There is no eloquent way to put this: The donor cycle didn’t work.
When I got the call last Wednesday evening, I was already back to struggling with my faith that this would work. After the transfer of our two embryos, I had cramping. I had a strange pulling sensation and others who had experienced pregnancy squealed that those were good signs! Eleven days after transfer, I had a (very) faint positive pregnancy test. I was elated! I was out of my mind that this was an actual pregnancy! But then the doubt started setting in several days before the beta. The digital test the night before read: Not Pregnant. But I refused to believe it, swallowing back the possibility that the cycle didn’t work.
The nurse leaving the voicemail that night started out by saying, “I wish I was calling about better news …” I barely heard the rest. My first thought was: Thank God I am just leaving work so no one sees me cry. The second was: Damn it all to hell.
Driving home through my tears, I kept thinking, How could it have possibly been negative? How could I have had all those symptoms? How could I have truly felt that this cycle was the one that was going to work? I knew with all my heart that this time was different.
“I’m pregnant,” I told people, confidently, “I just have this feeling!” I thought maybe this is what women were talking about when they reminisce around the table to each other: “I just knew I was pregnant, you know? It was a feeling I can’t describe.”
How could it have possibly been negative?
It was the first time I started truly distrusting my body. After all I have been through—3 IUIs, 3 IVFs, a miscarriage and now a transfer with another woman’s eggs—it’s once again over. I knew some of my symptoms were caused by the hormones I was taking, but the different symptoms, the ones I had never felt before, I started wondering to myself if I was actually starting to go crazy. Maybe all the fertility drugs were starting to affect me, and my body was having some sort of hysterical pregnancy.
I came home and Chris made some calls to my parents and sisters. I ate Chick-fil-A and drank wine, pointedly ignoring the increasing number of texts and phone calls wondering what my beta results were. I ripped the estrogen patch off my stomach and tossed the remaining bottles of progesterone into the back of the closet.
And I pushed the rage down.
I didn’t share with my husband what was running through my head—that dark place in the back of my mind that housed the vicious thoughts to give up, and give up right now, because I will never have kids, never, do you hear me? That this will never work and we will grow broke trying to continuously revive a crashing dream. I didn’t say these thoughts out loud because I knew if I did, if I went there, if opened my mouth and let it spew out, the black spot that would form over my heart wouldn’t go away.
Instead, we talked to each other carefully, each of us dancing around that ever growing Dark Place. “It’ll happen,” I said to Chris, nodding my head, as if agreeing with my own words, “We’ll figure it out. It’s not over until it’s over.”
“The doctor did tell us that if it doesn’t work out, not to think it’s you. It was just the eggs,” Chris added.
We didn’t think about the phone call that would come from the doctor the next day. We didn’t think about what we were going to do next. Instead, we toasted to yet another failed cycle and ate the gummy bears my mom and dad dropped off in a care package for us. We did something that we seem to do so rarely these days: We tried to live in the present.