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.


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