We had our transfer. It’s a surprisingly easy procedure, considering everything that goes into getting ready for it. Dan and I showed up at our fertility clinic an hour before our transfer time, we chatted casually with the nurse… she explained her sisters name was also Meghan Leah (different spelling) and her son had the same birthday as me (different year)… we decided that if good things happen in 3’s a successful transfer would complete our happy connections. Our doctor came in and reviewed our warrior embryo ‘stats’ with us… grade A embryo. I kissed Dan and turned to walk into the procedure room when he joked (rather loudly and slightly inappropriately) “go make me a baby would ya?” In moments like that, when he makes me laugh hysterically at the most absurd times, I am so thankful he’s my partner in this journey.
The only real rule they give you for your transfer date is to come with a full bladder, as it allows them to better visualize the uterus. When the nurse placed the ultrasound probe on my stomach she immediately burst out laughing, “I have never seen someone with a bladder that full! How are you even walking?!” As I walked to the bathroom to ‘relive myself’ (of at least a liter! She told me) I explained “I’m a nurse… I’m use to holding it. And I’m an overachiever… you said full bladder, you got full bladder.” My doctor was joking I was the “bladder of the year” winner and complimented my commitment to success as he started the transfer and I just kept thinking to myself “Come on embryo, be an overachiever too.”
After the transfer we went home and I happily settled into 3 days of bedrest… which was basically me lying in bed all day watching The Mindy Project and Dan spoiling me rotten. We had to wait 10 days for our pregnancy test (this is commonly referred to as the Two Week Wait) and let me tell you, it is actual torture. I couldn’t go more than 3 minutes without thinking about the fact that I may or may not have a baby inside of me. I was scheduled for my HCG test on Sunday and that Saturday I was at work when I started to feel crampy and tired and broke down to my co-worker and friend, “it didn’t work, I’m getting my period…I can tell.” She calmed me down, told me to give it one more day and let me cry it out in the backroom.
The next morning, as I sat in the crowded waiting room with my fellow infertiles, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of them were also going to find out that day if their journeys had been worth it. How many of us sitting there, aimlessly scrolling through Iphones and watching the morning news, were wondering if by that afternoon our lives would change forever. They usually call with lab results between 3 and 4 in the afternoon, so after attempting to watch a new show on Netflix and cleaning our entire downstairs, Dan exclaimed he needed to get out of the house and went to pick up lunch. No sooner had I heard the garage door close did my phone start ringing, it was our clinic…and it was only 12:45. I picked up the phone with shaking hands and held myself together long enough to hear our nurse exclaim “Meghan, you’re pregnant!!” After that I broke down crying… Pregnant!
I paced around the house for the next thirty minutes waiting for Dan to come home, finding myself between fits of laughter and fits of tears… we were having a baby. When Dan came home I could barely contain myself “We’re pregnant!” I yelled. I had planned on thinking of something clever to say, but in that moment I just wanted to celebrate with the person who had been my rock through this entire journey. We laughed, cried and hopped around our kitchen like two toddlers on Christmas morning, I cannot remember a time in my life when I have felt such an overwhelmingly sense of love, joy, happiness and peace.
Over the next two weeks I went to our fertility clinic every other day to have my pregnancy hormone level checked and waited anxiously for our nurse to call me in the afternoon with the results. After two weeks she exclaimed “Everything is going perfectly Meghan, you don’t even need to have your HCG level drawn next week, we’ll just do a 7 week ultrasound…and we can officially say you’re due date is November 20th.” I kept thinking of the Wizard of Oz when they declare the Wicked Witch dead “She is really, most sincerely dead.” I was really… most sincerely… pregnant.
Dan and I chose to share our news with a few people in our life, we agreed we wanted to wait for the 12 week mark to announce to everyone, but too many people had come on this journey with us, we couldn’t keep the excitement to ourselves. I loved watching the people in our life react, in many ways it was in those moments that I realized how our infertility was affecting the people who loved and cared about us, and I was so thankful I could finally share such happy news.
Our ultrasound was scheduled for Friday, April 1st… Dan and I joked we could see our doctor playing some kind of Aprils Fool’s Joke on us (I thought he might pretend there were twins…Dan thought he would enter the exam room wearing a jesters hat… neither of those things happened.) As I sat on the exam table, swinging my legs in excitement Dan and I agreed to ask the sex of the baby after the ultrasound. (Because of the PGD they knew the sex of the embryo prior to implantation, but we had decided not to find out… but after discovering we were pregnant Dan was too excited to wait the 9 months and I begrudgingly agreed to find out. I figured after everything we had been through I might as well give my sweet husband something he wanted, even if I liked the idea of being surprised.)
Our doctor walked into the room grinning and we were talking casually about the overwhelming exhaustion associated with the first trimester as he began the ultrasound… almost immediately I knew something was wrong. The smile literally fell from our physicians face and he turned to the nurse, who was staring blank faced at the ultrasound screen I couldn’t see… “How far along is she supposed to be?” (6 weeks, 5 days I practically yelled, no need to look at the computer!) I looked frantically at our doctor, at the nurse, at Dan… all of them were staring at the ultrasound screen.
“You’re making me nervous… what’s happening?!” I cried as tears started filling my eyes.
I asked, but I didn’t really need an answer… the silence in the room was deafening.
There was no heartbeat.
It took another 10 minutes for the doctor to finish his exam. I spent the majority of the time crying and trying to wiggle myself free. Every muscle in my body wanted to run out of the room. To go back fifteen minutes earlier when Dan and I had been joking about baby names and April fool’s pranks. To go back to when the nurse was giddily asking if I was nauseous yet, not rubbing my shoulder as I cried. To when the doctor was smiling at me like he had never been happier for a patient in his life… not avoiding eye contact as he tried to hold me steady on the exam table. Finally, he finished and I sat up.
“You’re not presenting like someone who is almost 7 weeks pregnant. We should hear a heartbeat…” He calmly explained, he then continued to clarify that it might be late implantation and that our embryo had just implanted later than expected, in that case I would come back in a few days, we would do another ultrasound, and everything would be fine. “What are the chances that is what this is… give me statistics?” I asked. I stopped being the hysterical patient and turned into the fact-loving ICU nurse. “Maybe 10%” was his response “And the other 90%?” I asked and he gave me the face I know too well… it’s a face I’m accustomed to giving at work when there’s nothing else we can do… it’s a face filled with sympathy… it’s a face I didn’t like receiving… “If you’re HCG levels are going down, we would be pretty certain that you lost the pregnancy.”
The nurse hugged me before leaving the room and as I got dressed I couldn’t help feeling like the floor was shifting. My ever optimistic husband hugged me and told me he was sure it was just late implantation, this was just another bump on our crazy journey. I wasn’t so positive though…I knew, in my heart, this was going to be bad. We went to have my blood drawn and then drove home in almost complete silence. Neither of us knew what to say…something I’ve discovered in the past few weeks is sometimes there really are no words. When we got home I changed into pajamas and crawled into bed… by now you all know I’m an emotional person, but I didn’t even cry, I just felt numb.
Our nurse called less than two hours later. I like to think of our nurse, Marsha, as my own little fertility angel. She has sat on the phone with me as I’ve broken down when my levels were low, celebrated and cheered with me when my hormones were good, she has been there through this entire process, supporting me, comforting me, encouraging me… I knew the minute I heard her voice this was not a good phone call…she calmly explained in the past 48 hours my HCG levels had dropped by almost 500 points…she said after talking with our physician he was confident in telling me to stop all our hormones… I had really, most sincerely…lost the baby.
So that’s the story…of a girl with a gold dress, a handsome husband, a dream, a warrior embryo and a miscarriage. I’m sorry it doesn’t have a happier ending. I’m sorry you invested your time into something that will probably just leave you feeling sad and disappointed. I know I do. But even though right now we’re heartbroken, defeated and closing the book on this chapter of our life… I’ll let you all in on a little secret I hope inspires you, encourages you and brings a little hope in a world that at times can feel rather hopeless… I’m not throwing that gold dress away. We have absolutely no idea where we go from here, but wherever this infertility journey takes me… I’m taking my handsome husband and that gold dress with me.