Well, I realize I will never be able to catch up on everything that I've experienced on my TTC journey over the past 22 months. But little by little, I'll try to share with you some of the 'highlighted' moments (and please don't be mistaken, 'highlights' don't necessarily mean they were happy times).
Perhaps the most memorable TTC moment yet to date was January 9, 2008. It was my 8th cycle of Clomid (no breaks), and I was on post-Peak injections of hCG for the 3rd time (not in a row). Around P+5, I began to feel much different than I had felt in any previous cycle. Don't get me wrong, I'm the Queen of False Early Pregnancy Symptoms, but this time it wasn't just the symptoms but a feeling... a feeling of life inside of me. It sounds crazy. Having never been pregnant, how would I know what life inside of me feels like? But I felt it, I truly did.
I went online and researched everything there was about hCG in the system. From what I read, I knew that after my last injection (P+9) if I tested at P+16 it would be completely out of my system, and even if there was some tiny amount still lingering, it would not be enough for a digital test to pick up.
So, on the morning of P+16, 2 days late for my period (and I'm never late, even on the previous hCG injection cycles), with shaking hands I went into our guest bathroom and took out my "pee" cup. I rarely test anymore these days, since it's been such a waste of money (not to mention time). I got out a digital OPK and a digital HPT... the plan was to test with the OPK first, since that is even LESS sensitive to the hCG (hCG being similar in make-up to LH). I peed in the cup. I prayed Hail Mary after Hail Mary. Dipped the OPK in, and 20 seconds later, dipped the HPT in. The OPK showed a smiley face after about 45 seconds- - I immediately felt my heart pounding in my chest and only had to wait about 10 more seconds for the HPT to pop up with the word "Pregnant." Falling to my knees in prayers of thanksgiving, I knew it hadn't even completely hit me yet. I wasn't sure what to feel, I just knew that this was the moment I had been waiting for for SO long, and suddenly all of that time disappeared as my dream became realized... it all became worth it. Worth EVERYTHING. The shots, the mood swings, the black and blue marks on my veins, the bigger black and blue marks on my rear end (gotta love progesterone injections), the depleted savings account, and the agony every month of seeing a negative test or the arrival of my period. It suddenly did not matter one bit anymore. My prayers had been heard, and were answered!
I went in to my Dr's office after school that day (I didn't tell my husband yet... after 18 months I had developed so many neat little plans for telling him, and wanted to arrange something special). I brought the digital test with me and showed the secretary (it's a small office, and they all know me well)- - the nurse took my blood for a beta, and my Dr. came in to give me a hug but also to warn me that the test may have been altered by the hCG shots. I told her not to worry- that I "felt" pregnant." She hugged me again and said she'd call me immediately the next day when the beta count came back.
Over the next 24 hrs, the thought really began to sink in. "I'm really pregnant!" I don't know how many times I talked to my baby that afternoon/night, suffice to say I kept whispering, "I have loved you soooo much" and "I have been waiting for you," rubbing my belly, and humming lullabies. I knew at that point of development that the baby could not hear me, but I did feel strongly that my state of elation would provide a sweet, happy, safe dwelling place for my little bean.
Everything came crashing down the following day at 1:00. I had just missed the call from the Dr (I was at work), so went into the storage room to retrieve my messages... "I am so sorry to leave this on your machine, but I thought you'd be waiting to hear the news all day. Your hCG level came back at 10. And your progesterone was 4.6, so this must have been residual hCG from your shots. I would guess that your period will arrive tomorrow..." Now, I've never had a miscarriage, and I thank God every day for not entrusting me with that cross, because I do not think I am strong enough for that. But if this didn't feel like a loss, then I don't know what else would. The fact that I still remember the date (Jan 10th) shows how much of an impact this day made on my life.
Now, I can't explain why something like this would happen. But having felt what I felt, I know now that I can and will never give up. I have felt what it's like to be pregnant, to know true and utter bliss, regardless of whether it was all in my head or not. And I remember the feeling of "all of this has been worth it!" No matter how much longer this Via Dolorosa may be for me, it doesn't matter anymore. I've been given a glimpse at the end of the tunnel, so I know it's out there, and I will continue as long as I need to.