Today, I am wearing the one maternity sweater I have. It showcases the belly by sporting an empire waistline & little tie that cinches in the waist where every pregnant woman's waist is - RIGHT under my cleavage. My non-maternity clothes that I still wear just make me look like I have a beer belly, or like I'm growing one hell of a fibroid. So I am all a-belly today, and am still a little self-conscious about it, since some of the higher-up folks I work with are weird about it. They don't mentions it, or ask if I am pregnant or congratulate me. The staff, however, holler out from down the hall, "Boy, you sure look like you are knocked up!" I need the laughs, so welcome that attitude.
Back in June of 2006, I had a D&C to finalize the miscarriage that resulted from the previous IVF cycle. (It was pretty awful - the miscarriage, not so much the D&C. I can think of few things worse than bleeding on and off for weeks/months while my body naturally makes its way through the hormone soup that is the end of a pregnancy. Quick and tidy, that's what I wanted) I had the procedure done at my RE's (reproductive endocrinologist's) office, since I love it there and hate hospitals. There is an unwritten waiting-room etiquette that you learn pretty quickly after you become a patient at Dr. Can-do's office - ultrasound and bloodwork patients sit on the left side of the waiting room in the nice Pottery Barn couches in front of the gas fireplace. Surgery patients - those in for retrievals, transfers, HSGs, D&Cs - all sit on the right in straight backed Stickley chairs next to the coffee machine, surrounded by the good magazines, since you will be there for longer. If it is an optimistic appointment, like an embryo retrieval, your partner is in the procedure room with you. If it is a sad appointment, they wait out in the waiting room. So Homestead Mama had been fetched from the waiting room to join me after my procedure. (She's lucky that I am not like her when she's loopy on anesthesia, as she always tells me how OLD I look and how I look just like my mother. Uh huh, love that.) Homestead Mama is helping the nurse lead me in my drugged stupor out to the car. I look up and spot one of the higher-ups from my office, a sweet and quiet-spoken young man, sitting alone in a straight-backed chair. Uh huh, sad visit. I had enough forethought to veer off course and make them lead me out the other door & through the other side of the waiting room, He might have seen me, but we didn't have to pass within 2 feet of each other and acknowledge each other, and could therefore maintain some semblance of ignorance. It seemed kinder, for both of us.
Anyway, it is now 8 months later, no announcement from him about his wife's looming birth, and here I am at 22 weeks along striding (kind of) around in my sleek (kind of) maternity sweater and I see him approaching me in the hall. A look of painful consternation clouded his face as he watched my belly approach, and then he looked up to eye level and smiled a wan smile at me. He DID see me that day in June, and there is no way he thinks this is just the fatter version of me. I hate that. I hate the possibility of making another person who is struggling to get/stay pregnant feel lousy. Homestead Mama and I go out of our way to avoid those kinds of situations, because for a long while there WE were the unlucky ones. It is why I worry about sending out unsolicited photos of Pequita in a mass email. It is why I am wary of telling other folks I know who are still trying to have a live baby about this blog without a clear warning that it is mostly a big baby-fest these days. It hurts to be on the other side, and that hurt informs how I approach things, even now. I just hope he takes heart that he and his wife will end up on the baby side of the fence.