Monday, July 31, 2006

Two lines, no waiting -- well, actually, more waiting....

I would have posted this three days ago, but I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop. The imaginary shoe seems content to remain where it is, though, so I guess it's time.

On Friday night, I decided perhaps it was time to POAS ("pee on a stick," in the charmingly descriptive parlance of IVF), since my first beta would have been on Sunday, if it weren't Sunday, which at my doctor's clinic is devoted solely to Big Stuff such as embryo retrievals. (My first beta was therefore today, on Monday, and my second one will be Wednesday.) So a home pregnancy test might actually be useful for once, I figured. Accordingly, I set out the stuff I'd need, and went to bed.

I woke up with an aching bladder about 6 a.m., a time when I am normally dead to the world, since I generally get up about 8. POAS? Or wait? Half-asleep, I went for it, peeing in a disposable cup with my cat eyeing me askance, and then dipping the little stick in as instructed. I settled in to wait, figuring it would be close to the time limit of 5 minutes before I saw anything -- but at about one minute, something started to show.

"Oh, my God!" I hovered over it breathlessly. "Oh my God!" The line was turning darker by the second. A line! TWO lines! Pregnant! Really pregnant! "Oh. My. GOD!" Tears sprang to my eyes, and I started crying, praying and cursing at the same time, which shows you what kind of state I was in and also what a potty-mouth I have.

"Fuck! Oh my God! Oh my God! Fuck! I can't believe it! Thank you, God! Thank you! Fuck!"

Then I started laughing at myself. I'm not sure God hears too many heartfelt and grateful prayers which are also laced with "fuck."

Once I got some control over myself, I bounced back into bed and woke up D. with the news. "It worked! Sweetie, it worked!" You would think we had been practicing some dark arcane magic, from the way I put it to him -- but then, IVF does kind of seem like magic to me.

He just hugged me sleepily and said something like, "I knew you were pregnant the other day."

D. was referring to a complete and total meltdown I had had at him, over something comparatively trivial (though I still maintain he was acting like a jerk). I was leaking tears like a Precious Moments figurine -- something I normally am not prone to -- and after he got me calmed down, he hugged me and said, "You are pregnant."

And now, it looks like he was right.

But I've been waiting for that other shoe, as I said. Not content with one positive, I tested yesterday and today, and got the same result: two beautiful lines. I think I wouldn't be quite so paranoid except for last time's experience of a chemical pregnancy. I now know that it is totally possible to be pregnant one day and not the next, and that's knowledge I could really do without, thank you.

My experience with POAS that time was different, though. Unable to wait, I had been POAS for several days prior to my first beta, and got nothing, nada, zilch. On the day of my first beta, I got a very faint line -- a line so faint you would look at it and say, "Wait, is that a line or a shadow falling on this?" It was vaguely encouraging, but did not call forth the histrionics of this time. I POAS again the next day, and got -- nothing. I gritted my teeth and decided the first one was due to a manufacturer's defect. Right? Of course. It had to be.

Then the next day I did my second beta and got the news: At my first beta (the day the line showed up), I had had a beta of 19. The second beta was 5. Wrong direction. Elevator going down. Embryo all washed up. Failure. Thirteen thousand out the window. No baby.

That is, let me tell you, enough to ruin your day.

So I hope for better things this Wednesday. I'll probably POAS again tomorrow and Wednesday both, checking that the line remains dark and constant, that it hasn't decided to wimp out on me and go south again. I hope when we get the call on Wednesday afternoon, I can say smugly, "Thanks for confirming that for us." I hope I can start thinking about the ins and outs of real pregnancy, and maybe even beyond that to how to raise a baby (since I've never been around babies in my life and it's going to take some serious instruction, believe me!). I want to get OVER the freaking starting line and start the race!

Wish me luck.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The dreaded 2ww

You can tell you have spent too much time reading about IVF online when you know without blinking that "2ww" stands for "two week wait." And you've definitely spent too much time in the IVF world if you already know in your bones why I referred to it as "dreaded."

This is the second try at IVF for my husband and me. The first was this spring, and we achieved nothing more than a "chem preg" -- also known as biochemical pregnancy, also known as a very, very short pregnancy that sputtered out and died before we could even have an ultrasound.

So this is our second try, and ER (embryo retrieval) was Sunday, July 16, with ET (embryo transfer, not a cute little alien guy) was on Wednesday, July 19. My first beta (blood test showing how much HCG I have in my system, HCG being one of the chemicals your body starts spouting with abandon when you get successfully preggo) will be Monday, July 31, and the second beta -- the important one, as all we IVF junkies know -- will be Wednesday, August 2.

Just a few days before my 44th birthday.

And I hope to God this is a GOOD birthday present I receive, and not another sucky one like the year that a sick little foster kitten chose to expire in my hands on my birthday, while my husband was out of town, no less.

I do not want another birthday like that one.

Anyway, if you've never gone through it, this two weeks sucks in ways you can't really imagine until you've been there. It reveals to you the depths of your own paranoia. Every twinge is something -- "That's on my left side, it has to be an ovary, not the uterus, does that mean it's an ectopic pregnancy?" -- or nothing. "Ow, that felt like a cramp! Shit, am I starting my period? I can't be starting my period! Am I really about to fucking start a thirteen thousand dollar period?!"

You also start cursing more. Or at least, I have.

This two weeks reveals to you what a shallow, faithless person you are, and also how superstitious you are. During our first attempt, spring had come rolling in here to Northern California, and I was facing my annual battle with the snails. (In France, they cook this kind of snail. Here, they eat our entire garden. The French seem to have the better of this.)

I have, unfortunately, anthropomorphized snails to the point where I can't just kill the damned things, even though they leave holes in the rhubard that are bigger than my fist. Our neighbors drop them into buckets of water and let them drown, or lure them to destruction with buried saucers of beer (a waste of good beer, according to my husband, D.), or dribble salt on them (which does your garden no good, believe me). But I look at their little eye stalks, and how squishy and helpless the little goobers are, and I just can't do any of those. So instead I wind up like a pitcher and hurl them as far as I can, out into the grassy part of our yard. (Not too far; I throw like a girl.) I figure at least that gives them a fighting chance. And they can eat the grass instead of my roses.

But on the morning that I went in for my second beta, I was puttering around in my garden, trying to calm myself, and found such widespread destruction that my dewy-eyed charity evaporated like snot on a griddle. I marched over to the wall spout, filled up a bucket and started dumping in every snail I could find, taking fiendish delight in the way they sank to the bottom.

Thus, when the news came back that afternoon that my first beta had been 19 -- not great, but there, definitely there -- and my second beta was 5 -- which meant that in the intervening two days, the developing embryo had thrown up its little nonexistent hands and given the whole thing up as a bad job -- I swear to you, one of the SERIOUS thoughts I had during the rest of that awful day, during the hysterical crying and the cursing and the kicking of walls -- was that God was punishing me for killing the snails.

Is God that petty? Really? Is He that much on the side of the snails? Are they His special envoys? Is snailiness next to godliness? I don't know, but I will reveal that I have killed no more snails since then.

Right now, my paranoia is telling me to feed the cats and go to bed, since developing embryos need rest. And believe me, right now it's easier to obey my paranoia than argue with it.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Welcome to .. uh, whatever ....

To tell you the truth, I don't know what I should name this blog. I've been writing for pleasure (and, occasionally, money) for what seems like forever, but titles have always been a problem for me. I can tell in a heartbeat if a title is bad, but I don't seem to be good at coming up with catchy (or even truly descriptive) titles. So when I was setting up this blog account last night and suddenly I had to come up with a name for it ... I blanked.

Nothing clever came to mind, I'll tell you that. What with going through one major surgery and now, two IVF's in this quest for a biological child, I'm just about clevered-out. The one word that did spring to mind was "hopeful." I am, indeed, hopeful that this time it will pan out, that this time is The One. And so came forthe The Hopeful Baby Blog.

As soon as I'd committed myself to it, it seemed to me less like a slightly catchy and edgy exposition of my state of mind, than something you'd hear advertised on the Prairie Home Companion. (Gary Keillor, are you taking notes?) Powder Milk Biscuits. Bertha's Kitty Boutique. The Hopeful Baby Blog. Has that down-home ring, don't you think?

But since I'm theoretically on bed rest at the moment (during the dreaded 2ww), it's time to go get horizontal for a while. More tomorrow!