Yesterday, at 8dp3dt, I saw my first single pink line of this cycle. I thought I was fine. It was still too early to know for sure. And even if this was a true negative, I thought I was okay. I knew the success rate. I knew that our low egg yield lowered our odds. I knew that slow embryo growth lowered our odds. I had been expecting this.
I told myself that even though each individual cycle only had a 25% success rate, the overall process of IVF in this country has a 51% chance of success over three cycles, and a 58% chance over six cycles (1).
I started planning the questions that I would ask at our follow-up appointment. What are the chances our 6-cell embryo would survive the thaw? Given no embryo reached the 8-cell stage, what are our chances of success in future fresh cycles? What are the waiting times to receive donor gametes? Can we sign up for donor gametes now while still attempting our own cycles? Can we source donor embryos from abroad? Suddenly I was overwhelmed by all these questions.
Then it was time to join my husband and two friends for a dinner out. They were discussing what bottle of wine to order, and one of them asked me if I liked champagne. I had no idea what to say. I couldn’t say “yes”, because then it would be odd when I didn’t drink any. I couldn’t say “no”, because that’s not true and they’d just order something else anyway. And I couldn’t say “I’m not drinking alcohol tonight”, because then everyone would think that I was pregnant. I just looked at my husband in desperation. He said something like “I don’t think she feels like drinking any wine tonight”.
And then, because I am paranoid and imaginative, I felt like I had just announced to our friends that I was pregnant. They didn’t say anything, but I thought that I could see their secret smiles. For some reason, I felt so awful. Like I was a fraud, pretending to the world that there was still hope.
And I feel guilty, when later as I confess all of this to my husband through tears, and I see the pain in his eyes. When he quietly suggests that maybe we should stop trying, because I take the negatives so badly. He has told me that I am all the family that he needs, and that my happiness is the only thing that is important to him. I feel like my sadness in this moment says to him that he is not enough for me. This is not true - I just get so mission orientated.
Today is a new day, and when I saw the single line on the test this morning, I was okay. I think I will be okay no matter what the final verdict is. The point is to be happy, and right now, when I think about our little family, all I can do is smile.
1) Cumulative live-birth delivery after IVF/ICSI since the progressive introduction of single-embryo transfer
Reproductive BioMedicine Online, Volume 20, Issue 6, June 2010, Pages 836-842
D. De Neubourg, C. Daels, M. Elseviers, K. Mangelschots, M. Vercruyssen, E. Van Royen