Is there anything worse than waiting for your period when you’re infertile?
The culmination of all your hopes and fears just jam-packed into a 2-4 day window. I am eternally optimistic and it’s crushing my soul. I have never achieved a spontaneous pregnancy. Never. I got pregnant through IVF but other than that, in our 4+ years of trying, I haven’t conceived once on my own. Despite that glaring contradiction my brain is just CERTAIN that every month’ll be different. Hope settles in. Deep rooted and hard to shake. So, a few days before my period, I start symptom spotting. Then I start praying. And then, I usually start spotting. I try a million different ways to convince myself that the spotting is different than most other months, where it was just the precursor to my period.
It could be implantation. Break though bleeding. A small hematoma.
Google will tell you that all of those things are fairly common in early pregnancy and that you could totally still be pregnant. There are forums filled with women who would attest to that and convince you to keep the hope alive.
So I test. It’s negative. It’s always fucking negative. Stark white. Not so much as a faint blush of a line. No evaporation lines that show up after the timers gone off. Nothing. One lonely control line against the harsh white background.
What if it’s just too early?
I tend to have a short luteal phase, typically 10 days from ovulation to my period, so that’s pretty early to try to get a reading on a test. I make a mental note to test again in 2 days. I make a real note, on a pad of paper, in pen. I put a reminder in my phone. With an alarm.
But then, inevitably, I start bleeding. Red blood. Lots of it. I panic. What if I WAS pregnant and now I’m not? Nevermind that my period is pretty much exactly on time. Or that I had a negative test just yesterday. Or that, other than the hope, I don’t have any symptoms.
I’m not pregnant. Again.
Still. Slowly it sinks in. The hope and desperation of the last few days are replaced with crushing disappointment and a fear laced anger. I am so upset with myself for hoping again. For caring again. For believing that the nearly impossible was happening for me. For tempting fate with a test.
Can taking a pregnancy test make you not pregnant and cause a period to come? I know it seems irrational, but that’s how it plays out. Every. Time. I hope. I test. I bleed. Is there some sort of sad, infertile woman pregnancy test curse? If I had just held out a little longer before testing… would it have been real?
Hope is a cruel mistress.
I am generally an upbeat, positive person. It’s in my nature to hope. But the fall is so hard, I wish I knew how to not do it anymore. I try to console myself. Now I can drink some fabulous wine on holidays! Now I can bake in the sun and not need to be refilling my water all the time and won’t be dashing off to pee. Now I won’t have to figure out how to hide a chubby abdomen in my bathing suit. Now I can keep working out and dieting and hopefully getting back to my old self!
It’s supposed to sound fun. But mostly it’s just exhausting. Because I’m not pregnant. And I thought I would be. All the other substitutions feel insignificant. And so, because I want to be pregnant, I know that next month I will wonder again. I’ll think that, against all odds, luck may have found me.
I will hope.
The doctors say I have about a 5% chance of conceiving naturally. And 5% is not 0! Hope… It’s no surprise to me that it’s a 4-letter word.