Monday, January 18, 2010

Hope, part I

That was quite a week, I must say. The sort of week that makes me happy to be back at work, on a national holiday. The celebratory pre-birth event came off fairly well. Here are some highlights. Cucumber sandwiches, artfully arranged.  My contribution to our actually very successful mobile. What I will now forever think of as Tears of the Infertile cupcakes. And the part of the event that made me need to leave the room and cry and cry.


I'm guessing when the first item of baby clothing is opened it's common to marvel over the fact that the expectant mother will soon produce a human being that will rapidly become large enough to fit in it. So there's everyone else, exclaiming over the fact that the entity in PBF's belly will actually turn into a real human baby. And there's me, belly all swollen and full of holes, uterus all crampy with the onset of my period... I just felt so deeply pathetic and defective and unwomanly. I had five shots of vodka during this event, and two of them were required after that particular moment. One for me, and one for a private toast to all of you.

Now, you might be thinking, But didn't you just get some fairly positive news about the state of your reproductive organs? Why so glum, bunny? Well, to begin with, my husband is a confirmed optimist. I actually didn't know this about him until we started dealing with IF. It just never occurred to me that anyone could possibly be an optimist. But he is, and because I have only his post op report to go by until the 26th, I am cautious. It's entirely possible that the RE actually said, NO ENDOMETRIOSIS except for this enormous patch here which we couldn't get rid of and I THINK IUI WILL WORK for you never under any circumstances and I wish I had some GREAT NEWS to share with you but I'm afraid you'll never father a child with this woman. In short, Mr. Bunny can't be trusted.

Second, for me it has been important to accept the fact that I may not be able to conceive and bear a child. I don't go around telling myself I won't but I also don't go around telling myself I will. I used to, but there came a time when it was simply too much work to deny the terrible possibility. The upside is that I can rationally consider the wost case scenario, and this is an important coping strategy when dealing with anxiety. The downside is that I don't want to get my hopes up. I'm sure this is a familiar psychological state to many of you: Hoping with all your heart but suppressing that hope with much of your mind to stave off devastation. WELL, before my first IUI, I did some research on the question of the relationship between hope and disappointment. For example, if you don't expect a positive outcome, does that make a negative outcome easier to bear? Answers in my next post.


  1. Congrats on surviving the baby shower! it looks like it was a beautiful event and you're a total infertile badass for hosting it. I wouldn't be strong enough.

    I used to be an optimist. But then I was slapped with IF and boy how things have changed - now I'm the pessimist (or is it realist?) and DH is the optimist. I think the situation lends itself well to the husband being optimistic and the wife being extremely cautious.

    I look forward to your answers on whether the disappointment is greater if your hopes are high. I've always wondered.

  2. The guys are always the optimist in this dynamic. Social conditioning or whatever, we're the ones who obsess over statistics and failure rates and they, fools, try to remind us of the possibilities. I guess it works out, though, because a double-dose of pessimism wouldn't necessarily be very helpful.

    I've always felt like, if I have high hope, I have that much farther to fall if it fails. If I maintain low hope, then I might miss out on the victory celebration should it ever come. So, I try to artfully stay in the middle. Clearly, it does not work that easily, but it gives me something to concentrate on.

  3. I fall into the same expect-the-worst contingent. I rationalize that keeping the expectation to a minimal level lessens the momentum of the fall when things fall apart. BUT, I think aiming to keep my attitude and expectations low-key also robs the joy from the situation too. I never fully allow myself to experience something because my focus is concentrated on protecting myself. It makes me wonder that if I ever succeed in becoming pregnant, how much of the pregnancy I will be able to truly, comfortably relish. Will I always be bracing for the worst?

    Anyway, I'm interested to read part 2! :)

  4. I'm glad you made it through the shower, even if you had to take 5 shots. It looked like a beautiful shower by the way, great job!!

    I know what you mean, I'm more of the "pessimist" or "realist" and my hubby is optimistic. It's just been so long I don't think it will ever happen to me...also I think it's a way of protecting myself. Although in my heart I have so much hope so who knows...definitely a difference in what the heart says and what the mind says. My mind says "you're crazy bitch, keep your money".

    Look forward to tomorrows post!

  5. I sympathise greatly on the holey belly. I was in the same sore state in September. It does take a while to recover, so take it easy.

    I feel a hundred times better now though.
    I hope the same for you.

  6. You made it! Sounds like a horrible way to spend an afternoon to me, so I'd probably have gone shot for shot with you :).

    Hoping Mr. Bunny was paying attention, and the news is still good on the 26th (by the way, that seems like a really long wait!).

    I haven't found a way to cut off hope completely (nor do I want to), but sometimes I can allow myself to visualize my future as an adoptive mom instead of as a pregnant woman and it doesn't hurt like it used to. Just thinking of never having a biological child used to pierce me right through the heart, so I guess that's progress...right?

  7. I didn't know you were so crafty. I'm seriously impressed with your shower mobile. I'm gonna trust Mr. Bunny's report for now. I refuse to be too optimistic about my own eggs, so I'll send it all to you for now.

  8. I wanted to praise you for even making it to the mentioned celebration! Also, I hope you receive good news soon. My cousin just went through a few IUIs (and myself IVFs) because she had endo (and I had male factor IF) & she and I both have an almost 3 year old daughter and b/g twins!
    I blog now to help others & I just added you to my blogroll. Come check it out!