So. The IVF adventure has begun. I am now snorting and injecting hormones like a crazy woman. The side-effects are minimal. Just, you know, hot flushes, double vision, nausea, fainting, bloating, pain, vomiting… usual stuff for a Tuesday afternoon.
Of course, sticking a needle straight into your stomach comes with the advantage of a highly sympathetic husband, ready to cater to your every whim, as well as… no, that’s the only advantage I can think of.
In my experience so far, as you go through the process, doctors, nurses and counsellors all spend a considerable amount of effort telling you (and your significant other) to keep ‘managing your expectations’. At my last appointment with my IVF doctor, as she had just decided there was no time like the present to jump on in and get started, her very next sentence was: “And you must remember how important it is to manage your expectations.”
I get what these people mean. I really do. I know several women, some of them very close to me, who’ve had IVF and all of them had to give it several goes (one 11 times) before the stork finally couriered in their sparkling new spawn. Thing is, I don’t want to “manage my expectations”. It goes against all of my philosophies about positive thinking and sending out to the ether expectations of what you want rather than what you don’t want. As far as I can work out, what is meant by ‘managing your expectations’ is actually about you avoiding disappointment and trauma as much as possible. But I don’t want to avoid my emotions, I want to experience them. I’ve always been one to feel what I’m feeling, you know? Why would I want to expect to be disappointed and upset? Wouldn’t it be better to expect joy and happiness and what I want to happen and then just let myself experience the disappointment of it not happening if that’s the case?
What’s all this fear of the ‘negative’ emotions about? They are as legitimate as any other emotion, so why be so afraid of them? Better to howl at the moon with the anger and disappointment of a failed attempt, get it out of me with anguish and passion, than store it up, shove it down, avoid it, and let it fester, I say. Much healthier all round, and for everyone involved, I think. I have Italian blood. It comes naturally, all this feeling and expressing.
So, I’ve started IVF. I expect a cute, blonde haired, blue eyed little miracle. If not, I’ll howl and hug and mope and cry and then start over. That’s how I’m planning on managing my expectations.