The night before he escaped from Shawshank Prison, Andy Dufresne shared his dream of owning a hotel and charter fishing boat in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. "You shouldn't do this to yourself.." his best friend Red warns, "Hope is a dangerous thing..."
In the final days and hours before my test day, I was in denial or I was delusional. I felt different than I did in any of my prior IUI cycles. Although I didn't have any symptoms leading into my BFP; previously I just didn't have any sense that I could be pregnant and the BFN seemed inevitable. In addition to my emotional outbursts, I had persistent waves of nausea and my appetite was decreased -all symptoms that were present during my five minute pregnancy. Most of all, my breasts felt bigger and perkier. Husband was only too happy to grope me to verify.
In my previous failed cycles, I started light spotting 14 days post IUI and AF began her full flow on day 15, with the exception of the cycle that started a day earlier. Husband and I decided that we would wait to test on day 15, unless AF decided to show up earlier. In the final 24 hours before the moment of truth, I was texting Husband with updates every three hours. There was no sign of AF. I kept feeling myself up to make sure the fullness of my breasts was still there.
This could just be due to the effects of the supplemental progesterone...my inner voice nagged. True, but I had used the same progesterone supplements in my previous cycles (although not as consistently) and never had these symptoms. This time truly felt different. If I wasn't pregnant, I would find more reason to be disappointed. Had I known when I was younger what putting progesterone capsules up your hoo-ha can do to improve your rack -I could have gotten a lot more action. Seriously, that shit is better than a Wonderbra.
Oh, let this be it
Let this cycle be the one
Let there only be one if this is it...
It's an intoxicating temptation to shift your thinking from could I be pregnant? to I could be pregnant. I refused to do anything really stupid, such as wheeling out a potential due date, but I was lured into other moments of contemplation. I thought about going to the lab over the weekend, instead of going in for Day 2 monitoring. I imagined my final viability scan at their office and saying goodbye to my RE and the memories of my ex, as well as to my Favourite MA, Porn Buddy and Misery. Maybe the corners of Misery's mouth would turn upward at the sight of me leaving. I even started thinking about how I would announce the news in a post, and felt badly about any feelings of haplousy it might induce. I saw a few term patients who were on my schedule and while after my first IUI, the sight of their large bellies reminded me of what wouldn't be in store for me, I could now see myself in that state. While discussing a birth plan with a patient, I had thoughts about my own delivery.
It was now 2100 hours. 9 more hours until test time. With my previous failed cycles, I had been blotting, spotting or lightly bleeding by now. This was the longest I had been post IUI without any signs of AF and with pregnancy symptoms. We were officially in unchartered waters. Last check before going to bed -still clear.
Around 3 AM, my cat A, our raccoon patrol, alerted us of an intruder on our deck. I flipped on the sprinkler system and watched the little buggers scamper away. Still no sign of AF. "This has to be it!" Husband said excitedly. "It might be" I cautiously warned. "The alternative is that this mother-fucking progesterone supplement is fucking with us like she's never fucked before." Neither of us slept at all for the next three hours.
I peed into a collection cup, as I figured I'd be running multiple tests. On my final blot with the toilet tissue there was a faint hint of orange. Fuck. Then I had an idea. As I pretty much have an entire back office lab in my bathroom, I ran a regular dipstick on my urine to see if there was any evidence of blood. Negative. I went ahead with my pregnancy test and left the bathroom. During my three minute wait, I checked into Facebook and saw I had been mentioned by one of my field hockey teammates. "Can't wait until the start of our season! Hope no one is pregnant!" Note to self: don't log in to Facebook while waiting for your pregnancy test results...
I went into the guest bathroom and did another blot -all clear. I walked back into our bathroom to view my results. I had even offered an extra minute in case the blue line was fashionably late. The pink control line was bright and prominent. There was not even the faintest hint of a possible blue line. It was the most negative looking pregnancy test I have seen. Nonetheless, I ran two more and received concurring opinions.
Husband and I sat in our kitchen and commiserated over a cup of tea and some toast. Our collective disappointment was palpable. All BFN's suck, but this one really hurts. It felt as if we were so close that it was within our grasp. I reminded him of a conversation we had the night before. "What would we do about telling our parents during their visit and the Hawaii trip?" He asked three times. I deliberately ignored him on the first two, then I relented and gave my answer.
"We would have to tell them. I think I'd be about ten weeks. I know we planned to wait until after the amnio and anatomy ultrasound results, but nothing in this process has gone according to plan. How could we not tell them? At the rare moment in time when all four potential grandparents would be together? While we're in Hawaii? If things were to work out, they would always remember that they learned the news in Hawaii, and the trip will hold even more special of a memory. Not to mention, my mother would probably figure it out."
Yup, that pretty much sealed our fate right there. Such a story book ending would not be scripted into our real life.
By the way, Progesterone -Fuck You. Fuck you for raising false hopes and crushing them at literally the last minute. Fuck you for making me look and feel so stupidly foolish. Please be more courteous in the future. At the same time; lesson learned. I shan't dream of a positive pregnancy test again. Never, will I imagine ultrasounds, maternity clothes or birth announcements. Until someone is instructing me to push and I hear a subsequent cry, will I ever beleive that I am going to have a baby. Not even for a second, will I permit a single ray of optimism to enter my mind. I'll snap an elastic band on my wrist to keep my thoughts in line.
Shortly after breakfast AF's full flow effect made IUI#4 an official failure. Now I actually had a sigh of relief. While I was hopeful that I could be pregnant, I was also a bit afraid. What if I miscarry again? I preferred the alternative of not being pregnant in the first place. Time to call my RE's office and start again.
Dear Red, reads Andy's letter at the conclusion of The Shawshank Redemption
If you're reading this, you've gotten out and if you've come this far, maybe you'll come a little further. You remember the name of the town. I am hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well. Remember Red, hope is a good thing, perhaps the best of things; and no good thing ever dies.