Ahhh… the best part about trying to get pregnant. The two week wait (2ww). The time between when the sperm and egg meet, and you can have enough HCG in your blood stream to detect a viable pregnancy.
You’d think with all of the medical advancements that the artificial reproductive technologies have given us, they could hurry up the waiting a bit. Alas, no. From the date of your IUI, you have to now wait 14 days to get your ‘Beta’ test (aka your blood test). The beautiful thing is that if you drive into the clinic to get the blood work done, they call you around noon with your results.
The fate of your future then relies on one phone call.
I’m getting ahead of myself. After sitting on the couch upside-down for a full day, I began the longest 14 days of my life. It’s practically impossible to pay attention to anything else in the world.
I spent my days trying to immerse myself in work so I could stay occupied on anything but baby making. As soon as I got home from work, I’d hop onto google and search for the most un-scientific things. “Early pregnancy signs”, “What to do during your 2ww”, “How to increase your chances of getting pregnant”, “How early is an at home pregnancy test accurate?”… you get the picture.
It was during this wait that I discovered www.ivf.ca. It’s the most amazing board with thousands of people experiencing infertility in Canada and abroad. Many of us went to the same clinics, had the same questions, and gave each other support in this process that no-one else could really understand. I’d never been one for anything else but my email and facebook on the internet, but this was pure gold.
While I admit, I have the most amazingly supportive family, friends, and husband, it’s impossible to describe what this process does to you to someone who hasn’t been through it. As if the financial, emotional, and physical symptoms/implications aren’t enough, add in massive amounts of hormones into the mix and you get a pure crazy woman.
Even for Dan, who had to continue to put up with me on a daily basis, it was a completely different experience… While being surrounded by supportive people, I felt completely alone. I was dealing with the biggest, hardest, most fundamental question: what makes you a woman? Up until now, being a woman was distinguished from being a man by one thing- the ability to have children. If my body wasn’t cooperating doing the most basic function of being a woman, what did that mean?
While Dan was always careful to refer to anything to do with fertility as ‘us’ or ‘we’, the fact of the matter was that this was MY problem. Everything with Dan was A-ok. It was me that was the stumbling block to us having our dream family.
Did he regret marrying me now? What did this mean to our relationship? How could he not blame me. After all, it is my fault. The only way I could prove my worth as a wife was to get pregnant and show him that I’m not useless- I’m a woman! I can have a baby!
Fast forward about 9 days. I’m feeling great. No period symptoms and every twitch or cramp I felt had to be our baby growing! Dan laughed at me a lot after I continued to tell him about each and every feeling in my belly. “Adele… it’s probably gas pains”. The worst times were when he was right! :S
At night, we’d lay in bed and talk about baby names. I had some ideas, as did he. He mostly threw out 90% of my ideas, but we were narrowing the choices down. I recall one night actually talking to my stomach saying “grow, baby grow!”. While Dan was positive and supportive, he tried to keep me balanced.
The realistic part was that the percentages say that IUI from our clinic is successful about 30% of the time. Not the best odds, but better than an average couple trying (around 25% per month). I was convinced that since I endured pure hell trying to get this darn follicle growing, this was for sure going to work.
I was having early pregnancy symptoms- my boobs hurt and I was feeling a tad nauseous…. However, I was also peeing on a stick every morning and was getting just one line each time. Not pregnant.
I’d call Dan with the news, but then again, it was still a couple days before my period would even come. Probably was still too early to show up. Trust me, I was pregnant.
14 days after the IUI, I rushed to the clinic early to get my blood work done. I had had no signs of bleeding, no signs of cramping etc for my period… I had a smile a mile wide. The staff at the clinic- who knew me well by now after my extremely long cycle- asked me how I was feeling. Pregnant, I told them. They wished me luck.
I had the blood drawn, then went to work. The clinic always called between 11:45 and 12:15. I had specifically booked myself to work in my office until 2pm so I could get the news, then I had a grievance meeting I had to go to.
The clock ticked by even slower than I could have imagined… Noon came. Then 12:30… 12:45… 1:00. What the heck… this was torture. Giving up, I called the clinic and asked if my results were in. They flipped me to the nurses and I left a message.
I left for my meeting and got to the hospital site at 1:45. I still had not received a call. I got my meeting materials ready, met with the member and union rep and was about to start the meeting.
At 1:58 I got the call. A nurse was on the other end and gave me the news that was about to change my life… But then she said it. “I’m sorry Adele, but the results of the test were negative”. I was standing just outside the door where the meeting was about to begin.
“Are you sure?”, I asked. Yes, I had no pregnancy hormone in me she confirmed. I explained my symptoms to her. The nurse went over my blood work with me and explained because my estrogen was so high, I was experiencing pregnancy symptoms, but they had nothing to do with pregnancy- just a result a very high estrogen.
I thanked her and started to cry in the hospital hallway. I was SO sure…
I dialed Dan and he answered after the 2nd ring. He was expecting my call. I gave him the news while drying my tears in a few short sentences. Told him I was about to start a meeting, then hung up.
I was utterly shocked. I was so sure… how could this happen? More importantly, it was now 2:06pm and my meeting was to begin 6 minutes ago. I had the employer and my membership waiting for my arrival. I wiped my face, swallowed hard, then walked back in the room. I blamed my crimson face on allergies and used a Kleenex to blow my nose. Back to work.
The meeting went fine and I got back into my car about 3:30pm. Before the door was even shut, I was crying so hard there was no way I could drive. I was devastated. I called my Dan and asked him to let my family and Janica know. The thought of talking to anyone that I told that I had to be pregnant was heart breaking. We had put so much into this process… and had nothing but bills to show for it.
Fast forward a couple of days. I had talked myself out of the slump I was in thanks to my amazing husband. We could do this again. Also, although this process was nasty, the docs had learned a lot about what didn’t work for me so the next round was sure to be better. Right?
The only problem was that my period still had not shown. I had called the clinic after about 5 days post beta results, and the nurse had told me to wait. On the first day of my new cycle, I should call the clinic to come in and get a new baseline test done. I continued to wait…
10 days post beta results…. Still nothing.
15 days post beta results… Still nothing.
20 days post beta results… Still nothing. What is wrong with me? I called the clinic and they were also unable to explain what’s going on. They told me that if after 25 days there was still nothing, to come in and chat with our RE.
25 days post beta results I came into the clinic with Dan by my side. The re-did my blood results- perhaps I was pregnant after all? Did I dare get my hopes up? I had another transvaginal ultrasound and was ushered into the clinical room to meet with our doc.
He reviewed the results, my uterine lining was thin again. I was definitely not pregnant. However, the perplexing part was that he wasn’t exactly sure where my uterine lining went to. It was thick… and was now thin. Normally that meant it was shed- aka a period. He questioned me again, was I sure I didn’t have a period? Ok, I appreciate I don’t know a lot about fertility, but I was sure about not having a period.
He wasn’t sure… he hadn’t seen this before. Great- another medical mystery. But the important part was that my lining was thin again. He had a new plan for medication and this time was going to have me switch to a different drug called Menapur. Still an injectible medication, it was a tad different and he was hoping my body would like it a tad better than Puregon. He said we’d have to wait until we got my blood test results just to ensure everything was back to normal, but if it was, I could start the medicine tonight! IUI Round 2, here we go!
April 26th we were to start our second cycle of IUI. The fact that we were now 3+ months from when we began the first cycle didn’t escape me. Most fertility patients had now completed, and gotten the beta results from, THREE different IUI rounds. Breath in, breath out. The end result would be worth it!