On my 4th wedding anniversary last week I wrote about how Mac and I spent our 3rd anniversary- frightened I may have been losing a much wanted pregnancy.
Well, as I was writing that post, an article was published in the British Medical Journal. I came across it on Thursday, looking for citations to back up the information I was including in the post. It shook me, but I didn’t have time to read it until today, and I don’t link to any information that I haven’t read for myself.
Well, I read it today. It made me realize just how close we came to losing that baby, our Nemo who, as the article would suggest, really beat the odds to be born. So scary.
The article, “Accuracy of single progesterone test to predict early pregnancy outcome in women with pain or bleeding: meta-analysis of cohort studies” by Verhaegen et al looked at the data compiled by 26 previous studies of women who were less than 14 weeks pregnant and experiencing abdominal pain or bleeding.
This article does a pretty good job of reviewing the data in laymen’s terms if you would like to know.
The finding that made me catch my breath was that in women with progesterone levels below 10ng/ml, the probability of the pregnancy being non-viable was 96.8%. That meant only 3.2% of pregnancies with that low of a progesterone level were viable.
If you remember what I wrote last week, when my progesterone levels were checked at 7 weeks, it was only 6ng/ml. (Even after the supplementation with Prometrium, the highest my levels ever got were 12ng/ml.) At that point I had only a 3.2% chance of a happy ending.
I’m glad this study wasn’t out there for me to find when I was going through that. As it was, at that time, the worry made me feel so uncertain.
I’m also glad that the ultrasound technician was as stellar as she was. I’m glad she didn’t give up after the first pass when she saw no heartbeat and an embryo measuring weeks behind where it should have been. I’m glad that she noticed my tipped uterus, that she persisted, tried something different, and managed to detect a heartbeat and get measurements that reassured us (we even got a picture, see below). If she hadn’t been as diligent as she was, Mac and I would have left the office with news that I was losing the pregnancy- low progesterone, embryo measuring small, no heartbeat- that would have been the conclusion.
Unlike with Mabel, we didn’t ‘go public’ with news we were expecting Nemo until just before Thanksgiving- at which point I was already 15 weeks pregnant. I didn’t tell anyone at work until I was over 17 weeks along. Most parents-to-be can’t wait to shout it from the rooftops that they are expecting. With Mabel, I felt nervous announcing, like we might jinx ourselves. With Nemo, knowing that things had been complicated or tenuous or whatever they were, made Mac and I even more reluctant. Even once we did announce, it was only on Facebook- not the video we sent out via email and posted on Facebook to announce Mabel’s impending arrival. The picture above- we didn’t share it with anyone (until today).
At one point, once things had settled down and the pregnancy was progressing normally, the midwife actually said to me, “I hope you don’t feel like there’s a cloud over this pregnancy.”
She hit the nail right on the head. I did feel like there was a pall over me and Nemo, and I think Mac felt it too. The uncertain start gave me a worry that was hard to shake.
If I had gotten that first phone call from the midwife’s office telling me my progesterone was only 6ng/ml and I’d found the Verhaegen study, I would have been certain things would end badly. I’m glad it wasn’t out there back then.
I also hope that women who find this post by doing the same Google search I did last September find some answers and some hope.