Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On Growing, Collapsing, and the Grace of God

Today, we had a follow-up sonogram after a few scary, sketchy days. We were warned at the last two sonograms to anticipate fluctuating hormone levels as Baby B began to deteriorate, but when we watched my progesterone level drop from 35 to 20, we were really concerned. Particularly, when the drop came with several days of intermittent spotting.

Over the last three blood draws, the climb in my HCg level slowed remarkably going from 25,009 to 30,055 to 37,969. Again, such a change was predicted -- even a drop was mentioned -- but to watch what should be a predictor of health slug by was worrisome. The doctor, though, is wholly unconcerned. In fact, at my exam he was nearly celebratory, even pumping his fists in the air, saying "Yay!"

As a precaution with regards to the declining progesterone level, and maybe to shut me up, Dr. K (my OB/GYN) doubled the supplement I'm taking. Really, I'm not sure that he anticipated a 15 unit drop in four days, and since I'm at the stage where historically my levels bottom out and cause a miscarriage, I think he's either unwilling to take a chance, or more willing to appease me. Regardless of his motive, I'm grateful that he's so conservative and not willing to take one change lightly. In two weeks, the placenta should be fully functional and I'll begin weaning off the supplements completely, moving back down to one per day, then one every other day, and so on. Two weeks more seems like a lifetime.

At today's scan, we were all able to see that Baby B's gestational sac is making clear progress in deterioration. Dr. K recalled the last results on his computer and reviewed Dr. T's images, and was confident that our worries have decreased. He had a difficult time getting clear measurements because the edges of the gestational sac show signs of bleeding (which is likely related to my increased spotting) and are hazy with debris as it collapses in on itself. He said there is still a chance of ovarian rupture until the gestational sac is completely gone, and advised me to take pain on the left side or increased bleeding seriously. Dr. T (my MFM/Perinatologist) will follow up in a week, but based on the rate of deterioration since Wednesday, Dr. K wondered if he would see anything at all. We'll know for sure in six days.

Seeing how the sac had deteriorated was rather bittersweet. We're so pleased I don't have to have surgery at this stage and risk the life of Baby A, but at the same time, watching something so lovely disappear is disheartening -- especially when Dr. K was able to identify the location where the fetal pole (heartbeat) likely began and ended.

To clarify, though, we are not ungrateful. It is such a relief to be at this stage growing a baby that is safely implanted high above my cervix -- a baby who has a strong and healthy heartbeat and who is now measuring three days ahead of schedule. It is such a relief to not be forced into deciding to kill one baby to hopefully save another, while really risking both. It's a relief now to imagine that my pregnancy could become very much like a normal pregnancy, and that there could be days ahead absent of questions and concerns. Based on the fact that we've seen a healthy heartbeat and accurate growth now four times, there's a very good chance the day will come that we'll bring home another baby.

Our Heavenly Father has been far more gracious to us than we could have every hoped He would be. We are awed by His mercy, and we are humbled by His love for us. Saying "Thank You" for all this is just not enough...


Randi said...

It brings tears to my eyes to think of you bringing home a healthy baby ... I'm counting on it. I look forward to celebrating! So glad that things are looking good despite the worrisome days. God is good.

Jenny said...

Well, if the doctor is saying "Yay!" then I think you both should be feeling pretty good about baby A! I'm sure it was nice to get more answers on the short life of baby B. I'll be praying the spotting stops and there will be no pain! Can't wait to hear the next update and I hope the next 2 weeks fly by!