When Pandora and her playmates find a box and are told not to look inside, they’re naturally very curious. They live in Paradise, things are beautiful and amiable and benign and probably a tad boring and more than anything they want to look in the damn box.
When Pandora finally opens the lid, all the evils of our world are released into the air: war, hate, violence, disaster, pestilence, anger, comment spam...
Pandora manages to slam the lid shut, trapping the last occupant who begs to be let free. Pandora is scared but when she does open the lid again, she lets out Hope. Hope was originally imprisoned with the other beasties as a sort of divine insurance policy. Without Hope, the human race could not survive the despair that comes from living in this world.
The spotting started on Tuesday night. Very faint, very pink, very gentle.
A sort of apology from my uterus for what was to come.
Within a couple of hours it was definitely over.
C and I curled up together on the carpet and hugged each other and wept and hugged some more. I cried into C’s hair and snot ran down his neck. We made ourselves into a little two person space pod and closed the hatch on the rest of the world and whispered secret things that made us sigh and nod and squeeze ourselves even tighter.
We were so ridiculously proud of this embryo. Our embryo. Eleven years after our bodies first met, our genetic signatures had finally come together. It was the closest we had ever come to being pregnant. For a few days it had made us Pretend Parents. We wore cheesy grins. We played spot the Bugaboo.
I was almost numb with despair. With the unfairness. With the why-does-it-have-to-be-so-difficult? And with the waste. Along with everything else, I suddenly felt that I had spent all this year working and focusing and yes, obsessing, on trying to fall pregnant. The IVF cycle had wound this thread still tighter and tighter with each injection, each unit of Lucrin or Puregon, each day post transfer until finally it came crashing down with that first drop of blood on a cotton pad.
It was as if this was all I was, a woman trying to fall pregnant, and I had failed. I had lost not just a pregnancy but a year of my life and part of all the years of my life where I had wondered will this be the year?
Did it hurt more, I wondered, than all the other cycles where we didn’t use IVF, where we simply used temperature charts or Yoda’s split ejaculation method or the Chinese Fertility Goddess’s Horrid Teas?
I picked at the thought, like a scab. Yes, the answer flowed.
Because we saw the embryo. Because we were told how well it was all going.
Because we knew people who fell pregnant first IVF cycle. Because we thought we were special and we deserved it. Because we were closer, we felt the possibility before us; we believed we simply had to reach out and grab it. Because we heard the voice of Hope, and we chose to release her from our personal Pandora’s Box. And yes, it hurt more than the rest.
Today I spoke to a Fertility Sister. It wasn’t you, she said.
I had asked her if there was something wrong with my uterus.
You had the scans, we would have picked something up, she said. It’s more likely there was something genetically wrong with the embryo.
But it was a good embryo, I said. They told us it was…hatching.
I know. She was sympathetic. But they only go on how the embryo looks. How pretty it is. They don’t test the embryo genetically. It might look like a great embryo but not be able to sustain. Whereas an embryo that doesn’t look as good might go onto become a successful pregnancy.
All being well, and tomorrow’s test will help determine that, we can start another cycle at my next period. One, or maybe two, of the frozen embryos.
But that’s twenty eight days away so we’re putting Hope back in her box for now.
We could all do with a rest.