There’s a concept in child development called permanence, where the child learns that just because mommy has left the room doesn’t mean she ceases to exist. Mommy still exists. She’s just doing it somewhere else for a while.
Sometimes it takes a few times of mommy leaving and then reappearing, and leaving and then reappearing to understand the concept. And then sometimes, for people like me, it can take a liftetime to get. This pregnancy has put my sense of permanence to the test. In the absence of constant reassurance that I’m pregnant, I seem to keep falling un-pregnant. It would be good if I could walk around with an ultrasound monitor, like people in the hospital wheel around an I-V, that showed a live image of my fetal sac and fetus. That way, whenever I feared I wasn’t pregnant anymore, I could simply consult the monitor and “Okay. It’s still there.”
Cornell probably has the closest thing to wheeling around an ultrasound monitor: the twice-weekly blood test. Two times a week, I go to Quest or to Cornell’s offices to get blood drawn so they can test my hCG, estrogen and progesterone levels. So long as those numbers are in range — hCG should continue to rise and progesterone should be about 9 to 47 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) in early pregnancy — I can kick back and know I’m still pregnant. At my last test on Thursday, my hCG was about 14,000. I had another test this morning, and I just received my results: my hCG was a whopping 53,000! In a word, I’m still pregnant —until tomorrow, when I begin to doubt it again.