I wanted to tell SO many people I was pregnant. I was so afraid I would miscarry my surviving baby that I didn’t want to jinx a thing. A lot of women (and men) at even 12 weeks of pregnancy start painting a nursery or buying onesies. Me? I was cautious. Cautiously optimistic. So I did nothing but bide my time. I reckon a lot of IVF pregnancies have that commonality. Cautious optimism. You’ve gone THIS far with so many medical exams and treatments and tests just LEADING up to IVF, why take a chance with a jinx? Why not wait a little longer? After all, in my opinion, I waited so long and did so much to be an expectant mother. What was a little more time?
No one ever told me I’d experience patience. Yes, I wanted to burst and blurt it out. But I didn’t feel all that traditional. Parents who had a much easier time in conceiving may not feel that the world could ever harm their chances or their baby. Whereas people like us, those who had loss and disappointment and setbacks felt…cautious. Life after IVF should be joyous and believe me, it is. But there is always a sense of, “what if..” Whereas parents who have yet to go through a roller coaster of issues because pregnancy was seemingly easy might have a much stranger time digesting the, “what ifs.”
I say, “might” because my sister had a close friend who popped out babies like a pez dispenser. And all the while she was nervous and anxious about her particular, “what if…” moments. She had naturally conceived without medical assistance. So it really is an individual’s personality that plays in to the cautious reasoning. However, I do believe, in my heart that having gone through all the crap, molded my usual easy going take on things into a much more guarded person.
I hope I make sense. And that you don’t sense any blanket judgement.
Another thing I had not expected after IVF is the moment I donated my unused meds and syringes to a friend. I thought it would be a simple passing of the baton (I used to run track in high school.) But no. It was emotional for me. I remembered every step of my protocol and the first shot of Lupron I ever took. I grew sentimental. They say, in labor, a woman forgets the pain of her contractions and pushing. That because we are animals, pain is forgotten the second it leaves our body.
Truth? I can’t forget. I have an appreciation for it. I can’t believe it started with a simple shot in the abdomen and became a real, live person inside me. I remember the cold sensation of the alcohol swabs to the cramps I had after my transfer date. I remember the fear I had in taking my first shot to the relief I felt in taking my last shot. I remember it all. And so when I handed over my meds to my friend, I felt a rush of nostalgia, liberation, and gratitude. I FORGOT nothing.
Funny. People say that life is all about the baby now. It is. But it’s also about what got her to this place in my belly. I know I am one of the lucky ones. I am SO lucky. I will never forget it. I am who I am and she will be who she will be because of IVF. Because of what transpired before IVF, during IVF, and after IVF.
I was bullied a little bit in elementary school because I was shy. And because I was shy, I used to kick balls against my garage and jog distances most adults have trouble running even today. But during all of that shyness, I learned to love my endurance and my skills. And one day, I decided to play kick ball on the playground during recess. I KNEW I had skills. When it came time to kick (I was the last one up, of course) I kicked that ball so high and so far that it went over TWO fences and hit the school. From that day on? No one made fun of me. And I became the only girl captain on that playground.
I was ten years old but it made me the person I would become. I was shy for many more years but I had NO problem going for my goals. I just plugged and plugged away. Blinders on. Target ahead. And when I failed, I took it with sad stride. But I knew I had to find another way to reach my goal. I was never going to be the star of the musical or a famous gymnast. But I DID know what suited me best. And what I enjoyed the most.
I will never be Angelina Jolie in looks, talent, or baby making. But I CAN be me. And so here I am, life after IVF. My ball is kicked once again over two fences but only after the loneliness of loss and the affirmation that, I too, could be a great mom some day. I just needed a direction and some assistance.
So, life after IVF for me is not about diapers and “mommy and me” crap that bugged me even before my first RE appointment. It’s about remembrance. And yes, future diapers. And some day watching my daughter conquer HER fears on her own (with my looking secretly from that kitchen window.)