The one good thing about having an ectopic pregnancy is your partner will probably feel really bad for you. Does that sound horrible? I don’t mean it to. But the fact is…Nick knew I’d been through a lot (he had too). We were told we couldn’t try to conceive for three months post methotrexate injections so…in an effort to turn lemons to lemonade, I came up with the genius idea of a vacation. Not just any vacation but one to Hawaii.
Now, if we hadn’t gone through the ectopic this vacation wouldn’t have happened. We had just bought a house after all. But Nick knew I needed something to look forward to so there I went…booked us a nice three-year anniversary trip to Maui and Kauai.
Once back, after a month or so, we were back to trying for a baby the ole fashion way. During these next six-ish months I tried everything…acupuncture, special diets, special lube (hello “pre-seed”), tracking my temperature, ovulation strips, ovulation apps etc. Nada. None of it worked for us. Shove it all up ya butt. I don’t know why but I had to type that.
Then, finally, we concluded it was time to see a fertility doc. Our first fertility doc was out of Harvard Vanguard in Boston. In hindsight, he was great. We started the testing that kicks off the process. The “only” thing they found was that one of my tubes was abnormal and likely causing the infertility. They didn’t know “for sure” but assumed that was it. I was recommended for a surgery to have the tube removed. I was not ready for that, so we decided to try Clomid.
Clomid. That sh*t. I think we did 2-3 rounds. It’s much less “invasive” than IVF but damn, this medicine was my least favorite. Hot flashes, mood swings. I did not feel great on it. We did ultrasound tracking with it. Nothing. It did not work for us. We forged ahead to IVF.
I’m glad we did our first round of IVF moving into the winter. Between the meds and the constant appointments, I just wanted/needed to be in comfy clothes. Long sweaters, leggings, hide me. I’m not sure how I would have fared if we did this in the summer.
I’m not going to go through the entire process here. But I will say, yes, you have to give yourself (or have your partner give you) injections. Daily. The first night of meds I FREAKED. The idea of putting a needle in myself filled with hormones/lawd knows what, was plain unsettling. But once I just did it (it took awhile and a lot of whining)…it was ok. Nick bought fun band aids which added some comic relief. Pretty sure they were Paw patrol.
All in all, the process is about a month. But it occupies more time between the testing beforehand and then the waiting once you do the embryo transfer. Post transfer you have to wait 10 days to find out if you’re pregnant. On the 10th day I woke up prepared to go to my appointment for bloodwork (feeling hopeful because I hadn’t gotten my period) and boom…went to the bathroom and got my period that morning.
I was devastated. I didn’t even want to tell Nick. After all that “work” – we got nothing. I actually drove myself to work that morning but ended up having to pull over in a Walgreens parking lot because I was so upset. I told myself to go to work because all I could think at the time was “we’ll have to do this again?! I’ll need more time off. What am I going to do?” Now, if I could share some advice to anyone going through this – please, cut yourself some slack. I ended up texting a friend at work, told her what happened, and asked if she’d cover a couple meetings. Thank goodness for her. Then, I drove home and got in bed.
The hardest part really was the “after.” Nick was shocked…and he told me he would have “bet a million dollars we were pregnant.” This enraged me, to be honest. There is around a 40% chance (for women UNDER 35, I’m 34) with any given cycle that it’ll be successful. It’s not a silver bullet. Hey, I thought it was too before I actually went through it. Dealing with my emotions was one thing but having to see your partner hurt too is really hard. Then, couple that with the crash (that I felt, at least) when suddenly you’re taken off all the meds. I didn’t realize it at the time but my emotions were heightened by the fact that I had been taking all these drugs/hormones and suddenly off. Cold turkey. Again, poor Nick, I’m pretty sure he was scared of me during this time.
My sister and close friends carried me through. When people ask me what helped / how they can help a friend going through this process. I tell them, just be there, just reach out, check in. 90% of the advice I was offered wasn’t helpful. Don’t get me wrong, I understand. I’m the first one to offer advice in hopes that I can help someone. But really, telling me I needed to just relax, or try this diet, or go to this doctor, or just give it more time, did not make me feel better. What did was just saying hi, checking in, and offering an ear to listen. Or how about ‘wanna get a mani?’ Yes. As simple as that. But then again, what I also learned about myself during this process is that I have a tendency to sometimes get quiet when tough things happen to people. Not because I don’t care – but the opposite. I want so badly to help, to somehow relieve some pain, but I don’t know what to say, or I fear saying the wrong thing and it makes me shut down. So, if there is one thing I learned and would tell others, just reach out. No one is perfect. A simple card, a text is enough. Just show up.
This about concludes chapter 2. My next chapter is about my surgery. The surgery that thankfully got us to this current pregnancy. But I’ll tell you now, I wasn’t sure it would work at the time.