Sunday, November 13, 2011

Different

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.

8 comments:

  1. it's ashame that Infertility takes so MUCH away from us, even once "conquered" it still takes things away....
    WHY must it? grrrr...I will slap infertility in the face for you.

    ~cherbear (blogger won't let me comment from my profile)

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  2. I can completely relate to this post. I keep waiting for things not to feel abstract, I often wonder if that will happen when I feel regular movement. It doesn't sound like that happened for you, but it does seem that you are embracing pregnancy. However it does seem impossible with the knowledge we have to let go of the terrifying, heart-wrenching what ifs. I often have those thoughts before I but pregnancy related items, I haven't started buying any baby things yet.
    I am glad you had a great shower, I can't wait to see photos!
    Hang in there S and enjoy your final trimester, those happy, healthy little boys will be making an appearance before you know it!

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  3. Ugh. I'm with you on this ... I had all the same thoughts.

    If you are like me, they don't stop after they are born. But the good news is that you're too tired to think much about it and then you settle in to a routine. Eventually, as the days passed, I got over it.

    Looking back, I think it's not just about the infertility ... but a product of my being over 40. I am much more aware of what can go wrong, how life can change in an instant ... how I woke up one day an realized I was 40 and wondered where all the time had gone.

    Had parenthood (and marriage) all happened for me in my 20's, I don't think I would have had all these thoughts. But I also think I'm a better parent now than I would have been back then...

    (Sorry if this was a little scattered ... I was interrupted about 10 times trying to write this comment)

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  4. I totally get you and have the same thoughts. It's what's keeping me from going to register at the baby store and actually buying baby stuff.

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  5. I hear ya! I'm pretty superstitious. While I've told people, I've not done the FB announcement. I keep telling myself I'll do it next month (when it's more sure they're sticking around). I'm over 25 weeks now, and now I'm telling myself 28w. But knowing chicken-butt me, I won't do it until they're born!

    I've even been to chicken to have a shower. I've been procrastinating setting a date with my friends who are hosting it and setting up a registry but I finally did both yesterday. Progress!

    We're both headed into our 3rd tri with our twins soon. Yay for us!!!

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  6. I can relate to so much of what you say here. Blogs I follow, a woman just lost here baby at 18 weeks, and another, this is several months ago, lost her twins at 20 weeks. So this time is feeling really dangerous to me right now even though I know logically I am fine. I'm 19 weeks and and checking the TP for blood every time I go to the bathroom, overanalyzing every tiny cramp, etc.
    I'm also scared to start bringing baby stuff into the house for the reasons you mentioned.
    And the babies inside me are still feeling so unreal...
    Sounds like you had a great baby shower...can't wait to see pictures!

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  7. Totally know what you mean...and good for you for showing your fears who's boss as thats what I tried to do as I knew that likely my last pg would be my last as well. Take care!

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  8. I imagine it's impossible for an infertile - particularly one who is active in the infertility/loss community - to float through pregnancy blissfully unaware of how fragile the whole process is. I'm so pleased that you were able to enjoy your shower (I am too scared to have one). It is important for us to try to enjoy our pregnancies as much as possible and although those scary thoughts will continue to creep up occasionally, it seems you're doing pretty well with it all. (Looking forward to a shower post too!)

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