Wednesday, 6 November 2013

In the Water, They Can't See You Cry

The first time I had an infertility related cry was the morning after the 'failure to launch' episode that occurred during my parents visit. Between work and playing hostess, the only moment I had to myself was the fifteen minute drive to swim practice in the morning. Not only did my car provide quality alone time, but at that time of year, it was still dark at 6 AM. I avoided making eye contact with anyone as I walked in and quickly donned my cap and goggles. In the water, they can't see you cry.. I thought to myself as I dove in and started my warm up laps.

The pool would extend the sanctuary that was provided by my car. Free from external stimuli and alone with my thoughts (I've composed many blog posts underwater) I discovered the analogy of focusing on my own lane. Then one week during this past summer, a former 6 AM swimmer returned. She had  moved to the South Bay two years ago, but was visiting her mother who lived nearby, and as you do on a visit, she came to attend a 6 AM class. She was 35 weeks pregnant.

"I'll put you in lane 5 with Jane" my instructor told her. "It's perfect. You're about the same interval pace and if you go into labour, Jane can perform a water birth!". I smiled at them both. There was one more detail she omitted. I had received a BFN from IUI#3 that morning, so it was perfect to put the pregnant woman right next to the infertile. I dove in and tried to swim to the other side without taking a breath so I could avoid all the commotion over her baby bump.  My sanctuary had been infiltrated. Yet still, in the water, they can't see you cry.

At least she was only visiting; and I couldn't help think that I might be the next pregnant swimmer in our group. Nope. Wrong yet once again. This past week, I walked in from the car park with Amanda, a swimmer who is in the lane next to me. I'm a faster sprinter, and she's better at distances, but we often challenge each other. I noted that I hadn't seen her since our meet a few weeks ago. "Just been really tired. It's so much harder to get up as it's colder and darker now" she noted. As I was adjusting my goggles, I heard her talk to the instructor about how much longer she could go before needing to buy some larger suits. "I'm pregnant" she announced.

I went through the obligatory "Congratulations! You must be so excited!" although I did sincerely mean it. She's a sweet girl and her husband has attended a few meets and seems like a genuinely nice guy. They will make great parents. These are the type of people who should be breeding. "Thanks, fourteen weeks!" she announced. I have fourteen follicles...does that count? I quietly asked myself while simultaneously answering. No, it does not. I'm merely in the process of trying to get pregnant. I still have so far to go.

Now I've lost my escape. I can't rely on the water to shelter me anymore. It makes it hard to focus on my own lane when there is a pregnant woman right next to me. If it's not enough that I'm surrounded by pregnant woman though my work, I now have an extra hour of exposure each day. Every day watching her expanding baby bump. Every day another reminder of what I want and what is so elusive for me. I needed a distraction. Fortunately, Jason started coming to the morning sessions again and swims in the lane on the other side of me. I can indulge myself with some impure thoughts about what his undulating hips could be doing to me... Hey, sometimes you have to do what you can to get through the day..


  1. :(. Ugh! Being surrounded by pregnant women is SO hard. Thinking of you!

  2. Yeah, that sucks. I hate how infertility takes something that is so normal to others and really shouldn't be a big deal and turns it into a huge, emotional twist of the knife in our backs. I'm really really hoping that soon enough you'll be pregnant yourself and none of this will be an issue anymore. 14 follicles, keep it up!

  3. I was confused at first...thought this was a passage from Amanda Beard's book or something. You are such a good writer!

    It's so hard when safe places become unsafe. Sometimes I feel like my home and my car are the only safe places. I am just happy for you to have 14 follicles though. That is very promising! I hope you can focus on all of the amazing things happening in your body right now.

    1. Yes, I adopted the title from Amanda's book and I borrowed her name as "Amanda" is a breaststroker. "Jason" is in reference to Jason Lezak as he anchored our 4x100 relay

  4. I've said it before, I'll say it again. I admire you so much for what you do. I don't know how you are able to do your job while struggling so much with infertility. I'm sorry you now have to be around pregnant women in what is supposed to be your sanctuary as well. Hopefully, you will be joining those ranks soon yourself though. Thinking of you Jane.

  5. I can so relate to your post. I hate it when pregnant women show up at the acupuncture clinic. One day, I had to sit in a chair after a pregnant woman had just gotten up. Instead of getting sad, I decided to try and absorb her energy, like the old wives tale about rubbing the belly. Forgive me, I know it sounds very "pollyanna" of me to try to turn it around, especially since you see so many pregnant women on the job. But, 14 follicles is very promising! That's a great number.