IVF#5: FET


Negative.

I’m not surprised but just as sad.  I’m so angry.  I’m crushed and discouraged.  I don’t know how to learn from this or draw hope. 

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Today’s HPT was negative.  I am cramping off and on after a few days of quiet.  I think I’ll be going into my next cycle with a long list of pregnancy symptoms that aren’t.  I’m feeling calm at the moment.  My husband still hopes and I do too.  A little.  This is 11 days after a 5 day transfer.  I have been literally adding the 11 to the 5 as an exact parallel to the quaint, antique-sounding "days past ovulation" measure (used by people who actually have sex to make a baby), but if the math is different when it’s a FET, a blast, me or all of the above, I don’t know about it.  Hope is fading.

I did a lot of work on the idea of how I have interpreted physical symptoms, and why I would feel so ashamed of getting them "wrong" when the whole thing is incredibly confusing.  So I feel less ashamed for the moment.  This is important since I have so much shame in me most of the time anyway.  Nevertheless it sucks that this long cycle of cycles just isn’t over. 

Many symptoms have happened.  Intermittent cramps, nocturnal orga$m, absolutely epic storms of weeping, heartburn "to my knees" (thank you, Juno), being able to smell Indiana, food ambivalence, depressed appetite, minor nausea, and strange zingy groin pains.  HPTs negative.  My last pregnancy didn’t show up on HPT til day 11, so we have every reason to be hopeful.  It’s very hard though.  Beta is Tuesday.

I heard tiny, tinny voices inside the computer this morning… had to push the kitty off the computer to put my ear right up against it.  At first I thought they were saying "Boil that dust speck!" like in "Horton Hears a Who," which would be odd.  But then I realized they were saying "We want peesticks!" And I know you do, don’t you? 

Well, it’s 7 days past my 5 day transfer, and because I got my very first ever positive HPT one week after transfer, it’s now my traditional first POAS day.  I’m all about tradition.  So I did it, and it was negative.

You won’t hear me blubbering just yet, since I did that last time and ended up having a big, drama-queeny weekend of feeling sorry for myself followed by a whole bunch of positive pregnancy tests. 

And, well, yeah, an ectopic pregnancy, but that was later.

But it was embarrassing to give up so soon, so I won’t.  I’m also not concerned because my special pregnancy signs are in full swing with all their banners waving… for me that means mild cramping, sometimes motion-activated.  And, uh, dreams of a special nature, two nights in a row now.

It seems like a positive HPT sooner might be a good sign, but that’s so me.  I used to think that more, faster, sooner was always better. 

In the days before I felt bereft and cheated because I don’t have babies, I used to feel bereft and cheated because I didn’t have a husband and … hey that’s probably something I should look at. 

Anyway, in the long ago days of being single it always seemed like I would give my number to a guy (once a decade, when one would ask) and I’d still be making excuses for why he didn’t call three, four, six weeks after.  Then I’d notice that my girl friends who gave their numbers to men would get a call the next day and be halfway to engaged while I was still telling myself "he’s just really busy at work."  The sooner the guy calls, the more you know he’s into you and the better everything will turn out.   More / faster / sooner is always better, especially since all I knew was less, never, and nothing in the dating and love department.

Then there was this amazing day where I went to see "The Vagina Monologues" and it happened to be Halloween. So after walking out of the theater with my girl friend feeling like my body and I were okay and not so shameful for the first time in, oh, forever, feeling like I felt walking out of the original "Hairspray" when the fat girl got the cute guy, feeling like I felt after seeing "Thelma and Louise," like it was time to kick a** and look cute doing it, we went home and I put on my Halloween costume which happened to be, well, Xena, Warrior Princess. We walked into a Halloween party where I immediately met a guy who called me the next day and every day thereafter until the day we broke up.  Sooner / more / faster was what this guy was all about.  Finally!  No more waiting, making excuses, wasting time with tepid guys who couldn’t even decide if they wanted to call.  He was crazy about me and it was so nice to not wonder.

Unfortunately that didn’t really help with other problems like him being possibly an alcoholic and me not being crazy about him.  It was fun to finally get what I wanted, but not that fun to discover that what I wanted wasn’t enough.  It was fun that he called more than once a day, but not fun that some of those calls were him wondering aloud if he really wanted to be with me.  Sooner/ more / faster just got me into and out of a very temporary relationship, well, sooner.  Faster.

Fast forward to the Right Guy, who didn’t call me until he knew he was sure.  I waited a little bit, but it was worth it because he has been sure ever since.  Sooner and faster didn’t matter.  It just got to be the right time somehow.

So I’m willing to wait for the right time for my positive HPT, and not presume that sooner positives are stronger or better. 

As long as it’s before Tuesday, of course.

I heard tiny, tinny voices inside the computer this morning… had to push the kitty off the computer to put my ear right up against it.  At first I thought they were saying "Boil that dust speck!" like in "Horton Hears a Who," which would be odd.  But then I realized they were saying "We want peesticks!" And I know you do, don’t you? 

Well, it’s 7 days past my 5 day transfer, and because I got my very first ever positive HPT one week after transfer, it’s now my traditional first POAS day.  I’m all about tradition.  So I did it, and it was negative.

You won’t hear me blubbering just yet, since I did that last time and ended up having a big, drama-queeny weekend of feeling sorry for myself followed by a whole bunch of positive pregnancy tests. 

And, well, yeah, an ectopic pregnancy, but that was later.

But it was embarrassing to give up so soon, so I won’t.  I’m also not concerned because my special pregnancy signs are in full swing with all their banners waving… for me that means mild cramping, sometimes motion-activated.  And, uh, dreams of a special nature, two nights in a row now.

It seems like a positive HPT sooner might be a good sign, but that’s so me.  I used to think that more, faster, sooner was always better. 

In the days before I felt bereft and cheated because I don’t have babies, I used to feel bereft and cheated because I didn’t have a husband and … hey that’s probably something I should look at. 

Anyway, in the long ago days of being single it always seemed like I would give my number to a guy (once a decade, when one would ask) and I’d still be making excuses for why he didn’t call three, four, six weeks after.  Then I’d notice that my girl friends who gave their numbers to men would get a call the next day and be halfway to engaged while I was still telling myself "he’s just really busy at work."  The sooner the guy calls, the more you know he’s into you and the better everything will turn out.   More / faster / sooner is always better, especially since all I knew was less, never, and nothing in the dating and love department.

Then there was this amazing day where I went to see "The Vagina Monologues" and it happened to be Halloween. So after walking out of the theater with my girl friend feeling like my body and I were okay and not so shameful for the first time in, oh, forever, feeling like I felt walking out of the original "Hairspray" when the fat girl got the cute guy, feeling like I felt after seeing "Thelma and Louise," like it was time to kick a** and look cute doing it, we went home and I put on my Halloween costume which happened to be, well, Xena, Warrior Princess. We walked into a Halloween party where I immediately met a guy who called me the next day and every day thereafter until the day we broke up.  Sooner / more / faster was what this guy was all about.  Finally!  No more waiting, making excuses, wasting time with tepid guys who couldn’t even decide if they wanted to call.  He was crazy about me and it was so nice to not wonder.

Unfortunately that didn’t really help with other problems like him being possibly an alcoholic and me not being crazy about him.  It was fun to finally get what I wanted, but not that fun to discover that what I wanted wasn’t enough.  It was fun that he called more than once a day, but not fun that some of those calls were him wondering aloud if he really wanted to be with me.  Sooner/ more / faster just got me into and out of a very temporary relationship, well, sooner.  Faster.

Fast forward to the Right Guy, who didn’t call me until he knew he was sure.  I waited a little bit, but it was worth it because he has been sure ever since.  Sooner and faster didn’t matter.  It just got to be the right time somehow.

So I’m willing to wait for the right time for my positive HPT, and not presume that sooner positives are stronger or better. 

As long as it’s before Tuesday, of course.

First of all, Tracy Flanagan, MD, Director of Women’s Health of Kaiser Permanente Northern California, says that instead of drinking caffeine, we should:

Learn to perk up instead with natural energy boosts like a brisk walk, yoga stretches, snacking on dried fruits and nuts.

That is so irritating.  Yoga stretches, my ass.  I’d like to "perk up" by beating her senseless.

Whew!  I feel more awake already.  Where was I?

Oh, yes.  I saw it.  Pregnant women’s recommended dose of caffeine has now been slivered to, well, nothing, by a new study that connects more than 200 mg. of caffeine to significant miscarriage risk, between 200 mg. and 0 to some miscarriage risk, and saintly, yoga-stretching, fruit and nut-nibbling 0 mg. of caffeine to (comparatively) low rate of miscarriage and living happily ever after.

Read the NYTimes version of the story, sans maddening suggestions for perking oneself up, here.

The reason why I’m so irritated about this, outside of the yoga stretching part, is that I already gave up coffee the moment I started TTC – actually a few months before.  My husband-to-be, who usually isn’t vulnerable to these sorts of infomercial type of people, watched too much of that Perricone guy.  In the desperate, "maybe I can lose 10 more pounds" frenzied weeks before my wedding, my then-fiance told me that Perricone sez: if you switched from coffee to tea without changing anything else, you would lose 10-15 pounds.  I read it in the book and Dr. Perricone even promised it to Oprah, transcribed here.

Obviously, this is the biggest, fattest lie ever told and now that I think of it, I’d like to add Dr. P. to my list of people who need a beating.  I faithfully switched from coffee to green tea and – nothing.  This was a big change.  I used to drink espresso every morning.  I used to have a travel espresso maker so that I didn’t have to suffer drinking "regular coffee" in hotel rooms.  I think that thing even worked in the car. 

So, yeah, I gave up coffee and that’s all good.  I really like tea now and I’m glad I don’t consume all that caffeine or coffee.  I don’t sleep worth a damn, anyway, so scaling back the caffeine helps with that, thought not as much as it should.  I’m glad I’m all healthy but I really like caffeine and I’m annoyed I’ve had to give it up.  I had already scaled my caffeine back even further for this cycle, switching to white tea.  White tea is the pale, virginal flower of the tea plant, plucked in the early morning mist and protected from loud music and harsh language until it is made into lovely little sachets of fragrant, delicate tea with miniscule amounts of caffeine.  It’s like fairy tea, like elf tea for crying out loud; and now according to these doctors I shouldn’t even have that.

Of course, none of this matters since I am nowhere near being pregnant, officially or otherwise.  But I am having some little cramps and that is very encouraging.

My transfer went fine.  The first two they thawed looked "great" according to my doctor and they transferred them.  That’s a relief, I like the idea that we have seven left in case this one … y’know.  The Valium helped a lot.  I’d been having a good feeling, et cetera, sort of bland and positive; but when we walked into the OB ward and I saw my favorite nurse from last time (my ectopic) I started crying.  She was so compassionate when I showed up that day.  Still some grief in me, and why not. 

On the OB ward where I have embryos transferred into me, and fallopian tubes taken out, and stuff, there is a poster in the hospital room with pictures of how the cervix dilates for labor.  There are about eight of them (cervices?) and the littlest one is like a quarter, and the big one is, well, big enough for a baby’s HEAD.  Over the course of five IVFs I have gone from hardly looking at that to this time: my husband and I both studied it, in awed silence, for a long time.  "That’s, uh, big," my husband offered, and I silently concurred.  The funny thing is we have very little time for contemplating this scary yet informative poster because rather than arriving two hours early for my transfer, as we were told the first time, we now roll in at about twenty til.  Put on the gown, get my blood pressure taken, sign the forms and go.

Other than the embryos not surviving the thaw, or me finally succumbing to Speculum Psychosis – "that’s a rusty old eggbeater, I just know it is, get it OUT OF MEEEEEEE" – there wasn’t much that could go wrong, and nothing did.  We didn’t even get the traffic-snarling snow that was promised, although it is now "Day After Tomorrow" cold.

I’ve heard quite a bit of buzz about "The Business of Being Born," a documentary about home birth, that is coming out this week or sometime soon.  I remember years ago reading a book called "The American Way of Birth," that was a similar expose.  The American way is to medicalize birth and teach us that having babies is dangerous, that labor is practically an illness, and the hospital is the only place to be.  I read that book when I was in my twenties when I thought having babies was my destiny, and my right, although I wasn’t that interested in having any for "a while."   

Mm, yeah.  There I was sitting in the OB ward for the 8th time – one egg aspiration, one polypectomy, five transfers and a lap – and I was reminded that now even conception is totally medicalized for me.  I’ve learned that if something can go wrong with me and babymaking, it often does.  I can’t imagine having the confidence to take childbirth back from the medicalization the way that many women can, or would like to.  I’m hopeful that I can have an uncomplicated pregnancy, even at my advanced age; but I’m also hopeful that we’ll conceive twins and that’s kind of a big complication right there.

I’m not sure about seeing this movie.  I think I should, but I think it will also be a celebration of all things natural, "the way God intended them to be," in the realm of birth.  I’m sure I’ll be on the outside looking in. But I’ll try to see it.  There are things I need to know. 

While it’s certainly possible that I could end up with an uncomplicated pregnancy and birth, I don’t know how to hope for such a thing.  My body seems to have forgotten its way, if we ever knew, and right now I don’t know how to trust it again.

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