This is my second FET cycle and my fifth overall ART cycle. (that’s frozen embryo transfer and assisted reproductive technology, for the uninitiated)
I got the go-ahead to start medications yesterday, so I’m currently on 1mg twice daily of estrogen and 81mg once daily of baby aspirin to keep me from getting blood clots (a serious risk when you start pumping your body full of estrogen). On May 1, I’ll be switching over to 2mg twice daily of estrogen (still just 81mg once daily of aspirin), and then on May 5, I’ll start taking 2mg three times daily of estrogen… and 81mg once daily of aspirin. On May 9, I go in for bloodwork and an ultrasound to make sure that my uterine lining is thickening the way it should be and that my body has enough hormones hanging out in it, and the next day, May 10, I start with my progesterone.
(the progesterone is not a pill)
In theory, this all means that the embryo transfer will be on May 15, which is both earlier and later than I’d hoped. Thankfully, I’ll be insanely busy during that particular two week wait, since Kyle and I are taking Sam down to Texas for a long weekend between May 18 and 22, and travel always gets me running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I’m already anticipating the chaos of the week leading up to that trip: finishing last minute things at work, trying to make sure I’ve got enough cute and summery clothes for a weekend in Texas in May (which is like a weekend in Massachusetts in July, really), packing ALL the things, etc.
I’m trying not to get my hopes up, like I’d said before. It’s entirely possible, in fact based on all the available evidence, it’s likely that this transfer will end in a failure or a miscarriage or both at the same time. I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but I still keep finding myself imagining the good ending, the one where this pregnancy actually ends with a baby.
I imagine finally getting to announce a pregnancy to my family and friends, having no trouble keeping it hidden until whatever date Kyle and I agree on as an arbitrary “hey guess what, we’re finally knocked up” date. I imagine what our announcement will look like… maybe something simple like Sam reading a book about “how to be a big brother” or just wearing a T-shirt that says “big brother” on it. Maybe something like last time, something that employs Kyle and my design knowledge.
(actual announcement when we were expecting Sam)
I imagine feeling movement for the first time, recognizing it as such before I recognized it with Sam. I imagine seeing a viable heartbeat fluttering away on the first ultrasound, the nuchal translucency scan, the anatomy scan. I imagine watching another baby kicking and arching and moving and alive, beautifully alive.
I imagine losing my feet, waddling about in absolute agony with a baby settled between my hips and not moving anywhere for the life of me or itself. I imagine being swollen like a sausage and being able to draw smiley faces in my swollen legs as I countdown the minutes to giving birth. I imagine making excuses for myself throughout the summer as morning sickness keeps me from enjoying company breakfasts and barbecues and much beyond a summer treat. I imagine how incredibly tired I’ll be for the first three months and the last three, how warm I’ll feel, how Kyle will inch away from me while we’re sleeping because I’ll be a little oven of a person.
I imagine the celebratory things that I usually think are way too twee for me but that I really want to embrace this time. I imagine having a wonderful maternity shoot with my friend Melanie (who took our wedding pictures and my maternity pictures with Sam AND Sam’s newborn pictures… what can I say, when you find the best photographer ever, you stick with her), and I imagine somehow managing to score a photoshoot at Boston’s Museum of Science. I’m pretty sure this can’t happen unless you pay them a hefty fee, but I still like the idea of a baby conceived through science being celebrated surrounded by science (ideal shots: me next to an oversized model of a pregnant mom, me among the planets in the solar system, me next to the giant model of a black widow spider looking sufficiently freaked out).
(literally this but the size of a small dog)
I imagine, too, that I’ll give the whole thing a rainbow theme. In miscarriage and infant loss circles, a “rainbow baby” is any baby conceived and born after a loss–the rainbow after the storm. Kat thinks this whole idea is, frankly, silly, but I love it, maybe because it’s silly. I don’t want to do anything really elaborate–no flying with rainbows or running around naked surrounded by rainbows of tulle or anything like that. Maybe just a rainbow of paint or a rainbow in my hands. Something simple.
In the vein of twee things, I imagine doing a gender reveal. I know, I know, gender is a social construct and the genitalia of a fetus does not necessarily determine how said child will identify later in life and does not take into account intersex children and furthers the gender binary and so on. I still want to do it. I still want to go and get some balloons for Sam to discover in pink or blue. I still really hope for pink because my god, do I want to have a little girl. I’m still a little nervous about blue because I have no idea what I’d name another boy or if I could handle two little boys.
(it is my understanding that the more boys you have, the more your life starts to resemble Malcolm in the Middle, and I’m just not cool enough to manage that)
I imagine celebrating in one more twee way: I want to have shirts for me and this imaginary baby that say something along the lines of “made with love and science.” I really want to honor that, the impact science has had on the creation and expansion of this family. It’s something to be celebrated, I feel; without science, there wouldn’t even be a me and Kyle, let alone a me and Kyle and Kat and Sam and maybe one more.
I imagine exhausting late pregnancy appointments, ignoring the number on the scale whenever I step on it, going and going and maybe having another induction or maybe needing a C-section or maybe delivering completely without intervention (except an epidural, I want like ten of those). And then I imagine actually holding this child that I’ve been trying SO HARD to conceive for the past two years and knowing that it’s all been worth it.
That’s what I imagine. And then I remind myself that it hasn’t happened and that the odds are not in my favor, so I should probably get back to work and planning Sam’s birthday and getting ready to head to Texas and things like that.