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
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.
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?
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
“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.