Tag Archives: beta hcg

Good news!

Oh man what a day.

Well I went to see my GP at 1.40 and she immediately got on the phone with EPU to ask them to see them. They refused! Their response was wait and see. My GP started to argue with them that given my history and the fact I was rupturing at 5+2 last time it was really inappropriate to not at the very least perform a beta hcg test. She then told them she was going to send me up anyway.

I got out of her office and burst into tears. Luckily my sister works at my GP’s surgery so she was on hand to give me hugs and reassurance. She then got out of work early and came with me to the hospital.

They were pretty dismissive when I got there and said they were unlikely to see anything on a scan but they would do an urgent beta and based on the result of that, they might perform a scan. The SHO then decided to do a scan anyway while we were waiting. She couldn’t see anything on it but said it was likely that I was too early. We waited around for an hour and half for the beta to come back. The reg then appeared and said it was high, very high, at 4000 so he would do a repeat scan and expected to see something. If he said if he didn’t see anything with numbers that high I would have to stay in and go for another laparoscopy.


So it was time for another transvaginal ultrasound. Quite apart from the terror I felt at the prospect of what they would or wouldn’t find I just kept thinking, oh gawd. I haven’t shaved my legs in a week.

The great news is he immediately located the sac and fetal pole in my uterus!!!! I could have kissed him. He insists with hcg that high I must be at least six weeks but I am 100% certain on when I ovulated. He wants me to come back for a repeat scan next Friday and hopefully we will see a heartbeat then. He thinks the pain is probably muscular, and possibly coming from my laparoscopy scar (one of the ports is on my right side, pretty much exactly where my right tube is so could logically account for the pain.

I am so relieved I can’t even put it into words. I have been a total mess all day. I really don’t think i have ever felt terror like it, to hear this isn’t another ectopic is just the best.

Big fat PHEW.

I cheated a little

If you are a hardcore ttc-er you are without doubt familiar with the website http://www.peeonastick.com

It’s a veritable mine of useful information regarding all things pregnancy test related. with tables of test sensitivity by brand, explanations of why you can’t reuse a test, why digital tests all have 2 lines (if you break them open), why you shouldn’t break tests open, the dangers of allowing your OPK and HPT to touch and, of course, using an OPK as a HPT.

See it turns out that the only thing differentiating lutinising hormone and human chorionic gonadotrophin is a beta subunit (basically a secondary protein structure) found on the end of the hcg molecule. It’s this subunit that a HPT is specific for (and why a pregnancy blood test is referred to as a “beta” or “beta hcg” count). An OPK doesn’t differentiate between the two so it will detect either LH or HCG, so theoretically you can use it as a pregnancy test. It’s worth noting though that OPKs are not as sensitive as HPTs so you’d likely get a positive on a HPT before you would on an OPK AND there is no way to know which hormone it is being detected.

Bearing all that in mind….

I may have pee’d on some OPKs. Technically that’s not breaking my promise not to take a pregnancy test before Sunday. Ooooo I wonder what this means?

Lucky 132?

So… yesterday I was back at the hospital again. I find it rather disconcerting that there are doctors around now who are much younger than I am. I’m not old, I’m young(ish), well young enough that I still look to other people for authority and call my parents “Mammy” and “Daddy.” I find it hard to take life or death medical opinions from someone who looks like they probably still shop in Miss Selfridge and quite enjoys Hollyoaks. I’m sure she’s studied very hard and knows what she’s doing and by the very fact that she attended medical school and therefore got a very good grade in chemistry (which I loved but frankly sucked at) she is more than likely much smarter than me, but still, she looked like she probably only started menstruating a week ago. Luckily she was very capable of taking a blood sample.

I managed to have a chat with a consultant while I was there too. He believed one of three things was happening A. I’m very early pregnant, B.  I’m having a miscarriage or C. It’s ectopic. He seemed a bit baffled by the whole situation to be honest. I don’t think he expected to see the hormone levels rise on Saturday. He looked back over my notes and at the print out from the scan they’d done last Thursday. Then he told me what they hadn’t mentioned at all last week, that my endometrium was quite thin. I had saw them measure it and I had wanted to ask what the result was and what exactly that meant, but I tend to go a bit chicken in the face of doctors and find it hard to ask questions. I do remember staring at the screen after they left the cubicle to let me get dressed last Thursday, and I think the number on the screen was 5 or 6mm. He told me that if the beta hcg levels had doubled they’d treat it as a normal on-going pregnancy and would want to see me again in about a week’s time for another ultrasound or if they only rose a little I’d need to return to hospital that night for another scan and to discuss “surgical options.”

I went home and spent a couple of agonising hours waiting for the phone to ring. About half seven I couldn’t take it any more and called them. The nurse who answered the phone put me on hold for about five minutes or a couple of hours, the passage of time was a bit weird and vague, it certainly felt like a couple of hours. Then she came back, asked me some more questions and put me on hold again. Finally she came back and I got the answer, the levels have risen to 132… so not exactly doubled but risen by more than 60% so the consultant was happy to leave me for now and scan me again next Tuesday.

I’m not sure how I feel. I’m relieved it doesn’t look like an ectopic but I still don’t feel brave enough to consider myself pregnant, okay today I am pregnant (I think), but will I be tomorrow? or next week? I am utterly confused by the situation. I’m running all sorts of crazy scenarios through my head to explain why the levels aren’t adding up with the 24 dpo that I think I am. Maybe I was wrong on the charting, maybe I conceived a lot later than I think, maybe I conceived twins and lost one of them (that would explain early result and then bleeding and very low levels), maybe I conceived, miscarried and conceived again all in the space of about a fortnight, maybe there is some truth in the notion that excess hcg can spill over into breastmilk, maybe there’s a rip in the space time continuum centred on my uterus. Okay… these scenarios are getting outlandish but I am that baffled by what is going on, or not.

I have been fairly good in restraining myself from daily pee stick dunking, admittedly I did do one yesterday before going to the hospital



though I’m not sure why I did it when it couldn’t actually tell me anything more than the hospital test. Oh and I’m still spotting.

I suspect this is going to be an extremely long week.


The Rollercoaster

As much as I think Ronan Keaton is an insufferable gobshite with a speech impediment, he was quite accurate when he sang “life is a rollercoaster.”

The last couple of days have been a rollercoaster, but of the kind where it breaks down half way through the loop and you’re left suspended in mid air with everything falling out of your pockets.

I went back to the gynae ward on Saturday and sat in the waiting area feeling thoroughly sick with nerves. Eventually a nurse came out and handed me one of those little white universal containers, asked me for a urine sample and told me that if the dip test was negative they wouldn’t do a repeat blood test. I nearly burst into tears. I was desperate to know what the beta number was, even if it had plummeted, and I wasn’t expecting a urine test so I’d been knocking gallons of tea into me all morning and had used the loo just before leaving for the hospital. I was certain that urine test would be negative and I’d be sent home without getting the answer I wanted.

It seemed like forever before she reappeared and told me that the test was faintly positive so they were going to do the blood test after all. I promptly burst into tears at that point.

I had a long wait back home before I could ring for the results but when I finally did call what they told me was completely unexpected.

The level had almost doubled from 40 to 79.

I promptly burst into tears again.

The little bit of hope flickered up in me and started to burn bright.

Then the spotting returned and kicked itself up a notch to full on bleeding.

I spent most of yesterday in bed because trying to interact with other human beings set off the whole hysterical crying thing again. When I started to pass small clots last night I resigned myself once again to being over.

Then the spotting stopped again.

Then started again.

It’s like the worst sort of lather, rinse, repeat. I can’t take the stress of this at all. One minute my hopes are high and the next they’re in the gutter.

This afternoon I have to return to the hospital again for another beta hcg count. I honestly don’t know what to expect. Will the levels have risen? fallen? I have this horrible niggling pain in my side too that’s having me endlessly googling “ectopic pregnancy.”

I’m making good progress on the knitting though.


Arse Biscuits

That’s a polite way of saying it hasn’t been a very good day. You may think it’s not that polite, but believe me, it’s way more polite than the string of expletives that I want write.

Actually it’s been such a bad day I feel I am fully justified in quoting Stephen Fry’s “The Liar” –

damn, shit, bollocks and buggery fuck.”

I was trying with the PMA, I really was. I ordered jelly rolls to start making a cot quilt, I started knitting a blanket (no mean feat because I have minimal knitting skills), I even wrote PMA in huge letters on our family notice board to remind me to stop being such a merchant of doom.

Last night I started spotting. I assumed the worst and cried myself to sleep. I had nightmares, woke up, did another test. It was positive, darker than they had been but still not as dark as the control line, and the spotting seemed to have stopped.

I relaxed a bit, went back to bed, slept (badly) and woke up in the morning again to more spotting, now with added cramping.

I had an appointment to see my GP so I went along and had a chat with her.  She phoned the gynae ward at our local hospital and they agreed to see me this afternoon.

The spotting continued.

When I got to the gynae ward they did an internal ultrasound scan and found nothing. That’s not so bad in itself, I’m 4+4 or 4+5 at the most, I think I would have been very lucky to even see a gestational sac. They repeated the urine test and it was a faint positive. My heart just sank at that, at 19 DPO I should be having blaring positives. I should have been having blaring positives for days. They decided to order a beta HCG test and now I’m sitting here waiting for the result, depending on what it is I have to return on Saturday for another blood test.

I’m not feeling terribly optimistic.

Right now I’m in a sort of calm, resigned place. I don’t know if this is the right place to be. I don’t know if I should be doggedly hopeful in the face of this, but if I get my hopes up will it be all the worse if they come crashing down around my ears?

I hate the thought of starting over. I hate to think of all the extra worry I’ll face.

I know one hcg count in itself means very little, it’s the doubling time that’s important, but I dread calling tonight.

I should have just bought a big Toblerone….

Well the verdict is in.

Urine – negative.

Beta HCG – negative.

I asked what the level was. 1-5 is considered not pregnant, 5-20 is considered possible pregnant, re-test, above 25 is pregnant.

My level? <1.

So I can safely conclude that the pound shops tests were shite and their manufacturers are bastards.

I have a bit of rage going on about the whole thing, not least because I texted my hubby to tell him the news and that I was quite upset and he responded with “I think I have a mouth ulcer, it’s really sore. Do we have any bonjela at home?”

So I am big fat back to square one and even more annoyed with myself because I haven’t taken my temperature or any of the agnus castus or evening primrose oil or anything (apart from folic acid) for the last few days.

I feel like a proper fool.

I’m really beginning to think that maybe I do need to wean my daughter, or at least drastically cut back on the amount that she is feeding. We night weaned a while ago but it has occurred to me that she’s nursing maybe as much as 15 times a day aside from that. It seems like every time my ass hits a seat she’s clambering on to my knee to demand “eeenuff!” (It’s my belief that she calls it this because I’ll sometimes break the latch, sit her down and say you’ve had enough). The sessions don’t last very long, maybe just a couple of minutes but still, we can fit six or seven of them in before lunch.

I don’t really know how to break the habit. I’ve tried offering her alternatives like juice or fruit (we even tried hot chocolate once) but all I get is a stern “no” and then further demands for “enuff”. I think perhaps I may just have to never sit down in front of her for a fortnight or so. Failing that maybe I could run away for a week and hope she forgets about it in the meantime.

I am so upset. I did have my hopes up. I did start quietly making little baby plans in my head. I liked sitting with my husband a couple of nights ago and chatting about the practicalities of having a new baby, about names we liked, about how we’d stay team yellow this time or whether or not I’d have my third home birth or go the new midwifery unit near by.

It’s shitty to have all that taken away and to still be no closer to having it. I’m a little scared that I will never have it again.

I could do with a big toblerone about now.


TTC makes babies – also craziness

I went to my doctor yesterday and had a chat about everything that has been going on the last few days. It was an odd experience. It was the same doctor that I saw last time but a totally different experience. She asked me when I had my last period and I told her “December…. 2008.” She seemed very surprised and asked why that was, so I explained about the intervening pregnancy and the 21 months of breastfeeding that followed. I thought she knew that, I mean we had a chat about it all last time I was there. She then told me I’d have to wean my youngest if I was pregnant because I couldn’t tandem feed, though at my last appointment she had asked me if I’d thought about tandem feeding. Odd.

Anyway she agreed to do a beta HCG blood test and I am now patiently waiting for the results.

I am not holding out much hope. I did more tests this morning and they are negative. This time it was a tesco test (I believe they are 25 mIu) and then a First Response (which I believe are 40 mIu). Both negative. I’d take photos but my son threw my camera across the kitchen yesterday and it’s quite possibly beyond repair. Anyway, I’m not sure that taking a photo would help as I’d only spend 20 minutes zooming in and inverting the colours and giving myself line eyes. I expect that the beta hcg test is going to be negative. Of course I hope that it isn’t, but I suspect that it will be.

The teeny part of me that is still hopeful has been inventing all sorts of fantasies where it turns out that I am pregnant. It’s shouting at me and waving it’s arms and saying “you’ve been feeling sick!” (have I? it could be entirely psychosomatic), “you’ve been very congested! and even had a nose bleed, that never happens!” (true progesterone can constrict or is it dilate??? the blood vessels in the nasal passages making you feel all stuffed up) “you’ve had cramping!” (maybe I just need more fibre?) “you’ve been so tired lately!” (well of course I’ve been tired. I’ve been cleaning every nook and cranny of my house every day for almost 4 weeks now, and caring for 2 toddlers, a 9 year old and occasionally a 7 year old nephew, and that’s not even counting the mental exhaustion from taking tests, staring at tests, googling things about tests, posting on forums about tests and emailing my best friend photos of tests).

The final thing my irrational brain is throwing up is “what if the pound shop tests were super, super sensitive? like 6 mIU, and even then if it’d doubled you’d only have 12 mIU, or if they were 10 mIu, it would only have doubled to 20 and still be below the 25 mIU of all those other tests you bought….”


I still think it was the asparagus you know.

I actually googled “can asparagus cause a false positive?”

I found some forums where people said “yes! yes! it can!”

I will report back later on the beta hcg results but in the meantime my scientific mind is just dying to know. I’m going to buy some more asparagus and some more of those pound shop tests and see what happens.

A girl needs a hobby!