The morning that we got our first positive pregnancy test, I was scheduled to work for a sitting service at a hotel in Charleston. I got to work and found out that I'd be working in the baby room, so I spent the day trying not to burst into tears of happiness as I got to cuddle babies and imagine a future with a little one of my own.
Of course, as I mentioned, I was still scared that my test had given me a false positive, so I tested every morning for the next few days while I awaited the blood test. Each morning, the line showed up a little darker, and we got a little more excited.
Finally, the morning of my blood test arrived, and I showed up more thrilled than ever to be jabbed with a needle. I was happy that my favorite nurse called me back, and when she sat me down and prepared her vampire kit, I confided to her that I was a little worried about Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). It seemed as though every day, my ovaries hurt worse and it was still nearly impossible for me to walk normally without the jarring from each step making me feel that my stomach was going to explode from the pain and pressure. She gave me a coy little smile and asked if I'd taken a home pregnancy test. I confided that I had, and that it was positive and her smile grew wider. Evidently, the ovarian pain was a good sign as my uterus had probably already started stretching out a bit to make room for a baby, and was putting pressure on my already sensitive ovaries. She suggested that I mention it to my nurse advisor, but when I did, she also agreed that this was probably a good thing, and to just keep an eye on things.
The next few hours dragged by as I waited for the phone to ring. Finally, the name of the fertility center flashed on my screen, and when I answered, my nurse coordinator happily confirmed what we'd all been thinking and hoping. We were officially pregnant! I immediately called Colby, and we were finally ready to call our parents and give them the good news before swearing them to secrecy for the next few weeks, until we felt ready to widen the circle of trust.
I continued to go back to the clinic periodically over the next week to continue blood draws that checked my HCG levels. On the 14th, my HCG level came back at 330, on the 16th it was 841 and by my final check on the 23rd it had skyrocketed to 10,969. We were thrilled by these numbers. In the very early stages of pregnancy, when levels are below 1200, you want your HCG to double every 48 to 72 hours. Between 1200 and 6000, they should double every 72-96 hours, and above 6000 they can take four or more days to double. My doubling time between the 14th and 16th was 35.5 hours and between the 16th and 23rd was 45.34 hours, so we felt fairly confident that we had a solid, viable pregnancy.
Still, it seemed like a million years passed before the morning of my first ultrasound on April 4th at 6 weeks and 6 days. Because Colby had left for training in Seattle the day after we found out we were pregnant, I had to go to the appointment alone, and I will never forget the feeling of sitting there on the examing table, with a paper blanket over my legs, shaking uncontrollably. I was so nervous, that despite not having had a lick of morning sickness, I really thought I would throw up.
Finally, the doctor, a nurse, and an intern came in, and I asked if it would be okay for me to put Colby on speakerphone. That was quickly okayed, and after getting him on the line, I lay back on the table and waited anxiously for the results. It was pretty quiet for a few minutes as my doctor took in the screen, then the first words our of his mouth, "It looks like you went for the bonus package!" He turned the screen toward me, and there they were, my two little blobs-in-residence.
Shock does not even begin to convey how we felt at that moment. I started to giggle uncontrollably, and that set Colby off so we probably sounded like escapees from a mental ward. Then suddenly the nurse was handing me a tissue, and I realized I was crying. On top of all that, the doctor pointed out a tiny, flickering pinprick of light and said, "There's a heartbeat." I cannot even put that moment into words. It was so special and miraculous.
When we had our initial consult, our doctor very plainly stated that our chances of success on our first cycle, with the factors we had going against us, was around 50-60%. He also explained that if we implanted two embryos, our chance of multiples was around 25%, in comparison to the rate of spontaneous twins among the general population of around 1-2% (I don't know the source of these statistics). So, while we knew there was the chance that we'd get two babies, after looking at the odds of maybe a 50-60% chance of getting pregnant and then out of that a 25% chance of twins, it didn't seem terribly likely.
And yet. There they were, both with strong heartbeats at 160 beats per minute. But even after all of the blood tests, and seeing the babies for myself, I still couldn't believe that this was really happening. I was utterly convinced that something would go wrong, and other than our parents and my sister, I still didn't feel comfortable sharing our news with the world.