TTC#2 in the ALI Community

Well, you guys, AF finally came which means that I’m the first-time owner of a shiny new, 28 day textbook cycle, complete with 14 day LP! I really can’t believe it. Never, in all my many, many months of charting have I ever had a 28 day cycle and I’ve never had longer than an 11 day LP. I guess the B6 really worked! Now if only I can keep having these kinds of cycles when we start trying, I’ll really be on a roll.

So, today is Confessional Fridays and I do have something to confess. I must admit, I’ve been kind of excited to blog while TTC. I’ve never really had that experience before. The last time I was TTC I felt so completely and utterly alone, the only community I found was on the Fer.tilityFri.end boards, but I used those mostly to get answers to questions I had about supplements or other things. The FF boards were a place to discuss the physical minutia of the current cycle, to makes sense of the differences between cycles and to understand the symptoms I might feel on any given day. I did not use that forum to tackle the emotional turmoil I was experience, and for the most part, neither did anyone else. And while I was relieved to have found a refuge where my obsessions about cervical mucous (or a complete lack there of) weren’t considered crazy, I longed for a place where I could honestly express how devastated all of it was making me.

And now I have that place, and yet I don’t feel all that excited to talk about it. Because the reality is, I don’t think anyone wants to listen.

I get it. I understand why people don’t want to listen. Many of my readers are past this point in their lives and being faced with it is at best boring, at worst horribly painful. Even of the women who are considering cycling again after having a first child, many don’t feel emotionally prepared to delve into the subject yet; reading about my attempts make them face their overwhelming anxieties about their own future struggles. I don’t blame anyone for not caring much about my TTC experience and I harbor no hurt feelings about it, I’m just bummed out that I missed the boat on this. I regret that I never had this place when I needed it, when others might have been interested in what I had to say. And I regret that now, when I do have it, it’s not the experience I’d hoped it would be.

And before you tell me this is my space, and I can write whatever I want, please know that I’m aware of this. And I will. I will write what I need to write, when I need to write it, but it’s a distinct thing, writing with knowledge that it’s just for you, and writing with the expectation of support.

The truth is, this community can be a very complicated place and difficult to navigate. While I would never dream of abandoning it for these reasons, I also don’t think it’s traitorous to point them out.

Of course I would be remiss in not mentioning that the prospect of suffering a loss is less harrowing knowing that I have this community to lean on. With the exception of Mi.Vida (who was wonderful beyond words) I had absolutely no one during my ectopic and I know the isolation made the whole experience infinitely worse. Knowing that I would be propped up by this community if something horrible were to occur absolutely gives me strength. When my anxious mind runs through tragedy after unthinkable tragedy, the only thing that brings me comfort is the guarantee that you all would be there for me. I have no doubt that you would be.

I guess this is as good a time as any to make my other confession. Yesterday I mentioned some of my great fears in this round of TTC, but I left one out. I will admit, it’s a smaller fear than continual BFNs or pregnancy loss, but I think about it almost as frequently: What will happen if I do get pregnant right away? How will I “show my face” here, on my blog, in the comment sections of others, in this community, if I get pregnant right away?

Already writing about TTC here makes me feel like a fraud. I’m not worried about how I’m going to pay for another round of IVF or whether or not my frozen embryos will thaw and transfer. I’m not stressing over the protocol of any kind of ART, or the home study for a second adoption. All I need to worry about, at least all I think that I need to worry about, is lengthening my LP and hoping whether my chances of another ectopic are as high as they were before I had Isa. My attempts at TTC make it glaringly obvious how fraudulent my membership in this community really is. It’s like I’m offering a fake passport up for inspection, again and again, hoping no one will realize that it’s printed on bleached bullshit.

So yeah, volleying against my fears of loss and struggle is the opposite fear of pregnancy easily achieved, of losing my already tenuous foothold in this community, of finally and irrevocably being cast out, evicted, deported back to the Land of the Fertile. And while it doesn’t scare me as much as pregnancy loss, it too would be a tragic fate, one I would mourn dearly.

21 responses

  1. There’s no need to fret about your place here. I think your regular readers can understand where you are coming from. TTC #2 is a very tricky topic, indeed. I’ve read a few posts lately about IF’s trying for #2 in different ways and they all have very different feelings about it. It’s not like we will abandon you if you get pg right away. That’s what we (at least I) want for you. I won’t lie and say that it won’t sting a little bit…but I will be happy if you don’t have to struggle. I don’t want to see you suffer. I don’t wish IF on anyone (well, there are some people that I wish weren’t SO fertile ๐Ÿ™‚ ). I read your blog through your first pregnancy and you needed support and caring words…that won’t change and that’s what this community is about. Supporting each other in times of need. I’m sure that there will be some readers who drop off….but think of the new readers you can attract. There are plenty of IF’s that have a child and that are getting ready or are already trying for a 2nd. They will find you and you will find them. And if you get pg right away, good for you! That is one less heartbreak that we have to go through, too. I, like you, connect on such a deep level with bloggers that I cry when they hurt and I celebrate when they succeed. So go for it, write all about it. If people don’t want to read, they don’t have to. But I bet your core readers (and probably some new ones) will come along for the ride.

    • It will sting! Of course it will sting. I have watched other friends of mine get their quick BFPs after struggling the first time and even though I am THRILLED for them, it stings. And that is what I don’t want to do, create the stinging feeling in others, because I’ve been on the other side of it and I had the idea that I would be the one causing it.

      Thank you for your support. It means the world to me.

  2. Right- no one will be deporting you, and if they do, their loss. Seriously. This community is not a one size fits all, and not everyone has the same journey. I know I will be here to celebrate when you do get pregnant, and cry with you should (God forbid) something go wrong.

  3. I’m curious about B6, what is the goal of taking that?
    We each have our different stories, our own trials and joys. I’m here for your story. On my blog is my story, I expect them to be different. And if we’re being honest, I’m coming to yours to escape mine for a minute. All I hope for is your truth.
    And if you conceive the first time, I will jump with joy, for you, and because it’s good to have proof that what you hope for can come true. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • B6 is supposed to help lengthen a short LP. LPs are supposed to be 12+ days. Mine is 10-11days. 100-200mg of B6 a day (taken with a Complex B Vitamin) is supposed to help lengthen LP; this was my first month taking it and my LP lengthened from 11 days (the longest it’s ever been) to 14 days! Hopefully if I keep taking it, my LP will stay over 12 days.

  4. first off… as someone who is in the camp of a bit sensitive to reading about people who are TTC, I read this post with a HUGE smile and am so excited to get to read a long as you go for it (when you go for it). The way you write and the world view you share is really special. I think you could write about anything, and I’d want to read it.

    And 28 day cycle — yay! I think i can count 3 in my own life, so I am extra aware of how special something that statistically common can be:)

    community is a tricky thing — I think about that a lot too.. but I also think you have a talent for writing your truth in a way that connects with people even are on a very different journey. Best wishes!!!!

    • Thank you very much for your kind and complimentary words. I hope that, no matter what I’m writing about, I’m address the topic in a thoughtful way. That is something I’m trying so hard to do. We’ll see if I can actually do it through this all.

  5. Congratulations on the 28 day cycle! It would be wonderful if you got knocked up right away. For most of us that would provoke a great celebration, complete with taunting of the “fertile whore” variety. For some, it would undoubtedly provoke some withdrawal. It’s important to remember that your pregnancy would not be the source of their pain. IF is the source of their pain but sometimes it is wise to avoid the reminders that cause that pain to flare up. Of course, we’ve all had the good fortune of being there, which brings me to another point: entry into this community is ONE WAY.

  6. I agree that this community is a complicated place. A diaspora, perhaps, is a better way of describing it. But your readers, well … they love you because you are you. Not because you have any particular passport or qualifications.

    I think one of the things that is remarkable about the ALI community is that it’s willing to write the definition of membership so broadly that almost anyone who wanted to join, could.

    Yes, if you get pregnant, you may lose some readers … perhaps temporarily, perhaps permanently. But I suspect it won’t be many, and that they won’t be your “core.”

  7. i had the same fear when we first started this journey – again. when we TTC the first time, no medicine or doctors were involved – just many many months.
    This time? more months of trying plus miscarriages and now doctors and potentially medicine etc etc etc

    just know i understand and wish you a short journey, without worry of what anyone else may think – i woudln’t wish this journey on anyone ever.

    • I’m so sorry to hear how much you’re struggling this time around and so sorry to hear about your miscarriages. My heart goes out to you and your family. Sending fertile thoughts your way.

  8. I love slowmamma’s point. The pain would not be about you, but rather about them. Of course, no one wants their pregnancy–their long awaited, triumphant pregnancy–to spur any kind of sadness or withdrawal, but, you know, it happens. And it’s okay. It’s perfectly okay. I am finding that I sometimes have to tiptoe around certain blog posts by pregnant bloggers, but I’m not mad or bitter towards them. At all. Folks might give you a broader berth for a bit, but those of us who respect you and care about your happiness won’t abandon ship. Or file deportation papers.

    • This. T is always so well-spoken.

      I must admit that I felt a bit defensive when you wrote, “What will happen if I do get pregnant right away? How will I โ€œshow my faceโ€ here, on my blog, in the comment sections of others, in this community, if I get pregnant right away?” — … but then I realized that I worried about the same thing when I became pregnant with Jack, that people wouldn’t be supportive of that pregnancy, because I didn’t work hard for it.

      The bottom line is that no matter how TTC#2 goes for you (or anyone), it doesn’t negate your prior experiences. Having Isa doesn’t remove your experience with loss any more than getting pregnant right away with #2 would. Likewise, having Jack’s pregnancy be a surprise, does nothing to soothe all of those months of worry, doctor’s visits, testing, etc that came before Liam. And sure, our fertility problems were not as far reaching as some others, but it’s not a contest. Pain is pain.

      Almost all of the same people who have read my blog since the beginning continued to read through both of my pregnancies. As slowmamma & Trinity pointed out, for the ones who couldn’t continue reading, it wasn’t about me, it was about them. It wasn’t about my baby, it was about IF. And part of the beauty of this community is that when someone needs that space, we give it, because we’ve all been there before. Eventually, they almost always find their way back.


  9. oh honey bunny, once you are in ALI land, you can’t go home again. and anyone worth calling your friend would want you to have as little of a struggle as possible. I hope you get preg on the first month. how amazing would it be to have something go just easy for once?! that being said, blogging while ttc is fun! I’m sure I’ll get back into it too when I’m cycling. right now I just feel like I drone on about the sos, different day. here’s hoping 2012 is the year where there was no struggle, for all of us.
    loved meeting you and am super excited to continue our friendship!

  10. This is such an interesting post. As someone who has come to the ALI blogging community only some years after my efforts ended, I see that – like any communities – it is bound together by a common fact, but that everyone is different, and so there are mini-communities amongst us, including those parenting after IF, those still trying, and those not parenting. In some ways it seems to me that those who have had “success” (ie a baby, or two, or more) are more easily welcomed/accepted than those of us who haven’t – we who are seen as cruel reminders of what could happen. I’ve seen it – people too scared to comment on the “childless” issues, not wanting to think about it, as if it tempts fate. But that’s understandable, you know.

    As for you, You’ve been here long enough that you’ll have followers regardless of whether or how you ttc, and whether you’re successful or not. Friendships form, and people stay. Some people go, but that’s the case in life too, is it not? Friends come and go, but there are some that always stay. And you get new friends along the way, too.

  11. I think this is all understandable. I just started my first IVF cycle, after nearly 2 and a half years of trying naturally with just a few natural IUIs along the way. Over the course of the several months I’ve had my blog, I’ve mostly just been writing about how devastating TTC was while trying completely naturally and the truth is, sometimes I felt like maybe my devastation wasn’t entirely “earned,” because I had yet to try the really advanced ART. But ultimately, those feelings passed. My devastation wad real to me, and I just wanted to share it, and if people got it, all the better.

    Also, another way to think of it is, being a part of this community, just imagine the wealth of resources you have at your fingertips as you TTC this time around! My guess is more people will want to support you rather than judge you, that’s certainly how I feel!

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