I’m a crier. Full blown, mascara streaming, red nose and hiccupy breathing kind of crier. Everyone cries at Steel Magnolias or Beaches (everyone with a soul, anyway), but it takes a special person to cry like a little baby at Untamed Heart – a 1993 movie starring Christian Slater that left me hysterical for DAYS, although at this point I have no recollection as to what the movie was about. Songs bring me to tears on a regular basis, and not just sad ones. Fairytale of New York can usually get me going. On the Radio usually provokes a tear or two. Don’t even get me started on Fix You. But it’s not just pop music – even the right Christmas carol will have me whimpering (keep in mind, I’m not a religious person).
I don’t think I’ve ever attended a wedding without blubbering like a baby. Always out of sheer joy for the new couple, of course (except for that time my mom married that guy. But not to worry, the subsequent divorce brought joyous weeping from everyone involved.) I obviously cried at my own wedding: in mourning for my new husband’s sister who died suddenly a few days prior, in bliss at the traditional vows we shared, in frustration at the DJ who just wouldn’t follow direction and in embarrassment at a groomsman’s speech that I still get asked about.
And my miscarriages. Well. To say there were tears wouldn’t begin to explain. To say there still are tears gives you some idea of where I am…and might always be.
I knew my IVF cycle had failed a few days before the beta. I’d decided to test out the trigger but didn’t get around to peeing on a stick until 11 days past trigger. I was surprised at getting a faint positive, even then, but didn’t think much else of it. When the next day, at 12 days past trigger, I got a slightly darker positive I started Googling about super early BFPs. One more faint positive and I was convinced I was having triplets. Until they started fading. Soon I was getting clear BFNs. It was really too early for even a chemical pg (and I should know) – I was just a cautionary tale of letting your mind and heart run away with your sanity when testing out a trigger.
But I didn’t cry.
I got AF the night before my beta. I was still on progesterone but there was no mistaking AF’s nasty appearance. By that point the HPTs were starkly white and I *knew* without a shadow of a doubt that I wasn’t pregnant.
But I didn’t cry.
The next morning I drove 45 miles for the blood test that I had to take, even though I knew the result. The nurse tried in 3 veins before finally getting the sample she needed. I sat stoically as she explained that my number would be very low – it was only 11dp3dt, after all. And I told her not to worry; it didn’t matter; I wasn’t pregnant. The phonecall a few hours later confirmed what I knew to be true and the cycle was over.
But I didn’t cry.
I was sad. I was devastated and miserable. All my hopes seemed futile and all my dreams seemed lost. The faces of all the babies I’d lost, faces that I’d never see, came floating back to me in visions of a life unfulfilled. But I was ok, relatively speaking. My husband stayed home from work that day (more upset than me, really) and we sat with each other quietly. We ate McDonald’s. We even laughed some. And I didn’t cry.
That night I opened an email from a girl whom I’d never met face to face, but who was enduring her first IVF cycle as well. (A cycle that mirrored mine in too many unfortunate ways.) She shared with me how sorry she was that I wasn’t pregnant and confided that she felt she was headed for the same outcome. And tucked into the end of the email was the most generous offer I’d ever received: generous monetarily and generous in spirit. She had recently gotten a job with infertility insurance coverage, and therefore had a plan for IVF #2. Over her years of battling the infertile beast she’d done a number of cycles with injects which she had paid out of pocket for. Over the course of too many cycles she wound up with extra meds; lots of extra meds. And this girl (who was always so sweet and generous with kind words) offered them to me. No strings attached: she had coverage and I didn’t, so she wanted me to have all the meds she’d bought over the past year.
And finally I cried.
I cried like a baby at her pure, giving spirit. And I cried for knowing that she had given me a gift so much bigger than the thousands of dollars of medication. She was giving us the chance to try again and if things went as planned, she was giving me the gift of a child. I didn’t feel (don’t feel) that I’ve done enough good in the world to deserve such an offer, but she insisted. And so, like my life had been tapped with the wand of a true fairy godmother my day was turned around, my life was turned around and what had started with a morning of grief ended in an evening that renewed my faith in the goodness of humanity. Which is, of course, a gift unto itself.
This gift is the main reason we will be doing IVF #2 in September (before the meds expire), rather than waiting until next year…or the year after that. The meds I’ve been given will cover an entire cycle and maybe more. I still come to tears every time I think of what we’ve been given; and I will continue to do everything I can to pay it forward.
Thank you, Gretchen, for bringing me to tears the day of that negative beta. You truly are my fairy godmother.
(Go wish Gretchen luck. She's in the middle of IVF #2 and deserves all the good wishes we can muster! And more!)