I write this first blog post, my scariest, most revealing post around the "scariest" time of the year. I'm in the midst of a lot of emotions. I admit that it was not easy getting started with this post. I was afraid. So I would allude to things and commit the all-hated Facebook atrocity: vaguebooking. I had to get something off my chest without really revealing what it was. I debated for awhile about whether I wanted to share and how much. Yet, once I thought about how therapeutic it would be for me to share my story and the community of women out there experiencing the same highs and lows as I am, I knew I had to fight the fear and just do it.
Since last spring, I've undergone two rounds of IVF. Both times I completed the recommended genetic testing, and both times resulted in one genetically normal embryo. For some background on this, the testing helps to ensure the viability of the embryo; testing results in fewer miscarriages. My first round of IVF--after an embryo transfer in May 2020--was unsuccessful. The second round, after an embryo transfer in mid-September--resulted in a short pregnancy that ended in a biochemical failure. Below, I'm sharing what I wrote on Friday, October 9th, the day after I experienced this next low in my journey.
I arrived to work this morning feeling empty, an emptiness I've felt before. And just like the other times I've experienced a loss, I've felt support, but greater support this time because I have my husband right by my side.
After one failed IUI and one failed IVF transfer, I was ecstatic to find out I had a positive pregnancy test on Tuesday, September 29. I was trying not to get my hopes up in case I was let down. And I was trying to keep busy. So I was out running errands with my mom and about to walk out of the Bloomingdale's elevator (ironically, one of our most favorite stores) when I got "the call." Butterflies immediately rushed to my stomach. Then I spoke to my nurse and was in disbelief when she told me it was positive!
"Really, are you sure?" I might have asked. "Oh, yes, you're definitely pregnant," she said. "Congrats!"
I had this same reaction when I passed my driver's test and received my license when I was 17, after failing the test two or three times (20 years later, I honestly can no longer remember how many times!).
"Really, I passed, like, for real"? I asked. I wanted to give him a hug!
The rest of the day I received the pregnancy news, I was on such a high. I called my husband and then my mother-in-law, while my mom texted my brother and sister-in-law.
I know that you're supposed to keep this news private until the end of the first trimester, but it was hard. For the most part, I only told a few close family members and friends who I had been talking to regularly about my journey. But my mom was already planning the nursery, and even though I knew it was too soon, I was soon searching Pinterest for nursery inspiration. Oy.
So, a week later, Monday, October 5th, I had come home from work and my bloodwork appointment to check my HCG levels. My husband came home from work and asked if everything was okay because I had started typing a text to him but hadn't sent it. He said (I swear), "I was worried when you didn't respond because I thought maybe you found out that something was wrong with the pregnancy."
I told him he worries too much and that everything was fine. I had just gotten distracted because I got a phone call. Then, that afternoon, I received my regular phone call with my blood work results, only this time it was the doctor calling, not my nurse. I immediately was worried. "Why was he calling and not her? Is something wrong?"
This was the call that changed everything. I learned that my HCG levels had not risen as they had expected and that I had two options. Number 1 scared the shit out of me. Because of my low levels, my doctor was worried this was not a normal pregnancy and that it would not go to term. He said I could stop my hormone medications that day.
"And then what"? I asked. "Then that's it, no more pregnancy?"
I admit that I was annoyed at my doctor, even though I know he knows what he's doing from experience. It's just to give up that easily felt so wrong.
I wasn't ready to give up, so I went with option 2: keep doing the shots a few more days and get retested to see if my levels rise back up. That night, I posted a vague message on Facebook asking for hopes and prayers, which takes a lot for me because I don't know if I've ever asked even in the worst of times.
Thursday morning, October 8th, I returned to the office for the blood work and hoped for the best but prepared for the worst. By that afternoon, I learned that my levels had not risen as we had hoped. My journey for the time being was over, and I would have to go back to square one and try again. I was crushed.
It's Friday, October 9th. This morning I arrived to work, and my coworker asked me if I was okay. She could probably sense something was off. Plus, she had some clues as to what was going on: I mentioned feeling lightheaded the week before, and, oh yeah, I told her I was going through the IVF process.
It's such a roller coaster of emotions. Last Tuesday I was on such a high, and the fallout was devastating.
It was like when I'd date a guy for a week and be "in love" (kind of like Claire on The Bachelorette!). Then, a week later, I'd be dumped. A friend would ask about him, and I'd be like, "Oh yeah, that..."
Or when I was 14 and had taken a growth test to check if I was still growing (taller! Unfortunately, I've continued to grow wider!). I was so excited to hear that I'd grow to be taller than 4'9 1/2", only to be told abruptly (and rudely) by the pediatrician, "Oh, no, you have no growth left. You've reached your full adult height. You must have been given the wrong results." I burst into tears right then and there. When working with children--or adults, for that matter--you have to think before you speak.
I've learned to live with my height, and I'm okay with it. It's part of who I am, and I love being petite. I admit that I always wanted those additional 2 or 3 inches, but it's not like another couple of inches would've made all my dreams come true.
But this isn't something I'm going to just accept, at least not yet. I'm going to keep going, keep trying, keep fighting.
It's now three weeks later, and we are getting ready to start round 3 in a couple of weeks. Will the third time be the charm? My doctor is hopeful we can do this since I was so close last time. I'm staying positive no matter what because I've got to keep going. It's always taken me longer to achieve certain milestones in life, but I always do. In my own time.