While we were in Texas awaiting our embryo
transfer, my husband and I decided to visit the Gulf of Mexico. When we arrived, I took my shoes off and dug my toes into the sand, while Chris took pictures of
the ocean. As we walked the shoreline, I stopped periodically to inspect
different shells that had washed ashore. I found two perfectly intact seashell
halves, rinsed them off in the water and palmed them as we continued the
length of the beach.
I showed them to Chris. "Look, two of
them," I smiled. "Two for the two embryos we are hopefully going to
transfer next week?" He humored me by agreeing and snapping a picture of me
posing with the two of them.
The following Wednesday, when two embryos
were safely scooped out of their lab environment and placed into me, the vision
of the two shells tucked into a slot in the rental car for protection was not
lost on me. They became my little talismans, the embodiment of the microscopic
babies inside me, and I had decided when we returned home, they would be placed
somewhere where I could see them every day, the reminder of the hope we had for
At the end of our trip, we arrived at the
airport to drop off the rental car. "Don't forget your shells," Chris
reminded me, and I carefully grabbed them, placing them in the side pocket of
my purse. We were through customs when I went to unzip the side pocket of my purse.
I saw the crumbles sitting at the bottom, shell dust coating my
"Oh no." I stopped right there in
the middle of the walkway. "The shells broke. They shattered." I
looked up at Chris and felt this ridiculous urge to burst out crying,
"What if this is a sign? What if this doesn't work?" I fought back tears,
and Chris soothed me that of course not, this isn't a sign, it just means I had
delicate shells in my purse that got smashed going through security.
It’s maddening, the complete lack of control I have over any of this.
When I found out November 12 that this
cycle didn't work for us, the nurse told us that our doctor would be calling
the next day to talk. So that Thursday, I stayed home from work and made a list
of questions to ask Dr. G. when he called. Chris was working from home that day
so he could be there.
One of the things I love about our doctor in
Texas is how he genuinely cares about us, and understands how much we have been
through. I asked him if the beta number was indeed zero or if it was just really
low. I told him how confused I was because I was having cramping and pulling in
my lower abdomen, plus I got a faint positive home test on day 11. He told me
with symptoms like that, it made him think that there was implantation, but
that we lost them. That there was a pregnancy, albeit a very brief one. To put
it medically, he thinks it was another chemical pregnancy. And as relieved as I
am, as important as it was to be validated that these were in fact pregnancy
symptoms, all it really means is that I lost two more babies.
We discussed further testing before moving on
to another treatment. He wants to work me up for blood-clotting disorders and
start me on a daily baby aspirin. He wants to rule out problems with my blood
that could be preventing embryos from implanting fully and developing. I’m
grateful for this, because I don’t want to continue to spend tens of thousands
of dollars on treatments while my body just keeps rejecting embryos. On the
other hand, it’s scary, wondering now if another wrench could be thrown into
all this, further preventing me from having a child. It’s maddening, the
complete lack of control I have over any of this.
A couple days ago, I was cleaning out my
purse, and discovered slivers of shells left over in the pocket. The physical
ache in my chest was almost too much to deal with. I can’t believe this cycle
didn’t work. I can’t believe I had another chemical pregnancy. Maybe I should have saved
those fragments, kept them as a reminder, but I didn’t. I can’t dwell