Baby, Choosing single motherhood, Donor conception, Early pregnancy, Female empowerment, Finding out you are pregnant, Hope, IVF, Memoir, Pregnancy, Solo mother by choice, Trying to conceive, Women's rights, Writer
I am holding my future in my hands.
Trembling fingers can barely rip open the plastic casing containing the thin strip that will show me whether I’m pregnant, or have just thrown away a chunk of life savings and my soul on failed IVF.
My mouth goes dry and my heart starts into erratic bat-wing thumps. I need to do this quickly before I start thinking too much, while I’m still groggy with sleep and this hazy dreamlike state is providing a buffer against reality.
I’m testing early, perhaps too early. Tomorrow (Monday, 14 days after embryo transfer) is the official testing date recommended by my fertility clinic but I know that I couldn’t face the second week of a new teaching job on the back of devastating news. Testing today will at least give me a few hours to try to come to terms with the result.
I’ve been hyper-sensitive to any bodily symptoms over the last two weeks. Most signs that herald early pregnancy can also be caused by the progesterone supplements taken after IVF, making it impossible to read too much into them. But yesterday my abdomen seemed alive with tweaks, spasms and pulls, which lasted all day. I began to wonder if my embryos were attaching to the womb lining or practising circus skills! Period-type pains, veiny breasts, ravenous hunger, heightened sense of smell and sore nipples also added to the series of promising signs. I couldn’t shake the belief I was pregnant.
The moment of truth… I dip the strip in urine and place it on my dressing table. I lie on my bed and let tears and prayers soak up the longest three minutes of my life.
From a distance I see only the bold control line. Bitter bile rises to my throat, but when I bring the test closer and into focus I see a second line – faint but unquestionably there. Positive!
The sobs flow freely. My legs buckle and I sink back down onto the bed. Thank you, God. I feel a wave of relief but fight the urge to get my hopes up just yet. I have a doctor’s appointment booked on Tuesday and will wait for the blood test results. I can’t relax until I’m sure this isn’t a false reading, or a chemical or ectopic pregnancy. And if I am pregnant, has only one embryo attached, or both? My mind is a tornado of questions and emotions, but the greatest of them all is hope.
It may be foolishly premature, but I order a ‘Baby on Board’ badge from London Transport.