Continued from MIA Part I…..
Somehow that one fertilized egg made it through to the 8 cell stage. I was unfazed. Both of my last embryos were 8 cell and did not yield a pregnancy. I was not excited. During the transfer, my husband was late, we didn’t get a good picture of the embryo and it all felt completely mucked up. Perfectionism aside, when you are dealing with science, you kind of want everything to go smoothly.
And so began the two week wait. For those who haven’t dealt with IF, this is the LONGEST 2 weeks of any infertile’s life. The shots lessen, no dr’s appointments and everything is supposed to go back to “normal” -whatever that means… I was without hope and with a lot of complacency. No, this is not the inspirational post of “I envisioned my baby and manifested my dream!” I was depressed. Last cycle I meditated, acupuncture-ed and manifested my destiny. At the end when the cycle failed, I felt kind of like an optimistic fool. My infertility diagnosis had now been confirmed for almost 2 years – not a long time in comparison to some, but certainly long enough.
This cycle, I basically said “Ok body, show me what your made of!” and I pushed all of the wanting, yearning and longing way, way down – out of sight. I drank a little wine during stims. I did not do meditations. I skipped acupuncture. After all, donor eggs are expensive and I was saving my money. I had made the decision to “make it through” the bad news of this cycle and be prepared to move on towards the next phase. It was now only a matter of time.
About 4 days before my blood draw at the clinic to see if I was pregnant, I decided to POAS, (pee on a stick) mainly to cushion the blow. I liked my nurse and didn’t want to hear the bad news from her voice again. It hurt too much. My first test was negative – a good sign, meaning that all of the HCG had left my system, which would yield a more pure result from any consecutive tests. I tested the next day. There was the faintest of lines – I mean REALLY faint. I thought “it’s gotta be a fluke.” I tested the next day. Still faint, but still there. I started getting pissed. Why was the universe messing with me? This was something I wasn’t prepared for – make it positive or negative so I know what to do – stop messing with my head! I angrily tested the next day. Less faint and still there. Now, like any obsessive infertile, I had taken pictures of each day and arranged them in a picframe side by side. I texted my nurse and a friend from support group. The nurse said “It has to take a lot of HCG to show up on a home test – we may have something so keep breathing and we’ll see you Monday.” The friend said “That’s a fucking positive test! You are pregnant.”
Monday came and with it came the call from the clinic. After months of clomid, IUI’s and IVF’s, I was pregnant. Seems like the story should end here. Ta dah! We did it and the rest is history. Not quite….
I had no idea what to do. There is no “bridging the gap guide” from IF to PG. I knew one thing. Make it to the next beta. For infertiles, these first months of pregnancy are maddening. I was overjoyed at the prospect that I was pregnant and very, very aware – from my doctor and friends who had suffered miscarriages in the first trimester, that I was not out of the woods – far from it.
We made it through the first betas, we saw the gestational and yolk sac and even saw a heartbeat. I graduated from the fertility clinic feeling lost. No weekly doctors appointments – I was on my own, waiting for another 3 weeks until I was to see my OBGYN.
As I walked into the OB’s office, I felt like it was the first day of school. No one knew me here. They didn’t know my struggle, my history. Weirdly I started to “bargain” again. “Well, it was nice to be pregnant for a minute.” “At least I can go back to the clinic if it doesn’t work out.” “I’m thankful that I got to experience this much.” I was convinced that there would be nothing there….
The OB put the ultrasound inside and said “Can you see the baby?” I said “No.” She tilted the screen my way and there was an actual silhouette with arm and leg buds and the strongest heartbeat you could imagine.
All of the months of holding back, all of the denial, the protecting, the pain, the suffering, the fear, the questioning of self released in that moment. My breakdown was happy tears and a release like no other. I was pregnant. There was a baby that was growing. I accepted it and let it be true.
I am now almost 12 weeks. Still petrified something will go wrong. Still checking every symptom with my doctor and still bargaining with my body. “Keep doing your job and I’ll rest and eat well for you.” “I will choose me and what’s happening inside first.”
I said to someone recently at the very beginning that my strength was not quite visible from the outside, but it was very visible on the inside. I didn’t understand the implications of this statement and how true it really was.
Here’s what: Many of you who read this blog are still in struggle and I want to let you know that I too am still in struggle. IF doesn’t leave when you become pregnant, but it does change. I have made a vow to myself not to forget my journey no matter where it takes me. I have also made a vow not to hog my journey as I have found that those who have shared with me have helped me more than I ever thought possible.
What I’m doing now is supporting my friends who have become pregnant as well as those who are still cycling. Because they all need support – WE all need support. With the cycling friends, my pregnancy is not a topic to bring up. With the PG friends, we share how being PG after IF is a different experience than those who have conceived naturally. We are there for each other.
I’d like to continue this blog, keeping the topic centered around infertility and treatments as it’s all still with me. Although I was indeed scared fertile, I still feel part of the clan. I plan to start a separate blog for pregnancy after IF.
If you need support, have questions or want to talk. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.