Waiting for Confirmation

It’s 5:15 and today was the first day I could take a pregnancy test, with doctor approval. I bought a two pack of First Response tests last week and it has been sitting unobtrusively under my bathroom sink ever since. The night before last, I could barely sleep, I was so anxious. I still feel pretty crummy. The progesterone makes me nauseous and gives me headaches and my abdomen is still swollen.

I spent the majority of yesterday planning for disappointment and the inevitable two days in bed that would follow. I attended the staff meeting, since the other would be offered Wednesday and I finished my weeding for the month, since the end of November sneaks up on you in libraries. We close for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday and I don’t work the weekend. Weeding requires a lot of bending and lifting small amounts of weight (stacks of books), and it’s taken a toll on my body. My belly feels worse and I was exhausted, so I took two pregnancy approved muscle relaxers around 8:00, with plans to get a full night’s sleep and wake up to test at around 6:00, before Jake went to work.

I woke up at 4:30 and tried to convince myself to go back to sleep. Finally, I admitted that holding it wasn’t going to change the answer and now was the time to face the truth. Half asleep, I went to the bathroom, where I’d gotten the test ready the night before, peed in the cup… and promptly dropped it, spilling half of it all over the bathroom. I grabbed the test with my pee covered hands and tried to open it with my teeth, only to realize there was definitely urine on it, cut it open with some nail clippers, and used what small urine sample was left to test…

… and it was positive. I cleaned the bathroom before I checked the results and, at the sight of two unquestionably pink lines, I ran into the bedroom, turned on the light, jumped on the bed, and woke up a startled Jake.

Me: “It’s positive.
Jake: ::hugs me and tries to pull me into the bed with him::
Me: “The perk of spilling pee all over the bathroom, when you take a pregnancy test, is that you have something to do while you wait for the results.”

He laughed and hugged me and tried to roll me over for a sweet moment, when he realized I was breathing hard.

Jake: “Are you okay?”
Me: “Yeah, I’m just…” I searched for the right words… “covered in pee.”

So, now I wait until Wal-Mart opens, at 7:00 cuz Covid, to buy ten more cheap tests and have my bloodwork tomorrow morning. In the meantime, I at least have two pink lines and Jake went back to sleep, just like a man.

One Week Wait

A week from today, it’ll all be over. I’m not sure why my clinic seems to differ from the norm, but they test two weeks from retrieval, not transfer. I’m dreading the test. It’ll be the moment when we find out that, once again, this was all for nothing. The money, the shots, the plate I hurled into the sink when Jake touched my donut. The breakdowns, the days I spent in bed, the nausea, headaches, swollen everything, will all be for naught. My stomach still sports a large green bruise and I haven’t even had a subcutaneous shot in over a week. I’m tired and sick to my stomach all of the time and my uterus keeps twinging and I’m doing my best not to convince myself that it means something it doesn’t.

I suppose I’m just that much more hopeful, this time around, since this entire cycle has gone so smoothly, compared to the first. The doctor tried to discourage me from transferring two embryos, because he seemed confident one would work. I bought a test today, so I can take it at home and emotionally prepare myself for the official news from the blood test. I’ve even planned for when I’ll take it, knowing that I’ll have to call into work over a negative result. If I wait until Tuesday, when I’ve been given the go ahead to test, I can drink little to no water and test at lunch, since I’ll telework for the rest of the day and my Netflix Party program won’t require me to be on screen. If it’s negative, I just start my program and resume the catatonic state on the couch that sums up 2020, after informing my boss that I won’t be in Wednesday, after the blood test. I’ll have until 1:00 Thursday to recover before virtual DnD with my teens and if I’m still not up for it, I can cancel.

I suppose my new rhetoric is to try my hardest not to hope for the best, while preparing for the worst. I am just so tired.

Two Transferred

Six frozen.

This second cycle was entirely different from the first. Despite having more than twice as many fertilized eggs, out of the same number of mature eggs, I was dreading my transfer. I cried to Jake, that this was the beginning of the end. Once I entered that doctor’s office, (#alonecuzcovid), I’d learn the number of blastocysts and all hope would be lost. I’d transfer one or two if I could, but would surely not be pregnant and would have few, if any, frozen. If the changes we made didn’t yield different results, there was little to no hope that any others would and we’d be looking at likely pointless, undoubtedly financially, physically, and emotionally exhausting reattempts. Ultimately the limited, seemingly impossible remaining options to have a family would be all that was left to us and it would all begin with that fresh transfer. What can I say? 2020 has left me a little defeated.

When I went in yesterday morning, however, the doctor informed me that he felt like he knew what had gone wrong in the first cycle, as we had much better results this time around, with five blastocysts on day five. My progesterone also measured three times higher, since we’d been doing 1.5 units, because it was fairly low on day five, last time. Jake and I had planned to transfer two embryos, in the hopes of increasing our chances, and while I was torn when the doctor told me he didn’t think it was necessary, I couldn’t actually consult with my husband, so I stuck to our mutual decision. We transferred two embryos and froze the other three. Today, the clinic called to tell me that an additional three had made it to the blastocyst stage on day six and that they all rated BB. A full half of our mature eggs and over half of our fertilized eggs, had made it to freezing quality. So, no matter what happens in the next ten days, we have six frozen embryos to use in the future.

I’m not sure what we’ll do, if I’m not pregnant. We’ve discussed perhaps waiting until July, when we’ve paid off a significant portion of the zero interest credit cards we’ve used for this cycle and our health savings accounts are again available from work, to start another cycle. Frozen transfers cost around $3,500 and if we don’t get pregnant until one of our last embryos, or at all, we’d be looking at doing another cycle as early as 35 with no pregnancy or as late as 37 with a successful attempt on one of our last embryos. While we once discussed having three or four children, at this point, we’d be thrilled with two and even happy with one, though we’d prefer our children have siblings. If we wait to do any additional transfers, and instead do another full cycle, we could get that many more healthy embryos, while I’m 33 and potentially be able to have the preferred minimum of two children that we want. While an additional IVF cycle doesn’t sound like much fun, going through it in a different pandemic climate, knowing that we’ve isolated the problem, would make it much easier.

Naturally, I hope this transfer worked and that Jake and I can rejoice over a summer baby, but after the last cycle’s devastating conclusion, I’m trying to prepare myself and formulate a plan for a similar outcome. I feel better this time, both physically and mentally. I attribute that largely to the medication I was prescribed to prevent OHSS, the fact that we’ve seen that we can have better results, so if we do have to try again, we’re looking at better odds, and my overall avoidance of Reddit. The doctor seemed more confident, though of course he won’t give me any kind of concrete percentages. I’m paranoid that I’ll personally do something to prevent implantation and the words “can I poop after embryo transfer” are officially in my search history. Maybe it will work or maybe I’ll find myself in bed for two solid days next week… but if it’s the latter, I’ll have a plan.

Perks and Deficits

Perks to Going Through IVF During a Pandemic

I don’t see children. I don’t see moms come in with little ones and babies for story time, because we’re not open to the public. I don’t see my nieces or cousins’ kids. I can largely avoid the longing that these encounters bring.

I don’t have to go to baby showers or weddings, where people will inevitably ask me when we’re having kids and I’ll shut it down in a way that makes them equally uncomfortable, but gets Belle talked about for the next five years.

I’m not spending my money on much, since there’s nothing to do, so I can make larger payments on the tens of thousands of dollars multiple rounds of IVF will cost.

Everyone is getting fat, so no one has noticed the bloating and larger breasts caused by the copious amounts of fertility drugs. We’re all wearing frumpy clothes, so no one has picked up on the depression.

I’m working from home about half the time, so I don’t have to pretend with my coworkers as much. I don’t have to answer as many questions when I am out. When the test is negative, it won’t be as noticeable when I’m gone for three days.

I don’t have to see Jake’s or my family. I don’t have to see the looks of sympathy or answer questions. I don’t have to hear more installments on why this is hurting Jake’s mom and sister. I don’t have to wonder if Jake’s aunt knows.

Deficits to Going Through IVF During a Pandemic

I don’t have enough to keep my mind occupied. I’m at work right now, with literally nothing to do. I have no programs to work on or outreach to brainstorm. I have no community connections to build. I can’t concentrate enough to read or listen to audiobooks most days. I sit and I think about the test being negative, whether or not I’m willing to try this again, for the cost, the emotional and physical toll, the fact that Jake is apparently incapable of following through with an agreement to keep his mouth shut about our test date. I slip and imagine a positive for a moment and I think about how much more devastating it will be when there’s only one line.

I have to avoid everything. I can’t watch movies and shows with babies and kids, which is basically all of them these days. I can’t watch kids’ movies or escape with Harry Potter, or I’ll start to cry because I won’t be able to share them with my own children, as I’d always planned. I have all the time in the world and very little I can do with it, for fear of triggering a prayer-filled crying jag.

I have to assume I’m pregnant, despite my fight to assume I’m not so I won’t be disappointed. I can’t drink more than one cup of coffee or get drive-through soda. I can’t have a drink to calm my nerves or take medical marijuana to sleep or calm my anxiety. I can’t go for long walks, because I might overheat. I can’t go shopping or out to eat or see the limited family and friends I might want to see, because I can’t get Covid-19 even more than if I’m not pregnant. I can’t do these things when the test is negative, because while I don’t know what or when the next step will be, I can’t risk delaying it over an extended illness or the hospital bills that accompany it.

My tolerance level is at zero. I cannot deal with the coworker who won’t back off or the book snob on Reddit. Both political parties tick me off and stress me out, but it’s an election year. I’m already beyond stressed, but oh yeah, we’re in a global pandemic. Everything my husband says and does is wrong or cruel.


2020. Covid-19. Infertility.

Bad News Pending

I’m in this awful place right now, where I’m just dreading testing. I feel like it’ll be the final nail in the coffin. This will all be over and all of our money will be gone. Not only will that be devastating, but then I’ll have to inform the few people who knew what was going on, that it didn’t work. They’ll either be horribly disappointed on their own behalf, with secondary consideration for Jake and me, or I’ll become the IVF Failure story they tell anecdotally.

I’m so angry at Jake right now. I didn’t even tell my Gramma that the pregnancy test was next week. I told her that she’ll find out when I want to share, one way or another. Jake, after agreeing not to give his parents this detail, told his mother last week. Now his parents, substantial investors in our fertility, will be waiting for an update… as I’m sure will his sister, since his mother tells her everything. When the test is negative, Jake will have to tell them all right away, because they’ll otherwise assume it’s positive. I won’t even have a week to grieve and process, before everyone wants an update on our next steps or feels they should share input for how this effects them. That is everyone’s favorite topic, of course: how our infertility impacts their lives.


I don’t particularly want to consider that the test might be positive, but if it is, then Jake’s parents will assume as much, because he won’t tell them otherwise. Regardless, they’d demand to know, since they paid for over half of the treatment. His parents have no idea how this process works. His mother spelled S-E-X a few weeks ago. There was no reason to tell them we’d know so soon. He could have bought us a minimum of six weeks and now there’s even more pressure on me than I already felt. If we lose all of this money, it’s because my body let us down. When we lose our babies, it’s because failed. All I wanted was a few weeks to process this before having to tell everyone and he took that from me. At this point, I’m just ready for this whole thing to be over.


I simultaneously feel like I’ve completely given up hope, but also that I’ll be absolutely devastated when this cycle is a confirmed failure. Everything I’ve read says we should have frozen our embryos, though our doctor seemed to think that wouldn’t change our chances in any notable way. He is a professor at a competitive medical school, so maybe there’s some merit? Regardless, everything online says it never happens the first time. I assumed we’d have a few frozen trials at least, but if we are indeed not pregnant, our only option is to start over in a couple of months.

This has been so much harder on me than I thought it would be… and as you can see, from my other posts, I never thought it would be easy. I used to watch A Baby Story on TLC, as a television addicted teenager. Then I’d watch John and Kate Plus Eight. The stars of these shows would occasionally give an overview of their fertility issues and ever since, it has literally been one of my worst nightmares to go through this. I did not have high hopes. Still, I’ve been in some level of pain and discomfort since the egg retrieval over a week ago. My ovaries are swollen and the progesterone shots leave my lower back perpetually sore. I’ve been nauseous and dizzy and I think I might have a very mild case of OHSS… or it’s just the side effects from all the drugs. It’s a delightful mystery.

All of this is to say nothing of the emotional trauma of feeling like my body is killing my only surviving embryos, like I’m going to let everyone down, like it’s never going to happen. It’s also to say nothing of the cost. Jake is determined to try again, but I’m not entirely sure where he’s going to get those funds. The plan is to put down another thousand dollars on a new date, after we get an official negative, and then… figure it out. We’ll likely be starting a new cycle around the holidays. Zetus lapetus, 2020 is the worst year.

I’ve tried to stay out of the online infertility community. It’s bleak, at best. But I do know that there are many women who spend their two week wait pretending that they’re pregnant and refer to it as “Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise.” I don’t know why anyone would get their hopes up like that. I’m already planning next steps and I’m a week away from my pregnancy test. I’m dreading the news, so much. Jake will have to tell his parents that the $8,000 they gave us was completely wasted. I’ll have to tell my Gramma that there won’t be any babies any time soon. I won’t be able to get out of bed for several days. The depression is the worst. It wastes so much time. At least, once it’s a confirmed failure, I can take as much medical marijuana as I like, to dull the pain. All my life, I’ve yearned for parents, like everyone else has, and never gotten them. Now, I get to yearn for children, like everyone else has, and never get them.

I’ve looked into other options, like sperm donors and private adoption. Jake’s not ready for donor sperm, though, and private adoption costs more than trying this two more times… so I guess that’s what we’ll do. I’ll continue to drag my feet through this process, entirely expecting heartbreak, only to be knocked off those feet anyway, when it happens. Next time, we’ll freeze all.