Saturday, January 29, 2005

i think i'm going to explode

I just got home from bridal shower where no one discussed the upcoming wedding. It was a bit strange. Instead, everyone talked about pregnancy and babies. One of the women there (not the bride-to-be) recently announced her pregnancy and since most of the guests aren't thrilled about the upcoming nuptials of the guest of honor, we stuck to a topic that most people felt more comfortable with- pregnancy and kids.

I kept pretty quiet. These were my co-workers and I'm not out to them about my infertility. I tried to look interested in the conversation and bit the inside of my cheek to keep from crying or shouting or jumping up from the table. And I think I did a pretty good job of imitating a fertile. Happily no one asked me if I wanted kids or was planning on having kids anytime soon. I think I might have broken down and admitted that I start birth control pills tomorrow in preparation for IVF this March. And I think I wouldn't have been able to say it matter-of-factly, I would have been bitchy and rude.

My boss was there. Sitting right next to me. She doesn't know about the IVF either, at least I don't think she does, but I gave her my memo yesterday requesting a leave of absence from work in March for "a medical procedure back in the United States." I don't know if she's read it yet. She certainly didn't ask me about it. But last night I had a dream that she had somehow gotten a hold of my medical records and passed them around at work. People were coming up to me asking if I had found a sperm donor yet and I was mortified. In the dream, I called my boss all sorts of nasty names and quit. It was awful. And realistic enough that when I woke up this morning, it took me a minute to remember that no one at work has seen my records. That no one knows. That I still have a job.

The thing is, my boss's boss knows about the infertility. He's friends with my husband. And yesterday my husband told the boss's boss that he too would be getting a memo from me requesting a few weeks off in March. It was the same memo I gave my boss, no explicit reference to IVF, but he's a smart enough guy to put two and two together. So, I'm wondering if he'll tell my boss what's going on. If she'll be in the know too. And if she's in the know, will it slowly leak out to the rest of my colleagues? I'm not exactly sure what to do here. Whether to go to her directly and explain the situation and tell her that I'd appreciate her discretion (and run the risk of her not respecting my privacy despite my request). Or whether I should just let it go. Hope that the boss's boss will keep it quiet. Any suggestions would be welcome here.

This secrecy business is killing me. I tend to be a private person, but an open and honest person (if that makes any sense). And all of this feels like a big lie. I want to blurt it out so badly, but the truth is I'm not sure that my co-workers would understand. I've heard them talk and gossip about other people and I don't want to be the subject of any of those discussions. I also realize though, that by not telling I may be that much more likely to be the subject of their gossip. Like when I miss three weeks of work in March and no one knows where I've gone, I can just imagine the theories they'll come up with. So is it better that they're making up fanciful stories about me or distorting the truth that I've copped to? I'm sort of torn on that one.

My guess is that I'll continue to keep this to myself. I feel blessed to have the online support of the women in the blogs and bulletin boards I frequent. And while sometimes that doesn't feel like enough, while sometimes I wish I had real world friends to talk with and vent to, other times it feels like I get more than enough support from people I've never even met.

Infertility is lonely. I never really understood that until a couple of weeks ago. The closer I get to actually starting my treatment, the more isolated I feel. I thought it would get easier, but its getting harder and harder to be myself. To feel like a real person. It scares me. What if I never go back to the person I once was? What if I remain this empty shell of a person who bites the inside of her cheek in polite company to avoid expressing how she really feels?

How does one go through this and come out okay? I know what doesn't kill you is supposed to make you stronger, but I have a hard time believing that right now. I'm starting to feel dead inside. And this is only the beginning. What happens after a cycle fails? What happens if I'm disappointed over and over again? I can't even imagine.

I'm terrified.


Blogger amanda said...

It is terrifying at times, but you will make it through it all. You probably won't be the same person at the end of it all, at least I know I'm not the same person I was pre IVF, but that's ok. One thing I've learned through all of this is that I'm stronger than I ever thought. It is hard to go through all of this. It's even harder to have to pick yourself up after a failed cycle, but it's not impossible. No one wants to imagine what it's like to experience that heartbreak, and I REALLY hope that you won't ever have to go there. But if you do, know that we'll be here.

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's no fun is it. I can't talk about it at work but there is one person I have told. She is in her 60s and has 2 adopted children and is very, very sweet and very discreet. So at least when I go to work and am having a hard time I know there's one person who gets it and is sympathetic. I'm terrified about what the others might do or say but I trust her eminently (and her IF story is hellish so she gets it). Hang in there.

2:24 PM  
Blogger spiller said...

I'm so sorry you're feeling so lonely...I wish I could offer up some cheery advie to make it better, but what a painful horrible position to be in.

I do think you're right to be self-protective around your co-workers though - trusting your instincts on that one is probably the way to go.

Hang in there. Think about the day when this will all be a distant unpleasant memory. And no matter what, you will still be you - different, yes, but always real.

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my boss, not so discrete told everyone around the school I worked at. About the same time I got OHSS at the end of christmas break and as I was laying on the lab room floor with a puke pan one of the schools teacher assistance came in with her sick daughter and was very sweet but that got around school quickly too. I had three close friends I shared with and KNOW they didn't tell it, they were going through the same thing. So I had tons of people asking about it, worse yet my parents work at the high school and it filtered over to them before we were ready to talk about it with family. So they were very hurt, as they should have been. In America if a boss divulges medical information you can sue them or at the very least file an official grievance against them. I didn't because it was out, what difference was it going to make, and in a school you feel like a family, the opposite was true at my husbands work. They leaked unrelated information and she severely threatened her job. Blah blah, the point I really watned to make... You talked about being out.
I felt less lonely at the point I just came out with it.
Infertility isn't our faults or something we did or could do any more to help then we already are. I didn't want to feel ashamed. I don't want you to either. Good luck to you in March. If they find out... and you don't want them to... come back with a crazier story.... about the "medical proceedure". It could be a lot of fun. :)

8:54 PM  
Blogger Barren Mare said...

You've written much of what I am thinking, even though we have not yet begun to be where you are in terms of treatment. All I can say is, you're not alone, and I am wishing you all the luck in the world.

2:15 PM  
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2:59 PM  

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