“Here is a pic of what our little blastocysts look like!” I boasted on family message groups and Instagram like the mad scientist I am. I walked around with a stupid grin on my face all of Saturday. I even smiled broadly at pregnant ladies and high fived some kids in the grocery shop.
Sunday afternoon Raka (Ridgeback warrior) and Luna (Labrador teddybear) were watching a movie with my husband and I – at one point, all four of us were lying on a single couch, laughing and licking overexcitedly – I thought to myself – very soon we’ll have kids jumping on us like this!
My phone vibrated – two of my cousins had themed birthday parties for their kids. My mood fell as I saw photo after photo of happy little kids.
The magic dwindled and the rollercoaster cart started rattling as it reached the edge of a cliff… My little devil greeted me with an almost sincere embrace and tears in his eyes. He missed sitting on my left shoulder, whispering insecurities into my ear:
A little blastocyst is not a baby. And blastocysts definitely don’t come with any guarantees.
After all this hard work, money, dedication, physical and emotional stress, overcoming ethical dilemmas, fighting, hoping, defeating nature and crying in the bath… the photos of our embryos cannot compare to photos of real kids. The amazing success we had cannot compare to the success of actually being parents. We still have such a long way to go. And I’m so very tired, poor and inhuman.
I don’t think my plummeting hormones, confused body or the arrival of PMS helped the situation much!
I was researching the internet angrily about how to leave my family group secretly without offending anyone. During a crazy Google search I got unnaturally irritated with ladies in forums who said that frozen cycles don’t count as real IVF cycles – only an egg retrieval followed by a fresh cycle count as an IVF cycle. “That’s nonsense!” I wanted to screamtype – “IVF stands for in vitro (out of body) fertilisation and that’s what we all go through regardless of the type of embryo transfer we decide on!”
I closed my laptop and breathed… and laughed until I cried. My reactions were not fair and my anger was misguided. It’s those devilish hormones.
I reached out on Instagram about my mood dropping and was relieved to hear it’s completely normal at this stage. One lady said that she felt like this after all 3 of her IVF cycles because she had no embryos at the end and I felt guilty – we have embryos on ice and should be thankful.
We’re just in the grey area, limbo, the “inbetween”. We’re back in the que, waiting to climb back into the rollercoaster cart, like many of you.
My one friend reminded me about how much we’ve achieved and that we created life! And that’s pretty damn impressive! My brother commented: “Now that you’ve conquered life and death, your next project or hobby will have to be equally weird…”.
I was wary to post my crazy thoughts but I want you to know, dear reader, that it’s OK to have an asshole of a day, week, month or year. It’s OK not to cope sometimes. And to be unreasonable. And to eat chips for breakfast, like I did this morning (followed by a seminar at work about cholesterol). It’s OK to be stuck in the emotion of today. “Suffering is temporary” my mom always say – it’s just physics! The wheel has to turn!
My husband and I are going to a braai next week with a big group of couples with young kids. We already decided – if they ask: “Do you have any kids?” we’ll answer: “Maybe“.