Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Still infertile after all this time

While I realize that this would be impossible to tell from my posting rate, the last week or so has been a whirlwind of activity here in la Casa de Eggbert. Mystery and I had a childbirth/baby care class three times last week, and while it was great fun, it also kicked my well-padded ass energy-wise. I'll post about the class itself another day (too many stories, too little time). In the mean time, I want to talk about infertility.

For the past few months, I'd been feeling a little post-infertility. I don't mean that I was suffering from amnesia, or anything as sinister as that. I will never forget where we've been, and will never stop caring about my infertile sisters and brothers and their struggles. I just meant that I have been in a phase of excited anticipation, rather than one of sadness and fear. Oh I still have fears, I fear that Eggbert will come too early, that Eggbert will spontaneously die for no good reason, that I'll be such a basket case of a neurotic mother that Eggbert ends up hating me, that Mystery will be so relaxed as a dad that he accidentally sets Eggbert on fire. You know, the normal stuff. However, I have now started to believe more and more firmly that there will actually be a baby in my life in a few months: two months and two days, plus or minus a week, to be precise. I even ordered a crib yesterday. An actual crib. Sleeping spot for an actual baby. Pretty much useless for anything else. So, I wasn't really in an infertility head-space, so to speak.

Then I went to childbirth class. The instructor was a mother of four, who clearly gets pregnant at the drop of a hat, as she regaled us with tales about how her last was an "oops". I was surrounded by big bellies and glowing faces. I heard crack after crack about how sex during pregnancy is fine, because "how do you think the baby got there in the first place"? I thought about raising my hand and saying "with the help of a team of crack embryologists and a big syringe", but thought the best of it. Had there been an opening, I suppose I should have spoken up. Part of me wishes I had spoken up. The other part reminds me that this falls squarely into the "too much information" category as an announcement to a group of complete strangers. So I just sat there and squirmed. It didn't help when the instructor went on at great length about how breastfeeding makes you more fertile (?!?), and the importance of using contraception while breastfeeding. Or when the other students started talking about what month would be best to conceive #2. For the first time in a good long while, I felt thoroughly infertile.

Being a pregnant infertile isn't a bad thing. It beats the hell out of being a non-pregnant infertile, that's for sure. I'm mostly very happy and at peace with my situation. However, it is still jarring to be reminded of how little the "normal" population understands about how infertility, and how off their radar we infertiles really are.

I've also (stop reading here if you don't want to hear something that sounds so ungrateful that it may make you want to club me over the head) found my mind wandering to a very wistful place whenever the topic of shopping for baby crops up (which happens a lot). My decisions about how much to spend and what to buy are constantly affected by the twin realities that a) We're unlikely to be lucky enough to have a #2, and b) We probably won't live in Korea forever. So, every object that I buy is likely to be used for only one child, and then will have to be a) given away or sold in Korea, or b) shipped overseas. So, rather than buying the perfect crib (I found it, for the low low price of only ~900 USD), I bought an adequate crib (~120 USD), and rather than buying a changing table, we're going to make do with whatever surfaces present themselves. As for a cute dresser for baby stuff? Well, how about a set of plastic drawers from the Korean equivalent of Wal-Mart instead? I realize that none of this stuff really matters. All that I really care about is a healthy baby. Still, I feel like I'm missing out on yet another one of those little joys of first-time parenthood. Each time these thoughts pop into my head, I can't help but spend a moment wallowing in the thought that this is likely to be the first and the last time that I ever get to experience pregnancy. That makes me sad. Still, I am so grateful to have had the experience once. It is enough. It may have to be.

We ARE going to buy a good stroller, though, dammit! Recommendations are very welcome.


Stephanie said...

Great post. I have started thinking about the post-infertile thing. I still have a long way to go, but I was thinking once infertile always infertile. I think the whole thing changes us on a level that will always remain changed.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

AshPash said...

Dearest Sara: What a lovely post which proves that we infertiles are never truly "fertile". The lucky ones make it to a pregnancy...one that they go through filled with fear while trying to be joyful and carefree. I do hope you can experience another pregnancy but I know right now you are focusing on your little one who will be here so soon.

As far as strollers go....I haven't bought one in eleven years and they have changed A LOT since then...no help from AshPash! :)

Sending you a hug today.

Thalia said...

oh boy do i hear you about the antenatal classes. I must write that post...

Nina said...

I'm in stroller hell right now. I am enjoying every minute of this hell though - I thank infertility. I'm not sure what to feel about the upcoming birthing classes.

I also feel as a partly-post-infertile-Infertile. I can't leave it behind, but it's not there in any breath I take.

I'm buying most of our baby clothes second-hand and even the changing table will be bought second hand. They grow out of both the clothes and the need for some "baby" furniture so quickly. Lot's of love to you.

Lut C. said...

I don't tell all and sundry how this baby was made either. I can squirm, and dazzle them with my vast knowledge of the female reproductive system. Not to mention my knowledge on the delivery process, which - oh irony - it looks like I won't have any use for either. I'll have to read up on C-sections.
Smiling politely is my tactic for all other occasions.

We're being very inconsistent in our spending for the baby. I've received a lot of second hand clothing, for which I'm most grateful. For one, it saves me the agony of having to choose from all the baby clothes available.
The furniture is plain and highly functional, from I*kea. The cute factor will have to come from decorations.

We bought a Buga.boo Cameleon, basically because it's one of the few models that would fit our cramped elevator. We're told it's a very ergonomic stroller, and it sure looks like it's well made.
It seems like a smooth ride and it's easy to manoeuvre.
And it comes in an impressively small package, so I'm sure you could order it over the internet.

Marie-Baguette said...

Before I go on and on and on about the Stokke stroller, I want to thank you for your post. It is hard for me to deal with fertiles even though I have a baby now. I have mentioned Max is an IVF baby to a few mums but they did not seem to know what it means. Are we more anxious parents because it was so hard for us to get pregnant or because we know that things can go wrong? I am going to write a post about the stokke on my blog, just for you!

Samantha said...

Breastfeeding increases fertility?! I thought the prolactin decreased fertility!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts as a pregnant infertile. It's too bad the feeling never leaves.

Marie-Baguette said...

There are lots of things I bought and did not use like the boppy nursing pillow and the bottles. But I am really glad I had was the Avent manual pump (when milk lets down, breasts get hard as stones and pumping brings relief) and the Lansinoh breast pads. Can't live without them. I wish I had bought a nursing bra BEFORE the birth. I really like the one I got from Elle Macpherson ("Maternelle") and the one I got from the Gap. They look great under camis for easy access. I don't like the tops with slits for the boobs because I am leaking too much for these. In fact I wear a bra at night too because of the leaking problem. After about a month, the boobs deflate a bit. I went from a 34B to 34DD, and I am now a 36/38C... The best therefore is to get bras that can accommodate the changes in size. Oh and the books I mentioned on my blog are great. My advice is to read about birth, nursing and babies as much as you can before the birth (after the birth, your brain is too fried by the lack of sleep for you to read anything). For the changing table, be extra careful because newborns DO move a lot. They sort of crawl and jerk around. The pediatrician keeps telling us that lots of babies fall because parents don't realize they can't move. I had no idea!

Rose said...

Great post, as always!
There was a TV special on here the other night about IVF, and one of the people interviewed was CĂ©line Dion, and even though she is a major star (and not my fav singer necessarily), she still went through all the injections and the heartache, and her testimony helped bring IVF a little more out of the closet. I don't know how it will go in our antenatal classes...But I don't feel like hiding the fact that we did IVF. I tell people who seem sympathetic, which is the majority so far. Our whole TTC story kind of gets boiled down to '3.5 years, then our first IVF worked', which makes us come out LUCKY (which we are) rather than covered in TTC battle scars. I mean, because we are now pregnant, the reality of being infertile is not an issue...for OTHER people. But it still is with me, big time. I will never forget those infertile years. Never. And only other now and former infertiles really understand.

Sarah said...

sounds like i lucked out on my class, perhaps because it was held across the street from my fertility clinic? but you're so right about how it is always wtih us. isn't it awful that we have to ponder not being able to have another at a time when we should be so full of excitement?

32 weeks, you are getting there! getting anxious yet??