Monday, March 12, 2007

The One With the Mixed Emotions

I've been asked more than once if I'm excited. I guess I don't sound like I am (part of that I'm blaming on the fact that I'm still fighting this nasty bitch of a cold.) Isn't this what I wanted? Isn't this what we've worked so hard for so long to achieve? Of course it is. Of course I want this. Absolutely, 100%. The truth is, I'm scared.

I was talking to my verybestfriend the other day and I realized that the process of establishing pregnancy is so different for infertiles that the process itself breeds (ha) insecurity and fear even when there is no real reason for it.

The average fertile would pee on one stick, maybe two, and then plan how she was going to tell her husband, boyfriend, onenightstand about the pregnancy. She'd call her doctor (or find one!) and be seen sometime between 8-12 weeks for an ultrasound.

The average infertile pees on nine sticks and doesn't entirely believe any of them. She goes for one, two, more blood tests knowing that at any moment those pretty positives could be meaningless. Knowing that the numbers should double, she worries if they will. She has a super early ultrasound to see if the embryo is in the uterus, reminding her that there's a chance that it could be somewhere else. She goes for another ultrasound specifically hoping to see a heartbeat. This is a reminder that there might not be one.

The average pregnant person doesn't look at each appointment to validate the pregnancy. She is pregnant, and these milestones are expected. For infertiles, the milestones are hurdles.

I don't know of any infertile who would give up any of those steps. We get used to relying on tests, blood work, ultrasounds, and doctors to confirm and explain all aspects of our reproductive lives. Can you imagine just peeing on a stick? It's mind-boggling. There has not been a day since that first test that I haven't wanted to pee on another one just to make sure (and proof of this insanity exists in the form of nine sticks lined up in a spare bathroom.) There hasn't been a day where I didn't consider what my beta might be and what I might expect it to be if it doubles properly. I have a friend with three children. She doesn't know what a beta is.


I've gotten so used to seeing myself a certain way - infertile, broken, sad - that it's really hard to adjust to the idea of being a pregnant person. In fact, I still haven't used the "p" word in reference to myself. Even when I saw the word come up on a digital test. Twice.


When I began this cycle, I tried really hard to be optimistic. I wanted to assume that it would work. I was only somewhat successful. Fear and pessimism can be hard drugs to kick. Much harder than gonal-f. I saw that a bunch of infertiles, some long-time vets even, were getting positives. There was a part of me that felt then that I was doomed to failure. Statistics, you know. Someone has to get the negative, and I had gotten very used to the idea that it could be me. I had seen waves of pregnancy announcements before. While I don't begrudge any infertile her success at all, it's really hard when it's not me. Some people can see success as a reminder that ART does work. Others, notsomuch. I've often fallen into the "other" category. Ask me if the glass is half-empty or half-full and I'll tell you that it depends on what's in the glass.

I don't want to hurt anyone. I don't want to "forget where I came from." There was a time when I posted about something that happened to me, I don't remember what, but it was depressing, and someone wrote me an encouraging comment. I went to check out that person's blog and saw that they were newly pregnant. It really hurt to see that. Irrational? Probably. But hurt is hurt. The person was being kind, but just hearing from her made me remember what I didn't have. I don't want to do that to anyone else. So now I find myself holding back from commenting. How will she take it? If I say that I'm sorry for her loss, bfn, bad day, whatever, will I make her feel worse?


Where am I going? Will this ever evolve into a coherent, cohesive post? I don't know. As happy as I am to have made it this far, I am acutely aware of how far there still is to go. It's only just now beta day (crazy late, yes, but still...)

And I'm scared.

But like I told my friend, my mom, my cats, and my wonderfully happy P, I'm also excited. I swear.


Reproductive Jeans said...

Very prett post--I know the excitment is mixed in with the fear, and there will be a delicate balance between the 2 for the whole pregnancy! But I wish you all the best, and can't wait to see how things progress!
Happy Monday!

Cat, Galloping said...

all normal thoughts and feelings. i think you're doing great.

Irish Girl said...

This sounds totally normal to me. I, for one, am extraordinarily happy for you and would like to encourage you to write as much and as often as you like. And please continue to comment for me, I'm in the "gathering hope" category :)

Keep. Us. Posted.

mandolyn said...


I had my first appointment last week and didn't get a sonogram. I thought that at 30 weeks I'd finally gotten past the every-appointment-is-much-needed-validation phase, but apparently not...well, not quite all the way. Yet.

Being pregnant and infertile is like walking a tightrope sometimes, and it's hard to find exactly where you fit in. I may not be in the trenches at the moment, but I haven't forgotten for a second what it's like to be there. I can identify more with the infertiles than I can those who get cruise through gestationally naive. I tend to leave comments in IF BlogWorld, even if I have to think really hard about how to stay out of the "unintentionally hurtful" zone. I feel like I still need the support as much as anyone. :)