I have to wonder if I over analyze my life. Or more specifically my infertility. Acceptance is a tough thing. What am I to accept? That we spent over $20,000 on costly infertility treatments to no avail? That the only pregnancy I may ever have needed to be terminated in a cold sterile hospital room with an 18 gauge needle in my lower back.
"I have consulted with a colleague and we can only conclude that the embryo is in the tube. We need to terminate "it" right away. Right now. You can get a second opinion if you like."
The only time I may ever see a second pink line on a home pregnancy test, even if it was just a pinker shade of pale, I wasn't given the chance to believe it was really a pregnancy at all. The nurse called with the results of our second IVF to report my HCG level . It was very low and went on to advise us what it was supposed to be at this stage of a pregnancy. She stated that "it" would most likely end up as an early term miscarriage. I forget the technical terms. The phone call terminated on the most negative note possible and with little to no emotion of the side of the health care provider.
I threw my phone at the wall. 2 1/2 years of non-stop doctors, drugs, hospitals, stripping off my clothes, exposing myself, feeling my strength whither away. No hope. No solace.
Every 2 days I went to give blood. For 2 weeks my betas doubled. The news from the nurses was mixed. They did not want to give any false hope because they had expected "it" to miscarry by now.
Trying to get any information out of them was a crash course in interrogation.
"I have to ask the doctor." No, you are just incompetent and unsure of yourself.
"Get me the goddamn doctor then."
"I will have to call you back."
The next day I would get an answer to my question, and the next day I already had a new one to ask.
After a week I commented to my doctor," No one has said that I am pregnant. Well, am I?"
"Yes. You are pregnant."
The "but" lingered in the air; he did not say anything further. I just wanted to hear those words even if they were to soothe my nerves and my heart. I deserved to hear them. A fact is a fact. I did not care about the possibilities.
I went and bought "the pregnancy book" You know the one. I knew, knew that it was not going to end happily, but I could not restrain myself from going out one Wednesday evening to purchase the book that has sat on so many bedside tables. I drove home with the shiny familiar cover laying on the seat next to me believing we would have our chance. The low beta did not mean the end but a beginning.
I remember weeding my front garden that week saying to myself, "I'm pregnant." There was no smile on my lips,though. The contingency pressed on my shoulders and dug into my nerves. More waiting ensued. Again I had not received good news but in-between news that held more doubt than anything. Was this pregnancy going to surpass the odds or was it going to end?
In my second two-week-wait until we would have an ultrasound I attended a wedding. I could not drink. This was me going through the motions of being pregnant. The side step and curtsy I had been waiting to dance. The I cannot drink, eat certain foods, wear my favorite jeans or go skydiving dance. The swing step of expectancy.
I had the bartender make me fake vodka tonics-lime, swizzle stick and all. I sipped the glass and thought about my baby- our cells surely dividing. Driving home that night as the designated driver I had longed to be I rolled down the window and smelled the summer night air. DH and I held hands.
Two days later I lay on the table waiting for our "it" ultrasound. The most important one we would ever have. I did not look at the monitor but instead turned my head to look at my husband. My eyes were clouded and my heart hung in the balance.
"I do not see anything in your uterus. It is probably ectopic. Please get dressed and meet me in my office."
Numb. There may have been tears, can't remember. We were directed to another room and waited an excruciating amount of time for the nurse to come in with her vial, the concoction that would abort my wrongly implanted embryo. After rolling down my pants far enough for the shot, smelling the alcohol swab, and feeling the long, thick needle splinter my skin, I knew the bottom was at my tip toes. The bottom of my sanity and my ability to be hopeful that next time things could work out. I walked down the hall after the shot, through the dark door, past the glass encased waiting room, down the long hall to the elevator and fell to my knees.
For the next 7 weeks I had to give blood every 3 days to check that my HCG level was dropping to monitor that the embryo was shrinking and I would not be in danger of infection or bursting my fallopian tube which can be very dangerous. I had been 4 weeks pregnant when we found out it was ectopic.
I was rushed to the hospital with severe pain on my right side. My mother drove me and she called my husband. As I lay on a bed I just looked at my mother with tears falling and said," How has this happened to me? How did I become a patient in a hospital for over 2 years?" I did not lose my tube that day. It was one good thing.
After nearly six weeks of blood draws the nurse told me I had to come in for another shot to make sure the pregnancy was terminated. I released a body of anger so extreme I did not recognize myself. After refusing to subject myself to anymore needles and the smell of that soul smashing institution my mother spoke to the doctor and explained that I must go. If I wanted to ensure my health, I needed to go back there- one last time.
I don't remember returning for the second shot. I just know I never saw that place again.
We told some people that we "lost" the baby. Truth is we never really had it. What we really lost was the last of our innocence. Pregnancy, parenthood for that matter, faded like my mother's dining room chandelier on its dimmer. The candle in the room was still burning but the artificial light was dispelled.