Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Innocence of Youth

I went out with my cousins the other night. They are eight and ten years younger than me.

I've always loved them in the way you are obliged to love blood relatives (no, I don't mean in a Norfolk / deep South way), but it is only recently that I've considered them friends in their own right; folk that I can swear in front of without worrying I am somehow corrupting them.

At one point I was in full swing with a doubtless hilarious tale about something that had happened during my latest acupuncture appointment. My 24 year boy cousin interrupted me:

"Acupuncture? What are you doing having acupuncture? What's wrong with you?"

"Infertility" I snapped - well, the fucker had stopped me mid-anecdote.

"Oh. This isn't at all awkward" he muttered gruffly. But, to his credit, later in the evening he came up and we had a proper chat about it and he was very lovely - if completely uncomprehending as to why anyone would actually want children.

His sister had missed my revelation and I thought it was only fair that she should know what was going on too. So I shoe-horned into conversation the fact I was likely to have IVF.

Her little face lit up with joy. "Oh how exciting!"

I blinked:

"Well, not really. I mean it is a bit of a pisser that I have to have IVF at all really. And that I have to take lots of drugs and go through all kinds of nasty procedures."

But on reflection she is right. It is quite exciting. It isn't what I would have wanted or hoped for. And it is scary. How will I feel when pumped full of more drugs than your average Tour de France contestant? How will I feel if it doesn't work? Or if it works just briefly, leaving me more devastated than ever?

But I have a problem - infertility - and this is my chance to remedy it. If someone with cataracts was due an operation that would have them seeing for the first time in years I'd think it was exciting. Like my problem, it is phenomenally unfair that they have to have the op but the possible outcome - that's worth focusing on. (Do you get it? Focus. Cateracts ... oh, forget it. I'm wasted here.)

So I'm mustering up a youthful excitement for this next stage, and hopefully I'll get more than butterflies in my stomach.


  1. The 'this isn't at all awkward' line just cracks me up! You should've regaled him with stories of stirrups and speculums! Then he'd never interrupt another fabulous anecdote, I betcha.
    And IVF IS really exciting! It's the big guns, the end-all be-all of procreating with ones' own genetics. And I have to say, even though it only worked for a blink of an eye for me, I'm still absolutely thrilled we were able to do it. You know, since we couldn't go with the old-fashioned, completely free way.

  2. Exciting does not always = good. Exciting = vastly different than previously experienced = IVF, I think.

    Youthful enthusiasm is a wonderful thing. I wish I still had some!

  3. I think your cousin asks a really interesting question of why, deep down, we actually want to have children. It's a question that really has me doing some soul searching at the moment....

    IVF really is exciting and fascinating. Life's most memorable periods involve a rollercoaster of the highest of highs and lowest of lows all happening together, and that is what IVF is. For that reasoning, it is truly exciting.

  4. I laughed about the "Oh. This isn't at all awkward" too. Bless him, maybe next time he won't interrupt. :0)
    If I could afford IVF I would do it in a heartbeat and I would be very excited about it. I understand that it isn't a fun process, of course I don't understand first hand, but through research and reading personal experiences I understand. I am excited for you and wish you nothing but the best of luck!

  5. Ah, youth. The part that made me laugh aloud was the lack of comprehension about anyone actually wanting kids. What a difference a decade makes.

    But I do think it's exciting. It's a new chapter, with much better odds. You're going into uncharted waters. And my hope is that you'll find some really great things (babies!) swimming in those waters.

    And the drugs are not that terrible. I swear. They're fussy to mix and it's daunting to think about, but my guess is that you'll be surprised by how smoothly it will go.

  6. Good on you for being straight with them - I always find that hard. I don't want to admit to having a "problem"!

    Though they say it's the first step to recovery, eh?

  7. People have been gratifyingly excited about us adopting, I have to say.

  8. I remember getting an 'IVF, how exciting' comment, which was followed up by, an 'I guess that means you'll be having twins, then.'

    There's a world of difference between that type of wide-eyed innocence/ignorance about the realities of cycling, and the range of emotions you experience when you actually start IVF for the first time - one of which is definitely excitement.

  9. I wish you best of luck with the upcoming IVF.

    I wish more of my cousins had reached the point I could relate to them, but most are still in college and one hasn't even graduated from high school yet.

  10. Liz - your blog never fails to hit the mark...thank you. When I click and see a new post - I get all excited...anyway - talking of excitement...

    I'm on my 8th day of 'stimming' (I love this IVF jargon) in my first round of IVF and saw my developing 10 'follies' today and was I excited? You bet I goddamn was. Although I doubt that my 20-something self would have been as thrilled to know what was in store... But it is an amazing opportunity and I count myself lucky to have the chance...

    You are right though - people do say the most unbelievably thoughtless things in all this. I had a conversation with my sister-in-law the other day (who has 2 perfect kids, no miscarriages, one of each - lucky ole her..) and she asked how my IVF was going and when I mentioned that I was feeling emotional at the drop of a hat - she erupted into 10 minutes of anecdotes detailing how she would cry all the way through her pregnancies at the slightest thing. But hey, she is the same woman who after I (with obvious difficulty ) explained how it was to loose my baby at 24 weeks, proceeded to talk for over half an hour about how amazing her two births were...Some people just weren't in the line for tact when it was being given out...

  11. I can't wait till my niece gets to the age where I can just speak freely.

    Your IVF IS exciting, though I see what you're saying...it's hard to get in that frame of mind with all you have to go through.

  12. Iamstacey, I did spend A LOT of time telling him about how much timed sex the husband and I have had. He looked a bit pale by the end.

    Areyoukiddingme, I’m holding onto the excitement is good approach (or trying)

    TheSheila, the simple answer is biology, innit? I don’t know why, but I do know I do.

    I’m very lucky, Aimee, the NHS will pay for IVF for m. I’m sorry you aren’t so fortunate.

    Adele, I figure if I build up the drugs as terrible they can only be better than I imagined.

    Twangy, I’m fed up with not telling people I have a ‘problem’. Its not my fault, it just is so this is a new era of openess.

    DrSpouse, That’s good, as long as they don’t dismiss it as the ‘easy’ option.

    Ms Heathen, only twins? I’ve had ‘will you have eight kids like that woman in America’… I was very cutting in response.

    April, My cousins span all ages from 58 to 2. I have very fertile aunts and uncles – alright for some …

    Anon – Berlin, it is so good to hear from you! With other people I can check in on their blog and see how they are doing – but you remain an enigma and I never know if you are still around. Very best of luck with the 10 (ten!) follies – do come back and let me know how it goes.

    And your sister – in – law … wow! Impressively self-absorbed.

    Kelly, the problem with you niece is if you are anything like me you won’t actually believe your little niece is old enough to know about sex until she is at least in her mid-forties!


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