While it's Fresh
April 17, 2015
Today wasn't good, and while I want nothing more than to close my itchy-been-cryin'-all-day eyes, I also want to remember the way I feel right now.
Because the thing about trials is that they seem to last forever. But the thing about trials is they can't last forever. And the thing about trials is that once they are over it's easy to just forget them. And if we forget, what was the point of going through them in the first place?
So I write while it's fresh. And it feels so fresh. Because this time was different. This time I had hope that was so tangible I could almost taste the stuff. This time I sat lying on a plastic covered chair with my legs in stirrups, fully expecting to hear the doctor repeat the only thing I've ever heard---that "my body didn't respond to the medication." Only to hear that I responded! I responded! I responded almost too well! And the wait began, this time with the anticipation that it was actually going to happen.
I promised myself that I would not make up fake symptoms like I had before. Too often in the past I drove myself crazy willing my sense of smell to increase, or my stomach to feel nauseous, or my boobs to hurt---all of the early pregnancy symptoms on the list. Sometimes I swore I was experiencing all of the above, only to take test after negative test.
This time I waited, keenly aware of every twinge or ache but staying firm in my promise to not read into them as I slowly ticked days off of my calendar. I held out for as long as I could stand, and then I caved and took a pregnancy test three days earlier than my doctor told me to. Please note, this is a huge improvement for me. I think most women with infertility can understand the temptation of peeing on a stick. Because while you are fairly sure it will be the only result you've ever experienced, you fantasize that it could finally be the double lined answer of your dreams! The day I discovered .88 Walmart store pregnancy test was a good one, because let me tell you, I went through some sticks. (Eventually it came down to Michael hiding them from me, because I am a little freak.) But finally, on Monday night, I tested. I waited the 3 minutes. Only glancing occasionally. And then I almost died. Because there was the faintest, FAINTEST tiniest glimmer of a 2nd line. I mean. It was barely there, but it was more there than anything I'd ever seen before! I held it as close to my eyeballs as I could (until I remembered that I just pee'd on it) and called Michael over to take a gander. He too saw the shadow of what could be a line. A faint positive. That's a thing you know. (I understand if you didn't know. But I know because I am on a forum with over 5,000 women going through the same thing. They post picture after picture of their pregnancy test with one bold line and one so faint that they have to invert the picture to prove that there is an actual hint of color creating a second line)
The only other test I had was a different brand. I took it before bed and it came out negative. No big deal. I'd use my last test the next morning. (Your "first morning urine" is supposed to be the one that works the best). Only that next morning I got a big fat negative. I was confused and more than disappointed, but still clinging onto that faint little line from the first test. My you-know-what was due the next morning, so I would be a good girl and resist buying pregnancy tests until it came or didn't come. But it didn't come. And my excitement grew as if I had gotten 2 positive instead of 2 negative tests in the past 24 hours. I talked to my doctor and she ordered up a blood HCG test so that we could just know for sure. The only problem was that I wouldn't get results until the next day (today). That wait almost killed me. I kept telling myself that it was surely going to be negative, almost believing that I would be okay if it was. My stomach was in the same kind of nervous knots you get right before you go on stage to sing a solo in front of the whole school. I kept checking my phone and googling different pregnancy symptoms that I thought I might be having.
Eventually, Michael helped me decide that we weren't going to plan our day around a phone call, so we made plans with some friends to take advantage of our warmer weather and go on a hike. We ended up carpooling with two people that we had only just met, and I was nervous that the phone call would come on the hour long ride to our outdoorsy destination with the practical strangers in the car. We stopped to get gas and go to the bathroom when my phone in my pocket started ringing. Michael and I gasped and slid our way into a greasy booth at the gas station restaurant. I pushed the green call button and said "Hello" in a shaky voice.
"Mrs. Petersen? We got your test results..."
I knew just by her lead-in what she was about to say. I shook my head at Michael to let him know that "it was a no." before she even started telling me that the results came back negative.
I hadn't realized just how high my hopes had risen until they were stolen from me in an instant. Michael hugged me and helped me wipe my eyes so that I didn't freak our new friends out. I slouched in the front seat of the car and wiped my eyes until all my make-up wore off. We slowly stalked behind the group on our hike through the muddy forest while I let all the familiar fears of a baby-less future play out in my head.
When we got home tonight I cried and vented to Michael for 30 minutes before we got out of the car about everything I'm feeling. Everything I'm afraid of. Everything I'm frustrated with. I know that this seems a little too gloom and doom for the results after the FIRST time I finally responded. And I know it's just the beginning. I know I should be happy that I found something that finally has the potential to work. I know that these things take time. I know that. I am so grateful for Michael. I think somehow my heart has swollen five times larger today with the amount of love I have for that man. Because no matter what, he is with me through it all. He is the one that hears every pseudo-symptom and wipes every foolish tear. He is the one that stays positive when I want to quit and who stays faithful when I'm feeling nothing but doubt. He is, in every way, my better half. And for that I'm grateful.
This is just a single step in a journey that could end next month, next year, or never. But it's a part I am choosing to share, and it's a part I want to remember. While this is obviously a deeply personal story shared on a profoundly impersonal outlet, I find strength in reaching out to everyone and anyone who may benefit from one girl's account of infertility. Thank you for all of your prayers, support, and kindness. They really do mean so much to me.