Women who go through IVF fall into at least three of four categories during the process (and hopefully all four by the time infertility is in the past):
1) Waiting to Start- going absolutely insane while anticipating a visit from her monthly friend so she can start shooting up and put that big box of ridiculously expensive drugs to good use.
2) Actively Cycling– going absolutely insane trying to keep up with medication schedules, recovering from surgery, preparing for transfer, or anxiously waiting for results.
3) Pregnant– going absolutely insane praying that the pregnancy sticks and that all tests are all normal. Moments of insanity are often interrupted by giddiness and feelings of pure bliss that are then again interrupted by the MOST. INTENSE. FEAR. EVER.
4) On a Break– going absolutely insane keeping up with a newborn, truly losing your mind recovering from a loss or failed cycle, or freaking out as you try to find a way to save money or somehow otherwise prepare for the next cycle.
Are you noticing a theme here? IVF makes you certifiable and for a variety of reasons depending on where you are in the process. But three of the four areas have one very distinct symptom of insanity, a deeply disturbing fascination with toilet paper.
And that is how I spent my weekend and most of the day today until I hit the jackpot just in time to call my clinic before they closed. I had to tell them today it was GO TIME. Time to send me a calendar and set that magical date for embryo transfer (March 13th!!!) so I can feel like I am moving toward something again. And maybe plan a meeting, trip, party, or even a stinking date night or two instead of endlessly waiting to find out when it will fall.
I spent every moment I could find in the last few days staring at toilet paper looking for some sign that my favorite Aunt was on her way. I drank a ton of water and detox tea just so I could have a reasonable excuse to go check even more often while at work. I tried to move around a lot to help get things going. Why? That sweet moment of arrival means you can move out of the first category, quickly transition into the second cateogry, and then in less than a calendar month arrive in the Promised Land of Category Number Three. And the irony of this phase is that most of us suffering with infertility have spent countless hours inspecting toilet paper in the hopes that nothing will be there, except of course a little bit of spotting that might, just might be a sign that one of your little embryos has nestled in and implanted.
When you are in category number two and actively cycling you are also checking your TP. You want to make sure the meds have worked. You look for signs of implantation bleeding. You might even have your husband look at it .”Honey does that look a little pink to you? I hope its implantation bleeding and not my period, God please don’t let it be my period! Do you think its my period?”
Then of course when you finally get to the Promised Land of Category Three you go totally bizarro wacko with the checking, especially if you are one of the unfortunate few who has actually experienced a previous loss. For all of us who suffer from infertility its hard to believe that the dream really could come true. It could really happen to you (it can, by the way!).
The only time we don’t stare at toilet paper is when we are in category four and on a break. But now that I think about that, maybe not for those of you who may be able to get pregnant naturally and are hoping NOT to right away for some very good reason. At least not until your infant sleeps through the night at least once. Or maybe you are waiting for you body to heal from that last loss. Or enough money to put gas in the car to drive to the grocery store to buy that outrageously priced pregnancy test. Nope, scratch that , any IVF gal would gladly sell her soul for a natural pregnancy regardless of current financial position.
But pretty much all the rest of the time, yes, we are looking. As long as we are still trying to start our family or complete it I guess we have a deeply disturbing fascination with toilet paper.