Reading Between The Lines
Updated: Dec 16, 2018
This weekend I am reminiscent of this very date, but two years ago on the November 24th 2016.
It was after what most IVF’ers would be familiar with : the dreaded ‘two week wait’ after the embryo transfer.
The two week wait actually feels like 3 months , and in that time all you can do is hope and pray that after everything you’ve just been through, the IVF has worked.
So to talk you through why it’s such a hard wait to endure, I will briefly touch on each stage of the journey . Generally speaking if all goes well, the cycle from start to finish should take around 4-6 weeks but every cycle is dependent on the medical protocol that’s specific to your body’s needs.
For me, if you remember in my very first post I had a case of ‘unexplained infertility’ , I had very low progesterone which was pointing to the reasons of why I miscarried at the early stages of previous pregnancies, and on the back of that ovulation was non- existent so I hardly had periods which of course means the chances of conception is practically a myth.
So I had what they call a medicated IVF Cycle- I have added a post to my other blog which covers the more technical areas of my fertility treatments, this post goes into detail about what the IVF process is, and what it entailed. It will talk you through my personal experiences during the cycle.
So back to this two week wait - it was horrific . All I could think of was if after everything that I went through if the treatment had not worked. I was overthinking every single symptom . To obvious things like feeling tired & sleepy all day to petty things like my knee being sore! LMAO.
I guess that’s what happens when you really want something that you have prayed and been through so much for.
So anyway around 5 days after the transfer I started spotting, it was so minimal I wasn’t scared but more excited that this is a possibility and a sign that the embryo was making itself comfortable.
So what did I do, I blew it and took a test! Now before I go any further the rule of thumb is women should refrain from taking any tests until two weeks after the transfer as whatever result ; moreso negative result, it could be a false negative due to it being too early to test. You know what they say;
"A false negative is more common than a false positive".
Now I had spent a lot of money on some First response tests, because they have a test that allows you to test earlier than recommended. They are super sensitive to the HCG hormone, so I followed the instructions and then the wait began. What was meant to be 5 minutes felt like 5 hours. After two minutes I couldn't wait any longer and I took the test from the bathroom counter with my eyes open. I said a quick prayer before I opened my eyes, and then once I opened them I looked at the test. I dropped it as soon as I saw the result - NOT EVEN A HINT OF A SECOND LINE.
I was in disbelief and start questioning whether I followed the instructions carefully, checked the test expiry date ( yes, the petty things you learn when TTC!).
I then picked the test back up lifted it as high up into the window light as possible. I used the torch on my phone to try and get a glimpse of a line... but nothing.
I then started going stir crazy, so guess what happened next? I pulled the test apart so I could take the actual test strips out and look even more closely to see if a faint line was hiding from me. after my eyes still failed to catch a glimpse of a second pink line, I then went into overdrive and started to try and imagine that there was a second line. For those who can identify with this, I can't even begin to explain the lengths you go to when you are in denial, but I feel like at this point you've got the message...
So last but not least I consulted Dr. Google and started searching thing like;
"Negative pregnancy test after 6 days post embryo transfer". I was really clutching , and deep down inside even though I knew it wasn't good news I really just wanted it to work.
Fast forward to the day before the blood test at the clinic, I was mentally drained and so depressed and disappointed. My counsellor 'Tell-it-like-it-is-Tilly', the one I referred to in my recent "Treading on Eggshells" Post; Remember her? When I confessed to her that I felt the way I did because I tested, and got a negative result, as blunt and sincere as she was; she also encouraged me that I shouldn't trust that as the final outcome of the treatment.
I left feeling a bit more positive, until minutes later I took a walk to my local shopping centre and felt a little bit of pain. First thing I did was dash to the toilet, and was met with what looked like traces of blood.
Immediately after that, I made up my mind that it was over, part of me even decided that I would not go to the clinic for the blood test, after all who is stupid enough to think that a negative blood test with bleeding was likely to be a positive outcome? As cynical as it sounds, I had spent months trying my best to be positive alongside bible readings and early night prayers, so I felt I was allowed to feel this way at the crunch point.
To make matters worse the bleeding became a little heavier towards the end of the evening. So that set me off to not expect much as I hadchanged my mind and decided to take a brave visit to the clinic the very next morning.
I hardly slept that night, because I was so anxious and just wanted the next day to be over with. So the next morning I woke up feeling extremely sick, like nauseous sick. If only it could have been a pregnancy symptom I was longing for.
I got dressed, and was ready to leave, but I felt an urge to pray even though I felt angry with God. I said to Him;
"Father , if you say who you say you are, if you are this mighty God who could do it for x, x, x"
'(All of a sudden those unwanted stories I used to hear from people started resounding in my head ), I ended the prayer by saying;
"...then show me who you are and bless me with a miracle".
We arrived at the clinic, now for such an important day it is very quick, and more so quick if you do a urine test and it's negative. What normally happens is you have a blood test first as they are more accurate during early stages of pregnancy. You will then have a urine test , and if the urine test is negative they won't call back to confirm your blood test result, as that is likely to be negative too. They do however give you a choice, to which I asked if they could call me anyway. I'm the kind that likes to have all my cards on the table.
I gave my urine sample to the nurse and waited with my husband in the corridor for her to return and reveal our fate After another crippling wait I saw her come out of a side room with A4 Paper. As she walked towards me and my husband, she avoided eye contact with us.
She advised us to follow her into the consulting room , so we followed her in and sat down. She looked at us bleakly and said;
'' I'm so sorry but..."
After that everything else she said was a blur, so I won't go any further. One thing I do know was that she reiterated that we had some left over embryos from cycle, that we could use in the future.
All I was thinking was how will I deal with this, after everything we'd been through. Having to accept the help of IVF to conceive after all the shame, how do I tell people that it hadn't worked.
I'm not sure if you agree but the hardest thing about bad news is when people console you or say "I'm sorry". I walked out feeling numb, and I couldn't help but notice the disappointment in all the faces of the medical team at the clinic.
"You see when you go through years of fertility treatment, those that help you in your journey really do become like your family"
When we got home I went straight to bed and sobbed my eyes out, to add salt to the wound, I started bleeding more and more heavily at this point, so this really confirmed the news I was dreading.
In the most of the heaviness and grief I heard a still and small voice and a very deep inner piece that I should trust the process. I don't know what it meant , until three hours later I got a call that would add to the heaviness I felt. The nurse sounded pensive, and asked if I had some bleeding... I mean what a question to ask. could my wound get any more painful?
I confirmed I was bleeding and she said ;
"the reason why I ask is because your blood test is positive.... for a moment I froze in disbelief but there was an excitement that started to rise within me until she said 'but', I froze again with anxiety. She continued by saying that my HCG hormone was very low so it was likely that I was losing the baby and having an early miscarriage.
It felt like a cruel joke. how could I go from being told the IVF hadn't worked, to being told that it had worked, but them I was losing the pregnancy - all within space of 6 hours ?!!
So to cut to the chase , after this I was informed that I would need to return to the clinic two times more for a series of blood tests, and if each indicated that the HCG was getting lower- it meant I was miscarrying.
Between those days that I waited to do each blood test, the first confirmed a lower result, but because I was so excited to be pregnant , when I was told the unexpected news about the pregnancy, from that time on I spent day and night praying, speaking biblical scriptures over my womb, was trying to pay minimal visits to the toilet as I was not wanting to see any more blood. I practically BEGGED God that he would help my body to keep the baby. I just couldn't help but think what I would do if I definitely lost the baby.
So a day before the final test when everything was pointing towards bad news. The bleeding very much confirmed what looked like a potential loss and I was in extreme pain. I really held out in hope and faith that God would continue to work through this miracle. I bravely walked out the clinic after doing the final blood test, an waited for that all important call that would confirm everything. So a few hours later when the nurse called and started with; "I'm really sorry..."
It's painful to recall this part of the story, so let's just say hearing those words again broke me. I couldn't begin to think how I would get over it, or start to already think about another treatment or even what would would add to what felt like a never ending journey. I was just angry at God and hated myself, and my body.
The only one thing I wanted was to check was if my little bean was still hanging on. After all, I had never seen a positive pregnancy test since going through all the treatments. So I used my one last test, and a few minutes later I saw the faintest line appear.
For the first time I was not imagining things, I just new my angel baby was saying 'hi'. At that point I could only think that after such an ordeal, there must have been something better for me or a positive outcome somewhere down the line. What I didn't know was what else I would experience on this very long journey.
"In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born"