Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Scenes from the ER

The hospital ran the usual barrage of tests that one has done in these situations; blood work*, sonogram, something with a speculum (I really don't know about that one) . Over the past year, I have become all too familiar with these tests, but they're new to Don and he doesn't always know how to interpret the data.

When we were in the ultrasound room, the hCG results came back at 2.9. That, (for anyone like Don out there), is essentially nil but not quite: the chemical's presence at all was just enough to show that I had been pregnant, but low enough to show that the entire miscarriage was basically over. The ultrasound technician** didn't bother to explain the numbers, rightly assuming that I would understand them. Later, Don asked me what a normal amount would be.


"If this were a healthy pregnancy? Should have been in the thousands. It rises exponentially at this stage, and falls the same way at the end. Or did you mean when not pregnant? Then it would always be zero."

"How much is enough to make a positive pregnancy test, then?"

"Depends on the test, 25 to 50 maybe, for an over-the-counter home test. I took one a few days ago, you know, when I was freaking out over not having any symptoms, just to see the test change. But why?"

"Just wondering. Is there anything else that could make it turn besides pregnancy?"

"A few kinds of cancer. Nothing common."

"Oh. I just thought maybe all the vegetables you've been eating lately... beets and things... vitamins... maybe messed with your body chemistry or something and fooled the test."


Don's version of the home pregnancy test: "Warning! Do not take with veggies, as could trigger a false positive! Avoid beets and broccoli particularly!"

Later the doctor confirmed something as being a "product of conception" (lovely term, though, isn't it?), thereby ending Don's dark fear that we'd somehow manifested the entire fantasy.

*I have excellent veins for giving blood. Just perfect, like I should be a practice dummy for new interns. Nurses always comment on the ease of my veins and it makes me proud, even though it's not exactly a skill.

**The ultrasound technician also commented on the very backward-tilted position of my uterus. Other medical personnel have mentioned this as well, and I wonder whether it could be contributing to our problems. She said she didn't think so, that it might make it harder to conceive but not affect a pregnancy already started-- but she said it in a but-I'm-just-the-ultrasound-tech kind of way.

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