Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Keeping My Mouth Shut

I have a big mouth. I can keep other people's secrets just fine, but I can't keep my own to save my life. Part of this big-mouth-ness led to this blog, which I enjoy writing very much and love hearing when it touches people or helps someone else out. However, I am trying a new tack with this next cycle. I am going to try to keep some information to myself.

At some point by the holidays, we will have completed our frozen transfer. I've already let that slip. But I am thinking that this time, for this very different cycle experience, for this fourth transfer of embryos into my uterus, I'm going to be more vague about when exactly that's all happening.

Sharing all the details of your cycle with a lot of people has a lot of benefits--you get cheered on, you have lots of people sending you positive thoughts and warm energy, and it offers a high level of support. But there is a downside to sharing each test result, each date of importance, each date that it happens. And I learned that last cycle.

I had a giant list of people to call on my pregnancy test day, and to update on what was happening via text messages and email. Before this cycle, I've only ever had to say "Nope, not pregnant." But with this last go-round, I got stuck with a "Yup, pregnant, but don't get too excited because it's likely not viable." So making all those calls got tricky--I had to temper the conversation with, "Ok, listen to my WHOLE STORY before you react." This was so people didn't immediately start shrieking with joy when the words "I'm pregnant" came over the line before the "but" could follow. Now, pregnancy test days are stressful to begin with. You wait all day for that call after you get your blood drawn. It could be as early as 11:30 and as late as 2 or 3. Every time your phone makes a peep your heart is in your throat and you just want to puke it up. Once you pick up, it's too late--you have to hear what the nurse has to say. And then you process it and start the phone call marathon. Or, as in the last cycle, a family member actually called me first, dying of curiosity but not realizing that I had literally just gotten my call. That got me thinking. I should NOT tell people when my pregnancy test is. Because it is an awful lot of pressure to feel like not just you, but your closest friends and family members are on tenterhooks. And sometimes, you want to spend some time with your news before you notify people. It's very private news. It can be very difficult news to grapple with--as in this last time, where I couldn't have imagined how it would feel to get a positive that I couldn't shout to the rooftops.

So, lesson #1: I am not sharing my exact pregnancy test date. It's just too much pressure. I have decided to share my news when I am ready and at peace with my news. After all, most people who just pee on sticks after having hot babymaking sex don't call their friends and family immediately--they savor that moment with their husband and then tell when they feel it's relatively safe. I probably won't wait until 12 weeks to tell my family and closest friends, but I reserve the right to wait a day or two if I need to. The tricky thing is that our process is pretty public. And we've made it that way. And we know things about conception and implantation that the average prego simply doesn't (like for instance, our two embryos are already conceived, and just chilling out until they implant months later). A positive is a major accomplishment--but as I learned from my last cycle, it's easier to think that I could share that joy so publicly so early than to actually do it.  I need and deserve this space.

The other thing that I am taking from my last cycle is that I don't need to update everyone with a blow-by-blow when I take my repeated tests. Even if I have a nice, high HCG number that indicates that I'm pregnant and it's hopefully for keeps, I will have to retest at least 2 times before my early ultrasound (thank you, ectopic pregnancy, for guaranteeing me a Week 6 ultrasound! That will be nice visual confirmation should we luck out.). In our last nightmare situation, I updated everyone with every bloodtest result. Information that not everyone fully understood--how is the average person to know that going from 12 to 488 in a week and a half isn't particularly good unless you're in this situation or work in the field? Having to explain "Yes, yes, it went up, but we're still not out of the woods" over and over again was painful. And, I actually had to clear out my voicemailbox and found that half of the messages were wonderful encouraging messages about each of my numbers. Which was a great support at the time but now just made me incredibly sad. The excitement over 26, 74, 144, 488--all the numbers over 12 that I will never forget as long as I live--it was very, very difficult to listen to. (I did save some, I don't know why. Maybe to remind myself that it is possible for me to get pregnant.)

The constant updates also add a lot of pressure--I felt like I had a certain amount of time after a call to soak it in and then I had to get on the computer and on the phone and let everyone know the update. It was very stressful. And each time the news wasn't so great, I felt like I was disappointing everyone else who was so hoping for good news. I was hoping for good news, too, but somehow it felt worse to have to break hopeful-but-still-not-encouraging news to the masses.

I'm not saying that I'm not going to share anything. I just want to change the terms a bit. I almost said "On my own terms," but there was no one who said "You must share THIS way!" last time. It was all self-imposed. So, I am changing my own rules. I am releasing myself of this overwhelming sense of responsibility that I feel to be conscientious and update everyone minute-by-minute. It feels like something I need to apologize for, but it's not, not really. I really and truly appreciated every card, every email, every text and call of encouragement throughout the two and a half weeks of tenuous pregnancy that I got to have. But this time, I want to keep it a little closer. I want to try to dial back my verbal vomit. I have no idea how successful I will be (like I said, I can't keep my big fat mouth shut to save my life), but I'd like to try. And I so appreciate in advance how this decision will be received--with understanding and knowing that (especially because of who I am), you won't be in the dark for long.

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