I’m struggling. This two week wait is a million times harder than the last one I went through and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because last time we were a little naïve and it was easier to believe everything would work out. Maybe it’s because last time our embryo was of such poor quality there was little hope so it was easier to believe ‘whatever will be will be’. Or maybe it’s because last time didn’t feel like our last chance for this to ever happen. Whatever the reason, this time I’m struggling.
The first week felt like 5 years. By Wednesday I was sure we were already a week ahead, I just couldn’t believe it had only been 3 days. Time moved so slowly. But at least I was doing everything right, no regrets. I’d rested, I was eating the right food, I began some light exercise again. Off to the gym for a 30 minute walk on the treadmill. And that’s where it went downhill, fast.
I walked into the gym absolutely fine. I began my workout. With 10 minutes to go I realised the little fan on the treadmill wasn’t on – you know how they have those little ones built into some machines? I press the button to turn it on and it blows a wave of dust and crap into my face. I quickly turn it off again (ick) but suddenly get this weird feeling right through my body that that wasn’t good and something really bad is about to happen. One of those sixth sense type feelings you get sometimes. Now I know it’s really stupid because rationally I understand that that gust of dust couldn’t have caused what was to come, but it somehow fore-warned of it none-the-less. I leave the gym with a sore throat.
Back at home I’m relaxed. I’ve got a sore lump in my throat but I’m sure it will be gone by morning. I’ve had the same feeling before, after a walk in the cold or a night out in a loud bar, so I assume it’s nothing and head to bed. Thursday morning and it’s still there. Not overpowering but a constant niggle throughout the day. After reading on Twitter that a sore throat can sometimes signal an immunity flare I put a call into the clinic just to be sure. They almost laugh and reassure me I’m just sick. I never get sick but I am mostly inclined to agree with them. I make it through work and venture home for an early night.
By Friday I feel rubbish. Now I know this is a proper cold and it’s not going anywhere fast. After a quick trip to my GP to make sure it’s nothing more than a cold I take the rest of the day off work to rest. I have a craving for chicken satay and convince my husband to order us Thai takeout for dinner. Little do I know this is going to be my last proper meal for three days because Friday night/Saturday morning all hell breaks loose. It’s not just a cold.
I was in agony. I can’t even put into words how awful it was. I have never been so sick in all my life. NEVER. Because I am now (hopefully) carrying Bumble the only thing I can take to ease the pain is paracetamol. Tow lousy Panadol tablets every four hours but no more than eight in 24 hours, are you shitting me?! The Panadol eases the pain – to the point where I’m not moaning but definitely not to the point where I’m comfortable or not in pain – for an hour max. Then it’s back to full blown pain again with a three hour wait for the next dose. My left tonsils and glands are so swollen I can’t swallow. Only the left side though, my right side is normal and I have no other symptoms, not even a runny nose. If I look in the mirror my right side looks normal whereas the left side of my neck looks like I have elephantiasis, it’s so swollen it looks like I have a basketball rammed into that half of my mouth.
If I thought the days were going slowly before, they’ve almost totally stopped progressing now. Time is measured in the seconds until more pain relief. My head is buried in my pillow trying not to scream in pain, a towel wedged beneath my head to catch the drool. I actually can’t swallow without my whole body tensing in agony and a moan or scream passing my lips…and I pride myself on a reasonably high pain tolerance. It’s so bad that by Saturday night my hubby wants to take me to A&E. I’m screaming, tears rolling down my face, but the thought of having to move like this scares the shit out of me. I can’t physically get myself out of bed, into a car, and into an A&E waiting room without feeling like I’ll pass out. Instead I have more pain relief and try to sleep.
Sleep comes in small doses. Again, an hour, or if I’m lucky two, until the Panadol wears off and I’m woken by the pain. Then I wait, clenching my teeth and trying not to wake my husband. What’s worse is when I exceed my 8 in 24 hours dose of medication and have an 8 hour wait for the next lot. This is close to hell. The upside of all this is that, other than worrying about whether I’m harming Bumble and taking my temperature a few times to make sure I don’t have a fever, I don’t stress much about whether this cycle will work or not. I’ve too busy surviving it.
I feel dramatic writing this all down, like I’m being a big baby and need to harden up, but reading back through it, my words don’t even seem to give a glimpse at how excruciating it was. By Monday I’m exhausted. I’ve hardly slept, I haven’t eaten, I’ve hardly had anything to drink. I’m so dehydrated that my breath smells disgusting and my saliva begins to taste like faeces. I’m dry retching, nauseous from the lack of food and water but with nothing to bring up. I’m so tired I can hardly move. I can’t even open my mouth more than a centimetre. I do however feel like I’ve been through the worst.
My lifesaver of a husband phones his mum (a GP) for advice – not for the first time over the last 72 hours – and rushes home from work with some ice-blocks (mmm a Pineapple Fruju and a lemonade Popsicle) and instructions to make me sip water through a straw, just enough to coat the inside of my mouth. It works. Until now there was no way I could have even put that ice-block into my mouth, too painful, but it seems I’ve recovered just enough to be able to squeeze it in and take small sucks. I’m in heaven (although I still dream of being able to gulp down a massive glass of water).
So where are we now? It’s Thursday and after some ups and downs over the week I’m nearly right. My throat is still a little sore and I get tired easily but we’re getting there. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to work from home, and that my bosses have ordered me off work entirely (from home or otherwise) for the rest of the week. But now the worry and stress about Bumble comes to the forefront again. Last night I was in tears (yes again) over what would happen if this didn’t work. I’m not sure I can handle another “I’m sorry, it’s not the news you were hoping for”. I worry about how I will continue to interact with our friends, nearly all of whom have, or are on their way, to having families, infertility issues or not. I worry about how I will turn up to work and continue with my job without breaking down.
Over the last two weeks I’ve had moments, sometimes even days, where I’ve been convinced this has worked, it’s just felt right. Then there have been other times where I’ve felt the complete opposite and have struggled to hold it together, scared (this week) that I’ve somehow hampered our chances with my dehydration and illness. There’s just no way to know.
I’ve had next to no symptoms (although I can’t say I was paying any real attention between Friday and Tuesday) other than some cramping reminiscent of my period. They say that can be a good sign but I can’t help but think it’s just that time of the month – the years of endometriosis have drilled that into my brain. I’ve had a couple of weird cramps in the same spot, kind of a concentrated pain (once a drilling spiralling pain) which made me think “ooo implantation?” then “ooo, ectopic?”. But who the hell knows.
I’ve been tempted to take some home pregnancy tests but have so far held off. General consensus is they wouldn’t be that reliable this early on anyway. My clinic seems to test quite early compared to others so there’s only one more day until we know the outcome. Tomorrow, Friday, 12 days past a day 2 transfer, we will know. Will we celebrate with joy? Or will our world fall apart yet again? Only time will tell.