“March 24th will be the magical day,” we were told as we waited ahead of the embryo transfer. Now it’s well past midnight and in a matter of hours Elle* will have her official blood test. Sometime on Tuesday we will know whether or not the transfer was successful– whether or not we are expecting our first child. This is what we’ve been working toward for so long, and yet part of me is terrified to leave the safety of this limbo behind. As long as we are in this place, we don’t yet know what it feels like to experience a failed transfer.
When we first started trying to get pregnant, I did everything I could to maximize our chances: I tracked my waking temperature every morning and carefully charted the information, I bought ovulation predictor kits in bulk and went through handfuls of them each cycle, I learned how to interpret every signal my cycle could give me until I could easily pinpoint my ovulation day. And then, I waited. Each “two week wait” (the time between ovulation and taking a pregnancy test) always felt unbearably long because by that point there was nothing left that I could do. The results were already completely out of my control. Month after month I stared at that single pink line and the stark white space next to it before starting the frustrating process all over again. For years that was my life.
This time it’s different. It’s more like the two week wait from hell. Not only are the stakes much higher because we’ve worked for the majority of a year for this one attempt, but also because starting over again will require more strength than I think I have right now. And worse than that, we are not the only ones who are invested this time.
The first few days of our wait following the transfer were brutal as we reeled from the news that nearly all of our embryos had failed to survive. Thankfully we had already planned to spend a few days in Florida partway through to visit Kyle’s grandpa for the first time since he became ill in January. Even though the circumstances weren’t ideal, being with family was a welcome distraction and having someone else to focus on helped to take my mind off of our results. But since returning back home on Friday it’s become increasingly tough to get through the very last days, and I am fighting the urge to pack up my essentials tonight and run away from everything. I am absolutely exhausted from the effort of keeping my expectations as low as possible in hopes of protecting myself.
On the other hand, Elle has struggled pretty consistently throughout this time. She is still giving herself daily injections, which she will continue to do either until the 12th week of pregnancy or once we know the transfer wasn’t successful. By now her body and her hormones have been through a lot with no break at all, and I am aching for her. The uncertainty has also not been easy, and she has told us that she feels as though this experience of waiting has been like a glimpse into our world. I know she is under a great deal of pressure in a different way than we are, and I wish it was possible for us to protect her from this part of the process. I don’t want her to experience the kind of pain and grief that has become so familiar to us.
As we reach the very end of our first IVF cycle, I am almost amazed that we have survived. Throughout our many appointments, injections, and tests, we’ve watched as both sets of our parents prepare to become grandparents for the first time. We’ve waited for our transfer results in the midst of plans for baby showers and gender reveal parties. In a way it has made us outsiders in our own families, and it is so painful and isolating that it leaves me breathless at times. I don’t say this to upset anyone, just to acknowledge a few more of the many layers to our situation and the amount of pressure we are under as we wait for ‘The Call.’
I wish there was a way to better articulate how I am feeling through this last night, but my words are failing me. There is really nothing we can do now but finish out the waiting. There isn’t always a reason as to why some embryo transfers are successful and others are not. If we receive a positive result today it won’t be because we deserve it more or because we’ll be better parents or want it more. It won’t be because we’ve been through more or had more people supporting us. It definitely won’t be because we tried harder than the IVF couples who receive negative results this month. Whether or not a child of ours is now in existence has already long been determined; all that is left is to face the truth.
I will be alone while I wait to hear the news, and I wish that it could be different. So much is riding on the results from this one test and a simple phone call will change our lives.
Alice: “How long is forever?”
White Rabbit: “Sometimes, just one second.”
-Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Caroll
We plan to share the news– good or bad– just give us a little time to process the results and tell our close family first. In the meantime, please don’t ask if we are expecting– we promise we’ll let you know when we are ready.
*Name has been changed for privacy reasons