Dr. Braverman, Helper Embryos & Why I’m Never Googling Again

First of all, thank for all of the awesome comments on my last post. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I sure do love you guys.

The morning of the Dr. Braverman appointment started off kind of disgustingly. I typically leave a banana by my bed and take bites throughout the night if I wake up feeling nauseous. That morning I woke up and realized the banana I had been eating was covered in ants. I ate ants, you guys. Probably lots of them. Gag.

After de-anting myself, we drove from Tim’s parents’ house to Dr. Braverman’s office. I fully expected to wait a long time, since I had read in reviews that the wait times were out of control. However, we were seen right away. Dr. B. came in wearing a pink polo shirt and got right to business. The ultrasound screen was tilted away from me, so I couldn’t see what he was looking at. He immediately said, “You have one viable pregnancy with a heartbeat and another sac.” The heart rate of baby A was 115 bpm. Doc B. said 90 – 110 was normal, so 115 was great. Then he let us listen to the heartbeat. It was freaking awesome. He said that Baby B could still develop a heartbeat because it had a fetal pole, and the sac looked normal and not collapsed. He gave it a “better than 50% chance” of seeing a heartbeat at our next ultrasound. He then looked at blood flow to my uterus and said that looked good as well. I was expecting to not be wowed by his personality. The one time we Skyped with him, he was short and not super personable. I don’t actually care at all if he’s personable because he knows his stuff, and that’s what matters. That said, I liked him a lot better after meeting him. He seemed gentler somehow. All in all, it was a great visit. If fingers-crossed-all-goes-well, I will see him again at 10 weeks. And oh yeah, he told me the burning I’m experiencing is “just pregnancy,” so that made me feel better..

All was well. And then I had to go and ruin it. On Tuesday, I had the brilliant idea to google “normal fetal heart rate 6 weeks 4 days.” Whhhhhy did I do that to myself? WHY?! I found lots of people whose babies had higher heart rates that 115. And then I found this terrifying study that said 110-119 bpm between 6.3 and 7 weeks was “borderline” and had a “slightly elevated risk of fetal demise.” Then I asked my OB friend and she gave me a range of normal, and 115 was at the bottom of the range. So then I was just a wreck. And completely pissed at myself for googling in the first place. I emailed Dr. B in a panic and he wrote back right away saying 115 is a very common heart rate in his practice for that stage in the pregnancy. After reading his kind email, I felt better, but not as much as I should have. Like, ok, one of the world’s leading miscarriage specialists said it was fine, so it’s probably fine. Still, I was ridiculously nervous for my next ultrasound on Friday.

Finally, after about six years, Friday arrived. I barely slept the night before. But all was well. Baby A’s heart rate had gone up to 132 bpm, solidly in the normal range. I can’t even tell you how relieved I was. And then I vowed never to google again.

Baby B now had a “flickering” of a heartbeat. A faint flickering is obviously not great for 7 weeks, though. The doctor gave the twin a 10 -15% chance of making it. I asked what the chances of it being genetically normal if he or she did make it, and the doctor immediately started talking about CVS and selective reduction. Whoa, whoa, whoaaaaaaa. Slow down there, buddy. I am NOT ready to think about any of that scary stuff. Eesh.

Anyway, we are still in limbo with baby B. My greatest wish at this point is that we have a clear resolution one way or the other soon. Our doctor said that in animal science you see a lot of “helper embryos,” These are basically embryos that exist for the sole purpose of assisting the stronger embryo, and when their job is done, they pass on. He suspects that Baby B is a helper embryo. This is a really sweet thought and makes me feel better about the whole thing.

I talk to both of my babies every day. I tell Baby A I am thankful he or she is growing big and strong. I tell Baby B that I love him or her no matter what happens. If he or she decides to keep growing and turns into a healthy baby, well then that is just amazing. And if he or she is just there to help out a sibling, then thank you from the bottom of my heart. And once he or she is done helping, it’s ok to go.

And that’s about all there is to tell at this point. Next ultrasound is Friday. I’ll let you know how it goes.

46 thoughts on “Dr. Braverman, Helper Embryos & Why I’m Never Googling Again

  1. Oh that whole thing about the helper embryo made me cry! It’s like another spirit is sent to help the first spirit through. Like a support buddy. Oh man it is just the nicest way to look at this ever. You are doing so well lovely. Keep at it. The time will pass eventually xx

    1. Thanks, lovely. I have to say, I am kind of jealous that you are two weeks ahead of me lol. Every time I read an update of yours I’m like, damn, I wish I was that far along! These early days are just so freaking hard. And so slow. Longest. Weeks. Ever.

  2. So the ant/banana part of your update was far less then ideal, my skin crawled just reading about it. But everything else made me really happy for you. The helper embryo is the most heartwarming thought and your zen approach is inspirational! Keep it up my friend, you’ve got this!!

  3. You sounds great, even with the googling. I’m rooting for Baby B to catch up to Baby A and will be eagerly awaiting your next ultrasound. Hang in there…you’re doing great.

  4. Wow, this really touched me. I felt like I wrote this post about our baby a and baby b back in January. So much in common. In my opinion, having been in the same scenario, you have the best outlook you can as far as baby b goes. Ill be praying for you as always.

  5. The helper baby things is absolutely precious. It’s like he/she is making a place for the sibling here on earth, and then will go off to make a place for the sibling in heaven. What a sweet thought. However, the limbo part is not really that fun. Praying for resolution soon!

  6. Baby A – yay!!! Baby B… you’re doing an amazing job of being zen about the whole thing, and I love the “helper embryo” concept. How beautiful.

    Ants and bananas… ewwwwwwww.

    All things considered, this sounds like some pretty good stuff for this stage, and I’m so happy that you’re here and that Baby A is doing so spectacularly well. Here’s hoping for more good news on Friday!

  7. The ‘helper embryo’ is such a sweet thought, although I am rooting for baby B too. So thankful for your update and hope things continue to go well. I still can’t google. Scares the crap out of me.. still. Good luck with your next US.

    1. Hahaha, well the good thing is your dog probs doesn’t care at all if you’re bi-polar. I’m pretty sure my dog thinks I’m bi-polar, too. But my dogs is also bi-polar himself. Sometimes I actually think he has a legit mental illness. Ok tangent. Anyway, xo.

  8. The ants omg I am going to have nightmares about that. I have had a little cry here reading your post, the love in your messages to your babies is beyond heartwarming. The idea that baby B is a helper the sweetest thought. I am thinking about both babies, baby A is doing superb and I am holding on to all hope tightly for little baby B. You must stop seeing Dr Google on the sly, he is so dodgy believe me I have had way too many consultations with him. Sending love and hugs your way xo

  9. I am so happy Baby A is getting a strong heart beat and you’re feeling better with that scenario. I love that you talk to both and what you say to Baby B. Praying that you will know one way or the other soon. I know that limbo time is difficult.

  10. Google is the result of a lot of stress – I’ve done the same thing many times. I love the idea of a helper embryo. I don’t know if you remember but there was a dark emtpy space (sac?) at my first scan which I suspected as a vanishing twin (they said nothing about it at the time). I love the idea that somehow one helps all the hormones get pumped out to keep the other going. It’s kind and beautiful. You’ve got a hood strong heartbeat there and I am loving the good news. Long may it continue!! X

    1. I didn’t remember that you had a vanishing twin! Thanks for reminding me. That makes me feel so much better, especially knowing that you are so far along now with a healthy baby. Amazing.

      1. They didn’t say anything to me about it (I was scanned at 6 weeks I think), but there was a second black circle on the picture they gave me that had a tiny thing in it. I did a lot of googling for vanishing twins and found several twin ultrasounds that looked exactly like mine. I don’t know why they didn’t say – and I didn’t notice at the time to ask, I was just so relieved they found a heartbeat. When I went back at eight weeks and they confirmed only one gestational sac, I did feel a little bit of sadness for what might have been. But, I think I knew it wasn’t going to make it (as there was only one heartbeat at 6 weeks), and whatever it was meant to be it is, and I’m grateful for how it has turned out. Given how I feel now, and how sick I was in the first 18 weeks, I’m not sure I would have managed a twin pregnancy anyway!

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