Monday, 11 March 2013

The infertility scorecard

A group of my out of town girlfriends gather a few times a year.  There are 6 of us, plus kids.  Each has two children, except one who just welcomed her third.   They all know about our infertility. Most of the time when we get together,  we meet at someone's house and all of the kids play together.  Our husbands come too.  It's nice to keep in touch with them all, and I like that our hubbies all get along even though we met most of them after we became friends.

Last year, for the first time in a long time (read: since the first baby was born 7 years ago) we gathered without children.  It was my idea.  It seemed like the majority of the time when we were due for a get together, there was another baby that was born, and we were welcoming it.  There was also the odd adult-only event.  I felt slightly of awkward suggesting no kids, because I'm the one without, but they all happily agreed.  A few months down the road, we planned a weekend of drinks, a little outdoor adventure and a spa day.    

If I kept an emotional scorecard of weekends such as these I would think of them in terms of infertility hits (tolerating one too many gushing parenting stories, the odd offensive comment or watching the one woman pump breast milk every few hours) vs. the overall goodness of the weekend (great conversations, laughs and experiences). The "girls only" weekend had a very positive score.

A few weeks ago, I suggested that we all get together soon.  There is a newborn baby around, and I think it was assumed that we would all gather together with the children, because that's what we usually do.   Someone offered to host, a date was planned (which is fast approaching) and everything was great.

Until I thought about it.

Last year we gathered at the same home with all of the children.   D and I were out of our element with all of the kids around. There were 9 children under the age of 5 and one 7 year old in a confined indoor space.  = I.n.t.e.n.s.e. !   The conversation was 98% child related.   I like to think that some of the women try to make conversation about something other than their children, but invariably, it always goes back to them.  Especially when they are all buzzing around like mosquitos.

Last year, I had some hope.  After an unexpected turn of events, our doctor suggested we attempt our first IVF after four donor FETs had failed.  Hope definitely adds some bonus points to the scorecard.  However, we had experienced some losses too, as had I miscarried our twins a few short months before.  Those losses were hugely negative scorecard points.   While I didn't think in terms of scorecards then, the hope neutralized the negatives, and I thought it would be okay for us to go.

We had a nice day.  At first I thought I had survived unscathed.  Then the baby hangover started to set in.  On the car ride home, I had time to reflect.  Not a good thing. About an hour into our drive, I started to feel kind of sad and depressed.  Then I felt teary, followed by an abundant flow of waterworks  for the next hour of the drive.  For several weeks after, I had a big dark cloud over my head.  The scorecard was negative. It was just too much.

Fast forward to today.   I dropped my sister off at the airport and had some time to kill.  I decided to browse a department store.  I found myself accidentally walking through the baby isle.  Instead of running out, screaming like a banshee, I felt ok.  It made me realize that my scorecard must be positive right now.  I even would say that I felt something I hadn't in a long time... hope!

The hope I have today is very different from the hope I had last year.  It's not the same kind of  blissfully ignorant hope that I had a few years ago, before we accumulated so many infertility scars.  I've learned that it isn't just a matter of time and tries before we walk away with a baby in our arms.  Our hope is now hanging by a very fine strand.  It's hinging on Dr. Schoolcraft, my new protocol, the CCRM lab and the CCS that we have planned.

Right now I'm questioning if I could get through the day with my friends and their children.  I think I would definitely have a baby hangover afterwards, I'm just not quite how severe it would be.  I guess that would largely depend on the conversations we had, and the moments that I share with the children. D has decided he's not interested in going.

Even though I have some hope, and even though I think I could handle it, I've decided I just don't want to.  It's not worth it.  One afternoon of so-called fun and catching up isn't going to be worth risking the little bit of positivity that I've got going on.

So now the question is.... how do I get out of this event that I initiated?  The honest approach?, "I've decided it would be too much for me" or something more discreet "I'm not feeling well?".  Which by the way,  I don't view as a lie, because infertility really does make me not feel well!  Either way, I think I would need to tell my best friend of the bunch because I am babysitting her kids the next day. I don't want her worry about that arrangement.   (For that reason too I need to save some positive points on my scorecard!)


  1. I think begging off if you don't think you can handle it is perfectly fine. You're going through enough stress without adding to it voluntarily. Your friends will understand that you have to take care of yourself.

  2. I think coming clean is a good plan. Give them the chance to try to understand, but honestly, I wouldnt be surprised if they didnt get it in the end. They WANT to get it, but give them the benefit of a doubt when they screw it up. It sounds like you will.

  3. Good for you for knowing what you can (and can't) handle right now and doing something about it! It's great that you're taking care of yourself. Thinking of you!

  4. It is so important to recognize your emotional limits, and do your best to stay within them. There are always going to be stressers that are out of your control, and will send you in a tail spin. (I know that has certainly happened to me.) So when I have the chance to avoid something that I know is going to bring me down, I take it. I'm sure your friends will understand if you tell them the truth. Or if they don't understand, at least they will not be offended that you can't attend.


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