Wednesday, August 11, 2010

cautious optimism

So, the little sweet pea has been giving us some worries lately. As I mentioned earlier, I have been going in twice weekly to get blood drawn to measure my hCG levels. For those of you not up on pregnancy lingo, here you go:

The hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (better known as hCG) is produced during pregnancy. It is made by cells that form the placenta, which nourishes the egg after it has been fertilized and becomes attached to the uterine wall. Levels can first be detected by a blood test about 11 days after conception and about 12 - 14 days after conception by a urine test. In general the hCG levels will double every 72 hours. The level will reach its peak in the first 8 - 11 weeks of pregnancy and then will decline and level off for the remainder of the pregnancy.

So, when you take a pregnancy test, that's what the test is looking for; hCG. And as it mentions above, hCG continues to rise (and hopefully double) every 72 hours. So far my levels went like this:

Week 4- (7/29)- 462
Week 5- (8/2)- 2000
Week 5- (8/5)- 2996
Week 6- (8/9)- 3153

So, as you can see, between weeks 4 and 5 we did ok, but then it started to slow way down. This is generally NOT a good sign. It often means that the pregnancy may not continue. HOWEVER, then you also read stuff like this online:

• In a bout 85% of normal pregnancies, the hCG level will double every 48 - 72 hours. As you get further along in pregnancy and the hCG level gets higher, the time it takes to double can increase to about every 96 hours.

• Caution must be used in making too much of hCG numbers. A normal pregnancy may have low hCG levels and result in a perfectly healthy baby. The results from an ultrasound after 5 - 6 weeks gestation are much more accurate than using hCG numbers.

So maybe we're the other 15% of normal pregnancies where the hCG level WON'T double? GAH. It's really maddening and stressful.

HOWEVER, also, as it mentioned in the 2nd bullet point; the results from the ultrasound at 5-6 weeks are more accurate. Well, it just so happens that I had an ultrasound yesterday. They were checking to make sure the blood flow to the uterus was good and to make sure the pregnancy was in the uterus. Well, the blood flow is just fine and the pregnancy is in the uterus. Also, she said size wise, it's measuring at about 5 weeks 6 days; which is where it should be. ALSO, I saw the heart beat! I couldn't hear it yet, because it's way too small, but I saw it and it was WAY cool. Which is so great, because we were SO worried on Monday night; just really sick with worry.

Anyway, my doctor is advising that we proceed with "cautious optimism". Which, sort of doesn't make me feel any better. I mean- it WAS reassuring to see the little heart fluttering (and also just pretty damn cool) but oh, hCG, why aren't you cooperating?

We'll see what my levels are tomorrow- I'm hoping for a huge jump. If you feel so inclined; send good thoughts our way!



  1. congrats on seeing the heartbeat! that's really good news. my doc said that's a really good sign. i'll continue to keep my fingers crossed for that sticky little pea!

  2. yes, Mariah, sending best best thoughts to you today!