I really thought it worked this time. I actually felt pregnant. I didn’t think my mind was playing tricks on me as I’ve noticed the difference between the embryo transfer cycles where I’ve had a positive result or a negative result. Four days post embryo transfer I felt a sharp cramp or twinge in my uterus and had my fingers crossed it was due to implantation. I know I felt it again too within those 9 days of waiting. My breasts felt like they do when I’m pregnant as opposed to just symptomatic of the progesterone injections. By day seven, I actually started feeling morning sickness on and off. I got my hopes up and thought this time I had a really good chance. I’m always afraid to tell my husband how I’m physically feeling, as I know my mind can play tricks on me and I don’t want to lead him in the wrong direction as to the possible outcome. Especially in this case, as I was worried I would get his hopes up and be wrong. And that’s what happened. Within two hours of getting my blood drawn, our dreams were once again crushed as we read the result of <1. Every time this happens, my immediate response is complete despair, and the fear that this may never happen for us. I feel so angry about the cruelty of it all. A few days from now on March 23, will be the two year anniversary of losing our first baby Jaxon. Oh, how I had wished we could face that anniversary pregnant again, feeling his soul supporting us along the way. But right now it just feels like loss piled on top of loss.
While we were at the hospital today waiting for the test results, there was a mobile jewelry and accessories store by the cafeteria. I found these little necklace charms pictured here. I bought one in blue and two in pink in memory of our babies’ heartbeats that were with us so briefly.
Photo by CJE
I haven’t been able to bring myself to write for the past couple of weeks. The outcome of this past embryo transfer left me confused and once again extremely disappointed and sad. My first HCG test result was “5”. In order to be considered a positive pregnancy result, it needed to be over 50. I have not experienced anything other than a clear “not pregnant” result or a number high enough to jump for joy. It is hard enough seeing that I’m not pregnant but in this case, I couldn’t just get the negative result, be sad, deal with it and move on. This was a dark cloud that stuck around for a week. I had to retest two more times to see if the number changed. In the mean time, I worried about possible ectopic pregnancy or who knows what else this number could mean. The first retest stayed the same (even more confused) and the next one finally returned back to a normal “not pregnant” result. My doctor said that most likely it was a chemical pregnancy where it is possible that the embryo attached and started to develop for 2-3 days, then stopped. I quickly moved into another cycle as soon as the final test result was confirmed as I luckily started a normal period right away. In a matter of 48 hours, medications were ordered, the next cycle was scheduled, I had a baseline ultrasound and bloodwork and my first injection was Friday night. I realized that I’ve been pushing myself to move on to new embryo transfer cycles as quickly as my doctor will allow as I’ve had the looming one year contract hanging over my head. As part of our egg donor process we paid for what is called a “refund plan” which allows us to have as many embryo transfer cycles as needed for a full year until we can have a pregnancy without any additional cost. Due to the logistics in general, plus a pregnancy that lasted about 9 weeks and recovery time from surgery, we have only been able to fit in 3 transfers so far. I have been so worried about the contract ending, meaning we would have to start paying again that it was causing me a considerable amount of extra stress. I talked to my doctor about this and found out there is a process to extend the time on our contract. And suddenly a huge weight was lifted off of me. I feel much better going into this cycle and I decided that if this time does not work, I’ll take a few months off. This will give me time to re-focus on my well-being and find my internal sunshine as it has been covered by many clouds of disappointment and heartbreak for such a long time. But I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this time is the one.
Photo by CJE
Our first embryo transfer with our donor embryos was a rather long but interesting process. Our clinic worked with both of us to coordinate our cycles through medications up until the embryo transfer. During month one, the medications set us up to synchronize our menstrual cycles. This allowed us to be working in parallel in month two so that she could go through the IVF and egg retrieval process, while my body was being prepared for the embryo transfer as soon as the embryos were ready. While this feels like a complicated process for the patient, our clinic has the scheduling and coordination down to a science. Although it is a bit nerve-wracking to think that not only do I need to be on top of all the correct medications every day and coming in for doctor appointments on specific days, but my donor has to do that too. On top of which I knew she had flights to coordinate for the trips to our clinic for various steps of the process. I kept thinking to myself, “Please don’t let her have flight delays or canceled flights! Get her to the clinic safely! She’s carrying all my eggs! Her ovaries are saturated with my dreams!” One of my biggest fears was that something would not go right with one of our bodies and we’d have to abort the process and start all over. But it all went like clockwork and my donor was amazing! Her body made 42 eggs, 38 fertilized and 31 became high quality embryos that we would now own. My husband and I felt like we won the egg donor lottery! And all went as planned. My body was ready to receive an embryo on day 5 of their development and that was it. And then we waited…those 9 excruciating days to see if all that work (and money) created a pregnancy. During those 9 days our brains do amazing things to make us think we are pregnant or make us think we aren’t pregnant so that we will be prepared somehow for the outcome. Every time, I tell myself not to look on the internet for ANYTHING. But somehow I end up looking up every site that I can find that talks about early pregnancy symptoms and embryo development during those 9 days post transfer. The symptoms are evil tricksters because the medications to help foster the pregnancy (progesterone and estrogen) will also give you pregnancy symptoms. In this case, I thought for sure I was pregnant. And then for the fourth time reading the lab results (where our last two tries were negative) looking for an HCG level over 50, we saw zero…AGAIN. Three times in a row, not pregnant. It’s like running full force into a brick wall. That moment is one of the most painful, excruciating moments in the process. I try not to get my hopes up, but of course I do, because the dream of having a baby is just darn overwhelming and exciting and joyful. But every time I’ve seen the lab test come back as “not detectable,” it becomes the darkest, deepest, most intense moment of sadness and heartbreak. And for me, my brain tortures me with re-living the loss of my first pregnancy where I not only see visions of the horrific loss of our baby, but also start remembering the wonderful details of what it felt like to be pregnant. And all of it hurts. And it feels so far away and maybe even impossible to see a positive pregnancy test and fill the desperate need and desire to be pregnant again. So, here I am sitting in my car with this piece of paper in my hand that just shattered my world and now what? How do I get strong enough to put myself through this again? Do I want to? But then all I can do for that moment is just cry while everything else in the world disappears except for that one thought…that I just lost this dream again. And then I pull myself together for enough seconds to realize that I better call in sick to work because I know the tears will not stop today. And I can’t bear to look at my husband through my tears because I know I’ll just see a face of helplessness, because he can’t fix it either and he just lost his dream too.
Then time passes…and somehow we do find the strength to try again.