Beta Hell

Since Christmas is a holiday built around celebrating a birth, you think there would be a million ways an infertile lady could lose it at various points during the holiday season. It’s true, losing it is entirely a possibility for me, but I try to focus on celebrating the life of Jesus Christ and what he stood for instead of an incredibly lucky virgin who miraculously managed to not only maintain a successful pregnancy, but actually give birth. At least that is what I am trying to do this year. Or better yet, instead of Luke 2, I have been doing much more reading of Luke 1, and Elisabeth and Zacharias, because that is more something that is relatable to me this year. They were the parents of John the Baptist (Elisabeth was Mary’s cousin), but had lived to be “advanced” in years, and hadn’t had kids. So I am thinking maybe mid to late thirties too? In spite of their infertility, I love how Luke makes it clear that it wasn’t their fault they couldn’t have kids, “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” And then after the miraculous conception takes place, Elisabeth proclaims, “Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.” She makes it clear that she wasn’t shamed before God to not bear children, it was only men who treated her differently, and she is pleased to have a reprieve from that. And although we don’t live in the Holy Land in Roman times, sometimes, it doesn’t feel like much has changed that way, at least in the context of going to church in some Mormon wards (including mine). People can sometimes try to make the childless feel shamed, but this story makes it clear, it isn’t our fault. God doesn’t see is in terms of our empty or full wombs. Every woman should be viewed as something more than that.

Last Monday, I got back from the trip with my Mom and had a frozen embryo transfer. My body has felt differently this time around. I didn’t think it worked and so when I went in yesterday for my pregnancy test, I was resigned and sad. The night before the test, I prayed so hard that if I could have one miracle in my life, it would be that I would go in the next day and have a test that would tell me I was pregnant. It turned out my beta hCG came back at a 26. That is pretty low for a first beta test, (considering my last one was 140 the first time, and with my first pregnancy that went nowhere, it was 62). Over 25 is considered “pregnant”, so in technical terms, I am pregnant (maybe I should have been more specific the night before in my prayer), but I know that it might mean that I am not pregnant for very long again. I go back tomorrow for a follow-up beta to see how things are going. If the number rises enough, then perhaps still things will be okay. The doctor I spoke with said he has seen good, viable pregnancies come when the first beta number was that low (a single beta number can’t tell you anything, he said), so it is possible. I am trying to be optimistic. It is very hard.

So I am going to ask for something this year that I never have before. If you are reading this blog anytime in the next 24 hours from when I am writing this, and you believe in a higher power, would you please pray for me? Would you please pray that I might have a Christmas miracle? I have never asked anyone else to pray for me before. I don’t view myself as being entitled to anything special, and I don’t like asking for things for myself, but just this once, I am going to.

David had to be out-of-town this week for work, and Sarah is away for the holidays, so my kind sister Melissa drove down from Virginia Beach with her two children to give me my progesterone shots the past two nights (this now means that progesterone shots have been given to me by everyone in my immediate family except my Dad, but it is possible his turn may come too). I cannot tell you how much better the past two days have been because they were here. I would have been a mess without David here, but Melissa was there for me, and Phoebe and Harry distracted me with their fun antics. Last night, I took Harry to his first Carolina basketball game! That alone would have been sad without him, because Carolina ended up losing to Texas, but it was just so fun with him, I didn’t focus on the fact North Carolina players other than Marcus Paige cannot make free throws this year.

Harry and Leslie

Unfortunately, Harry got a little too much excitement at the game and ate too much popcorn, and got sick last night. I felt terrible because Melissa had to wake up early to drive back to Virginia Beach to get back in time for his preschool Christmas program (and their daddy comes home from sea today too!). I really hope he is okay now, and I really can’t say enough how lucky I am to have them in my family. Even if this doesn’t work once again, I feel pretty lucky that although my family may be small, they are pretty much the best.

In my next post, I will get back to recapping my trip with my Mom.

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