Starting the Mourning Process

I moved on Friday, so am now in my new (but old) city in my new house, about to start my new job. Of course, all that change cannot go without a hitch, so the last few days have been busy with filling out paperwork for my new license and health card, waiting for my car to come, and getting internet hooked up.

Of all those things, I think the internet hook up took the most out of me, as it ended up being much more of an ordeal than it should have been, and I really missed not being able to go online anytime I wanted. Thankfully, as of this afternoon it is finally up and running, so it is time for an update.

I have a few draft blog posts in the works, and was planning to finish one of them as my next post, but given where I am currently at emotionally, the planned hopeful, uplifting post is not in me.

The good thing about my recent move is that it was a great distraction during the two week wait after my embryo transfer last Monday. However, this only lasted so long. On the weekend, I was thinking that by next weekend I would know how this cycle ended, which of course got me thinking that I may know as early as Monday if I did a home pregnancy test and it was positive (Monday was the earliest day I said I would allow myself to test).

I tried to hold off, but when Monday morning came, I couldn’t resist and did the test. It was 7 days after my 5 day transfer (so good chance of getting a positive if there was one to be had), but the result was as always negative. I had told myself the night before that since I would be testing early I wouldn’t get upset if it was negative, but seeing the familiar single line completely overrode that resolve.

I held off testing on Tuesday, but by the evening had started the mourning process for this cycle, and thinking more seriously about logistics of next steps. I tested again first thing this morning (actually 4AM as I couldn’t sleep), and I just knew it was going to be negative again. 9 days post 5 day transfer, I should be getting at least a faint second line if there was any hope of pregnancy, but the test was once again stark white where the second line would be.

My bloodwork to make everything official is not until Friday, and I just want Friday to come and be over with, so I can have the bad news confirmed and start to move on. In the meantime, all I want to do is take a hot bath, have a drink, or go for a workout to make myself feel better, but I have to hold off on all of these things until I get the official word that I’m not pregnant.

Flashback

As promised, I did pee on a stick yesterday morning, and as expected it was negative. And that was totally fine. There was that tiny little bit of me that thought “maybe, just maybe”, but it really was such a small, small part that when the familiar image of one (and only one) line came up, I glanced at it and threw it away, and carried on with my morning routine.

But as the day went on, and there was no sign of spotting any time I went to the bathroom, my mind couldn’t help but wander a bit.  And, I started to analyze every sensation and whether it was consistent with my period coming on. My breasts felt a little full, but not as sore as they often are right before my period. And I didn’t feel any of the other subtle symptoms that often signal that my period is about to arrive. So, try as I might, I couldn’t push the thought of pregnancy completely out of my mind.

In the evening, I went out to dinner with my colleagues, and we ordered a bottle of wine. As I drank my glass of wine, for a brief moment I wondered “What if I’m pregnant? Could this wine affect the helpless little thing growing inside me?” And suddenly, in that instant, it all came flooding back. I remembered those magical weeks after I first found out I was pregnant almost a year ago,  the wonder I felt at this life developing inside me, and the outpouring of love that flowed from every cell each time I thought of the microscopic being that was working hard to grow into our child.

It had been so long since I last felt that way, or even really thought of how wonderful that short time in my life was  (usually if I think about that pregnancy, it’s more about how it ended – the horror slowly sinking in as I watched the blood came pouring out of me at an increasingly faster rate, the helplessness I felt once I realized that I was losing the pregnancy and there was nothing I could do about it, the frustration of facing a d&c in a foreign country without my husband by my side, and finally the overwhelming sadness at how close we’d come, only to be back at square one again).

But tonight was different. For the first time in a really long time, I remembered the excitement, the love, the hope. It felt like a distant memory, but at the same time so familiar, and so right. And more than anything, it made me yearn for another chance to experience the magic and joy of pregnancy – the whole process this time, and not just a tantalizing taste.

Newfound Hope

My two week wait is almost over. Well, technically it’s more like an 11 day wait for me, but who’s counting?

Tomorrow is day 11, and I’m going to take a pregnancy test first thing tomorrow morning. I should mention that I actually have no illusions that I may be pregnant – in fact I am fully expecting good ‘ole Aunt Flo to show up in two days. Aside from the usual pessimism about being 0 for 25 (give or take a month) on natural cycles, my husband and I didn’t really give it our best shot this month. I was away for business most of the month, and as a result, we missed having sex on the two most important days, and had hungover sex the morning after our friends’ wedding on the third best day. All in all,  not a great track record, even for the fully fertile!

So tomorrow morning will be more about ticking that final box before starting IVF, than about praying to see two lines, but that’s fine with me. While for the longest time, doing IVF absolutely terrified me, I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t wait to get started. I actually feel like a weight has lifted, knowing that I’ve committed to going down this path.

And, after almost three years of trying to conceive, it feels wonderful to be new at something in the fertility game again! I feel like I’ve become so jaded and cynical about all of the steps I’ve taken so far, and the hurdles I’ve crossed; like I already know too much about timed intercourse, clomid, IUIs, acupuncture, charting, supplements, the pregnancy losses, and all the rest. But IVF is brand new. And like anyone else starting down a new path, for the first time in a long time, I have hope again.

Pregnant: 2 weeks down, 38 to go

Today I am PUPO, which for the uninitiated means pregnant-until-proven-otherwise. Due to the quirkiness with how pregnancy is measured (i.e. measurement starts from the first day of your most recent period, rather than from ovulation), I am also two weeks pregnant.

What health class neglected to tell us (or if it did, most of us were not paying attention), is that not only are there just a few days each month when a woman can conceive; if she is in fact pregnant, she has to wait up to two weeks to find out. In this age of instant gratification, this feels like a ridiculously long time to wait for something, especially news as life-altering as a pregnancy. Therefore, for those trying to conceive, there is a window of approximately two weeks each month, when your part is done, but you do not know whether you are pregnant.

While a sperm needs to fertilize the egg within 24 to 48 hours of ovulation in order for pregnancy to be possible, the fertilized egg takes about 5 days to travel down the fallopian tube and into the uterus, where it can implant (implantation occurs 6 to 12 days after ovulation). Only once it implants, does it start to secrete the pregnancy hormone hcg, which is what is picked up by pregnancy tests.  While home pregnancy tests are getting more and more sensitive, and able to detect hcg in urine sooner than ever, given the mechanics of what happens when an egg gets fertilized, it’s impossible to cut the wait down any further. So we’re stuck waiting.

Many people find the two-week wait (as it’s commonly referred to) excruciating and painfully slow, however I’ve actually come to enjoy it over the last year.  When we first started trying for a baby, I was like most other people in that I couldn’t wait to find out whether things had worked or not, and took a pregnancy test the first possible chance I could. Of course, the test would always be negative, at which point the real mind games started.

The most sensitive pregnancy tests can detect hcg in your urine 5 days before your period is due. However, due to the  uncertainty around when the embryo implants, and therefore when it actually starts to secrete hcg, you may have had a successful cycle, yet testing early will still show a negative result. For example, the pregnancy test I use most often has stats something like this: detects 67% of pregnancies 4 days early, 78% 3 days early, 87% 2 days early, and 98% the day before your period is due. This means that today’s negative could be  tomorrow’s positive result. So you take another test the following day, and again it’s negative, but it is still early after all, and so on and so forth. After a few months on this rollercoaster, I found it was easier (not to mention cheaper!) just to wait things out until my period came. Then, for a long time, since I didn’t really expect things to work anyways, the two-week wait stopped having any meaning for me.

However in 2010, I discovered my love of the two-week wait while going through six intrauterine inseminations (IUI’s). Starting fertility treatments was difficult as it stemmed from a realization that we would need help to conceive, but it also brought back hope that pregnancy was possible. This time, I treasured those two weeks between the IUI and my pregnancy test date because until proven otherwise, I was pregnant. My last IUI was in December, however I am still recovering from the hangover of the possibilities that a two-week wait brings, so will embrace it and milk being PUPO for all it’s worth!