I remember being in a local shopping centre as a teenager and finding a pregnancy test in the toilets. In those days, my immediate assumption was that whoever had done the test was dealing with a crisis pregnancy – why would you be doing a test alone in the toilets of an anonymous shopping centre if not for a scare? I’m over twice as old and a whole lot wiser now and understand that a lot of anticipation-filled women just cannot bloody wait to rip the plastic off that box with their teeth and are hoping against hope against worn-out hope that the test shows two lines, a cross or a “Pregnant” – whatever.
My teenage self would probably have been open-mouthed to watch me this afternoon, at the age of 41, in the same shopping centre toilets, clawing at the box of a Boots brand double pack pregnancy test and waiting with shaky hands for the egg timer symbol to stop flashing and give me the verdict I’ve been waiting for since the start of August.
And it was a “Pregnant”. I’m looking at it seven hours later and it still says “Pregnant”. I don’t quite believe it – or rather I do believe it but am afraid it won’t last.
This result is brilliant news but I was here before in March, as you probably know, and that one miscarried a week or so later, so I’m not jumping cartwheels. First, there’s the issue of embryo quality. This was the last of my six embryos from the July 2013 harvest, and it was the six-day, as opposed to five-day, blast, which the doctors didn’t seem super-hopeful about. Six-day blasts do a little better in frozen cycles, where they’re treated like five-day blasts, than in fresh ones, so that was in my favour, but overall I wasn’t getting the impression that this one was going to be an über-achiever. (When I walked out of the toilet cubicle today, there was a little girl with Down Syndrome standing straight in front of me and I can’t say this isn’t something I don’t worry about – a triple negative there but you know what I mean.)
Second, we have my immune system, which could be what did for the pregnancy in March, nobody knows. For this round, I’m only on two steroids a day, instead of the originally prescribed five, as I was getting night sweats and palpitations on the full dose, so naturally I wonder if the two will be enough to make my immune system stand down. I was mistakenly on only one steroid during my other successful transfer and will always wonder if that was what caused the miscarriage.
I’ll ask about the steroids when I get my blood test results on Monday afternoon. If the number is a healthy one, which I hope with all my heart it is, I expect to be put on aspirin, as was the case in March, and to have to go for another session of intralipids on Tuesday week. All with a view to preventing my body from fighting off a healthy pregnancy.
I’m happy obviously but very nervous. Since the transfer, I’ve actually been staring into the mirror some mornings and chanting “My body is welcoming to this embryo” in the hope that this will embed in my subconscious. I’ll be doing this every morning for the foreseeable future. It can’t hurt.
I worry slightly about work stress but something tells me there’s a lot to be said for keeping the subconscious busy and not too focused on the pregnancy. I do seem to get pregnant when there’s a lot going on. After a nice, quiet summer, things are busy with work and I’m just hoping they don’t get too crazy. From this week, I’ve been working in-house for a client for the first time, on a four-day week. This kicked off three days after my transfer, so the timing couldn’t have been better: I’m very busy already, which was a great distraction while waiting to test. I had to excuse myself for a pre-advertised “medical appointment” (= intralipids) a few days in and will now have to repeat the exercise for my third intralipids session, assuming the pregnancy holds. Plus, there will be a viability scan at the clinic thrown in there at some stage. I’ll worry about those (= lie about those) when they happen.
I’ll be in-house for about two months and keeping up with some other client work in the evenings, which has been manageable so far but pretty intense. And on my day off this week, I have to fly to London for another client – a nice coincidence because the last time I was there, in March, I got my positive test. Here’s hoping this positive turns out very differently.
When I left the shopping centre toilets this afternoon, there was an arts festival going on and a teenage girl was singing a corny, overblown song from some musical or other*. Predictably, I got a bit teary, just as I did the day I passed a busker singing “Layla” in the London Underground right after getting a positive in a restaurant toilet back in March. (I should really try testing in more salubrious surroundings.)
Please, oh please, oh please let this one have a happier outcome.
*I’ve just Googled it and it was “Unexpected Song” from the musical Song and Dance. There’s some great warblage just after 2:30 in this Sarah Brightman version.