Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Do you know where you are?

I read my post from last night, and feel like a drunk the next morning. I talk too much. When it's that late, all my drama spills out. Generally, I'm not a feel-sorry-for-me person. I don't like attention and don't like to appear like I'm hung up on my childhood. Yes, it has changed me as a person in many ways, but most people would never guess my upbringing by talking to nor being around me. I've just got a few eccentricities, like an overfilled pantry or workaholic tendencies, that are more understandable once my childhood is revealed.

In general, I'm not one for dwelling in the dramatics. There's a friend of the family who is and it drives me crazy. I can't tell you how many times she's told me how she is infertile. She knows nothing of what we've gone through to have kids, like most other people. When someone tells me that they are infertile, I naturally listen closely for those sounds of sisterhood which would allow me to open up and reveal my own journey. Instead, her story involves one month of clomid with more side effects than you can imagine. Of course she only needed those (whispered in a serious, dramatic flourish) fertility drugs for one month, thank goodness. But, she believes them to be so strong that they allowed her not only that pregnancy, but another a year later on the residual effects of the drugs. I do not reveal my 6 months of clomid or many, many cycles of injectables alone or combined with clomid. Believe me, the only residual effects are some bitterness from disappointment, draining of the bank account, and possible higher chance of ovarian cancer.

She then tells me how her daughter is also infertile, probably got it from her. It had taken her daughter many months to get pregnant (in her 20s). Thank goodness she did not have to take those fertility drugs, but go on vacation to Florida with her husband. (Hmm, maybe that's my problem.) Throughout the pregnancy, her daughter was in terrible shape, barely able to do anything. At the end, she emailed me a picture of the baby, nearly 7 lbs, born 2 weeks early, with a onsie that said "Preemie Prince". Ever feel like throwing your computer across the room?

I'm generally a well-mannered person. For some reason, I haven't sent a baby present. I can't.

I shouldn't judge. I know that. I imagine fertility/infertility as a giant spectrum, ranging from super fertile on the left to many, many invasive treatments and still no success on the right. I'm pretty close to the right with my 6 IUIs and 1 IVF, but far from the end. Afterall, I've had one successful pregnancy, and another positive test just last week. I often mock those on the far left because they seem so clumsy, "falling pregnant" like they had nothing to do with it and no idea how to prevent it. It's all in fun though, kind of a salty, dark fun, but sometimes that's all I have.

I get angry when someone on the far left claims to be on the far right. No gratitude for the ability to conceive naturally or on only their first month of clomid. If I were sitting on that end, I would be kissing the sky for my good fortune. But I guess the farther to the left, the more clueless they can be as to how far out the right can extend. Even I can't imagine the extent of that level of pain, but I have great respect for those women who live there.

I guess I could educate them as to their incredible good fortune, but then what stories would they have to talk about at brunch? Who am I to minimize their great suffering? As to the "preemie", I am disgusted that a term like that is used on a 38 week birth. I'm sorry, but that's full term. Squeezing him into a preemie onsie is mocking all those babies who were born too early and actually had to go to the NICU. I find it incredibly tasteless. How can someone be that clueless? They're college educated people in a very modern age. Unbelievable.

Okay, maybe my anger also stems from the fact that this "infertile" daughter started trying more than a year after I did, and had her baby before I finished my 2nd failed IUI. Maybe it's because one shouldn't classify themselves as infertile if they are able to conceive on their own in a few months. How many times will I hear the story of her healing trip to Florida?

If this pregnancy continues, eventually I will come out on how we achieved it. I have an overwhelming desire to tell them what infertility and prematurity really are. I'm not sure if I will. Afterall, if they have remained this clueless for this long, perhaps they are immune to such concepts as sensitivity, tact, or consideration. How could it be that others may have had it worse but suffering in silence? Isn't it all supposed to be a charming story of success, with a happily ever after ending? What happens if the charming story still hurts, or that the bitterness from the loss of privacy from numerous uncaring physicians and office staffs who think revealing my coochie to them should be no big deal? What about having to spend my car money on trying to get pregnant when I have health insurance that covers Viagra but not gonal-f?

Will I eventually be able to hear such stories from this woman and not develop an overwhelming desire to start throwing things? Will I stop hating those who cannot understand? Why do we have to go through it to know what it's like? Why not be grateful when we get something we know that other women would do anything for?

Personally, I am very grateful. Even though I sit towards the right, I am grateful for not being farther on the right. I am grateful every day for the doubling beta and chance to experience pregnancy again. I'm far from out of the woods; there's so much that can go wrong. But if I can't be grateful for my current situation, then I wouldn't feel that I deserved it and wouldn't be able to enjoy this particular period of time. It could be better. I could have the ultrasound behind me with the heartbeat, or amnio behind me with good results, or birth behind me with baby in my arms. But, I know from the many one-lined pregnancy tests I've taken, it could also be much, much worse.

Knowing all that, today I resolve to dwell in the land of guarded optimism. It's not a familiar place, but one I could get used to.


Blogger amanda said...

The land of guarded optimisim sounds like a nice place to dwell. I don't know any infertile people in "real life" at least none that are open about it, but that would drive me crazy to have to listen to those people talk about their "infertility." I don't think I could keep my mouth shut.

11:30 AM  
Blogger JenP said...

I wish you so much luck with this pregnancy, hoping it will take you out of the equation altogether. I really hope those betas keep doubling and you breeze through these next months. I guess I feel a bit of fraud for keeping an 'infertile' journey because I'm in my 20's, the furthest I've gone is with 4 cycles Clomid (until new RE) and I already feel like giving up. I can't help but feeling like that friend of yours.

7:51 PM  

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