After embryo transfer the wait to find out whether it had worked was torture, it was all I could think about. I was constantly consulting Google, looking for any sign of hope with questions such as ‘back pain two days after transfer’, ‘implantation symptoms’ or even ‘sore throat 2 days after transfer‘. I convinced myself I could feel every pregnancy symptom possible, despite it being too early for any pregnancy hormone to even enter my bloodstream. It messed with my mind and strangely I just couldn’t wait to do a pregnancy test, at least then I would know and have some control over what we do next.
From speaking to lots of ladies who have been through IVF, I’ve come across two types of ‘testers’.
The first are those that are patient enough to wait until the official test date, when there should be no doubt about the result. These people can even be scared to do the test after the two week wait as, in their minds, if they haven’t started bleeding they are still PUPO (Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise). They don’t want to burst that bubble.
The second type of tester is impatient and often wants to try and take control of the situation in some way by needing to know as soon as possible. These people test early and, in some cases, continue to test to see the line go darker to reassure them that the pregnancy is progressing. With this option you could find out you are pregnant sooner, although there is a risk that your bubble could be burst at an earlier date.
Those that know me well will guess correctly that I was the latter (much to Matt’s annoyance) – I just had to know. My ‘logic’ was that if I was to test early and it was negative I could still hold some hope that it was too early. On the flip side if it was positive I would no longer be in limbo and could say that I was officially pregnant. My other (convenient!) reason to convince Matt was that it was a Sunday and I’d rather do it on a weekend than on a work day so that, either way, I would have time to digest the result. This logic didn’t fully convince him but seeing how determined I was to do it anyway he had no choice but to go along with it.
I had never been so nervous and excited at the same time. I was 9 long days past the day 3 transfer (9dp3dt) and this IVF cycle was the first time I actually had felt that pregnancy was possible, and so peeing on the stick felt very different. It was around 6am when I finally took the plunge. Bringing the test back to bed to see it develop, my heart was pounding. Feeling like the longest minute of my life I watched the test develop and I swore I could see a faint second line. I turned up the lights, held it to the light of the window and out came the torch on my phone…and there was something definitely there…something I had never seen before. Matt was dubious because the line was so faint but at 9dp3dt I knew it was too early to expect a clear positive. I was beyond excited and found myself constantly looking at it all day under many forms of lights!
I continued to test each day and was reassured to see the line getting darker, I lined my tests up proudly in chronological order in my bedside drawer, gazing at them last thing at night and first thing in the morning. That was it, I was flying so high in my bubble planning the future for our little one who I was now looking forward to meeting the following Spring. We told close family and friends as they knew we were going through IVF and so were tentatively waiting. I was on cloud nine and would even find myself walking from meeting to meeting at work happily saying ‘I’m pregnant’ over and over in my head. That’s it, I thought, the hard part is over.
A couple of weeks later came the niggle. Similar to when I knew something was wrong with my periods, I just had a feeling that something wasn’t quite right. There were no obvious warning signs other than a ‘tender to the touch’ feeling on my abdomen. I called 111 on an evening to get some advice as the feeling seemed to become more constant throughout the day and was told to go to see an Out of Hours GP who would check me over. Off I went, alone again as Matt was away with work, I was examined and referred to the Early Pregnancy Unit. They took my bloods and told me to return the next day for a scan, they wanted to check it wasn’t ectopic but couldn’t see any obvious signs. Matt was due back the next day and so I excitedly started thinking that we would see our little one for the first time, a week earlier than my planned clinic scan date. My excitement masked any nerves I had, I convinced myself that it was all ok – after all, my pregnancy tests were all very clear (I had peed on a lot of sticks!).
Until that moment, I never knew it was possible to fall from so high to so low in such a short space of time. Expecting one of the most wonderful moments of my life to date, I ended up experiencing the most tragic. The silence from the sonographer said it all. There was no heartbeat, which can be normal at that early stage, but also no foetal pole or yolk sac. Just an empty sac, beautiful but empty.
Feeling numb, we were ushered to a room across the corridor. It was here that my emotions got the better of me. Plastered across the walls of the room were posters about dealing with miscarriage and on the table in front of me were leaflets all about miscarriage. A word that I hadn’t even really contemplated in my naïve state was literally all around me. I sobbed in Matt’s arms whilst we waited for a nurse to come and ‘debrief’ us.
I am sympathetic to the intentions of the lady who came to speak to us, it can’t be easy having to deliver this type of news numerous times a day but the least she could have done was read her notes. She explained that things weren’t where they were supposed to be but that I should return for a rescan in a week’s time to see if anything had changed. Then, in the typical way that some humans do, she tried to say something positive to fill the silence and somehow ‘fix’ the situation.
“Don’t worry though, you’re still young and miscarriage can actually make you more fertile afterwards. Go on a nice holiday, relax and it might happen soon. There’s no reason you’ll miscarry again”.
With that comment I was in pieces. Yes, I might be young but my ovaries were practically ancient and a losing my pregnancy certainly wasn’t going to suddenly improve my egg reserve! As I sobbed on his shoulder Matt flatly explained our ‘situation’ and told her that regardless of her assumed wisdom it wouldn’t be quite as easy as that.
I couldn’t believe that anything could be so cruel, just when we thought we were past the hard part we were hit with something that I had naively never imagined. And so, after thinking that our waiting was over, we began yet another (even more agonising) wait…