Getting a negative result on my first IVF was devastating. Negatives are devastating in their own right all through the process, but when IVF is presented as by far your best chance of getting pregnant by the team at your clinic, a negative truly stinks. The first day I got my negative (first from peeing on a stick, and then the more conclusive call after my HCG beta blood test) I was a mess. I cried for hours. I had no choice but to go to work the next day with my swollen frogfaced eyes, as it was the first week of school. I even had a training on Saturday followed by a faculty party later in the night (I was so NOT in a party mood, but amazingly it briefly took my mind off things. Probably helped that I had a lot of wine that evening). It wasn't until Sunday when I had nothing to take my mind off of things and I had downtime that I could truly process what that meant. No baby for me this time around. I had thought so positively throughout the entire cycle and felt betrayed.
Hope is a funny thing. It buoys you up. It fills you with possibility. It allows you to dream and plan things like nursery bedding. It fuels late night conversations with your husband about what you think your child will be like, what kind of parents we'll be. But then, if things don't work out, hope can make your fall into despair and discouragement so much harder. I kept a daily journal throughout my first IVF cycle of what I was feeling both physically and emotionally each day. In part I did this so that it could serve as a reference for future cycles (either if this one didn't work or if we did it again for a sibling), but I also did it thinking it would be the world's earliest baby book. A preconception journal since when you go through this process you know way more about conception than those not going through infertility. I could have pinpointed the exact day that my potential child was conceived. I have pictures of the embryos that were placed back into my uterus (that are getting pasted into my journal -- I can't bear to throw them out even though the embryos are long gone). I read that journal today as I waited for my doctor to come into my post-cycle follow-up consultation. It was amazing how much hope was in every entry, how much positivity I put into my emotional state during the cycle.
Even though that hope didn't work out this time, after the consultation I feel hope again! I was very nervous going into this meeting. I was convinced that they were going to come back with something else that was wrong that wasn't allowing us to get pregnant. Instead, they reiterated how we are still excellent candidates for IVF even though it didn't work this time. How everyone at the clinic wouldn't have been surprised if we had gotten pregnant from that cycle, even with twins. Interesting, because I had been under the impression that the cycle was a dismal flop. (I started out with 18+ follicles, which were whittled down to 10 at egg retrieval, then further down to 7 actually mature enough to attempt fertilization, then 5 that actually fertilized, and 2 that were actually viable.) That put things into perspective. So, we got the go ahead to do another cycle (I won't be specific here about when I am actually in a cycle because then it can get sticky with trying not to share news until 2nd trimester) at some point in the near future. We also qualify for a package deal (pay for 2 cycles and get 3 fresh + 3 frozen if you've got surplus embryos, if you're not pregnant after all that get 75% of your money back), which means we have really great chances at success since they only approve people who have a low risk of failed cycles. And a successful pregnancy is defined as healthy at 20 weeks, which is reassuring since we are terrified of early miscarriage. So, if we are unfortunate and miscarry, it doesn't disqualify us from continuing with the cycles we paid for (plus the bonus cycles).
So, I'm allowing myself to hope again. Maybe this next cycle will be our time. And if not, at least we have the backup of more cycles paid for through the package program. And if that doesn't work (which we've been assured it will, but can you really promise that?) we get money back to put towards adoption. It's a win-win, really. Welcome back, hope!