Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Dichotomy of a Pressure Point

For some reason, when one of my coworkers announced her pregnancy, I decided to tell her about our IF treatments. It wasn't so much that I wanted to let her know how lucky she is (at least not consciously), but rather that I was trying to find some common ground with her. She is an easy person to talk to and she told me she had a friend who was successful on their 5th attempt at IVF. Yes, another friend of a friend who it has worked for.

This was back in November-ish (can't remember exactly when, but it has been awhile). Friday I found myself blissfully free of meetings at work and actually spent most of the day in my office for a change. Around 4pm, this coworker came into my office and shut the door and said in a whisper, "So it's been awhile since we've talked. Do you have any news? Are you pregnant yet?" I was taken aback and wasn't really sure how to respond to this question.

I guess for awhile there I forgot that telling people actually means they are EXPECTING this to work. Not just eventually, but NOW. And this is where SO much of the pressure comes from. I can't say I blame them. Before I knew anything about IVF and IF, I certainly thought this was going to be a sure thing. Hey, if trying naturally doesn't work, we can try IUI's and then if THAT doesn't work, there's always IVF. Because of course IVF will work. And of course, if for some outlandish reason IVF doesn't work, we can always adopt right? Except that's not how it works. It is NOT that easy and it is NOT a sure thing.

How do we get this impression? Is it because the media makes IVF and adoption look so easy? Is it because our parents told us we could have anything we want if we worked hard enough? Is it because for the most part, this has been true up until this point in our lives? Is it because there are so many people that IVF DOES work for? They are all over the message boards and in the blogosphere and so are the successful adoption stories. Except that there are also those in our virtual world that have been through all of it and came out on the other side with nothing to show for it other than matching piles of debt and bitterness. Those who have "chosen" to live childfree lives or are still dealing with the harsh realities of IF treatments and adoption nightmares.

In any other Lu.pron cycle, I would likely have blown up at this coworker and told her what an insensitive, thoughtless, idiot she is for asking me that question. I would have offered to give her daily updates of my E2 levels and lining measurements. I would have asked if she wanted to see the red welts on my belly from the patches or the tiny red dots and small bruises surrounding my belly button from the shots. Would she like to come over to my house and witness the small pharmacy taking up a spare bathroom counter? I would have thrown all of that in her face in anger, melted down and ran out of the building crying hysterically. Or at least, I would have imagined doing all of those things in my head, held my tongue, smiled and said something like "Oh, not yet. I have a meeting to get to!"

But the weird thing is, none of these thoughts went through my head. I have no idea why, but the rage I've experienced during past Lu.pron cycles simply isn't present this go round (which is maybe why I was so paranoid that the Lu.pron wasn't working). I simply thought, "huh, this is a little awkward," and then I realized how much she was really hoping for good news. And I thought about how sweet that was of her. She wanted to know that I was happily entrenched in pregnancy land before she gave birth and left for her maternity leave. She offered to let me use all of her pregnancy books and maternity clothes, and countless other baby items. She had her hopes up for me and wanted good news going into her weekend.

And I let her down. Someone I only casually know, who barely knows me, and I've still managed to let her down. Once I realized this and before I could think better of it, I started updating her on my progress. Trying to sound upbeat and optimistic. Telling her about the D&C and how we are starting fresh and about this FET. Before I knew it, she knew the expected date of my transfer AND my beta date. So now, not only do all of you, dear readers, know all of these dates and have your hopes pinned on this cycle right along with me, but now one of my coworkers does too. And she's pregnant and emotional and now I've upset the pregnant lady. I just can't seem to keep my mouth shut and now the pressure is really on.

At the end of our conversation, she said that now she was depressed that I didn't have better news. And I left work thinking about how, yet again, I have mixed emotions. I am touched and flattered by her kindness in being disappointed for me. And I also feel guilty for letting yet another person down. Obviously I know that it was nothing I did, nothing I had control over. But there it is.


Maria said...

Ugh, why can't one aspect of IF be easy? Why? I'm sorry that you had to go through that. Yes her concern and kindness is nice, but at the same time, not wanted.

No matter what happens, just know that you'll never disappoint me.

Io said...

Lol- it's like the post I had, only you are nice and not cracked in the head - I must strive to be like you!

nancy said...

You know, I hate that question and I don't think I've ever answered it as nice - even on complete non medicated cycles. "That's a terrible question to ask someone who is having difficulty ttc. Believe me, when something happens, I won't be keeping it a secret". And they usually excuse themselves and leave without so much as another word.

Bah. Don't worry about "disappointing" anyone. Sure, she wanted good news but it's not like she'll go home and cry over us. That's what all of us in the blogsphere are here for - to actually care!