And so, as you might reasonably have expected, and as I might have slightly given away in my last post, given how contrarily these things go, the fact that I was so convinced it wasn’t going to work meant that when, on the morning we were going away for the weekend, and I did a precautionary First Response test, it showed the faintest of faint – but still very definitely there – lines.
Or, as I put it to B when I walked back into the bedroom “Well I’m not ‘Not Pregnant’.” But I wasn’t going to get too excited. It was early. It could be a chemical pregnancy. It wasn’t a thing until it was a thing.
But then, when I did another test 48 hours later, that line was definitely darker. And 48 hours after that, the blood test confirmed that, that day at least, I was pregnant. Because that was how I thought of it. That’s how I’ve continued to think about it. On those fertility forums I despise, I’ve seen women talk about being “PUPO” – Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise, but after the miscarriage, after everything we’ve been through, I feel quite the opposite. I feel like “that day I know I was definitely pregnant but until the next blood test / scan, I can’t assume I still am.”
This strange feeling of detachment persisted. We knew what day the donor would be donating because B had to go to the clinic to wank into a cup (it is what it is, so let’s not dress it up as anything else) so her eggs could be fertilised. And while I wanted to know how many eggs they’d got from her, how many had been fertilised, how many had got to day 2, day 5, how many blastocysts, I didn’t have that same desperate-for-the-phone-to-ring anxiety.
Maybe it was that I still felt quite detached from it, but I think a lot of it was also because I feel more sanguine about the whole process. More aware that there’s nothing I can do that will change the outcome so whether I know at 10am that day how many embryos looked healthy, or whether I don’t find that information out until seven hours later makes no odds.
But once bitten, twice shy and all that. We said yes to the agency, we signed paperwork, we paid sums of money for treatment, but I felt very detached from it all. I just didn’t really engage with it. It was all taking ages, there were tests for her, tests for me, tests for B – the tests went on and on, the weeks and months went by. The process of getting our donor to the point where she could actually donate, that we’d been told would take three months, dragged on and on — if this were a film or TV programme, this is the point at which you’d see the leaves on the trees changing colour from autumn to winter to spring to denote the passing of time.
Back sometime before the last Ice Age, we’d made the decision that we were going to try to conceive with donor eggs. OK, maybe it wasn’t that long ago, but it was pre-pandemic, pre-accidental-natural-unexpected pregnancy, pre-totally-predictable miscarriage, and so as a result it does feel like aeons ago. Even if it was only just over a year ago. Because since then we found (or rather the agency found us) the Mary Poppins donor who wasn’t, and the Mary Poppins replacement that didn’t fill us with joy. And then two days after I’d had it confirmed that I’d definitely miscarried, the agency got in touch with a suggestion of someone else.
I ran away in January. To a place that I didn’t associate with trying and not succeeding. Somewhere I drank wine and stopped worrying about whether I was eating enough vegetables. (I wasn’t.) Somewhere I stopped caring if food was packaged in plastic (it was), or whether the tomatoes were organic (they weren’t). Somewhere my life wasn’t measured out in blood tests and supplements and scans and injections. Where I rudely
So when I started writing this post, it was a bit tongue in cheek, a bit “this is kind of what I’m thinking and I’m aware that it’s bonkers but let’s go with it because it’s quite funny.” I even opened it with the words “This is a bit of a weird post, but it’s something that’s slightly been gnawing away at the back of my mind, despite my sane and rational self telling me that I’m totally mental.”
But that was before I got the results of my most recent cycle of IVF. Continue reading
So I got the results of the ERA test… and they were normal. Basically my endometrium was receptive on the standard day. I’m not one of the 25 per cent of women who should have their embryo transferred before or after the standard day. And I don’t need to pay £1200 to have another test to narrow down the window of receptivity. Which should make me feel delighted. But weirdly left me feeling rather flat.
I guess I was hoping that this was going to give me The Answer. This was going to tell me Continue reading
After the biopsy, I was talking to the nurse and I asked whether endometrial scratching was similar. (For those that don’t know — and really, why should you? I certainly didn’t until I embarked on this “journey” — said ironically, OBVS. Also said ironically — an endometrial scratch is a procedure that appears to have some validity in improving IVF outcomes. It is, as it sounds, deliberately scratching the endometrium, or womb lining, which seems to cause an inflammatory response that leads the body to produce various chemicals which may make the endometrium more receptive to an embryo.
Although confusingly it doesn’t help everyone, in fact Continue reading
I started writing about the biopsy that’s part of The Plan but then someone asked recently if I was going to give costs for all this and so I thought I’d do a quick one on that. If I’m honest, this was a post I’d been intending to do, but I think I’d rather put it off, not just because I didn’t want to horrify myself, but also because in my heart of hearts I wanted to do it at a point that seemed to mark a final point, like, I dunno, when I had a baby in my hands (mine rather than just anyone else’s) but it probably makes sense to give you an idea of what I’ve spent so far. Continue reading
Approximately four hours after I found out I wasn’t pregnant I went out for dinner with a few friends who were vaguely aware that I was planning to try to get pregnant but who didn’t know the specifics. So I sat down and there were all the “how are yous?” and I was all “fine” and they were all “just fine?” and then I was all floods of tears and snotty nose and “actually no not really I found out four hours ago that my first round of IVF didn’t work and of course it didn’t because when does it ever and obviously I’ll try again but it’s still a bit disappointing” — all before I’d even taken my coat off.
And they were awesome and didn’t tell me, like some people have, Continue reading