14 February 2010

context and envy

So lately I have been thinking about two IVFy things- context and envy--both of which reveal just how psychologically twisted this whole thing is.

Let's start with context-- after this retrieval I had the realization that if I am fearing or expecting no eggs, or just one or two, and get 4, it feels like a miracle. If I am, for whatever reason, hoping, praying, expecting, say, 8 eggs and get "just" 4, I feel bereft.
the 4 are the same.
the stats are the same.
the difference is the context in which that information arrives-- isn't it amazing that the same number can breed euphoria and dismay? Goes to show it is not inherent in the number, and it is in every way influenced by what I want, what I fear, what I expect, what I long for, what i dream about...
I looked back over some old cycles (no worries, this was before transfer, I'm trying to stay all sunshine and roses at the moment)-- and I realized that with the exception of our first real full IVF (8 eggs! 5 embryos!) 4 is good for me.
Hear me, me:
4 is good for me.

Then there's envy- IVF envy ferchrissakes, of all things. I am talking in my age group here, as even in my age group I have found plenty to envy. I find myself envious of other women's fabulous stims, their follicle counts, their eggs retrieved, their embryo-making, their 3 day counts, their embryo grades and cell counts, their 5 day blasts! Oh! if only! I say to myself, if only I had many more chances this time around, oh and some to freeze, to try again if this fails, how wonderful that would be!
But it does not matter how wonderful that would be. It is more likely I'd spontaneously get pregnant from a romantic encounter than to have enough embryos to freeze. But this time, I really imagined I might. I really did. I daydreamed about it. And so, yeah, ugly as this is, envy. Envy for women who get pregnant their first cycle. I hate admitting this. I really do. It is embarrassing. Heck, I envy the relationship some have with their RE's, I envy the feeling that the RE is doing everything possible, leaving no stone unturned. Researching in the off hours... whatever.
It feels so improper, like envying an appendectomy.

I guess I wanted to come clean about it because I feel weird knowing I feel this way, and I have not said it outright that i can remember. Feel awkward as I comment on blogs and say congratulations when (parenthetically) I cannot help but wish it were me too. My congratulations are sincere. But so is the underlying envy. I wish it were different. So yeah, here's my dirty little secret. Or, at least, one of them.

Thank you for listening.


Megan said...

This is a great post. I know exactly what you are talking about.

I get pea green with envy whenever someone's IVF works the first time. Could you imagine??? Only doing IVF once and having it work??? That would be a dream come true.

Your comments about context are so true. I've had cancelled cycles and nothing to transfer cycles...just making it to transfer is a miracle to me.

I think this is a very honest post and thank you for posting it. Having these feelings sometimes makes me feel like a bad person.

Hope you are surviving the wait.

Mad Hatter said...

Oh, mannnnnnnnnn, do I resemble this.

As you might remember, I wrote a post about IVF envy months ago when I wasn't yet given the green light to do IVF - all those egg and embryo counts I kept reading about had me in a frenzy! How I wished for multiple eggs!

Then, in my desperation, being led to believe I had no chance in hell of doing IVF, I was salivating even for a SOLO egg natural IVF.

And now that I am stimming, I am dying, dreaming, longing for a dozen eggs...oh, to have 12, 16, 20, 25 eggs!!! To transfer perfect ones, and freeze some other slightly less perfect ones for the huge family we shall have!

It's all so crazy, isn't it? Because at the end of it all, we know someone can have 20 eggs and still not end up with a pregnancy. Or end up pregnant, only to have it be ectopic or miscarry. Despite all the science, it's a mystery.

I realize that we get the cards we are dealt, and we play the ones we have as best we can. And yet it still doesn't stop me from wishing for a full house! ;-)

I guess it's just human nature to want what others have, and for some reason, sometimes it's easier to envy egg counts than actual children...Thank you for your post - I feel so much less alone now.

Lots of Love,

Baby Smiling In Back Seat said...

I had lots of IVF envy too. One thing that helped me were the comparisons in the other direction, since the blogosphere gives us all kinds of examples: the hyperstimulation leading to no embryos, the 7th IVF, the 10th miscarriage... there's always someone better off than you, but there's always someone worse off too.

But when you don't have the results you want, it still stinks.

Hoping you give people something to envy soon.

Anonymous said...

I hear you - IVF did not work for us - I had some major IVF envy at times - seems perfectly normal to me - ((HUGS))

IF Optimist, then... said...

I love your honest post. We all feel that envy during our situations. Envy for those who can get pregnant without help, those who only need a little, those who make get the brass ring and are successful on the first IVF cycle, those who aren't constantly delayed or canceled due to cysts, or lab closures or whatthefuck. But I know me and I know a little about you. It's not that you want what they have and therefore give them nothing, it's that you want it too.

I can understand wanting all that too. I have cheered on my bloggidy pals and have still wanted a similar slice of success for me when things weren't working. All of that is OK. It's fine. You are still a good person, don't ever beat yourself up from normal, natural feelings.

Oh, and P.S. I want it for you too.

Eileen said...

Beautifully written. I totally understand what you mean about IVF envy. While I was in the recovery room at my RE's office today having my intralipid tranfusion, they wheeled this girl out from her egg retrieval. A few minutes later my doctor came to talk to her about her eggs and I could hear the whole conversation. He told her they had retrieved NINETEEN eggs. Holy crap! And instead of being grateful, this chick said "Is that all? I thought we were watching 23 follicles." Are you freaking serious honey? I wanted to reach through the curtain and strangle her. Grrrrrrrrrr. Some people have no idea how good they have it.

Jem said...

I totally know what you mean. I had all the best counts in the world, but still ended up with a chemical and then another chemical / ectopic. My current IVF envy is for those MFI bloggers who get knocked up naturally while waiting to start IVF. Talk about NO FAIR!!

You are totally not alone.

musicmakermomma said...

I have been thinking of IVF envy lately - esp the first timers who get knocked up - which is so awful, anyone who has to use ART has been through a lot. Thanks for writing a beautiful and well thought out post.

sprogblogger said...

Yep. I'll confess that I really envy the women who get pregnant on their first IVF maybe even a little bit more than I envy the women who can do it without any help at all. And I really dislike that about myself, but it remains true, even given that I'm in a pretty enviable situation myself these days. I still get bitter when someone's first try works like it's supposed to.

I think the envy is normal, even if it's not pretty.

Kate said...

You'd have to be some kind of angel to not experience envy going through all of this. And you're pretty angelic, from all I read in your posts.
I'm still guilty of envy, even so close to the end. I can be envious of those with twins, those with no pregnancy complications. During my first cycle, my cycle buddy had borderline hyperstim, something like 23 retrieved, 18 fert, tons continue to grow. And I was cancelled before trigger because my E2 wasn't good enough. And then she had 6 great blasts, froze some, and ended up pregnant on her first cycle. I was happy for her, but just kept thinking "what if it never works for us?".
Here's hoping this transfer worked for you and you'll be the one who's being envied!
Thanks for another great post. And for your support on my blog, even though I know how hard it is to read about someone else's pregnancy

Illanare said...

Once again you put into words just what so many of us, including I, am thinking.

I envy too. I am genuinely happy at the least, most times genuinely delighted, when I read about other women's BFPs and hope with most of my heart that it all goes well. But with the rest of my heart I cry "why not me?"

Thank you for your brave and honest post and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that pretty soon I will be writing a genuinely delighted congratulatory comment on your blog.


Michele said...

I think that, no matter what our results are, we always envy. The whole grass is always greener thing.

Dont feel bad. :) You are normal. And what makes you special is that you dont let the envy get in your way.