You’ve sensed where this is going, right?
Is this the old story of a boy and a girl trying to come together to make number three, come up with zero, and then go on vacation, get drunk and have it work all on its own? Not quite, but close.
We’d done some monitoring to figure out that yes, I was ovulating and also to confirm that yes, Oliver was contributing. The conclusion was however that 1+1 was still not making #3, which was our indicator that IUI would be a good idea to bring all elements of the equation together at the right time and place.
If we hadn’t had done one last test run before the holidays, I would have been in the stirrups sometime in January. Instead I found myself standing in downtown Villach, Austria, counting on my fingers trying for the life of me to remember some important dates for the last month. I had ditched the darn iPhone app and had been ignoring the whole thing when all of a sudden, during my last trip to a real town before everything closed for the Christmas holidays, I found myself standing in front of a pharmacy with a nagging feeling I couldn’t shake. I was alone for few moments so, for peace of mind more than anything else, I ducked in and bought the most accurate, ridiculously expensive digital test they had (set of two, always a good idea ladies). Then I went on with the holiday shopping, wrapping, wining and dining fun.
Over here they celebrate Christmas on the eve before. I think every expat in Germany knows what I mean when I say that I woke up on Christmas morning with the feeling like it was the 26th. That holiday was over, time to get some things done before the whole New Years celebration ramped up. Oliver and I started the morning making lists while still in bed of what we needed to buy or do for our newly renovated apartment (spoiler: although it made the list, we never did hang the toilet paper holder).
I kept feeling like something hadn’t made the list. Hmm. What was it?
About halfway through breakfast, the thought popped up in my head, that I knew what was missing, or rather what hadn’t arrived yet.
The first chance I had I ducked into the bathroom. While Oliver tinkered outside unknowingly with his stereo system, I took a test. The result was pretty clear, but I took the second one to be sure. Got to love that digital display that only tells you you’re pregnant, they even tell you how long you’ve been running around clueless.
In my case 2-3 weeks.
I may have actually said that to Oliver when I put the test sticks into his line of sight, between his face and the speaker he was connecting, or I may not have said anything right away. I know for sure that the next thing I said was “holy shit”.
We were of course thrilled and, having made plans to do IUI, we were more than a little surprised that it had worked, despite the dire predictions of my doctors and without the serious intervention we’d concluded was our only chance. But we were also on a ski vacation with about 17 other people, including both our parents. Having miscarried the last time, knowing it could happen again in front of such an audience was, well, a bit of a damper.
Just before leaving for vacation I had taken one other test for progesterone. For someone to get pregnant and stay pregnant, progesterone levels need to be at a certain level around the time of ovulation. They steadily rise during your cycle and then peak, and if they drop, then your cycle starts again. Normally if you get pregnant, your body signals those hormones to rise a bit further and then stay steady until there’s a functioning placenta that can take over that job for you. In other words, if for some reason your body allows those levels to drop or not raise them high enough, you’ll lose an otherwise perfectly viable pregnancy. This was the other dark horse in the running for why I’d miscarried the first time.
So right after the fun “OMG pregnant again” came the “shit it’s the holidays, every doctor’s office is closed. I don’t have the test results and don’t know what I’m supposed to do now” moment. Plus the whole, “let’s sit on this secret until there’s for sure a good story to tell” thing, while surrounded by family and close friends who are buying rounds of schnapps starting at noon.
Happily we’d installed wifi in the apartment and with a little help from the internet and my fertility doctor’s receptionist, formulated a plan to go to the local hospital for some blood tests and pick up some progesterone pills (just in case), while pretending to just be doing a supply run (beer and diapers) run for Oliver’s sister.
How hard could that be?