*This is a very long, personal post. You’ve been warned.
Wednesday, July 18th, I saw two pink lines. I was pregnant. Perhaps you see where this is going already ~ past tense. I wasn’t optimistic – I had already been bleeding before I even realized I was pregnant. That’s the reason, really, that I even took the test; I was bleeding, but it was too early for my period to begin.
If you’ve read my blog for a long time (though I doubt I have any readers who have stuck around that long, considering the shift my blog has taken throughout the years…), you know we’ve dealt with infertility. We tried to conceive for two years and suffered two miscarriages before Eleanore was conceived. I’m a bit well versed, you could say, in fertility and early pregnancy. So when my beta pregnancy numbers went up from 1,00 to only 1,300 in 48 hours, I knew my chances of having a healthy pregnancy were low. The numbers need to double in 48 hours in early pregnancy. We scheduled an ultrasound, which found nothing – no sign of pregnancy anywhere, even though my numbers continued to climb. A repeat ultrasound one week later still found nothing, even though my beta was now 6,000. *Something* should show on an ultrasound by at least 1,500 with the machine my hospital was using in a “normal” pregnancy.
The doctor was now concerned it was ectopic and wanted to immediately prescribe methotrexate – a drug commonly used as a chemo drug, to stop the pregnancy from growing and prevent a tubal rupture. An ectopic pregnancy can be very serious. If it continues to grow, the mother can rupture a tube and can essentially hemorrhage and die if she can’t get to the hospital quickly enough. The biggest problem: I wouldn’t be able to nurse Adelaide any longer.
The doctor knew that I was still breastfeeding and offered a second option: have a D&C to check for any sign of a uterine pregnancy and only if none were found, continue with the methotrexate.
I am a huge proponent of “extended” nursing. The AAP recommends nursing for at least two years, as does the WHO. There are so many benefits to nursing past one year, but my biggest drive was that Adelaide wasn’t ready to wean ~ she still nursed at least five times a day, including at bed time and for her nap. I was devastated that, at the very minimum, I wouldn’t be able to nurse for three days (as is recommended by Dr. Hale) and, if I went by the advice of the oncologist my OB consulted, 6 weeks. And the chances were moderate that I could need two doses to get my beta numbers falling.
I chose option two: the D&C with hope that villi would be present to indicate a uterine pregnancy.
The D&C was Thursday and no villi were found. My beta numbers had gone up to 9,000, so I was given methotrexate. Not only did I have to mourn the loss of my pregnancy, I now had to mourn the loss of my nursing relationship with Adelaide simultaneously.
I don’t know if it’s the side effects of the methotrexate, or my still rising beta, but major nausea and exhaustion have set in. The methotrexate also stops the absorption of a lot of vitamins, including folic acid, so I’ve started drinking more herbal teas and green smoothies for nourishment. I’m using Aviva Romm’s nourishment tea- raspberry leaf, strawberry leaf, nettle, skullcap, dandelion root, ginger root and spearmint. I love that, with the exception of the skullcap, ginger root and nettle, I can pick everything else from the yard. Also making use of the dandelion greens for my green smoothies.
For the most part, Adelaide seems to be transitioning ok. It breaks my heart when she signs milk, but she seems to steer to food pretty seamlessly unless it’s nap time or bedtime. Jason’s been handling bedtime and we’ve been making use of the car for naps. I guess I’ll see how she’s doing in three days to determine how we’ll proceed. My big worry in that regard is that I find out my numbers haven’t dropped when I go in next week for another beta draw and I need another dose. I pray that isn’t the case.