get it through my thick skull

no two ivf cycles are the same. and the differences don’t necessarily mean a hill of beans.

perhaps it’s obvious to everyone else. but the idea has taken some time to sink in for me. after all, the hormones i’m injecting are the same. so why is my body responding differently to them every time?

that’s a rhetorical question.

sometimes there will be cramping. sometimes a lot. sometimes a whole lot. sometimes very little. sometimes there won’t be any at all. diarrhea one time. constipation the next. bloating now. no bloating later. headaches are possible. but not automatic. will there be bleeding or spotting? maybe. definitely. or maybe not. lower back pain? possible. probable. not gonna happen. fatigue? you betcha. but not necessarily.

all of this is to say nothing of the variability among cycles in how many eggs they get in the egg retrieval. how many are mature. how many successfully partner up with a sperm and get fertilized. how many of those become embryos. and how many of the embryos become blastocysts. or, in our case, not quite blastocysts.

i’ve heard it said – and probably read it a thousand places – that early pregnancy symptoms, if there are any, are very much like premenstrual symptoms, if there are any. translation: what you’re feeling or not feeling as you pray you’ll make it to your pregnancy test appointment without starting your period is inconclusive. so don’t get your hopes up. but don’t let go of your hope either. because you just don’t know. so stay neutral. (fat chance without Divine intervention.)

it’s easy to get confused. and obsessed, really. oh hey, here’s something that’s never happened before. i wonder if it means anything. i wonder if it means anything good. i wonder if it means i’m pregnant.

and don’t tell me to try not to think about it. i don’t see how that’s possible (again, without Divine intervention). your body, the body you live in every day, is sending messages to your brain. your uterus and ovaries are usually innocuous little gals. but during your ivf cycle, it seems like you know exactly where they are and everything they’re doing. (no, they’re not yelling. but they’re definitely making themselves known. almost constantly.)

but don’t think about it. don’t wonder what’s going on down there.

yeah. good luck with that. let me know how it turns out for you when you try.

it’s normal to think about it. it’s normal to wonder. but i also have enough experience with this to believe that none of the physical symptoms are definitive to the point of kicking any possible outcome off the island.

so here’s my challenge for the next cycle. don’t beat myself up for noticing the different things going on physically, for wondering. but don’t expect to be able to think about it long enough to get to an answer. don’t try to figure it out. take note and then file it away.

i’m going out a limb here and saying that this is going to be easier said than done. much.

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2 Responses to get it through my thick skull

  1. Carol Schiess says:

    Oh, Alyce. It isn’t that your skull is thick. It’s that some things are hard. Like this thing. And just when you think you have it figured out, it changes or something in your body’s response changes, or whatever else.
    As for me, I never knew anything about it until now, until your experiences and what you have shared of them. And, trust me (I’m a writing teacher), you write about them so clearly and so well that I can almost feel what you have felt.


  2. It’s impossible not to think about it…I know because I have been there. Every cycle is different, just like every pregnancy is different (so I’ve been told…as I have only had one). So your body will feel different each time. My first cycle was a disaster and my hormones were up and then down and all over the place. Fluid building up in my abdomen…Yuck! Second one was much more stable. So, who knows!
    My only advice is to try and keep your head in the moment (even as I say this, I know that I let myself dream all the time). I know that this is definitely easier said than done. If you ever want to talk, give me a call.


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