So, the day before I got my BFP I had an acquaintance from work come up to me and congratulate me on my impending pregnancy and then tell me all about the people she knows that have done IVF. That was sweet of her, except that I didn’t ever share with her that we were going through this process. I asked her how she knew and she told me that a mutual friend, D, had told her. That surprised me as this friend is usually very closed-mouthed, and I had asked the few people I told not to share it with anyone else. I struggled with it for about 24 hours and then decided to write D an email and ask her to not talk about it anymore.
Of course, it wasn’t as simple as all that. We had been at a birthday party that weekend and everyone was drinking except me. The acquaintance asked a different friend, K, why I wasn’t drinking, were S and I trying to get pregnant? K is another friend who is in on my little secret. And K, a little tipsy, said, “Yes! We’ll find out soon!” So the acquaintance cornered D and asked her out of the blue if S and I were having trouble conceiving and if we were doing IVF. D said she was stunned and answered that she thought so.
So. I can’t explain how angry and betrayed this all made me feel. I know that none of it was done with malice. That the acquaintance was just being nosy and my friends were just cornered, or a little drunk and indiscrete. But nonetheless I am beside myself with anger and hurt.
Because IVF is AWFUL. First, you get the diagnoses of infertility, which is crushing in a way I can’t explain. You can’t do what even Snooki can do, and she can barely find her way out bed every day. You feel broken, like less of a woman. You can’t give your life partner, this person you adore, something that they expect and deserve – their life is less because they choose to be with you. You can’t give your parents the grandchildren they want. You feel like an utter failure, a disappointment as a wife, a woman, a daughter. Never mind your own dreams and plans of a baby, a family. So you come to grips with that as best you can and start looking at options. You decide on IVF, and then submit daily to strangers inserting (with various levels of gentleness and care) a cold plastic dildo inside you and telling you how badly you’re doing at IVF “you’re a poor responder”, “if you don’t start growing some more follicles we’re going to have cancel this”. You stab yourself in the stomach 4 or 5 times a day with needles and inject strong medicines into your body so as to create a hostile take-over of your reproductive system. You turn your life upside down to accommodate all the doctors appointments, the rigid injection schedule. You feel sick from the meds, from the process. Your ovaries swell to the size of baseballs and start secreting fluids into your abdomen. Your veins collapse from the number of blood draws. Then the shots stop and they do the ER – you have an operation where someone pierces your vagina multiple times with a needles to extract your eggs, which they tell you are probably of poor quality anyway (you really should try donor eggs). Then its a day in bed with cramps and bloating and pain and fear. Next is a long line of pills, patches, suppositories and foul tasting lozenges. No sex. Constant leak of medicine from between your legs. Then the eggs fertilize (or not). If not, you start over. If so, it’s back into the OR where they put the fertilized eggs back inside you with a catheter threaded into your uterus. You can’t imagine a more sterile, hard, loveless way to create life. Then you wait on pins and needles to see if this little ball of cells will stick (and of course continue the pills, patches, suppositories and foul tasting lozenges.) And, unlike most fertile people, you have reason to be afraid. You know all the things that can go wrong, all the ways this can fail. And you have invested SO MUCH. Your time, money, health, and in some cases sanity are hanging in the balance. All to do what other people do on accident after too much cheap wine.
They tell you at the beginning that the process is hard, that you need a support system. So, I tried to create one – a few close friends, my family, my husbands family. Not very many people. It’s embarrassing, and breathtakingly intimate – like having to tell people your deepest darkest failure and intimate details of your sex life all at once. So then to feel that after all of that, AFTER ALL OF THAT you have become the subject of idle, thoughtless gossip…it’s devastating. Humiliating.
Maybe it’s the hormones. Maybe it’s not that big a deal. I can see both sides. But if I could take it back and never have told anyone that’s what I would do. But I can’t. So when I found out I was pregnant a few days after that incident I didn’t tell any of them. So now that I’m “a little bit pregnant” and basically waiting to miscarry no one knows that either. I think I prefer it this way. It’s lonely and I feel terribly shattered but at least I feel safe alone with my grief.