Week 7 – Waiting and Wondering
The first week of the 2-week wait leaves you on a cloud – this feeling of strength, of excitement and of fear.
The day of transfer was a moment we had been waiting for 2 years, finally – this day was the closest we had come to starting our family. To being a family. Running alongside the excitement was the pain I was still in from the retrieval. I had really thought 5 days would be enough time to heal, to let the body recover and to return to a state of normal. It was only just enough, the day of transfer I was still swollen and sore but the specialist said things had settled enough for my body to support the transfer.
The waiting on the transfer day was a challenging moment. We went in at 7 am and the transfer happened around 8:15 – try waiting that long with a full bladder and painful ovaries. It was not the most pleasant experience but still did not retract from the pure excitement we were feeling. Then came seeing the beautiful little embryo for the first time. The embryologist gave us the most beautiful little card and took us through the strength of our embryo – this little bundle of cells that would keep growing into our family. The one they chose was the strongest and the one that had grown the best so far. The other littlies have done well to date, all 6 have continued to grow – but only 5 could be frozen. This was absolute music!! A whole 5 beautiful bundle future mini-me’s.
The next 3 days were quiet, spent around the house, light walks and light studio exercise. Someone recommended to lay low – so that is just what I did. The first 7 days I woke up early, made a cup of tea, fed the pups and would walk across to the beach to watch the sunrise over the ocean. The sound of the waves crashing into the shore and watching the sun creep it’s way over the hills, the transition of the darkened sky into bright yellows/orange and pinks – this is the moment, before the rest of the world wakes up that I would take 100% for me. It was also a time I spent starting a journal…Dear Polar Bear. It was in these quite moments in the morning I would share my thoughts, dreams and as cheesy as it sounds a letter to the future baby Wright. I made a promise to myself from the day of transfer that I would continue to take that time for me … for us. A quite moment for the little one and I. As the days passed I was always sure to check-in with myself to be sure I still felt….still felt something. I don’t know what I was feeling for – but there was this light, an energy and a calmness to my body/soul and it was a remarkable feeling. The evenings I would take my supplements, my medications, worked through my fertility specific yoga sequences, listened to my MindfulIVF medications and ate all the good – nutritious food I should be. My final evening routine included massaging my belly and hips with Willow by the Sea belly butter.
This first 7 days was a week I really spent connecting with myself. It was the first time since we started this journey 2.5 years ago that I began to felt like myself again. The medications were (mostly) all done, the transfer was done and we were already 5 days into the growth. The profound excitement I felt at being able to experience these first 2 weeks – a moment some women may never. I could truly experience pregnancy from Day 0, even if it was just PTPO (pregnant till proven otherwise). Week 1 was cloud 9.
Week 8 – Milestones and Miscarriage
*content warning for those still reading. This is not an easy topic to write about, discuss, let alone read. These moments are entirely my experience and my results. This is a VERY different experience for every woman. If you, or someone you know has been affected by loss of pregnancy, child or miscarriage please be sure you speak with a professional psychologist.
Week 8 – one of the crappiest weeks and one of the hardest to explain. Week 8 started out like every other day, in fact, Monday and Tuesday were my “normal” and by now we were past the worry of implantation also known as implantation failure. Josh and I were always sure not to get our hopes up too high, or try to dream too big knowing the statistics of 32-55% success rate. We really would keep each other grounded, allowing ourselves time to dream while knowing we needed to wait for our scan and bloods. We lived in a happy mixture of emotion and reality.
Then came Tuesday night…a moment so brief and so short. But it was a moment of something that was just not right. I did not feel the same. I had a small cramp (which I had none to date) and I said to Josh “something was different” and “I did not feel the same as I did that morning”. We both passed it off as too much dinner and tea. Wednesday morning came and went and I knew something was off…..then came lunchtime and the complications started. I had symptoms I just knew were not right and my heart dropped. You know those moments when you are speaking with someone, and they give you a pause that is slightly too long? That hesitation before they answer? And, depending on the question you asked you already know the answer before they speak. This was the phone call with the Nurse Specialist. As I told her of my symptoms and my timeline I knew before the phone call ended our news was not good. Josh was our positive cheerleader – he had ready every possible symptom and had every right cup of tea, snack and treat ready to go – he had my meditation lined up and ready to listen to in the car on the way to testing.
At this point – Covid was not even crossing my mind. But the fact we had a lockdown in motion meant I had more than just me and my body to think about. 3.5 hours later we had the call to tell us what I already knew. Although our hormone levels were looking good, it all just stopped. I had officially experienced a clinical miscarriage. It may have been early, but it was still just that. A miscarriage. A loss. An emptiness. A hole in the heart. Before we really gave ourselves a chance to grieve – we knew we had to take the next steps if we were to try again. We made the phone calls to our OBGYN and the IVF nurse specialist and put the paperwork into place. I needed to start birth control and baby aspirin (100mg daily) straight away so without hesitation I took my medications, we gave each other a moment and the rest of the night was for us. For some what I did next may be strange, too early or down right strange – but I decided to paint our spare room. I always knew the neutral grey tone this room would have so I just went ahead and painted. It created a sense of resolve and conclusion for me.
Beyond Wednesday, the one thing no one prepares you for with an IVF cycle is loss. You are prepared with what to feel with your medication, your routine, your body – but no one …. at any point, tells you what loss may feel like. I classify myself as a strong woman, I can manage most of my aches/pains/tightness without pain medication – I use movement. I use Pilates and Yoga as my therapy but this was not always helpful or even available for my body.
No one tells you about the physical pain of loss. Again, my experience is totally my own, and I know that this is not the same for everyone. But I can say, worse than the heartache is the body ache. I understand the heartache, I do not understand the body ache with no relief. For me, not being able to move my body the way it needs, the way I need to move is crippling. The only movement that feels good is rolling out, my ongoing fertility yoga sequences and gentle walking.
Men and women typically respond to a miscarriage differently. Often, men shift into problem-solving mode when faced with a crisis. They may end up feeling helpless and inadequate when they aren’t able to “fix” their partner’s grief. Miscommunication is also a common problem. Often, a man sees his partner cry when he talks about the loss, so he learns not to bring up the subject. And because he doesn’t bring it up, the woman might feel he doesn’t care, when he really does. Josh and I established very early on in our relationship and marriage that no topic is ever “off the table”, if someone needs to discuss something we sit down, have a cup of tea and always talk it out. We do not always see things the same way but we give our thoughts and emotions a place to be held and recognised.
Somewhere in the middle of the loss, the heartbreak and the struggle. I began to feel okay Thursday night. We had our moment, we framed our photo and hung it in the room that was to be a future nursery. We turned our heartbreak into hope. We turned hope into new love for our future Rainbow Baby.
xx Anne (and one day, Future Baby Wright)