On Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 8am, I drove to our fertility center for our first beta test. Maybe my nerves compounded it, but this day seemed to be out to get me.
First, I got LOST.
Look, we’ve been going to our center since JULY, and yet, yes, I got lost. Three unexpected street closures had me completely turned around, and at the last wrong turn, my whole face was hot and I just let the tears fall. I called my husband in hysterics, and he talked me off the ledge, but by the time I pulled into the parking lot, I was just in pieces. I kept telling myself, “It may not work. Be okay with that. Just go in and take the test”.
Going in, one of my regular nurses sat me down for the blood draw, and told me that she was hoping for the best for us, and that she would call me after 1pm, as soon as she had results…unless of course it was bad news, because she hated making those calls. The entire process, minus my drive, was about 8 minutes. I was exhausted from crying, and from overthinking, and my hip was hurting from our nightly progesterone shots, and so I sat in my car afterward and just told myself, “Hey, you’ve done all you could do,and you have the battle wounds to prove it. Go to work.”
So I did.
This was one more instance that humbled and reminded me just how many times people come into work, with their whole worlds on their shoulders, and their coworkers are none the wiser. I sat at my desk, I planned some interesting activities for my library teens,and I ignored the clock. Until about 12:50, when I realized how close it was to 1pm. I ate a snack, and I went to the ladies room, and I checked on my book display, and I reread the same emails a few times.
1pm came and went. And with that, I decided it must be bad news. Because she did tell me that if it’s bad news, she isn’t going to call right away. So, I begin to prep myself. When she calls, I’ll probably need to excuse myself or take an early lunch. Should I leave for the day? Or will I just feel worse if I’m at home by myself? Maybe I’ll just clock out for a while and go to my car and get my feelings out before coming back in. This is my own fault for only transferring one embryo.
Toward the end of the hour, I’ve given myself all the preparation I can muster, and decided to just refocus on my work and await the call. This feels terrible, but if I just stay calm, I’ll get through it. It makes my head hot again.
When my phone rings, I’ve actually tuned out any possibility of positivity.
“How are you doing.” She says in a sad tone. Here it comes.
“I’m…okay.” I say. It’s a partial truth. I’m training myself to be okay with whatever.
“You doing okay?” She says. I can hear the pity. I wish she’d just spit it out.
“You okay” She says again. This is getting weird. And annoying. Maybe she could sense my sadness this morning and is checking on me before giving me bad news.
“Yeah, I’m okay.”
Now, at this point, allow me to explain that I share an office. I sit in rather close proximity to my manager, AND our office door is open at all times. So the rest of our department walks in and out, and in the afternoons, I have teens who walk right in and tell me all the details I never asked for about their days. So…my reactions to her words are relatively calm in relation to the YEARS I’ve waited for them.
“REALLY? That sounds awesome! Thanks SO much for letting me know!” Yes, very corporate response. I know. LOL I think she knew that was the situation, because she laughed, and then proceeded with the rest of the information.
“We were hoping for a beta over 50, but yours is 556.” Five hundred and fifty-six.
Every tear, every shot, every nerve-wrecked moment, was instantly worth it.
I excused myself from my desk to go up and call my husband. HE also works at a desk that is pretty out in the open, so as I told him this wonderful news, he too gave me the “Wow! Really, that sounds wonderful!” corporate response. And I understood it. LOL
So with that piece of humor, I want to say THANK YOU.
But before I thank you, I have to apologize. I have been uncharacteristically quiet for these past 21 weeks, for my own well-being. I have been fighting against the anxiety of possible loss, and the fear of letting people or myself down by getting too excited and then having to turn around and say, “False alarm guys. Things didn’t work out”. So for that, I apologize.
To my beloved Eggshells in the Shellshocked Support Group, I want to thank you for hearing me, and sharing your heart with me as I bared mine. Thank you for listening to me when I was hysterical and battling depression-induced anxiety. I had to withdraw from so much, to maintain my sanity, and I want to thank you for being my mainstay, even when it seemed I wasn’t around. I was there, watching, and praying, and I thank you for doing the same for me.
To my friends and family, for listening to me, and being patient with me when I consistently said I wasn’t announcing anything yet, even when you didn’t understand why. For the looks of understanding on your faces when I explained to you what this feels like after infertility, and how the happiness is accompanied by a fear that you hadn’t experienced before. I appreciate your empathy, and I am grateful for you.
To Dr. Anne Borkowski and the entire staff of North Shore Fertility in Skokie, Illinois. For giving us HOPE and LOVE, and SUPPORT, and finally, SUCCESS. To Terri Davidson, who answered my call for a suggestion on a doctor who could speak at my library and e-troduced me to Anne.
To ALL my friends in the infertility advocacy community. For being arms that have held each other up.
To each and every person who bought a t-shirt from our shop, or a ticket to one of our ‘fun’raisers, or prayed for us.
To the Tinina Q. Cade Foundation for naming us recipients of a 2015 Family Building Grant, and Dr. Camille Hammond, an amazing friend who encouraged me.
To every, single, reader of The BBE from its very inception: THANK YOU. For listening. I’m still talking, if you’re willing to stick around.
Regina Townsend is the primary author and founder of TheBrokenBrownEgg. A librarian and writer, Regina’s mission is to make people aware and active about the unique concerns of reproductive health in the minority community.