Two things happened during this week’s session with Dr. N.:
1. I bawled my eyes out. (More on this in a minute.)
2. I admitted out loud, for the first time, how detached I feel from this process.
My eggs were taken while I slept. Hubby’s sperm was injected in a lab. We may have been in the same building when this happened, but we weren’t in the same room. We weren’t allowed to observe this miracle. The resulting embryos are now frozen in that same lab, a mile from my house. This proximity does nothing to make me feel closer to them.
During our session, Dr. N. suggested positive thinking could affect the outcome of this cycle. Maybe there’s a shred of hope that while the embryos are inside my uterus, my mental state could influence the result in a positive way. (I doubt it.) But what I’m most worried about now is that they survive the thaw, something that will happen outside my body, in that cold, sterile lab, where my thoughts have no influence.
Once they’re inside me, I hope I’ll feel some attachment to what could be occurring in my uterus, but right now, the only things I feel are the soreness from last night’s progesterone injection, the leftover irritation on my belly from the estrogen patches, and the sensitivity of my nipples at the slightest contact.
Speaking of injections, I freaked out Thursday night, after my therapy session, when I went to give myself the last injection of Lupron. I couldn’t recall giving myself the injection the night before. Hubby insists I did, but I have no memory of doing it. Maybe it’s one of those things that became so routine, I didn’t even have to think about it anymore. Whatever the case, I lost it. I was sure that missing that injection meant that the follicle in my right ovary would ovulate, and the transfer would be cancelled. And it would be my fault for skipping one night of medication.
The thought brought on immediate panic but also an odd sense of…relief. If the transfer were cancelled, it would fit right into the scheme of things so far. Every step of the way has been met with complications, resulting in delays, postponements, and more waiting. It’s starting to feel like a given. And in the weird places of my brain that are capable of rationalizing the craziness of these kinds of thoughts, this was a good thing. If the transfer is put off, I don’t have to start worrying about whether or not it’s going to work. There’s no pressure, no timeline, no impending result, which could be the end of everything. If it never happens, there’s no chance my body could fail the ultimate test.
This line of thinking was something that came up during therapy earlier that day. Dr. N. had said that there was no way to prepare for tragedy. That whatever happens as a result of this transfer, I’ll deal with it when it comes because there’s no way to predict the outcome or my response in advance. She brought up the death of my mother, which immediately brought me to tears. I croaked out the words of explanation between sniffles:
When I was 10, my mother almost died during pacemaker surgery. Since that day, I had been preparing for her death, but when it came, I still fell apart. All my premature mourning and grieving did nothing to lessen the pain of her final departure.
The same goes for IVF. One of the reasons Hubby and I decided to do the genetic screening was because I was sure it would drastically reduce the chances of having a miscarriage. What I wanted to do was eliminate all possibilities of failure, and therefore save myself the pain of loss. But that’s impossible to do. There’s still a chance that the embryos we transfer won’t implant. That I won’t be pregnant at the end of all of this, and that even if I am, I could still lose the pregnancy.
In the meantime, I’m trying to stay positive. It’s not easy. My nature has always been to fill in every detail of the worst case scenario, to prepare myself for inevitable calamity. But it’s gotten me nowhere. It doesn’t serve to protect me from deep feelings of loss. It doesn’t prevent grief. If anything, it intensifies the feelings I’ve spent my life practicing, one final performance after years of rehearsals.
So I’m trying. I’m far from succeeding all the time, but I’m learning (slowly) to go easy on myself. It’s a work in progress. Like life.