14 September 2010, by Tan Yi Lin
Horoscope reading for 13 Sep: Libra (Sep 23 – Oct 23):
An answer to a question, or maybe a plea for help, comes back to you in your favour even if it seems negative at first.
I don’t normally get to read the Life! Section of the newspapers before I rush off to work. But since I’ve been leading a leisurely life at home during the 2 Week Wait leading up to the pregnancy test scheduled for 15 September, I’ve been taking a quick glance at my daily horoscope reading. Most of the time, the prediction is so vague that I can’t make sense of it, and I forget it within five minutes of reading.
But yesterday, I was quite intrigued as to whether I would really receive a favourable answer to my question – THE question.
So Am I, Or Am I Not…
Going through the IVF process is a bit like playing a computer game. There are various stages to go through and a task to complete before you can clear each stage. You know: collect enough gold coins, slaughter your enemies, outwit the fire-breathing dragon, save the princess, etc. and upon each successful attempt, a big “STAGE CLEARED” sign would stretch across your screen. Whoopeee! With IVF, each time we see positive results, we consider it a stage cleared and breathe a sigh of relief.
After the embryo transfer, the next test was whether the embies would implant themselves successfully into the uterine lining. This is expected to take place on Day 7 or 8 after the transfer (before that, they’re just floating around aimlessly in the womb – not unlike taking a tour in outer space, I gather.) For once, cramping is suppose to be a positive sign, as the embryo tries to embed itself in the lining.
So I’m just doing my own thing at home, and suddenly a series of abdominal cramps comes on, and I’m like YES!!! YESSSS!!!! I’M CRAMPING!!! WOO HOO!!! HEY WORLD, I’M CRAMPING!!!!
Ding ding! Another STAGE CLEARED!
Then I go for a blood test to check my progesterone levels and it turns out that my dedicated thrice-daily insertion of pessaries have yielded good results.
Ding ding! Another STAGE CLEARED!
Then it happens – spotting.
Now, spotting really messes things up. And I don’t mean just your underwear. Spotting is tricky in that it could mean anything – from nothing, to everything, and all that in between. I did a quick check on some fertility forums on the Internet and learned that the reason behind the spotting differs from person to person. Most of the time, it’s due to the implantation. I decided to just put my feet up, rest well and try not to get overly worried. Anyway at this super early stage of supposed pregnancy, there’s nothing that can be done – it’s not like there’s a foetus or a baby to “save”, like what you see happen in emergency rooms in television dramas.
But after one day of continuous spotting, the situation starts to suspiciously resemble that of an oncoming period. I make a frantic call to the KKH IVF Centre and am asked to go in for a pregnancy test. I dash off – forgetting all my hospital forms – to get it done, then come home to wait anxiously for the results. My horoscope was turning out to be correct – things were looking negative.
“KKH IVF Main” blinks on the caller ID on my mobile.
I answer the call.
The nurse tells me gently, “I’m sorry. The results are negative.”
STAGE FAILED. Period.
Am I upset? Well yeah. Tears flowed. Tissues were used. But it’s more like deep disappointment rather than real sadness. The feeling is similar to that of putting alot of time and effort into a project, only to see it fail.
A friend texted me, “Sorry for your loss.” But there is no loss. There was no foetus, no baby, no miscarriage. It’s not like anybody died. STAGE FAILED is different from YOU ARE DEAD. Yes, there were embryos – but it’s hard to feel much emotional attachment to something as small as a speck of dust, that has no ability to respond to anything you say or do, that has no heartbeat.
Breaking news of failure is harder than receiving it. There was a light-hearted moment though, when I told my mum:
Me: “My period came today.”
Mum: “Huh? Who came today?”
In spite of the situation, Dan and I couldn’t help but laugh at the “blur” response. And in spite of the humour in the situation, tears flowed again later when the parents tried to comfort me. For Dan and me, we’re like joint partners in a project that didn’t take off. But there’s something about being with parents, that reduces you to the seven-year-old who failed her Chinese spelling test despite trying her best, and your parents tell you “It’s okay. Never mind. Try again.” while you nod obediently and sob.
Is Dan sad about not having bald babies with faces of muppets that look like Gonzo (see previous entry for explanation)? Well, yeah. But hey, maybe the next two will look better. More handsome.
And at the end of every stage failed, two options flash on the screen: press ‘O’ to Try Again or press ‘X’ to Quit.
We’ve already pressed ‘O’. But as to when we will attempt to clear this stage again, we’ll only know after the next doctor’s appointment early next month.
It’s In the Stars
So despite putting some degree of (baseless) hope in my horoscope reading for 13 September, it didn’t seem like anything came back to me in my favour. At first, that is.
Because barely thirty seconds after I ended the phone call with the nurse, my Facebook page refreshed itself and right at the top of the page was a message from Zuji telling the world that they were giving me a free return ticket to Rome. ME?! ROME?! Well, grazie Zuji and ciao Italia!!
So in a bizarre turn of things, now that I know for sure that I’m not pregnant and have no restrictions on travel, I have no qualms about accepting the prize. I don’t know what the future holds but I shall take it as a sign that I’m meant to travel more before having kids. Apparently either the Pope or the Roman gods think it’s too early for me to hang up my backpack and fill it with mothballs, not before I pay them a visit in their homeland.
Funny how Life works. Isn’t it?