I've wanted to pour my heart out on paper for what feels like an eternity, but I didn't have slightest idea where to start. How does one go about putting into words their hopes and dreams, excitement, anxiousness, happiness? And how do you then give justice to the immensity of your heartbreak and truly portray what it's like to be emotionally chewed up and spit out? I don't think it's possible. But I can try.
The days leading up to transfer on December 20th were filled with many emotions. It's an odd feeling knowing there is a life you and your spouse have created waiting for you, frozen, in a lab someplace. 125 cells that you hope with all your heart will grow into the cutest baby with mom's eyes and dad's curly hair.
When transfer day came we both were excited but calm. It wasn't until we were finishing up breakfast at a local diner and left for the clinic that it hit me. I became increasingly nervous as we drove the short distance to our clinic. You are deliberately about to go do something that will change your lives forever...no matter what the outcome. Thank God the clinic has you take a Valium. They say it's to relax you so you don't think about the full bladder you have for the procedure. I think it has everything to do with the fact that a team of eight+ doctors and nurses and embryologists are about to shoot this little life back into you that you've spent the last four months of your life painstakingly creating and then hoping it wasn't all for nothing...how are you 'not supposed to worry about it'??
Transfer went perfectly is what we were told. The embryo was hatching nicely, it looked great and had a very good grade. Embryos are graded for their quality and ours was practically an A+. There wasn't any physical reason that this shouldn't work. I had to lie down in the procedure room for a bit before we were allowed to leave. We went home and I was on bedrest for the next few days. My doctors wanted my body to not worry about anything other than helping the embryo stick.
I was so thankful that this all happened right before Christmas. We obviously had a decent break from school but the excitement and activities that come along with Christmas kept my mind occupied, for the most part, for the nine day waiting period. We were to be back at the clinic on the 29th for our beta blood test to determine if we were finally pregnant. I broke down the day before my blood test and took a home pregnancy test. If you've gone through infertility you know that you examine those tests every which way possible, holding them right up to the light, using your phone's flashlight, taking a picture and flipping it to negative to see if you see a difference...it's crazy, I'm well aware. I didn't have to do any of that with this test. It was so completely negative the blankness was almost blinding.
I had done enough 'research' on Google to know that it wasn't unheard of for women to get a negative HPT (home pregnancy test) but then a positive beta blood test. I had a mini breakdown. There should have been well over enough HCG in my system by now to register a positive on that stupid stick. But I still held out hope that I was going to be the exception, not the rule. I prayed there was still a chance that my blood test would come back positive tomorrow.
We went into the clinic the next morning, had my blood drawn, and the IVF nurse told me that they consider anything over 5 (HCG level) as positive. If you know anything about HPTs you know that 5 is an awfully low number for those to even be able to detect. My hope was boosted a little more. I boldly prayed for what I wanted. I begged God to let that test come back positive as I know so many friends and family had prayed for as well.
The nurse told me that the test results would show up in my online chart that afternoon before a doctor would have a chance to call me. We went to lunch, ran some errands, and headed off to Menards while I neurotically checked my phone for the email from the clinic telling me a new test result was waiting. It finally came. Around 2 PM that afternoon my phone dinged with THE email. I was going to be patient and wait until we were home or alone or at least not in the sink aisle of Menards to open up my chart and look. I guess I had used up all my patience the last four months and I couldn't wait any longer. I logged in and opened up the test result.
HCG level: <1
Less than 1. The embryo had never stuck. My body had completely rejected it.
I showed Joe. "See, I told you it didn't work" I told him just as I had after yesterday's HPT. We stood there in the sink aisle of Menards as I tried my hardest not to lose it. I tried to feel nothing, to shut off my emotions and finish picking out the stupid faucet for the stupid sink for the stupid bathroom we were remodeling.
To be honest, I don't really remember much of the rest of that day or the day that followed. I remember driving my own car home and having a very loud and long chat with God. I remember waking up the next morning and thinking I need to say something about this on Facebook. A lot of people have been following and supporting us through this. If I was them, I'd want to know.
Plus I knew if we didn't let people know, we would be fielding questions in the next few days of "So!! Are you pregnant?!" and I knew I didn't want to rip off the bandaid each time someone asked.
I remember getting texts, and messages, and phone calls from people who had seen my post about our news, and I ignored most of them. I wasn't ready to talk to anyone. I wasn't ready to respond to the barrage of "I'm so sorry", "There is a plan", "Everything happens for a reason", "Have you thought about adoption?" and every other ridiculous thing people were saying. That could be another LONG post all on its own...and it most likely will be. *Please understand that we do really appreciate the kind words and sentiments that you all offered. It's just that in the moment, grief and anger make you think and feel so many different things.*
The heartbreak, the anger, the pain, being so confused and at a loss at what to do next are still very real a week and a half later. It hits at random times and I find myself fighting back tears like I'm back in that aisle of Menards all over again. The feeling of "WHY?!" often brings me to my knees in tears and my arms ache from their emptiness. I'm tired of being strong, I'm tired of waiting, I'm tired of fighting back the feelings that we have been forgotten.
Infertility has got to be one of the most unfair lots in life and I truly wouldn't wish it upon anyone. But through it all I'm thankful for the people who reached out, some we knew and many we didn't, with kind words, and prayers, and "Hey, we're thinking about you!". I'm thankful for my husband, a man who doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve, but has somehow spoken the right words when I've needed them. I know this has caused his heart to hurt, but he seems to be weathering it all better than I. I'm so thankful for his strength when I've had none.
We aren't completely sure what our next step will be. Yes, we have thought about all of our options. Anyone who has gone through infertility knows every option and I promise there isn't anything you could suggest that we haven't already thought of. I say this as lovingly as I possibly can...if you haven't gone down the ugly path of infertility yourself, I would discourage you from trying to give what you think is advice to those who are in the depths of it. We don't want advice, we don't need your ideas or suggestions, we just really need your love. And maybe a good hug.
We are coping and life goes on...it has to. We have a follow-up appointment with our doctors on Friday to discuss what may have gone wrong and where we should go from here. It's been hard but we have truly enjoyed bringing you all along on this journey. We'd love to have you keep going with us as we continue to try and #BringHomeBirdie.