Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Naïveté

Last night, I gave hubby a card. It was a card that I had bought for him more than two years ago when I got my first positive pregnancy test. We had just recently started trying, and that June, I took a test and got a very faint positive. I was thrilled and excited and nervous all at once.

And, because I was as type-A then as I am now, I immediately went to the local Safe*way and bought three more HPTs. And this card for hubby.

It was June—the month of father’s day—and I had visions of giving him this card as my way of telling him we were pregnant. I pictured us crying together and making plans and calling everyone we knew.

I still remember, when I got to the checkout counter the woman working there scanned the HPTs and asked me if I was hoping for a positive or negative. It was a bold question, and it annoyed me even then. But, I nervously and shyly answered that I wanted it to be positive. And she gave me some ridiculous advice about how I should eat crackers tonight, because that would make the baby really grab hold.

Even in my naïve pre-infertile state, I rolled my eyes, paid, and left.

When I got home, before I filled out the card, I took another test. Negative.

Then I looked back at the first test I had taken, and the line had disappeared.

I felt like I was losing my mind. That line was there! I certainly hadn’t hallucinated a second line…had I?

I called the helpline and they said that, while the line was supposed to stay for at least 24 hours, a line was a line and I was most likely pregnant.

I was excited, but now more cautious. I decided to wait and retest the next morning before giving hubby the card.

Of course, we all know now how the story went. I retested several times; all negative. AF came a few days later.

Despite the months and years that have passed between that first illusory positive and last night, and despite my cynicism, which has grown with each passing day, I never threw the card away. In fact, I kept it in the back of my drawer, even through our move, hoping to one day be able to give it to hubby, if only as a joke.

So, because we did see two heartbeats yesterday, I gave it to him, though obviously without all the naïve pomp and circumstance that I had envisioned when I first bought it. In fact, I told him I felt ridiculous even giving it to him. First, I felt like a fraud. But also, it seemed downright ridiculous. The card was so cheery and sappy and represented a me that doesn’t really exist anymore—a me that naively believed that getting pregnant would be easy, and that pregnancy was blissful and always resulted in a cute baby at the end.

Of course, that’s not me anymore. That early naiveté has been replaced by cynicism and a touch of bitterness. I now know how hard it can be to get pregnant. In fact, I’m so acutely aware of how difficult it can be that I now count myself extremely lucky that it “only” took two and a half years, four IUIs and one IVF.

And, what’s more, I no longer believe that pregnancy always equals baby. On the contrary, I’ve experienced some pain of my own, and witnessed or read about horror that goes well beyond what I’ve experienced myself. And so, rather than blithely looking at this pregnancy as our golden ticket to parenthood, I find myself so scared. Hopeful for the first time in a long while, but so. very. scared.

And, more than anything right now, I wish I didn’t know how bad things could get. I wish in some ways that I could go back to being that girl who bought the card and thought that a positive HPT always meant decorating a nursery and bringing home a baby nine months later. Because, unfortunately, the knowledge I now have can’t help me and can’t help the embryos. There is nothing I can do to prevent any number of the painful things that could happen. And so that knowledge serves no purpose for me except to remind me, even when I’m happy, that I shouldn’t let my spirits soar too high. Because the higher they soar, the farther I’ll have to fall…

Of course, I can’t let myself think that way. First of all, it’s exhausting to be scared all the time. Second of all, it doesn’t help. Fear of the worst won’t prevent it and won’t cushion the blow if we experience it. Not at this point, anyway.

So, while I’m wishing away the rest of the first trimester and hoping that my future appointments and scans bring the same reassurance that yesterday’s did, I’m going to have to find a way to live in the moment, experience some joy and excitement, and not let the terror take over. And hope—ah, hope—that we’ll be among the extremely lucky ones to have things go according to plan.

12 comments:

Here I am said...

hi- I just wanted to say that your blog entry expressed so beautifully everything I am currently feeling, and I wanted to thank you for sharing those thoughts. I am trying to be happy in the moment too, but it's so hard and I don't want to get too "cocky", if you know what I mean because like you, I now know too much. But in the meantime I wish you all the best and I pray we all get to hold our healthy babies at the end of this journey.

Waiting Amy said...

Oh Sticky, I wish it could be easy for you and you could just rejoice in this beautiful time! I completely understand why it is so hard, I just wish I could take away the path you've been down so things would be simpler.

I think this is one of the downsides of blogging -- that we become so close to so many who have suffered tragedy. Not that I would want it ANY different, I love the strong women I've met. But it does color your perspective.

Hoping some of the fear begins to ease. (((HUGS)))

PS--those buns are BEAUTIFUL! (bet ya didn't think you'd ever hear that from another woman huh?)

Sarah said...

i think that's a great attitude. except take it easy on yourself those days when the fear is winning, because you're absolutely right, it has nothing to do with how the outcome will go. it doesn't help, but it won't jinx you either. it's hard to find a balance. i don't want to be that naive idiot anymore. i'm glad in some ways for what i know. as long as it doesn't rule your life i think a little fear is only natural.

Ms. Planner said...

If you think about it, there is awesome disappointment most of us blogging have had to face in the quest to achieve motherhood. Something we wholly believed, from the moment we were little girls and played with our baby dolls, that we would attain. That disappointment and fear can be crushing sometimes. But we can't let it win, and I know that you won't let it win. I, for one, will be counting down the days with you.

xoxo, Ms. P

Somewhat Ordinary said...

I'm nearing the end of the 1st trimester and I still find myself having panic moments where I think so much could still happen. So, I totally agree with waiting amy. I think it is great that you gave your husband the card. I wish you nothing but the best for these babies!

Caro said...

I'm hoping for you.

anna said...

You said it, sister! Word for word (minus the heartbeat scan yesterday), I feel the same as you. Ah, the old days of trying to figure out what my due date would be each first month of TTC. But I guess had that all been so simple, we would not all have found each other!

chicklet said...

This is really well done, particularly, "I wish I didn’t know how bad things could get. I wish in some ways that I could go back to being that girl who bought the card and thought that a positive HPT always meant decorating a nursery and bringing home a baby nine months later". I think about WHEN I finally get a positive, and how now that I know all I know, it WON'T be all excitement and fun - it'll be waiting and hoping.

I'm waiting and hoping for you that this IS all excitement and fun, and that you're really finally done with this crap.

topcat said...

Sticky - congratulations on being able to give your husband that card. While I can't empathise with the years of struggle with infertility (I'm doing IVF because of hubbies vasectomy)- I'm here, cheering you on. xo

Nearlydawn said...

The fear does lessen a bit as you go along, based on my limited experience. I worried myself sick at first... Now it is only at major milestones. Hopefully that knowledge gives you some rest - it does get better.

megan said...

i'm so glad you kept that card, and more so that you were finally able to give it to him.
this is such a beautifully written post. i identify with so many aspects of what you're saying that it would be too tiresome to list. . .

Ann said...

I agree it's so hard to just go with the flow when you're so worried something will go wrong. But, like you said, negativity will not cushion the blow, should it come. So I guess we just have to sit, watch the calendar and will the days to go by faster.