalant about the whole thing, that afterward, my husband and I rode down in the elevator staring blankly at the ultrasound pic, wondering if that all just actually happened.

Over the last week, I’ve allowed it to get more real. And on a couple of occasions, I’ve even caught myself mentally marking March in my mind as a time when life will change. You’d have thought the last two years would have shown me never to do that. Because all it really means is that we have gotten this far. To this milestone. And then we must wait for the next.

I still am paranoid about every symptom, or should I say, lack thereof. I’ve had a few brief waves of nausea, but nothing that sticks around for longer than 5 minutes. Which means I am lucky. But I’d feel much luckier if I were puking my guts out every 20 minutes. It’s likely because I’m on prednisone, which apparently masks morning sickness.

I’ve noticed that all of my veins are much bigger, and so I have this obsessive compulsion to turn my arm over and look at the veins on my wrist every half hour, ensuring they haven’t gone back to normal. But mostly, I’m just exhausted all the time. I could literally sleep for 20 hours a day if it was socially acceptable. And I generally have no motivation to do anything. Luckily, I work from home most days, which means I don’t have to try and hide my exhaustion from people.

I also feel just totally mentally blah. I’m guessing a lot of it is from the hormones. But I think some of it is just the waiting and unknowing. I feel like for the next four weeks, I’m in a mental purgatory. Pregnant, but not wanting to fully believe it. Wondering if any little thing I do will have an impact. If I could wrap myself in bubble wrap and never leave my bedroom, I totally would.

I keep telling myself that once I get to the end of week 12 – if I get to the end of week 12 – I’ll breathe a sigh of relief and start to feel more confident. But will I really? Not likely. I guess all there is to do is keep going, waiting for the next meeting with the dildo cam. 3 days and counting.

Still pregnant. Still terrified.

So after 7 hcg blood draws, 3 estradiol and progesterone checks, and two shipments of my blood to Dr. Kwak-Kim’s lab to check immune markers, it appears that this pregnancy is continuing as it should. My arms, however, look like they belong to a heroin addict. And since I’m already getting called out by people for looking “exhausted” (thank you for telling me!), I can’t imagine the unvoiced thoughts going on in people’s heads.

I, of course, don’t give a crap what they think, because I’m just ecstatic about the fact that this is the farthest we have ever gotten. But I still can’t help thinking that this pregnancy is going to just stop at any minute.

I question everything I do, wondering if that’s the thing that’s going to cause all this to end. Did I wait way too long to eat lunch yesterday? Did I take my morning pills a half hour too late? Was my morning walk too long? Too fast? Too jumpy? Did that hour stuck in traffic cause my cortisol to rise to dangerous levels? Is last night’s frozen yogurt freaking out my immune system. Should I not have eaten any bread? Did I just plop down on the couch too hard? I can’t help but scrutinize every little thing, thinking it’s the thing that’s going to send my current world crashing down around me.

Adding to all this pressure are the strict orders coming from the Dragon Lady. As soon as I notified her that I was pregnant, she had her receptionist email me a list of instructions of what not to do. No baths or hot tubs, no lifting 5 pounds or more, no heels, no vacuuming, no running or aerobics, no exposure to detergents or cleaning products, and no sex for 14 weeks. That last one is a big one. So big in fact, that she asked her receptionist to email me a second time just to reiterate: No sex!

I do feel pretty great about the fact that I have a legitimate excuse to not vacuum or clean the house for the next several months. Unfortunately, she said nothing about whether or not I should avoid doing dishes.

When I went for my first appointment with the Dragon Lady after the big news, she personally pummeled me with more orders.

DL: No mushroom. Mushroom cause inflammation

Me: Really? Wow, okay. (immediately started counting the number of times I’d had mushrooms in the last week)


DL: You no have sex! Sex make uterus contract. You tell him. No sex!

Me: You got it. I will let HIM know.


DL: I so worry you trip and fall. No trip and fall!

Me: I can’t remember the last time I tripped and fell. I’ll be fine

DL: (pointing to my flip flops laying in the corner) You wear flip flop, you fall all over. I worry.


And, of course, she wouldn’t be the Dragon Lady if she didn’t leave me with one final zinger.

DL: 309 high first beta. You stomach big. Embryo split, two babies in there.


Oh, Dragon Lady, here we go again.

Beta drama

In some other normal world, somewhere, there are women who have a sneaking suspicion they may be pregnant, pee on a stick, get a positive result and then schedule a 6-week appointment with their OB. And that’s that.

I used to live in that world. But in the last two years I’ve been transported to another world entirely. To a place where you could be pregnant one hour and not the next. Where every single cramp and twinge must be analyzed, fretted over and stressed about. And a pregnancy isn’t really a pregnancy until multiple doubling HCG tests say it is. And even then…don’t count on it.

I went in for my first beta Thursday morning. And, just 1 day after I got a very positive home pregnancy test, I had my doubts. I woke up and just didn’t feel pregnant anymore. The cramps that had been there in my lower abdomen off and on for the last 7 days were gone. And I just knew the pregnancy was too. I went on all morning thinking this way until the nurse practitioner called me at noon to tell me my hcg level was 309. 309!

The minute I hung up the phone, the pregnancy cramps returned. Almost as if the only thing causing them was my belief in the pregnancy. And maybe it was.

This cycle repeated itself when I went back for my second beta on Saturday morning. I woke up and found myself wondering, “what if it’s gone?” I quickly dismissed the thought, knowing that as soon as the call came through around lunchtime with the second beta number, I would be reassured again.

Except, the call never came. I tried to busy myself, but eventually found myself staring at my phone, willing it to ring. It did not. My clinic had assured me that they would run the order STAT and we would get the results that day by the time they closed at 12:30. Finally, at 1:30 the clinic’s lab tech called me to tell me they did not have the results yet and they were closing for the day, so that I would need to wait until Sunday morning for the nurse to call.

All Saturday afternoon and evening I convinced myself I wasn’t pregnant any more. That I needed to stop thinking of myself as lucky-this-time and get used to the fact that I’m unlucky-all-the-time.

Sunday morning, waiting for the phone call to finally come through, I felt as unpregnant as ever. But again, the phone call never came. I called the clinic at 11:30am and despite being open half-day for time-sensitive weekend procedures, the after-hours voicemail was on. All I could do was leave a very angry message that nobody would hear until Tuesday morning when the front office staff would be back from the 4th of July holiday.

I spent the next several hours crying my eyes out. How could they do this? Where was their sensitivity and compassion? If there’s one person you should never hold out hcg results on, it’s someone who’s had recurrent early miscarriages.

Last night, against my husband’s wishes, I went out and bought a new pack of pregnancy tests. I just needed to know if that line was still there. And as of this morning, it was. But then I spent an ungodly amount of time analyzing whether or not it was darker than the test I took on Friday. I just couldn’t tell. When I finally looked up from the two pee sticks I’d been staring at, I saw I had a missed call and voicemail from the clinic.

Results of Saturday’s beta: 789.

789! Turns out some glitch in the computer system meant the nurses hadn’t been notified that the results were back. 789. Suddenly, I’m pregnant again. Suddenly, I’m lucky again. And the next time my clinic wants to see me isn’t until my 6-week ultrasound.

Just like that, they’re throwing me back in that other world where women get pregnant and then have an ultrasound and that’s that.

Except I’ll never really live there in that world. Mentally, no matter how far along this pregnancy gets, I know I’ll always be an hour away from becoming unpregnant again.