BUSTED STORK

January 22 – February 3, 2016

Ten days. It’s only ten days that I needed to wait until my pregnancy blood test. During these 10 days, I tried hard to stay away from the Google search bar. Who am I kidding? I caved in the day after my embryo transfer. If you remember from my previous post about my embryo transfer, the embryologist said that if implantation was going to happen, it would happen within 48 hours after the transfer. I began Googling to see what signs I can look for with implantation. It ranged from cramping, to spotting, to absolutely nothing. This Google search didn’t get me far at all. I refused to hear again that I have a busted stork.

Not only was my mind on implantation signs constantly, but my mind was also on my entire IVF experience to include the loss of all 7 embryos. I just couldn’t stop thinking negatively. If this IVF doesn’t work, I have no embryos left. JM and I will have to start all over again from scratch— financially, mentally, and physically.

We tried very hard to keep ourselves occupied during these 10 waiting days by going out for nice dinners with friends and working longer hours. It was weird to go out to dinner and not order a glass or bottle of wine. I wasn’t afraid to share the reason why I wasn’t drinking with our friends so it was known to many what JM and I were going through. Our friends were very positive and kept reminding us that we could be pregnant right now. The thought of that kept our spirits and hopes up.

proven

On February 1st, I did the inevitable. I took an at-home pregnancy test. Mentally I was trying to prepare myself for negative pregnancy test #24. As I stood there for 300 seconds, I prayed I saw a double line. However, all I saw was one pink line. I didn’t panic. I didn’t cry. I just shook it off and convinced myself I took the test too early and tomorrow is another day.

On February 2nd, I repeated the same process and took another at-home pregnancy test. This time I took a shower while I waited for the double line to appear, but when I went to look at the strip, once again I only saw one pink line.

On February 3rd, I repeated the same process one final time. I took another at-home pregnancy test and took a shower while I waited for the double line to appear. #24. This is highly likely going to be the 24th month of an unsuccessful pregnancy. I didn’t bother to tell JM and proceeded to the doctors office that morning for the blood test. They took my blood, wished me luck and said I should get a call with the results sometime after lunch.

I got in my car and headed to work, but didn’t realize until I pulled into my office parking lot that I just drove for 35 minutes in silence. My daily morning routine usually involves listening to my favorite morning radio show, but I guess I just got lost in my thoughts trying to mentally prepare myself for the afternoon phone call.

When my supervisor got into the office, I immediately went to her and simply said, “Today is either going to be a very good day or the worst day of my life.” I didn’t need to say anything more. My supervisor knew exactly what I was referring to and said to me, “If you need to leave later, just leave and don’t feel like you need to let me know. Take care of you.” I’m forever thankful to have her as a supervisor and couldn’t have asked for more.

The 12-1pm lunch hour passed and all I could think about was the anticipated phone call. While a part of me was prepared to hear my 24th negative, another part of me was still hopeful and perhaps my at-home tests were false. Finally at 1:14pm, my office phone rang. The nurse knew it was me when I said hello and I knew it was her as soon as she said “Hi Jane.” Her next words were “I’m sorry, Jane, but today’s results were negative.” I turn my office chair away from my coworkers’ line of sight and bury my head against my rested arm on the desk and shook my head like as if the nurse could see my reaction. I couldn’t get a word out. The nurse continues, “I’m so sorry, Jane, but the doctor would like to see you when you’re ready to discuss next steps and what would be done differently for IVF #2.” I finally caught my breath and said “okay” and hung up the phone without saying goodbye.

I grabbed a tissue off my desk and tried to control my mascara and eye liner to get myself together. After maybe 2 or 3 minutes, I finally got my emotions in control and decided I wasn’t in the mental state of mind to continue working the rest of the day. I walk into my supervisor’s office and as soon as she makes eye contact with me I said nothing, but shook my head no. My supervisor immediately jumps from her office chair, shuts her door closed and hugs me for a couple of minutes. The tears just poured down my face. She proceeds to let me vent and tells me to take the time I need to grieve.

I head home and just wait for JM to get home. To be honest, I can’t remember what I did until he got home, but I do remember the moment JM got home. He took one look at me and just knew. He asks me, “Was today the pregnancy test?” and I proceed to tell him how I knew it was going to be negative 3 days ago and how today was the blood test.

We just held each other the rest of the night, ordered take out and discussed what we wanted to do next. We were devastated. I remember JM asked me if I wanted to go through this again. I knew immediately I didn’t want to go through it the very next month. I wanted to give my body a break from all the medical hormones, injections, and replenish our savings account a bit. JM was happy to do whatever I wanted to do. We agreed we would meet with the doctor for a follow up consultation as soon as possible so we could mentally and financially prepare ourselves for what we’d be up against for attempt #2 of IVF.

Once again, I was sent a busted stork.

PRINCESS AND THE PEE STICK

October 1 – 15, 2015

Ahh. It’s the dreaded two week wait (a.k.a. 2WW). Little did I know this would be the longest 2 weeks of my life. Thankfully I had a lot of plans lined up during these 2 weeks to include a concert, a hair appointment, a lot of chiropractor appointments to reduce stress, and two weddings. There is just one problem, I can’t drink at either of the open bar weddings. I know, #FirstWorldProblems. For a moment I tried to justify that it’s probably okay to “drink till it’s pink,” but I quickly talked myself out of that idea.

JM and I headed out of state for a fun wedding the first weekend of October. During this car ride we had a lot of time to talk about many “what ifs” in the event the IUI worked and I’m pregnant. We didn’t want to keep our hopes up too high, but it was inevitable. We were bound to talk about our future with this hypothetical IUI baby. We figured out that the timing couldn’t be more perfect and we were so excited at the thought of announcing a pregnancy to our family and friends either on Thanksgiving or at our annual Friendsgiving. For those of you who don’t know us personally, JM and I met at my annual Friendsgiving 2 years before we started dating and he also proposed at my annual Friendsigiving in front of 60 of our closest family and friends. For a moment I was convinced this was God’s plan and he wanted us to be able to celebrate and announce the news on our most favorite day of the year.

Since the out-of-state wedding was a very casual southern wedding and I knew the bride and groom had stocked the open bar with beer and wine. I decided to bring a bottle of non-alcoholic wine with me to disguise the possibility of me being prego. Genius, I know. After the ceremony, JM went out to the car and put the bottle of wine in his suit jacket. He handed the bottle to the bartender and asked her to only serve me that bottle. Our plan worked like a charm. No one questioned me, and I was seen “drinking” with my college girls the entire night.

By the fifth day into my 2WW, I began to scrutinize and over-analyze every feeling. Even if it was something that happened every single day, suddenly I found myself asking if it’s pregnancy symptoms. It is a terrible mind game and complete torture. Once again, I began another round of obsessive Googling. Looking back, I now find my Googling humorous, but I’m certain many women can relate and have done the same. For your entertainment, below are some of the mind games I threw into Google:

  1. All of a sudden I noticed a funny smell. In fact, I smell everything. My sense of smell has taken over. I must be pregnant.
  2. OMG my stomach is grumbling. It’s bubbling. I must be pregnant.
  3. I feel cramps. Is that my period coming or is that a sign of implantation?
  4. I don’t have implantation spotting. Does this mean I’m not pregnant?
  5. How soon can I take a pregnancy test during my 2WW?
  6. I went to bed at 8PM. I’m tired. I must be pregnant.
  7. I went to bed two nights in a row at 8PM. I must be pregnant.

And the ridiculous list of questions goes on. Get my point?

On day 9 of my 2WW, JM and I had date night plans to see Megan Hilty perform at this really cute and intimate 300-person concert hall. Some of you may remember her as Ivy Lynn from the TV show “Smash” or Glinda from Wicked. This was my second time seeing her perform. She ended her show with “Rainbow Connection” and dedicated it to her baby daughter. I lost it. Absolutely freggin’ lost it. My face was drenched from my tears. I could see in the corner of my eye JM’s head turned towards me realizing I was a mess and put his arm around me. Once again, hormones have taken over.

The next day, (day 10 of my 2WW) JM and I have another wedding to go to, making it the second this month. It was a gorgeous day and thankfully it was a small wedding consisting of only a couple of my closest friends in attendance. Since the wedding was about 45 minutes from our home, JM and I decided the best way to cover up my possible pregnancy by not drinking is to tell my girls I am the designated driver this time. I ordered a virgin mojito very early into the afternoon, clearly making it look as if I was actually drinking the real thing. The excuse worked like a charm. Even though I was the “designated driver,” I still ordered only one glass of red wine to disguise my non-drinking and pretended to take a couple sips with the fabulous steak dinner.

I have to say, pretending I’m not pregnant was not as hard as I thought it was going to be after all!

The next day I began brainstorming ways I can surprise JM with the news if it turns out the IUI worked. I came up with some really special ideas (ideas I won’t blog about because I do hope to be able to do this one day). I Googled ways other women have told their husbands and quickly ruled out all the cliche announcements and unoriginal ideas. The thought of the surprise announcement gets me so excited. A little too excited. Perhaps at this point I started to work myself up with too much hope. Again, I become obsessed with the idea this IUI worked.

Two days before my blood pregnancy test at my doctor’s office I cracked. One of the rules my fertility doctor and nurses stressed many times is to not do any at-home pregnancy tests before my actual blood test. Apparently the different hormone drugs can give false positive or negative results and the only true way to get an accurate result is a blood test. Although I had a 50 pack of the cheap pee stick tests, I decided I should upgrade and get a “more accurate” fancy pee-stick test just to be safe. I just couldn’t wait anymore and went to the pharmacy and bought (for the very first time mind you) a “real” pregnancy test. I had never bought one before. And yes, yes I had to read the directions on how to take the test.

pee

There is this fine line with hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. I thought if anything else, this at-home pregnancy test is preparing me for the bad news. Just when I thought a 2-week wait was going by so slow, waiting 2-minutes for the center of the stick to show me one or two lines was dragging. When the 2-minutes were up, I look at the stick to see what appeared to be one line. This can’t be. There is no way. The doctor injected my husband’s swimmers as close as possible to my egg and I’m still not pregnant?

Then I did what you probably think I did. I tried squinting, holding the pee stick up against the light, and balanced myself on my bathroom vanity sink to try to get closer to the light. All this to see if there is a possible faint second line that is mostly invisible to the naked eye, but possibly present. Still no second line. I throw the stupid $10 stick in the trash bin and move on with my day, resolving that it’s probably indeed too early to test anyways and tell myself I’ll try again in a few hours. I must admit, I tortured myself a bit throughout the day by returning to the trash bin every hour for the rest of the day in case the second line appeared on the stick.

Later that night and even the next morning before my blood test I continued to torture myself with two more pregnancy tests, but these times using the cheap sticks. It’s official. Confirmed. I mentally prepared myself enough to know that the IUI did not work and I’m not pregnant. $300 down the drain.

I go in for my blood pregnancy test in the morning knowing this is wasting my time. I was far from excited about taking this test. However, even though I prepared myself by taking the home pregnancy tests knowing it’s possible all three tests were false negatives, there was still an ounce of me that held onto hope. This 2WW thing is terrible for my mind and all these mind games. My mind was obviously focused on this all day. It was all I could think about. Finally, at around 2PM I get a call from my assigned nurse and she informs me I’m not pregnant and to stop taking the progesterone suppositories. She continues to tell me that I should get my period in about 3 days and to call when I get it so we can move forward with IUI try number two. Even though I knew before the blood test I wasn’t pregnant, the news I just heard over the phone destroyed me. Tears fell down my cheeks. I quickly grab a tissue off my desk at work and turn my chair so that no one else in the office could see me sobbing. Once I managed to get myself together, I continued on with my work day and no one knew the news I just received moments ago.

JM didn’t know I had my blood pregnancy test on October 15th. He had softball in the evening and I decided to wait to tell him the bad news until after he got home. I didn’t want him to know today was the day of the test because if it was positive results, I wanted to be able to surprise him with the good news. However, since the news was negative, I was upset he wasn’t home to be there to comfort me and it killed me I was about to cause him some heartache. To fill the time until JM would be home, I decided to go to the gym that night and let my emotions and frustrations out with a high intensity class.  Oh, and I had a glass of red wine… maybe two, because in a few days I’ll be repeating the IUI process all over again.