25 December 2010, by Tan Yi Lin
I blogged last week about how to keep sane while waiting out the agonising two weeks between, in our case, the embryo transfer and the pregnancy test.
Although you’ll find that there are plenty of alternatives to staking out a 24/7 Pregnancy Watch during this time, there are times when I find myself entertaining a host of pregnancy-related questions and thoughts in my head. Some of them are normal, like should I pee on a stick today? Others range from being a tad irrational to tethering on the brink of insanity.
1. The HPT (Home Pregnancy Test) Temptation
Every day during the 2WW that passes without a hint of the dreaded period, is a ray of hope… and a new daily temptation to grab a HPT to sneak a peek at the results before the scheduled HCG blood test at the hospital. It’s like watching presents pile up under the Christmas tree in anticipation of Christmas Day, unwrapping them on the sly, peeking at what you got and resealing the sticky tape. Curiosity satisfied and no harm done.
So many people have asked me why I haven’t caved in to the HPT temptation. No harm checking, some say. Well, consider this:
a) HPT positive: Temporary elation. But I still have to wait until the scheduled blood test to confirm the results. In the meantime, I try not to get too happy *just in case* the HPT is inaccurate.
b) HPT negative: Utter disappointment. And I still have to wait until the scheduled blood test to confirm the results. In the meantime, I try to manage the disappointment and yet still hold on to the faint hope that the HPT test *could* be inaccurate.
c) HPT unclear: If the indicator displays very faint results, I’m basically back to where I started – just waiting for the scheduled blood test to come.
Not much point in doing a HPT is there? All I did was to break my 2WW into two stages where I worry about the accuracy of the HPT and then worry again about the blood test results. No harm done? I think not – lots of mental stress results from the simple act of peeing on a stick.
2. Seeing Red. Not.
I have started developing an irrational aversion to all things red. Especially red clothes. Red is the colour of period blood and is the last colour I want to see on any part of my body. I haven’t worn red skirts, red dresses and especially red underwear in the past two weeks. It’s as if the very sight of red will trigger a reminder to my body that it’s pass my period due date and woooosh, the next thing you know… ugh. I know it’s crazy behaviour but red is going to be on my colour hate list for a while. Not an easy feat during the festive period – thank goodness the Orchard Road festive light-up theme is purple this year and not a sea of red. I don’t know what I’ll do with Chinese New Year just looming around the corner.
3. Strange Aversions
And as if my fear of red is not insane enough already, I have started avoiding reading bad news in the papers. About accidents. Injury. Death. Crime. It’s as if all this bad news will permeate my body and cause some kind of physical distress to it. So I flip the pages quickly and scan for happy news to read. Mental, no? 🙁
I’ve also gotten wary of sharp objects, like knives and scissors. It’s as if just by handling them or simply having them pointed towards me, I’m bringing them within too-close proximity to my abdomen. Uncomfortably close. I dithered over actioning a much-needed fringe cut for the longest time, until I had to admit that looking at life through a black hairy curtain was really quite a pain, and gingerly snipped it off two days ago.
And oh, the aversion applies to all things menstrual too, like tampons and panty liners. In my mind, they are akin to bad luck charms.
4. Signs & Omens
Not just physical signs of pregnancy. I don’t usually track my daily horoscope reading, but if I happen to flip through the Life! section before work, I indulge in a quick read. If there’s any hint of good news to come or signs that I should expect a life-changing event, then it gives me something happy and positive to look forward to.
Not all signs point to happy things though. En route to the hospital on Monday morning for the blood test, we spied a black object flailing in the middle of the road. At first glance, it looked like a black trash bag flapping in the wind. We were absolutely horrified to discover that it was a black dog that had just been hit by a passing vehicle – and it wasn’t quite dead yet. Gulp. I couldn’t help hoping – and Dan said my thoughts out loud – that it wasn’t a bad omen for us. Just pure coincidence? I certainly hoped so. Poor dog, nevertheless.
Am I Going Insane?
Yeah, seriously, am I? There’s no crazier feeling than having hope but trying not to hope too much. It’s like having schizophrenia or some bipolar disorder – swinging between hope and nonchalance.
To start off, I didn’t even have high hopes for this frozen cycle after the first round failed, for a number of reasons:
– the best 2 embryos, out of the 4 developed, were used in the first round already. Those were the ones which were developing the fastest in terms of cell formation.
– the 2 remaining embryos had to be frozen and thawed. There was no guarantee that they would be able to survive the thawing process. And if they did, we didn’t know how healthy they would still be.
– I had learnt that despite us being relatively young patients for IVF, and me having no health problems whatsoever and being reasonably fit, it didn’t mean that the embryos would naturally take to my body after the transfer. It turned out that our conception challenges were not just restricted to blocked fallopian tubes, but also highly dependant on egg quality (which didn’t seem too good in my case) and the ability of the embryos to survive in the womb. And it kinda sucks that you have little control over the latter two conditions. It’s not as straightforward as downing Vitamin C to boost immunity or swallowing glucosamine to save your joints.
But you know what…
… the underdogs made it. The little runts survived the harsh freeze-thaw process and are hanging on inside. The blood test result showed a nice, clear Positive.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everybody. May you be showered with countless blessings and shiny golden sparkling baby dust and may all your heart’s wishes come true. We are most honoured to have you read everything that we’ve had to say and for sharing with us your insightful and supportive comments and advice. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
See you in 2011.