Today we went for our first ultrasound. I don’t know how far along I am for certain, but we guess 6, maybe 7 weeks at the most. My last ectopic pregnancy, 7 years ago, taught me to not expect much from ultrasounds. They are far from perfect. If they see a gestational sac in the uterus, that is pretty definitive. If they see tubal dilation, that may be pretty definitive as well, although I have never had a tubal pregnancy so I can’t know that for certain. But I can tell you that gestational sacs on the ovary can look a whole lot like cysts. That’s where they think they saw my baby’s gestational sac today, just like last time. Yet they really couldn’t honestly say for certain.
I asked if it could be a cyst, and they couldn’t rule it out. But because of my supposed slow rising HCG, lower than ideal progesterone, and lack of an obvious gestational sac in the uterus, they felt pretty good about their speculations.
Yet I have no pain on that side. What pains I occasionally feel – which are more like intermittent mild aches and twinges, that don’t stay in one place BTW – are all on the left side.
Well here is another thing I have learned about ultrasounds…seems they never can see the ovary that is suspected. With my last ectopic baby, I had right sided pain that lasted from week 7-10, but my right ovary was not to be found until I was nearly 10 weeks. Then it appeared with nothing very unusual about it except something that could have been a gestational sac or a cyst. Nothing conclusive. That is why I have learned not to put too much weight in the ultrasound images. It’s just another piece of the puzzle and while it can be pretty definitive it never has been for me. Today it was the left side they couldn’t see. The tube can usually only be seen if something is inside it. And the left ovary was hiding.
What if the baby is snuggling in someplace in the abdomen, someplace they cant yet see on scans? Perhaps on the left side? What if my baby is going to survive like all the other babies I have read about who were carried full term in the abdomen? Is anything too hard for the Lord? No! Its true that my progesterone was 9.5 before I started taking a supplement, but I have read of women with less than that who have their babies to kiss today. Yes, my HCG doubling time was 96hrs, but I have read in studies that the doubling rate is not constant throughout gestation. Once the HCG levels get above 1200, it can take up to 4 days to double. Yes, I am spotting a little. But that doesn’t mean the baby is dead. As long as there is life, there is hope. Needless to say, I refused the Methotrexate shot. There is no way I will kill my baby. Besides, it is a toxic chemotherapy drug, so toxic that it would takes 3 months to clear from my body. Pregnancy is to be avoided until it does clear. And God forbid I got pregnant again before it cleared from my system. I would rather have surgery than to take that drug. It’s much too early to know anything about the viability of the pregnancy when it is offered. And once viability is better known, the pregnancy is too advanced to use it.
Why no fetal pole or heartbeat? I was at first discouraged. But then I found this site and realized that if I am 6 weeks pregnant (4 wks gestation) it may be too early to see a yolk sac. It takes 4 wks to see a gestational sac, about 5 wks to see a yolk sac, and a little longer to see the fetal pole.
When we first got the news today, we were a little discouraged and afraid. But I had an experience at church yesterday that taught me a new reality. I was just trying to sing along and getting choked up on the words because they were so salient. My sadness over the suspected ectopic was forming a lump in my throat. My fear was making it worse. But inside me I became aware of the yearning of my soul. It wanted to leap out of my chair with joy and dance up and down the aisles of the church. The Bible tells us to thank him in all our circumstances. When imprisoned, Paul and Silas prayed and gave thanks to God. That is exactly what my spirit wanted to do. I felt it yearning for me to shed my sadness and fear like scales so that it could shout for joy and sing and dance. I now know that it is always yearning for that, but because my flesh is louder, I am not normally aware of it. I sat and wondered if I was glimpsing what heaven would be like when there are no tears and no fear. We will have nothing to choke back our joy. And then I realized that I have a choice even here on earth. I don’t have to be afraid. Even though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I will fear no evil. If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
So now when the pain comes on and fear creeps into my mind and I start to tremble, I will listen to the spirit in me and join in the jubilation. Because no matter what happens, I know God is in this. He has a plan and I get to be a part of it. How exciting! How marvelous are his ways! How past finding out.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!