Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Telling

When we decided to tell our news freely after 13 weeks, I didn't realize the first trimester actually goes until 14 weeks, but we stayed with the plan because our ultrasound during week 12 went well.

Unexpectedly, telling has been a bag of mixed emotions and thoughts. I had imagined it as pure joy. I realize now that I had imagined it as if I had conceived naturally in a normal amount of time -- as if this were a normal pregnancy announcement. Isn't that funny?

Some peoples' reactions made me laugh -- the woman at work who burst out laughing and was so excited for me, and then told me that she had suspected as much a month or more ago when I looked particularly green. Some people cried, including the woman at church who got pregnant when we did last year but went on to have a baby instead of a miscarriage, like we did. I decided that was her relief from the guilt.

When someone -- a guy, no less -- blurted out, "It worked!" in front of people who knew nothing of our IF treatments, I wanted to smack him. I gently told him later that we aren't telling everyone about our IVF because someday we need to tell the kids how they came into the world and it might be best if everyone they know doesn't already know this. I think he got the message.

However, in some situations, I have found that along with saying "we are expecting" comes a a great urge to explain how we came to this point. For three years, I've largely held in all the difficulty we've had conceiving, so now at moments, I have found myself wanting to explain how hard it has been or wanting to educate people about infertility and help them understand that it is all around and you just never know who's dealing with it, so be sensitive, people!). With some people I want to explain what an amazing feat this is -- this is no ordinary pregnancy, people, a WIZARD made my babies in a magical lab... I want them to marvel with me at what medical science can do. And I want to explain the enchanted feeling I had after discovering new hope with CCRM . . . I want to explain why I've been moody or distant or socially awkward for three years -- that there's a root cause to all of it.

But largely, I cannot explain all of that. People just aren't that interested, are they? They are quite interested in the fact that I'm pregnant with twins, but they want to think and talk about due dates and baby names. They don't really want the back story. I'm sure through trial and error I'll figure out what feels right about what to tell and what not to tell -- and to whom.

Some people have asked, "Do twins run in your family?" and when I want to, it has been so great to honestly answer, "They do, actually. My mom's mom and my dad's dad were both twins." I LOVE that because if I don't want to tell them the truth of how I ended up with twins, that's all I have to say. I am not a good liar and I don't like to lie, so having twins in my family history is really helpful. And this is snarky, but it feels good to say that to nosy people who have no business in my business.

One woman from church said, "Oh, so many people have been praying for this for so long." That one has had me thinking: have they been praying for this because they think we'd make good parents and we've been married for almost 4 years and we're both getting up there in age and well, it's just about time? Or did someone secretly spill the fact that we were struggling with infertility and have been doing treatments for years? Or maybe they just assumed such. I don't think I want to know the answer. If a bunch of people at church knew the real deal, I'm so glad I didn't know it. I probably would have skipped church a lot more often.

(Theological tangent, not intended to invite comments by readers who tell me I'm wrong about this or that God's timing is perfect. This is just what I'm thinking: I can't help wondering if sooo many people had been praying for this, why did it take so long? Why did it almost not happen? Kind of reinforces my thought that we are pregnant not because this is what God intended -- "you wanted this so bad, so God made it happen," as one of my friends said -- no, we are pregnant because we persevered through 5 IUIs and 3 IVFs and we paid Dr. Babycraft $25,000. Not that God had ill intentions for our pregnancy or that God wasn't part of the equation. I wholeheartedly believe that my faith has helped me along the way. Maybe God helped us find the patience to persevere and the belief that no matter what, we would find some peace through this journey, regardless of the outcome. And who knows, maybe that's what people prayed for:  not for a pregnancy itself, but for patience and peace. God is not Santa Claus, after all. But let me be clear:  I do believe God is in this thing and I need God to be; I'm just not sure God could have made this happen without a lot of help humans.)

Sorry about that. I bet I've never mentioned that I'm a seminary dropout. I took an elective called "Suffering and Evil" at one time that really helped me think through some of the above. Of course it was not thought through within the context of infertiilty; it was throught through within the context of my dad's brain injury and subsequent nine years of living hell betwen 1996 and 2005.

As we told people after church last Sunday, I had a bit of odd anxiety that was unexpected. I think it may have been the fact that I don't really like being the center of attention or the subject of discussion. Or it may have been that being "out there" and having people think I'm a normal pregnant woman is so weird. I do feel very pregnant -- have seen three ultrasounds to prove it and have physically been wiped out for much of the past two months -- but in some ways, it just feels better to keep the pregnancy news to myself and my close circle of friends who've known for a while. Now I move into this phase of being under a microscope and being subject to all kinds of unsolicited advice. The woman who said sooo many people have prayed for this also said, "Expect to be monitored closely by 150 people." That's nice on one hand, but yikes! What a change.

What a jumbled mixture of contradicting thoughts, huh?

The one place I haven't told yet is Facebook. I rarely update my status because I don't think people care what I'm doing. I generally reserve status updates for something big. Well this is big, but I've read so many other bloggers' posts where FB announcements of pregnancies really sting. I don't know who's out there dealing with infertility in my FB world, but I don't want to cause them pain. I thought about just totally coming out and saying, "After three years of struggling with infertility, I am expecting twins." But I don't want everyone who's my friend on FB to know I'm infertile. I've also thought about an email to a smaller group of FB friends. I will probably go that route.

Okay, this post was ready to go until I reread it and decided to add in that theological rant. Sorry again about that, and sorry for the length of this post. I've got more on my mind after listing to a Super Mom explain why cloth diapers and water births are best . . . But will save all of that for later.

Have a good weekend, everyone!


  1. Congrats Susie! If I ever get to be pg again, I know it will be agonizing for me when to tell people and how to handle their comments. We're doing DE and while the whole world will not know how our baby is conceived, it will be "known" to those closest to us that we are pg with a DE baby. Looong story!! But anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the other side of IF...disclosure.

  2. Oh yes, the advice will FLOW and I can only guess that you will get more because of the twins. You will hear some CRAZY stuff - so make sure to write it down so you can tell us about it!!!

    For me, looking back, I can see God's plan. I can understand why I needed to go through what I went through to get to where I am now. But going through it - wow - I couldn't see His plan. I turned away from Him for quite some now, I keep that in mind. Trying for number two has been harder than I thought it would be and for me it helps to remind myself that I DON'T know His plan I just have to trust.

  3. Boy, do I get what you are saying about feeling some need to let people know this was not an easy task, this pregnancy. I've been fairly secretive up to now, but now when we've told people, I will often add, "It took us 3 years of hard work to get here!" No one has followed up on that, but it makes it clear enough that this didn't just happen. I have one friend/couple that just recently had a whoopsie baby, and when we told them, she said something about was I having the trouble of having to adjust to the idea of being pregnant. I laughed and said no, I've been trying for this for several years, I've been ready for several years, so no. I think she was a bit taken aback, but it shut up some of her complaining about being pregnant and a new mom.

    And now, let the assvice begin!!

  4. It's hard for me to picture what it'll be like when I out myself as pg in a month or so (y'know, if I'm still pg). It's *so* interesting to me to hear about your experience with that moment. Rock on!