Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Statistics and Superstitions

We are slowly coming down from the high of finding out we are pregnant.  We feel so lucky, but scared at the same time.  So much can still go wrong.  Every time I think about finally being pregnant, I feel my emotions are like a kite and a gust of wind has just blown it higher, twisting and turning in the sky.  I'm desperately trying to reel the string back in, because we know the first trimester is a very critical time period, particularly these early weeks. 

We had a nice strong beta HCG number, for which I am so thankful.  And then we found out there is a pregnancy sac.  Once again we are lucky.  Maybe the tables have turned and we'll continue to be lucky!  Now we have to wait a week for the ultrasound scan to check for the heartbeat.  From my online research, chance of miscarriage in the first 4-5 weeks until a gestational sac is confirmed is about 12-15%.  Once a heartbeat is detected, the risk of miscarriage goes down to about 9% at 6 weeks, 4% at 7 weeks, 1.5% at 8 weeks, 0.5% at 9 weeks.  Those statistics are very specific and compelling; but being a finance and numbers guy, I know statistics are just a way of presenting data based on the story being told.   Basically, after the baby passes the first trimester, chances of miscarriage go down dramatically.  This is why conventional wisdom is to wait until after the first trimester before letting people know you are pregnant.

It's so hard waiting and not sharing our journey with any close friends or family.  We decided not to tell them early on, to spare them the worry with each attempt, the heartbreak of each failure; and to spare ourselves having to tell everyone each time that it didn't work and avoiding their well-meaning but sometimes painful condolences or awkward conversations.  Only those who have endured infertility or engaged in surrogacy know what it's truly like. 

I want to tell my parents so badly, especially my dad.  A week ago Sunday, the whole family (my brother and sister and their families) was at my parents' house for Easter.  About an hour after dinner, my dad suddenly became ill.  He was pale and cold, trembling and unsteady on his feet.  He's 77 and has a history of poor health, exacerbated by not taking the best care of himself, although the rest of the family implores him to do so.  My sister-in-law is a nurse and quickly came to his aid.  His blood pressure was high, but we couldn't find much else wrong with him.  As his condition didn't seem to be improving, we decided to err on the side of caution and take him to the hospital.  They ran an EKG and further tests on him; he seemed to improve once they told him the results did not indicate anything serious was wrong.  They concluded that he was probably dehydrated and had a panic or anxiety attack when he began to feel out of sorts.  It was a very scary episode, but my dad was released, and with some rest and fluids was feeling back to normal a day or so later.

Now, in certain cultures it is bad luck to announce a pregnancy before the first trimester is over.  But I really want to tell my dad, to give him something to look forward to, so that possibly, possibly, he will start taking better care of himself to see the birth of another grandchild.  Travis is also eager to start spreading the news.  I feel like such a jerk and wet blanket, dampening his enthusiasm about the pregnancy because I'm so worried that something could go still go wrong because we were too happy, too soon. 

I'm not normally superstitious, but when we have so much riding on this final attempt, why take any chances?  I've been checking myself, trying not to plan so that we don't tempt fate, don't jinx or bring bad luck upon ourselves.  While we were in India, we met another blogger who gave us an Indian coin for good luck.  It was the sweetest gesture, but did it work?  Our first four attempts would suggest otherwise, but our fifth attempt worked, so....?

We'll hold on to the Indian coin for sentimental reasons.  And who knows, for whatever lucky powers it may still confer.

Are you superstitious?  When did (or would) you tell your family and friends?


  1. I'm so happy for you guys. Not being pregnant yet, I can't advise you what we did. But I empathize with the desire to tell the whole world. But I'm superstitious, so my gut instinct is to wait until 1st trimester is over. But like I said, we're not pregnant yet, so who knows what we'll do once it happens. In the meantime, enjoy every second of the waiting and the suspense. So exciting!

  2. We told all of our close friends right away. Then we slowly told our other friends. We waited until about 9 weeks to tell our family. It gave them time to get over the shock before we went for a summer visit. Timing is everything.

    Chad - Justoneoutofsevenbillion.blogspot.com

  3. Hey guys,

    You post is exactly what we went through and even at 25 weeks are still discussing how wide spread we want to communicate our most exciting news ever.

    We told only immediate family and 3 close friends of our plan to start our family, and they also knew when the first hcg was for our first attempt. As we got a negative, it was hard to tell everyone and explain what happened (from total excitement to plain reality). For the 2nd and 3rd FET we told no one. We instead told them that we would proceed later. After we got a positive we told our immediate family. We are planning to make it more public (to those that are part of our life) in the next 5 weeks. This whole journey is so much more exciting with the encouragement and support of my family especially my parents. My dad has medical issues and this has given him such a great positive energy to look forward to, also I have never been close to my older sister but this has brought us a lot closer.

    As for work colleagues we have told no one. Both Tim ans I own our own business and the rumors about our first trip to India were enough to decide that it was not worth sharing this news at this point. Sure they will find out eventually. (Baby seat in car, or baby in pram) might be a give away.

    As for Facebook, I deleted it before I started this journey. I felt it to be to invasive and my addiction would have meant that this would never have been a secret. There are so many people I want to sit and share our news but I'm sure the time will be right when it's right, and personally those in our life that are important already know

    Best of luck and I look forward to hearing you continued happy journey..

    Chris and Tim

  4. I'm not superstitious but I didn't want people feeling sorry for me or asking me how I was if I lost the baby. I'm also quite a private person in general. Because of my connections in surrogacy, I know many more negative (e.g., still-birth) than positive outcomes so I waited a long time before telling anyone around minus the few close people in my life.

    There are two school of thoughts - if you feel like you need the support if baby was lost, they say tell your friends and family because they are your support network. If you don't need the support, there's less of a need to advise people - so up to you. For me, when I lost my SCI baby, I only had told a handful because I'm the type of person to deal with my own emotions.

    After saying all that, do what you feel is best for you and what you feel is in your heart. You can't go wrong with that! So happy for you guys!

  5. Hmm...Being someone who has a healthcare background and deals with stats the whole day long, and being someone who went through so much of extreme events, I can chip in my 2 cents on stats and supertition.

    You can google the probability % of having a genetically perfect baby with TOF with APVS, then google the % of getting placenta increta with no previous surgical procedure, google % of uterus rupture + % of survival after a loss of 4L of blood when the surgeon open the belly to see wtf is happening inside. (multiply them together) So it is getting close to the % of winning a big lottery. Then, multiply by % of success of a premature 28 weekers survives an open heart surgery. Now, you are close to winning a jackpot. Yes, I went throught all that and then she left me 3 months later. Yes, everyone in my family is still very heartbroken, my grannie, who is 83 yrs old, was so happy to be a great-grannie, is now sad and disappointed.

    Life is random, if you want to tell your dad, then don't wait. You can always explain him there is the risk of disappointment and he will understand. Don't live thinking there is always the next day, be cheerish with what you have and make everyday of your life counts :-)

  6. Coin or no coin, luck is on your side!!!!

    This is our fourth pregnancy. So we have had pregnancies where I wore a baby bump shirt the minute we knew we were pregnant. Told strangers, my students, and everyone I knew including the subway sandwich guy.

    Then we had pregnancies that we didn’t tell a soul. I didn’t avoid awkward conversations either way. For me, not telling was worse because my family just kept on about why I wasn’t myself. The condolencences may have been bad, but I felt better since it was honest. There is some joy in keeping this as a lover’s secret for a while, and there is joy in sharing. Chinadian is right; following your heart will let you know what to do. This pregnancy we told close friends and family relatively soon, but I still haven’t announced to my sandwich guy yet :)

    I am glad your dad is feeling better.

  7. Hi guys. We are waiting the beta test to know if we are pregnant. You can see it in http://unailusioncompartida.blogspot.com.
    Congratulations for your pregnancy.
    Please, can you add a translator at your blog? You can find it in the blog aplications. I'm not very good in English and I can't undertand everything.
    Good luck.

    1. Hi David, best of luck on your transfer!! We have been following your blog as well.

      I should have a Google Translator on the left column of the blog at the very top, above the About Me. Does anyone else see it besides me?

  8. Ben, 6% miscarriage rate with ED and surrogacy at SCI. 70% are 6-8 weeks, the rest before 12 weeks, and very few (less than 1%) after 16 weeks ... just a bit longer to go. Hang in there!