Wear sweats, watch housewives, drink coffee, get botox...
It is currently November 2016. After the last failed round of IVF in September, we were forced to take the month of October off because the lab needed to do their annual cleaning. Though upsetting at the time, this was such a blessing in disguise. October was the best I’d felt in a really long time. I was taking care of myself. I didn’t miss the morning monitoring, the double dose of shots, shots, shots, or all of the associated nerves and anxiety. For what felt like the first time in a really long time, I was going to do whatever the F I wanted, and not think about the dirtier of the F words (fertility).
October was unusually warm, so I treated myself to a venti iced coffee almost every damn morning. The caffeine running through my veins far surpassed the pain my veins endured thanks to careless phlebotomists in months prior. I enjoyed sleeping in, spinning on a regular basis, and a few spicy margaritas (my favorite). With my brother’s wedding a few weeks away, I even treated myself to botox (guess I can’t stay away from the needles after all, but it was worth every second of pain).
The wedding came and passed (and was amazing), and soon I realized I was late. I couldn’t wrap my head around the possibility -- after months of torture, how was it that we were able to get pregnant on our own? Beyond nervous that history would repeat itself, I absolutely refused to pee on a stick, and tried to prolong getting blood work so as not to ever find out about another chemical pregnancy. I figured the longer I waited, the sooner my period would come, and the less I knew, the better I’d be.
Once I was officially a week late, between my husband, my dad, & my aunt, I was convinced I couldn’t fear the worst, and needed to go in for blood-work… and so I did. It was a Friday morning and I was on yet again another field trip. But this time, the email I received had a subject written in caps: CONGRATS. I had a healthy beta and needed to come back and repeat blood in two days - a test which yielded information that we could breathe, this was a healthy pregnancy. It was a week until my next blood test and a scheduled ultrasound. I was a nervous wreck the night before. I woke up feeling pain in my heart, an anxious type of pain. Something wasn’t right and I just knew it. I made it through a sleepless night only to find out the next morning that my ultrasound was perfect. I couldn’t believe it and as I turned around to look at my husband’s reaction, it looked like he couldn’t either (optimist and all…). I was on cloud 9, I couldn’t believe it. The high of making it this far in a pregnancy was unparallelled… until an email came hours later that though my beta went up, it wasn’t rising normally. In other words, a miscarriage was inevitable.
The next two days were horrible. A compartmentalized pro, I spent my nights crying and panicking and losing all hope, I felt like my heart had been ripped for me, but I still went to work. Two days later, I drove to blood work, and literally talked to myself the entire time. I was in a better place and prepared myself for the fact that this pregnancy was over, and my numbers were falling. Though not at all what I wanted or had hoped, I was entering the phase of acceptance.
I kid you not, my numbers increased. And by increased I mean they went up a whopping 23% (minimum of 60% is healthy). When I got the email I texted my husband and both he and my mom had the same response - WHAT THE FFFFF? I wanted to scream; it felt like a practical joke, the rollercoaster of my lifetime continued. The truth of the matter is, if the beta isn’t rising appropriately, the likelihood that the embryo is abnormal is tremendous. Of course Dr. Google tells me I have a chance, but as I’m writing this on the eve my next blood work, I laugh in the face of Dr. Google and brace myself for some ridiculous and infuriating increase, but honestly hope for it to decline, so I can close yet another painful chapter, and to get out of these Gap body sweatpants.
Tip: I didn’t get pregnant because I indulged in tequila or retail therapy. You always hear those stories when once people stop trying, pregnancies occur. I never bought into that theory and frankly, I still don’t. But I do put a lot of stock in the thought of taking a month off to do you -- take care of yourself: indulge, exercise, sleep late, and forget about that dirty F word that has been all consuming. There is something to be said about being the best version of yourself. So press pause, refresh, and restart when you’re ready, but there’s no time like the present.