Erika:So, we pretty much just tried to keep ourselves busy between the Friday of Transfer and the first Beta test which would be ten days later. Basically at this first test, they would be checking for a rise in HCG levels, which in simple terms would indicate that our little baby blast was getting nice and comfy.
One question people asked us during those first two weeks was if we were going to have Tina take a pregnancy test before our HCG appointment. Many people like to test, but we knew that they wouldn't necessarily be super reliable and could even contrast with the results at the doctor's appointment. We went back and forth about this for a while, but ultimately we decided not to test. Although, admittedly, I'd thought about changing my mind several times especially at the 7dp5dt mark (7 days post 5 day transfer). But we held strong. We'd just have 3 more days to wait. We were fine if she'd decided to take it anyway, but we just didn't want to know one way or the other.
Going into this, we understood that there are a ton of variables at play. So while hope was leading us forward, we knew that ultimately it's all out of our control. At moments during this waiting period, when I would feel anxious or even worried, the whole idea of taking this one breath at a time really helped. Breathe in faith... breathe out fear. I'd also come back to the basic fact that it is not about if, but when. Tina reminded us of that on the day of transfer and I am super grateful for that.
The day we got the results (10dp5dt) we had spent all day at Tina's new home with her family. She'd gone in for bloodwork that morning and we brought over some amazing Tony's Chicago-style Pizza that a friend had introduced us to a couple of weeks back. It was a great meal. Luis sat with her husband talking UFC and watching "Bizarre Foods." I played with the kids for a bit and we all had a good time relaxing. Well, for the most part. Each time the phone would ring, buzz, or beep Tina and I would jump up and run in a quick circle looking to see who's phone it was. During the whole time we were there, we didn't get a call.
Eventually we decided to go and we said our goodbyes and gave some hopeful hugs. Not more than 5 minutes into our drive home, my phone rang. Luis was driving. I picked up....
I hung up the phone and Luis had been watching me, reading the result on my face. I simply shook my head softly, and calmly said, "Nope. ...It didn't work." And suddenly my voice cracked. I couldn't explain much more.
Honestly, I did not anticipate crying in that moment. The nurse told me the results, I listened, said it in my head, and then the second I said it out loud to Luis, I broke. I kept saying, "I don't know why I'm crying... I knew it wasn't a guarantee... I don't know why I'm crying...."
For the technical piece, basically the level of HCG was extremely low and only indicated that it may have started to implant, but that for some reason just didn't continue to grow. Still much too early for a heartbeat or even a sack to form, we still had to say goodbye to the possibility that we had seen in that first little baby blast. Letting go of that was hard. It is difficult to describe because it's a loss we'd never come even close to experiencing before. We 100% knew and intellectually understood that it could go either way, but it was still hard to hear and accept.
My emotions went like this:
Monday... sad and distracted. Tuesday... frustrated and overthinking. Wednesday... positive and hopeful again... Thursday... sad. ....It pretty much continued that way for the next couple of weeks.
We sent Tina a message right away and let her know that we were thinking of her, and that we were still full of all of the same hope and gratitude.
People have questioned our choice to be so open and public about our situation during this stage of it all, especially because it can be such a rollercoaster. But the close friends and family we have told have been so loving, so thoughtful, so curious, so encouraging. Someone apologized for asking for an update, but I actually love that people ask. It's so good to know there are so many people praying for our family and willing it into existence. It's much better to talk about it than keep it in. And although we did need time to process it all on our own and it did take a while to finally write this post, I have loved getting messages from all of you. Please don't stop. It really helps. In all of this, everything is up in the air all of the time, nothing concrete... so many variables. But we keep breathing, focused on the one constant that remains in all of this, Hope.
Luis:It was on our drive home that we got the call about the beta test. I suppose that there is no "right time" to get a phone call like this. As Erika nodded her head over the phone I could tell it was not what we had hoped. She teared up and expressed to me her feelings. I dealt with mine kinda fast and focused on making sure Erika was going to be okay. I like that about us. I like comforting her. She does rely on me for positive thinking, which helps both of us.
I was born in Mexico. As an immigrant, my life experience was a bit different than most around me. This was especially true as I graduated high school. Most of my friends got jobs and started to make a living for themselves. As for someone who waited for the "legal" way of become a citizen like me, I did not have those options. If I wanted to work it would have to be manual labor and under the table. If I wanted to continue my education it would have to be at a community college since I would have to pay "out of state" tuition ($$$$) and would need to take the bus. This was a key part of my life. It was a situation that was out of my control and a time when my faith was tested and I was being asked to wait.
I would spend an hour each way to OCC on the bus. It was time spent alone with my thoughts. This was both good and bad. I could do my homework and listen to music. But eventually my inner demons would pop up. The one that I struggled with the most was "fairness." Going through adolescence I saw my peers and I as equals, growing up with the same opportunities and the same choices. Suddenly, this was no longer the case.
I struggled a lot with the idea of not having the same opportunities as others. I questioned God about this over and over. Why did I have to get up extra early and waste 2 hours of my day on a bus? Why did I have to spend my weekends lifting, loading and unloading merchandise from a truck at the swap meet, all for $5 an hour. I began to feel resentful. I blamed God for most of it.
It was during this time that I realized my faith would not "protect" me from the real world, and it wasn't meant to. At the time it took a lot of praying, patience, and even tears to make me realize that. Erika might say that I became a bit more guarded during this time. And although that is true, I also became someone who was able to let go of what's not in my control. I have to just be me, and trust God. I finally realized that my life was exactly as it should be, "fair" or not. What happens, happens. I basically decided to use those opportunities as a chance to grow.
I write this long story, to fully express how sad I am not to be a father. Not yet at least. When the Beta test came back negative, I had to force myself to remember what God had taught me years ago about fairness. It does not exist. Trust him and let growth happen. Remember to be a man who is positive, be a man who sees opportunities, be a man who is patient, be a man who works for what he wants and especially be a man who's faith does not wavier because of what is thrown at him. When I start to ask the "whys" I stop and start looking at my blessings. My job, friends, home, wife, family... a limitless list. Our situation with growing our family might not seem fair, but there is still a lot to be thankful for.
This is all deep stuff for me. But this is how I feel about things that happen.
Be me and trust God.
"I hope you grow up to be a person filled with hope in all that you do. Life will not always be easy or seem fair, but your life alone is reason enough to believe that Love, hope, and persistence can make anything possible."
---excerpt from a letter to our baby
|We went on a long hike a couple of weeks later....|
Almost 3,000ft up in some high heat.
|Thankfully there were some areas of shade to rest.|
|The view in the end made it all worthwhile.|