A blog about babies: the babies I lost, the babies I never had, the baby who made me a Mama.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How Do You Know; or, Instincts and Intuitions

We all know couples who describe their first meeting as a moment of absolute confidence and assurance. Maybe you're even part of one of those couples. My sister-in-law insists that by the end of her first date she knew she was going to marry my brother-in-law (though I wonder how she knew he was going to marry her). She's only one of many friends and family members with similar stories: I met him/her and I just knew.

I didn't have that. I met Lawyer Guy when I was twenty years old and a sophomore in college. He was twenty-six and an actual lawyer with an actual job who had actually graduated from an actual graduate school. I liked him right away (I mean, I went home with him that first night, so I hope I liked him!), but my brain told me there was no real future for the two of us. We were at different points in our lives. It just wasn't going to work out.

Except: I couldn't picture us breaking up. I knew we would, of course, but I couldn't imagine it happening, and as the weeks went on and we spent more time together, that imaginary break-up became less and less conceivable. A few months later, we both confessed that we loved each other and by the end of our first year dating, we were convinced we'd wind up married. But it wasn't like that at the beginning.

So what does this have to do with IF and fertility treatments?

I think of the conception stories of the parents and pregnant people I know as similar to "How we met" stories. Every reader of the New York Times Sunday Styles section knows that couple stories fall into a few recognizable categories (starting as friends; instant attraction; missed opportunities before the final clinch). From what I've seen over the last two years, conception stories do too. There's the "Nailed it on the first try" story (totally our favorites to hear people squealing over, amirite?). There's the "Miracle BFP after IF" story. There's the "We were on a break" story. There's the "Right before we started IVF" story. And on, and on, and on.

None of these stories feels right to me. I don't believe I'm going to get a Miracle BFP. I don't believe I'm going to get a While We Were On A Break baby. I don't think I'll tell the Right Before IVF tale.

It's the same feeling I had when I first met LG: a gap in imagination when I attempt to envision something I feel certain must happen. A break-up. A baby. Both equally inconceivable.

Maybe this means nothing. Maybe this is my subconscious awareness that I will never have a biological child. Maybe this means that the story of our path to baby hasn't occurred to me yet--that there are options and avenues I haven't considered.

I'm pretty sure it means I'm not pregnant right now. I'm pretty sure I'll be calling Dr. W's office in a week or so to set up the What Next? appointment. Maybe that's why I can't picture this. I don't know the next steps of the dance yet.


  1. I too spend the first 6 or so months of my relationship with Eric assuming that we'd break up-- in fact, I don't know if you've read Julie&Julia, but I really related to the part where she described her relationship as one that had just 'failed to progress to the breakup phase'. I.e., there was nothing unusual about our relationship, in comparison with other relationships I'd been in, except for the fact that instead of drifting apart we just sort of kept drifting closer (and now of course, he's somewhat scarily almost MORE than my other half, we're so enmeshed).

    So I am predicting that your cycle this month is going to be that kind of story, analogous to the kind of story I have with E:

    "It began like any other IUI cycle, except that after a while I realized that AF just never showed up..."

  2. THIS post is EXACTLY why I love reading your blog. You just get it, Sloper. Or at least I think you must just get ME. B/c this is exactly how I've been feeling the past year. It feels like everyone else has those stories of "It happened on a cycle that was supposed to go bust" or "it happened when we least expected it" or "it happened when we signed up to do IVF." But I'm not one of those people. It didn't happen when we least expected or on a break or after we signed up for IVF. We're still ... stuck.

    I like to think your story will end up just like everyone else's, though: "It happened on my third IUI when all the odds felt like they were stacked against me." That's the story I'm praying so much comes true for you. Really, I want this so, so much for you.

    I hope my story ends like this: "It happened on our first try with IVF."

    I'd like our fairytales to come true now. Please. xo

  3. I love this post and feel the same way. I kind of have always known this was not going to be easy (not that I understand why I know this).
    I do have another theory on the "stories". I think sometimes we like to romanticise things when we retell a story and kind recreate history in our heads. I wonder if things would seem like fate if we could go back and see things over again in real time. I knew that my husband was one the best first dates I had ever been on, but thats all I knew right away. Love at first sight is for lifetime movies, not my style.
    I do think that all babies, esp those conceived after a struggle with IF (short or long) are true miracles.
    Hoping for your miracle for you this month.
    hang in there...

  4. I was 200% certain that it would be an "IVF Or Two" tale for me. Truly and honestly; I changed jobs so I could have a shot at affording a shot at getting pregnant.

    But sometimes life surprises us. I know you need to protect yourself; I am familiar with those feelings. So you be cautious and I will be hopeful on your behalf.

    Hugs and much love, Slopie.

  5. Interesting post! Never thought about it that way before.

  6. Sloper, I love you to pieces. I will always remain positive and hopeful for you!

  7. I do believe in intuition and I want to think that there are just some things you can't see for yourself. I'm sure you couldn't see yourself married on that first date, but here you are happily settled. There's no 20-year-old alive (a smart one anyhow) who would imagine herself so far ahead. I will shake that magic 8-ball again, because at best, it says "ask again later." I'll interpret that as half full and expect all the same miracles that get passed out to land with equal probability at your feet.

    I'll even help you with the net if we have to chase that sucker down for MILES.

  8. Nobody can believe that stuff is going to ever happen to them, UNTIL it does. I'll bet all those miracle BFPs never saw it coming and that they had lost every ounce of faith by then.

    I've had a very hard lesson taught to me in these past 6 months---to just wait and watch because you never know what is around the corner. It might just be a miracle, it might be a nightmare or just nothing, but there is absolutely no way of knowing, before it shows itself.

    Its like I'm standing behind the thickest, most soundproofed door in the world and waiting for it to open. All I'm hoping now is that I find a lot of distractions to keep me occupied while I wait!

  9. Phew, I agree with so many of the ladies above - I don't feel like it will happen either. I never thought my hubby and I would get married. I still don't see a BFP happening for us. It sucks. That being said...

    @Jay - "I'll bet all those miracle BFPs never saw it coming and that they had lost every ounce of faith by then." - Thanks for making that comment...it's a great reminder for all of us...

  10. Took the words right out of my mouth. After a year and a half of trying, I was sure we'd be the "after two years of trying...". When we hit two years, I gave us some time and was convinced we'd be the "Finally! After three looong years..." couple. Now it's been three years, and just I don't know. Trying to stay positive, so I'm going for "in the decade of 2010...".

  11. It's an interesting comparison, though I think cgd has a point, and we might re-tell the stories as we know the outcome already.
    For me, the inability to picture it also has to do with self-protection. We might get pregnant this cycle, with IUI, with IVF... or we might not. And I feel like I need to prepare myself for the possibility that we won't. Oddly enough, I don't think I was this protective when falling in love -- rather the opposite.

  12. CC is so right - we weren't this way when we were falling in love. At least I wasn't. I was a jump in with both feet kinda person when it came to falling for Stan. And, yet, when it came to pregnancy I couldn't figure out a way for it to work. I was so certain that it hadn't up until seeing the BFP. And that just goes to show you that it doesn't even matter. Your uterus cares not that your head isn't a team player. It's forging ahead anyway!!

  13. yeah, stories.... i dont have one as well
    you are one week down!
    crossing fingers and everything else for u.

  14. I know this is clichéd, but you never know. I was quite, almost certainly, convinced that I wasn't pregnant. So convinced that I had a few glasses of wine during the 2WW...and of course, I was very, very wrong. Hoping you get your miracle this cycle. Don't give up hope yet!

  15. I guess my story would be "BFP the day after the IVF consult"? But honestly, I don't tell it that way to myself or other bloggies (and certainly not in real life). I think of it more as this story: I didn't get my period, I couldn't ovulate, I went to two RE clinics and three REs, I had cysts, I tried Clomid, I talked to RE #1 about IVF, I had bad lining, I talked to RE #2 about IVF, I tried injectables once, twice, three times, I talked to RE #3 about IVF, I put IVF on the calendar....and then, when my hope had literally run out, and I was sure this wouldn't work and hadn't worked....it worked. You know what I mean? I guess my point is that intuition is a powerful, powerful thing....but it's not always right. (ie: I thought I would have to do IVF to get pregnant. I couldn't see myself pregnant.) And there are many ways to look at a "story." You know?

    I've got the hope going strong for you for THIS cycle, Slopie. FOR REALSIES!!!!!!!!!! 1ww, you can do this. xoxo

  16. It is so hard to imagine it finally happening after everything. But when it does, I know your and my stories both will feel just right at last

  17. Intuition is certainly not always right. I had ZERO inkling that my story would end up the way it did. I always had a feeling getting pregnant would be hell, but I thought once I was pregnant, things would be okay. But one miscarriage and an ectopic later, that's not the case. I laughed in my therapists face when she suggested I just needed to try on my own and it could happen on our own. And in the end it did, but I really still can't believe that this is my story.

    Hoping for you that this is your cycle.