It’s taken me a few weeks to feel like I can write this post without falling apart. It’s been a long few weeks and I am still struggling with it a bit. As many of you know, we decided to do one more round of IVF. It took me a few months to even be ok with the idea of doing another round. After the last, I was done. I was ready to move on. I didn’t know if I could mentally handle another 6 weeks of intense fertility treatment. Then, when a friend of mine was going through her own IVF cycle, I began to think about transfer day.
Transfer day is this magical, amazing day that is so incredibly special I can’t even describe it. It only lasts a few minutes, but there is so much that goes through your head in that short amount of time. These little balls of cells up on the monitor are REAL. They are really there, growing away. It’s not just in your head that “what if” it happens. I can see them, they are part of me. There is so much hope in that few minutes and so much happiness. One of those little embryos could be my baby. The baby that I have wished for since I was a little girl. The baby I know that I am meant to have. And that’s what made me decide I could handle IVF one last time. I wanted one more chance to see all those possibilities up on the screen, and maybe this time I would have a better result. Maybe this time it would actually work.
So, we decided that since I would be home for the holidays anyway, that’s when I would do it. And so immediately after getting home I began IVF meds. My protocol had changed this round, in hopes my body would respond better. This time I was on twice daily injections of micro-dose lupron, which didn’t exactly hurt, but it’s more needles. I also took Letrozole pills for 5 days, did Follistim and Menepur for what seemed like forever (probably like 2-2.5 weeks). Menepur is my nemesis. I HATE Menepur. That sucker burns going in, and I was on 3 powders daily (trust me, it’s a lot). I am one of the most difficult cases to get pregnant (of course) so that also means I get the highest dosages of meds possible.
My initial baseline blood work was somewhat concerning because some of my levels were low. But, once I started meds I started to respond really well. My follicle count and size looked better than our first round and I started to get really excited. I had a really good feeling about this round. I felt like IVF was just a formality and that I was definitely going to get pregnant. I even had a VERY real feeling dream about giving birth and meeting my daughter. It was going to happen this time. It just had to.
Everything seemed to be going very well and everyone around me was also really excited, which made me even more confident that this was it. Then retrieval day hit. I was so anxious to find out how many eggs we would get and how they would grow. All went well and we ended up with 4 growing embryos (I don’t think they’re actually called embryos yet but I am not sure what else to call them so deal with it). Four is better than last round, this was great news!
And then the waiting began. I heard absolutely nothing until day 5. It made me absolutely crazy. I needed to know how many were left. That confidence I had at the beginning turned to anxiety and I wasn’t so sure anymore that it would happen. Transfer day came and I was anxiously waiting in the room with my warm blanket (if you haven’t read my previous IVF posts, this is an excellent part of IVF). When the embryologist came in I was so nervous. This was it. Did I really want to know? Couldn’t I just live in the world of “maybe” a little bit longer? He sat down and said we had 2 embryos that made it to early blastocysts and that we should transfer both. Part of me was relieved to know that our embryos had grown more than last round, and another huge part of me was hurting. My heart sank. If they’re early blasts and they still want to transfer BOTH, does that mean they’re poor quality? Do they know more that they’re not telling me? Is it over already, before the transfer even happens? Of course, so many things were racing through my head I didn’t actually ask ANY of these questions. Instead, I stared at him and shook my head… “ok, let’s do both”. That’s it.
And so, I had another magical, blissful moment in the procedure room meeting those embryos on the screen. I temporarily forgot about all of my concerns regarding these embryos and was so excited for the “what if”. They could still make it. Maybe one of them will do better once they’re back in my uterus. I was so confident at the start of this that it would work out, maybe it still would. Yes, I have to keep telling myself it still will work. I need to keep that unwavering confidence in order to make it to the pregnancy test. I couldn’t start to doubt because that would make it not work. (Logical, I know)
And so the real waiting began. I took it easy, but tried to keep my mind busy. I tried to keep my confidence, even though it was slowly going down the drain. I tried hard not to read into the symptoms, because they are deceiving sons of bitches. All of the meds conspire against you during the two week wait and give you fake symptoms just to drive you mad. Is this a REAL symptom or a side effect from the meds? Today my boobs were sore! But the next day they are not so much. Dammit boobs, why are you not more sore? Maybe if I poke them harder it will feel more sore. And then there just comes a point where you know. Before the pregnancy test, once the meds start to ware off. You just know. It’s some sort of intuition that I really hate. The few days between me knowing the result and actually confirming it is frustrating. It makes you so upset but there’s still a glimmer of hope that maybe you are wrong… and it is maddening. If I could punch that feeling in the throat, I would in a heartbeat.
And then it’s confirmed. Negative. You were right. You are always right. And it pisses you off that you are right. You tell that part of your brain that says “I told you” to shut the fuck up. But instead of your levels being at 0, they’re somewhere in between 0 and pregnant (5). Because when does nature ever care about what you want? When does nature say, alright you could use a break.. let’s just end it peacefully? It doesn’t. So you are pissed and sad and you swear at God because you thought he told you that this was your time. And he lied to you. And he made you believe and now you are devastated. And why is nature so cruel that you can’t get pregnant? Why do people who don’t deserve to get pregnant have no trouble and you will never be?
Yes, I know that someday we will be parents. There is a little baby out there somewhere for us and we are looking forward to adopting. But that does not take away from our sadness in never having a baby that will have his eyes or my left-handed-ness. Someday we will have kids and we will love them as if they grew inside me. But right now we are hurt. We are pissed. We are devastated.
The thing that most infertility patients do is put up walls. Every cycle you try to start fresh. This time it could work. But you can never really let your guard down. Because what if it doesn’t? How many times in a row can someone feel that much pain and devastation without having a complete mental breakdown? So, every cycle you try to be optimistic. But you build up your walls. You protect yourself from the pain. You tell yourself there’s always next time. It can still work. You give yourself hope for the future but you never let down those walls. This time I tore down the walls, all of them. I was so sure it would happen. I started to say things like “well I’m going to be pregnant for my birthday so I don’t want to plan anything just yet” and I really, truly felt it would happen. The walls came down and I left myself exposed. And when my heart sank in that room the day of transfer, I tried to build them back up but I couldn’t. And when it was confirmed negative I broke. My heart broke into a million pieces and it has taken me weeks to even be able to write these words.
And so, this is the end of my saga. Thank you for following my story. Thank you for all the messages, thoughts, prayers, flowers, and everything else. You have no idea how much all of this has meant to me. I am truly blessed to have so many incredible people in my life, all over the world. I am humbled by your generosity and your kindness.