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There’s never an easy way to do this. Yesterday was beta day. Simply the thought of waiting all day for the nurse to call with the results made my stomach turn. In the past, I’ve done it different ways – testing early at home, waiting for the call. But this time I decided to try a new method. I waited until after my beta – because I wouldn’t want to go get the blood draw if I already knew it was negative – and then used a home pregnancy test (hpt) after the beta rather than waiting for the call. Of course, I saved first morning urine for this to be sure I did it “right”. But the key to this method was having my friend come over to take the test with me. My husband was already at work, and although he is wonderfully supportive, I really wanted my girlfriend there. My poor husband is understandably emotional about this and I needed someone who could just be there for me.

So that’s how I did it. When the 3 minutes were up, I sat on my bed and my friend hurried into the bathroom to look at my test. I could see her from where I was sitting. I pictured this a million times – she was supposed to start screaming and jumping up and down. Instead she bent over to look closer. And I knew – it was negative. She turned with concern in her eyes and said, “I’m sorry”.

Afterwards, we hugged, cried, vented, got angry, and even laughed. As much as it hurt, it was the gentlest experience of bad news I’ve ever had. After hours of talking, we went out to lunch where we enjoyed strawberry martinis and cheesecake. Oh and there was actual food in there somewhere too, but who really cares about that when you have strawberry martinis and cheesecake?

At 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the nurse finally called to deliver my beta results. The first thing she said, in a nervous tone, was “are you sitting down?” And I rolled my eyes with irritation. I don’t know why – she is a nice nurse – but I can’t tell you how glad I am that I got the news on my own terms and didn’t wait for this call.

I’ve been instructed to start birth control pills again on the second day of my cycle, which will be tomorrow. I will meet with my RE on April 9th to discuss options. The nurse said, “we have many options – even a good donor embryo program.” I informed her that we are only interested in using my eggs, so when that option is exhausted we will be done. It’s such a personal decision – when to stop, whether to use donor eggs or embryos, etc. Somehow, having our daughter already has made us not interested in donors. Although I completely understand why others would take that option for their first and/or additional babies. It’s just not the right fit for us.

The wait to the 9th is going to be long, as all the waits are. I want to find out if my RE thinks it is worth it to try another IVF with a 3-day transfer – if there is still hope. But I do want to be realistic. I’m also concerned about the potential long term affects doing 7 rounds of IVF could have on my health. Is there an increased risk of cancer? I don’t know. The few studies I’ve come across have found either no increased risk or a teeny tiny increased risk. But I don’t know if the results would be different for multiple rounds of IVF. So I need to find out more about this. If the risks are low and there is still a reasonable chance for  success then I will do one more round. If not, then we will pull out our last ditch effort – transferring our pgs “abnormal” embryo that only has one partial deletion on one chromosome. The lab that did our PGS didn’t use next generation sequencing, so we have no way of knowing if this “abnormal” is really a mosaic – or the degree of mosaicism. Since many mosaic embryos do self-correct, that is an important distinction. And we just don’t know with this one. My RE said that based on the results for this embryo, it would either fail to implant, be an early miscarriage, or correct and be a healthy baby. He said it would not result in a child with a health problem or disability. So that will be our very last option. I won’t leave that embryo behind – wouldn’t it be crazy if, after all of this, that “abnormal” embryo was the one that made a baby! I do realize that is a very long shot though.

So that’s my plan for now, and we’ll make the final decision after my consultation. It’s hard to think about having no baby after all of this. I am ever grateful that my first IVF brought us a healthy daughter. I hold onto that. It will still be hard to let go of the dream of expanding our family.

I’m dreading starting birth control pills tomorrow. They make me irritable and negatively impact how I see my life. All these hormones lead to nasty mood swings. I discussed this fear with my friend yesterday and it was good to get it off my chest. It really impacts my ability to enjoy my time with my husband and daughter – and that scares me. I don’t want to waste any of the treasured time I have with my little miracle, and sometimes when these hormones rage, I feel like I’m not fully present or happy. That’s a major reason why I don’t want to keep doing cycles for too much longer. But my friend and I made a pact. I’m going to text or call her and say all the dark, angry things I might be feeling – and she is going to remind me that it’s just the hormones. It’s not how I really feel when I’m my real self. And I need to hear that to help me push past it – because it can feel so dark and real at times. Having a good friend to help you through this roller coaster is so precious.