Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hope, fear, and the what if's

Following our bout with primary infertility, I was ready to go back to the RE and start TTC a second baby when I was about 6 weeks pregnant with Bean. I looked at his heartbeat on the ultrasound machine screen and thought, "Well, shit, it worked! When can we schedule the next IUI?"

When I was 7 months pregnant, I had a dream that I did actually get pregnant with a second child. I carried them together for two months, delivered only Bean, and then gestated the second child to full term.

At my 38 week appointment with my OB, I asked, "When can I start trying for another baby?" She wisely advised me to wait until after I had delivered Bean. I guess that's why they get paid the big bucks.

I think it's because of the momentum and continuity of my IF experience. I have been in TTC mode for almost four years now, and as painful as it is, I want this phase of my life to be over as. soon. as. possible. Getting pregnant put our IF in remission, but it didn't erase or cure it, and I know I can never fully begin healing from the trauma until we completely close the door on our reproductive years. Which means getting knocked up again ASAP. Ha.

For the past six months, I have been aching to go back to the RE. Longing. Yearning. Because my hope that we can conceive on our own is very, very low. Like Al Green's singing voice or the chance that I won't eat chocolate today. To me, the RE represents the only possibility that we may actually get pregnant again someday.

And now that the appointment is only one week away, I'm terrified.

In the big picture, I do have a small amount of hope that we will have another child. It's a low-grade, general hope, when I don't think about the details of how it will happen. When we sat down and reviewed all the tests and surgery with our last RE, right before we started the IUIs, he offhandedly gave us a 90% chance that we would conceive. Considering that now we have one successful pregnancy behind us, and a chemical pregnancy unassisted, I would imagine that RE would give us at least the same estimate that we will conceive again.

But when I think about TTC on a specific cycle level, I have very little hope. Despite the advice of the IF book I am currently reading, I think I actually fight the hope. I don't want it. Go away. When it creeps in, it can elevate my mood to an almost giddy excitement, but it also augments the heartbreak and tears that come with AF. It's a double standard, because I have hope for others, and I want them to have hope for themselves; but it's just not for me. Like sushi and camping.

Now that I am facing the specifics with the RE because of the appointment, I am feeling scared and strangely... disappointed? Even when I put aside all the logistical annoyances (starting over with a new RE because we moved, and trying to find childcare for constant trips to an extremely inconvenient office location), seeing the doctor is not the relief I thought it would be.

I'm afraid. And that's when the "what if's" creep in.

* What if treatment is too expensive, and we cannot afford enough cycles to get pregnant?
* What if I can't find anyone to watch Bean when I need to go to the doctor?
* What if the doctor wants to spend months redoing all the tests we did 2-3 years ago, including the laparoscopy?
* What if the doctor tells me he won't start treatment until I wean Bean?
* What if my husband and I don't agree on how many/which treatments to pursue?
* What if we do the same protocol several times and don't get pregnant?
* What if we exhaust all of our treatment options and come home without a baby?

If I were still working as a counselor and had myself as a client, I might encourage myself to begin answering those questions to reduce their power.

But I don't feel like it right now.


  1. Came to check out the site because I was thinking your appt was coming up soon...and you have just posted! Wish I lived closer and could help out with childcare for the Beanster.

    I wish I had some great advice to make it better, but instead I will just say I am praying for you and thinking happy/positive thoughts even when you feel you cannot.

    Hope the appt goes well next week and alleviates some of your concerns and fears!

  2. First of all, Big ((Hugs)) and second, I will keep Hope in my <3 for another healthy, happy baby. Best Wishes w/your new RE and it is scary, you are owning that, very healthy and all that, counselor.

  3. Don't worry about the second one at least. Even if it means dropping Bean off with me at work for 30 minutes, I'm sure that one will get handled somehow.

  4. I hear ya! I know exactly how you feel. I wish it was easy to turn off all the what if's but it really isn't and for me answering them don't help either because I can make I worse. I hope things go well and definetly hope you do not have to redo all those tests!

  5. I hope that the appointment puts to rest some of your concerns.

    BTW, great advice about answering some of your 'what if' questions to reduce their power. I 'd never heard that advice before, but might employ it next time things stress me out.

  6. I never realized that there could be such a thing as secondary infertilty until we went through a case of primary. But now that I know and understand that this can happen - ugh. Especially if you've already had a go-around with primary and THEN get smacked with a case of secondary. Hardly seems fair. Wishing you the best of luck at your appointment. One day at a time. :)

  7. Ahh . . . well, I know it probably doesn't help, but you will survive all of those things if they happen. May you not need to survive them.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting.

  8. Wish I could give you a hug.

  9. I really feel for you. That first go was so, so awful. Who wants to do that again? But now that I'm in the thick of the 2ww, I can tell you that for me it's nothing like the first time. I'm so relaxed about it all. BUT... if it doesn't work this time and we have to keep trying and trying, that might get -- trying! I hope we both find the second time to be a piece of cake.

  10. Thinking of you as you try to find answers. And relating to much on your list. My current biggest concern is $$$, as I just learned that my insurance no longer covers IF treatments.

    On top of the heartache and "what ifs," I'm dealing with the Mama-guilt. How much of Em's college fund and future am I willing to spend on attempting to create a sibling? ACK. I hate that there are no easy answers! Wishing you all the best...

  11. For what it's worth our darling daughter, we love you and we are here for you!

  12. Hey Sunny, like you stated in your comment on my blog....Good Luck to both of 'us'.

    Even for us, the doctors have not ruled out the possibility of natural overall I am hopeful that we have a chance on our own...but cycle to cycle is just a mish-mash of conflicting emotions...till now, we have not succeeded even once in making a baby, or if we did it ended before I realized it or so...

    One week from now you shall be sitting in a doctor's office who will take you to the path of parenthood again....All the very best for it...I hope you are able to hook up good childcare while you are not there...

    Good Luck!

  13. Your what-ifs will choose to fold or unfold as they occur....I just hope that there is a rainbow in the end, and you don't have to go through the knife for nothing!

  14. First of all, you totally cracked me up with your comment on my blog.

    I struggled last week with some what-ifs of my own, and my post about that will go up tomorrow.

    Maybe it would help if you wrote down all the answers to the questions? Then burned the paper? Just a thought. I'm always trying to quiet my mile-a-minute mind.

  15. Oh yes, secondary IF hurts. It hurts BADly. Not quite as much when you have your LO to wipe your tears...but nearly as much. Honestly, I couldn't believe how painful TTC #2 started out to be. It's actually gotten easier the past 18 months.

    I tend to shy away from hope as well. Too much of a crash at the end of hope. But, at church on Sunday my pastor said the most wonderful thing I've ever heard:

    What if God was concerned with your worry as much as you are?

    I hope your appnt went well!


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