My RE's office called Saturday morning. Our donor was in on Friday and Saturday to have her follicles checked, and she now has 14 nice-sized follicles, which is lovely. Retrieval is scheduled for Wednesday, March 30th and transfer will be Saturday, April 2. We have to use ICSI because of my husband's poor sperm morphology, and I've written before about my epic bad luck...but I think with that many follicles, it is not unreasonable to expect we'll get to transfer with at least two embryos.
My husband takes it as fact that I'll turn up pregnant in a couple of weeks. Naive lamb that he is, he doesn't realize what a tragic miracle we are: Pregnant twice out of two IUIs and one IVF with my eggs, never more than 2 good follicles each time -- yet we lost both babies to miscarriage. He actually said to me, "Every other time you've tried, you've gotten pregnant." I boggled at him. "What?" he said, honestly puzzled.
Deft questioning revealed that he had, in fact, forgotten entirely about one of my IUIs -- the unsuccessful one. Previously, I've tried to be politically correct in my use of pronouns, but apparently, "our" isn't the right term to use since he can't even remember how many cycles we've done. Apparently this is my cycle and my DE baby.
This man-like lacuna in my husband's memory -- trivial in his eyes -- made me feel very alone in this process. And that is distinctly odd, considering that I'll have no part in the baby makin' this Wednesday. To be honest, I am more sad than I thought I would be as the time draws near. It is as if, in saying, "Hello, baby!" to this new life I'll perhaps be carrying Saturday, I am saying goodbye all over again to the children I lost to miscarriage, and to the ones I will never conceive on my own.
Perhaps this feeling has something to do with visiting the family. My brother and his wife, after their own struggle with infertility following the effortless conception of my nephew a month after their wedding, are pregnant with their second baby, a girl, from an IVF cycle. My sister-in-law is 39, the same age I was when I conceived and lost my babies. Shrink as I must to admit it, the truth is that although I am happy for them, and grateful they do not have to face the choices I've had to face, their success has ripped the wounds from my own failure.
I was doing pretty well at their house on Easter, where the family gathered for brunch after church. I chatted, helped make a fruit salad, tried not to notice how much fatter I am than my 15-weeks-pregnant sister-in-law. Yes, I was doing very well...until I saw, posted on a bulletin board in the corner of their kitchen, a collection of ultrasound photos of their healthy baby. You could see the little face, an arm raised as if to wave, that sweet round belly babies have.
My heart wailed in my breast. Last week, looking for a receipt so my husband could return something, I found in the side pocket of my purse my own ultrasound pictures from my last dead baby. My little Sam -- we learned he was a boy from a chromosome test after we lost him. So the images were fresh in my mind of my own little bean, my sweet boy who couldn't live because the egg I gave him wasn't strong enough to divide correctly. He had a uniformly lethal Trisomy 14. To add insult to injury, my sister-in-law's own sister was there too, prattling on and on about the pregnancy, and she happened to reveal some things I hadn't known: That the baby is a girl, and they're thinking of naming her Madeline.
That was to be my name for a girl baby. I hadn't quite talked my husband into it, but I'm sure I'd have gotten there in the end.
So, instead of being filled with a quiet, secret excitement at our own upcoming event, I found myself doing what I always seem to do at family parties...sneaking off to an upstairs bathroom to cry. It does no good to pretend that seeing those ultrasound photos, in such stark contrast to my own poor little one who was dead long before I could make out his face or his limbs, did not hurt me deeply.
I feel like scum today. Am I so selfish, that I can't allow joy to have the upper hand? Either for my brother and sister-in-law, who've had their own nightmarish struggle with infertility...or for myself, because I will soon have at least a chance to be pregnant again. I feel I should not begin my DE children's lives in grief for their dead siblings, and yet I can't seem to help it.
I wish I had never seen those ultrasound photos.
Oh well. I took my last Lupron shot this morning, and I will start progesterone-in-oil shots Wednesday night, leaving me exactly one puncture-free day. I wish I could push life's fast forward button to Saturday afternoon, when experience tells me I will be lying flat on my back, trying not to jostle my uterus no matter what the professionals say. From time to time I will pat my too-ample tummy and whisper, "How you doing in there, baby? Is it time to cue up the Mozart CD so you'll be a mathematical genius?"
It seems like I've waited forever for this, and yet it's all happening so fast.