My Boggart (or, early pregnancy anxieties)


Today, I am pregnant. Really! My first beta came back at 160.7, and my second beta (96 hours later) came back at 1,110.8. Those are awesome numbers and S and I are thrilled!

We are also scared out of our minds. Or, I am. S plays it cool so sometimes it's hard to tell. Infertility has created a boggart - a shape shifting representation of fears. Every procedure, test, medication, brings a new fear, and even when the news is good - great! - it's still lurking in the shadows.

This 10-day wait between the second beta and the first ultrasound feels like a cruel joke - how come everyone talks about the two-week-wait, but not this wait? My anxiety is definitely higher during this wait than it was before. I don't feel any symptoms at all, and even though most symptoms are pretty nasty I'd almost rather feel them than feel nothing and be stuck here wondering. (Okay, I am exhausted. But I think this has more to do with the fact that the time change on Sunday destroyed our cat - ever since Sunday she has not let us sleep through the night. That's four sleepless nights. Please, no jokes about preparing for parenting. We're not emotionally ready for those yet.)

Throughout this process we have encountered a wide array of unexpected, and hard-to-explain emotions. When we talk to people in our lives about it, we don't lie - we share our feelings of stress, anxiety, excitement, nerves, to some extent. But it is difficult to fully communicate the roller coaster of emotions to people who have not experienced infertility. Also, you don't want to drive people away by being constantly negative. Fertile folks don't have comprehensive knowledge of the process, the vocabulary, or personal experience with the emotional upheaval, so a lot of communication with them tends to be about logistics. What's next? What then? When do you hear? 

For me, this challenge has only grown now that I am cautiously, tentatively pregnant. (See? I can't even say it with confidence!) Everyone who knows is so excited for us, and so positive and full of hope. Of course those are all wonderful sentiments and we appreciate them. And, they come with an air of confidence that, given our struggle and innate tendency towards anxiety, feels like deity-defying arrogance. Jinxing it, essentially. It is way too early for any one to know for sure that their pregnancy will result in a healthy baby (5 weeks or so). Add to that our context for experiencing pregnancy: Infertility - everything always goes wrong. Nothing works the first time, or the way you think it will. Any time you expect one thing, something else happens. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. I'm finding it nearly impossible to dig myself out of that hole.

I do want to be clear that I am not criticizing any of our friends or family members. They are wonderful, supportive, loving people and they would do anything to help us feel more confident and optimistic. I can't think of a different way I would want any of them to react. I'm just trying to describe an unintended, and, I think, unavoidable impact of their excitement and positivity.

The good news is, we only have one more week left to wait, and within a few more weeks (if everything goes well) we will be able to hear the heartbeat. At that point, I will immediately purchase a baby doppler so that I can check in every time I want to in between appointments. Fingers crossed that this helps balance the excitement and anxiety a little better.

Quidditch (or, the magical roller coaster of infertility)

Calming Draught (or, waiting for a second beta)