This is the fun part

foodThis is the fun part, the part before betas, and tables, and wands up my hoo-ha. The part before doctors and nurses and ultrasound technicians begin to scrutinize what’s inside me. The part during which it is just me, my babies, my nausea, and that simple pink second line. The part where I get to crave pickles (really!) and potato chips, popsicles and soda water, and think of myself as a normal pregnant woman.

Sort of. Except for when I type in internet searches concerning nausea that begins right after implantation, wondering if it is as normal as my nurse says it is, and I end up in forums, message boards, where there are women who have never experienced infertility. The ones with very early nausea, bemoaning their fate. “Is it possible to get sick this early???” is the gist of each questioner’s question. And other women respond with words along the lines of: “Yes! I got sick before I even got a positive—it sucks, but it happens. I’m sorry you’re going through this!” And  I think: “Sorry? Huh?”

And then I remember. I span back to the time before my first blighted ovum, my first miscarriage. Not having any nausea at all, and my mom and I chit-chatting breezily about it. “Maybe you’ll be lucky! Maybe you’ll be one of those women who doesn’t get nauseous,” I recall my mom saying.  And although I don’t remember exactly what I said in response, it wouldn’t surprise me if I said something casually such as: “Yeah, that’d be great.”

Oh, what I didn’t know then! I didn’t know that during the next three years, I would celebrate every pregnancy symptom of one, two, three, four, five, six pregnancies, jotting down catalogues in my calendar, lists yipping with exclamation points. Just like I’m doing now.

It’s difficult to not take note of the echoes. Even though this time feels very, very different to me on many levels, even though I feel like I am the one guiding this experience this time, the echoes remain.

Like for example today: I went to the vitamin store to get my Prenatal DHA. The same stuff I’ve gotten during previous pregnancies, and that I’ve been taking for the past three months. And I couldn’t help but notice the slight shift, a shift I have now experienced six times: I was not buying these as an infertile woman, prepping for her next treatment; I was buying them as a pregnant woman. I’d never seen this particular cashier before, and with the bloat I’m already sporting, for all she knew, I was just another knocked-up lady, purchasing her fish oils. Maybe she noticed the subtle lines around my eyes, the wisps of gray at my temples, and had the fleeting thought that I was probably working on my third and last child. Whatever the case, I couldn’t help but notice that I felt different, and I probably acted differently. I probably smiled more, made more eye contact. I felt authentic.

It’s not that I actually believe that b.s.—in no way am I a less authentic person, in no way do I have anything to be ashamed of, going in there not-pregnant and buying prenatal supplements. But there must be stuff brewing, feelings of embarrassment, at the unconscious level for me, all the time, that I’m not always aware of.

I felt different at TJ’s, too. It was a festival of mothers and children today, and I found myself making lots of eye contact with the cute kiddos. I also felt patient when two chatting mothers and their collective five children clogged the frozen aisle, one of them talking about how her son does not allow her to buy macaroons from the store any longer but demands she makes them from scratch. Instead of inwardly rolling my eyes, I looked at her face and saw that she was rolling hers, shrugging. “I’ve totally spoiled him,” she said. And it occurred to me: What did I know of what it was like, really like, to raise a demanding child? When would I give in?

These are the kinds of questions I, once upon a time, back in my late twenties and early thirties, had no problem entertaining. My then-husband, now ex-husband, and I would discuss these sorts of things over dinner. We would subtly (and not-so-subtly) critique the parenting strategies of our friends and talk about how we would do things differently or the same. But during my years of infertility, I haven’t felt so comfortable entering the territory of the “What kind of parent do I want to be” conversation. Sometime during the past three years, that conversation was supplanted by the other, darker conversation: “Will I ever get to become a parent?”

Last night, watching the credits of a movie roll by on our television screen, DH and I read names out loud that we liked, name possibilities for our children. We agreed on some, guffawed at others. It was thrilling. Scary. Like kissing someone you really, really like for the first time. And it was fun.

Yes, this is the fun part. I’m hoping that it lasts a good long while this time.

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6 Comments

  1. I’m glad to see you have such a great outlook on this period. It can easily be a nerve-wreaking one, so I’m very happy to see you’re being so mindful.

    For my final cycle, I noticed that letting go of the fretting actually helped get me through so much, from the waiting to the next ultrasound and finally to those weekly appointments. So keep doing what you’re doing. And stay away from the internet. It will only ruin your good vibe.

    Reply
  2. Yes it is fun. It is exciting. I am so glad you can experience this.

    Reply
  3. I loved this post. <3

    Reply
  4. Kali

     /  March 22, 2014

    So, so profoundly happy for you, from the bottom of my soul. I have approval to transfer to Atlanta, now I’m contemplating whether or not I’ll go. If you’re willing to talk about it offline, could you let me know with a comment here?

    Reply
  5. That picture of the pickles sums up my life about now ;) Love everything about all your posts, I am finally catching up and jumping for joy at all that’s happening! YAY

    Reply

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