The light of a thousand suns
At 6 days past transfer (dpt), I was feeling viciously low. Not only was I sad, I was angry, flying into rages at the slightest provocation. I can't be sure, but I think that was the day Paul, a genius of self preservation, began wearing a cup.
At 7dpt, I went to my local RE's office for the luteal phase bloodwork Cornell requests. I saw only the phlebotomist, who gasped sympathetically at the bruises that linger at my every venipuncture site. Even with this limited exposure, being in the local office did a number on me — it's been the site of too many disappointments. On the drive home, I was seized by a panic attack, and had to pull over as I hyperventilated, telling myself over and over, "We have burned through over $40,000 with nothing to show for it."
Okay. So I didn't test on 7dpt, knowing that seeing a negative would only fuck me up even more.
Good thing I didn't, because it would have been negative.
At 8dpt, I woke up early. Now, I do this during the two-week wait (and beyond, if the situation warrants it). I wake up to use the bathroom or to bat away the rough-tongued attentions of the cat, and I can't go back to sleep — my mind is too busy, considering every possibility, running endless diagnostics on my every reproductive apparatus. I went to the bathroom, returned to bed, and tried to go back to sleep, but finally gave it up as a bad job at 5 AM. And I lumbered off to the second bathroom to christen the first stick of IVF #4.
You have never seen a fainter positive in your life.
To see a second line, you'd have needed NASA-grade optics, the ability to convince yourself that the Earth is flat, and the light of a thousand suns. But there was a second line.
I stared at the line for about an hour. By 7 AM I could wait no longer, and made my poor beleaguered husband wake up, put on his reading glasses (or as we call them in these days of PIO, his stickin' glasses), and stumble into the bathroom for a consultation.
Paul: [Stares fixedly at test. Stares at the negative. Stares at the new one. Stares some more. And more. For about an hour.] Well... [Pauses for another hour and a half.] I think there's something there...
I spent the rest of the day in the bathroom, staring, boring a hole in the test with the force of my gaze. The thing practically started to smoke, so powerful was my concentration. (And, really, nothing says home like the smell of burning pee.)
At 9dpt, I repeated the experiment. The second line was darker, though still quite faint.
At 10dpt, 5 AM found me once again crouching over a stick. The second line was darker, clearly visible to the naked eye without too much suspension of disbelief.
No doubt about it. Positive.
But this morning, 11dpt, something terrible happened. My friends, I hardly know how to talk about this, so I'll just come out and say it:
I ran out of sticks.
The last two days have terrified and reassured me by dizzying turns. My pelvis feels very busy — fullness, twinges, and cramping, which could be the earliest signs of pregnancy, or could be the earliest signs of a pregnancy ending. I'm tired, which could be an indication that I'm very busy on a cellular level, or could be that I haven't slept past 5 AM once in the last week. And my breasts are the slightest bit tender, which could be the effects of increasing hCG, or could be the consequences of pummeling them hourly to check for soreness.
This could mean anything.
I have enough experience — in fact, we all do — to recognize that a positive HPT doesn't guarantee anything, not even a decent number on a quantitative blood test. Believe me, of that I am painfully and queasily aware. I am about five minutes pregnant, the littlest bit, and from here anything could happen.
But just as anything bad could happen at this point, so could anything good.