My second beta was at 9am yesterday. As I sat down in the chair and rolled back my sleeve, I fought back the tears. So much was riding on these results. “How are you doing?” the young nurse asked.
“I’m terrified,” I replied.
“Of the needle or the results?”
“You just have to stay positive,” she declared.
I wanted to scream. To ask her if she had any idea what this really feels like. Ask her if she’d even bothered to read my chart and realize this was my one and only chance at a successful pregnancy. That all nine of my other embryos had arrested development due to what the doctor thought were issues with our sperm. Of course, I didn’t say any of those things. I just sat there as I watched her poke into my vein; already bruised and sore from the test two days prior.
The nurse told me we’d get a call to report the results sometime after noon. I muttered my thank you’s, and stumbled out of the office.
We anxiously awaited the results all day long. I wanted to get the news with Chris, and left work a little early so we could be together when we got the call. By 5:30pm we still hadn’t heard anything. Chris was antsy as hell, and I kept telling him, “I know they’ll call before they leave at six. If not, we’ll do a home pregnancy test.”
He finally broke down and called our RE on his cell phone. The one “for emergencies only.” Heck, it felt pretty urgent at 5:40pm on a Friday before a three day holiday weekend. Our doctor said perhaps we wouldn’t receive the results until Tuesday. As luck would have it, our nurse began calling us while Chris was wrapping up the conversation with our doc.
Chris missed her call, so we dialed her back on speakerphone. She sounded cheerful. “Oh, hi Chris! I was just leaving you a message on the other line. We got your results back, and they are negative.” I felt numb. “Please tell Heather to stop taking her medication. If you’d like to schedule a follow-up meeting to go over your cycle with the doctor, that can be done either in person or over the phone. Just call us next week to schedule when you’re ready.”
Before hanging up the phone, Chris managed to ask her, “What exactly were Heather’s beta numbers?”
“Less than two,” she informed us, “we consider anything over five to be pregnant.”
We sat in silence for a few minutes. I slowly got up, and began gathering all my medicine from around the house. The Crinone, the bottles of Estradiol I had in my purses, and by my bed. I put them all in a bag, and shoved them into our guest room closet. I went to the kitchen, and gingerly pulled the magnets off the fridge that surrounded the little pictures of our precious embryo and my uterus-post-transfer. I carefully found an envelope and filed it away in the filing cabinet.
I went back to the bedroom and began to sob. Chris was crying, too. We sat on the floor and held each other for what felt like hours. We managed to feed ourselves dinner and put on a movie. All events throughout the evening were punctuated with tears by one or both of us. It felt, and still feels, surreal.
To add insult to injury, we received a bill from the pre-IVF genetic counseling. Nearly $8,000. We had no idea a bill of that magnitude was still coming. It felt like a sick joke.
Today, both of us are processing. We could do IVF again as soon as July. We both have so many questions. Do we want to use the same clinic again? Will we have different results next time? When will we know it’s time to give up? Should we consider adoption?
It feels like we have a lot of healing ahead of us. I’m really grateful to have such a strong teammate by my side through this process. We’ll get through it together. For now, we just need to grieve.