Friday, July 17, 2009

Reservation of Rights

Stillhopeful hit the nail on the head in her comment to my previous post: at the moment, I feel like an imposter. I have virtually no symptoms, I don't feel pregnant (I am hoping that the "presence" sensation kicks in soon) and all I have are a couple of numbers and several pee sticks to rely upon. I just can't force myself to believe it until I see a baby with a heartbeat on ultrasound. I feel like I'm playing "let's pretend I'm pregnant."

I had a friend Debby who I'd known for 15 years. We were pretty close, and in fact, she and her husband let me stay with them for 3 months before I left the state to be a traveling nurse for 2 years back in 2000. Debby was part of a larger circle of friends. We'd all get together on major holidays, birthdays and frequently just for dinner or to hang out.

For Christmas 2003, we all met at a friend's home for a party, dinner and to exchange gifts. We played the "gift exchange game" where everyone picks a number and then people go in order to either select a wrapped gift from the table, or to steal a gift previously opened by someone else.

We gathered around the table to begin the game. At some point it was Debby's mother in law's turn. She selected a gift from the table and opened it. It was a framed picture, although rather than a nice, elegant frame, the frame was rather juvenile. She squinted at the picture and said, "It''s..." Another friend, Julie, who was sitting next to her, grabbed the picture from mo-in-law's hands and shouted, "It's a's Debby's sonogram!" I, sitting next to Julie, grabbed it and looked. Yep, sure enough, it had Debby's name on it and a pretty good image of an 18 week old fetus.

I was shocked, and to be honest, I was hurt and angry (although I kept these thoughts to myself). Debby was my good friend. How could she be could she be trying to get pregnant....and not even tell me?! Last I knew she didn't even want a kid and now...she was due in just 4.5 months! WTF?

Sometime later I learned from her mo-in-law (who has a big mouth) that Debby had had 3 or 4 miscarriages prior to this pregnancy. I obviously didn't know about those either. I was incensed. How could she not share this kind of information with me?

As her pregnancy progressed, we all were supportive and encouraging and of course we threw her a lavish baby shower. The whole time, until the day that kid was born, Debby was a big downer. At 6 or 7 months pg, she would say things like, "Well, nothing is certain until the baby is born." or "Anything can happen and I'm not getting my hopes up until the baby gets here."

I just couldn't understand her doom-and-gloom attitude and chalked it up to attention getting behavior. After all, once a person is out of the first trimester, what can go wrong? Everything would be fine and she was just being a big drama queen. At least this was my belief (thankfully I never let on that this was how I felt).

The baby was born and all was well.

Fast forward to my own miscarriages in 2007. My own infertility struggles. My own unexpected and not-so-welcome early conversations with friends/family about IF and IVF. And the fact that I am now approximately 4 wks 5 days (but who's counting?) pg with a donated embryo. The only people who know are my DH, you all, and one IRL friend.

Now I understand. I understand Debby's reluctance. Her unwillingness to share her plans, m/c's or her pregnancy until she felt absolutely ready to do it. And I also understand her ongoing doubts and fears that clung to her until she was holding that newborn.

I get it at last.

And I know that - presuming all goes well and this baby hangs around - I will have some explaining to do to family and friends about why we didn't tell them sooner. I really want them to understand and not to feel the hurt and dejection that I felt when Debby announced her pregnancy. I want them to know that I couldn't tell because of my own fears, and not because I don't love them.

But once we do tell, hopefully upon successful completion of the first trimester, I want to try to enjoy this pregnancy, revel in it, and feel joyful. I don't want to be a case of walking doom-and-gloom the way Debby was. I know that anything can go wrong, and I know that there will be lingering doubts in the back of my mind. But I hope I can push them aside, seize this great gift, and enjoy it to the fullest.

Now then, I just have to get to the end of that first trimester. Until then I retain in full, without reservation, all rights and entitlements to worry, be paranoid and freak out about every little cramp, twinge and/or absence thereof.


Lorraine said...

I guess it's a matter of working it out as you go. I have absolutely no illusions about happily-ever-after at this point, but I hope I don't become all doom-and-gloom if things actually do seem to be continuing.

That said, I don't think "enjoying the pregnancy" is really the point. Even obliviously fertile women don't necessarily "enjoy" being bloated and nauseous and splotchy and gassy. This time, I'm trying to balance being grateful with being realistic. Not sure how that's going to work out, but I really hope I don't become a doom-and gloomer.

Anonymous said...

For some people it is just really hard not to read the worst in the situation. My first pg (which was successful) I was so worried the WHOLE time and didn't tell ANYONE except DH until 20 weeks (after the amnio) I was 35 and terrified I would have some weird abnormality. Kind of funny that we're still trying nearly 10 years later!

Hoping that you can just accept what is as far as your worry, joy, fears, and excitement. There is no "official" time to tell everyone, and if people are insulted you didn't tell earlier that is their problem, not yours! Good luck whatever you decide, and we are happy to have you vent everything here!

IVF 40+ said...

I hear ya - my shrink and my dear friend know we are trying, never mind the whole DE thing.
No-one can understand an IF journey and the pain involved.

embieadoptmom said...

I have only 2 friends who know plus my DH. FEAR!! that's why we haven't told a soul. It's kind of HOT and EXCITING to just share it with my man though! I feel like such a SNEAK and I kind of like it! I know everyone will be excited for us but I just didn't want the endless questions and explanation of EA. Like you said, I want to "ENJOY" this pregnancy and will un solicited opinions, it wouldn't be as enjoyable! Your friends and family WILL understand if they love you & so will ours ;)

K said...

Somehow I keep missing your updated posts, so I am catching up once again. Your second beta is awesome. Congrats! And yeah, I think fear, anger, uncertainty, and everything else keep us from telling the IRL world. But for me, I've notice the very few people I HAVE told respond with a blank stare or some off the wall comment. Which further makes me want to hide. Hopefully, you will be past all of those issues soon. ;)

Anonymous said...

my oldest, bff lost her twins at 20 weeks. It's been over a year and I know they are desperately trying, but I try not to mention it unless she does. I do kind of feel...a little hurt that she doesn't share all the nitty gritty details but I know that her loss is deeper than I can fathom and how she wants to handle that is ok. I think your friends will probably understand that and/or eventually get over it. :)

Alex P said...

I just had coffee with a girlfriend who is 24 weeks, and just found out her husband has testicular cancer. with that information, knowing that he will be fine, but may end up shooting blanks, she is thankful that she didnt wait like the rest of our friends, because she may not have another chance to have his biological kids. that said, when I mentioned that i love this blog, she was so intrigued and thought embryo donation was so amazing, a really different way of helping people out there (when someones already had successful pg). I think it made her realize that there are other ways this can happen, and that a family is a family... I am so grateful for your experiences, I hope that this blog has made me more sensitive to other peoples plights- because I have my own. I hate it when you call in sick with the flu, and everyone assumes your pregnant because youve been married 5 years. I hate when you gain holiday weight, and everyone assumes *especially your mom*. I hate it when my SIL tells me stories about my neice and projectile vomit and water diarrhea and then asks me to babysit. But I also love knowing that these are not the only things I should be careful about. Not every person is fairly certain they dont want kids. and someday, one of my friends, or possibly myself is going to decide that they actually do want children. and then they may or may not get their wish as fluidly as they hoped. and I think this blog is showing me what that is. I hope that when I talk to people about plans for their lives, I dont condescend to those who want kids, even if its not my choice. I hope I will show myself as a strong sensitive supporter who can be trusted, and was crossing her fingers and toes for someone who was a total stranger.

Im so happy that you are taking your success cautiously but happily, and wish with all my heart that it continues!

Anonymous said...

We'll all be here with you in this first trimester and of course afterwards until we can all celebrate the arrival of your miracle. I too have started sharing less and less with friends (unless they ask, I am not saying anymore that I'm cycling, in the 2ww or in some gap in between). It was just too painful for me to give the bad news over and over again to everyone who had been involved. So I suppose what I'm trying to say is that your family and friends will understand. Lots of love, Fran

ps: we may meet up at some point in some part of the World!

stillhopeful said...

Yeah - I find myself anxiously awaiting when I get to the point that I'm "clearly" pregnant. I think that will make it feel more real for me. Even at 16w, with absolutely no pg glitches up to this point, I still feel like it could end at any minute. I try not to focus on that, but the imposter sneaks in once in a while!

I think getting into the 2nd tri, telling everyone, and starting all the baby prep has given me more confidence and faith that this will work. I gained my first 1/2 pound, and wore my maternity clothes for the first time on Friday, and it felt great to have some concrete evidence!

I think you will be able to enjoy your pg as you move into the 2nd tri because you are doing things differently than you ever have before. You're not approaching it the same way and hoping for different results. That's what I found so frustrating about the TTC phase for me.

And the good thing is - there are so many little milestones in the first tri: screenings, results, ultrasounds, etc., that I felt it really kept me focused on the next, short-term step, making it easier to get through it without too much freaking out about the big picture!

I'm so excited for you!

Anonymous said...

I have not experienced the losses that you have, but even so, I feel those same feelings, being terrified of anything going wrong, constantly worrying. And the hardest part is knowing that there is nothing that you can do if something were to happen so you really SHOULD try to enjoy every moment of the pregnancy, but it is still so difficult to think positively and enjoy everything. I think women how have suffered losses or infertilty will always see things different and always try to protect themselves until the last possible moment. How could we not?