It was a very surreal experience, actually.
Here's what happened:
I guess you could say the day started off on the wrong foot...
My husband and I had a very early morning that involved a long drive, lab work, and a lot of waiting between the lab work and our scheduled ultra sound appointment.
All was going well, but we were both extremely tired, and I had my perpetual headache wearing me down.
We had a good report with lots of follicles growing at an excellent rate. My husband chatted with the doc about when our retrieval would be, based on our progress, while I sat with an increasingly painful headache and tender ovaries, suddenly aware of how quickly this cycle has passed.
I'm not sure why, but yesterday I started getting nervous about today's appointment. Then today, after the appointment, I started getting nervous about this cycle as a whole. Not nervous in the giddily excited kind of way, but nervous in the dreading the possible negative outcome sort of way. (I'm thinking the constant pain in my head and the extreme hormone levels in my body are leading players in the cause of my negativity.)
After our appointment, I convince my husband that, in spite of my headache and tender/painful ovaries, it's a good idea to go to IKEA as planned to shop for bookshelves.
There I am, in IKEA, minding my own business, pumped full of hormones, with a full-blown headache in an over-crowded IKEA store (note to self: don't go to IKEA on a Sunday), when out of the corner of my eye I see a cute young couple looking at desks right alongside us as I am giving my husband a tour of the store.
I noticed them, but was about to dismiss them from my thoughts when all of a sudden, as casually as if she was brushing hair from her face, the beautiful young woman, who was wearing a gypsy-style sun dress, reached her slender hands down to her waist, cupping her belly gently in her arms to reveal that she was pregnant. I was instantly incensed.
If you have ever seen the movie, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, then you'll be able to visualize and understand what this experience was like for me. If you haven't seen it, imagine that reality at that moment was transformed into an exaggerated, cartoonish video-game for a moment, in which all reason is abandoned and the surreal becomes reality.
In that moment, it was as if I had been blindsided and punched in the face by an evil pregnant ninja who had been hiding her pregnancy, waiting for an unsuspecting infertile couple to pass by so she could beat them down in a surprise attack. I had meandered through IKEA, dodging extremely pregnant women, unscathed by their pregnant beauty because I could see them coming a mile away, so I was prepared to encounter them. But this ninja woman came out of nowhere!
It was as if (in my surreal world) she had shouted in a sinister tone, "HA, ha Haa! I'm PREGNANT! Take THAT!" and then punched me in the face. I would have verbalized my feelings of anger in that moment with, "You haven't EARNED the RIGHT to display your pregnant belly yet! You're not even past your first trimester! There is no cupping of the belly allowed near infertiles in your first trimester! You're not allowed to show off yet!!!"
Now, seriously, I don't really BELIEVE that statement. I guarantee you that if this IVF works for us and God blesses us with pregnancy, I will be cupping my belly with and without thinking probably every moment of every day! I've been longing for that privilege my entire life! I'm not going to waste one second of it!
And I know this woman had no ill will. She probably didn't even see we were anywhere near her, and she certainly didn't know we are infertile and nearing the end of our first attempt at IVF even if she did see us.
Yet I was angry at her. I was angry she was young and pregnant. I was angry she was beautiful and pregnant. I was angry she was beside me and pregnant. I was angry to be surprised that she was pregnant. I was angry she was pregnant.
I wish I could say that I learned some deep life lesson from this experience. My headache is still pretty bad, and I've found that I don't think clearly with a Lupron-induced headache. Perhaps the lesson will come later.
I can say that this experience brought to my attention just how fearful I am that this is not going to work; that all of this effort, all of these shots, all of the bruises, the headaches, the long trips back and forth to the fertility clinic, will be for nothing.
It's easy to be excited and hopeful about something that is a given. If you're moving to a new place, you know when and where; if you have a new job, you know what you'll be doing; if you're going on a trip or buying something new, you have the money set aside and an action plan; you can count on having a product from your effort.
But here we are, investing time, money, heart, soul, mind and strength into something that produces a lot of pain up front, and has no guarantees that there will be anything that comes from it, aside from more pain and less money.
The difference for us, I suppose, is that my husband and I have a guarantee that regardless of the outcome (pregnancy, pregnancy loss, or lack of pregnancy), we know that God will work it out for our good and his glory. And that, my friends, is something to cling to, something to hope in.
- If you haven't seen Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, watch it, just for fun. It's weird, but good.
- If you've ever had a crazy moment of anger directed at a pregnant perfect stranger simply because she was perfectly pregnant (and surprise-attacked you), know that you're not alone.
- If you've been disappointed in the results of past attempts at treatment and find it difficult to live in the moment and get excited about the next treatment, know that that's completely understandable and you're not alone in that either.
- My only true hope comes from the fact that I have a relationship with the God of the universe, and that is bigger than all of my worries combined. If you don't know Him, He's actually much more approachable than He may seem ;-)
- Finally, even though I know Him, I'm far, far, FAR from perfect, and He knows that and loves me anyway because it's truly all about Him and what He's done for me, not at all about what I have or can do for Him.
It's not my goal to preach at you. Really I'm just reflecting and sharing my thoughts. Just know that I care deeply for and hope great things for you!
If you are the praying type, I'd appreciate prayer that I'll be able to enjoy these moments and be excited about God's plan for us, whatever it may be. Also, that I will be nice to people. It's a difficult thing for me when I don't have headaches and hormones galore, so lately it's been well near impossible.
Thanks for enduring my long post! Feel free to comment! And go watch that movie!!! ;-)