Sunday, January 22, 2006

Babies in the Waiting Room

Forums. They're all over the place and they're a great way to be able to share intimate details of one's life without actually revealing anything about who you are. Once in a while, I like to read messages and offer some hope for those who need it.

I read a message from a woman who had poor quality embryos and I told her about my FET (frozen embryo transfer) cycle that I did just to be able to move on to a "real" (fresh) cycle... and about my twins who are now 9-1/2 years old from that cycle. A woman with a small hematoma (blood clot) wrote to ask if there's any hope for her pregnancy and I wrote back that I had both cases - a large hematoma that eventually caused a miscarriage & a small hematoma that disappeared sometime around my 9th week of pregnancy. Usually, I only answer when no one else has...

Different forums have different rules. The ones in the US tend to be the strictest, where you have to write "pg ment" or "m/c ment" (pregnancy or miscarriage mentioned) in your title. Of course there's also "kids ment" and others. You can't put your successes in your signature line because you'll be hurting other, less fortunate, people's feelings. And there's the inevitable - "I can't believe that someone brought her 2-year-old to the fertility clinic" and all the women who jump up to say how horrible it is. Over the years (and I've been reading infertility forums on the internet for 10 years now) this has come up in almost every forum I've read.

It took me over 3 years to conceive my first child. Not a very short time, especially since I was under 21 when I started trying. My friends were all older, all having babies, and believe me, I was soooo sick of being invited to their baby parties that after a while I only went to those of really close friends. But when I was in the waiting room and a woman came in with her baby, it made me happy. It gave me hope. Hey, I could be like her someday. I could have a baby too... and even try for another! I would attempt to start a conversation to get some encouraging information. "Was your baby born through IVF?", "How many cycles before you succeeded?"

My second cycle was successful and I delivered a healthy baby girl at the end of 42 weeks (I had to be induced). I was 24-1/2 and I refused to let anyone call her an only child. She was my first child. After she was born, I went back for treatment as soon as I could, to try to get pregnant again. I didn't take her with me, but only because it wasn't convenient (I dropped her off at her nursery school and then drove to the fertility clinic).

Seeing some of the less tolerant messages makes me wonder what an ideal situation would look like. Would they (the writers) really like to see the world on hold until they're successful? Would their life be happier if their friends didn't flaunt their pregnancies, if their little sister didn't have her 3rd child (usually it's an unplanned child or the sister's not married). And in general, would a childfree world really be more convenient? Um... oops... that is... until they have their child...

For those of you who are going through infertility - enjoy seeing other people with children. When your child is born s/he will be the most special and precious person in the world to you. You'll want everyone to see how wonderful, unique and beautiful your baby is. You'll take him or her (or them :-)) for a walk in the park, to the pet store, and to the playground just for fun, not to make anyone feel jealous... People who walk around with their children are not being insensitive. They're living.

Enjoy life now. Smile at little children the same way you'll want people to smile at yours someday. Hopefully someday soon.


Anonymous said...

Actually, I think you're wrong - it is insensitive. Some of those women haven't been there just once or twice, but time and time again. Many of those women don't know what is actually wrong, only that they cannot hold a new life in their arms. Envy is an ugly word that matches an ugly feeling, but a feeling nonetheless that many IVF patients (myself included) have when we see someone else's bundle of joy.

But we also know the stats - the fact is there will be precious few of us walking out with even 1 baby, let alone more.

You have been successful - congratulations. But as you wouldn't eat a 3 course meal in front of a starving woman, waving your child in front of their desperate faces is equally as cruel.

Anonymous said...

When hopefully you are successful in your quest for fertility you may understand that sometimes there is no alternative but to take a child with you to an appointment. I have had to do this and yes, I have felt guilty but what am I to do - never have any more children in case I upset someone in the waiting room. There was no waving my child around. I'm a pround mother. I completely understand the feelings of envy and remember them myself before my first baby was born. You really have to try and get a grip on yourself and not let these ugly feelings turn your beautiful personality into such a bitter one.

Anonymous said...

i agree completely with anonymous. i know how much it upsets me to see kids in the waiting room & IF i ever get one miracle, and if i have to go back for ivf to get another, there is no way i would take my child in there & risk having someone else feel the way i do when people bring their kids to appointments. i will absolutely be a proud mother & will want to show my child off to the world, but not in an infertility office. i have a grip on myself & my feelings are real & valid. when you've longed and ached for something for almost 8 years, i think you have a right to not want to see your dream rubbed in your face when could be sitting there during another failed cycle or a m/c.