For some odd reason, referrals for teeny tiny babies at work seem to come in waves. A couple of weeks ago, we evaluated a super-tiny baby whose adjusted age was neonate. Then today, we eval-ed a preemie who was at one month adjusted age. I think we have another baby coming up, but, honestly, the referrals have been so overwhelming lately, it’s hard to keep track.
I also have two families I’ve been working with for months who now have newborns at home.
I love the babies. I really do. Even though they’re a not-so-subtle reminder of what I would very much like to have but do not. I have to keep my distance, though. It’s the only way to get through a home visit without bursting into desperate tears.
It’s not so hard. My job, really, is to guide parents, not to take over. So we sit, usually the mother and I, across from each other with the baby in the middle. And I tell mom, “do this,” or “try that,” all the while thinking, “I can’t wait until I can do this with my own babies and not just talk about it.” EmHart had a great post about how difficult this can be. To be so close, yet so very far away. To have parents see me as the expert, or worse, question my expertise because I have no children of my own.
It helps to have coworkers who get it. And by “get it,” I don’t mean in the same way you all get it. But I have been pretty open about our infertility and this current cycle, and I have amazing coworkers who have supported and sympathized with me.
I have not, on the other hand, told any of the families I work with what we’re going through. Which, I think, will make my upcoming frequent absences in December all the more difficult to explain. I
can’t won’t tell them I’m in the middle of an IVF cycle. I’ll make up some benign medical excuse. (I haven’t concocted one yet, so any suggestions are welcome!)
I half-regret not keeping this to myself all together. Things may have already gotten a bit out of control. What happens if I come back from our holiday break, with the expectant eyes of my team members on me, knowing that the deed is done, knowing that I should be pregnant, but I’m not? I fear that, in my need to talk about these things with anyone who will listen, I may have complicated matters for myself.
Of course, I’ll be just as reluctant to talk about it further if I am pregnant. Because even that is not a guarantee.
Shit. It seems I’ve really painted myself into a corner.