Sunday, December 18, 2005

Pulling Rabbits out of Hats

At a party last night, a friend told me stories of people she knew who'd had multiple miscarriages and other fertility troubles yet went on to have healthy babies. It's nothing new, this effort people go to in order to offer me hope. When I get to feeling doomed, these stories are good to hear, jacking me right up high into confidence. But more and more lately, I'm feeling better avoiding extremes either way. As I've looked deeper into these glowing accounts, I find that the multiple miscarriage stories are usually about much younger women, and most of the older women stories involve IVF, which, at this point, is something I'm not ready to consider (and hope never to need to consider). Although they aren't tossed around at parties, I know there are just as many stories about women who, after two miscarriages, go on to have four or five more, or don't conceive again, and in the end, never do win that fresh-new baby prize. So these days, I am not so prone to awe and wonder. Indeed, I brace myself.

"I have to stop you," I told my friend, when she seemed about to pull a fifth or sixth magic rabbit out of her hat. I'd never done this before, stopped someone to explain that I understood her intention was to offer me hope, and that I appreciated it, but didn't want to hear anymore. "It's just that I know that when I get high on hope, I crash later. I need to acknowledge that both outcomes are possible, and be alright with that," I said. I know my odds; they're better than fifty-fifty, but not by much.

My friend hugged me and said, "It'll work out for you. You'll have a baby. I just know it." This, I've also heard too many times to take as anything more than wishful thinking on my behalf. I appreciate it. But I don't take it seriously. Too many people "just knew" everything would be fine in each of the two pregnancies which were not fine at all.

"It might," I said, being real but also reassuring her, "I haven't lossed hope."

And to illustrate the hope: today I go to the Chinese herbalist. My first step (involving a specialist, that is) on the path of alternative therapies. Perhaps I'll pull a rabbit out of my own hat soon. Tune in next time for the scoop.

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