Sunday, 27 January 2008

On not counting your eggs before they're retrieved

Over at Just One Bean, the lovely Katarina recently shared a story about a woman she had encountered on a message board. This woman was due to start an IVF cycle in March, and wanted to know if it would be OK to take a trip to Disneyland the following month, since by then she would be six weeks' pregnant. My own obsessive Googling has recently unearthed a similar post from a woman who was just beginning her first cycle of IVF here in the UK. She was overjoyed to report that she had managed to get all of her maternity wear for less than half price in the January sales.

I've been thinking a lot about these women over the past ten days or so. When I read Katarina's post, I prided myself in not sharing what I considered to be the Disneyland woman's misplaced optimism. I was not nearly so naive, I told myself. I was not jumping ahead of myself and making plans that very probably would not come to fruition. When I started IVF, I was daunted by the enormity of what I was about to put myself through, physically and emotionally. The only way I could make sense of it all was by breaking the cycle down into a series of smaller stages. I was, I wrote on Katarina's blog, focusing on getting to the next stage - on making it through the next injection, the next scan. I could not, I suggested, project myself forward even to the point where I might take a pregnancy test, let alone imagine myself six weeks' pregnant.

Yet now I wonder, am I really so different from those women on the message boards? It never crossed my mind that this first cycle would have to be cancelled because I did not respond to the drugs. All the tests I had had led me to believe that everything was OK - my FSH levels were good, I ovulate regularly. There was no sign of any underlying problem. And so I presumed that IVF was an option for us. I presumed that, if I did not get pregnant this time round, we would be able to try again - perhaps initially with a FET, and then with a second, or even a third, cycle. I suppose that, deep down, I was presuming that this would all work out for us and that we would one day have a child.

But now I realise that there may not be a happy ending. Maybe the IUI will work. If it doesn't, then maybe I will have a better response on a different protocol. But maybe I won't. Maybe, just maybe, this could be it.


Katarina Jelly Beana said...

I think there's a big difference between blind hope and informed denial.

Those chickies, the ones who traipse off to MickeyLand or who buy their maternity clothes early...they seem to have this la-di-da attitude where they think NOTHING bad can happen to them. They're the ones who prattle on about babydust and think that if you want something bad enough and your heart is pure you're sure to get it.

Informed Denial is how the rest of us manage to get out from under the crush of reality and get through the day. We can't think it will fail or we'll never get through. At the same time, in the back of our brains, it lurks that something could go wrong at any turn. We know what can happen. We hear the stories. We know there are no assumptions. We just hope. A lot.

Overall, I feel like the difference is that we pretend/believe/think it won't happen to us, but they think it CAN'T happen to them. It's a kind of hubris that gets me every time.

luna said...

I think KJB is right. We have to hope in the chance and believe it will work or else how could we possibly subject ourselves to all of this? It's natural to hope and even expect that it will go well, especially when we have no reason to believe otherwise. hang in there... ~luna

Malloryn said...

I couldn't have put it any better than KJB did. We need to hang on to hope to get us through this nonsense. I know what the estimated odds are for my upcoming IUI, and that I probably shouldn't put too much stock in it. Chances are pretty good that it won't work, but I can't suppress the hope that it will.