Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pleasantly Surprised or Bitterly Disappointed?

I have put a lot of stock into being positive for this IVF cycle. I have honestly had very good feelings about our chances this second time around. I have done just about everything I could do--I have filled my body with good things and eliminated the "bad;" I have nourished my body and soul through yoga, acupuncture, and meditation; I have followed good luck rituals and advice from friends who have succeeded in their fertility quests ahead of me.

So why do I still feel a little terrified? As much as I am feeling good and confident that this is it, that 2011 is The Year of the Baby, that this is the best chance we've had so far, there is that little kernel of doubt and fear beneath it all. I am trying to smother it with wanton positivity, but there is a part of me that needs it there. If I know that it's possible that this won't work, then maybe my disappointment won't be too horrible if it fails. I used to be a firm believer in "It's better to be pleasantly surprised than bitterly disappointed." This was my protective mechanism that has served me well through the years--if you don't expect much, you can't be disappointed in the result. But if you think that that thing you're really hoping for will absolutely happen, man will you be sorry when it doesn't.

Now, though, I am trying a different take. I acknowledge the kernel of doubt so that I'm not totally in a fantasy of Yes Yes Yes, but I've decided to convince myself of the best possible outcome. In hopes that a super positive outlook somehow influences cell division and implantation and healthy pregnancy maintenance. Maybe it does, who knows? I told Bryce that until I have evidence to the contrary, I am pregnant. During my last cycle, a friend said, "If you have embryos in your uterus, you're pregnant. Even if just for a short while, you are there." (Not entirely true biologically speaking, but a beautiful thought.) Bryce was horrified at my declaration of positive thinking on first. Why set myself up for such a letdown, if our test ends up negative? The higher the hopes, the greater the fall into why set yourself up to possibly be devastated? His instincts are to protect me, to protect us from further pain.

I see the point. But after I explained, he saw mine, too. This process is hard. The outcome, no matter how many positive elements you have brought to the table, is still 50/50 at best. An incredibly high-stakes coin toss. So, if for the two weeks when those embryos are in utero and you have no idea if they are snuggling in or floating aimlessly to their doom, you want to decide that you are pregnant and enjoy those two weeks, why not? It may be the only time I get to feel the joy of being pregnant. Why wouldn't I want to enjoy that precious time? A call with negative results at this point in our game is going to be utterly devastating whether I doubt and assume failure or I feel the promise of the embryos inside and assume pregnancy. I choose enjoyment, and I leave that pesky seed of doubt deep beneath the positive layers of earth. May it never get the chance to push up and unfurl again.

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