Monday, January 10, 2011

Fear of Being Fertile

Obviously not in the literal sense, but I am feeling bad about something that happened today that made me feel like one of those fertiles. You know, the bitchy insensitive ones.... In general, I've tried to be really open about our difficulties in conceiving, because I know how isolated I have felt through this whole thing, and how big a difference the one person I know who talked publicly about going to an RE made in my life. But I've also stopped telling every single person the details of the IUI because it seems almost self-indulgent to say it people when they may not want the conversation to last that long. All of which is unnecessary lead-up to what happened today in a meeting I had.

I was meeting with a lovely woman I work with, with whom I get along really well. We don't know each other well, but I think we like each other as people as well as coworkers. I see her very infrequently because she works off site. Towards the end of the meeting, it seemed appropriate to tell her that I'm pregnant, partly because I see her rarely and I thought she might be offended if she heard through the grapevine. She has two beautiful kids, and I have assumed since I met her (with no actual evidence) that she was done having children. But I've known her for a few years, so it didn't seem unwarranted. Fie on all my assumptions! When I told her, we had been discussing an upcoming conference. She then told me that she had been pregnant until two months ago. She got incredibly unlucky, and was one of the few who miscarries because of amnio. She was due in April. I must have looked completely stricken, but I hope I recovered well enough that I didn't make it too much worse. She seemed fine, so I feel like a total jerk for being more upset than she was in that moment. I don't want to make it worse, or make her feel like she needs to worry about my feelings, or the reaction of the next person she tells. I should know better!! I just feel terrible for not responding better, and for forcing her to think about it then when she wasn't expecting it. Obviously, I did not try to make up for it by explaining that my reproductive life hasn't been easy either, because honestly, I don't feel like any amount of unsuccessful trying holds a candle to loss. And I'm not that much of a jerk to make it about me at that moment. Instead, I gave her a hug, and she explained that she hadn't been planning to attend this conference since it's right before her due date, but now she's trying to see the new possibilities in the next couple of months. The conference would definitely be very distracting, so I hope she gets to go. I'm also hoping that some good may come of her telling me, even though my initial reaction wasn't so good, because this way she'll have someone to talk to at the conference if she needs it. Through the whole thing she seemed really good, but I'm still feeling like a jerk. I have resolved to do better in the future, because I should be continually striving for sensitivity.

But I just don't think there's a worse scenario than saying to someone, "I'm pregnant," and having them say, "I used to be pregnant." Worst case for everyone involved.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Sorry for being absent. I started my postdoc last week, and have been overwhelmed with trying to handle all my old projects and the new ones as well. I'm getting the balancing act readjusted so that I can do a good job of hydrating and eating well in a new lab situation. (Since I can't eat or drink in the lab, it takes effort to plan out how and where I can eat when I need to.)

We had an ultrasound on Friday, which was super fun. I was really nervous beforehand, even though we had heard the heartbeat a week earlier. Mostly I was nervous for the nuchal translucency test. Not because there's any elevated risk (I'm 28), but because I don't believe in taking tests when you haven't thought about what to do with that information, and I was so heartsick at the idea that we would choose to end the pregnancy if trisomy 18 were diagnosed. Waiting for almost an hour in the waiting room was particularly anxiety-provoking, because you have to have a full bladder, and that feeling definitely exacerbates the normal nervousness. But once we got in there, I was overwhelmed with joy looking at the kid. He or she looks so much more like a person! I mean, still like a space alien, but so much more like a baby : ) I'm in love. The most amazing part was as the ultrasound tech poked to try to get him/her to move into the right position for the NTT measurement, and we could watch him/her move. Completely breathtaking. My baby can move! Originally he/she had been in a typical fetal position, but as the poking went on, he/she moved the arms above the head like he/she was trying to fend off the pokes. We never managed to get the kid to straighten its neck and get the perfect measurement, but they sent us home with assurances that the "almost right" measurements they got showed no cause for concern. In the end, I was glad the kid was so contrary, because it meant we got to keep watching for what felt like hours : ) And it's definitely our kid - refused to cooperate for picture-taking (my husband to a T), and extremely contrary (totally me). Lying on my left side, emptying my bladder, none of it had any effect on getting the kid to get in the right position even for a moment. I could watch all day. It's amazing how much closer the kid feels when we can see it. The still photos don't do it justice, but are still kind of fun.

Yesterday a friend and I went shopping for maternity clothes. I was so happy that she was willing to go with me. I have to remind myself that people are all different, because I hate shopping, and doing this with me would be my idea of torture. But luckily she likes shopping and was totally into it. It made it way more fun for me to, although I wouldn't say I loved it or anything. I've been feeling pretty insecure, since all the weight I've gained during our struggle to get pregnant makes me embarrassed. I hate how I look in recent photos (pre-pregnancy). Since I got pregnant, I've actually lost a couple of pounds, but it has also redistributed. Nothing else seems smaller to me, but my belly is definitely bigger. I'm just not confident enough yet about it since I know it's almost all me, and not the kid. But at one of the stores we went to, they had a belly pillow in the dressing room, so I tried it on to see how the tops would look in several months. I'm kind of in love with that image, too. I've never been particularly belly-obsessed. My infertility nightmares were all about the fact of pregnancy that is behind the belly, but not the belly itself. So I am surprised and delighted that I'm so excited and not insecure about a big belly. I want it as soon as possible, so I can stop taking offense that I look pregnant when all the weight is my own. The 3.5 inch kid is not contributing that much, so I can't wait until he or she is. I really want to look pregnant. Even though my rational part knows it's better for my career if I look less pregnant for longer.

In all, it's been a great week. I have to work all day today, so I need to get my butt in gear and get it done. But I just wanted to share that I'm feeling happy and content. And now I have some more clothes to wear that fit, so that makes the prospect of the coming week more appealing. This shopping stuff may not be so bad after all : )