12/08/2005

Beta, schmeta!

In case anyone is particularly concerned about my beta results, let me just say that you and I will be waiting awhile. Say, a week or so. Maybe. Perhaps there will be no beta, just a simple "Yes, for now you are pregnant." or "No, it's over before it ever really began." Who knows? The healthcare system here is not so bothered about women like me, and they make the assumption that two lines equal a healthy baby nine months later. Oh, if such fairy tales were true...

The story is this - my clinic is in London, which is about 2 hours from me. In order to get to the clinic, I need to take a day off work, drive to a place outside London, park, take a train, then take the Tube. After my transfer the clinic gave me a form which clearly ticks the box marked "Beta HCG (Blood)". The assumption was that all of their patients must live in London, and hence it must be simple for them to have blood drawn and analysed. I stupidly believed that this would be easily obtained from my local hospital, which, thanks to an email to WHYBAML, I learned only does urine tests. I do not need this, as I have already peed on four of my own.

Oh, you can get a standard blood test. You just have to call your GP, have them write a form consenting for your blood to be let, and then you're good to go. Or are you? The blood may be taken, but I am not entirely sure if they give you an actual beta number. If they do, it takes about a week if not more to get it. I spoke to my GP at great length today, trying to maintain composure whilst insisting that I get this test done. She was sympathetic and asked me to go in tomorrow to have some blood taken, and I believe the insinuation was that I would come out of it all with a beta. Maybe. In a week. Or two.

I don't want this to turn into a flame war on the UK health care system. Aside from this, I have no complaints. We never had to pay $500 here for the privilege of waiting in the ER for 4 hours and an aspirin as we have in the States. I can go to the doctor here if I'm sick without worrying how I'm going to come up with the $200-$250 it would cost back home without insurance. Part of me thinks that perhaps not coddling patients so much is a good thing. After all, don't all these betas just cause people more worry?

Regardless of how long this takes, I'm relieved to have it sorted. Last night I was agonising over it, debating who I would call and how I could find out if they even do betas here. This morning The Dude called me at work to talk about it and I started crying at my desk. I tried to push all of my hair into my face to disguise the sobbing, but I think the incessant sniffling and choked "yeah, I'll be fine"-type things I was muttering to The Dude gave it away to my co-workers. After I hung up the phone I ran down the hallway to the bathroom, locked myself in a stall and cried for 15 minutes. Tonight I realised that this is the first time I have cried at work during all of this infertility stuff, and it's when things *might* finally be looking up! I didn't cry after all of the negative tests. I didn't cry when I was on some severe mood-altering shit during my IUIs. Yet here I am with potential good news for once and what do I do but break down at work. Leave it to me to do it the wrong way round.

On a somewhat related note, I learned that husbands cannot be trusted to purchase pregnancy tests. After the distress pregnancy test number 2 caused with its I'm-kinda-there-but-kinda-not-just-to-fuck-with-your-head second line, I sent The Dude out to get more for me to pee on. He came back with these completely antiquated tests straight out of the early 20th century, or else left over from some high school chemistry lab in the 1950s. I don't know if any of you connoisseurs are familiar with these fossils, but they are composed of a little stick, like litmus paper, which you dip into a plastic container of your urine. You have to leave the little litmus thing in the container (but only up the the line!!) for up to 10 minutes. Do not let the litmus slide into the urine and past the line, because well...who knows what will happen then. I dread to think. You might get four lines, and wouldn't that be even more baffling?

Husbands can, however, surprise you. They may not be able to pick out the right pregnancy test to calm your frazzled nerves, but they are occasionally capable of having moments when it is realised how invested he is in all of this too. The Dude spent some of his drive to work yesterday working out the probability that all four tests could be wrong. I'm not talking a basic calculation taking into account the accuracy rates of the tests, but a full-on, brain-busting precise measurement of how unlikely it would be that all of them are inaccurate. Needless to say it's a large number. I can't count higher than 100, so I won't go in to details. Now I'm just waiting for the detailed, colour-coded chart to be drawn up.

15 comments:

Alexa said...

Awww...I heart The Dude.
I have never heard of a pee-test you leave in the pee for 10 minutes. You brits are weird--first no beta, then that?
And wouldn't a 2ww for a beta kind of defeat the purpose, since the point is doubling time? By the time you got the results you would be practically ready for an ultrasound.
But at least you would be spared the mad googling of the numbers...
And The Dude is right: 4 peesticks don't lie. You, my friend, are pregnant!

Lut C. said...

I don't think its that surprising that your emotions are getting the better of you now. You're so close, you can almost touch it. Almost. But it still needs to materialise, ASAP!

Hang in there.

Manuela said...

Oh! I so get what you are saying... I usually hold it together until there's light at the end of the tunnel... and then... if I let down my guard just a little... it's a full-on river of tears.

And re the beta thing? GAH! I'd be going on-line trying to figure out how to draw my own blood and do my own analysis.

elle said...

Wow, frustration+exhilaration =tears. (Maybe The Dude should check my math). You know, it could be fine, no betas. Really, they don't tell you too much. Some can be great and then still lose the pregnancy. So, there, a silver lining. I am so damn happy for you!!

Lori said...

Yikes - all that hassle for a beta! Sorry to hear the frustration got the better of you and led to tears at work. Don't you know - pregnant women are so emotional!?!
Congratulations again!

cat said...

Oh Hooray for your good news... Pregger indeed. I will hope for the very best for you and the Dude regardless of what they will and will not tell you.

*fingers crossed*

Cass said...

So, do you at least get to schedule an ultrasound? Because that might take the edge off. (Of course, the waiting is killer, but still...)

thalia said...

Pru, since your clinic is required by the HFEA to report the result of your cycle using a beta can't you get them involved in sorting out a way for you to get the test done? Or did you try that already?

And alexa, most UK clinics don't do repeat betas as they don't think it helps. The do one beta, then an ultrasound at 7-8 weeks! Then they release you. The only time they do a repeat is if the original results are ambiguous.

In any case pru, you are definitely pregnant - beta or no beta!

Dooneybug said...

Man, I hope you get that beta soon!

Four tests huh? Woo-hoo!!

Molly said...

You are good and knocked up, friend. The Dude should know, what with all of his brains.

So, since you're not going to be able to watch your betas double, when do you get your ultrasound?

Anonymous said...

argh! a cliff hanger!

Phew, your sticks were all positive so now I can stop gnashing my teeth and obsessively refreshing ;)

Congrats!

Emily

Georgia said...

Yeah, I do that too, hold it together until I think maybe I don't have to hold it together anymore b/c, you know, THINGS ARE LOOKIN GOOD. And then I'm a raw bundle of emotions, an utter mess.
Hang in there, as you are, as they say, Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise.
xo

K said...

Well, I've just caught up, but here's a calm congratulations. I'll be anxiously awaiting your beta~

mm said...

They want you to wait a friggin week?! I'm going insane bc I have to wait a half an hour for my pizza to be delivered... I can't imagine what you're going through.

Em said...

I have pretty much enough stuff for the first six-8 weeks of baby's life thanks to my mum and shopping at the sales in Australia!