Despite this being my 6th time in this room, I actually was genuinely super excited and ready to have my next best chance at motherhood begin.
TRANSFER JOYThis next picture is a beauty. This is during the waiting period, after the embryos are loaded, and
before you are cleared to go home, rest, and let those embryos settle in for the long haul. We felt so positive--despite everything that led up to this last frozen transfer, we were filled with hope. Three embryos were settling into my Mother Ship and at least one of them looked really, really good. After we took this picture I thought, Wow, this really looks like a hospital picture--like our baby is right below our smiling faces or in the bassinette thingie next to us. I feel like this is a peek into our future!
UNCHARACTERISTICALLY HAPPY WAIT
This is a super silly photo. We had taken a day trip to Sodus Point, NY (that's the lighthouse behind me) to take our minds off the wait. That dreaded two week wait where you read meaning into every twinge, every hunger pang, every tiny spot of blood you look for as evidence of implantation bleeding. Which, incidentally, I had this time and when I had the ectopic pregnancy. The wait is an exercise in torture, but for some reason it wasn't quite as stressful this time. Which is weird, because if this cycle didn't work out we really weren't sure what we would do next. One reason why this wait was easier was because it was shorter--frozen transfers are 5 day embryos, so the wait is almost half. Incidentally, my boobs look HUGE in this photo. An unfortunate cutoff point in the photo, but also thanks to the PIO and the early pregnancy hormones that I didn't know were already building up in my system, I was more buxom than usual. Something more to look forward to when I have breasts that are functional in the future! (Note high levels of sarcasm)
I have seen these photos on Facebook before--people's "We're Pregnant!" photos, where both parties are just oozing joy. This is ours. I never got to share it because it ended too soon, but I'd like to share it now. This is what two people look like who have fought so hard for that good news. I thought my face was going to bust from smiling so much. We had received the call from our actual doctor just an hour or so before this stroll through trails in a field chock full of butterflies, and were just floating on the high. We had our first REAL pregnancy test that was positive without caveat--no low numbers (although in retrospect 61 was just over the threshold of "viable"), no "it's positive BUT," just pure joy. We had made it. We could hardly believe it, and yet it was true. And we couldn't bring ourselves to be overly cautious because we didn't want to miss a moment of this joy. Every day of this pregnancy was spent just marveling at the fact that we had made it to this point and it seemed real. We celebrated, we laughed, we planned. I actually don't feel sad anymore when I look at this picture. I feel such a strong sense of hope that we can have a picture like this again, and this time it will be followed by pictures of my growing belly. We'll have more than one ultrasound with a sac in it to prove that we can do this, we just need a little more help than we thought.
SPEAKING OF PROOF
Here it is. My second ever positive pee stick. It doesn't stay saying "pregnant" -- they fade after 10 minutes. I did get this picture though to remind me that I wasn't nuts, it wasn't a dream, I really was pregnant in my uterus last year. It can happen. We know more now and so we have our new plan to make this a lasting reality. Sadly, this picture of the pee stick isn't the happy one I peed on after getting that call. (I do NOT pee on sticks until after I have numbers that will show up -- I am not an early tester. I did that for a little while and it only added uncertainty and early heartache, so I stick to the bloodwork and pee on that stick when I KNOW it will give me the news I want to see!) This was after things had gone south, I was on bedrest, and I had found out that my numbers had dropped dramatically from several thousand to several hundred. I had actually called the folks at Clearblue Easy to see what their threshold was for HCG (it's 25, FYI), and so I peed on the stick to see if I still at least registered as pregnant. I just didn't want to believe it was over. I refused to go off my progesterone until they could prove to me that there was nothing in my uterus anymore. Stubborn? Crazy? Maybe. But when you are at this point in things and you thought that your happy ending was in your grasp and even your medical professionals are a little confused about how your numbers could drop like that so fast, you need proof. This stick was my proof that I WAS pregnant, that I could be pregnant, that some day I will have pee sticks that aren't showing that HCG is still coursing through my veins after a loss but showing that I am gloriously, sustainably pregnant. This picture, although steeped in sadness (and pee), is actually a photo of hope. It proves that we haven't lost it. We have been through so much on this journey and it seems just completely and utterly neverending, but somehow we have not lost hope.
These pictures are my proof that that joy is attainable. They are bittersweet reminders of the best days of our lives before that was inexplicably snatched away. We grasped the dream once, we can do it again. I cannot wait to share the pictures of our next happiest days. Thank you, short-lived embryo, for giving us this gift.