Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tickling the Fringe of Consciousness

Some of you know about my good friend L, whose husband was diagnosed last Thanksgiving with a stage 4 brain tumor. She is one of the few people IRL who know my husband and I are seeing an RE and that we've been cycling our way toward an FET with donated embryos.

Once again as our tentative FET date draws near, I can't help but start thinking about possibilities. My husband and I have never discussed baby names. I can't do it. I can't indulge myself in such a luxury. It would jinx the transfer for sure.

Months ago when I first told my friend L about the donated embryos, the FET process, and how excited I was that this could actually work, she said one short sentence that caused me to crumple into tears.

She said, "Well, we'll have to throw you a baby shower."

For someone who has suffered miscarriages, having watched her hopes, love, dreams, beliefs and the whole beautiful future that had been riding on that baby, crumble to dust before her eyes, the mere concept of a baby shower never - never - exists in her mind as a conscious thought.

If she is lucky enough to get another BFP, her first thought is, when is my next beta? Will it have doubled properly? Will it continue to double? She then worries whether there is a heart beat. And whether that heart beat will continue to exist. She notices every twinge and wonders whether it is signaling the beginning of another miscarriage. If she is lucky enough to pass these hurdles, she then begins to think about quad screens and whether the baby could have a genetic defect. Is her placenta sufficient? Is the baby reaching the target milestones for size and development? Each day presents a new set of questions and risks that need to be met and overcome.

A baby shower? When L said it, an image flashed in my mind. It was me. Huge belly pregnant me. On our lawn under the tree in the backyard. All my friends, laughing and chatting and hugging me and setting down pastel yellow and green and pink and blue wrapped and ribboned gifts. There was a table with punch and cake and sandwiches. The flowers bloomed and the sun shone and it was a perfect day.

The image presented itself. I never went looking for it. I wouldn't dare. I began to quietly sob. L felt so badly and began apologizing. Through my tears and shaky voice, I said, "No. It's wonderful. You don't understand. It's really wonderful. A baby shower never occurred to me. I could never permit myself to imagine such a fantastic thing as my own baby shower. But it could really happen, couldn't it? We might one day really have a baby shower! The thought alone is a gift. Thank you."

And then I was laughing even as I cried.

Since that conversation, I haven't quite been able to bring myself to think of it again fully. Just shallowly, around the edges. I know what must come first. The meds. The U/S and b/w. The transfer. The pregnancy. The betas. The heartbeat. And everything else. But somewhere in the outer fringe of my consciousness drifts the idea that perhaps one day I will be lucky enough to attend my own baby shower. It is a sweet whisper all its own.


stillhopeful said...

I can so identify - all the milestones that must be met, all the obstacles that can get in the way. Really takes a lot away from you.

But a baby shower - what a great thought!! And I am amazed at how disciplined you are at not letting yourself get too ahead of things. I am not nearly so, and the possible fall (god forbid) will be a million times worse as a result...

IVF 40+ said...

As Stillhopeful wrote - I can identify. It seems that when I started all this I thought of babies. Now, I think of a positive beta test!

cindyhoo2 said...

Wow! You have written such truth to how we are all living. I can imagine myself GETTING donor eggs and that is all.... maybe a glimmer of a positive pregnancy test.... then the future dreams get hazy.

To get to have that image of yourself all pregnant and happy at your own shower.... beautiful! Even if you only allowed yourself to go there for a few minutes.

That image beats the hell out of our current baby shower images (ourselves hurriedly grabbing something in the baby section without spending too much time there, having the gift wrapped so we don't have to spend too much time with the tiny sweet thing we bought, then pasting a smile on the face as each precious thing is opened, pretending that we are not being ripped apart inside, etc). Yuck! I sincerely hope that each of us have our shining baby shower moments to wash away all the icky past showers we have attended.

BB said...

I understand completely. My family has mentioned a baby shower a few times and I stop them in their tracks..."whoa- there are so many things that come before that!" I never let myself go that far. I'm just about to plan my sisters shower (help) and just recently I was thinking...what if. But that was it. I stuffed it back down to the dungeon.

Sandra D. said...

Sometimes I enjoy the 2ww simply because I feel like my mind can wander where it can't really go most of the time. But whenever I go too far, AF is doubly hard. So I think your description of dreaming around the edges is perfect.

I also think you have a wonderful friend. It's amazing how wonderful people can be, and always just when you need it :-)

Anonymous said...

I am glad you have the baby shower vision - even though there are many milestones in between now and then! Hoping we both get there soon.