Growing up, I hated roller coasters. I doubt I had ever ridden one before I articulated that position, and I felt very strongly about it. But at some point parks started building rides that included water elements in addition to drops. I love water, in all of its forms. Beaches, lakes, fountains, puddles, glasses. So I was inspired to try these rides out and, of course, I fell in love. I tiptoed my way onto other roller coasters - never the huge ones, never the upside down ones. But over the years I have developed a more nuanced position on roller coasters. I like twists and turns and small, unexpected drops. I'm not a fan of long, slow, rickety rides up giant hills followed by stomach-lurching freefalls (especially when they are made of wood. Just, no.). All in all, though, enjoying roller coasters has brought about positive change in my life - I'm no longer the one holding everyone's bags while they wait in line and then ride. I got to experience the Harry Potter Forbidden Journey 4-D ride. And I've been physically prepared for the emotional, metaphorical roller coaster that is infertility. Maybe.
As you know, my betas came back excellent - 160.7 and then 1182 or something like that. Awesome. Then came the never-ending wait for the first ultrasound. I was so hesitant and so cautious, I would not let myself get excited about it. But as the days went on and people kept telling me to be positive, I started to feel optimistic. A friend recommended a pregnancy book and I put it on hold at the library. I told a couple more people about it. I created a list of pregnancy-related questions for my OB. Then, the morning of my ultrasound I woke up to find blood all over the sheets - way beyond spotting - and in the shower a large clot came out. It was over. My heart and my soul flew down a rickety wooden roller coaster hill.
At the ultrasound the doctor found a gestational sac, but could not see a yolk sac or an embryo inside it. That meant either a) it was too early to see anything, b) I was losing the pregnancy, or c) I had an ectopic pregnancy (yolk sac developing outside the uterus, such as in the fallopian tubes). I took a couple more beta tests over the weekend and tried not to spend every waking moment thinking about it. I spent hours and hours on my taxes. Watched old episodes of Veronica Mars and NCIS. Went for a short, easy hike. My body inched up the next giant, rickety wooden roller coaster hill.
Monday came around and I had an ultrasound in radiology, who have better equipment to visualize things like this. (p.s. why on earth do OBs get crappy equipment??? Aren't all expecting parents anxious messes???). I was worried the radiologist would refuse to tell me anything since "they aren't the doctor," but mine was cheerful and open, and narrated the whole thing. Spoiler alert, she found a yolk sac! She thought she might be able to see a heartbeat, but I couldn't. Turns out this was one of those surprise tiny falls after a giant hill, the kind that are scary but fun.
Finally, on Wednesday, I had a follow-up appointment with the doctor. He came in all solemn and serious, explaining statistics regarding pregnancies "threatening miscarriage" like mine. But it turns out it was just like a sitcom - he switched gears in a snap to say he saw everything the radiologist saw, and we'd check again right then just to see if anything had changed! Within seconds he found not only a gestational sac and a yolk sac, but an embryo and.........a heartbeat.
Whhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhoooooooooofffffffffffffffffffffffffffff. (That was my entire body sighing and screaming at the same time.) For that moment (and I know it is for this moment only), the roller coaster decelerated, floating the rest of the way on lightly bobbing water.