I often think that women with infertility probably experience their pregnancies differently from pregnant women who have not experienced infertility prior to conception. There are probably a variety of ways in which the experience is different, but I imagine that one key difference is a difference in anxiety levels about how the pregnancy will progress. I suppose that "fertile" women mostly assume, from the time they first see a positive result on the home pregnancy test, that they will be bringing home a healthy baby in nine months. I know that few, if any, women who have experienced infertility make that assumption.
Even before infertility, I knew that a positive pregnancy test did not necessarily mean a healthy, living baby in nine months. Having lived to the age of 40, having been a nurse in my previous career, and having been a me.di.cal malp.rac.tice att.orn.ey for the past 4+ years, I had a certain awareness of what can go wrong during pregnancy prior to ever trying to get pregnant myself. Fortunately, I had not known many people in real life who had had bad pregnancy outcomes, but I was fully aware of the possibilities.
I will say, though, that being a member of the online infertility community has heightened my awareness of these things. . . things like miscarriages, stillbirths, preterm labor, preelampsia and the like. I'm not sure if that's because these things happen more often to those of us who have struggled with infertility, or if it's because someone who has written openly on a blog about her infertility is also likely to write openly about her losses or difficulties in a way that others might not.
Having just had my baby shower yesterday (post with photos about the shower to follow sometime soon), our "nursery" is now full of baby clothes, blankets, stuffed animals, swings and other baby items. On the one hand, it's good. I feel so fortunate to have so many generous friends who have given us these gifts.
On the other hand, seeing all those things stored in our house, just waiting for their recipients to use them, got me thinking. First, it's still odd to think that, within (probably) the next three months, there will be two actual, living babies in our home using these items. Even though I now feel both babies' movements several times a day, and have seen them on ultrasound numerous times, they are still something of an abstract concept to me. So it's strange to have these tangible reminders that they are real live little people. Strange but also good.
Second, I thought fleetingly of how awful it would be to have to get rid of all these gifts if, G-d forbid, something should happen to the babies. I know, it's a morbid thought, and not one that I allowed myself to entertain for long. But it popped into my mind nonetheless. At least for me, I'm not sure I'd be thinking something like this if I'd just woken up one day after just a few months of TTC and seen a + HPT. One of several ways in which infertility has changed the way I think.
Even though these types of thoughts sometimes crop up, I try to focus more on planning for our boys' arrival. I know this is the only time I will be pregnant, and despite the physical discomforts, I am doing my best to enjoy it.