I’ve had a really good feeling about this cycle for the past two weeks. I’m not really sure why – maybe because in the end, the timing of ovulation seemed so perfect. Or perhaps I felt that after two BFNs it was about time for another pregnancy, or that the ordeal with the six catheters practically guaranteed a good outcome. Who knows? I could visualise our embryo inside me, I secretly thought of myself as pregnant and I kept having to remind myself how depressing the statistics for IUI are.
On Sunday, though, I started to worry. It was 10 dpiui (days post IUI) and in my last cycle, I got my period on day 11. I was scared of the same thing happening again, of all our hopes and dreams literally going down the toilet before I’d even had a chance to test. So I was devastated when, late that night, I had some red spotting. It’s happening again, I thought. My luteal phase is getting shorter and shorter. There’s barely time for an embryo to implant. I should never have asked for another natural cycle. I went to bed and cried and prayed and fell asleep in OH’s arms. The next day, I made sure we left my in-laws’ house early because I wanted to be safely home before I began to bleed.
It wasn’t until late that afternoon that I started to understand the situation differently. Not only had my period not come (normally, it would be within a few hours of any spotting), but I was starting to feel nauseous. On Tuesday the nausea remained and my breasts were killing me. I know most women don’t get these symptoms until later on in pregnancy, but I had them from 9 dpiui last time and they were so strong, I knew it was for real. There was no doubt whatsoever in my mind that I had had an implantation bleed and was pregnant. The only question was, would it stick?
Today I went to the clinic for a blood test and it showed I have an hCG (pregnancy hormone) level of 9. The nurse basically told me the pregnancy isn’t viable and that they’ll follow it up in a week. I haven’t had a bleed, but apart from that, it seems to be a similar situation to my last miscarriage.
Everything I’ve read about hCG levels says that you can’t tell whether a pregnancy is viable or not from one number. That they vary enormously and what’s important is how much they rise between one test and the next. That anything between 5 and 25 is an “equivocal” result and should be followed up with another test a couple of days later. I’ve read forum posts by women whose first level was 9 and who went on to have healthy pregnancies (as well as by women who miscarried) and I’ve learned that according to the American Pregnancy Association, hCG levels in women who are four weeks pregnant can range anywhere between 5 and 426. Maybe there’s less room for variation in mine since we know roughly when I ovulated, but what if the embryo just implanted late?
I know 9 isn’t a great result, and there’s probably a reason why the clinic’s outlook is so pessimistic, but it seems to me that there’s still hope. And I don’t want to wait a week to find out whether that hope is misplaced or not. I can’t repeat the test in 48 hours because the lab is closed at weekends, but I’m going to ring the clinic tomorrow and ask whether I can go back in on Monday. I’m not ready to write this baby off just yet.