Eleven years ago today my sister-in-law gave birth to her second child. It was a scheduled c-section, and when they offered October 28 as an option, she was glad to have the opportunity to turn a dark day into a cause for celebration. However, since it's All About Me, my response was "shit!" Because that was the day I was scheduled for a pregnancy test after my one-and-only IVF cycle. And of course that meant it would be negative, for a couple of reasons.
First, because we were planning to stop treatment and move on to adoption if the IVF didn't work, and having the test the day her child was born would mean my entire infertility saga had been neatly bookmarked by her own life events. We had decided to start trying right before she got engaged, and we decided we'd wait until after her wedding because I didn't want to try to manage pregnancy and a bridesmaid dress (oh, such naive assumptions). It was only a few months, right? But then they broke up, the wedding was canceled, she met someone else, and they got married. In the meanwhile, we've spent our required "year of trying on your own," have seen one infertility specialist, have run out of money and taken a break, and then have moved to a different specialist and are finally having some luck - I ovulated! It's just a matter of time! Except... it's not working. She, who was "not really trying but not not-trying either and we'll just see what happens," was having her second child. So it seemed fitting that my entire attempt would start with her engagement and end with her last child. Fitting in a "the universe has a mean sense of humor" kind of way.
Second, I knew from experience that if anyone I knew had any kind of pregnancy or childbirth event during one of my cycles, my cycle would fail. Yes, I know this is ridiculous. But it really seemed that every time I had a breakthrough, everytime an IUI seemed promising, someone else got knocked up instead. For example, when I started seeing the second doctor and finally ovulated? Someone got pregnant that month, but it wasn't me. It was my sister-in-law.
So, for these ridiculous reasons, and for other more logical reasons, I was convinced I'd be getting a negative test result that day. I was so convinced that I wouldn't even let the doctor's office call me at work. They called J instead. And the answer was... "possibly." The test was positive, but the numbers were so low that they were reluctant to put a whole lot of faith in the outcome. It took two more tests (and six agonizing days) to upgrade to "probably," and then "posivitely" pregnant.
So... eleven years ago today, we found out we were "possibly" expecting a child. It was the closest we'd ever been.
We were having a Halloween party at work that day, and someone left a handful of Tootsie Rolls on my desk. I ate them over the next few days until I suddenly realized that they must have some kind of significance, and I couldn't let them all go. This one has been sitting in my desk since October 28, 1998. It's an odd little talisman, but one does not pick these things out - they make themselves known to you.
My sister-in-law's second child is her last child. So she got engaged, broke off that engagement, met someone else, fell in love, got engaged, got married and had all of her children during the entire time we were trying to conceive our one child. Almost to the day. Like I said, neatly bookmarked.