Monday, November 2, 2009

Thoughts of My Inner Subfertile

I can't remember which of my blogger friends used the word subfertile (please shout out and I will credit you). I like the term. When I read it, I thought, "Finally, a word that does describe me!"

You see, I guess I could be considered one of them, the fertile. I am a mother after all. I don't really consider myself truly fertile, however, even if I can no longer fit snugly into the infertile category. My precious son is the product of IVF/PGD. To have another baby, I would most likely have to go through a FET. I have battle scars that run deep from my days in the IF trenches.

One of my best girlfriends (who reads this blog occasionally, and C, you know I love you and am so happy for you) just found out that she is pregnant with #2 today and it reminded me how subfertile I really am. Her reaction was what you would expect: a mix of shock, a little fear, worry about money, logistics, and how her husband would react, and happiness. She immediately put her hand on her tummy and started moaning about the weight she would gain and how could she possibly love another baby as much as she loves her darling daughter. I didn't begrudge her any of these feelings. I was jumping up and down at the news and was possibly even initially more excited than she was.

But after I went home, I thought about my fertility - my subfertility, if you will - and felt a little wistful. You see, there is no doubt in her mind that, come June 30th, she will have another baby. She won't obsessively spot check, she won't add "Well, if it works out" to all of her baby thoughts. I am glad for her, I don't wish my fears on anyone. I am just a teensy bit jealous of her innocence.

Her husband was completely unaware of the fact that she thought she was pregnant. I offered to watch their daughter for them tonight so that when she went to pick him up at work, she could surprise him and they could go to dinner to celebrate. I was a little jealous as she drove off, excited and nervous to surprise her husband. M and I will never have that surprise moment again. There is little surprise with IVF or FETs. It's all calculated to the practical minute of when the beta will be called in. Not that the moment isn't special, but there isn't that element of surprise. Or, if we are taken by surprise with a pregnancy, I do not want to celebrate it. We have done that too many times, had our little Hallmark moment, only to have the pregnancy end just a few days or weeks later. Both of us are too gun shy to even think about celebrating a pregnancy at six weeks gestation. I mean, we are thankful for each and every one of our angels and any more precious ones we might be lucky enough to receive, but we can't really celebrate them as another couple might. Any baby that we have, for no matter how long, will be loved like none other, but we won't be getting out the sparkling cider until much further along in a pregnancy.

The differences continued. . .

She called family and friends with wild abandon this afternoon and evening. Literally all of their friends now know about their happy news. A little envy snuck in at the thought of this wonderful confidence. Again, at six weeks pregnant, M and I were barely telling each other about it, let alone spreading the news. Even when we were finally firmly in the second trimester, with tons of good ultrasounds to bolster our belief in the health of our baby, we still hesitated to tell anyone. . . you know, just in case.

The one part of her night that struck a chord of familiarity in me was when she said that she had called one of her friends who has had a miscarriage and has not gotten pregnant since. She said that she was pretty sure her friend was crying by the end of their conversation. That was the woman that I identified with, the only part of her "finding out" moment that I really felt that I understood.

The happiness, the carefree part of pregnancy doesn't really apply to me. Not that I didn't enjoy my pregnancy with Will. I did, especially as it continued. But the beginning, those days of not knowing and living every moment in fear, yeah, I didn't really enjoy that part. Seeing my friend living that joy made me so happy for her, and yet a tiny bit sad for me. I would not wish her any of my subfertility, but did wish myself just a tiny bit of her fertilty.


Anonymous said...

This post really touched me. I lost several babies before I eventually gave birth to my daughter. I'm also sad that I couldn't just feel that uncontrolled happiness that other women feel when they find out they're having a baby. I think I had a panic attack everyday of my pregnancy. I missed out on the joy that most women take for granted.

HereWeGoAJen said...

I agree. I will never feel safe in a pregnancy again.

Mazzy said...


We each have our lumps in life. This particular one sucks pretty stinking bad... but I bet everyone says that about whatever particular form of crapola they have to deal with, too. Thank God we have each other to lean on.

PamalaLauren said...

How far along is this person. It seems highly illogical to notify everyone of a pregnancy when you're only 5 weeks. So much can go wrong. And I haven't had fertility problems ( at least nothing like most people go through) and even I wouldn't tell anyone until I was at least 13 weeks. Maybe 8 weeks if I saw the heart beat but even then so much can go wrong. I've only had one miscarriage (although it might have been more but only one that I know of we were trying for 13 months before I got pregnant so who really knows), so everything is a "if this last, if this sticks, if this happens".

Anonymous said...

I wish I could say that those feelings go away the second time around, but they don't. They get worse on a certain level because losing a pregnancy is not only losing that baby but a family member, a sibling--this hit me hard when I thought we were losing this baby. I hesitated telling anyone at all and most people didn't find out until just a few weeks ago, and I'm 21/22 weeks now.

Pregnancy is amazing, but it is so so scary--something you wouldn't know until you've been touched with a "worst case" scenario. I wish your friend the best. And I hope that when you do have another that you will have more peace. (( many hugs))

Anonymous said...

I've been lurking for a long time. I love your blog and I wish you all the luck in the world with TTC!

Your post says everything I've been thinking about celebrating pregnancy. And that is why only my husband and my mom (well, and my blog readers!) know about my miscarriages. I wish I could bring myself to tell people so they could be there to provide support when things end badly, as they always seem to do.

I don't really qualify for the term "subfertile", since both my pregnancies have been, um, less than planned. But I know I first heard the term from Kym at I'm a Smart One.

Katie Collier said...

It's as if you just stole the words from my mouth as to EXACTLY how I feel about the situation we've been put in as well. Thank you for giving me support and also TONS of hope for the future :-)