I gave Sam my standard hug and "I love you!" before letting him take that first big step up onto the school bus. The bus driver gave me a cheery "Have a good weekend!" and a smile and I stepped back to look for my baby in the first-seat window. He smiled at me, waved and gave me a 'heart'--our hand-shaped gesture of love. I returned the gesture by blowing a kiss, waving and giving him my 'heart'.
Only as the bus started to slowly roll away did I see the little girl who always sits behind Sammy. She waved at me too. And she curled her fingers into a heart-shape against the glass. My smile widened and I waved more for her.
After watching the bus go around the corner, I turned to walk back up the driveway. And it was then that the tears started flowing. I'd held them in since this morning and during the last few days of uncertainty but now they weren't taking no for an answer. Seeing that little girl wave and give me a 'heart' was just too much. Why on today of all days had this little girl chosen to wave and share with me such a loving gesture that Sammy & I do for each other? She'd never before done this. I don't even know who she is.
I went back into the house and crawled into bed with my younger son to take a nap. I sobbed as I thought about her sweet gesture and about the little girl we would probably never have.
This last round of fertility treatments was probably the hardest on me. Not only physically, but also emotionally as well. For the first time ever, I actually thought I might be pregnant. I didn't just hope I might be, I actually thought I was based on what I had been feeling as far as physical symptoms. Turns out it was all fake--well, real in that the symptoms were real but fake in that they were caused by the stupid shots and not by an actual pregnancy.
Three or four weeks ago. When this cycle started I was feeling optimistic just like I normally did. I knew that things could go one way or another but was hopeful that perhaps this time since we were trying IUI, we might just sway things in the positive direction a bit. So I took my Femara on Days 3-7. I went into the RE's office to have my ultrasound done on day 9. This was pretty early for me since I normally go in on day 10 but with day 10 being a Sunday we went in early in the hopes of not missing my ovulation.
My day 9 ultrasound showed that the follicles weren't ready to trigger yet. Even though they told me this was normal, I was a bit worried. I always ovulated early. The nurse scheduled me for a second ultrasound on Monday, I think it was. This time when I went in the follicles were closer to the size they needed to be. I was told to do my trigger shot on Tuesday night and that our IUI would be Thursday morning.
Just in case it might help, we had been trying on our own off and on throughout the weekend and then even on their suggested schedule of Tuesday night. I don't think I slept at all Wednesday evening. I had no idea of what to expect for the procedure. It cracks me up now to think about how nervous I was for something so simple but when you are in the dark about something it can be pretty frightening to think about.
Thursday, about two or three weeks ago. Alex's part went well. I guess that's how you word it? :) He went in early that morning, did his thing and came back to get us. My procedure was supposed to be at 9:45 but they didn't get to me until almost 10:15! I was trying not to panic about the time seeing as how my son was supposed to catch his bus at 11:49!
The doctor came in with the nurse and they had me sign paperwork--this is me, that's my hubby's sperm, yup, yup. Then my RE, whom I very rarely see and have much conversation with, asked me to look at the number on the form. I read it aloud as he asked me to. Well, that number was my hubby's sperm count. Apparently it was not just good but off the charts good! My RE said that they very rarely see someone what that many sperm. I laughed and said I'd have to tell my husband he did well. We all joked for a few minutes and I ended with, "Well, it's too bad this can't help me any." My RE said, "Well, actually it can. Sometimes when we have one partner who is deficient (that would be me), if the other has something like this, it might just help make up for the deficiency."
Wow. That was the first GOOD news I had ever heard come out of my RE's mouth. He was the same guy who painted that awfully gloomy picture of black for us back in March. Now even if my hubby's super sperm (that's what I've dubbed it) give me even a half of a half of a half of a percent increase in our chances, well, I'll take it. I take all of the good news I can in this journey.
So. The procedure ended up being relatively painless to which I was grateful. The nurse had said I may feel my uterus contracting or something like that and period-like cramping. Nope. Didn't feel a thing! My cervix wasn't tipped or anything--it was in a perfect position which made the doc's job even easier. The worst part was probably the speculum but we all know how much fun that is anyway. After a few minutes I was handed a timer and told to lie flat for 7 minutes. Wow. That was it.
Luckily we made it home in time for Sammy to catch his bus and this was the first time Daddy was there to see him off too. For the rest of the day I felt fine and was thankful that the procedure had been so painless and easy to move forward from.
That night I went to my folk dance group and danced for 3.5 hours! I loved it. It was truly like I needed to be there. The music just carried me away and allowed me to stop thinking of dates and times and schedules--pills, shots, intercourse. I could just be in the moment.
With the first two weeks of my cycle out of the way I felt like a lot of pressure had been lifted. What I was into now was the "tww" which stands for "two week wait." For those of you not in the baby loss community, did you even think of all of the acronyms that are out there? The "tww" is just one of many! So here I was in the my two week wait and I actually felt better knowing that I had done everything I could at that point and that again, it was in God's hands. I felt a lot of relief.
Tuesday following my IUI. That Tuesday, about 5-6 days later, I had some strong crampy feelings. My first thought was that my period was going to be coming soon. Again I called my RE and they said what they told me the previous month, based on the timing, it could be early PMS or possibly implantation cramping. Wouldn't you know that I had to go look that up again? I keep telling myself to stay off of the computer. Stop looking up pregnancy symptoms. But no, I had to go yet again and found out that implantation can occur as early as 5-6 days past ovulation all the way up to 12 days past. Wow. So I was in that ballpark for my pain. Hmm.
That was the last symptom that I felt. No spotting which I had had before. No other ideas that my period was coming. And so the hope slowly began to build.
One week ago. As I entered into my final week of the "tww" I kept trying not to think about my test date. I also noticed that I was developing more strange symptoms that are totally unlike me. Remember last cycle where I was about flattened by the fatigue? Turns out that was caused by my second shot--since it's the pregnancy hormone, it causes actual symptoms of pregnancy--like extreme fatigue.
Not only was I feeling extreme fatigue this time but also stomach troubles. Lots of gas. Not like you care to know that but boy, it didn't matter what I ate, it was not settling well in my tummy. I just figured my stomach was out of whack about something and tried not to think about it.
Tuesday, one week ago. That Tuesday of my 4th week I developed a new symptom that REALLY threw me. Heartburn. I had to go look up those symptoms because to tell the truth, I really wasn't sure that's what it was. I normally never have heartburn/acid reflux/whatever and only got it when I was pregnant with all of my boys. Upon reading of how heartburn is triggered in early pregnancy by the pregnancy hormone and other hormones loosening some flap between your stomach and esophagus, I thought--well, that makes sense. Huh.
The heartburn settled down a bit but my nauseous feelings continued off and on for the next few days. I had to have my pregnancy test pushed back all the way to last Friday instead of Wednesday. I caught their error and called them and they realized they had scheduled my test too early. Last time it took forever for me to get the hcg shot out of my body so I had to be re-tested. They were trying to avoid that this time.
The other significant thing about that Tuesday was that it was day 26 of my cycle. My cycles are typically 25 days long and I should have gotten my period that day for sure...or even earlier. But, no period. Hmm. Home pregnancy test was positive although I knew that I was still within the 10-day window of my second shot and that I was picking up the hcg. That's okay. I figured I'd keep testing until it went negative...or perhaps stayed positive.
Wednesday, just last week. The day my dreams started to fall. Spotting that evening. I remember saying, "Oh God, no! Please no!" as I stared at the toilet paper. It was just a faint pinkish-tannish but I knew in my gut what it meant. My period was coming. Another brand of home testing showed a negative. Another major punch in the gut. That night I had to buy my original brand of test. Even though I knew my period was coming, I was desperately holding on to hope that maybe it wasn't. The original test was back to positive. Talk about a yo-yo of emotions building in the past few days.
This day had to have been the worst that I have felt since losing Jacob last October. After I got the negative test and the slight spotting, I went and sat at the dining room table. I just stared out of the window for a few minutes. I didn't have much more time but took just a few minutes to do nothing. It felt almost like a death. I really thought, not for sure, but thought that I might just actually be pregnant and all of those bizzare symptoms that I had felt might actually be do to a pregnancy.
Then I felt stupid. I felt like I had been suckered in by this whole thing and that I fell prey to it. I hated feeling like that. I wanted to be stronger than that.
Thursday, just last week and one day from official test day. More spotting that night. Home test still showing a faint positive line. Tried to prepare myself for the official news. I felt it. I knew Wednesday that things weren't good. The nurse said some women bleed all throughout their pregnancy and it's normal. I knew and hoped that if I was pregnant, I would fear what the bleeding would mean. Either way, it wasn't looking good in my mind.
I also had to call my nurse today to figure out what on earth to do...if my period started and when, or if it didn't. Their phones don't open until 8:30 and my appointment was scheduled for then. It's all timing.
Last Friday morning. No "flow" yet. I had been told to come in if I didn't have flow (heavy bleeding) or to call and reschedule for an ultrasound if I did. The nurse drawing my blood told me my period should have started by now. I was like, Geez, please don't get my hopes up any more. It's coming. It's probably coming today.
Ready for another yo-yo? One of my regular nurses came into talk with me for some reason after the other nurse did my blood draw. First she scolded me for taking home tests when I knew the hcg would still be in my system from the shot. I have no clue why she did this because it's not like I was whining or worrying or even said anything about it. I thought, "What do you care?" I was actually very matter-of-fact in knowing my period was coming. I was simply reporting to them what I had found because they asked if I tested at home. Duh.
My nurse even clarified that perhaps the shot hcg went out of my system (hence the faint positive line) and then my own would build back up and that home tests might pick this up if they were sensitive enough to indeed pick it up. Apparently the one test I used is awesome and super sensitive. Good to know. Maybe.
And then my nurse did something awful. She crushed my dreams. Stomped all over them. Left them in pieces there in the blood draw room. If the cramping, spotting, impending period news and negative pregnancy test weren't all enough to throw at me on top of the last week of building hope and actually feeling pregnant, she thought she'd hit me with a lot more.
She started counting how many rounds of this treatment plan I'd been doing and said that I would have to take this next round off and meet with the doctor to discuss my options at this point. She leaned on the counter and said, "We're fighting that low AMH score with you. You just aren't making a lot of eggs and that signifies diminished ovarian reserve." No kidding, really?? Do you think I've forgotten how abysmal my scores are?? Must you remind me?? And on a day like today??? She went through the one option of injectables if the doc would go that route but said she just didn't know.
So I leave the RE's office feeling more crampy and more down than ever. I truly felt like my nurse's little speech was more of a getting ready to "kick me to the curb" speech than anything else. I know my options are limited. Oh sure, there's maybe IVF which we can't afford. And who could forget egg donation? Sure. I have $20K in my pocket right now for that. Yup.
I fought tears as I went back to the car to relay all of this to Alex. He suggested we start looking for another doc to work with. A second opinion. The sky over me was getting more and more gloomy. It was so hard getting Sammy ready for school. He noticed my mood and asked, "What's wrong, Mommy?" I sat on the driveway with him waiting for the bus and told him I was sad because the doctor said it was hard for me to have a baby. He said, "Oh," and hugged me. Just the other day he was talking about where we'd put his baby's sister's car seat in the car. Out of the blue.
And then the bus came. Sammy and I gave our 'hearts' to each other...and then the little dark-haired girl in the seat behind him made that special shape that my sons and I share. Why had she chosen this day of all of days to do the same gesture to some other little boy's mommy? It was too much. It was as if seeing her do that shoved the pain of not ever having another baby, let alone a little girl, even deeper into my heart. And that's when I cried. Finally. After all week of holding back, I cried for the lost that I felt thinking I had been pregnant. And I cried for the lack of another chance--for the extinguishing of hope.
To be continued....