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Scaredy Cats


a blog by Joy and Jim


Once you’ve been at this thing for a while, you kind of do it by rote. Even though it’s been stressful, I basically put myself on autopilot and forge ahead. It became totally normal to hop on a plane to NYC for another round of IVF. I literally stopped thinking about the drugs and simply popped them in my mouth. In fact, I was so much on a one-way track that I pretty much forgot about why I was doing it in the first place. That’s the thing about fertility treatments. You stop thinking about having a baby, an actual family, and you become fixated on one thing: Getting Pregnant. You are going for that positive pregnancy test, because without it, you have nothing.

That said, I cannot convey the surprise I felt when my doctor told me recently that, YES, I am pregnant. The test came back positive. How could that be? I was just telling a friend that I felt nothing. That there was no way IVF worked this time. I was shocked. Sure, it’s fun hearing that news. But when you’ve been through all we have, you know better than to break out the sparkling cider. One test. Positive. Big deal.

This time around, the doctor prescribed steroids to suppress my immune system in the hope that I wouldn’t fight off a foreign body. Apparently, the steroids also suppress your ability to sleep or feel one iota of confidence. So here I was, up all night (I remember dozing just as Jim’s alarm went off at 6am) and all I could think was: Great. I’m pregnant. Now what do I do?

All this meant to me was more worrying. Obviously, the only way to have a baby is to get pregnant. But you know what else? It’s also the only way to have a miscarriage, too. And I couldn’t seem to get past that notion. I just didn’t know if I could bear the pain once more.

When I’m not pregnant I know what I need to do. Fly to New York. Transfer more embryos. Or when I’m in between cycles, I can exercise like mad and eat what I want. But me, pregnant? What do I do with that?

My fear was unbearable. I told some close friends and family members, but as the words came out of my mouth I felt stupid. Should I be excited? Should I make a joke about being pregnant for the sixth time? All I had to do was look at the wan smiles of my friends as I told them the news to know that I was not out of the woods.

They looked scared, too.



To be honest, when I heard that we were pregnant, I knotted up and prepared for the worst. I immediately tried to visualize how I would handle myself if bad news came (again). Would I cry uncontrollably or fly off the handle, breaking things in an angry fit? It’s hard to predict your reaction when you’ve never really been to that place emotionally. But as a person who has a tendency to bottle things up, I keep fearing the inevitable explosion.

That’s not how I want to experience our first (potentially) viable pregnancy. I really wish that my fist instinct upon hearing that news from Joy wasn’t to ball up my fists and brace for the storm. Unfortunately, there’s really no other way for us. It’s just not possible to maintain hope after five freaking miscarriages. I’d be stupid to celebrate. Why should I let my guard down only to get duped again? So if I keep some low level of disappointment going, then I won’t be caught off guard if things take a turn for the worse.

I do not recommend this approach. It’s too easy to get good at it. Now I actually have to work at being excited. I guess this will be my struggle now: to try and focus some positive energy towards Joy and the baby growing inside her. Even now, as I talk about it I get a little freaked. I actually let my guard down for a moment there.
You may have missed it, it was just a moment ago. Okay, I’m going to try one more time.

We are pregnant. I can’t believe how hard it is to say that.

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