After my last post, by God's grace, I was finally able to settle in with the idea that this pregnancy might actually stick. I'm thankful I was still having blood work done weekly to monitor the placenta's progress because after my first sonogram with my OB, I have had to wait over a month before being seen again. I have to admit, I got spoiled to having a sonogram at the RE's office every other week. So it was comforting to have the numbers of my progesterone and estradiol levels go up so I could know things were progressing as they should. Eventually I was even allowed to stop taking the progesterone and estradiol I had been prescribed and I have now officially graduated my RE.
I'm happy to be able to say that things are progressing well with the pregnancy and I am at 13 weeks 2 days today. I was under the impression that the first trimester was officially over after I completed the 12th week, but then I read online today that I'm technically still in the first trimester until the end of the 13th week. Either way, it's good to have a glimmer of hope that I may just get my energy back as I had two wonderful days this week with energy (until I got hit with a stomach bug).
Prior to this pregnancy, I had grown accustomed to hearing insensitive comments made by well-meaning people who know nothing about what it's like to deal with infertility yet feel compelled to speak on the subject. I had developed responses (both to share with the speaker and also to keep to myself), and was becoming adept at looking at them with pity and sympathy because they just didn't "get it." (I've had the blessing of having many fertile friends who were able to "get it" without having to walk through it because they could see past themselves and made every attempt to imagine themselves in my shoes.)
And I knew to expect the "pregnancy police" to come around once I started to show or when I spread the word that I was pregnant. Those people that feel it is their duty to delineate to every pregnant woman they encounter the "do's" and "don'ts" of being pregnant. I also expect to have certain family members become entirely too interested in every aspect of the pregnancy, feeling compelled to take on the role of "pregnancy police." (If you're a family member reading this blog, you're not one I'm concerned about...otherwise you wouldn't have access to this blog ;-) )
I remember reading some responses on some blog posts about complaining after finally achieving the BFP (Big Fat Positive) after battling infertility. Many people shared their thoughts that if anyone had the right to complain during pregnancy, that it was someone who could truly appreciate what they had. I took that to heart and have allowed myself to have mini pity parties for a moment or two as needed, not sharing it with anyone other than myself or my husband, or occasionally my Tweeps. But truly, I have found even the most unpleasant changes of pregnancy to be fascinating, so I haven't really been complaining much at all.
But THEN...as I was falling asleep one evening, blissfully singing a Bon Jovi tune a Facebook friend had planted in my brain, I was hit with a sudden headache and an intense desire to eat (and I had already brushed my teeth so I was NOT going to get up just to eat something and have to brush my teeth again). I ignored both of them for a while, but sometimes, it just helps to share your pain with others to make it a bit more bearable. So I grabbed my phone and posted the following on Facebook:
Well, hello there, Headache and Sudden-Hunger-Pangs :-/
I don't remember inviting either of you to join me.
And that was it. I thought it was cute and clever, and that pride was probably my downfall. Because later (I don't remember if it was that night that I saw it or the next day), I read a response from an acquaintance from one of my high schools. This is what she wrote:
"as soon as you started creating life you invited
all kinds of cool feelings into your life."
Initially, I clicked "like" because that's my knee-jerk response when I don't know how to respond to someone I can tell means well, but actually offended me greatly. But the more I thought about it, the more frustrated I became. Here is a woman who has several children, and while I can't prove it, it APPEARED to my extremely defensive frame of mind at the time that she was looking down upon me in all of her "experienced motherly wisdom" as if to say, "oh, honey, welcome to the club, get used to it, parts of this sucks," but it's phrased in such a way that what I HEARD when I read it was, "Well, if you can't handle all of the "fun" and "exciting" changes your body will be going through then you should have considered that before you got pregnant!"
Now, let me interject here...I am already a mildly defensive person. It comes from years of believing everything everyone told me, only to realize later in life that many people took advantage of my gullible nature either for fun or for malice (all of which were hurtful to me), so my Pollyanna mentality flew out the window when I became disillusioned. Now, I protect my heart first and ask questions later. Sometimes, coupling this defensive stance is the aggressive attitude that goes with it. The one that has a constant retort with just the slightest intent to sting when spoken. This feature is not always there. It usually only rears it's head when I haven't had enough sleep or when I've already had it "up to here." But since I became pregnant, both of those tendencies have been amplified exponentially and I barely have a filter on my mouth to speak of. Pretty much whatever is in my head is going to come flying out of my mouth before I can consider the ramifications of what I'm saying.
The longer I pondered my acquaintance's response, the more steamed I became and the more I felt I had to defend myself. (By the way, I truly admire those people who can say, even when angry, "I don't owe that person an explanation," and then follow through on not needing to give the explanation...I, however, am the explanation queen and offer them to anyone who will listen, as I always feel the need to defend myself.)
So, I later replied (rather than deleting her comment altogether, which is what I wanted to do) with this response:
"Trust me, I knew what I was signing up for. Totally worth it. Still, I'm allowed to have my moments." (actually, I misspelled allowed and had to fix it, which didn't help my pride)
To which she responded how happy she was for me to be pregnant and that she knew I would love it, as if to say, "Whoa, Nelly! I wasn't judging you!" ;-) And I was fine with that response. It is, after all, difficult to know what is being conveyed in writing when it's in real time and unedited.
But I bring up this story because what I DIDN'T expect was to be judged by FERTILE people for taking note of my discomfort during pregnancy. And honestly, most of my friends are super supportive and are excited to be able to have conversations with me about all of these "cool feelings" I invited into my life. One thought that kept swimming through my brain was, "Why is it perfectly acceptable for fertile people to complain throughout the entirety of their pregnancy, but the minute someone who paid tons of money and went through myriad painful procedures and years of disappointment in order to become pregnant starts complaining the 'let me remind you what you signed up for' police are beating down her door?" Seriously, lady, I think I earned the privilege to have a complaint or two. (And please understand that I do differentiate between complaining and being all "woe is me!" about pregnancy.)
I have complained very little about anything to do with being pregnant. Truthfully, I have had very little to complain about. I find everything fascinating and exciting and I'm storing it all up in my heart because this may be the only time I get to experience any of this. What I find myself complaining the most about is other people. Not just the regular complaints I would have about other people if I weren't pregnant, and not just the amplified complaints I have about people doing normal things that suddenly annoy me because of copious amounts of hormones coursing through my body, but these are complaints about people who are interested in my pregnancy in a non-loving way. They may mean well, but they're not motivated by love as much as they are motivated by having the need to say something.
Case in point: I go to a weekly bible study. I have known many of the women involved in this study for several years. Before I became pregnant, all the questions I received from these women were about DH's deployment and how he was doing. Now that I'm pregnant, I get bombarded with questions about the baby, how I'm feeling, how far along I am, and all that mess. If these were perfect strangers just learning that I'm pregnant, or even people I only see once a month, I could completely understand and accept their questions. But these are women I fellowship with WEEKLY, often more than once a week, and all they can think to talk about with me is the condition of my health?!?! Seriously??? I have a real problem with that! Take the time to get to know me if you're going to use the air you're expelling, don't just waste it with veiled "chit-chat" by pretending that you're asking legitimate questions. Honestly, I shouldn't have to tell you each week how far along I am or when I'm due if you really paid attention to the answer in the first place! Needless to say, I'm frustrated about this.
Last thing before I close this forever-long post. My mother-in-law was a champ all throughout our pre-pregnancy infertility days. She struggled for four years before finally being able to conceive DH, her first child. So, she truly understood our pain. I'm not sure what happened, but somehow the announcement that we are pregnant changed her from being very understanding and "minding her own business" to feeling the need to pass on information from either herself or others on her side of the family that would be better left unsaid. I mean, seriously, just because a family member insists that you pass on instructions to your pregnant daughter-in-law doesn't mean you can't install your own filter and choose NOT to pass on information that isn't worth repeating. Which leads me to believe that she too feels that I need to hear the information that her family insists I need to hear.
What kinds of things do they want me to know, you ask? Well, let me tell you. The first lovely bit of information I received all the way from Florida was that I needed to be careful to not wear tight pants while I'm pregnant because it's important that I not squish the baby. Ummm...thanks. Thanks for that wise and sound advice. Especially since I make it a habit to wear skin-tight, uncomfortable clothes all the time to catch the stares from all the guys (please hear my sarcasm in that)! I won't go into a discourse on the lifestyle of this side of the family. I'll just say that they're the side of the family that often gets spoken of in hushed whispers, and leave it at that.
The next advice came about a week or two after the recent Lysteria outbreak was announced on Cantaloup crops in the country. Granted, this information would have been useful, if it had been given the day the news announced it instead of two weeks later. But the insistence with which they conveyed to my MIL the importance of giving me the message indicates that they were certain I was out buying all the cantaloup I could eat and feasting on it daily. Maybe the news takes a while to get to that part of Florida? I don't know. But by the time I heard the word from them, I had already passed up cantaloup once at the grocery store and twice at a friend's house, because I don't live under a rock!
The final thing actually came from my MIL herself and kind of threw me for a loop. I finally started showing just a bit last week, and I went to visit my in-laws for dinner. While we're eating, not having conversation, just eating, my MIL busts out with this statement:
"No, you don't look fat at all. You just look pregnant."
I was flabbergasted. I thought, "Did I ask if I look fat? Because I don't remember saying anything about feeling fat or about anyone commenting on whether I appear fat or not. Did someone tell you I look fat? Or do you actually think I look fat?" But I didn't say any of that. Instead, I swallowed my food, looked at her, and said, "Thanks."
There have been many challenges in dealing with people as DH and I have walked through Infertility, and I would have thought they would have prepared me for the challenges we will have of dealing with people while we are pregnant. But truly, they have not. People are people and will always be practicing opening their mouth wide enough to put their foot in it, but neglecting the important part of actually swallowing their foot (myself included). Of the many challenges I will face during the pregnancy, and then afterward as a parent, the one that I think will be the most difficult for me personally will be dealing with all of the other people who have opinions about my life.
Thanks for reading. Prayers for my attitude toward other people will be greatly appreciated.