It has now been four days since we saw that the embryo is alive. That's 96 hours, or 5,760 minutes if you happen to be counting them, which I am. A lot can happen in this amount of time. When you've been through recurrent miscarriages, that is plenty of time for your mind to go to very scary places.
I know that this is a particularly hard week. It is the week during which we lost our first pregnancy. The only other time we've had a heartbeat. The only time we got really, really hopeful, and then were crushed. I know that this week is the 8-9 weeks timepoint that I am terrified we can't get beyond, the point I fear a baby in my body can't live past. And for those reasons I know I can't expect myself to be rational.
I also know that prior to this week, I've already been convinced that the embryo has died at least five other times and, yet, despite my lack of faith, he was still there every time we have checked, most recently last Friday measuring on track, heart beating enthusiastically at 185 beats per minute.
I know this. But I am still prone to magical thinking. To fearing that the more people who know, the more likely we are to lose the pregnancy. That the more hopeful I get, the more likely we are to miscarry. That if I let my guard down for a second, all will be lost.
And despite knowing that overanalyzing symptoms will bring nothing but grief, I continue to scan my body for the slighest sign, or rather focus on the lack of them. When I wake up in the early mornings, I sometimes wonder if this entire pregnancy is a figment of my imagination, something I dreamed up because I want it so badly. It doesn't help that the past two to three days, I haven't felt very pregnant. Not really nauseated (except when my husband Will had me help collect the kitchen garbage off the floor after the bag malfunctioned). Not really that tired (stayed up until 9:30 without even trying). Not that short of breath. Not really much of anything.
All this is true. It is also true that I sometimes talk to the embryo, mostly in my thoughts, but occasionally out loud. On Monday, after I (we?) presented my dissertation to the graduate school dean and had my exit interview. I (we?) walked down the stairs, and I said to Embryo, "Well, that went pretty well, didn't it? We may never be in this administrative building again. Can you believe it? After all this time!" Or Sunday, walking down a leafy street in my neighborhood, I quietly put my hand against my stomach and thought how great it was to get to carry this embryo inside of me. At least for now.
That's the thing. Even when I'm feeling hopeful, there is always that thought. At least for now. So far so good. Looks good today, but who knows about tomorrow. I try to let go. I try to let myself enjoy the today and I try not to anticipate tomorrow. I tell myself, you may never get to have tomorrow, so don't miss out on today. Push your fears aside and experience it. And I try, again and again.
On Thursday morning, we will get another peek at Embryo to see if he is still with us. If Embryo is alive on Thursday, we will be past the beginning of nine weeks. Which we have never been before. We will be in unchartered territory. Only 2,880 minutes to go until then. I will try not to squander them.
p.s. And today I've had more spotting. As though just writing about this makes me start to bleed. Not just a whiff of pink like last week, but at least a tablespoon of dark red blood. Ugh. Seems to have stopped, but if it returns, do I call OB or RE? Just wait it out until Thursday when u/s is scheduled? Nothing they can do anyway, right? Sigh.
Mo and Will are two 40-year-old health care professionals traveling the steeper than expected road to parenthood. First came love, then came marriage, then came 7 IVFs and 6 miscarriages. We are now the proud new parents of a little girl, thrilled to be able to start our family.