Friday, May 06, 2005

Me and my Polyanna attitude...

Let me just begin by saying that the views expressed in this blog entry are mine and mine alone. These are my thoughts based on my experiences... I am sorry if you have experienced something more, something different than me and that gives you another view of the whole subject but please don't shoot me... This is my diary after all :)

It was Easter this past Sunday in Greece (and some other equally obscure parts of the world I bet), so we visited my best friend (who also married us aka the best man) and their little boy ... and as you would expect there was the usual relative accompaniment that you would expect in such a festive, family day...

Word of my twin pregnancy got around fast as my friend is also pregnant (two weeks ahead of me) so everybody was quite liberal with the information (except me but hey, call me superstitious).
So to make a long story short, I was sitting on the couch sipping my ice cold coffee and politely chatting to my friend's cousin, a mother of about 40-something whose son is around 14. When she heard I am carrying twins she looked at me, probably noting my bright, big smile and said "Well don't get too happy. I too was carrying twins but at 3.5 months one disappeared. Anything can happen..."

Ok so, lady, look... I know the statistics... I know first hand of people going through that... Trust me, the possibility of something going wrong enters my mind every time I feel a twinge, a pang, a pain, a cramp... And I really didn't mind your warning.. Or rather, I wouldn't have minded if the look in your eyes wasn't telling me "...I didn't manage to hold on to my second baby, why should you?"
But to her face, I said nothing. I found some excuse five minutes later to politely make my exit (and thankfully with an active 28 month old around, you get plenty).

The whole scene combined with some light bleeding come Monday, and several entries I read in other people's blogs (former IFers like me) made me wonder tonight, in the wee hours of the morning as I lay awake unable to fall back to sleep (yet another wonderful pregnancy thing): Do I really have pink shades covering my eyes about this pregnancy... or am I just not bitter or scared about my previous infertility?
Is it true that pregnancy doesn't cure infertility? And isn't the goal, a baby... no matter how it got there?

What got me thinking were several blogs of people who had gone through various treatments, many years of the ups and downs IF brings, some had several miscarriages and in the end they managed to get pregnant and stay pregnant BUT...
But by the time they got there they were so bitter, scared, worried and torn, their pregnancy became ... a not so happy time in their lives.

Before you start yelling at me because I never had a miscarriage (but I am sure you don't wish one on me, surely you are not that bitter), or because I managed (so far) to avoid IVF and got (miraculously if you ask me) pregnant just before I tried it, please hear me out, oh kind mob.
If you read my previous entries you might have become familiar with my philosophy...
I do believe that wounds are healed. I do believe that pregnancy cures infertility and I do believe the pain goes away after you have your baby in your arms.
I too had my bitter bitch moments. I became angry at God, at my much, much older friends who got PG right away, at my body, at my husband, at my doctor... I too yelled, cried, spend a fortune on HPTs, doctors, drugs... and I almost got divorced from my husband.
(Not to mention I live in a country where infertility is this great unknown, taboo issue and I had absolutely no support from anyone, including doctors and hubby - but I did get to hear real often "just relax it will happen if you let it go")

And you know what? It did happen when I let it go.
Uhm, no this is not one of the "I magically became pregnant when I gave up hope" stories. My hormonal, annovulation and MFI problems did not resolve just because I pretended not to want a child. But I did let go of the anger. I forgave myself (first of all), I apologized to God, to my friends, to my husband... and promptly switched doctors (a few times I might add). I formulated a plan, I educated myself but most importantly I became familiar with my options. Ok lets try this... and then this... and yes there is a chance I will never have biological kids. And I don't care less!!

Before I go any further let me add that I knew I would become a mom someday (one way or another). It was somehow promised to me because the desire, the drive, the love for a child I yet not knew never, ever left me and that was my collateral from God that one day I would be someone's mommy!! My question was when?
I had felt ready and hot 4 years ago, 3 years ago, 2 years ago, last year... For me it wasn't a matter of whether I gave life to the child with my own body, or if she came from own eggs or hubby's sperm (though he had a different opinion)... For me a real mommy (parent) is not the biological one necessarily and your real child is not the one you gave birth to. It doesn't matter if she grew in your uterus or in your heart. She is yours now...

When I started my "last chance" treatment and somehow got pregnant, I decided that though probably I will face secondary infertility later on and that I wasn't going to let my past bitterness and long road behind, spoil this pregnancy.

I keep a "Polyanna" attitude toward the whole thing. I am not naive and I am well educated (hey, 3rd year medical student here!). I know of the risks!!
But I am determined to bond with my babies, who btw have fingers now thank you very much (5 in each hand I hope!). I am determined to be happy about them, talk to them, sing to them and dream about them... because the alternative is to wallow in self pity thinking of dooms-day scenarios and repeating that I am still an infertile woman deep inside.
And then what? There are two possible outcomes: I loose the pregnancy and then I go around saying "I knew it, I knew it... thank God I didn't bond". Really girls... does it matter whether you were 4 weeks pregnant or 12 weeks? Did you cry any less? Did it hurt any less?


I can deliver healthy little ones... and if I hadn't felt happy, I would have missed 9 months of their lives and a period of my life I cannot get back.

What will you choose?

Lastly I wanted to address the issue of women who adopt. They mourn so much the fact that they won't be pregnant when fellow IFers who did get pregnant keep saying "I won't do this until the Xth month. I won't buy anything until I bring the baby home. I don't want to talk about my pregnancy because it might seem more real and if I loose it, it will hurt so much more (yeah, right)..." Loosing a dream you could virtually taste does not make it any less painful that loosing that of which you dreamt of, trust me.

So if those women who DO get pregnant after infertility (of course me included), spend their 9 so awaited months in bitter denial, shock or expecting the worst... maybe they should have adopted to begin with? After all, an adoption guarantees a child, right? When a pregnancy does not!
Why would you want to get pregnant? So that the child will look like you or your husband (if you haven't used donors)?
Because you want to feel what morning sickness is like? What insomnia is like? How about SPD? How about delivery and a c-section? And if you do really want to live through those things, then when you do get pregnant why the heck do you sail through all these with a "LaLaLaLa, I am not listening, this is not really happening to me" attitude toward your baby and your situation?

I have a friend who lost a child. The baby had some birth problems (stayed too long in lthe birth canal without any fluid) and could not breathe when delivered as she had gone for too long without oxygen. An accident or an incompetent OB... doesn't matter. It happened...
The little girl lived for a month in the NICU (born full term) and died.
We were all inconsolable (we are very close to those friends) but I personally was elated when my prayers were heard and a few months after the birth my friend got PG again.
(and no I do not have a direct communication route to God, lol)

Our friends told us nothing. In fact they chose to vanish. When we did see them, she couldn't hide her pregnancy any more. Understanding how this is so delicate, I tried not to look at her belly or talk about it but eventually she did confide in me. Apparently until she started to show they told no-one. She did not want to "bond" with the baby she told me because after all, she might loose it again. She pretended not to be pregnant at all. She tried not to eat so she wouldn't gain any weight, she tried hiding her belly... and her eyes looked me so, so sad like she was really mourning her pregnant time, pretending it wasn't really happening to her and really, sort of asking for help. So I did the only thing I could do. I put my arms around her and told her what I knew in my heart. "It will be alright. You'll see. You can be happy... It will be alright"

Her little girl was born healthy and they are a happy family now but I wonder...
How will this little girl feel when she is older and she is told "you see, we pretended we weren't pregnant with you, we bought you nothing, we did not celebrate you growing inside of mommy, we pretended you weren't kicking because we were scared from a previous experience, but we are happy you are here now..."
I mean, it still to this day haunts me that my mother tried to abort me and that she blamed me for "having to marry" my father (a wonderful, wonderful man btw, its my mom who is psycho) and having a "miserable" life though I had a pretty good childhood!

What will you tell your child when she asks? When she is pregnant with her first?
"Don't get too happy because there is miscarriage going around"?
"Don't bond just in case you loose the pregnancy"?
"Yeah, I was pregnant x times but only deliverd one healthy baby, so you might be next"?
"I couldn't bond with you until you proved you could breathe and live"?

Ιf you do indeed think like that, then yes, you are broken. But not because your ovaries do not work... because your heart and your spirit are broken and that, no science in the world can fix. No doctor can repair... except you.

Please, cherish your children... even if they grow under your heart for a few short weeks. They will always be your children and trying to pretend they did not exist, will not take the pain away...

Wishing the best for all of us...

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