It was an IVF cycle and Rita was beyond relieved that her test came out positive. She called her hospital to relate the news. The next day, she headed for the clinic to do a confirmatory blood test, which came out faintly positive. Her HCG levels were really low.
Both she and her doctors were worried, it was an ectopic pregnancy and she was told the signs to watch out for and sent home. Her next visit made matters a little worse; she wasn’t experiencing any of the standard pregnancy symptoms. While that was standard for some people, she had been pregnant before and had been gone through all the drama that came with first trimester.
From another test, it was obvious that the increase in her HCG wasn’t okay enough to sustain a pregnancy for the number of weeks, she was along.
Before this pregnancy, Rita had been pregnant twice and those were normal pregnancies except they ended in miscarriages, one in the first trimester and the other in the second trimester, when she thought, she had scaled through and would finally be having a living baby. That ended in a harrowing D&C experience.
She had gone for her normal antenatal visit and there the doctor couldn’t pick up the baby’s heartbeat. She went for scan that day and her worst fear was confirmed. Her darling baby had died in utero. Her rainbow baby, had turned out to be her second experience of miscarriage.
The worst part was the procedure to remove the dead baby, which the doctor insisted had to be done the next day, as it looked like the baby had been dead a few days. After the procedure, she cried, in fact, she wailed so hard, that nurses were begging her unsuccessfully to keep her voice down, so as not to inconvenience other sleeping patients.
But Rita was beyond listening; her tears came fast and furious. It was the tears of a woman, whose baby was ripped from her body in the most inhumane way. She cried as though, that child was her whole world, meanwhile, she has two living children.
So by the time, she got pregnant again, she was sufficiently jaded but also hopeful for a successful pregnancy. When her HCG refused to climb and she was told, she should prepare for an ectopic pregnancy, Rita had thought, “Oh well, there goes another baby.”
Only that this little champ is a fighter. HCG or not, heartbeat or not, ectopic or not, that baby stuck in there tight and snuggly. Meanwhile the weeks kept going and then it was time for her first ultrasound scan. Even though everything looked like it wasn’t going to turn out well, Rita managed to muster some enthusiasm regarding the scan.
If anything, the scan showed up worse than anything else. Yes, her doctor could see a tiny, tiny little spot in her uterus, and I mean, really tiny after lots of sqyintingt at the screen. Her HCG level still wasn’t rising appropriately, and her progesterone level wasn’t even worth mentioning.
This time around, her mind was prepared for a miscarriage soon, and she started to accept that her doctor, who had seen a lot, was probably right. This pregnancy might just not work out. She could live with that and stop TTC efforts completely; just enjoy her babies.
Even at that, all efforts were made to get her levels up, to ensure, the pregnancy turns in to a truly viable, even though it was microscopic right then.
By the next week, when she went back for yet another blood work and ultrasound, her levels were still below par, and her ultrasound looked awful. But as they say, it’s not over, until it is over.
Another week, another test and ultrasound revealed the miracle both she and her doctor and nurses have been craving for; the gestational sac was a little bit bigger, and the doctor was finally able to locate a fetal pole that had the tiniest little flicker, (a heartbeat).
Meanwhile, her hormone levels were still on the bottom rung. They were nothing interesting about them at all.
By the time, she was in her tenth week of what she wasn’t sure was truly a viable pregnancy, she got the one confirmation, she had been looking for. There was an actual feotus (that somehow grew at an astronomical rate literally in a matter of days), a great heart rate, and her lab tests came back with her progesterone, estrogen, and HCG levels off the charts.
That was the baby saying, “Mama, I’m going nowhere.”
Rita is a new friend and just told me she is pregnant with her third child and I’m so happy for her. But my happiness turned to amazement when I got the low down on how she got to the stage where she was.
We had been standing while we chatted but I begged her to sit down, so we could finish our chat. I cannot be explaining the unexplainable to her husband, God forbid anything should go wrong with her.
You bet, I’m so looking forward to meeting her baby. He/she will be a special one.
Even though, she’s in the all clear for now, the ghost of her second trimester miscarriage still rears its ugly head. So, I guess, until, she holds that baby, the fear of losing the baby will still be an intangible part of her pregnancy.
For me though, the fact that this baby survived against all odds, its first trimester is a pointer to the fact that she’s got a fighter in there. This one isn’t going anyway.
Meanwhile, I wondered, why all the drama concerning a third child and she shrugged, “I don’t know too oh.”
For all rainbow mamas out there, stay strong!
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