Much as I would like to assure you that all is OK here, I have to also confess that the failure of our IVF attempt hit me much harder than expected.
That almost seems an absurd thing to type- I mean, what did I expect? That would I simply shrug, and accept it? That I would cry a little but would quickly "look on the bright side"? No, of course not. But I did underestimate the enemy. I somehow convinced myself that it would be more like a slap in the face, instead of this agonising blow to the solar plexus.
And I didn't count on feeling this sort of raw grief. It seems self indulgent to describe it as a bereavement. After all, there was no fetus, no baby- nothing beyond those two four and five celled embryos. And yet, that is the closest E. and I have ever come to parenthood, after waiting for so long. I'm not an especially sentimental person, but it was so hard not to treat the transfer as the start of...well... something more. I keep thinking of the ultrasound picture they printed out for us- the white blob in my uterus where the embryos had landed. Gone. Those two particular possibilities are gone- taking something of me, of us- with it.
Also, I think part of my stunned shock stems from the way the end panned out so horribly. You see, I was so intensely focused on the test day. I had all the different scenarios worked out in my head, playing on a repeating loop as we came toward the end of the two week wait. That I would get a positive on the HPT, and the nurse would hug me, smiling in confirmation. That the home tests would be negative, and I would go in braced for the bad news, which I would duly receive, then weep in the car on the way home. Or that the clinic pee test would be borderline and I would have to have a blood test after all. That we would then wait anxiously for ambiguous news, which in some cases is just bad news waiting to happen.
What I didn't count on was that I wouldn't even make it to test day- that I would fall so hard, with the finish line in my sight. I feel like an idiot- it never even dawned on me that my period would arrive when it did. In retrospect, it seems obvious. Sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, I bleed thirteen days past ovulation. And this time was no different, even with the twice daily progesterone suppositories supposedly holding the fort.
However, there is one other last absurd twist regarding the test day. I don't think I have properly explained is that the main reason the clinic requires a sample is because they have to formally report an outcome, one way or another. But E. and I agreed during the wreckage on Thursday night that there was no way in hell I was going to be subjected to making a special trip all the way to the OC on Saturday morning just for that, and it could surely wait until we could make more convenient arrangements.
So I phoned the clinic to discuss this. Given that I was a gibbering mess, I actually begged E. to do it, and he kept saying "But you can describe your symptoms so much better than I can." My symptoms, dear heart, were that I was menstruating, which is usually indicative of NOT BEING PREGNANT. But I didn't have the energy to fight, so I called them myself. I sobbed down the phone while they found my file, and I explained what happened. And then I requested that instead of me trudging to the OC, that E. be allowed to bring in the sample on Monday morning when he drove through for work. What the nurse said next almost made me fall off my chair with overwrought laughter.
"No problem. But if you want, you can just post it to us," she said.
"Excuse me? Did you just say I could mail in my sample? Um, how do I do that?" I asked.
And she said, '"Just put the lid on real tight."
Bwhahahahah! Pee tests by post! So accurate and reliable after two days in a hot sorting room and mail van! She didn't even say to send it first class or in a special envelope or anything. Just put the lid on real tight! Days later, I am still laughing about it. Even more so because E. ended up having to head back to the OC last night, and I forgot to give him the sample to take with him. So I may just go ahead and mail it after all. There's something so ridiculous about the notion that it seems a fitting conclusion to this whole unfortunate episode.
I'm not sure where we go from here- there are some difficult decisions to be made, and I'll post about it as and when things develop. In the meantime, I do feel that at least I am safely back on the Island. Waterlogged, tearstained and sad, yes- but among friends. The rapidity and generosity of your collective rescue mission has warmed and sustained me through the worst of the initial pain. I know there will be bad days ahead, but I also know now that I can, and I will, survive.
And for that my heartfelt thanks go out to all of you- more than I can possibly ever convey.