Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Caught Between Two Worlds

Ever since we got the call to tell us of our positive beta, I have been feeling excited, thankful, blessed, relieved, scared, guilty, sad, confused, disbelief, and stunned.

I feel as though I have been stuck, in a hole, for so long, and I have finally gotten dislodged. I feel like I am finally 'unstuck', finally free, finally able to see the sun, feel the fresh air on my face -- but yet, I can't help but feel paralyzed.

Most people, who don't struggle with infertility, leave it three months to starting telling people they are pregnant. But people who struggle with infertility often feel like they should wait longer, until they are sure it's real, until they are sure that it all won't be snatched out from under them.

But because I have written a blog, and been open and honest about my struggles, everyone I love now knows the good news. It's strange, all these congratulations, these happy faces telling me that I am going to be a mom, family and friends supporting me, reaching out to tell me how happy they are for me. And you think, after so long, I'd be thrilled to have the congratulations pouring in.

But the truth is, I almost feel sick to my stomach when I hear it. I feel sidelined, stunned, and so much pressure. I feel like all these acknowledgments and congratulations are somehow going to jinx it. That it's all going to be taken away from me at any moment, and I'm going to wake up, having to face the many sorry's and looks of pity that will surely come my way. And that I will be stuck back in hell, never to get out again.

It's very strange, these feelings that I'm having. One one hand, I've never felt so lucky, so blessed, and so alive. I'm excited. I want to start shopping. I want to make long overdue plans. I'm barely able to contain my happiness and joy. But on the other hand, I'm feeling lost, feeling sad, feeling guilty, feeling scared. Infertility has been my identity for so long now. I have spent every waking minute of every day thinking about it, planning for my next cycle, researching it, breathing it -- that I almost don't know who I am without it. I have been shut down for so long, I almost don't know how to let the joy in. And I feel bad and guilty because I'm leaving others behind, who deserve this just as much as me. I feel guilty that my prayers were answered and thier prayers have been denied. I feel bad that I got lucky, and so many others do not. And I'm afraid to leave my nest, my world, my safe-haven. I'm afraid to let myself really believe and feel happy and let it all in.

I've heard stories about prisoners, who finally get out of jail after serving their time. They are finally free, and released back into the world. And they just stand there, paralyzed, scared, unsure where to go, or what do to next. Some of them almost want to go back in, because they just don't know how to be free anymore. They miss the only world they know. They are stunned, unable to really celebrate the freedom they have been given. So they just kind of stand there...

I think in a way, this is what's happening to me. I'm paralyzed, unsure what to feel, what to think, and what to do now that I'm free. And I'm continually looking over my shoulder, waiting for the cops to come arrest me and tell me that it was all a mistake. That I'm not free after all.

Right now I'm stuck between two worlds:
Thankful for the blessings and dreams that I've been given.
But afraid to move forward and let go.


Katrina said...

TOTALLY understandable!
It's going to take time, and that's okay, let it sink in slowly and don't feel pressured.
And I will personally stop my part in the "jinxing". He he.
I'll let you have it later though, when you're in your comfort zone!

Nikki said...

We spend so much time and effort researching infertility, fighting it, building up our strength and resilience against it, and suddenly find ourselves so unprepared to be "happy" and pregnant, and to embrace the new life, right?

I know how terribly scared I was - the few short weeks that I have been pregnant. On my IF message boards, I know what to answer, what to question etc. When I went to the pregnancy board, I found myself very tentative. Didn't want to jinx anything, didn't even want to say the words "I'm pregnant" out loud.

I think IF takes so much from us, makes us fight so hard to get where you are, that it's natural to feel tentative. Over the years, we KNOW how to live as infertiles. Nobody has taught us how to live as a pregnant person.

I hope you are able to move on and embrace your new world quickly, and enjoy every moment. Don't be walking on eggshells the whole time being scared. Good luck!

Sue said...

In a way, I know exactly how you feel. I think I jumped through that stage faster, turned all of my attention to all these blood test and u/s appointments and threw myself into being pregnant the same way I threw myself into IF, so I barely felt a bump. You should never feel guilty. I know when I wasn't pregnant and everyone around me got pregnant, at first, I felt jealous and then I realized that their getting pregnant had nothing at all to do with me. It wasn't going to increase or decrease my chances of getting pregnant, focusing on it would just stress me out. That was their life and I had mine, with its own challenges and strggles. So, I learned to be happy for them. I think it is the same way with feeling guilty about finally getting that BFP. After all you've been through, allow yourself to be happy. Those people who got another BFN or are still struggling would never ever fault you for being happy for finally getting pregnant. And, if they do, they need to do a little soul-searching themselves.

Give your baby the gift of being optimistic. Positive thoughts! Allow yourself to have some joy and then throw yourself into being pregnant...!

DAVs said...

I so hope you can allow yourself to feel joy and happiness completely and not let it be tempered with guilt! My goodness--I'm sure I speak for a lot of us who are stuck on the other side of the fence--we may be sad for us but that doesn't mean we're not happy *for* you--we only wish we could be happy *with* you. However, I understand your hesitation at having everyone know so very very early...such is the life of blogging and being in the infertility world--but hopefully this is the real deal all the way!

Ashley said...

Please don't feel quilty for those of us who aren't pregnant yet...we are soo happy for you and your story gives us so much hope!!
I know what you mean though...when you are going through these infertility struggles it feels like you will never be pregnant. It feels like your infertility is part of you...who you are. You will always be able to look back on this journey and you will forever be so much more grateful for your baby because of the struggle that you went through. I know it is scary...but embrace your pregnancy and be happy. You deserve it!!

Anonymous said...

I am exactly at the same position that you are in. Just got my BFP and feel lost in this new world. There is this constant fear that something bad will happen and I will end up back in square one! I dread that! It was especially hard the first couple of days. But slowly, I have started to realize that nothing is for certain.

So take it one day at a time. And give yourself time to accept it. My hope is seeing the heartbeat on that first u/s should give me the confidence that I need! Hopefully, it will do the same for you.

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

Just know that some of that anxiety is normal, with or without IF (I waited until 16 weeks to tell my family and would have waited longer I think until the 20 week U/S). I can't imagine what it is like after struggling with IF- the prisoner story was a good example.

Just keep listening to yourself and your body- you will find your way. From here on out, it will always be a mixture of feeling blessed and being excited vs. feeling worried or stressing out about something.

Rebecca said...

That post was such an eloquent description of how so many women who struggle with IF feel once they get a BFP. In our case, if I'm ever blessed to get so far, I will probably let my stomach do the talking when it comes to telling most people. And we'll probably even wait until 16 weeks (if a bump doesn't give it away before then) to tell our parents.

In regard to the comment you left on my blog, ironically enough, my therapist's best friend is a Dr. Sher patient, and she's had success twice w/him and IVIg.

I consulted w/Sher at the very beginning of our journey several years back and consulted w/Fisch last fall and again this spring before deciding on CCRM. (In fact, R has a frozen sample stored at SIRM-LV, just in case we ever need it.)

Fisch said he would recommend IVIg (and CGH) only because he felt we might as well throw the kitchen sink at me since we don't know what is causing the m/c's.

I'm curious to see what our CGH results show. If we have very few or no normal embryos, I don't know that I'll pursue IVIg or intralipids, but if we come back with more normals than expected, then I'll definitely have to gear up for that research.

elizabeth said...

I have recently found your blog and I'm so encouraged by your success with Schoolcraft! I was wondering if you might email me? I would love to ask you a few questions if you have the time.

musicmakermomma said...

Take some time to adjust - you are just in the "stunned" phase! I am so moved by your beautiful writing, you can articulate so many things I feel (or hope to feel someday!) Hope that excessive congratulations simmer down a bit after the initial thrill.

Chhandita said...

This was so beautifully written Lisa. I think I can understand how you feel, and hope you are able to cope with this situation like you coped with your IF phase. plz plz dont feel guilty, we are all SO happy for u :), ur story gives us hope, and hope is such an amazing thing to have.

Heavy heart said...

Hey Lisa..you are only being normal. But remember, as much as we are wistful to be in your place..you are being pregnant for all of us..(atleast till each of us get on to the bandawagon some day)..each woman who gets off IF and gets on the pregnancy road is a champion for the rest of us. A torchbearer so to speak. I know most of us are thinking..'it happened to her..it could happen to me..there is still hope'..so enjoy your pregnancy not just for yourself but for all of us! Live our dreams..our prayers and fondest wishes are with you..

Linda said...

I am sorry that you feel caught between two worlds. I can't even imagine what that must feel like. You are such a sweet and kind person. *hugs*